Due to secretive and personal reasons, Jian Ruyun, ranked fourth on Liangwang Peak, had been cautious about Liu Shisui the entire time.
Back when Liu Shisui was interrogated by Shangde Peak, the Zuo Yi case was mentioned. More than ten years later, the case was mostly forgotten by a vast majority of people, though not by Jian Ruyun.
Through the connection he had in his clan, he found out that Zuo Yi had visited the Curtain Rollers before his death. Zuo Yi had an old friend among the Curtain Rollers, who was seemingly investigated by Shenmo Peak as well.
All this strengthened his determination to investigate the case further.
Because Jian Ruyun was worried that some people on the Green Mountain might cover up the clues for Shenmo Peak, he didn't tell anybody about his suspicions, and he intended to investigate the case all by himself.
However, his action would draw attention; so he asked his younger brother Jian Rushan to conduct the investigation for him. Jian Rushan had an ordinary ranking on Liangwang Peak, so he wouldn't draw attention as much as Jian Ruyun would. As expected, Jian Rushan's departure was actually not noticed by anybody. He followed the clues to Jianli City.
Though he didn't get any useful information from the Curtain Rollers, at least he was certain that the Curtain Rollers were trying to cover up something, and that was good enough as far as he was concerned.
Jian Rushan believed that he had figured things out. He felt a bit nervous and couldn't even breathe evenly.
He was inside a quiet ruined temple. There was a bonfire in the middle of the temple, and he could only hear the sound of his own breathing.
His breathing felt fairly labored, as if it were as heavy as a mountain. He also felt a heavy burden on his shoulders; that weight was the responsibility of a disciple of the Green Mountain.
The wavering flame in the bonfire lit his face, making him look bright now and gloomy then, befitting his grave expression.
Jing Jiu had most likely paid somebody to carry out the assassination…
Neither Jian Ruyun nor Jian Rushan thought that Liu Shisui had killed Senior Master Zuo Yi of Bihu Peak. It was because Liu Shisui had just entered the inner gate and was in a very low Cultivation state at the time, and he was also at the time very naïve and kind. So he must have covered up for somebody, and it was easy to guess who that person was.
They didn't think that Jing Jiu would do it himself, because Jing Jiu was in a low Cultivation state himself at the time, so he had no chance of killing Zuo Yi of the Undefeated State. He had to pay an assassin to do the job. However, neither Jian Ruyun nor Jian Rushan could figure out how he had brought that assassin to the Green Mountain.
After finding out the clues from the Curtain Rollers, Jian Rushan could now ride his sword to head back to the south. But he felt that the evidence was not adequate to accuse Liu Shisui, which is why he decided to go to the Mirror Sect to visit a friend of his, so he could keep on investigating the case following the clue.
Thinking of Liu Shisui's relationship with Shenmo Peak, and the events of Liu Shisui joining the Old Ones and killing Luo Huainan, Jian Rushan felt this matter was truly complicated; the more he thought about it, the worse his headache grew, and he even felt dizzy. If he were not dizzy, why would the bonfire in front of him have turned a bizarre blue color?
As he was thinking about it, he suddenly recalled the initial lessons he had learned after joining Liangwang Peak. His Big Brothers told him in the sternest tone that he must remember certain details.
There was a colorless flame in the world, and it would change to blue color when it encountered real flame.
Jian Rushan was stunned, displaying a bewildered expression. Without hesitation, he summoned his sword and was about to ride it to flee.
Unfortunately, it was too late. The flames in the bonfire shot up violently, licking the roof, filling the whole ruined temple.
Though the gloomy blue flame looked extremely violent, neither the old beams supporting the roof or the broken curtain in front of the Buddha statue was ablaze. They stayed intact.
The gloomy blue flame seemed to have no tangible temperature.
"The Soul-Fire!" Jian Rushan yelled sharply.
He wielded his flying sword in all directions, emitting a blinding glow!
He was certain by now that the enemy was a devil of the Underworld. His nervousness reached an extreme point.
The Underworld and the human had been at peace for over two hundred years, and at the very least, the devils of the Underworld had seldom shown up in the human world; this was his first time engaging in such a battle.
Without temperature, the Soul-Fire was quite lethal to the Cultivation practitioners of Chaotian. It was because it could pollute and even swallow the Cultivation practitioners' Golden Pills or Sword Pills.
The worst part was that the Soul-Fire was soundless, and hard to extinguish by sword. Cultivation practitioners would use the magic treasure light to suppress and cleanse the Soul-Fire, or risk being contaminated by a small amount of the Soul-Fire to kill the devil man of the Underworld; these were two usual methods of dealing with the Soul-Fire of the Underworld devil men.
Jian Rushan was a regular disciple of the Green Mountain, and didn't have any magic treasure; and his sword cultivation wasn't sufficient to extinguish the Soul-Fire. His only hope was to kill that devil by wielding his flying sword. Yet, he had already realized that this devil man must be a projected shadow of a highly achieved swordsman, that his tangible body should be somewhere far under the Abyss, and that his flying sword had no chance of cutting him tangibly. As expected, the Soul-Fire was still shooting up from the bonfire after the high-speed and bright sword light had pierced countless holes on all three layers of the walls of the ruined temple as well as the forest outside the temple.
Jian Rushan shouted loudly in despair, calling back his flying sword and wielding it toward the gloomy blue flame.
The Soul-Fire dispersed when encountering the sword wind, but it drifted back again in the next moment. The Soul-Fire fell down onto Jian Rushan like a transparent blue light crown.
Jian Rushan sat down cross-legged with gritted teeth and closed his eyes. He tried his best to maintain his Dao Heart and covered his whole body with the Protective Sword to resist being sucked into the Soul-Fire.
The flying sword shot up into the sky, emitting bright glow in the dark night sky. This was the help signal.
Whoosh!!! Whoosh!!! Whoosh!!!
A horrifying sound filled the ruined temple. It sounded like tens of thousands of silkworms gnawing at the mulberry leaves, and also sounded like a burning hot iron inserting slowly into the icy cold water.
The gloomy blue Soul-Fire fell down on Jian Rushan constantly, and the Protective Sword covering his body was getting weaker by the second. He was on the verge of capitulating.
Jian Rushan opened his eyes, revealing an expression mixed with despair and struggle.
He faced two choices at the moment: withdrawing the Protective Sword and forcing his way out of the ruined temple, or persisting in this manner.
No matter what choice he would make, the end result unquestionable: death…that is, unless he had acquired the Sword Body, and then he would have the chance of resisting the Soul-Fire with his body of flesh.
A brief moment of hesitation had put the last nail to the coffin. The Soul-Fire had corroded his Protective Sword and fallen on his clothes and face, then entered his flesh.
Jian Rushan screamed painfully, and he could no longer maintain his Dao Heart. The corrosion of the Soul-Fire had sped up and instantly burned Jian Rushan to few wisps of green smoke, with a bit remaining ashes.
A sword light arrived through the dark night sky in front of the ruined temple with bone-piercing cold intent.
The light snowfall didn't weaken the flame in the bonfire of the ruined temple; it actually made it stronger but the residual of the Soul-Fire had gradually faded away, until it vanished without a trace.
Duan Liantian walked into the ruined temple, his expression extremely grave.
He was the new elder of Shangde Peak, and famous for his cruelty. It was he who interrogated Liu Shisui after Liu stole and ate the Devil Pill and practiced the secret methods of the deviant sects.
It was during his investigation of the case that he discovered Liu Shisui was related to the death of Zuo Yi of Bihu Peak.
Recently there were some gossip on the nine peaks. Duan Liantian recalled this unsolved case and restarted his investigation of it. Like Jian Ruyun, he had also found some clues to the case.
To put it more precisely, Duan Liantian found that a friend of Zuo Yi was a member of the Curtain Rollers in Jianli City.
He came to Jianli City this day, but found someone had been here before him.
As he was feeling alarmed and puzzled in the Immortal House, he suddenly saw a flash of sword light outside the city.
That sword light was very bright, illuminating a large part of the night sky.
That was the warning and help signal sent up by the disciples of the Green Mountain!
Without hesitation, Duan Liantian headed toward the outskirts of the city as quickly as he could. Then he found this ruined temple, but saw nothing in it except for a pile of bonfire.
The bonfire meant that somebody had been here. But where was the person? The temple walls were broken and its beams were damaged. Who had fought here?
Duan Liantian took out a bronze mirror and pointed it to the surroundings of the ruined temple.
This bronze mirror was called the Inspecting Light, made by the achieved craftsman at the Mirror Sect. Every member of the Curtain Rollers in each city had one.
The elders and disciples of Shangde Peak usually brought one with them because they needed it for investigating cases and tracing the suspects.
Seeing the blurry scenes revealed by the bronze mirror, Duan Liantian was quite troubled, his expression terrible.
The person in the scenes was a devil of the Underworld!
As he was about to check the traces and clues further, more snowflakes had suddenly fallen down.
These snowflakes were much bigger than those when he rode the sword.
As the sword light was retrieved, Chi Yan appeared in the ruined temple.
Duan Liantian was startled to see him here, and he approached Chi Yan and bowed in courtesy, "Greetings, Big Brother."
Chi Yan looked around and furrowed his eyebrows slightly.
"One disciple of ours has died here. I don't know which peak he was from," said Duan Liantian.
Chi Yan said, "Let's go back first, then talk about it."
The look on Duan Liantian's face changed a little, but he said nothing while staring at Chi Yan.
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