Nightfall Chapter 822
Ning Que returned to the house by Yanming Lake. The blood dyed on his clothes was sprinkled by the spring rain on his way back, diluting the color, and making it look like a watercolor painting.
There were many people awaiting his return and for him to sign his name to complete the agreement.
No matter the ministers of the Tang empire, the Head of the West-Hill Divine Palace’s Revelation Institute, or the important figures in the diplomatic corps, they all heaved a sigh of relief when they saw him entering the house.
Ning Que took the handkerchief from a maidservant, and wiped the rain off his face. He came to a desk and carefully read the clauses in the agreement. Then, he lifted his brush pen and prepared to sign without any hesitation.
The Head of the Revelation Institute looked at the bloodstains on his shirt and a grim thought flashed through his mind. He asked softly, “Hold on, where has Mr. Thirteen been?”
Ning Que did not answer, but someone ran through the rain and arrived at Yanming Lake, telling everyone of the massacre that had happened at the Qinghe County Guild.
The hall suddenly fell silent, and the expressions of the West-Hill Divine Palace’s diplomatic corps turned ugly. Liu Yiqing gripped his sword’s hilt tightly while Xie Chengyun looked at Ning Que in shock. He could not imagine his peer to be so cold-blooded.
The Tang officials were also very surprised, but their emotions were very different from the West-Hill Divine Palace’s. Grand Secretary Zeng Jing nodded at Ning Que, showing his agreement. Great General Shu Cheng who had been seated at the corner slapped the desk heavily and bellowed, “Good job.”
“Did Mr. Thirteen commit the massacre at the Qinghe County Guild Hall?”
The Head of the Revelation Institute stared into Ning Que’s eyes, his voice extremely cold.
Ning Que asked, “Do I have to report what I do to you?”
“So you’re admitting it?” The Head of the Revelation Institute’s expression was very ugly as he bellowed, “Since this is so, do you still intend to sign on this agreement?”
Ning Que shrugged it off, even though the other person was thehead of the West-Hill Divine Palace’s diplomatic corps. He threw the brush back into the inkstone and walked towards the backyard. Then he took a cold-water bath, and asked the maidservant to make a pot of hot tea before making his way straight to the plum garden.
Ye Hongyu stood up slowly from under the shelter and looked at him. She said, “Why create other complications?”
Ning Que walked to her side and poured the hot tea into two cups. He took one up to warm his cold palms that had been wet by the rain. Then, he laid down on the bamboo chair.
He said, “The Tang Empire always keeps its promises, and once we sign the agreement, it would be hard to take any actions. That is why I had to kill all those I wanted dead before I signed the papers.”
Ye Hongyu stared into his eyes and said, “You promised me that you wouldn’t touch them.”
Ning Que pushed the teacup to her hand and said, “I did promise to send back the sons of the warlords in the Qinghe Guild Hall, but I did not say I would send them back alive. Their bodies are right outside the yard. If the Divine Hall is interested, you can bring them back to Qinghe County anytime. I have no interest in clearing up these bodies.”
Ye Hongyu said, “Do you think this is funny?”
Ning Que said, “Of course it is, or why would I do that? Even if you think the word game is meaningless, you have to know that I have yet to sign on that paper. As such, I can do anything.”
Ye Hongyu said, “You should feel worried that you would anger me.”
“Your anger cannot decide the results, just like how you have long angered me but I cannot kill you because I cannot handle the situation. Similarly, you cannot decide everything. No matter the Hierarch, or the person hiding behind the scenes, they all need you to bring back an agreement to the Divine Hall. Your anger carries little weight.”
Ning Que drank a sip of tea and said, “Furthermore, we have already given you what you want the most. People in the Qinghe guild hall are just extras and unimportant.”
Ye Hongyu said, “You cannot decide whether they are important or not.”
“The Qinghe County warlords are just dogs raised by the Divine Hall. You all might be angry that these dogs have been killed, but they will not get in trouble with the Academy just because of this. On the contrary, don’t you think that allowing us to appease our rage is beneficial to the Divine Hall?”
Ning Que smiled and said, “Also, I might not be able to decide whether this incident is important to you all or not, that is why I did it before informing you all to help in making the decision.”
The spring rain in front of the eaves fell heavily and the sky was a little dim. Ye Hongyu’s Divine Robe of Judgement looked like a blood flag but it could not hide the scent of blood emanating from Ning Que’s body.
He had already showered, but the scent of blood was still strong. No one knew how many he had killed earlier at the Qinghe County Guild Hall. It would be difficult to cleanse his heart no matter how much bitter tea he drank.
It was silent under the shelter for a long while.
Ye Hongyu said, “Everything has come to an end.”
Ning Que said, “Or perhaps, everything has just started.”
Ye Hongyu looked at him and asked, “Will you still kill like today in the future?”
Ning Que thought it over, and replied, “There are indeed still many that I wish to kill.”
Ye Hongyu raised her brows and said, “Your name will be in the agreement.”
Ning Que said with a smile, “You know the extent of my shamelessness.”
Ye Hongyu said, “Even in the name of the Academy?”
“I have never once cared if it was done in my Teacher’s name.”
Ning Que put down the cup in his hand and stood up, stretching. He yelled into the spring rain under the eaves and said, “If the Divine Hall really cares, I can leave the Academy any time.”
Ye Hongyu said, “You seem to have not considered that the Divine Hall might not hold to its promises if you kill too many.”
Ning Que turned to look at her and said, “Those who can make the Academy fear are not in the Divine Hall in the first place. To those two, the people in the world are all like ants. Would they grow angry just because of the death of a few ants? Of course, I will kill only those I can and try my best not to anger the Divine Hall.”
Ye Hongyu said, “Are you testing the tolerance of Haotian Taoism?”
Ning Que smiled slightly and said, “Has Haotian Taoism ever had tolerance?”
Ye Hongyu looked at him and said, “Do you know why I don’t care about the massacre at the Qinghe County Guild Hall?”
Ning Que said, “Not because you really think they are dogs at least.”
Ye Hongyu said, “Those people are already dead, and I believe that even if you want to kill again, even if there are more you want to kill, you would be unable to do it.”
“Why?” Ning Que asked calmly.
“Because you will never be able to leave Chang’an again.”
She looked into Ning Que’s eyes, her eyes indifferent. She said, “You will be trapped in Chang’an forever, as an angry prisoner.”
Ning Que did not say anything because this was a fact.
If he left Chang’an, Haotian Taoism would exhaust all means and would pay any price to kill him. He was undefeatable in the city but weak outside it.
He was the array eye pestle of Chang’an.
The West-Hill Divine Palace’s diplomatic corps left Chang’an.
They had not held on to much hope when they arrived, and had left the city with endless gold and treasure, as well as a victory that no one had ever gained before.
The only ones in the internal department of the Divine Hall’s diplomatic corps who knew of the true secrets in the negotiations were Ye Hongyu and the Head of the Revelation Institute.
It was because he knew that Haotian Taoism had two Grand Cultivators who had high states that the Head of the Revelation Institue felt dissatisfied with the agreement and was confused. He did not understand why the West-Hill Divine Palace did not take this opportunity to continue the climax of waging war against theTang Empire but chose to call a truce.
Ye Hongyu looked out of the window at the shadows of willow branches and thought, “Drinking kills, calligraphy kills, and even reading kills. Other than Divine Lord Lotus, there is no one else who wishes to see such a mortal world. Furthermore, Mr. First has learned how to fight. Jun Mo did not even pick up his crown when it fell. Mr. Third is that cicada and Ning Que is no longer afraid of dying. Who would dare say they can beat an Academy like that?”
Ning Que stood under the Southern City gate and looked at the falling rain. He said, “The rain has eased up.”
He was saying goodbye, bidding farewell not to the West-Hill Divine Palace’s diplomatic corps, but to Mo Shanshan.
Mo Shanshan said, “I should go then.”
After a moment of silence, Ning Que said, “It’s actually not bad to leave a few days later.”
Mo Shanshan said calmly, “No matter how late I leave, I still have to go.”
Ning Que did not know what to say, so he did not continue.
Mo Shanshan looked at him and said seriously, “Will you kill many in the future?”
Ning Que thought it over, and replied, “That’s right. If I can leave Chang’an, I will kill many.”
Mo Shanshan looked at her white shoes peeking out from under her skirt. She did not say anything for a long time and nobody could tell what was in her mind. Then, she raised her head and suddenly smiled, “Have a good time killing.”
Ning Que thought that the spring rain had become even more gentle. He replied, “I will try my best.”
The West-Hill Divine Palace’s diplomatic corps left, and the war officially ended. It was late spring, the Golden Palace, which had occupied the Xiangwan Plain, tried to continue south. They met a strong counterattack by the Northern Army, and were severely reprimanded by the West-Hill Divine Palace in a rescript. They had no choice but return to the Seven Stockaded Villages and accept reality.
The fighting in various places gradually ceased, and the Eastern Wilderness Cavalry fled back to the Yan territory. Most of the Divine Hall’s Coalition Army had also withdrawn to the South Jin Kingdom and the West-Hill Divine Kingdom. The days gradually calmed down, after the death of many.
The Tangs were not completely appeased by the white banners at the gate of the prince’s residence, and the imperial court worked hard on the situation, hoping to direct the anger to the right subject, such as Haotian Taoism.
Ning Que was unconcerned about the matter. In peacetime, the back of the Academy continued in following the rule of not interfering with court matters. Most importantly, he was not in the mood to bother about this.
He wanted to leave the city.
He had not left the city in many days.
Many people wanted to enter Chang’an but could not because he was in the city.
He wanted to leave the city but dared not because, in a certain town outside the city, there was someone drinking and eating meat.
Ning Que discovered that Ye Hongyu was right. He was really a prisoner in the city.
There were still many things he did not understand.
Who had found the Drunkard and sent him to Chang’an? Why did that person return the horse carriage and iron arrows to him? And why that person asked the Drunkard to pass on that message to him?
“Every death in the world is a reunion after a long separation.”
What did that mean?
He had once thought of a certain possibility, but logic told him that it was highly impossible.
That was why he was trapped in a city of woe.