It had been one year since the Center Sect attacked Zhaoge City. The royal palace had been by and large rebuilt, and the Great Formation of the royal palace was much stronger now after it had been repaired by the One-Cottage House and other Cultivation sects. The new emperor governed the state in a benevolent fashion after taking the throne. The residents of Zhaoge City had no need to worry about dying from the thunder and fire falling down from the sky. The city was on its way to normality.
In the grand hall, the Emperor and the chancellors were discussing the state affairs.
In the side hall, Gu Qing was reading the proposals from the chancellors behind the desk. The Royal Concubine Hu was watching him nearby.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
The Drifter was gliding above the beams, and Ping Yongjia was lying flat on the bed.
A cold intent came over from the deep part of the palace. Though it was evidently inside the room, the wind and snow were making their way to a spot.
Yuan Qijing was sitting at that spot. All the wind and snow fell squarely on him, entering his body completely.
Along with a gust of gentle wind, Jing Jiu appeared in the side hall.
Ping Yongjia and the Drifter were very glad to see their Master, greeting him hastily. But in the next moment, they thought of the special phenomenon the night before and failed to come up with the proper words to comfort him.
Jing Jiu came before Yuan Qijing and bowed to him solemnly.
Yuan Qijing didn't respond to him, his eyes still closed.
This behavior was kind of rude under normal circumstances, and it shouldn't have occurred to this Sword Justice of Green Mountain.
Gu Qing recovered his senses by now and approached his Master hastily. As he was about to tell his Master what had happened in the last year briefly, he was stopped by Jing Jiu waving his hand dismissively.
As Jing Jiu walked into the grand hall, all the chancellors, including the Emperor, knelt down toward him.
The whole of Chaotian had seen the special phenomenon the night before.
Morning had arrived in Dayuan City earlier than usual.
It was the night time, but the morning sunlight was filling the sky and the sun rose ahead of time.
The meaning of this phenomenon was evident for everybody.
Yet, why was he still so calm? He behaved like nothing had happened.
"Who is the best zither player here?" asked Jing Jiu.
The Grand Scholar Hu, who was good at playing chess, was in his fifties now, and replied in a trembling voice, "I can play a little."
"Play a piece for us then," said Jing Jiu.
The crowd thought it was odd that he was in the mood for listening to music on such an occasion.
It was incredible that he could act as calmly as ever.
A palace servant girl brought a precious ancient zither to him. The Grand Scholar Hu concentrated all his energy and played a piece of music with his skinny fingers.
"It's not as good as the one I listened to yesterday," Jing Jiu commented.
It was quiet in the grand hall.
Nobody understood what he meant by saying this, and nor they know what he intended to do next.
Looking at his Master, Gu Qing felt rather worried about him.
"I only used nine days back then to learn many things. I thought at the time that living a life was a simple thing; but I've found out that there are many things I can't learn, such as playing zither, and such as…" Jing Jiu continued after a pause, "such as my inability of crying."
"If He Zhan comes, don't let him go back to the north. If he insists, make sure Green Mountain will protect him," he told Gu Qing. "Bring me home later."
Gu Qing suddenly had an uneasy feeling.
Jing Jiu came to the landing of the stone steps in front of the grand hall. He said while looking at the distant sky, "It's truly hard."
Having said this, he shut his eyes and fell backwards.
His body dropped onto the ground, and the impact didn't make much noise.
But it was equivalent to a mountain collapsing.
Countless surprised screams rang out in the grand hall. Jing Yao got up abruptly and rushed toward the landing, but he was intercepted by the eunuchs sent by the Royal Concubine Hu.
Ping Yongjia and the Drifter came to the landing of the stone steps as quickly as their legs could carry them, and looked around cautiously, blocking those chancellors and eunuchs.
Gu Qing knelt before Jing Jiu and reached his trembling finger to the bottom of Jing Jiu's nose. He found that his Master was still breathing even though his breaths were slow and weak, and he was also certain that his Master's sword wills were not scattering.
Fortunately, the worst scenario Gu Qing was afraid of hadn't happened.
Gu Qing felt a bit dizzy at the moment. He fell on his buttock after his knees gave out.
The discussions ensued in the grand hall.
Gu Qing tried his best to keep his emotion in check as he lifted Jing Jiu up from the ground and walked into the side hall, and was about to put him on that soft bed.
Ping Yongjia suddenly remembered that the late emperor had passed away on that very bed the year before and thought it was a bad luck to put Jing Jiu on the same bed. So he called after Gu Qing and tried to stop him from doing so.
The Royal Concubine Hu said to Gu Qing, "Take him to my palace."
Gu Qing nodded after remaining silent for a while.
The security of the royal palace was at the highest level; the flying sedans were hovering about in the sky over the palace.
According to the Will of the late emperor, Jing Jiu had the highest power in the Jing imperial court; as such, his passing out had caused a stir in the imperial court, and everybody felt anxious.
What they didn't understand was why Jing Jiu had suddenly passed out.
Standing by the bed, Ping Yongjia and the Drifter had a bewildered and helpless expression on their faces.
Gu Qing was standing by the window, his expression grave.
It was inconvenient for him to put his Master on the Royal Concubine Hu's bed; this bed was in his former residence back when he gave lessons to Jing Yao.
Jing Jiu had already slept for three days and nights, and had no sign of waking up soon.
Gu Qing felt increasingly more worried. He had sent out a letter to Green Mountain a while ago, but nobody from Green Mountain had come.
It was then that the Great Formation of the royal palace suddenly sensed something and responded to it. It turned out that someone was trying to charge into the royal palace and was intercepted. The person was confronting the soldiers of the divine army at the moment.
Gu Qing felt surprised to see this person, but signaled for the soldiers of the divine army to let him come in.
Seeing the invisible barrier suddenly vanish in front of him, He Zhan arched his brows. But he charged into the royal palace fearlessly. As he arrived in the middle of the square, He Zhan yelled sternly, "Jing Jiu, get over here!"
The whole of Chaotian had witnessed the special phenomenon in Dayuan City three days ago. He had also seen the morning sunlight when he was in the deep part of the snowland.
The morning sunlight was bright but not enough to blind the eyes. It was very colorful and dazzling even though it appeared natural, just like the lucky encounters he had had since his childhood.
Soon after, a flash of beautiful but sorrowful broadsword light appeared in the snowland.
The aftermath of the event was the ensuing havoc of heaven and earth. Nobody, including the monsters of the Snowy Kingdom and human Cultivation practitioners, could stay there any longer.
Nor could He Zhan.
He had guessed the identity of his aunt back when he was at the Baotong Zen Temple. As such, he became more brazen, and dared go to Morning Lake and the snowland to kill people and monsters, and dared quarrel with the elders of any major Cultivation sects.
He was not afraid of anybody when she was around.
But she was not around anymore.
He Zhan went to Dayuan City as quickly as he could and didn't find out anything; then he came to Zhaoge City by the guidance of the nuns of the Three-Thousand Nunnery.
What had taken place in Zhaoge City the year before was well known throughout the world, and everybody knew the relationship between Jing Jiu and Lian Sanyue and they traveled the world together after they left Zhaoge City.
She was dead, but Jing Jiu was still alive.
He Zhan must come here to get an explanation from him.
He had to fight Jing Jiu if necessary regardless of whether he could beat Jing Jiu or not.
She was not around anymore.
So He Zhan had nothing to fear any longer.
Gu Qing invited He Zhan into the palace hall.
He Zhan was dumfounded when he saw Jing Jiu. His anger, anxiety and lethal intent had all gone out of window.
Jing Jiu was lying on the bed with his eye tightly shut, devoid of any living energy, as if he were a dead person.
"What is going on?" he asked in a trembling voice.
Nobody knew the reason, except Yuan Qijing. But he was in the grand hall with his eyes closed as well; and it was unclear when he would wake up.
Recalling that his Master had slept for a few years at the Fruit Formation Temple, Gu Qing offered, "It may have something to do with the fairy energy."
This was the most likely reason.
To defeat the fairy lady coming down to the human world, even the Immortal Jing Yang and Lian Sanyue had to pay a steep price.
The result was that one of them was sleeping unconsciously, and the other was dead.
He Zhan felt very sad, but he couldn't find a venue for his pent-up frustration. He suddenly started crying out after giving an angry shout.
Seeing him cry indignantly like he had just lost his parents, Ping Yongjia and the Drifter felt it rather odd, wondering why he was so wretched.
He Zhan cried simply because nobody could understand his sorrow.
Nobody knew his relationship with the Water-Moon Nunnery and Lian Sanyue.
Since Gu Qing had the instruction from Jing Jiu, he could vaguely tell what was going on with He Zhan; he patted He Zhan's shoulder in an effort to comfort him.
He Zhan didn't stay in Zhaoge City and left on the same night. He mentioned that the Broadsword King Cao Yuan was engaged in a fervent battle with the Queen of the Snowy Kingdom in the snowland that was not witnessed in the last two hundred years. So he claimed that he had to go back there to keep an eye on it.
Jing Jiu didn't wake up. Gu Qing had to follow Jing Jiu's instruction and bring him home.
But, where was his home?
Since he was the granduncle of the Emperor and grew up in the royal palace, the royal palace should be his home; but Gu Qing thought he didn't mean the royal palace when he said "Bring me home", otherwise, he had no need to mention it if the royal palace was the home he referred to since he was already here.
"Our Master has stayed much longer on Green Mountain than in the royal palace; so that's probably his home," Ping Yongjia offered while scratching his head.
"Even if our Master had this in his mind, we still can't bring him to Green Mountain," said Gu Qing.
First of all, Green Mountain was too far away; and secondly, Yuan Qijing was in Zhaoge City and Fang Jingtian was in charge of Green Mountain right now. As such, it was too dangerous to bring the unconscious Jing Jiu back to Green Mountain or Cloudy Town.
"Did the Immortal mean the Jing House by Taichang Temple?" offered the Royal Concubine Hu.
Gu Qing, Ping Yongjia and the Drifter exchanged a look, thinking what she suggested was sensible.
Jing Yang's home was either the royal palace or Green Mountain, but Jing Jiu's home was of course the Jing House nearby Taichang Temple.
Taichang Temple was covered with dusts, devoid of its past vigor; but it no longer looked as dreadful as before.
On the same night after Gu Qing and the others brought Jing Jiu to the Jing House, someone showed up.
The twilight was as red as blood.
Standing under the begonia tree, Zhao Layue gazed at the unconscious Jing Jiu in the study room, remaining silent.
She pulled out the Thoughtless Sword and slashed all the leaves on the begonia tree into tiny pieces. The light of setting sun shone through the window and illuminated Jing Jiu's face, making it more visible.
The crumbs of the tree branches and flowers drifted down with the wind, but none of them fell on her.
The gentle wind ruffled the jet black hair on her shoulders.
She started letting her hair grow long after she had heard of the event in Zhaoge City the year before. Her hair was long enough to reach her waist now.
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