The eyes and brows of this young woman looked kind of childish, but they were not as
tender as Tong Yan's, which were there naturally. Her childish countenance was due to
lack of sufferings.
Jing Jiu felt that he had seen her face somewhere; then he remembered that he met her
at the Jing house last year when he was grinding his right arm against the demon bone,
and that she poured a cup of cold tea, which was boiled one day ago, for him.
Then, he remembered that this young woman seemed to be the granddaughter of the
current prime minister and have a loving affair with Jing Li.
As such, she should be the future wife of his nephew?!
These matters were kind of complicated, but Jing Jiu sorted them out soon. He thought
that this young woman's fortune was not bad though she was a little slow, because she
happened to meet him again.
It was much easier for the young woman to recognize Jing Jiu. Seeing his face, she
yelled in surprise, "Uncle, how come you are here?!"
The tears were still on her cheeks as she spoke.
The Net-Perception Temple was the royal Zen temple, so it was normal for the family
members of Prime Minister to come here. However, for a woman of her age, she either
came here to pray to the Buddha for a wish to come true, or she was here because she
was grounded in this place.
It was evident that she was facing a difficult issue in her life.
Her situation was the same as the Emperor.
Thinking of the attitudes of the prime minister and other officials in the imperial court,
Jing Jiu suddenly said, "I want to drink tea."
Jing Jiu led Gu Qing to the Jing house after departure from the Net-Perception Temple.
The eaves of Taichang Temple had collected dusts, which couldn't be blown away by
the spring wind, and no spring rain had occurred recently; as such, the eaves couldn't
draw people's attention any longer.
Jing Jiu didn't look in the direction of Taichang Temple, nor did he press that green
brick. Rather, he asked Gu Qing to knock on the door.
As the door was pushed open, a young and mature face poked out of the door.
Seeing Gu Qing, an aghast and joyful expression suddenly showed on that face.
Jing Li happened to have the day off, so he was not in the palace.
He was the study partner of Prince Jing Yao and was taught by Gu Qing for a long
while, so he could be regarded as Gu Qing's student.
Gu Qing flashed a smile but didn't say anything; he stepped aside to reveal Jing Jiu
Jing Li was taken aback initially but regained his senses quickly. He bowed to Jing Jiu
hastily and reverentially. His attitude toward Jing Jiu was obviously different from his
attitude toward Gu Qing.
This unaffectionate relationship between family members was abnormal.
Yet, Jing Jiu didn't feel displeased at his attitude; on the other contrary, he felt
comfortable with it. "Tell your father to come here," he said to Jing Li.
Usually, Jing Jiu didn't need to speak under the circumstances, and all he needed to do
was to utter "hmm". But he realized over the years that not everybody could understand
him like Liu Shisui, Zhao Layue and Gu Qing. They could understand his intentions
simply based on his eyes and bodily gestures. Even Yuan Qü couldn't achieve the feat.
As such, instead of explaining everything later, it would be much easier to lay everything
on the table in the very beginning.
The arrangements in the study room were, as expected, the same as before. Jing Jiu
reached out his hand reflexively to grab the bamboo chair, but he only grabbed the
empty space. Then he remembered that he had left the bamboo chair for the Snow Girl
in that stone room. He had no choice but to walk to the desk and sit down; his sitting
posture was a bit rigid.
Gu Qing boiled a pot of tea, poured into a teacup and brought it to Jing Jiu.
Though Jing Jiu didn't take a fancy to tea, he had some knowledge about the qualities
of tea. Looking at the clean and thick tea water, Jing Jiu mused that the tea boiled by
Gu Qing was indeed much better than that poured by that young woman of Jing Li's.
The sound of footsteps could be heard outside the window. It was Jing Shang who
came back home in a hurry after being informed. He walked into the study room and
greeted Jing Jiu in a discreet manner.
The situation in the snowland was not as dangerous now. The Plum Meeting resumed.
The zither tournament had finished a few days ago; it was the chess tournament today.
All of Zhaoge City was busy due to the event.
Jing Shang had an unimportant position at Taichang Temple; so he was not as busy as
those officials of the Pure Heaven Bureau. Yet, he still had to stay at the temple all day
Seeing the gray hair on his temples, Jing Jiu suddenly remarked, "I shouldn't have let
you bet on the outcomes of the chess tournament of the Plum Meeting and win money
back then. It was too much work. You should have simply given you a box of golden
Jing Shang was taken aback slightly, wondering why he suddenly mentioned the event
that had happened so long ago.
"What are your thoughts on Jing Li's marriage?" Jing Jiu asked.
Jing Shang was startled this time, wondering why he cared about such a trivial matter.
"What…what is your suggestion?" Jing Shang stuttered after a pause.
"If you have no objection and Jing Li wants to marry her, then she should be brought
into this house."
Jing Jiu went on, "Gu Qing will be in charge of this matter. You people will listen to him."
Jing Shang looked at Gu Qing, his eyes full of helplessness. He wanted to tell Gu Qing
that Jing Jiu might not know the entanglement of the matter, but that Gu Qing had to tell
Jing Jiu about it.
With a smile, Gu Qing led Jing Shang out of the study room. As they arrived in a quiet
corner of the back garden, Gu Qing stared at Jing Shang's eyes and said seriously, "Go
to the Manor of Prime Minister and propose the marriage."
Jing Shang was stunned speechless, wondering what Gu Qing meant. Gu Qing didn't
explain his position, as he continued, "I heard that the son of State Duke Shan would
propose the marriage in eight days. As such, we have to go there earlier or on the same
day. Which day is more suitable in your opinion?"
"Now that you know the Manor of Prime Minister and the Manor of State Duke Shan
intend to build a bond by marriage, why do you still want us to propose the marriage?"
Jing Shang continued with a bitter smile, "As far as I know, that young mistress was
sent to the Net-Perception Temple waiting to be married. The attitude of the Manor of
Prime Minister is evident."
"We have to try our best in this matter," Gu Qing said.
Jing Shang said after a sigh, "State Duke Shan has a connection with the Center Sect,
and is close to the Palace of Prince Jing Xin in recent years. I'm only an unimportant
official at Taichang Temple; how can I contend with them?"
Gu Qing said with a small smile, "You have the support of State Duke Lu, His Majesty,
and the Green Mountain Sect; so you can contend with anybody if you want to."
After returning to the study room, Gu Qing intended to tell Jing Jiu about Jing Shang's
attitude and worries; but he held his tongue when he saw Jing Jiu looking at the
reflection in the mirror and paying no mind to this matter.
The relationship between his Master and the palace was quite enigmatic; no one knew
the truth up to now. Yet, it couldn't fool all the people in the world forever. If they
forcefully intervened with the marriage between Jing Li and the young mistress of the
Manor of Prime Minister, the Center Sect would definitely believe that this was the
attitude of the Emperor and a challenge from the Green Mountain Sect; more turbulence
would ensue as a result.
Jing Jiu set down the bronze mirror in his hand and remarked, "If we can't even settle
this marriage, how can Jing Yao become the Crown Prince?"
Gu Qing finally understood his Master's intention; if the marriage were successful, the
Prime Minister's attitude would change, which could influence the opinion of the One-
Cottage House, at least making those scholars maintain a neutral stance, which would
again influence the censors of the imperial court and the scholars of the imperial
institute. But...to make this marriage become a successful fruition, the attitude of Prime
Minister had to be changed first, which meant that the One-Cottage House had to
change their view on Jing Yao; it was nearly impossible.
All of Chaotian knew that the hardest thing to change in this world was none of the oral
mantra of Green Mountain or the family name of the Center Sect, but the ideas of those
scholars at the One-Cottage House.
"I don't know that much about these sort of things. But I do know one thing: you have to
pay the matching price if you want to obtain anything. For instance, you should pay the
golden leaf for the goods you want to buy."
This reminded Jing Jiu of buying the conical hats without any money back when he and
Zhao Layue left Green Mountain for the first time. He continued after a pause, "You can
pay in silvers too."
Gu Qing listened to what his Master said carefully. It seemed that his Master's words
were sensible, and Jing Jiu used a logic he had never heard.
Jing Jiu added, "If we intend on persuading the One-Cottage House, we have to use
something in exchange."
Gu Qing had enough of this sort of conversation, as he thought everybody knew this
and it would indeed work; but what thing could they use in exchange to persuade the
One-Cottage House to change their view? Those scholars regarded the wealth the
same way they did the scattering clouds, and their views on power and status were no
different; and it probably wouldn't work even if the reign of the world were rewarded to
them in exchange.
For those scholars, their ideas were more important than ruling the world.
As the most outstanding disciple of Shenmo Peak and the candidate for the future sect
master of Green Mountain, Gu Qing was fully aware that it would be fruitless to discuss
this sort of issues with his Master, that he had to resolve it eventually on his own.
"Should I go to the Plum Meeting to take a look?" he asked Jing Jiu.
The Green Mountain Sect, as the leader of the orthodox Cultivation sects, had taken
part in the Plum Meeting.
What Gu Qing intended to do was remind Jing Jiu that it would make a difference when
the Green Mountain Sect offered their opinion instead of Shenmo Peak alone on
something as important as inheriting the throne.
"Fine," Jing Jiu said.
Gu Qing pressed, "Zhuo Rusui is the leader of the group this time. Should we let him
make the proposal?"
Though Zhuo Rusui's generation status was a bit low, he was nevertheless the personal
disciple of the Immortal Sect Master; so his identity was special enough and his status
significant enough. Jing Jiu had a high opinion of Zhuo Rusui to begin with, which only
increased after their shared experiences in the Illusionary Realm of the Green Sky
Mirror. He agreed to Gu Qing's suggestion, saying, "Make sure he will have a clear
mind on the proposal day; don't let him doze off."
Gu Qing left the study room after receiving the command, and closed the door quietly
Jing Jiu picked up that bronze mirror and took another look at it, finally deciding on a
spot. He doused his right hand in the tea water and started grinding. Though it was the
same study room, the tea was much better than the cold tea served last year, and the
Green Sky Mirror was much better than that demon bone, so he was in a much better
mood today and even generated a desire to talk to someone.
"Are you going to stay inside and never come out?"
He was talking to the Green Girl. After Jing Jiu locked the Snow Girl in the Sword Jail,
the Green Girl had gone back to the inside of the Green Sky Mirror and hadn't come out
Jing Jiu went on, "I promised Tong Yan that I would return the Green Sky Mirror to him
later. But I'm having this weird thought, debating if I should change my mind."
The Green Girl flew out from the Green Sky Mirror, flapping the transparent wings of
hers. "How can you be so wicked?" she exclaimed crossly while staring at him.
Jing Jiu said seriously after some thought, "I don't think I'm a wicked person."
Gu Qing came to the back garden. He felt a heavy burden on his heart as he thought of
the task given by his Master. He then thought of his Master, who was lighthearted about
all of mortal affairs; he couldn't help but admire his Master's attitude, thinking that all the
Cultivation practitioners should behave like his Master, living a life like the immortals no
matter what Cultivation state they had, whether they stood, sat or lay down.
Unfortunately, it was too late for him to adopt that lifestyle.
The high platforms that looked like the plum branches and flowers were hidden in the
clouds and fog in the new Plum Garden, resembling the fairy realm. But not so many
people were in attendance today.
Most of the participants of the Plum Meeting had gone to the Chessboard Mountain to
watch the chess tournament. Gu Qing didn't go to the Chessboard Mountain, because
he knew that Que Niang would be the winner again without a doubt, and he believed
that Zhuo Rusui probably didn't go there either.
Gu Qing went to the immortal residence for Green Mountain instead. He found Zhuo
Rusui there as expected…He found that Zhuo Rusui was not sleeping, but nurturing his
A faint and pure steam was coming out of his head, a sword of the fairy state hovering
and rotating amid the steam.
Seeing the scene while standing outside the window, Gu Qing couldn't help but sigh
Zhuo Rusui always showed a drowsy appearance in front of others, but he cultivated so
diligently when nobody was watching. But he was of natural Dao quality; why would he
work so hard?
It was said that Zhuo Rusui behaved the same as his Master; but it looked like there
was a difference. His Master was truly lazy in comparison.
Sensing his approach, Zhuo Rusui opened his eyes and retrieved the flying sword; the
expression in his eyes changed a bit.
When nurturing the sword, Zhuo Rusui would always employ the formation of Inherited
Heaven Sword to insulate himself from the outside; but he wondered why Gu Qing
could come to the window so easily.
Zhuo Rusui remembered the rumor and asked, "Are you really learning the Inherited
Heaven Sword style?"
"Yes, Big Brother."
Gu Qing didn't offer any more explanation after this confirmation.
Thinking of the relationship between Jing Jiu and his own Master and other matters,
Zhuo Rusui got up and asked, "How come you came to Zhaoge City as well?"
"My Master is here. He asks you to go see him," said Gu Qing.
Zhuo Rusui was somewhat bewildered, but said, "Okay."
Yet, Gu Qing didn't take him to the Jing house. He led Zhuo Rusui to a different place,
which was the residence for the disciples of the One-Cottage House.
Fortunately, all those people Gu Qing looked for today didn't like watching the chess
The scholars of the One-Cottage House were good at calligraphy as well as chess
playing, but Xi Yiyun only liked reading books or compiling them. He was the personal
disciple of Bu Qiuxiao, performing remarkably during the Dao Competition in the Green
Sky Mirror. As such, he was thought of highly by the masters of previous generations in
the Cultivation circle, and would most likely become the house master of the next
On the other hand, the status of both Zhuo Rusui and Gu Qing was not inferior in
comparison though. Moreover, Zhuo Rusui, like Xi Yiyun, had died in the Illusionary
Realm of the Green Sky Mirror in an effort to assassinate Bai Qianjun. As such, the two
of them shared a common experience and idea, and their conversation was rather
friendly until Gu Qing made the suggestion.
Xi Yiyun exclaimed with furrowed brows, "You want me to be the teacher of Prince Jing
Yao?! Gu Qing, do you intend to insult me?"
"As I remember, there is a saying at the One-Cottage House: 'Teach anyone regardless
of where they are from'," Gu Qing said calmly.
Xi Yiyun said while staring into Gu Qing's eyes quietly, "But he is not from our race."
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