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Chapter Seventy-Eight: Death
Ding Ning’s voice echoed in the camp and stabbed through people’s hearts.
The dozen cultivators in the formation were silent. Seeing the scene, one of the cultivators thought back to a sunset a long time ago in Changling when his master pointed at a cultivation place and smiled scornfully. He had said, “That cultivation place is already dead.”
He did not understand because that cultivation place had many disciples and was doing well.
“Their soul is gone,” his master had said.
Back then, he had not understood. Many years later, he knew the “soul” his master spoke of was the rules of a sect, their spirit. If a sect did not have something for the cultivators of the sect to guard with their lives, then the sect was dead.
The mountain gates on the Ba Mountain Sword Field site were gone, but today Nine Death Silkworm appeared in this fashion to take back what belonged to it. Then even if the sect only had this last heir, the rules were still there, and so was the soul.
Even more importantly was the heart.
Ding Ning put away the boldly colored sword, hanging it casually by his waist. He and Zhangsun Qianxue spoke not an extra word, ignored everyone’s expressions, and silently walked out of the camp.
Mo Ying had fallen back into the dust. There were many death warriors around him, but seeing his fall, no one came forward. The entire camp was immersed in a strange silence.
After the figures of Ding Ning and Zhangsun Qianxue had completely disappeared from their sights, a young soldier sprinted to Mo Ying’s side to apply medicine.
This was a young pharmacist. He was slightly panicked looking at the wounds on Mo Ying’s abdomen. He unconsciously applied blood clotting medicine, but he did not dare to sew the wound closed.
Mo Ying’s breathing grew irregular. He looked at the young pharmacist, and naturally thought of himself in the past. He seemed to have become that pharmacist of many years ago who did not understand cultivation.
But now, he had become like this.
He looked at the sword wound that had sliced open his abdomen, and saw his blood and flesh that was quickly aging because of the loss of his vital energy and primal energies of the universe. The skin exposed outside was like the old leather that the military used to sharpen their swords. He suddenly found it laughable, and laughed sadly but loudly.
“Like a joke,” he said to the young pharmacist crouching in terror in front of him.
The young pharmacist was stunned, and did not know what he meant, becoming even more panicked.
“Do you know what my greatest mistake was?” Mo Ying looked at the young pharmacist and asked seriously.
The young pharmacist did not dare to answer. Of course he did not know.
“The greatest mistake I made was, when I clearly knew that I was not part of those people at the top of the world, I still wanted to stand up there with them. When I made the mistake, I started to be afraid.” Mo Ying looked seriously at the young pharmacist like he was looking at a close junior. He said sincerely, “A person must know their own measure. Be a good pharmacist, and do not learn the sword.”
The young pharmacist did not know why he was saying this, and did not know how to respond, just unconsciously nodded. But he did not detect that Mo Ying’s gaze had landed on the sword by his waist. He was not a cultivator, but in the military, he would still fight when necessary, so he had been armed with an ordinary metal sword.
Mo Ying reached out to this sword.
The young pharmacist was shocked and started to realize what Mo Ying was going to do. But while Mo Ying had lost his cultivation, and was weak from his loss of blood, he had all his memories and experiences as a grand master.
With a soft sound, the young pharmacist’s face was dyed red with blood. His hand fell to an empty spot. Mo Ying had drawn out his sword and sliced his own neck.
“Ah!” His mind blanked and he screamed.
His scream spread far, so far that even Ding Ning and Zhangsun Qianxue, very far from the camp, could hear it.
Zhangsun Qianxue guessed what had happened, but did not feel much pleasure. The pleasure of getting revenge actually lasted a short time. Most of the time, one would think of many unpleasant memories because of the revenge.
“How is it?”
She only worried for Ding Ning’s wounds, as the odd elixir of life from the Wuzhi ancestral mountain was still being suppressed in his body.
“I feel very good.” Ding Ning looked honestly at her and said, “I have finally shaken off the rust… When you do not do some things, you end up forgetting that feeling. In reality, I am not as strong as before.”
Zhangsun Qianxue nodded and said, “Since you have revealed yourself as the Nine Death Silkworm, you do not have to conceal yourself when you act. You will recover quickly. Using the sword, to you, is just an instinct.”
Ding Ning nodded as well. He looked up into the sky in the east.
Far away on the horizon, there were many black dots flying. Those black dots were vultures. Where many vultures were, there were many deaths.
In the Yin mountain area, on the border of Qin and Chu, the armies were already fighting intensely, and many battles were starting everyday. Other than this place, the fighting was most fierce in Yangshan Commandery.
Yangshan Commandery had been given up in a treaty before, and ruled by the Chu Dynasty for many years. While the Qin army had mounted a surprise attack and gotten it back during the Deer Mountain Conference, the Chu Dynasty’s armies were far more familiar with the Yangshan Commandery than the Qin army.
There were naturally many Chu people mixed in the cities. These people had lived in Yangshan Commandery for many years, marrying with the Qin people. While Yangshan Commandery had been taken back forcibly by the Qin army, most of the cities had not experienced harsh battle, so these people had been living much the same as before.
But no one could have expected a cruel military order to be delivered to Yangshan Commandery.
Inspect the household registries.
The household registry had been one of the two important points of the Shang family reformation back then. This could avoid the problems of people not working while taking a salary, tax evasion, and bandits which had plagued the Qin Dynasty. It was because of this that some cultivators from other dynasties had a hard time hiding for long in Changling.
All of the Chu people in Yangshan Commandery were found and then gathered together, being driven away. In just a few days, over seventy thousand Chu people were forcibly driven by the Qin army towards the border with the Chu. Or in other words, being driven to the battlefield.
No matter their age, these people were only allowed to take along some food from their home, and during the process, they were not resupplied. Each day, this enormous group of “Chu refugees” were being driven to advance like an army. After many days, many of the weaker members of the troop who could not hold on, and started to die.
Vultures were usually a dozen to a group. But in Yangshan Commandery, more and more vulture swarms caught the scent of death and followed this troop.