Seeing the scene, Yin San stopped talking. He turned around and focused on his flying, folding both hands on his back.
Standing on the Thoughtless Sword, Zhao Layue was pursuing him and meanwhile breaking through the Cultivation state.
No member of the Bai family could be found in the high sky.
Threatened by the Sword Formation of Green Mountain, the Center Sect had retreated to the north a long time ago after having rescued the Unicorn; they didn't dare stay around.
In heaven and earth, only a blood red sword light and a figure of large bird remained.
The sword light and the bird figure were traveling among the mountains.
It was unclear how long it had been.
Zhao Layue hadn't succeeded in breaking through the state; on the contrary, she suffered more and more from the assault of the Sword Source.
Her face looked paler and the expression in her eyes looked weaker, but the speed of her ride on the sword hadn't slowed down.
It was hard to imagine how she could manage such a feat in her initial state of Free Travel.
Even after she cultivated on the Sword Peak for many years and formed the shapeless sword body, she couldn't possibly withstand such a pain.
Under normal circumstances, she would have given up already.
Courage and determination didn't mean one should keep going with no regard for the future and life and death; and she wouldn't do such a thing especially after being taught so by Jing Jiu for so many years.
Yet, she wouldn't give up so easily today, and it was because she had understood many things.
She understood why Jing Jiu didn't allow her to enter the middle state of Free Travel even though she was obviously able to.
And she understood why Jing Jiu threw her to the outside of that Zen hall and let her meet the Great Grandmaster Taiping.
She found all the answers.
Especially for the last part.
Jing Jiu's intention was evident.
She couldn't afford to lose sight of Yin San.
Something must have happened to Jing Jiu; his fate was unknown.
It was even more imperative that she keep up with Yin San, and more importantly, she had to kill him.
A high peak suddenly appeared up ahead.
It was cold on the high peak. The higher the elevation of the peak, the less vegetation it had. The steep cliff faces they were approaching were all barren rocks, looking like those on the Sword Peak of Green Mountain.
However, this place was over three thousand miles away from Green Mountain, so it was evidently not the Sword Peak.
If they didn't change the direction while flying, they would bump into the cliff face head-on. Yet, the expression on Yin San's face was still quite calm. He kept on flying forward, without any intention of slowing down or turning aside, as if he intended to crash directly into the cliff face.
Zhao Layue still couldn't break through the state; and her inner injury became more severe. Her Sword Pill quivered restlessly, seemingly on the verge of breaking down.
If it happened, all of her Cultivation would be lost at the very least, and she had to start over, her death being the worst-case scenario.
Her face was as white as the snow, with a trickle of blood hanging on the corner of her mouth. It was unclear how much blood she had spat out during flying, but the expression in her eyes was still composed.
Even if Yin San had some kind of magic escaping method to help him enter the mountain, she was determined to follow him regardless.
Yin San suddenly stopped short before the cliff face; he turned around in midair and jutted out a finger.
It appeared to be a simple move, but was actually rather formidable.
To suddenly stop while traveling at a high speed was something against the rules of heaven and earth; it was the true achievement of integrating movement and stillness. Even those in the Heavenly Arrival State couldn't do it so perfectly.
In all of Chaotian, the pair of brothers, Yin San and Jing Jiu, and some swordsmen in the Underworld, were the only ones who were able to achieve it.
Earlier at the Fruit Formation Temple, the Unicorn was pierced on his shoulder by Jing Jiu for this very reason.
Zhao Layue flew toward the cliff face directly.
His ordinary finger stabbed the center of Zhao Layue's brows with the purest sword will.
If she didn't have the shapeless form Sword Body, she would have been dead after being pierced through by this sword will.
Still, she couldn't withstand the assault and fell off the Thoughtless Sword, drifting downwards noiselessly along the cliff wall.
He was indeed the Great Grandmaster of Green Mountain and the Immortal Taiping who had been dominating both the human world and the Underworld for a long time; his first ever strike after his reincarnation had put Zhao Layue in a dire situation.
The seemingly casual strike in fact involved tremendous calculation and experience.
The cliff wall was heaven and earth, and the integration of movement and stillness was the advantage for him. Moreover, Yin San predicted that Zhao Layue would be in her weakest condition while trying to break through the state.
Yin San didn't take another look at Zhao Layue as she drifted down the cliff; he waved the sleeve lightly, ready to employ the magic method to hide in the forest.
The Thoughtless Sword suddenly moved, grazing his body with a flash of blood red sword light.
A wound appeared on Yin San's shoulder.
The bone flute was hovering in front of him.
If the bone flute hadn't protected him, the Thoughtless Sword would have cut him in half.
Without the aid of a spirit, the flying swords couldn't attack the enemies on their own, even if it was a sword of the Fairy State. The Lone Sword was even far from being able to do so, to say nothing of the Thoughtless Sword.
The action of the Thoughtless Sword indicated that Zhao Layue was not dead.
The Thoughtless Sword didn't stay around; it turned into a blood red ribbon, heading toward the bottom of the cliff at a high speed.
A moment later, Zhao Layue reappeared in front of the cliff wall on top of the Thoughtless Sword.
The black and white parts in her eyes were more evident now.
As her eyes drew all the attention, nobody noticed her pale face and her dress soaking in blood.
It was truly incredible that the energy she gave off at the moment was much more powerful than before, and much steadier, as if it was the stream water that had passed the gloomy and uneven valley and arrived in the flat pine forest.
The stabbing finger from Yin San was indeed amazing, so much so that she couldn't evade it; but when the pure sword will entered her body, it provoked her to use the Sword Pill to counterattack.
The sword work of Green Mountain emphasized inner strength over external strength, and the clash between the sword will and the sword pill had somehow given her enough time to control her own chaotic sword will.
The moment she drifted down the cliff, she held up her Dao Heart steadfastly and calmed down her sword will; as a result, her sword will and sword pill integrated together successfully, and she had entered the middle state of Free Travel!
No one had expected this to happen, neither Yin San nor Zhao Layue.
But she was thinking of another matter at the moment.
Yin San hadn't struck her all the way from the Fruit Formation Temple until now. It seemed that he did it due to his perfect judgment of the environment and timing; but it could also be that he felt it impossible to get rid of her, so he was ill at ease and took the risk.
"You are scared," Zhao Layue remarked while looking at his eyes.
Yin San remained silent for a while before saying with a faint smile, "No, I've just realized that I made a mistake; I should have killed you before departing."
Zhao Layue declaimed emotionlessly, "I'm now in a higher Cultivation state than you; can you still kill me?"
"If a higher Cultivation state means more fighting power, the Cultivation circle would have far fewer uninteresting fights. As such, all we need to do is affirm the Cultivation state and the fight will be over."
The smile on Yin San's face faded away, as he added seriously while looking at Zhao Layue, "It is still not too late to kill you."
Zhao Layue started attacking him without uttering another word.
Her Cultivation state was slightly higher than Yin San's now, and the Thoughtless Sword was the fastest among the main swords of the nine peaks on Green Mountain. As such, she could easily catch up to Yin San.
Yin San had no choice but to fight her even if he didn't want to.
The blood red sword light illuminated the cliff wall, and the Thoughtless Sword swiped down with a mighty force.
The sword style Zhao Layue employed was none other than the Nine-Death Sword Style of Shenmo Peak.
It meant that the swordsman would not regret even after having died nine times.
Besides the Immortal Jing Yang, she was the only one in the world who knew this sword style.
In fact, Zhao Layue was the most suitable person for the sword style.
Clack!!! Clack!!! Clack!!!
Dozens of collisions occurred.
Zhao Layue backed up one hundred feet while on her sword. Looking at Yin San in front of the cliff wall, her expression grave.
An invisible wound occurred on her left shoulder.
It was the bone flute that had injured her.
It was unclear what materials the bone flute was made of and what magic method Yin San used to temper it. The bone flute could even fight like a flying sword, and it was extremely hard. The Thoughtless Sword failed to break it after hacking at it more than ten times; instead, she was wounded by the sword will coming out of the bone flute.
Drifting in front of the cliff wall, with his monk robe ruffling, Yin San looked like a fairy man, and also like the sword will that came out from the bone flute earlier: unpredictable.
"It is said that you have an excellent talent in Cultivation. It looks like the rumor is true. Your talent is even greater than Nan Wang's. Unfortunately, your teacher is too lazy; he hasn't taught you wholeheartedly. You have learned very limited sword styles, so your swordplay is inevitably too simple and therefore boring when you fight against an enemy while riding the sword."
Zhao Layue was someone with natural Dao quality and a genius in swordplay, and she spent over twenty years practicing the Nine-Death Sword Style. However, her swordplay was evaluated as being boring.
Thinking of his identity and the invisible wound on her shoulder, Zhao Layue had no choice but to admit that he was actually qualified to make such an evaluation of her.
Jing Jiu taught the Nine-Death Sword Style to Zhao Layue, the Inherited Heaven Sword Style to Gu Qing, and the Seven-Plum Sword Style to Yuan Qü. As such, he chose to let each of them focus on practicing one sword style only, not several styles at the same time.
What Yin San commented was the disapproval of Jing Jiu's teaching.
Zhao Layue of course disagreed with him, and said, "It's hard to chew thoroughly with too much in the mouth."
"On the current nine peaks of Green Mountain, some sword styles are indeed not so good anymore, but they are still worth learning. You should go to the hermit peaks to look for the old sword manuals that might be suitable for you. And some other sword styles in other places are also not too bad, for instance those at the No-Mercy Sect."
Yin San continued, "Only after one has learned ten thousand sword styles, they will be able to understand the principle of 'Everything is a sword'."
Zhao Layue remarked after some thought, "Everything is a sword? A sword is in all?"
Yin San sighed, "The disciples on Green Mountain are getting worse generation after generation. It is written clearly on the first page of the Sword Script; why is it so hard to remember?"
"Thanks for your guidance, Great Grandmaster," Zhao Layue said while bowing to him.
Yin San waved his hand dismissively and said, "No need for the courtesy, because you will die today anyway."
"I don't think so," retorted Zhao Layue.
As soon as she finished uttering those words, she started attacking again.
Like Yin San said earlier, the Cultivation state couldn't decide the outcome of a fight.
She had only practiced the sword work over thirty years; but Yin San had been involved in the sword work for over a thousand years. How could their experiences even be compared?
Soon, her body had two more invisible wounds.
Yet, she was still very composed.
Yin San felt it odd.
Zhao Layue's attack this time was evidently different from before. Though the force from her wielding sword was more powerful, but the sword will was not as agile as before.
Given her talent in the sword work, this shouldn't have happened.
It could only mean that she had done it on purpose.
The sword when being wielded more powerfully would cause a louder sword sound.
Was she trying to inform someone?
Yin San arched his eyebrows slightly. If this place were near the Fruit Formation Temple or a Cultivation sect, the Cultivation practitioners might be able to hear her sword sound.
But they were in the middle of a barren and remote mountain; who would be able to hear her?
He had never believed in the stories about encountering treasures in the wilderness, monkeys on a remote mountain and fairy immortals while dying.
The King Ming of the Mysterious Dark Sect had encountered many things of this sort, but they were all arranged by him.
Zhao Layue's swordplay suddenly changed, and she struck at Yin San like the violent wind and rainstorm.
Yin San stopped thinking of all this, and dealt with her attacks calmly.
A band of dusts resembling a dragon suddenly appeared in the wild forest at the foot of the cliff wall; it seemed that someone was rushing over at a high speed.
A flat ground was created after the wild forest was crushed by a powerful energy.
A person flying on the sword formed a silvery line in front of the cliff wall, at an extremely fast speed; the person was at least a swordsman in the Free Travel State.
Amazingly, that person didn't thrust the sword but a burning fist along with a great deal of black smoke.
The terrifying fist had arrived.
Yin San retreated to the middle section of the cliff, as countless loose rocks fell down from the cliff wall after being hit by the fist. Seeing the burned marks on the rim of his cloth, Yin San was taken aback, and remarked, "It's getting more interesting now."
The newcomer stood on a small silvery sword; the contrast between the size of sword and his body was so obvious that it looked truly interesting.
Yet, this was not the reason why Yin San thought it interesting; it was because he knew this person and the sword.
They were Liu Shisui and the Lone Sword.
"I have informed you as I passed by the vegetable garden; how come you come over so late?"
Zhao Layue demanded while looking at him, thinking that something must be wrong with him.
Liu Shisui noticed something was not quite right with her energy. As he flew to her side and replied, "I don't know why, but this sword isn't listening to me so well today."
It took much more time than he had expected to get here from the vegetable garden. If he hadn't followed the trace of the Thoughtless Sword, he would have been lost a while ago. The Lone Sword was not as fast as the Thoughtless Sword to begin with; yet, somehow the small silvery sword seemed fearful today, and it even had the intention of getting lost on purpose.
Zhao Layue noticed that the Thoughtless Sword behaved a bit strangely today as well. It wouldn't strike with its full strength even though she didn't suppress it.
"The known swords have shown a deep affection."
Yin San said lightly, "These two swords were left by me for him; they have of course recognized me."
It was until now that Liu Shisui saw his face clearly; he cried in surprise, "Senior Master, how come it's you?"
"Do you know him?" Zhao Layue asked, the expression in her eyes turning slightly cold.
"Yeah," Liu Shisui confirmed, feeling baffled.
Zhao Layue said, "Doesn't matter. Let's kill him first."
Seeing the blood stains on her body, Liu Shisui asked, "What on earth is going on here?"
"He wants to kill Jing Jiu," Zhao Layue said, while keeping her eyes on Yin San to prevent him from fleeing unexpectedly.
Liu Shisui knew that something would happen at the Fruit Formation Temple today. But he listened to Jing Jiu to stay put because he had the absolute confidence in Jing Jiu. Upon hearing what Zhao Layue had said, he felt worried, asking, "Is my Young Master alright?"
Zhao Layue didn't answer him.
After a moment of silence, Liu Shisui looked at Yin San and asked, "Senior Master, who the heck are you?"
The pursuit resumed.
The difference was that Yin San was pursued by both Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui now.
There were some short conversations and mental activities before the pursuit, which were worth describing but unnecessary since the outcome was determined in advance.
For instance, when Liu Shisui learned that the young monk was actually the Immortal Taiping, his Great Grandmaster, his mouth opened big enough to swallow Xiao He's fist.
And Yin San mused sentimentally that these two youngsters pursued their Great Grandmaster of Green Mountain with the two famous swords of Green Mountain, the Lone Sword and the Thoughtless Sword.
And when Zhao Layue asked Liu Shisui which side he would choose, it actually took a moment for him to think about it.
He didn't think about which side he would choose; instead, he thought about how to persuade the Great Grandmaster to stay and comply with what his Young Master demanded.
A blood red sword light and a silvery sword light were chasing the gray bird flying in heaven and earth. They left the barren mountains and arrived over the flat fields.
The fields below had some accumulated snow; as dusk fell, the snow was not so visible anymore.
Night had finally fallen. The fireworks rose up into the sky above the fields once in a while, looking breathtaking.
The fireworks illuminated the road ahead.
The bird figure flew past, followed by the sword lights.
Once after an interval, the bird figure and the sword lights would wander about over a ruined temple at a village entrance or a nameless grave among the hills.
It was the most dangerous moment.
Later, the bird figure strayed and headed toward a distant place.
The sword lights caught up again.
The pursuit went on. As the night grew darker and darker, the fireworks hadn't slacked off.
All of a sudden, the whole world was seemingly ablaze with the firecrackers; and the night sky seemed to tremble with the loud cracking sounds.
The New Year had arrived!
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