This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.Chapter Sixteen: Advisors
No matter friendship or love, sorrow or not, those were matters for other people.
Ji Qingqing was silent for a long time. Then she looked up at the man, and said slowly, “You mean, if I meet Baili Suxue, I will know this is the truth.”
“Truth is,, you already knew the answer, when you saw your junior sect sister.” The man looked at her and said, “You only want to know more.”
“Zheng Xiu had yet to reach Changling but she already saw me as a threat- someone she had to change into a non-threat, and even be used by her,” Ji Qingqing said with slight disdain. “Back then, there were many female cultivators in Changling more famous than me. I did not expect her to have such a high opinion of me.”
Jiaodong Commandery had ambitions. They had the advantage of access to the ocean, rich production, and was located where the old nobility could not easily control. But the old nobility had power and wealth in the Changling and Guanzhong areas as well as the foundation from the other six dynasties. They do qualify to look down on the Jiaodong Commandery hillbillies,” the man said softly. “Jiaodong wanted to compete with the old nobility, so they needed to have something special. Jiaodong Commandery did not rely on wealth, but advisors and information.”
“Advisors and information?” Ji Qingqing frowned slightly.
The man nodded. “Advisors and information. Jiaodong has many advisors they support. Most of them do only one thing, gather information and secretly spy.” After a pause, he continued. “Not just in Changling. There are spies in Guanzhong, and even in some primitive places. They are richly rewarded. Each year, many of the children and young people are selected by Jiaodong Commandery, trained and sent all over, continuing to this day. In the decades they were looked down upon by the old nobility, all Jiaodong Commandery did was wait for someone like Zheng Xiu to appear, and weave an invisible net like this.”
Ji Qingqing’s violent emotions settled slightly. She thought a while. The scheming of a family, a commandery for decades fell on her. This could not be described by personal grievances. Some of her emotions and hatred had no place to go. What she felt more of was coldness and terror. Even though she understood all this, it was not so simple to get revenge.
At this time, this man who had followed Zheng Xiu for nearly twenty years said something that made her feel even colder, and extinguished her violent emotions. “Some things appeared to be chance, but were fated even back before she left Jiaodong. In the original plans of the Jiaodong advisors, Zheng Xiu should have been with Baili Suxue, and not Wang Jingmeng.”
Ji Qingqing shook slightly, and then suddenly laughed. “Jiaodong wants to replace the heavens and arrange each person’s life?”
The man ignored the coldness and disdain in her words and calmly explained. “While Wang Jingmeng had started to show himself back then, in Jiaodong’s view, Baili Suxue had more advantages than Wang Jingmeng and Yuanwu. Back then, they thought that Baili Suxue was not any less talented than Wang Jingmeng. Min Mountain Sword Sect was also in Changling could be used by Jiaodong Commandery. He would be the first sword of the world. But the only thing they did not expect was that Baili Suxue did not admire Zheng Xiu, and that person, almost by himself, turned Ba Mountain Sword Field into the first sword of the world.”
Ji Qingqing was silent for a moment. “Simply speaking, Jiaodong Commandery wanted Zheng Xiu and Baili Suxue to get together. They did not expect Baili Suxue to feel that she was not for him, and so she turned to Wang Jingmeng, and in the end, benefited Yuanwu.”
The man nodded and whispered, “No one can plan for everything, and replace the heavens.”
“This Changling looks black and gray, its streets flat and straight, simple and unadorned. Who knows how many dark schemes and dirty matters are in here?” Ji Qingqing laughed in disgust. She asked the man, “What is your name?”
The man responded respectfully, “My real name is Zhao Gao.”
“Zhao?” Ji Qingqing’s eyebrows rose. She was startled. “You are from the Zhao?”
“Based on my true ancestry, we were criminals from Zhao exiled to Jiaodong Commandery,” Zhao Gao said.
Ji Qingqing was silent for a moment, and then smiled. Her smile was still so ugly. “Then, Zhao Gao, what do you think I want to say the most right now?”
People could not predict the thoughts of these important people, much less a woman like her filled with hatred. So Zhao Gao shook his head simply.
“Baili Suxue did not like her. Wang Jingmeng split with her in the end. How does Yuanwu treat her?” Ji Qingqing laughed cruelly. “A peerless woman like her is no different from one in a brothel. In the end, she does not get the true heart of a man.”
Zhao Gao was silent. Women thought differently from men.
Even a person like that had died back then because of the betrayal of a woman. Who could say which was more important, the matters of the world, or those of women.
Pan Ruoye stood silently by the river. This was a branch of the Wei River. Not far behind her was the city walls of Changling that were being built. It was possible to see the shape of the walls and the streets inside them.
She had been standing here silently for a long time. The woman, who also had a scarred face, and once been her master’s junior sect sister, could not discern her thoughts, and grew more terrified until she started to sob again.
Crying was not something that cultivators would usually do. This display of weakness came from the lack of strength.
The woman’s body was stronger than normal people, but from a point of view, she had not been a cultivator for many years. Because many of the important meridians in her body were so damaged they could not be healed. Her vital energy could not gather. In other words, she was a leaky sheep skin on the river. If she was pushed into the river, she would drown.
“What that man said was true?” Hearing the sobs, Pan Ruoye slowly turned around, looked at her, and asked, “Your wounds truly came from the time when the empress wanted to kill you?”
The woman sobbed as she nodded.
“Leave,” Pan Ruoye looked away from her towards the river and said.
The woman stopped sobbing and trembled in terror. She looked at the water surface. She could not help but think, the other was very evil. She was not given a quick sword strike, but would be forced to walk into the cold water and drown slowly to death?
But at this time, she heard the sound of water. She saw a small boat slowly come out of the reeds towards them.
She was stunned. But her terror did not disappear.
“You are not killing me?” She looked at Pan Ruoye and asked in a trembling voice, “Where do you want me to go?”
“Even a person who knows the tactics of Jiaodong Commandery bringing you here was detected. You will only not fall into the empress’s hands if you are sent directly from here to another country.” Pan Ruoye looked at the awning on the boat and whispered. “Do not worry, I will send you away safely. I have arrangements.”
“Send me away?” The woman was stunned. She only reacted when the boat reached her. She could not help but ask Pan Ruoye, “What about you?”
Pan Ruoye grimaced. She thought of her previous hesitation that finally bore fruit and said coolly, “Since I am sending you away, then I will naturally not return to Changling.”
The woman boarded the boat, and splashes sounded. The boat slowly left the shore. The woman’s disfigured face disappeared under the awning. But then she showed half of her face out of the darkness, her tears not yet dry but expression grateful.
“I did not really take the Chen King Sword Manual out of Changling. You must return to Changling once.”
Translator Ramblings: Zhao Gao is here … for those who know Qin history, this isn’t a minor character.