The layer of fog was growing thicker. Those regular disciples couldn't see what was going on in the high sky any longer; what they could see was the sword light shooting upwards.
All of a sudden, a barrage of frequent sword sounds burst out at the high elevation in the sky. By the time the sounds reached the ground, they became much fainter and were as gentle as the spring rain.
The people thought that Jian Ruyun must have detected the trace of Ping Yongjia's escape method of sword and was launching a series of attacks at him.
Hearing the frequent sword sounds, the crowd was astonished, thinking that Jian Ruyun must have a very high Cultivation state now that he could have attacked so many times in such a short period.
The clouds and fog had suddenly dispersed, showing a passage. Ping Yongjia dropped down from the sky, landing squarely on the stone post on which he had stood earlier.
Yet, he landed too strongly, so he couldn't stand on his both feet. As his left knee gave in, he knelt down heavily on the top of the stone post.
The stone post that had been damaged earlier started to sway wildly, more rock crumbs falling off; it seemed on the verge of breaking up.
Seeing this scene, the Green Mountain disciples let out another barrage of surprised screams.
Lei Yijing, Yao Songshan and the others thought excitedly that Ping Yongjia didn't die after all the fierce attacks from Jian Ruyun and he was indeed the personal disciple of Grandmaster.
But where was Jian Ruyun? Why didn't he show up? It was evident that Ping Yongjia had no energy left to fight further; so he could easily win the fight without killing his opponent. Was Jian Ruyun unsatisfied with the result?
As the people were thinking about this, the clouds and fog opened a passage again through which a dark figure was falling down from the sky.
With a changed expression, Guo Nanshan yelled, "Save him!"
No sooner had he said this than Elder Shi Mingxuan had already flown up from the platform. He arrived at the foot of the stone post as quickly as he could and caught Jian Ruyun only inches away from the ground.
Jian Ruyun was unconscious at the moment; his body was covered with the sword marks throughout, fresh blood seeping out incessantly. It was obvious that he had suffered severe wounds.
An uproar broke out. Everybody fixed their gazes on Ping Yongjia, who was still kneeling on the top of the stone post. A shocking thought crossed their minds that this person had probably won the sword fight in the sky.
Even Mei Li and Lin Wuzhi displayed a bewildered expression.
Jian Ruyun was a truly powerful swordsman on Liangwang Peak, and he was not even inferior to Guo Nanshan. How could he lose to a disciple who had only entered the mountain gate ten years ago?
Ping Yongjia stood up with a great effort. Before he could say anything, he spat out a mouthful of fresh blood, drawing another barrage of surprised screams.
Yet, all of them could tell that his injury was minimal in comparison to Jian Ruyun's.
A gust of gentle wind blew over from the top of Tianguang Peak, ruffling Ping Yongjia's rims of clothes. It was at this moment that many people noticed that there were dozens of sword lights returning to his body with the gentle wind.
What was this sword style? Many Green Mountain disciples wondered in bewilderment.
The elders of the peaks who had been to the Sword Trial on Green Mountain that year had various expressions on their faces. Some of them had a grim countenance, and some delighted.
Ping Yongjia lifted his sleeve to wipe the blood off his face and took a look at Jian Ruyun who was still unconscious; then he looked at the platform of Xilai Peak and that figure in the Heavenly Arrival State with the tousling silvery brows. "This is the born shapeless sword body. Have you people seen and understood it?" he remarked calmly but in a confrontational tone.
After Jian Ruyun had severely injured Lei Yijing on purpose, he said that you people shouldn't have thought that there was a thing called the "born shapeless sword body".
Those people who believed Jing Jiu was a sword devil had the same thought. It was simply because Jing Jiu was a sword, so he could have achieved those incredible feats.
Unexpectedly, Ping Yongjia injured Jian Ruyun severely only a few years after that event; and according to his own explanation, he had employed none other than the shapeless sword body!
If he could learn the shapeless sword body, there was no way that his Master couldn't do the same.
Would you people claim Ping Yongjia was also a sword devil?
But there was only one All in One Sword in the world.
"Capture this devil man!" Shi Mingxuan yelled sharply at the foot of the Stone Forest.
Jian Ruyun was severely wounded, and some of his meridians were evidently broken. It was hard to tell if he could still cultivate at the moment. Shi Mingxuan was Jian Ruyun's Master, so he was enraged to the extreme. He wished that he could kill Ping Yongjia right away.
However, it was quiet; nobody had responded to this elder of Yunxing Peak.
Nobody gave a response to him, to say nothing of capturing Ping Yongjia by his request. No one even shot a glance his way.
The atmosphere was rather strange at the moment at the foot of Tianguang Peak.
All the gazes were fixed on a platform in the cliff.
It was the place Ping Yongjia looked at when he spoke earlier.
Fang Jingtian was sitting there.
The Immortal Guangyuan, Chi Yan and Chi Mo were also gazing at him quietly.
He had said that Jing Jiu was a sword devil, but how would he explain what had happened today?
Mei Li brought Ping Yongjia to Cloudy Town; but they didn't go to Scenery Garden at once. Instead, she led him touring the town.
"Have you found anything suspicious?" she asked softly.
Looking at those people in the restaurants and teahouses, Ping Yongjia said while furrowing slightly, "There are so many Cultivation practitioners here."
Mei Li said with a faint smile, "They are all here to see the Immortal Jing Yang. Though there was an attempt to drive them away, who will give up so easily? The Cultivation practitioners have a long life ahead of them, so a few decades are only a short period in their lives. Maybe they think this is the test the Immortal has arranged for them."
"I know you try to advise me on planning for a long life ahead of me. Rest assured, I won't do something foolish," said Ping Yongjia.
What he thought in his mind was that Fang Jingtian had already reached the Heavenly Arrival State and there was nothing he could do even if Fang Jingtian wouldn't exonerate Shenmo Peak.
He suddenly thought of an issue and asked, "Senior Master, why are you so certain that my Master is the Immortal Jing Yang?"
Mei Li had taught at the Sword-Washing Hall for several decades. The Green Mountain disciples got used to calling her Senior Master Mei Li, even though it was not an appropriate title for her status.
Hearing Ping Yongjia's question, she gave a faint smile but didn't give an answer.
After the Grand Ceremony of the sect master, Nan Wang disappeared for a day. She started drinking wine as soon as she came back, and remained drunk until now. Mei Li was aware of the reason.
She was one of few people in the world who knew that Nan Wang liked the Immortal Jing Yang.
They left Cloudy Town and came before the patch of thick fog. "Your Master and the others have been living here in the last few years," Mei Li said.
After having said this, she took off on her sword.
She believed that the person in Scenery Garden was the Immortal Jing Yang; but it was inconvenient for her to stay here because of Nan Wang, and it was even more inappropriate for her to enter the garden.
Ping Yongjia bowed to the sword light heading toward the peaks of Green Mountain sincerely, his expression solemn.
As soon as he straightened his body, he seemed to be a different person. He rushed into the patch of thick fog as he yelled excitedly, "Master! Senior Master! Big Brothers! I'm coming!"
The Cultivation practitioners in Cloudy Town had noticed Mei Li and him, and kept tabs on them. As he rushed toward the fog, they couldn't help but let out a sneer, wondering where this idiot came from and thinking what he was doing was no different from seeking death. But in the next moment, the sneer hanging at the corners of their mouths grew rigid; it was because this person had actually entered the fog.
Ping Yongjia had no idea that the patch of thick fog was a formation. Even if he had known it, he wouldn't have cared that much. He believed that his Master wouldn't keep him outside if he knew it was his disciple coming in.
With this thought in his mind, Ping Yongjia rushed into the fog and arrived in front of the gate of Scenery Garden.
Seeing the huge manor house, he was taken aback at first; then he straightened his clothes, walked up the stone steps, and pushed open the tightly closed gate. When he arrived in the courtyard, he found that nobody was there.
No one could be found under the flowering trees, by the stream, or under the roofed corridors.
Ping Yongjia's face turned pale. He searched the whole Scenery Garden a few more times as quickly as he could. In the end, he could neither find a shadow of the cat nor hear the scream of Cold Cicada, not to mention finding a trace of humans.
Looking at the empty courtyard, he felt regretful and slapped his own cheek a few times with his right palm, saying to himself, "You're truly an idiot. If you were patient enough to listen more to others' conversation, you would be able to find out that your Master and the others had already left Green Mountain, and you wouldn't have stayed on the mountain all by yourself. Perhaps, you should have learned how to talk to the monkeys from Big Brother Gu Qing."
Then he felt a bit at ease when he thought of his Master's order that nobody was allowed to get out of the mountains before they broke through the Sea State. He said to himself again while rubbing his slightly painful cheek, "But you couldn't get out of the mountains if your Master didn't come to get you. It's a good thing that you have come out on your own, and you have done well."
Thinking of defeating that person of Xilai Peak and Jian Ruyun at the Sword Trial on Green Mountain, Ping Yongjia let out a dry smile. At last he could enjoy watching the scenes in Scenery Garden.
The flowers on the flowering trees were blossoming vigorously even though nobody looked after them; and the koi carps were swimming freely and cheerfully in the stream even though nobody watched them.
The smile hanging on Ping Yongjia's face grew even drier as he thought that Big Brother Gu Qing and the others had been looking at these flowering trees and the stream over the last few years.
In the next moment, he noticed six faint prints on the floor underneath the roofed corridor. He guessed that these prints were the marks made by the bamboo chair. He shuttled his eyes a little before he sat on the spot gingerly. He nudged his buttock a few times, flashing a contented smile.
As the sun moved further west, the scenes in Scenery Garden had also changed. The smile on his face had gradually abated; what had remained on his face was a hint of sadness.
He wondered where they all were, feeling crestfallen.
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