This chapter has been brought to you by me and larkspur.
Chapter Thirty-One: No Longer A Youth
“I do not understand what you are thinking.”
There was a Pear Mountain in the Nanquan Commanderies with many pear trees. On the peak was a courtyard built on one side of the cliff that connected to a platform. This was the property of the Zhou Family, one of the three major families in Nanquan. From the platform and the windows of the courtyard, it was possible to clearly see all the movements on the important ports in the Nanquan Commanderies.
This was a room just used for tea. The windows were wide open. Dressed in purple robes, the patriarch of the Zhou Family, Zhou Chenyun, had a dark expression. He looked at Gongyang Ji who was sitting opposite him. Even the boiling water could not sweep away the coldness in his words. “Submitting to the Ba Mountain Sword Field is because of their power, but it is too much for you to flatter them. Now, he wants to leave, and leaves only Tantai Guanjian to welcome Demon Consort Zhao. The Qin army’s pursuit has not halted at all. When they come here, I do not know how the battle will be, but you sent Gongyang Chuxin to his side…who does not know that he is the grandson you value the most? Your Gongyang Family spent so much effort on Gongyang Chuxin, you have proactively sent him to be a hostage. Even if you want to bind the Gongyang Family to the Ba Mountain Sword Field, why do this?”
Gongyang Ji was drinking tea. Listening to Zhou Chenyun’s words, he smiled noncommittally.
Zhou Chenyun looked down and said gravely, “It is your family’s choice, and other families cannot interfere. But you act like this, and the other families are worried. You bear to give your most beloved grandson to the other as a hostage. When war starts, they fear that when you command their forces, you will not care about the losses.”
“Hostage? Then we really think differently.” Gongyang Ji could not help but shake his head. “Have you ever thought of Ba Mountain Sword Field’s rise?”
Zhou Chenyun frowned. He did not understand Gongyang Ji’s words.
Gongyang Ji put down his teacup. His smile faded and he said calmly, “Naturally, Ba Mountain Sword Field had been one of the major sects of the Qin Dynasty in the past, and had deeper foundations than any of the others. They had a rich hoard of swords, an ocean of cultivation records. But those are dead things. If no one is able to use them, then those dead things will pile there in the dust, no different from trash. Ba Mountain Sword Field was able to fly because of the appearance of a peerless genius like Wang Jingmeng. Wang Jingmeng remembers everything he says, and can immediately comprehend. Before joining the Ba Mountain Sword Field, he had been lucky and obtained many cultivation records from some of the You Dynasty remains. After entering the Ba Mountain Sword Field, he read the records, and then when he came to Changling, by the time the war against the Han, Zhao and Wei began, he learned the cultivation methods of most of the sects. Such a person… His mind is a giant treasure hoard. Never has such appeared in the cultivation world before, and I fear that this will not happen again in the future. Most of the powerful cultivators that came from Ba Mountain Sword Field later had received his advice, picked suitable methods and sword manuals before they advanced and rose.”
After a pause, Gongyang Ji looked at Zhou Chenyun who was changing expressions. He said, “It is not too much to say that he had created the former Ba Mountain Sword Field. In my view, if he could create a Ba Mountain Sword Field, then even if the present is not the past and Ba Mountain Sword Field has been destroyed, losing much help, it is not a problem for him to create half a Ba Mountain Sword Field. So how is this the question of a hostage? This is a question of Gongyang Chuxin’s future.”
“We are old men. Compared to the future of our younger people, what is there to treasure about our pitiful assets?”
When Gongyang Ji was talking emotionally, Zhou Chenyun broke out in a cold sweat. Even the highest placed people could not see the forest for the trees. When one changed their viewpoint, things were completely different.
“I wonder if it is too late to send Zhou Xi there,” Zhou Chenyun became anxious.
Zhou Xi was his third son, and almost the cultivator with the most potential in the youngest generation of the cultivators of the Zhou Family.
Gongyang Ji smiled. Whether it was too late or not had nothing to do with him. Gongyang Chuxin was already with Ding Ning. He was wondering now, from Nanquan Commanderies to Jiaodong Commandery, the fastest way was still by water. However, Ding Ning and the others did not seem to plan going by water. Then how would they travel?
Thunder sounded in the clouds. Many black clouds suddenly drifted from the distant waters. There were large amounts of moisture in the black clouds. A thunderstorm seemed to come without any warning. But in the next moment, numerous shadows soared out of the waters, gliding in the air like city walls.
The black cloud moved quickly, and the thunder grew louder. Occasionally, enormous claws pierced out from the black clouds with violent energy vibrations.
“Soaring Snakes?” Gongsun Ji stilled. After a long time, he could not help but shake his head and grimace.
Flying in the sky was going to be faster than any ship or horse. However, these soaring snakes belonged to Jiaodong Commandery to start with, but now belonged to Ba Mountain Sword Field. It was so unexpected.
“A lot of thought was put into the saddle,” within the black clouds, Ding Ning said to the young cultivator beside him.
This young cultivator had the standard appearance of a Chu, white skin, a seed shaped face. While a man, he was slightly feminine, and not as crude looking as the Qin Guanzhong people.
This young cultivator was naturally Gongyang Chuxin who Gongyang Ji had such high hopes for. He was the top among the youngest generation of the Gongyang Family.
At this time, the saddle of the serpent was very quiet. It was not just made into a large carriage cabin from a special softwood, it was embedded with special crystal seal scripts. Even the sound of the wind and rain was blocked out by the unique energies. Also, there were special rattan and iron cushioning the saddle, so there was not much turbulence. Like this, even injured people would not be discomforted.
At Ding Ning’s praise, Gongyang Chuxin only said, “The craftsmen worked hard, it is not to my credit.”
Looking at the humble young person, Ding Ning nodded in thanks, and did not say much.
“What are you thinking about?” His expression was very calm, but Zhangsun Qianxue had been with him for a long time and naturally felt that his emotions right now were slightly different.
“I had never thought of going to Jiaodong Commandery.”
Ding Ning turned his head to look at her beautiful eyes. He softly shook his head and said, “In the heavens, a day, on earth, a year. This is the description in many books about the time difference in the worlds of celestials and mortals. However, the start came from the difference between the beasts who could fly and the ordinary people who could walk on the ground. This soaring snake flying for a day covers the road that ordinary people probably need a year to cross. Even in my thoughts, Jiaodong Commandery is very distant. Now, on the soaring snake, Jiaodong Commandery seems to be close, just like a neighboring commandery.”
Zhangsun Qianxue felt the same. This was about dreams and distance. The time that Wang Jingmeng and the people from the Ba Mountain Sword Field entered Changling seemed to be yesterday. Many things and places seemed to be very far away. Yet it seemed to just be a blink before everything had changed. The separation of dream and reality was lies and betrayal. After the pain, one was no longer a youth.
At that time, he thought after marrying her, they would go to Jiaodong together to see the ocean. Who could have thought that many years later, he was going like this to Jiaodong Commandery which had seemed so far away it was like a dream.
Ding Ning took a deep breath and looked up. He looked through the cracks in the black cloud, looking at the distant mountains. Suddenly, his gaze landed on one mountain. Then he frowned slightly and seemed to remember something.