The Path Toward Heaven

Chapter 18

Chapter 18: Not in One Cold Day

Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio

“This is absolutely ridiculous! Is the inner sect examination a joke?!”

Following Xue Yong’e’s example, some of the disciples started to complain.

Sister Yushan at first felt somewhat disappointed when she learned someone had qualified for the inner sect examination before she did, but her disappointment quickly turned into cheerfulness when she found out that the other person was Jing Jiu.

“How could it not be? Who doesn’t know how good Brother Jing Jiu is at the South Pine Pavilion? I think you guys are just jealous. Don’t you feel really ashamed for mocking Brother Jing so much back then?” she sneered while looking at Xue and the other disciples.

For two years at the South Pine Pavilion, Jing Jiu helped other disciples with some of their questions every now and again, and even though it happened only occasionally, it was very important for those disciples who had absolutely no knowledge of Cultivation. Some disciples chose to forget his help and treated Jing Jiu like a stranger, while others who had gotten the help still mocked him anyway; yet in their hearts, most disciples chose to remain grateful. They stood with Sister Yushan and silenced Xue and his cronies, cheering Jing Jiu on as he walked into the training hall. …

“I thought he wasn’t that popular around here.”

Ming Guoxing was somewhat astonished at the noise from outside the training hall.

“He is a celebrity, after all,” the master from Xilai said with a wide smile.

While saying that, the two of them glanced at the closed door.

They were wondering whether Jing Jiu could pass the inner sect examination, and their concern was greater than it was for Liu Shisui a year ago.

The external disciples in this class at the South Pine Pavilion were quite famous among the nine peaks.

The most famous one was of course the one in possession of natural Dao quality, Liu Shisui, followed by Jing Jiu. Everyone knew that the youth in white with unrivaled beauty had arrived at the South Pine Pavilion, and some of the female disciples on Qingrong Peak even made up excuses to come to the South Pine Pavilion to see what on earth he actually looked like.

Yet Jing Jiu always stayed in his small courtyard, and those female disciples from Qingrong Peak returned with a great deal of disappointment.

He wouldn’t have been so popular were he merely handsome; it was also because he was tremendously lazy…

This contrast was easily a topic of gossip.

As Ming Guoxing said, the idea that many people had of him being of bad reputation centered around this contrast.

– People despise those who do not work hard and are jealous of those who were born with a beautiful face.

Who would have guessed that nowadays, Jing Jiu had not only been entering the state of Spiritual Stability, but had also won so many disciples to his side?

Suddenly, the clear and cold sound of a sword came out from the room behind closed doors, spreading out towards the surrounding cliffs.

Ming Guoxing and the other master looked at each other once and smiled.

This sword sound was far weaker than Liu Shisui’s, but could still be counted as acceptable.

At the main gate of the training hall, Master Lü heard the sound and felt his entire body relax, his expression becoming somewhat sentimental.

Jing Jiu retrieved his sight line from the dark Sword Embryo in that quiet room and turned, walking toward the door.

No one but him knew that he hadn’t placed his hands on the Sword Embryo at all, nor did he use all of his zhenyuan.

Had he done as the ordinary disciples who participated in the inner sect examination had, he could have melted the sword into a pile of iron.

From beginning to end, he gave the Sword Embryo but a mere glance.

When the door of the training hall had opened, Master Lü walked out with Jing Jiu, Smiling at all the disciples with all the different expressions on their faces.

There were cheers, but heard among them was a mix of sighs and spite.

Jing Jiu calmly greeted those who came up to congratulate him, feeling surprised by it all as well.

He didn’t remember making contact with these people and didn’t know that he had developed any kind of friendship with them, knowing only a few names among them.

Was that little girl with a twisted bun on her head named “Yushan,” or was it or “Jinshan”?

He returned to the small courtyard and looked around, remaining silent for a moment before leaving without even a hint of nostalgia.

That bamboo chair and the ceramic sand plate had also vanished. …

The clouds surrounded the peaks of the Green Mountain throughout the year; once one came into the midst of the nine peaks, the clouds became thinner and more transparent. But the clouds on top of Tianguang Peak don’t disperse at all, instead lasting throughout the year, though they were a great deal thinner than the rolling clouds on Xingyun Peak.

The white mist was flowing on the ground in front of the cliffs at the peak, just like a sea of clouds; the ancient stone gates and pavilions looming in the distance, at times seen and then unseen, seemed like they were from a fairyland.

Soo Soo Soo! These were the sounds of the atmosphere being pierced through. With the peak illuminated by the sword light, the sea of clouds started to ebb and flow, dying down after a while

Five flying swords hung quietly on top of the sea of clouds, and they were of differing styles, either plain and cold, or full of dominating power, exuding an indescribable sense of oppression.

The Three-Foot Sword!

The Sword of Absolute Emptiness!

The Zither Sword!

Sword of the Returning Sun!

The Old Sword!

Five of the nine swords owned by each peak at the Green Mountain Sect had arrived here.

The Sword of Inherited Heaven belonged to the Sect Master at Tianguang Peak and didn’t appear that often.

The Sword Without Thought at Shengmo Peak had already ascended with the Great Grandmaster Jingyang to a different world.

As for the Lone Sword at the Liangwang Peak, it had disappeared many years ago, and furthermore, this peak was the place where the young disciples practiced their Sword Mind, and the sword usually didn’t take part in the meetings of the Green Mountain Sect.

But how is it that the Tide Sword from Bihu Peak had not appeared yet? What had happened on this seventh peak of the mountain?

It was very quiet at the top of the peak, though no one questioned the failed arrival of the Tide Sword

An old and crisp voice sounded from the Three-Foot Sword.

The voice sounded very square-like, perhaps because the shape of this main sword of Shangde Peak was a square.

This was the sound of the Peak Master Yuan Qijing from Shangde Peak, in charge of sword justice at the Green Mountain Sect and famous for his strictness and severity.

“The Justice Book has already been sent to each peak, and if there are no questions, let’s make a decision today.”

When the Sect Master was not attending, Yuan Qijing had the highest authority at the Green Mountain Sect, and absolute power.

His temperament was cold and lonely; almost nobody had ever objected to his opinion.

Today was no exception. “No questions,” the sounds came out from those swords.

A gentle and pleasant voice came out from the Zither Sword; it must have been that of the Peak Master of Qingrong Peak.

“The South Pine Pavilion has produced several disciples for the inner sect, especially the ones of natural quality like Liu Shisui; Master Lü has done a wonderful service for the sect and should be highly rewarded.”

Three-Foot Sword didn’t make a sound, so Yuan Qijing had acquiesced to the proposal of the Peak Master of Qingrong.

This wasn’t a surprise to the other peaks because everybody knew that Lü of the South Pine Pavilion was her disciple.

The voice of the Yunxing Peak Master came from the Sword of Absolute Emptiness: “Since Master Jing Yang ascended, the reputation of our Sect has been strengthening more than it ever had, and I think within ten years, nobody will dare trouble us. However, we need to prepare for the future. I was worried every time I thought of the incoming Plum Contest, and the confrontation between those warriors of Zhaoge and the Underworld, those ice-eating monsters, but I feel more comfortable now having Zhuo, Layue, and now, Shisui.”

The Master of Qingrong Peak replied, “Young Master Zhuo is practicing behind closed doors, and Layue is practicing on your peak, though Liu Shisui is still young, so should we call him to the peaks now?”

The voice of Yuan Qijing sounded again, still hard and chilling. “My concern is whether Liu Shisui truly possesses natural Dao quality. When Zhao Layue was born, I had already sent someone to be by her side to help, so I knew her situation very well, but what of this Liu Shisui?”

“You needn’t worry, Big Brother. I personally checked out Liu Shisui, and he is not a problem,” said Peak Master of Qingrong Peak in a voice that had become slightly cold.

Yuan Qijing had only just now found out that she actually went to see Liu Shisui herself, and asked, after a bit silence, “When did that happen?”

“A year ago,” replied the Peak Master of Qingrong Peak.

Usually, if the Peak Master of Qingrong Peak had checked herself and had such clear intention to protect him, Yuan Qijing should’ve just given up, but still he said, “I have also checked this boy; he learned a rarely seen breathing method even before coming to the sect, so I suspect he is a spy. We must investigate thoroughly.”

“Since you checked, it should be clear to you that he is not a spy,” the Peak Master of Qingrong Peak said quietly, though her voice was calm and indifferent.

The remaining three swords remained silent, but hidden behind the swords, and perhaps a dozen miles away, the three peak masters heard clearly what the Peak Master of Qingrong Peak meant, and knew no discussion was necessary for today.

Sure enough, Yuan Qijing kept quiet after hearing what the Peak Master of Qingrong Peak had just said.

But the Peak Master of Qingrong Peak didn’t insist on calling Liu Shisui to the nine peaks.

A moment later, the five flying swords flew away, and the sea of clouds turned returned to its original state; it was as if nothing had happened …

It was very cold on Shangde Peak, especially after that ray of sword light returned to the stone room, with the temperature suddenly falling several degrees, a layer of frost forming instantly on the cliffs.

This was Main Peak, responsible for monitoring the whole of the Green Mountain Sect the main sword being the Three-Foot Sword

The origin of the name for the sword was not taken from the saying, “God is watching you from three feet above,” but from “The ice of three feet didn’t form in one cold day.”

In the deep corner of the cave manor, an elderly man stared at the frost that had formed on the walls, saying nothing.

The Shangde Peak Master Yuan Qijing was in charge of sword justice, and his position in the Green Mountain Sect was only below the Sect Master. He had a cold and gloomy temperament that was feared by the disciples of younger generations.

“It seems that the young man named Liu Shisui is the disciple chosen by a certain peak in advance.”

The speaker was a middle-aged sword master by the name of Chiyan, a colleague of Yuan Qijing; it seemed he had been listening in on the meeting the whole time.

The Yuan Qijing’s deep eyes conveyed a sense of indifference and strictness.

Over the years at the Green Mountain Sect, this sort of things happened more and more frequently; in order to pass down the tradition and further development, every sect had planned beforehand to search for the talented disciples, and then offered favor to them and taught them the magic methods in secrecy, so they could, based on the previous contact, acquire the desired talented individuals at the Inherited Sword Competition.

That gifted Nephew Zhuo, now practicing behind closed doors the Tianguang Peak, was provided the Jade Belt by the Sect Master when he was only six years old.

Those young men on the Liangwang Peak had similarly been secretly contacted before they came to the mountain gate. Zhao Layue was watched and protected by people from the Green Mountain Sect even before she was born, and taken to the mountain gate till she was twelve years old. The only problem was that until now, nobody knew who discovered her, and the solution to this riddle would have to wait till the Inherited Sword Competition in one year’s time.

Of course, based on the rules set by the Green Mountain Sect, the peaks might not have the guarantee that they would acquire the desired disciples even with all the preparations, yet preparation was always preferable to no preparation at all.

What Chiyan said was based on these judgments, yet he was still quite curious about the fact that Big Brother kept quiet after what the Peak Master of Qingrong had said, unless he knew what kind of Breathing Method that disciple named Liu Shisui practiced before his cultivation here.

“The Yumen Breathing Method.”

Yuan Qijing’s voice was extremely cold, as if being mixed with wind and snow.

Hearing this, Chiyan was slightly surprised and thought Liu Shisui was the one chosen by the Sect Master; that’s why the Peak Master of Qingrong didn’t mention things and Big Brother didn’t go on.

Thinking about it, he was somewhat regretful, and there was a hint of anger.

It seemed that Big Brother or Chiyan himself had no chance to get Liu Shisui into the Inherited Sword Competition that would be held in a year.

No matter how special the status of Shangde in the Green Mountain Sect was, it could not compete with the Sect Master at Tianguang Peak.

“He has Nephew Zhuo and half of the disciples on the Liangwang Peak, and now Liu Shisui…”

“That being the case, we need to make sure we don’t miss out with the other who possesses Dao quality, no matter what,” Chiyan said after sighing once.

Having said that, he didn’t have much confidence; of all these peaks, who doesn’t expect Zhao Layue to inherit the Sword?

“Nephew Lü has done a pretty good job at the South Pine Pavilion these last two years, and I heard another of his disciples has passed the inner sect examination, should I go have a look?”

“What’s the name?” Yuan Qijing asked without making any expression

“Jing Jiu,” Chiyan replied.

“That lazy fool?” Yuan Qijing snorted.

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