The disciples didn’t dare discuss the horrible event in public, but they couldn’t help but exchange ideas and news in private. Soon, they heard the news that the hideous flying sword was the Tide Sword, and the crazy swordsman was of course the Peak Master of Bihu Peak, Lei Poyun.
It was said that the Peak Master of Bihu had nearly been assassinated in Zhaoge City by the Underworld demons and the Old Ones joining forces, having been severely injured and recuperating somewhere. Who could have guessed that he would appear in front of all the masters and disciples in such an insane state, as if being possessed by devils; what had happened to him?
No answer could be given, and the occurrence was gradually set was aside. The parts of the cliffs cut by the lights of Lei Poyun’s sword had been repaired by the formation masters of Xilai Peak, returned to their original state and revealing no trace of damages; after one night, that event seemed to have never happened.
But the hideous and crazy words were still echoing among the peaks.
"Even if not one, what about two?!!!"
"If not one, then two?"
There was no beginning or ending to the sentence, so what did it mean? Nobody could explain it.
Thinking of the Bihu Peak Senior Master’s strange death a few days ago, the whole incident was full of bizarre elements.
Jing Jiu knew what these words meant, and knew why Lei Poyun couldn’t forget them before dying.
Standing by the edge of the cliff with his hands behind his back, he looked up at the dark night sky, feeling as though he were in an old well, a slight boredom showing on his face.
It was bone-piercingly cold atop Shangde Peak, and anyone on the peak needed to keep their mind clear, no matter what state they were in.
Yuan Qijing walked to the deep end of the manor cave and looked down to the bottom of the well, a long time passing without him uttering a single word.
The cave walls were covered by a layer of icy snow, and his hair added another white strand, but it had nothing to do with the cold weather.
Last night, he used the sword style he had learned from other sects when he was a young man in order to hold down Lei Poyun, and the result of it was obvious. However, his Sword Source had been exhausted a great deal as well, and it would need at least 100 days to recover.
Over thirty disciples and caretakers of Shangde Peak kneeled down behind him and waited for him to hand down punishment.
As the number two figure at the Green Mountain Sect, Yuan Qijing had the power to decide many people’s future, even their life and death, but he didn’t do so, simply motioning them to disperse.
The person who let Lei Poyun out from the closed guarded Sword Jail wasn’t a common man, and it would be very hard for the disciples and caretakers to deal with him.
The issue was why he wanted to let Lei Poyun out?
Looking outside at the Tianguang Peak, Yuan Qijing thought whether it was a plan to kill by someone else’s hand, or another test for him?
"The incident…has to be investigated. We cannot stop now," he said slowly in a hoarse voice.
The caretakers and disciples had already backed out the manor cave, the only one left in the cave with him being his most trusted Young Brother, Chiyan.
"There is news from Liangwang Peak…but there is uncertainty, and I don’t quite believe it," said Chiyan.
"Since we have the news, then we have to investigate further, but…"
Yuan Qijing paused and said, "The date of the Inherited Sword Competition is near; don’t make too much a fuss right now."
Hearing about the Inherited Sword Competition, Chiyan remembered something and said, "That Jing Jiu…we really don’t need to check him out?"
No matter who he was, attention from Zhao Layue earned him consideration.
Chiyan didn’t get an answer from his Big Brother, and said with a bitter smile, "Fewer and fewer disciples have been willing to come to our Shangde Peak in recent years."
The Inherited Sword Competition was when the nine peaks of the Green Mountain selected their personal disciples.
But for those outstanding disciples who also had great potential, the competition was also their opportunity to choose a peak.
Over the years, the Tianguang Peak, the residence of the Sect Master, was of course the place desired by most of the disciples.
The Shangde Peak had a great deal of power, a first-class sword style, and along with that, Yuan Qijing was the Big Brother of the Sect Master, but there were fewer disciples applying to inherit the sword of Shangde Peak.
Liangwang Peak could select from the talented disciples of all the peaks, but seldom chose the disciples of inheriting swords in advance. The Shiyue Peak put emphasis on the theoretical study, and the Xilai Peak was in charge of administration, so their applicants were relatively fewer in number than on other peaks, but the number of disciples willing to inherit the swords on Shangde Peak was even lower than on Bihu and Yunxing Peaks, and even lower than Qingrong Peak, but why? Was it because the atmosphere on Shangde Peak was too dull and grim, because the Sword Jail was too horrific, or because all the young disciples were afraid of them?
"That lazy fool?"
Yuan Qijing sneered and said, "How could those young guys on Liangwang Peak let him go?"
Chiyan didn’t quite catch what his Big Brother meant by "let go".
"Don’t worry about those other things; you just focus on the possibility of bringing back Bihu Peak," Yuan Qijing said.
The time moved forward, slowly but firmly. It didn’t take long for the winter to arrive.
It was said that, at the request of Qingrong Peak, the Sect Master agreed to let the Green Mountain Formation open a crack so that the cold wind and snow flakes from the outside could rush into the nine peaks.
Looking at the snowflakes filling the air, Jing Jiu had this feeling again that he seemingly forgot something.
He tried to figure it out, but couldn’t do it, and it made him feel stranger and stranger.
Since coming back to the Green Mountain from that small village, he experienced many feelings he hadn’t had in the past, such as boredom, interested in something, and forgetfulness…
But it was impossible for him to forget, which meant that the manifestation of this feeling was him trying to avoid something subconsciously.
Why? Was it because he was used to the present lazy and easy lifestyle?
Zhao Layue came again on the day of the first snowfall of the year.
She cultivated behind closed doors in her own manor cave for dozens of days, her wounds from the Sword Peak completely healed, and even the tiny injuries were totally invisible now.
The white snow fell down on the cliff walls, on the courtyard, and onto her body.
In this white world, the pair of her thick eyebrows was very distinctive, just like her pupils.
Seeing the ray of sword light landing in front of Jing Jiu’s manor cave, the sighing and shouting arose from the opposite bank of the Sword Washing Stream.
"Sister has come again!"
"How come she is here again?"
"This is the seventh time! THE SEVENTH TIME!!!"
The disciples punched their chest and stomped their feet, or touched the heart with their hands, disappointed in their idol’s selection.
"I was born in the month of Layue, and so given this name."
"It was during a snowstorm," said Zhao Layue, glancing at the bracelet on her wrist once.
Jing Jiu wondered if this this was what chatting was. He and Liu Shisui had chatted before, and chatted with Zhao Layue a few times. Though he still didn’t quite understand why people spent leisure time on chatting, but he accepted it, and knew chatting needed a topic to start.
He was not good at finding a topic to chat about, and he knew only one thing about Zhao Layue.
"At the Inherited Sword Competition, which peak will you choose?"
The nine peaks would select the disciples they liked at the Inherited Sword Competition, but for a popular disciple, the situation was reversed.
As for Zhao Layue, a gifted young girl, she had more options.
At the Inherited Sword Competition, which peak she would choose was a curious matter for the whole Green Mountain Sect and even the whole Cultivation world.
For various reasons, no one had ever asked her this question before.
Jing Jiu did so because he thought a chat was about to begin.
Zhao Layue didn’t reply, watching the peaks through the wind and snow and remaining silent.
In the eyes of her peers and masters, she was a proud loner, cold and quiet, but in the eyes of Jing Jiu, she was a stubborn little girl deserving of sympathy and pity.
Raising his hand to rub her short hair but giving up in mid-movement, he said, "Don’t think too much."
"I want to go to Sword Peak for the last preparation," said Zhao Layue, looking at Jing Jiu after taking her gaze away from the peaks
The so-called preparation was of course for the Inherited Sword Competition.
She came all the way in the wind and snow to tell him this decision, simply as a farewell.
The farewell was a sad occasion, but not for Jing Jiu.
"See you later," he said.
On the long road to Cultivation, meeting someone is common; meeting that same person again is rare, but possible, though it’s the farewell happens the most; it’s then that they never met again.
He had witnessed too many happy meetings, sad departures, too much life and death, so he had a laissez-faire attitude toward it.
When the time comes, what else can one do but be carefree?
Zhao Layue left the Stream of Sword Washing and headed toward the Sword Peak.
She didn’t ride the flying sword; it was not because she didn’t want to damage her small green sword, but some other reason.
At the end of the stream, she was stopped by Gu Han.
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