Zhuo Rusui had already felt it odd when he started to cultivate close-eyed in autumn.
The spiritual energies of heaven and earth converged on them like the real wind. Though most of the energies were absorbed by Jing Jiu's body, the amount of the energies amid the cliffs had increased many times over; and those spiritual energies were as pure as the water.
Neither the Center Sect nor the Green Mountain Sect could find a place that had such abundant spiritual energies, though the two sects had the best spiritual sources.
Cultivating in such an environment, one could progress in one year as much as they did in many years. It was only a short time from autumn to this day that he sensed that his Dao Tree had evidently grown and the amount of his sword source had increased a great deal. As such, Zhuo Rusui remained silent for a long while before he asked that question.
Gu Qing answered after a pause, "Yes, we cultivated this way before; but it was not exactly the same as this time."
All of Shenmo Peak were full aware that the spiritual energies of heaven and earth would converge on Jing Jiu's body when he cultivated by meditating. As a result, both Ada and Zhao Layue liked cultivating somewhere close to him. Yet, the spiritual energies of heaven and earth were merely slightly rich before, not as abundant as this time when the spiritual energies converged like the winds coming in from all directions.
Looking at Jing Jiu, Zhao Layue wondered if this was the result of his higher Cultivation state.
If this were the case, how much spiritual energy would he need when he was in the Heavenly Arrival State?
Heaven and earth would respond to it when so much spiritual energy entered one person's body in such a short time…it could even trigger heavenly punishment!
Having read the sword letter, Jing Jiu tossed it off the cliff. The letter turned into a puff of green smoke before it could get very far.
In the next moment, the wind and snow had suddenly started twirling around; Jing Jiu disappeared from the original spot along with a whooshing sound.
Zhao Layue and the other two looked up at the sky reflexively, but Jing Jiu was nowhere to be found.
A few breaths later, Jing Jiu broke through the Chaotic Wind and entered the Empty Realm.
The Empty Realm was devoid of air, wind and sound; it was as quiet as a graveyard.
Jing Jiu sensed that someone four hundred miles to the southwest was gazing at him. He had drawn a great deal of spiritual energy of heaven and earth from late autumn to winter; but it was not so significant for the endless heaven and earth. Unexpectedly, he had still alerted a formidable figure nearby.
Ada didn't like the Empty Realm that much either. He was unwilling to stay for too long, so he narrowed his eyes and looked in the direction of the southwest.
The energy in the southwest vanished abruptly.
Jing Jiu continued gliding upwards and had almost reached the upper limit of the Empty Realm.
The colorful whirlpools caused by the lightning in the higher sky looked like dreadful eyes, gazing at Jing Jiu emotionlessly.
The pupils in Ada's eyes shrank to the size of little bean and meowed frantically, forgetting that no sound could be made in the Empty Realm. He had to reach out his right paw to scratch at Jing Jiu's face.
A bright flame flared up in the sky, and then dropped, disappearing without a trace.
Jing Jiu put the cat down, shaking his head.
Drifting in the Empty Realm, all of the white hair on Ada stood on end, resembling a feeble and helpless dandelion.
A few minutes later, Jing Jiu reached the upper limit of the Empty Realm. He took off his white cloth and put it in a safe place.
Then, he quickly broke through the seemingly indestructible barrier and entered the Thunder Region.
Seeing this, the pupils in Ada's eyes shrank to the size of millet crumbs, full of dread and uneasiness.
No sound could be made in the Empty Realm.
The dreadful eyes in the Thunder Region opened just as wide, as if no dust had ever dropped into those eyes.
After a long while, a small flame suddenly appeared among the whirlpools of the thunders.
It was not a flame though. It was a human figure dropping swiftly, and his body was covered by the high temperature fire of the thunders.
The figure was dropping at an unimaginably high speed, breaking through the indestructible barrier. As he entered the Empty Realm, the fire on his body was extinguished instantly.
Ada drifted over. Looking at Jing Jiu as smoke still came out from his body, Ada asked through his spiritual awareness worriedly, "How do you feel?"
"Pretty good," Jing Jiu replied with a faint smile.
By the time Jing Jiu came back to the snowy cliff with Ada, he had already put his white cloth back on, which was as clean as before. It seemed that nothing had ever happened to him.
Yet, both Zhuo Rusui and Gu Qing could sense that Jing Jiu's energy had obviously changed.
Zhao Layue knew the reason for the change. She touched Jing Jiu's forehead with her hand, and found it was hot…It, in fact, was as hot as burning iron!
As he watched her touch Jing Jiu with her hand, Zhuo Rusui thought it was impossible for the Sect Master to have a fever.
Zhao Layue also noticed that the slightly mutilated earlobe of Jing Jiu's was a little bit burned. She rubbed it with her hand as she asked, "Is it sore?"
Ada meowed once, indicating that this weirdo couldn't feel pain at all; on the contrary, he thought it felt quite comfortable.
"Let's go," said Jing Jiu.
Three flying swords took off one after another.
The Thoughtless Sword looked redder.
The Swallowing Boat Sword appeared more agile.
The Sword of the Universe was as broad as ever.
Traveling against the Chaotic Wind on the sword, Zhuo Rusui announced delightedly, "I'm going to break through the state soon!"
"Me too," Zhao Layue joined in.
These two were of natural Dao quality at the Green Mountain Sect, and could be said to be the strongest swordsmen among those of the young generation in the current Cultivation circle.
They had been trying their hardest to break through the upper state of the Free Travel over the last few years. They had thought it would take them more than ten years to reach this stage, but unexpectedly, they were on the threshold already now.
Zhuo Rusui turned to Gu Qing when he suddenly thought of an important fact, saying, "I'll sit by Senior Master from now on when I'm cultivating."
He had a quick mind. Since he was fully aware that he had no chance of contending with Zhao Layue, nor could he squat atop Jing Jiu's head like what the Master White Ghost had been doing, the only chance he had was to contend with Gu Qing.
In the next moment, the thought crossed his mind that his relationship with Jing Jiu was not as close as Gu Qing because he was only a junior disciple, while Gu Qing was the personal disciple of the senior master. So Zhuo Rusui added, "Because I'm the Big Brother."
Gu Qing had no intention of contending with him on this matter, saying, "It's okay. I'm used to standing behind my Master."
Zhuo Rusui felt a bit mortified after finding Gu Qing had given in so easily. He suggested to Jing Jiu, "Senior Master, couldn't you always sit at the cliff's edge? Otherwise, two more people can sit in front of you."
He had also taken Yuan Qü and Ping Yongjia into consideration; he was very considerate, Gu Qing mused.
Gu Qing smiled, as he thought Zhuo Rusui had kept everybody in mind.
"You have eaten dinners on Shenmo Peak before," Jing Jiu said to Zhuo Rusui. "Now you wish to share the spiritual energy of heaven and earth?!"
Zhuo Rusui could tell that Jing Jiu was not actually upset with him; on the contrary, those teasing words indicated that Jing Jiu was in an exceedingly good mood, so he caught up to Jing Jiu and said, "You're the peak master of Tianguang as well, which means you can't treat me differently from the others."
A few sword lights shot up into the sky, leaving distinct cloudy marks behind.
In a place on the south side of the mountain, the regular disciples and the sect master of the Mysterious Heaven Sect were all kneeling on the snowy ground, bowing toward the sword lights in the sky.
Zhou Yunmo stood up slowly on the green rock, and said while looking at the sky, "I'll stay behind closed doors from this day on."
The sect master of the Mysterious Heaven, Lu Jin, was taken aback first, but he realized what was going on soon after. "Congratulations, Master!" he exclaimed ecstatically.
A young monk said this to an old monk sitting in front of the Buddha statue deferentially as he walked into the meditation room. He couldn't conceal the happiness and pride his countenance expressed.
This temple was called the Pinggu Temple, where there were three halls supporting more than ten monks. It was a private temple for a famous and wealthy merchant in Yizhou, named Jia Shen.
That old monk was a traveling monk. He had come here from outside of the county last autumn. The chief monk of the Pinggu Temple found this old monk had a profound knowledge about the Buddhist scripts and methods after conversing with him for a short while, which is why the chief monk thought he was an extraordinary individual and regarded him as his teacher.
The chief monk of the Pinggu Temple caught cold by the end of winter and died. He pleaded with the old monk before his death for helping take care of the Pinggu Temple.
The old monk had no intention of doing so, but he agreed to stay for a limited time since he couldn't turn down the chief monk's soulful plea. He insisted that he would leave three years later.
The wealthy merchant, Jia Shen, had learned of this extraordinary monk through the chief monk. Thinking of gaining a truly knowledgeable monk in his private temple, Jia Shen had no objection to the arrangement.
As a result, the old monk became the chief monk of the Pinggu Temple.
Yet, what the young monk congratulated him on had nothing to do with this matter. It was because the Governor of Yizhou decided to bring his family to the temple and pray after he heard that the new chief monk of the Pinggu Temple was a highly achieved monk in Zen Buddhism.
Thought the Pinggu Temple was a private temple of the Jia family, the request of the Governor of Yizhou was of course granted.
The Pinggu Temple would become a famous temple in Yizhou after the visit of the Governor and his family. It was even possible that the temple would shrink from the control of the Jia family and became a truly popular temple.
Thinking of this possibility, the young monk couldn't help but feel joyful.
The old monk said while facing the Buddha statue, "If you people got rid of the Jia family after my departure three years from now, what would you plan to do?"
The young monk didn't give a response, but a calm voice responded to him.
"You'll leave today though."
The voice sounded extremely calm.
It sounded as if the speaker was more than being emotionless but closer to being in a desolate mental state.
It seemed that the speaker wouldn't feel a thing even if the whole world would be destroyed, let alone the destruction of the Pinggu Temple.
The old monk turned around.
The young monk fell down on the ground; it was unclear if he was dead or alive.
Jing Jiu stood at the gate.
This old monk was none other than the Master Huiyuan.
It was he who had killed Elder Chen Wen of the Kunlun Sect at the foot of that precipice last autumn.
Unexpectedly, this important figure of the Old Ones had been hiding in a private temple in Yizhou City.
Seeing the handsome face, the Master Huiyuan had guessed his identity, saying, "I didn't expect you to find me here; more than that, I didn't even sense your arrival."
"If you tell me the whereabouts of Taiping, you don't have to die today," said Jing Jiu.
"I didn't expect the Immortal Sect Master to kill me in person; it's an honor. But do you really think you can?"
Smiling faintly, the Master Huiyuan said to Jing Jiu, "The sect master of Green Mountain has no equal in the world; but that saying refers to the Immortal Liu Ci, not you."
Jing Jiu was the youngest sect master of Green Mountain ever, and he was also the weakest one.
The Master Huiyuan had a profound Cultivation state. Even though he had sneak-attacked Chen Wen, his strength was demonstrated when he struck only once and killed the elder of the Kunlun Sect.
The elders of the Green Mountain Sect in the Broken Sea State might be not his equal.
The manor of the Jia nearby was quite noisy; it seemed that there was a banquet going on there. It was even noisier in the further away Yizhou City; the firecrackers were exploding in the manor of the Governor for a happy occasion.
The Pinggu Temple was the only exception; it was deathly quiet here.
Though the Master Huiyuan didn't sense the arrival of Jing Jiu, he was certain that no other swordsmen of Green Mountain were inside the Pinggu Temple at the moment.
The oil lamp cast his shadow on the ground, as Huiyuan sat on the futon quietly, as if he had merged himself into the Buddha statue behind him.
Jing Jiu said nothing more. He raised his right hand and pointed it at the old monk.
Seeing his pointed hand, the Master Huiyuan felt the hair on his nape suddenly stand up.
Was this the so-called "hair standing up out of fear"?
This was a sort of physiological reaction the mortals experienced when they were extremely horrified.
The Master Huiyuan was a highly achieved monk in Zen Buddhism, but why did he have such a reaction?
It was because that pointed hand brought an extreme terror to his heart.
It was the impending thunder.
It was incoming of death.
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