Hearing what Zhao Layue had just said, Bai Zao remained silent for a long time.
"If that day comes, will you feel disappointed?" Bai Zao suddenly asked.
She had asked Liu Shisui this same question in the Sword-Washing Hall.
"No. It should be considered a blessing that we can travel together on the path toward heaven for a while."
Zhao Layue's answer was almost the same as Liu Shisui's, but the reason was different.
Was it enough to travel together for a while?!
Bai Zao was a bit baffled, pressing, "Don't you want to travel a bit more with him?"
Zhao Layue said after a pause, "I had thought of it a long time ago…"
Back when she and Jing Jiu left the old plum garden, she refused to listen to Jing Jiu just as he was about to reveal his true identity.
It was because she didn't dare to know the answer.
She didn't even dare think about it.
Yet, she didn't feel sad because of it, or disappointed in herself.
Seeing the white clouds approaching her face, Zhao Layue revealed a genuine smile, showing the shallow dimples, her distinctive black and white eyes looking quite charming.
There was nothing to be dissatisfied with, so long as they could cultivate together on Shenmo Peak.
Even if they could become Cultivation partners and cultivated as one body, what would be the difference in comparison to what they were doing now?
The only difference would be the pleasurable union between a man and a woman.
"…Back when we were in Shangzhou City, I saw the pleasure enjoyed by a man and a woman. It was somewhat interesting, but not too interesting; it's not worth thinking about too much."
Zhao Layue didn't make her intention too obvious saying this.
Yet, Bai Zao was a very smart person, so she had no problem understanding what Zhao Layue meant or what Zhao Layue wanted to express. "It makes sense. If I could do so, I would be satisfied as well," she remarked in a soft voice.
Zhao Layue turned to her and said, "Maybe you could consider coming to Green Mountain."
Bai Zao smiled in response, saying nothing.
No one could detect bitterness in her smile, but her eyes revealed a hint of sorrow.
She was nurtured to be the future sect master of the Center Sect, or even the future leader of the orthodox sects, so she had some significant responsibilities and couldn't do whatever her heart dictated.
"In truth, what I don't understand is, why don't we give it a try even though he has such an idea? Nothing will go wrong if we disregard the result."
Her voice softened with the approaching fog, and it pleased the ears immensely.
The fog was a bit cold and damp. One would feel uncomfortable if they were not Cultivation practitioners.
Bai Zao looked pale, not because she was injured or sorrowful; it was because she had an inborn illness.
During six years in the snowland, she practiced the ancient Danzhu Script taught by Jing Jiu, and compensated many inborn shortcomings; but it would take more time to eradicate the illness.
The cloud and fog fell on her pretty and slightly pale face, fluttering a few strands of her black hair.
It resembled the newly grown willow branches piercing through the fog and sweeping over the surface of a river in the early morning.
Anybody looking at her then would feel sorrow.
But Jing Jiu didn't.
Zhao Layue reached out her hand reflexively to rub Bai Zao's head in an attempt to comfort Bai Zao; but as Zhao Layue was about to land her hand, she realized it was inappropriate to do so, and instead patted Bai Zao on her shoulder lightly.
The bodily contact was extremely rare between Cultivation practitioners, and it was a taboo especially for the sword practitioners. They would even feel uncomfortable to stand close to each other, to say nothing of holding arms and shoulders.
Bai Zao glanced at Zhao Layue in surprise, and didn't know what to say. Soon, she bid her farewell.
Gu Qing led Bai Zao making the descent.
Jing Jiu walked out from the manor cave. He felt a little troubled and arched his eyebrows when he saw the clouds and fog amid the cliffs.
Zhao Layue waved her sleeve, and the wind arose.
The clouds and fog gradually dispersed and the sunlight shone through again. It grew warmer on the peak top.
Jing Jiu walked to the cliff's edge. He put down the bamboo chair and lay on it. He clasped two legs together, appearing fairly cozy, occupying only a small part of the chair.
Zhao Layue sat down on the chair sideways. "She really likes you. Since she takes the initiative to come here, those plots are just her ways of mitigating embarrassment," said Zhao Layue while looking at Jing Jiu.
Jing Jiu said, "I think she mostly wants to return the favor. When one is in despair, what they see are all illusions, including love, admiration, and affection. But it's too troublesome to explain all this. Let's not talk about this subject."
"But there would be only benefits, absolutely no negative effects, if you formed a Cultivation partnership with her," Zhao Layue insisted.
She knew that Jing Jiu had encountered some issues in his Cultivation.
It had nothing to do with his six years trapped in the snowland. It seemed that his Cultivation pace had slowed down after entering the Undefeated State, and the progress had almost stagnated in the last two years. She had no idea how to help him if Jing Jiu couldn't solve the problem himself. However, now that the Center Sect Master couple had planned the partnership choice for Bai Zao in advance, it might be able to help Jing Jiu in his Cultivation.
It was because she was also interested in this matter and wanted to get some advice from Jing Jiu regarding the issue, which is why she engaged him in the discussion of the matter
After Zhao Layue came to Green Mountain, she soon became the idol of the young disciples, and was respected and liked by many colleagues. In addition to Gu Han of Liangwang Peak, many others wanted to become her Cultivation partner to practice Dao. This idea had finally died when she became the peak master of Shenmo.
"Liking is the negative effect," Jing Jiu proclaimed.
Zhao Layue didn't quite understand.
"If you like someone, you don't want to give up on that person, and then you don't want to leave that person," Jing Jiu said this while staring into her eyes.
His expression had never been as serious as it was then.
After a long pause, as Zhao Layue was about to say something to protest, Jing Jiu continued.
"Don't you think this matter is really troublesome?"
Zhao Layue didn't know how to respond to this question, so she gave up on the subject. "Did she have other things to say to you?" she asked.
"The Cloud-Dream Mountain invites me to go to thirty-thousand-year celebration of the sect's founding," replied Jing Jiu.
Zhao Layue felt startled, thinking that it must be a personal invitation from the Center Sect Master since it was Bai Zao who had said it; what did that important figure intend to do then?
"They are all anxious now."
Jing Jiu looked at the descending ocean of clouds in front of the cliff, revealing a rarely seen sentimental countenance.
"Who is anxious?" Zhao Layue asked.
"The end of time is an insurmountable threshold. The anxiety and uneasiness often stem from this consideration."
Jing Jiu pulled back his gaze and looked at her as he continued, "The anxious ones are those who are close to their own death."
Back when they were in Zhaoge City, Jing Jiu told Zhao Layue a great deal about the things in the Cultivation circle, and they would talk about the subject once in a while in recent years.
Zhao Layue understood what he meant, and her expression grew grave.
Why would the Immortal Sect Master of the Green Mountain have taken Guo Nanshan as his personal disciple merely twenty some years ago? Had the rumored disciples who died in the battles with the Snowy Kingdom existed at all?
The Center Sect Master couple should be very old, why was their only daughter Bai Zao still so young?
There was a big gap in terms of age between two generations for the Green Mountain Sect, the Center Sect, and other major Cultivation sects.
Zhao Layue had thought that the gap was due to the heavy casualties in the battles with the Snowy Kingdom. She now knew that this was the normal situation in the Cultivation circle after being pointed out by Jing Jiu.
Any relationship in the world was reciprocal, regardless of bloodline or inheritance.
In the words of the Zen sects, this was the Cause-and-Effect.
In the words of the Daoist sects, this was the Mortal Connection.
It was the most difficult thing in a Cultivation practitioner to break off the cause-and-effect and cut off the mortal connection.
As such, it would be easier to have no cause-and-effect or mortal connection to begin with.
It was common for the Cultivation practitioners to take personal disciples or have offspring; it was because the ascension was extremely difficult to achieve.
For instance, the elders of the Green Mountain would take personal disciples after they had entered the Free Travel State, because they would be able to tell what their destinations looked like at this stage.
Those Cultivation practitioners, who had a higher Cultivation state, with outstanding talent, and wished to ascend, were usually very cautious when considering taking personal disciples and having their own offspring.
The likes of Zhao Layue and Jing Jiu were extremely rare.
Why had so many talented disciples like Luo Huainan and Guo Nanshan appeared in various sect in the last twenty some years?
It was because those important figures had seen their ends.
Because the Center Sect Master couple had seen their end, Luo Huainan, Tong Yan, and Bai Zao appeared.
That the sect master couple invited Jing Jiu to participate in the celebration, which would take place many years later, was due to this consideration.
The Sect Master of the Green Mountain had seen his end, Guo Nanshan, Lin Wuzhi, and Zuo Rusui appeared.
What was his consideration then?
Guo Dong of the Waster-Moon Nunnery traveled between the snowy White Town and the barren Southwest; what did she see then?
"Because they are certain that they have no chance of ascending, they have decided to leave behind their own cause-and- effect and mortal connection. It's another form of life continuation."
Jing Jiu stood up and walked to the cliff's edge, looking at the distant peak. "The problem is, they have already admitted defeat when they make such a decision," Jing Jiu proclaimed.
Zhao Layue suddenly felt very sad.
This should be the most sorrowful thing for a Cultivation practitioner.
Please go to https://www.readlightnovel.cc/The-Path-Toward-Heaven/
to read the latest chapters for free