Han Yunxi told Master Jianxin and Granny You, “The management and promotion methods of Celestial Mountain Sword Sect are both rigid and unfair. Not only does it discriminate against good administration, it also breeds corruption and forms cliques. As I see it, the sect leader should use this chance to abolish the 55 Depositories and the rules for the two Courtyards and main Depositories when accepting disciples.”
Even the two Honored Elders, who never bothered with management, looked over at her statement. The 55 Depositories, two Courtyards, and two Depositories had been a standard of Celestial Mountain Sword Sect since ancient times. Anyone who wanted to join the sect had to take a master from one of the lower 55 Depositories first before using the ranking matches to earn a spot in the four elite factions at the peak and study the Nirvana Heart Arts at Lockheart Courtyard. Only after that would they formally take another master.
This tradition had continued for centuries, so how could it change on a whim? Seeing the elders’ ugly expressions, Han Yunxi only said coldly, “Ancient traditions shouldn’t be changed, but human hearts aren’t as they were in the past anymore. If there’s a better system, why not change?”
Master Jianxin looked at Long Feiye, but he was simply drinking tea with no intentions to interrupt. Master Jianxin knew his disciple all too well. If he didn’t agree to Han Yunxi’s request now, Long Feiye would listen to her in the future when he took over anyways.
“What is this ingenious plan of yours? Come and share with us,” Master Jianxin finally relented.
Han Yunxi said, “Those in charge of managing affairs won’t accept disciples, while those who accept disciples won’t manage affairs. Abolish the privilege of Lockheart Courtyard and the Sword and Scripture Depositories to take disciples, leaving Abstinence Courtyard behind. Any disciple wishing to enter Celestial Mountain Sword Sect should only take one master in his or her lifetime from the 55 other Depositories.”
The group listened on in silence. Gu Beiyue and Gu Qishao were interested as well despite being outsiders.
Han Yunxi then added, “Granny You will continue to administer Abstinence Courtyard and all of the sect rules. The Sword and Scripture Depositories will be under the control of the Honored Elders, while Lockheart Courtyard should simply be dissolved! Have the 55 lower Depositories take charge of training their disciples in studying the Nirvana Heart Arts. Those above rank two will have a chance to obtain a treasure sword and a sword manual from the two peak Depositories once they reach another rank.”
The sword sect master stroked his beard at this point. “That’s not a bad idea.”
Granny You murmured, “In this way, the disciples down mountain will have chances as well.”
“At least it’ll be more impartial. Only fairness can quell the masses,” Han Yunxi declared.
Compare that to the ranking matches, which were held only every few years. Losers had to wait for the next one for a second chance. Han Yunxi’s idea had no time constraints for the disciples, so as long as they improved, they would have a chance to obtain a good weapon and sword manual of their own. There was no need for bitter waiting for matches or anxious waiting for a master to select them.
This was how the study of martial arts should go! Whoever qualified would rise! The two Honored Elder exchanged looks and agreed to Han Yunxi’s suggestion too.
She continued to explain, “The two Honored Elders are only looking after the Sword and Scripture Depositories. You can have a three-year limit before holding an assembly to show off sword skills. Both the Depository masters and their disciples can participate, with the winner gaining control of the Sword or Scripture Depository afterwards.”
“Excellent!” Granny You exclaimed. Such a huge prize would be enough to have the disciples focus on sword skills for the next three years. Controlling the Sword and Scripture Depositories was the fattest meat for the taking!
“All of the traitors will be expelled from the sword sect along with the next three generations of their kin,” Han Yunxi added seriously. Her punishment was truly vicious. Who else would dare to betray Celestial Mountain Sword Sect in the future after this?
Granny You loved this penalty and silently vowed to write Han Yunxi’s words into the book of sect rules. While Master Jianxin wanted Long Feiye to become sect leader, she wanted Han Yunxi to head Abstinence Courtyard in the future. With her here, all of the rules throughout Celestial Mountain Sword Sect would be just as outstanding.
“Honored Elders, what do...you two think?” Master Jianxin asked carefully.
“Naturally, it’s the sect leader’s call for such internal matters,” Head Elder replied.
With this, Master Jianxin was free to decide. He told Granny You, “Don’t go spreading the news yet, but calm everyone’s hearts first. We’ll need to discuss the details slowly.”
Indeed, Han Yunxi had only given them the rough outline of the plans, so Master Jianxin and Granny You would have to draw up a thorough discussion with everyone else to figure out the exact administration and promotion details.
With the sword sect set, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi could finally leave without worries. Duanmu Yao hadn’t shown her face in the past few days, nor raised any news. Third Honored Elder was still in her hands so Han Yunxi’s group could only take no news as good news.
Han Yunxi finished understanding all of her questions with Xuan Nǚ Swordplay before leaving secretly with Long Feiye, Gu Beiyue, and Gu Qishao off the mountain. With Xu Donglin gone, Gu Beiyue naturally took up his duties and arranged for the carriages and rations to wait for them at the base.
Han Yunxi saw the carriage and remarked, “Better to ride horses instead, it’ll be faster.”
“Princess, everyone has been working without rest for days. If we keep rushing about, our bodies won’t be able to take it. The trip to Northern Li this time is a hard battle, so it’s better to take the chance on the trip back to rest a few days,” Gu Beiyue declared.
Hearing this, Long Feiye immediately pulled Han Yunxi onto the carriage. The difference between a carriage and horseback was only 4 to 5 days, so since Gu Beiyue had said so, he’d forbid Han Yunxi from riding any horses.
Without a choice, Han Yunxi could only resign herself to taking the carriage. Gu Qishao looked at Gu Beiyue with a grateful heart before slipping into the carriage behind and taking off the Ganjiang sword. Just like that, the two carriages secretly sped away from Celestial Mountain Sword Sect.
Xu Donglin had gone off to hunt for Ye Xiao, leaving Baili Mingxiang to take care of Chu Xifeng. Long Feiye had issued orders for Chu Xifeng to join them in Three-Way Black Market after his recovery. Since there had been no progress on Chu Tianyin’s side, Long Feiye’s group skipped stopping by the Western Zhou capital and went straight to the black markets. He had ordered Baili Yuanlong ahead of time to prepare for the northern expedition and await orders with his deputy generals at the black market. They would meet with the Di Clan troops to discuss specific plans. Tang Li had made arrangements with the Di Clan as well and was waiting for everyone to show up before starting the plan. However, Long Feyie’s group received a piece of bad news while they were still on the road.
Ning Nuo had delivered Bai Yuqiao a letter that had gone unanswered for more than half a month! It was usual for these secret missives to be delayed since Bai Yuqiao didn’t have it easy with the post, but the delays had never last longer than 10 days at most. Both Ning Nuo and Tang Li suspected that something had happened over at Tiger’s Prison!
The news stunned everyone. What could happen there? The only reason was that Bai Yuqiao had been exposed. Although that wouldn’t affect the big picture, it was a matter of life and death for the hostages, especially Ning Cheng!
Han Yunxi wanted to switch to horseback and rush over, and Long Feiye didn’t object since they’d already been resting for a few days. However, the shadow guards had hardly prepared the mounts when Gu Qishao suddenly had a stomachache that couldn’t find relief unless he was lying flat on his back. Both Han Yunxi and Gu Beiyue examined him, but couldn’t find any cause from poison or disease. Gu Qishao was lost as well: what was wrong with him?
If a doctor like Gu Beiyue wasn’t present, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi might have suspected Gu Qishao of faking it. How he could have chosen to hurt now of all times?
“You really can’t find a medical cause?” Long Feiye asked.
“I’m afraid it must be related to his physique, so it’ll need more observation. Let’s keep riding the carriages, it’s only a day or two’s difference,” Gu Beiyue muttered back.
Although their travel plans were still under wraps, it was better to be prudent and keep everyone close together. If Bai Yanqing suddenly popped out, only Gu Qishao could guarantee their absolute safety. Long Feiye didn’t hesitate and had the shadow guards change back to carriages before they headed on. Gu Qishao felt gradually better while lying in the carriage, but as soon as he sat up, the pain came back, leaving him sprawled on his back. Gu Beiyue guarded by his side. Seeing him so gloomy, his eyes took on a crafty glint before he looked outside the window with a soundless smile.
Han Yunxi’s group fretted the whole way back while Tang Li and Ning Nuo were panicking in town. Tang Li was on the brink of losing it as he considered going to Tiger’s Prison solo multiple times. Fortunately, the shadow guards were on guard and held him back. In the end, they had to lock him up in his rooms. It was long past Ning Jing’s birthdate, but he still had no idea whether she and the child were alive and well. He knew nothing about anything at Tiger’s Prison! How could he stay calm?!
Now he was thoroughly regretting looking after the big picture and acting “sensible!” He had slapped himself countless times, thoroughly loathing himself for being worse than nothing! In the middle of the night, his persistent knocks on the door had the shadow guards seize their hearts.
“Let me out! Do you hear me?”
“I’m ordering you to release me!”
“I’m telling you now, if you don’t let me out of here, I’ll kill you lot as soon as my big bro comes back! Hear that?!”
“I’ll get out someday! I’m going to kill you all!”
Tang Li pounded and threw himself against the door like a madman. The shadow guards could only stand by the door tensely, but still prepared themselves to lock Tang Li back up if he managed to escape somehow. Going to Tiger’s Prison now for him was simply courting death! Currently, the number of guards around the place had doubled once again.
Ning Cheng still refused to work with Jun Yixie despite the latter waiting for him to change his mind. At the same time, Jun Yixie had been working on his revenge plan!
“Ning Cheng, I’ll give you five more days. You better think it over. If we can’t work together,” Jun Yixie broke into a cold laugh, “This lord doesn’t mind destroying good and bad alike! This lord doesn’t need this kingdom anymore!”
Since he couldn’t beat Han Yunxi and Long Feiye, he’d just give up and have East and West Qin do as they like! Even if he discarded his army, he’d still lure the couple here so they could all die together!
So speaking, Jun Yixie fed Ning Cheng his antidote pill before swishing his sleeves and leaving the cell. Still, he hadn’t left when Ning Cheng spoke up.
“Jun Yixie, if you do one thing for me, I’ll carefully consider your offer!”
Thrilled, Jun Yixie nevertheless hid his joy and asked coldly with his back to the man, “What is it?”
Yo guys, late chapter today thanks to work and a little something I was working on since the Great Ragefest of Chapter 1068.
Take a peek here if you're interested! Maybe it'll actually get somewhere this time, haha~