Two days later, Su Qingshi came to Talisman Peak once more.
“Ouyang Yan was a traitor!” These were the first words that Su Qingshi spoke upon arriving here.
“A member of the Ghost Sect?” asked Yang Ye.
She nodded with a gloomy expression and said, “Just as you said, it really was a plot of the Ghost Sect that targeted the disciples participating in the Ascension Rankings. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to kill those experts of the Ghost Sect who were lying in ambush within the Grand Myriad Mountains. It’s even to the extent that Ouyang Yan escaped as well!”
“They dispatched an Exalt Realm expert?” asked Yang Ye.
Su Qingshi shook her head and said, “Three Spirit Realm experts. I was careless and only brought a single Spirit Realm expert along. Not only was I unable to kill them, but Murong Yao and the others were also almost killed. I really was careless.”
Yang Ye remained silent for a moment before he said, “Qingshi, how many disciples of the Sword Sect do you think belong to the Ghost Sect?”
Su Qingshi’s pupils constricted. Right, even Ouyang Yan was a spy of the Ghost Sect, then how many more members of the Ghost Sect remain within the Sword Sect? Moreover, what sort of positions do they hold within the Sword Sect? Inner court disciples? Elite disciples? Or perhaps elders?
If there are even spies of the Ghost Sect amongst the elders, then the Sword Sect…. Su Qingshi didn’t dare continue on this train of thought.
Yang Ye sighed and said, “Qingshi, to be honest, I think the Sword Sect is already at death’s door. Being at death’s door isn’t terrifying, what’s terrifying is the Sword Sect hasn’t realized it or perhaps it refuses to admit that it’s at death’s door and still thinks it’s a member of the six great powers in the southern territory. Indeed, the Sword Sect is still a member of the six great powers, but Qingshi, let me ask you. What sort of consequences would the Sword Sect face if it didn’t possess Senior Daoist Zui?”
Su Qingshi’s face turned slightly pale. She took a deep breath after a short while, and then a wisp of bitterness appeared on her face as she said, “The Sword Sect would probably cease to exist without Martial Uncle Zui. Even if it remains, it would be reduced to a second-rate power.”
Yang Ye said, “So I feel that even if someone from the Sword Sect is able to ascend onto the Ascension Rankings, it would be unable to change the situation the Sword Sect is in right now. Because I feel that the path of the sword that the disciples of the Sword Sect have taken is mistaken. Including you, Qingshi. Your path of the sword is mistaken.”
Su Qingshi was shocked when she heard this and said, “What do you mean!?”
“Those that cultivate the sword would rather break than bend, rather die than submit….” Yang Ye spoke slowly and said, “These words were spoken by the founding ancestor of the Sword Sect, and it can be said to be the true essence of the Sword Dao. But take a look at the Sword Sect right now, can anyone accomplish that? For the sake of avoiding forming enmity with the Flower Palace, the Sword Commanding Elder intended to hand my younger sister and me over. His sword is bent. The various elders of the Sword Sect and all its disciples, you included, have too many considerations and worries in your hearts. All of you constantly put the overall situation of the sect first yet have never realized that it’s exactly this that caused your heart towards the Sword Dao to be covered in layers of restraints.”
Su Qingshi’s face grew even paler.
Yang Ye continued. “Think about it yourself. If a disciple of the Origin School bullied any one of the disciples of the Sword Sect or elders like you, would any one of you dare to draw your swords against them? Perhaps some would, but there’s no doubt that many considerations like the identity of his enemy and the consequences of taking such action would run through that person’s mind before he drew his sword. This is a normal human reaction. But let me ask you, can a disciple of the Sword Sect with a restrained heart and sword revive the Sword Sect?”
Su Qingshi’s face was ghastly pale while she clenched her fists tightly.
“It’s the fault of the Sword Sect’s leadership that the hearts and swords of the sect’s disciples are restrained!” Yang Ye said, “That day in the Grand Myriad Mountains, I killed three disciples of the Origin School. If the Origin School found out about it and asks the Sword Sect to hand me over, then what do you think the Sword Sect would do? For the sake of the entire sect, the Sword Sect would have handed me over. Under such circumstances, do you think the disciples of the Sword Sect can draw their swords as they please?”
“Could it be that the Sword Sect’s path really is mistaken?” Su Qingshi muttered in a low voice while confusion appeared in her beautiful eyes.
As he gazed at Su Qingshi who had a ghastly pale countenance and a confused look in her eyes, pain flashed in Yang Ye’s heart, but he still continued. “You should have heard the incident related to Senior Daoist Zui, right? He killed a disciple of the Origin School, but how did the Sword Sect treat him? Actually, I slightly understand why Senior Daoist Zui refuses to join the Sword Sect. Because the Sword Sect has already become a form of restraint to him, and he would be tied up by all sorts of things while being a member of it as one would. The reason being he would have to consider all sorts of things before taking any action. Under such circumstances, how would one cultivate in the Sword Dao?”
“You refuse to join the Sword Sect because of this reason as well?” Su Qingshi gazed at Yang Ye as she spoke.
Yang Ye smiled and said, “Qing Shi, you once told me that the Sword Sect would absolutely not hand me over to anyone if I joined the Sword Sect. I believe you, but I don’t believe the Sword Sect. I did many things while I went out to temper myself in the Grand Myriad Mountains during these past few months, and I killed many people and offended many powers throughout that time as well. I think that if all of these matters were exposed, then not only would I be unable to protect myself after joining the Sword Sect, it would kill me even more swiftly. Because I dare guarantee that not only would the Sword Sect not protect me from these powers, it would help those powers deal with me.”
“You’ve comprehended Sword Insight, and you’re extremely important to the Sword Sect. So, it would definitely not do that!” said Su Qingshi.
Yang Ye didn’t argue. He walked slowly to the window, opened it, and gazed at the precipitous mountains in the distance that were covered by clouds. He took a deep breath and said, “Qingshi, actually the Ghost Sect isn’t the Sword Sect’s only enemy. The Sword Sect is like a child that’s trying to take a share of food from amidst a group of adults. If there wasn’t an adult standing behind this child, then the child would have been killed by the adults a very long time ago. But I believe that the adult that stands behind the child wouldn’t be able to deter all those adults forever!”
Su Qingshi walked over to Yang Ye’s side. She gazed towards the distance while a wisp of cold light flashed in her eyes. She said, “This child isn’t a baby. If this child is forced into a corner, then even if it can’t kill those adults, it’s very easy for it to make those adults suffer losses!”
Yang Ye sighed and said, “Qingshi, what would you do if that day really comes?”
Su Qingshi was stunned, and then she said, “If the Sword Sect exists, then so do I. If it perishes, then so will I!” Her voice was firm.
Yang Ye fell silent. He didn’t want to see this come to pass. But he knew that he was unable to change her decision. However, it was too early for him to worry about all of this now. Even though the Sword Sect had declined, it wasn’t something that any power could annihilate at will. Unless a few powers joined forces of course. But that was slightly unrealistic because there would be so many problems to resolve in order to accomplish that!
“I came to look for you this time because I wanted to tell you that it’s best to not leave the Sword Sect if there’s nothing important for you to attend to.” Su Qingshi suddenly spoke these words.
Yang Ye knew what she meant and asked. “The Sword Sect didn’t dispatch experts to assassinate the participating disciples of the Ghost Sect?
Su Qingshi shook her head slowly.
“Why?” Yang Ye said, “They’ve already started to act against the Sword Sect, so why does the Sword Sect still face these attacks passively? Wouldn’t it be better to take the initiative to attack?”
Su Qingshi said, “Because the Sword Sect worries about too many things!” Her voice carried dense helplessness.
Yang Ye suddenly asked. “Qingshi, what’s your status like in the Sword Sect?”
Su Qingshi turned her head to glance at Yang Ye before she said, “I don’t have a specific status and don’t possess any real authority.”
Yang Ye frowned and said, “With your identity and strength, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to obtain a position as an Inner Court Elder, right?”
“I only wanted to cultivate my Sword Dao in the past, and I didn’t have the time to do all of that!” Su Qingshi gazed at him and said, “Why do you ask?”
Yang Ye arranged his words and said, “Qingshi, since you want to revive the Sword Sect, then why do you not take direct control of it? Control the Sword Sect in your hands. In this way, you can bring great reformation to the Sword Sect!”
“Take control of the Sword Sect?” Su Qingshi frowned lightly because she’d never thought in this way.
Yang Ye nodded and said, “Since the Sword Sect is so important to you, then just become the Sect Master of the Sword Sect. After that, change the Sword Sect according to your will. Changing the Sword Sect can’t be accomplished with the hard work of just you alone, but if you become the Sword Sect’s Master, then you would be able to change numerous disciples of the sect. What do you think?”
Su Qingshi was slightly tempted. After a short while, she looked at Yang Ye and said, “If I become the Sword Sect’s Master, would you join the Sword Sect?”
Yang Ye smiled bitterly. This question again.