Looking at the disappearing figure in the remote night sky, the Underworld Master suddenly felt sentimental, saying, "This is called 'flying to the sky' in our world."
There had been quite a few passages leading to Chaotian from the Underworld, but those that could pass through the Abyss and passages to reach the surface of Chaotian were mostly life forms living inside the passages and those weak dark souls.
The weak dark souls, even if they had succeeded in reaching Chaotian, couldn't do anything aside from making some humans fall ill and scaring cowards to death.
If the swordsmen of the Underworld intended to rely on their own strength to go to Chaotian, the difficult they faced would be no difference from the ascension of the human Cultivation practitioners.
The name of the Heavenly Well by the East Ocean came from this quandary.
As the number of the swordsmen in the Underworld grew, those passages became increasingly stronger, making the travel to Chaotian considerably easier.
Yet, it was the period when the relationship between the humans and the Underworld was at its worst and more wars between the two worlds than other periods took place.
During that period, many human swordsmen came to the Underworld through the passages and demolished the hopes of the Underworld.
The Underworld Master said, "We call those human swordsmen who came to our world the 'Heavenly Demons from Another World'."
The wars between the humans and the Underworld had been waged a long time ago, so Tong Yan didn't have any experience in this aspect, nor could feel any sentiment regarding it. "Are there many secret passages like this?" he asked the Underworld Master.
It was natural for the Underworld Master not to answer this question. He said, "The sword wielded by the Immortal Liu Ci has changed the earth sources a bit; so some of the ancient passages have reappeared."
Tong Yan knew that what he said was not the total truth, but he didn't point it out. "I must make sure that the positions of the exits of those passages are correct," he said.
The Underworld Master said, "First of all, we have to ascertain whether those priests have the gall to take your bait and go to the world above, because the likes of the extremely ambitious Twelfth Priest are rare."
"You have seen my plan," said Tong Yan. "Do you think it's workable?"
After a moment of silence, the Underworld Master said, "If I didn't know the relationship between you and the Immortal Sect Master, I would suspect that you intended to help the Grand Priest obtain the Seal of the Underworld Emperor."
The Seal of the Underworld Emperor was the only thing that was appealing enough for the priests of the Underworld to go to Chaotian at the potential cost of their own lives.
Yet, the Seal of the Underworld Emperor was not the target in the very beginning. The baits were those matters related to the Seal of the Underworld Emperor and were only the preparation for later action.
The scheme Tong Yan plotted was grandiose and perfectly detailed. If the priests of the Underworld followed the plan, they would be able to see the Seal of the Underworld Emperor.
However, it was merely a scheme to begin with.
What Tong Yan needed to do was lure out the associated with the Grand Priest, and make sure they would show up in Chaotian at the designated place and time.
The Underworld Master was responsible for helping him in the scheme and selecting the candidates.
The priests would be taken care of by Jing Jiu when they showed up in Chaotian.
"If those priests still hesitate," said Tong Yan, "I'd like to meet the Grand Priest."
A peculiar glow flashed on the Underworld Master's semitransparent face, as he demanded, "Do you have a death wish?"
Looking at his face, Tong Yan commented, "I finally believe the rumor…that you are indeed the disciple of the Immortal Taiping."
"I'm his student," the Underworld Master corrected.
"I'm a disciple of the Center Sect," Tong Yan said. "As long as the Grand Priest doesn't know I have already left the Center Sect, it's safe to meet him. But we have to make sure he doesn't know about it."
The Underworld Master said, "My people have been watching him all the time. His soul fire had a mishap, so he's been washing his body in the Underworld River and hasn't contacted the Immortal Bai yet."
Tong Yan suddenly asked, "It's truly hard to communicate with the world above, so how did you contact Jing Jiu?"
"The Immortal Sect Master trusts you very much; no need for you to ask so many questions," said the Underworld Master.
The wind whipped up at the Fruit Formation Temple. It was not the chilly autumn wind, but the salty and damp wind coming from the ocean.
The Cloud Boat of the Center Sect began to move slowly, heading toward Moqiu, which was a sign that the Plum Meeting would take place soon.
All of those Cultivation sects qualified to participate in the Plum Meeting, like the One-Cottage House, the Baotong Zen Temple, the Dongyi Daoist Temple, the Great Marsh, the Mirror Sect, and the Hanging-Bell Sect, had arrived at the Fruit Formation Temple one after the other a few days ago.
The Cold-Signal Bird came from the northwest. The Sect Master of the Kunlun, He Wei, learned the death of his Young Brother, and came in anger.
The small green curtain sedan of the Water-Moon Nunnery parked in front of a certain meditation room quietly.
Compared to the Plum Meeting of the last spring and the previous meetings, the number of the participating Cultivation sects was not as high, but the status of the participants of this meeting was much higher. It was because everybody was aware that this Plum Meeting was exceedingly important. The confrontation between the Green Mountain Sect and the Center Sect, the two leaders of the orthodox Cultivation sects, might develop to a more dangerous situation.
For the security of Chaotian, the various sects wished to ask the two sides to reconcile; but they would have no choice but to choose a side to support if they failed to persuade the two sides to reconcile.
The Fruit Formation Temple didn't provide any wine for their guests, and there weren't so many appealing sceneries to enjoy there. The Cultivation practitioners of various sects had nothing to do but to talk about the latest matters.
"The Master Huiyuan was the grand elder of the Tonghua Temple. How come he appeared there? Is he really a member of the Old Ones? It's incredible that the Old Ones have someone hidden so deep. What did the Tonghua Temple say about this occurrence?"
"The Chief Monk of the Tonghua Temple had gone to the seashore of the East Ocean three days ago to ask for meeting the Immortal Bai. There is no response from the Cloud Boat yet."
"But this matter must have something to do with Liu Shisui. Has anybody interrogated him?"
"Elder Yue Qianmen wanted to take Liu Shisui away at the time, but he was stopped by the people of the Green Mountain Sect."
"The Green Mountain Sect has taken on three disciples of natural Dao quality in a space of a few years. It's unbelievable. Green Mountain has the strongest disciples of the young generation. It's unclear when Tong Yan will come out from behind closed doors."
"Speaking of the young people…the current sect master of Green Mountain is truly young."
Hearing the comment made by an elder of a sect, the atmosphere had suddenly changed. Some people chose to leave the site in silence; it was evident that they neither wanted nor dared talk about Jing Jiu in his absence, and some of them grew even more heated in their discussion.
It was an uncommon thing in the history of the Cultivation world that Jing Jiu had become the sect master at such a young age. And the Green Mountain Sect was not a regular Cultivation sect.
"The overall strength of the Green Mountain Sect is not as strong as the Center Sect, but the future belongs to Green Mountain. Because of this, Green Mountain should maintain a low-key position right now, and wait for their growth later."
"You're right. To prevent the confrontation, it seems that the Green Mountain Sect has to yield a little this time."
"Why shouldn't they yield since the Green Mountain Sect is in a defenseless position in the first place? Over the years, various sects have used a great deal of amulet paper, crystals and magic treasures in order to suppress the passages. Yet, how many devil men of the Underworld has the Green Mountain Sect killed?"
"Does it mean that the Green Mountain Sect doesn't want to kill the devil men of the Underworld? There are not so many devil men of the Underworld to kill right now anyway. Many Cultivationists of the Green Mountain Sect died for this back then."
"What I meant was that since there are not so many devil men of the Underworld to kill, and the Green Mountain Sect has no passage to guard. Why would they still get the quota allocated six hundred years ago? Since they haven't done anything, there is no point in them getting rewarded, and it was the largest share of rewards! It's unfair even for those mortals when they divide the inherited family wealth."
The white clouds dispersed as the huge boat rose up again. The group of the Center Sect had entered the grand hall.
The Cultivation practitioners found that the Center Sect, in addition to Bai Zao and Bai Qianjun and many other young disciples, had brought Yue Qianmen and other two valley masters, who were all the swordsmen in the Lianxu State.
The person in the very front was shrouded with clouds and fog and was impossible to see clearly…She must be the rumored Immortal Bai.
Facing such a powerful group, how would the Green Mountain Sect confront them?
The Immortal Guangyuan must have come, and Fang Jingtian had probably come out from behind closed doors earlier than planned; and Yuan Qijing also had to come here in person to confront the group of the Center Sect.
A sound of bell suddenly rang out. It abated slowly like the green smoke in the pagoda forest did usually.
It grew quiet at the Fruit Formation Temple. The Cultivation practitioners of various sects stopped discussing and debating, and looked in the direction of the pagoda forest. They found a few people emerging from the pagoda forest.
Zhao Layue walked in the very front with a white cat in her arms.
Gu Qing held a desolate sword swaddled with layers of cloth.
Zhuo Rusui wrapped himself with his own arms.
Jing Jiu was in the rear.
Only a few people came from Green Mountain.
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