The start of spring was still far. The winds of winter swept about like blades.
More than a hundred Yunqin soldiers arrived at a certain River Province town through an official path. These Yunqin soldiers were all dressed in standard Yunqin black armor, it was just that their formation seemed a bit disorderly. Many of their bodies carried injuries.
Xu Zhenyan, Leng Zhennan and Rong Family were originally the ones with the greatest authority in the royal court after Wen Xuanshu’s rebellion. From Central Continent City to the local regions, they had long placed their own men deeply everywhere. However, despite this being the case, the cabinet established by Xu Zhenyan and Leng Zhennan only occupied Central Continent Imperial City. They couldn’t truly quell Central Continent City and the outer defensive cities. Rebellions in the army were still happening constantly.
When the decree Xu Zhenyan released from Central Continent Imperial City reached Yunqin’s various provinces, all of the officials from top to bottom, as well as some local heroes naturally wouldn’t completely obey a temporarily established cabinet.
The army would always be the focal point where authority was fought over. When one’s own will and the control of the upper levels clashed, battles became unavoidable.
The local Yunqin soldiers experienced an unprecedented divide. This type of divide even vaguely made this empire regress into the feudal territory system from before Yunqin was established.
The Yunqin soldiers who walked on the muddy official path outside the town had just won a battle. They were about to hurry to another town to regroup with like-minded troops.
However, there was no joy from victory to be seen from these Yunqin soldiers’ faces, only graveness and fatigue.
It was because never did they expect that one day, Yunqin would have to fight itself.
Regardless of whether it was Mountain Yin Province’s great merchant companies’ secret meeting or these Yunqin soldiers who were previously fighting among themselves, they were all but a corner of Yunqin’s countless changes.
A few carriages stopped within a street corner of this small town.
The deeply worried townsmen didn’t have the time to bother if those carriages carried merchants or if they were patrolling officers. No one here associated those ordinary carriages with Green Luan Academy.
Several glimmers of light seeped in through the carriages’ cracks. Under the faint light, Gao Yanan was completely silent, her brows filled with strong worry.
Bian Linghan and Leng Qiuyu were looking at Gao Yanan’s side profile. While looking at her brows that were full of worry but still resolute, Leng Qiuyu couldn’t help but quietly say, “Are we really going to keep hiding like this?”
“We must continue hiding like this.”
Gao Yanan turned around to look at Bian Linghan and Leng Qiuyu, saying with a clear voice, “From what we have seen these past few days, our Green Luan Academy’s many contact points no longer exist. This means that Zhang Ping understands Green Luan Academy’s network better than what we imagined. He understands our Green Luan Academy far too well, and also understands Lin Xi too well. If he finds out that we are still alive and our traces are exposed, he will definitely use everything he has to deal with us, thus forcing Lin Xi’s group to appear before him again. We cannot become Lin Xi’s burden, we must make everyone believe that we died in Thunder Academy. This way, Zhang Ping wouldn’t think that our hidden force still exists.”
Bian Linghan remained silent for a moment. Then, she said with a slightly cold voice, “The longer we drag things out, the more powerful Zhang Ping becomes.”
“We must gather the greatest power to strike him. With our current strength, it isn’t enough to drag him out of Central Continent City and kill him.” Gao Yanan looked at Bian Linghan while saying, “That is why we can only wait, wait for news about Lin Xi, wait for a chance to retaliate.”
Qiantang Province’s Yellow Pool City has many shallow lakes and lotus ponds.
When the river water gradually dried up during winter, the owner of the lotus ponds would employ some workers to dig the lotuses out.
If the lotus pond was too dry, then the lotuses would be hard to dig out. If parts of the lotus broke and touched the muddy water, then they couldn’t be sold for much. That was why the laborers who dug lotuses were all immersed in ice-cold mud, using their hands and some tools to dig out the lotuses. It was difficult work.
Fortunately, the price for lotus roots in winter wasn’t bad. The salary offered by the master of the lotus pond wasn’t that low either. After a few months of work, these laborers would obtain enough silver to provide for their families for a year. This thus became the greatest consolation in these laborers’ hearts.
Within the shallow muddy ponds that stretched for heaven knows how many li, there were countless laborers covered in black mud, busy working between the dried lotus leaves.
One of the lotus ponds’ owners was Fang Zhongru.
Fang Zhongru was one of Qiantang Province’s most famous scholars. His scholarly knowledge was well-known throughout the world, yet he didn’t join the royal court. He only lived as a village gentleman, setting up some schools locally, doing some bridge and road repairs, making some study books, and doing some other kind things.
He owned almost a hundred acres of lotus pond property, but he didn’t ever boast about it. His family members also still lived in the riverside single-story house that faced the lotus pond.
When an unusual red robed Purgatory Mountain Divine Adjudicator walked up to him, this yellow cotton robed great scholar was currently cooking a pot of tea, a pot of yellow sugar ginger water, and a pot of hot congee within a lakeside gazebo.
The hot tea was for himself, while the yellow sugar ginger water and hot congee were for those laborers who were currently digging out lotus roots in the ponds.
The ginger water could expel the cold and warm the body. However, drinking ginger water alone would easily hurt the stomach, so he also prepared hot congee.
When the Purgatory Mountain Divine Adjudicator appeared in his line of sight, his warm face became covered in rigid frost.
“Please write a book denouncing Lin Xi.”
A bit of feverishness flickered within the eyes of the ordinary faced young Purgatory Mountain Divine Adjudicator, but his expression was extremely calm. After showing a respectful bow, he didn’t speak any excessive words. He announced his request, asking Fang Zhongru to publicly write some books that reprimanded Lin Xi’s actions.
This forty something year old great scholar thought deeply for a few breaths of time.
Then, he didn’t say anything. He only raised his teapot, and then placed his own hands in the burning hot charcoal stove.
His expression became extremely pale, soybean-sized beads of sweat began to pour down his forehead.
Anyone could tell that he was in extreme pain. However, he only released a muffled groan, and then he turned around to look at that Purgatory Mountain Divine Adjudicator.
His hands were even rotten, so he naturally couldn’t write any books.
This Purgatory Mountain Divine Adjudicator obviously understood his intentions, seeing through his resolution.
However, this Divine Adjudicator didn’t get angry. He only calmly looked at Fang Zhongru and said, “I know your respected self cherishes filial piety. Your wife is currently with your mother in the city’s tailor shop to alter a gown. Your respected self’s actions have made that family’s store catch fire. Your wife and mother have also lost their lives in the flames.”
“Even if you do not care about your own body, please make considerations for your family, because your respected self still has a daughter.” This Purgatory Mountain Divine Adjudicator calmly explained. His eyes left Fang Zhongru’s rotting hands and looked into the distance behind Fang Zhongru.
Fang Zhongru turned around. He looked into the distant city, seeing a pillar of smoke rise into the sky.
He understood what happened. His entire body shook, starting to weep in pain.
The Purgatory Mountain Divine Adjudicator watched him calmly.
This great scholar also understood the meaning of this Divine Adjudicator's last sentence. He smashed his head viciously against the gazebo pillar beside him.
A crisp pa noise sounded. This great scholar’s body slid along the gazebo, white and red matter spreading across the pillar and floor.
Countless cries of alarm and furious shouts erupted from the pond’s muddy water.
Many laborers rushed ashore with the iron shovels in their hands. Regardless of what business this red robed Divine Adjudicator came for, they were going to fight to the end. However, the lake was too muddy, so their steps were too slow and heavy. They could only watch as that lonely red figure disappeared from their line of sight.
There was a lotus digging youngster who also saw how Fang Zhongru died.
This youngster’s appearance was handsome. Even though his face was covered in black mud, it didn’t seem dirty or ugly.
All of the laborers around him only thought that he was an impoverished laborer from down south. However, who would have thought that he used to be one of Green Luan Academy’s heaven’s choice students, one of Yunqin’s most outstanding and brilliant youngsters, the son of Grand Secretary Wen who previously grasped great authority.
He was Wen Xuanyu.
After that Autumn Sacrifice, he disappeared from everyone’s eyes. However, he had always been frantically cultivating, longing for revenge.
He didn’t care about the grudge between Juliu Clan or Changsun Clan, nor did he care what kind of person his father was. For him, regardless of whether Wen Xuanshu was a great traitor or great fiend, he was his father. He only knew that Yunqin Emperor killed his father, so for a long time, his sole purpose was to kill Yunqin Emperor and get revenge.
However, Yunqin Emperor already died, he died under the rebellion of Central Continent City’s commoners from Lin Xi’s pressuring.
This type of hatred that ran bone deep, the hatred that kept him alive until now suddenly vanished without a trace. He suddenly didn’t know what the meaning for his life was anymore.
Zhang Ping’s battle against Green Luan Academy and against Lin Xi didn’t seem to have anything to do with him either.
However, today, while standing in the ice-cold muddy water, while watching the scene that just played out before his eyes, his blood unknowingly began to burn again.
He still didn’t know what his future would be like, nor did he know where the meaning in his life laid.
However, right now, there was only a single thought that filled his mind.
He was definitely going to kill that Purgatory Mountain red robed Divine Adjudicator.
When Wen Xuanyu began to quickly move through the pond, began to walk faster and faster, a battle had just ended in Qiantang Province’s Northface Academy.
More than ten Northface Academy cultivators stood up from pools of blood with difficulty.
On the ground all around them, apart from the corpses of people dressed up as bandits and academy cultivators, there was also a Purgatory Mountain red robed Divine Adjudicator corpse and several Devilmask Dove corpses.
Northface Academy’s cultivators seized the ultimate victory. They ambushed this Purgatory Mountain Divine Adjudicator and his pawns, but they paid a disastrous price.
Most importantly, they didn’t know how much longer they would last after winning this battle.
Regardless of who was right or wrong, they were just like many other Yunqin cultivators. None of them were willing to bow to Zhang Ping and Purgatory Mountain. Right now, they should be standing at Lin Xi and Green Luan Academy’s side.
In their eyes, Lin Xi was naturally the leader of all rebelling forces.
“Lin Xi, where are you? Green Luan Academy, why haven’t you carried out any counterattacks yet?” That was why right now, a Northface Academy cultivator who had just stood up again with difficulty couldn’t help but release a pained howl.Previous Chapter Next Chapter