Looking at the person atop the snowy mountain quietly, Jing Jiu, for some reason, showed a hint of pity in his eyes.
He didn't know that the young church master of the Mysterious Dark Church was Wang Xiaoming in the beginning. It wasn't until he led Gu Qing through the Cold Mountain many years ago and sensed clearly the lethal intent from his line of sight that Jing Jiu came up with the idea of killing that person.
But to kill someone, he first needed to find out who that person was. As he accompanied Guo Dong during their recovery years, Zhao Layue and Gu Qing had checked out everything about this person through the Curtain Rollers and other resources, including those lucky encounters experienced by this person.
The lucky encounters would be able to explain his incredible progress in Cultivation.
Yet, Jing Jiu was more familiar than anybody else with the feeling of being arranged and controlled, as well as the game-like environment.
The successful tempering of the Sun Banner proved to Jing Jiu that the person behind the scenes was his Big Brother.
Jing Jiu seemed to be able to foresee the outcome for this young man; he would be either be killed by Jing Jiu, or manipulated to die by his Big Brother.
Standing by the edge of the cliff on the snowy mountain and looking at the two on the ground, Wang Xiaoming felt dumbfounded, wondering who that person was and why the person knew his closely guarded secret.
In the next moment, he had seen Jing Jiu's face clearly, and he couldn't help but feel stunned.
He murmured, "It's you!"
The mixture of surprise, shock, and ecstasy assaulted his mind at the same time. He even forgot the chilly sensation he felt when Jing Jiu revealed the truth.
The corners of his mouth twitched slightly, flashing a neurotic and awkward smile.
The wildfire in his eyes burned more fervently as the banner followed him, as if it could burn down everything in the world like the Sun Banner could, .
Soon after, both of his lips trembled increasingly more, and he laughed more madly. Then he shrieked, "It's you! Jing…"
Wang Xiaoming's voice stopped short.
This happened the same way as that disciple who died right after he uttered the word "Jing".
A desolate sword light appeared in front of the snowy mountain.
The snowy mountain suddenly felt not as chilly as before.
The Sword of the Universe had somehow snuck to the top of the snowy mountain and been wielded downwards.
It was evident that Wang Xiaoming wouldn't be hacked to death by a swing of the sword as easily as that disciple of the Mysterious Dark Church.
A black banner came out from the thin air beside Wang Xiaoming, rolling forward along with the wind like the ocean spray, crushing onto the Sword of the Universe.
The black banner looked dark and gloomy like a deep abyss, the surface painted with blood red patches, giving off a dreadful high temperature.
This should be the rumored Sun Banner, the precious magic treasure of the Mysterious Dark Church.
The Sun Banner was activated.
It seemed that a scorching sun had risen over the snowy mountain.
The Sword of the Universe looked brighter.
Yet, the Sun Banner didn't actually block the Sword of the Universe. The space in the surroundings of the shadows of the banner had twisted and changed forms.
The Sword of the Universe passed by the edge of the Sun Banner and flew through the changed space into the cliff wall diagonally.
A moment later, thunderous noise could be heard on the other side of the snowy mountain.
The sword light flew back.
An avalanche occurred on the snowy mountain, filling up the valleys.
Jing Jiu reached out his hand to take the sword from the air, and lowered his head to take a look at it.
Tong Yan glanced at him, wondering what he was doing.
Jing Jiu had wielded his sword so suddenly that Tong Yan didn't even realize it, to say nothing of Wang Xiaoming.
"I don't like hearing screams and cries."
After Jing Jiu made sure that the Sword of the Universe was intact, he continued, "This Sun Banner is indeed formidable; I'm not its equal right now."
The thought crossed Tong Yan's mind that Jing Jiu did it to test his sword. He thought it was a redundant thing to do; there was no need to know the result by testing it.
The Sun Banner was the top magic treasure of the Mysterious Dark Church, with a very high state; its destructive power could be ranked in the top ten in the Cultivation world, and its defensive power was also quite strong.
But forget the limits possessed by the Sword of the Universe; even the Thoughtless Sword, the fastest among the swords of Green Mountain, would have a hard time passing through the Sun Banner and killing Wang Xiaoming.
Judging by the sword he had just wielded, Jing Jiu determined that the Sun Banner was truly formidable, and that Wang Xiaoming had many lucky encounters and a powerful demonic state; he was merely slightly weaker than Jing Jiu himself.
If he wanted to kill Wang Xiaoming, the simplest method was to use a magic treasure of the same state as the Sun Banner and bombard it.
As long as the Sun Banner couldn't find an opportunity to protect its master, it would be easy to kill Wang Xiaoming.
Jing Jiu looked at the Green Sky Mirror behind Tong Yan, and said, "We have to let you attack first."
Hearing this, the Green Girl couldn't help but jump out from the Green Sky Mirror, claiming, "I don't know how to fight."
"Hmm?" Jing Jiu prompted.
"There are many sorts of magic treasures; some of them are powerful enough to shake heaven and earth, and some can be used to understand the Dao. Not all magic treasures can be used to fight in the battles."
Tong Yan explained this to Jing Jiu, thinking that the masters on the Cloud-Dream Mountain were right that the Green Mountain Sect had no magic treasure, so they knew nothing about them.
Yet, Jing Jiu thought that the magic treasures of heavenly state were nothing but rubbish if they couldn't be used to fight foes.
He said to Tong Yan, "Later, we'll leave this place first, and you'll stay here a bit longer, trying to draw as much attention as possible."
The Green Girl felt helpless, wondering why the people who knew how to play chess had such a temperament and would discard chess pieces after a disagreement.
Standing by the edge of the cliff and listening to the thunderous avalanche on the other side of the snowy mountain, Wang Xiaoming sensed the quiver under his feet, remaining silent.
He pulled back his line of sight after a long while and looked at the sword by the side of Jing Jiu.
The sword wielded by Jing Jiu was truly fast, and very treacherous as well. It snuck up a close distance imperceptibly, and launched sudden attack only when it reached a spot where he would be able to notice it. He didn't have enough time responding to the attack. If the Sun Banner hadn't protected its master automatically, he would have been wounded, or even worse.
In other words, without the Sun Banner, he was not an equal of Jing Jiu.
This fact made him feel bewildered.
After having left Zhaoge City, he had put in tremendous time and effort to cultivate as diligently as he could in order to have his revenge someday. He had obtained needed crystals and magic pills, as well as the best deviant magic methods in his lucky encounters. In fact, he was merely a few years later than Jing Jiu in starting his Cultivation practice, and yet he was still not his equal. Was it possible that he would never be able to catch up to Jing Jiu?
No, it was not the case. He was not Jing Jiu's equal because Jing Jiu's sword was simply too outstanding.
He heard that Jing Jiu had a lucky encounter at the Fruit Formation Temple and tempered a sword of Fairy State; it should be this sword.
Now that both of them had lucky encounters and Jing Jiu could regard his sword as part of his Cultivation state, he could count the Sun Banner as his as well; in this case, his Cultivation state had surpassed Jing Jiu's a long time ago.
Thinking, Wang Xiaoming calmed down and asked Jing Jiu, "Your sword is indeed outstanding, and your talent in the sword work is also very exceptional; but do you know what your real formidability is?"
Jing Jiu would of course pay no attention to him. His gaze surveyed the surroundings of the snowy mountain; it was unclear what he was calculating at the moment.
But Tong Yan was interested in knowing the answer, and asked, "What is it?"
"Your real formidability lies in your luck. Even a brilliant pearl will have no chance of showing its brightness if it is kept in the darkness. You have no idea how many people are jealous of your luck in joining the Green Mountain Sect."
Wang Xiaoming let out a neurotic smile while the corners of his mouth twitched. "It's a pity that your luck is not so good today…because you have met me," he remarked.
Jing Jiu knew what this sort of person would say under the circumstances, so he was not interested in what he was saying at all; not even one single word entered his ears.
Jing Jiu looked at the Sword of the Universe in his hand again, making sure that the saliva left on it by the King of Fire Carps had completely vanished, and he had more confidence in his plan.
Since Jing Jiu didn't give a response, Tong Yan had to play the role of conversing with the foe, in an effort to kill some time. Looking at Wang Xiaoming by the edge of the cliff on the snowy mountain, Tong Yan said sincerely, "According to the investigation of our Center Sect, you have never harmed any innocent bystander, and have a benevolent heart. Why don't you choose to change the deviant way of your life and become an orthodox practitioner?"
"Change my deviant way of life? Hahahaha!"
Wang Xiaoming laughed out loud, as if he had heard something truly ridiculous.
"There is no difference between the deviant and orthodox sects in my eyes. All the Cultivation practitioners deserve to die, no matter what."
After a pause, Tong Yan said, "It turns out that the reason you don't want to harm the innocent bystanders is because they are mortals."
"That's right," said Wang Xiaoming. "I have never considered myself a Cultivation practitioner, even though I have learned so many insane magic methods. I still consider myself an ordinary person."
Judging from his expression and tone, Wang Xiaoming was very proud of this status of his.
"Where did your hostile attitude toward the Cultivation practitioners come from?" Tong Yan demanded.
"The Cultivation practitioners like you have already oppressed us, the ordinary people, for countless years; and you ask me where my hostility comes from?"
Wang Xiaoming yelled angrily, "Why should we be bullied and oppressed by you right after our births? Why?!"
His yelling echoed before the bleak snowy mountain; and the avalanche occurred again on the other side of the mountain with booming sounds, as if it responded to his shout.
Tong Yan fell silent for a long while this time, and then said, "It seems that we have different stances on the issue; but you are a Cultivation practitioner now, so you should understand the reason."
"No," Wang Xiaoming said sharply. "As I said earlier, I have never considered myself a Cultivation practitioner."
Looking at his right leg, Tong Yan asked, "Now that you have already succeeded in cultivating a high state of demonic magic, you could easily fix your crippled right leg. But you insist on remaining a crippled person; do you intend on reminding yourself of your identity as an ordinary person by doing so?"
Wang Xiaoming didn't expect Tong Yan to figure out what was on his mind. "That's right," he replied in a slightly hoarse voice.
Tong Yan stared at him and said sympathetically, "Unfortunately, what you did is futile; it's because you are not an oridnary person anymore, and you have already become the Cultivation practitioner you hate the most."
Infuriated by Tong Yan's expression and statement, Wang Xiaoming responded impatiently, "As I have said to you earlier, I don't think so."
"The difference between a Cultivation practitioner and an ordinary person is not their views, nor their appearances, morality, and longevity. The only difference is whether they have the ability to cultivate."
Tong Yan shook his head as he continued, "The Cultivation practitioners are those who have the ability to cultivate, and mortals are those who can't cultivate. What you think about the issue is irrelevant."
Jing Jiu uttered "hmm" to express his agreement.
It was such a simple logic that he didn't want to make the effort to explain it.
A beautiful white swan was flying freely high in the sky; but if it insisted on telling others that it was a duck simply because it didn't want to cut off the connections with its adopted duck mother and siblings, it would go against the fact even though it displayed the swan's affection and loyalty to its previous relationships.
If a person turned into a beetle, no humans would accept him as a human regardless of whether he still wanted to be a human; all they could do was sit in the dumping site with a flower made from the metal in their hands, commemorating what they had lost.
If Tong Yan were a sinister person, he could ask Wang Xiaoming the following:
"You insist on being an ordinary person and not a Cultivation practitioner; but will those ordinary people in the world still regard you as their kind?"
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