There were many buildings at the Fruit Formation Temple, with different sizes and heights; some of them were built at the foot of the mountain, and some located by the lake.
Chenhua Hall was located on the western side of the backyard. It was a remote area, so it was quiet and seldom visited by anybody. Yet nobody knew that one could see the entirety of the Tranquil Garden while sitting on the eaves of the left side of the Chenhua Hall, between two small hills.
Right now, a white cat was crouching on the eaves of Chenhua Hall. He looked a bit scruffy with the dust on his long hair, but there was a contented intent gleaming in his eyes.
Speaking of watching a play, this place was the best spot for it.
Watching the Center Sect disciple in the Tranquil Garden, the white cat extended his right paw and licked the razor sharp tip of the paw, his eyes revealing a cruel and blood-thirsty intent.
The Unicorn dared change into a human body and travel about in the human world; he must have a death wish!
There were two divine guardian animals at the Center Sect, and there were four principal guards on Green Mountain. In the past, the two sides had no way to avoid confrontations when they contended for the status in the Cultivation world.
Speaking of hatred, the guardian animal that the white cat hated the most and wanted to kill was the Old Dragon; but he didn't hold any positive feeling toward the Unicorn either.
Three thousand years ago, he and the Devil Phoenix fought against the Unicorn, but they were defeated badly.
It looked like he would get his revenge today.
Seeing the Unicorn turn around in the Tranquil Garden, the white cat meowed one more time.
Though the meowing sounded lethargic, it was actually full of hidden lethal intent.
If you dare to strike Jing Jiu, I will strike you down!
His pupils suddenly shrank to the size of small peas, displaying an alarmed emotion.
This ugly horse intends to risk his life for the fight?
The white cat stood up and stepped on the small stone statue on the eave, meowing sharply toward the Tranquil Garden.
In the Tranquil Garden.
Qi Ling turned around and stared at Jing Jiu's eyes, saying nonchalantly, "That is only a small cat; he is nothing to be scared of."
Jing Jiu's voice was still quite calm, as if he was stating a simple fact. "You came here after changing your form; so you are not his equal anymore."
Qi Ling curled up the corners of his mouth and said dryly, "He wasn't my equal back when he and the Devil Phoenix fought together against me."
Jing Jiu said, "If you didn't suppress your Cultivation state and appeared in your original form, you would draw the heavenly thunder on your head. When that happens, you will die a terrible death."
The Unicorn's prowess was considerably strong, his lifetime was as long as the Round Turtle, and his fighting power was nearly the same as the Dead Dog. Nobody among the human Cultivation practitioners, besides those in the Heavenly Arrival State, could fight against him. It could be said that he was a being in the highest state throughout Chaotian, save for the being in the Snowy Kingdom.
Heavenly punishment was his only foe.
The rules of the Center Sect forbade him from leaving the Cloud-Dream Mountain, and in a sense, it was because they intended to use the Great Formation of Cloud-Dream to conceal his energy.
If the Unicorn wanted to defeat the White Ghost, he had to change back to his original form. Like Jing Jiu said, by that time, he would encounter an even more dangerous situation.
"If your lot pushed me around too much, I would risk changing back into my original form and kill you all. I'd rather lose the Cultivation of a thousand years to go back to the Center Sect by employing my life treasure to protect my body, just to kill you all."
Qi Ling's voice was very even and composed; it was easy for others to believe in what he said.
"You know that I didn't kill the Old Dragon, and in order to kill me, you have to reduce your life by a thousand years; is it truly worth it?"
Jing Jiu's countenance was as calm as ever, and no emotion could be detected in his voice.
Like the human Cultivation practitioners, the divine animals also regarded longevity as the goal of their Cultivation. If they lost the Cultivation accumulated over the years, they would live a thousand years less.
This was what Jing Jiu meant by saying "reducing life by a thousand years".
"But he died because of you."
A hint of resentful emotion generated in the deep end of Qi Ling's eyes, followed by lethal intent.
Jing Jiu stared at his eyes and said calmly, "He died because of his own greed."
What he said was the truth: He didn't kill the Old Dragon.
In the Fiend Prison, Jing Jiu had just learned the Underworld Fairy Sword, and he was like a mosquito as far as the Old Dragon was concerned. Though he could make the Old Dragon feel immensely uncomfortable, or even pain, he had no way of harming the dragon in any true sense. Even if the Underworld Emperor wanted to kill the Old Dragon, he had to rely on a peculiar magic to combine himself with the spiritual soul of the Old Dragon, then die with the dragon.
The likes of the divine animals like the Unicorn and the Old Dragon had a high Cultivation state, and their bodies were almost as strong as the golden steel and nearly immune to destruction.
If the Old Dragon were not so greedy as to want to eat Jing Jiu and the Underworld Emperor, nobody would have possibly been able to kill him.
"It's impossible that you didn't know what evil deeds the Old Dragon had done in the Fiend Prison. Do you want me to tell others about what he had done?" Jing Jiu pressed with an even expression.
Qi Ling snapped tersely, "You shut up! No matter how well you defend yourself, you will die for sure today!"
As he said this, the ancient and formidable energy encased the whole Tranquil Garden again; and this time, it contained a more obvious lethal intent.
Bai Qianjun, Xi Yiyun and the Monk Dachang couldn't maintain their standing positions anymore; they sat down on the ground with their legs crossed as they employed their zhenyuan to protect their Sea of Awareness, their eyes closed.
State Duke Lu had fallen to the ground on his buttock awhile ago.
Zhuo Rusui was still staring at the ground, his cloth soaking wet with cold sweat again. "Senior Master is the precious treasure of our Green Mountain, much more precious than myself. If you killed him, don't you fear something significant would occur?!" he yelled at Qi Ling.
The being like the Unicorn in such a high state was truly frightening to a young disciple like Zhuo Rusui. If he wasn't used to seeing the Round Turtle, he would be too scared to speak out.
The swordsmen of Green Mountain killed people quite often, but it was seldom for them to threaten anybody with mere words; in case it occurred, it must be a genuine threat.
The meowing could be heard in the distance again; this time it sounded very dreadful.
Qi Ling craned his neck to look at the sky, a hint of weary intent showing in his eyes.
Tens of thousands of years ago, the Center Sect was nonexistent in Chaotian, and neither was the Green Mountain Sect. At the time, he and the Old Dragon traveled over the mountains and seas without any resistance; they could kill anybody they wished to and eat anyone they wanted.
Under similar circumstances, he would swallow Jing Jiu with one gulp, even though the White Ghost was watching in the distance, without considering the upcoming war between the Green Mountain Sect and the Center Sect.
Lives would be ruined if it happened. But all those who died were humans, and they had nothing to do with him.
The Unicorn pulled back his gaze and looked at Jing Jiu, as he said calmly, "It seems hard to kill you today."
"That's right," Jing Jiu confirmed.
"But I can't leave like this," Qi Ling said. "You have to pay a price for what happened; at the very least, you can't keep the Fairy Book."
It seemed that the Center Sect had already discovered something; even though they didn't have hard evidence, they were certain that the turmoil of the Fiend Prison had been caused by Jing Jiu in the first place.
Under the circumstances, it would be inappropriate for Jing Jiu to keep the Fairy Book of Longevity. It would be something nobody in the Center Sect could accept.
Qi Ling raised this request on behalf of the Center Sect, and though the request was not reasonable, it was quite understandable.
State Duke Lu and the others opened their eyes to look at Jing Jiu, wondering if he would accept this request.
Jing Jiu remarked, "You have said so much, and yet this is the true purpose of your coming here today."
If the Unicorn really wanted to kill Jing Jiu, he wouldn't reveal his identity at the Fruit Formation Temple.
The goal of the Center Sect was to halt Jing Jiu's last effort in tempering the Fairy Book by mentioning Jing Jiu's responsibility in the turmoil of the Fiend Prison.
Qi Ling said, "The way you obtained the Fairy Book in the Illusionary Realm of the Green Sky Mirror was not proper and also not compliant with the rules. We haven't said anything about it, but it doesn't mean that we will hold our tongue forever."
What Jing Jiu wanted to know was that the event had been over for six years and the fairy awareness in the Fairy Book had been almost tempered by him; why would the Center Sect come here to stop him today?
It was then that Jing Jiu figured out the reason why the Unicorn appeared in the Tranquil Garden that day.
The Fairy Book of Longevity would be completely tempered by him soon; it might happen that same night. It was the critical moment for the endeavor.
If the last process were disrupted or even halted, it was most likely that Jing Jiu would be assaulted by the remaining fairy awareness in the Fairy Book, and Jing Jiu would possibly die.
The Unicorn said that he intended to kill Jing Jiu to avenge the Old Dragon; in fact, he wanted to disturb Jing Jiu's mental focus, eventually killing Jing Jiu.
Being controlled by the fairy awareness was no difference from actually death; it was an even more horrible fate.
It seemed that the Unicorn used a troublesome and indirect means to achieve the goal, but the consequence was totally different for the Unicorn. If Jing Jiu died during the process of tempering the Fairy Book tonight, it would seem to have nothing to do with the Unicorn.
No one wished to start an all-out war with the Green Mountain Sect, including the Center Sect, who called themselves the leader of the orthodox Cultivation sects.
Since the Unicorn intended to halt Jing Jiu's process of tempering the Fairy Book, he must have prepared for it.
Jing Jiu didn't want to wait too long for the prelude to end, so he asked directly, "Tell me what the proper way is?"
Qi Ling said nonchalantly, "As long as you can prove that you have the prowess far superior to your peers, this old man will consent that you are qualified to keep the Fairy Book."
"How should I prove it?" Jing Jiu demanded.
Qi Ling said, "I have suppressed my Cultivation state to the Yuanying State. If you can receive three strokes of my flying sword, you will win as long as you are not dead."
"This is a shameless proposal," the droopy voice of Zhuo Rusui's rang out.
Xi Yiyun opened his eyes and exclaimed curtly, "It's a slander without proper evidence. This fight is unequal because it's a senior master against a young disciple. I object to the proposal!"
Though the Yuanying State was merely one state higher than the middle state of Free Travel, it would be only three strokes, so it looked fair for the rivals involved. However, the Unicorn had a special body, one as strong as golden steel, and his strength was so powerful as to shake heaven and earth. No human Cultivation practitioner could be his equal. As such, this fight was far from being fair.
The group thought that Jing Jiu wouldn't accept the proposal even if it was to gain the whole world. And it turned out to be the case. He looked at Qi Ling as he said, "I'm not stupid."
Qi Ling said icily, "I believe that you don't want to push me to the corner. You have to realize that this is my last offer."
"I want some extra benefits," said Jing Jiu.
The expression in Qi Ling's eyes changed a bit as he mused that this person didn't act like Jing Yang even though the Immortal Bai thought he was Jing Yang's reincarnation…
Jing Jiu didn't know what was on his mind, as he continued, "The Center Sect has to lend me the Green Sky Mirror, because I want to enter the Illusionary Realm to check it out again."
After the Dao Competition was over, the Immortal Bai didn't call upon the Green Girl to ask her questions; but nothing that had happened in the Green Sky Mirror could elude her eyes.
The phrase of "exposing under the sun" was fit for the Illusionary Realm of the Green Sky Mirror.
The Unicorn thought that he had figured out what was on Jing Jiu's mind. He let out a cruel smirk before saying, "Okay."
Qi Ling thought that Jing Jiu would be severely wounded even if he didn't hit Jing Jiu with all of his strength, and the injured Jing Jiu would be a dead person after being further assaulted by the Fairy Book, or a living dead person. Even if Jing Jiu was lent the ice-sealed Green Sky Mirror by then, what could he do with it? Could he even see anything in the mirror?
Jing Jiu said nothing after that. He stood sideways; his left hand holding the Fairy Book was folded behind his back. He pulled out his iron sword with his right hand from behind his shoulder and pointed the sword squarely at Qi Ling.
Witnessing this, everybody present was stunned speechless.
Jing Jiu had actually accepted the proposal!
He would certainly be killed after receiving three strokes from Qi Ling's sword.
Monk Duhai attempted to discourage the fight, but he was stopped midway by a sneer from Qi Ling.
Qi Ling looked at Jing Jiu and said earnestly, "You are a very interesting junior; but I will not cut you any slack."
Zhuo Rusui had been utterly flabbergasted, thinking that though drawing swords against the stronger foes was the style of the Green Mountain Sect, it was nonetheless not his young senior master's style!
Seeing Jing Jiu holding his sword handsomely with one hand while standing sideways and thinking of that Jing Jiu would lie in a pool of blood afterwards, Zhuo Rusui felt his blood surging to his head, then shouted, "You don't need to cut him any slack; my Senior Master is cutting you some slack by using only one hand!"
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