Normally, Liu Shisui should just turn around and leave, or found a way to contact the Immortal Sect Master.
For some reason, he didn't leave, but started mulling over the question raised by Tong Yan.
Yet, it didn't take long for him to answer: "I don't have any opinion on what Young Master said."
Tong Yan pressed, "Almost everybody thought that Jing Jiu had been cultivating the unaffectionate Dao before he said that today. Don't you worry about it?"
Liu Shisui didn't quite understand what Tong Yan meant and asked, "What should I worry about?"
"If the paths are different, how can you two travel together?" Tong Yan offered.
By now Liu Shisui realized what he meant, feeling relieved. "Regardless of which path is taken, all we want is to climb the mountain; there is no need to climb together," he said.
Tong Yan looked at Liu Shisui quietly for a while, and suddenly said, "You are the truly smart one."
"I'm not stupid to begin with; but you are too smart, so I appear a bit stupid in comparison," Liu Shisui explained.
Tong Yan arched his light brows a little, and asked, "What are your thoughts on the outcome of the Dao Competition?"
"The Fairy Book will be my Young Master's for sure," Liu Shisui replied.
Tong Yan thought it was really redundant to ask Liu Shisui this question. "Aren't you concerned that I might reveal your identity?" he suddenly asked.
The whole Cultivation circle thought that Liu Shisui was locked in the Sword Jail for repentance. If others knew that he had left the jail, the turbulence might occur on the nine peaks of Green Mountain; for instance, the peak master of Xilai, Fang Jingtian, who came to the Cloud-Dream Mountain to observe the competition might use this incident as an excuse to make some troubles.
Liu Shisui knew that Tong Yan intended to discover something by saying that, like whether the Immortal Sect Master knew about it. Since he didn't leave, he had already been prepared for the question.
He said to Yong Yan with a smile, "Bai Zao said that the Center Sect owed me a personal debt back then; I'd like to have it repaid this time."
Tong Yan was aware that the debt was related to the death of Luo Huainan; but he didn't expect Liu Shisui to bring it up this time, wondering what he was trying to achieve.
He looked at Liu Shisui and found his smile so sincere that he couldn't help but chuckle wryly, musing that cleverness was totally meaningless before honesty.
Tong Yan didn't say anything more, nor did he look at the scene in the sky. He jumped up into the sky and flew away.
Liu Shisui had also left the cliff. He remembered what Jing Jiu told him to do, so he didn't go anywhere far.
Sese wiped away the tears on her face. She couldn't stand watching the stories in that world anymore. And she asked the young woman of the Water-Moon Nunnery to accompany her for an excursion. But, the fish in the valley suffered a good deal as a result.
Five days later, Sese felt a lot better after having eaten more than ten pieces of barbecued, boiled, and fried fish and returned to the Huiyin Valley.
As she told the young woman of the Water-Moon Nunnery about how delicious He Zhan's barbecued fish tasted, she saw He Zhan's face in the sky when she craned her neck to look up.
The face in the sky was completely different from his real appearance; it was whiter and cleaner, devoid of any beard, and look a lot more treacherous.
He wore a black overcoat and showed a cold and phlegmatic expression in his eyes while looking at a dozen generals kneeling in front of him. What he told them was even more astonishing.
"Chu State can survive another five years at most. You should be prepared to take over their West Camp and the fertile fields, and…the positions of dukes."
One day in the human world was one year in the Illusionary Realm.
Sese went to the Cloud-Dream Mountain and played for five days, by which time, in the world of the Green Sky Mirror, Grand Scholar Zhang had already been dead five years.
The remaining seven participants in the Illusionary Realm were thirty five years old. They were Bai Zao and Bai Qianjun of the Center Sect, Xi Yiyun of the One-Cottage House, He Zhan who represented the Fruit Formation Temple, and Jing Jiu and Zhuo Rusui of Green Mountain; all of them were the talented disciples of the major sects. Surprisingly, one of the remaining participants in the Dao Competition was a free-traveling practitioner named Jiang Rui.
The green bird would go and check on Jiang Rui once in a while. He was still trying his best to climb up the status ladder in a county. He had a hard time doing so, because he didn't have any powerful individual as his backer, and his Cultivation state was quite low. Yet, it was hard to understand why He Zhan would let someone who had sold him out live until now, now that He Zhan had so much power in Zhao State and since he had always used brutal methods to deal with his opponents.
In comparison to the pitiful Jiang Rui, the other six participants played the pivotal roles in the world of the Green Sky Mirror.
Emperor Bai led his army to the north several times and finally defeated the northern barbaric tribes. He and his army had slain many of their enemies, seized a great number of war horses, and obtained a large amount of fertile grassland. His military success could be called unparalleled in history. The cavalrymen of Qin State were like the sharpest weapons which no other state could resist, save for Zhao State.
It was evident that the merchants and populace of Qi State were so scared that they had sped up the process of finding more lands overseas. In the short period of five years, they had found a few large islands, where they brought and stored a large amount of precious resources. They had prepared other options besides strengthening their military prowess; and they believed that they would soon find the rumored Alien Land.
The scholar named Yun Qi had left the Scholar Palace and taught throughout Qi State and their accessory cities; he even went to overseas to teach the barbaric tribes. As such, he won a high reputation among the populace and took on a couple of thousand students, including the likes of the Qi Emperor and the state dukes of Zhao State.
Almost everybody knew the intention of those state dukes of Zhao State who became the students of Yun Qi. They intended to have this glorious title to intimidate the imperial court; buy soon they found they were mistaken. It was because the Intelligence Bureau was giving them a hard time either in their official positions or in their family business.
The Master Eunuch He was still the actual ruler of Zhao State.
All the governing orders were issued by He Zhan, not by the Emperor or the Royal Dowager who was supposed to govern behind the curtains. It was an absurd and intolerable fact in the eyes of those knowledgeable and righteous people of Zhao State. Though they had launched verbal attacks one after the other, the Eunuch He didn't pay much heed to their criticisms, since he had the loyalty from the generals in all the regions. The assassination attempts by some officials in collaboration with the merchants of Qi State failed to have any effect. The assassins couldn't even pass the defensive line of the eunuchs, let alone reach the Master Eunuch He.
As for poisoning him…there was no way the Intelligence Bureau would let it happen.
The only real danger He Zhan encountered was from the man in black who had returned from the west.
The place Zhuo Rusui chose for attack was rather remarkable; it was not in any of the counties where the defense was relatively weak, nor in the crowded street in the capital. It was inside the Intelligence Bureau.
Zhuo Rusui chose to wait on the beam inside the cleanest washroom of the Intelligence Bureau for seven day, where the toilets were all coated with gold. He had fallen asleep almost thirty times due to boredom and sleepiness, until he finally saw He Zhan.
That was a heart-wrenching battle. As the battle ended, the Intelligence Bureau looked like it had been hit by a tornado, with things scattered everywhere and over twenty eunuchs who were the highly achieved swordsmen dead.
Zhuo Rusui had proven again that he was the strongest swordsman in this world after Master Mo.
The strange movements, formidable fighting prowess and frightening willpower displayed by He Zhan in this battle made the imperial court and the merchants of Qi State despair.
In the end, He Zhan was wounded severely, and hid somewhere for over twenty days. It was rumored that he had been hiding in the palace of the Royal Dowager.
Likewise, Zhuo Rusui was severely wounded. Pursued by the Intelligence Bureau and the cavalrymen of Zhao State, he almost drowned in the ocean. Fortunately, he was saved by a scholar from the Scholar Palace of Qi State.
It took merely three days for the news to reach Chu State, but it took seventeen days to reach the Royal Palace and Jing Jiu's ears.
Isolated from the outside world, it was indeed difficult to learn what was happening outside the palace. Moreover, Jing Jiu didn't really have anything he wanted to know.
The Grand Scholar Zhang had prepared sufficiently before his death. There was abundant money both in the state bank and the royal bank; as long as the imperial court was stable, the government would go back to the normal operation easily.
After the purging of the rebellious officials, Governor Zhou promoted himself to the level of Grand Scholar, and Jing Jiu gave the royal seal to him. The other officials were also promoted to various important official positions. Jing Jiu appointed the eldest son of the Grand Scholar Zhang, who was not very competent, to the position of Chief of Taichang Temple. It was not clear if this appointment had something to do with the State Duke Lu in Zhaoge City.
At the moment, the General Pei was outside the capital guarding the borders, and the Grand Scholar Zhou was inside the imperial court governing the state. The Emperor was still the same, not taking care of the state affairs at all. The populace of Chu State lived a comfortable life. It seemed that they had revived the prosperous era when the Grand Scholar Zhang was alive. However, those knowledgeable people could tell that Chu State was on the verge of breaking down.
Though Chu State appeared to be prosperous, the declining signs inside and outside the imperial court had gradually been showing up. The issues of indulgence of luxury, overstaffed government, corruption, and inefficient officials would sooner or later come to a no-return point. Who would be able to fix all these problems before that point? The saddest part was that Chu State might be dissolved before these issues could be solved.
The first one who had his sight on Chu State of abundant resources was Emperor Bai, famous for taking the responsibility of eliminating the opponents and uniting all the states in the land.
It was the day when the cavalrymen of Qin State moved south that the Master Eunuch He arrived at the border between Zhao State and Chu State.
Looking at the fertile fields on the other side of the mountain range and the barely visible West Camp, he had made the famous statement.
The West Camp was commanded personally by General Pei. Though the army of Qin State was on its way to invade Chu State, the imperial court still didn't send him to the north, the purpose of which was to guard against the possible invasion by Zhao State.
Yet, He Zhan was not in a hurry to invade. Any formidable person would die someday; so he could afford to wait for that day.
His judgment that Chu State would be able to survive another five years was based on the fact that the General Pei could at most live for another five years.
It seemed that all the people forgot the fact that General Pei was only three years younger than the Grand Scholar Zhang…
Qin State started attacking Chu State. It was interesting enough that the cavalrymen of Qin State, famous for their swift and brutal attacks, were very cautious this time. It was unclear if they were concerned about the hidden strength of Chu State or interference from Zhao State. They moved forward slowly and carefully, and often pulled back from the frontline in the late spring. The army of Qin State had moved south by mere one hundred miles after four years.
Though Jing Jiu didn't like taking care of mortal affairs, he had no choice but to do something about it if he still wanted to continue his Cultivation in the Royal Palace.
He would read the military reports brought by the imperial court once in a while. From the acquired information, he could find an interesting fact that the army of Qin State had maintained a certain rhythm; it was this rhythm that effectively controlled the strength of the attacks of the Qin army, to ensure that the war wouldn't get out of control.
It was evident that the high-level officials of Qin State wanted to take over an undamaged Chu State, rather than a state with ruined resources. In so doing, they would be able to integrate the resources and army of Chu State into their own system in the shortest time period after conquering Chu State. Though Emperor Bai could command his army as effectively as a godly man, he was nonetheless too cruel and careless about the lives of his enemies; so it was impossible for him to achieve this feat.
Jing Jiu figured that it must be the doings of Bai Zao.
She was definitely not an ill-fated princess locked in the deep end of the Royal Palace; she was actually the true behind-scenes ruler of Qin State, similar to his situation in Chu State.
Jing Jiu was certain that it was Bai Zao who had planned the whole strategy; so he knew clearly what Qin State would want to achieve. Unfortunately, he had no way to change the course of what was going to happen.
In the fourth winter after the outbreak of the war between Qin State and Chu State and on an ordinary day, the General Pei closed his eyes forever in his tent, pursuing after the Grand Scholar Zhang.
This news was like a fire, setting the wild grass ablaze, which was growing aggressively when anyone took care of it.
Even the wild grass was ambitious.
Seventy thousand cavalrymen of Qin State marched south from Cangzhou. They were roaming on the mountains and fields, with no regard for damage they might cause during the march and possible attacks from the Chu army. They rushed toward the capital of Chu State in a seemingly outlandish manner.
The more outlandish act was that more than a hundred thousand light cavalry soldiers of Zhao State laid siege to the West Camp from three different directions within seven days. It was then that they launched their muted attack.
Please go to https://www.readlightnovel.cc/The-Path-Toward-Heaven/
to read the latest chapters for free