143 The Green Mountain Is Like a Chess Board
In the Cultivation circle, the practitioners usually took disciples only after they were old.
This was the same as the emperor's unwillingness to have more children, which had its deep meaning.
It was really rare for someone as young as Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue to take disciples.
"Young Senior Masters!"
"Yao Songshan greets two senior masters."
At the moment, Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue were walking on a mountain path.
The path was enshrouded by fog. It seemed that the disciples of the Green Mountain Sect had appeared suddenly by the path, as here was a mountain.
These mountains were located on the west side of Zhaoge City, where there were many elegant courtyards built by the imperial court for the Cultivation practitioners to reside in. It was called the "West Mountain Residence".
The disciples of the Green Mountain bowed to Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue in tandem, but their gazes on Jing Jiu were a bit complicated.
They all learned that the Emperor was to come to observe the chess tournament, so they felt nervous to some extent.
They were also worried that Jing Jiu would get nervous.
Jing Jiu's relationship with other disciples wasn't so good. After the conflict with Gu Han by the Sword-Washing Stream a few years ago, his relationship with Liangwang Peak had worsened; but Liangwang Peak was the most desired place for these young disciples.
It was only natural that his not-so-good relationship with other disciples would worsen after he severely injured Gu Han and broke Guo Nanshan's sword at the Sword Trial of Green Mountain.
It wasn't because of their respect for Jing Jiu that the disciples of the Green Mountain were worried about him, rather, it was a natural reaction for when they faced external foes.
More importantly, the person Jing Jiu challenged was Tong Yan.
As the two most powerful orthodox Cultivation sects, any competition or any type of competition between the Green Mountain Sect and the Center Sect was very crucial, so there was no need to motivate these disciples to get interested in the competition.
The disciples of the Green Mountain hoped that Jing Jiu could advance a little further in the chess tournament, at least so that he could encounter Tong Yan; otherwise it would be a disgrace for their sect.
Following the path made of green stone slabs, Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue arrived at the deep end of a courtyard and entered a room. The young girl from Qingrong Peak, who led them there, left silently; but she couldn't help but peer at Jing Jiu a few more times as she closed the door behind her.
A few wafts of light smoke rose from the incense stove, giving out a special scent; it wasn't the same as the meditating incense commonly used by the Cultivation practitioners. This incense smoke exuded a faint fruit scent, and also the scent of a salty ocean breeze could be sensed if one inhaled it deeply.
Jing Jiu knew that this was the precious High-Ground Incense from the barbaric southern lands. She sent many of them to Shengmo Peak back then.
The person sending the incenses was the woman in front of him at the moment, the peak master of Qingrong, Nan Wang.
It was very quiet in the room. No one had spoken.
Nan Wang gazed at Jing Jiu for a long time; it seemed as if she intended to discover something on his face.
Jing Jiu didn't avoid her gaze, and he stared calmly back at her, without any uneasiness showing in his expression.
Many years had passed, and the former naïve and wild young girl had become an important figure with a gentle bearing.
It seemed that this kind of sentiment had already occurred before?!
As he was mulling it over, Nan Wang spoke.
"You have to win."
Her tone sounded very light, but it was actually quite heavy.
It was because what she had just said wasn't an encouragement or cheer-on, but a demand.
Nan Wang stood up and walked to the window, looking at somewhere outside, and then she sneered, "Someone wants to contend with us, so you must inflict a deadly blow to them. Can you do it?"
Zhao Layue shot a glance at Jing Jiu.
Nan Wang's attitude was quite stout, so Zhao Layue didn't know how Jing Jiu would respond.
"Okay," said Jing Jiu, with a very calm tone.
He knew that something had happened.
Based on its profound resources and reputation, the Green Mountain Sect had no need to suddenly pay more attention to the chess tournament of the Plum Meeting simply because the Emperor was about to observe it.
A subject would be discussed at every Plum Meeting, which was how the quotas for the natural resources would be distributed among the various Cultivation sects in the next few years.
These quotas were usually decided in advance, before the Plum Meeting took place; but for some reason, the West Ocean Sword Sect suddenly raised a different opinion on the quota arrangement.
This was a significant event, and exceedingly complicated, which was similar to the saying "stirring the whole body by pulling on a single hair".
The different opinion the West Ocean Sword Sect raised about a certain resource distribution had resulted in…a minor fallout between the Green Mountain Sect and the Center Sect regarding the crystal distribution.
The dispute was truly petty. The amount of crystals was really insignificant for these two leading sects in the Cultivation world.
However, the distribution was regarded as a symbol of honor or power, as a result, no Cultivation sect would give up the favorable distribution so easily, especially these two major sects.
How would this kind of dispute be settled? According to the previous cases, it had been settled by the outcome of the last event at the Plum Meeting, the Cultivation tournament.
However, for this year…the settlement was changed to the outcome of the chess tournament.
The Center Sect had no reason to reject the proposal.
Usually there was no way for the Green Mountain Sect to accept this proposal.
The special circumstance was that this year the Emperor promised to come to the chess tournament arena to observe the games in person, and with a few state dukes egging on accordingly, the matter had somehow been decided this way.
It was needless to say that these state dukes had been on good terms with the Center Sect for many years.
Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue left the West Mountain Residence and walked along the mountain path into the fog.
"Why?" Zhao Layue asked.
She referred to his acceptance of Nan Wang's demand so calmly.
Jing Jiu said, "It's the 'cause and effect' in the Zen words; and it's the 'returning the Dao Heart to peace' in our words."
How could the Dao Heart become truly peaceful?
How could the thoughtless be achieved?
Jing Jiu was quite familiar with the way Nan Wang stood by the window, and her slightly trembling sleeves.
As a practitioner in the Broken Sea State was emotionally so agitated, it had to be that she was really angry.
She failed to convince those state dukes during their arguments, and such a ridiculous proposal had actually been passed in the end.
Jing Jiu knew why the outcome was like this.
Many years ago, Nan Wang couldn't speak so well in any official setting, and she wasn't good at arguing with others. Though she got better at it later on, she would stutter a little when she got agitated; as a result she simply gave up talking completely.
If she did not speak at all, there was no way that she could convince her counterparts.
This familiarity was his connection with this world, just like his connection with Zhao Layue and Shisui; they were all his "cause and effect".
They were walking on a mountain path that was enshrouded in fog, and gradually it became brighter in front. After a gust of gentle wind had passed by, the fog dispersed and all the objects and sceneries were visible again.
Under the bright spring sunshine, the green colored mountains appeared spectacular. Numerous pavilions were situated by the cliff-side, in the forest, and in front of the waterfalls.
The pavilions in the mountains were so abundant that it was impossible to count them all in a short time.
Some pavilions were built with large beams and posts, looking grand, and some pavilions were quite simple, made of tree branches and hay.
The various pavilions that spread across the green mountain looked like the chess pieces that were spread upon a…
"You two also think it's like a chess board, right? I've just learned that this mountain is actually called the 'Chess Board Mountain'."
A clean and appealing voice rang out.
Many Cultivation practitioners had arrived in the Chess Board Mountain.
The young disciples who were to participate in the chess tournament didn't talk to anybody from other sects like their masters and colleagues were doing; rather, they were in different locations on the mountain.
They were either meditating with eyes closed, or playing the recorded games, getting ready for the tournament.
The young girl who had come all the way here in the expectance of watching a few exciting events unfold had become fairly bored instead; she came to their side hurriedly as soon as she saw Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue.
After greeting the big sister of the Hanging-Bell Sect, Zhao Layue asked Se Se, "Didn't you say you don't like playing chess?"
"I like watching the crowd; and besides, he's going to take part in it," said Se Se while pointing to Jing Jiu.
Se Se didn't go to the zither tournament. It was her first time to appear at the Plum Meeting that day.
As the daughter of the Hanging-Bell Sect Master and the most favored granddaughter of the Old Grandmaster, Se Se had naturally attracted many gazes.
At the moment, those gazes followed Se Se's finger, after her swift arrival from the sky, onto Jing Jiu.
Some people had seen Jing Jiu during the zither tournament at the Plum Meeting, and some didn't see him so clearly due to the long distance; but anyone could recognize him because of his special face.
Se Se sensed the gazes focusing on her from all directions, feeling a bit troubled, and she said to Zhao Layue with a sympathetic tone, "Now I understand why you two are carrying the conical hats on your backs all the time."