In a courtyard of West Mountain Residence, some young girls of Qingrong Peak were talking about the news of the Cultivation tournament.
They were preoccupied with their conversation and got quite excited. The shells of watermelon seeds were thrown everywhere, and the water in the teapot had been added many times.
Nan Wang walked in, a chilly expression on her face.
The rules of Qingrong Peak were usually not strictly enforced, but when these disciples saw the look on their Peak Master's face, they didn't dare act improperly. These young girls quickly put down the teacups and watermelon seeds in their hands and bowed to her in unison.
Sitting down in the chair, Nan Wang looked at these beautiful young girls, saying somewhat angrily, "Look at yourselves; this is why you girls performed so poorly at the Sword Trial at Green Mountain that you couldn't even get one spot for the Cultivation tournament. What are you supposed to do as you come to Zhaoge City with me? Have fun?"
These young girls thought that since they were not qualified to participate in the Cultivation tournament, and with Green Mountain not taking part part in the of zither, chess, calligraphy and painting tournaments, they of course came mostly for fun.
Until they realized why Nan Wang was in such a bad mood; then they began to worry.
The Cultivation tournament of the Plum Meeting was always treacherous, and some young Cultivation practitioners would die at each Plum Meeting; but it was too early for someone to die this time.
Besides, Senior Master Jing Jiu and his group were way behind all the other groups, so they should be the safest. How come that disciple of the Kunlun Sect with Jing Jiu died so easily? The worst part was that the disciple of the Kunlun Sect had just successfully killed a monster of the Snowy Kingdom before his death, and this fact would give others the wrong idea, especially those who had suspected a conspiracy in the first place.
"We heard that He Wei is very angry and wants an explanation from us."
Nan Wang slapped the table and swore coldly, "There's no need for a freaking explanation!"
The young girls lowered their heads, pretending that they hadn't heard what she had just said.
He Wei was the name of the Sect Master of Kunlun.
Usually, Nan Wang should have shown him some respect. However, these young girls were used to the imprudent way their peak master behaved. She would even say something improper when she got angry with the Sect Master of the Green Mountain Sect, to say nothing of the sect masters.
After Lian Sanyue visited the Green Mountain back then, Nan Wang's temper had gotten much better; but she didn't want to suppress her emotion when she was surrounded by her disciples. "You lose if you die, and you win if you survive; this is the Cultivation tournament. What explanation does he want?" said Nan Wang with a sneer.
A female disciple favored by Nan Wang suggested, "It's hard to avoid suspicion of our Young Senior Master Jing. This should change when the Cold Signal Bird brings back the latest news."
The Cold Signal Bird was the special creature of the Kunlun Sect, unafraid of the cold and overcast weather due to its nature. The bird usually stayed in the Pond of the Nine Dark Clouds to rest, and it was only asked to come out during the Plum Meeting to supervise the situation on the snowland and ascertain the positions of those Cultivation practitioners. The bird would also provide a helping hand when someone was in grave danger.
In fact, Nan Wang was aware of it. As the Cold Signal Bird was the ancestor of the Kunlun Sect, it was inappropriate to claim that the bird was a liar. Even though the bird didn't witness the situation at the time it happened, there must be other witnesses. The problem was…even Nan Wang herself thought this event was a bit strange. She wasn't sure that Jing Jiu had no hand in the death of that disciple of the Kunlun Sect.
Thinking of Zhao Layue, who had killed so many people without a second thought during their travel together and Shi Fengchen's suicide a few days ago, Nan Wang didn't know for sure what Jing Jiu might have done.
That peak she was so familiar with had become such a strange world.
It was night time in Zhaoge City.
All of the peach flowers in the Net-Perception Temple had already fallen off; yet the peach lights on both sides of the path leading to the deepest part of the temple were still lit.
An old monk was walking on the stone path. His appeared to be moving slowly, but it only took him a dozen seconds to arrive in front of the door of the meditation room.
He adjusted his breathing and then pushed open the door. He revealed a pleased smile when he saw the scene.
The Young Zen Master had finally agreed to sit cross-legged that day.
Though he merely sat with one leg crossed, and the main reason was that sitting this way was more convenient for him to look sideways at the pile of sticks.
"It's not the Listening Ear. It should be the Iron Thread Bug."
The old monk was fully aware that this matter was quite urgent, so he didn't waste any time and stated his conclusion directly.
The Buddhist name of this old monk was Shihai, and he had served the Broadsword King in that small town in the north for dozens of years. Regarding what he knew of the monsters of the Snowy Kingdom, nobody in the Fruit Formation Temple was more knowledgeable than him.
It was because of this that the Young Zen Master needed his advice.
The Iron Thread Bug was an unusual insect from the deep parts of the Snowy Kingdom, and its appearance was similar to the Listening Ear. Though it also resided in the bodies of various snow monsters, its shell was extremely strong; even the swords of the Green Mountain Sect couldn't cut it open easily. Its potential for harming the opponents was much greater than that of the Listening Ear. Its power was actually terrifying.
If that disciple of the Kunlun Sect had encountered the Iron Thread Bug, he had a slim chance of survival unprepared.
Raising his head, the Young Zen Master asked confusingly, "Isn't this kind of bugs always staying by the side of that person?"
Monk Shihai knew who that person mentioned by the Young Zen Master was, as he said solemnly, "The Iron Thread Bugs haven't appeared for many years. Even if some of them entered the deep ground when the monster invasion faded out, this is the early summer, and they should be hibernating right now. Why have they suddenly woken up?"
The Young Zen Master opened his eyes wide, and said helplessly, "How am I supposed to know?!"
Shihai monk let out a bitter smile, remarking, "Is it going to be another big monster invasion this year?"
Hearing the two words "monster invasion", the Young Zen Master's expression turned serious, with him saying, "I have already sent Duhai to go there and have a look."
Monk Duhai was the Principal Justice of the Fruit Formation Temple. This achieved monk of the Zen Sect had already secretly gone to the north.
Monk Shihai asked worriedly, "Should we stop the Cultivation tournament early?"
The Young Zen Master was in charge of the Plum Meeting that year.
He was the only one who could end the Cultivation tournament.
The Young Zen Master looked at that pile of sticks on the bed, and he reached his hand out and pulled a stick out from the pile.
Monk Shihai suddenly felt nervous.
Hundreds of sticks had fallen without making too much noise.
Looking at the chaotic sticks, the Young Zen Master hadn't spoken for a long time. It seemed that he couldn't make a decision.
The Fruit Formation Temple was good at the Two-Minds Connection.
The Young Zen Master was especially talented and well trained in this aspect.
Such a hesitation was rarely seen in him.
"Write letters to those who need to know, so they can be prepared."
The Young Zen Master continued after a moment of silence, "We wait for Cao Yuan's letter."
The Cold-Signal Bird had very sharp vision.
The four dark dots on the snowy land were as if they had been right in front of its eyes.
The bird could see clearly the dust on their clothes, the residual snow on their boots, the tired looks on their faces and the confused expressions in their eyes.
Yet, the bird didn't quite comprehend why the young man walking in front was so clean.
He had no dust, no residual snow, no tired look and no emotional fluctuations.
These were the things Ying Qingmo and other two couldn't understand as well.
Of course, they had more things that they couldn't figure out.
After Dai Ying's death, Jing Jiu who had sat in the mountain for more than ten days, started marching to the deep parts of the snowland. It seemed that he had suddenly thought things through.
Thought the tragic death of their partner didn't damage the will power of these three young Cultivation practitioners, the event nonetheless left them feeling mixed up. As a result, they started listening to Jing Jiu's ideas.
Jing Jiu didn't have any intention to kill the monsters of the Snowy Kingdom. They had encountered a few monsters in their path, but he didn't even look at them.
He was simply walking forward.
Where was he heading?
If he was in a hurry to go somewhere, why didn't he walk faster than usual, or take the risk of riding the sword?
It was getting darker, and the Cold-Signal Bird had already left.
Jing Jiu halted his steps.
The three others following him stopped as well.
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