“The other one is my sworn brother named Guo Yuqing.” Li Mu recounted the story of how he met Guo Yuqing. Then, he added, “Brother Guo is a man of courage. He is generous and open-minded. He is as unparalleled as the divine dragon living in the heavens. Ordinary men cannot rival him.”
At that description, Qiu Yin’s anticipation was piqued. He said, “By the sounds of it, he does seem to be a rare hero in the world. It’s a pity that I don’t have the luck to meet him.”
Li Mu gave a slap on his thigh and remarked, “Haha, why can’t you? Let’s go out with me and look for Brother Guo. He ought to live in seclusion in the Taibai Mountain area. He can’t be far from here.”
Eyes gleaming, Qiu Yin cried, “Really? That’s perfect!”
The gourd he used to bottle his bamboo alcohol carried a space-enlarging deployment, so its storage space was amazingly large. Although they had kept the shots going over three nights, they only consumed half of the liquor in it. At the moment, the two were both slightly drunk and in the mood to get merrier. Thus, they set off without further ado.
Two shots of broadsword light streaked out from the Knife Hut and soared to the sky before vanishing out of sight in the distance like two flashes of lightning.
That scene was captured by many people.
“It finally started? The contest of two broadsword masters?”
“The brutal fight between Qiu Yin the Broadsword Man and Li Mu the Sage-to-be is simmering.”
“Which of them is gonna prove himself as the number one practitioner among the young generation of our Western Qin Empire?”
As innumerable men practicing martial arts caught sight of that scene from or around Taibai County, they all went stoked.
Because they recognized that the two jets of broadsword light were precisely Li Mu and Qiu Yin.
“Are the two young talents at the peak of martial arts practice going to battle it out in Taibai Mountain?”
“And if the fight really kicks off, does that mean Guanshan Pasture’s attitude towards Li Mu is not as friendly as we outsiders have imagined?”
A great number of martial arts experts hoped to follow the trace of the two.
But the two Broadsword Men moved so fast that they were nowhere to be seen in a second.
Still, countless people could not think about anything but the battle.
High in the sky, Li Mu was flying speedily on his broadsword.
Qiu Yin, on the other hand, had transformed into a jet of broadsword light and flew with stunning moving techniques.
Soaring on the heels of Li Mu, Qiu Yin began to speed up to compete with the new friend.
Li Mu smiled and slowed down a bit, keeping the same pace with Qiu Yin’s. Broadsword-commanding Skill was the one he was best at. He could cover a thousand miles in ten seconds. If he did display his full speed, perhaps Qiu Yin would not be able to keep up with him no matter how hard he exerted himself.
“Haha, bro, is your Broadsword-commanding Skill evolved from the Sword-commanding Technique of the Heaven Sword Sect?” Qiu Yin asked with a hearty laugh.
Li Mu answered, “Yes, you’re right. It was developed precisely from the Sword-commanding Technique.”
Qiu Yin heaved with a sigh and said, “My master once mentioned to me that Heaven Sword Sect is ignorant of a treasure vault that it owns. He also said among the Heaven-sword Sixteen Styles only the Sword-commanding Style is the real invaluable martial art. Bro, you are the first one, aside from my master, that has captured the potential of the Sword-commanding Style.”
The master he referred to was Li Poyue, the Guanshan Master who was a legendary figure in the martial arts society of the Western Qin. Also, he was one of the few magnates across the Divine Land who were standing at the top of the martial world.
Li Mu went awe-struck at once.
That he had discovered the wonders of the Sword-commanding Style was attributed to the old faker’s prior instructions, which certainly overtook the vision of this martial world. Further, he also made some surmise about the origin of the sword knowledge of the Heaven Sword Sect—it probably was some alien skill from the vast universe. But what Li Poyue, the Guanshan Master, relied on to discern the secret was solely his knowledge of martial arts and unusual perception.
“I should not make light of anyone in this world after all!”
The two streaks of broadsword light crossed the winding Taibai Mountain.
“Brother Guo has led a withdrawn life as a hunter in the mountain area. I guess he can’t be living all alone. He must be hiding in one of the villages in the mountains…” Li Mu said.
According to that clue, the two soared in the direction of the distant villages.
“It’s been five years since we last met. Well, senior fellow apprentice, you don’t look as good as you used to be.”
A tall man with long blond hair was standing in the doorway of a hut. Every inch of his body was perfectly proportionated. He was so handsome that he looked just like Ares, the Greek god of war on Earth. He was wearing an impeccable smile that revealed two lines of his snow-white teeth as he warmly hailed the hunt owner as if he were an old friend of his.
Standing opposite the handsome man was Guo Yuqing, whose look was complex.
“You finally tracked me down.” Guo Yuqing said with a sigh. “We are both fellow disciples of our master. Do you really seek to do me in?”
The blond-haired gorgeous young man threw up his hands with a helpless look and said, “I don’t see an alternative. Senior fellow apprentice, as long as you are alive, I can’t eat or sleep well. Anyway, I just can’t stand that your great stories are still spreading across the vast pasture.”
“I’ve left the vast pasture already.” Guo Yuqing grunted as he headed to the fenced yard outside.
His wife and his two children had gone to Aunt Wang’s at the entrance of the village to help her cook a hog. That hog was a huge one, which was hunted by him last night. That news made the whole Eagle Beak Village bubble over with excitement. Tonight, they would hold a bonfire party and all the villagers would gather together to share the hog meat.
Ever since Li Mu came to Taibai County, not only the county folks but also the hunters on the outskirts of the county lived a better life, way better than the life they had before. Mountain villains and bandits were stamped out in the area, too.
The quiet and cozy life they now enjoyed was fascinating.
However, the uninvited guest who came to Guo Yuqing’s door broke the tranquility.
Guo Yuqing kept marching away from the hut.
He did not want his wife and children to see what was happening and worry about him again if they doubled back at the moment.
“Well, it’s true that you’ve left the vast pasture. Still, your legends are running wild there.” The handsome young man who looked like the Greek god of war strolled behind Guo Yuqing, as though he were just chatting with his good buddy.
Five years ago, ten years ago, and twenty years ago, they also wandered about on the vast pasture and chatted like what they were doing at the moment. However, as time passed by, the environment and the two of them changed. By then, the pair of almost inseparable fellow disciples had become sworn enemies.
The two slowly came to the Eagle Beak Cliff at the rear of the village.
The Eagle Beak Cliff had gained its name from its shape that resembled an eagle beak.
“Humph, are you afraid that the sister-in-law might notice my arrival?” The gorgeous blond-haired young man remarked as he stood shoulder by shoulder with Guo Yuqing. “How cold-hearted you are! Back then, I even cradled your daughter in my arms.”
Gazing up at the boundless mountains, he stretched himself and said emotionally, “What a beautiful place! It is very picturesque even in winter. What a perfect place for living in seclusion! I recall you once said that when the herdsmen on the pasture no longer had to toil for a living, or got killed by a snowstorm, or fought one another for the plague of locusts or draught, you would take your loved ones to a place with green mountains and clear waters and live in seclusion… Well, senior fellow apprentice, though your grand aspirations have not realized yet, you’ve already started a life in seclusion.”
Guo Yuqing did not give any comment on that.
The blond-haired young man continued, “I’ve been looking for you during the past five years. Even when the top nine Holy Clans stopped chasing after you, I, your junior fellow apprentice, did not give up. Haha, two months ago, the Heart Heavenly Shoot reappeared on the vast pasture, which led me to some new clues. It turns out that a man named Li Mu in Chang’an, the Western Qin, also knew this mental cultivation method. Therefore, I hurried all the way to Taibai County. Sure enough, I spotted you here.”
Guo Yuqing nodded and began, “To whom did Li Mu pass the Heart Heavenly Shoot on?”
Beaming, the blond-haired young man taunted, “Senior fellow apprentice, you are as naive and thoughtless as you were. How could you teach the wonderful Heart Heavenly Shoot to Li Mu? And you just let the boy spread it out and even have no idea about to whom he passed it on?”
“I believe in my younger brother’s good nature and fine qualities. So, the successor he picked to take that art is sure who I would pick.” Guo Yuqing said.
“Younger brother?” A trace of consternation flitted across the face of the blond-haired young man. “Li Mu is your sworn brother but not your successor?”
Guo Yuqing remained silent.
“Haha, how interesting is this! A pasture dweller took an official of the Western Qin as his sworn brother. You tell me, if such news ever spread to the vast pasture, will the admiration those pasture warrior hold for you be dashed in an instant?” demanded the blond-haired young man, his eyes flashing with a hint of rage.
He felt like his favorite belonging had been shared with another person.
Guo Yuqing just remarked blandly, “The old the Great Jebe of the pasture has died. Now, there is only Guo Yuqing living in the world. Today, you’re the master of the Wolf Temple and have the power in one grip. I already have no way to impose any threat to your status. Why do you have to corner me like this? Given the old fellowship we developed when we were studying in the Everlasting Heaven, let’s sever with all of our grudges and relationship once and for all.”
“Hahahaha…” The blond-haired young man’s laughter sounded as dismal as the voice of Death from the hell, utterly void of human emotions. “You do grow bored with your old brother when you’ve got a new one. Now you have a new sworn brother, you want to sever all ties with your junior fellow apprentice. Brother, you’re just as callous as you were. Back then, you breached the vow you made in the Everlasting Heaven just for a woman. Now, for an outsider, you hope to cut off the fellowship we share.”
Guo Yuqing made no reply to that, either.
He knew very well about the junior fellow apprentice’s expertise on pestering others.
“Don’t you want to know who Li Mu taught the Heart Heavenly Shoot?” The blond-haired man pressed, “Although you’re so stone-hearted, I wonder if you still remember Guo Tianxiao, the man who took the blame for you and got killed. He had a daughter who was once a beautiful flower on the pasture. But later, a little accident happened to her and she was sold out and captured by the officials in Western Qin before escorted to the Musical House in Chang’an City…”
A shaft of sharp light suddenly crossed Guo Yuqing’s eyes.
It did not escape the eyes of the blond-haired young man. He then said with a beam, “Rest assured. The girl is fine now. She was rescued by Li Mu and Tie Muzhen, the Junior Chief of the Moon-shooting Tribe and has returned to the pasture. Moreover, that accident turned out to be a blessing in disguise, for she then learned the marvelous Heart Heavenly Shoot. Now, she even got a title as the Junior Jebe of the pasture.”
“Anyway, given your lofty character, you won’t interfere with the issues of the younger generation,” said Guo Yuqing as the light in eyes faded.
The corner of the blond-haired man’s mouth curled up. “The one who knows me best is surely you, my senior fellow apprentice. Haha, they are just a bunch of naughty kids. I’m glad they had fun… Still, brother, isn’t it time for you to hand me the key to the Grave of the Immortal King?”
“The Grave of the Immortal King is just an illusion,” Guo Yuqing countered, “Junior fellow apprentice, why do you still stick to that idea? The way of reaching the Void-breaking Realm has also been concealed in the Wolf Temple. Why ignore what is close at hand but in favor of the far afield?”
“Those in the Wolf Temple? Humph, that’s just a fraud. Has it ever occurred to you why over so many years no one on the Divine Land has made it to the Void-breaking Realm? Everyone is working hard to keep their own secrets. Those old guys must be on the verge of collapsing. Senior fellow apprentice, I know you have the key to the Grave of the Immortal King. But how long do you think you can keep it to yourself?” snapped the blond-haired young man, “Brother, now that you’ve mentioned our fellowship in the Everlasting Heaven, I’ll cut you some slack for the sake of our old relationship. I only ask you to turn in the key and rid yourself of your cultivation. After that, you can live a quiet and carefree life as you like, and I will never bother you again. If not… as you know, the trees may crave calm but the wind will not abate.”