The wind-bells on Near-Star Building were ringing softly.
Yet, the wind-bells on another building were all ruptured.
The Great Formation of the mountain gate at the Hanging-Bell Sect had been activated;
the atmosphere here was both depressing and restless. The waves formed on the
surface of Morning Lake, signaling that something foreboding would happen soon.
A dozen elders of the Hanging-Bell Sect stood in the building, the expressions on their
faces looking awful, though not all of them shared the same sentiment.
More than ten representatives of various sects had also come here. They had a heavy
heart, but it was hard to detect such an emotion on their faces.
The corpse of De Yuanquan was lying on the floor, which remained the same as when
he died, since nobody had touched him.
The blood seeped out from the back of his head, forming a pool of blood the size of a
few square feet.
The most horrified part about his death was the hole on his face. It was a hole from his
nose and eyes all the way to the back of his head; it looked extremely dreadful.
Neither the Yuanying nor the sword ghost could escape from such a wound.
The Grandmaster of the Hanging-Bell Sect stood by the corpse of De Yuanquan, her
body hunched over. She looked at it for a long time expressionlessly. It was unclear
what was on her mind.
It was deathly quiet in the building.
After a long while, the Grandmaster had finally straightened her body, a crisp sound of a
bell coming from her body, which was the sign that her Cultivation state had already
reached a profound level.
She turned around slowly and stared at He Bumu, and said evenly and emotionlessly,
"The Green Mountain Sect is too outrageous."
Hearing this, a few elders of the Hanging-Bell Sect stared at He Bumu, their eyes full of
anger and resentment.
The sect masters and elders of other sects also felt that the Green Mountain Sect had
done an outrageous thing.
This matter was the internal affair of the Hanging-Bell Sect, which means the Green
Mountain Sect shouldn't have interfered with it. Worst of all, they had killed someone
The most insensible part was that they had struck suddenly one day earlier. Didn't the
Green Mountain Sect give the Grandmaster a day to consider her option?
"Grandmaster is defaming us without evidence."
He Bumu went on nonchalantly, "I was talking to Zuo Yushi of the Great Marsh all this
time. Why does this case have something to do with us?"
Zuo Yushi of the Great Marsh said with a bitter smile, "That's right, Grandmaster. I
swear that I have been with the Green Mountain group."
With no change on her countenance, the Grandmaster pounded the floor a few times
with her cane.
The floor quivered slightly.
The De Yuanquan's head opened up like a blooming flower, and then turned into
The Grandmaster didn't go crazy. In fact, she didn't make this happen; it was the sword
will hidden in the De Yuanquan's head that had done the deed.
The remaining sword will vanished in the air, but it still left some mark behind.
"If this old woman didn't sense it wrong, this should be the sword will of Green
Mountain, and it should be the Old Bird style of Yunxing Peak."
The Grandmaster continued while staring at He Bumu expressionlessly, "This killer
didn't even bother concealing his identity after killing his victim. What your sect did is
The expression on He Bumu's face remained the same, as numb as a stone, as he
said, "Maybe he is a follower of Taiping, or an assassin of the Old Ones."
The Grandmaster remarked while staring into his eyes, "Who knows what kind of
relationship exists between you people and Taiping?!"
He Bumu said, "Taiping is an evil person and should be killed. We have nothing to do
with him. You should choose your words carefully, Grandmaster."
The Grandmaster seemed to grow much older within the space of a few days; the
wrinkles on her face looked deeper.
"Now that a person has died, we have to find out the culprit. I'd like to ask our
Cultivation friends to stay a bit longer here."
She said this while looking at the Cultivation practitioners of various sects
She made the statement very politely, and the scenery at Morning Lake was marvelous
as well. But everybody knew that her suggestion was no difference from keeping them
in the house arrest.
Though the Cultivation practitioners of various sects were not pleased at the
suggestion, they had nothing much to say after looking at the headless corpse on the
De Yuanquan was the next sect master selected by the Grandmaster herself.
Somehow, he had died a terrible death after his first presence in the Cultivation circle.
Nobody, under the circumstances, would give up on the revenge easily.
However, would the people of Green Mountain comply and stay here?
Dozens of gazes mixed with various emotions fell on He Bumu.
According to the action style of the Green Mountain Sect, there was no way he would
accept the request of the Hanging-Bell Sect, especially after the Grandmaster had
pointed out that the Green Mountain Sect had something to do with the murder.
Unexpectedly, He Bumu had accepted it.
He led Lin Yingliang and other three disciples of Shiyue Peak heading for the outside of
the building. His voice, which was neither too high nor too low, echoed in the building.
"Why should we go back? I've watched the plants and flowers, and the open and hidden
flames for so many years; it would be a good opportunity for me to have some fun by
The Clean-Heart Meeting had to be finished prematurely since the new sect master of
the Hanging-Bell Sect had died. However, all the participating Cultivation practitioners,
regardless of whether they were the representatives of various sects or the free-
traveling practitioners, were asked to stay put.
The method the Hanging-Bell Sect used to keep them was simple enough. They were
locked inside the Great Formation that was hidden in the lake and mountains.
The reason the Green Mountain Sect had broken through the Protective Formation of
the mountain gate at the West Ocean Sword Sect easily two years ago was because
the Immortal Taiping snuck into Shaoming Island and destroyed the control center of
For these Cultivation practitioners to leave the place, they had to find the control center
of the formation under the tight surveillance of the Hanging-Bell Sect and destroy it.
The Hanging-Bell Sect didn't want any of the Cultivation practitioners to leave, but they
didn't mind them contacting each other. It was evident that they were not worried about
The young monk came back to the small courtyard after obtaining the information from
somewhere else, and shook his head many times. "It's said that that person has died a
terrible death," he said.
The old monk sighed while looking at Jing Jiu.
The young monk didn't know why his Master sighed, and continued, "It's said that Elder
He of Green Mountain and the Grandmaster argued again."
The old monk shot him a glance, but didn't ask the young monk to shut his mouth after
The young monk looked at Jing Jiu and said, "The Grandmaster said that the Green
Mountain Sect is too outrageous, and Elder He retorted that the Hanging-Bell Sect is
defaming them without evidence. Look, those are remarkable phrases…"
Jing Jiu thought that he had indeed seen these two phrases in a book years ago. He
didn't expect He Bumu to have such an ability for argument; he couldn't help but feel
appreciative of him a little.
The young monk continued, "I don't know when they can find the killer…Please don't
look at me like this. I know the immortal masters of the Green Mountain Sect didn't do it.
I'm just curious as to how someone could do it so noiselessly and undetected. Yeah, do
you think that more people will die? I don't think it will happen again."
The old monk couldn't help but sigh once, thinking that he should have asked him to
shut his mouth.
The young monk scratched his head as he wondered what had happened today and
why his Master kept on sighing.
There was a saying: "The words come true," also known as the "unlucky mouth".
All in all, another murder had happened near Morning Lake on the same night.
An elder of high status at the Hanging-Bell Sect had died in the darkness of the night.
His corpse fell into the lake, scaring away quite a few white geese.
The young monk went out hastily, and came back not long after. "He has died so
completely that we couldn't resuscitate him. That assassin was too formidable."
The elder of the Hanging-Bell Sect had died exactly the same way as De Yuanquan; his
face had a large hole in it.
The old monk looked at Jing Jiu again, and sighed again.
In the following days, the atmosphere by Morning Lake grew tenser. The disciples of the
Hanging-Bell Sect became more cautious, but they still couldn't prevent the murders
Those people had died either in their manor caves or on the islands in the middle of the
lake. And all those who were murdered were the bigwigs at the Hanging-Bell Sect.
The old monks sighed nonstop while looking at Jing Jiu.
The young monk, no matter how naïve he was, had finally understood why his Master
sighed at Jing Jiu. Yet the young monk didn't understand how Jing Jiu did it since it was
obvious that he had never left the small courtyard.
Jing Jiu's face was somewhat ashen; he returned to his own room to meditate and rest.
Ada knew that he had used up a great deal of his sword source, and felt a bit heart-
wrenched for him. So he didn't climb up to Jing Jiu's head to sleep.
The young monk looked at the tightly closed door and said with a bitter expression,
"Master, are we counted as his accomplices?"
The Great Formation of the mountain gate had been activated, and Morning Lake had
been sealed off. Everybody realized by now that the formidable assassin didn't come in
from outside and that he was hiding among the guests.
However, that assassin was extremely evasive. Nobody had spotted any trace about
him, let alone his figure.
The bells hanging over the mountains and eaves didn't ring out once before those
elders and swordsmen of the Hanging-Bell Sect had died.
The most eerie case was that two elders who resided in the side halls on the eastern
side and the western side of Morning Lake separately had died almost at the same time.
They were all shocked considerably, wondering if there were more than one assassin.
They also wondered if that single assassin could move at an unimaginable and
The unexpected deaths and more bizarre conjectures made many of the disciples of the
Hanging-Bell Sect feel horrified; but for some people at the Hanging-Bell Sect, they
were the welcoming incidents.
There were many people at the Hanging-Bell Sect supporting the Sect Master Chen.
But they didn't dare voice their support for her because of the power held by the
Grandmaster and the brutal methods those elders employed to deal with opposition.
Now that those elders were dead, who could stop the "undercurrent" and resentment at
the Hanging-Bell Sect from coming out into the open?
One late night, an elder of high status came to the front door of Near-Star Building and
requested to meet the Grandmaster.
"We all know the origin of the current situation. I beg you to dismantle the Great
Formation and release the Sect Master."
The Grandmaster's voice was still emotionless: "The Hanging-Bell Sect has been
bullied by outsiders, and yet you're still speaking for those outsiders."
But the elder returned in a deep and tenacious tone, "The Sect Master has been here
by marriage for many years; how can you claim she is an outsider?!"
After those elders had been killed, the strength of the two opposite camps at the
Hanging-Bell Sect had switched.
Yet, everybody was aware that the Grandmaster wouldn't accept the defeat so easily.
The Cultivation practitioners participating in the Clean-Heart Meeting felt nervous as
well as curious as they would like to find out the ending of this story.
He Bumu and three disciples of Shiyue Peak sat in the grand hall every day,
chitchatting with those acquaintances from the Great March and the Mirror Sect; it
seemed that they were just watching the unfolding of the event as bystanders.
Zuo Yushi of the Great Marsh and the Chief of the Mirror Sect thought He Bumu was
doing this to prove that Green Mountain had nothing to do with the event; but He Bumu
knew clearly what he was going to encounter.
On the fourth morning, the anticipated event had finally happened.
The sound of bells rang out vociferously; the energy in heaven and earth had swirled
along with the ringing bells, creating countless invisible whirlpools in the air.
Some free-traveling practitioners in a lower Cultivation state blanched and dashed to
the lakeside to retch because they couldn't stand the sudden change of energy in
heaven and earth.
Along with the sound of the bells, a formation enveloped a small courtyard.
Dozens of the Hanging-Bell Sect disciples besieged the small courtyard tightly, making
sure nobody would escape from it.
The Grandmaster staggered to the front gate of the small courtyard with the aid of her
The Cultivation practitioners of various sects had come over after hearing the news. The
Hanging-Bell Sect had no intention of concealing it from them, allowing them to stand
around the perimeters.
The door of the small courtyard was pushed open, and the young monk came out. His
heart skipped a beat when he saw so many people outside with weapons, exclaiming,
"Senior Master, what are you..."
The Grandmaster didn't heed him, and walked into the small courtyard. She came
before the monk wearing a conical hat without even glancing at the old monk.
"You're indeed acting as rumored; you can move your body and sword fast enough that
my life bell couldn't even perceive your movement ahead of time."
She went on while looking at that monk, "But you have underestimated my Hanging-Bell
The flying sword used to kill those elders by Morning Lake in last few days was indeed
very strange and swift, but some traces were nevertheless left behind after so many
The Great Formation of the Hanging-Bell Sect had reduced its scope following those
traces. Eventually, that flying sword had alerted the life bell of the Grandmaster last
night when it attempted to kill someone again.
The monk with the conical hat didn't speak, his head still lowered.
The Cultivation practitioners of various sects outside the courtyard felt quite nervous,
wondering what would happen if he took off his conical hat.
Both Zuo Yushi of the Great Marsh and the Mirror Sect Master shot a glance at He
Bumu, and found he had a grave expression on his face. Their hearts skipped a beat as
they knew right away that the Green Mountain Sect had been involved in the matter.
Looking at the monk with conical hat and thinking of his peculiar movements and the
rumors circulating in the Cultivation world in the last two years, the Grandmaster inhaled
"Cultivationist Jing Jiu, you are not cultivating on Green Mountain but hiding here by
disguising yourself as a monk of the Fruit Formation Temple; what do you intend to do?"
Upon hearing this, the Cultivation practitioners of various sects couldn't help but let out
The monk with conical hat was none other than Jing Jiu of Green Mountain!
Why did he come here to kill those elders of the Hanging-Bell Sect?
Recalling what He Bumu had said a few days earlier, they realized that it was a
reasonable thing for Jing Jiu to do.
It was because Shenmo Peak had only received three guests over the years; they were
Tong Yan, Bai Zao, and the Young Master of the Hanging-Bell Sect, De Sese.
Jing Jiu was trapped in the snowland when Tong Yan visited Shenmo Peak; in other
words, Jing Jiu had only received two guests personally, Bai Zao and De Sese.
All of Cultivation world were aware of the relationship between Jing Jiu and Bai Zao,
and it was easy for them to figure out the relationship between him and De Sese. Now
that De Sese had had a mishap, how could he not come to her rescue?
Hearing what the Grandmaster said, He Bumu narrowed his eyes, his hands folded
behind his back, trembling slightly.
He was not nervous, nor did he feel scared. What he was doing was to summon his
sword instruction and inform Lin Yingliang and other two disciples of Shiyue Peak of
readying to strike.
These three disciples had a low Cultivation state; the strongest among them was Lin
Yingliang, who was only in the middle state of the Undefeated. They were fully aware
that they would have a mishap once the battle started; but they didn't have a second
thought about it.
Under the gazes of the crowd, that monk raised his hand to take off the conical hat,
exposing his face.
Seeing his face, He Bumu felt somewhat surprised, but also felt relaxed, releasing his
right hand that had held the sword instruction.
It was quiet in the small courtyard.
The atmosphere was a bit uneasy.
The monk had a rather handsome face, but it was not perfect.
So he was anybody but Jing Jiu.
He Zhan looked at the Grandmaster and demanded earnestly, "I'm a monk at the Fruit
Formation Temple; why can't I stay here?"
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