There wasn't a single cloud in the night sky as a few sparse stars hung quietly in a high and faraway place, as if lonely.
Was the world like this originally?
No. The world could be described by words like "cold" or "warm," because cold and warmth had not existed before the arrival of mankind.
How could our life be merged with eternal heaven and earth?
Death, or immortality?
"I guess only great souls become immortal."
Zhao Layue murmured these words while looking at the starry sky.
"Immortals shall be immortal," said Jing Jiu.
Zhao Layue recalled that he had said something similar.
Was it "The benevolent ones have no enemy"? No…
"Only the undefeated have no enemies."
How could one become an immortal?
"I don't know, because immortality cannot be proven."
Jing Jiu continued while looking at the night sky, "Fortunately, there is no need to prove it."
Looking at him, Zhao Layue was once again struck by that feeling, as if seeing into a bottomless abyss.
It was obviously close, but it also seemed to be very far away, and she couldn't catch up, no matter how hard she was trying.
That incredible conjecture occurred again in her mind. Though it was inconceivable to even think about, this feeling was somehow so familiar to her.
She started having this feeling ever since she had learned that she had been chosen by the Immortal Jing Yang as his personal disciple at a young age.
Zhao Layue didn't dare to think on it further, so she changed the topic.
"Did Tong Yan wait there just for you today?"
"I think so. He was able to predict our arrival; his power is quite impressive."
"Why did he do it?"
"Maybe he read my chess playing records."
Jing Jiu said, "He doesn't like the way I play chess, but he can't deny my chess playing ability; so he wanted to see me."
"Who is better at chess, you or Tong Yan?" Zhao Layue asked.
"He has no chance of beating me in Chinese chess."
Jing Jiu said with a calm tone, "I'm not as good as he is in Go."
The black chess piece he placed before leaving the chess stall was merely a disguise; the real square he intended to place his chess piece on was the spot he tapped with his finger.
Tong Yan and Grand Scholar Guo should be able to understand his intention, and realized the advantage of that move. However, it was due to the fact that he was an observer that he had adequate time to calculate the move. If he were in Grand Scholar Guo's position and played the entire game with Tong Yan, he would be more likely to lose the game.
Zhao Layue reached behind and undid here braid, feeling a lot more comfortable as she did, though her heart still felt somewhat heavy.
These events were transpiring only because of what she said to Xiang Wanshu back at the Four-Seas Banquet.
Zhao Layue felt a bit regretful thinking about it.
They had arrived at the entrance to another street. Taichang Temple was on the left-hand side, with Zhao family home on the right-hand side over the Crow-Ferry Bridge, three more blocks down the street.
Zhao Layue stopped short, asking, "What kind of person is Tong Yan?"
Jing Jiu replied, "I don't know. What do you think?"
Zhao Layue shook her head, "I don't know either."
Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue were two atypical practitioners in the Cultivation world in some ways.
It seemed as though they cared about nothing at all.
They were not like common people who were concerned about the grains and vegetables, or like the poets, who cared about the warm spring and blooming flowers.
They were not like Luo Huainan, who was concerned about the future and fate of mankind, and not like Tong Yan, who cared about the results of those black and white pieces and the game's mystery.
They hadn't even paid too much attention to their opponents in their path toward heaven, who actually deserved their attention.
"I'll ask my family when I get back home," Zhao Layue said after some thought.
Thinking that he had family now, Jing Jiu said, "Then I'll ask mine as well."
As they were about to part ways, Zhao Layue suddenly thought of something, asking, "Have you played mahjong before?"
Jing Jiu hesitated awhile before saying, "Some time ago…I was forced to play it a few times. They claimed that they needed one more player to play a four-person game, so I had no choice."
Zhao Layue was surprised, even more so than when she had discovered in the nunnery that he was wounded.
Jing Jiu didn't care about anything, and he was extremely lazy; so who could force him to do something he didn't want to?
All nine peaks of the Green Mountain were enshrouded in the clouds.
The cloudy fog on Shangde Peak wasn't as thick as those on Sword Peak, but Shangde Peak was much colder. Perhaps it was because the passage leading to the bottom of the well.
Standing in the far end of the manor cave, Yuan Qijing looked at the bottom of the well without any emotion in his expression, thinking of something.
A few years ago, he had finally broken through the Cultivation state and become another figure who reached the Heavenly Arrival State after becoming Sect Master of Green Mountain. The Green Mountain Sect became even more revered, and his own position in the Green Mountain became even more unshakable. In many people's eyes, he had already vaguely become a threat to the position of the Sect Master.
However, he had remained low-key all these years, and had done nothing but look at that well, as if there were beautiful sceneries in it.
The Tianguang Peak was the tallest, and its top peeked above the clouds, so the sunshine here was the best, making one feel warm all over the body. Here one could also see clearly the other peaks in the distance and the beautiful sceneries.
Sect Master took his eyes away from Shiyue Peak, shaking his head walking back to the front of the stone monument, and looked at the sword sheath inserted in it, pondering over something.
A relaxed and old aura came out from underneath the monument.
The Round Turtle slowly opened his eyes, glancing at him once a look of bewilderment.
As the oldest guard of the Green Mountain, he had accompanied many sect masters of Green Mountain, and seen them depart.
Until now, he still couldn't understand why these sect masters were always wearing worried expressions.
Didn't they know that worry was harmful to the Dao Heart?
No wonder none of them could ascend successfully in the end.
What things had them so worried?
In Northwest Chaotian, there was a large piece of land, consisting of a snowy plateau and high mountains that extensive and barren and extremely cold, on which where human beings were rarely seen, the whole area being called Cold Mountain.
Kunglung Mountain, Heavenly Mountain, and Crow Mountain were part of this Cold Mountain range.
This was rumored to be the hidden place for the deviant sects and demons; it was rumored that the headquarter of the Mysterious Dark Sect was located here.
While Zhaoge City was currently bathed in the warm spring weather, this place was still full of snowflakes in the sky, a place of extreme cold.
A black dot appeared in the distance on the snowy plateau, getting closer and closer. The music of a flute could be heard more and more clearly, sounding pleasing to the ears.
Was a shepherd boy playing his flute in such a snowy day?
No. The flute player wasn't a shepherd boy, but a young man.
The young man's eyes and eyebrows sparkled, revealing a care-free aura and wearing a mysterious smile
He wasn't riding on a yellow ox, but a yak, its dirty hair long enough to reach the ground.
He didn't play a regular bamboo flute, but a bone flute.
In the middle of the yellowish bone flute a faint blood line could be vaguely seen, as if made from human bone.
The flute music suddenly stopped.
An origami crane, flying through the falling snowflakes, had landed on his palm, turning into a letter.
The young man knew the contents of the letter without even reading it, revealing a grin.
"How come this kid Xiaosi is so impatient? He has even thought of using a charlatan to trick me. You have to know that your young master isn't someone to deal with so easily."
There was no road here, only the snow and cliff.
It was as if there was an invisible road in this young man's eyes. He rode the yak heading toward the deep end of the Cold Mountain, without hesitation.
He had arrived in the valley surrounded by the cliffs and rocks, reaching a dead end. He jumped off the yak and walked to the front of a cliff wall.
He tapped the stone wall with the knuckle of his forefinger. The sound was really dull and solid, which meant it wasn't hollow; obviously, no one could live inside it.
Yet the young man gave out a laugh, and satisfied, he put his bone flute back in the waist belt and yelled, "Come out, hidden swordsman."
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