As dozens of Liu Ci's sword letters had been sent to various places in Chaotian, the news had also spread abruptly at the same time.
The Immortal Taiping had come out from behind death doors and was staying at the West Ocean Sword Sect; as such, the Green Mountain Sect was on their way to the West Ocean to bring him back.
Unlike the case of the Snow Girl, Green Mountain was not inclined to conceal anything from anybody this time, and neither did they choose to inform only some selected people and groups. What they had done was tantamount to announcing their action to the whole world.
Upon hearing this news, different people had different reactions.
It took some of them a long time to recall that this Immortal Taiping was the former sect master of the Green Mountain Sect and stayed behind death doors as a means of increasing his chance of ascending. At the time the Green Mountain Sect had announced an edict for a three-hundred-mile prohibition, shocking all of Chaotian at the time. However, over three hundred years has already elapsed since this incident, and the name of the Immortal Taiping had gradually been forgotten by many people. Was he still alive?
If this immortal was still alive, why did he go to the West Ocean? And why was the Green Mountain Sect so determined to launch a crusade against the West Ocean for his sake?
Only those who knew the ins and outs of the matter were fully aware that the sword letters of the Green Mountain Sect were not intended to show off their strength or to intimidate anybody, but to warn others.
After receiving the news, Zhang Yiai went to the Royal Palace on the same night; his face was the color of bronze and looked terrible. After the turmoil of the Fiend Prison, he had distanced himself from the Center Sect where he had his Cultivation training, and was under a tremendous pressure as a result. But the pressure he felt right now was beyond compare; the burden he felt was actually so heavy that he couldn't even breathe properly. Shi Fengchen had found the name of the Immortal Taiping among the classified files at the Pure Heaven Bureau back then. As a commander of the Pure Heaven Bureau, he was well aware of how much havoc this evil man had wreaked in Chaotian three hundred years ago.
Arriving at the deep part of the palace at night and kneeling behind the Emperor, Zhang Yiai reported the content of the sword letter from Green Mountain and the contingency plan the Pure Heaven Bureau had prepared overnight. Unexpectedly, he found both the Emperor and Sir Niu showed a nonchalant countenance. Was it possible that they had known that the Immortal Taiping was still alive?
The Fruit Formation Temple was among the first ones to receive the sword letters of Green Mountain.
The Young Zen Master had returned from the snowland not long ago. Squatting by the window, he stared at the pile of small sticks under the sunlight in a stupor.
The sound of a bell in the deep end of the temple could be heard. Somehow, the wind blowing over from the ocean couldn't disperse the irritating heat of mid-summer.
He stood up and turned around, to look at the elders of the Fruit Formation Temple. A rarely seen somberness showed on his face, devoid of his usual childish demeanor.
The death of the Principal Justice, Monk Duhai, had revealed many secrets.
Neither the Young Zen Master nor the Chief Monk had commented on the matter, and that was because they hoped that the Green Mountain Sect could clean up the mess themselves out of respect for them.
Now that the Green Mountain Sect had sent the sword letters all over Chaotian and announced to the world that the Immortal Taiping was still alive, the Fruit Formation Temple had no choice but to manifest an unambiguous stance.
"I'd like to ask the big brothers of the Script Instruction Hall to go to the West Ocean. Keep an eye on the Green Mountain Sect."
The Young Zen Master went on soothingly but steadfastly, "Taiping must die this time."
The elders left with the command in their minds.
The Young Zen Master waved his sleeve softly, knocking down the pile of small sticks. He walked out of the meditation room barefooted, and arrived in front of that stone pagoda.
Though the Tranquil Garden had been rebuilt, the stone pagoda was still placed here for the time being.
The Young Zen Master remained silent while looking at the stone pagoda.
The sound of the bell had died down, and so had the wind of the ocean.
The courtyard of the temple had suddenly become chilly, even though it was in the middle of summer.
The allies of the Green Mountain Sect, like the Great Marsh, the Hanging-Bell Sect and others, kept silent about the Green Mountain's crusade against the West Ocean, and the Water-Moon Nunnery didn't speak out either. On the other hand, many of the other forces had shown a vehement reaction to the event.
Though they didn't think that it was injustice for the West Ocean Sword Sect, they were truly worried about what kind of catastrophe would ensue afterwards.
The voice of the Broadsword King didn't ring out in that small temple of White Town. Yet, the gates of Juye City was closed and tightly guarded soon after the Church Master of the Windy-Broadsword had left.
Many Cultivation sects in the north had called back their disciples traveling the world and closed their mountain gates after having activated their great formations.
The imperial court had ordered the Royal Cavalry to march southward, and the atmosphere in Zhaoge City became filled with anxiety.
The reaction of the One-Cottage House was mostly straightforward. Bu Qiuxiao led dozens of scholars leaving the Thousand Miles Windy Corridor. They rode in the Boat of Diligent Study, heading toward the West Ocean.
Chaotian was in the midst of restlessness.
Surprisingly, the Center Sect, as a leader of the orthodox sects, hadn't shown any reaction. The calmness they had displayed was too evident.
It was because the Immortal Bai had known that the Immortal Taiping escaped from the Sword Jail a long time ago.
She had suspected it ever since the Unicorn was injured at the Fruit Formation Temple; later, her suspicion was confirmed by Su Ziye.
It was the Great Grandmaster of Mysterious Dark Sect who had told Su Ziye through that fat monk of the Fruit Formation Temple.
The clouds and fog were everywhere in the valleys; but the fog here was much lighter and dreamier than that on the Sword Peak of Green Mountain. It was probably because of this reason that this place was named the "Cloud-Dream".
The gentle breeze blew over and changed the shapes of the clouds, ushering in a white ribbon that was as feeble as a nonexistent object; soon after, Bai Zao arrived at the edge of the cliff.
Glancing at the white ribbon hanging on Bai Zao's elbow, the Immortal Bai didn't say anything.
She knew that her daughter must have encountered something peculiar during the six years when she was trapped in the snowland, and that this white ribbon of the natural worm silk was the proof of it, which at the same time had also corroborated Jing Jiu's true identity. Yet, she hadn't had any evidence to back up her suspicion, so it was meaningless to point it out; moreover, it should be beneficial if her daughter and Jing Jiu could maintain this sort of relationship. As such, it's better not to point it out.
"All I know is that the Immortal Taiping had wreaked havoc in the human world; but I didn't expect that the discovery of his whereabouts could cause such a turbulence."
Thinking of the news coming from all corners of Chaotian, Bai Zao felt sentimental and asked, "How could it be possible?"
"You of all people are still young, and have no idea how many people had died because of him; and you have no idea how many people would die if he were allowed to live."
Thinking of the disasters Chaotian suffered back then, the Immortal Bai felt sentimental and exclaimed, "Does the Green Mountain think that they can shirk the blame by doing this?!"
Bai Zao said, "If the Immortal Taiping is killed this time, nobody needs to take the responsibility any longer."
The Immortal Bai stared at her and said, "Let's get going."
For this crusade against the West Ocean Sword Sect, the Green Mountain Sect had no intention of concealing their movements; and of course, they had no way to do it if they wanted to.
Seventeen sword boats flew steadily in the sky, casting large shadows onto the mountains and fields below. It was understandably comfortable to ride in the sword boats now that the passengers didn't have to worry about the Chaotic Wind assaulting their faces. However, most of the swordsmen of Green Mountain couldn't stand staying idle, so some of them got out of the boats and rode on their swords from time to time. As a result, many sword lights could often be spotted around the sword boats.
The scene in which the sword lights as straight as a pen moved forward along with the sword boats was truly magnificent and quite visible. One could see it clearly on the ground be it at night or under broad daylight. It looked like a group of shooting stars that would never drop to the ground.
Seeing the scene in the sky, the farmers and residents on the ground were stunned speechless. A majority of them knelt down on the ground and bowed nonstop toward the scene. It wasn't until the sword boats and sword lights disappeared into the horizon that they stood up slowly. They had no idea where these immortal masters were headed and what they were to do.
The major Cultivation sects closest to the West Ocean were the Baotong Zen Temple and the Kunlun Sect.
The Sect Master of Kunlun, He Wei, rode on the Cold-Signal Bird, and led dozens of disciples heading toward the West Ocean.
Under normal circumstances, they should be the first to arrive at the battlefield, but He Wei had had an indescribable sensation of uneasiness, so he bade the Cold-Signal Bird to reduce its traveling speed.
As they had arrived at the West Ocean, the sky was filled with dark clouds, blocking the sun. The sea water was so deep that it looked as dark as the black ink; so no one could tell what was happening in the deep part of the ocean.
The Cold-Signal Bird flew toward the West Ocean Islands; but he blurted out a dreadful cry. It seemed that he had suddenly sensed a tremendous danger. Then he turned around and headed toward the higher space.
The Cold-Signal Bird didn't stop until he had covered more than one hundred miles. His eyes were filled with a dreadful expression while looking at the deep part of the West Ocean.
It took the disciples of the Kunlun Sect awhile to catch up to the Cold Signal Bird; their faces were extremely pale.
Looking around, He Wei found that the Cultivation practitioners were everywhere in the sky.
The scholars of the One-Cottage House were here in the sky; so were the disciples of the Hanging-Bell Sect and the monks of the Fruit Formation Temple, and those of many other smaller sects.
Over a thousand Cultivation practitioners hailing from dozens of sects had arrived at the West Ocean.
The people present here were many times more than those during the Battle of the Cloud Platform.
However, nobody dared draw near the West Ocean Islands. The vast majority of them wore a fearful expression on their faces.
Countless gazes were fixated on the deep part of the West Ocean, looking at the patch of the islands shrouded in the dark clouds.
All of a sudden, innumerable bolts of lightning struck down at the West Ocean Islands from the dark clouds.
The dark sea water rolled up and down agitatedly, as if it was boiling, generating countless bubbles and foams.
The steely rocks were knocked into powders, which were then flung upward by the strong wind, dancing wildly all over the sky, before they reached the sea water.
The view was simply too shocking; it looked like a scene of the heavenly punishment!
The dark clouds had gradually scattered, and the sunlight shone on the West Ocean Islands again.
Seventeen sword boats came out from the dark clouds and moved on slowly toward the deepest part of the West Ocean Islands with an unstoppable flair!
The bolts of lightning turned out to be the sword lights.
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