At dusk, the Stream of Sword Washing reflected the sunset, looking like a red silk ribbon.
There was a commotion of excitement on the cliff. It was those monkeys who were having a good time there, though they had returned the sword to Xue Yong’e.
Many disciples were collecting their belongings, later going to the nine peaks to start their new life there.
In a cozy manor cave, young Yuan finished putting everything in his luggage. He couldn’t help but sigh when he saw Sister Yushan still feeling dejected.
"When you’re on Shangde Peak, listen to the masters, and don’t be a brat."
"I didn’t choose to go there," said Sister Yushan, full of resentment.
Thinking of those rumors, she felt somewhat frightened as she asked, "Is the Senior Master of Sword Justice really scary?"
Youth Yuan comforted her, "Since Big Brother Jing wants you to go there, it shouldn’t be a bad thing!"
"That is true." And Sister Yushan said, "You have to call him ‘Senior Master Jing’…don’t forget."
"I’ll remember," Yuan said.
The both of them received Jing Jiu’s advice several times at the South Pine Pavilion and the Stream of Sword Washing.
Jing Jiu’s status started with him first going by Young Brother Jing, then Big Brother Jing, and now ultimately, Senior Master Jing.
Sister Yushan still felt unhappy about not going to Shenmo Peak, but thinking about Jing Jiu’s advice for her choice of peak, she felt a bit happier, and asked, "Can I go to Shenmo Peak to play?"
Young Yuan knew what she meant, but he couldn’t promise anything, saying, "I have to ask the masters first."
Shenmo Peak looked like a burning sword beneath the sunset.
Standing by the cliff’s edge, Jing Jiu watched Shangde Peak in the distance, deep in thought.
He had often looked in that direction before he left the Green Mountain.
Walking to his side, Zhao Layue asked, "Why didn’t you let her go to Qingrong Peak?"
Jing Jiu didn’t answer her question, thinking to himself how he really couldn’t tell anybody about his conflict with Qingrong Peak.
Zhao Layue asked him, "Why didn’t you take that young Yuan as your personal disciple?"
"I have never taken a disciple before, though I’ve heard you have to punish your disciple severely; that’s something I simply can’t do to him."
So Jing Jiu asked her to be the master to punish young Yuan?!
Young Yuan heard what Jing Jiu had just said as he walked to the peak top, looking at Jing Jiu as he thought, What did I do wrong?
The monkeys brought Gu Qing to the peak top while many others were still making noise in the forest.
Young Yuan repeated what Sister Yushan said.
"Of course she can. I stayed here for three years and nobody cared," Gu Qing said with a smile.
Youth Yuan was perplexed, wondering, How are we able to make such decisions?!
You’ll learn soon enough, thought Gu Qing
"So, what is your first name?"
Even Zhao Layue was interested in knowing.
Until that day, they only knew that young Yuan came from Lelang County, but they didn’t know his full name.
Young Yuan answered, "Yuan Qinghu."
Gu Qing thought this name sounded familiar, and suddenly remembered from where. "The family name of Senior Master of Sword Justice is Yuan as well."
Young Yuan was startled and said, "Yeah, what a coincidence."
Gu Qing said, "Your first name is similar to his first name as well…though lacking the same force."
One was Qijing, meaning "riding on a whale", and another was Qinghu, meaning "catching a tiger"; of course they were different.
Thinking about it, young Yuan looked at Zhao Layue and asked, "Could this disciple ask my dear master to give me a name?"
It was common at the Green Mountain Sect or other sects for a master to give a disciple a name.
"How about Yuan Pohai?" asked Gu Qing.
Pohai, meaning "broken sea", was from the State of Broken Sea, so it was indeed powerful, and yet…
Glancing at young Yuan, Zhao Layue asked, "How about Yuan Tongtian?"
It would be a more powerful name, as Tongtian meant "Heavenly Arrival".
Gu Qing knew he was too excited, so he talked too much. He patted young Yuan’s shoulder as a motion for him to go to a small building outside the manor cave.
From now on they were going to live in this small building; the wooden cabin on the broken cliff would belong to the monkeys.
"Why don’t you give him a name him?" Zhao Layue asked Jing Jiu.
She and Jing Jiu went to the small village before returning to Green Mountain.
She learned some of what had happened during that year, and so knew Jing Jiu chose the name Liu Shisui
Jing Jiu shook his head.
The Inherited Sword Competition was soon forgotten. This year the Green Mountain was going to have a truly celebrated event—the Sword Trial of Green Mountain.
The purpose of the Sword Trial of Green Mountain was to select the candidates from the young disciples for next year’s Plum Meeting, but it was actually a contest between the peaks.
This kind of contest was encouraged by the Green Mountain Sect. Even though some disciples would lose at the Sword Trial, they still had a chance to join Liangwang Peak and practice any sword style of the nine peaks so long as they performed well. It was a very good opportunity for these young disciples, so they all applied for the Sword Trial.
Watching the sword lights landing on Tianguang Peak in the distance, young Yuan’s expression was full of admiration.
He had just become a disciple of Shenmo Peak, so he wasn’t qualified to take part in the Sword Trial of Green Mountain, and so had to wait for a few more years.
"Do you really want to go?" asked Gu Qing, looking at him.
Youth Yuan said, "I don’t dare think about going to the Plum Meeting, but if I could go to Liangwang Peak and learn those sword styles, it would be great."
"Have you forgotten about the relationship we have with them?" asked Gu Qing.
Young Yuan was alarmed. He had witnessed the conflict between Jing Jiu and Gu Han at the Stream of Sword Washing with his own eyes, saying abruptly, "Of course, I don’t want to go there."
Gu Qing said, "Believe me. Shenmo Peak is your best choice, as here we have everything Liangwang Peak has."
Young Yuan didn’t quite understand what he meant, thinking that since the Senior Brothers and Sisters on Liangwang Peak could learn any sword style of the nine peaks…
So could we?!
An object flew out from the manor cave, drifting slowly before Yuan; he reached out to catch it without much thought, and discovered it was a thin booklet.
Gu Qing looked at him and smiled, "Congratulations!"
Yuan was quite confused, though this turned to astonishment when he opened the booklet.
The following words were written on the first page of the booklet:
"Standing proudly in the snow and frost are the undefeated seven plums."
Gu Qing and Yuan had knowledge and connections, so they knew what it was.
This was the true Seven-Plums sword style manual of Xilai Peak.
Youth Yuan was shocked, but when he thought of the rumor that this sword style could overcome the Snow-Flowing sword style, his face turned pale.
Gu Qing knew he was thinking too hard about things, saying, "Our masters do things without thinking so hard."
Youth Yuan asked nervously, "Why…why am I being given this sword style?"
"Who knows? Maybe you won’t be bullied too much by Sister Yushan when you meet her later."
During their exchange, red light suddenly illuminated the top of the peak, a light so bright that it even outshone the light of the sunset.
The sword light flew away from the peak with a gust of wind and toward the distance at a high speed.
The Sword Trial of Green Mountain was going to begin.
Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue were to go to Tianguang Peak.
Looking at the bloody line in the sky left by the Thoughtless Sword, Gu Qing suddenly had a gut feeling that something bad might happen.
He prayed that nothing significant would happen today.