Chapter Nine Begging for Life
There were countless methods for cultivation in the world, and each cultivator’s physical body was different. No one knew how many sects were started, how many methods were created, and how many ways of using the primal energies of the universe were conceived.
Min Mountain Sword Sect and Spirit Void Sword Sect of the Qin Dynasty had studied how to use the sword to the limits. The Chu Dynasty, Yan Dynasty, and the Qi Dynasty’s sects were skilled in froging, seals, and yin energy in ways that cultivators of other dynasties could not rival.
Even the Han, Zhao and Wei dynasties which were gone, had secret cultivation sects in their hundreds. The Han Dynasty’s South Sun Pill Sect, the Zhao Dynasty’s Sword Furnace, and the Wei Dynasty’s Cloud Water Palace had cultivation methods that only a few sects in the world could rival.
Yet of all the cultivation methods, the Nine Deaths Silkworm Divine Art was undoubtedly the most powerful and mysterious.
No one knew the origins of this method, but they speculated that this had been a method created by the invincible Emperor You who had founded the You Dynasty.
Some even speculated the most powerful cultivator at the time, the Emperor You, had passed away at the age of fifty because he had an accident in cultivating this method.
This was a speculation. While all the most talented people after Emperor You obtained this method, none of those people, including the person whose name was taboo in Qin Dynasty, dared to cultivate this method.
No one cultivated this method. No one in the world knew the abilities and power of this method.
The later cultivators learned from some bamboo scrolls from the You Dynasty that one needed to kill many people to cultivate this method … … and when the cultivator touched the vital energy of other cultivators, the sound of silkworms eating mulberry leaves would occur.
Yet the cultivators of the time was sure that this method was unlike the other demonic methods of the Qi Dynasty which consumed other people’s vital energy to increase one’s own cultivation.
Then why would the sound of silkworms munching on leaves be produced when touching people’s vital energy, and what did it mean?
People felt that this kind of riddle was mysteriously terrifying.
What terrified Song Shenshu at the moment was not because of the method, but that the method had disappeared at the hands of that person.
That person once had many retainers.
Many years ago, Song Shenshu had only been the lowest of carriage drivers for that person’s retainers.
Now the Nine Deaths Silkworm Divine Art, which should have disappeared with that person, appeared in front of him. Many scenes that were sealed in his mind which he did not want to remember pressed down on his body like a mountain.
His body could not move. He started to violently convulse.
He started to realize that the news, which had spread a few days in Changling, was true.
Ding Ning looked at Song Shenshu without slowing his movements. His fingers seemed to be smoothing away the wrinkles on Song Shenshu’s clothing. He brushed across each crimson red streak of vital energy on Song Shenshu’s skin. Accompanied by the sound of silkworms chewing on mulberry leaves, the crimson streaks of vital energy disappeared under his fingertips.
“How is the taste of selling one’s friends for glory?” he softly asked Song Shenshu as though he really wanted to get an answer.
Hearing this, Song Shenshu finally believed his own speculation. His terror finally returned to his own situation. “Do not kill me!” he said hoarsely as his body sweated and he tried to move his paralyzed throat muscles.
“You have to pay your debts.” Ding Ning looked at him with pity. “Tell me, other than your life, what else can you use to pay?”
Song Shenshu’s eyes were almost swimming in his own sweat. He tried his best to open his eyes and said urgently, “If… … if I tell you some secrets more important than my life, would you let me live?”
Ding Ning’s brow furrowed slightly. He thought for many moments before he said, “Possible.”
Song Shenshu’s eyes suddenly burned with hope but he still hesitated.
Ding Ning smiled coldly. “You should know what his sword is called.”
Song Shenshu’s eyes lit up.
“Back then, when Li Guanlan was killed, the one who sold him out was Mu Yu. He changed his name to Liang Lian,” he controlled his hardening throat as he gasped out the first of his important secrets.
Ding Ning’s eyes imperceptibly dimmed.
Those familiar names were a lot of debt to him.
His brow furrowed deeply as he seemed to speak to himself, “Liang Lian? The general of the North Tiger-Wolf Army? The one who has reached full military service and the one with the highest hope of becoming a marquess?”
“That’s him.” Song Shenshu’s desire to remain alive grew stronger. While he was having a harder time talking, his voice was louder.
“Only this? You should understand that if what you say is true, even if you do not say it, I will investigate it in the future.” Ding Ning raised his head and looked coldly at him.
Song Shenshu swallowed with difficulty, his heart beating violently.
He knew the next secret he said would definitely satisfy the other. However, he also knew if people learned he was the one who told the secret, his future ending would be worse than this present one.
“Lin Zhujiu isn’t dead,” he said hoarsely as he looked pleadingly at Ding Ning.
Ding Ning’s body froze. For the first time, he lost his calm as he said in shock, “What did you say!”
“He is imprisoned in the deepest cell in the water prison.” Song Shenshu felt his heart was going to jump out of his throat. “Prime Minster Yan wants to obtain some cultivation secrets from him, so he did not kill … … everyone outside thinks he is dead. Even Prime Minster Li and Bureau Chief Ye do not know this.”
Ding Ning’s expression recovered. He was silent for a moment and then said, “Then how do you know this secret?”
Song Shenshu did not dare to look at his eyes. “Because Minister Yan could not get anything out of him, he thought of a method … … he once had people pretend to stage a rescue, and some of them were people that Lin Zhujiu knew before.”
“You are one of the people Lin Zhujiu knew, but he didn’t know that you are Minister Li’s people.” Ding Ning’s expression calmed. “After that?”
Song Shenshu said with difficulty, “We do not know where the mistake was but Lin Zhujiu did not fall for it.”
“His mind is even more cautious than Minister Yan. How could those little tricks fool him?” Ding Ning bowed his head and said softly, “he must be living in great discomfort right now.”
Song Shenshu did not know how to continue. He did not speak.
Ding Ning did not look at him but said softly, “Anything else?”
Song Shenshu’s heart started to be beat violently again.
He could hear that the other was still unsatisfied.
“I … …” He trembled as he state the most important secret he knew. “The legendary Lonely Mountain Sword Hoard does exist, and many of the clues may be in the hands of Cloud Water Palace’s Bai Shanshui.”
“Lonely Mountain Sword Hoard?”
Ding Ning’s breathing stilled slightly. This was another piece of information he had never thought of.
Legend that Lonely Mountain Sword Sect was a very mysterious and powerful Sect. No one knew when it was founded or when it ended. But there always was rumors that this sect left behind a secret treasure hoard.
Other than lost cultivation methods, there were tempting extinct spirit medicines and forging materials.
As more and more things about Lonely Mountain Sword Sect had been discovered, cultivators became more certain that Lonely Mountain Sword Sect and its hoard had existed. However, there had never been clues to where the “Lonely Mountain Sword Hoard” was located.
“How do you know this?” Ding Ning’s eyes flashed as he looked at Song Shenshu and asked again.
“Someone once from Divinity Bureau came to the archives with pieces of jade scrolls to confirm authenticity. We searched the ancient records and found the unique characters on those pieces were characters from Lonely Mountain Sword Sect.”
Song Shenshu said urgently, “Also, I did a secret investigation. People from Divinity Bureau and the evil elements of Cloud Water Palace had fought previously previously. They are sure more pieces of this jade scroll are in the hands of the Cloud Water Palace survivors.”
Ding Ning did not speak for a while.
Even if Cloud Water Palace’s cultivators were hidden just as deeply as the cultivators of the Zhao Sword Furnace, if one spent time, they could find some clues.
“Anything else?” he looked at Song Shenshu, and asked after several dozen breaths.
Song Shenshu looked helplessly at him, his mind slowly blanking.
He could not think of any other important secrets.
Ding Ning looked at his complexion and seemed to nod in satisfaction. He bent down and whispered by Song Shenshu’s ear, “If that’s the case, you can go die.”
Song Shenshu’s eyes widened in disbelief.
A burst of energy easily stabbed into his heart meridian and cut the most important arteries for life.
He did not believe that his life was about to end. His stiff hand grabbed Ding Ning’s robe.
“You are very puzzled why I will not abide by my word and kill you, right?” Ding Ning looked at the widening eyes and said softly, “He was the person in the world who would abide by his word, so you feel that his student will also do the same.”
“But he is dead. Who would use what he taught?” Ding Ning calmly peeled off Song Shenshu’s fingers as he talked.
Song Shenshu clearly heard this. He felt furious at being fooled, but in the next moment, he only heard his throat give a strange sound.
That was his last breath.
He died with endless regret.