The last night’s dark clouds had already scattered.
The rising sun behind the peaks painted a curved and beautiful red line in the sky.
Nearby, starlight fell on Qingrong Peak, the clouds slowly moving away.
Standing by the cliff edge, Jing Jiu gazed silently at a peak further away.
Zhao Layue walked out of the manor cave.
Once again, she hadn’t slept well the previous night.
Recently she had focused all her energy on the sword manual, her gaze rarely straying from the bookt. She would eat a sweet potato or some mountain fruit when she was hungry, and drink a few mouthfuls of spring water when she was thirsty. When she was really exhausted, she would meditate for a while in a cross-legged sitting position. After having recovered, she would resume her sword practice.
Before dawn, Zhao Layue had suddenly figured out a key idea in the sword manual. After all the excitement, she knew it was time to take a break. She walked out of the manor cave, hoping to calm her mind.
She was surprised to see Jing Jiu in such a condition.
His white clothing was clean and good as new new, but his hair was a bit wet. It looked like he had been rained on the night before.
If you were rained on, why wouldn’t you use the Sword Source to dry off? Jing Jiu was different from her, and didn’t value the Sword Source as much.
Following his gaze, she found Jing Jiu was looking at Shangde Peak.
Shangde Peak was quite far away and hard to see clearly, though the clouds were thin among the nine peaks.
"You told me not long ago that the nine peaks shouldn’t be suspicious of each other," said Zhao Layue.
Jing Jiu didn’t reply. He remained silent as he gazed at Shangde Peak.
The expression in his eyes was not as peaceful as usual, but showed an edge as sharp as a sword.
It seemed like he wanted to see straight through the peak, all the way into its deepest darkest corners.
Suddenly, Jing Jiu started coughing. The cough got more and more intense, with his face looking pale and his body trembling slightly.
Zhao Layue stared into his eyes. "Are you injured?" she asked.
"Yes," said Jing Jiu weakly once the coughing had eased.
"Your injury is quite bad," said Zhao Layue, seeing his facial expression.
His injury was indeed grave.
A disciple in the State of Inherited Will had survived a paw scratching by the White Ghost, who was the most mysterious and terrifying of the four principal guards of the Green Mountains. Jing Jiu was perhaps the only one to have achieved such a feat.
At the time, , in order to intimidate the White Ghost, he hadn’t shown any discomfort. In truth, it had taken all his willpower to endure it.
"Did those people injure you?" asked Zhao Layue in an urgent tone. "Do they already know you’re investigating this matter? Or have they found out about your relationship with Senior Grandmaster?"
"As I said before, don’t look into it any further," said Jing Jiu, shaking his head.
"And as I said before, I’m going to keep investigating," said Zhao Layue.
After a moment of silence, Jing Jiu spoke. "Even if Immortal Jing Yang had some sort of mishap, we can’t change anything, because of our low Cultivation states. And our opponents are not only powerful, but brutal. So the most urgent thing for us is to focus on our practice, to improve our states as soon as possible."
"Maybe you don’t know me that well," said Zhao Layue in a serious tone of voice. "I’m no pushover. I’m quite ferocious."
"Oh yeah, I’m really scared," said Jing Jiu wearily.
"I hadn’t noticed," said Zhao Layue after a moment of silence.
Was this sarcasm?
"Do you know of Immortal Taiping?" asked Jing Jiu suddenly.
As a disciple of the Green Mountain Sect, it was impossible for Zhao Layue to not know about Immortal Taiping.
Immortal Taiping was the previous Sect Master of the Green Mountain Sect. The current Sect Master, the Sword Justice Yuan Qijing, was his personal disciple, as were most of the Peak Masters.
He was the brother of Immortal Jing Yang, and it could be said that Immortal Jing Yang was taught by him.
Immortal Taiping’s Cultivation state was as deep as the ocean, and his skill with magic way was formidable. His outstanding disciples had advanced the Green Mountain Sect. He could be described as the most influential figure in the history of the Green Mountain Sect, and could even be counted as one of the most important individuals in the whole history of Cultivation.
A few years ago, when the Green Mountain Sect promulgated the One-Thousand-Mile Prohibition, Immortal Taiping had shut himself away, and never appeared since.
Now, since many years had passed, the whole world presumed he was dead.
No matter how great a practitioner was, so long as he didn’t ascend, he couldn’t defeat time.
Watching the faraway peaks, Zhao Layue felt slightly mystified.
Along the one-thousand-mile range of the Green Mountains, there were many mysterious places besides the nine peaks, such as many peaks hiding inside deep within the mountain range.
Those peaks were the places where the elder hermits resided, known as the Hermit Peaks.
The path toward heaven was not so easy! If those elders couldn’t ascend to heaven, then they would depart this world quietly, like Immortal Taiping.
Would those hermit peaks, hiding in the rivers of time, ever be found?
Jing Jiu didn’t allow himself to feel sentimental, because many years ago, he had felt sentimental, just like Zhao Layue did. It only reinforced his determination to pursue the path toward heaven.
"Before he took over the Sect Master position, he had been cultivating over there," said Jing Jiu looking at that mountain peak. "The current Sect Master, Yuan Qijing, and many others were cultivating there at the time."
The third peak of Green Mountain.
Zhao Layue hadn’t known that. "If Senior Grandmaster Jing Yang and Immortal Taiping were brothers under the same master," she asked, "was Jing Yang from Shangde Peak as well?"
"Yes," thought Jing Jiu to himself.
So Jing Jiu was very familiar with Shangde Peak. He knew there was an awfully cold cave there, and situated deep within the cave was a well, which led to the bottom of Shangde Peak.
The Sword Jail was located at the bottom of the peak. It held powerful demons who could not be killed, swordsmen from the deviant sects, and the spies from the Underworld and the Snowy Kingdom.
Besides the well, there was no other exit from the Sword Jail. So how did Lei Poyun manage to escape?
When he was in that small village, he had already figured that this might be the result, but he didn’t expect that he would use the same method as him.
Then where are you now?
Must I eat all the hotpots in the world to find you?
Even if I could find you, so what?
As he pondered, Jing Jiu found himself lost in thought. Somewhat uncomfortable, he started coughing again, his face growing paler.
On the top of Shangde Peak, the icy frost on the cliff face became thicker.
Standing by the well and gazing inside silently, Yuan Qijing’s eyebrows had been painted white by the frost.
Some distance away, his brother’s back facing him, Chi Yan felt something he couldn’t describe.
Over the last few years, he often stood and peered into the well, sometimes spending half a day to do so.
Chi Yan knew Yuan Qijing had something on his mind, but he didn’t know what.
Jing Jiu had fallen ill.
The first step of Cultivation was to strengthen the body, as proven by the boxing wind and white smoke outside the South Pine Pavilion.
No one had ever fallen ill at the Green Mountain Sect.
The medicine plants of Shiyue Peak were used to heal injuries or help Cultivation, but not used to treat illness.
No matter how resourceful Jing Jiu was, he simply couldn’t find any medicine to treat himself.
So he had been sick for a long time. He was still coughing a little by early autumn.
During this time period, Jing Jiu was recuperating, and didn’t do much Cultivation.
Zhao Layue knew he was actually injured, not sick. But she figured Jing Jiu wouldn’t do much Cultivation even if he wasn’t injured anyway.
However, Jing Jiu wasn’t worried. His State of Inherited Will wasn’t very stable when he had just entered it in the early summer. Yet his severely shattered Sword Pill, hit by the White Ghost, not only recovered, but also became even more impeccable.
Thinking of his own life experience, he wondered: was this a case of getting up after being knocked down?
Please go to https://www.readlightnovel.cc/The-Path-Toward-Heaven/
to read the latest chapters for free