Ying Qingmo and the other two were stunned as they rushed over with their magic treasures.
Even as they arrived at top speed, Jing Jiu had already gotten there.
Lying on the ground, Dai Ying showed no sign of life at all, his face riddled with gashes created by a sharp object, completely covered in blood; it looked horrible.
The green rope broke into dozens of pieces, spreading around him. There was a small black hole beside his corpse of unknown depth.
That shadowy thing should have entered the ground through this black hole at a fast speed, and not even Jing Jiu's Piercing Discernment could catch up with it.
The cold wind was whistling, hurling the snowflakes onto their faces. It was extremely cold, and it was also deadly quiet.
They had learned before the Cultivation tournament that they wouldn't encounter any powerful monsters as long as they didn't enter the deep parts of the snowland. The thing flew out of the shell of the Snow Foot Monster looked definitely like a Listening Ear, but why was it so formidable? The magic treasure of the Kunlun Sect couldn't even harm it, and instead it had been broken into pieces.
Ying Qingmo and the other two felt uneasy and terrified, and they looked at Jing Jiu instinctively.
Jing Jiu looked at the corpse on the snowy ground silently, wondering why that person wanted him to come to the snowy land to participate in the Cultivation tournament.
As he had told Zhao Layue, there were more occurrences of life and death here.
This was at least one of the reasons.
Zhaoge City had gotten warmer, as the middle of summer was approaching, but the Cultivation practitioners didn't have to worry about this.
They could enjoy looking at the plum flowers in the paintings under the corridor, in the breeze brought in by the formation; how could they feel hot?
As the time went by, more and more plum flowers had been added to the paintings, attracting many praises and discussion.
Every painting represented a group of the Cultivation practitioners participating in the Cultivation tournament. The styles of the paintings were different depending on how participants' acted and reacted.
The painting for Luo Huainan's group had more flowers of larger size, and the painting for Tong Lu's group had the densest plum flowers.
Though those paintings with merely two or three plum flowers looked meager, they somehow displayed a sense of determination.
The painting at the end of the corridor was still empty.
The bell rang. The Cultivation practitioners were startled at first, but they soon understood the meaning of the ringing bell. They walked out of the corridor and went to the pavilions located in the mountain.
Some important figures were to come to observe the paintings, so these Cultivation practitioners needed to leave the place for the time being.
Standing in the forest by the mountain, they could see a few invariably visible figures moving around under the corridor. The Cultivation practitioners were discussing among themselves what these important figures would talk about.
Soon the evaluations of the plum paintings by these important figures had been passed to the pavilions. The most important evaluations were of course the ones given by the Young Zen Master.
The Young Zen Master gave the highest evaluation to Bai Zao, saying, "This painting is well balanced and upright, and is the prettiest."
The Cultivation practitioners were somewhat surprised, thinking that Luo Huainan's performance was the best, so why would the Young Zen Master think his young sister had done a better job?
After some thought, especially considering the words "well balanced", they had finally understood what the Young Zen Master meant.
Luo Huainan's performance was really outstanding, and his plum branch had a dozen big plum flowers blooming, but his partners didn't have so many flowers; as a result, the whole painting looked kind of skewed.
On the other hand, on the Bai Zao's painting the plum flowers were evenly placed throughout. This meant that she knew her partners' abilities very well and let them use their kills to the fullest.
Using the future leadership of the orthodox Cultivation sects as the standard, Bai Zao did a better job than Luo Huainan.
"What is the Young Zen Master's evaluation of Jing Jiu?"
One Cultivation practitioner asked the most curious question for all of them.
The young monk ambled under the corridor with his hands behind his back, his bare feet landing on the ground, making "pah, pah" sounds. He looked like a naughty child having an outing in the green field.
Yet, no matter whether it was the Sect Master of the Kunlun or State Duke He, these important figures in the Cultivation circle had to follow behind him prudently and didn't dare make any sounds.
The young monk walked in front of a painting and stopped, revealing a vague smile while looking at the empty branches on the painting.
Nan Wang turned away, emotionless.
The rest of the important figures couldn't say anything in front of her, but their expressions with those paradoxical smile revealed their intentions.
The Green Mountain Sect had always performed well in the Cultivation tournament of the Plum Meeting. However, this time, the main forces, those talented disciples of Liangwang Peak, couldn't come because of Jing Jiu, and Zhao Layue, who was to take part in the Cultivation tournament, had to withdraw due to that recent event.
Since Jing Jiu participated in the Cultivation tournament, he of course represented the Green Mountain Sect.
But his current performance was not only embarrassing for the Green Mountain Sect, it was hard for others to evaluate.
Due to a certain event years ago, the Sect Master of the Kunlun Sect disliked Jing Jiu the most. He was happy to see the empty painting hanging there, sneering at it twice.
Nan Wang stared at him once, but didn't say anything.
State Duke He attempted to ease the tension by saying, "Maybe they have encountered something, or his partners have had some incidents."
"If he can't solve the issues in the group and is slowed down by his partners, it still is a problem."
The Sect Master of the Kunlun sneered, "As the Young Zen Master has said, if one doesn't have leadership skill, he won't be able to play an important role, no matter how talented he is in the swordplay."
Nan Wang raised her eyebrows slightly, ready to say something.
It was then that the young monk sighed suddenly, attracting everybody's attention.
"It's said that this child of my friend is lazy."
The young monk said sentimentally while looking at that painting, "It looks like he is really lazy."
The Young Zen Master had left the West Mountain Residence and returned to the Net-Perception Temple.
His evaluation of Jing Jiu was echoing in West Mountain Residence.
The Cultivation practitioners eyed each other, speechless, thinking that this reason or excuse was really eccentric, but they still felt the evaluation was sort of irrational.
Yet, the Young Zen Master had spoken; who dared to question it? All they could do was see what Jing Jiu would do when he decided not to be lazy and what kind of painting he would have.
At that moment, a painter walked out hurriedly from the deep end of West Mountain Residence.
The Cultivation practitioners were aware of the identity of this painter. When they saw the solemn expression on his face, they couldn't help but feel startled, wondering what had happened?
The painter walked to the painting that had attracted attention for many days, and drew a plum flower on the blank branch randomly with his brush pen.
The crowd was surprised and all approached the painting.
That plum flower was very small. As they followed the branch to the end, they saw an unknown name. The crowd started discussing it in low voices.
Though the plum flower was fairly small, and the low-level monster of the Snowy Kingdom wasn't killed by Jing Jiu, it was still a start.
But something shocking occurred afterwards.
After finishing painting the plum flower, the painter didn't leave, but rather, he picked up another brush pen and dipped it in the black ink; and he crossed that name with his black pen solemnly.
It was deadly quiet under the corridor; not even the birds made a sound.
One of the participants in the Cultivation tournament had died, and this was just the beginning.
Who was Dai Ying?
Why did he happen to be in the Jing Jiu's group?
The highest spot of the West Mountain Residence was a peak above the clouds, where the railings couldn't block the view of Zhaoge City.
Standing by the railing, the Sect Master of Kunlun narrowed his eyes, looking extremely chill and dreadful.
Dai Ying was a disciple nurtured by the Kunlun Sect with great care, but he had died so easily. This was absolutely suspicious.
He must ask the Green Mountain Sect for an explanation.
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