Chenngfeng saw Grand Senior Brother. He walked up to him and after politely bowing, he said, “Grand Senior Brother, earlier there was a senior from Hidden Modesty Court who had a bone to pick. But I-uh- we chased him away,”
Grand Senior Brother was speechless, his eyes drifted towards Tongqiu and Yibai who stood dumbly, unmoving. He scoffed, “Those two? You’re talking about them? These two aren’t even wanted by the Hidden Brocade Court as dogs or slaves. They’re useless! What makes you think they can beat someone from Hidden Modesty Court?”
Tongqiu’s and Yibai’s faces grew red with embarrassment and lowered their heads.
Although Chengfeng looked down on the two of them, the words of the Grand Senior Brother were particularly harsh. Chengfeng said, "Grand Senior Brother, the commandments of the Hidden Sword Court states that you must not insult your peers!"
Grand Senior Brother said icily after a pause, “Peers? Well that depends if those two would consider you their peer!”
Chengfeng took a quick glance at Tongqiu and Yibai. He thought to himself, ‘Well these two are unreliable, they’re sellouts!’
Grand Senior Brother continued with a scoff, “What makes a peer? A peer is someone you can trust with your life on the battlefield! A peer is someone who will sacrifice their life for you at a moment of life and death! Regardless of how much bad blood between them, a peer is someone who will unconditionally believe in you! Them? Are they even worthy?”
Grand Senior Brother subconsciously clenched his fists, there was an intense gaze in his eyes. It was as if he recalled the years when he was at his prime.
Back then, his energy was explosive, the Heavenly Thirteen Swords was renowned across the world, and their sword formations were unrivalled.
Upon launching their sword formations, their energies and minds are linked. Every move they made in the battlefield was in harmony, even if they were fighting an unseen enemy, their teamwork was what guaranteed their victories!
Chengfeng mulled over his words, and then asked, “So… are there any of those peers left in Hidden Sword Court?”
The question left the Grand Senior Brother speechless, and the intense gaze he had gradually softened.
Chengfeng continued, “How about the Spiritual Mountain Sect? Any of those peers you’re talking about?’’
Grand Senior Brother smiled wistfully, “None, all gone! None of them in the Sect or even the entire community of cultivation!”
But what Chengfeng didn’t realize was that Grand Senior Brother’s words signalled the end of an era: the era of spell arrays!
When the Heavenly Thirteen Swords was at its prime, although they coincided with the peak of world’s top cultivators, formations and arrays were seen as the best method to combat a larger, stronger, more powerful opponent. After the fall of the Heavenly Thirteen Swords, the era of formations began to crumble. This was because it exposed a greater, more sinister issue: the issue of distrust!
It’s the same as how not all cultivators could entrust every matter to others around them. It’s just like what Qin Mieqin said about the chain of trust, as long as there is even the slightest doubt or distrust in the chain, the system will eventually crumble!
Ironically, trust was the most powerful thing, but it was also the world’s most fragile. It could be unbreakable, but at the same time, it could be easily destroyed!
Formations, like the small scale formations as seen by Chengfeng at Yanjian Hall, everyone could see the opponent’s fighting state, therefore trust was easily fostered.
However, with large scale formations, even those that stretch beyond tens of kilometres in terms of diameter, you can’t see your opponents, much less their fighting state. If someone within the formation was in fear or in doubt, it would result in casualties, or even deaths on the battlefield. Thus, the formation falls and is rendered useless. There are even times when simply because the formation fell, cultivators died on the spot simply caused by backlash of the formation’s collapse!
This was why the era of spell arrays had ended! After all, the only person you completely trust, is yourself!
There was pain in Grand Senior Brother’s eyes, but he quickly collected himself. He raised his head to meet Chengfeng’s gaze and said sternly, “You’re late for class, go and receive your punishment!”
Chengfeng laughed, pretending to not know, “What punishment?”
“Go to the square and recite the precepts a hundred times!”
Chengfeng secretly sighed, relieved, “Understood!”
“After you’re done, come to Yanjian hall!”
Chengfeng was getting annoyed, “Formations?”
“Of course! How else would you fight in the future?”
Chengfeng was annoyed but he had to swallow it. He picked up the swords and bone spear. He shared a look with Xiaobao and they made their way up the hill and into the school.
Grand Senior Brother glanced at Tongqiu and Yibai who were trying to sneak away. He snorted and wanted to say something, but in the end he didn't say a word. He just turned and left.
Sometimes it would’ve been more merciful to lecture and scold than to just ignore someone.
Tongqiu and Yibai looked at Chengfeng and Xiaobao who were walking away, and then the Grand Senior Brother who had left without a word with them. They felt a strange chill within them. At this moment, they felt completely alone, like lone widows who were abandoned by the Courts...
Chengfeng arrived at the precept hall of the Hidden Sword Court. Standing in the empty hall, he began to recite the precepts, “I am a member of the Hidden Sword Court, its members are my siblings. I drink the waters of the Spiritual Mountain in the mornings, and feast at the halls of Eagle Peak in the evenings. There are twelve precepts, each of them emotionless and unbiased. Remember these always: Those who betray their teachers and ancestors, we kill! Those who are unfaithful and unfilial, we kill!...”
These powerful chanting of precepts echoed across the hall. Normally, there would be hundreds of people reciting these precepts in the hall, but today it was weirdly quiet. His recitations even sounded… annoying.
Grand Senior Brother stood expressionless in the middle of the hall. His posture was straight and his expression was cold. It seemed as though as long as someone was reciting the precepts, he would maintain this majestic manner.
Xiaobao stood at the side of the hall watching Chengfeng recite the precepts. He was a little jealous, as he felt to be punished was a sort of acknowledgement.
After reciting, Chengfeng and Xiaobao picked up their belongings and walked towards Yanjian hall.
When they arrived, they saw Su You and others waiting for everyone else. Their expressions were sour. There were two missing people, Tongqiu and Yibai.
In hindsight, it was probably better for everyone else if the pair didn’t show up. They had no admirable qualities that would benefit everyone else in a battle anyway.
Su You’s attitude towards Chengfeng had changed, especially now that Xiaobao was well and unharmed. Her eyes perked up when she noticed Chengfeng, and she greeted him enthusiastically.
“Oh, it’s Brother Li! Come, come!” Su You waved to him, and introduced him to several others.
“This is Tian Jun!”
The one named Tian Jun was of average height and was ordinary looking. He politely bowed.
“This is Zuo Fei, this is He Zhu. You can call him Blockhead!”
Zuo Fei was short and sported a goatee, but he had a serious gaze. Blockhead had a silly smile. They both politely bowed to Chengfeng.
The last session they had eight members, now they had six.
Chengfeng forced a polite smile. After he greeted all of them, Su You put a hand on his arm and said, “Brother Chengfeng, we could use your guidance in formations today!”
Chengfeng thought to himself, Hey, the last time you said my skills weren't good enough, now you’re shifting the responsibility to me. Do you really think that’s a good idea?!”