The battle with the big demon took place in Chaonan City by the Muddy River.
The battle continued from dusk till the next morning. The Imperial Court sent in the Magic Guards in advance to clear the area, so the populace of Chaonan City couldn’t see what was happening. They could only see dozens of flashing sword lights radiating through the night sky from time to time, and the next day, blood stains on the rocks of the opposite bank were still visible.
The big demon hidden in the deep part of the Muddy River was severely wounded, was dying quietly, or had fled, but either way, they shouldn’t come out to harm people anymore.
The demon purge carried out by Liangwang Peak was very successful, but nobody expected an accident would happen in the end.
Liu Shisui had been severely injured. He was unconscious until he was brought back to the Green Mountain
"On the way back to the Green Mountain, many disciples saw the redness throughout his body, and his body temperature was extremely high; it was said that the snowflakes landing on his face didn’t have time to melt, turning instantly into white steam."
Looking at Jing Jiu, Gu Qing said with a moment of hesitation, "I’m afraid…it looks less like a wound, and more like poison."
Usually the first time the young disciples went outside with Liangwang Peak to purge demons, they were expected to merely have a few experiences; when the fighting got intense and dangerous, they would be kept behind those Big Brothers who had higher Cultivation States. These young, inexperienced disciples were allowed to fight only when it was absolutely safe for them to do so.
Liangwang Peak were strict with their disciples, emphasizing the careful use of the sword through practice, and did not engage in fights recklessly. Not to mention that Liu Shisui was a disciple with natural Dao quality, being paid particular attention to by the sect.
Jing Jiu listened carefully to what Gu Qing said, but he didn’t agree with Gu Qing’s judgment.
The Cultivation practitioners paid close attention to their body’s conditioning, having a constant energy source provided by the Dao seed; common poison couldn’t harm them at all.
Liu Shisui should have been well protected by Liangwang Peak. Assuming Jing Jiu didn’t make a mistake, this perhaps was just the beginning of that story.
"What is the situation now?" asked Zhao Layue.
"The senior masters of Shiyue Peak are busy trying to find the source of the injury, and the elder Bai Rujing is furious."
Gu Qing said, "The leader of the team, Brother Jian, has been put in the stone room by Shangde Peak as punishment; he will stay there as penance for half a year."
Brother Jian, mentioned by Gu Qing, was Jian Ruyun, the Fourth Brother of Liangwang Peak. He was from Yunxing Peak, a man who’d obtained high achievements in sword cultivation and was well respected by his peers.
Zhao Layue felt something wasn’t right; Jian Ruyun was punished so severely even before the source for Liu Shisui’s injury was discovered. How was that even justifiable? Weren’t they worried that their treatment of Jian Ruyun would set off disputes and discontent? Not to mention that doing so would make the disciples dislike Liu Shisui.
Jing Jiu walked to the cliff’s edge and watched the peaks in the wind and snow, remaining silent.
Zhao Layue asked behind him, "When will you go?"
She was asking when he’d go see Liu Shisui on Tianguang Peak.
"I’m not going," said Jing Jiu after a moment of silence.
Gu Qing was somewhat surprised and Zhao Layue asked, "Why?"
"This is his choice," Jing Jiu said.
Gu Qing didn’t understand what he meant.
Zhao Layue vaguely sensed something.
She knew Jing Jiu wasn’t a cold-blooded person, nor was he a person who would seek to become so detached.
Only two of them remained on the cliff after Gu Qing left.
"What do you suspect actually?" asked Zhao Layue.
"It’s only a trivial thing."
Watching the peaks in the wind and snow, Jing Jiu suddenly felt bored and said, "I’d like to take a walk."
Zhao Layue asked behind him, "Where are you going? Chaonan City?"
"No, just walking around," Jing Jiu said.
Zhao Layue said, "You aren’t a disciple of Liangwang Peak, so you can’t go outside the mountain at will."
"To kill devils and purge demons…that is a good reason, yeah…though I haven’t done it before," said Jing Jiu.
"I have done it many times," said Zhao Layue.
She had often led the internal disciples patrolling the surrounding areas of Green Mountain when she was at the South Pine Pavilion.
Yet the hidden meaning in what she said was that she intended to go with him.
Jing Jiu turned around to face her, not saying a word.
"Don’t think too much. I just want to take care of some things, and we happen to be on the same path," said Zhao Layue.
"Your sword Cultivation is at the key period; now is no time for distraction," said Jing Jiu.
Zhao Layue said, "I already entered the state last night."
Scanning with his Piercing Discernment, he found she had really reached the State of the Undefeated, and he was surprised.
After entering the Undefeated State, the Sword Source would be greatly increased and sword riding would be carried out like a charm, so the person who entered the Undefeated State could be called the Immortal Sword. This was an important demarcation for the disciples of the Green Mountain.
However, for Zhao Layue it was as easy as eating those few fruits last night.
"You were truly born with natural Dao quality. I thought you might need two years to get this far, so this result is unexpected," said Jing Jiu, smiling at her. "I was right; this sword style is really suitable for you."
What he said was of course the Nine Deaths sword style left by Immortal Jing Yang.
No matter how talented she was, Zhao Layue couldn’t reach the State of the Undefeated within such a short time if she didn’t have the true sword style that suited her so well.
"Do you think it suits me better than you?" asked Zhao Layue, staring into his eyes and explicitly attempting to learn more about him.
"Yes, because I don’t like the Nine Deaths sword style."
He said it so calmly and naturally.
After a moment of silence, he said, "But somebody does."
In the dead of night, Jing Jiu climbed down the mountain against the wind and snow.
He didn’t go to Tianguang Peak to visit Liu Shisui.
Had he wanted to, there should be no one to stop him, as he was the Senior Master of Shenmo Peak, one generation higher than the disciples of the third generation, with Guo Nanshan being the principal disciple.
The place he went to was Bihu Peak.
The Sword Formation of Bihu Peak still hadn’t detected him. He strolled his way to the peak top, standing on the lakeshore of the blue lake.
The snowflakes fell down from the night sky, disappearing into the lake without a trace.
He stood silently on the lakeshore for a long time, and the wind and snow finally eased up. Suddenly, a few flashes of lightning appeared in the night sky.
This time he didn’t try to hide his movements as he walked over the surface of the lake.
The lightning struck down. Jing Jiu glided over the lake, his white cloth fluttering, making him look like a fairy immortal.
The winter thunder roared. Those wildcats on the island were nowhere to be found.
The lightning dropped into the deep into the palace, soundlessly swallowed up by the Soul Wood for nourishment.
The palace appeared deadly quiet and bizarre.
That white cat lay on the window sill, narrowing his eyes as his long fur drooped down, making him look fairly tired.
From his innocent appearance, who would know he was the most malicious and atrocious White Ghost of the four Principal Guards of Green Mountain?!
Sitting down on the window sill, Jing Jiu put his right hand on the white cat and started stroking him from head to the tail with a proficient movement, as if he had done the same thing for hundreds of years.
The white cat’s body was a bit tense at first, gradually becoming softer, seemingly accepting his fate.
"Neither you nor Zhao Layue likes being rubbed on the head, only Shisui likes it."
Petting the white cat’s head gently, Jing Jiu said after a moment of silence, "Well, maybe he dislikes it as well, but he doesn’t know how to refuse me."
The white cat didn’t respond.
"Shisui is a boy I’ve come to know this time around. He had gone to the Muddy River to vanquish the demon a few days ago, but something went wrong."
Jing Jiu talked to himself, "Those children of Liangwang Peak thought they had done enough advance preparation with caution and cleverness, so they thought they could certainly succeed. However, they are still too young and naïve; as you and I know, a similar event happened a few hundred years ago."
The white cat remembered the event Jing Jiu talked about, a small chill taking root in his eyes.
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