Gu Qing understood what this statement meant.
Sword Justice Yuan Qijing had an amazing Cultivation state, and was the Big Brother of Sect Master, so Shangde Peak had an especially high status among the nine peaks of the Green Mountain.
Yet, Shangde Peak in this sense wasn't describing the current Shangde Peak, but rather Shangde Peak many years ago.
The Peak Master of Shangde was the Immortal Taiping back then.
In fact, the Green Mountain was the heritage of the Immortal Taiping.
Sect Master and Yuan Qijing were all his personal disciples; and even Shenmo Peak, where Gu Qing was, should be counted as part of the heritage of the Immortal Taiping as well.
It was because the Immortal Jing Yang was the Young Brother of the Immortal Taiping.
It was rumored that the Immortal Taiping taught him on behalf of their master, meaning the Immortal Taiping was a half-master of the Immortal Jing Yang.
The Immortal Taiping was an outstanding figure, so his fourth disciple, following Sect Master and Sword Justice Yuan Qijing, couldn't be an ordinary person.
But the tricky part was that since Fang Jingtian wasn't an ordinary person, why hadn't he displayed his special talent in the past few hundred years?
Unlike Zhao Layue, Gu Qing didn't know so much, nor could he figure out much, so he gave up on thinking on matters he couldn't think through anyway.
He didn't dare look at Fang Jingtian for a prolonged amount of time.
A highly achieved figure like Fang Jingtian could definitely sense others' energy and gaze easily.
If he had any suspicion, all he needed to do was wave his sleeve and Gu Qing would die instantly.
The Sword Boat of the Green Mountain landed in the midst of a mountain range.
The gorgeous buildings could be seen everywhere in the mountain range. This place was the West Mountain Residence built by the imperial court especially for the immortal masters.
As Gu Qing was arranging his belongings, he heard a message passed by the West Mountain Residence that someone was bringing something to him.
He was puzzled, thinking that he didn't know anybody in Zhaoge City, and his family mostly had business connections in the south. So who was this person?
As he led Young Yuan to the front yard, he found some of his colleagues had already been there.
A caretaker knelt on the ground and presented a gift list with both hands very respectfully. Dozens of delicate and luxurious cases were behind him.
Gu Qing took the gift menu and glanced at it, seeing that most of them were utensils and foods, nothing special.
A disciple of the Green Mountain got nearer and had a look at the items, and he couldn't help but cry out in surprise, "This are really luxurious stuff! Whose family did they come from?"
The caretaker didn't dare reply, still kneeling on the ground before Gu Qing had a chance to speak.
Young Yuan realized what was going on, and said with a smile, "These items must have been sent by my master's family."
Two sneers occurred in the crowd, and someone said, "A Cultivation practitioner preoccupied with the material objects. Aren't they afraid of disturbing their Dao Heart?"
Having said this, the two disciples left with indignant expressions while shaking their sleeves dismissively.
Young Yuan didn't quite understand why they said that, and was upset by it. Gu Qing stopped him before he could retort.
Gu Qing thanked the caretaker with appreciative words, and led Young Yuan back to their room.
He only took the gift menu with him; the personnel of West Mountain Residence would help bring those gifts inside.
"What's the matter with those two?"
Young Yuan still felt upset.
Gu Qing said, "They are the disciples of Shiyue Peak and Bihu Peak. It's natural for them to not like such a scene."
"Why?" Young Yuan asked with a baffled expression.
Gu Qing said, "In their eyes, all the possessions of the Zhao family are mostly given by the Precious-Tree House. The backer of the Precious-Tree House used to be Bihu Peak, and the house was managed by Shiyue Peak, so they benefited a great deal from the business. But now, we get all the benefits. Of course they'd feel uncomfortable about it."
Young Yuan was taken aback, thinking this was indeed the case; but he felt worried and asked, "Then, what should we do to ease the hostility?"
"Why do we need to do that?"
Gu Qing laughed, and added, "I have heard this statement a few years ago on the peak top. I couldn't accept it at the time, but it's actually quite sensible if you think about it now."
"What statement?" Young Yuan asked out of curiosity.
Pointing to the outside of the window, Gu Qing said, "The sun is there, and it will eventually be seen by everybody no matter how much someone tries to conceal it. If one doesn't like to be seen by others, then all they need to do is to make the light so bright that it will blind others."
After a long moment of daze, Young Yuan murmured, "It sounds so arrogant."
Gu Qing said, "In that statement, 'blind others' are my words, but I think it has conveyed the meaning expressed by our two masters."
The next day, after obtaining permission from Fang Jingtian, Gu Qing and Young Yuan left the West Mountain Residence and went to Zhaoge City.
Gu Qing brought some magic pills to the Jing family. The pills were carefully selected, able to help the mortals increase their health, yet they wouldn't harm them for the medical effect was relatively weak.
Young Yuan went to Zhao family. As for what he had brought, Gu Qing didn't pay attention. As a disciple of Zhao Layue, this was something Young Yuan had to do.
The next day, the Plum Meeting began.
This year's Plum Meeting was hosted by the Center Sect. It was said that the winners would obtain a magic pill of a high state, far inferior to the previous reward.
At the last Plum Meeting, the award for the winners was the Head Blessing from the Young Zen Master.
Yet, the regretful part was that Guo Dong, who had won first place in the zither tournament, had disappeared; Bai Zao, who won first place in the calligraphy tournament and Jing Jiu, first in the Cultivation tournament, hadn't come back from the snowland, and their fates were unknown. Only Que Niang, first in the chess tournament, and Shu Kuang, first in the painting tournament, had received the Head Blessing.
It was said that the young scholar of the One-Cottage House had been instantly enlightened and had broken through two Cultivation states after receiving the Head Blessing from the Young Zen Master; Que Niang was behind closed doors inside the mysterious ground of the Mirror Sect and was expected of achieving something great.
No matter what, the Plum Meeting was an important event for the Cultivation circle.
Many young Cultivation practitioners gathered in the Plum Garden in Zhaoge City. However, it felt a bit less exciting because some of the more interesting people were absent. These people were Guo Dong, Bai Zao and Jing Jiu, mentioned earlier, Luo Huainan, who had died three years ago, and Tong Yan, who chose not to participate this year and the young swordsmen of Liangwang Peak of the Green Mountain, who hadn't shown up for two consecutive Plum Meetings.
For this reason or other unknown reasons, the first four tournaments of the Plum Meeting were uneventful, and had finished without much fanfare.
Most people participating in the Plum Meeting didn't feel thrilled until the painters of West Mountain Residence started arranging the painting canvases under the roofed corridor. Actually, everybody was waiting for the Cultivation tournament.
They didn't wait for the outcomes of the Cultivation tournament, instead waiting for the participants in the Cultivation tournament to go into the snowland.
The patch of cold fog would eventually be dispersing.
The canvases reached the ground from the roof of the corridor, on which the plum branches had already painted. If onlookers looked at these branches closely, they would feel as if they were a bird amid the branches.
Gu Qing led Young Yuan standing in front of these paintings and thought of the rumored and exciting scenes six years ago, hurting as he did.
The voices of discourse in the West Mountain Residence grew louder and louder, talking about the painting six years ago and praising He Zhan's amazing painting skill, commenting on Jing Jiu's unexpected performance that night.
The discussions suddenly stopped as the Cultivation practitioners heard footsteps. Gu Qing and Young Yuan turned around and saw someone.
He was Tong Lu of the West Ocean Sword Sect. Compared to the last Plum Meeting, his energy felt even more powerful, and the expression in his eyes was more composed. His eyes, however, conveyed hostile intent as he stared at Gu Qing.
Gu Qing appeared quite calm, asking, "What's the matter with this Cultivationist?"
Tong Lu retorted, "I'll have my eye on you the entire time. If I find that you've tried to protect that bastard, you won't have even a single moment of peace."
Ever since he was saved by Luo Huainan in the last Cultivation tournament, he had regarded Luo Huainan as his best friend for life and respected him tremendously.
Tong Lu was extremely distressed that Liu Shisui had killed Luo Huainan. Though he deeply wanted to avenge Luo Huainan , he somehow couldn't even find the shadow of Liu Shisui; and so he directed his hatred toward the Green Mountain in general.
Gu Qing said calmly while looking at him, "I'd like to know what you would do if that opportunity presents itself."
The cold fog had eventually faded away.
The border of the snowland could be seen clearly.
The colored banners were hung everywhere in White Town, to celebrate the occasion.
The thin trees by the snowland's edge that had survived the cold fog were full of crystal-like icicles hanging on the branches, looking truly marvelous.
The courtyards of various Cultivation sects were located sparsely in the field on the outskirts of the town, looking like the same arrangements as those six years ago.
The important figures like State Duke He, Fang Jingtian, Ren Qianzhu, the Sect Master of Windy-Broadsword, and the Sect Master of Kunlun had arrived here.
The young participants of the Cultivation tournament had already entered the snowland.
Gu Qing and Young Yuan were among them.
The cold fog was so bizarre that it was critical for these important figures to know what was going on in the snowland as soon as possible, in order to ensure the safety of the young Cultivation practitioners.
Yet, they couldn't get too close to the cold fog, since they didn't know if their action would irritate that will power in the north again.
On the other hand, the young Cultivation practitioners participating in the Cultivation tournament were all of a low state, which meant they wouldn't be seen as a threat; and they were much safer by comparison.
The true intention of this year's Cultivation tournament was to let these young Cultivation practitioners check out the situation in the snowland.
Over one hundred young Cultivation practitioners came to the snowland, looking like a bunch of black dots; and they gradually gathered in one spot, and then separated to twenty small groups.
These young Cultivation practitioners were cautious and kept a steady speed. As the cold fog dispersed, they headed northward slowly, always maintaining a distance of one mile away from the border.
In this year's Cultivation tournament, apart from killing the snow monsters, if they could find the participants' remains of the last tournament or important magic treasure, they could get a red plum flower on the painting in West Mountain Residence.
Nobody expected to stumble upon any survivors, because the cold fog was deathly cold. Even though they were a few miles from it, they still could sense the horrifying condition inside it. How could anyone survive the icy cold fog over six years?
The young participants in the Cultivation tournament had treaded northward for many days, but they didn't run into any live monsters of the Snowy Kingdom, except for many monsters' bones. Once in a while, they would find the belongings left by the human Cultivation practitioners in the last tournament.
Gu Qing was a disciple of the Green Mountain, had a composed and steady temperament. Soon his leadership was accepted and respected by his partners in the group. Led by Gu Qing, his group was astray the original path, heading directly toward the northwest. They increased their marching speed gradually, and soon came to the rear of two leading groups.
Xiang Wanshu of the Center Sect and Tong Lu of the West Ocean Sword Sect were in those two groups.
His partners were at a loss, wondering why he had done it.
The young disciples who had known the conflict between Gu Qing and Tong Lu in West Mountain Residence felt ill at ease, wondering if Cultivationist Gu Qing would pick a fight with Tong Lu over here.
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