The night of the downpour was the darkest of all nights. Not a hint of starlight could be seen in the all-encompassing darkness.
Jing Jiu stood silently atop Bihu Peak, his white clothes fluttering soundlessly in the night wind.
The top of Bihu Peak was different from all the other peaks. It was flat and large in size, and there was a lake in the middle, its waters a dark blue color.
"Bihu" means "blue lake". So the name of Bihu Peak came from the lake.
There was an island in the middle of the blue lake, and a palace stood on the island, looking cold and gloomy in the rainstorm.
The Peak Master of Bihu didn’t reside in the palace. Its occupant was someone else.
Looking silently at the palace, Jing Jiu was deep in thought.
The nine peaks of Green Mountain were well protected – because of this palace, Bihu Peak was even more so. There were sword formations everywhere.
Somehow, Jing Jiu could easily get to the top of the peak without alarming anybody. For him, it was as if the sword formations weren’t even there.
If he were a swordsman with the State of Broken Sea, maybe it would have been possible. But he was only a young disciple who had just entered the State of Inherited Will. How could he achieve these feats?
The Green Mountain Formation left a passage in the night sky directly above Bihu Peak, like an aperture.
The rain continued to fall from the night sky, which was brightened once in a while by countless flashes of lightning. As it struck the island in the blue lake, the lightning looked as if it were breaking the palace into pieces.
The white waves rose on the lake, pelted by dense rains, but the thunder and lightning disappeared without a sound, as if being swallowed by the palace. It was a strange sight to behold.
Looking at the island in the rainstorm, Jing Jiu seemed somewhat solemn.
From the small village to South Pine Pavilion, to Stream of Sword Washing, to Shenmo Peak, Jing Jiu could face anything and anybody with total calm.
Yet tonight was different.
He knew that palace was the secret place where the Green Mountain Sect kept the Soul Wood, which needed the thunder for its nourishment.
The palace wasn’t guarded by the disciples of the Green Mountain Sect because the White Ghost, one of the four principal guards of the Green Mountains…lived here.
The downpour was getting heavier, but the lightning was getting less frequent. Jing Jiu staggered into the blue lake.
In his current state, he could walk on the surface of the lake, but he chose not to do so.
In so doing, he was afraid he might be seen by the disciples of Bihu coming back from their sword riding excursion.
Yet, the most important reason was that he didn’t want to alarm his opponent in advance.
When he had fallen into the lake from the rivulet flowing out of the rock crack after coming back from his near death experience, he had learned an awkward but efficient way to move in the lake.
However, he didn’t have to hold a heavy stone this time.
He sank to the bottom of the lake like a stone, treading forward.
The lake became deeper and deeper, but his footsteps were steady as usual, making no noise, barely even disturbing the water around him.
The fish swam ceaselessly, disturbed by the rainstorm, but didn’t seem to notice his presence.
As time went by, he slowed, his expression becoming more and more serious.
He could clearly sense a powerful menace ahead, as if a divine being were waiting there.
The closer he was to the island, the more powerful that sense became.
The lake water was shallower when he got close to the island, and he could see the white flashes of the lightning from above once in a while.
He climbed onto the island. In the night sky above him was the passage opened by the Green Mountain Formation.
Here the rainstorm was heavier, the night was darker, and one could experience the lightning’s dreadful power at close range.
The threat wasn’t from the sky.
Jing Jiu was one with the storm.
He watched the palace silently from nearby.
This was the residence of the peak guards, and the disciples of Bihu Peak were prohibited from trespassing, so there were many wild animals living on the island.
Some kind of sound could be heard even in the rainstorm. Dim green glints appeared in the trees.
Jing Jiu knew those were not the eyes of mountain ghosts, but of wild cats.
The wild cats were busy licking their soaked fur to no avail, and didn’t notice his approach.
Looking at the palace in the rain, he took one step forward.
He just wanted to make sure he didn’t make any noise while doing so.
He held his breath, taking a step between two heart beats.
But a gaze fell on him.
How could he be discovered so soon?
It looked like he would be at a disadvantage in these negotiations.
That was what Jing Jiu thought as he looked in that direction.
At that moment, a loud boom sounded from the night sky.
A very broad flash of lightning struck down, illuminating the whole palace.
There was a window in a corner.
There was a white cat lying on the window sill.
His fur was wet even though the rain couldn’t reach him there.
The wet long fur on the white cat formed many unsightly tresses.
If you looked at them for an extended period of time, the matted fur began to look like daggers.
The white cat narrowed his eyes, looking quite lazy and harmless.
However, his pupils exuded an extremely alluring glow, like the most unreal dream or a bottomless abyss. inviting people to fall in.
If any regular disciple saw that pair of the devilish cat pupils, they would be scared senseless.
Yet Jing Jiu wasn’t scared, but remained alert.
On the top of Sword Peak, Zhuo Yi, a swordsman of the Undefeated State, couldn’t sense his presence, so he could sneak up on him and kill him.
Yet this white cat had discovered him with great ease.
"Long time no see," said Jing Jiu, staring at the white cat.
Amid the rainstorm and occasional thunders, his low voice could be drowned, but he knew his opponent could hear him.
The white cat narrowed his eyes, cocking his head and adjusting his posture to make himself more comfortable. Jing Jiu’s greeting didn’t seem to register with him.
"Whom did Lei Poyun give that Thunder-Soul Wood to?" asked Jing Jiu.
The white cat yawned soundlessly. He looked particularly lazy, even for a cat.
Jing Jiu knew this was merely a disguise, and his opponent was ready to attack at any moment.
At his current state of cultivation, he wasn’t a match for this white cat. He wouldn’t even have the chance to counterattack.
Every once in a while, the lightning illuminated the palace.
Danger was within spitting distance.
Heavy raindrops fell in front of him.
Jing Jiu gazed across the waterfall-like rain at the white cat on the window sill. "It seems you are not surprised to me, so you have known it for a long time. It makes sense. You are the most sensitive and alert of the four of you. The other three may not discover it, but it’s impossible for you not to find out such an important thing."
The white cat turned his head slowly, gazing at Jing Jiu.
"I have already found the answer, and I came here tonight just to confirm it with you," said Jing Jiu. "I’ll admit I really didn’t want to give up so easily."
"Four years ago, when you witnessed my accident, did you ever think that I might not have died?" asked Jing Jiu. "How about I use your bones to sharpen the swords?"
Staring at him, the white cat erected his tail, exploding out in all directions like autumn reeds spreading out in a swamp, looking beautiful and hideous at the same time.
The thunder and lightning intensified in the night sky. The rainstorm was getting heavier. In heaven and on earth, chaos was spreading.
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