As far as Tong Yan was concerned, the place where he could be guaranteed safety was the hermit peaks of Green Mountain besides the Underworld.
He didn't want to go back to the Underworld for the rest of his life; he had no choice but to stay in the hermit peaks.
To live a hermit life for one hundred years was nevertheless lonely and boring, though it was not a difficult thing to do for a Cultivation practitioner. He spent most of his time cultivating. Since Jing Jiu didn't give him a sword instruction, he had been practicing the magic methods of the Center Sect. During his spare time, he occasionally played a few Go games with himself. Once every few years, he came out of the manor cave and took a stroll among the hermit peaks, stepping on the carpet-like green grass, running the tips of his fingers over the wildflowers on the mountain and listening to the sound of wind passing through that bamboo flute.
The bamboo flute was a key object that had helped Fang Jingtian break through the Heavenly Arrival State during the season of blooming flowers. It was unclear when he had put it back on the mountain.
His peaceful life wasn't interrupted until last autumn.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
Tong Yan had received a letter from Zhaoge City and learned of the dire situation the Green Mountain Sect would face; more precisely, it was the predicament of Shenmo Peak.
It seemed that the Green Mountain Sect would select a new sect master soon.
While thinking of all this, he picked up the chessboard and the Go pieces and left the manor cave. He didn't forget to press the stone button underneath the table before his departure, turning the red light on the cliff into a green one.
After passing through the thick fog, Tong Yan entered the Sword Jail. He tried his best to guard his Dao Heart, paying no attention to the bloody and filthy energies in the cells that were as heavy as mountains and seas. He then passed through the long and gloomy passageway and arrived at the place with the sunlight. He flew out of the well after bowing to the Dead Dog.
The manor cave on Shangde Peak was still as cold as ever even though its master had gone to Zhaoge City one hundred years ago.
Tong Yan made his descent to the foot of the mountain after he asked Young Sister Yushan for a conical hat and put it on.
He had to pass a waterfall at the end of the Sword-Washing Stream in order to get to Shenmo Peak from Shangde Peak.
There were many stone platforms of various shapes in the waterfall; they were the places where the masters of the peaks and the visiting guests were seated while observing the Inherited Sword Competition.
Tong Yan came and visited Green Mountain the first time to observe the Inherited Sword Competition; it was a long time ago.
He landed on the stone platform softly like a drifting leaf. While reminiscing on past events, he turned around and looked down at the foot of the cliff.
The water in the Sword-Washing Stream glittered under the sunlight, meandering farther and farther until it became a straight line; the stream looked like a golden whip lashing out.
Dozens of boys and girls were practicing sword work and horsing around; it was an exciting scene to look at. The mist created by them was full of signs of youthfulness.
These young people must have been the new disciples of the Green Mountain Sect.
To say nothing of them, Tong Yan didn't even know the teachers at the Sword-Washing Hall.
Many things had changed after the passing of one hundred years.
Seeing the scene, Tong Yan missed the streams on Cloud-Dream Mountain somewhat, but his memory of them had grown blurry over the years.
After he learned of the event in Zhaoge City and what had happened to his Young Sister, his remaining affection for Cloud-Dream Mountain had utterly vanished.
The young disciples by the stream started arguing with each other as they were discussing something.
"The Center Sect has thousands of magic methods; some of them must be very useful."
"Have you even read our Sword Scripture? Maybe you don't know anything about the principal sword of our Green Mountain, which is the All in One Sword! One sword can imitate ten thousand objects and ten thousand methods. As the disciples of Green Mountain, there is no need for us to learn their methods."
"Even if a sword can imitate ten thousand methods, you have to at least know the true nature of those ten thousand methods."
"Even so, why do we have to learn about the methods of the Center Sect? They might have been powerful one hundred years ago; but that's not the case anymore. Those so-called talented disciples of the Center Sect have either died or disappeared; who can still remember them?"
"That's right. I heard that there was this figure named Luo Huainan, the principal disciple of the Center Sect at the time, who had suddenly died in Guiyun City…Many said in secret that he was killed by Senior Master Liu."
"Careful what you say!"
"I'm just telling you guys in private. The Center Sect hasn't shown their teeth for a great many years; why should we be afraid of them?"
"I just meant that the senior master you mentioned is a master at the One-Cottage House; it's inappropriate to call him the Senior Master."
"Everybody in the Cultivation circle knows that he was the attendant of the Immortal Sect Master back then. Hahahaha…this fact can't be concealed from anyone."
"Speaking of the Immortal Sect Master, it's unclear when he will come back to Green Mountain…The Immortal Sect Master, during the Battle of Zhaoge City back, defeated the Sect Master of the Center Sect first and then did the same to the Fairy Lady. It was the event I wish I could have witnessed with my own eyes. I regret that I was born one hundred years too late and missed the event."
Standing on the cliff and listening to the conversations brought over by the wind, it occurred to Tong Yan that the Sect Master of the Center Sect was defeated by Lian Sanyue, but somehow it became the achievement of Jing Jiu.
The event became a legend after one hundred years. It couldn't be absolutely correct because the relaters had changed the details based on their own perspectives.
Thinking of the disrespect these young disciples of Green Mountain showed toward the Center Sect, Tong Yan shook his head a few times reflexively; his behavior was noticed by a few teachers of the Sword-Washing Hall.
A middle-aged man asked crossly, "Hey, you on the cliff. Who are you?"
Mei Li and Lin Wuzhi had finished their teaching career at the Sword-Washing Hall several decades ago and went back to their respective peaks to continue their Cultivation after being rewarded generously by the sect. The former was already in the middle state of the Broken Sea, and Lin Wuzhi had broken through the Sea State and became an elder.
The middle-aged man had a last name of Xue, and was a sword practitioner in the upper state of the Undefeated on Shiyue Peak. His granduncle was an elder on Shiyue Peak, and died a few years ago; his sword was returned to Green Mountain. The Green Mountain Sect, considering his great efforts in Cultivation, let the middle-aged man take the teaching position at the Sword-Washing Hall.
Tong Yan didn't pay any mind to this person, naturally. He headed toward the waterfall.
The swordsman Xue grew more cautious, and yelled, "Stop! Which peak do you belong to?"
No sooner had he finished talking than the sword light flashed. He stood right in front of Tong Yan, and the rest of the teachers of the Sword-Washing Hall and disciples were also coming over in a hurry.
Tong Yan paused for a while, and realized that he was unable to resolve the predicament no matter how smart he was.
He had joined the Green Mountain Sect after the Battle of the West Ocean; it had been more than one hundred years…but he still didn't have a proper status on Green Mountain.
Jing Jiu neither gave him a command board nor taught him any sword style.
How could he prove his identity?
Tong Yan waved his sleeve, a magic method coming out from inside of it, which formed a bird-shaped green glow that headed toward the distant Liangwang Peak.
Seeing this, the swordsman Xue grew pale on backed up two steps. Then he raised his hand to signal for others to come over while yelling sternly, "You're someone from the Center Sect!"
Upon hearing this, the teachers of the Sword-Washing Hall and the young disciples were all startled, wondering how a person of the Center Sect could pass through the Great Formation of Green Mountain; they felt puzzled and bewildered for a while.
Fortunately, the embarrassing situation didn't last long before a formidable sword light illuminated the Sword-Washing Stream. Gu Han had arrived from Liangwang Peak by riding his sword. Seeing the scene, his countenance turned cold all of a sudden, yelling, "All of you, get out of here! Why aren't you practicing your sword work? What are you doing here?!"
Then, he turned to the swordsman Xue and the other teachers, and demanded tersely, "How come the Sword-Washing Hall has so much spare time now?!"
Guo Nanshan was cultivating back on Tianguang Peak now, and You Silou and the others had left Liangwang Peak. Gu Han was the only one who stayed on Liangwang Peak and received the new disciples of many generations; he had a very high status on Green Mountain with an awe-inspiring bearing. After the swordsman Xue and the other teachers were reprimanded by him, they, feeling ill at ease, got out of Tong Yan's way hurriedly.
"Sorry, Big Brother," Gu Han said as he bowed to Tong Yan earnestly.
The disciples of Green Mountain who had participated in the Battle of Zhaoge City knew that Tong Yan made a great contribution to their sect; so they respected him highly.
More importantly, he joined Green Mountain from the Center Sect and was someone whom Cloud-Dream Mountain was determined to kill; so the Green Mountain Sect must make sure that he would not be harmed in any way.
Tong Yan gave a small smile and left the cliff after returning a bow.
"Nobody is allowed to tell others about what has happened today," Gu Han stared at the crowd coldly before heading back to Liangwang Peak.
Watching the back of the person disappearing into the cliffs, the swordsman Xue and those teachers and disciples were stunned speechless, wondering who this person with a conical hat was.
Accompanied by the cries of the monkeys, Tong Yan arrived at the top of Shenmo Peak.
Yuan Qü, sitting on a rock, was meditating with that strange sword in his arms. Hearing the footsteps, he opened his eyes and found it was Tong Yan, feeling relieved. "You've come out finally," he remarked.
The Green Mountain Meeting would take place in the beginning of spring next year, and a new sect master would be selected. Shenmo Peak wouldn't accept such a result, of course. But they had no idea how to deal with it, because they were accustomed to Gu Qing or Tong Yan arranging everything for them.
"The simplest and most straightforward strategy is to back Shiyue Peak," said Tong Yan.
Yuan Qü had just lit the coals in the stove, and the water in the iron kettle hadn't boiled yet, but Tong Yan had already made the decision, feeling bewildered. Thinking about it, he realized that Tong Yan's suggestion was the best solution; it was because the Immortal Guangyuan in the Heavenly Arrival State was the only one who could compete with Fang Jingtian for the position of the sect master.
"No," said Zhao Layue expressionlessly while walking out from the manor cave.
Tong Yan didn't expect her to offer a reason for the refusal, and he had guessed that she wouldn't accept the suggestion anyway. "We will figure out another strategy then," he said.
"Hurry up," Zhao Layue said.
Tong Yan gave Yuan Qü an eye signal.
Yuan Qü was taken aback at first, and then went into the hall. He came out with a large pile of documents in his arms, which were the sect rules he brought back from Shangde Peak.
The sect rules of Green Mountain were very complicated. Tong Yan and Yuan Qü spent a day and a night reading them, but they hadn't found anything that was useful for their purpose.
Zhao Layue had always been impatient with this sort of matter. "I'll be back before the next spring," she told the two.
Having said that, she called out the Thoughtless Sword and stepped onto it, heading toward the north after the sword turned into a blood red line in the sky.
Seeing the Thoughtless Sword disappear into the horizon, Yuan Qü felt a bit relieved. He asked Tong Yan uneasily while looking at him and rubbing his own chest, "If my Master knew that you and Big Brother Gu are planning to back her for the sect master…would she strike us with her sword?"
"It's not so easy to strike me because of my high Cultivation state," said Tong Yan calmly, "but I think you are definitely in danger."
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