Three days later, the order of sealing off Shangzhou was rescinded. The Pure Heaven Bureau switched their focus of searching from the inside of the city to the outside, and they in the meanwhile employed more manpower to purge the remaining members of the deviant sects.
By dusk, Su Ziye, wearing the conical hat, walked out from the city gate in a leisurely manner.
The city gate of Shangzhou closed slowly behind him.
The fields were gradually covered by the darkness of the night.
He took the last ferry to cross the Qinchun River, and arrived in the midst of the mountains with lush forests.
The mountains in the first half of the night looked like countless giants against the dark gray sky.
The giants seemed to hold innumerable invisible ropes in their hands, blocking all the routes.
A few sword lights illuminated the cliff, and the formation hidden in the cliff revealed a gap.
"Let me introduce myself. I'm Ma Hua, a Green Mountain disciple. All the battles the disciples of Liangwang Peak were in over the last fifty years have been planned by me."
Looking at Su Ziye with narrowed eyes, Ma Hua continued with a faint smile, "What do you think of the formation we have prepared for you today?"
Su Ziye said after sweeping his gaze across the surrounding peaks, "Blocking three sides and having one side open is laudable from the perspective of military strategy, but I wonder how you are going to capture me."
"If I used the entire sword formation of Green Mountain, how could I lure you into it?"
Ma Hua went on, "I'm actually using a person to get you."
No sooner had he finished speaking than a sword rope dropped from the top of the cliff. A woman was tied to the end of the rope; she was none other than the procuress in Shangzhou City.
The procuress had a pale face with a horrified expression in her eyes. As she was about to cry out for help, she saw the man with the conical hat at the foot of the cliff. She gritted her teeth forcefully instead.
She had bit her lips so hard that they were bleeding.
Su Ziye couldn't help but laugh out after he understood Ma Hua's intention. "Do you have any idea who I am?" he asked.
If Ma Hua had known he was the former Young Master of the Mysterious Dark Sect and a famous deviant practitioner, he wouldn't have used a prostitute to threaten him.
"Though I don't know who you are, I know that this procuress is important to you; otherwise, you wouldn't have done such a horrific thing for her."
Ma Hua went on with a faint smile, "Of course, I can let go of her and let you live if you tell me who you are and the sinister things you have done for Shenmo Peak."
Su Ziye thought it was a ridiculous demand. He smiled while shaking his head, and turned to head for the Qinchun River.
A ringing of sword sound was followed by a grunt.
A bloody hole appeared on the body of the procuress. It was excruciatingly painful, so the sweat came out instantly, drenching the hair on her forehead
Su Ziye halted his steps and said to Ma Hua, "She is just a regular prostitute; she has nothing to do with me."
"What you said may be the truth; still, I at least had to try. Later, I'll use the flying sword to slice off a piece of her flesh," Ma Hua said. "How many pieces do you think I'll get in the end?"
"People always claim that we are the devil men of the deviant sects. Judging from what you're doing, the disciples of Green Mountain are far more deviant than me," Su Ziye said.
Ma Hua said, "We don't question our methods when we carry out our duties as an orthodox sect. If I use her life to capture you, a devil man of the deviant sect, then her death is worth it."
The other two young disciples of Liangwang Peak thought that what their Big Brother said was sensible; they needed to employ whatever methods to purge the devil men and evildoers.
Standing on a peak, You Silou furrowed his brows when he heard this statement, as he thought that what Ma Hua said was wrong. But the swordsman wearing the conical hat had a much higher Cultivation state, so he couldn't advise against Ma Hua's strategy.
Su Ziye had no intention of paying further attention to these brainless people. He turned around again, heading toward the Qinchun River.
The expression on Ma Hua's face changed slightly, as he wondered if his calculation was incorrect.
A murderous intent flashed in his eyes as Ma Hua summoned his flying sword into the air, heading toward the procuress in front of the cliff.
A light blue sword light flew over in the sky, hitting the flying sword squarely in midair.
Guo Nanshan landed in front of the cliff.
You Silou and the other two disciples of Liangwang Peak were startled when they saw their Big Brother; they rode their swords to approach him hastily.
Guo Nanshan waved his hand to cut the sword rope in half, and brought the procuress to the ground on the Blue Sea Sword. He turned to Ma Hua and said, "We shouldn't care about the trivial matters when we are determined to achieve great things; this, however is NOT a trivial matter."
Ma Hua and Guo Nanshan had been colleagues for many years, so Ma Hua knew his temperament very well. "I know I did something wrong," he said while kneeling on the ground, the cold sweat trickling down from his back; he knew just how angry Guo Nanshan was right now.
"You'll go to Shangde Peak for punishment after we are back at Green Mountain. You need to repent for a few years in the Sword Jail."
Guo Nanshan turned and looked at the back figure disappearing into the distance. He furrowed his eyebrows as he wondered who this man with the conical hat was and why his movements were so swift and strange.
Ma Hua was startled to hear this punishment, but the expression in his eyes was unchanged. As he glanced at the other young disciples of Liangwang Peak, his eyes turned a bit cold and gloomy.
Nothing had happened.
His cold eyes suddenly grew warm.
It was because a bright red sword light happened to pass by.
Ma Hua's head fell off from his neck, rolling on the ground all the way to a distant spot.
A very light sword ghost drifted up from the cavity of Ma Hua's neck; he had a baffled expression on his face. Soon, Ma Hua's sword ghost was torn to shreds by the remaining sword wills.
Guo Nanshan turned around and looked at the headless corpse, remaining silent.
The blood-red sword light passed through the dark peaks, flying toward the southeast.
The procuress knelt on the ground, pressing her palms together while facing the blood-red sword light, tears running down her face.
Gu Qing had a family matter to take care of. Zhao Layue had some people whom she wanted to kill. Su Ziye was responsible for carrying them out.
Yuan Qü had something more important to take care of. However, he had to do it all by himself. Fortunately, the place he was going to was Green Mountain, so nothing sinister should happen to him.
Unexpectedly, he was intercepted at the mountain gate outside the South-Pine Pavilion before he could enter Green Mountain.
"What is this all about?" Yuan Qü asked Ming Guoxin.
He felt regretful that he hadn't obtained the command board from the Sect Master because he thought it was too troublesome; otherwise, he could simply fly over the Great Formation of Green Mountain and such a thing wouldn't have happened in the first place.
Ming Guoxin said indignantly while scratching his gray hair, "It's stricter now. All the people entering and going out of Green Mountain must be checked out by Xilai Peak."
Seeing his indignant expression while scratching his hair, Yuan Qü felt more irritated, wondering how they all had learned this behavior from Shenmo Peak.
He was impatient to wait here for inspection, so he walked toward the inside of the mountains after waving his hands to dismiss Ming Guoxin.
A few ruptures and some curves suddenly appeared in the air above the mountain path. The eerie sword lights blocked Yuan Qü.
If he were not familiar with this sword style and his movement were not fast enough, he would have suffered some injuries.
A few disciples of Xilai Peak landed on the mountain path, yelling at Yuan Qü, "How dare you charge into our mountain gate. Arrest him!"
Yuan Qü felt it rather ridiculous, so he asked while pointing toward his own face, "Don't you people recognize me?"
Shenmo Peak was the loneliest peak, and the people living on the peak liked staying behind closed doors and seldom socialized with other peaks. Yet, Yuan Qü was an exception; he had to go to Shangde Peak and other peaks for various matters before.
A disciple of Xilai Peak said expressionlessly, "We only know you are in the camp of that sword devil. Since you've been expelled from Green Mountain, you're not a disciple of Green Mountain anymore. So give yourself up!"
Yuan Qü was so angry that he laughed out instead. "Where are you going to send me after you arrest me?" he demanded.
The disciple of Xilai Peak returned, "We'll take you to Shangde Peak to be locked in the Sword Jail, of course."
Yuan Qü grew enraged now, shouting, "I'm intended to go to Shangde Peak in the first place!"
The disciples of Xilai Peak didn't bother paying attention to what he said; they called out their flying swords and attacked him.
The true sword of Xilai Peak was the Seven-Plum Sword style. The moves of the sword were unpredictable, so it was hard to judge where the sword would hit. And the sword moves also contained some secretive methods adopted from the mysterious sects. As a result, it was impossible to counterattack them.
However, Yuan Qü had been learning the sword style of the Seven-Plum since he joined Shenmo Peak, and Jing Jiu had also found a sword that was suitable for the sword style of the Seven-Plum.
Moreover, the name of Yuan Qü given by Jing Jiu had a word "Qü" in it, meaning "curved".
To say nothing of the Cultivation state, few disciples of Xilai Peak had the same talent and master of the Seven-Plum Sword style as Yuan Qü.
The light gray sword lights illuminated the southern mountain gate. The icicles on the swords exuded a cold glow, giving off the intent of the plum flowers braving the snow in winter.
Yuan Qü's sword moves of the Seven-Plum style were even more unpredictable, dangerous, and mysterious than those of the disciples of Xilai Peak.
Along with a few grunts, the disciples of Xilai Peak suffered a few bloody cuts on their bodies, falling down by the mountain path one after another.
If Yuan Qü had employed the lethal moves in the Seven-Plum Sword style, these disciples of Xilai Peak would have died immediately.
Looking at Yuan Qü, these disciples of Xilai Peak were stunned, and also felt horrified.
They all heard that Yuan Qü was the weakest one on Shenmo Peak, so why was he so powerful?
And wasn't he a disciple of Shenmo Peak? Why had he learned the secret sword style of Xilai Peak?
Why was the light gray flying sword so formidable? Was it also a flying sword of the Fairy State?
One disciple of Xilai Peak was at a loss as he looked at the blood covering his body; he asked reflexively the question that he was wondering in his mind, "What kind of a sword is it?"
Yuan Qü faltered, and thought he must ask his Master or the Sect Master to give a name to this sword.
The sword fight outside the southern mountain gate had disturbed the masters in the peaks. An elder of Xilai Peak, Chi Yan and a few others arrived by riding their swords.
Those disciples of Xilai Peak were overjoyed, thinking that the elder of their own peak wouldn't support Yuan Qü and Senior Master Chi Yan of Shangde Peak was considered by all as a person who was strict and impartial.
Staring at those disciples of Xilai Peak, Chi Yan demanded, "What is going on here?"
Before those disciples of Xilai Peak could answer him, Chi Yan sneered, "What a mess you people have caused."
Along with this sneer, an extremely cold sword will spread to both sides of the mountain path, some snowflakes falling down from the sky.
The sword style of flowing snow sounded rather gentle, but it had a lethal strength and a formidable energy. Those disciples of Xilai Peak felt it hard to breathe at the moment, let alone speak.
Chi Yan turned to the elder of Xilai Peak and said, "I don't care what Big Brother Fang intends to do, but you'd better keep a hold on these stupid disciples on Xilai Peak and teach them a few more years."
The elder of Xilai Peak had a terrible look on his face, he was aware that their disciples were in the wrong today, so he had no choice but to say, "I'll teach them better manners when we get back."
Though these disciples of Xilai Peak couldn't speak, they could hear the exchange between the masters. They felt resentful, thinking that they had done nothing wrong.
The elder of Xilai Peak took a look at these disciples, and turned to leave after sighing helplessly.
If it were Gu Qing, Zhuo Rusui or Zhao Layue who returned to Green Mountain from Scenery Garden, Xilai Peak would have enough reasons to keep them from entering the mountain gate. However, Yuan Qü was a special case. The elders of the peaks were all smart; they all knew the relationship between Yuan Qü and Shangde Peak after so many years.
Fang Jingtian needed the support of Yuan Qijing, so he wouldn't dare offend Shangde Peak right now.
Chi Yan turned to Yuan Qü. His countenance and tone of speaking grew much amiable now, "You should've asked someone to send a message; I can send someone to fetch you."
"Senior Master, I'm a disciple of Green Mountain. Why should I ask for permission to come back to my own mountain?" Yuan Qü snapped with his eyes opened wide.
Chi Yan rubbed his head while saying, "Yeah, that's right."
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