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Chapter Twenty-Four: Cruelty
In the black night, the carriage did not drive out of the Xia Family but came in front of the most elegant buildings in the compound where the other people were.
Ding Ning narrated what had happened, including what he had said to Qian Mu. Then he said, “Wen Guanyue would not have stayed here to wait for Eldest Miss Shang because he knew the future but because Yuanwu and Zheng Xiu had made arrangements long ago. The Nanquan Families are at odds with Consort Zhao Xiang. It is very normal for Yuanwu and Zheng Xiu to set up a trap here. But because of Wen Guanyue’s identity, I was negligent, and did not think in that direction.”
“All things change, nothing is immortal. The elixir of life, based on what you said before, can wear down a person’s mind and is very dangerous. But in Yuanwu’s hands, I do not know what consequences will result.” Tantai Guanjian looked gravely at Ding Ning. “If you want to remove our doubts, we must know where your confidence comes from.”
“My confidence comes from my cultivation.” Ding Ning looked at Tantai Guanjian and said, “Regardless of what level Zheng Xiu and Yuanwu has reached, I have obtained the Great Punishment Sword as my lifebond sword. When I reach realm eight, or when I am close to realm eight, they will not be a match for me. But if Zheng Xiu has a breakthrough, and Yuanwu progresses more in realm eight, if the two of them work together, I may not be a match for them.”
“So it is a question of time.”
After a pause, Ding Ning said directly, “Even if Yuanwu does not use the elixir of life, or maybe he got lucky in finding a way to use the elixir without losing his mind, such things will still take up his energy, and delay his progress in cultivation. If he cannot go far in realm eight, then even if Zheng Xiu reaches realm eight, when the two work together, there is a chance to win. Also, when I want to make one side threaten the other, the two of them will not like they were before.”
Tantai Guanjian’s frown relaxed. In his view, anyone could make mistakes, especially when a person had a personality problem, they would be likely to make the same mistake. But there were no objections to Ding Ning’s words. After the battle of Changling, no cultivator in the world had any doubts about his combat abilities. Even though Yuanwu had flattened a mountain with his sword at the Deer Mountain Conference, in the views of many cultivator in the world, if it was the Wang Jingmeng of the past who faced those grandmasters, he would have won more easily than Yuanwu who had entered realm eight. And from Ding Ning’s words, he perceptively sensed something else.
“You will not spend too long to formally reach realm seven, and get back to your peak cultivation?” He looked at Ding Ning and could not help but say, “Also, you say that you have understood some things about realm eight. Are you able to directly head into realm eight?”
Ding Ning slowly nodded, there was no pride in his expression. When he had gotten the Heaven Replenishing Divine Art after the Min Mountain Sword Trials, reaching his past peak was just a question of time. But time was what was lacking. Yuanwu and Zheng Xiu were much stronger, and repeatedly reminded him to be more careful.
“Based on Lin Zhujiu’s setup right now, I think he wanted to take Jiaodong Commandery.” He looked at Tantai Guanjian and the others, saying, “If Jiaodong Commandery can be taken, that will win some more time for me.”
“Ding Ning, I do not care who you’d… In the past, I have always treated you as my friend. Even if you never thought of me as your friend, when you speak of dealing with my parents in front of me, do you feel that your conduct is that of a gentleman?” A furious voice interrupted the heaviness and silence at this time.
This furious voice came from Fu Su.
Fu Su looked at Ding Ning who looked at him calmly. Because of his rage, his chest rose and fell violently. “Either you kill me, or you release me. You held me hostage before because you wanted to live. Do you need me now to survive?”
“You are too young, so you think too simply of some things.” Ding Ning looked calmly at Fu Su and said, “The reason that I let you hear all these things is because you will become part of what is traded. I will have Qian Mu take half of the elixir of life to give to Yuanwu, and the other half will be put in you. When the two are added together, there is enough medicine power for Yuanwu to change.”
“You….” Fu Su was so angry he was cold all over and unable to speak.
“You need to see some things clearly. For any matter, you need to have your own independent judgement,” Ding Ning turned his head and said, no longer looking at him.
“Why do you treat him like this?”
Watching Fu Su who left in a fury and Qian Mu who chased after him, Zhangsun Qianxue softly asked in puzzlement, “I do not dislike Fu Su, you naturally cannot hate him because of Yuanwu and Zheng Xiu.”
“He is a lure,” Ding Ning frowned slightly and responded, “Zheng Xiu made a choice previously. So I feel, if she truly wants to stop Yuanwu from getting the elixir of life, the best method for her is to kill Fu Su, and destroy the other half of the elixir.”
Zhangsun Qianxue stilled and felt slightly cold but also faintly felt that it was not possible.
“She does not have many helpers now, the Chu capital is in chaos, we have the Qi as an opponent, we do not have many people we can use. If we can eliminate more of her people, our side will be more safe.”
A rare cold smile appeared on the corners of Ding Ning’s lips. “Everyone knows that she is cruel, but Fu Su is truly her son. She can abandon him, and she can send the order to kill him. Then Yuanwu would wonder if Fu Su is really hers and his son, if she is in a hurry to destroy something.”
“If that is the case, it is too cruel to Fu Su,” Zhangsun Qianxue shook her head and could not help but say.
Ding Ning smiled scornfully at himself. “This is very simple, I just give the elixir of life and Fu Su back to him. If they are not as cruel as I say, nothing cruel will happen.”
“When I speak of Fu Su, I am speaking of myself.” In the end, Ding Ning took a deep breath and said, looking at Zhangsun Qianxue, “Before experiencing many cruel things, I thought too simply of many things. I did not think that people would be so cruel. When such a cruel decision is made, will one feel happy or will they feel pain?”
No one answered his last question. No one could guess if the two people at the top of the Changling imperial palace were in pain or joy.