Book 2, Chapter 69 - Just Like the Past

As Zhao Jiuge walked along the winding mountain path, he revealed a look of helplessness. He had been taken to the Ponder Sword Cliff and the Duty Hall by Instructor Zhou via flying sword. How could he know that it would take him so long to walk back with his two feet?

He had walked for two days, and there was still one day before he could leave the sect. The Mysterious Heaven Sword Sect was built on the Mysterious Heaven Mountain Range. The mountain range had hundreds of large and small peaks. Some were too steep to reach by walking, so one had to be at a certain cultivation level to get up there.

Thinking about this, Zhao Jiuge remembered those flashy flying swords and strange mounts. When would he be able to have those things? In the end, he was still lacking strength.

Although Zhao Jiuge felt melancholy about how long the path was, he was very happy in his heart. Just thinking about the Blue Plum Sword in his storage ring improved his mood and made his steps lighter.

He had walked for two days already, and he should be able to leave the sect today. The grey steps were like a belt wound around the mountain. On one side was the mountain covered in green, and on the other side was the cliff. Although Zhao Jiuge had been at the Mysterious Heaven Sword Act for a year, he had only been to the Mysterious Heaven Peak, the Ponder Sword Cliff, and the Little Bell Peak, where the Duty Hall and the Treasure Pavilion were. As for the other places, forget going there, he had never even heard about them. He didn’t find the scenery to be boring.

When the morning wind blew by, the green wave filled with countless trees that Zhao Jiuge couldn’t name swayed. It was a memorable sight.

Along the way, Zhao Jiuge saw some old people sweeping the floor or sitting there cultivating. Most of these elders were wearing plain-looking clothes that were very ordinary. However, Zhao Jiuge knew that these elders were not that simple.

Every time he encountered someone older, he would lower his head to show respect.

His face didn’t lack determination, and he carried a bag on his back that contained the black clothes he wore before he entered the sect. Those clothes were made by his grandpa, so he was reluctant to throw them away.

He was afraid the Blue Plum Sword would be too eye-catching, so he kept it inside his storage ring.

Another gust of mountain wind blew by, awakening him from his memories. He remembered the old man who was tipping at the edge of life, he remembered the playful Su Su, he remembered how cold the world was, and he remembered Zhao Xiaotian, who shared a similar fate to his.

He also remembered a lot of familiar faces. These faces suddenly appeared and floated through his mind.

An alluring figure suddenly appeared in his mind—Bai Qingqing. She was a woman he wished he could run away from, but who would have thought that they would become such good friends? If not for her help, he wouldn’t have been able to get the Blue Plum Sword. After all, she had given 100 sect contributions to him. And if it wasn’t for her, he wouldn’t have been able to kill the Ghost Wind Spirit Wolf that he had traded it in for 300 sect contributions. Just thinking about this made him smile.

If not for the fickle nature of fate, he would have lived a poor man’s life, never to embark on the path of cultivation.

Looking back at everything that had happened in the past, his footsteps became lighter.

After an unknown amount of time, a small pavilion appeared before Zhao Jiuge’s eyes. Zhao Jiuge let out a long breath. He had finally made it out of the mountains. Zhao Jiuge found this strange. If he had to rely just on his feet, it would take several years to walk through the entire Mysterious Heaven Mountain Range. Fortunately, he had been climbing mountains since he was young.

He arrived at the pavilion, where there were several young men wearing black robes. Both of them had a hint of a killing aura and blood-colored swords embroidered on their robes. When Zhao Jiuge got close, he found that even the air became heavy.

Zhao Jiuge looked at them in awe. There was a total of three exits to the Mysterious Heaven Sword Sect. Each exit had members of the Enforcement Hall guarding it, and people constantly patrolled the area just in case. However, nothing had happened in the past thousand years. Not only was the formation protecting the sect, there were also many powerful cultivators who kept tabs on this place.

Those young men with killing intent glanced at Zhao Jiuge. After they confirmed that everything was fine, they withdrew their gazes and no longer cared about him.

When Zhao Jiuge saw that there was no problem, he walked forward. He then turned around and revealed a self-deprecating smile. He couldn’t blame those disciples from influential families for looking down upon them. No matter what he saw, he was envious of it. Now he was a bit envious of the Enforcement Hall’s robes, not to mention all the treasures and strange items.

He threw aside all the distracting thoughts and quickly left his place.

However, before Zhao Jiuge walked far, he suddenly looked back and turned around. How had he walked out so easily? Wasn’t there supposed to be a formation protecting the sect? How come he hadn’t seen it? Zhao Jiuge couldn’t figure it out and was too lazy to think about it. He looked at the wooden token to determine the location of the town of Yu Hua and headed towards that direction.

When the day was almost over, Zhao Jiuge’s eyes lit up. After turning a corner, he saw a house, farmland, and smoke rising into the air. It was like a peaceful, otherworldly garden.

Zhao Jiuge’s lips were slightly dry as he whispered, “I finally made it out.”

After a year, Zhao Jiuge finally saw the people and scenery of the outside world.

The surrounding air was filled with smoke from the house, and he looked into the distance. He should have made it out of the mountain and this should be the suburbs.

In the distance, there were only two to three houses side by side, and outside was a large farmfield. The smoke was rising from one of the houses that was beside a small bamboo forest.

A burly middle-aged man who had his sleeves and trousers rolled up was busily working in the field. At the corner of the farmland, there was an old, tired-looking black and yellow cow casually wagging its tail.

There was a five or six-year-old child sitting on the back of the cow. The child was wearing a red vest and loose pants with no shoes. As the child rode on the old cow, they were playing with their fingers. Only a small clump of hair on the middle of the child’s head remained, and the rest was all shaved off, making them very cute. The child would look back at their dad from time to time.

Seeing this familiar scene, Zhao Jiuge felt warmth in his heart. Perhaps these people were not rich, but their lives were filled with happiness.

Everything here seemed like an otherworldly garden, perhaps because he hadn’t seen something like this in a long time. He swallowed and then prepared to inquire about his destination.

When Zhao Jiuge left the sect, he changed back to his black robe and carefully put the blue sword robe in the bag he had carried down.

His footsteps attracted the attention of the burly middle-aged man, and he stared at Zhao Jiuge. His face was sunburned from working in the field and contained hints of doubt and vigilance.

“Uncle, I want to ask how far the town of Yu Hua is from here.” Zhao Jiuge revealed an honest smile. He even scratched his head with his right hand as if he was a bit embarrassed to ask.

After hearing the unfamiliar youth asking for directions, the middle-aged man stopped and carefully examined Zhao Jiuge. The cheap clothes and the honest expression made the middle-aged man relax his vigilance a bit.

The middle-aged man smiled softly and then pointed the direction of the town for Zhao Jiuge. “The town of Yu Hua is not far from here, only about 20 kilometers that way. Little Brother, are you traveling alone?” 

Seeing Zhao Jiuge gently nod, he looked at his son riding on the old cow in the corner of the field. Then he calmly said, “I just finished my work and am about to head home, we can walk and talk.” Then he placed the child on his shoulders and his free hand led the old cow.

Although people in the mountains were honest, the careful middle-aged man was still vigilant. However, he was still very enthusiastic and answered all of Zhao Jiuge’s questions. The two talked and laughed while they walked. Soon, they were 100 meters from the house.

The child sitting on his dad’s shoulder stared curiously at Zhao Jiuge. It seemed like he rarely saw unfamiliar people.

Hearing voices from outside, the woman cooking in the house walked out. She was in her late 30s and was still good-looking. She was wearing a green skirt and a wooden hairpin that gave her a certain charm. She was a bit surprised to see an unfamiliar person and felt a bit embarrassed. However, when she saw that it was only a child, she relaxed a bit.

She didn’t say anything, she only looked at her husband. Then a young couple walked out of the house nearby because they were also attracted by the sound of talking. The young man was a little thin, and when he saw an outsider, his hands clenched onto a farm sickle while he stared at Zhao Jiuge. The suburban wilderness was not the same as a town, so you couldn’t blame them for being so careful.

Behind the young man was a young woman who had her hair wrapped up and held a baby wrapped in a blanket. From the looks of it, she had given birth not long ago.

The young man protected the young woman behind him and carefully watched Zhao Jiuge. Zhao Jiuge was not dumb—he realized what was happening. However, he understood why. Sometimes, you just have to be more vigilant.

“Don’t be nervous, I just want to ask for directions. After I get the directions, I’ll leave and I won’t bother you anymore.” Zhao Jiuge smiled apologetically and felt somewhat embarrassed.

When he burly middle-aged man heard this, all suspicion in his heart disappeared. He also felt a bit embarrassed. He looked up at the sky and said, “How about you eat a meal before you go? As long as you don’t mind the meager food.”

The youth remained unmoved.

Zhao Jiuge quickly shook his head. “No need. Thank you, Uncle, but I still need to hurry along on my journey.”

The atmosphere was a bit oppressive and they didn’t know what to say. The middle-aged man looked at Zhao Jiuge but didn’t advise him to stay.

Zhao Jiuge felt a bit awkward. Seeing how everyone was staring at him, he couldn’t stay much longer, so he said his thanks once more and left.

He walked through the field and looked back at the two families. He saw the child first climb around his father’s shoulder and then onto the old cow’s back to play. Zhao Jiuge longed for this kind of warmth from the bottom of his heart.

After finding that he was only about 20 kilometers from the town of Yu Hua, his mood became better. The fatigue from traveling the last few days had unknowingly faded away.

He started jogging in the direction of the town. One could see a youth in black with a bright smile on his face running through the fields.

The sound of a youth happily singing echoed.

“Walking on the country road.

“The old cow is my companion.

“The blue sky accompanied the sunset that shone on my chest.

“The colorful clouds are the clothes of the sunset.

“There was even a flute that was faintly being played.

“To allow my thoughts to fly in the wind.

“All the loneliness drifted away with the evening wind.

“Everything is forgotten on the small country road.”

……

……

The voice was crisp and the lyrics were moving. The song echoed through the countryside.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter