At night, Liu Shisui lay in bed in a daze as he looked through the window at starry sky.
He hadn’t had insomnia for a long time. His peaceful life in the village had at last been disturbed when the messenger from the Mysterious Dark Sect appeared.
Having spent a year at home, he gradually understood why Jing Jiu didn’t speak very much and much preferred to spend his days lost in thought.
Because there were too many things on the mind.
After getting out the bed in the morning, he told his parents he had something to take care of, so he couldn’t go to the field for the time being.
Not long afterwards, there was a knock on the door.
After opening the courtyard door, Liu Shisui found an elder scholar standing outside, his blue colored robe washed a pale white, and his beard also white, radiating an aura that deserved reverence and respect.
Liu Shisui was rather surprised. "A different messenger?" he asked tentatively.
"Yes," the elder scholar replied.
"Which sect, please?" asked Liu Shisui.
"The One-Cottage Sect," the elder scholar answered.
Liu Shisui was startled, and then showed full respect toward the elder.
When it came to the orthodox Cultivation sects in Chaotian Land, in recent years the Western Ocean Sword Sect and the Windy Broadsword Sect had become quite popular and received a lot of attention. But in terms of resources and prestige, the strongest sects were the Center Sect, the Green Mountain Sect, the Fruit Formation Temple, and the One-Cottage Sect. Though all members of the One-Cottage Sect were scholars who kept a low profile, nobody dared doubt their true prowess.
"The person who came yesterday has watched you only for three days," said the elder scholar, "but I have watched you for three months. I’m certain that I like you, so here I am."
"I like the One-Cottage Sect as well," Liu Shisui said.
What Liu said was how he truly felt. In many people’s eyes, the One-Cottage Sect were a bunch of scholars who preferred talk to action. Yet during the years when the Snow Kingdom invaded the South and the Imperial Court was interrupted, the scholars of the One-Cottage Sect marched to the battlefield bravely one after another. More of them died for their country than the Green Mountain Sect and the Center Sect put together. So they deserved respect.
"Please sit down," said Liu Shisui, bringing over a chair.
"I heard the conversation between you and another person yesterday," said the elder scholar after sitting down.
A scholar of the One-Cottage Sect knew that a disciple of the Mysterious Dark Sect was nearby, but did nothing to purge him. This was quite suspicious.
From what he had just said, it seemed they knew each other.
Liu Shisui was startled, and thought of something. "What are you here for?" he asked after a period of silence.
"To take you with me, of course," the elder scholar replied.
"Go to the One-Cottage Sect?" asked Liu Shisui, staring into his eyes.
The elder scholar remained reticent for a while. "If you insist, we can also arrange it."
Liu Shisui understood what he meant. "I don’t want to join another sect."
"Now that you have already been expelled from the Green Mountain, it shouldn’t be an issue to join another sect," said the elder scholar. "Also…you really want to give up your Cultivation?!"
"If I want to recover my Cultivation, I have to continue practicing deviant methods," Liu Shisui said.
"The method is like a sword," said the elder scholar. "Whether you use it to kill a man or save a man is up to you. During the Sword Trial of Green Mountain, you used the fire of the Devil Pill and the secret method of the Bloody Demon Sect to defeat Jian Ruyun because you thought he was evil. When you use the magic methods of deviant sects for righteous causes, deviant methods become righteous methods."
What he said made sense. Not only that; the example he gave was exactly how Liu Shisui’s felt on the issue. But Liu Shisui still couldn’t agree to the idea.
"It was that very day when I found I wasn’t so sure I could hold onto the sword."
"In this case, I can’t pick up the sword again," said Liu Shisui.
The elder scholar understood what he meant. "You are so extraordinary. If you came directly to the One-Cottage Sect, we would be able to avoid all this trouble," he said, his voice full of sentiment.
Liu Shisui didn’t say a single word all night. And he couldn’t sleep either.
The next day he got up and pushed open the courtyard door.
A middle-aged man walked in. He didn’t acknowledge Liu Shisui, but peeked around the small courtyard with his hands behind his back, looking extremely conceited.
Of course he had the right to be conceited. He had a profound energy inside himself and displayed an exceptional aura.
Liu Shisui felt somewhat sleepy. "Another messenger?" he asked, yawning.
"I’m Wei Chenzi of Yuanying, from the Center Sect," said the middle-aged man.
Liu Shisui’s shock at hearing this roused him from his tiredness.
In the Cultivation system of Zhaoge, led by the Center Sect, Yuanying State was equal to the upper state of Free Travel in the Green Mountain system. So he was really a highly achieved swordsman.
Wei Chenzi glanced at Liu Shisui. "The Green Mountain Sect is indeed narrow-minded. It’s nothing to eat a Devil Pill for someone of your quality, and yet they have actually expelled you from the mountain gate."
Liu Shisui wanted to say "Don’t degrade my sect," but he chose to keep silent.
Wei Chenzi didn’t try to conceal his intentions. "As you said, you’re not sure if you can hold onto the sword. You fear the deviant method might harm you. It looks like you don’t have enough experience in this matter. If you come with me, I will teach you the method to help protect your Sword Source. Even if the method didn’t succeed, you could simply choose to kill yourself to end the suffering. As long as you have the courage to die, there is no way that you can’t overcome the problem!"
Liu Shisui was silent for a moment. "Who are you people?" he asked.
It was absolutely impossible for the Mysterious Dark Sect, the One-Cottage Sect, and the Center Sect to be present in this small village at the same time.
Since the Mysterious Dark was a famous heterodox sect and the middle-aged man was a swordsman of the Yuanying State, normally the middle-aged man would kill the disciple of the Mysterious Dark Sect, as it was his duty to purge evildoers. Instead, they seemed to have exchanged information.
It proved that they were on the same boat.
What kind of organization could get these achieved swordsmen of three different sects to work for them?
The door of the small courtyard was pushed open and in walked the elder scholar of the One-Cottage Sect and the gloomy disciple of the Mysterious Dark Sect.
"Have you heard of ‘the Old Ones’?"
They’ve finally come, thought Liu Shisui. "I didn’t expect…you three seniors sit down please," he murmured. "I’ll go fetch tea for you."
Having said that, he went into the kitchen and picked up the kitchen knife. Liu Shisui pressed the knife toward his own throat without hesitation.
A gust of gloomy wind came in the kitchen from the courtyard, knocking Liu Shisui into the kitchen wall. The knife dropped to the ground with a thud.
The disciple of the Mysterious Dark Sect sneered. "You acted fast," he said gloomily.
The elder scholar handed Liu Shisui a towel, motioning for him to wipe off the blood trickling from the corners of his mouth.
"The disciples of the Green Mountain have been taught by their masters to become closed-minded. Not everybody in the Old Ones is an evildoer," said Wei Chenzi.
Liu Shisui declined the towel offered by the elder scholar. He stood up by pushing against the wall, wiped off the blood with his sleeve and stared at Wei Chenzi. "No. You are all evildoers."
"There is no such thing as a good sword or a bad sword. The Old Ones are a sword, just like any other." The elder scholar looked at Liu Shisui and spoke gently. "You can use your sword to do worthy things, like killing the treacherous ministers and generals in Zhaoge. The more of them you kill, the better. The entire country would be grateful for your heroic act."
Liu Shisui shook his head. "I don’t believe any good person could join the Old Ones."
"Do you think everybody at the Green Mountain Sect is decent? If so, how could you end up like this? Our Center Sect has evildoers as well."
"The Old Ones are the same," said Wei Chenzi. "There are both decent people and evildoers. It’s up to you what kind of person you become."
Liu Shisui was silent for a while. "How can you prove what you have just said?" he asked.
The disciple of the Mysterious Dark Sect grew impatient after listening to the exchange. "If you don’t go with us, I will kill all the people in your village," he threatened, staring at Liu Shisui.
Liu Shisui looked at the elder scholar. "I don’t think he’s able to do anything even slightly good."
The elder scholar smiled slightly, saying nothing.
Wei Chenzi smacked the disciple of the Mysterious Dark Sect on the head with his palm.
The disciple’s head split open like a ripe watermelon. But unusually, no blood spilled out from his head.
A black vapor flew out of the disciple’s head. The vapor looked like a face, but it was blurry, full of dread and horror, doing its hardest to escape from the room.
At some point, the elder scholar had taken out a folding fan and opened it up. He waved the fan at the black vapor twice.
With a horrendous scream, the black vapor was set ablaze, and soon turned into a few streaks of smoke.
A moment later, the corpse of the disciple of the Mysterious Dark Sect also turned into smoke, vanishing without a trace.
It all happened so fast that Liu Shisui couldn’t quite figure out what was going on, and remained frozen to the spot.
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