The sword light, coming out from her sleeve, hovered quietly in front of Zhao Layue, revealed to be a small green sword.
This green sword was very old, though there was nothing special about it besides that.
At the time, Zhao Layue had entered the inner sect for only three months, and she was recognized by the green sword as its master on the Sword Peak. Many people were shocked by this news, but others felt somewhat disappointed.
The material of this green sword was quite common.
For those disappointed people, they thought she could get a much better sword if she had a bit more patience.
She was ready to pull out her sword, but stopped.
The Elder of Shiyue Peak, in charge of the competition, said kindly while looking at her, "You don’t need to be tested."
Any outstanding disciples would want to be treated like their peers at this time, to show the fairness of the Green Mountain Sect, but she was either influenced by Jing Jiu or felt it was boring and troublesome to perform her sword work, Zhao Layue put her sword back into her sleeve without a word.
Of course nobody would challenge her.
The sole person who had a chance to challenge her, Gu Qing, had already been defeated by Jing Jiu.
Next was the most exciting part of the Inherited Sword Competition—choosing and being chosen.
Different from fighting for Jing Jiu, there was a quiet moment on the cliffs, which made the situation even more tense.
"We are all familiar with the procedure."
Facing the crowd of all peaks in the cliffs, the Elder of Shiyue Peak said solemnly, "Let’s proceed in order."
Hearing these words, everybody knew what would happen next.
It looked like a similar event had happened in the history of the Inherited Sword Competition of the Green Mountain Sect.
When all the peaks desired the same disciple, problems could arise if the contest was too relentless.
In this case, the procedure had to be rectified beforehand.
The nine peaks would discuss with the disciple in pre-arranged order.
The order was actually a reversed one, starting with the last peak.
The first to do so was Bihu Peak.
The Peak Master of Bihu, who had just taken the position last night and had the State of Free Travel, said a few words.
Next was the Peak Master of Xilai to speak.
It was apparent that they didn’t have any confidence in winning over Zhao Layue, so they simply introduced a little bit about their peak and persuaded her a bit.
Since the Peak Master of Shiyue planned to take Jing Jiu as his personal disciple, another elder stood up speaking.
The gentle and sweet voice of the Peak Master of Qingrong echoed for a long time in the cliffs, and people now realized that this highest-ranked woman at the Green Mountain Sect had the strongest desire to get Zhao Layue.
Considering she had been cultivating on Sword Peak for last two years, the Yunxing Peak believed they had a chance to have her, spending a longer time to describe their strengths.
Next was the Shangde Peak.
It was like the Inherited Sword Competition in the past; Shangde Peak wasn’t so popular with the disciples, so many people thought they didn’t have a chance.
Unexpectedly, a cold and authoritative voice sounded.
"You are the future of our Green Mountain Sect. A common master will impede your Cultivation, so let me do it."
The Peak Master of Shangde, Yuan Qijing, who hadn’t taken any disciple for many years and seldom come to the Inherited Sword Competition, actually came in person and decided to personally teach her!
Though Shangde Peak was unpopular, who was Yuan Qijing? He was the Sword Justice of Green Mountain!
In all the nine peaks, who had more credentials, higher status, and higher state than him to take Zhao Layue on as his personal disciple?
There was a brief moment of silence, dead silence, that followed what was an uproar.
Something unexpected happened then.
"Little Layue, are you willing to learn sword work with me?"
That voice was gentle and far-reaching, like the wet wind blowing through the coastal beach, landing on everybody’s heart.
People were stunned.
That was the voice of the Sect Master.
The reason why Elder Bai of Tianguang Peak came out to take Liu Shisui as his disciple was, the Sect Master wanted to keep a spot for Zhao Layue to be his personal disciple.
Was Zhao Layue the chosen one for the Sect Master from the very beginning?
Was the riddle going to be solved at last?
The problem was, the Sect Master had already taken Zhuo Rusui as his personal disciple a few years ago; did he intend to break the rule?
Zhuo Rusui, Liu Shisui, plus Zhao Layue, if all of them with natural Dao quality joined Tianguang Peak…
The atmosphere on the cliffs became intense.
Qingrong Peak and Yunxing Peak who had always obeyed Tianguang Peak, forcefully objected.
Even the Bihu, Shiyue, Xilai peaks who didn’t care all that much, felt uncomfortable now.
But who would dare to clash with the Sect Master?
"It is better to let her choose," said Yuan Qijing with an extremely cold voice.
He was the only one who could stop the Sect Master from continuing his speech, because he had been the Big Brother of the Sect Master.
"Little Layue, you must keep your head clear, and don’t let these arguments disturb your mind; you make your own choice, and don’t be afraid," said the Peak Master of Qingrong.
Zhao Layue hadn’t said anything so far.
Her expression didn’t show any change after hearing the invitations from the Peak Master of Shangde or the Sect Master.
Until now, after hearing what the Peak Master of Qingrong said, her eyebrows had shot up like the swords, eyes brightened.
Since she came to Green Mountain from Zhaoge City and from the South Pine Pavilion to the inner sect, countless people wanted to know which peak she would choose at the Inherited Sword Competition.
She had never expressed her thoughts, never even hinting at it, and she was actually waiting for the opportunity like this one.
"I can make my own choice?"
She repeated the words of the Peak Master of Qingrong.
"That’s right. Nobody can stop you from doing so," Yuan Qijing said coldly.
Zhao Layue gazed over the cliffs at a distant place in the clouds among the nine peaks.
Some people felt something unexpected would happen, but it was too late to prevent it now.
"The Shenmo Peak," said Zhao Layue as lightly as a whisper.
"What did she say?"
Zhao Layue smiled sweetly, revealing a pair of shallow dimples on her cheeks.
"I have just said that…I want to inherit the sword of Shenmo Peak."
There was a moment of silence, and many people were shocked, thinking they had heard it wrong.
Countless gazes fell on Zhao Layue.
Nobody had guessed it…that she refused the invitations of the Sect Master and Yuan Qijing, choosing the Shenmo Peak instead!
The Shenmo Peak was the ninth peak of Green Mountain.
The question was, how could she choose this peak?
The voice of the Peak Master of Qingrong arose again.
This time the voice wasn’t so clean and gentle, with a trace of coldness and seriousness.
"Do you know, that over the hundreds of years, nobody from Shenmo Peak has ever participated in the Inherited Sword Competition?"
"I know that, because the Senior Grandmaster Jing Yang had never taken any disciple," Zhao Layue replied calmly.
Over hundreds of years, the ninth peak of Green Mountain had only one person, and that was Jing Yang.
Jing Yang was single-heartedly seeking the path toward heaven, so he never thought about the inheritance.
The Green Mountain Sect was used to not having anything to do with Shenmo Peak at the Inherited Sword Competition.
"Since you knew, why do you still want to choose the ninth peak?"
"The ninth peak will have new inheritance in a few years’ time, but that will be something to be considered by your younger Brothers and Sisters," said the Peak Master of Qingrong with a vaguely aggressive voice.
Before his ascendance, nobody dared to say anything about Jing Yang, even though he didn’t take any disciple.
Now how can the Green Mountain Sect let Shenmo Peak be empty?
According to the rules of Green Mountain Sect, if nobody from a peak inherited the sword, then the inheritance of that peak was considered to be cut off, and the heritage would start over.
The question was, was Shenmo Peak with a new heritage still the Shenmo Peak she wanted to go to?
Zhao Layue kept silent for a long time while watching the cliffs.
The scenes in the past dozen years seemed to appear in the trickling water between the cracks inside the rock.
She was exceptionally intelligent at such a young age, having read over three thousand books when she was still young.
Then, she was prepared for Cultivation, and then after that, involved in Cultivation.
Cultivation was a very hard task, austere and boring, which was compounded by both the physical and mental pains.
She was an aristocratic girl back in Zhaoge City, but she could endure hardship and suffering even more than those snow demons in the Ice-Snow Kingdom.
After coming to Green Mountain, her diligence was beyond words; using the words of Master Meng, "She works so hard, so unlike a genius."
At a young age, she stayed in Sword Peak for three years, with matted hair and face, dust all over her body, for what?
She did all this to get the prerequisite to inherit a sword, and the qualification to choose freely.
"Why? Because I don’t want to go to a new peak," she said. "Because I want to continue the inheritance of Shenmo Peak."
"Why do you choose that peak?" asked the Peak Master of Qingrong after a period of silence.
"I am the chosen disciple for inheriting the sword by Senior Grandmaster Jing Yang," Zhao Layue said.
Sitting on the green rock and staring at the stream, Jing Jiu thought, "Oh, this is the truth."
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