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Chapter Twenty Four: Spring Ahead
Holding to one’s promise was a facet of being kind.
Fu Su could not believe that they would fight the Chu in spring. This was not because he was dazed at hearing the news of Ding Ning’s death, but because the Deer Mountain Conference had just passed. The four dynasties had made a new agreement then, and now, it was like the agreement did not exist?
Sima Cuo could discern his thoughts from his expression. He laughed coldly and said, “Even children will not stop fighting because they say so, much less adults.”
Fu Su struggled to swallow. He looked up at Sima Cuo and said, “A person cannot renege on their word.”
“That is only in the books. Unless everyone in the world is a sage like that. Also, those kinds of books were mostly burned before your father-emperor came to the throne,” Sima Cuo said ruthlessly.
He had a high status. He was also the crown prince’s tutor now. He knew what Zheng Xiu wanted him to teach, so he had no restraint in his words.
After saying this, he looked back to the scrolls. He unconsciously frowned and thought , Yuanwu and Zheng Xiu were not as naïve and simple to be foolish. Who did this Fu Su take after?
At such a thought, his attention was no longer on the papers in front of him. He looked at Fu Su’s profile out of the corners of his eyes. In his mind, what appeared were many scenes of that person back in Changling. Inside, he increasingly felt they were similar.
While the time did not match up, was there something hidden here?
Sima Cuo’s eyes narrowed. He felt inexplicably cold inside.
Even though the empress had done many things that the two prime ministers and the Holy One appeared to not be able to tolerate in Changling, but the Holy One and the empress still seemed to be extremely close.
But if they were a normal couple, would they still be as close after such matters?
“Even a centipede will not be stiff in death, but how many waves can it create?”
The scholarly-looking Sima Cuo was thinking coldly of the matters of the palace, when Wei Wujiu was frostily sneering from the highest wall of a border city closest to the Wu Mountain.
Wei Wujiu was the Marquis Wei that Sima Cuo spoke of. He was the oldest of the thirteen marquises of the Qin. His hair and beard were all silvery white, but he stood up straight, tall. He felt like a steel tower. People could not help but think of the former general of the Tiger-Wolf Army, Liang Lian. Snow settled on his black armor, lending him a presence as cold as the snowy mountains.
“Even though Lin Zhujiu escaped from the Great Floating Water Prison, what can Ba Mountain Sword Field do with their remnant swords?”
“The heir to the Nine Death Silkworm is not the same as in the past.”
He looked towards the Chu borders in the distance through the snow. The scorn on his face deepened. “So you should not need to consider it at all. The battle between the Ba Mountain Sword Field and the Holy One… unless Wang Jingmeng comes back to life. Otherwise, I do not think the people of Ba Mountain Sword Field can pose a threat to the Holy One and the empress.”
The person standing behind him also wore black armor, but a cloak. Their face was covered by a black cloth. It was not possible to see their appearance. They responded softly, “Marquis Wei tells me I do not have to worry. But a few days ago, An Baoshi died without reason. Spirit Void Sword Sect split into two without warning. It cannot match Min Mountain Sword Sect at all. The Holy One and the empress’s decades of work are all gone. As to Min Mountain Sword Sect, no one knows Baili Suxue’s thoughts. But at least, people know who he and Jing Liuli favored during the Min Mountain Sword Trials.”
Marquis Wei suddenly laughed. He turned to this person. “In Changling, the most talented person in the last century was of course Wang Jingmeng. But after him, the most talented is Bai Qi and not An Baoshi. As long as Bai Qi and his army is there, the changes of these sects cannot affect the overall situation.”
“What was most terrifying about the Ba Mountain Sword Field back then and why were they so powerful?” After a pause, he looked at this person and said, “Because those people were not just cultivators, not grand masters, but because most of them were generals that could lead armies. Yet now, among the thirteen marquises, and the Principal Martial Bureau, how many have connections with the Ba Mountain Sword Field?”
“So do not think that you can leave some path of retreat for yourself. The Holy One and the empress will be the most displeased to see those who want to be on both sides.”
In the end, this old marquis looked at the masked person behind him, calmed down, and faced the Chu lands again. He said softly, “I am old now. Mo Shoucheng’s last light was used in suppressing so many sects. I have a few more chances at leading an army. My glory will be in the spring, at the Chu.”
“Come back to life?”
The masked person was silent as the worlds echoed inside. His lips under the black cloth started to show a scornful smile.
This was something impossible, yet the Holy One and the empress being so close, wasn’t it because they feared these four words?
Even though Wei Wujiu talked to him for so long, his view was still different from Wei Wujiu.
Coming back to life was naturally the most impossible thing, unless one had not died at all.
But why had he not died?
When An Baoshi grew conscious again, he was confused, and shocked. Except he had no joy.
A strange buoyancy supported him. He was in a cold water current, but he did not drown. He tried to open his eyes, but he was powerless. He could not see any color, just blackness.
So he instinctively felt that he had fallen into that strange black river. The water current was steadily flowing in a direction. The water that splashed into his mouth was very bitter, so bitter that he kept on vomiting. Then he felt that his eyes were blind, unable to see a thing.
He could not see anything, but his senses grew clearer. He sensed the channels in his body, the most important and which had been without obstruction, had been broken into many sections. Even more importantly, his energy sea was empty.
There were numerous cracks, so large that they seemed to almost burst out of his body. His cultivation was crippled. His energy sea was broken. His body was crippled, with many wounds that could not heal. These were the hidden wounds that cultivators spoke of.
Then he gradually thought of why he could survive. His body grew colder. When he passed through the void, Master Qi’s sword threads cut through his body. But the power of the Spirit Void Sword Sect ancestor who created the void realm was stronger than Master Qi, and suppressed the activity of the sword energy, and even pressed on his body to the point that his cut up pieces of his body were stuck together.
He did not know how long that took, but it appeared now, that his blood and bones had connected together, growing together. But some of the meridians had grown misplaced. Something else must have happened for his body that was worse now than a normal person to gain some life.
This was a true miracle.
But everything was crippled, even his eyes were blinded. What was the meaning in him coming back to life?
An Baoshi wanted to cry. But he did not even have the energy to cry. He could not even make a sound. He just felt that his body was growing colder, and more uncomfortable.
He missed everything in the days of Changling, especially the sunny and warm spring days after the snow melted.
Translator Ramblings: Cough, I made the chapter title thinking of “Spring Forward, Fall Back.”