By the time Jing Jiu came back to Shenmo Peak, the white cat was awake.
He couldn't keep on dozing off when there was such a commotion on Bihu Peak.
It was his duty to look after the Thunder-Soul Woods; not even Liu Ci could replace him for the job.
The cat felt relieved after he found that Jing Jiu didn't take any Thunder-Soul Wood.
As the cat woke up, others would follow suit; so would all of the nine peaks.
Thinking of this, Jing Jiu extended his finger to write a letter on the cliff for Zhao Layue, and left by riding on the sword.
The sword landed outside Cloudy Town.
The restaurant in Cloudy Town had closed its door again because of that burned soup in the private room.
The horse-drawn carriage of the Gu Clan waited outside the restaurant. It had been waiting to serve one single person over the years.
The wheels of the carriage rolled on the green stone slabs, giving off a faint noise.
Sitting on a cushion and holding the First Child Sword to his chest, Jing Jiu looked at the sceneries moving backwards blankly through the window, lost in thought.
The white cat crawled out from his sleeve, and lifted his head to smell his body; after the cat was certain that Jing Jiu had the odors of other cats, he snuggled casually against Jing Jiu.
With this snuggle, the cat sensed that Jing Jiu had broken through a new state. As such, he snuggled against Jing Jiu more earnestly.
The cat felt it a bit regretful that he had been fooled by Jing Jiu when he was still in the Inherited Will State…He should have destroyed Jing Jiu and swallow him back then without even drinking the lake water when he was still weak.
Jing Jiu was aware of what the cat was thinking. He reached out his hand and rubbed the cat's head to comfort him.
The white cat didn't shrink from his hand, but enjoyed the caress with his eyes narrowed. The cat felt somewhat startled as he saw the First Child Sword in his chest.
Was he going to re-temper this Nan Qü's sword into his own again? Why didn't he do it on Yunxing Peak but come out to do it?
Don't you fear that the Sword of the Universe will get jealous when it sees you hold the sword so fondly in your chest?
The cat suddenly thought of a possibility. The expression in his eyes changed abruptly as he meowed worriedly at Jing Jiu.
The cat had seen the dog-eared paper at the Fruit Formation Temple; so he knew that Jing Jiu wanted the Immortal Taiping to reincarnate as a sword, which ushered in the turmoil of the West Ocean…What did he mean by bringing the First Child Sword with him? Did he intend to use it as a bait to lure the Immortal out?
Jing Jiu uttered "hmm".
The white cat was bewildered, meowing dreadfully many times.
The cat thought that he could only fight against that rooster, but they had no chance of beating them when they had the Young Mysterious Dark Master on their side.
Jing Jiu ignored him, and continued watching the sceneries passing by the window.
A few sounds of meowing burst out outside the window.
It seemed that a wild cat thought that Ada wished to find a partner after hearing his dreadful meowing.
It should be a female cat, Jing Jiu thought.
Ada was so mortified that he scratched Jing Jiu's face once, causing a flash of flame.
The Hanging-Bell Sect was situated by Morning Lake, which was surrounded by the Eastern Ridge.
There were many large mountains in the Eastern Ridge. They were not very visible at night; so the Cultivation practitioners would get lost easily here without the aid of the starlight.
The clouds blocked the stars tonight; as such, the bonfire in a mountain was more noticeable.
The bonfire was in a ruined temple; its glow strayed out through the broken windows and the door.
The sound of breaking through the air could be heard once in a while. The Cultivation practitioners landed in front of the temple in tandem. As they walked into the temple, they greeted each other. Of course, they would tell the others their names first.
"Daoist Chu from the Three-Magic Sect."
"Free-Traveling Practitioner Gan from the Dragon and Tiger Mountain."
"He Chi from the Heavenly Mystery Sect."
"Wu Buzhi from the Zihao Sect."
The people who came to the temple tonight were the representatives of smaller sects and the free-traveling practitioners on their way to the Clean-Heart Meeting.
They needed such a gathering to exchange information and learn about the situation in the Cultivation circle.
The bonfire in the temple of the barren mountain was a signal for others to gather there.
There was a person sitting in the corner, wearing a conical hat. His sleeve was quivering slightly; it was unclear what his hand was doing in it.
"I thought that this year's Clean-Heart Meeting would be postponed," someone said.
Everybody was aware that this Clean-Heart Meeting of the Hanging-Bell Sect had another intent even though they stated that they intended to invite the colleagues of the Cultivation circle to check out the famous bells and to celebrate the birthday of their Grandmaster in the meanwhile.
The whole of Chaotian was waiting for the "spring rain" to fall. Nobody dared make a move before the event. Even the Center Sect had sealed off their mountains. Yet, why would the Grandmaster of the Hanging-Bell Sect insist on hosting the meeting as planned?
"It's evident that the Grandmaster wants to have the matter settled before anyone dares do anything."
Wu Buzhi of the Zihao Sect commented, "Cloud-Dream Mountain has sealed off their mountains, and I heard that the swordsmen of the Green Mountain Sect have also stayed behind closed doors. Who would care about the matter of the Hanging-Bell Sect?"
The first speaker asked, "What is the attitude of the Green Mountain Sect?"
"The Green Mountain Sect will send someone to the meeting," Wu Buzhi said. "But, it's nevertheless a private matter of the Hanging-Bell Sect…Even though their Grandmaster is a little bit muddled, the Green Mountain Sect can't do anything about it."
"The Green Mountain Sect has always supported the Sect Master Chen; would they just stand by if she were in trouble?"
"As a leader of the orthodox sects, they can't interfere with the affairs of other sects."
"It's ridiculous. If they can't get involved in the affairs of other sects, how can they call themselves the leader of the orthodox sects?"
"What you said is sensible; but the Green Mountain Sect would probably take the stance of wait-and-see for the moment due to their special circumstances."
It was then that they heard the footsteps outside the temple. These Cultivation practitioners felt surprised, wondering how the common folks came to this deep and barren ridge.
Coming in were the pair of old monk and young monk whom Jing Jiu had met several times before.
The old monk looked a lot older now, with deeper wrinkles; it seemed that staying in the snowland in last few years had been hard on him.
The young monk was not that young anymore. He looked more composed now; it seemed that he didn't need to practice the Vow of Silence any longer.
The crowd guessed that they were the doctor monks of the Fruit Formation Temple when they saw the medicine cases on their backs. They got up hastily and bowed to these two; and they let the two have the spots by the bonfire.
The two monks thanked them but refused the offer. They went to a corner and sat down to rest.
For some reason, it became quiet in the ruined temple. The bonfire blown by the night wind made a whooshing noise.
The free-traveling practitioner Gan from the Dragon and Tiger Mountain suddenly stood up, and said wryly, "I'd better not participate in this Clean-Heart Meeting."
Having said that, he had actually taken his leave for real.
It was still quiet in the temple ruins.
The Cultivation practitioners knew why the free-traveling practitioner Gan had left; they also felt ill at ease.
In the past, as long as the significant events were to happen, the Fruit Formation Temple would send their doctor monks to the place to treat the wounded.
Since such events had happened many times, the Cultivation practitioners had already formed such a notion: Something significant would happen later when they saw the doctor monks of the Fruit Formation Temple who were not invited to the place. As such, the doctor monks of the Fruit Formation Temple had become a bad omen in the minds of many Cultivation practitioners.
The Grandmaster of the Hanging-Bell Sect disliked the monks, so it was impossible for them to invite the Fruit Formation Temple to the Clean-Heart Meeting. The monks of the Fruit Formation Temple listened to the Buddhist scripts, so they had no need to listen to the bells to clean their hearts. But, why were these two monks to go to the Clean-Heart Meeting? There was only one possibility, which was that the Fruit Formation Temple thought that something significant would happen at this Clean-Heart Meeting…
The Cultivation practitioners had a great deal of respect for the monks of the Fruit Formation Temple, but they didn't want to be treated by them, nor did they want to be prayed to by them after their deaths…No matter how remarkable the bells were at the Clean-Heart Meeting and how inexpensive they were, they were not worth taking such risks. That was why the free-traveling practitioner Gan had left with a bitter smile.
Thinking of the possibility, the crowd felt helpless. They told themselves that they would keep a low-profile at the Clean-Heart Meeting and that they would stay as far away as possible if a mishap occurred.
The crowd lost interest in talking about the Hanging-Bell Sect, instead their attention to the issue about which the Cultivation circle was currently concerned the most.
"When that matter is over a few years later, do you think who will take over the position of the sect master at the Green Mountain Sect?"
"It must be the Master Sword Justice."
Hearing this answer, most of the Cultivation practitioners nodded, as they believed it was sensible.
By that time, Yuan Qijing would be the only one in the Heavenly Arrival State; and he had the highest status and most power on Green Mountain, so he should be the sole candidate for sect master.
Yet, Wu Buzhi had a different opinion as he said, "The position of the Sword Justice of Green Mountain is extremely important. If Grandmaster Yuan took the position of the sect master, who would replace him as the Sword Justice then? More importantly, Tianguang Peak and Shangde Peak have confronted each other for many years, and the branch of the Immortal Liu Ci would be unwilling to accept Grandmaster Yuan as the sect master. Those young disciples of Liangwang Peak are quite combative; if they revolted, it would be a mortifying event even if nothing significant had happened to Green Mountain. Besides, Grandmaster Yuan was already in his later years, and he must find a way to resolve this issue. As such, he might not be interested in becoming the sect master."
Someone found what he had just said was reasonable, but asked worriedly, "But, who can win the consent of all the others save for the Master Sword Justice?"
Wu Buzhi said, "You didn't see the battle of the West Ocean with your own eyes. The Immortal Guangyuan, the peak master of Shiyue, had killed an elder of the West Ocean Sword Sect in the Broken Sea State instantly, and blocked Bu Qiuxiao, the House Master of the One-Cottage, with his sword. It is said that he has been in the upper state of the Broken Sea a long time ago, and is most likely to reach the Heaven Arrival State. He should be the sect master in my opinion."
"Speaking of the Cultivation states, Fang Jingtian, the Peak Master of Xilai, is also in the upper state of the Broken Sea and most likely to reach the Heavenly Arrival State," someone said. "It is said that he is cultivating diligently behind closed doors. He didn't go to the West Ocean during Green Mountain's crusade against the West Ocean Sword Sect, because he was responsible for guarding their mountain gate. Judging by this, the Immortal Liu Ci must have tremendous trust in him. Maybe, his name is listed in the Will."
What these Cultivation practitioners had no idea of was that Fang Jingtian had already been imprisoned by Yuan Qijing in the hermit peaks; he was not allowed to come out until he reached the Heavenly Arrival State.
Someone remarked, "According to the saying 'Swords hail from Green Mountain', Yunxing is actually the Sword Peak; why can't the peak master of Yunxing, Fu Wang, have a chance of becoming the sect master?"
Their discussion was rather heated, their words full of concern and worry.
The Cultivation practitioners were truly concerned and worried about this matter, because nobody wanted to see a mishap occur to the Green Mountain Sect.
If Green Mountain were in disarray, what would happen to the rest of the world?
The glow of the fire illuminated that conical hat.
The person with the conical hat was listening to their discussion quietly, without raising his head or saying anything.
"Well…Regardless of who will take over the position of the sect master on Green Mountain, that person definitely won't be able to dominate the world with a sword like what the Immortal Liu Ci has done and intimidate all the others."
Their discussion had suddenly stopped after this sentimental comment. The ruined temple was filled with an awkward and indescribable atmosphere.
No matter what, the "spring rain" would fall down sooner or later.
The Center Sect had planned to seal off their mountains for three years, meaning that they would come out in one year.
These Cultivation practitioners in the temple were either from a small sect or the free-traveling practitioners. In comparison to a magnificent organization like the Green Mountain Sect, they were rather insignificant, and they couldn't establish any association with Green Mountain. However, they couldn't help but feel sentimental as they thought that someone in the Heavenly Arrival State would leave the world.
Because of this sentimental sensation, the Cultivation practitioners had left the temple one after the other before the morning sun peeked over the horizon.
The person with the conical hat stood up and came before the two monks, asking, "Who do you think is more suitable for being the sect master?"
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