"Will he die?" Emperor Xiao looked at his countenance and asked uneasily.
"If he could die so easily, I would have killed him back then," Yin San replied.
The Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect still had his eyes closed; it was unclear if he was truly unconscious at the moment or if had awoken but dared not open his eyes.
Yin San didn't care either way, continuing, "He should learn a lesson from this event. I hope it gets through to him."
The Emperor Xiao said with a grin, "He should be able to understand it; it's because he doesn't want to die, just like me."
"Among the true enemies of Green Mountain, only three of you are still alive. You should feel content," said Yin San.
Looking at Yin San's side profile, the Emperor Xiao said genuinely, "I don't wish to live in the turtle shell for the rest of my life."
"I'll try to solve this issue as soon as I can," Yin San said.
Emperor Xiao asked, "What about Jing Jiu? Has he died this time?"
"I don't think he has a chance of surviving this time," Yin San replied.
Emperor Xiao felt relieved and commented, "Good, it's a good thing that he died. If the two of you brothers are both thriving, it would be difficult for others to survive."
Yin San glanced at him before saying, "It's understandable that the person in the Foggy Island and this one in the tub are scared of me; but you and I have known each other for so many years, so why would you still worry that I might sell you out?"
"It's not about selling me out. You two immortals have an unparalleled magic prowess and calculating ability, and you two have often ended up in a draw, though bystanders died in the process."
Emperor Xiao continued with a grin, "I think the Center Sect must have a more in-depth impression of it."
The turmoil of the Fiend Prison started with the letter Yin San sent in, in an attempt to have Jing Jiu killed there.
And both he and Jing Jiu wanted the Underworld Emperor to be freed from his suffering.
The end result was that the Fiend Prison turned into ruins.
The Old Dragon died.
It was the same result this time at the Fruit Formation Temple. The Unicorn was harmed in this scheme, and the Center Sect suffered the most in this event.
"The Unicorn had no chance of killing Jing Jiu because he is powerful but has no brain, and the position he occupied in this scheme was almost perfect."
Yin San whirled and headed for the outside of the room.
Following behind, the Emperor Xiao pressed, "It's such a perfect opportunity that it would be a pity if nothing were done to him?"
"Yeah," Yin San confirmed.
The Emperor Xiao said nothing more, merely enjoying his sentimentality.
No matter how hard they fought with each other, if they encountered the outside force, they would automatically bind together.
They didn't intentionally cooperate with each other, but it was a routine that had formed over a thousand years, that or it was due to sheer instinct.
Who wouldn't be scared of such pair of brothers?
Arriving outside the room, Yin San glanced at the ceiling of the turtle shell that looked like the dark grey sky with many squares, walking to the edge of the pond and sitting down. He then scooped up a handful of clean water from the pond to spray onto his face.
What Emperor Xiao worried about earlier was in fact common knowledge in the Cultivation circle a few hundred years ago.
The shared impression among the Cultivation practitioners was that the Immortal Jing Yang had stayed behind closed doors all year long and seldom ventured out, but those of the older generation knew that he had at least been involved in a few significant events.
In those events, he and the Immortal Taiping, two brothers, had caused a lot of suffering for others, like the destruction of the headquarters of the Mysterious Dark Sect and those masters and colleagues on Green Mountain who had been imprisoned in the Sword Jail and died in the Hermit Peaks.
From Emperor Xiao's perspective, these two brothers came back to the world and would cause a lot of trouble for the Cultivation circle, just like what had happened to the Fiend Prison awhile ago and the Fruit Formation Temple this time.
Yin San of course wanted to kill Jing Jiu, but everything in the world has its priority.
Jing Jiu was not Jing Yang, and was a member of Green Mountain; and the Green Mountain was Yin San's.
Looking at the youthful face reflected on the surface of the pond water and smelling the faint rotting stink coming out from his body, Yin San fell silent for a long time.
Why didn't Jing Jiu encounter the issue similar to his? Was it possible that what Jing Jiu did was right?
No. if I had done the same, who would I be then?
Both Jing Jiu and Yin San were good at scheming. Though Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui were not sure how powerful their own abilities in calculating and planning were, they definitely knew that their ability of making decisions was just as good as those two seniors.
Once they determined that Yin San had been protected by the rumored hidden swordsman, they left the small town by the Great Marsh without hesitation and returned to the Fruit Formation Temple as quickly as they could, even though they had taken risks to pursue Yin San for three days and nights.
They wanted to bring back the latest information, and most of all, they wanted to find out what had happened to Jing Jiu and how he was doing.
The Tranquil Garden was in ruins, so it was not habitable. Jing Jiu was brought to the White Mountain meditation room.
The Elder of the Instruction Hall had come out from behind closed doors and led three hundred monks forming the Huayan Formation. Even if the Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect and the Unicorn returned, they had no way to enter the formation.
Monk Duhai sat cross-legged in a corner, bound by the heavy chains made of the solid iron. He couldn't move an inch, and his eyes were closed, though his countenance was quite calm.
The Emperor stood before the Buddha statue with his eyes closed; it was unclear if he was praying to the Buddha or recuperating.
In order to suppress the wounds inside Jing Jiu's body, he had used a great deal of his zhenyuan, so he should be tired by now.
Lying in the bed, Jing Jiu's face looked as white as a piece of paper; his eyes were shut, and his eyelashes hadn't moved even once. He would only take a slow breath once in a long while.
His right arm was terribly deformed, resembling a forcefully bent sword; it was dreadful to look at
He still clenched his left hand tightly; from the cracks of his fingers came a faint glow and a sliver of energy that was more fresh and lively than the spring breeze.
Underneath his left hand was a script copied carefully by the Elder of the Instruction Hall, in an effort to slow down the outflow of the fairy energy.
Back when Monk Duhai employed the Palm of the World to sneak attack him, Jing Jiu had no choice but to try and use his own sword tip to pierce through heaven and earth.
Unexpectedly, the fairy awareness in the Fairy Book made use of the opportunity to suddenly strike him at the same time.
Attacked by two forces, Jing Jiu had inevitably suffered a severe injury.
The white cat hid by the end of the bed and reached out his front paw to scratch at Jing Jiu's feet occasionally in an attempt to wake him up; the cat felt very uneasy.
This scene was what Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui saw when they walked in the meditation room.
Coming to the side of the bed, Zhao Layue looked at Jing Jiu and asked, "What happened?"
The Emperor didn't give a response as he stood before the Buddha statue.
The white cat hunched down stealthily, not daring to attract her attention. It was because he knew she was in a very bad mood even though she looked normal.
The Elder of the Instruction Hall told them about what had happened three days ago, and then glanced at Monk Duhai sitting by the doorsill. "Nobody knew why Junior Master Duhai did this, as he hasn't uttered a single word so far," he said with a complex expression.
Zhao Layue whirled and strode to the front of Monk Duhai. She placed her right hand on his shoulder, a faint "pah" bursting out.
It was followed by a "clank" sound.
The Thoughtless Sword came out from her palm and pierced through the Monk Duhai's shoulder, cutting open the most sensitive meridian, Sanzhi, in human body, and the tip of the sword jutted out from his waist.
The piercing sword brought excruciating pain to Monk Duhai.
Seeing this, the monks of the Fruit Formation Temple felt it unbearable, especially those disciples of the Justice Hall, most of whom were the Monk Duhai's disciples and felt angry.
A highly achieved monk of the Justice Hall suppressed his anger forcefully, as he said, "Big Brother Duhai has used the Sacrifice Method, and he will live another seven days at most; the Peak Master Zhao has no need to do this."
Zhao Layue paid no heed to these monks and watched Monk Duhai's face quietly while the Thoughtless Sword moved slowly into his body.
No sooner had his eyebrows quivered slightly than the Monk Duhai opened his eyes and looked at Zhao Layue.
Zhao Layue retrieved her sword and backed up a few paces.
The painful expression changed to a peaceful one in his eyes, as if the Monk Duhai had attained true deliverance.
"We didn't expect the Unicorn to come, though we thought that the Unicorn might show up. Yet, this was just a variance, not really important."
He looked at Zhao Layue and continued calmly, "The Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect didn't know that his mission was to bring out all the strong swordsmen around him; but I knew that my task was to wait."
Zhao Layue prompted, "Wait until no one was around him?"
"Yes. Wait for the moment when he was on the verge of completing the tempering of the Fairy Book, because he would be in the weakest condition at the time."
Monk Duhai continued with a small smile, "In fact, you should feel proud of him. This scheme involved so many important figures like the Unicorn, the Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect, the Emperor, and the Immortal Liu Ci; but the ultimate target was Jing Jiu."
"Are you sure you have succeeded?" questioned Zhao Layue, her voice devoid of any emotion.
The Monk Duhai said, "I used the Palm of the World to have broken one branch of his Dao Tree; his spiritual soul is sluggish now. As such, he won't be able to temper the Fairy Book and will eventually be gnawed to death by it. This is the plan that has been plotted by the Immortal herself; how can it fail?"
Zhao Layue fell silent for a long while before demanding, "Why?"
She didn't ask about just this one event, but all related events and reasons.
She referred to all the happenings between the Immortal Taiping and Jing Yang from hundreds of years prior to nowadays, and from the Fruit Formation Temple to Green Mountain.
"I'm afraid that I'm the only one who can answer this question."
The Emperor turned around and away from the Buddha statue, waving his sleeve to signal for all the monks to back out of the room.
Looking at Monk Duhai, the monks of the Fruit Formation Temple didn't wish to leave, but they had no choice but to.
Left in the White Mountain meditation room were the Emperor, Zhao Layue, Liu Shisui, and a cat.
Zhao Layue knew that Jing Jiu trusted the Emperor, so she told him about what had happened to her and her own judgment.
The Immortal Taiping would have been helped by another hidden swordsman.
"We let him escape again in the end."
The Emperor came out of the meditation room and stood on the stone steps, looking at the small stone pagoda that had been placed amid the pagoda forest temporarily, saying lightly, "In fact, all the stories started with his greed. It's not so easy to achieve the world peace or Taiping."
This story had its beginning eight hundred years ago.
It was during the time when the Immortal Daoyuan failed while on his way to ascension because of the sneak attack by Nan Qiu.
It was because of the threat of the Sword Formation of Green Mountain that Nan Qiu escaped to the Foggy Island and hadn't dared to come out since. He was the first hidden swordsman, and the Great Grandmaster of the Foggy Island.
According to Jing Jiu's judgment, the Godly Swordsman of West Ocean should be a disciple from the Foggy Island.
The failure of the Immortal Daoyuan's ascension and his death led to the ascension failure of another Sect Master of Green Mountain, one who was the Master of the Immortal Taiping and the Immortal Jing Yang.
To compete for the position of the sect master, all the peaks of Green Mountain had been involved in a turbulent struggle. As the principal disciple of the sect master, the Immortal Taiping was considered a threat, so they found many reasons to expel him from Green Mountain.
In fact, the expulsion was not real, just like what Green Mountain did to Liu Shisui.
Ying Yang, Liu Ci and Yuan Qijing had a hard time on Shangde Peak back then.
Many years later, the Immortal Taiping, who everybody thought was dead, returned to the human world and traveled with the Underworld Emperor for twenty years.
It seemed that the Underworld and the human world would finally reach a long-lasting peace.
Unexpectedly, the human Cultivation circle had suddenly changed their mind.
The Center Sect, the One-Cottage House, the Kunlun Sect and other sects besieged the Underworld Emperor!
The Fairy Book struck him from the sky!
The Underworld Emperor had been locked up in the deep end of the Fiend Prison until he died together with the Old Dragon a few years ago.
Though what had happened to the Underworld Emperor was not participated in by the Immortal Taiping, he had done a great deed for the humans nonetheless.
Soon after, the Immortal Taiping returned to Green Mountain in glory, intending to inherit the position of the sect master.
But the masters of the peaks on Green Mountain had no intention of letting him become the sect master.
At the time the Immortal Taiping had already mastered the Ultimate Method of the Green Mountain Sect and also learned the powerful methods of the Underworld; he became the strongest even among the limited swordsmen in the Heavenly Arrival State.
Two of his disciples, Liu Ci and Yuan Qijing, were some of the rarest geniuses in the history of the Green Mountain Sect.
And he had successfully persuaded the two of the Principal Guards, Dead Dog and Devil Rooster, to side with him.
More importantly, his Young Brother Ying Yang had displayed an unparalleled Cultivation state and prowess in this turbulence on Green Mountain.
After many brutal and bloody sword fights, some of the elders on Green Mountain were killed, and some went to the Hermit Peaks and pledged not to come out again, while some were imprisoned in the Sword Jail.
The inheritance of Green Mountain went on.
It was unclear what effects traveling in the Underworld and the fact that the Underworld Emperor was imprisoned had had on the Immortal Taiping.
But, it was clear that his ideas must have experienced some subtle changes.
One hundred years later, the Snowy Kingdom went through a change of heart, and the monster invasion occurred. The monsters raided the south, and the Cultivation sects in the north were all wiped out. The imperial court had been interrupted, and the human world was thrown into chaos, and the bandits were pillaging everywhere.
It was then that a talented young woman left the Water-Moon Nunnery, and killed forty thousand people and burned down seventeen headquarters of the bandits, stabilizing the situation temporarily.
As suggested by the Immortal Taiping, a few leaders of the orthodox Cultivation sects and the only remaining bloodline of the royal family, the late emperor, had signed an accord at the Plum Garden in Zhaoge City. Later, they had worked together to quell the turbulence of migrating populace and defeat the invading army of monsters. The human race had finally been saved.
This was the beginning of the tradition of governing the world by the Plum Meeting.
By that time, the Immortal Taiping had attained the highest status both in the Cultivation circle and all of Chaotian, and enjoyed unparalleled glory.
However, he was not satisfied with the achievements, because he wanted to achieve something that was beyond what the humans desired.
He chose a talented grandson of the previous dynasty to help him accomplish his plan, who became the second hidden swordsman.
The world fell into the turbulence again. The deviant sects were on the rise, and the Old Ones were ravaging the world. The Underworld invaded the human world, and the No-Mercy Sect was on the brink of being destroyed. The Jing imperial court and the orthodox Cultivation sects worked hard together but barely had the situation under control.
Four hundred years ago, the Green Mountain Sect had destroyed the headquarters of the Mysterious Dark Sect and compelled the Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect to become the third hidden swordsman.
It was then that the Immortal Jing Yang found that all these dreadful events were schemes plotted by his Big Brother.
The two of them engaged in heated arguments.
Afterwards, the Immortal Jing Yang had stayed hidden on Shenmo Peak, and stayed out of the mortal affairs, but he had been keeping a tab on the Immortal Taiping the whole time.
One day, the Immortal Taiping suddenly disappeared.
Three hundred years ago, the late emperor had faked his death and hid at the Fruit Formation Temple to cultivate in private, after passing the throne to his son.
The Immortal Taiping reappeared at this time.
It turned out that he had been to the Underworld and even become the advisor of the Underworld Master.
After he returned to the human world, he had changed his identity to become the Chief Monk of the Fruit Formation Temple.
"When my father, the late emperor, cultivated in the Tranquil Garden, I came here several times. But I had no idea the Chief Monk at the time was the Immortal Taiping."
Looking at the small stone pagoda amid the pagoda forest and thinking of the events of the past three hundred years, the Emperor was in a stupor.
Zhao Layue wondered what was actually hidden in the past events and what kind of idea the Immortal Taiping had that led to the betrayal of all those close to him on Green Mountain.
She recalled what Jing Jiu had told her in the Zhao garden outside Zhaoge City, and fell silent.
Liu Shisui recalled the young man who came to the vegetable garden that year and his explanation of the script that night. He still couldn't believe he was actually the Great Grandmaster Taiping. "The Great Grandmaster was the Sect Master of Green Mountain; how come he came here to become the Chief Monk of the Fruit Formation Temple?" he asked in confusion.
Monk Duhai chimed in, "The Immortal is profound in the understanding of the Buddhist scripts, and he is always concerned with all the beings and is truly benevolent; why couldn't he be the Chief Monk of our temple?"
The Emperor ignored him as he continued, "The purpose for the Immortal Taiping cultivating his Zen was not to seek out cleanness and solitude and had nothing to do with benevolence; what he wished to achieve was to understand the incarnation and the reincarnation of lives."
Zhao Layue thought that the late emperor was cultivating in private at the Fruit Formation Temple at the time and wondered if the two of them had any relationship.
"The Immortal Taiping and my father were best friends, or more like brothers; but the Immortal Taiping intended to possess my father's body and return to Zhaoge City as the emperor."
"Fortunately, he failed," the Emperor said in a lower voice while looking at the small stone pagoda. "He was captured and imprisoned by the Immortal Jing Yang in the Sword Jail…until he escaped."
Three hundred years ago, the Immortal Taiping stayed behind death doors, and the Green Mountain Sect issued a Prohibition Order that forbade any intrusion within two hundred square miles, and the army of the imperial court was mobilized, shocking the entire world.
This was what had actually happened back then.
Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui fell silent.
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