Nightfall - Chapter 513

Published at 23rd of October 2018 11:45:12 PM

Chapter 513: Don't Get Any Ideas

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In Qinghe County, there lived several dominant families that were extremely wealthy, powerful and had existed for thousands of years. These respectable families did not behave like upstarts and were well-educated.

If Ning Que learned about their stories years ago, he would definitely yearn for their wealth and power. But now, he did not even lift his eyebrows at their stories. He did not feel excited at all.

Although money was still attractive to him, wealth seemed to be no different from the flowing clouds in the back of the mountain of the Academy.

The back of the mountain of the Academy was unknown to the outside world, which instead connected with the Academy's front. He had to enter the human realm on behalf of the Academy, but in fact, he was getting farther away from it. Even the greatest family was still stuck in the secular world. How could it be worthy of notice to the people beyond the world?

It was just that he did not know how long it would take for him to become an Unworldly Sublime Being.

He did not care about those families in Qinghe County. But he did care about the House of Red Sleeves. Looking at the sparkling Thin Lake, he fell into thought.

Although Mistress Jian had a close relationship with the Empress, the House of Red Sleeves was just an entertainment place offering songs, dances and girls. The open-minded people of the Tang Empire did not despise the place nor think highly of it. But how could it protect itself from those dominant families?

More importantly, the House of Red Sleeves had no reason to offend those powerful families from the south. According to the itinerary, even if it presented a dance at the birthday banquet of the Elderly Master Cui, there would be no problem with time.

"It doesn't make sense," Ning Que said, "The House of Red Sleeves is just for entertainment, how could its girls have the guts to do that?"

"You are right."

The shopkeeper said with emotion, "Although Yangguan can't be compared with Chang'an and Qinghe is only a county of the Tang Empire, it is not an ordinary countryside and not everyone can go to the banquet. How ignorant they are by refusing to perform the dance of Nichang."

Ning Que smiled and waved his hand to dismiss the shopkeeper. After a while, the smile on his face gradually disappeared. He looked at the lake outside the bar and said deadpanned, "So, it had been deliberately planned."

Nichang, was the dance that House of Red Sleeves performed on the enthronement ceremony of South Jin Kingdom 30 years ago. It was said that during the dance, nobody blinked and no musicians dared to look at the dancers. And at the height of the dance, they could even see flowing flowers on the stage.

No matter how many tales had been coined about the dance, Ning Que had his doubts. He had seen many dances at the House of Red Sleeves except Nichang's. It was not because the girls refused to dance the song, but because the dance required 36 dancers and the House was not spacious enough.

All these years, the House of Red Sleeves had not performed the dance anywhere else other than a few times in Chang'an. And almost nobody knew that the House could no longer perform it.

The dance required a lead dancer of extremely high standards. In the recent five years, Lu Xue was the only qualified girl to lead the dance but she was happily married off. While the new girl trained by Mistress Jian could not be compared with Lu Xue though she could do most of the Huxuan Dance, she could not master the Nichang dance at all.

Without Nichang, the House of Red Sleeves was still invited to the Lanke Temple to perform a delicate dance called the Heavenly Maids Scatter Blossoms. The terrible loss of Nichang remained a secret.

The House of Red Sleeves had a close relationship with the Academy and Ning Que. If necessary, he could even know when those girls had their periods. For him, the House held no secrets. So he was convinced that the dominant families in Qinghe County were deliberately making things difficult for the House of Red Sleeves because they knew the Nichang dance had been lost.

But why?

Ning Que could not figure it out. He quickly had his meal and left the inn with Sangsang. He went back to the post office and found the imprintings he needed. Then he followed them along the streets of Yangguan and arrived at an inconspicuous grocery store.

The manager slightly bowed and asked, "What can I do for you, my guest?"

Ning Que said plainly, "This is a point of contact for the secret guard, isn't it?"

Hearing the words, the manager immediately turned serious and subconsciously touched his knife at the waist. But after a second thought, he said cautiously, "Gale."

"Thunderstorm? I don't know. Who can remember so many codes?"

Ning Que answered and then took an ID token from his waist belt and threw it to the shopkeeper.

After his fight with Xia Hou, Ning Que had returned the two secret guard and Imperial Center Administration visiting professor ID tokens. He just did not want to put the Emperor in a dilemma. However, the Emperor sent the two tokens back several days after Xia Hou's death.

And the token of the secret guard had been changed for a secret guard's supervisor token.

Of course, it was an honor.

The manager took the token and confirmed its authenticity. He thought Ning Que must be a reckless newbie who asked if this was the contact point of the secret guard after barging into the shop. If they all did that, the secret guards would not be a secret anymore. It was lucky that he was careful...

But the token seemed strange.

The manager found the different patterns on the token and hastily turned to check the other side. His face suddenly grew weird after seeing the words on the token. He immediately led Ning Que to the back of the shop.

Just after entering he knelt down in front of Ning Que without any delay and held up the token overhead with both hands, and said in a trembling voice, "My lord, please pardon my offense."

The Tang Empire had no specific rules on kneeling. Except for certain formal occasions, ministers could salute the Emperor in the palace with the hands folded instead of kneeling. But secret guards had different rules and the shopkeeper was stunned by the identity behind the token.

Xu Chongshan, the current bodyguard supervisor, closely served the Emperor. The manager was very sure that the man in front of him was not Xu Chongshan but he knew the token was authentic, which meant the man should be his boss' boss' boss...

"Stand up."

Ning Que looked strange, he wondered why the manager told him the unspoken words in his heart. Shouldn't they all be tight-lipped?

Shaking his head to get rid of the thought, he said, "I'm here to ask about the issue between the Cuis and the House of Red Sleeves."

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The manager stood up submissively. He did not answer the question immediately but asked according to the rules, "May I know your name?"

"Ning Que."

Hearing the name, the manager had an impulse to kneel again. He tried hard to stand straight and replied tremblingly, "The Fourth Steward of the Family Cui visited the House of Red Sleeves this morning and left in anger."

The reply was brief and useful without any personal speculation. Ning Que nodded with appreciation and said, "I don't know why the Family Cui wants to embarrass the House of Red Sleeves. It doesn't sound like their public impression and usual behavior."

"If the House of Red Sleeves is a song-and-dance troupe without any status, the embarrassment doesn't make any sense, which could only harm the Family Cui's reputation. But if they know who's behind the House, then why? How dare they to do that at a risk of annoying the Emperor."

The manager said, "The Family Cui must have known that the Empress supports the House. But Qinghe County has served the Emperor well all these years. In my personal view, it might be an attempt to suppress the Empress."

Ning Que was slightly startled and said, "How dare they intervene in such matters and take sides in advance."

He stared at the manager with a smile and said, "And how dare you comment on the imperial family?"

The manager sensed the smile in Ning Que's eyes. He finally relaxed and said with flattery, "I dare not to conceal anything from Mr. Thirteen."

Ning Que asked in surprise, "Do you know me?"

The manager said seriously, "Who has not heard of you nowadays?"

"You don't need to flatter me. I am just an honorary supervisor. I am not in charge," Ning Que said, "I just don't understand why the Family Cui has the guts to do that. Don't they know my relationship with the House of Red Sleeves?"

The manager said, "I'm afraid that's why they did that. They probably have guessed that you are here in the city."

Ning Que asked puzzledly, "What does it have to do with me?"

The manager looked at Ning Que adoringly and said, "My lord, it is you who killed General Xia Hou."

Ning Que said, "So what?"

The shopkeeper explained obediently, "Because you killed the Empress' strongest helper. As the representative of the Academy, you support the Princess. So Qinghe County wants to make their stance using this chance."

Hearing the manager's words, Ning Que fell into silence. And then he shook his head and said, "The Headmaster has said that I am writing my own story and I don't like this boring plot. So I want to solve this as soon as possible. The question is when did the families start these lame things?"

He asked for calligraphy stationery and wrote a short letter.

"Send the letter to the Cui's Elderly Master. I really want to know whether those families are trying to help Li Yu by means of the Academy or they want to do something else by means of Li Yu's power."

"I'm not sure what I will do if they are really plotting something."




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