Jing Jiu's Cultivation progression had been quite smooth in this life; one could even call it effortless and unstoppable.
When he had broken through the Spiritual Stability State that was relatively difficult to enter and relied mostly on time for its attainment, Zhao Layue might not enter the Free Travel State earlier than him, and he could proceed at the same pace.
However, as Jing Jiu was about to break through the Undefeated State after the attainment of the Inherited Will State, he had already anticipated the problem.
As such, he had hesitated for a long time as to when to enter the Undefeated State. During the three years of his traveling with Zhao Layue, something he couldn't make up his mind about.
It wasn't until the Sword Trial on Green Mountain, in which Liu Shisui was expelled from the mountain gate and his meridians were broken off, that he decided to enter the Undefeated State. And his suspicions had been confirmed later on.
Though he had entered the Undefeated State successfully, the problem remained; he couldn't retrieve the flying sword into his body, and he had to wrap it with cloth and carry it on his back.
During the zither tournament, many Cultivation practitioners saw him carrying the sword on his back and felt surprised; and Tong Lu had even mocked him for it. Yet, nobody knew that he had no other choice but to do so.
Jing Jiu was fully aware of the reason, but he hadn't expected it to be such a problem when he was to break through the Free Travel State.
To enter the Free Travel State from the Undefeated State, the practitioner needed a more sufficient Sword Source and a more peaceful Dao Heart, the key part being that the practitioner could attach the spiritual soul to the Sword Pill and nurture it together with the flying sword until the heart and will were truly connected and the spiritual will was generated, this being the so-called "Sword Ghost".
The Free Travel State usually meant that the practitioner in this state could wield the sword fifty miles away and that the practitioner could ride the sword traveling anywhere with ease. But, the actual situation was that the Cultivation practitioner in the Free Travel State could make the Sword Ghost drift away from the body and travel around freely, driven by the sword will alone.
The Sword Ghost was also called the sword demon or sword spirit in some other Cultivation sects. It could embody the spiritual soul of the practitioner, and it could actually be regarded as the second body of the practitioner, like the Yuanying of the mysterious Daoist sects.
The Yuanying of the mysterious Daoist sects was the most secretive thing of the Cultivation practitioners, so was the Sword Ghost.
In comparison to the Cultivation practitioner, the Sword Ghost was much smaller and weaker and easy to harm.
Naturally, as the practitioners improved their Cultivation state, their Sword Ghost would become stronger as well and harder to be damaged. If the Cultivation practitioner became a figure in the Heavenly Arrival State, the sword will of the Sword Ghost could be as powerful as the real sword, and it would even be compared to the natural shapeless Sword Body!
Besides the Cultivation state of the practitioner, the strength of the Sword Ghost also had something to do with the quality of the flying sword.
A flying sword of the Fairy State would of course produce a powerful Sword Ghost more easily.
And the Sword Ghost and the flying sword were the common spirit of the Cultivation practitioner. Once it had formed, it would be extremely hard for the Cultivation practitioner to separate from his flying sword.
As such, if the Cultivation practitioners wanted to change their flying sword with a high-level one, it was better to do so before entering the Free Travel State.
When Zhao Layue entered the Free Travel State, the Thoughtless Sword wasn't by her side; still, it had already accepted its master, and its sword will was everywhere on Shenmo Peak.
Another reason Zhao Layue could have successfully formed the Sword Ghost in the absence of the Thoughtless Sword was because she spent many years working hard on Sword Peak.
She had a formed shapeless Sword Body, so it would be much easier for her to form the Sword Ghost than other Cultivation practitioners.
This was a troublesome situation for Jing Jiu.
And he had never thought of changing the sword.
Though the iron sword left by the Immortal Master Mo had a low initial state level, Jing Jiu knew full well that the sword would improve with the person using it, this being based on his experience of cultivating sword for two lives.
But, at the moment he couldn't merge the iron sword into the Sword Pill. How could he nurture the spiritual soul? And how could he form the Sword Ghost?
Now that the issue was identified, the next thing was to find a way to retrieve the iron sword into his body.
After having thought about it for more than ten days, Jing Jiu had come up with more than seventy potential methods, but as he tried using them them with the Sword Awareness, all of them failed miserably.
Back when he was in the small village where the Liu family was, he used one year to deduce and predict many things…except for this.
It was because he had never had to worry about his Cultivation, and yet he had encountered a big problem in this aspect.
He was quite embarrassed by the fact.
Looking at the iron sword in front of him for a long time in silence, Jing Jiu suddenly opened his mouth wide.
Fortunately, Jing Jiu came back to his senses in time and felt it absurd, thinking that he wasn't someone in an acrobatic troupe, so it was indeed ridiculous to think about swallowing the sword!
Having experienced one failure after another, Jing Jiu was certain that his sword Cultivation in this life would be different from the Green Mountain Sect or even all the sword sects of Chaotian.
He had to choose an utterly different path this time.
A few more days had passed, and he had made up his mind.
This time he didn't try to retrieve the iron sword back to his body to nurture it with the spiritual soul, but rather, he used the secret method of the Drifting Soul of the Bloody Demon Sect, in which he let the spiritual soul drift off the body.
Under the circumstances, he had no other choice but to try even the methods of the deviant sects.
Jing Jiu was not yet in the Free Travel State, so normally his spiritual soul should be very small and weak, having no way to drift off the body. However, his spirit and Sword Awareness were so powerful that his spiritual soul had actually drifted off his body, which looked like a ball of gloomy fire ignited without paper, drifting up and down in midair with the wind.
Jing Jiu looked at that fireball in silence.
The fire-like spiritual soul drifted slowly onto the iron sword, making a zapping sound that resembled the sound of a drop of water falling into a coal stove.
Jing Jiu summoned it without hesitation.
The spiritual soul had returned to his body as quickly as possible.
But it was too late.
He spewed out a mouthful of fresh blood onto the cliff wall.
When the spiritual soul was harmed, it would instantly project the damage to the awareness and multiply it a few times over.
In an instant, he experienced a terrible pain worse than being cut by a small blade little by little, his face turning pale.
Even in this extremely dangerous and painful situation, he didn't make any sound and his eyes still showed a peaceful expression.
He closed his eyes to recuperate, and he was certain that his spiritual soul was merely weakened a little, without any major damage.
A few minutes later, he opened his eyes and looked at the blood stains on the cliff wall, feeling a bit worried.
This wasn't the first time he bled. Back at the Sword Trial on Green Mountain, he bled when he had broken Guo Nanshan's Blue-Sea Sword.
He wasn't worried about Fang Jingtian either.
Back when he decided to return to Green Mountain to restart his Cultivation, the safety was the most important concern, save for the problem of convenience.
Liu Ci and Yuan Qijing were both here, so it was impossible for them to see him in trouble and not help.
But it seemed that Liu Ci and Yuan Qijing wouldn't even be able to solve his problem in Cultivation; what should he do then?
In the Fruit Formation Temple faraway, Liu Shisui encountered a problem similar to Jing Jiu's.
He didn't have any experience in studying the Buddhist methods, and he had never had any knowledge of the Zen Sect.
Back then, Jing Jiu had taught him to read for merely one year. If it wasn't Xiwang Sun who taught him for a while, he probably wouldn't be able to read this Script.
Well, even though he could understand the meaning of the words in the Script, he still couldn't comprehend the deep meaning of the sentences.
Liu Shisui had been mulling over the Script day and night while gazing at it, and he grew increasingly more anxious. His hair was even on the verge of falling out.
Xiao He was worried that he might become a real monk if he kept going like this.
The days passed.
It was late winter, and the yellow-colored temple was covered by the white snow. Yet, Liu Shisui hadn't made any progress.
One day, he suddenly felt that the zhenyuan in his body started stirring slightly, and he knew it would act up soon, his expression turning grim.
Xiao He suggested hesitantly, "How about…I go steal a monk and bring him back?"
Liu Shisui was stunned speechless, as if he had just swallowed a sword.
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