The monkeys on Shiyue Peak were too noisy; in fact, they were much more annoying
than Liu Shisui and the young monk of the Fruit Formation Temple. As such, Jing Jiu
didn't land in front of the Daoist Hall encircled by the forest. He went to a place at the
directly at the back of the peak. A dozen ordinary looking courtyards were located there,
storing many extremely valuable books on Cultivation and precious magic pills. They
were guarded closely.
To prevent natural fires, no other vegetation was planted in this patch of the cliff except
for the iron trees that could actually resist the fires.
The iron trees would neither produce flowers nor fruits, and their leaves tasted bitter and
were hard to swallow; no monkeys could be found here.
The sword light of the Sword of the Universe alerted Shiyue Peak. Jing Jiu was
surrounded by a dozen flying swords as soon as he landed as a few formidable
formations were ready to strike at any moment.
A disciple yelled, "Who are you?!"
Jing Jiu turned around.
"Young Senior Master…No, Sect Master!"
"Greetings, Sect Master!"
"Meet the Sect Master!"
After seeing his face, the disciples of Shiyue Peak were startled; they withdrew their
flying swords hastily and bowed to him in tandem.
"I'll take a look around myself. Don't follow me," said Jing Jiu.
He said "Don't follow me", not "No need to follow me". It would be more diplomatic and
friendly to say the latter, but he didn't intend to show his social skill as the new sect
master. The disciples of Shiyue Peak eyed each other wordlessly, thinking that this was
the forbidden area of Green Mountain, where many important books on Cultivation and
precious magic pills were stored…though, well…since the whole of Green Mountain
was his, it would be best to just let him go anywhere he wanted to.
Jing Jiu entered a nearby small courtyard and came to the front of a three-story small
The elder in the building stood up and waited for his approach. Jing Jiu didn't exchange
any words with the elder, instead heading toward the inside of the building.
The elder was astonished. Yet, he crossed his hands as Jing Jiu came before the
building, the sword source coming out swiftly to dismantle the formations on the stairs.
Jing Jiu didn't halt his steps as he moved forward.
The elder, following behind Jing Jiu, kept waving his hands back and forth to dismantle
the formations. Tiny beads of sweat seeped out from his forehead immediately.
This small, ordinary-looking building unexpectedly had six formidable formations. Even
a practitioner in the upper state of the Broken Sea would have a hard time breaking
through the building.
Jing Jiu halted his steps after he came to the third floor and thanked the elder.
The elder retreated from the building after bowing to Jing Jiu. Then, he stood on the
landing of the stone steps, preventing others from entering the building by mistake and
disturbing the Sect Master reading the books.
Jing Jiu suddenly realized that Yuan Qijing hadn't given him the Great Formation of
Green Mountain yet.
Yet, he didn't dwell on this matter for too long as he headed to the deep part of the
building. Soon, he found the shelf he was looking for and took a thin booklet from it.
Back when he had just come to Green Mountain in his last life, he stayed on Shiyue
Peak for ten years. He didn't learn how to plant the flowers and remove the weeds, nor
did he learn how to make the magic pills here. All he did was read all the books on
Cultivation on the peak. Later, he came and read those books a few more times, and
gave up the effort only after he was certain that no more new books could be obtained
by the Green Mountain Sect.
He could still remember the contents of those books worthy of being remembered. The
purpose of his visit today was not to review the books, but to take a look at that book.
The old book contained very limited content; it mostly talked about a method of self-
For instance, when one looked at the refection of a flower in a mirror, they would see
many flowers as the mirror was broken into pieces; if the mirror turned into the tiniest of
powders, the flowers would vanish as well.
The method of self-observation was not sophisticated in and of itself, nor was it
mysterious. However, the author of the book figured out a method of splitting mirrors
based on this method, which was very important.
The Immortal Taiping created the Formation of the Dispersed Smoke and Clouds back
then after gaining an insight from this method of splitting mirrors.
Jing Jiu didn't read the words in the booklet, but felt the paper with his fingers to
ascertain the age of the booklet. In the meantime, he wanted to make sure nothing in
the booklet piqued his suspicion.
He walked out of the small building and handed the booklet to the elder, saying, "Find
out where this booklet came from."
"To which time period, Sect Master?" asked the elder.
Jing Jiu replied, "To the very beginning."
The request was reported to the Immortal Guangyuan immediately.
The Immortal Guangyuan took the booklet and had a look at it, and remained silent for a
long time. The current Green Mountain hailed mostly from Shangde Peak; an
experienced peak master like him knew something about the Formation of the
Dispersed Smoke and Clouds, so he was aware of the association of this booklet with
that formation. Why would Jing Jiu want to know the origin of this booklet?
He said after some thought, "Since it's the order of the Sect Master, just do it."
Because of Jing Jiu's request, the whole of Shiyue Peak was kept busy.
Seven elders and dozens of disciples, plus hundreds of caretakers, did nothing but
research the origin of that booklet. The masters came up with their theories and then
gave orders; dozens of disciples were responsible for analyzing, recording and
compiling notes as hundreds of caretakers shuttled back and forth among the
courtyards with the heavy books in their arms.
A nervous but exciting atmosphere filled the cliff. Even those iron trees seemed affected
by the commotion, swaying slightly in the wind, as if attempting to bloom.
It was inevitable that some would complain about the efforts. A disciple responsible for
the medicine garden of flowing stones in the western mountain suddenly recalled that
he had forgotten to summon the rainfall that day; he couldn't help complaining about the
unnecessary troubles the new sect master caused in his mind. But later he went to a
master and confided his offense.
Unexpectedly, that master didn't blame him, saying, "It's unimportant. You should do
your best to complete the task requested by the Sect Master. The orchid leaves will fold
easily without enough water; you can daub them with the jade marrow at night."
The expression on this disciple's face changed, as he thought there were three hundred
and seventeen orchids in total; so there was no way he could sleep if he was to daub
every and each leaf of them. And it seemed that he had to come here the next day to
check all these old books.
Yet, the masters thought it was more interesting to spend time this way. More
importantly, they hadn't even read those older books hidden in the small building. After
the books were moved out of the building, they selected the ones they were interested
in reading as they commanded the caretakers to open them and lay them on the stone
slabs. The libraries on Shiyue Peak enjoyed a constant dryness and temperature
ensured by the formations; but it would be detrimental to the books if they were kept in a
sunless place for too long.
The sunshine was quite warm this spring, suitable for baking the books.
To find out the origin of a book that had none was very difficult, even for someone like
Jing Jiu who was good at calculating and speculating. Yet, with the efforts of the entire
Shiyue Peak, they had found the clue in three days: the original author of the book was
a grand master in Cultivation by the name of Yan Zhenlu, who would have lived a
thousand years ago.
However, Jing Jiu wanted to find out the absolute origins of it; where did Yan Zhenlu get
his idea from in the first place?
This grandmaster in Cultivation was a free-traveling practitioner, though he was very
famous at the time. He didn't join any sect until he left this world.
The elders of Shiyue Peak came to a conclusion after checking a few unofficial
historical books and some logs of the local sects: Yan Zhenlu would have been an
expelled disciple of the Mirror Sect.
Jing Jiu was satisfied with the report from Shiyue Peak, thinking that being a sect
master had its own merits. He didn't have such a feeling back when he was the master
of the sect master on Shenmo Peak. Yet, Shiyue Peak wouldn't allow him to check this
out if he were merely a regular disciple, to say nothing of helping him find out the origin
of the book with so many resources.
After the hotpot dinner, Yuan Qü and Ping Yongjia remained quiet, and so did Ada.
But one day, Gu Qing couldn't hold his tongue any longer; he mentioned the upcoming
Plum Meeting again.
It was the middle of spring, and the flowers in Zhaoge City would be in bloom now. The
Plum Meeting would take place in a little more than ten days, but the Green Mountain
Sect hadn't selected the participants yet, let alone send a delegation.
Jing Jiu said, "The Sword Trial will take place as usual, and the leader of the delegation
will be Nan Wang as well."
Gu Qing felt relieved to hear this. He sent the message to Xilai Peak immediately and
asked them to make the arrangement.
The Sword Trial took place the second day successfully…something unexpected
occurred. Nan Wang didn't want to go to Zhaoge City; she desired to stay behind closed
Gu Qing was worried, as he thought that it was the first time when a peak master
declined the order of his Master as the new sect master. Did it signify something?
Jing Jiu didn't expect Nan Wang to be so diligent at cultivating now, yet at the same
time wasn't concerned about her refusal, saying, "Let Guangyuan do it then."
Then, he remembered the Sword Trial on Green Mountain that had taken place that
day, so he asked, "Who won?"
Gu Qing didn't answer him, and spun his head toward a spot behind him with a faint
Jing Jiu turned around and saw Yuan Qü standing by the window on the second floor of
the Daoist hall, raising his right hand embarrassingly.
Yuan Qü appeared ordinary on Shenmo Peak, being even unnoticeable most of time. It
was because Shenmo Peak had so many geniuses.
Jing Jiu felt a bit surprised, but he also felt satisfied. He had defeated Ma Hua and Gu
Han and even broken Guo Nanshan's famous sword, the Blue Sea, back in the Sword
Trial on Green Mountain that he participated in. Yuan Qü, with his ordinary Cultivation
state and ordinary flying sword, had won first place. Though the opponents Yuan Qü
faced were not as powerful as the ones he fought against, Yuan Qü had indeed
demonstrated some of his own prowess.
While thinking of all this, Jing Jiu said to Yuan Qü, "You're not allowed to lose in Zhaoge
The smile on Yuan Qü's face disappeared instantly, as he wondered if his senior
master, the Sect Master, wanted him to win first place in the Cultivation tournament.
The participants of various sects in the Plum Meeting had arrived in Zhaoge City one
after the other, and so did the Mirror Sect situated in Emerald City. The Chief of the
Mirror Sect led a dozen disciples departing their sect more than ten days ago, and their
sect master stayed behind closed doors again. Que Niang became the person in charge
of the affairs of the sect for now. She wasn't of high status, nor was she the big sister
among her peers, yet she was very talented, had a strong comprehensive ability, and
cultivated diligently. As such, her Cultivation state improved rather fast, and she was
favored by the sect master and the Chief of the Mirror Sect. But, Que Niang had such a
special status in the Mirror Sect for another reason.
She had won the chess tournaments many times in a row, making history at the Plum
Meeting. She felt a bit lonely after being regarded as the best chess player in the world,
so she opted not to participate in the Plum Meeting this year. She sighed as she set
down the book in her hands and looked at the reflection of the plum branch in the
mirror, wondering when she would be able to witness the game played by Teacher Jing
Jiu and Young Master Tong Yan again.
As the sound of footsteps broke out in the courtyard, a disciple came and told her that
some Culitvationists from Green Mountain came and wanted to pay her a visit.
Que Niang felt bewildered, as she thought that she didn't have any acquaintance on
Green Mountain even though the Mirror Sect and the Green Mountain Sect were on
good terms. On the other hand, she had some acquaintances on Cloud-Dream
Mountain. Who could these visitors be?
As she came to the outside of the courtyard, she saw two people brought in by the
disciples of the Mirror Sect, and felt even more baffled.
In such a mild day in spring, why were these two people still wearing conical hats?
Que Niang asked with a small smile, "Why are these two Cultivationists…"
The young disciple of Green Mountain in front lifted his conical hat slightly, exposing
half of his face.
Que Niang motioned for the disciple to leave them alone, her eyes full of surprise and
happiness. She led the two into the small courtyard and bowed to the person, asking,
"Teacher Jing Jiu, why did you come here?"
The two took off their conical hats. They were nobody else but Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue.
Que Niang bowed to Zhao Layue hastily. When she remembered the current identity of
Jing Jiu, she bowed again in reverence with a changed expression, "Greetings,
Immortal Sect Master."
She had done so many things in such a short time; it was inevitable that she would
appear a bit frenzied. The small freckles on her slightly red face seemed to glow a little,
making her look more adorable.
Que Niang felt puzzled after first feeling such happiness, as she wondered why he
chose to come to the Mirror Sect when the Plum Meeting was taking place in Zhaoge
City and the Center Sect was putting a great deal of pressure on them because of that
matter. As the sect master of the Green Mountain Sect, how could he travel around so
Jing Jiu told her the purpose of their visit directly.
Que Niang thought that the name of Yan Zhenlu sounded familiar, but she couldn't
remember exactly which senior master he was, saying, "I have to ask the senior
masters about this."
Zhao Layue took over the white cat crawling out of Jing Jiu's sleeve and held him in her
bosom, saying, "Sorry for the trouble."
As Que Niang was about to take off, she suddenly stopped short. "I must report this to
my Master," she said regretfully.
She didn't mean that checking Yan Zhenlu would encounter any resistance, this being
because Jing Jiu's status was different now.
She had to report this to her Master no matter what; otherwise, she would be in big
trouble if Jing Jiu had a mishap here!
The Sect Master of the Mirror Sect was still behind closed doors, but Que Niang had no
choice but to inform him.
It hadn't happened for a great many years that the sect master of Green Mountain
visited the Mirror Sect. Even though it was a secret visit, it was still much more
important to receive him than to stay behind closed doors.
Hearing the report from Que Niang, the Sect Master of the Mirror Sect said after some
thought, "I have some impression of Yan Zhenlu. He would be someone who was
originally from our sect. Though I'm not sure what Sect Master Jing wants to find out,
we will just do our best to cooperate with him. But…since he came here in secret, he
obviously doesn't want others knowing about it. As such, I'd better not meet him in
person. You should be careful too; don't leak the news out."
From that day on, Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue had stayed in that small courtyard, never
stepping over the threshold.
The elders and disciples of the Mirror Sect were busy trying to find the stories in the old
books and documents like what the elders and disciples of Shiyue Peak had done.
Fortunately, the spring sun was also rather bright and warm in Emerald City; it was a
good occasion to bake the books.
Que Niang had been accompanying Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue in the courtyard the entire
time. She would glance curiously at the white cat in Zhao Layue's bosom, but more
often than not she would steal a glance at Jing Jiu.
Jing Jiu was fully aware that beauty was far less important than the black and white
pieces of Go in the eyes of Tong Yan and Que Niang, so he knew what she desired to
do with him, and said, "Let's do it then."
Que Niang came to her senses after the initial bewilderment, and exclaimed excitedly,
"Teacher, you're so great!"
She was the only one who had watched the amazing game of Go played by Jing Jiu
and Tong Yan on the Chessboard Mountain until the last moment. The game had
influenced her a great deal in her future chess play.
From that day on, she regarded Jing Jiu as her teacher. And she called Jing Jiu
"teacher" reflexively because she was so excited.
Sitting on the chair while holding the white cat, Zhao Layue thought her calling Jing Jiu
"teacher" was merited.
"When we talked about you at our sect in the last few years, I called you 'teacher'
reflexively, which misled many people at out sect," Que Niang said to Jing Jiu
embarrassingly after she calmed down. "So the masters at our sect thought I had a
special relationship with you, and therefore had a higher expectation of me after you
became the Sect Master of Green Mountain…I beg your forgiveness."
There was a Go board in her room that became countless Go boards when being
reflected in the mirrors that filled up her room.
Jing Jiu picked up a white Go piece, and said to her, "What kind of reflection you have
in the mirrors depends on what kind of mirrors they are; it has nothing to do with
Hearing this, Que Niang fell silent for a long time. She then picked up a black Go piece
and placed it on the board gingerly, saying, "Teacher, please offer me some guidance."
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