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Chapter Seventy: Old Matters Of Last Flower
Yu Yan Shan’s chest was moving greatly. He did not immediately answer.
Ding Ning was not in a hurry, putting his hands behind his back and looking silently at the other.
After a few dozen breaths, Yu Yan Shan managed to catch his breath. But he still did not answer Ding Ning’s question. He slowly bowed respectfully to the other, and said, “I hope that I will learn Sir’s name in the future.”
Ding Ning bowed in return like a tacit agreement.
The Qin troops started to withdraw, taking away the remains of their fellows who had been killed in front of Xuegu Pass.
When they left like the tide from Ding Ning’s sides, many people silently bowed to him. Even though they did not know his identity, they knew that this was a young and powerful cultivator. And since he had appeared with Zhangsun Qianxue, and was so familiar with the sword manuals of Changling, he could only be a cultivator of Ba Mountain Sword Field.
All the records on the deeds of the Ba Mountain Sword Field in the past had been burned, but the Qin people, especially the military members of the Qin army had their own opinions on the Ba Mountain Sword Field, and its grievances with Yuanwu and Zheng Xiu. They could not comment on wrong or right, but they had high respect towards the cultivators of Ba Mountain Sword Field.
At least tonight, Ding Ning was naturally an enemy. But this was an enemy that they respected.
The battle between Ding Ning and this cultivator of the Clear River Sword School had not just won over the Qin troops, but also the Chu military at Xuegu pass.
Zhangsun Qianxue’s attack could be described as terrifying, but that was pure cultivation and power. What Ding Ning’s attacks show were fresh new things that many cultivators had never seen before.
For example, using the fragments of the Chu weapons as a flying sword. This did not just contain astounding knowledge and technique, but also a very important thing called talent. The pieces of the seal weapons after they exploded were irregular. Even if one could sense and have their own energy meld with the remaining energy and seal scripts on the piece, such a piece was just a remnant sword that a cultivator had never been in contact with before. It was like how a cultivator could pick up someone else’s flying sword on the battlefield, and use it immediately, showing great sword essence and control technique. This had nothing to do with usual cultivation, but just knowledge and talent.
When all the Qin troops had retreated out of the valley, the sound of their departing footsteps still in hearing, multiple Chu generals walked out of the city as the gates of Xuegu Pass opened and went to Ding Ning to thank him.
But Ding Ning did not give them much time. Looking at the Chu generals, he said directly, “If you trust me, you must go and help reinforce Anhu Pass as fast as possible.”
“Reinforce Anhu Pass?”
These Chu generals were all surprised.
“Why?” The leading general quickly recovered and asked.
Ding Ning looked at him and shook his head. “Do not ask why.”
This Chu general was silent for a moment and said, “There are five thousand troops stationed at Anhu Pass, and only seventeen hundred here. If I go and send reinforcements to Anhu Pass now, I have to split my forces.”
Ding Ning looked at him and said, “The more the better. If I am leading, I will take all the troops of Xuegu Pass.”
“All?” These generals were shocked again.
“Sometimes, victory is not determined by the numbers of troops but by cunning troops.” Ding Ning nodded calmly and said, “Anhu Pass has five thousand. If ten thousand Qin troops go there, even if all of the Xuegu Pass troops go there, the Qin troops will be doubled. Anhu Pass will not hold. But if you go as reinforcements and pretend that there are many times the reinforcements coming to help, you may be able to hold Anhu Pass.”
Only now did these generals understand and broke into cold sweats.
The leading general took a deep breath, his voice trembling. “You mean, if the Qin army will mount a sudden attack on Anhu Pass?”
Ding Ning did not answer directly and said seriously, “To take Dayong Pass, and then the cities of Juyong and Zhushan is not something that the Qin troops who came here today can decide.”
“Why did you lie to them?” Zhangsun Qianxue walked next to Ding Ning and looked at the noisy Xuegu Pass, asking in a soft voice.
Other people did not know, but she and the old monk who travelled with Ding Ning knew that there were no ten thousand troops heading to Anhu Pass like Ding Ning said.
“It is Mo Ying leading the Qin army here. I am familiar with his style. After this Qin troop retreats, he will send many more people to flatten this place.”
Ding Ning turned and walked in the direction of Xuegu Pass, patiently explaining softly, “These Chu people will undoubtedly die here if they stay, and there is no meaning to guarding Xuegu Pass. Tonight, we just had to stop the Qin troops here. After this time passes, there is no meaning if Xuegu Pass is held or lost. It is better to go retreat close to Dayong Pass.”
Zhangsun Qianxue had no objections and then asked, “Where do we go now?”
Ding Ning said softly, “We will go kill Mo Ying. He will send many more troops with seal weapons here. His camp will be emptier than usual and it would be easier to kill him.”
Zhangsun Qianxue frowned slightly. Each marquis among the thirteen marquises of the Qin did not just represent military merit now, but the head of an enormous power. Each marquis had many advisors, death warriors and powerful cultivators. Marquis Wei Wu Jiu had two terrifying grandmasters under his command. One was Xiao Yan who led the vanguard for Wei Wu Jiu, and the other was the Mo Ying who Ding Ning spoke of. Xiao Yan had three thousand death warriors under his command, all people from his hometown. Mo Ying had a more mysterious background. Other than being very cunning, he led more troops than Xiao Yan and supposedly had all kinds of assassins. To kill this kind of person, it was just a bit simpler than usual, but not easy at all. In her view, this was a very daring and dangerous plan.
“You will still not have him act?”
She glanced at the slopes to the left. She could sense the old monk walking there, following her and Ding Ning.
“No need.” Ding Ning shook his head firmly and said, “He is our last lifesaver. At least, he should not appear now for people to know he is on the battlefield.”
Zhangsun Qianxue nodded and made a sound of acknowledgement. This was something she would not have done before. Yet after learning of Ding Ning’s true identity, everything about her changed. She seemed to turn back the years to that young girl who hid her cultivation to avoid the senses of the Gongsun Family guards, going over the wall to get onto Changling’s streets.
War, especially this kind that even Ding Ning could not grasp, was very heavy, especially one between two great dynasties. One had to search for chances to win among the many battles. But some of her changes made Ding Ning very happy.
Thinking of the years in Changling where the two of them hid and cultivated together, thinking of that wall he used to stop his memories from disappearing, Ding Ning turned to her and said softly, “Originally, in my plan, Mo Ying was ranked after Liang Lian. And if I did not learn of Liang Lian’s news in Fish Market, the first person in Changling I wanted to kill was Mo Ying.”
Zhangsun Qianxue stilled. “Why?”
“Yan Xinlan.” Ding Ning took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. “Yan Xinlan once taught him swordsmanship. Strictly speaking, he is Yan Xinlan’s only direct disciple.”
Zhangsun Qianxue grew silent. This was another old matter of the past. She was a person with clear love and hate, so she could understand Ding Ning’s hate.
Compared to many of the famous people of Ba Mountain Sword Field, the master of the Last Flower Sword, who stayed behind to guard Ba Mountain Sword Field, was not famous during the wars against the Han, Zhao and Wei. Even Zhangsun Qianxue did not know much about Yan Xinlan. But during the battle of Ba Mountain Sword Field’s destruction, everyone knew that the master of the Last Flower Sword should be one of the strongest people of Ba Mountain Sword Field.
“In reality, without Mo Ying, she would have made the same choice and died in battle at Ba Mountain Sword Field.” Ding Ning looked at the night ahead and slowly said, “But if he did not leak some of the secrets regarding Yan Xinlan’s sword ahead of time to Zheng Xiu, at least she would have killed some more people in that battle.”
Translator Ramblings: I know museums did not really exist in ancient times, but I really want to sometimes get a character who is a cultivation collector, just goes around collecting things of famous cultivators, like here is a pipe from so-and-so, a hairtie from so-and-so.