Bai Zao said, "Big Brother Tong Yan doesn't know either, and he wouldn't even tell me where he had been to."
Her earlier feeling that something might happen soon had something to do with this.
Tong Yan had disappeared for a while three years ago. And he didn't tell anybody what had happened after his return to the Cloud-Dream Mountain.
Jing Jiu thought about it for a moment and said, "No need to worry."
Since Jing Jiu said there was nothing to worry about, Bai Zao felt a lot better.
Though her Cultivation state was much higher than his, she had an unbelievable trust in him maybe because of her experience in the snowland.
She suddenly noticed that Jing Jiu wore a cotton cloth that day.
She raised her hand and ran her fingers across the rough surface of the cotton robe. "Where is your white cloth?" she asked curiously.
Jing Jiu said, "The white cloth was made of the silk of the natural silkworms; very rare."
In fact, there were still many of those white clothes on Shenmo Peak; but one cloth used was one less had.
He had three of the white clothes destroyed in the Fiend Prison, making him feel ill at ease. So he chose to wear the cotton cloth after coming out from the Fiend Prison.
"The silk of the natural silkworms…is it the silk of that cocoon…in the snowland?"
Bai Zao asked this question with a slight flush on her face.
"It should be similar," Jing Jiu replied.
Bai Zhao seemed to reflect on something because she looked at Jing Jiu blankly.
Jing Jiu didn't notice it. He reached out his hand to catch a begonia flower falling down from the tree overhead, remaining silent.
No matter how precious and rare the silk of the natural silkworms was, it could be found, but the young woman who had made a cloth out of the silk of the natural silkworms for herself…she would never want to do it again.
The twilight became even brighter at the moment, and the flower petals displayed more peculiar colors, resembling the iridescence of the green valley in the Fiend Prison.
Jing Jiu recalled the Underworld Emperor, his Big Brother's diary, and the "known person". All of a sudden, he wanted to go there and have a look.
Over the great many years, regardless of whether he was on Shangde Peak or Shenmo Peak, Jing Jiu seldom had the urge to go to other places and visit a known person.
However, the idea generated naturally in his mind that day, and it was very undisputable.
Yet, he didn't intend to meet Guo Dong.
That woman was too troublesome.
And yet, he would go and take a look at her.
As Jing Jiu was looking at the flower petal in his palm, Bai Zao was looking at his face. They had their own reflections.
A young couple stood under the tree shone on by the setting sun; it was an excellent and attractive scene.
The crisp sound of a bell suddenly burst out.
Bai Zao turned around and saw a youth of fourteen or fifteen years standing by the door of the backyard with a nervous expression.
She thought that this youth probably saw her look at Jing Jiu vacantly, so she felt a bit embarrassed. "I'll come and talk to you about something in a few days," she told Jing Jiu.
Jing Jiu said, "I'll leave Zhaoge City soon."
Bai Zao thought he would return to Green Mountain. Though she felt disappointed, she didn't say anything, except that she reminded him of not forgetting the Cloud-Dream Meeting that would take place a few years later. Then she bid her farewell.
The regular folks would tell each other not to forget the dinner party a few days later when they bid farewells to each other.
But the Cultivation practitioners made their appointments in terms of years.
The difference would make people feel sad.
But both had their sad parts…and their reasons.
After Bai Zao left the Jing House, the white cat sauntered out from behind Jing Li, the bell on his neck making that crisp sound.
Jing Li's face was red from ear to ear, and he was on the verge of crying, as he blurted out, "Little…Little Uncle, I didn't do it on purpose."
Jing Jiu knew that it was Liu Ada who forced Jing Li to come over, so Jing Jiu wouldn't blame him for it.
As for why Liu Ada would come here to interrupt the conversation between Jing Jiu and Bai Zao, Jing Jiu figured it out already, though he might have had a problem understanding it before.
"Never mind; go play."
Jing Jiu picked up the white cat from the ground and walked to his room while holding the cat to his chest.
After Jing Li was certain that the cat was indeed his uncle's and not a devil animal, he laughed happily, running toward the backyard while clapping his hands; his laughter was as crisp as the ringing of the bell.
The twilight disappeared, and night fell. Many lights were lit in the living room. Jing Li talked to his family members in a low voice while eating the supper.
Jing Jiu sat in the shadow in his room and looked at the fallen flower in his hand in silence.
It was just then that Gu Qing returned to the Jing House from the Royal Palace after finishing his work there.
He had been living here in the past three years. It was only in the last ten days that he and the Jing family stayed at the Zhao Manor after being invited.
Speaking of which, the business association of the Gu Clan was resentful about it.
Yet, it was Zhaoge City. No matter how well the Gu Clan took care of the Jing family and how wealthy they were, they had no chance of contending with the Zhao Manor.
Gu Qing went to the living room first, and asked about Jing Li's study and Jing Shang's work at Taichang Temple as usual. He couldn't help but be stunned when he heard what Jing Li told him.
He cupped his hands and turned around, leaving the living room under the pleasant stares of the Jing family.
He came to the room as quickly as he could, and pushed open the room door. "Master, you are back!" he exclaimed joyfully.
As he said this, he had already bowed to the ground.
Jing Jiu put away the flower in his palm. "Rise," he said while looking at Gu Qing.
Gu Qing felt happy, and a bit curious…not to mention worried. He looked at Jing Jiu and intended to say something, but he ultimately didn't say a word.
"I've been in the Fiend Prison for the last three years."
"The problem of the Sword Ghost has been solved."
"The person who escaped from the Fiend Prison was me."
"It was I who let the Underworld Emperor out."
Jing Jiu used four simple sentences to answer all the questions Gu Qing had for him. And Jing Jiu didn't forget to add, "Do you think what I did was inappropriate?"
By now Gu Qing had already learned all the information, and guessed that the reason his Master came to Zhaoge City and entered the Fiend Prison was seeking the Underworld Emperor to find a method of solving the problem of the Sword Ghost.
As for whether what Jing Jiu did was inappropriate or not: Actually, nothing he did was appropriate. Jing Jiu, as a Green Mountain disciple, entered the Fiend Prison in secret, met the Underworld Emperor, learned the deviant method of the Underworld, and in the end, let out the Underworld Emperor, which led to the death of the Old Dragon, the divine guardian animal of the Center Sect.
Gu Qing became a sword attendant on Liangwang Peak at a young age, and what he had received was the traditional education of the Gu family and the Green Mountain Sect. As a result, he had a hard time understanding what Jing Jiu had done. Yet, he was Jing Jiu's disciple, so there was no way he would reprimand Jing Jiu for what he did. All he could say was: "Master…this sort of thing is too dangerous; you should be careful in the future."
Reflecting on the three years in the Fiend Prison, the most troublesome moment for Jing Jiu was not when he was suddenly intercepted by the spiritual soul of the Old Dragon. The situation was under his control until then. He believed that the Underworld Emperor knew his idea, just like he knew the Underworld Emperor's idea.
The most dangerous moment was not witnessed by anybody, including those of the Heavenly Arrival State in the Empty Realm.
It was the moment that the Old Dragon employed the Heaven and Earth in a Jar again and transformed himself into a small black snake in the mud; and the white cat stared at him in the ruins, ready to pounce on him and to tear him into pieces.
If Jing Jiu hadn't appeared like a ghost and stopped the white cat in time, it was inevitable that the Center Sect and the Green Mountain Sect would have started a war, no matter what he, his Big Brother, the Emperor, and the Fruit Formation Temple thought of it, or how they would negotiate.
Fortunately, it didn't happen.
"I'm going to leave here. What are your plans?" Jing Jiu asked Gu Qing.
Gu Qing thought about it and said, "This disciple would like to go back to Green Mountain to cultivate; but…if Master wants me to stay in Zhaoge City, I'll stay."
Jing Jiu said, "Though the matter here is important, it isn't as important as your Cultivation. Three years is enough. You go back as well then."
Gu Qing was pleased, thinking that he could finally return to Green Mountain now, and wondering how those monkeys on the peak were doing.
Along with the ringing of the bell, the white cat jumped onto the windowsill and meowed once, as if to say "Go back…quickly."
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