"From now on, you are the master of this sword."
The moment he touched the hilt, Xiao Chen felt a sense of coolness and tranquility was going through his body. The resentment, unwillingness, and many other negative emotions in him dispersed instantly, and his mind suddenly became clear. This was exactly a state of mind that a Cultivator needed.
Everybody looked at the sword with jealous and envious eyes. Mo Yu was also here. While looking at the sword, his eyes shone with blazing light.
"Brother Yifeng, are you... Are you giving this sword to me?"
Yu Yifeng nodded and said, "This sword has gone through thousands of years. And there is a Sword Spirit in it. I hope you can treat it well. Don't stain it with too much blood."
After saying so, he moved his fingers and then rode on a row of sword radiance to the skyline. He said from the distance, "Three days later, in a place 10 kilometers east of the Lingtai Town, you will wait for someone."
Xiao Chen looked over at the sky as if it were a dream. A few moments later, Lil Ruo said in a low voice, "Young Master, where are we going now?"
"Lingtai Town." Xiao Chen smiled and then strode down the stairs.
Three days later, he came to the place 10 kilometers east of the Lingtai Town. A river ran through this place and reflected the blue sky and white clouds. A small stone bridge of primitive simplicity stood over the river. It had withstood 500 years of wind, rain, and sunshine.
He found an empty space beside the bridge and placed the Jade Zither. Then, he told Lil Ruo to light two sticks of sandalwood on both sides. Finally, he started to play the zither.
He started with C Major, which sounded solid and calm as if it were a stream slowly flowing under the moon. He then played A Major, which was a high-frequency sound. Then, he played D Major, and the music sounded like pouring rain.
The music was abundant with highs and lows. The sound of the seven scales spread out as if it was peeling off the veils of his Destiny, one piece after another. In a short while, hundreds of birds had gathered here. Some of them were hovering, while some stood on his shoulder and squeaked with the rhythms.
Near midday, a crisp bell-ringing sound rose from afar. It was a light-red carriage slowly approaching him. There were numerous and complicated decorations on its hood, and five bells in five colors were hanged on it. The window curtain was made of fine silks, and it looked dazzling under the sunlight.
The driver was a gaunt old man in his seventies, but the motor was a snow-white unicorn with four hooves that seemed to be stepping on seven-colored auspicious signs.
The river blocked the carriage's path, and the only bridge was slightly narrower than the carriage's width. It seemed that the carriage could not cross the river.
A touching voice rose behind the curtain. "Uncle Tan, who is playing the zither here?"
Her voice sounded soft and sweet, as if it were the drizzle in March, or as if it were the most beautiful woman whispering close his ear. Xiao Chen was touched.
The driver looked over and said, "It's a youth. He might have missed the test."
There was no answer inside the carriage. A moment later, a white wrist unveiled the curtain. It was a girl who looked only 15 or 16 years old, and she looked free from mundaneness.
The girl was getting off the carriage, and every move from her looked so gentle. She was clad in a white dress, and her black locks lay straight on her back. Although there were women beautiful enough to make fish sink and geese settle or to shut out the moon and put the flowers to shame, they were too mundane in front of this girl.
While standing in the breeze, she looked at Xiao Chen quietly. There were ripples in her eyes as if she were a fairy expelled from heaven only because of her earthly thoughts.
"Uncle Tan, you can go back." The girl then walked to the stone bridge.
Xiao Chen was still picking the strings and delivering every note clearly. He suddenly said, "Miss, it's the Lingtai Mountain ahead of you. If you're going to take part in the test, I'm afraid that you'll wait for another three years."
He raised his head after finishing his words. But at the very instant he laid eyes on the girl, he suddenly felt his heart stung. The incomplete picture in his mind was broken into pieces again.
Suddenly, a figure in his deep memory flashed by and disappeared as his heart was stung again. This was a pain that came from the deep of the soul and memory. This was a pain that he could never be able to mend it.
The figure was also clad in white. As hard as he tried to recall in memory, he could not remember her face. That figure was just like the figure in the dream of his last life.
"I've never heard of the melody, but it sounds familiar to me. Can you tell me the name of this song?" The girl suddenly asked.
Xiao Chen came to his senses and immediately pressed on the strings to stop the music. He said in his clearest voice, "This song is called 'Veils of Destiny'."
He composed this song thousands of years ago. He used to play it in the mountains near the streams, and every time he played, hundreds of birds would come to sing along with the music.
The girl nodded slightly, walked to the other end of the bridge, and then continued to walk as her figure faded away.
It took Xiao Chen a while to come back to his senses. He now felt as if he had lost something. He definitely had not met that girl, but she was just so familiar to him. "Is she the 'someone' that Brother Yifeng had mentioned three days ago?"
At dusk, Xiao Chen took back his zither and was ready to go back to the town, when a row of sword radiance fell to the ground rapidly.
"Junior Brother, wait!"
Xiao Chen turned around and found it was the disciple in teal. He asked, "What's the matter?"
The disciple in teal walked forth and said with a smile, "Junior Brother, don't hurry. The elder had said that you can become a disciple on the Sunset Peak.
"Sunset Peak?" Xiao Chen frowned and said.
"Hehe, the Sunset Peak is the Outer Gate of our sect."
"Okay. Lil Ruo, let's go to the Cold-billow Sword Sect."
"Hey, hey, Junior Brother, don't go."
"Is there anything else?" Xiao Chen turned around and asked.
"Uhh... The truth is, the Outer Gate is not that bad as you think." The disciple said with a bitter smile.
Lil Ruo pulled his sleeve and whispered, "Young Master, shall we just go to the Sunset Peak? There may be too many rules in the Inner Gate. I worry if you will suffer from those rules."
The disciple said with a bitter smile, "Yeah! That's right! You can take your sister together to the Outer Gate. But you can't take her to the Inner Gate."
On second thought, Xiao Chen found it reasonable to join the Outer Gate. His aim is to get the cultivation method that could guide him to cultivate to the Foundation Building Realm. By then, he would be able to go to the Violet Manor. He said, "All right. But to be clear, I won't share a room with the others, neither will my sister."
The disciple smiled and said, "Rest assured, Junior Brother. Someone had already arranged a residence for you."
Xiao Chen nodded and thought, "This man was so different than before. This must have something to do with that girl from the carriage. Who is she exactly?"
The Sunset Peak was not as lofty as the other peaks on the Lingtai Mountain. It looked rather small. However, it stood in a secluded valley with clear streams aside and was surrounded by mountains. It looked quiet and deep, and it was more worldly, unlike the main peak, the lonesome and cold Teal-dragon Peak.
There were hundreds of disciples on the Sunset Peak, and they were not as occupied as those Inner Disciples. Normally, if they had nothing to do, they would go fishing, hunt some rabbits and have a barbeque, and even sneak down the mountain and abandon themselves to brothels in nearby towns. Many Sunset Peak elders would pretend to act as nothing happened. Because as long as those disciples paid enough "tributes" to them, they would not make things difficult.
Moreover, most of the Outer Disciples came from aristocrats or rich families. They had plenty of money to spend. Although all of them looked a bit depraved, they were progressive within. The competition was intense, which usually led to bloodshed. All of them were looking forward to joining the Inner Gate.
Before sunset, the disciple in teal brought Xiao Chen to the peak. Many disciples greeted the disciple in teal, while many others chattered about Xiao Chen. It was not a common scene that an Inner Disciple brought someone to the Outer Gate.
As for those newcomers who met Xiao Chen before, they looked shocked and started to chatter.
"He has gone. Why does he come back?"
"Who is he?"
"He scored the highest points in this test. But for some reason, the elders didn't pick him."
"Ha! It turns out he's some unlucky person who failed to join the Inner Gate."
"Hush, Senior Brother. This man is something. Haven't you seen that he is brought here personally by an Inner Disciple?"
All along the way, Xiao Chen had seen many people point at him, which made him feel bad. Also, he had seen some scattered houses on the hill.
Those were dormitories for Outer Disciples. The expenses on the Sunset Peak were high. A 10m2 small house would cost 1,000 taels of silver for a year. Even in a big city like Cloud City, 1,000 taels of silver was enough to build a decent mansion.
But it didn't matter since people here were rich. Money was not an issue to them.
About an hour later, Xiao Chen arrived at a quiet little courtyard far from ordinary disciples' dormitories. He opened the door and a beautiful scene came to his eyes: simple rockeries, clear pond water, beautiful willows, and blooming flowers. A gentle breeze brought some white petals to his hair and shoulder.
"Wow! Young Master! This place looked more beautiful than the Purple Bine Pavilion in our home!" Lil Ruo said with joy.
Xiao Chen nodded and he noticed that there were many Snow Chaste Trees in this courtyard. Their flowers were white with light fragrance. When the wind blew by, they danced in the air like snow flowers in winter.
It should be a woman that had lived here before.
"Senior Brother, may I ask who lived here before?"
The disciple in teal scratched his ear and said with a smile, "Junior Brother, ask no more. This is your place now, and nobody will come to bother you."
"Okay." Xiao Chen stepped into the courtyard when he suddenly felt the existence of abundant Spiritual Qi, which was almost as rich as that on the main peak. He was shocked upon finding out that someone had set up a formation here in order to gather the Spiritual Qi in the valley into this courtyard. It seemed that the previous owner of this place was of high status, definitely not some Outer Disciple.
One more step forward, his eyes suddenly lit up.