Book 3, Comprehending the Dao by the Pond, Chapter 8 – Spring Grass
The dozens of tribesmen looked at this youth, feeling a sudden terror. They felt as though the entire world around them was shaking.
The youth in front of them was going to kill Serpentwing?
“You didn’t lie to me.” Ji Ning swept this group of tribesmen with his gaze. “Miwa truly died?”
“Why would we lie? The entire Blacktooth Tribe knows this.” The group of experts were filled with terror and panic. Whether it was due to this youth’s aura or the ‘Ji’ insignia he held, they were in terror of him.
Ning mounted his black beast and began to head straight into the distant Blacktooth Tribe.
Autumn Leaf and Mowu mounted their own black beasts and followed.
There were more than ten tribal warriors standing guard on the two archer towers on each side of the fence gate.
“Outsiders, halt.” A warrior immediately shouted angrily.
His face sunken, Ning took out his insignia and shouted back, “Tell Blacktooth to come see me!”
Upon seeing the insignia, the warrior above were terrified and quickly called out, “Please wait, I’ll go inform the chief right away.” As he spoke, the warrior jumped down directly to the ground, then began to fly towards the tribe. In but a few moments, a black fur clad, scarred man ran in their direction, under escort of a number of warriors. It was the chief of the Blacktooth Tribe, Chief Blacktooth.
When he saw the three figures mounted on black beasts, especially the leader, his body suddenly trembled. He immediately howled, “Quick, open the gate and welcome the young master of the Ji clan!”
“Young master of the Ji clan?” The people of a small clan like the Blacktooth Tribe naturally were shocked. They hurriedly began to open the heavy gate.
Blacktooth was the first to fall to his knees. “Blacktooth pays his respect to you, young master.”
The other tribal warriors all knelt down as well.
“To your residence.” Ning remained on his black beast as he gave the instruction.
“Yes.” Blacktooth quickly led the way up ahead.
Ning looked at Blacktooth. He couldn’t help but feel a hint of hatred in his heart! He knew that Spring Grass’ death couldn’t be blamed on Blacktooth, and he believed that Blacktooth was heartbroken as well. But Ning couldn’t help but feel hatred and pain…originally, when he had given Spring Grass into her father’s care, he had never imagined that she would die, just like this. If Spring Grass had remained by his side…
Ning’s left hand couldn’t help but clench into a fist. Even his knuckles were turning white.
“Young master, this is my residence.” Blacktooth arrived at one of larger stone houses of the tribe. There were two women and a young child at the doorway. These two women and the child were clearly cautious and uneasy.
“He is?” Ning looked at the young child. This child looked very similar to Spring Grass…causing a pang in Ning’s heart.
“My son.” Blacktooth said respectfully, while at the same time, barking to his women and his son, “Why haven’t you left yet?”
The two women and the child immediately left.
“Speak inside. Mowu, you stand guard at the doorway. Don’t let anyone in.” Ning immediately dismounted his black beast and led Autumn Leaf into the house. Blacktooth, terrified, followed him in.
Within the room.
Ning looked at Blacktooth, sitting down on a stone chair and saying coldly, “Blacktooth, when I gave Spring Grass into your care, my hope was that the two of you, father and daughter, would be reunited and live a good life! But why is it that I didn’t see Spring Grass upon entering the tribe?”
Blacktooth hurriedly said, “Young master, right now, Spring Grass isn’t within the tribe!”
“Not within the tribe?” Ning frowned as he stared accusingly at Blacktooth. Blacktooth still wanted to lie about it?
“Soon after Spring Grass returned to the tribe, she encountered a young travelling merchant whom she took a liking to. I knew that travelling merchant, so I had faith in him.” Blacktooth said in a very practiced manner. “When one’s daughter grows up, she will have to get married. Thus, I had my daughter marry this travelling merchant. Before Spring Grass left with this travelling merchant…she left a letter for you, young master.”
Before this last sentence, Ning was beginning to grow truly angry as he listened. Blacktooth, you dare deceive me! But upon hearing this last sentence, Ning said softly, “Letter?”
“I’ll get it now.” Blacktooth hurriedly ran into a nearby room.
“Young master?” Autumn Leaf looked at Ning.
Ning said softly, “Don’t be impatient.”
Ning’s intelligence wasn’t low. He wasn’t an idiot who only knew how to train. From the intelligence he had gathered….there was no question that Spring Grass had died! First of all, all of the people outside the tribe were in total agreement, and they even said that Ning could ask anyone in the tribe and would still get this answer.
There was no reason for that group of people to deceive him.
Also…after having been separated from her father for so long, Spring Grass had wanted to be with him so much that she had even left Ning! How could she immediately get married and leave not long after reuniting with her father?
“Young master, this is the letter Spring Grass left for you.” Blacktooth held a white beast skin parchment and handed it over.
Ning took a deep breath. Letter? This was most likely her will. The will which Spring Grass had intentionally left behind amidst her grave illness…Ning stretched out his trembling hand and accepted the white beast skin, opening it and reading carefully.
Those graceful characters appeared. These characters were very familiar to him. Upon seeing them, Ning’s heart instantly shook. It was Spring Grass’ handwriting!
“Young master, after returning to the tribe, I was truly very happy, very happy. I saw my father, and I even have two little brothers…I feel as though I did when I was a child, when I was with my parents….”
This is what the letter said.
The letter included all of the joy which Spring Grass had felt. Ning could sense the joy emanating from these words. Spring Grass truly had been happy when she returned to the tribe.
“Two little brothers?” Ning had a thought. Previously, he had only seen a single son of Blacktooth’s, while previously the clansman had said…when Serpentwing had run amok, more than half of the Blacktooth Tribe had died, including the son of the chief.
Ning continued to read.
“I met him.”
“Every single woman has a man who is destined for her. As soon as I saw him, I knew that he was the one. When I see him smile, I feel happy. When I see him frown, I worry. When I see him training hard with the sword, I stand there and watch. Just looking at him is a gift given by heaven. Thus, I decided…to marry him!”
Ning clearly saw that there was a splotch here, as though left behind by a tear.
Ning’s heart shook.
Was the man which Spring Grass spoke of actually himself? As soon as I saw him, I knew that he was the one. When I see him smile, I feel happy. When I see him frown, I worry. When I see him training hard with the sword, I stand there and watch….
If you wanted to marry me, why didn’t you say it to me yourself!
Ning shut his eyes, unable to prevent the tears from flowing down.
Although Spring Grass was only a maidservant, most of the men in this area would marry quite a few women. In his previous life, Ning hadn’t loved any woman. In this life, he had quickly become accustomed to this culture. Even if he truly married several women, that wouldn’t be a big deal. But they had to be women which he dearly loved.
Ning would have been willing to nod and agree to letting Spring Grass become his woman.
“Young master!” The nearby Autumn Leaf saw that Ning was shedding tears. Her heart couldn’t help but clench. She had been a maidservant since she was young. Naturally, she wouldn’t read a letter while Ning was reading it. But when she saw Ning cry…Autumn Leaf’s heart became panicked.
Ning opened his eyes.
He continued to read.
“Young master, if you can see this letter, that means you came to the Blacktooth Tribe to see me.”
“I really am very happy, very happy. Spring Grass is just a maidservant. For you, young master, to come to the Blacktooth Tribe to visit Spring Grass means at least…Spring Grass has a small place of her own in your heart, young master…Spring Grass is very happy, very happy, truly, very happy.”
The letter concluded here.
Ning’s eyes were wet.
Are you truly very happy?
“Hahaha.” Ning laughed loudly. His laugh was so sorrowful. This was someone who had been with him his entire life, like family.
“Young master.” Autumn Leaf was worried.
“Young master.” Blacktooth was terrified and uneasy as well.
Ning turned to stare at Blacktooth, his eyes as sharp as swords. He growled, “Blacktooth, you still want to try and deceive me? Speak, tell me, tell me everything!!!”
Upon hearing this, Blacktooth’s face changed dramatically. And then his body began to tremble.
Blacktooth’s knees hit the ground. His entire body shook in agony, and for a long time, he let out a desolate, heartbroken cry. “Miwaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!”