This feeling grew stronger and stronger, and it started to assault his Dao Heart, making
Jing Jiu feel ill at ease.
Yet, Jing Jiu was fully aware that his uneasy feeling was not caused by the surnames of
Liu Shisui and Yuan Qü, but by the presence of the Snow Girl on Green Mountain.
After some thought Jing Jiu took out Cold Cicada and tossed it over, as he said, "Ada,
you wear it for now."
Cold Cicada landed squarely on the white cat's head.
One could get used to a high place and fear less of it after having stayed there long
enough, no matter how high that place was. Cold Cicada felt even more delighted in
comparison to staying on the Snow Girl's head.
The white cat moved Cold Cicada to a more comfortable spot with his right hand, feeling
fairly satisfied. He meowed toward Jing Jiu once to express his gratitude.
Jing Jiu felt satisfied as well. He thought that the Snow Girl would follow the scent of
Cold Cicada to Shenmo Peak if she broke through the cell door; Ada should be able to
resist her for a while if that happened, and the other three Principal Guards would come
to Ada's rescue.
Ping Yongjia moved closer to Gu Qing, asking in a whisper, "Big Brother, what is so
special about this cat? Why does his name sound a bit weird?"
Before Gu Qing could explain to him, Jing Jiu asked Ping Yongjia, "What sword style do
you wish to learn?"
Ping Yongjia was taken aback, as he thought that he, as a Shenmo Peak disciple,
should learn the Regretless Sword style of the Grandmaster Jing Yang; why would he
wish to learn any other sword styles?
Thinking of his own experience, Gu Qing said with a smile, "You can choose to learn
any sword style of the nine peaks on Green Mountain."
Ping Yongjia was stunned speechless, because he had never expected this.
Gu Qing then said to Jing Jiu, "Young Brother doesn't have a sword yet. What
arrangement does Master have for him?"
It was just then that the singing suddenly broke out on the opposite side, which was
Ping Yongjia looked in that direction curiously.
Jing Jiu glanced at him and said, "You'll learn the Endless Sword style of Qingrong
Peak then. I'll find a sword for you later."
Ping Yongjia was taken aback once again, feeling helpless, as he thought that he had
merely shot a glance at that place. "Master, they are all big sisters on Qingrong Peak;
it's kind of weird for me to learn…" he tried to protest but trailed off.
Jing Jiu didn't heed him and walked back to the manor cave. Soon after, he came out
from the manor cave with a thin booklet, which was the sword manual, in his hand.
Ping Yongjia didn't know whether he should feel happy or sad as he took the sword
manual blankly. Before he could say anything, he was dragged by Gu Qing and Yuan
Qü into the Daoist hall.
"Are you an idiot? Senior Master had participated in the Dao Competition of Cloud-
Dream as a disciple of the Water-Moon Nunnery. What is wrong with learning the sword
style of Qingrong Peak?"
Yuan Qü said this angrily while staring at Ping Yongjia, as he thought that Young Sister
Yushan would be so happy if she had the opportunity, but Ping Yongjia seemed less
than pleased with the arrangement.
Gu Qing didn't say anything, simply wearing a smile.
He helped Yuan Qü drag Ping Yongjia into the Daoist hall, not because he was afraid
that his Master would get upset, but because he knew that the two masters wanted to
talk in private.
The bamboo chair was placed by the edge of the cliff, facing the ocean of clouds.
Jing Jiu sat behind Zhao Layue, combing her hair.
Thinking of the sword manual Jing Jiu gave to Ping Yongjia, she commented, "Your
memory is pretty good."
"Though I can remember most of the major sword styles," Jing Jiu said, "I have almost
forgotten the entry level methods."
In fact, he had noticed this issue back when he walked out of that mountain stream. The
memories he had kept had nothing to do with the lapsed time. It seemed that he made a
purposeful choice; he could remember most of the important things, and those he
couldn't remember must be trivial matters.
Zhao Layue said, "I haven't seen you play with the sand for a while."
"I've been quite busy lately," said Jing Jiu.
He had indeed been busy lately, and seldom had time to take a rest besides cultivating,
to say nothing of playing with the sand to kill time.
Speaking of which, Jing Jiu found that he spent increasingly less time on Green
Mountain; it was an unthinkable thing for him in his former life.
Zhao Layue was aware that this was something he loathed, so she shot him a
"Sometimes I think I'm doing all this simply to repay my debts," Jing Jiu said.
Zhao Layue asked after some thought, "Is it the so-called cause and effect?"
Looking at the flowing ocean of clouds outside the cliff, Jing Jiu pondered it for a while
before saying, "I'm not indebted to this world, though."
Zhao Layue pressed, "Is the green grass on the slope indebted to that horse?"
Jing Jiu nodded in agreement, and said, "Therefore, I have to go to Zhaoge City next."
"I'll go with you this time," Zhao Layue offered.
Jing Jiu said, "I'll let Gu Qing come with me this time. He is familiar with the affairs in
Zhao Layue said, "The situation is under control now in the snowland. The Plum
Meeting will take place as planned this year. Zhuo Rusui should be in Zhaoge City right
"I'm going to Zhaoge City for the matter of the snowland," Jing Jiu said.
He was about to tell her about the Snow Girl so she could be prepared for it when
It was then that the white cat dashed out from the manor cave, the bell on his neck
making constant noise.
Zhao Layue's countenance changed slightly, wondering what had happened.
The white cat put Cold Cicada on the ground, motioning for Jing Jiu to have a quick look
Cold Cicada was rigid throughout its body, and a dozen of its thin white limbs were
trembling uncontrollably; it looked like the cicada was on the verge of dying.
Jing Jiu reached out his hand and picked up Cold Cicada. He found that Cold Cicada's
life was not in danger, and that it was just extremely scared.
It was because the mosquito under Cold Cicada's control had died.
It died in that stone room of the Sword Jail.
By dusk, Jing Jiu arrived on Shangde Peak. It was quite dark in the Sword Jail, which, in
fact, was the same as any other time of the day.
He walked in the dark and gloomy passage soundlessly, and arrived in the grand hall
illuminated by the lights; then he looked at the narrow passageway to his right.
The sword wills of the Formation of Sealing All with Ice were hidden securely in the rock
walls on the both sides, invisible and undetectable.
His line of sight passed the empty air and fixed onto the cell at the end of the
All of a sudden, a great amount of ice and snow came out from the cracks on the cell
More of the ice and snow came out at an increasingly faster pace, until they turned into
a dreadful and unimaginably chilly torrent rushing toward Jing Jiu.
Jing Jiu looked at the scene quietly and calmly; he didn't show any surprised
expression, nor did he try to evade it.
The rushing torrent of ice and snow reached him in an instant, and he was on the brink
of being buried underneath.
It was just then that he shut his eyes, and then opened them.
The ice and snow vanished.
What he saw now was the same dark and gloomy passageway, and the lonely cell.
Jing Jiu had learned his lesson from his Big Brother's escape from the Sword Jail, he
was more cautious this time if he wanted to lock the Snow Girl here more securely. He
had a back-up plan.
He left the mosquito of the Fiend Prison in the cell to keep a tab on the Snow Girl; but
Jing Jiu didn't expect that the Snow Girl would discover the mosquito so soon and kill it.
Did the Snow Girl intend to display her powerful Cultivation state or to express her
anger by killing the mosquito and releasing the illusory torrent of ice and snow?
Jing Jiu didn't utter a single word for a long time while gazing at the cell.
No sound came out from the cell either; it was as quiet as in a graveyard.
A gust of breeze suddenly occurred in the grand hall, flinging some tiny dust particles
into the air.
It was unclear whether this breeze came from the other end of the well or the other side
of the hermit peak; what did it try to convey?
"I'm going to travel to a faraway place."
Looking at the cell on the other end of the long passageway, Jing Jiu continued, "You
should tell me right now if you have anything that you wish to say."
A faint gurgling sound came out from the cell.
Jing Jiu remained silent for a while before saying, "Fine."
A bamboo chair appeared in the cell.
The bamboo chair was rather old. The surface of the chair and arms were very smooth;
it was not steady on the floor because it hadn't been repaired in many years.
The scenery projected by the magic treasure on the walls and roof of the cell had been
changed. The blue sky, white clouds, green mountains and streams were replaced by a
barren plain and icy world.
A desolate, high and glittering icy peak could be vaguely seen in the distance in this
Wrapped in the quilt, the Snow Girl squatted on the bamboo chair while looking at that
icy peak; she looked rather pleased with the arrangement.
The snowline didn't push southward this year; and the cold wind in the snowland was
not as chilly as it had been over last few years. Zhaoge City welcomed a normal spring.
The green trees in the Zen temple had grown lush by the day, looking like the new tea
in an old container. The fog grew thicker with the elevation, resembling the white steam
on top of a teacup.
The spring scenery was truly marvelous at the Net-Perception Temple.
A grand hall was intermittently visible in the fog.
Jing Jiu walked out of the grand hall, and came to the midst of the foggy forest. The
spring scenery was even better when being looked at in the fog.
The Net-Perception Temple belonged to the royal family. He had just finished talking to
He told the Emperor about the Snow Girl locked on Green Mountain; and he also
learned something about the political situation in Zhaoge City.
Though he didn't care so much about mortal affairs, he had no choice but to listen to
what the Emperor had to say now that they had met.
Sometimes Jing Jiu couldn't avoid meeting him. Similarly, he didn't like meeting Yuan
Qijing, but he had no choice at the time.
Jing Xin had kept a low-profile lately, and seldom left his palace. He had been studying
with the masters of the Center Sect and the One-Cottage House every day, in the open
and in secret.
It seemed uneventful in Zhaoge City; the political situation, however, was not as cozy.
Some officials had presented a petition requesting Prince Jing Yao to be appointed as
the Crown Prince some years ago, like what the Governor Li of Dayuan City had done,
but no official did so lately.
The Emperor nevertheless needed these officials and generals to govern and protect
A majority of the officials and generals of the imperial court had some training at the
Center Sect, or they had studied at the One-Cottage House.
In comparison to the Center Sect and the One-Cottage House, the Green Mountain
Sect had very limited influence in Zhaoge City.
Back when Gu Qing went to the palace and became the teacher of Jing Yao, the whole
world was shocked, as they thought that the Green Mountain Sect desired to change
the structure of the Plum Meeting by extending their influence to the north.
As such, the reaction from the Center Sect was rather drastic; they sent out the likes of
Yue Qianmen of a high Cultivation state to protect the Prince Jing Xin. It was until now
that Xian Wanshu and a few other immortal masters of the Center Sect were still staying
in the palace of Prince Jing Xin. In addition, the Center Sect became furious when the
chief commander of the Pure Heaven Bureau changed his stance during the turmoil of
the Fiend Prison.
Under the circumstances, it was nearly impossible to dispose of Jing Xin and appoint
Jing Yao as the Crown Prince.
The calmness in Zhaoge City right now was not a good sign.
Jing Jiu strolled to the edge of the pond, and looked at the lotus leaves that had just
grown on the surface of the water, remaining silent for a long time.
If the royal family of Jing wished to last for a great many generations, they must pay
attention to the opinions of the Center Sect and the One-Cottage House, unless the
royal family of Jing and the Green Mountain Sect had enough power and force to
suppress the opposing opinions.
His disciple Gu Qing was Jing Yao's teacher, and his nephew Jing Li was Jing Yao's
study partner. In the eyes of everybody else, Jing Jiu was a key figure in the Green
Mountain Sect's attempt to influence the north. So many events had happened, and the
Unicorn was defeated at the Fruit Formation Temple not long ago; Jing Jiu was certain
that the Center Sect had already suspected his relationship with the Emperor, not to
mention the turmoil of the Fiend Prison and the death of the Old Dragon…
Even if they didn't have enough evidence, the Center Sect would certainly assassinate
him once they had a chance. However, the Center Sect probably didn't realize that the
Green Mountain Sect, according to their usual style of action if Jing Jiu were killed,
inevitably launching a revenge action at a large scale, no matter whether they had
enough evidence or whether they had an opportunity to do so.
It seemed that the war between the two leaders of the orthodox Cultivation sects was
It was indeed very troublesome.
Looking at the swaying lotus in the wind, Jing Jiu calculated the outcome of the war in
Two of the Heavenly Arrival State at the Center Sect would be pitted against two of the
Heavenly Arrival State at the Green Mountain Sect; the result would be a stalemate.
Though Yuan Qijing broke through the state later than all the others, he must have a
back-up plan, since he was so thoughtful and deceptive.
The original body of the Unicorn was in the Heavenly Arrival State. The Dark Phoenix
would be quite aggressive when he was enraged, but Ada was even worse than himself
when the cat was truly scared. The Dead Dog was Jing Jiu's only hope in fighting
against the Unicorn.
The Cloud-Dream Mountain had a few more valley masters than the peak masters on
Green Mountain. But Little Fourth, Fang Jingtian, had concealed his true prowess over
the years; so he should be able to kill a few of their valley masters in the very beginning
when he unexpectedly demonstrated his true ability.
Yet, the main issue was that most of the Cultivation practitioners in the hermit peaks on
Green Mountain were dead, while most of the practitioners on the back mountain of
Cloud-Dream were not.
The Center Sect hadn't suffered from internal conflict after Bai Ren ascended, so it was
most likely that some elders of previous generations were still alive on the back
mountain of Cloud-Dream.
The carp in the river of lava at the bottom of the Gathered-Soul Valley was a good
example. Nobody would expect that the Center Sect had hidden a divine animal in that
desolate and remote place.
Jing Jiu found that they would be a big threat after these simple calculations.
If the war started between the Green Mountain Sect and the Center Sect, at least half of
Chaotian would be ruined, no matter which side won.
Why had the conflict come to this point?
Jing Jiu didn't quite understand the reason.
He went to the Fiend Prison in an attempt to learn something from the Underworld
Emperor and had no intention of disturbing the Old Dragon.
Afterwards, Jing Jiu found out that he was discovered by the Old Dragon because the
Old Ones sent a letter to the Fiend Prison through the Palace of Prince Jing Xin.
The Old Ones were his Big Brother's.
Now he had finally gotten the answer.
He had been winning over the years, no matter whether he was trapped in the
snowland, or during the turmoil at the Fruit Formation Temple.
However, all those were winnings on a small scale.
What his Big Brother craved was to win on a large scale.
It would be his Big Brother's victory when Chaotian was in turmoil and a great number
of lives were lost.
"Are you even capable of feeling sad?"
A female voice rang out behind Jing Jiu.
Without turning around, Jing Jiu replied, "I'm not sad, but rather perplexed. Why would
the Cultivation practitioners not focus on cultivating and come up with so many other
He couldn't figure this out in his former life, and he still couldn't get a satisfactory
answer in this life either.
If it stemmed from the idea that the Cultivation practitioners had the responsibility to
help move the human race forward, where did this feeling of responsibility come from?
If the feeling of responsibility stemmed from one's despair of the old world, shouldn't
they simply bring the army of the Underworld to the human world and attack the
If all this stemmed from the love of something, this irrational idea should only exist in the
stories told in the stage shows rather than in the real world.
The young woman came to his side and sat down. She looked at the lotus in the pond
while holding her knees, wiping the tears rolling out of her eyes after sniffling a few
times. "There is no trouble in the world to begin with, but the ordinary people feel
troubled because they worry too much. Maybe, we are all ordinary people," she
remarked in a helpless tone.
Jing Jiu turned his head toward her and said seriously, "I'm not an ordinary person, and
neither is he."
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