The riddle that had plagued so many people for so long had finally been solved.
The solution was not out of the ordinary, but it in fact did possess a hidden meaning.
There was a long period of silence on the cliffs, as people were left speechless because of the shocking revelation.
It was finally the Peak Master of Qingrong who broke the silence, asking with her clean and cold voice, "He had already ascended; from whom are you going to learn sword work? The Thoughtless Sword has gone with him, so what sword are you going to inherit?"
The visiting guests noticed that the Peak Master of Qingrong didn’t use a respectful title when mentioning the Immortal Jing Yang, calling him "he" instead of Senior Master; but neither the Sect Master nor Yuan Qijing said anything, as it seemed normal for them.
"According to the traditional rule of Green Mountain, if I can climb up the Shenmo Peak and get the Thoughtless Sword, the inheritance is mine," said Zhao Layue.
As long as she could inherit the sword, the inheritance of the ninth peak would be able to continue, as for learning the sword work, that wasn’t on her mind at the moment
The cold voice of Yuan Qijing boomed in the cliffs.
"The Shenmo Peak has been closed off. Should the Green Mountain Formation o a new Sword Path, a road will be ready for you. If you want to inherit the sword of Shenmo Peak, the Green Mountain Formation cannot aid you; climbing up the ninth peak is exceedingly dangerous for your senior masters of the Free Travel State who will merely have one out of ten chances to survive, let alone for a disciple like you with only the State of Inherited Will, and yet you would persist?"
"Since I’m determined to inherit the Senior Grandmaster’s sword, why could I be afraid of death?" answered Zhao Layue.
The sword of Shenmo Peak was named the Thoughtless Sword, and it used the Nine Deaths sword style.
It meant one didn’t regret dying nine times.
"Good, good, good," said Yuan Qijing after a period of silence.
As he spoke those three words, he was emotionless; nobody could tell whether he was praising Zhao Layue’s courage or if he simply had nothing to say.
"Oh…you are the chosen disciple of the Senior Master. You have such courage at such a young age, and I’m sure you are not going to disappoint him. So I approve your choice."
The words spoken by the Sect Master were full of sentiments and remembrance, and also satisfaction.
"If you fail to inherit the sword within three years and are lucky enough to survive, you will only be allowed to practice on your own by the stream, do you understand?" Yuan Qijing spoke with the same cold and indifferent voice.
This punishment sounded normal, but it was actually very severe.
Within three years, she could not have contact with any magic sword instructions, and without any master to advise her, even though Zhao Layue was born with natural Dao quality, the Cultivation would be very difficult, and her progress would be much slower than those of her peers who successfully inherited swords. If you fell behind in Cultivation, you would lag behind more and more as time went by; who would want to bear such a heavy burden?
Many visiting guests felt sympathy for her, which showed in their faces, and many disciples of the Green Mountain Sect wanted to plead on behalf of Zhao Layue.
As the head of Sword Justice at the Green Mountain Sect, what Yuan Qijing said was the most authoritative interpretation of the rules, and not even the Sect Master couldn’t easily veto his decision.
Guo Nanshan walked to the cliff’s edge, bowing to the senior masters above, suggesting, "Is Sister Zhao allowed to come to Liangwang Peak?"
People understood what he meant, thinking he was intelligent and had quick wit as the principal disciple of the Green Mountain Sect.
"I think it’s a good idea," said the Peak Master of Qingrong.
Yuan Qijing remained reticent.
Everybody felt a bit more relaxed.
One could learn all the styles on Liangwang Peak.
As for what Yuan Qijing said about Zhao Layue being unable to inherit the sword…since Gu Qing had already secretly learned the Six Dragon Sword style of Shiyue Peak during his sword washing period, was there anything to worry about?
Besides the visiting guests from the Fruit Formation Temple, Water-Moon Nunnery, and Hanging-Bell Sect, among others, there were two guests with special identities—two princes from Zhaoge City.
In the mortal world, they were powerful and had a very high social status, but in a place of Cultivation like the Green Mountain Sect, an outside world, they had to keep a low profile.
From the very beginning, these two princes remained quiet, expressing a reserved smile.
Yet, for some unknown reasons, they suddenly stood up to praise both the decision made by the Green Mountain Sect and Zhao Layue for her courage.
No one understood why these two princes done this.
It was reasonable for them to think the way the Green Mountain Sect treated Zhao Layue was insincere, and even if they didn’t point it out in public, at the very least, they shouldn’t praise it.
Zhao Layue walked back to the green rock and sat down.
Since the Inherited Sword Competition began, she hadn’t sat down once, having been standing all this time.
Her expression was basically the same as before; but Jing Jiu noticed her sideburns were slightly wet, and thought she had gone through some emotional struggle.
"You really want to go to that mountain peak," asked Jing Jiu.
Zhao Layue didn’t answer.
Afterwards, Liangwang Peak took Gu Qing as their disciple, and the rest went to their destinations.
The Elder of Shiyue Peak, in charge of the competition, looked at Jing Jiu, asking, "Have you made up your mind?"
Many people now remembered that this youth in white, who had shocked the whole audience, hadn’t made his choice yet.
Zhao Layue’s shocking choice made them forget.
They didn’t expect another new shock would come.
"I have made up my mind," Jing Jiu said. "I choose Shenmo Peak as well."
The people on the cliffs turned silent for a little while, and soon there was an uproar.
Xue Yong’e turned speechless, gasping.
Sister Yushan stared at Jing Jiu with her hands holding her chin, falling almost senseless.
Zhao Layue was startled a bit, and as she looked at his face, thought it was harder and harder to understand this guy.
Jing Jiu had actually chosen the Shenmo Peak?
People were incredibly shocked, wondering what was going on.
Dusk fell over on earth, the sunset glowed on Shenmo Peak, and the clouds were exceedingly thin, barely visible. The forest, objects and sceneries in the mountain could be seen clearly, including a few mountain paths leading to the top of the peak. Though it was dangerous to cross the cracked cliffs, it was not so difficult for the practitioners to overcome.
However, these were merely phenomena.
After the Immortal Jing Yang ascended, the Shenmo Peak had been sealed off. Unless the Green Mountain Formation was activated to create a new sword heritage, it was impossible to break the sealing, and even more impossible for anybody to enter.
If Zhao Layue came to Shenmo Peak to inherit the sword, her chances of success were nearly zero.
"If you two can climb up atop the peak and find the Thoughtless Sword, we will recognize you two as the real inheriting swords of the Immortal Jing Yang," said the Elder of Shiyue.
Zhao Layue nodded.
"Young Sister Zhao, if it’s too hard to keep going, then come back down; you don’t need to feel too bad about it," said Guo Nanshan.
"No need to show your gutsy character. Make sure to be careful," said Gu Han, looking at her.
Zhao Layue said to Guo Nanshan, "Brother, thanks for what you have just said, but even if I failed, I wouldn’t consider going to Liangwang Peak, sorry."
What Guo Nanshan said was intended to offer a back-up plan for Zhao Layue, which got approval from the Sect Master. As for the danger…supervised by the Sect Master and many highly advanced masters, no matter how terrifying the closure set up by Senior Grandmaster Jing Yang was, it was believed that Zhao Layue would have some chance of survival there.
"In fact…it might be possible for you to die there," said Jing Jiu in a caring manner, while lifting his head to look at the green peak standing quietly under the sunset.
The Shenmo Peak was too quiet, the objects and sceneries too clear, no sounds coming from either the rugged cliffs or dense forests, as if everything there were fake.
Such quietness often meant the real danger lurking.
"I have to go up there to have a look, but you…" Zhao Layue glanced at him once before she continued. "Since it’s so dangerous, you actually don’t need to come with me."
"You think too much. I’m just curious about what they have up there; it’s easier to have someone walking in front," Jing Jiu said.
Zhao Layue wasn’t in the mood to figure out whether what he said was genuine or not, saying, "Then you must follow me closely."
"Jing Jiu, be…be…careful," said Elder Me nervously, rubbing his hands.
Jing Jiu nodded and looked off to the side.
Liu Shisui was standing there, looking worried. When Jing Jiu turned around to gaze at him, he flattened his face right away, looking really cute.
Jing Jiu returned around and marched to the foot of Shenmo Peak with Zhao Layue.
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