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Chapter 7: Western Mountain Sword Garden

    Chapter 7: Western Mountain Sword Garden

    Translator: Gravity Tales  Editor: Gravity Tales

    Qin Yun walked to the entrance of the mansion to find out who called upon him. What awaited him was a bald man with a huge beard who held onto the reins of a horse.

    "Brother Yun." The man quickly smiled. His voice was very loud as he gave an excited cry.

    Qin Yun's eyes widened as he carefully observed the man. The person had a bald head and a large bushy beard. It was only possible to recognize him via the key features on his face. "Is that Little Bobo? How is that possible? That shy and handsome young man has actually turned into this rough-looking huge man?"

    Tian Bo was one of his best friends during his youth and was one year younger than him.

    When they were young, Tian Bo was handsome and fair. But mainly, he was extremely shy.

    But now, he was... bald? With a large bushy beard? Stocky?

    "Brother Yun, how can you say that of me?" Tian Bo hurriedly said. "This is too hurtful. Even my heart is aching!"

    "Stop the act." Qin Yun joked.

    Tian Bo chuckled.

    They gave each other a bear hug.

    "Brother Yun, it has been a while!" Tian Bo said.

    "Indeed, it has." Qin Yun released his good friend and immediately laughed. "But honestly, Little Bobo, I dare say I wouldn't recognize you, with you undergoing such a drastic change in appearance."

    "How could I control it? My hair began falling out at eighteen. It was pointless, hoping to prevent it." Tian Bo helplessly rubbed his head. "There was nothing I could do. Both my father and grandfather are bald, so I guess it's the same for me. Moreover, this beard of mine is also growing at a crazy rate. Nevertheless, I do appear a little domineering, don't I?"

    "Yes, yes you do." Qin Yun laughed.

    The playmate from his youth had also grown up!

    "Seriously, why didn't you inform me of your return? I only caught wind of rumors of your return from Six Fans Gate. Our Western Mountain Sword Garden's Young Master Wufeng has already summoned for everyone to give you a warm welcome at noon today." Tian Bo laughed and said, "As for me, I volunteered to rush here and bring you there."

    "A welcoming party?" Qin Yun was startled. "You all have really great news sources."

    "Word spreads quickly." Tian Bo hurriedly replied. "Let's go. Hurry. There are many old friends waiting for you."

    Qin An, who was standing by the door, also laughed and said, "Second Brother, since so many of your friends are waiting for you, make haste and go."

    "Alright. Brother, there is no need to wait for me. I'll probably be back very late," Qin Yun said.

    Subsequently, Qin Yun got on a horse that the servants had prepared for him. He rode off with his good friend, Tian Bo.

    ...

    The Western Mountain Sword Garden was located at the foot of the western mountain outside Grand Dominance City.

    The duo rode their horses leisurely and chatted on the way there.

    "In my youth, I wanted to roam the world just like you. But with me having so little ability, I would go limp from just seeing a few bloody bouts. I decided that it was better if I took over the family business. Now, I am in charge of a portion of the food and beverage business run by my father," Tian Bo shook his head and said. "By the way, I recently took in a concubine. This year, I am being forced by my father to quickly find a wife."

    "You got a concubine before a wife?" Qin Yun was startled.

    "There was no choice. She got pregnant," Tian Bo shook his head. "However, my father is actually happy because the child is a boy."

    "You are the only son of tycoon Tian. He is simply waiting for you to continue the family line." Qin Yun teased.

    As they conversed, they reached a lake at the foot of the western mountain. The lake was calm, glimmering like a huge emerald that reflected the western mountain. On the other end of the lake was a pavilion. They could vaguely make out several figures in the distance.

    There were some servants waiting at the lakeside. They had been eagerly waiting, and hurriedly stepped forward to receive the duo.

    "Young Master Tian, is this Young Master Qin?" A steward asked enthusiastically. "Follow me quickly. My master and the other young masters have been waiting for you."

    Qin Yun and Tian Bo dismounted their horses and handed the reins to the waiting servants by the side.

    Then, they were quickly led onto a tiny boat by the steward.

    Although the boat was small, it was elegantly decorated. The boatman was a beautiful young lady. The boat floated over the serene lake that resembled an immortal's paradise.

    "I recall that the boatman back then was an old man. Now, he has been replaced by a young lady," Qin Yun sighed.

    "Young Master Wufeng really is the best when it comes to enjoyment," Tian Bo remarked.

    Western Mountain Sword Garden was the property of the first young master of the Li family, Li Wufeng. He enjoyed swordsmanship and had established the 'Western Mountain Sword Garden' when he was young. Only those younger than sixteen could join. Qin Yun was only ten when he was invited to join. Western Mountain Sword Garden was something that Young Master Wufeng had created because he wished to find peers that shared the same interest in swordsmanship as he did. However, as the youths grew up, Western Mountain Sword Garden began having some influence in Grand Dominance City.

    There were some youths drinking and chatting heartily under a pavilion on the other side of the lake. They took notice of the small boat approaching from the other side.

    '"Hahaha..."

    A loud laughter was heard from afar. "The god of swords is back. The god of swords is back. Our Sword Garden's god of swords is back."

    "Make haste! Brother Qin Yun, hurry over. Don't dilly-dally." Everyone laughed out loud as they urged him.

    "Brother Yun, let's go." Tian Bo immediately took a stride from the small boat and traversed across the water. He flew over the surface of the lake for about two hundred feet before landing on the distant dock.

    Qin Yun laughed as he too traversed across the water. However, he did not deliberately show off. His paces merely caused ripples to appear on the lake's surface. There weren't any splashes while he slowly walked to the dock.

    "Brother Yun, long time no see."

    "It has been six years. Let's drink. I was really afraid that you would die out there. You sure are lucky. Finally, you have returned."

    The group of young men took a wine jug over and handed it directly to Qin Yun.

    Qin Yun received it. He smiled and said, "Alright, alright. Let's drink."

    He was truly at ease being with the playmates of his youth.

    ...

    There were more than twenty people gathered, all who drank merrily.

    "Second Brother, let's have a competition. I lost to you in our last sword sparring match. Let's spar again."

    "Sure. Do you think I'm afraid of you?"

    The two of them placed their wine jugs to the side and immediately leaped forward. Over the surface of the water, they began sparring in the scenic mountains covered in greenery.

    Instantly, sword beams flashed as the two figures sparred above the lake's surface, rapidly trading techniques and the advantage.

    "Great."

    "Second Brother's technique can only be described as great art that conceals itself. Its disposition has become even more extraordinary."

    "Phew, what an odd strike. It gave me a fright."

    Everyone by the side commented as they drank and watched the battle.

    The battle finally came to an end when one party was sent flying into the lake, emerging completely drenched.

    "Brother Ming, let's also give it a try."

    "Let's spar."

    In an instant, people paired up and began sparring with their swords over the waters.

    Sword sparring was a common sight at Western Mountain Sword Garden! Back then, Western Mountain Sword Garden had extended invitations to many youths. Anyone who wished to join had to have certain accomplishments in swordsmanship. Their batch of youngsters could be considered a representation of the best swordsmen of Grand Dominance City's younger generation.

    Drinking, chatting, and sword sparring...

    Now, with all of them grown up, their lives were shackled under layers of chains. It led them to cherish their visits to the Western Mountain Sword Garden. There, they could drink merrily, spar enjoyably, and ignore all the mundane matters of life.

    Qin Yun grabbed the wine jug and drank with his good friends. At the same time, they engaged in idle banter.

    "Where is Lunatic Zhang? He always challenged me to sparring in the past. Why don't I see him here?" Qin Yun asked.

    "Lunatic Zhang spent all of his family's fortunes to embark on the cultivation path of an immortal. He has even joined the 'Familial Mountain Sect'. Unfortunately, he failed to knock open the gate of immortality before he turned twenty. He ended up roaming the world..."

    "I really admire Lunatic Zhang. When I was young, I was focused on practicing my swordsmanship and also wished to cultivate into an immortal. However, I gradually gave up on that desire. Sigh, there were no other options. My father is older now. My family clan requires me to support it, so I cannot do as I please anymore."

    "Layers after layers of shackles. One cannot be free."

    Everyone sighed wistfully.

    Everyone present were skillful experts in swordsmanship. On average, they had reached the seventh stage of Qi Refinement, and had some desire towards the path of cultivation.

    They were high-spirited in their youth and each of them had their own goals.

    However, after growing up, they began being shackled by layers of restraint. Moreover, one only had a chance at opening the gate of immortality after reaching the ninth stage of Qi Refinement. Among those present, only three or four of them had reached the ninth stage of Qi Refinement. Finally, attempting to join a cultivation sect was an extremely difficult matter in and of itself.

    "What about Sister Yuqing?" Qin Yun asked again. She was the only female that was a part of the Western Mountain Sword Garden.

    "Her father was posted to the Southbright Prefecture and she left with him. It will be difficult to see her again in the future."

    "I heard that Sister Yuqing is married as well. Her husband is the sickly young master of the wealthy 'Guihai Family' in Southbright Prefecture."

    "The Guihai family is one of the richest clans in the Southbright Prefecture. I too have heard about that sickly young master. It is rumored that he is in terrible condition and will likely pass on in the next few years."

    ...

    "Why isn't Brother Luobing here?" Qin Yun asked.

    "Luobing is dead. He was returning home with a good friend after visiting a brothel late one night. He was drunk and ended up being murdered. That's how he lost his life. The murderer's identity is still a mystery to this day."

    Qin Yun was startled.

    That proud young man was dead, just like that?

    ...

    "Jiawu is dead as well. There's even more injustice circling his death. He encountered a demon while returning from Jia Manor to the city. His entire party was killed."

    ...

    Qin Yun faltered when he heard that.

    Some of his good friends from Western Mountain Sword Garden had left their homes while others had already died.

    Although the relationships between the friends of the Sword Garden were all quite good, there was a total of forty of them back then. Naturally, there were some who had better or worse relations among the group. They met once every few days. After a couple of years, some of them grew so distant that they did not even talk much with each other. Qin Yun had joined the Western Mountain Sword Garden when he was ten. Back then, his father, Qin Liehu, was only an ordinary constable and the group of youths was still extremely unfamiliar with each other. Therefore, they tended to form opinions of one another based on background. As the son of an ordinary constable, some of the sons of slightly wealthy merchants had looked down on him.

    Qin Yun was a fanatic when it came to sword training. He also had the nickname of 'Lunatic Yun'. The only ones who were very close to him were 'Little Bobo' or Tian Bo, and 'Madman' or Xie Lei, who had similar backgrounds.

    Although a few of his peers had passed away, in this era where demons wreaked havoc, death was commonplace. In addition, their friendship was not deep, so all Qin Yun did was let out a sigh.

    "By the way, where is Madman? Why didn't he come?" Qin Yun asked Tian Bo, who was drinking wine by his side. "Is he on an armed escort mission?"
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