On the mountains behind the Ling palace.
Ling Tian Xiang was in a red tight uniform, practicing sword fighting with a three-foot sword.
Rather than sword fighting, it was more similar to sword dancing. The spiritual energy from the blade scattered around, picking up leaves and sending them flying. The entire routine appeared soft and paced, with one neat movement after another.
The red spirits the sword was giving off hovered around the blade. With each swing, leaves dropped from the trees and then were again lifted into the air.
Ling Tian Xiang was born gorgeous, and the sword dance only accented her goddess like beauty and grace.
The Ripple Technique.
This common technique was well-known in the Taoism community as the weakest technique. Despite its lack of battle power, it was one of the most beautiful and favorable sword plays among women. Generally, 90 percent of female cultivators practiced this technique. Rumor has it that when the technique is performed in perfection, the sword spirits turn into seven different colors.
"Lady!" Maid Bi He's voice could be heard from far away.
Ling Tian Xiang wiped her sweat, as Bi He ran towards her. She frowned. "Didn't I tell you not to bother me unless something was up?"
Breathing heavily, Bi He quickly explained, "Lady Ling, I have news about Ling Xian."
"Where is he! Tell me!" Ling Tian Xiang's eyes lit up.
"I think he is home right now. Moments ago, he defeated Ling Bai right on the arena. He also broke down the Tidal Sword Technique!" Bi He seemed very shocked and impressed.
Ling Tian Xiang, on the other hand, did not seem to be shocked by the news. It was as if she had predicted for this to happen. She appeared joyous and proud instead.
"Lady Ling, it was the Tidal Sword Technique! The technique that gave many masters in this city headaches and he defeated it. Are you not surprised?" Bi He asked shockingly.
"Why would I be surprised? I knew already, that he was not just a face in the crowd. I knew that sooner or later he would turn into a dragon." Ling Tian Xiang grinned from ear to ear.
She was not amazed at all by the piece of news that astounded the City of Qing. After she returned from that forest, she went to the great library and read up books on the Inner Eyes. From there, she gathered a few clues about what she saw.
One black pupil and one white pupil, a legendary sword in the color of blood red, and the pair of Inner Eyes she witnessed were exactly as they were described in ancient literature. Ling Tian Xiang was more than certain that the Inner Eyes Ling Xian has woken were the Eyes of Execution!
It was ranked fourth!
Those few words could have shaken the entire Taoism community!
Any type of Inner Eyes was hard to acquire. Only those with natural talent or those with extraordinary luck could awake such eyes. The ability to wake the Inner Eyes have no correlations with the stage of training one was in, because even immortals cannot acquire them if they are not fated to.
The Eyes of Execution, the legendary pair of Inner Eyes, have not appeared in almost 20,000 years. Its basic function was to see the flaw in any technique. How hard could it have been to see through the Tidal Sword Technique?
Therefore, of course Ling Tian Xiang was not surprised at the news. All she could think of was the moment when Ling Xian waved the Sword of Extinction and protected her from death.
Her desire to see Ling Xian inflated.
"Lady Ling sure has good eyes for men. Mister Ling is very famous now. On my way here, all I heard was how powerful and how graceful he looked in that arena." Bi He smiled.
"Of course! When am I ever wrong?" Ling Tian Xiang felt triumph. She waved her hand and a mirror appeared in thin air. Looking at her own beautiful reflection, her face became rosy.
"There is no way you will not waver your heart for a pretty lady like me."
Ling Xian's home was at the most abandoned corner of the Ling palace. In his little garden, there were two tile-roofed houses that appeared run-down, due to the lack of maintenance over the years.
This was the place he has settled down in for the past 14 years. Even though it was broken and old, it was deeply welcoming.
Both his parents passed away when he was at a very young age and left him with nothing but his house. Therefore, he has always had a special bond with the house. It was the only place he felt comfortable in, and the only place where he was safe from the rain and wind.
Pushing open the main gate, Ling Xian walked inside.
The design of his home was simple. There were not a lot of valuable things inside, other than a table and a few chairs. It was clear that he lived a minimalistic lifestyle.
At the north side of his home, a mourning hall stood. There were two memorial stones, one had the carving "Ling Tian Zong", and one had the carving "Bai Rou".
They were memorial stones for his parents.
"Mother, father, your son has returned." Ling Xian respectfully lit up three incenses. His eyes were misty.
Not long after he was born, Ling Tian Zong and his wife passed away from an accident. His memories of his parents were vague and scarce of emotion. However, the blood that flowed inside him causes him to miss his parents a lot.
After standing there in silence for a long time, Ling Xian wiped away his tears with his sleeve. He walked inside to his old bed and laid down. He closed his eyes and began to figure out what he should do with the rumor he plied out of Ling Bai.
In regards to the rumor that Ling Tian Xiang has fallen in love with him and has sworn to never marry other guys, Ling Xian did not believe it one bit. He also did not care about how Ling Tian Xiang found out about his true identity. What he was really worried about, was whether or not Ling Tian Xiang broke her promise and has told everyone of the fact that he had a pair of Inner Eyes.
If she did not let slip of that fact, then everything was fine.
If she had told everyone, then there would be a few things he would have to worry about. First, what would be the Ling Clan's attitude towards this issue? Would they choose to protect him and train him or would they decide to transplant his eyes onto someone else? Second, what would be the City of Qing's attitude towards him? How would the foreign cities feel about this?
After all, the Eyes of Execution was almost undefeatable in battles. It attracts all cultivators.
The news of him shocking the entire city also gave Ling Xian a headache. He did not realize the status of the Tidal Sword Technique. He really did not realize the amount of astonishment his actions brought the cultivators in the city.
He felt very overwhelmed. He has always lived a low-key life and he was used to the feeling that nobody seems to remember his existence. But now, he would have sudden realizations that he was a person of discussions. Other than not being used to it, he felt slightly joyous.
Men, they all want to be admired.
"Maybe I should go hide in the forest until this frenzy dies down?" Ling Xian mumbled to himself.
What he had done affected him in both positive and negative ways. Positively speaking, now that the entire City of Qing knows about talent, the Ling Clan should spend large amounts of resources on him. Negatively speaking, those in competition with the Ling Clan would never ignore the growth of a potential leader. He predicted that someone will try and assassinate him soon.
The Fang Clan for example.
Ling Xian remembered how the Fang Clan paid the two brothers to terminate Ling Tian Xiang.
Ling Xian was still planning for the future when he heard a series of quick steps coming from afar. He frowned.
"Ling Xian, I have finally found you." Ling Tian Xiang walked in unshyly. Her heavy desire to see him made her forget and overlook any basic respectful etiquettes.
"Ling Tian Xiang!"
Within the blink of an eye, Ling Xian's pupils turned into Eyes of Executive. Ling Tian Xiang watched as The Sword of Extinction appeared out of thin air and landed gently on her neck. She could feel the cruelness of the blade.
Ling Tian Xaing's lips parted in apprehension. She originally came here filled with joy and longing, but now, every emotion she had melted into confusion and condemnation.
Her shimmering eyes felt damp.
This was the second time.
This was the second time he had placed the sword an inch away from her neck. Ling Tian Xiang drearily gazed at this young man who left carvings in her heart. She did not speak and simply used her gaze to try and communicate the complicated emotions she felt.
Ling Xian understood her emotions as he looked into her eyes. His heart shuddered and he realized that he had wronged her. What he did was a little out of line, especially since he was not certain that she has given up his secret.
Dispelling the Sword of Extinction, he looked away as he was a little scared to look into her eyes. He apologized, "I'm sorry. I was worried that you might have broken the promise we made and said stuff about me to others. That's why I grabbed my sword."
"I am not the kind of person who is devoid of gratitude. I swore on my soul to never tell anyone. Why would I break that? You do not have to worry," Ling Tian Xiang coldly replied.
After a moment of silence, Ling Xian decided to trust her. He changed the subject, "How did you know about my true identity?"
"The cloak you gave me. I found a Ling Clan identity token stuffed inside. I deduced your real identity based off that and the fake name Xian Ling you gave me," Ling Tian Xiang said softly.
"I see," things suddenly made sense to Ling Xian. He asked, "What about the rumor then?"
Hearing this, Ling Tian Xiang blushed and tried to explain, "About that… When I returned home, I wanted to find you to thank you properly. So I ordered my servants to investigate your whereabouts. One story led to another and the rumor that you heard was born."
"Oh… It's alright. It's in the past now and we don't have to talk about it anymore. Now, why are you here?" Ling Xian asked.
"Right…" Ling Tian Xiang's cheeks began to flush again. How was she supposed to answer that question? She couldn't say that she came because she missed him, could she?
She suddenly had an idea, "I came here to ask you something. Are you interested in participating in our clan's annual combat competition?"
Ling Xian froze for a bit. He had completely forgot about this. However, since he already had a plan for what he will be doing next, he rejected, "I don't think so. I have very little skills and I do not want to embarrass myself."
"How's that possible? I've heard the news. You have defeated Ling Bai, the number one brother in the collateral siblings. You also broke down the Tidal Sword Technique. It's obvious that your natural talent and your skills are not weak. Why would you lose at a clan competition?" Ling Tian Xiang really wished Ling Xian would join the competition. She wanted to see him standing on stage, beating everyone.
"Why would I waste time on something so meaningless to me?" Ling Xian answered.
"Something meaningless?" Ling Tian Xiang was a bit hurt by his words. She explained, "For one, you get to compete and gain some experience. For two, with your abilities, you can for sure get top three. From there, you will get handsomely rewarded. In addition to that, this year, you can also win a token that grants you access to the hidden territory."
"The reward includes an entrance token this year?" Ling Xian was surprised. The Ling Clan's combat competition happens once a year, with the purpose of testing its member's training progressions. The reward every year has been highly enticing. If they decided to include an opportunity to enter the hidden territory this year, then the competition will definitely be fierce. If he didn't already acquire access from the mayor, then he for sure would have been very tempted.
"Yes, you are lucky with timing this year. As long as you get into top five, you will be granted access. When the hidden territory opens up this year, we can go together and look for treasures." Ling Tian Xiang assumed that he was considering entering and carelessly exposed her real intentions.
She wanted to explore the hidden territory alongside Ling Xian.