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Chapter Sixty-three: Shadow
“He is like this to you, you are not disappointed?”
“I never had hoped, so I am not very disappointed?”
“Not very disappointed, so you are a bit disappointed.”
In Guanzhong, when Zheng Xiu left the palace there and boarded a ship by the river, Ye Xinhe appeared behind her like a ghost. When everyone on the ship retreated, and she and Ye Xinhe were the only ones left, the two started to talk.
Ye Xinhe was dressed brightly today, red threaded patterns on his peach-colored robes, looking like blooming peach flowers.
However, the pair’s tone and expression were both extremely cold.
“You still have changed.” Looking at the silent Zheng Xiu, a hint of scorn appeared on Ye Xinhe’s lips. “From a newborn cultivator, to loving someone, to becoming a mother, to this age. While you have always kept on destroying the many things you love with your own hands so you are always cold and powerful, but these things still left marks behind on your heart.”
“Do not test me.” Zheng Xiu’s expression immediately cooled, like cold star fire was going to come out of her skin. Her eyes grew colder and brighter, burning like two stars with the fire about to erupt out. As she said these words, her lips moved as though she was going to say something else, but she seemed to feel that it was not worthwhile so she did not say more.
Ye Xinhe sneered coldly. “I am not testing you, but reminding you.”
After saying this, he turned around, looking away from Zheng Xiu. After a long moment, he recovered his calm. Slowly and lightly, he said, “Back then, you and I were the two people the family picked out in the end, but I kept on feeling that your heart was colder and harder than mine, so in the end, you stood in the light, and me in the dark, content to be your shadow. So never let me feel that you have become soft and weak, never let me feel that you are not as strong as I am. Otherwise, rather than let you destroy everything, it is better for me to destroy all this.”
“You will never have such thoughts,” Zheng Xiu said coldly. “Otherwise, you will only destroy yourself.”
Ye Xinhe was not angry, and smiled faintly.
The wind came over the river, and the light of the sun in the west shone on Zheng Xiu’s body, causing her phoenix robes to shine with more beauty and draw out her shadow. Ye Xinhe stood in her shadow. No one in the world understood why he betrayed the Ba Mountain Sword Field, but the reality was this simple and cruel for he had been of Jiaodong Commandery to start with.
In reality, for centuries, Jiaodong Commandery sent many people to the sects. Many of them had become very important people in the sects. Ye Xinhe was one of the cultivators who had his identity concealed and was sent to another cultivation place.
What was different was that he was one of the people of Jiaodong Commandery’s final selection. He was the head of the Jiaodong Commandery shadows. Those people who were shadows, those who were Jiaodong Commandery’s people, only he knew who they were in the sects.
A breeze came from the river. Zheng Xiu and Ye Xinhe stood on this ship. When the night came, and darkness covered the pair, faint star light fell from the sky, like countless summer fireflies dancing around Zheng Xiu’s ship.
As Zheng Xiu grew brighter, Ye Xinhe’s figure disappeared behind her.
A small ship was coming on the waves. There was a man in scholar dress standing on the bow. Yet even though he stood there with his hands behind his back, as the small ship rode the waves, his figure gave off a bloody and iron presence. When he came closer to Zheng Xiu, the faint star light shone on his face.
He was Marquis Li.
When Zheng Xiu had sent the army to surround Min Mountain Sword Sect, most of the Qin, including some of the marquises could not understand why he had risked offending so many cultivation places by leading the army to Min Mountain Sword Sect.
Among the thirteen marquises of the Qin, he should always be the one that Zheng Xiu would suppress. But soon after, many people learned the answer.
Zheng Xiu set up workshops in Guanzhong. His army was stationed in Guanzhong. And many of the officials and commanders in Guanzhong who had power became his subordinates. In the rich Guanzhong, power meant wealth. In a very short amount of time, he turned from a general who had power near the border to the most powerful person in Guanzhong.
At this time, the new power in Changling was Bai Qi, and outside Changling, in the vast lands of the Qin Dynasty, Marquis Li was undoubtedly the person who had gained much more than Bai Qi and Huang Zhenwei.
The small ship collided with the larger one, but there was no sound, just a gentle bump.
Marquis Li’s figure moved and he stood on the ship opposite Zheng Xiu before he gave a bow.
“Chongyun Town, the one in charge of the bank for the Guanzhong families is called Master Guan San,” Zheng Xiu did not bow back, just said coldly.
Marquis Li bowed again. This time, his bow was more sincere.
In the past fortnight, while the Guanzhong families appeared to have compromised on the surface, each of them naturally had secret businesses that other people did not know of. Especially when they sensed that their future days would not be as free as before, and they may end up facing the same result as the cultivation places of Changling, these powerful families of Guanzhong naturally started to move their businesses away at great speeds.
To these wealthy businessmen who had businesses over all the dynasties, it was not a problem where they did business. But they still had to rely on banks for the movement of large amounts of money. For a long time, Guanzhong had many “masters” in charge of such mysterious but trustworthy banks. If one could control these banks, or control the information of some of the businesses, then the benefits they would get would be greater than the businesses on the surface.
Marquis Li knew what great price was needed to accomplish what Zheng Xiu set in a few words. So while he bowed with sincerity, it did not mean that he liked this mistress from Jiaodong Commandery.
“Why do not have me go to the Chu, worried that you are letting the tiger go back to the mountains?” He looked up and asked Zheng Xiu directly, “You feel that someone like Su Qin is easy to control? What benefit can he bring you in the Chu?”
Zheng Xiu also looked up. She raised her head higher to look at the stars in the sky. “It is not me who has such worries about the thirteen marquises. Some people want to create a perfect country that will be stable across thousands of generations. But to me, anything that is perfect will be destroyed in the end. The more beautiful the falling star, the shorter it lives. To me, even if you or someone else becomes the new Chu ruler, it does not matter. Only a throne which one can hold onto can be called a throne.”
Marquis Li did not know how many grand occasions he had experienced, but for some unknown reason, hearing her words, he felt cold inside.
“Stabilize Guanzhong. When you want to go to the Chu, I will not stop you.” Zheng Xiu’s cold but soft voice reached his ears again. “But in the future, he will not allow me to act so casually, so you have to first stabilize Guanzhong before anything else.”