Martial Cultivator - C.449: The Same People on the Mountain and Below the Mountain

Martial Cultivator

C.449: The Same People on the Mountain and Below the Mountain
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Listening to the shirtless swordsmith approach and start talking, Chen Chao stood on the spot for a moment without saying a word. 𝒻𝓻𝑒ℯ𝘸𝘦𝑏𝑛𝓸𝓿𝓮𝓁.𝑐𝘰𝓶

The burly swordsmith paused, thinking the young man before him was considering his offer. After a brief pause, he began to boast again, "Fellow Daoist, I'm not bragging. The flying swords I, Zhao Dashan, forge might not match those made by the grandmasters up on Sword Qi Mountain, but around here for hundreds of miles, I have a great reputation. Many sword cultivators in our Yellow Dragon Prefecture use my flying swords. You know Xu Bai, right? The flying sword he wields was forged by me. Look at him now, he's one of the top sword cultivators in Yellow Dragon Prefecture!"

Chen Chao still did not speak, his gaze fixed on the nearby path leading up the mountain, where many sword cultivators were ascending and descending. Returning to his senses, he smiled at the swordsmith and asked, "Of the sword cultivators who come here, how many actually manage to climb the mountain? And how many get what they wish for and leave with a flying sword?"

Seeing that the young man's questions had nothing to do with his flying swords, Zhao Dashan felt a bit displeased but still replied gruffly, "Who knows how many sword cultivators have traveled from far and wide to come here? In any case, very few manage to be let in by those guys on Sword Qi Mountain. As for taking a flying sword from the mountain, if it were that easy, they wouldn't be so cherished."

Chen Chao nodded, then casually asked, "If someone manages to take a flying sword from the mountain, could it be stolen from them along the way?"

Zhao Dashan frowned, "Of course, such things wouldn't be done openly. As for whether it happens behind the scenes, who would tell you?"

Chen Chao murmured, "So, if one day a sword cultivator who stole a flying sword becomes famous, and Sword Qi Mountain discovers that the sword was meant for someone else, would they cause trouble for him?"

Zhao Dashan who did not have a good temper in the first place became irritated by the series of questions. He stopped answering and just snapped impatiently, "Are you going to look at my flying swords or not?"

Chen Chao looked innocently at the shirtless swordsmith in front of him, patting the saber sheath at his side, and said with a bitter smile, "You're making things difficult for me too."

Only then did Zhao Dashan notice that the young man was carrying a saber. His face immediately turned red with embarrassment. He forced a smile and said, "Turns out that Fellow Daoist is a martial artist. Sorry for bothering you."

Chen Chao laughed heartily, "No worries, no worries."

Zhao Dashan then asked in confusion, "Since Fellow Daoist is a martial artist, what are you doing at Sword Qi Mountain? Are you here to seek a sword for someone else? We're considered fated to have met, let me tell you something. The folks on Sword Qi Mountain have a lot of rules. If you're here to get a sword for someone else, it's not going to work. You might even be chased out with a beating."

Chen Chao frowned, "Aren't they all supposed to be swordsmiths?"

Zhao Dashan clicked his tongue, "Which sect doesn't have a few powerful cultivators? A whole mountain of swords on Sword Qi Mountain, and you think there aren't a few sword immortals among them?"

Chen Chao was silent, which Zhao Dashan took as a sign that he was having second thoughts.

Chen Chao suddenly asked, "Master, can the flying swords from your shop be sought on behalf of others?"

Zhao Dashan's face froze for a moment before he sighed, "Fellow Daoist, you really aren't good at conversation."

Chen Chao burst into laughter and was not in a hurry to leave. He sat on a wooden bench in front of the swordsmith's workshop, observing the passing sword cultivators and other cultivators.

Zhao Dashan did not chase him away. After all, when doing business, it was important to leave a good impression. Even if the sale did not go through, a good impression might bring more business in the future.

Some things were hard to say. Zhao Dashan thoughtfully poured Chen Chao a pot of hot tea and then returned to his forge to continue working on a sword.

After Chen Chao took a sip, he felt a chill run through his body, and praised the tea before saying softly, "Elder Brother, actually, I know Xu Bai."

Zhao Dashan was startled, his expression immediately changing. As Chen Chao smiled at him, the swordsmith laughed heartily and said, "You must think I was bluffing earlier. But to be honest, the sword that I forged for Xu Bai was my most satisfying work over these years."c

Originally, Chen Chao had just intended to tease the swordsmith in front of him. But upon hearing this, he said regretfully, "It's a pity that the flying sword got damaged."

Zhao Dashan was taken aback and then asked with a frown, "Really?"

Chen Chao did not hide anything and described the details of Xu Bai's sword. Zhao Dashan's face immediately showed a dejected expression. Feeling too disheartened to continue forging, he walked out of the workshop and sat down beside Chen Chao, and started sighing heavily.

At this point, Chen Chao was certain that the man in front of him was indeed the forger of Xu Bai's sword. He could not help but marvel at how, despite the vastness of the world, it sometimes seemed incredibly small, where familiar connections could be found almost anywhere.

Chen Chao patted Zhao Dashan on the shoulder and comforted him, "Elder Brother, don't be sad. Elder Brother will definitely forge an even better flying sword in the future."

Zhao Dashan nodded and grunted in agreement, but his mood remained low.

Chen Chao stood up, smiling, "I've had a free cup of your tea, and I have nothing to repay Elder Brother with. I just wish Elder Brother will forge better and better swords in the future."

Zhao Dashan managed to force a smile and waved goodbye to Chen Chao.

Chen Chao nodded and walked toward the mountain path. However, as he passed the back of the swordsmith workshop, he wiped his hand on the signboard.

He had been careless.

When he patted Zhao Dashan on the shoulder, he got a handful of sweat.

……

……

Chen Chao finally arrived at the foot of Sword Qi Mountain. From the time he left the Divine Capital until he reached Sword Qi Mountain, it had taken almost three months. It was early summer when he left. Now, with the cicadas chirping incessantly, it was already well into summer.

Just as he stepped onto the mountain path of Sword Qi Mountain, a gust of wind from the mountain nearly blew him off his feet.

Despite this, Chen Chao's face still stung, as if that gust of wind had carried endless sword qi that lashed against his face.

Fortunately, his face was not cut.

It was just that his skin was thick.

After taking only a few steps, more people appeared in front of him, mostly young sword cultivators. Most had swords hanging from their waists, while some were empty-handed. These sword cultivators were also going up the mountain to seek swords. The rules of Sword Qi Mountain, while complicated in some ways, were straightforward in others. Sword cultivators seeking swords had to withstand the endless sword qi on their way up the mountain. Only those who could withstand these sword qi and reach the actual mountain gate would be considered to have the initial qualification. Otherwise, no matter how talented you were, Sword Qi Mountain would not even spare you a glance.

Of course, there were exceptions to everything. For instance, when Liu Banbi went up the mountain back then, he did not take this path. With the reputation of being the Dean's disciple, and despite the Dean's frustration with him for practicing swordsmanship instead of studying, the Dean had still informed Sword Qi Mountain in advance. As a result, when Liu Banbi went up the mountain, he was directly escorted up by Sword Qi Mountain.

As for Xie Nandu, it went even more without saying. Not only did the Dean wait on the mountain for her in advance, but even the Mountain Lord of Sword Qi Mountain personally left the mountain.

When Xie Nandu later recounted this to Chen Chao, he did not feel much at the time. But now, as he climbed the mountain himself, Chen Chao truly understood what it meant to have connections.

Moreover, his climb was different from that of the other sword cultivators. Those sword cultivators could at least follow the sword qi on the mountain. But as a martial artist, Chen Chao had no other option but to withstand it forcibly.

After laboriously reaching halfway up the mountain, Chen Chao panted heavily and looked for a place to rest. He saw a young sword cultivator sitting on a nearby bluestone. The latter was dressed in a blue and white long robe. After seeing Chen Chao, he smiled kindly. "Want to rest for a bit together?"

As he spoke, he even moved over to share half of the bluestone with Chen Chao.

Chen Chao was unreserved and walked over to sit down heavily. The young sword cultivator quickly remarked in surprise, "You're a martial artist. Why are you going up the mountain?"

It was clear he saw the saber Chen Chao carried.

Before Chen Chao could reply, the young sword cultivator continued talking to himself, "What a strange thing, a martial artist climbing Sword Qi Mountain. Truly odd."

Chen Chao smiled wryly, "Just a trivial thing, trivial thing."

The young sword cultivator laughed heartily, "This mountain is full of strange things anyway. Nothing surprises me anymore."

Chen Chao laughed it over.

But Chen Chao immediately sighed and said, "This mountain is really fucking hard to climb."

The young sword cultivator laughed and spoke earnestly, "For a sword cultivator, it's not as strenuous to climb the mountain. By harmonizing their own sword qi with the mountain's sword qi, it becomes much easier. Moreover, when releasing sword qi, maybe a flying sword on the mountain might detect your presence. Climbing the mountain to choose a sword then becomes much simpler. This is one of Sword Qi Mountain's little tricks. Putting all else aside, nobody in the world can surpass these guys in forging swords." "But if you're not a sword cultivator, climbing this mountain is like making enemies with all the swords here. The sword qi you encounter is actually released by the flying swords to probe you. Once they detect you're not a sword cultivator, why would they be polite with you?" "Maybe when you reach the mountain gate, you might be directly chased down the mountain. It's not worth the effort to climb so hard."

Chen Chao kept nodding, but hearing the young sword cultivator's last sentence, he was at a loss whether to cry or laugh. Nonetheless, he quickly relaxed and smiled, "Thanks for the advice."

The young sword cultivator waved his hand with a smile, "It's nothing special, no need to thank me. My name is Lin Xian. How about we become friends?"

Chen Chao thought for a moment and said, "My surname is Chen."

Lin Xian was taken aback, then asked suspiciously, "From the Divine Capital?"

Chen Chao nodded his head.

Lin Xian looked Chen Chao up and down before slapping his forehead and smiling broadly, "I've heard of you long ago. Your reputation isn't small in our foreign lands."

Chen Chao looked helpless.

"Then I know why you're climbing the mountain. You want to reforge your broken saber?"

Lin Xian blinked. "How about that, am I smart or what?"

Chen Chao was at a loss whether to cry or laugh. This young sword cultivator in front of him reminded him a bit of Yu Xiyi. But that guy was a chatterbox, while Lin Xian seemed more like a joker.

"Fellow Daoist Lin, you hit the nail on the head."

Chen Chao could only agree helplessly.

Lin Xian nodded with satisfaction and said with vicissitudes of emotion, "You can only call me Fellow Daoist a few more times. Before long, I, Lin Xian, will be a sword immortal!"

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