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Maybe the Big Black Horse felt comfortable being touched by Shanshan's little hand or faintly heard Eldest Brother of the Academy saying that it would take the place of the old yellow bull to pull the carriage for an old man in the future. In short, it suddenly stiffened beside the warm stream and its limbs stood between the gravels, just like a wooden horse.
Ning Que did not pay attention to its movements, but just stared at the eyes of Eldest Brother. He waited for an answer with a curious expression full of expectations, even if it was an unsure answer. For the Tomes of Arcane, he had walked from the frontier fortress of North of Yan Kingdom and experienced many hardships including the threat of death. It was really difficult for him to accept that no one ever mentioned the whereabouts of the Tomes of Arcane after the previous s.n.a.t.c.h.
Eldest Brother thought about it and said with a smile, "Since the Great Divine Priest of Relation said that the Tomes of Arcane would appear in the Wilderness, Ye Su and Tang believed it. The reason why everyone stared at that iron box... Xia Hou probably sensed the aura of the iron box and firmly believed that the Tomes of Arcane were inside. Ye Su and Tang saw that Xia Hou had sacrificed so much for it and thought he must not have misjudged it. So they also believed that it was in the box. There was a moment when I myself almost believed it."
"What did Xia Hou sense so that he regarded the ashes of Master Lotus as the Tomes of Arcane?" Ning Que slightly frowned and said, "I can guess he had a relationship with Lotus. What kind of relationship was it?"
Eldest Brother said, "Xia Hou is Lotus' disciple. Since you've encountered Lotus in the Front Gate of Devil's Doctrine, you must know what kind of figure the predecessor Lotus was. Xia Hou betrayed the Devil's Doctrine and must have feared every night that Lotus would come back to trouble him. This is the so-called heart demon."
Ning Que kept silent for a moment and suddenly lamented, "Is there anything you don't know about, Senior Brother?"
"Of course. Even the Headmaster of Academy admits that he doesn't understand many things, not to mention disciples like us. Younger Brother, you should know that there is no one who was born knowing in the world."
Speaking of this, Eldest Brother suddenly stopped and looked at his face laughing.
Ning Que did not notice the message contained in Eldest Brother's expression. He said, "Senior Brother, you seem to have missed the point. Can you not interrupt and just tell me where the Tomes of Arcane might be?"
Beside the warm bonfire in the cold Wilderness, Eldest Brother and Youngest Brother had their first long conversation with each other. In Ning Que's memory, the long talk was warm and calm, no trace of strangeness in the conversation. But in reality, it was not as smooth as he thought because Eldest Brother was too slow and seemed to have thought for a long period of time before every sentence, ensuring that there was no mistake or misunderstanding in his words. This hypnotic speed easily made them miss the point of the conversation.
At first, Ning Que asked about the whereabouts of the "Ming" Handscroll. A moment later, he started to narrate to Eldest Brother of all his deeds from Chang'an to the Wilderness. The began from the Academy students in the Blue Water Battalion to the Great River King girls beside the warm stream, from the Horse Gang attack ordered by Xia Hou to the bullying in the palace, from killing the Grand Psyche Master Lin Ling at night to shooting Prince Long Qing as well as fighting with Tao Addict, from the messy sword marks left by Youngest Uncle in the Front Gate of Devil's Doctrine to the ghost-like old monk among the mountain-like skeletons.
In the previous conversation, Eldest Brother had maintained a calm look. Even when he heard about the Haoran Sword marks left by Youngest Uncle, he only lamented and sighed. However, when he heard that Ning Que had met the living Master Lotus in the Front Gate of Devil's Doctrine, his facial expression slightly changed.
Eldest Brother looked at Ning Que and said sincerely, "The Confinement Formation made by Youngest Uncle's sword style had such great power? Even the teacher didn't know that Lotus was still alive. If I knew this, I absolutely wouldn't have let you enter the Front Gate alone. I had wished you could improve your cultivation during this trip and never expected that you had encountered so many dangers. Youngest Brother, I'm so sorry."
Not until this moment did Ning Que finally confirm that this trip to the Wilderness was the arrangement of the Academy. The Headmaster of Academy and Eldest Brother had always been secretly paying attention to him. But it was obvious that the seemingly omnipotent teacher and Eldest Brother beside the bonfire, who was so strong that no one dared to challenge him, were not really omniscient. At least they did not know that Master Lotus, had hidden in the Front Gate, and could make Xia Hou have a heart demon even if he had been reduced into bone ashes.
Ning Que thought of the dangerous encounter beside the pile of skeletons and the ghostly old monk who had bowed down gnawing the flesh and drunk the girl's blood. He could not help shedding tears and said with grief and indignation, "How irresponsible you're, Eldest Brother!"
"Sorry, I'm really sorry. I didn't think about it, for I was busy picking up something in the Snow-capped Peaks."
Eldest Brother shamefully bowed his head. Out of nowhere, he took out four darkish iron arrows with his right hand and handed them over.
Ning Que took the four arrows and touched the fine and complicated Fu characters on them, feeling extremely shocked.
After getting Tao enlightenment and breaking the realm beside the Daming Lake, he had shot a total of four Primordial Thirteen Arrows to kill Prince Long Qing and deal with Tao Addict, Ye Hongyu. Some of them had shot through the chest and abdomen of Prince Long Qing and entered the snow cliff rock afterwards. Some of them had rubbed the shoulder of Ye Hongyu and disappeared in the cloud. He thought that he could no longer find them in the future. He remembered the efforts of Senior Brothers and Sisters in the back of the mountain and felt sorry for losing the arrows. Unexpectedly, all of them actually returned to his hands now!
Eldest Brother... How did you locate these four Talisman Arrows and bring them back?
"These are good arrows. How many Younger Brothers have helped you in the back of the mountain?" Eldest Brother looked at the Talisman Arrows in Ning Que's hands and asked.
"All the Senior Brothers and Sisters." Ning Que thought that the guys who played the piano, chess and watched the flowers also encouraged him beside the lake in the end. Might this also be counted as help?
Eldest Brother felt somewhat regretful and said, "It was a pity that I was not there, otherwise the arrows could be even better."
Ning Que was good at making the best use of the situation. So he moved to the side of Eldest Brother and said sincerely and seriously, "Can we try it again after returning to Chang'an?"
Eldest Brother was startled and then said honestly, "Okay."
Ning Que knew that Eldest Brother must have seen through his intentions, but chose not to expose or ridicule him. In the face of such an honest man, he unexpectedly started to feel a little shy.
"That Calligraphy Addict girl is really nice to you."
"Eldest Brother, why do you say this?"
"You should thank her."
Eldest Brother used a branch to dig out a few potatoes from the ashes under the bonfire and said, "Help yourself. They smell good. Don't eat these two. They are for Calligraphy Addict and your Big Black Horse."
Ning Que stretched his hand to touch the potato and was almost scalded. He felt somewhat angry and said, "It's fine to leave one for Shanshan. But why give one to a horse?"
Eldest Brother did not understand his argument, thinking that both the big yellow bull raised by the Headmaster of Academy and the white goose raised by Jun Mo dined with everyone on weekdays. Why not for the Big Black Horse raised by Youngest Brother?
He shook his head and said, "When I was a kid and first entered the back of the mountain, I refused to eat meat. Because I always felt that everything had a spirit. Later the teacher beat me with a stick and I saw the yellow bull eat meat. Until then did I change my eating habit..."
Ning Que listened to Eldest Brother talking about his memories while he dealt with the hot potato. Suddenly he thought of something and raised his head, shouting annoyedly, "Senior Brother, why did you miss the point again?"
Eldest Brother looked at him in confusion and asked, "Did I?"
"If Xia Hou mistook that the Tomes of Arcane were in the iron box because of Lotus, what about Tang and Ye Su?"
"Tang didn't come for the Tomes of Arcane. He just wanted to kill the betrayer, Xia Hou, on behalf of the Devil's Doctrine."
"What about Ye Su?" Ning Que asked.
Eldest Brother scratched his head and said uncertainly, "He seemed to have come for me."
After a moment of silence, Ning Que shook his head and said, "This is not so simple. The Great Divine Priest of Relation said that the 'Ming' Handscroll would appear at the Front Gate of Devil's Doctrine and in the north of Hulan Sea. These supermundane people must believe this saying and have come here. If the Great Divine Priest of Relation made a false prophecy, how does it benefit him and the Divine Hall?"
Ning Que looked up at Eldest Brother and asked, "Where on earth is that Tomes of Arcane?"
Eldest Brother looked at him and kept silent for a long time. And then he asked, "You really want to know?"
Ning Que said, "Everyone wants to know."
Eldest Brother said, "But even if you know, how would it help you?"
Ning Que looked at him intently and said, "Senior Brother, do you know that curiosity killed the cat?"
Eldest Brother shook his head and said seriously, "I don't know."
He looked up at the dark winter sky in the Wilderness and said curiously, "In fact, I never understood why the Great Divine Priest of Relation gave such a sign. Maybe this Youngest Brother's curiousity is also a sort of Lucky Chance?"
After saying this sentence, he took the old handscroll from his waist and handed it to Ning Que.
Ning Que, surprised, took it and vaguely understood something, but could not believe his own judgment.
He looked down at the ordinary cover of the old handscroll in his hands. After a long silence, he finally plucked up the courage to turn over the first page. Because of his nervousness and excitement, his fingers were trembling when he turned the pages with a rattling sound.
It was like the sound of the lake water on the mountainside of the Snow-capped Peak.
People did not know much about Eldest Brother of the Academy.
They only knew the scholar who wore an old cotton jacket and broken shoes. No matter how much dust he had on his clothes, he always seemed to be extremely clean. They only knew that the scholar was calm and happy. He loved to hang around beside the mountain brooks and pools. There was always a scoop tied to his waist. When he was thirsty, he would drink a scoop of water. He always held a handscroll and read it often.
No one knew that the handscroll in the scholar's hands was the Tomes of Arcane.
It was the "Ming" Handscroll of the Tomes of Arcane that had been lost in the Wilderness for years and had never shown up.
They kept quiet for a long time beside the bonfire.
In fact, Ning Que did not dare to seriously read the old handscroll, for he did not know what would happen after reading it.
After a long time, he looked up with difficulty and asked in a trembling voice, "You've kept this handscroll for all this time?"
Eldest Brother honestly admitted. "Since I watched the sunset clouds and broke the realm those many years ago, the teacher had asked me to keep it."
Ning Que gasped in surprise and found that he had been more shocked today than in the past decade. He could not help sighing. "No wonder Senior Brother had lamented for Xia Hou."
The "Ming" Handscroll of the seven scrolls of the Tomes of Arcane had been in the hands of Eldest Brother. However, no one in the world knew it. Numerous people had greedily fought for the handscroll with their lives, including Xia Hou who gave up everything in the first half of his life.
What a hard life!
Fortunately, Ning Que was the Youngest Brother in the Academy.
For the Academy, all kinds of hardships in life, were usually the sufferings of others.