Jing Jiu understood why Yuan Qijing felt so frustrated; it was because he was aware of how all the others felt about it.
If it were before, he wouldn't pay any attention to his feelings; but Jing Jiu decided to comfort Yuan Qijing this time because he had dealt with Fang Jingtian unyieldingly on his behalf.
"You're getting stronger too," he said to Yuan Qijing.
This was a high praise. Yuan Qijing had improved his state rather than being thwarted after Nan Qü's sneak-attack.
For a figure in the Heavenly Arrival State, it was very difficult to move one step forward in Cultivation.
"When one is old and sick and near their death, they would take things more lightly, and as a result, they would become stronger," said Yuan Qijing. "According to the mortals' saying, is this the 'revitalization before death'?"
"Don't say such foreboding words," said Jing Jiu.
Yuan Qijing was about to ask him why he came out from behind closed doors one year earlier than planned, but he held his tongue after hearing Jing Jiu's question.
"Who will go to the Clean-Heart Meeting?" asked Jing Jiu.
Based on what Sese had told him, the Clean-Heart Meeting of the Hanging-Bell Sect should take place soon.
The birthday party of their Grandmaster was not important, neither were those bells of the high state at the Clean-Heart Meeting. The important part was who would be the master of the Hanging-Bell Sect.
The current sect master of the Hanging-Bell Sect was Sese's mother, who was the daughter-in-law of the Grandmaster. The evident and secret struggles between the two of them had been going on for many years.
The Grandmaster had a much broader powerbase; the current sect master had sustained until now because of the support from the Green Mountain Sect.
The intention of this Clean-Heart Meeting was obvious. The Grandmaster was near her death, so she intended to solve the issue once for all.
"He Bumu of Shiyue Peak," Yuan Qijing replied.
Jing Jiu uttered "hmm", meaning he wasn't sure who that person was.
Yuan Qijing glanced at him once before saying, "He is the Elder He whom you saw at the Inherited Sword Competition in which you participated."
Jing Jiu thought and remembered that Little He was in the initial state of the Broken Sea, saying, "His state is too low."
He Bumu was merely a regular elder on Shiyue Peak. His Cultivation state and status were a bit low to represent Green Mountain at the Clean-Heart Meeting.
Yuan Qijing said, "All the others are behind closed doors."
It was Nan Wang who most often represented the Green Mountain Sect to take part in the Plum Meeting or the Dao Competition, because she liked the crowd and was not diligent at Cultivation.
But, even she was behind closed doors right now. It was truly hard to find another suitable representative.
The whole of Cultivation circle was waiting for that "spring rain" to fall. As such, the Green Mountain Sect had no interest in dealing with the affairs outside its gate. For many others, this was a truly good opportunity.
However, when the Grandmaster of the Hanging-Bell Sect decided to host the Clean-Heart Meeting, the battle of the West Ocean hadn't occurred yet; what did this mean?
Jing Jiu said, "She must have an agreement with Cloud-Dream Mountain."
The Center Sect would open its mountain gate one year later; but the Grandmaster of the Hanging-Bell Sect was near her end, so she couldn't wait any longer.
"Otherwise, you go there," Yuan Qijing suggested expressionlessly.
"Sounds good to me," said Jing Jiu.
Yuan Qijing was taken aback at this.
Jing Jiu went on, "I'll go there by myself. Don't tell anybody."
Having said this, he walked toward the outside of the manor cave.
Yuan Qijing came back to his senses, and asked, "Where are you going?"
"Go to other peaks to have a look," replied Jing Jiu.
Yuan Qijing said nothing more. Seeing his disappearing figure in the clouds and fog, he thought satisfactorily that Jing Jiu had changed quite a bit.
In fact, Yuan Qijing had a higher expectation of his Young Senior Master than anybody else, no matter whether it was now or back then.
The Cultivation circle rumored that he disliked his Young Senior Master; it was because he thought that his Young Senior Master was too lazy and didn't take responsibility for anything on Green Mountain. Would it affect your Cultivation to do something for Green Mountain?
You're still very lazy, but you're finally willing to do something for Green Mountain, has it hampered your Cultivation?
Thinking of the pace of his Cultivation, Yuan Qijing couldn't help but sneer once, thinking it was truly unfair.
Jing Jiu went to Yunxing Peak.
It was still as barren as before in front of the Sword Peak. Apart from the Iron Eagle, he couldn't see any other life form here.
He noticed a dozen flying swords and remaining parts of the flying swords among the peaks. These must be the flying swords of the disciples who had died in the battle of the West Ocean.
Then, he went to Shiyue Peak, and visited the medicine garden and the magic pill house.
Yet, he was not knowledgeable about these matters. He thought everything was in good order when he saw the medicine plants were not short of water as they were growing like cabbages and the fire in the magic pill stove was ablaze.
He didn't go to Xilai Peak, because he had read all the books and scripts there. And those books wouldn't fly away on their own. Those logs recording events and activities were unimportant in his view.
He didn't go to Liangwang Peak since had moved all of their precious items to Shenmo Peak. The only things left on the peak were those young disciples, their enthusiasm, and the odor of their sweat. What else would he see there?
What he was doing was surveilling Green Mountain like a lion inspecting his territory.
He had done the same several years ago to make sure Green Mountain was his.
Yet he didn't inspect it as thoroughly last time, and he didn't pay attention to the details.
When his Big Brother and Liu Ci were the sect masters, they would take good care of all the affairs. All he needed to do was cultivate and not worry about anything else.
He had to worry about and take care of many more things in this life; it was taxing.
While thinking of all this, Jing Jiu landed by the lakeshore on the top of Bihu Peak.
With that bamboo board in his hand, the forbidding formation on the top of Bihu Peak had no effect on him, and nobody could see him either.
He walked on the surface of the lake as the gentle wind blew in his face, his white cloth fluttering. He covered a thousand feet in one single step, like an immortal man.
Across the way was a silvery sandy beach, in front of which was a palace exuding a gloomy and chilly energy.
Jing Jiu came to the front of the palace.
No footprint or water mark could be found on the sandy beach.
Hundreds of wild cats on the trees and in the bushes were watching him cautiously.
It was unclear if they had recognized his identity or they had smelled the odor of a cat on his body; as a result, a few bold wild cats dashed out from the bushes and drew near him gingerly.
It seemed that these wild cats wished to snuggle against his feet to express their submission and affection, and meanwhile absorb some fairy energy.
"No," Jing Jiu barked.
The cats didn't dare venture forward; they crouched on the ground, or lay on their sides or on their backs exposing their bellies, pretending to be amiable.
As Jing Jiu walked into the palace, he went directly to the deep part of the Green Stone Formation without even glancing at those ceramic vials on the shelves.
The Green Stone Formation sensed his motion and began to rotate. A stone platform arose from the underground, on which there were a few ceramic plates with several burned black woods on them.
These were the most precious treasures of Green Mountain: the Thunder-Soul Woods.
Looking at the five ripened Thunder-Soul Woods, Jing Jiu fell silent for a long time.
Even if the First Child Sword was unavailable, you could use other substitute body; why were you so stubborn?
He didn't consider this for the benefit of his Big Brother; it was because he recalled the conversation he had with Liu Ci.
Jing Jiu picked up a new piece of the Thunder-Soul Wood.
This Thunder-Soul Wood was brought back by the godly boat of Penglai Island one hundred years ago; it wouldn't be ripe for another three hundred years, and it was in need of being nurtured by the natural thunders.
What would he plan to do with it?
The top of Bihu Peak was situated right under a hub of the Great Formation of Green Mountain.
The hub of the formation had suddenly opened a gap.
The wind of mid-summer strayed in from the gap; the wind grew stronger and stronger, along with raindrops falling down; and the thunders could be vaguely heard.
A violent rainstorm was ravaging outside.
Standing in the middle of the hall with his eyes closed, Jing Jiu held the new Thunder-Soul Wood in his hand and started to summon the thunders.
Countless booming thunders broke out in the sky.
A flash of lightning shot out from those dark and dreadful clouds and struck squarely on the palace on the top of Bihu Peak.
Soon after, more and more bolts of lightning struck down at the palace and onto Jing Jiu!
The most important part of the sword work of Green Mountain was for the swords to be nurtured by the pure energy of heaven and earth contained in the thunders.
What Jing Jiu was doing right now was nurturing the sword.
A great amount of energy was contained in the thunders. The lightning sliced open the sky, making the energy source in heaven and earth chaotic.
Under the circumstances, nobody had noticed what was going on at Bihu Peak, except for Yuan Qijing, who was watching it on Shangde Peak.
Yuan Qijing and Liu Ci watched him this way back when Jing Jiu came to Bihu Peak to meet the White Ghost many years ago.
They would have helped him if the White Ghost had really intended to kill him.
The thunders continued, and countless flashes of lightning illuminated the peaks.
A gust of violent wind whipped up on the top of Bihu Peak; many huge waves shaped on the surface of the lake, lapping toward the sandy beach.
Some bolts of lightning hit the lake, each creating a dent which would be filled up by the lake water shortly.
At the moment the Blue Lake looked like a torrent sea, with waves and dents everywhere.
After a long while, the lightning had finally subsided, so had the raindrops.
Jing Jiu walked out from the palace, his white cloth hanging on his body in broken stripes. His disfigured earlobe was a bit black after being burned; his entire body was enshrouded by the blue electric glows and gave off the cracking noises.
He looked terrible at the moment, yet also looked formidable. It seemed that his body had stored a great deal of powerful and horrific energy.
The wild cats didn't dare approach the palace. They hid in the bushes, soaking wet throughout, their hair drooping. They looked as terrible as Jing Jiu.
Yet, nothing but awe could be found in their eyes.
Jing Jiu waded into the lake and took a thorough bath that he hadn't in many years.
The broken stripes of his white cloth drifted away with the current of lake water, as did the harmful part of the thunder energy.
The lake water opened a gap as Jing Jiu waded out from the lake. He took out the prepared white cloth and put it on.
Zhao Layue and Zhuo Rusui were still behind closed doors, attempting to break through the upper state of the Free Travel.
Jing Jiu had also broken through a state.
It was the Broken Sea State.
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