A few years ago, Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue left the Green Mountain and traveled over ten thousand miles together. They had returned to the human world when they arrived in Haizhou, to participate in the Four-Sea Banquet.
During their journey, they met many demons, humans, as well as Cultivation practitioners, and with a swing of their swords, killed any of them who had done evil deeds.
Zhu Gui, the Head Master of the Black-Dragon Temple, was one of those evildoers.
This so-called highly-achieved monk was fond of abusing women. He might have done even more evil deeds undetected, yet nobody dared to discipline him as Royal Concubine Hu was his friend.
It was unfortunate for Zhu Gui when he met Zhao Layue. The latter killed the former with a swing of her sword.
Upon having heard of this incident, Royal Concubine Hu was furious, and she sworn to avenge Zhu Gui.
The Pure Heaven Bureau had committed a great deal of their resources to pursuing the killer, under the pressure that mostly came from the imperial palace.
Unexpectedly, the killer of Zhu Gui was the Ninth Peak Master of the Green Mountain Sect, Zhao Layue.
Because of Zhao Layue's status, both punishment and revenge couldn't be carried out. The Pure Heaven Bureau had suffered a good deal as the result; Shi Fengchen, Vice-Inspector of the Pure Heaven Bureau, had lost all of his tangible power and had been marginalized ever since.
Could Royal Concubine Hu actually forgot about this humiliating incident? Everybody thought it was impossible for her to do so.
Zhao Layue knew full well that she must still have a grudge; but Zhao Layue didn't have any dreadful or uncomfortable feeling when facing the beauty under the tree.
Even though she was a royal concubine favored by the Emperor, she still couldn't inflict any harm to a peak master of the Green Mountain Sect.
The Royal Concubine Hu's gaze fixed on Zhao Layue and Jing Jiu for a moment, and the angry intent in her eyes showed for a split second and then vanished. "You are Zhao Layue," she said.
"Yes," Zhao Layue responded in a calm voice.
Royal Concubine Hu had thought of something, and smiled, slightly raising the corners of her mouth while saying, "When your mother came to the imperial palace around the time of New Year celebration, we met; but I couldn't see her very clearly as we were afar. However, I can still remember that Lady Zhao is very pretty and has a gentle bearing. You are far inferior to your mother in those aspects."
What she had just said sounded straightforward, but it wasn't so simple. It was obvious that Royal Concubine Hu was mocking Zhao Layue, who somehow couldn't fire back.
The distance kept between Royal Concubine Hu and Lady Zhao meant that Layue's mother wasn't noble enough to be near her.
Zhao Layue couldn't refute the statement that she wasn't as pretty as her mother either, because she simply couldn't say that her own mother wasn't as pretty as herself.
This kind of statement was often used by the women in the imperial palace. They were exchanging such statements to mentally belittle each other. Yet the damaging implications seemed harmless in the surface, so they were hard to respond to.
Zhao Layue wasn't a delicate and sly woman, so she didn't know how to use this kind of statement. However, she had her own way to deal with it.
"I will tell my mother not to go to the imperial palace anymore."
Having heard this, Royal Concubine Hu's expression had changed a bit. She realized her opponent that day wasn't like those delicate sisters in the imperial palace, but…an important figure in the Cultivation circle.
Zhao Layue was currently a peak master on the Green Mountain. She was therefore a person that the imperial court had to respect no matter how they approached her.
Even as a royal concubine, she didn't have enough leverage to intimidate Zhao Layue. If she made use of governmental resources, it might put herself in trouble.
It was impossible for Zhao Layue's parents to reconsider their daughter's suggestion, even though they might have the desire for power and status in the mortal world.
Her father would resign from his governmental job without hesitation as long as Zhao Layue told him to. And her mother wouldn't visit the imperial palace again since the entire Zhao clan would move out of the capital and go to Nanhezhou.
This was because the Zhao clan would have to rely on Zhao Layue for its prosperity and safety for the next millennium.
The seemingly naïve and charming Royal Concubine Hu was very smart, as she could win over the Emperor's favor; so she had thought out all these consequences in a short time.
The better she understood the situation, the more depressing she felt.
She attempted to use her specialty, the so-called "a needle hidden in the embroidered picture", to humiliate Zhao Layue, but the other party didn't even bother to take her challenge and stopped her short…
The depressed Royal Concubine Hu lost the craving for putting down Zhao Layue. She turned toward the young girl of the Hanging-bell Sect, saying, "Se Se, long time no see."
The young girl grunted once, paying no attention to her.
Royal Concubine Hu continued with a smile, "Whoa, you know how to hold grudge at such a young age. Don't you forget that you ate the lotus cookie I had made with my own hands last time when we met."
The young girl said, "Your Highness, you didn't want me to enter here earlier, and now you want to get friendly with me. My mother brought me to Zhaoge City last time when I was only four years old, so I don't remember anything."
"Are you not a child anymore?"
Royal Concubine Hu said, "That I didn't let you in was for your own benefit."
The young girl pursed her lips, "You're actually worried that I might be chosen by the person in the nunnery."
The middle-aged woman of the Hanging-bell Sect explained a little when she saw the confused expressions displayed by Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue.
The conflict arose from Tian Jingren's rule that he would meet at most three individuals a day.
At the moment, the inside of the nunnery was awfully quiet, and Luo Huainan was probably inside. As a result, only two quotas were left for that day.
It was natural that Royal Concubine Hu intended to deter everybody else outside.
"You're still a little girl, what important issues do you have to ask him?" Royal Concubine Hu asked.
"What about you?" the young girl sneered. "You only want to have a baby for his Majesty. There is nothing to ask as for this sort of thing, all you need to do is just do it."
These words immediately made all those who were present feel uncomfortable.
It was well known that Royal Concubine Hu was favored by the Emperor, and she had been visited by the Emperor the most in the imperial palace. The problem was… she still didn't have a child.
Yet, even if you knew the issue, you should keep it to yourself, and shouldn't say it out loud, especially not in front of the royal concubine herself.
Royal Concubine Hu was a little displeased, but she held her emotion back. "As a little child, what do you know about giving birth? What should I do then?" she asked with a mild grin, her eyes shifting captivatingly.
Her waving eyes and biting lips displayed a seductive intention.
The middle-aged woman wasn't impressed.
The young girl spat with a slightly red face, exclaiming, "You're really a vixen demon!"
Jing Jiu thought in his mind, she had stated the truth accidently.
Royal Concubine Hu's Cultivation level was even higher than Xiao He's in Haizhou. Zhao Layue couldn't even recognize her true identity, but Jing Jiu could see it clearly.
Jing Jiu narrowed his eyes, thinking even though this vixen had been blessed by the achieved monks, she had the innate seductive power, which could induce anybody into being preoccupied with sex and pleasure. Jing Jiu determined that he would remind the Emperor of the danger when they met.
It was then that a young man walked toward them along the stone path.
The young man wore gray embroidered cloths, with a small, half-withered and dusty green leaf on his waist, which had probably fallen down from the top of the pavilion in the middle of the lake.
This person concealed his true power so well that it was hard for others to guess his Cultivation level. However, as he walked, a noble aura could be felt by those around him.
Having seen the young man approach, Royal Concubine Hu was quite startled. She lowered her head slightly as a courtesy, standing in the same spot after some hesitation.
The young man came to the side of Royal Concubine Hu, saying without any emotion, "Father has other children, what do you want to ask then?"
Royal Concubine Hu was a bit angry, but she couldn't say much due to the other's identity. All she could do was purse her lips to show her discontent.
Seeing this scene, Zhao Layue thought of the young girl of the Hanging-bell Sect who had done the same to show discontent, so she couldn't help but laugh secretly. And her repulsion toward this royal concubine had lessened quite a bit.
The young man turned toward Zhao Layue and asked coldly, "Are you from the Green Mountain Sect?"
Zhao Layue glanced at Jing Jiu.
Jing Jiu looked at the young girl of the Hanging-bell Sect, asking, "Your name is Se Se. Is this 'se' the meaning of color, like in 'the garden full of spring colors'?"
The young girl felt somewhat uneasy, saying in a low voice after shooting a glance at the young man, "My 'se' is the meaning of green, like in 'the half-river is green'."
The young man commented, "I think your 'se' is the meaning of shiver."
Jing Jiu said to Zhao Layue, "His 'se' is the meaning of false self-importance."
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