Even though the Center Sect had some other intentions and some other Cultivation sects, like the Kunlun Sect, had some suspicions, they had no way to change the outcome of the competition, now that the Sect Master of Green Mountain was looking after their disciples personally.
Regardless of who had won or snatched the tripod, the Fairy Book eventually had a holder, which meant that the significant ceremony of the founding of Center Sect thirty thousand years ago had reached its last stage.
Bai Zao went to the house of peeled skin on the same night to see Jing Jiu in an attempt to talk to him about something, but she didn't find him there. This made her feel ill at ease.
When Bai Zao left the house of peeled skin apprehensively, He Zhan had also left the Cloud-Dream Mountain. As Sese found out about his leaving, she pursued him for two hundred miles, but she still couldn't bring him back.
Xi Yiyun also bid his farewell to the Center Sect, and left over night. He went back to the One-Cottage House to compile the books he had written in the Illusionary Realm.
Many more people had left the Cloud-Dream Mountain. They were all the participants of the Dao Competition who had entered the Illusionary Realm of the Green Sky Mirror. Though the experiences they had in the mirror for several decades seemed to have drifted away like the clouds and smoke, how many people could really forget all of those experiences? They needed time to regain their Dao Heart and comprehend and learn the essential knowledge from the mortal experiences they had. They might meet again on the Cloud-Dream Mountain in three years, or they might not see each other again for the rest of their lives; it was up to themselves to understand the essence of life in the end.
In the early morning the next day, the Green Mountain disciples, led by the two peak masters, Fang Jingtian and Nan Wang, bid their farewells to the cultivationists of the Center Sect and left by the sword boat.
Bai Zao didn't see Jing Jiu, feeling a bit uneasy. Upon hearing the explanation from Fang Jingtian, the Cultivation practitioners present learned that Jing Jiu had already left with the Sect Master of Green Mountain ahead of time. They couldn't help but discuss the matter, thinking that the winner of the Dao Competition didn't act like a victor but someone who had run away with the Fairy Book in a hurry. Even if the Green Mountain Sect intended to save some face for the Center Sect, they didn't have to behave in such a low-profile manner.
A patch of white cloud drifted toward the outside of the Cloud-Dream Mountain under the morning sunlight, resembling a lotus flower on the surface of the transparent water floating into the distance.
It was still within the range of the Great Formation of Cloud-Dream. It was perhaps due to showing respect to the Center Sect that the patch of white cloud didn't travel too fast, as it could be seen clearly. In fact, it was not a real cloud formed by the steam, but the sword cloud formed by innumerable powerful sword wills.
Liu Ci and Jing Jiu stood on the cloud, one in the front and the other to the rear, maintaining the same posture. They folded their hands behind their backs while staring straight ahead; their figures, shone on by the distant morning sun, looked like true immortals.
The Inherited Heaven Sword was inserted in the monument on Tianguang Peak. The sword was seldom used outside Green Mountain, unless it was truly urgent. During the battle of the Cloud Platform, Liu Ci had used the Inherited Heaven Sword to capture Xiwang Sun. But he didn't bring the sword with him this time for the sake of Jing Jiu. As such, they had to ride the sword cloud home; the traveling speed was much slower.
Though Jing Jiu's iron sword could travel much faster than the sword cloud, Liu Ci disliked the iron sword, thinking it was too dirty.
Fortunately, nothing bad had happened so far; everything might turn out alright as long as they could leave the Cloud-Dream Mountain. The sword cloud was drifting leisurely, and the two of them talked to each other about some unimportant topics.
"The power of the West Ocean Sword Sect is in decline, and there is no way that old devil on the Foggy Island will come out. As far as scheming is concerned, you should learn something from your Master."
"What did that being in the snowland give birth to? If you don't know, who would be able to find out? By the way, I don't know where my Master is hiding."
"Given his temperament, it's impossible for him to hide like this forever. All we need to do is wait."
"Since that this is a scheme plotted by the Center Sect, why is the Unicorn following us?"
"I guess they are still resentful about the Fairy Book being snatched away, as it is still a precious item."
"I think he is resentful about the fact that you killed the Old Dragon; he wants to kill you to avenge the Old Dragon."
A faint energy could be sensed vaguely in a sky reddened by morning sunlight.
The energy was ancient and stately, and extremely awe-inspiring, and it was also obvious that someone was trying his best to conceal the energy. Yet, it was impossible to conceal it from these two.
They knew exactly who was following them without even taking a glance at the follower.
Liu Ci was of course aware that it was Jing Jiu who was the figure that had escaped from the Fiend Prison.
And he could also figure out that the so-called elder of Green Mountain who saved Guo Dong at the West Ocean was none other than Jing Jiu.
He knew very well how powerful Jian Xilai's sword was, and Jing Jiu would definitely want to obtain the Fairy Book due to Guo Dong's severe wounds.
That's why he asked Liu Shisui to participate in the Dao Competition as a No-Mercy Sect disciple, and he went to the Cloud-Dream Mountain to oversee the competition personally.
What the Green Mountain Sect cultivated was the sword, and they emphasized acquiring the desired result in a split second, killing their opponents with one strike. However, they had to calculate all the possibilities and prepare adequately before striking.
Though it was hard to calculate all the things in the world, it was relatively easier to figure out what their colleagues had in their minds. As such, the colleagues of Green Mountain could cooperate with each other without relying on communicating in words so much.
Though Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui hadn't had any communication with each other beforehand, they could make use of the scheme plotted by Tong Yan to kill Luo Huainan, which proved the point.
"The Old Dragon was killed by the Underworld Emperor; it had nothing to do with me."
Jing Jiu offered his explanation.
It was truly rare for him.
He went to the Fiend Prison to meet the Underworld Emperor in secret, and caused a great deal of turmoil that could indeed bring some troubles to the Green Mountain Sect.
Though Liu Ci had a lower generation status, he was nevertheless the Sect Master.
And this explanation was more like a clarification.
Liu Ci sighed, "It only works if the Unicorn believes you."
"I won't come to the Cloud-Dream Mountain again. It doesn't matter whether he believes me or not," Jing Jiu said.
The sword cloud had drifted outside the territory of the Cloud-Dream Mountain, and arrived in the sky over Yu County.
The energy exuded by the Unicorn stopped at the edge of the Great Formation of Cloud-Dream; he didn't follow them further.
If the Unicorn continued following Liu Ci, he would be regarded as being disrespectful to the Green Mountain Sect, or even threatening them.
If the Green Mountain Sect hid a divine principal guard in the mountains underneath and that principal guard launched a sudden attack, the Unicorn would be at a disadvantage.
Yet, the Unicorn wanted to kill Jing Jiu desperately, and he was evidently resentful for not being able to do so. As such, he would leak out the news that Jing Jiu had obtained the Fairy Book. In fact, this fact couldn't be concealed from the people of the world for too long. It was believed that they would encounter some troubles on their way back to Green Mountain.
Jing Jiu of course was unafraid of those potential troublemakers. Traveling with Liu Ci was much safer than traveling with the White Ghost. Other than the snowland, they could safely go anywhere in the world.
However, he thought it would be troublesome to deal with one at a time. Jing Jiu brought out his right forefinger and poked a tiny hole on the sword wills tightly swaddling his left fist.
A band of faint fairy intent seeped out from the extremely tiny hole on his fist, and then scattered toward the earth from the sky.
There were many mountains around Yu County. The mountain ranges were ragged and dangerous, covered with the dense and gloomy forests, where there were countless cracks and earthly sources. Numerous demons and deviant swordsmen were hiding among them, not to mention that the powerful devils from the ancient times might also hide in there.
Though these demons and devils were not as powerful as the Unicorn, they were still a formidable force to be reckoned with.
The fairy intent pelted down onto the ground, causing a good deal of commotion in the mountains. At least hundreds of powerful energies gradually appeared; the demons and the deviant Cultivation practitioners looked up at the sky with a craving desire. Even though they were fully aware that the patch of cloud in the sky was undoubtedly exceptional, they still couldn't help but feel strong yearning and greed.
Liu Ci knew that the Unicorn was staring at them from behind. He reached out his hand to seal Jing Jiu's left hand again. Then, he kicked away the sword cloud underneath them, and looked at the ground from above.
His gaze swept the mountains, like a real huge sword, sending an exceedingly intimidating energy to the ground; then he uttered "hmm".
This sound of "hmm" was very indifferent, relentless and insolent, and the uttering lasted a bit longer than usual and had a twist at the end; it clearly expressed the intent of looking down on any beings and eliminating any offenders.
Since the strongest swordsman in Chaotian came here, the demons and devils were not brave enough to stay around any longer. They knelt down on the ground to show their submission, and some of the ancient devils chose to flee to the underground as quickly as they could and escaped through the hidden tunnels, to avoid being killed by a swing of the sword.
The sword cloud gathered together again; the two of them hid inside the cloud in the sky.
Thinking of Zhuo Rusui leaning against the cliff lethargically, Jing Jiu felt pity for him and said, "Your personal disciple is pretty good, but he acts more like you now."
"The disciple is like his master; what's wrong with that?" Liu Ci retorted squarely.
Jing Jiu said, "You are used to acting when everything is prepared, like what you did back then. This is not working so well; it's like the way the Center Sect acts, and it's a bit indecisive."
The evaluation was quite direct, especially the part about being like the way the Center Sect acted. It was difficult for anyone from the Green Mountain Sect to stand it.
"Do you wish to be the sect master?" Liu Ci exclaimed sharply.
Jing Jiu replied without hesitation, "No."
"You shouldn't talk so much then," said Liu Ci.
It was quiet in the sky.
The cries of the geese could be heard in the distance.
They traveled past Yu County, Huayang, and the Muddy River in Henanzhou which looked like a thread of mud on the ground. The Green Mountain was visible now.
The ground underneath the sword cloud suddenly bulged, forming countless mountain peaks, the mist and fog flowing among the peaks. As the mist and fog arrived before the mountain, they turned into clouds, enshrouding the whole town.
Looking down from above, the clouds resembled innumerable white ribbons fluttering among the green peaks, looking very picturesque.
After Bai Zao resumed cultivating, the white ribbons always dangled around her arms; her arrival always looked like a swan flying over, making her look like a real fairy lady.
It seemed that the little princess of Qin State was dressed this way.
All of a sudden, Jing Jiu thought that the Illusionary Realm should have hotpot restaurant, but he had never tasted it there. "I'd like to go down to eat hotpot," he said.
Liu Ci raised his eyebrows, but didn't say anything, thinking that he had the Fairy Book clenched in his hand and the Green Mountain was close by, and that he was not in a hurry to go back, but wanted to have the hotpot.
Though there were a few restaurants in Cloudy Town, the restaurants that had the private rooms and hotpot were limited in number. As a result, Jing Jiu led Liu Ci to the one they had often been to before.
The original owner of the restaurant had died of illness. It was his third son who inherited the restaurant. The decorations and adornments in the restaurant were out of date, but it earned them the fame of being an old restaurant.
The difference between the Cultivation practitioners and the mortals was the gap of their life spans, which could make any person feel despair and sentimental.
The double hotpot was placed on the table, with a few simple dishes of green vegetables and radish on the side. The owner of the restaurant took the golden leaf and retreated to the ground floor.
Recalling the past events his father had told him over and over again, he breathed heavily for a dozen times to calm himself down; then he waved to signal for the manager to close the front door. No more guests were allowed to come in.
It seemed that the immortal masters truly liked the hotpot of his restaurant.
The red broth was boiling, and the white soup had almost dried up.
Jing Jiu didn't touch anything with his chopsticks. Liu Ci didn't feel it odd; it was because Jing Jiu had been like this when they ate hotpot on Shangde Peak a great many years ago. As his Cultivation state progressed, the hotpot he ate became more and more watery, until he didn't eat anything anymore. It wasn't until the arrival of winter when Yuan Qijing brought the fresh foods from Lelong County as the side dish that he would eat a little bit.
The soup was almost dry, meaning the meal of hotpot was mostly done; it was the time for touching upon the main topic.
"Back when he used the body of an Underworld disciple to escape from the Sword Jail, he was arrested here by Zhao Layue; then he was killed by a disciple named Meng. It was actually a scheme for him to take the opportunity to escape."
Jing Jiu continued, "The disciple Meng has been locked up on Shangde Peak for many years; have you found out anything by interrogating him?"
"He said that he had been instructed to do that by Young Brother Fang," Liu Ci said.
Jing Jiu said, "What do you think?"
"We have to wait and see," Liu Ci replied.
"Like I said earlier," Jing Jiu said, "you are used to acting only after being prepared adequately; this is not working so well."
Liu Ci retorted, "If you think you can do a better job, I can give the position of sect master to you."
Jing Jiu remained quiet.
"You shouldn't think about it too much then," Liu Ci added.
Jing Jiu pressed, "Are you going to do something about it?"
"In this story, the three of us are the evildoers who did something against their Master. There is nothing wrong if Young Brother wants to kill us to avenge our Master."
Liu Ci continued nonchalantly, "What can I do about such a reasonable act?"
"Actually, you can do a lot, like killing Lei Poyun to silence him after finding out the Thunder-Soul Wood was stolen from Bihu Peak. Also, even if he had the Thunder-Soul Wood, he still couldn't dismantle my sword formation. You are the only one who can do it."
Jing Jiu raised his left hand and looked at the layers after layers of sword wills on it, as he asked evenly, "Was it you who let him escape?"
The hotpot was on the brink of drying up. The white soup turned into steam, filling the whole room and then the entire restaurant.
The surprised screams burst out on the streets. The clouds and fog enshrouded Cloudy Town, making the visitors from out of town feel excited. Yet, the residents who had lived here all their lives felt irritated instead. It was hard for them to clearly see the road ahead, and it was easier to fall down when the clouds and fog blurred everything, while it was hard for them to see clearly the condition caused by the steaming pots, so they couldn't judge accurately whether the steamed buns were ready or not.
Having different perspective leads to different perception.
It's the same whether in the immortal world or in the mortal world.
After a pause, Liu Ci mentioned again, "Do you wish to be the sect master?"
"No," Jing Jiu replied immediately without hesitation.
"Why do you ask so many questions then?"
Liu Ci waved his sleeve softly and disappeared with Jing Jiu from the restaurant.
Please go to https://www.readlightnovel.cc/The-Path-Toward-Heaven/
to read the latest chapters for free