"He is Gu Yuanyuan. His father is a general in the North Army. For some reason he was snatched forcefully by the Windy-Broadsword Sect a few years ago. The event was quite a sensation back then."
Big Sister Cui said in a hushed voice, "It's said that the Broadsword King likes his chess playing ability and wants him to participate in the Plum Meeting to earn some reputation for the Windy-Broadsword Sect."
As Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue had finally heard of the name of the Windy-Broadsword Sect, they got quite interested in the whole thing even though they felt a bit surprised.
The young man, named Gu Yuanyuan, had an obvious arrogant expression on his face. His personality was totally different from the conservative representative sent by their sect to observe the Inherited Sword Competition at the Green Mountain Sect a few years ago.
It looked like that Queniang of the Mirror Sect, Shang Jiulou of the One-Cottage House, and Gu Yuanyuan of the Windy-Broadsword Sect were the favorite contestants for the chess tournament of the Plum Meeting this year.
In many people's eyes, their chess playing skills were much better than those so-called national level chess players, and they may have possessed the capability of threatening Tong Yan.
It was understandable that the Cultivation practitioners in the chess tournament were unwilling to play with these strong contestants at beginning of the tournament; as such this part of the forest appeared abandoned.
What the scholar of the One-Cottage House and Gu Yuanyuan had said made Se Se furious. "What kind of people are they?!" she exclaimed angrily.
Thinking of Tong Yan outside the old plum garden the other day, Zhao Layue explained, "The chess players have a different mind from others."
What she meant was that the chess players were mostly concerned with wins and losses, so that their way of thinking was different from the regular Cultivation practitioners; but what she said could be easily misunderstood by others as to suggest something else.
Se Se's eyes lit up, thinking that this older sister was indeed a peak master of the Green Mountain, and her words were so overwhelming.
Having heard the remark, Shang Jiulou, Gu Yuanyuan and other Cultivation practitioners a little further away were all upset, even Queniang of the Mirror Sect couldn't help but smile bitterly a few times. Yet what could they do about it?
Jing Jiu didn't say anything, and he didn't linger in that part of the forest either. He kept on walking forward.
Seeing this scene, some Cultivation practitioners shook their heads to express their disappointment, but the hint of mockery on Gu Yuanyuan's face grew even more apparent.
Finally, they arrived at a spot in the mountain, fully covered by green trees. Yet the trees were not so dense that the sunlight was blocked completely; so, these trees could shield them from the hot sun and at the same time let in some sunlight. A brook was meandering through, by which the green grass grew robustly. The scenery was amazing here.
Jing Jiu stopped short, and said, "The brook water is very clean. Let's stay here."
Looking around, Se Se didn't see any pavilion nearby, so she felt bewildered, wondering that as he wasn't here to pick a place for spring outing, then which pavilion was he to go to?
Looking at the green grass by the brook, Zhao Layue wondered, did he really come here to sunbathe and sleep?
Jing Jiu said to Big Sister Cui, though he didn't pay close attention to what she told him, and he didn't really care about those achieved contestants in the chess tournament.
Big Sister Cui gave a gentle smile.
Se Se wasn't so sure about it, asking, "Have you remembered all these?"
"Yes, I remembered them all," Jing Jiu replied.
Zhao Layue thought to herself, that he was indeed good at deceiving young girls.
"There is another more skilled one."
Se Se said with a serious tone, "But I haven't seen him yet. I will let you know when I see him later."
As time passed by, more and more people came to the mountain. Though nobody talked loudly, it had still grown noisy gradually.
Many people noticed that the Green Mountain Sect hadn't shown up here.
In the West Mountain Residence.
Yao Songshan asked hesitantly, "Senior Master, though we have seldom participated in the four tournaments of zither, chess, calligraphy, and painting in the past, the young senior master is participating in the chess tournament today, isn't he?"
The disciples of the Green Mountain were all standing in the courtyard, waiting for Nan Wang's order.
"I don't know anything about the chess playing, but I know we cannot help him with his chess playing; so, your presence can do nothing but disturb his concentration," said Nan Wang.
Having heard this, the disciples of the Green Mountain felt a bit bewildered, thinking that they could at least go there to take a look, even though what she said was true.
They knew full well that the outcome of the chess tournament that day wasn't merely related to the reputation of Jing Jiu or Shengmo Peak, but the reputation of the entire Green Mountain Sect.
"I know what is on your mind. You can go when Jing Jiu reaches the final game."
Nan Wang walked onto the stone steps and commented while looking at the distant mountains, "If he loses at beginning…why would we go there to be humiliated?"
The disciples felt even more bewildered, thinking that the senior master really believed Jing Jiu could beat all those highly achieved Go players to reach Tong Yan in the end.
Nan Wang knew what these disciples were thinking, and asked, "Impossible? Before he defeated Gu Han and broke Guo Nanshan's sword, had you ever thought those deeds were possible?"
Her remark shocked these disciples slightly, but they thought it was indeed the case. Somehow, they had generated a kind of indescribable confidence in Jing Jiu.
A slight commotion occurred in the Chess Board Mountain and the discussion broke out. The countless gazes were fixated on a spot.
Upon seeing the young woman on the mountain path, Gu Yuanyuan immediately changed his former carefree bearing and became extremely nervous, mumbling to himself.
"Why did Young Sister Dong'er come here? Will she actually enter the pavilion to play?"
The reason Gu Yuanyuan was so nervous was because he hoped she would participate in the chess tournament of the Plum Meeting, so he could have more chances to meet her, but he didn't wish to defeat her himself to hurt her feelings.
That young woman was the winner of the zither tournament of this Plum Meeting, hailing from the Water-Moon Nunnery, Guo Dong.
Jing Jiu looked at the water while standing by the brook, and he turned around after having heard the name in the discussions.
As rumored, Guo Dong's appearance was quite common, and her eye expression wasn't special either; only did her plump nose attract some attention.
Yet for some reason, Jing Jiu looked at this common-looking young woman for a long time, and he did so very seriously.
Zhao Layue looked in that direction as well. Then she recalled the sound of the zither she and Jing Jiu heard on the mountain behind the Plum Garden the other day.
A commotion had occurred again in front of the Chess Board Mountain, and the voices of discussion grew even louder. It was because the people of the Center Sect had arrived.
The mountain wind ruffled the white veil, revealing a beautiful face behind it, which appeared even more attractive. Many people seemed to smell a fragrant scent even though there was none.
Crowded by her colleagues, the young woman ambled on the mountain path; her body and bearing appeared fairly weak and feeble, like the slow rising of smoke.
Seeing the scene, Se Se snorted, but she didn't say anything.
She was the daughter of the Hanging-Bell Sect Master and Bai Zao was the daughter of the Center Sect Master. If somebody saw her unhappy to see Bai Zao, some sort of confrontation could have happened.
Though Se Se was young, she knew how to behave in such a setting.
Luo Huainan still didn't come.
The fog was slightly stirred as two figures had appeared. Tong Yan and Xiang Wanshu walked along the mountain path at the same time.
As the main role of the chess tournament of the Plum Meeting, it was expected for him to arrive last.
Numerous greetings rang out in tandem.
Different from the treatment Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue encountered earlier, all the people greeted Tong Yan in courtesy regardless of the relationship their sects had with the Center Sect.
They paid respect to his person, not his sect.
Tong Yan's chess playing skill was beyond description. He had not been beaten for many years. And the fact that he had defeated many high-level Go players of Zhaoge City in a row a few days ago had again proven his unparalleled position in Go playing. More importantly, he used Go to understand Dao, and in turn used Dao to improve Go playing. He had personally boosted the standard of Go playing in Chaotian Land to a height never witnessed before.
The young established Go players, like Queniang of the Mirror Sect, Shang Jiulou of the One-Cottage House, and Gu Yuanyuan of the Windy-Broadsword Sect, under the influence of Tong Yan's way of Go playing, had attained within a few short years the Go playing level much higher than those national chess players and those of the older generation in the Cultivation circle. Their Go playing skills were good enough to defeat all the other Go players in any other times; but now they had no choice but to follow behind Tong Yan no matter how great they were.
As far as the Go playing was concerned, Tong Yan could be considered the best Go player since the ancient times, or even a godly Go player.
The majority of the Cultivation practitioners who had come to the Chess Board Mountain that day either liked playing Go themselves or were knowledgeable about Go playing, so it was inevitable for them to pay the highest respect to such a figure.
Tong Yan walked towards the mountain.
Many gazes followed him.
He passed the bamboo and pine forests and the wild flower ground, and finally arrived at the clearing amid the cliffs.
There were three pavilions there, with three players standing in front of them.
Besides Tong Yan and another person, these three were the best Go players in the world.
"You've finally shown up."
Shang Jiulou had put down the book he held in his hand earlier, and his eyes looking at Tong Yan were filled with an enthusiasm rarely seen in the disciples of the One-Cottage House.
In the last two plum meetings, he entered the top four once and the top sixteen the other time; but his further advancement had been hindered by Tong Yan both times.
If someone really wanted to defeat Tong Yan at the Plum Meeting, it would definitely be him, except for another person.
Tong Yan stopped short and asked him, "Are you waiting for me?"
Shang Jiulou took a deep breath before saying, "Yes, I must beat you this time."
"It only takes hard work to become the best in writing and painting, and that is what the disciples of the One-Cottage House are good at; but Go playing needs talent, how can you win against me?" Tong Yan questioned Shang Jiulou.
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