The mountain breeze blew into the temple, making the Qin Emperor feel a bit chilly.
He looked at Jing Jiu before him, his face considerably pale. Though he had calmed down a little by now, he somehow still couldn't quite grasp what was going on.
Chu State had been conquered over thirty years ago, and the fire in the Royal Palace had almost been forgotten by everybody. Unexpectedly, this person was still alive, and he had been hiding in the temple of Buzhou Mountain!
The small temple was the residence of the godly commissioner. Besides himself, someone who had the qualification to obtain the Tripod as the ruler of the world, nobody was supposed to step over the doorsill of the temple.
Staring into Jing Jiu's eyes, he asked Jing Jiu bafflingly, "How can you be here?"
"I've been here the entire time," said Jing Jiu.
The Qin Emperor was furious and exclaimed, "It's impossible! I have sent numerous kamikaze swordsmen to come here over the years; nobody has returned to Xianyang. Why did the godly commissioner let you stay?!"
By then, Jing Jiu had realized where those people who came here to disturb his Cultivation and quietness were from. "I killed them," he said.
The Qin Emperor was baffled again. He looked at Jing Jiu's eyes and asked uncertainly, "You killed them? Where is the godly commissioner?"
"There is no godly commissioner here," Jing Jiu said.
The Qin Emperor showed an expression of disbelief on his face. He looked around the temple, but didn't find anybody else.
Jing Jiu started the fire in the Royal Palace, left the capital of Chu State during the chaos, and came to the Buzhou Mountain.
Other participants of the Dao Competition would have to find the location of the Bronze Tripod either through the rumors or other clues, but Jing Jiu had the green bird's help, so he could find the tripod with ease.
When he got here, he saw the Bronze Tripod, but not the godly commissioner.
This was just a regular bronze tripod; no matter what Jing Jiu had done to it, it had no reaction to it, as it was not the right time.
Afterwards, Jing Jiu didn't pay much attention to the tripod, and yet he didn't leave the place. He chose to stay in the temple.
According to the green bird, this place was a forbidden site. Since the green bird couldn't find his whereabouts, the people in the outside world would be able to understand the reason.
Jing Jiu had lived here for many years. To put it more precisely, he had been lying here for many years.
He cut down some bamboos and made a bamboo chair with them. He usually lay on the ground outside the temple. When it rained, he would move inside the temple, but he would always remember to keep the temple door open.
The whole mountain was lush in the spring, and leaves on the mountain were all red in autumn, while it was all white in winter, and in summer, the stream water could cool the heart and soul.
No matter whether it was raining or snowing, or whether he lay on the bamboo chair, or whether he soaked his feet in the stream, Jing Jiu had been always cultivating.
He had lived here for a few decades in this manner, like he had done on Shenmo Peak. The life was simple and boring to some extent.
It was only in the last few years that somebody would come to the temple every once in a while; they would be killed by Jing Jiu.
The godly commissioner hadn't shown up.
The tripod was still the same bronze tripod.
He figured something out.
Back when the Qin Emperor buried those scholars of Qi State alive, he was standing by the cliff's edge, looking in the direction of Xianyang.
In his Cultivation state at that time, it would be a bit difficult for him to kill the Qin Emperor; but it was not totally beyond his ability.
Yet, he didn't go to Xianyang. Though his Cultivation state was much higher now, he still didn't want to leave here. Instead, he had been waiting patiently for the Qin Emperor to show up by himself.
As he heard the commotion at the foot of the Buzhou Mountain yesterday, he knew the time had come.
As the Qin Emperor bathed and changed his clothes and burned the incense stick at the foot of the mountain, he did the same.
He went to the stream to take a bath, sheared his long beard with his hand, and put on a new robe.
As a natural Cultivation practitioner, he was indifferent to many things in his life; but he had nonetheless lived in this world for many decades, so he displayed a rare seriousness before his departure from this world.
"You are truly smart; you came up with the idea to hide in this place."
The Qin Emperor stared into his eyes, and exclaimed in a deep and outraged tone, "But it's impossible that the godly commissioner would let you stay here!"
"Like I said, there is no godly commissioner here," Jing Jiu said. "I'm here waiting for you."
"Waiting to kill me?" the Qin Emperor's voice turned even colder and dreadful.
"No, not just that."
Jing Jiu held the sword's hilt with his hand.
The sword was very short, and the sheath was made of wood. Could it be possible that the sword itself was made of wood as well?
The Qin Emperor's eyes had suddenly shrunk, as he yelled sternly, "Protect your emperor!"
Before he uttered these words, the Qin Emperor had already pressed his feet on the floor with all his might.
The stone floor cracked.
The powerful shock slung his body out of the temple, as if the violent wind hurling away a fallen leaf.
The swordsmen of Qin State outside the temple were fully prepared; some of them stood in front of the Qin Emperor to protect him, and some charged toward Jing Jiu.
A large amount of powerful energies enshrouded the peak top, looking quite formidable and frightening.
All of a sudden, those spraying pebbles and the rising smoke and dust all froze in midair.
The swaying treetops stopped short in the wind.
Those powerful energies seemed to become icicles as time itself was suspended.
Dozens of residual figures appeared on the peak top. They seemed to have appeared all at the same time, but they also seemed to appear in a certain sequence. The problem was that it was hard to tell the difference.
All of these residual figures were actually Jing Jiu himself.
He had become formidably powerful now after cultivating diligently for decades.
Since the participants of the Dao Competition were their spiritual souls in the Illusionary Realm of the Green Sky Mirror, the Underworld Fairy Sword could reach an unimaginable speed.
The suspended space and time recovered.
The wind suddenly rose. Then the frequent sounds of a sword cutting flesh could be heard clearly.
Click!!! Click!!! Click!!!
Those swordsmen of Qin State still held the defending or offending postures, but their bodies suddenly had many cutting marks, which were as straight as a pen, left by the assaulting sword.
In the next moment, the bodies of those swordsmen of Qin State turned into the squared meat blocks, falling down and scattering on the ground.
Jing Jiu stood on the original spot, holding the hilt of the sword, as if he hadn't moved at all; in fact, he had already wielded the sword countless times.
Jing Jiu had swiped the sword so fast that the blood didn't even have enough time to seep out from the Qin swordsmen's bodies. It wasn't until they dropped to the ground that the blood started gushing out.
Back when Jing Jiu killed Grand Scholar Chen and those military generals and highly achieved swordsmen in the Royal Palace of Chu State with the sword, it took a great deal of effort for him to do that; it was an easy task now.
The Qin Emperor's face was quite pale at the moment, and he attempted to flee by leaping into the air; but a bloody line appeared on his left leg, and then his left leg broke off from the knee.
The soft protective armor that had saved his life before didn't play any role this time; it fell apart at once.
Jing Jiu used his sword to cut a long, bloody gash on the Qin Emperor's body, from the shoulder all the way to the waist.
The fresh blood gushed out from the gash, which then spread out like the mist, turning the white walls of the temple into red ones.
Some blood beads landed on the Bronze Tripod.
Yet, Jing Jiu's robe was still as white as the snow; no blood splattered on it.
The Qin Emperor screamed horribly, falling down on the ground.
It was then that Jing Jiu pulled out his sword for the first time.
It was a slow draw, giving off the clear sound of the sword shaft sliding out of the sheath.
This sword was indeed made of wood.
The wood was fairly light, like a piece of paper.
It had to be light enough to match the speed of the Underworld Fairy Sword.
Jing Jiu pressed the wooden sword on the Qin Emperor's neck. He merely needed to push it down slightly to cut off his head.
Though the sword was wooden, it still felt cold since it was so close.
The Qin Emperor ignored the pain from the broken leg and pleaded in a trembling voice, "Don't kill me."
Jing Jiu looked at him quietly, waiting for his next sentence.
"The reason the godly commissioner hasn't appeared yet is because you are not the ruler of the world; so you are not qualified to obtain the Bronze Tripod."
The Qin Emperor continued with a pale face, "This emperor is the only qualified participant."
"You are right," Jing Jiu said calmly.
A hint of determination showed in the Qin Emperor's eyes, as he said, "Let this emperor live. When I obtain the Fairy Book, I'll let you perceive it with me, and I'll share the fairy energy with you half and half!"
The blood beads on the bronze tripod suddenly started rolling around, forming many tiny bubbles, as if they were boiling.
It didn't take long for the blood beads to dry up. The stains left by the blood looked like a sort of strange words written with the red ink.
The blood beads seeped into the tripod; then the lines on the surface of the bronze tripod started flowing like the stream water and then formed a few bands of green smoke. A little man was intermittently visible in the midst of the green smoke.
The little man was about two feet tall, wearing the imperial court uniform, with a pen and paper in his hands.
"The godly commissioner!"
The Qin Emperor grew so excited that his pale face turned into a blush. "Have you seen this?! This emperor is the destined winner; so it is only my blood that can bring out the godly commissioner!" he exclaimed sharply.
Jing Jiu didn't pay any attention to him, but gazed at the little man in the green smoke, thinking he had finally shown himself.
Jing Jiu had been waiting for this event to happen; otherwise, he would have killed the Qin Emperor with a swing of the sword a while ago.
Now that the godly commissioner had shown up, what was Jing Jiu waiting for?
The Qin Emperor looked at the side profile of Jing Jiu, sensing the cold intent from the wooden sword on his neck. He guessed Jing Jiu's intention, his face turning pale again.
"Even if you kill this emperor, you still can't get the recognition of the godly commissioner," the Qin Emperor said, revealing a hint of lethal intent in his eyes. "If you killed me, nobody would be able to acquire the Fairy Book. Sine you have hidden for so long, why do you want to take such a risk? Let me live, I'll let you have one third of the fairy energy."
Jing Jiu still didn't pay any heed to him. He fixed his gaze on the little man in the green smoke, who was the so-called godly commissioner.
The godly commissioner was writing something on the paper with the pen. As he sensed Jing Jiu's gaze, he lifted his head and confirmed, "Yes, what he said is correct."
"What is the reason?" Jing Jiu pressed.
"Only the ruler of the world is qualified to obtain the tripod. You are merely a deposed emperor; what qualification do you have to ask for my recognition?"
The godly commissioner continued emotionlessly, "You have stayed here for a few decades and I haven't come out to meet you; so you should know the reason by now."
"But I can kill him right now," Jing Jiu said.
The godly commissioner said, "Even if you kill him, it is still not going to work. How many of those who succeeded in assassinating the emperors in the history books had replaced the dead emperors themselves?"
Hearing this, the Qin Emperor showed more confidence in his eyes. "If you don't agree to the terms this emperor has offered sooner, I will only let you have one fourth of the fairy energy."
Jing Jiu still paid no heed to him. He looked at the godly commissioner and said, "You are only a lifeless being; so you don't have any qualification to judge who is the final winner in the Dao Competition."
"I am the rules of the Green Sky Mirror, beyond life and death. My judgment is the final decision; so you have no choice but to accept it."
The godly commissioner turned over the paper in his hand and said, "And I believe that nobody would doubt my fairness; it's because my decision is based on the hard evidence."
There were innumerable words written on the paper, recording all the experiences and doings of the participants in the Dao Competition after they had entered the Illusionary Realm.
Jing Jiu didn't read the recordings and the performance list. He was pondering something quietly.
On the tree branch not far away, the green bird's wavering eyes were showing the blood on the ground, the old temple and the bronze tripod, and a bit of worry.
She had told Jing Jiu that she was the mirror spirit, not the rules.
Jing Jiu didn't forget this statement.
He was fully aware that he wouldn't be able to get her help if he wanted to succeed in this endeavor; he had no other choice but to face it all by himself.
To confront the rules.
"I know that you are not convinced with your low performance ranking. However, you were born in the royal palace, but you failed to exploit the opportunity to do something great. You did a terrible job in all the aspects, including the political performance, governing the state, and reputation."
The godly commissioner pointed to the paper and commented, "Look at the things you've done. You have to accept it."
Jing Jiu suddenly pulled back his wooden sword.
The Qin Emperor felt the weight being removed from his neck. The expression in his eyes changed slightly, as he thought that Jing Jiu was probably ready to agree to his terms.
Hence, the Qin Emperor was busy thinking what more gains he should try to acquire from further negotiation; but what happened next was utterly unexpected by him.
Jing Jiu walked to the front of the bronze tripod while holding the sword. "What you said may be sensible given the standards of your Center Sect, but I'm a Green Mountain disciple," he said while looking at the godly commissioner.
The godly commissioner said, "Now that you have participated in the Dao Competition, as a Green Mountain disciple you still should…"
Jing Jiu cut him off, "I have waited for you on this mountain for a few decades. I'm not waiting for you to say all this nonsense; I'm waiting for you to give me the tripod."
The Qin Emperor stood up by propping himself against the front door of the temple. When he heard what Jing Jiu said, he revealed an immensely incredulous expression on his face, wondering if Jing Jiu knew what he was doing.
The godly commissioner looked at Jing Jiu quietly for a long time. "If I didn't hear it wrong, I think you have just threatened me."
"Yes," Jing Jiu confirmed.
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