555 The Lonely Ones are Always Lonely
Why do people feel sad?
People feel sad because they are sad.
It was hard for the spring wind to pass through White Town, and it's equally hard for a great man to bypass beauty.
It's hard to bypass affection, and it's even harder to bypass life and death.
Jing Jiu felt sad neither because he was a coward nor because he had seen that person and recalled many events in his former life.
That person was special to him, yet he would kill him with one swing of the sword if he could, simply because he was that person.
"We will lose all the connections with the world in the end and be accompanied by loneliness."
Jing Jiu said this to Zhao Layue while caressing the cat on his chest, gazing at the starry night sky and sensing the desolateness of the Sword of the Universe.
Zhao Layue didn't say anything because she was very sad at the moment. She had the same feeling as when she was at the Plum Meeting back then, sensing he was departing this world gradually.
To live a life in this world, one couldn't avoid experiencing changed situations, changed hearts and death in the very end.
Even if the Cultivation practitioners could live a long life, or even achieve immortality, they couldn't avoid those changes. On the other hand, their longevity helped them have a clearer notion of changes and departures.
One had to be relentless if they wished to step on the path toward heaven; otherwise, anyone would go mad in the end.
Even if Jing Jiu had already passed this barrier, he still couldn't help but feel lonely once in a while during his journey toward heaven.
This was the very reason why he felt sad, mournful, weak and furious.
It was not a bad thing.
Like the sap from the wounds of a tree becoming precious gemstones in the end, the Cultivation practitioners could find a peace of mind and a tranquil Dao Heart in loneliness.
Many Cultivation practitioners sought for such experiences on purpose in an attempt to acquire a deeper comprehension; it was the goal of the disciples of experiencing the mortal world at the Fruit Formation Temple.
However, it would take a long time and a great deal of pain to overcome and eventually accept it.
"Let's stop here then," said Jing Jiu.
The sky was filled with stars.
Heaven and earth were still the same.
So was he.
Since he had been back in this world several decades ago, this was the first time he revealed a normal emotion; but it would be the last time.
Admiration and respect were reflected in Zhao Layue's eyes as she stared at Jing Jiu.
The reason he could let go of his emotion was because he had a higher goal in his mind.
He was fully aware that loneliness was a cost he had to endure.
Jing Jiu was capable of letting go of anything, no matter whether it was emotion or an object, no matter how significant they were.
He had pushed the sensation of loneliness out of his mind, neither feeling sad nor angry. He began to calculate what would happen next in a calm fashion.
Like Ada had said that Jing Jiu wasn't such a person in his former life. How come he had become so stubborn and insisted on finding Taiping by thinking of so many methods and going to so many places? Maybe, his behavior was affected by the shadow of spiritual awareness left by Tian Jinren. Yet, the simpler explanation was that he needed an answer.
He had a large amount of books on Shiyue Peak and at the Mirror Sect during the end of last spring and the beginning of last summer; the conclusion he obtained was that the Formation of Dispersed Smoke and Clouds had a flaw to begin with, which meant that that person didn't want him to succeed in ascension in the very beginning.
So he needed an answer for it.
During the turmoil of the Fruit Formation Temple three hundred years ago, the late emperor suffered a severe injury inflicted by the Immortal Taiping and died a few years later; and the old monk with the highest status and Cultivation state at the Fruit Formation Temple died instantly, forced to reincarnate as the adopted son of a mountain demon.
Then, he led Liu Ci and Yuan Qijing in rebellion against that person.
That person had adequate reason to harm him if that person did it after their rebellion; but why did he do it in the beginning?
And if that person wished to rule Chaotian and accomplish his crazy and evil idea, wouldn't it be more convenient that he left the world by ascension?
What Jing Jiu wished to ask was truly simple enough.
Why did you do it to me?
This was a common question in mediocre stories, which was similar to another common question: Why don't you love me anymore?
It was because the other person was bored of you; you became uglier in their eyes; it was not because you had actually become ugly.
However, everything in nature has its own rules of operation, unlike the senseless relationship between a man and a woman. The effect has its cause; everything happens for a reason.
Similarly, why did Bai Ren sneak-attack him? It added more variables to the issue. As a matter of fact, the Center Sect should prefer the successful ascension of Jing Yang, regardless of what ambitious plans they had.
This question had been bothering him the whole time until he heard the last statements from Monk Huiyuan at the Pinggu Temple and understood the reason a little.
That person started the process of total transformation, and he might die in the process or became somebody else if he was successful. No matter what, he would be unable to find the answer from that person; and he had no choice but to find the answer himself.
How could he find the answer then? He probably needed to find a mirror that could reflect him or a feedback from someone.
He had succeeded in ascension but was knocked down to the mortal world later; this was a rare experience in the history of the Cultivation world.
There were many tales in Chaotian about the disgraced immortals; but most of the stories were mere rumors, except for one true story.
After being expelled from Green Mountain, Nan Qü was said to find a manor cave left by a sword immortal of the previous generation on an island in the ocean and carry on the inheritance; and he eventually became the renowned Great Grandmaster of the Foggy Island.
That patch of ocean was the West Ocean, and interestingly enough, that island was called the Island of Disgraced Immortals.
Five years ago, Liu Ci wounded the Godly Swordsman of West Ocean and killed Nan Qü.
The disciples of the West Ocean Sword Sect suffered heavy casualties in the places where that sword light passed. The divine animal of the sect, the Flying Whale, had become a huge heap of meat, sinking to the deep bottom of the ocean.
The Flying Whale was truly huge, so his body was not complete eaten by those small fish at the bottom of the ocean after so many years. The rotten flesh of his corpse gave off a terrible odor, which came up to the surface of the ocean along with the tiny air bubbles, dissipating into the air.
The smell was so awful as to upset people's noses and eyes. Not even the formations could make the smell go away. The disciples of Bihu Peak, who were guarding the Islands of West Ocean, were troubled by the odor immensely.
The peak master, Chen Youtian, had participated in the meeting of selecting the sect master and gone to the battle of the Cold Mountain; he was back at the West Ocean now. He was well aware of how the elders and disciples felt about the situation. Though this patch of ocean in front of them was expansive, the smell here was far inferior to Blue Lake on Bihu Peak, and the spiritual energy here, though it was not too bad, was far inferior to that on Green Mountain.
Chen Youtian sighed as he wondered when that young sect master would call these people back to Green Mountain.
As he was thinking of this issue, a flash of red sword light appeared on the horizon. He, after a brief moment of bewilderment, led all the disciples hurriedly receiving them.
Unexpectedly, the young sect master was among them.
"Shiyue Peak will replace you people in four years."
Jing Jiu said this before Chen Youtian had a chance to speak.
Four years was not long for the Cultivation practitioners; so Chen Youtian couldn't complain.
Chen Youtian left at Jing Jiu's order.
Zhao Layue asked after shooting him a glance, "Why four years?"
The time limit was obviously not a casual number; Jing Jiu must have a reason for it.
Jing Jiu didn't explain, but said to Ada, "Try to find it."
The manor cave left by the sword immortal of the previous generation and found by Nan Qü after he was expelled from Green Mountain was rumored to be on this island.
The Green Mountain Sect, after procuring the West Ocean, had already searched the island a great many times, but ended up returning empty-handed.
The rumored secret manual of the sword immortal should have been taken away by the Godly Swordsman of West Ocean; why could no other traces be found in the manor cave?
What Jing Jiu wanted to find was not the secret manual but something else.
It didn't take long before a white flash returned to the stone window, which looked like a huge painting.
Ada shook his head, indicating that he hadn't found anything.
If a principal guard in the Heavenly Arrival State couldn't find any trace, the rumor was most likely a legend only, and the story about the sword immortal of the previous generation was probably also false.
Zhao Layue said, "If we want to find some ordinary traces, they should be at ordinary places."
They went to Shaoming Island.
Half of this island was cut off by the sword of the Godly Swordsman of West Ocean. The spider-web like tunnels and formation centers looked like disordered lines and points, revealing themselves to the onlookers.
Seeing the scene, Jing Jiu recalled the heavenly punishment triggered by that fairy book and Liu Ci. After remaining silent for a while, he thought of Tong Yan.
Tong Yan hadn't come back from the Underworld yet; it was unclear what had happened to him.
A gust of strong wind whipped up in the library building. All the books drifted up and hovered in midair, making rustling sounds in the wind as if their pages were flipped by countless invisible hands.
Standing amid the ocean of books, Jing Jiu looked at them for a while and took one of them down.
It was an ordinary book recording the sayings of those "sword immortals". They were mostly the imaginations and aspirations of the mortals regarding the Cultivation circle, that and irrational ideas; it wasn't worth reading.
However, somebody wrote a sentence on a page of the book.
"I'm a half fairy man and a half crazy man."
Judging from the sword-like strokes and the energy in them, Jing Jiu figured it must be written by Nan Qü.
"Are you here to find a book?" Zhao Layue asked Jing Jiu after shooting a glance his way.
Jing Jiu said, "Bring all the old books in Haizhou City here."
Haizhou City was built more than ten thousand years ago, and there were a great many collected books either in the county schools or at the houses of wealthy merchants, not to mention there were innumerable log books about Haizhou.
It was almost an impossible task to procure all these books in a short time.
However, the West Ocean was the territory of Green Mountain now; so the locals couldn't say no to the sect master of Green Mountain.
Three days later, Chen Youtian led the disciples of Bihu Peak bringing the sword boat fully loaded with books back to Shaoming Island, which landed on the clear-cut flat ground on the mountain.
Those old books had a bad smell no matter how well they were preserved; the mixed odor of the old books and the rotten meat made Ada sneeze several times in a row.
Jing Jiu paid no mind to Ada's strife. He raised his hand and generated a gentle wind to help with turning the pages of the books, reading thousands of these books all at the same time.
It didn't take long before he found the person he was looking for in a log book of a town in Haizhou County and an anthology of miscellaneous affairs.
A middle-aged insane man suddenly appeared in that town more than three thousand years ago.
The middle-aged insane man ran everyday at the seashore first thing when he woke up. He claimed that he needed to get slimmer by running since his clothes were too tight for him, and he also claimed that he wished to get stronger so that he wouldn't be bullied so easily during a confrontation.
After he worked out a good sweat and was short of breath by running, he would go to a small tavern on the outskirts of the town to grab a few drinks.
The middle-aged insane man took a fancy to the scorpion fish and rice wine of Penglai Island. Yet, he had low tolerance for alcohol and usually got drunk after a few cups.
When he was drunk, he would repeat the same words over and over again.
"Don't go out."
"Don't go out!"
The middle-aged insane man wouldn't be qualified to be recorded in the logs of the town for his peculiar behaviors.
It was recorded in the logs because he drank a bit too much one day and spoke more than usual that day.
He grabbed the hands of the tavern owner, his eyes red, and told him incessantly, "It's on fire outside; don't go out!"
The tavern owner knew him very well, so he protested with a smile, "Since it's on fire, why don't we go out and put it out?"
"There is no way we can put out the fire," the middle-aged insane man said earnestly. "We'll have a chance of surviving it by staying in here."
"What if this house is on fire later?" the tavern owner pressed.
Taking a look at the sky, the middle-aged insane man said, "Fortunately, the walls of this house are made of iron; so it's strong enough to prevent the fire from coming in." A relieved expression showed in his eyes.
The tavern owner asked with a smile, "Is there an iron wall in the sky as well?"
"The sky is an iron cap," the middle-aged insane man replied earnestly.
Hearing this, the patrons in the small tavern laughed out loud, a cheerful atmosphere filling up the space of the tavern.
After a long moment of silence, the middle-aged insane man suddenly said, "Now that I have already revealed the heavenly secret, I'll have to do something."
Having said that, he strode to the other end of the street in one step, and then leapt up into the sky. After that, he had never been seen in the small town.
The crowd who witnessed the scene with their own eyes was stunned speechless.
It was on the same night that the largest Cultivation sect in Haizhou was wiped out.
Though nobody was killed, all the disciples of the sect were deprived of their Cultivation, and the instruction books on their magic methods were all burned.
A few days later, a smaller sect at the West Ocean had experienced the same treatment.
The State Master of the Mermaid Kingdom, who had the potential of discovering the devil magic, was found dead on a beach some days later.
The patrons in the small tavern that day could still remember the scene in which the middle-aged insane man walked to the other end of the street and leapt into the sky, and the nonsense he spoke; so it was natural that they connected these events with the middle-aged insane man.
However, nobody would believe what these patrons of the small tavern related. The event was recorded as a miscellaneous gossip in the log book of the town.
"I had some impression of the events."
Ada strolled to Jing Jiu's side and jumped onto his shoulder, from where he read the log book of the town. He said after a moment of silence, "Back when the tragic cases happened one after another at the West Ocean, the Immortal Sect Master intended to come to the West Ocean to check out where this arrogant devil man hailed from, but that person suddenly disappeared. The Immortal Sect Master didn't investigate the matter further because he thought it was the excuse created by the Cultivation sects in the north in order to wipe out the smaller sects."
It looked like the middle-aged insane man should be the rumored sword immortal of the previous generation. Yet, it was unclear why he opted to live a life in the mortal world and why he suddenly stopped the action halfway even though he had the intention of wiping out all the sects. Later, he lived on Island of Disgraced Immortals like a hermit, and had never shown on the mainland. All he had left behind was a secret instruction book on sword work, which helped Nan Qü and the Foggy Island become famous.
Jing Jiu opened the Sayings of the Sword Immortals again. This time he could comprehend the meanings of those seemingly absurd statements better than before.
On the same page where Nan Qü wrote those words, there were two statements, which should be written by the middle-aged insane man.
"I'm lonely in heaven."
"And I'm lonely in the human world."