Ch . 32 Confrontation
Just as they entered the tea house—the storytelling, the clamour, the clatter of chopsticks, and the sound of lidded teacups, all strangely fell silent .
The shouting and hawking from the distant street drifted in through the delicately carved windows, so far as if from another world .
Here, there were no comments and no prying eyes .
Evidently they were standing on the stairs in the center of the tea house, both the up and downstairs halls full of guests; but they all meticulously avoided speaking about them, giving them the illusion that there was no one else present .
Within this silence, Zhong Shan moved to the side and took a couple step down .
He originally stood above them and opened his mouth to speak . Duan Chongxuan and Yin Biyue could only look up at him
But he didn’t do that .
Instead, he walked down a few more steps, moved to the side, and gave a perfectly executed half greeting .
Yin Biyue lead Duan Chongxuan in peacefully returning the greeting .
It seemed like the entire tea house heaved a sigh of relief .
However, Duan Chongxuan’s brow hadn’t been able to relax before Zhong Shan spoke towards Yin Biyue . His tone was acerbic, like swords scraping on stone .
“I learned to wield a sword at age four”
Yin Biyue stared blankly . He was… introducing himself???
He didn’t understand what Zhong Shan meant to do, but since he was speaking sincerely, he also should listen sincerely .
So, he nodded his head to signify that he was listening .
Zhong Shan continued, “I learned my first set of sword techniques at age six, achieved Qi Condensation stage at age ten, and Marrow Cleansing stage at age fourteen . I mastered the sword young, with no equal under the Soul Condensing stage .
The tea house could not hold back their intake of breath .
This talent was enough to make any person arrogant, but Yin Biyue could see that this person in front of him was only stating facts without any intention of showing off .
This was a genuine self-confidence .
Authentic self-confidence that doesn’t need any showing off to earn others’ acknowledgment, because one already approves of himself .
“Before age sixteen, I always assumed I would become a disciple of the Sword Saint”
In the now quiet room, someone was shocked into dropping a teacup, shattering the porcelain and spilling tea everywhere .
Yin Biyue still didn’t speak, even with these words full of provocative intent .
“The Sword Saint picked you over me, yet I do not think that you are stronger than me . ”
“This made me envious . ”
“This Flower Picking Festival, I had hoped for a battle with the young lord¹ . ”
The words had barely fallen from his mouth before a magnificent blaze of battle aura surged forth!
The pressure of his cultivation realm was strictly controlled, and not one iota leaked out
Yin Biyue calmly faced his opposition .
He thought; he already understood a little of what kind of person Zhong Shan is .
He is not like those in Bao Pu Sect, who will scheme behind the backs of others and spread rumors, or make some treacherous moves in the shadows .
Envy is precisely envy, unwillingness is just unwillingness .
There isn’t such a thing to be ashamed of; everything is spoken out loud openly and clearly .
I don’t acknowledge you, so I will fight you .
If you have strength, fight me until you convince me .
Yin Biyue’s gaze one again landed on Zhong Shan’s blade .
Daring to face his heart, even while inside the bustling tea house, and to talk about his candid thoughts as though no one else was present—without any care for if he suffers criticism and ridicule .
Perhaps only this kind of person could use that sword .
But Duan Chongxuan obviously did not think that .
Before Yin Biyue managed to stop him, he had already started speaking .
“‘A battle with the young lord?’ Your cultivation realm is greater than my shixiong’s by several levels . Have you no shame?”
“Given what you’ve said, the most unsuitable to be the Sword Saint’s disciple should be me, but as it happens, I am his disciple . Why? There’s nothing I can do, it’s just that my fate is good! My dad pleaded with the Academy Director to write a letter, letting me into Xi Hua Peak . I entered through back door connections . ”
“What could I possibly do? Commit suicide on my sword, and reincarnate to begin again? Or to forever feud with my dad, severing father-son relations?
Yin Biyue stared blankly .
Zheng Shan also stared blankly .
The entire room full of guests did not dare to let out a single breath .
Then, Zhong Shan seriously thought about it, “What you say does make sense…”
Suddenly, from behind Zhong Shan scrambled out a youth wearing the ink splashed mountains and rivers of the Qing Lu Sword Sect’s uniform . His hand carried a sword, trembling in anger .
From the beginning, he was standing behind Zhong Shan on the staircase with them .
It was just that not many noticed him before, due to the power and radiance of the others .
Now that he suddenly spoke out, everyone noticed him: Zhong Shan’s shidi from the same sect, “Flying Feather Sword”, Cheng Tianyu .
This youth lashed out furiously, “My shixiong’s cultivation is high because he cultivated diligently! It didn’t fall from the heavens! What is there to be sorry about? Even if your shixiong started cultivating later, and so his cultivation isn’t as great, that’s just being born later! My shixiong was just born earlier! There’s nothing he can do, it’s just that his fate is good!
Cheng Tianyu was very angry .
Earlier, when his shixiong was speaking, he obviously couldn’t interrupt . He could only stand behind him .
But, to hear his shixiong say that the other made sense, he was immediately angered so much that all etiquette flew out of the window .
Yin Biyue thought to himself; shit .
He never had the intention to start a fight, but the verbal conflict started too quickly . He didn’t even have the time to react before these two raised their hackles as if they had eaten bitter medicine .
The more the steamed bun-faced youth Cheng Tianyu spoke, the angrier he got . “You Hua Sect people are really too much . Not only did your third shixiong Yan Xing dirty my Song-shixiong’s purity before, and now to go so far as to ……”
All of the people followed the sound of the voice and found that, at the door, actually stood the Qing Lu Sword Sect’s young master Song .
His breath was slightly unsteady, either from anger or from the urgency of rushing over .
What shocked people, even more, was that Cang Ya’s head disciple was also with him .
Luo Mingchuan stood there with a serene and dignified expression .
In the instant Yin Biyue saw him, his worry immediately dissipated .
It’s good that he came…… it wouldn’t devolve into a fight now that he came .
He actually did not know how to deal with this kind of situation, and now he could just completely rely on Luo Mingchuan .
Cheng Tianyu was suddenly clear-headed after the first sound of reprimand and realized he was saying such shameful words in such a public, crowded area; his face immediately flushed thoroughly red as he stammered, “Song-shixiong……”
Song Tang intoned, “Get down . ”
Chong Tianyu silently walked down the stairs, Zhong Shan following after him .
Luo Mingchuan said nothing .
Yin Biyue just brought Duan Chongxuan downstairs as well .
Duan Chongxuan earlier was so incited by Zhong Shan’s battle aura that he was unable to govern his words . Now that he was cool-headed, he felt that it was kind of disgraceful and embarrassing to be ogled like a trick monkey for so long .
So, he stood behind Luo Mingchuan acting as if he were mute . ”
Song Tang gave a half bow, saying “Shidi is young, he committed a great offense . ”
Cheng Tianyu stood behind his body and also lowered his head and feigned mute .
Luo Mingchuan moved to the side, refusing this bow, and returned a half bow, replying “I dare not . It was my sect that committed the greater offense . ”
These two people tranquilly finished exchanging bows, their faces undisturbed as if nothing had ever occurred .
For a moment, the entire tea house full of people all thought that the earlier conflict in the stairwell was merely an illusion borne from their imaginations .
Yin Biyue and Luo Mingchuan left the tea house and the three Qing Lu Sword Sect disciples speeding away in the opposite direction .
Duan Chongxuan silently followed .
This kind of feeling was like…… two household’s spoiled brats having a spat and being retrieved by their respective parents .
Yin Biyue was struck by fear by his own passing thought .
The entire walk was silent until the Qiu Lake’s small courtyard, beneath countless magnolias .
Not the least bit mentioning the previous altercation, Luo Mingchuan instead turned around and told Yin Biyue, “The results from drawing lots came out . Shidi, you received a bye² . ”
Chatterbox’s attention completely shifted .
“How could this be? Weren’t there exactly eighty-one groups?”
Luo Mingchuan explained, “Prior to the drawing, a person forfeited due to a heavy injury, so there was one extra bye to directly enter the next round . As it turns out, no one drew shidi . ”
Yin Biyue blinked . He unexpectedly gets to directly advance . What luck .
Duan Chongxuan smiled, “Sure enough, fourth-shixiong is protected by the heavens .
No no no, wait a minute . This was only the second round . To completely use up his good karma now, what will be done later?
Luo Mingchuan spoke again, “Duan-shidi, Lian Jian Sect’s Xu Guang was matched with you . The first match four days from now .
Compared with other sects, Lian Jian Sect is considered to be a sect with more female cultivators, with the Luo Xia Peak composed entirely of female disciples . But overall, there were still more male disciples .
Duan Chongxuan obviously heard of this person before, and smiled, saying, “A spiritual cultivator of Lian Jian . Perfect, I wanted to accumulate a bit of experience battling against spiritual cultivators .
From this, Yin Biyue now knew that he didn’t intend to use any external tools like talismans; therefore he warned Duan Chongxuan, “There’s still a few days, be sure to prepare well . ”
“Don’t worry, fourth-shixiong,” Chatterbox reassured . He smiled at Luo Mingchuan and went into the room . He could discern that Luo Mingchuan wanted to speak to his shixiong .
Thus, there were only two people left in the courtyard .
Not only did Luo Mingchuan have words to say, he also had something to gift .
But looking at the person in front of him, he suddenly didn’t know how to start .
“Who was Luo-shixiong matched with?” The first to speak, instead, was Yin Biyue . He was genuinely curious about Luo Mingchuan’s next battle .
Luo Mingchuan answered, “A Xin Shan Temple Buddhist cultivator . The third match tomorrow . ”
Another spell of silence, neither side saying anything .
Yin Biyue suddenly noticed that Luo Mingchuan’s complexion was a little abnormal . His ears were red, and his eyes shifted from side to side .
……it’s not heatstroke again is it?
Although he couldn’t sense heat due to practicing the Frigid Water Sword, he could tell that today’s sun was sweltering .
He hurriedly said, “Quickly go back and rest Luo-shixiong . You still have to compete tomorrow . ”
“……okay . ”
Luo Mingchuan turned face, took a few steps, then turned back again . “Shidi . ”
His wide robe sleeves draped down, concealing the bead in his hand . His hand tightened increasingly painfully around the pearl .
Yin Biyue was just about to leave when he heard and paused . “En?”
“……It’s nothing . You also get some rest . ”
Luo Mingchuan returned to his room and sat dejectedly in front of the table .
On the table sat a exquisitely formed, polished, bead, shining with an deep ruby glow .
“Shidi, this is a li³ fire bead; if you wear every day, you will never suffer the pain of overflow of cold energy ever again . ”
Such a simple sentence, he’s thought it over so many times—how is it that he could not say it out loud?
Ever since that time when they returned to Qiu Lake together, he searched information about the li fire bead . These kinds of beads are produced at the mouths of the Eastern Continent’s volcanoes and dispels cold energy . The cultivators that lived on the edge of the snowy plains often wore them . But Ye city had a mild and humid climate, the winters were never severe, so there was a dearth of li fire beads . Fortunately, today he met Song Tang who was more familiar with Ye city, and he managed to buy it on the black market .
On the way back, they glimpsed a multitude of people crowded outside the TaiHe pavillion, whispering but not daring to enter . He concentrated his attention toward the commotion, he and Song Tang rushed over and saw that everyone was alright .
The spectator sees clearly, he saw that even though Zhong Shan had the intent to battle but no malice . Instead, it was Duan Chongxuan and Cheng Tianyu who nearly came to blows .
Zhong Shan had already made a decision in his heart regarding this matter . It was only that he couldn’t tell his method to resolve it to his shidi for the time being .
The Flower Picking Festival’s winner can only be his shidi .
These matters, no matter how difficult, will inevitably have clues and methods to resolve them . But……
Luo Mingchuan took a look at the bead on the table . Why does he not want to give it to his shidi?
Maybe, he feels, if he’s always by his shidi’s side then he can disperse the cold energy himself, so it isn’t necessary?
Or is it…… some other reason .
Luo Mingchuan didn’t dare to continue contemplating the details . He keeps feeling that if he gave it any further thought, he will come to an answer that he cannot face .
Thus, he rose to go meditate . He murmured the ‘Clear Mind Script,’ and then began to cultivate .
In a room separated by one courtyard, Yin Biyue also sat in meditation .
Today he confronted Zhong Shan’s boundless battle aura and he felt that the barrier between this stage and the next had weakened .
He knew that the current him is not enough to defeat Zhong Shan .
He needs to break through .
1) The word Zhong Shan used to refer to Yin Biyue was 君, and basically just means a respected/upright person (or of noble character) but it’s a little difficult to properly translate since there’s so many facets to this word . You’re welcome to search it up to get a better grasp!
2) a bye, in sports, is when someone draws a blank for their opponent . It’s clear from the context but a couple people asked about this and I’m letting you know it’s 100% not a typo .
3) This is the same li as the li fire sword that He Lai used . Because of the reference to the trigram li before, I’ve chosen to interpret it this way . It could also be “to leave” or an archaic way of saying divine beast . If in the future we discover that I was wrong we can remedy this haha .Please download our sponsor's game to support us!