The north of the West Ocean was still the sea. It was extremely cold here, with the Chaotic Wind blowing all the time, and horrible windstorms would often ravage the area. As such, the place was called the "Icy Wind and Violent Sea".
In the sky over the Icy Wind and Violent Sea, the Empty Realm was rather thin. It was even hard for the practitioners in the Broken Sea State to stay in it for a while.
Worst of all, the surface of the ocean was frozen further north in an area connected with the Snowy Kingdom, and so it would be more likely to encounter the monsters of the Snowy Kingdom here.
It was said that the divine animal of the West Ocean Sword Sect, the Flying Whale, was born in the southern part of the Icy Wind and Violent Sea. He had visited the area once in a few years.
Now that the Flying Whale was dead, the southern part of the Icy Wind and Violent Sea was a place without a master.
Though it was the southern part of the area, the Chaotic Wind was still fierce, cutting into people's faces like a knife. Even Zhuo Rusui felt a stabbing pain in his face.
Standing on the Swallowing Boat Sword and looking at the floating ice pieces that became denser up ahead on the surface of the ocean, Zhuo Rusui complained, "We should have gone to Penglai Island first and bought a godly boat; or we could just snatch one."
A faint sound of air breaking could be heard amid the whistling wind; it was not laughter, but rather a sound like an air bag being pierced through.
Zhuo Rusui exclaimed angrily, "Who answered me by farting?"
"It's me," returned Gu Qing.
Zhuo Rusui grew angrier, and yelled, "You're not a mortal; why did you have to fart?!"
This uninteresting and senseless exchange indicated that he was rather nervous at the moment.
Jing Jiu discovered the possible sailing direction of that godly boat at the manor of the governor, and led them to the Icy Wind and Violent Sea to pursue the Immortal Taiping. It was not so easy to kill the grandmaster, Zhuo Rusui thought. Even though the Dark Phoenix hadn't fully recovered from the injury inflicted by Nan Qü, who could deal with that devil man, the Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect? It was almost impossible to rely on that lazy cat for the job.
His line of sight swerved from Zhao Layue's bosom to the back of Jing Jiu up ahead, as it occurred to him that the Young Senior Master had grown a bit too arrogant after he had became the sect master and defeated the Master Huiyuan.
It was then that he heard another sound of air breaking. This time he was certain that the sound didn't come from Gu Qing's farting, but from Jing Jiu…
Three flying swords broke through the Chaotic Wind and headed toward the surface of the ocean, and landed on a floating ice.
Jing Jiu sat down cross-legged, with his eyes closed.
A few blue electrical bolts emerged from his body and face and snapped off in the air, giving off many "pah" sounds. He had collected many sounds of heavenly thunder in the Thunder Region a few days ago. He had merely used a small portion of the collected thunders at the Pinggu Temple. Those collected sounds of thunder and lightning grew restless in his body now, struggling and thrashing, as if they were attempting to come out of his body.
Ada was right; it was impossible for him to absorb the power of heaven and earth limitlessly even with his special body.
To turn the heavenly thunder into a sword source, one needed to suppress them with the sword wills and temper them with the spiritual energy of heaven and earth, which was rather time-consuming.
Yet, Jing Jiu didn't have enough time to achieve all this; all he could do right now was stabilize them for the time being.
Sensing the spiritual energies coming in from all directions, Zhuo Rusui reacted very fast. He sat down by Jing Jiu's left side, leaving the right side, which was a better spot, available for Zhao Layue.
Gu Qing stood behind Jing Jiu, with his eyes closed.
Ada was aware that Jing Jiu was not in a desirable state; so he didn't climb up to Jing Jiu's head. Instead, the cat crouched submissively on his lap.
The Icy Wind and Violent Sea was a barren place, where no life form could be spotted within three hundred square miles. Nobody could detect the unusual commotion of heaven and earth here. In addition, the heavenly thunder in his body was truly formidable, so Jing Jiu didn't hold anything back.
A few moments later, the whistling Chaotic Wind suddenly quieted down, and the real wind of heaven and earth rushed in, along with a great amount of spiritual energy of heaven and earth.
On the surface of the ocean, an area of ten square miles, countless floating ice pieces were drifting toward them along with the current and the wind; it was a magnificent scene.
Night arrived. The bright starlight shone on the surface of the ocean, illuminating the iceberg made of countless floating ice pieces.
Soon after, the spiritual energy of heaven and earth slowed its pace of coming forward, until none of it came over any longer.
Zhuo Rusui opened his eyes and felt a bit regretful. All of a sudden, he sensed some change in his body. He willed the Swallowing Boat Sword slightly and arrived in the sky under the starlight after shooting through the air.
The starlight suddenly grew red; it was because the Thoughtless Sword had also arrived in the night sky.
The two flying swords exuded an evidently different energy now. The power hidden in the swords possessed an unstoppable intent.
Zhuo Rusui looked at Zhao Layue and uttered an uncertain "hmm".
Zhao Layue nodded to confirm that she had already entered the upper state of the Free Travel.
The Cultivation practitioners were the ones who knew best about their own Cultivation state. Yet, this was still an unbelievable event. It was still hard for Zhuo Rusui to believe what had just happened, and even though he had a similar experience before, he needed someone to substantiate it. Looking at the Swallowing Boat Sword under the blood-red starlight, he muttered, "Cultivation…can be this simple?"
Ada absorbed the remaining spiritual energy greedily and consumed two mouthfuls of the starlight, as he thought it was of course simple to cultivate like this, but there was only one Jing Jiu in the world.
Looking at Gu Qing, Zhuo Rusui found that he was still in the initial state of the Free Travel, feeling it odd. "You were already on the verge of breaking through the state back at the Fruit Formation Temple last summer; why haven't you done it?" he asked.
"I'd like to wait a bit longer," said Gu Qing.
Zhuo Rusui wondered if it was necessary to wait for a lucky moment to break through the state. Then he suddenly understood Gu Qing's intention. "Young Brother, you have a bigger ambition in mind," he commented with narrowed eyes.
Gu Qing said, "My talent is far inferior to yours, Big Brother Zhuo; so I have no choice but to have more patience."
Two or three hundred years later, these two might contend for the position of sect master of Green Mountain in front of a large crowd. The conversation between them tonight on the iceberg and under the starlight should be recorded in the history book of Green Mountain. Yet, Zhao Layue didn't even shoot a glimpse of them; the focus of her attention was on Jing Jiu.
Jing Jiu opened his eyes, his expression calm. His lethal intent abated as he caressed Ada's back gently.
The lethal intent commenced when they left the seashore of the East Ocean. It was quite diminutive and concealed in his sleeves; but Zhao Layue could sense it clearly.
As Jing Jiu woke up, the spiritual energy invited by Jing Jiu had finally disappeared. Those heavy floating ice pieces were slowly slithering into the sea with frightful cracking sound; the thunderous noise echoed in the air when they finally dropped in the ocean.
The whistling Chaotic Wind blew over the cold surface of the ocean again. The water-like starlight swung on the surface of the ocean, looking like the shadows of the night sky on the ocean.
The Sword of the Universe broke through the starlight and arrived in the Chaotic Wind.
Sitting at the head of the sword, Jing Jiu looked at the distance, his eyes beaming. He had detected an intermittently visible and slightly heated line.
It was the heated mark left behind by the crystal boiler of the godly boat; and it hadn't been completely erased by the chilly sea water and floating ice many days later.
Jing Jiu said, "You guys go back to Green Mountain. I'll be fine since I have Ada with me."
Ada cursed in his mind as he thought how he wanted to go back to Green Mountain too.
The Sword of the Universe turned into a flash of desolate sword light, heading toward the north of the Icy Wind and Violent Sea, vanishing into the night sky after merging into the stars.
The waves lapped against the floating ice, giving off a plopping noise, as if the water was about to boil.
The starlight shone on the frozen surface of the ocean; it was deathly quiet.
"He brought us here to kill people, but he abandoned us on the ocean. It's ridiculous."
Zhuo Rusui turned to Zhao Layue and asked, "Don't you think it's suspicious?"
All of them knew what Jing Jiu planned to do. But why did he bring them to the Icy Wind and Violent Sea from the Fruit Formation Temple if he didn't intend to have them involved in the action in the first place?
Zhao Layue didn't give a response.
"Why did the Sect Master bring the three of us with him? It's because we are young and most talented…"
Zhuo Rusui added after shooting Gu Qing a glance, "Well, your talent is a bit weak, but Senior Master likes you."
"Big Brother, what on earth are you trying to say?" Gu Qing asked calmly.
Zhuo Rusui replied, "What I meant to say is that Green Mountain will be ours in the future; don't you feel a heavy burden?"
Gu Qing didn't feel any burden, since Jing Jiu had told him a few years ago that he should be prepared to be the sect master of Green Mountain.
Zhao Layue felt no burden at all, since she was the peak master of Shenmo and an important figure already.
Zhuo Rusui felt helpless when nobody responded to him. "But, the Sect Master is still very young; why would he consider the future arrangement so early?" he exclaimed.
It was evident that Jing Jiu brought the three of them for this trip of Cultivation in an attempt to improve their Cultivation state as quickly as possible.
As Zhuo Rusui pointed out, why would he be in such a hurry to do so?
"I feel it somewhat foreboding, because what he did is like arranging affairs for his death."
Looking at the deep part of the Icy Wind and Violent Sea, Zhuo Rusui said with narrowed eyes, "If it were truly dangerous, why didn't he bring Senior Master, the Sword Justice, with him?"
The starlight was still bright, and the sea water looked like the silvery paper on the inky surface of the ocean one hundred miles away.
The traces left by that godly boat couldn't be seen by the naked eyes, but they couldn't evade Jing Jiu's perception.
Ada opened his eyes. Since he and Jing Jiu were only people here, he had no need to pretend to be fearful and cowardly; the expression in his eyes displayed a hint of indifference and coolness.
"This trip is so dangerous; why didn't you bring Yuan Qijing with you?" Ada asked through his spiritual awareness.
Jing Jiu replied, "As long as you can hold up the Young Mysterious Dark Master for a while, I'll be able to settle it."
He had been calculating what method Yin San would employ to sustain his life.
The First Child Sword was in the Royal Palace in Zhaoge City, so he couldn't change to a sword body. What else would he do then?
He and the Young Zen Master had speculated for many days at the Fruit Formation Temple, and come up with some ideas; it should have nothing to do with the reincarnation of the Zen sects, nor did it have anything to do with the Dongyi Daoist method.
The godly boat from Penglai Island was useless for Yin San, save for that crystal boiler.
Obtaining the broken pieces of the Sun Banner indicated that Yin San intended to increase the temperature of the crystal boiler.
And the other objects, like the lotus flower of the One-Cottage House and the bone marrow of the Old Dragon stolen from the Fiend Prison…indicated that Yin San attempted to tread a path that hadn't been tried by anybody before, which is total transformation.
If Yin San wished to achieve total transformation, what would he do?
No more rosefinch existed in the world; so he had to extract the feather from the Dark Phoenix.
Both Yin San and the Dark Phoenix should be in their weakest condition at the moment.
Jing Jiu possessed the life board of the Dark Phoenix. Though he didn't have his life blood, Jing Jiu believed that he still could control the bird.
After a long moment of silence, Ada said, "That evil old man is very strong in a weird way. I can only hold him up for half a minute at most." The expression in his eyes was extremely gloomy and dark.
It wouldn't take long to kill a person, even if that person was the Immortal Taiping.
Yet, how long would it take to get a sufficient answer from someone?
Jing Jiu kept on traveling northward while thinking of this.
The traveling speed of the Sword of the Universe picked up.
The darkness of the night grew lighter.
And the surface of the ocean grew whiter…
The instant the morning sun appeared over the horizon, the land and sea seemed to intermingle together, connecting heaven and earth.
The fissure in the ice that was plowed by the godly boat was clearly visible, extending in a straight line to the distance.
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