The Net-Perception Temple had received a letter.
It wasn't the letter brought by State Duke He for Royal Concubine Hu asking for a meeting with the Young Zen Master, since State Duke He didn't dare to do so.
The Emperor hadn't seen Royal Concubine Hu in recent days. He had been pondering what this meant for some time.
And yet this letter was far more important. Nobody dared delay it, so it was delivered directly into the Principal Justice's hands.
Principal Justice walked hurriedly through a patch of pear forest and came to the deepest part of the temple.
A young monk, kneeling on a low bed in front of the window, stared at a pile of thin sticks, remaining exceedingly focused.
Principal Justice knew that this was the Young Zen Master's favorite game of picking a stick without touching other sticks; the whole Fruit Formation Temple had been already accustomed to the scene.
He also knew that the Young Zen Master didn't like to be disturbed when he was engaged in this game, but he had no choice but to cough twice before entering the room.
The Young Zen Master sighed helplessly, asking, "What's the matter?"
Principal Justice handed the letter to the Young Zen Master.
With slightly arched eyebrows, the Young Zen Master took out the letter from the envelope and read the contents quickly.
This letter was written by the Broadsword King.
Principal Justice asked worriedly, "What did big brother Cao write the letter about?"
"He asked about someone," the Young Zen Master replied.
Principal Justice asked again, "Who?"
"He asked if Jing Jiu is the disciple experiencing the mortal world from our temple," the Young Zen Master said with a smile.
Hearing this question, Principal Justice felt relieved a little.
The Broadsword King shouldn't be interested in the rumors and gossips, considering his identity and status, though it was understandable why he wrote this letter to confirm the rumor due to his former status.
In fact, Principal Justice was himself quite interested in this matter.
A few years ago, he represented the Fruit Formation Temple to observe the Inherited Sword Competition. At the time, he didn't understand why the Young Zen Master had paid so much attention to the initiation ritual of this ordinary disciple.
Later, Jing Jiu's origins generated much discussion, so he couldn't help but think that the Young Zen Master's attention had something to do with this secret.
The identity of the disciple of mortal world experiences at the Fruit Formation Temple had always been top secret. Nobody knew about it besides the Chief Monk and the Young Zen Master, so Principal Justice could only guess.
"I'll reply to the letter. Do you have anything else to talk to me about?"
The Young Zen Master still didn't give a definite answer.
Looking at the thin writing paper in the Young Zen Master's hand, Principal Justice asked, "The Cultivation tournament will take place among the snow mountains of Wansong north of Mo Sea, a long distance from the North Army and big brother Cao's place. If something happens, the rescue might not be able to reach them in time. Though it's intended to test their potential when facing the situation of life and death, …do we need to help a little in secret?"
Principal Justice didn't point out the helping target, but it was obvious that he referred to the person mentioned in the letter.
The Young Zen Master thought about it before saying, "That friend of mine had been cautious all his life; Jing Jiu inherits his style, so he should be alright."
The Cultivation tournament was to take place in the faraway north, but the various participating sects at the Plum Meeting stayed in Zhaoge City. More people lived in West Mountain Residence, where it became more crowded than before. It was because many Cultivation practitioners didn't stay in their own courtyards meditating and cultivating as usual. They came out to the grounds by the cliff.
These Cultivation practitioners didn't come out to take a walk or socialize, but to see the paintings.
The West Mountain Residence was shielded by the formation, so no heavy rainfall would occur here. Yet, there was a long roofed corridor connecting all the courtyards. The side of the corridor facing the cliff was smoothed out, onto which dozens of paintings had been drawn.
Those paintings extended from the roof of the corridor all the way to the ground, about four feet high and two feet wide. A few birds were drawn in the gold powder on the paintings, with the plum branches snaking around and a couple of red plum flowers blooming on them.
Most of the Cultivation practitioners gazed at a painting in the middle.
The plum flowers bloomed beautifully on that painting, and there had been more than ten flowers blooming on it. The flowers were fairly big and were as bright red as blood, their beauty shocking and impressive.
It looked like this one painting had almost finished.
The plum branches extended downward, and the ink became darker. Eventually the darken plum branches turned into words, which were actually the names.
"Luo Huainan is too strong."
Someone said this sentimentally, "Though Tong Yan is behind closed doors, he can make the Center Sect be the envy of others all by himself."
There were five names on this painting.
The name Luo Huainan was among them.
A twig extended from each name, with plum flowers growing on it.
The five twigs twisted and overlapped with each other, with many flowers blooming in the midst of all these twigs, so it was hard to tell which flower belonged to which twig.
If one observed carefully, he would find that most of these plum flowers grew on the twig belonging to Luo Huainan.
The other twigs had only one or two flowers.
There were many other paintings under the roofed corridor, and the contents of the paintings were basically the same. The only difference was the varied quantity and size of the flowers.
This was the score board for the Cultivation tournament of the Plum Meeting.
It was also the legendary "seeking plums by stepping on blood".
The young Cultivation practitioners participating in the Cultivation tournament of the Plum Meeting would be assigned to different groups based on their specific fighting styles and specialized magic methods. There were about five people in each group.
Each monster of the Snowy Kingdom killed by the participant would contribute to one bloody plum flower on the painting, and the plum flower would have three different sizes depending on the difference in strength of the killed monster of the Snowy Kingdom.
The group that had finished the painting first would be the winner. It had nothing to do with the competition between the Cultivation sects.
When the Cultivation practitioners of the previous generations designed the tournament this way, they didn't want various sects to take matters into their own hands and have confrontations in the Cultivation tournaments, against the intention of uniting the orthodox Cultivation practitioners to resist the external enemies. However, the sects were there; who wouldn't care about their own performance? Many people started calculating the rankings according to the Cultivation sects.
In this year's Cultivation tournament, Luo Huainan's performance was as outstanding as before, and other disciples of the Center Sect, like Xiang Wanshu and others, had pretty good performances as well, better than other sects. Tong Lu of the West Ocean Sword Sect , who had been ranked second among the participants by the Curtain Rollers, had many plum flowers on his twig, almost as many as Luo Huainan's, but those plum flowers had different sizes and looked a little awkward. The disciples of the One-Cottage House, the Kunlun Sect, and the Baotong Zen Temple had performances that were similar to theirs from before
The Green Mountain Sect was a surprising exception.
Zuoyushi of the Great Marsh walked under the corridor with a worried expression, thinking that the Green Mountain Sect would have some troubles this time.
For the five tournaments of zither, chess, calligraphy, painting and Cultivation at the Plum Meeting, the disciples of the Green Mountain seldom participated in the first four tournaments, except for Nan Wang back then and Jing Jiu this year.
Usually in the last tournament of Cultivation, the performance of the Green Mountain Sect had always been the best. In the recent Plum Meetings, Luo Huainan had won first place in the Cultivation tournament several times in a row, but the disciples of the Green Mountain Sect had also had good placements; especially if the placement was calculated according to the sects, the disciples of the Green Mountain Sect had never let first place fall in the hands of other sects.
The performance of the Green Mountain Sect was mediocre; one even could be said to be pretty bad in comparison to the previous years. The reason for the situation was that the disciples of Liangwang Peak, who had been the main force for the Cultivation tournament, came in a much reduced number under the various circumstances.
Especially the likes of Guo Nanshan, Jian Ruoyun, and Gu Han, who were the top three rankings on Liangwang Peak, didn't come.
According to the current situation, the performances of the One-Cottage House, the West Ocean Sword Sect, and even the Kunlun Sect would be much better than that of the Green Mountain Sect, not to mention the Center Sect.
This was a disgrace for the Green Mountain Sect.
Many Cultivation practitioners were talking about it.
"What about that Jing Jiu? Isn't he rumored to be quite awesome? I heard that Guo Nanshan and his killer swordsmen of Liangwang Peak couldn't come all because of him."
"It's a brag at most. According to his Cultivation time and current Cultivation state, how could Jing Jiu be better than the principal disciple of the Green Mountain?"
"Even if there is an untold issue, his performance would still be too poor."
The Cultivation tournament had already been going on tee than ten days.
After the initial nervousness and uneasiness, those young disciples of various sects had started showing their talents.
The bloody plum flowers grew more and more on those paintings. The worst looking twigs had at least two or three small flowers. However, the painting at the end of the corridor was still empty, with a few blank twigs, and it looked pitiful pitiful.
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