200 Tong Yan Visits the Peaks
The wind atop the peak was slightly cold, but it didn't make much whistling sound.
The monkeys in the forest at the bottom of the cliff kept their silence.
It was truly quiet.
After a long silence, Gu Qing said, "It's not so easy to kill him; perhaps we should wait a few more years."
Zhao Layue said, "He is also improving while we are. If we wait until we'll have the ability to kill him, how long would it take?"
Gu Qing said, "I have estimated that I won't have any chance of killing him even within hundred years, but would have a chance after one hundred years if I could break through the Broken Sea State."
His speech was very calm, but it had a touching determination.
Even for those who could live a lot longer than mortals, who would plan and prepare for something that was to happen in a hundred years?
"I think I might be able to surpass him in at least five years," said Zhao Layue.
Three years plus five years equal eight years.
She didn't know of the evaluation Jing Jiu had given of her in the cold cave three years ago, otherwise she would feel really proud. At the time, Jing Jiu told Bai Zao that it would take Zhao Layue merely ten years to surpass Luo Huainan, so that he was about to send the message through the Thoughtless Sword to her and tell her to kill Luo Huainan in ten years.
"One hundred years is not too late for the immortals to take revenge," Gu Qing said.
"I'm a woman," said Zhao Layue.
Gu Qing was speechless with a bitter smile.
"More importantly, if he is not dead, even the heaven and earth appear unclean in my eyes, and my Dao Heart will be stained; I'll have no way to break through the Free Travel State, and as such it will be harder to kill him."
After a moment of silence, Zhao Layue said, "What I don't understand is why Center Sect practices the orthodox magic methods; if he was the one who did it, how can he maintain his Dao Heart while practicing those magic methods? In fact, rather than becoming insane, he has progressed very quickly."
"I don't understand it either," Gu Qing said.
Zhao Layue asked, "Does your family have any suspicions?"
In the past three years, she and Gu Qing had been cultivating on Shenmo Peak and had never left the peak; so it was not easy to learn of the outside news, especially the news about Luo Huainan.
It was Gu Qing's family that obtained the news for them.
Gu Qing's status in his clan had improved steadily, almost catching up with Gu Han.
Even though Gu Han was humiliated by losing to Jing Jiu, he had entered the upper state of the Undefeated last year.
Though Jing Jiu had died, Zhao Layue was still on the peak; and Shenmo Peak had an excellent future because of Jing Jiu's fame and reputation.
Gu Qing was in charge of all the affairs on Shenmo Peak, including those monkeys.
His clan would of course back him up with all of their resources.
Gu Qing said calmly, "I've asked my clan to collect information on many things, so they can't possibly figure out that we are only concerned of Luo Huainan."
The monkeys in the forest suddenly screamed.
Gu Qing said, "Young Yuan is coming."
Zhao Layue stopped talking about the topic.
Since that night three years ago, she and Gu Qing had never again discussed the topic regarding Luo Huainan in front of Young Yuan.
It was not because he was suspicious, but because they had guessed his background and didn't want to get him in trouble, not to mention they needed to keep it a secret, since what they were to do was simply too shocking.
That night three years ago, Zhao Layue and Gu Qing said that they didn't believe Luo Huainan's story.
The Shangde Peak should have learned of this soon afterwards, but they didn't give any response.
It meant that Shangde Peak didn't believe their judgment.
The worse possibility was that Shangde Peak believed their judgment, but they were unwilling to do anything.
The footsteps were heard.
Young Yuan came to the cliff's edge, with a surprised expression on his face.
"Master, Tong Yan wants to see you. Do you want to see him?"
Liangwang Peak seldom received the visitors from other sects.
A guest climbed atop Liangwang Peak that day. The sword lights on the ground between the cliffs had withdrawn a while ago.
Even if he was the guest, it was still not appropriate for him to see the secretive swordplay of the nine peaks of the Green Mountain.
Moreover, the guest that day was from the Center Sect.
This was a proof that the relationship between the Green Mountain Sect and the Center Sect was getting friendlier, but the disciples of Liangwang Peak were still cautious.
Yet, the atmosphere in the cliff cave wasn't as tense as those disciples of Liangwang Peak had imagined.
After greeting Guo Nanshan, Gu Han, Jian Ruoyun and Ma Hua, Tong Yan sat down.
They all had a peaceful expression. Instead of regarding Tong Yan was as a stranger, they all felt that he was quite trustworthy.
"At the Plum Meeting years ago, we talked about the possibility that you people came to our Green Mountain as guests, and that it would be interesting." Guo Nanshan said with a gentle smile, "Though you have come only by yourself today, it's a good start. It's a pity that Young Brother Yu and Rusui are still behind closed doors; otherwise, the members in our sect would be all here."
Tong Yan shot Guo Nanshan a glance.
As the principal disciple of the Green Mountain, Guo Nanshan's status was the same as Luo Huainan's at the Center Sect, and he must have a special talent in Cultivation, but he seldom cultivated behind closed doors. Otherwise, his Cultivation state would have progressed a lot faster. Wasn't he afraid that Zhuo Rusui would take his status away after coming from behind closed doors?
It was understandable that there were many matters for Guo Nanshan to take care of, including the matters on Liangwang Peak and Tianguang Peak; and most importantly, he had to take care of his own matters.
Tong Yan said with a sincere expression while looking at Guo Nanshan, "Thanks for your hard work."
Guo Nanshan understood what he meant, and said, "Though Young Sister Bai is not with us anymore, the pictures she described to me are still quite fresh and clear in my head. Our two sects have many reasons to be on good terms and have absolutely no reason to be hostile toward each other. This matter has to move forward. Based on the information from White Town, the Snowy Kingdom should be at peace with us for over one hundred years, and the Underworld hasn't shown any sign of action for the time being. So we have enough time to keep the affairs of our human race in order first, to be prepared for the colossal event in the future."
Tong Yan said, "The deviant sects have been weak for many years, and they won't be able to revive in a short time."
"So we should focus our attention on the Old Ones," Guo Nanshan said.
Tong Yan said, "Where is he now?"
"He is still far from the seashore," said Guo Nanshan.
Tong Yan said, "It has been four years, hasn't it?"
"It has taken a bit too long." Gu Han said, "That child is quite stubborn, and kindhearted; he is unwilling to do many things, and it's hard to gain his trust."
Tong Yan shook his head as he said, "I don't think this way. It can be seen as true willingness only if it comes from the bottom of his heart."
Ma Hua who hadn't spoken the entire time, said with a smile, "I agree. The more stubborn he is, and the weirder he behaves, the less the Old Ones will suspect him."
Tong Yan said, "I agree, it has taken too long. Perhaps we should do something to help him."
Gu Han said, "What should we do then? Should we help him to become famous? The last thing the Old Ones want is fame."
"The fame of an assassin doesn't come from himself, but from his target," said Tong Yan.
Upon hearing this, Ma Hua's eyes gleamed.
Tong Yan stood up and bid farewell.
Guo Nanshan said, "Please tell Cultivationist Luo for me not to be concerned too much about that matter; Cultivation practitioners would have a hard time on their path toward heaven if they took too much on themselves."
Tong Yan nodded.
Gu Han asked, "Where is Cultivationist Tong going next?"
"I'd like to go to Shenmo Peak," replied Tong Yan.
It was silent for a moment inside the cave. Gu Han's expression was kind of odd.
Guo Nanshan asked with a bitter smile, "Shenmo Peak doesn't receive any outside visitors. What are you going to do there?"
Tong Yan answered, "I'd like to pay my respect to Jing Jiu."
Gu Han commented, "I can't believe that he is going to Shenmo Peak to pay his respect. Tong Yan's temperament is as odd as ever, though he isn't so aloof anymore. I'm not sure if that has something to do with losing to Jing Jiu."
Guo Nanshan turned to Gu Han and said seriously, "He can call him Jing Jiu, but you have to call him Senior Master Jing."
Gu Han was taken aback, but he didn't dare argue, saying, "I'll remember it."
"I've had a vague idea for a while, but I couldn't quite get it."
Ma Hua suddenly said, "What Tong Yan has carelessly said actually reminds me of it."
Guo Nanshan looked at him and asked, "What idea?"
Ma Hua told Guo Nanshan about his idea with a smiling face.
After a long silence, Guo Nanshan said, "It seems workable, and has no risk."
Gu Han also thought this idea was excellent, but he questioned Ma Hua, "Since you had the idea already, why didn't you tell Tong Yan when he was here? As he and Luo Huainan are the sect brothers, it would be easier and safer if Tong Yan brought the message to Luo Huainan directly."
Ma Hua shook his head and said, "It's mostly because they are the sect brothers, so we can't let Tong Yan pass the message on to him."
Gu Han understood it immediately.
Tong Yan and Luo Huainan were the leading figures among the young disciples of the Center Sect. No matter how close their relationship was, they were still the natural competitors.
Moreover, they didn't have the same master.
Under the circumstances, they needed to eliminate any suspicion between the two of them, and they couldn't do anything that would draw the suspicion of the other person.
The relationship between Tong Yan and Luo Huainan was the same as that between Gu Han and his concubine-born young brother on Shenmo Peak.
Currently, his clan supported Gu Qing with a greater effort, but Gu Han would do nothing about it.
It wasn't so important anyway. The important part was his Cultivation state and status in the sect.
"Don't tell Tong Yan about this idea." Guo Nanshan said, "Also don't inform our friends at the Water-Moon Nunnery and the Fruit Formation Temple. I'll ask for Cultivation friend Luo's opinion directly. If he agrees, we will get ready to carry it out, and then inform that child."
Tong Yan went to Shenmo Peak.
The disciples of the Green Mountain were quite surprised, and they were also curious to know how he had done so.
After Jing Jiu's death, Shenmo Peak seemed to have become a forbidden land again. Zhao Layue hadn't come down from the peak and met no visitors.
The young master of the Hanging-Bell Sect, De Sese, who came to the Green Mountain to observe the Inherited Sword Competition, waited at the foot of the peak for a long time last night, and left disappointed after receiving a sword brought to her by Young Yuan.
Later, those disciples learned that the reason Tong Yan went to Shenmo Peak was to pay their respects to Jing Jiu. They believed that they understood why when they recalled the dazzling chess game at the last Plum Meeting.
What was happening on Shenmo Peak at the moment was quite different from what they had imagined. No dialogue between two geniuses through two separate worlds occurred, and there was no reminiscing. It was like a regular visit.
Gu Qing led the tour of the buildings and caves on the peak for Tong Yan.
"Could I have a look at Jing Jiu's room?" asked Tong Yan.
Gu Qing said, "My master didn't sleep so much. He merely lay on the bamboo chair when he was tired."
After a brief silence, Tong Yan said, "He had cultivated so much; that's why he could have a surprised performance in the Cultivation tournament."
As Gu Qing considered how he should explain to him, Tong Yan walked to the cliff's edge, standing by the side of Zhao Layue.
"He didn't play chess at all in his spare time."
Tong Yan didn't speak again.
It was quiet everywhere.
The gentle breeze blew over.
Ten days later.
Zhao Layue and Gu Qing had left Shenmo Peak together.
The message from Tianguang Peak was that Zhao Layue needed to go outside the mountain to seek a precious medicine in order to enter the Free Travel State.
Having learned of this, all the disciples of the Green Mountain, including Guo Nanshan and Gu Han, were shocked to a great extent.
She had progressed so fast!