As the end of the year drew close, the number of cultivators visiting Taixuan Mountain was increasing, and many of those who had gone to cultivate in the outer realms had all begun to return.
On this day, Taixuan Mountain was lively. Lord Taixuan's third disciple—String Emperor—had come from the String Palace to visit his Master Lord Taixuan, which caused many on Taixuan Mountain to chatter.
Moreover, many thought of Shen Jing, the guardian of String Pavilion. Now that the String Emperor had returned, no one knew what he would think of Shen Jing.
If Shen Jing's luck held up, maybe he could become a disciple of String Emperor.
Soon after the String Emperor Qin went up to Taixuan Mountain, Miss Four of Taixuan Tavern in Taixuan City had also come back, which caused more chatter among the disciples of Taixuan Mountain. Miss Four and the String Emperor still enjoyed a great relationship. Every time the String Emperor appeared, Miss Four would not be far behind.
In the palace of Lord Taixuan, there were bursts of hearty laughter. Those who heard it all sighed and thought Lord Taixuan was probably only this merry when his disciples came to visit.
There were many rumors that Lord Taixuan's favorite was Miss Four. Miss Four who was the youngest and was the only woman among the four disciples, therefore, she was naturally favored. Lord Taixuan treated her like his daughter. The String Emperor was also younger and liked by Lord Taixuan.
Ye Futian cultivated in the String Pavilion this day and did not go to the Sword Abyss. He was the only one in the String Pavilion, so he was not very aware of the goings-on outside.
At this time, he was still cultivating guqin in the rear mountain.
The quiet space, the misty sea of clouds, the sound of guqin was melodious, beautiful, and had a strong penetrating power. Between the seas of clouds, there was a dazzling divine brilliance. It was gorgeous and radiant. A beautiful divine bird phoenix could be seen shuttling back and forth between the clouds in cultivation as if inspired to dance by the sound of guqin.
Flight of the Phoenix Pair was the piece Ye Futian played most often because it was helpful to Feng Yan. Although he didn't say anything and even often argued with her, Ye Futian still played this song once in a while to resonate with the little phoenix.
Although the girl's habit of often calling her parents for backup had greatly annoyed him, he was not in the habit of arguing with children.
The rhythm of Flight of the Phoenix Pair was extremely beautiful. As the song ended, its mood still lingered. Ye Futian's ten fingers moved away from the strings as if he felt something. Suddenly, he looked up. A middle-aged man clad in white fur stood there quietly. Without a trace of his breath, his whole person seemed to have blended into the space between heaven and earth.
Ye Futian secretly shuddered. Someone had come near him and he did not even feel it. Yes, he was concentrating on playing the guqin, but his realm was of a certain level. If the other had wanted to attack him, he would not have even known it, so one could only imagine the prowess of this person.
Of course, anyone who could achieve this level had no need to resort to an ambush as he could kill him at will.
Ye Futian got up calmly. He faced the middle-aged man in the white fur and bowed slightly. "Shen Jing, the guardian musician of the String Pavilion, greets the elder."
The person who came here undetected was naturally a cultivator of Taixuan Mountain, and a powerful Renhuang at that. His status in Taixuan Mountain must be high above all others. Ye Futian had some idea who this person might be.
"Shen Jing," the man repeated in a low tone, and Ye Futian nodded. He raised his eyes and looked at the other and saw that the man appeared to be in his 30s or 40s. He looked elegant and gentle with an excellent spirit and was very attractive. Such a temperament must be irresistible to women.
In the distance, the sea of clouds rolled over, and a gorgeous divine light shone between heaven and earth. The two figures appeared directly in the sea of clouds not far from Ye Futian. It was the pair of divine birds, the phoenixes. Their eyes were fixed on the man. They said, "You have returned."
Upon hearing their words, Ye Futian knew that his guess was correct.
Their master had returned.
The master of String Pavilion, the third disciple of Lord Taixuan—the String Emperor.
"Hmm." The String Emperor nodded slightly only to see the little phoenix fly over in a hurry. Her beautiful eyes looked curiously at the String Emperor in front of her.
"Feng Yan, where are your manners!" Next to her, her father prompted her, and the little phoenix came to and bowed. "Feng Yan greets the String Emperor."
"She is all grown up." The String Emperor revealed a gentle smile. He looked at Feng Yan; his eyes were extremely gentle and kind. He had witnessed Feng Yan's birth and blessed her so that Feng Yan was born with a unique gift—a natural-born Saint.
Later on, he visited more infrequently and had not seen Feng Yan much. Now, in the blink of an eye, she was already growing up to be a fine young lady of the Unblemished Plane.
At this time there were footsteps. The two phoenixes shifted their gazes there. They bowed again, saying, "Miss Four."
Ye Futian also looked over there. Not far behind the String Emperor, someone walked quietly this way. It was the House Master of Taixuan who had sent him to Taixuan Mountain to cultivate in the first place. She exuded noble temperament, and her statuesque figure was somewhat seductive.
"Elder," Ye Futian bowed and said.
The String Emperor turned to look at the House Master of Taixuan, whispering, "Junior sister."
But the House Master of Taixuan didn't look at him. She walked right past by him, and her gaze landed on Ye Futian. "How is cultivation on Taixuan Mountain? Have you gotten used to it?"
"It's been very good so far, and the disciples of Taixuan Mountain have been taking great care of me." Ye Futian nodded and added, "All thanks to you, elder."
"Well," the House Master of Taixuan nodded, "all this talk of 'elder' is making me feel quite old. Call me 'sister'."
Ye Futian looked stunned. This was not right; it was very wrong.
Although he had met the House Master of Taixuan once and also accepted a favor from her, when did their relationship become so intimate?
This must be some kind of scheme.
Many thoughts flashed past his mind in just a moment's time. Just then, the String Emperor had called out to the House Master of Taixuan, and she did not respond. Technically, the String Emperor was her senior brother, and her response was very unusual. The two possibilities could be that one, they had a poor relationship, or two, they had such a good relationship that common protocol did not apply.
If it was very poor, then the House Master of Taixuan would not have come at all. And then, recalling Uncle Lan's initial attitude of sending himself here directly, Ye Futian suddenly seemed to understand something, and there was a sense of enlightenment.
Ye Futian suddenly thought of the piece he had just played—the Flight of the Phoenix Pair. It was about the phoenixes traveling in pairs, and it had exceptional significance.
When he considered this, Ye Futian felt tense all over. This was tough. Did he dare to call her "sister"?
Ye Futian said nothing, panicking inside.
"What? Do you think I'm old?" The House Master of Taixuan smiled softly and looking charming. She beautiful beyond description.
In the world of cultivation, such a concept did not exist, especially for those whose status was of an empress, as they were eternally youthful. The charm of the empress was so attracted that no one could even imagine them to be that old.
But the String Emperor was looking on right beside him. Without a clear picture of the relationship between the two, would he dare?
If he got killed, he wouldn't even know how he died.
"Don't joke with the likes of me. I dare not," Ye Futian replied honestly because he really dared not to do so.
The House Master of Taixuan still looked at him with a smile, but now, there was a bit of contempt in those beautiful eyes. Ye Futian was fine with that. He was perfectly willing to give up when necessary; his life was more important.
"This is Shen Jing, a musician in my tavern. Not only is he handsome, but his musical skill was of a high level, so I sent him here to Taixuan Mountain. My original intention was to have him cultivate in Guqin Valley, but I didn't expect Uncle Lan to place him here."
Just then, those beautiful eyes of the House Master of Taixuan turned to the String Emperor at her side. She said, "Since senior brother has returned, I will take him away. Shen Jing, apologize."
Ye Futian was a little speechless. He did not believe that the House Master of Taixuan was unaware that Uncle Lan had placed him here.
That day when she sent him, she went up the mountain to visit Lord Taixuan while Uncle Lan sent him to the String Pavilion. At that time, she had not left yet.
This was too hypocritical.
Ye Futian looked at the String Emperor, bowed slightly to pay his respects, and just as he was about to speak, the String Emperor spoke first, "Not necessary."
Ye Futian's body stiffened. He was caught in a dilemma.
"Since Uncle Lan put you here to cultivate, let's say it was fate. I don't come often, so it is good to have a musician to guard the pavilion for me. In the future, you should continue to cultivate here," the String Emperor said to Ye Futian.
A lot of ideas came into Ye Futian's mind. If he continued to stay in the String Pavilion, would the String Emperor use that opportunity to secretly get his revenge?
If it was because of that unspoken "sister" that he was now angry. It was truly unfortunate.
"Thank you, elder." Ye Futian dared not reveal what he was actually thinking. He bowed to show his appreciation.
"But, he is my person," the House Master of Taixuan said, looking at the String Emperor.
"..." Ye Futian wanted to die. He didn't deserve to be set up like that.
Since when was he the person of the House Master of Taixuan?
"Then loan me your person to help me take care of the String Pavilion, and I will owe you a personal favor," the String Emperor said.
"Since senior brother has put it that way, then I'd be happy to oblige," the House Master of Taixuan smiled and said. "Shen Jing, from now on, you should guard the String Pavilion well."
"I understand." Ye Futian nodded.
"Three days later, Master will speak at Taixuan Palace, and all disciples of Taixuan Mountain can go and listen. You should go with them."
To listen to Lord Taixuan speak!
Ye Futian was slightly surprised, but he nodded and replied, "Certainly."
This was also a rare opportunity. Lord Taixuan was a man of colossal intellect who knew all things from past to present. He was known as a legendary person in the Higher Heavens Realm.
After the House Master of Taixuan glanced at the String Emperor, she turned to leave without saying another word. This made Ye Futian quite confused about the two's relationship.
But he always remembered Uncle Lan's words: speak less, observe more.
So, very wisely, he kept his mouth shut.
The String Emperor moved his step and walked to Ye Futian's side. His eyes fell on the Phoenix Guqin. Ye Futian wisely gave way so that the String Emperor could sit down in front of the guqin. He stroked the strings with both hands. He whispered, "I've not played it for a long time."
As he was speaking, he plucked the strings with his fingers, and in a flash, the sound of the ethereal music was heard. It had a very strong penetrating power.
The two phoenix demon emperors soared, and gorgeous divine light was extremely bright, covering the String Pavilion.
The sound of the guqin gradually bloomed, piercing the sea of clouds. It penetrated Taixuan Mountain. The sound of phoenix chanting was crystal clear and resounded through the space. The two demon emperors danced above the sky, flying together. It was unbelievably spectacular.
Ye Futian looked up into the sky, and all he saw was beauty. But what he felt in his heart was a faint sense of heartache. This was the beauty of the guqin, the faint sorrow hidden within the beauty!
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