This old scholar was the senior master of the One-Cottage House who had taken Liu Shisui away from his village years ago.
What he said was a remark of sentiment, not one that Liu Shisui was supposed to answer.
Liu Shisui climbed out from the rocky crack, glancing at the sword light on the horizon.
The old scholar took out a brush pen, dipped it in the clean water in the river, and wrote a few words in the air.
His and Liu Shisui's body vanished from the original spots along with a flash of green light.
Soon afterwards, two sword lights had landed by the river valley one after another.
Two middle-aged Cultivation practitioners appeared. One of them was an elder of Bihu Peak on the Green Mountain, Lei Ming, who was in the middle state of Free Travel, and the other man was Qian Sizai, a highly achieved swordsman from the West Ocean Sword Sect.
Qian Sizai sneered, "We let him flee again. He is indeed good at digging holes, as he has stayed long enough inside the mountains."
The remark was obviously intended to deride the Green Mountain Sect. Lei Ming glared at him once, and said emotionlessly, "If one stays long enough by the ocean, would they be good at catching fish?"
Qian Sizai snorted, heeding him no more.
After determining that Liu Shisui's energy had already faded away, the two retrieved their Sword Awareness and returned to report to their respective superiors.
It was quite dry in the manor cave, and the glowing orb emitted a gloomy light.
Liu Shisui woke up from his meditation. He looked around, thinking that this must have been a manor cave of a master of the previous generation with a strong formation, but it somehow was in the hands of the Old Ones now.
The old scholar handed a red magic pill to him.
Liu Shisui took the magic pill and swallowed it with the water in the cup that was on the table; he flashed a grateful smile at the old scholar, then digested the pill soon after he had managed to move the energy throughout his body.
Many years ago, it was this old scholar of the One-Cottage House and Wei Chenzi of the Center Sect who had taken him away from the small village.
Now that Wei Chenzi had been dead for many years, the old scholar became the sole acquaintance Liu Shisui had among the Old Ones.
The old scholar sighed, "You will be discovered sooner or later the way you have been acting."
Liu Shisui was aware of what he referred to. "I know I shouldn't intervene, but I can't help it."
The old scholar said, "It seemed to be a good idea to have locked you up over the past few years. A person like you shouldn't travel in the human world at all."
"What kind of person am I in your eyes?" Liu Shisui asked out of curiosity.
The old scholar said, "Put simply, a person like you shouldn't be among the Old Ones."
"Even a senior master like you is of the Old Ones, so it wouldn't be a surprise for anybody else to be there," said Liu Shisui.
An assassin of the Old Ones could hail from the One-Cottage House, so he must have quite a story about it.
Without alcohol in the manor cave, the old scholar wasn't in the mood to tell his story, so he left the cave after giving some instructions.
Ten days later, Liu Shisui's wound had mostly healed. He disarmed the formation and walked out of the manor cave. Looking at the lush-green, high-rising mountains all around him, he wondered.
Where is this place?
A gust of wind blew over from the other side of the mountain along the cliff wall and disheveled the wild flowers outside the manor cave, falling down and landing on his face.
Liu Shisui smelled the salty flavor in the wind and a faint scent of fish, realizing that this place must be by the ocean.
And it should be the West Ocean.
The old scholar appeared along with the ocean breeze. "Let's go," he claimed.
Liu Shisui didn't ask where they were going. After he collected his simple belongings and took a leak in the wild fruit forest outside the cave, he followed the old scholar treading down the mountain.
It was natural that many shaded valleys existed among the green mountains.
The two took a few days to pass through the shaded valleys and entered an even darker tunnel.
After a few days, they had finally come out from the dark tunnel and returned to the ground.
The sounds of the ocean waves hitting the rocks seemed to be right within earshot
Countless piles of snow were in front of the eyes.
Liu Shisui looked at the ink-like West Ocean in the darkness of night in silence. After a moment, he turned around and walked into the ruined Sea-God Temple.
The salt on the damp walls inside formed many eerie patterns.
The wooden doorsill only half-remained due to the erosion by the ocean wind, looking repulsive.
These were scenes he had never seen.
The old scholar didn't enter the Sea-God Temple with him.
In the ruined temple were only Liu Shisui and the Sea-God statue.
The starlight reflected from the inky ocean gave out a glint, that revealed the face of the Sea-God.
Liu Shisui realized that the Sea-God statue was actually a real person.
The appearance of the Sea-God wasn't extraordinary, as he was wearing a mere black cloth, but he exuded a noble and king-like aura, as if looking down at all beings.
"Are you…" Liu Shisui thought about how to address him, and asked "the leader of the Old Ones?"
"You could say so."
The man in black spoke in a faint voice, as if speaking from a distant place.
"Why do you want to see me?" Liu Shisui asked.
The man in black said, "I'd like to know how you killed Luo Huainan."
"It's a secret."
Liu Shisui said this without even giving it a thought.
This was an unexpected answer; the man in black smiled after the initial bewilderment, and asked, "Who was the other person wielding the sword?"
This time, Liu Shisui thought about it seriously, and then said, "I can't tell who that person is."
"Is the First Child Sword in your hand?" the man in black asked.
This was the first time Liu Shisui learned the sword given to him by Zhao Layue was called the First Child.
His expression and reaction were all natural and real.
It was because they were all true in the first place.
He said to the man in black, "The sword is mine now."
The man in black looked at him in silence for a long time, and then said, "It's yours then."
"Thank you," said Liu Shisui.
The man in black asked, "Could you at least tell me why you killed Luo Huainan, since you claimed that you only kill evildoers?"
"In my eyes, he was evil," Liu Shisui replied.
The man in black leaned forward slightly, showing an unexpected interest in his statement. "Why would you say so?" he asked.
After a moment of silence, Liu Shisui said, "My Young Master didn't come back from the snowland, and I believe he was cause of that."
The man in black thought about it for a while and said, "Though I don't understand why you believe that he was responsible for Jing Jiu's mishap, this reason is somehow quite adequate."
"Thank you…Thank you" said Liu Shisui.
The first "thank you" was for not taking the First Child Sword forcefully away given the powerful Cultivation state possessed by the man in black.
The second "thank you" was for accepting his reason.
"Do you know why I didn't want to see you in the past few years? It's because you were not strong enough, and I didn't trust you so much."
Looking at Liu Shisui, the man in black recalled the Dace Devil in the Muddy River many years ago, thinking, It was I who had changed your life.
"I don't understand what you mean," said Liu Shisui.
The man in black said, "Putting trust aside, if you are only willing to kill those you want to, what use you have for me? The Old Ones are different from the Fruit Formation Temple."
Liu Shisui said after some thought, "You have many people that you want to kill, and some of them might be suitable for my taste."
It meant they were suitable for him to kill.
The man in black said, "You are an interesting young man. This isn't a problem anymore, because you have proven your strength and yourself."
Liu Shisui understood him, remaining silent.
"Even if you had other ideas when you left that small village, now, you can only walk at night for the rest of your life now that you have killed Luo Huainan."
The man in black looked at him in silence. "Are you willing to live such a life?" he asked.
It was quiet in the Sea-God Temple.
The sounds of the ocean waves were much more formidable than those of the pine waves.
Liu Shisui recalled the pond in the mountain village and the sword lights on Liangwang Peak.
"I'd like to have the best magic methods, crystals and magic pills, plus a safe manor cave. I'll decide whether to take the task or not," said Liu Shisui.
The man in black said, "If they were the requests by somebody else, I would snuff out his heart and soul right where he stood; but it's you who have requested it, so I'm willing to accept it no matter how ridiculous the request is."
Liu Shisui stared into his eyes and asked, "Why do you treat me so differently?"
The man in black said, "It's because of your natural quality and background, and more importantly, your temperament. There are increasingly fewer of your sort among Cultivation practitioners in Chaotian, those who are stubborn and determined.
Still feeling baffled, Liu Shisui asked, "Is this kind of temperament important to the Old Ones?"
The man in black said, "It is unimportant to the Old Ones, but it is very important for the sword training."
Liu Shisui began understanding what the man in black intended to do with him, asking, "Do you still want me to continue my sword training?"
"Yes," the man in black replied. "I want you to prove to the whole world that you still can learn and master the best sword style, without the help of the Green Mountain Sect."
Liu Shisui said after a silent pause, "It sounds quite interesting."
"What more do you wish to ask?" asked the man in black.
"Who are you?" Liu Shisui demanded.
The man in black answered while looking at him closely, "I'm Xiwang Sun."
The ocean wind suddenly sped up, and the salt on the temple walls fell down, making rustling noise.
The ocean waves were rolling forward, making thundering noise.
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