Bai Zao's Judgment was correct.
Many monsters of the Snowy Kingdom had hidden in the deep ground of the mountains after the previous monster invasions, waiting for the next monster invasion to come up and attack the human army.
But the issue was, why had the Snowy Kingdom called these monsters back right now; had they given up their original plans? What had happened over there?
If something like this happened in the human state, it might mean that their emperor had suddenly died, and different factions in the imperial court attempted to gather their own supporting forces back in the capital in order to fight for the emperor position for their own faction.
However, the Snowy Kingdom didn't have this issue, because they didn't have any factions, and only one Queen.
Suddenly, a bright glow appeared from far ahead.
Was it the sunrise after the wind stopped and the clouds dispersed?
Bai Zao looked in that direction, but it was too far away to discern clearly even with the aid of the Clear-water Discernment.
"It's the fog," Jing Jiu said.
The sky over there had suddenly become bright, but it wasn't the sunrise. It was reflecting the light; so one could imagine just how thick the fog was over there.
This kind of cold fog could insulate the Spiritual Awareness and bring in extremely low temperatures. What would the participants of the Cultivation tournament do if they had encountered the cold fog?
The most terrifying fact was that the cold fog wasn't a patch this time, but rather, it was like countless waves, enveloping the whole sky and land; it wouldn't be scattering anytime soon.
"Send off a warning signal immediately, and it should give them enough time to get out of the valley," Bai Zao urged.
She referred to those participants of the Cultivation tournament rather than Jing Jiu and herself.
As she made the remark, she had thought of her Big Brother, who was already in the deep parts of the mountain range, and she worried about him.
What Jing Jiu said next had turned her worry into reality.
"It's too late, because the fog from underground comes up even faster."
Following Jing Jiu's gaze, Bai Zao discovered that the cold wind had blown off the accumulated snow on the cliff and dozens of holes that had been covered by the white snow for a great many years were now exposed.
These holes were like the one from which that snow worm of high state had entered.
The faint fog came out from these holes; Bai Zao could feel the incoming cold air even though she was over a hundred feet away from it.
She pulled the golden bird coat tighter against her body, and her face looked pale because of the coldness and her poor mental state.
Looking at her pale face, Jing Jiu reminded himself that she was not like him, someone who could stand the lower temperature and cold wind atop the peak for a long time, so he rode his sword toward the bottom of the peak.
Bai Zao's magic treasure for riding in the air was a thin green glass ware. Though it looked quite feeble, it was actually quite fast.
Without saying a word, the two of them flew toward where the fog was gathering.
The cold fog reached them faster than they had expected. Soon, visibility was tremendously reduced.
It was fortunate that the fog coming out from the underground was limited and faint enough that it wouldn't affect the operation of zhenyuan or Spiritual Awareness; still, it made the surroundings much colder.
"Can you hold on?" Jing Jiu asked Bai Zao.
She nodded, but she looked awfully feeble, her eyelashes, on which frost had formed, quivering slightly.
Jing Jiu reached out his hand to bring her over, saying, "Sit down."
Bai Zao was startled at first, but she gathered her wits quickly, collecting her green glass ware and sitting on the sword as requested.
When Jing Jiu sat down on the sword, he blocked the incoming cold wind from the front.
Looking at his back, Bai Zao didn't say a word.
Jing Jiu was of regular height, but he looked somewhat taller in her eyes at the moment.
"It's really big."
"I'm talking about your flying sword. It's even big enough for two people to sit on it."
"Yeah, I chose it for that purpose."
"Did you choose it because you had thought of bringing more people on the flying sword?"
"No, I thought that I could sit on it as well as lie down on it. It's convenient this way."
"This is really…a good reason."
Nobody knew why Jing Jiu chose this iron sword from Immortal Master Mo back then.
Liu Shisui and Zhao Layue were the only ones who had guessed the reasons.
Jing Jiu rode the sword heading forward. Yet, he couldn't fly fast enough due to the chaotic winds in the sky, but on the other hand, they didn't have to worry about the sneak attack from the monsters of the Snowy Kingdom with the protection of the cold fog.
The fog was getting thicker, and the coldness was getting worse as well.
With her eyes closed, Bai Zao energized the zhenyuan inside her body without spending any more energy on talking.
After a while, they suddenly heard the sounds of the flying swords breaking the air somewhere in the cold fog, and then the sounds of some hard objects being hacked, followed by a few horrifying cries.
In the end, all the sounds had disappeared completely.
It was deadly quiet inside the cold fog.
Jing Jiu didn't pay any attention to what had just happened, almost as if he didn't hear anything.
Bai Zao shot a glance his way.
"As I've said, it's dangerous ahead," Jing Jiu said.
Based on the distance and time they had travelled, those sounds came from the young Cultivation practitioners who had insisted on continuing the Cultivation tournament.
After replying "Hmm" once, Bai Zao didn't say anything more.
Jing Jiu shot a glance her way this time.
The iron sword twisted a bit, and he changed the direction slightly, and soon they came to the place where the sounds had occurred.
The cold fog had been disbanded somewhat by the sword wind, so they could vaguely see the scene below.
There were a few corpses lying in the snow.
Bai Zao recognized that they were the Cultivation practitioners who had left the valley two days ago, including the two disciples of the West Ocean Sword Sect who had protested against Jing Jiu's idea the most.
Jing Jiu had driven away all the disciples of the Hanging-Bell Sect, which had weakened the protective strength of these groups, otherwise they should've be able to hold out a bit longer.
Bai Zao was fully aware that she shouldn't blame Jing Jiu for the tragedy; but she nonetheless felt sentimental when thinking about the cycle of cause and effect.
The iron sword kept on flying forward, and the fog grew thicker and thicker.
The most terrifying fact was that the fog was even colder than the one they had encountered that night, and it hindered the Spiritual Awareness even more than before. Bai Zao was concerned that under the circumstances, she could hardly use her magic treasure and step on the green glass ware again to fly, and so how could the other participants retreat from here? What would they do if they had encountered the monsters of the Snowy Kingdom?
"Your judgment is correct, and those bugs are in a hurry to retreat to the Snowy Kingdom. As long as we don't attack them first, they probably won't attack us."
Jing Jiu knew what was on her mind.
"What if we happen to encounter them?" asked Bai Zao.
Jing Jiu replied, "Then it would be our bad luck."
Bai Zao said, "Even if they haven't encountered the monsters, they still can't hold out for too long because they don't have zhenyuan and Sword Awareness as strong as yours."
Jing Jiu said, "There are many idiots in the Cultivation world, and some smart people. Even if they didn't believe me, they should still be prepared."
It was then that two of them sensed a powerful energy, and they turned around to the southwest.
They could see clearly through so much cold fog from such a distance because a hole had been torn in the sky over there, countless light rays shining down.
That place was about five miles away from them, and such a powerful energy couldn't be brought about by the ordinary magic treasures.
With exceptionally sharp sight, Jing Jiu could see clearly that it was a green lotus that had landed from the sky and dispersed the cold fog, thinking that it must be the Green Lotus Boat of the Kunlun Sect.
Immediately, a few more powerful energies appeared one after the other in the sky over the mountain range, emitting innumerable light rays.
The Cloudy Boat of the Center Sect, the Lotus Sedan of the Young Zen Master, the Water-Heaven Kite of the Great Marsh…and even the Sword Boat of the Green Mountain had also reappeared.
Many dark dots had left the mountains, being sucked up by those light rays. And those dark dots should be the young Cultivation practitioners participating in the Cultivation tournament.
All of a sudden, the current of the cold fog sped up, and the mountains grew even colder
The various sects had also increased the pace of picking up their disciples, as they had to compete with the terrifying cold fog.
Seeing this scene, Bai Zao felt relieved a bit. Suddenly, she discovered the bamboo board on her wrist lit up.
It was a signal sent by her colleagues for help.
Startled, she had lost the concentration of her heart and mind for a brief moment, and meanwhile the cold air took the opportunity to have invaded her body, making her look a lot paler now.
She took out a magic pill and swallowed it, coughing painfully a few times.
"Are you sure you won't leave?" asked Jing Jiu.
"I can't leave. You should leave as soon as possible, as I can leave anytime I want to."
To make sure that Jing Jiu would believe what she had said, she claimed, "I've brought the Ten-Thousand Mile Seal with me."
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