A Bihu Peak Senior Master of the Undefeated State was dead, and it was said that he had been murdered.
The Senior Master’s corpse was discovered near a stream, and it was a horrible sight to see, as the whole head was cut off.
This was, without a doubt, the worst thing to happen in recent years on the nine peaks of Green Mountain.
That Senior Master was said to be the trusted crony of the Peak Master of Bihu Peak. The Bihu Peak Master was recuperating from his injuries at this time, and the disciples of the peak, already ill at ease, were infuriated by this incident; Shangde Peak was now under tremendous pressure.
If the swordsmen and spies from other sects sneaked into the nine peaks, it would be because of Shangde Peak’s negligence.
But that was impossible; anyone who could kill a skilled swordsman of the Undefeated State would have senselessly summoned the Green Mountain Formation.
The more likely possibility was that the Senior Master of Bihu Peak died at the hand of a colleague.
If this were true, Shangde Peak would be blamed, since it was responsible for overseeing and protecting all the peaks.
Shangde Peak sent out many caretakers and disciples to investigate, but not clues were uncovered.
Those swordsmen of other peaks who had arguments with the dead, and those elders with a history of violence and crime, all of them had alibis.
The event seemed enshrouded in a layer of misty fog.
The disciples by the Stream of Sword Washing were still at low levels in their Cultivation state, so they were not likely to have been involved, meaning they were not questioned by the investigators from Shangde Peak. Yet, they could sense something strange in the air; the Masters were obviously distracted when giving their lectures. As they learned about the whole event, they couldn’t help but be worried and scared, and they became quieter.
Liu Shisui wasn’t a talkative person, so his silence, more prominent than usual, shouldn’t have been easily noticed; but the chubby Ma Hua saw that he was somewhat different these days. Besides being quieter, he couldn’t focus on his sword practice, almost getting hurt a few times in the last two days. This was quite unusual.
Ma Hua wanted to check on Liu Shisui, but thought that he was still a teenager, so it was normal for him to feel anxious and restless after hearing the news.
And yet only someone like the weird but gifted girl Zhao Layue was not affected?!
This is what he thought while watching Sword Peak as it was surrounded by the clouds.
At night, Liu Shisui came to Jing Jiu’s minor cave; he hadn’t been there for a long time.
Jing Jiu was a little surprised.
Liu’s face was pale and his eyes red, revealing a lack of sleep.
Jing Jiu thought he was worried about the Inherited Sword Competition. "You and Liangwang Peak are on good terms; there’s no way they don’t want you," said Jing Jiu while rubbing his head.
Liu raised his head, suddenly asking, "Young Master…Did you do it?"
"Er…" Jing Jiu uttered in an unclear and uncertain tone.
"That evening…I came here, but you weren’t around," said Liu Shisui, looking at him, his eyes kind of bewildered.
By now, Jing Jiu realized that Liu came here that night, guessing Liu didn’t find him, instead finding his Sword Card.
"Do you think I could kill that man," asked Jing Jiu, laughing.
How could a sword-washing disciple, lacking a sword, kill a swordsman of the Undefeated State?
It was for that reason that the investigation by Shangde Peak stayed away from the Stream of Sword Washing.
Even those outstanding disciples with higher Cultivation states in Class A at the Hall of Sword Washing didn’t attract attention during the investigation, and Jing Jiu was naturally excluded as well.
Hearing Jing Jiu’s words, Liu Shisui looked troubled.
"Brother Gu said yesterday that the broken part of the neck of the dead Senior Master was very smooth, so the killer must have been a swordsman of the Free Travel State, or that a famous sword was used during the killing."
"As I recall, you said that your specialty is…cutting things."
"Where did you go that night?"
"Young Master, I am truly frightened."
Jing Jiu looked at Liu’s small face
This was the first time he had seen his face turn so white.
Of course, he could lie to Liu and easily give countless reasons to defend himself, telling Liu why he left his minor cave that night, even though he had never done it before, leaving simply to watch the monkeys play, or to see some interesting things at Sword Peak; he knew Liu just wanted a reasonable answer from him so he could feel at ease.
But for some reason, he didn’t do that.
"I killed him."
The minor cave became strangely quiet, the sound of water heard Sword Washing Stream down at the cliff-side.
Liu’s increasingly chaotic breathing could be heard.
His face became paler.
"Young Master…who…just who are you?"
At the South Pine Pavilion three years ago, he had asked Jing Jiu this question more than once.
And today, he asked the same question once again.
Liu Shisui knew Jing Jiu had his secrets and that he didn’t want anything to do with Liangwang Peak; his secrets were questionable.
But he never imagined Jing Jiu could actually…kill a senior master of the sect!
"Who I am is not important. You can report this to your masters, or…that Brother of yours. In fact, you should have done so a long time ago," Jing Jiu said.
He had asked Liu Shisui the same question at South Pine Pavilion, having asked more than once.
Liu said with his head lowered, "I know your secrets. You didn’t want to lie to me, instead trying to help me oftentimes." Like with the breathing techniques in the small village and the tablet melting in the tea; all those were Jing Jiu’s secrets, but it was Liu Shisui himself who benefited.
"You think too much," Jing Jiu said with a smile. "The main reason is that it’s too much trouble. Since we see each other all the time, it’s simply too much trouble hiding things from you."
So it was simply because of inconvenience?
Liu Shisui stood up and walked toward the outside of the minor cave, looking very troubled.
A child had turned into a young man after leaving the village three years ago. Things were a bit different now.
Standing at the entrance of the cave, Liu didn’t turn his head as he asked in a shaky voice, "…Was that senior master…a bad guy?"
Jing Jiu didn’t reply, lowering his head to read the Scripture of Swords.
Still standing at the entrance, Liu didn’t want to leave.
After a long time, Jing Jiu’s voice finally sounded.
"From where I stand, of course he was a bad guy."
Liu Shisui left without saying another word.
Jing Jiu didn’t think about whether Liu would tell on him.
He had planned for a whole year in that village to return to the Green Mountain; though some unknown factors could come up, he still had the proper measures to deal with them.
Of course, it could also have been because he didn’t think about the problem.
He was now thinking about something else.
The sun was still on the other side of the peaks during the early morning, the water in Sword Washing Stream sounding pleasant and peaceful.
While watching the water, he pondered.
As the red sun peeked over the peaks, he pondered.
As the sun glowed red hot during the noontime, he pondered, turning his head and glimpsing at the distant peak surrounded by perpetual fog.
"I still need to have a look," he told himself.
And that’s just what he did, leaving his minor cave and traveling along the Sword Washing Stream as he headed toward the mountain peak.
Without exception, he attracted a lot of attention and discussion as he walked out of his minor cave.
Thinking about it, this was the third time he had left the minor cave and revealed himself to the others since he came to the inner sect half a year ago.
His laziness and the degree to which he cut himself off from the outside world was quite rare, even in the world of Cultivation, where the practitioners are used to traveling around by themselves alone.
As he walked toward the cliff wall at end of the stream, and further toward the nine peaks, he attracted more attention, and the discussions only grew louder.
He should be heading in the direction of Sword Peak.
"Is that guy actually trying to obtain a sword," Ma Hua murmured while watching Jing Jiu in the distance.
The disciples practicing atop the rocks in the stream subconsciously stopped what they were doing.
However, Ma noticed Liu Shisui was not affected by this; he was focusing on his sword practice.
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