Chapter Twenty One Great Plan
Li Lingjun was waiting for a reply. He stilled when he heard Ding Ning’s response.
Was Falling Parasol such a lowly place this wine shop youth didn’t even know who he was?
He frowned slightly and thought about how to speak.
Ding Ning seemed to have read his thoughts and said calmly, “Do not think about introducing your status to me. I know that if you say a word, you can easily fill my wine shop with gold, and with another word, more than a hundred cultivators will cut their heads off to die for you.”
“Then why … … since you have refused so cleanly, you must have a reason.” Li Lingjun did not have an angry expression. He only looked curiously at Ding Ning, and said warmly, “I thought you would at least discuss with Miss Zhangsun and take some of her opinions.”
Ding Ning shook his head and said, “I said I will not agree, and so I do not need to listen to her opinions. As to the reasons … … you really hope that I state the reasons?”
Li Lingjun’s expression did not change. He said calmly and warmly, “Please speak.”
The spectators in the alley all stopped breathing, desiring to hear Ding Ning’s reasons.
Ding Ning did not hesitate and said seriously, “Your father, the monarch of the Chu Dynasty, has been on the throne for thirty two years. in these thirty two years, according to what outsiders like myself know, he had sixty five women who would be considered his titled concubines and consorts. On average, every year, he had two, and there is one left over. With these titled concubines and consorts, he has seventeen princes and twenty three princesses. Your father has been really busy these years.”
The surrounding spectators heard Ding Ning say this, and their immediately thought was, you really dare to say this. While the entire world knew the king of Chu, King Wu Lie, was extremely lustful, they all wanted to be him. Yet it really was not appropriate to say all this directly in front of the man’s son.
Li Lingjun’s eyebrows raised slightly and he said in a slightly heavier voice, “Gentlemen should not bother with trifles. People are not perfect. Even if my father-king has many faults, this does not stop him from being a great monarch.”
In the ears of many spectators, his words were logical.
While the Chu King’s appetites were known in the world, he was also a powerful cultivator and a strong ruler. In the thirty two years he had been on the throne, the Chu Dynasty had waged war north and south without suffering great losses. At present, the Chu Dynasty shone like the midday sun, and had many more famed cultivators than the Qin Dynasty. The items that the Chu Dynasty used in their daily lives were more refined than other places, and their clothing and decor were copied by other dynasties.
Ding Ning did not argue with him.
He looked at Li Lingjun and said calmly, “I hear that all the consorts your father favors are beauties, and each have their own skills. Some are skilled in music, other in dance, some are exceptionally understanding, and some are skilled in cookery. But among so many consorts, his most favored is the one that came from the Zhao Dynasty, Consort Zhao Xiang.” 1
Hearing the words “Consort Zhao Xiang”, Li Lingjun’s eyes turned slightly cold but his expression remained calm and gentle.
He maintained an elegant silence.
“What does he want to say?”
The spectators in the alley were even more curious.
Consort Zhao Xiang was another topic the Qin people would frequently discuss. This famed woman came from an impoverished noble family in the Zhao Dynasty. Supposedly, she was born with seductive bones, and was the most tempting beauty in the world. Her body was fragrant and soft, her skin smooth as milk, and she was skilled in bedroom arts. Even though the king of Chu was lusty, she had enchanted him these past years. She decided more than half of the matters and could be considered the most powerful person in the Chu Dynasty next to the king of Chu.
In the Chu Dynasty, the great majority of people feared and heated Consort Zhao Xiang, and secretly called her “Demon Consort Zhao.”
Only in Changling would an ordinary common youth dare to openly discuss her name. If this was in Chu and a common youth dared to discuss her matters in public, he would have drowned in a river the next day.
“Your father-king has many children, but he and his most beloved consort has been childless. Your Chu Dynasty has not yet titled a crown prince. I do not know if your father is not satisfied with the present princes or he wants to wait for her son to appear,” Ding Ning did not show any fear as he said calmly.
“Li Lingjun, your reputation in Changling has been very good these years. I think that if your Chu people are not blind, they will see your talent and abilities. If your return to him right now, he should not like dislike you like before. And if you appear in his sight with a woman who could stun him, the results will be very different.
“With your father’s history, he may not even care about the woman’s relationship with you and steal your beloved consort. He may even feel slight guilty towards you.
“Consort Zhao Xiang is childless. if you father makes anyone else the crown prince, she will eventually lose power one day. Anyone in her position will not want that day to come. She is childless, and you are motherless. You are a prince, so you and her are the perfect pairing. If she is willing to speak to you, and you are not so dislikable in your father-king’s eyes, everything may change.
“You may likely become the crown prince of the Chu Dynasty, and become a great king like your father. And some other person who he does not want to see will come to our Changling and take your position.”
The autumn winds still blew, but every corner of the alley suddenly turned very cold.
Most of the spectators were uneducated poor, but Ding Ning’s explanation was logical and clear. They completely understood.
But could something as important as this be said publicly on the streets?
Ding Ning … … was too daring.
He seemed to have not even consider Li Lingjun’s feelings.
But after the shock passed, these spectators became proud and smug.
No matter how outstanding and powerful Li Lingjun was, he was a Chu person.
Why did the Qin have to care about what the Chu felt.
Ding Ning’s actions was one of a true Qin person.
Li Lingjun’s expression did not show any anger or shock, but his brow was deeply creased.
He slowly raised his head, looking at Ding Ning, and said seriously, “If everything is as you say, if I really have the possibility of becoming the king of the Chu Dynasty, then shouldn’t you consider my request even more?”
“Become one of your father’s consorts?” Hearing the words, Ding Ning’s expression started to turn frosty.
Li Lingjun and Chen Moli’s arrival had disrupted his plan. He was already unhappy but he was as patient as usual. He knew that calmly changing his plans was more important than anger.
Right now, he truly was displeased.
“This is a rare opportunity in your view? We should thank you for your help and benevolence to have the chance at satin clothing and jade food? Are we as lowly as you imagine?”
He looked coldly at Li Lingjun, and said slowly and clearly, “We are good in Changling. Do you feel that I will let my aunt follow you and do such a thing for a mere possibility?”
Li Lingjun’s expression was calm but a fire burned at the bottom of his eyes. He said calmly, “A person for a country, this is not just a rare opportunity. You do not care, you are not interested, but other people may feel this is a meaningful matter. It is better than making wine here, and in the end, marrying a merchant.”
“You are insulting my aunt.” Ding Ning laughed. He looked at Li Lingjun and said with the utmost seriousness, “Look at me, I’m already like this … … my aunt is even colder than I am. Things that I look down on … … she will even more so.”
All things he said were the truth.
Zhangsun Qianxue was prouder and colder than most people imagined.
Li Lingjun’s eyes seemed to burn but he still did not lose his composure.
“If that is the case, then I have disturbed you.”
He bowed slightly and then elegantly turned to walk towards his carriage.
Li Lingjun had a gentleman’s conduct but Chen Moli could not keep his composure. He gripped his sword hilt tightly, his knuckles white from force. He sighed out the words as he left as though he was talking to himself, “Some opportunities will disappear in a flash and never return. If one cannot catch them, when one is old, they will sigh that their life has not been spectacular enough.”
Hearing Chen Moli appearing to speak to him, Ding Ning grimaced and thought inside, is my life already not spectacular enough? I hope it will be more ordinary, and too spectacular.
When the carriage curtain fell down and blocked the outside world, Li Lingjun’s expression became dejected and cold.
He was certain Ding Ning was a true genius.
Just using rumors in the city, this young wine shop youth had such a clear and terrifying judgement. He even saw the situation of the distant Chu Dynasty clearer than he did.
Yet he could not use the genius, so the genius was dislikable.
A genius he could not use was one that could be a future enemy.
The carriage started to move.
As the wheels rolled on the stone bricks, the carriage trembled slightly.
He closed his eyes and his cold face turned even harsher.
The conversation just now alerted him to many things. This caused him to clearly feel how urgent this matter was.
Ding Ning did not know, but he did. His father, the powerful and lusty king of the Chu Dynasty, was seeing a downturn in his health.
The river and mountains were far, and the road home was so difficult and long.
Yet no matter how distant the road, it could not extinguish the flame in his heart.