Edited by TnyhyChapter 74: Variations (Part 2)
Marquis of Lin An residence
Even it was currently in the middle of the frigid winter, there were still a lot of flowers in the entire Marquis of Lin An residence. When the previous Marquis Furen, Princess Yu Qing, was alive, she loved flora and fauna. When she was married to the Marquis of Lin An, there was great tenderness and conjugal bliss between lovers. Xie Ding loved Princess Yu Qing and renovated the entire Marquis residence to the likes of the Princess' courtyard in the Palace where she lived. At that time it was a sensation as it was somewhat amusing to see a General to renovate his residence to that beautiful.
Later when Princess Yu Qing passed on, Xie Ding still retained all the scenery when Princess Yu Qing was alive and gotten people to guard and maintain it. Thus even after so many years, even during winter, this would not make one feel depressed.
Even though the scenery was flourishing but desolateness was caused by people. With regards to the saying that things remained the same but people had changed, this was a problem that one would not be able to prevent in the road of life. Even if one forced to maintain things at surface level, things would after all not return to the past.
Xie Chang Wu and Xie Chang Chao were practicing their spear in the courtyard. Ever since the matter in the academy examinations, both of them seldom left the residence. First was because they felt that on that day when Xie Jing Xing challenged the both of them alone, they had no more face left so they did not dare to leave the house. Second reason was that their injuries had not fully recovered and they were unable to do any physical stuff. Speaking of which, Xie Jing Xing's actions that day looked light but they were in fact heavy. It takes hundred days for the bones to knit and tendons to heal. Even though they had rested for a few months, they still felt somewhat pain. Madam Fang was extremely distressed but dared not say anything more to Xie Ding. Even so, Xie Ding still gave them a round of serious scolding.
Thinking about this, both brothers felt so much hatred that their teeth itched. Xie Chang Chao swung his arms. That day he was stepped on the shoulders by Xie Jing Xing and now there seemed to be still a faintly aching. He said, "Second Elder Brother, heard that the Shen Xin couple entered the Palace today. Now that they had military accomplishments, one is afraid that His Majesty will reward Shen Xin."
The two families, Shen and Xie, had always been deeply in disagreement. Xie Chang Wu and Xie Chang Chao did not view Shen Qiu as an enemy because of the opposing position the Shen and Xie family had, but in actual fact, they view every talented youth in the capital as their opponents and Shen Qiu was undoubtedly the most outstanding talent of them all. Even though Xie Jing Xing was also outstanding but he had no official position, and moreover with Xie Ding's protection, they were helpless with their plans. But Shen Qiu was different. If Xie Chang Wu and Xie Chang Chao had official positions, they were afraid that everyone will compare both brothers with the Di son of First household of the Shen family.
And what Xie Chang Wu and Xie Chang Chao most hated was that they were not as good as someone else.
"What are you afraid of?" Xie Chang Wu said with disdain, "He is only but a military brute who only knows about fighting and killing and is ignorant about matters of the court. Other than Shen Xin's military contribution, what else can Shen Xin do for the Shen family? As of now, the Shen family is also in the crossbow, it may look good now but at the end…" He suddenly stopped and did not continue on.
"Second Older Brother is correct." Xie Chang Chao laughed, "Who asked the Shen family to be neutral. In this world, it is a dream if one pay attention to one's moral uplift without thinking of others. But many thanks to the Shen family's stupidity, our future opponent will be reduced by one."
If the conversation between both of them were known to others, they would be surprised. Afterall, Xie Chang Wu and Xie Chang Chao had a noble and benevolent image in public, and the Xie family did not participate in the Princes' fight for the position of the heir. But in Xie Chang Wu's and Xie Chang Chao's words, it was hinted that they have entered a faction behind the Xie family's back.
"Speaking of which, the Shen family is not something to fear of, but there is still one in our own family." Xie Chang Wu suddenly turned towards another direction. That direction was the courtyard where Princess Yu Qing recuperated previously, and currently it became the courtyard where Xie Jing Xing resided. Thinking about the look Xie Jing Xing gave him as he pointed the spear to his head, made a wave of anger to surge in his chest. After a moment he then said, "That scoundrel is getting more and more arrogant."
He actually secretly called Xie Jing Xing 'scoundrel' but if they met normally, he would be very respectful. This made one speechless.
"Exactly." Xie Chang Chao went along with Xie Chang Wu's words, "These days he behaved himself which made Father pay more attention to him. If he was not guided by someone, will there be any conspiracy?"
Even though it was a headache that Xie Jing Xing had an unruly temperament all these years and did not have an official status, the two Xie brothers were secretly relieved in their hearts. But even so, when people talked about the Little Xie Marquis, other than being cynical, they would heap up praises of his heroism on the battlefield and it was not only that. No matter how Xie Jing Xing opposed Xie Ding, Xie Ding would treat Xie Jing Xing wholeheartedly but treated them two filial sons lukewarm. As such, the jealousy towards Xie Jing Xing grew intense as the decade went by.
Previously as long as Xie Jing Xing was in the Ding capital, there would be a major event every three to five days but after the matter in the academy examinations, it was as if his character had changed and would leave and return late and they did not know what he was busy with. But this uncharacteristic quietness made Xie Ding very pleased and even thought that Xie Jing Xing had finally put away his unruliness and began to work seriously.
It was because of this that Xie Chang Chao and Xie Chang Wu became even more nervous.
"Be it be whoever who was guiding him." Xie Chang Wu sneered, "At the end there will be one day where he would be under my feet. In the beginning that woman was a princess but still did not end up well, not to mention him being a son."
"In short, one must secure the connections with His Highness Prince Ding before the returning banquet." Xie Chang Chao said it as he picked up the spear and stabbed it ferociously into the haystack in front.
At the same time, the protagonist of their conversation was sitting in front of the table in the room.
The courtyard in which Princess Yu Qing recuperated, was covered with flora and fauna and there were some trees that were still lush in winter. In front of the room in which Xie Jing Xing stayed, the branches of the trees almost blocked the entire window that even though during the day, the room would feel gloomy.
However in the gloominess, the youth who was sitting had a pair of bright as a sunny day eyes. The guards in front handed over a letter and after he carefully read it through, he threw it into the briquette in the middle of the room. In a short moment of time, a puff of smoke flew up and there was no trace of the letter left.
"What does it says?" A figure came from behind. The white clad gentlemen comfortably poured himself tea with an elegant attitude as if he was appreciating tea with someone.
"There is change in the situation." Xie Jing Xing did not turn around and seemed to be pondering about something.
"Oh?" The white clad gentleman's actioned paused as he look over with a grown, "Was not it already…"
"Gao Yang," Xie Jing Xing suddenly said, "How about destruction before establishing as only with death does one's course end?"
"You do not have this kind of temperament." Gao Yang was initially stunned for a moment, seemingly surprised, before he shook his head and said, "You are all along not one who like to keep a low profile and would ensure everything is finalised before taking action. If the results was not a win, you will not take any action. I am surprise to hear something different today from the usual scheming you." He asked, "Did you encounter anything?"
"Encountered a mad person." Xie Jing Xing raised his brows. "Made me feel that it would also be good to make a bet." He stood up and the gold embroidered clouds gave a faint lustre as he move in the dark. If one do not look carefully, one would not be able to see it.
"You cannot be talking about the Di daughter of the Shen family?" Gao Yang was able to draw blood on the first prick, "I heard Tie Yi mentioning about the matter that day. Even though it was bold but it was overly reckless. Now that Shen Xin had returned, one is afraid that with Shen Xin's temper, there would be another round of trouble."
"The thing is not in the Shen residence." Xie Jing Xing said, "I changed my mind."
"Not intending to make use of the Shen family?" Gao Yan was somewhat astonished.
"The Shen family is a big variable." Xie Jing Xing shook his head and the handsome youth brows did not show the normal cynical look that it usually held but a calm beyond his age. That naturally elegance and nobility air covered him as though there was a layer of mysterious luster, which was more dazzling that the sun.
"What do you refer to as a variable?" Gao Yang asked.
Xie Jing Xing raised his eyebrows, "I have a premonition regarding the Fu family's attitude. The Shen family is the biggest variable in the setup of Ming Qi's future."
Gao Yang seem not to believe it but he ultimately trust this youth's suspicious heart. He said, "How do you know? How would the Shen family be a variable? Shen Qiu? Shen Xin? Even if there are domestic problems in the Shen family, it will not represent the attitude of the Shen family."
"There is an intelligent person in the Shen family." Xie Jing Xing said lazily, "But fate is too cruel. Why struggle?" He said, "Anyways, there are not changes in the plan, just a change of method."
"You are not thinking of…" Gao Yang was moved.
"After so many years, I have tolerated for far too long." Xie Jing Xing said, "Because of apprehensions, one needed to tolerate but now…" He smiled in alarm as if dark clouds suddenly faded and the sunshine lit up the entire room, making everything else to lose its brilliance. Xie Jing Xing stood with folded arms and lightly said, "Gao Yang, I am tired of covering up. I will take action in the shortest of time."
"But are you willing to part?" Gao Yang asked.
"There is nothing unwilling."
Gao Yang sighed and when he raised his head, he had become determined, "Since this is the case, then it will be as you planned. First hide the information from the side and start from Ming Qi side. In the Fu family, who do you think of starting off with?"
"Old rules, toss a ball out. Whoever catch it would decide." He lightly laughed. His fingers however touched something in his sleeves. His heart moved slightly as his fingers picked out a small delicate bottle. That was the medicine bottle that Gao Yang gave him. The medication inside was what Gao Yang claimed to be a scar removing medication that thousands of gold would not be able to be exchanged for it. This herbal paste, would be able to make a scar vanish no matter how deep it was.
He clenched the bottle into his palm and when he released it, the delicate bottle has turned into broken pieces.
Just like what Shen Miao did, a big fire would burn down all false equilibrium and expose the ferocious truth, thus this would then truly become a game where one could make the moves. Shen Miao used her own scar to put an end to any possibility of future reconciliations. How about him?
His gaze swept faintly out the window to the four corners of the skies in the Marquis of Lin An residence. After seeing it so many times for so many years, because of some warm memories, he was also willing to maintain a false equilibrium.
Now it was the time to break this equilibrium.
He closed his eyes and the long eyelashes were as beautiful as the butterflies in spring but when they were opened, they looked sharper than the sharpest of knives.
On his desk, a map was spread out at the moment. Seeing it closely, this map was nothing else but a clear territorial map of Ming Qi. From the thirteen provinces in You Zhuo to the town of Ding Yuan in the desert, from the Jiang Nan vally to the Ding Xi's eastern sea, from the ancient city of Lin An to Lu An city, in the middle of the entire territory, was however the most prosperous Ding capital.
With the surging of the entire country, the world heroes would come forth. He stretched his hand out and gently touched the centre of the map with his finger.
It was as if one was deciding the rise and fall of a dynasty.