Nightfall - Chapter 148

Published at 24th of April 2018 07:05:06 AM

Chapter 148: Hope Exists in Man's World

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PIAPIA it was the the crisp sound made by the soles of your shoes when they slapped your cheeks. Unfortunately, people in Chang'an City had not seen the performances of a comedian who dressed in a skirt in their world, which might result in their inaccurate understanding of what he wanted to convey. Ning Que took Sangsang out of the courtyard and then left through the side door after chatting for a few seconds. However, they did not go far in the carriage before they heard the hurried sounds of horses approaching from the rear.

Sangsang slightly straightened her slim shoulders and looked up at him, with her willowy eyes full of doubt and vigilance.

Ning Que patted her on the shoulder with a smile, and comforted her. "Even though the Prince was very angry he wasn't crazy to send underlings to kill or beat us in Chang'an City, they wouldn't be so stupid as to catch up with us after we just set out."

His judgment was right. The elegant carriages hanging with soft ropes brandishing the royal insignia, were catching up with them fast. In this circumstance, the coachman quickly moved his carriage to the roadside, but he never expected that the carriages with the royal insignia of the Tang Royals would slowly come to a halt as well.

The blue curtain was lifted and Lee Yu's pleasant face appeared. She furrowed her eyebrows, yet with a smile on her lips, it was hard to guess her true emotions.

Ning Que and Sangsang quickly got off the carriage, and walked to the window to give a respectful salute. Perhaps he had no respect for the Princess, but he dared not reveal it on this busy street.

"A few days ago, I heard that you were no longer popular among your classmates in the Academy." Lee Yu smiled looking at him, and he continued after a pause, "Though you stood up for the Academy at the banquet today, you still failed to convince your fellow classmates to feel the same way you do judging from which, your popularity in the Academy isn't bad, but really poor."

Ning Que replied with a smile, "Speaking of popularity, it's a very strange thing like the weeds on the city wall. They always creep towards the side where the wind blows. Sometimes it just indicates that the wind isn't strong enough."

"That sounds funny," said Lee Yu with a smile.

Ning Que scratched his head before catching a glimpse of the woman behind the window, replying, "I wouldn't talk too much if Her Highness couldn't understand"

Lee Yu declared, "Others must be surprised at the way you talk to me and your presumptuousness."

"Her Highness, one of my old friends, is so virtuous that I naturally needn't try too hard when speaking with you," Ning Que explained with a smile, making a bow with hands folded in front.

Lee Yu sighed and stared into his eyes, "You young fellow, always do the exact opposite."

Ning Que considered what she said a bit strange. After a moment of silence, he replied with a smile, "It's me that Her Highness should blame. At least I believe I'm regarded as unbridled enough in the eyes of Prince Long Qing today."

At the thought of Prince Long Qing's gloomy face, Lee Yu felt comfortable as if her whole body had been washed by the spring breeze. She took a satisfied glance at Ning Que and then at Sangsang next to him, and praised, "You did well today. However... you dare to offend citizens of Yan Kingdom and West-Hill Divine Palace for the sake of congeniality, your courage is much greater than that of previous years. To be honest, you're really different from that of your original temperament."

The inquiry seemed normal but incisive. Only those people who had real contact with Ning Que knew that border town soldiers always attached more importance to real things, such as life and death, rather than imaginary names such as shame.

Now Ning Que felt somewhat amused while he recalled the harsh moment at the banquet, and he smilingly shook his head, explaining, "I don't know why I was so upset when I saw Prince Long Qing's way of doing things. I really wanted to lift the table and kill him after hearing the little Taoist boy's words, but... You know, I'm unable to kill him with such little capability, so I had no choice but to entice his 'interest' by using a few harsh words."

"Is it just 'interest'?" Lee Yu said with a smile, and then she gradually withdrew her smile and looked at Ning Que solemnly, while thinking of the big event that would take place the day after tomorrow and recalling Crown Prince of Yan Kingdom, Chongming, who seemed to have been ignored at the banquet today. She fell into a long silence before whispering, "Only one person can enter the Second floor this year. Is it possible that the person... is you?"

Ning Que did not know how to answer, gazing at the serious woman inside the window.

"I don't care what people of West-Hill Divine Palace and Yan Kingdom are thinking about or what kind of agreement has been reached between them and the court, all I know is that I really don't want Long Qing to be admitted to the Second floor."

Li Yu said, staring at his eyes.

Ning Que glanced back at her and reluctantly spread his hands, saying, "Prince Long Qing, the bigwig of Judicial Department of West-Hill Divine Palace, is a cultivator standing on the threshold of the Knowing Destiny State. On the other hand, I'm... just an ordinary student of the Academy. You must think too highly of me to expect me to be a stumbling block on his glorious road?"

The glare in Lee Yu's eyes gradually faded. Watching Ning Que's clean, fresh but still ordinary face, she thought to herself that she was really out of her mind to count on this guy. She could not help but laugh at herself. She then extended her hand out of the window and gently pinched on Sangsang's cheeks, and said pridefully, "You're more capable than your young master."

During the past six months, Sangsang often went to play in the Princess Mansion so that she had become quite familiar with Lee Yu. Thus, she did not resist such kind of intimacy. She burped and then said softly, "Young master is the one who is truly competent."



Hua Shanyue, the Senior Captain of Gushan Commandery, rode over to the royal horse carriage, and suddenly opened his mouth, watching the horse carriage that was about to disappear around the corner, "Haven't seen you for a year, and I never expected a lad from the border town to be admitted into the Academy."

"Last year on the trip, Lyu Qingchen once told me, 'since we can be certain without any doubt that Ning Que can enter the Academy, then why can't we believe that he can get into the Second floor?'"

Lee Yu gazed out at the lively crowd in front of the street, and calmly said, "I suddenly remember those words and the strange hope that Mr. Lyu reposed on him, seeing him so eloquent in the courtyard, I can't help wondering if I'm wrong this time?"

"Today he performed wonderfully at the banquet, and didn't bring shame on the Tang Empire and the Academy, but... After all, these are only verbal skills. If he meets head-on with Prince Long Qing, the unique cultivation genius, in the battlefield or the examination, and then it's true that he's highly esteemed just as he said earlier."

Hua Shanyue commented without taking it seriously. In his opinion, it would be inappropriate even ridiculous for him to compare Ning Que an ordinary student of the Academy to Prince Long Qing.

"Maybe you're right."

After drawing down the blue curtain, Lee Yu leaned back in the cushion sewn with gold thread, and raised her elbow to support her jaw. In her sharp but clear eyes was a slight grin.

"If you're really talented, then you will eventually become my talent in the future," She thought with a smile, and murmured, "At least I already know what your weakness is."



While the coachmen were chatting together in the middle of the street, a large group of people had walked out to the front door of the Victory House. Those who wore Taoist robes and looked solemn were from the West-Hill Divine Palace.

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Prince Long Qing was walking with a calm expression at the center of the crowd. As he stepped out, his beautiful appearance drew screams from the women in the streets, but he just stood in awe and stillness and was not moved to happiness or to aversion by the shouts of joy and admiration.

Slowly setting foot on the golden carriage engraved with talisman characters, he kept silent for a brief moment with his eyes closed, but he suddenly opened his eyes, and calmly said, "That student of the Academy wasn't actually a cultivator."

Priest Moli, vice president of Yutian Academy in West-Hill, looked cautious sitting opposite him. Although the two had a teacher-student relationship, a chasm of subordination began to exist between them and no one dared to cross it, after Prince Long Qing became the second under Tao Addict of the Judicial Department in the Divine Hall.

Priest Moli furrowed and angrily said, "I wonder if it has been deliberately arranged by the Tangs."

Thinking of the little handmaiden who stole a drink of wine while hiding in the dark corner, Prince Long Qing blankly shook his head.

Outside the carriage, a melodious musical sound was heard, and no one knew where it came from.

Prince Long Qing suddenly gave a gentle smile, whose handsome appearance was as eye-catching as the flowering peach, and he emotionally murmured, "It seems that I have entered Chang'an, and my Taoist heart has been covered with dust, for the sake of a little handmaiden."

Being sure that Ning Que and Sangsang were not cultivators, he stopped caring about that, for his pride lay at a higher level. He came to Chang'an City to enter the Second floor of the Academy, However...

With his smile gradually fading, Prince Long Qing indifferently said, "Go and check who the student is. I really hate him."



Back to the Old Brush Pen Shop at Lin 47th Street, Sangsang unwrapped the big black umbrella wrapped in the coarse cloth, and prepared to do the cooking. They drank lots of spirits today, but those delicate fruits and exquisite dainty small dishes loved by the nobles were really hard to fill the young master and handmaiden who had been honed by the sandstorms in the frontier fortress.

Ning Que sat in the chair by the window, gazing at the sky with his hands holding the window lattice, He remembered the encounter in Victory House today, and suddenly frowned, "I don't know why I really hate that guy."

He did not say which guy he was referring to, yet Sangsang knew exactly who the guy was. She poured the well water into a large tank and wiped her hands over her apron and then said, looking back at the window, "I wonder why I dislike that prince now as well. I was supposed to touch his face today and ask what kind of powder he used."

The next day, Ning Que went to the Academy as usual, and found the way his classmates looked at him was a bit weird, probably because they all knew what had happened yesterday. He just did not know what kind of psychological activities they had. Their eyes were still possessed with a faint sense of contempt that was quickly taken back.

After the bell rang, Situ Yilan seized him in the Yanyu verandas and in a regretful voice said, "You helped retain the Academy's reputation yesterday. Everyone was a little grateful, maybe even guilty, but why did you say those words to provoke the crowd before you finally left? Unfortunately, you lost the opportunity to make your peace with them."

"I didn't screw this up, so why should I give them a chance to fix it?"Ning Que replied, laughing he then left for the old library.

It was late at night.

Ning Que watched Chen Pipi who breathlessly wriggled out of the bookshelf. Then Ning Que handed him the expensive crab porridge and put down a futon for him. After that, Ning Que carefully bowed with his both hands folded and saluted him.

Chen Pipi held the crab porridge, stunned and speechless.

Ning Que seemed extremely sincere, much more sincere than most of the salted duck eggs adulterated in the crab porridge of the Academy. He stared at Chen Pipi and said in sincerity, "Only one person can enter the Second floor tomorrow, and I'm dying for it to be me. I really don't want Prince Long Qing to be selected. What do you say... how much hope do I have?"

"Don't look at me like that. I know Prince Long Qing's like the Son of heaven, while I'm just an ordinary clod of earth in the world. It seems impossible to defeat and win him at states of cultivation and abilities, but I think... "

"What if you secretly tell me the examination question, and then maybe hope will still exist in the world?" 

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