The Master Huiyuan was the great grandmaster of the Tonghua Temple. He was very knowledgeable about the Buddhist methods and had an extraordinary Cultivation state.
Elder Chen Wen of the Kunlun Sect was a powerful swordsman in the initial state of the Broken Sea, and was killed by him with one swing of his sword. He wasn't even afraid of the Cloud Boat of the Center Sect that much.
However, he felt a strong sense of danger at the moment.
It had something to do with distance. The Cloud Boat of the Center Sect was far away in the sky near the Empty Realm, but Jing Jiu was close to him.
Wasn't it true that the swordsmen of Green Mountain liked to keep some distance from their opponents?
He fixed his gaze on Jing Jiu's hand.
That hand was as white as a jade, devoid of any blemish, looking like some sort of art; but it was actually rather formidable and dangerous, as if it had countless thunders and lightning hidden inside.
"Looks like I can't hold back anymore."
The Master Huiyuan said to Jing Jiu, "Sorry."
The oil lamp illuminated his figure, making him seem to merge into the Buddha statue, his energy growing more profound and deep.
Innumerable rosaries drifted up from the shadows of the lamp and the cracks between the bricks, and many of them dropped down from the roof beams. These rosaries arranged themselves like the stars, occupying the whole space.
The Jia family was involved in the business of mining. The business was very successful because they had the backers among the local officials in Yizhou and some important figures in Zhaoge City. Jia Shen became a renowned and wealthy merchant in Yizhou City within the space of a few decades. He was nonetheless rather content even though his wealth couldn't match those large clans backed by the Cultivation sects.
It was close to New Year's Day, so the Jia family invited some known officials and merchants to a dinner party. At the moment, they were enjoying the meal and discussing the tomorrow's visit to the temple in the front yard.
A great variety of foods and dishes were brought to the yard like a flowing stream. The courtyard felt like in the warm spring, and not a trace of winter could be found here. The dinner and the party were inundated with luxury and extravaganza.
The Pinggu Temple was the private temple of the Jia family; there were a stream and half a mountain between the temple and the manor of the Jia. One could see the temple from the manor of the Jia, and vice versa; but they were not very close in distance, though.
Crouching on the wall of the Pinggu Temple, Ada looked at the excited crowd in the distance; no admiration, except for a bit of indifference, could be found in his eyes. If one looked closely at his eyes, they could find a hint of an over-experienced sensation in his eyes. Ada had seen and experienced a great deal of luxury and extravaganza in the mortal world before, so he showed no envy of such limited sumptuousness.
The sound of firecrackers burst out somewhere. Ada spun his head and looked at the inside of the temple.
Seven or eight monks were piled up disorderly by the wall, unconscious. That young monk was on the top of the heap.
As Ada looked at the back hall, his eyes revealed a hint of worry.
Jing Jiu was not a match for Monk Huiyuan, since the difference between their Cultivation states was simply too big. Yet, Jing Jiu insisted on testing his sword; Ada could do nothing to stop him.
Fortunately, Jing Jiu could not be killed so easily He would land his helping hand if a mishap occurred, Ada thought.
It was then that thudding thunder broke out in the winter sky.
The pupils in Ada's eyes shrank slightly, the white hair on him erecting instinctively.
The thunder in the late winter was rare to begin with, but it was cloudless in a blue sky that day.
The drinking and talking officials and merchants in the Jia manor were startled when they heard the thunder. They looked up at the sky, wondering what had just happened.
"I can't believe that thunder has occurred. Is it going to rain?" a caretaker muttered reflexively.
Jia Shen glared at the caretaker. As he was about to chastise the caretaker, a more dreadful sound of thunder exploded suddenly in the sky.
In the next moment, more thunder broke out one after the other!
The violent wind whistled, and the beams in the house squeaked. The ground began to shake, and smoke and dust were everywhere. The fragile screen walls in the courtyard had collapsed.
"Earthquake! It's the earthquake!"
"Get out of here quickly!"
"Go help the grandma!"
"The Pinggu! The Pinggu Temple has collapsed!"
The horrified screams could be heard everywhere in the manor of the Jia.
Those officials and merchants could no longer maintain their calmness; they crawled to the underneath of the tables as quickly as they could.
The servants and the servant girls were running aimlessly while shouting and crying. The sunlight was blocked by the smoke and dusts, and the chaos and horrific scenes were found all over the place.
The Pinggu Temple had in fact collapsed.
The three halls and those rooms for the monks had become ruins.
The courtyard wall had become a long heap.
Ada felt a bit surprised; he turned into a white line and darted to the back of the temple as fast as a flash of lightning.
The back hall had completely vanished. The roof beams, the Buddha statue, the oil lamps and the walls had all turned into wood chips, pebbles, and powder out of gold and red bricks.
On the messy ground, one could barely recognize the tiny broken pieces of the rosaries, which were made from pure gold and magic stones. They became the golden red powder, mixing with the powder of the red bricks; but they still exuded a formidable strength that was as strong as the Gold-steel Monk.
Standing in midair, Jing Jiu looked at the old monk quietly, his rustling sleeve giving off a faint cracking sound.
The old monk was covered with the gold and red powder; it was unclear if the powder was that of the bricks, golden paint or the rosaries, or his own blood.
He was blind already as fresh blood oozed out from his eyes and trickled down after wetting his white eyelids. His life force was fading away just like the trickling blood.
Yet, the old monk was not dead at the moment. It seemed that he wished to say something.
His dry lips parted and closed a few times, as the words with a golden glow came out from his mouth, looking like the leaves growing in the spring wind when they drifted up with the wind.
Seeing this, the pupils in Ada's eyes shrank, meaning that he was quite alarmed at the moment; he was ready to pounce on the old monk and bite off his head.
Those words with a golden glow were the Buddhist script, similar to the amulet words of the One-Cottage House; but they were more dangerous in comparison.
The mishap Ada was worried about didn't take place; it was because those Buddhist script couldn't even come out from the old monk's mouth, and those green leaves dropped downwards after their roots were cut off; as such, they had no chance of growing up.
Countless invisible sword wills hovered over the ruins of the Pinggu Temple.
They were the sharpest sword wills in the world, and even superior to that of the Lone Sword.
Those leaves on which the inky words seemed to be written fell onto the ruins, splashing into a gold powder as they touched the ground.
What had remained were those words themselves, which were the voice of the Master Huiyuan.
"You will never be able to find the Immortal."
His white eyelids were soaked red with fresh blood, giving him an exceedingly dreadful look.
"An anger as violent as the thunder can't last long either."
His white eyebrows fell down along with the chilly wind, so did the two trickles of blood.
He gazed at Jing Jiu with his blind eyes while smiling faintly, his eyes full of benevolence. It seemed that he had already learned the truth.
"The reason you have returned is because this world still needs you. And you will realize this in the end, by which you will acquire the true tranquility."
This was the last statement left by the Master Huiyuan before his departure from this world; it was neither a curse nor an explanation; it was more like a blessing.
Having said that, countless waves of thunder and lightning emerged from the bottom of his monk robe, along with a barrage of frequent cracking sounds.
It sounded like the firecrackers for celebrating the New Year.
Amid the cracking sounds, his body turned into powder, mixing with that of the ruins.
The winter wind died down, and so did the smoke and dusts. The chaos in the manor of the Jia was finally brought under control.
Jia Shen crawled out from the bottom of the table with the help of the caretaker of the Jia family. He hurried to check on those officials.
The courtyard was not damaged too much, with only one collapsed wall and no severe casualties. The injuries of the few who had a bloody head were not life-threatening.
However, the Pinggu Temple on the back of the mountain was leveled to ruins.
Soon, a caretaker came back and reported that the monks in the temple were unconscious but still alive. The highly achieved monk, who had just taken over the position of chief monk, had disappeared somehow.
Seeing the ruins on the other side, a sensation of bewilderment showed on Jia Shen's pale face as he wondered what had happened there.
In the next moment, he thought of the Governor of Yizhou going to bring his family to the temple tomorrow. What should he do then?
The heap of red paper pieces was formed in front of the government office of Yizhou, a burning smell still lingering in the air.
It looked like real firecrackers had exploded here.
A few little children squatted on the ground, looking for the unexploded firecrackers. The onlookers had already dispersed.
In a restaurant nearby, Su Ziye was drinking the jasmine tea while wearing a mask; no emotion could be detected on his face.
Jing Jiu landed in the backyard, ignoring him completely.
"It was too dangerous…If he had employed the Buddhist script in the very beginning, it would have been truly unsafe."
"And what he said was correct; you can't collect the heavenly thunder every time you strike somebody with it!"
"Hey, I'm talking to you!"
The white cat kept on meowing while crouching on Jing Jiu's shoulder.
Jing Jiu paid no attention to the cat as he walked toward the study room after brushing a few bamboo branches aside.
The white cat fingered Jing Jiu's slightly mutilated earlobe as he said through his spiritual awareness, "Your body is not as indestructible as you think; you'd better be careful."
Jing Jiu still didn't pay attention to him, as he walked on the stone steps and into the study room.
It was quiet in the study room; it was devoid of the sound of the tip of a pen scratching the paper and the noise of the grinding of an inkstick.
Zhao Layue and Gu Qing stood in a corner while looking at the desk.
The Governor of Yizhou sat behind the desk; his head tilted to one side, his face pale. There was no breathing coming out from his mouth and nose; he was dead.
Jing Jiu shot Zhuo Rusui a glance.
Zhuo Rusui said in an innocent tone, "I've used the formation of the Inherited Heaven Sword to control each and every pore of this body; I've even locked all of his meridians. But, I didn't expect him to still manage to kill himself."
Jing Jiu didn't say anything. It would be meaningless to keep this governor alive. The members of the Old Ones were specialized in assassinating others and committing suicide in order not to reveal any secret. The Master Huiyuan didn't accept his condition, indicating that the Immortal Taiping was more frightful than the death itself in the eyes of these people; in other words, the Immortal Taiping was more valuable than their own lives.
"Su Ziye didn't lie to us; the Governor of Yizhou was a member of the Old Ones. He would go to the Pinggu Temple tomorrow to bring over the second broken piece of the Sun Banner."
Zhao Layue handed Jing Jiu a small ceramic vial.
Jing Jiu fell silent for a while after he opened the small ceramic vial and saw the broken piece of cloth.
The broken piece of cloth exuded a dark, filthy but hot energy, which was the peculiar flavor of the Sun Banner.
Back when he and Liu Ci destroyed the Mysterious Dark Sect and killed Wang Xiaoming, the Sun Banner wrapping Wang Xiaoming had been broken into pieces.
Two of the broken pieces were found by Su Ziye.
As the former master of the Mysterious Dark Sect, Su Ziye acted faster than the Windy-Broadsword Church and the Magic Army.
The reason they could find Master Huiyuan was because they discovered this governor of Yizhou as a member of the Old Ones through the broken piece of the Sun Banner owned by Su Ziye, and then found the Pinggu Temple.
The first broken piece of the Sun Banner should have been in the hands of the Immortal Taiping.
As Jing Jiu waved his sleeve, everything in the study room drifted up.
The heavy inkstone was drifting in the midair like a leaf, and the paintings hovered in the midair. Every object rotated slowly in the air, displaying the details of themselves.
Hundreds of books were flipping pages on their own, like what had happened last summer when Jing Jiu and the Young Zen Master discussed the Dao at the Fruit Formation Temple.
Gu Qing was aware that his Cultivation state was not high enough, and retreated out of the room. Zhao Layue and Zhuo Rusui closed their eyes after watching the action for a short while. The pages of the books were turning too fast, and the details contained in those pens, inks, papers, inkstones and letters were too many and as complicated as the ocean of stars. If the two of them forced themselves to look closely, they would suffer some internal injuries.
Jing Jiu suddenly made the remark while looking closely at those "details", "The boat is on the ocean."
Zhuo Rusui felt a bit sentimental at the moment, as he thought what Jing Jiu said was tantamount to being a nonsense.
That boat was a godly boat, so it couldn't be anywhere but on the ocean.
It was like cooking a large goose. One couldn't cook it anywhere but in an iron pot.
"In the Icy Wind and Violent Sea," Jing Jiu added.
Hearing this, the expression on Zhao Layue's face turned cold, and Zhuo Rusui was too nervous to restrain himself from making a loud burp, as if he had just stuffed himself with a pot of boiled goose.
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