Over one hundred people were standing in front of the Shenmo Peak.
The regular sword washing disciples, including Xue Yong’e and Sister Yushan, went back to the banks of the stream, waiting nervously for the news, probably without getting even a wink of sleep.
The visiting guests all stayed after the competition, either out of courtesy or out of curiosity.
The two princes from Zhaoge City couldn’t conceal their worrisome expression while peering down the two figures at the foot of the mountain peak.
The young girl of the Hanging-Bell Sect said with wide eyes, "This is getting interesting."
The young girls of the Water-Moon Nunnery and Qingrong Peak were standing together, discussing something and glancing down the peak.
The distance between Qingrong Peak and Shenmo Peak was the closest, with a huge sedan in the clouds between cliffs experiencing intermittent visibility.
Not as many people were present in front of the Shenmo Peak, but this Inherited Sword Competition had attracted more people from the nine peaks than any other year in recent history.
Watching the two figures marching in front of the Shenmo Peak, Gu Han’s expression was very gloomy, even more so than when Gu Qing was smacked by Jing Jiu.
Earlier, Zhao Layue didn’t respond to his concern, not even looking at him once, but she was now walking with Jing Jiu shoulder to shoulder, talking everyone once in a while.
He wasn’t pleased with the scene that the youth was hanging about Young Sister like a stinky bug; why would Young Sister be involved with him?
Guo Nanshan patted his shoulder to console him.
Arriving at the foot of Shenmo Peak, the environment became quieter, creepier.
There was a tiny waterfall pouring off the cliff wall about a thousand yards away, though it did so soundlessly.
Night had already fallen, and though treetops were swung about by the slightly cold wind, no sound could be heard.
What was going on?
Standing in front of the peak, Zhao Layue understood the reason as she watched the creepy scene.
The Sword Formation cut Shenmo Peak off from heaven and earth, turning it into a truly sealed-off peak.
At the same time, the countless wills of swords emitted by the Sword Formation acted like a curtain, cutting the space in the peak into many regions.
The sound in the peak was sealed away in a small space, so it couldn’t be heard.
The current Shenmo Peak could be regarded as a gemstone with numerous cracks inside, resembling a whole piece that was in fact shattered.
As Yuan Qijing said, even those with the State of Free Travel, who could ride their swords traveling among the different lands freely, were unable to move a step forward in Shenmo Peak.
With her State of Inherited Will, how could Zhao Layue manage to reach the peak top?
Watching her back, Jing Jiu also wanted to know the answer.
He knew better than anybody else that she couldn’t do it.
The night wind scooped up a green leaf on the mountain path, sending it into the peak.
Quietly, that piece of green leaf was cut into a dozen smaller pieces, falling slowly to the ground.
That was why the forest grounds by the mountain path were covered by a layer of shredded leaves, forming a thick carpet of green and yellow leaves that looked absolutely beautiful.
The shredded leaves should be the result of the falling leaves being cut into pieces by the Sword Formation, accumulating over last three years. As for the original trees, waterfalls, and rugged rocks, as long as they were in the same spots and same shape, they were not subject to the attack by the Sword Formation, even if they moved slightly.
The people outside the peak were quite nervous when watching the scene.
Liu Shisui’s small face was a bit ashen as he his hands became tight fists. Gu Han’s eyes stared at Zhao Layue with a look of worry.
Zhao Layue stared at the mountain path in front of her for a long time, as if she wanted to reveal the secrets of Shenmo Peak.
There was a fracture between the green rocks, which was the dividing line for the inside and outside of Shenmo Peak.
Suddenly, she stepped over the line with her eyes closed.
A cleft appeared on her sleeve, as if cut by the sharpest sword.
After stepping over the dividing line, Zhao Layue took three steps left, still with her eyes closed, and strangely backed up two steps, shuffling slightly on her feet.
A corner of her sleeve fell off, but it didn’t make any sound since she had been in the peak.
"Ah! What is going on," the young girl of the Hanging-Bell Sect yelled surprisingly.
Yet, her senior masters and many others understood what was going on.
Since she couldn’t recognize where the wills of swords were with her eyes and ears, and couldn’t find out the rules of the Sword Formation, Zhao Layue chose to feel the Will of Sword with her own Awareness of Swords, keeping her eyes closed.
This was of course very risky.
Jing Jiu had moved as well.
His movements were slow and seemed somewhat awkward.
This was because he was following Zhao Layue’s movements.
He separated her movements, then put them together precisely.
He lifted his knee and stepped over the line on the green rock, turning left…one step, two steps, three steps…and then backed up...one step…two steps.
Jing Jiu made a few small changes while doing these movements, surviving two spots where Zhao Layue’s clothing was cut by the will of swords.
Zhao Layue and Jing Jiu disappeared from the mountain path.
Discussion started outside of Shenmo Peak after a long wait.
"It can be done this way," the young girl of the Hanging-Bell Sect said sentimentally.
Nobody knew whether she was praising Zhao Layue’s wisdom and courage or commenting on Jing Jiu’s boldness.
"Taking shortcuts is also a skill, and Brother Jing is really…" Lin Wuzhi said with a bitter smile.
"Shameless!" growled Gu Han.
Zhao Layue trekked forward on the mountain path of Shenmo Peak with her eyes closed, sometimes turning, sometimes backing up, sometimes jumping up, all at a slow pace.
She tried to leave the mountain path and to cut through the thick jungle by the cliff, but the wills of swords on the cliffs were even stronger, so the mountain path was easier to walk on.
Jing Jiu was on her heels all the time, moving when she moved, stopping when she stopped, following exactly the same moves, looking like her shadow; but he made some necessary minor adjustments to avoid being cut by the wills of swords like Zhao Layue had been.
Zhao Layue’s clothing had many tiny splits in it since it was difficult to use the Awareness of Sword to perceive the Will of Swords. The most dangerous incident occurred when the wills of swords came in contact with her cheek along with a fallen tree, cutting down a few strands of her black hair, but the damage wasn’t so visible since she had short hair.
Yet, the bloody cut on her earlobe was quite apparent.
"I’m tired," Jing Jiu said while watching forward.
Turning around, staring at him once, without any word, Zhao Layue sat down with legs crossed, starting to absorb the heavenly and earthly energy, recuperating.
The Sword Formation of Shenmo Peak could slice the space with the wills of swords, deflecting even the light, but the heavenly and earthly energy remained normal there.
After a long while, Zhao Layue opened her eyes, looking at the remote peak top, remaining silent.
However, even if she could use the heavenly and earthly energy to recover her own sword source and physical energy, when would they reach their destination walking this way?
Following and watching her walk among the wills of swords with eyes closed, Jing Jiu suddenly understood one thing.
Zhao Layue had been practicing the Tempered Will of the Sword on Sword Peak since she entered the inner sect.
Why did she practice such a dangerous Cultivation method? Merely as a way of not attracting other’s attention? NO! The reason was obvious now.
"Actually, you have been prepared for today."
Jing Jiu wasn’t a talkative person, unlike the Green Mountain Guards with a strong curiosity, but this was his third time to ask the same question.
Zhao Layue didn’t answer him, marching forward again.
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