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Chapter Two: Blossom
Zheng Xiu frowned slightly. People who were familiar with her knew that this was a sign she was very displeased.
Powerful presences bloomed in the streets and alleys in the surroundings. There were countless cultivators gathered here, and even some realm seven cultivators who had never shown themselves in Changling.
This was the center of the Qin Dynasty. No matter how great the cultivation of this old palace woman, she could not leave. But her smile contained terrifying confidence, of a person who had surpassed life and death.
Zheng Xiu disliked such an expression even more. She did not look at the palace woman’s face and soiled clothes. She looked up slightly and said in a cool voice, “At the New Year banquet in the twelfth year of Yuanwu, I had a personal palace attendant called Li Wanzhu.”
Her voice was not loud but very clear, and it reached the ears of many people in this part of the imperial palace.
Almost everybody felt cold. Most of them did not know the name of the palace attendant, but they all knew which person Zheng Xiu was speaking of right now.
Back at the New Year’s banquet that year, a palace attendant had praised the imperial son Fu Su, but said that his talent was very like that person. Such words naturally implied that Fu Su was the son of Zheng Xiu and that person. Even more importantly, while the remains of the palace attendant had been crushed until they disappeared by Yuanwu, she had killed herself. Using her life to say such things at Emperor Yuanwu’s banquet, when the old matters were raised again, it was not just frightening.
“That palace attendant was my student.” The old palace woman understood Zheng Xiu’s meaning completely and smiled.
“After that matter, the Divinity Bureau kept on investigating Li Wanzhu and found many of her secrets. They found that she had a false history with the cultivation sect she had previously come from, and that there were many people in relation to her. I kept on suspecting that there was a powerful cultivator behind her.” Zheng Xiu said coldly, “But I did not think that the person was in the imperial palace, a Chu person, and such a grand master was willing to wash dirty clothes for many years.”
“Zheng Xiu is Zheng Xiu, just from my energies, you judged that I have similarities with Li Wanzhu in cultivation.” The old palace woman’s smile faded and she said, “It seems that you care very much for Yuanwu’s feelings. Otherwise, why would you have spent so much effort in secret to investigate a palace attendant?”
Zheng Xiu was expressionless and said, “As a wife, I naturally will care about my husband’s feelings.”
The old palace woman laughed freely, like a man. “As a wife, whose wife were you first, and whose emotions do you need to care about?”
Zheng Xiu’s expression did not change, but her fingers grew stiff in this moment.
“You are just afraid.” The old palace woman looked scornfully at her. “What are you afraid of, is Fu Su truly his son?”
At those words, the air above this area of the imperial city froze. There were many suppressed inhales of shock that sounded in the perceptions of these cultivators.
“You like to play with people’s hearts too much. But do not forget, everyone has feelings. Yuanwu is a person, and so are you.” The old palace woman laughed, looking at her and saying, “When you play with fire, you will be burned. You are likely regretting it now. You wanted to force a Chu person to die, but you did not think that you would force out a person related to Li Wanzhu. I need to thank you for giving me a chance to speak in front of these people. I can tell you, while I am Chu, but Li Wanzhu, you investigated for several years, you must know that she is from Qin, she is from Changling. Yet she said such things at the banquet, not because of my orders, but she chose to do so herself. Just like today. I came out, not because anyone ordered me, but I chose.”
Zheng Xiu was silent, her thoughts unknown. In the end, she bowed her head slightly to look directly at the palace woman and asked, “Who are you?”
The palace woman seemed like she needed to think about how to describe her identity. After many breaths, she said, “I am Chu, but also of Ba Mountain Sword Field. I am also the master of the former Consort Zhao Xiang, the now empress dowager of Chu.”
The air froze even more. These identities… were so shocking.
Zheng Xiu’s brows rose and she said, “If so, then Consort Zhao Xiang counts as a member of the Ba Mountain Sword Field. The empress dowager of the Chu Dynasty is from Ba Mountain Sword Field. I wonder what those Chu people think.”
“Some things, whether you admit them or not, make an immense difference. But some things, all people know.” The old woman laughed and said, “For example, you. You were Wang Jingmeng’s woman, and it is unknown how many times you had relations with him. But then you cheated on him with Yuanwu, pretending to look pure and clean. Who in the world does not know, there are just a few people who do dare to speak of it.”
The words were very malicious and crude, but the old palace woman did not think it was enough, and then added, “If you did not bed Wang Jingmeng before betraying him, will you fear other people saying that Fu Su is his son?”
Zheng Xiu slowly turned around. This meant that she no longer needed to speak to this old palace woman, and did not want to see this person.
But in this moment, the old palace woman spoke again in a cool voice, “When you are shameless to a certain degree, you do not care about the process, but the final result. You do not care what other people think of you, how they talk of you behind your back. You finally got onto the throne of empress, you are in control of Jiaodong Commandery, you are in control of Changling. In the end, Wang Jingmeng died, and I am going to die here. But today, I have come to die for Chu, and after today, more people will come out to die for Chu. This is the reason that I am willing to die here.”
After saying this, before the powerful cultivators of the imperial city could release their killing intent, this old palace woman released the vital energy and primal energies of the universe in her body. She did not turn this to destructive power and killing intent, but directed all the power into the sky, turning them into beautiful flowers.
Her body disappeared just like the palace attendant during the banquet back then. The echo came from the multiple killing intents coming at her at the same time, and her vital energy and primal energies of the universe had already turned to bright light.
Everyone in Changling looked in shock in the direction of the imperial city.
A bright pillar of light shot into the sky, like it had poked a hole in the sky. The flowing light charged through the cloud layer like colorful butterflies, and flew out.
In the eyes of normal people, this was a strange sight, but in the eyes of the cultivators, this was a grand master burning their entire cultivation.
In some unremarkable corners of Changling, there were some ordinary people silently looking at the scene. They then bowed their heads in respect.
Translator Ramblings: I think this is where you can see how the viewpoint of this world with cultivation is different from “history.” Zheng Xiu was once the lover of someone else, got together with Yuanwu and then had children, and no one cares/dares to say anything because she is strong. Also, even with all this suspicion regarding the legitimacy of Fu Su, she hasn’t been deposed yet, likely because of how strong she is both as a person and politically.
- Sword Dynasty Volume Seven Chapter 58 “Two Ministers”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Seven Chapter 57 “Burning”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Seven Chapter 56 “Who Will Come”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Seven Chapter 55 “Proud”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Seven Chapter 54 “Peak”