“Snow gathers atop these treacherous peaks, the clouds circle the mountain waist, the works of the heavenly craftsman, are bare for all to see.”
That song was a famous depiction of the view atop Mount Cangshan. Its majestic peaks were formed out of 19 peaks starting from the north rolling all the way down south. Respectively, the peaks were Yunnong, Canglang, Wuhe, Lianhua, Baiyun, Heyun, Lanfeng, Xueren, Yingle, Guanyin, Zhonghe, Longquan, Yuju, Malong, Shengying, Foding, Maer and Xieyang.
Between each two of its peaks flowed a stream that ran right into the Erhai Sea. These streams were the famous eighteen streams, namely: Xiayi, Wanhua, Yangxi, Mangyong, Jinxi, Lingquan, Baishi, Shuangyuan, Yinxian, Meixi, Taoxi, Zhongxi, Luyu, Longxi, Qingbi, Mocan, Tingming and Yangnan.
Whether it was the name of the peak or the name of a stream, these names were all the epitome of elegance. Yet the most elegant had to be that breathtaking snow-capped view atop Mount Cangshan that never melted throughout the year. That was the ‘snow’ within the four famous sceneries, ‘wind, flowers, snow and moon’, and was also the most popular amongst visitors. That was the same path that Lei Wujie was treading now, step by aimless step. He didn’t know which of the numerous peaks Li Hanyi stayed on, but there was one thing he was certain of -from the moment he stepped into this mountain range, there was only one possibility of him finding Li Hanyi, and that was if he wanted to be found by him.
Finally, Lei Wujie began to tire, having lost track of how long he had walked already. He sat down on a nearby platform and gazed downwards. It was then that it dawned on him how far he had actually trekked. Looking down at Snow Moon City below, he couldn’t help but smile all of a sudden.
“What are you smiling for?” A voice suddenly interrupted him.
“It’s just that, even a giant city like Snow Moon City ends up looking like a tiny chessboard when viewed from this mountain.” Lei Wujie answered with a beaming grin.
“Do you like chess?”
Lei Wujie merely shook his head, “I do not know how to play it. Since young, I was never one to sit still for long. It was always teacher playing by himself while I watched from the sidelines.”
Lei Wujie stood up, patted off the dust and snow off himself then proceeded onwards. Half a minute later, he reached the side of the mountain and found a medium-sized straw house ahead. Dressed completely in white, the Sword Immortal, Li Hanyi, sat quietly in front of that house with his eyes closed in meditation.
“Teacher.” Lei Wujie suddenly knelt down, tears streaming down his eyes.
Li Hanyi opened his eyes and merely nodded.
From that moment on, the two of them were disciple and master.
Down below, within Snow Moon City, Xiao Se was still lazily busking in the sun with a straw in his mouth and his eyes glued to the sky. Resting atop the roof, Tang Lian leisurely asked, “When my teacher, Lianyue, sent me off to Snow Moon City, he told me to for a certain person on behalf of the Tangmen. Are you that person?”
“No.” Xiao Se flatly answered.
Tang Lian chuckled, “I don’t think so too.”
Waving the straw in his mouth around, Xiao Se said, “A big man like you should be waiting for some flowery maiden, not another grown man like me, what’s the point of that?”
“I’m a grown man, that much is certain, but how are you a grown man? You might look like you have gone through a lot, but how old can you actually be? At most a couple years older than Lei Wujie, I bet.” Tang Lian answered.
Xiao Se pouted a little, “Like that’s your business.”
“As if I could be bothered to care about you. However, someone’s here that does, Third Junior Brother.” Tang Lian suddenly stood up and grinned cheekily.
“Hmm?” Xiao Se’s brows jumped.
“See you later then.” With a twist of his body, Tang Lian was gone.
Xiao Se cursed under his breath and immediately jumped off his chair. But just as he was about to make his escape, a black metallic spear came barrelling towards him. He immediately stepped backwards, leaving that chair at the shattering mercy of that spear.
“Lady, are you trying to wreck every one of my chairs or something?” Xiao Se sighed.
Beautiful but with a hint of gallantry within her eyes, the Spear Immortal’s daughter, Sikong Qianluo, picked up her thrown spear and coldly smiled, “Slacking off again?”
“What do you mean slacking off? I told you guys before, I don’t practise the martial arts. Right now, my job is to accompany your dad with three of his chess matches and settle the bookkeeping at dawn, that in itself is hard enough!” Xiao Se spat out the straw in his mouth and griped unhappily.
“Hmph, that’s all you do and you ask for a salary like that? How dare you even consider yourself a disciple of the Spear Immortal?” Sikong Qianluo swept her spear around and rushed right at him. “There’s no way this lady over here is going to let you off the hook like that. Aren’t you proud of your movement skills? How about keeping this over lady over here company as she practises her spear?”
“What?” Xiao Se gasped and promptly ducked to the doorway.
Of the movement skills under the heavens, Wudang’s Cloud Elevation, the Heavenly Mountain’s Traceless Snow and the Flying Cloud’s Eight Steps Tracking were all top-notch movement skills. Yet despite that, the cloudsteps was still the number one movement skill under the heavens. That was because, while the other movement skills could only be considered an accessory to one’s martial arts, the Cloudsteps was the only one worthy of being a martial arts in of itself.
“Hmph, let’s see where you can run off to!” Sikong Qianluo immediately gave chase with spear raised.
The last time the two of them faced off, Xiao Se lost a sleeve to her. But that only because his aim was to delay her, not to shake her off. Now was a different situation entirely. If Xiao Se was dead set on escaping, there was no way to catch him unless the Spear Immortal himself came down to pursue him. With a single step, Xiao Se was already out of the courtyard. Yet Sikong Qianluo wasn’t one to give up so easily. With a wave of her spear, she promptly rushed off after his disappearing back.
Just like that, the endless chase between a blue robed youth and a black clothed girl ensued throughout the streets of Snow Moon City.
Having just finished a dice match with his master that left him almost penniless, Luo Mingxuan just so happened to step out of his master’s hall at that moment. Watching the two figures zip past him in a flash, he couldn’t help but rub his eyes in wonder, “Heavens, what kind of movement skill was that?”
Behind him, the youthful despite being over thirty Immortal Maiden Luoxia frowned a little and said, “Cloudsteps?”
Luo Mingxuan sniggered, “Looks like there’s someone to keep that girl company from now on. Saves us quite a lot of trouble there. Speaking of which, I wonder how that kid is doing. I’m sure that temperamental Second Citymaster is giving him hell right now.”
Back on Mount Cangshan, Li Hanyi suddenly asked this of Lei Wujie, “For what reason do you draw your sword?”
Taken aback by that question, Lei Wujie paused for a second in thought but came up with nothing.
“There are those that draw their swords because they wish to be a hero and fight the injustices in this world. Then, there are those that draw their swords out of fear. Because if they do not, someone else will, thus they have no choice but to do so if they wish to survive. Then there’s you, Lei Wujie, why do you draw your sword?”
Lei Wujie still had no answer to give.
“All those years ago, why did you pick up the sword?” Li Hanyi gazed into his eyes and asked.
Thinking about it for a second, Lei Wujie finally answered, “That day, I saw my teacher wave his sleeve and a crimson red longsword came flying out into the heavens; that flash of red actually stained the entire sky red. In my entire life, I had never seen such a profound sword art. My teacher then asked me if I wanted to learn the sword. I didn’t hesitate for a second in accepting, all because of that single breathtaking moment of beauty.”
“That’s right, the sword is the most beautiful thing in this world. Had it not been for that, your teacher wouldn’t have ended up in the rut he is in right now. However, what you speak of is learning the sword, what I’m asking is why do you draw it. The two aren’t the same. When one learns the sword, words like elegance and beauty can be bantered about. But one when draws the sword, there can only be life or death!” As Li Hanyi said that last sentence, he frowned and his voice turned grave.
Lei Wujie shook his head and thought to himself, life or death? That’s right, within the martial world, a person’s life or death was actually that simple of a matter. A single disagreement could lead to weapons being drawn and a life being lost, just like that. However, even after listening to all those stories of the martial world, and being so entranced by them, he still couldn’t bring himself to agree with that philosophy. There were plenty of instances where victory could be decided easily, why was there a need for death? Lei Wujie softly said, “One can draw the sword to debate the ways of the sword, not just of life and death.”
“You do not wish to speak of life and death, but your opponent has already drawn his to take your life away. Will you simply rush to your death then?” Li Hanyi asked.
Lei Wujie had no answer once more; his head was a complete mess of thoughts right now.
Li Hanyi coldly laughed. With a light wave of his right hand, a longsword came flying out of the straw house and stabbed into the ground in front of Lei Wujie.
“This sword is known as Rainfall, this is my initiation gift to you.”
Lei Wujie stepped forth to pull out the sword. It was an intricately beautiful sword. Light as a feather, Lei Wujie could barely feel any weight on his wrists as he waved it around. However, he still couldn’t figure out why Li Hanyi would suddenly change the topic like that. But just as he was mulling over that, he saw his teacher’s robe dance wildly in the air. Within his eyes were a barely hidden killing intent!
“Come, draw your sword against me!” Li Hanyi called out in a clear voice.
TL: Sorry for the slower uploads. I have some stuff on IRL right now and release rate will return back to normal by mid August. Thanks for understanding
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