All the participants in the Dao Competition in the Illusionary Realm of the Green Sky Mirror were their spiritual souls; so was Jing Jiu.
Without the physical body, Jing Jiu, as a spiritual soul, could employ the Underworld Fairy Sword at an unimaginably high speed. Even those swordsmen in the Yuanying State couldn't handle it.
Jing Jiu didn't respond to Master Mo, as he was recovering his zhenqi in silence.
Master Mo left the ruins and walked to the snow covered ground. The numerous tiny holes on his body opened up again, shooting out countless tiny bloody arrows.
It seemed that Master Mo didn't feel anything. As he came to the front of Jing Jiu, he stopped short.
He could sense that his life force was leaving him and the heavenly opportunity was slipping away. Thinking of what Jing Jiu said about recalling the past experiences earlier, Master Mo couldn't help but feel sentimental.
This sort of sentiment was not the same as regret. It was because he wanted to do both, to have the opportunity to look at the scenes in heaven and to fight for a better future for human beings.
Yet, he was a bit resentful because these two things occurred at the same time, and he had to make a choice.
In the end, he didn't wield his sword toward the sky, so he missed this opportunity. It was perhaps because he had the instinctive fear of the unknowns on the other side of the sky.
Master Mo said to Jing Jiu, "Unfortunately, we can only choose once."
"Yes," Jing Jiu said, "it's very regretful."
Master Mo didn't say anything more. He sat down on the snowy ground slowly and raised the sleeve to wipe the beads of blood off his face; then he closed his eyes and bid his farewell to this world.
The wind and snow had stopped a while ago, and it was quiet all over the place.
Zhuo Rusui sealed the spot where his arm broke off and had been bleeding, and turned the wheelchair around.
Tong Yan's face was pale as he breathed heavily. He raised his bushy eyebrows quite high, meaning he was tremendously puzzled. "What are you afraid that I will find out?" he asked Jing Jiu.
Jing Jiu replied, "You have already guessed it; but I won't admit it. So don't say anything more and just die."
Tong Yan smiled a little with a regretful expression in his eyes; and then his head drooped to his shoulder; his breathing stopped.
Liu Shisui pulled himself up to a sitting position with a great deal of effort. "It's quite painful," he said while panting.
The bloody hole in his chest was fairly big, and looked horrific. The excruciating pain he was experiencing was obvious.
Master Mo's Cultivation state was truly high; if Liu Shisui hadn't used such a brutal method to lock his sword, the Underworld Fairy Sword would have had a hard time killing him.
"There is no need to hold onto your life. Leave here now," Jing Jiu told Liu Shisui.
Though he was the Chu Emperor, he had killed the son of King Jing, who came to the Royal Palace by his order. Turmoil would inevitably ensue.
Liu Shisui, as his bodyguard, would have to die sooner or later.
Liu Shisui pulled out his sword and pressed it to his neck. As he was about to slice the sword downward, he suddenly thought of something. "Your Majesty, what actually is our relationship?"
Jing Jiu said, "You'll find it out when you get out of here."
"Then, I'll leave here first," Liu Shisui said.
"Wait for me outside; don't go anywhere far," Jing Jiu said.
Liu Shisui promised; then he sliced the sword slightly across his neck, dying by his own hand.
Though Zhuo Rusui was wounded severely, his life was not threatened. As a famous assassin in the Illusionary Realm, he must have a way to escape from the Royal Palace.
Before his departure, he asked Jing Jiu a question.
"What is so special about your sword?"
He was talking about their fight in the valley where Bai Zao cultivated before entering the Illusionary Realm. Zhuo Rusui felt it odd even back then. Jing Jiu's sword apparently looked like an ordinary one; but his Sword Source would slow down a bit whenever his sword encountered Jing Jiu's.
There were many strange traits about that iron sword. Jing Jiu knew what Zhuo Rusui wanted to find out, saying, "My sword is poisonous."
Thinking of his usual demeanor, Zhuo Rusui said with a shrug, "Senior Master, I think you are also poisonous as a person."
The quietness inside the palace gate aroused even more anxiety for those outside the palace gate. The Grand Scholar couldn't wait like this any longer.
With a loud booming sound, the palace gate was bumped open by the soldiers of the royal army using a heavy log.
The Grand Scholar reproached those who advised against his entering the gate and walked into the palace ahead of everybody else. Seeing the scene before him, his expression changed abruptly. The Grand Scholar Zhang ordered all the others to get out, and no one was allowed to enter the palace without permission.
The chancellors and the royal army obeyed his order and retreated. And they raised the curtains around the palace to prevent anyone from peeking into the palace. The Grand Scholar turned around only after he watched with an icy expression and made sure that all the curtains were set up properly.
Seeing the blood in the snow and the horrendous scene, his face was a bit ashen. "This is unnecessary," he murmured, his body swaying sideways slightly.
Master Mo sat on the ground, covered in blood, his eyes closed. He was dead.
The son of King Jing sat in the wheelchair, his head drooping to the shoulder. He had no breath in him.
The thin and dark bodyguard who had always stayed close to the Emperor was dead as well. There was a large, bloody hole in his chest, and a horrifying bloody line on his neck.
The Grand Scholar walked to the front of Jing Jiu. It took a great deal of his effort to cover such a short distance. The wrinkles on his face grew deeper, as if he had grown a few years older all of a sudden.
Jing Jiu remarked nonchalantly, "The son of King Jing and Master Mo collaborated to assassinate this emperor. My bodyguard died with them while trying to protect me."
The Grand Scholar knew that this was not the truth, and the Emperor only made up an explanation. "Your Majesty…why did you have to do it?" he asked with a bitter smile.
Jing Jiu said, "The son of King Jing had guessed some of my ideas, so he had to die."
The Grand Scholar said regretfully, "Now that this happened, King Jing will either join Zhao State or Qin State, or he will rebel against you. Chu State would have no chance to rule the world. Your Majesty has no concern about it?"
Jing Jiu said, "You are well aware of what those scholars and residents making troubles outside the palace are thinking. It's a normal thing to fear and try to avoid the wars; there is nothing wrong with it. But if I want to rule the world, the people of Chu State cannot be relied on to achieve it."
Chu State had enjoyed a long period of peace, so the people of Chu State were weak and unaggressive. They all wanted to be taken good care of by their imperial court. They loathed any possibility of danger, suffering, and homelessness.
Such people were merely suitable for being submissive dwellers of the state, not for anything else.
"With enough time, all this can be changed."
The Grand Scholar looked at Jing Jiu and said painstakingly, "Though I'm old, Your Majesty is still young."
"All I can do is to change those people around me," said Jing Jiu. "I'm not willing to nor can I change all the people in the world. It would be too tiring and troublesome."
The Grand Scholar Zhang needed to deal with the consequence of the assassination attempt in the Royal Palace and the subsequent chaos in the capital. He didn't have time to recuperate, and left the Royal Palace in a hurry. But he didn't forget to ask his subordinates to clean up the blood and corpses in the snow before his departure, just like what he did after the first assassination attempt on Jing Jiu in the early morning many years ago.
The turbulence outside the Royal Palace and the assassinations and arsons in the capital had all been suppressed. The weeping and swearing could be heard everywhere in the city.
Those scholars and residents who were worried about the safety of the son of King Jing were dispersed by the royal army. But they had spread many rumors, which were detrimental to Jing Jiu's reputation.
They claimed that the thunder and lightning in the snowy sky were the signs that the heavenly father was displeased with the Emperor for his wrongdoings.
Many chancellors advised the Grand Scholar to not employ the forceful method to suppress the discontent of the people. And a dozen chancellors attempted to utilize this opportunity to force the Emperor to step down.
The Grand Scholar got furious and tossed these chancellors into the prison.
One night, the Grand Scholar entered the palace to meet the Emperor. He reported in great details about the situation in the imperial court and the reactions of Cangzhou.
Though the son of King Jing came to the Royal Palace with the idea of killing the Emperor, the problem was that he was dead and the Emperor was still alive. As a result, nobody believed in the explanation given by the imperial court.
In order to appease the inhabitants of the city, the imperial court had to do something; and the Emperor should do something himself.
"I think it's acceptable for me to be overthrown or exiled."
Jing Jiu pulled his black hair behind his head and tied it with a cotton ribbon, as he continued, "But don't attempt to kill me."
The Grand Scholar of course would consider the option of overthrowing the Emperor, though he had realized a long time ago that Jing Jiu didn't want the position of emperor in the first place.
If the throne were empty, those useless kings would come out to contend for it; and King Jing in the distant Cangzhou might do something more radical.
The Grand Scholar said after some thought, "Your Majesty writes a decree to denounce yourself, and then locks yourself up in the Cold Palace."
"Fine," said Jing Jiu.
The Grand Scholar sighed inwardly, and stood up, heading for the outside of the grand hall.
As he was about to step over the doorsill, the Grand Scholar suddenly thought of a possibility. He turned to Jing Jiu and asked with a gleam in his eyes, "Your Majesty, do you want to have a son?"
"No!" Jing Jiu's answer was succinct and clear.
It was late at night. The bloody snow water outside the grand hall was cleaned up, ridding of the bloody smell. The palace gate was also repaired.
The green bird came over while flapping her wings. She landed on the windowsill and stared back at Jing Jiu.
"Thank you," Jing Jiu said.
He seldom thanked anybody, because he rarely needed help from others.
The green bird flew away from the Go board as Master Mo entered the Royal Palace today. Standing high up on the eaves, she cleverly chose a perspective from which the Cultivation practitioners in the real world could only see the dying of Master Mo, but they couldn't see Jing Jiu attacking him. At the moment, Tong Yan was sitting in the wheelchair, his back facing the pavilion; so Tong Yan couldn't see the scene either.
There is no unfounded love and hatred in the world. Any help needs a reward. But sometimes the reward is mental in nature.
However, the green bird didn't belong to any one of the sort. "I hope that you can help me understand one issue."
"Tell me then," Jing Jiu prompted.
The green bird asked, "Do you know why Master Mo could see the reality?"
At the time, Maser Mo stood in the snow. He saw the reality after glancing at the bird in the sky.
As a result, the thunder and lightning occurred, generating the heavenly barrier.
Yet, the green bird didn't care about this matter; otherwise, she wouldn't have left those imprints of her feet in the snow, helping Master Mo see the reality more clearly.
Jing Jiu said, "Only the real ones can see the reality. And such a thing will happen more often in the Illusionary Realm."
"Why?" the green bird demanded.
Staring at her eyes, Jing Jiu said meaningfully, "You have to ask yourself for the answer."
The green bird understood what he meant, falling silent for a long time.
If Master Mo woke up and became a real life, what would happen to her, a spirit of the Green Sky Mirror?
In other words, it was because she had undergone certain imperceptible changes at certain moment, making such incidents occur in the Green Sky Mirror.
When was the moment then?
The green bird realized that it was the time she had to lie to the Immortal Bai.
Staring into Jing Jiu's eyes, she demanded with a hint of fear and expectation, "What…are you?"
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