Zhao Layue was really angry.
"I have thought of another new story. Or perhaps a continuation of the previous story. Do you want to hear it?" asked Jing Jiu abruptly.
Zhao Layue raised her eyebrows slightly. "Is it still about the old immortal?" she asked.
"Yes, when you were in a coma, the old immortal came again; he knew you were looking for a sword, so he told me," said Jing Jiu.
So many secrets, one after another. "Do you know where the sword is?"she asked nervously.
"He said…the sword has been in your hands all the time," said Jing Jiu with a smile, looking at her.
Zhao Layue didn’t quite catch what he had just said. Then she looked at her own hands, suddenly noticing the sword bracelet on her wrist.
Was this what he was talking about?
Her mind raced. The sword bracelet rose silently, turning into a white sword rope, dancing in the air.
Jing Jiu lifted his hand.
Watching him quietly, Zhao Layue handed over the sword rope.
Jing Jiu held the sword hilt tightly with his left hand and the sword rope with his right , sliding downward slowly.
Pop!!! Pop!!! Pop!!!
Along with the frequent popping sounds, there appeared a patch of silvery sparks between his hand and the sword rope.
The silver layer broke off, falling like the twinkling stars, and the surface of the sword rope peeled off, like a snake peeling its skin, showing its true form inside.
This sword was crimson red, like coral, or fresh blood.
"So beautiful…is this the Thoughtless Sword?" murmured Zhao Layue, staring at the sword.
"Yes, this is the Thoughtless Sword," said Jing Jiu.
Jing Jiu offered the sword to Zhao Layue.
After a long silence, Zhao Layue still hadn’t taken it.
"You found this sword, so it belongs to you."
The Thoughtless Sword wasn’t just a sword, it represented the inheritance of Shenmo Peak and the mantle of Jing Yang.
Zhao Layue was too proud to accept this gift. "Are you the offspring of Senior Grandmaster? Or are you the true disciple of Senior Grandmaster?" she asked, looking at Jing Jiu.
"From certain perspective, these two statements both make some sense," said Jing Jiu after thinking for a moment.
"Well, the sword should belong to you," said Zhao Layue.
"As you said, he chose you as the inheriting disciple of Shenmo Peak," said Jing Jiu.
"I have never met Senior Grandmaster. I only know that he met my mother when he passed by Zhaoge City. At the time, he designated me, an unborn baby, as the inheriting disciple, and the Green Mountain Sect sent various masters to protect me. So before my birth, I was not destined to be an ordinary noblewoman. I don’t have to be married off for familial interests, or worry about those boring poetry meetings and being chosen by the Imperial Court for their harem. My life is blessed.
"Senior Grandmaster offered me all these good things," continued Zhao Layue, "and the resentment that came with it… but I have never met him, and I haven’t discovered the secret of this sword. I don’t have the ability to climb up Shenmo Peak. So how am I qualified to be his true disciple?"
"Maybe he didn’t think that way," Jing Jiu said.
Zhao Layue lifted her head, looking at him.
"Your ability and your intention are not so important, for his intention was very clear. You have been wearing this bracelet since your birth. That means he intended to let you inherit Shenmo Peak from the very beginning. Otherwise, why would he leave the Thoughtless Sword by your side?" said Jing Jiu.
There was a long period of silence. Zhao Layue shot the occasional glance at Jing Jiu. Wordless, Zhao Layue walked to the sword table at the deep end of the manor cave and inserted the Thoughtless Sword inside solemnly.
The long night was finally over. A glint of morning light illuminated the top of the peak, but it was still dark at the foot of the mountain.
The people at the foot of the peak had mostly dispersed. Some of the visiting guests stayed, including the high-ranking monk from the Fruit Formation Temple and two princes from Zhaoge City; the young girl of the Hanging-Bell Sect tried her best to stay awake. Of course, Guo Nanshan, Lin Wuzhi, Gu Han and the disciples of nine peaks had to wait till the end.
They hadn’t had much confidence in their ability to successfully reach the peak top. In one night, their last hopes had been dashed. But they didn’t understand why the Sect Master hadn’t come to their rescue. Were they alright? Did they encounter any danger?
Suddenly, a strong wind rose up in Shenmo Peak.
The strong wind whistled, rocking the trees back and forth all over the mountain. The thick layer of scattered leaves beneath the trees flew up along with the wind, dancing madly in the air. It was a scene resplendent with grandeur.
Guo Nanshan was a bit startled. How could the sound in Shenmo Peak be heard now?
Before he could give it much thought, there was another dramatic change.
The fallen leaves rose up with the wind, reaching the top of Shenmo Peak, near the cliff face illuminated by the morning light.
Abruptly, the morning light seemed to ignite the fallen leaves, leaving a strong fire burning among the cliffs, inaudible but frantic.
It was not a real fire. It emitted limitless bright light, but without any heat.
The cliffs and forests of Shenmo Peak were illuminated, as if the day had arrived.
This wasn’t the end of it. The cliffs and forests even started glowing by themselves, radiating countless beams of light.
People could see clearly the regions blocked off by the Sword Formation; Shenmo Peak was like a huge glass orb, cracked but not broken, with many facets inside reflecting the spectacular light rays.
The light beams were getting denser and brighter, the divided lines more invisible, until a soft clatter rang out between heaven and earth.
Like the fire, this sound wasn’t real either, but it resonated clearly in everyone’s heart.
Regardless of the Awareness of Sword or Daoist Heart or Ocean Awareness, this sound could be heard.
This was the Sound of Sword.
This was the breaking sound of a silver vase.
This was the sound of pearls dropping onto the jade plate.
It was enormously crisp.
The cool wind blew gently, and morning light gradually spread.
The wild fire among the cliffs disappeared, the Sound of Sword dissipating into nothingness as well.
Shenmo Peak stood under the sky and heaven, still looking taciturn and solemn.
The mountain was still the same, like nothing had happened.
Yet everybody knew the mountain was now different from before.
The Prohibited Sword Formation was over; Shenmo Peak had come back to life.
The inheritance of the ninth peak of Green Mountain had been passed on.
Watching the peak under the morning light, Guo Nanshan remained silent. Lin Wuzhi showed joyous surprise, and Gu Han felt lost and speechless.
The young girl from the Hanging-Bell Sect rubbed her aching eyes. "What has happened?" she asked.
"Congratulations Senior Master. The inheritance continues," said the Elder of Shiyue, in charge of the Inherited Sword Competition, the sentiment showing in his voice.
The heartrending voice was sent by the Peak Master of Qingrong from a distance.
"I never thought I’d see this mountain so soon."
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