At the northernmost part of the Icy Wind and Violent Sea, the whistling Chaotic Wind caused countless sounds of thunderous booming, and the Empty Realm was compressed into a thin layer, while those frightful whirlpools in the Thunder Region turned into large colorful patches, which looked not as horrible as before.
Even those swordsmen in the Broken Sea State couldn't stay for too long in such a place.
This place was merely two thousand miles away from that lonely icy peak of the Snowy Kingdom; no human practitioner would dare to venture here without a pressing reason.
The sea water here had been frozen solid, and the thickness of the ice was probably many feet deep. It, in fact, was no different from the mainland.
A godly boat was intermittently visible amid the whistling cold wind.
This godly boat was actually dragged forward on the surface of the ice by the powerful force of the crystal boiler rather than traveling by breaking through the ice.
The Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect stood at the bow of the boat. He covered his head with his hand to block the Chaotic Wind that was as fierce as a cutting knife. His line of sight fixed on the slightly bulging snowland to his right while remaining silent.
He hadn't spoken one single word for seven straight days.
The godly boat traveled too slowly; it had only moved one hundred miles north over the last few days. For a high level swordsman like him, the boat had hardly moved.
Even though the Immortal needed the crystal boiler on the godly boat, he could opt to take down the boiler and fly away with it; why did he have himself trapped on this boat?
The lotus flower of the One-Cottage House had been picked, and the scales of the Fire Carp had been taken. Everything required had been obtained, so why hadn't he started total transformation yet?
Was it possible that the Immortal was waiting for someone or something?
This thought made him feel uneasy.
"What are you afraid of?"
Standing on the highest spot on the mast, the Dark Phoenix lowered his head and glanced at the Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect, his eyes full of contempt and conceit.
The Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect looked in the direction of the snowland and sighed, "This place is so close to the Snowy Kingdom; who wouldn't feel alarmed and cautious?"
The Dark Phoenix said arrogantly, "There is nothing to be afraid of. The Queen of the Snowy Kingdom is the life form of the highest state; it would be best to die by her hand, if one were doomed to die, that is."
The Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect smiled with narrowed eyes, as he pressed, "What if the people of the Green Mountain Sect catch up to us?"
The Dark Phoenix spun his head to look at the dim wind and snow up ahead; his eyes grew dimmer as well.
The Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect came below the deck while clutching his head. When he heard the louder sound of friction between the bottom of the boat and the surface of the ice, he couldn't help but furrow his eyebrows. He said to the young man across from him after pushing open the door, "I don't feel so good."
Yin San was wiping his face with a damp towel when he heard what the Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect said. He set down the towel and asked, "In what way?"
His face was still as handsome as before, except that some dark gray blemishes could be spotted on his face. Bulges could be seen on his body even though it was wrapped under the clothes, looking like a tree trunk having many braches growing out of it.
It would be a wonderful scene to see the branches grow out of the trees in spring; but it was a horrible and ugly scene when it happened to a human body.
Yin San was not an energetic, warm-hearted and amiable young man anymore, but a pitiful patient.
He had the worst illness in the world; it was an illness caused by time.
Time can destroy everything. His body was rotting away as time was elapsing. The saying "Approaching the wooden coffin" was the accurate description of his current condition.
It was already a miracle that he lasted this long.
Well, he was a miracle himself to begin with.
"The idea always crosses my mind that the people of Green Mountain will suddenly show up, though I know they won't be able to find us. Nevertheless…I don't feel good."
The Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect said this while rubbing his red nose; it was unclear if his nose was still red because it had been assaulted by the Chaotic Wind for too long or because his diseased nose was not cured yet.
"Jing Jiu would come with Ada at most. If he intended to kill me, he had best be prepared to die himself."
Yin San said this with a faint smile while pushing down a piece of bone that was to pierce through the skin with the damp towel.
The Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect pressed with furrowed brows, "What if Yuan Qijing came?"
"He is annoyed because of the incident at the West Ocean. As such, he wouldn't tell those juniors of his on Green Mountain about this trip."
Yin San fell silent for a while; it was unclear if he had thought of that tall and big figure standing in front of him that day. He came before the lotus flower growing without a root and said, "It's something to do with the two of us brothers; it's none of others' business."
"Didn't you claim that he was not Jing Yang?" pressed the Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect, narrowing his eyes.
Yin San replied with a faint smile, "He is of course not Jing Yang; but he thinks he is. What can we do about it?"
The Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect pressed again, "If he thinks he is Jing Yang, how come he comes by himself?"
The Immortal Jing Yang was very lazy and afraid of death, so Jing Jiu should have the same temperaments.
"He will come for sure; it's because he can't yet find the answer to a question."
Yin San touched the lotus flower with his hand before continuing calmly, "I'd die if I failed in my attempt of total transformation. If he doesn't find me before my death, he won't be able to get an answer to his question."
They had flown northward for a long time. The surface of the Sword of the Universe was covered with a thin layer of frost, so was Jing Jiu's body.
The flying sword suddenly stopped, and the frost on Jing Jiu's cloth turned into thousands of tiny snowflakes before dropping off.
It was extremely cold here, and the heated traces of the crystal boiler were nowhere to be found. The wind and snow made it hard to tell the icy sea from the mainland. It would be impossible to tell whether there was a godly boat up ahead if the marks weren't left on the surface of the ice.
The Snowy Kingdom was located on the mainland to the right. A bright and transparent line could be vaguely seen under the high and distant sky; it should be that translucent icy peak.
Ada poked his head out from Jing Jiu's chest. He shook the frost off by swinging his head side to side a few times. Then he meowed once, wondering why they stopped.
Jing Jiu suddenly said, "Even if the assassination of Chen Wen by Huiyuan was the plot concocted by the Old Ones, it was too simplistic, not like something planned by him."
Ada wondered what Jing Jiu was trying to get at.
Looking at the icy sea up ahead, Jing Jiu said, "He knew that I would be able to find the clues and come find him; he's been waiting for me."
Ada was petrified. He didn't agree with Jing Jiu about coming here, but Jing Jiu didn't listen to him.
Now that the Immortal was prepared for their arrival, death would be their sole outcome.
Jing Jiu said, "Nobody has tried total transformation before, and he doesn't have the rosefinch. As a result, his odds of success are one in ten. So you have nothing to worry about."
Ada wondered why Jing Jiu would take such a risk to pursue the Immortal Taiping if, according to his calculation, the Immortal had no chance of surviving total transformation.
Jing Jiu said, "I have a question I need to ask him. If he died in the process of total transformation, to whom am I would ask the question?"
Ada wondered if Jing Jiu wanted to ask why his Big Brother had tried to harm him. This was a plot that could only appear in those underrated stories, Ada thought.
Jing Jiu concluded, "Since he has guessed my thoughts, he won't commence total transformation before my arrival."
Why were you two brothers tormenting each other like this?
Ada sighed, as it occurred to him that Jing Jiu wasn't someone who had been preoccupied with the answer.
"You're right. I wasn't like this before."
Jing Jiu looked at the icy sea up ahead, the snowland to the side, and then the sky above. He fell silent for a long while as he saw the thunder whirlpools being compressed into the colorful flat patches.
All of a sudden, the frozen snowflakes, brought by the wind, hit the Sword of the Universe with many "pah" noises, sounding like the tunes of music.
He closed his eyes as he recalled the purest things he had seen in this life of his.
The snowfall in the middle of winter.
The crop fields in spring in the small village.
The greetings by the Sword-Washing Stream.
The young woman in the snowland.
The young woman in the Three-Thousand Nunnery.
The little girl in the Green Sky Mirror.
Then, he heard a piece of zither music in his ears.
The sound of the music was like the plopping of spring water. The title of the music was "The Prelude to a Good Night". Yet, the music was played not as joyfully as usual; it was more of a pure emotion.
It was probably because the Young Master Li of Dayuan City felt too cold in the snow.
However, Jing Jiu's Dao Heart grew more tranquil after it had experienced something like being washed by the spring water. He discovered a trace of shadow hidden in the most remote and deepest part of himself.
Many years ago, he had fought against Tian Jinren at the old plum garden in Zhaoge City and had beaten his opponent.
Unexpectedly, Tian Jinren left a faint shadow in his body. As time elapsed and his Cultivation state improved, this shadow had a tendency of materializing.
The Dao Heart would be transparent as long as the sword heart was transparent. This shadow couldn't harm him in any way; but it had caused a slight change in his temperament.
He hadn't noticed the shadow because it didn't cause any tangible harm before. Now that he discovered it, all he needed to do was will his mental power and eliminate it. It was not something significant.
However…how come that person knew about it?
"Congratulations, Immortal, for getting rid of a hidden trouble," Ada said earnestly. "Can we go back home now?"
"Why?" Jing Jiu snapped. "I haven't asked him the question yet; and I haven't killed him yet."
The Sword of the Universe broke through the wind and snow, charging forward.
Ada was quite upset. He buried his head into Jing Jiu's chest, biting his sleeves constantly.
The crystal boiler was operating normally, and half of the crystals were still left in it. Those crystals looked like the instantly frozen fish, glittering; but the godly boat had stopped on the icy sea.
Yin San came up to the deck with the help of the Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect, and the Dark Phoenix came down from the mast, bowing his proud head toward Yin San in reverence.
"If I died, the Dark Phoenix would tell you how to evade the Sword Formation of Green Mountain."
Yin San released the hands of the Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect and moved slowly to the side of the boat, looking at the south in distance. He pressed down a few creases on his new cloth.
"Thanks, Immortal," said the Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect while rubbing his nose. "But I don't wish to see you die because of this offer."
"Why?" asked Yin San with a faint smile, feeling somewhat surprised.
"No one wishes to be somebody's old dog. I have thought of many ways to betray you, as well as ways of humiliating and mistreating you once I succeeded in my effort. Though I have failed in all of my efforts, I always think I will have a chance to succeed in the future."
The sparse hair on the head of the Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect tousled in the Chaotic Wind, as if they were in a good mood. "But I think it's rather interesting to be with you and see you do all of these things."
"Really? I think it's rather interesting to live a life like this." Yin San laughed.
His face was a bit crooked, so his laughing was slightly frightful; but his eyes were still as genuine as ever, and his smile was as warm as the spring breeze.
"The fact that he had obtained your life board indicates he had the intent of controlling you even back then. You shouldn't do anything today. Go take a good rest."
Yin San continued saying to the Dark Phoenix, "If something happens to me, you should go back to Green Mountain. I don't believe they would do anything to you."
"If you were not on Green Mountain, why should I go back there?" the Dark Phoenix rejoined, his eyes cold.
It was then that the wind and snow suddenly stopped. The dark clouds in the sky vanished without a trace, and the colorful patches formed by the thunder whirlpools were gone. It was the blue sky now.
The blue sky was so pure that anyone who witnessed it would feel a bit frightened since it seemed exceedingly eerie.
A dark speck appeared in the south one hundred miles away.
"Has he become that powerful?"
The Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect ran his hand across the sparse hair on his head as he looked at the spot narrow-eyed, his lethal intent growing stronger.
Yin San took out his bone flute and cleaned it with his sleeve, ready to play a piece of music.
The wind and snow had suddenly disappeared. The Sword of the Universe was traveling in the blue sky, reflecting the color of the sky; it looked like a bluer patch of the sky.
Ada drifted up, gazing at the distant godly boat cautiously. No fear could be found in his eyes, save for the fighting intent.
The cowardly temperament was an instinct of his. When being pushed to a corner, Ada, as one of the Principal Guards of Green Mountain, was fully aware that his only chance of surviving was to fight with all of his strength.
Jing Jiu was also watching the godly boat.
Yin San was looking at the dark speck in the sky quietly.
The gazes of the two of them had met.
It was like what had happened a great many years ago.
The icy sea suddenly shook, and countless ruptures ensued.
The waves formed on the snowland, rushing toward the seashore like tens of thousands of horses and soldiers charging ahead.
"He is indeed an immortal."
The Dark Phoenix's eyes were full of respect and admiration as he looked at Yin San.
Then, he looked up at the dark speck in the sky, his eyes full of respect and awe. "The Immortal Jing Yang is also very outstanding," he commented.
"He's not freaking outstanding!"
Looking in the direction of the snowland, the Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect had a terrible countenance, as if he had just lost an ancestor.
Ada was also looking in the direction of the snowland in the sky one hundred miles away; his look was terrible as well.
A spiritual awareness came over from the distant Snowy Kingdom.
The ruptures on the icy sea and the snowy waves rushing forward like the charging horses and soldiers were caused by this spiritual awareness.
There was only one being in Chaotian who could cause such a significant commotion from a thousand miles away.
The spiritual awareness had no lethal effect because it was a long distance away; but…she was right here in this part of the world.
In other words, she was watching this place from several thousand miles away.
The snowy waves arrived on the icy sea after passing the seashore, turning into tiny snowflakes filling the air.
The spiritual awareness was hidden amid the snowflakes.
All of them sensed the curious intent in the awareness.
"Looks like you two won't be able to fight today."
Ada continued while looking at Jing Jiu, "Should you two brothers fight together against her first?" The expression in his eyes was highly complicated.
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