414 Knowing is not Knowing
The person lying on the stone bed had already been dead for many years. The belt on his waist made from the tendon of an Underworld python had utterly rotted away and lay broken into pieces on the bed. Somehow, his body hadn't rotted yet. Many cracks could be seen underneath the tattered cloth of the natural silk, covered in the old blood stains that looked as black as the ink; it was truly eerie.
The first stage of Cultivation was to train the body and strengthen the energy, a common understanding for Green Mountain, the Center Sect, or the Great Marsh, and others. The higher the Cultivation state one had, the stronger one's body would be. For instance, a Green Mountain disciple in the Undefeated State would have a body as strong as the iron. However, as one died, the Dao would die with them. This person's body hadn't rotted without special treatment of the body after he died for over twenty years. It was truly unique. It was unclear what level of Cultivation state this person had before his death
Jing Jiu didn't untie the iron sword on his back. He reached out a finger to draw dozens of invisible lines in the surroundings of the manor cave. In so doing, he had employed the Inherited Heaven Sword style to set a small sword formation. Because his Cultivation state was still low and the Inherited Heaven Sword had a conflict with his own life force, the strength of this sword formation was far inferior to the one set up by Liu Ci inside the House of Peeled Skin on the Cloud-Dream Mountain, but it was nevertheless strong enough.
Having done this, Jing Jiu sat down on one of the futons. He placed his hands gently on his knees, and opened his left hand slightly. A tiny crack appeared between his fingers, from which a golden light ray leaked out. The ray headed for the outside of the cave, but was blocked by the sword formation, unable to leave the cave.
This wisp of fairy energy was merely one part out of one thousand of the total fairy energy inside the Fairy Book of Longevity. Yet, to control it with his current Cultivation state proved to be an immensely difficult task; his face instantly turned pale.
Jing Jiu was fully aware that he had to hurry up to release a spiritual awareness and land it on that corpse.
Receiving the spiritual awareness, the corpse suddenly started vibrating, as if he would revive and come to life.
This was of course a false phenomenon. What was happening was that Jing Jiu used his own spiritual awareness to energize the corpse, in an effort to force out the things that had been suppressed in the deep part of his Dao Heart.
It didn't take long before a dozen light specks drifted out from the cracks of the corpse.
If one looked closely enough, they would be able to notice that those light specks also had a faint golden color, and they were actually the tiny broken pieces of the fairy energy. They looked like the light specks because they were too minuscule.
Jing Jiu raised his right hand and smoothed the fairy energy leaked from the Fairy Book of Longevity with his right hand. The energy was evenly smeared in the air in front of his eyes, forming a thin flake in a faint golden color. Then, he used the sword formation to force all the light specks onto the thin golden flake, as if a craftsman attempted to embellish the jades onto a golden plate.
As those broken pieces landed on the thin flake of the fairy energy, the flake quivered slightly and then returned to its former still condition; in fact, it was even stiller than when it had been in the corpse.
Seeing this, Jing Jiu was more certain about his conjecture. Yet, he didn't stop what he was supposed to do, and continued staring at the thin flake of the fairy energy.
The expression in his eyes used to be very calm, and the pupils in his eyes were usually as clean as the water in a well; but, they suddenly grew brighter that moment.
It was unclear whether the fairy energy and the broken pieces were projected into his eyes, or his eyes beamed themselves; nonetheless, at the moment his eyes looked like a sun suddenly rising up from the dark and gloomy bottom of the ocean.
In a sense, he was the inborn Sword Body, and his eyes were the natural-born Sword Eye.
Nothing could escape from a pair of such eyes.
After a long while, Jing Jiu slowly closed his eyes. He raised his left hand to retrieve the wisp of fairy energy, and in the meantime, those light specks or broken pieces returned to the corpse.
Though the wisp of fairy energy was only one part out of one thousand in the Fairy Book, it was already quite dangerous for him to do so, especially when Liu Ci was not around and Liu Ada was somewhere by the pond at the time.
He didn't open his eyes. He was in the process of meditating and recuperating. Soon, there were countless shooting stars appearing in the darkness before his closed eyes.
Those were actually not the shooting stars, but the flying fairy swords.
Tens of thousands of flying swords were ablaze among the stars.
This was something he had witnessed with his own eyes.
He had told the Underworld Emperor about it in the Fiend Prison.
Besides this, he had also seen many more wonderful scenes.
Then, he found that there was a seeming thread inside his body that was pulling on him intermittently.
The other end of the thread seemed to be in the empty space.
The empty space in the region of stars was not the true emptiness, but a world one couldn't see, where everything had either a very high quality or a very low one.
In that world, even the speed of light was very slow.
Jing Jiu turned and took a look. He found that the empty space was where he came from, which was Chaotian.
It was true that something went wrong with his ascension.
The Formation of Dispersing Smoke and Cloud on Shenmo Peak didn't cut off all the mortal connections.
The thread could be the cause-and-effect, or it was the remaining mortal energy inside his body.
Somebody didn't want him to ascend.
Yet, he didn't care so much about it. He was ready to cut off that thread, and make a few fairy books from it and send back to Green Mountain; then he would go to the other world.
He would find the method to solve the mortal energy during the journey, and hope to see more scenes at the same time.
It was pretty hard to cut one's own awareness; as such, he was using the Lone Sword to do it.
The body and the awareness couldn't be separated.
As he swiped down the sword, the sneak attack also arrived.
Tens of thousands of flying swords in the distant region of stars turned into a bright firework in front of his eyes.
Jing Jiu opened his eyes, remaining silent for a moment.
The fairy energy in the Fairy Book of Longevity and the broken pieces of the remaining fairy energy in the corpse were exactly the same.
Judging from this fact, Jing Jiu was certain that it was the Immortal Bai Ren of the Center Sect who had done a sneak attack on him; she was the Great Grandmaster Bai known in the Cultivation circle of Chaotian.
He stood up and swore calmly while looking at the person lying on the bed, "Damn that great grandmaster Bai."
The Immortal Taiping had learned how to make hotpot in Yizhou. Though he ate hotpot, he didn't bother learning how to make it. Yet, he had learned some sayings of Yizhou.
It turned out that he could finally use one of them today.
The snow was still falling down in the village, but the snow hadn't accumulated on the ground yet. The children in the village were not like those in the cities who liked playing in the snow. As such, nobody else was found by the pond.
Standing in the wind and snow, Zhao Layue held the white cat tightly, staring at the road by the entrance of the village, her eyes not even blinking.
It wasn't until Jing Jiu's figure appeared on the road that her rigid body finally relaxed, and the white cat felt much more comfortable at last.
Jing Jiu came to her side and said, "Let's go."
Zhao Layue wanted to ask if he had seen his friend, but didn't dare to. Seeing his left hand still tightly clenched, she offered, "Are we still going to the Fruit Formation Temple?"
"As I said, I want to seek out a friend of mine for help," replied Jing Jiu.
They arrived in Cloudy Town again, from where the iron sword shot up skyward. Soon, they were above Nanhe City and Chaonan City, and then traveled eastward along the Muddy River, heading toward Moqiu.
The iron sword was traveling at a very high speed, or at a speed exceeding the imagination.
The Chaotic Wind, blowing against the flying sword, was also very formidable. Even those regular practitioners in the Free Travel State would lose their courage and fall off the sword after being assaulted by the wind.
Standing at the head of the sword, Jing Jiu gazed at the silk-like ocean in the far distance, his hair tousling and his countenance peaceful, as if he were a fairy immortal who had just revived from a painting.
Sitting in the rear of the sword while holding the cat, Zhao Layue lowered her head to look at the ragged mountain peaks and the white carpet-like flatlands flashing away, thinking that this thing was traveling a bit too fast.
As the sword light flashed through the sky, it disturbed many Cultivation practitioners and demons. But when they witnessed the terrifying speed of the flying sword and sensed the evident sword intent of Green Mountain, they all thought it was a Green Mountain elder in the Broken Sea State traveling outside Green Mountain. As a result, they didn't dare check more closely. Those Cultivation practitioners who encountered them occasionally in the sky would get out of their way in a hurry, and bowed in courtesy.
Such a misjudgment saved a lot of trouble for them. If they knew that the person on the iron sword was Jing Jiu, some confrontation would surely occur because of the Fairy Book of Longevity, and those deviant swordsmen and the demons might not know the formidable prowess of that long-haired white cat.
A white air vortex appeared in the sky above Moqiu. The flows of the air vortex were connected to each other from the top to the bottom, forming a sphere with empty space inside.
In the middle of the sphere, the black iron sword materialized.
The iron sword reduced in speed and elevation as it got closer to the ground. The sceneries and figures on the ground could be seen more clearly. Moqiu was close to the East Ocean and had a mild temperature all year round. It was damp and not so hot in summer. The fields were fertile. No accumulated snow was on the ground even in winter, and the green crops could be found in the fields. The large patch of crop fields was divided into different sections based on their different colors. It was very pleasing to look at them from above in the sky. In comparison to the ragged peaks in the snowland, these crop fields were lack of the magnificent wilderness, but they looked more peaceful and homey.
There was a straight road among the endless crop fields, leading to the buildings of the Zen temple situated by the mountain.
On the road were the parked carriages, temporarily set tents, and those people sleeping on the ground.
These were all the patients on their way to the Fruit Formation Temple hoping to be treated by the doctor monks. Many monks wearing the simple monk robes were walking hurriedly among the crowd.
The iron sword landed in front of the forest before the Fruit Formation Temple.
The white cat jumped off of Zhao Layue's bosom, spread his four limbs on the ground, and pushed down his back as he stretched out his entire body.
Jing Jiu reached out his hand to grab him and put him on the shoulder; but the cat didn't think his position was comfortable enough, so he climbed up a bit.
Seeing the yellow eaves of the temple getting closer, Zhao Layue asked, "I understand the doctors have a benevolent heart, and the monks alleviate others' hardship, but would it affect their Cultivation?"
Jing Jiu said, "What the Zen sects cultivate is their heart. For the monks holding such an idea, this is Cultivation for them; it's better than reading the scripts all the time."
"What this young master said makes a lot of sense; it looks like you must come from a major Cultivation sect…"
The guest-receiving monk of the Fruit Formation Temple approached them with a broad smile.
Though Jing Jiu had improved a great deal in his Cultivation, his appearance hadn't changed and looked the same as that youth in white clothing.
The guest-receiving monk couldn't praise him anymore when he saw his face. And when he saw a white cat crouching on Jing Jiu's head, the corners of his mouth couldn't help but twitch a few times.
"Who is this visitor…Ah, Are you the Immortal Master Jing Jiu of Green Mountain?"
The guest-receiving monk finally figured out who the guest was.
Jing Jiu uttered "hmm".
The guest-receiving monk turned to Zhao Layue. He found this young woman had a distinctive and amiable appearance, her white dress as clean as the snow, the black hair tied into a braid, looking very attractive. He thought that she must be the Fairy Lady Bai Zao of the Center Sect, since she could travel side by side with the Immortal Master Jing Jiu, who was famous for his indifference. The best swordsmen of the young generation of the two leaders of the orthodox Cultivation circle came to visit the temple at the same time; had something significant happened?
All the guest-receiving monks of all the temples were quick thinkers, and they would speak without second thought; the Fruit Formation Temple was no exception. The monk spoke what was on his mind.
"I had no idea the Fairy Lady Bai…"
The guest-receiving monk came back to his senses after the initial perplexity. He felt quite embarrassed, and bowed hastily. And he then turned to Jing Jiu and asked, "What do the two immortal masters of Green Mountain come here for?"
"See somebody," Jing Jiu replied.
The guest-receiving monk thought the relationship between his temple and Green Mountain had been lukewarm, and the only exception was that the Young Zen Master had a close association with Shenmo Peak; so he said hastily, "The Young Zen Master has gone to White Town."
Jing Jiu said, "I'm here to see the Monk Dachang."
Hearing this, the guest-receiving monk wanted to slap himself a few times. He lowered his head and extended a hand, determined to not speak again.
Jing Jiu led Zhao Layue heading to the inside of the temple. The guest-receiving monk had gradually calmed down, and found it all kind of dubious.
The Monk Dachang was an elder hiding in the back of the temple; few people knew his existence.
However, if the masters of the temple didn't stop them, he wouldn't do anything himself.
After passing through the buildings of the front temple and the serene stone path in the forest, they saw a patch of pagoda forest among the rustling pine trees.
Jing Jiu shot a glance in that direction.
They walked a long time before they arrived at the deepest part of the Fruit Formation Temple. This place was even more serene, devoid of chirping sounds of birds. In the end, they saw a Zen building.
Though the Zen building only occupied a small area, but it manifested an ancient flavor throughout the building. In comparison to the temple buildings they had passed by, this Zen building was relatively new.
The guest-receiving monk brought them to the front of the Zen temple, and dared not to enter it.
Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue entered the Zen temple, and saw an old monk sweeping the fallen leaves on the ground.
This old monk was the Monk Dachang he was looking for.
The Monk Dachang felt surprised and asked, "What do you two want from me?"
Seeing the old monk and thinking of his appearance three hundred years ago, Jing Jiu said indifferently, "I'm Jing Jiu. I think the Emperor must have told you about me."
The Monk Dachang said with slightly furrowed brows, "I don't know what your relationship with the Emperor is, but I'm someone who is taking care of the affairs of the royal family. All you need to do is command me."
"I want to cultivate Zen here," Jing Jiu said.
"Here?" the Monk Dachang pressed, feeling startled.
Jing Jiu ignored him. They stepped on the fallen leaves, heading for the backyard, where the meditation room was located.
There were a few quiet meditation rooms here, and two square-shaped ponds, surrounded by the roofed corridors. There was a small pagoda in the middle of the courtyard.
The small pagoda was built with the grey stones, covered with the moss. It looked ordinary.
Jing Jiu stood in front of the pagoda quietly, saying nothing for a long time.
Seeing the scene, the Monk Dachang felt it quite strange; but thinking of the royal decree issued by the late emperor a great many years ago, he didn't say anything and backed out of the courtyard.
Zhao Layue walked to his side, standing with him.
Jing Jiu said, "This is the late emperor's pagoda of spiritual bones."
Though Zhao Layue had vaguely guessed something, she was still stunned after hearing this.
The previous emperor faked his own death and hid at the Fruit Formation Temple as a monk.
It turned out that the rumor that had been passed down from generations to generations in Chaotian for over two hundred years was actually true!