As usual, the Sword Trial on Green Mountain took place in the Stone Forest on Tianguang Peak.
Ping Yongjia didn't have a sword, so he ran to the site rather than ride on a sword.
A dragon like band of dust left the Sword-Washing Stream while hurling the grass crumbs into the air. Ping Yongjia arrived at the foot of Tianguang Peak rapidly; but he was intercepted by someone.
The disciple of Tianguang Peak wiped the grass crumbs off his face and spat onto the ground. "Which peak are you from?" he asked Ping Yongjia irritatingly.
Ping Yongjia didn't answer him; instead, a dozen sword strings came out from his fingers, forming a shapeless sword net.
The disciple of Tianguang Peak was taken aback for a moment and then said, "Oh, you're a Big Sister from Qingrong Peak. Please come in."
Tianguang Peak was the main peak of Green Mountain, but it had become a "motherless child" now; so the disciples of the peak didn't dare offend the other peaks, especially this Big Sister of Qingrong Peak.
The whole of Green Mountain was aware that the peak master of Qingrong, Nan Wang, told others that she stayed behind closed doors; but she drank more wines than before, and she was obviously in a very bad mood. The situation had lasted for many years.
The Sword Forest was composed by hundreds of stone posts, and every stone post was more than one thousand feet high. They looked like the thin and long swords, thrusting into the clouds, full of lethal intent.
Opposite the Sword Forest there were nine stone platforms in the cliff walls, where the elders of the nine peaks were seated. The regular disciples of Green Mountain were scattered around the Stone Forest.
Ping Yongjia came up behind the big sisters of Qingrong Peak with his head lowered. The disciples of Shiyue Peak were close by behind him. If he took a step backwards, he would be regarded as the disciple of Shiyue Peak, and if he took a step forwards, he would be considered the disciple of Qingrong Peak. As such, he could have it both ways.
As for why that disciple of Tianguang Peak took him as a female, it was because he had slept on the Sword Peak for several years and stayed behind closed doors in the manor cave for a year; he hadn't drunk a drop of water, so he looked small and thin. Furthermore, he was wearing a conical hat.
As he felt pleased with his choice, he suddenly noticed a pair of feet in his sight when he looked down. A calm and amicable voice rang out at the same time, "What are you doing here?"
He hadn't heard the voice for many years, but he could tell easily that it was the voice of the Senior Master Mei Li of Qingrong Peak.
He cursed his bad luck, wondering why she didn't sit on the stone platform but came to the place for the regular disciples.
As he was about to claim that he was a disciple of Shiyue Peak, Mei Li suddenly said, "Now that you're here to watch, enjoy it then."
Having said that, Mei Li turned to leave. She didn't go back to the stone platform, instead walking forward and standing at the front of the disciples of Qingrong Peak.
Ping Yongjia felt baffled, but he didn't think too much about it, because the Sword Trial had started already.
A cold and formidable sword light passed through the clouds and fog, pursuing the flying sword in front.
The pursued flying sword maintained its power the whole time; and the rumbling thunders occurred wherever it passed by. However, this flying sword couldn't evade the pursuing sword light.
The two flying swords had finally met in the sky over the Stone Forest after brushing by each other several times. With a cracking sound, there seemed to be a flash of lightning.
The stone posts amid the clouds and fog were illuminated; it was a dreadful scene.
A figure fell down from one of the stone posts. He spat out many mouthfuls of fresh blood after being caught by a master; it was evident that he had been severely wounded.
"Big Brother Lei Yijing has improved quite fast over the years; somehow, he can't even block one sword attack of his opponent."
"You should know who his opponent is. He has repaired his flying sword just in a few years. With such a talent…he will probably be the most powerful disciple on Liangwang Peak in the future."
Having heard the discussions of the Green Mountain disciples, Ping Yongjia learned that the defeated one was Lei Yijing.
He remembered this name clearly; it was because Gu Qing told him and Yuan Qü about the attitudes of the disciples of various peaks toward his Master; Lei Yijing, Yao Songshan and Lin Yingliang were all the steadfast supporters of his Master.
Lei Yijing, covered with blood from his head to toe, was supported by a young brother of his peak, looking at a spot above the clouds and fog, his eyes full of resentment.
As the clouds and fog dispersed, a sword light landed at the foot of the Stone Forest.
Jian Ruyun came before Lei Yijing after retrieving his flying sword.
He had been one of the best disciples on Liangwang Peak. After he had cultivated diligently over a few years on Yunxing Peak, Jian Ruyun had not only repaired the flying sword damaged by Zhuo Rusui, but also recovered from the internal injury and became a disciple in the middle state of the Free Travel after breaking through the state.
The Green Mountain disciples began to discuss about who was more powerful between him and Guo Nanshan.
Jian Ruyun asked Lei Yijing icily, "Is it useful to knock your head every year?"
He referred to the fact that Lei Yijing and other Green Mountain disciples went to Scenery Garden and bowed their heads toward Jing Jiu every year since the second year when Jing Jiu and his group left Green Mountain.
Lei Yijing knew that he was no match for Jian Ruyun, so he would be humiliated further if he argued with him, and worst of all, Scenery Garden would be placed in an embarrassing position. As such, he wiped the blood off his body in silence, saying nothing.
Though Lei Yijing didn't say anything, his Master was somehow displeased, thinking that Jian Ruyun was well aware that his Cultivation state was far superior to his disciple but still struck so hard. "Cultivation is not completed in a short time. As long as one takes the sword work to heart, it'll be useful sooner or later."
Shaking his head, Jian Ruyun said expressionlessly, "You people consider that sword devil as the orthodox inheritance of our sect; you are actually on a deviant path. So your Cultivation will get worse and become useless. Do you really think that there is a so-called born shapeless sword body in the world?"
The Green Mountain disciples around the Stone Forest all fell silent when they heard this.
Ping Yongjia lifted his head high up and shot a glance at this person by pulling the conical hat up a little.
After Lei Yijing was helped leave the arena, Yao Songshan and those disciples who supported Scenery Garden could do nothing but remain silent because they knew that they were not a match for Jian Ruyun.
Jian Ruyun didn't say anything more. He walked to the platform of Yunxing Peak after putting away his sword.
For some reason, he didn't go to the platform for the disciples of Liangwang Peak.
There were more and more young disciples of Green Mountain who were inclined to support Scenery Garden; but nobody was willing to talk about it. It was because doing so might contribute to the divisions of Green Mountain, which was something no Green Mountain disciple was willing to see.
Seeing no further confrontation between Lei Yijing and Jian Ruyun, many people, including those elders, felt relieved. Unexpectedly, an arrogant and cold voice broke out, "What Big Brother Jian said is quite right."
A young disciple with an aloof and arrogant countenance came to the middle of the arena. The crowd knew that his name was Fang Xingwai, a disciple of Xilai Peak; he was said to hail from the Fang Clan and have an excellent talent in Cultivation. Though he had entered the mountain gate not long ago, he was already in the upper state of the Undefeated and had a chance of breaking through the Free Travel State.
Sweeping his gaze across those Green Mountain disciples, Fang Xingwai exclaimed, "It's useless to practice the deviant methods. Who would challenge me?"
Even though he was related to Fang Jingtian, he couldn't intimidate all of the Green Mountain disciples; moreover, what he said was intended to deride Lei Yijing and those disciples who are leaned toward Scenery Garden. An uproar occurred around the arena, and many disciples were ready to come out.
Yao Songshan wasn't prepared to participate in the trial because he thought that he had already taken part in the Plum Meeting before; but he could hardly restrain himself after hearing this claim.
Yet, it seemed that he forgot that Lei Yijing was forced to participate under the same circumstances.
Hearing the discussions by the big sisters of Qingrong Peak, Ping Yongjia learned of the identity of this person. His gaze staring at Fang Xingwai grew hostile.
When he came down from Yunxing Peak last year, he heard those colleagues talking about the event at the Grand Ceremony of inaugurating the sect master and knew the peak master of Xilai, Fang Jingtian, had reached the Heavenly Arrival State; and he knew that it was this person who was responsible for imprisoning his Master and others on Shenmo Peak…no, expelling them from Green Mountain.
This person was a disciple of Xilai Peak, and most importantly, he was a member of the Fang Clan. So he was eager to challenge and defeat him, and he also intended to leave Green Mountain in the name of participating in the Plum Meeting. No matter what, he would like to find an opportunity to strike.
However, he didn't have a sword, and he had never fought against anybody before and didn't know how to fight. So he felt a bit uncertain.
As Ping Yongjia was hesitating, Yao Songshan and a dozen other disciples came out, ready to challenge Fang Xingwai.
Seeing those who came out, Fang Xingwai raised his brows even higher to show the abundance of his self-confidence, let alone feel scared.
It was then that Mei Li suddenly said, "Let our Qingrong Peak have this fight."
Mei Li was an elder of Qingrong Peak, and had been teaching the new inner gate disciples at the Sword-Washing Hall over the last few decades. Like Lin Wuzhi, she was well respected by her colleagues. Realizing that it was she who spoke, Yao Songshan and the others didn't dare contend with her peak; they all went back to their groups, feeling surprised nevertheless.
Countless gazes fell on Mei Li and those female disciples of Qingrong Peak, as they all wondered who the challenger was.
Mei Li turned around and looked at the disciple with a conical hat, saying, "Well, it's your turn."
Ping Yongjia was exceedingly nervous at the moment.
He had never fought against anyone before, to say nothing of fighting with the flying sword; and most of all, he didn't even have a sword.
Standing on the top of the high stone post and looking at his opponent in the distance, Ping Yongjia felt a sensation of dryness on his lips, and both of his hands trembled slightly.
Fang Xingwai knew that this Young Sister had already entered the Undefeated State since she didn't have a sword in her hand; it was only that she seemed to lack experience in this sort of situation, so it looked like she was quite scared. "Young Sister, you strike with your sword first," said he, since he felt sympathy for her.
Ping Yongjia couldn't call out his sword since he didn't have one to begin with; so he had no choice but to shake his head a few times.
Fang Xingwai was baffled, but he didn't think too much about it, saying, "Please forgive me then."
No sooner had he said this than a bright sword light illuminated the thin layer of clouds above the stone posts. Along with a frightful sound of air breaking, a flying sword covered the distance of several thousand feet in an instant and arrived before Ping Yongjia, slashing at his conical hat.
No matter how gentlemanly the Green Mountain disciples were supposed to be, they wouldn't cut their opponents any slack during a sword fight in order to show themselves and their opponents the respect. Fang Xingwai was not an exception. The sword move he employed was something in the Seven-Plum Sword style, the hardest to defend against; but it was evident that the target he chose to strike was nonfatal.
The flying sword traveled very fast, but the routes of the traveling sword were erratic and unpredictable. On the platform of Xilai Peak, Fang Jingtian remained silent, but the other elders let out a smile, showing a satisfied expression. On the adjacent platform of Yunxing Peak, Fu Wang offered a compliment.
Ping Yongjia didn't have enough time responding to the incoming flying sword. As he was dazed for a brief moment, he found that his opponent's flying sword had already arrived in front of his eyes.
Yet, he didn't fall off the stone post due to the fright. It was because he had replaced Yuan Qü and often waited by that stream when he was on Shenmo Peak. He often waited for Zhao Layue's sword to strike the rocks by the stream while talking to that old horse.
He had seen the blood-red sword light a great many times.
In comparison to the Thoughtless Sword, Fang Xingwai's sword was like a pearl the size of a millet…well, exactly like a millet.
However, Ping Yongjia had no idea how he should block this incoming sword. Though he had learned the Endless Sword style, he didn't have a sword right now.
Recalling a past event his Big Brother Gu Qing had told him, he extended his hands reflexively to grab the flying sword.
Seeing this, many people thought that he had lost his mind and forgot to use his own sword; they couldn't help but cry out in surprise. They expected to see his hands broken off and blood splashing in every direction. Those big sisters of Qingrong Peak screamed loudly out of worry.
Unexpectedly, as Ping Yongjia reached out his hands desperately, Fang Xingwai's flying sword stopped short in front of his conical hat, unable to move an inch forward; and his bright sword even grew dimmer by now.
Everybody could sense the sword wills emerging from Ping Yongjia's fingers.
"Locking the Autumn!"
An elder of Xilai Peak yelled this after he jumped up in surprise and looked at the top of the stone post.
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