Chapter 605: The Hearts of the Girls
The conflict between the Sacred Sword Palace and Regal Pill Palace had only intensified during this last trip to Mt. Rippling Mirage, giving Palace Head Dan Chi a great sense of crisis. Although the Regal Pill Palace’s martial ability had improved greatly over the recent years, there still existed a large disparity between them and the other fourth rank sects. The Regal Pill Palace’s martial heritage still had some gaps that required shoring up. In this respect, Elder Yun Nie had recently become privy to the palace head’s reasoning. He had previously felt that Palace Head Dan Chi’s focus on strengthening the sect’s martial dao had caused the Regal Pill Palace’s pill dao to weaken.
Now it appeared that strengthening martial dao at the potential expense of the pill dao couldn’t be an error as long as they lived in the world of martial dao. A temporary sacrifice of pill dao wasn’t a heinous error. Why had the Sacred Sword Palace dared provoke the Regal Pill Palace again and again this time around? They were confident in the fact that the Sacred Sword Palace’s martial dao was far stronger than the Regal Pill Palace’s. Wang Jianyu, Wang Han and Elder Chen’s repeated provocation of the Regal Pill Palace certainly gave Elder Yun Nie enough to reflect over.
In the world of martial dao, strength was the only rule that was respected. That was all the more evident in situations of strife and conflict. Take Shen Qinghong for example. In the Regal Pill Palace’s Rosy Valley, he held enough power to summon clouds and rain with but a flick of his hands. But at Mt. Rippling Mirage, he was treated as a step below all of the other peak geniuses simply because he had yet to break through to the sage realm.
He could only stew silently in the face of Wang Han’s barbed words. The world of martial dao was, in essence, a practical one – the strong set the rules. If one was a tad stronger than the others, then one could ride roughshod over others. If one was a tad weaker, than one could only suffer in silence.
Contrary to expectations, neither chaos nor confusion reigned in Jiang Chen’s residence despite his absence for the past three months. His followers had an unshakeable faith in him. Even if Jiang Chen had not returned yet, they were convinced in their heart of hearts that it was but a matter of time before their young master came back.
When their young master had been trapped in the Eternal Spirit Mountain, hadn’t the Precious Tree Sect also believed that he was dead without a doubt? Hadn’t the young master returned in glory back then? Thus, even though he was currently trapped in Mt. Ripping Mirage, they still believed he would triumphantly return.
“Younger sister Huang’er, our young master has yet to return. It’s been hard on you lately.” Gouyu was somewhat apologetic towards Huang’er since Jiang Chen had entrusted the matters of his residence to Huang’er on his departure.
Huang’er laughed gently. “Elder sister Gouyu, I owe my life to your young master. What do these little things count for?”
Princer Gouyu had an indescribable feeling in the face of Huang’er’s demeanor and comportment. She’d always felt that Huang’er should’ve had unparalleled looks to match her temperament, yet it was not to be.
Thus, Gouyu both liked and pitied Huang’er. As a woman beautiful inside and out, Huang’er knew that Gouyu looked compassionately upon her because of her looks. Despite this, she only smiled faintly and didn’t offer up any explanations. “Elder sister Gouyu, you have no reason to worry. Huang’er has seen that your young master seems to be one blessed with great fortune. Though he hasn’t returned yet, he’ll surely return after a period of time.”
Gouyu nodded, “That’s for sure. There really hasn’t been anything that’s managed to trap him since he’s set out in the world, despite all the big and small battles he’s encountered.”
As the two of them chatted, footsteps sounded from behind the door. It was Jiang Chen’s cousin and personal guard, Xue Tong.
“Greetings to Miss Huang’er. Greetings to Princess Gouyu.”
Gouyu quickly asked, “Xue Tong, is it news of the young master?”
Xue Tong shook his head, “No, it’s Miss Ling from the Sovereign Area’s third residence sending over a batch of cultivation resources.”
An odd look flashed through Gouyu’s eyes as she remained silent for a moment. She smiled ruefully. “This is already the third time Ling Bi’er has sent over cultivation resources. Younger sister Huang’er, do you think this Miss Lin fancies the young master?” Gouyu was always direct and spoke whatever came to mind.
Huang’er dimples formed once again as she smiled gently. “Your young master is so outstanding that it’s certainly possible for him to receive Miss Ling Bi’er’s favor.” Mentioning Ling Bi’er brought Ling Hui’er to mind, and Huang’er couldn’t help but remember how she’d seen Ling Hui’er’s daring move that day when she was picking flowers in the woods. Ling Hui’er had actually grabbed Jiang Chen’s hands at that time and pressed them onto her chest. This matter had left quite a deep impression on Huang’er, making her remember the Ling sisters.
Hearing this, Gouyu flashed a mischievous smile and teased Huang’er, “Well, younger sister, since you think my young master is impressive, do you also like him a little?”
Other girls might have acted shy or coy when faced that particular question. However, Huang’er only gave a light sigh. “What does it mean to like or love someone in this world?”
Somehow, Huang’er thoughts had turned to her own life experiences and how her parents’ generation had caused hate and resentment to spring from love. The Generation Binding Curse that afflicted her had been caused precisely by the emotional entanglements of the prior generation. Thus, the word “love” appeared quite hazy to Huang’er. Though a bud had perhaps sprouted in her heart, she dared not allow it to grow. Or to put it more aptly, there had been no opportunity for it to grow. These words of Huang’er seemed to have also stirred some thoughts within Gouyu’s heart as she too fell silent.
Within Ling Bi’er’s residence.
Ling Bi’er kept watch over her father, Ling Su’s, bed while holding her father’s hand.
“Sis, it’s all your fault. Why didn’t you stop senior brother Jiang Chen?!” Ling Hui’er still had not let this matter go even after three months. She kept feeling that her sister should have stopped Jiang Chen and the two of them should’ve come out together.
Ling Bi’er was also deeply feeling the pangs of regret at that moment. If she had another chance, she would not have been so reserved or cared so much about how the others would’ve viewed her. She would have held back Jiang Chen back with all her strength and not let him risk himself. Alas, it was too late to say anything now. Although Jiang Chen had already given Ling Bi’er the four spirit herbs necessary to cure her father’s Miasma, without Jiang Chen, she could not actually perform the detoxification.
“Big sis, why don’t you say something, ah? Will senior brother Jiang Chen be able to come out?” Ling Hui’er continuously clung to and swung Ling Bi’er’s other arm.
Ling Bi’er felt endless remorse within her heart as she blamed herself. During the past three months, whenever she sent cultivation resources to Jiang Chen’s residence, her sense of guilt had always pushed her to leave without seeing his followers. Hearing her sister repeatedly ask her, Ling Bi’er’s eyes grew red-rimmed and a few pearly tears rolled down her beautiful face.
“Hui’er, junior brother Jiang Chen is a good person. He will certainly turn misfortune into fortune.” Ling Bi’er mustered all of her resolve.
“But… the next time Mt. Rippling Mirage opens will be in thirty years.” Ling Hui’er didn’t know about the ancient herb garden and thought that Jiang Chen was only stuck in Mt. Rippling Mirage. Ling Bi’er felt a knife twisting in her heart. She knew that the place where Jiang Chen had truly disappeared in was the ancient herb garden, and the next time it would open was possibly three thousand years later.
Three thousand years…
Ling Bi’er felt like her body empty of energy at the enormity of that timespan. She could wait for Jiang Chen three thousand years or even thirty thousand years. If this life wasn’t enough, she could keep waiting in her next life. Whether it was for ten lives, or a hundred lives… she could wait for him. But her father’s affliction could not wait three thousand years!
Ever since Jiang Chen’s appearance, Ling Bi’er’s iceberg-like emotions seemed to have melted, gradually opening up. Jiang Chen was like a stone pebble that had slammed into her heart’s door, sending aftershocks rippling within.
Time after time, Jiang Chen’s outstanding conduct had overbearingly intruded into her heart.
Time after time, Jiang Chen’s superior moral character had silently melted the iceberg about her.
On that trip to Mt. Rippling Mirage, they’d interacted more than they’d ever before. Though they hadn’t spent every day together, a small seed of affection had been planted in the heart of a girl experiencing love for the first time. Unlimited strands of feeling had sprung into being to tie themselves into thousands of knots. Moreover, Ling Bi’er had previously sworn that she would stay by the side of whoever saves her father. And although Jiang Chen had not yet cured Ling Su, in Ling Bi’er’s heart, Jiang Chen was the only one that could.
Just like one who had experienced the vast oceans wouldn’t be attracted to another body of water, no one else was worth considering now that she’d acknowledged someone to be the one. Even if there jumped out a genius who was ten times stronger than Jiang Chen, he would not be able to replace Jiang Chen’s status in Ling Bi’er’s heart.
Compared to Ling Hui’er’s straightforward enthusiasm, Ling Bi’er’s temperament was as cold as ice. She was very slow to warm up to the affections between man and woman. But once she did, her feelings went far beyond merely pledging undying love or being steadfast until the seas ran dry and stones eroded to dust.
She had made up her mind that once Mt. Rippling Mirage opened next time, she would take her father to the mountain. If she could find Jiang Chen, that was for the best. If not, then she would stay, grow old and live out the rest of her days on Mt. Rippling Mirage.
Tristar Sect, inside the Tristar Great Hall.
Sect Head Zhu and Elder Tan Lang were keeping a few Sky Sect inspectors company. It was evident these inspectors were all extraordinary. The first was a middle-aged man who wore a purple robe with two golden stars embroidered on his chest. A two-starred purple robe indicated his status as an eleventh rank inspector of the Ninesuns Sky Sect, one rank above Feng Beidou. The difference of a single rank was actually an enormous difference in status. Eleventh rank inspectors were at minimum sky sage realm, with most at peak sage realm. As for twelfth rank inspectors, those were even more rare and they were all at least half-step emperor realm or even emperor realm experts.
In addition to this eleventh rank inspector, there also sat a blue browed youth with a sinister, calculating temperament. He seemed coldly detached, arrogant to the point where it seemed like he disdained even introducing himself. He just sat there with his eyes closed, the very picture of haughtiness. However, not a single member of the Tristar Sect dared to even put a single whisker out of place. In addition to the eleventh rank inspectors, there were also several ninth and tenth rank inspectors – obviously the subordinates of the eleventh rank inspector.
“Sect Head Zhu, your Tristar Sect is truly disappointing. Although Ding Tong couldn’t be considered a top genius of the Sky Sect, but he was at least considered a proper first class genius. The Sky Sect sent him to help you set the board, but you don’t even know how he perished?” The eleventh rank inspector’s tone was like the frozen tundra, and held no doubt of who he thought was to blame.
Sect Head Zhu was full of fear and trepidation, “This really was an accident. Young master Ding Tong moved independently after entering Mt. Rippling Mirage. Elder Tan Lang tried contacting him several times but he did not respond…”
“Alright, stop explaining. Sect Head Zhu, just tell me this. Is the Tristar Sect truly capable or not? If not, then it’s not necessary to support you, as the Sky Sect can just find another sect to raise.”
Sect Head Zhu and Elder Tan Lang wore miserable expressions, but were unable to refute any of his barbs. They were constrained by their heavenly oaths and thus unable to disclose the matters that had occurred in the ancient herb garden at the heart of Mt. Rippling Mirage. And since they could not reveal anything, they were unable to use that information to atone for their sins.
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