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Chapter Twenty Four Night Owl
The dark and cold presence grew, the sky turned darker, and snow came down. But the train of carriages was exceptionally calm, and many drivers even started to hang up lanterns on the two sides of the carriage.
The shining lanterns swayed in the wind, and made soft sounds when they hit the carriage. But the people in the carriages were silent.
The air was odd and mysterious, brimming with danger.
Ding Ning’s mind rippled.
Many times before this, he had been thinking over this war, guessing where Zheng Xiu’s last hidden pawn was, but he had not learned anything. But now, the strange air of the train of carriages caused his heart to contract, and he had a bad feeling.
“Donghu Monk, back then in Changling, we should have met. But back then, you were inconspicuous, and I did not expect you to reach such a level.” At this time, Sima Cuo looked expressionlessly at them, and said, “Eldest Miss Gongsun, I did not expect you to also reach such a step.”
His voice was deep and strong, with the air of age, easily drawing people’s thoughts back to many years ago.
“And you, while I did not understand how a person like you can exist, but you should be the heir to the Nine Death Silkworm, and received his true teaching.”
His gaze was mostly on Ding Ning, somewhat admiring and emotional.
For any person here presently, this was not a good time to talk, but Sima Cuo seemed to be just making small talk. He looked at Ding Ning and then slowly said, “You do know the true meaning behind this great battle where thousands are dying?”
His voice was calm, but everyone could hear the conspiracy. There clearly were two terrifying cultivators stronger than him coming to assassinate him, but his attitude was like he was the hunter, and the other the prey coming to his door.
Zhangsun Qianxue thought of a possibility, her eyes filling with icy hate. The cold wind in the air grew stronger, and wailed.
Ding Ning frowned slightly, but did not answer Sima Cuo’s question. He maintained his silence.
“The eldest miss of the Gongsun Family, Ba Mountain Sword Field and the heir of the Nine Death Silkworm are together, this is amazing. And the Donghu monk who had wanted to kill Wang Jingmeng has come with you all this way. It is even more incredible. But these are not important things.”
Sima Cuo looked with sympathy at Ding Ning and sighed emotionally. “The true goal of this great war is the Nine Death Silkworm heir, it is you.”
His emotions were true, but even Ding Ning felt bone chilling coldness.
“Such a great battle, both Ba Mountain Sword Field and I have to appear. But using the life and death of hundreds of thousands to confirm that the Nine Death Silkworm truly exists and to make it appear, she is more and more mad.”
Saying so, Ding Ning looked into Sima Cuo’s eyes. “Killing the main commander is a tactic that the Ba Mountain Sword Field likes to use, but how come you are sure that the Nine Death Silkworm will appear here, and that I am the Nine Death Silkworm?”
One needed a lot of accurate information to prove a conclusion. Before this assassination, Sima Cuo had guessed that Zhangsun Qianxue would come here, and there was also the heir to the Nine Death Silkworm. Then this must concern the hidden pawn of Zheng Xiu.
Sima Cuo smirked slightly. He was not in a hurry. His voice was slow, and he did not answer Ding Ning’s question. “Even if the world is at peace, as long as the Nine Death Silkworm is not killed, it is like a thorn in the throat, and no one will be at peace. Sitting on the throne, having trouble eating and sleeping or having this war, you can judge what is more important.”
“Just a joke.” Ding Ning could not help but shake his head.
All this was like a joke. He thought that if he killed Sima Cuo, he could win this war, but laughably, Yuanwu and Zheng Xiu did not care about the war at all. In their eyes, the victory of this war was not as important as him.
“Even if I am the heir of the Nine Death Silkworm, since he could pass to me, I can naturally pass to others. How could the Nine Death Silkworm die? Is it worth it to use the victory and defeat of such a war?”
“Even if the Chu army wins, they are powerless to enter the Qin. At most, we lose the Yangshan Commandery again.” Sima Cuo smiled scornfully. “Yangshan Commandery does not have much value left after being fought over like this. It is good to leave it to them to rebuild the cities. The Nine Death Silkworm is mysterious, and no one knows, but at least, it is hard to cultivate, and only those stunningly talented can cultivate it. Even if another heir is found again, after a generation, without Wang Jingmeng’s teaching, with just the method but no sword manuals, what can he do? After another decade, it would be another generation. Who could be wary of the infant silkworms without the support of these grand masters?”
Whether it was worth it or not was not something other people could measure. Ding Ning did not argue with Sima Cuo on this. He took a deep breath, looked at Zhangsun Qianxue and tried to make himself calm down.
There was no one strong in Sima Cuo’s train who could stop the Donghu monk and Zhangsun Qianxue. This was the reason he had not expected Zheng Xiu’s strongest counter attack to come here.
After many years, Zheng Xiu had not changed in many parts, but in many parts, she had become more terrifying.
Now, who would change this trap for Sima Cuo into a trap against him, Zhangsun Qianxue, and the Donghu monk?
Zhangsun Qianxue slowly turned her head, looking at his side profile under the black cloth, familiar yet strange.
At the start, she had been very furious, the howling winds representing her emotions. Her fury came from once again falling for Zheng Xiu’s trap. But now, her feelings had calmed down.
“If we cannot live together, let us die together.” At this time, she spoke softly to Ding Ning. She knew, since the Nine Death Silkworm was the true goal of Zheng Xiu’s great war, then there were many possibilities of dying here.
“Coming.” Ding Ning looked at her face and nodded.
The sound of someone stepping on dry leaves came from the mountain slope. A swordsman dressed in moon colored robes walked out of the forest behind them. The snow falling from the sky right now was blue and black. The middle-aged man dressed in moon colored robes was also producing snow, but the snow was white.
Ding Ning’s eyes did not fall on the swordsman. He looked up at the peak of the hill.
At the top of the hill, at this time, there stood a man in black robes. He was looking down quietly like a lone and proud owl.
“It is him?” Zhangsun Qianxue’s eyes, which had just calmed down, once again surged with complicated emotions. Shock, worry, and a hint of sorrow.
Ding Ning’s expression froze. In his senses, that black robed man was taller than a mountain, like a black moon pressing on the mountain.
That black moon had once pressed down on Changling for many years.
- Sword Dynasty Volume Seven Chapter 36 “Mental Tactics”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Seven Chapter 35 “Her Wishes”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Seven Chapter 34 “Waiting”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Seven Chapter 33 “Use”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Seven Chapter 32 “Changing Situation”