The cold wind was whistling, scattering the accumulated snow in the courtyard and blowing the white flowers off the pear tree in the courtyard.
A huge Sword Boat of Green Mountain landed outside the courtyard.
The Immortal Guangyuan walked into the room with a grave expression on his face as he was followed by a few elders of Shiyue Peak, stepping on the pear flowers on the ground.
What Yuan Qü said to Zhuo Rusui when the latter came out from behind closed doors had spread throughout the nine peaks of Green Mountain.
It wasn't until then that the people on Green Mountain knew that Zhao Layue had already reached so far in Cultivation.
She was the youngest practitioner in the upper limit of the Broken Sea State, and she even had surpassed the Immortal Jing Yang in this record.
Even at the Green Mountain Sect, she was a precious genius.
Having learned that Zhao Layue suffered severe wounds in the snowland, the whole Green Mountain was concerned. They sent out the sword boat overnight, personally led by the Immortal Guangyuan in the Heavenly Arrival State.
After a long while, the Immortal Guangyuan and those elders of Shiyue Peak came out of the courtyard.
Seeing their expressions, the Master of the Windy-Broadsword Church and other Cultivation practitioners felt relieved. The Green Mountain Sect was indeed a major orthodox sect with profound resources; there were unlimited precious medicines and magic drugs on Shiyue Peak. This time they brought a loaded boat for her sake; if they still couldn't heal her wounds, it would be outrageous.
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In the dead of night, a faint figure landed in the courtyard the moment the starlight was blocked by the clouds, without disturbing the pear flowers on the ground.
After pushing open the door to the room, the person took off the veiled hat, exposing his soft and peculiarly thin eyebrows.
Seeing his old friend whom he hadn't seen for a long time, He Zhan hugged him excitedly. "Have you been hiding at the Green Mountain Sect the entire time?" he asked.
Tong Yan replied with a small smile, "Where else can I hide? Let's talk about it later. Now, I have to go see her."
As Tong Yan arrived before the bed, Zhao Layue opened her eyes, showing a hint of displeasure in her distinctive black and white eyes. "Why did you take such a risk coming here?" she demanded.
She had taken many precious medicines of Shiyue Peak, and the Immortal Guangyuan had cleaned her meridians and purified her wills by means of his sword source. Though her condition still looked terrible, her spirit had been boosted tremendously; at least she was out of danger now.
"First, I'm here to see how you are. Secondly, I have something to tell you," Tong said calmly, ignoring her attitude. "It seems that something bad has happened in Zhaoge City."
Upon hearing Zhaoge City, Zhao Layue immediately thought of Jing Jiu. She exclaimed with raised thick eyebrows, "Isn't the Young Zen Master guarding there?"
Tong Yan said while touching his own thin eyebrows, "No, it's not Jing Jiu. I'm talking about Gu Qing."
Zhao Layue lay down in a more comfortable position on the bed while asking calmly, "What's the matter then?"
Tong Yan said, "He has called Ping Yongjia and the Drifter to Zhaoge City without informing me beforehand. I sent a message to ask him about it, but he didn't respond."
"And then?" Zhao Layue prompted.
Tong Yan said, "If your condition gets better, can you go to Zhaoge City?"
At that moment, gingerly brought in a bowl of watery tofu in spicy oil to the room. Hearing this, she felt like tossing the tofu and the bowl in Tong Yan's face. "What's wrong with you?!" she yelled at Tong Yan.
He Zhan knew that Tong Yan was not someone who didn't know how to prioritize things. He requested Zhao Layue to go to Zhaoge City even though he was fully aware that she was severely wounded, indicating that something significant had happened to Gu Qing. He Zhan took the bowl of watery tofu from Sese and dragged her out of the room.
Tong Yan went on calmly, "He didn't tell us about it, but called Ping Yongjia. I don't think he did it because those two are Jing Jiu's personal disciples; I think he needs Ping Yongjia. What is so special about Ping Yongjia? His sword wills were used by Jing Jiu one hundred years ago to deploy the Sword Formation of Slaying Fairies. Now that Gu Qing plans to set up the Sword Formation of Slaying Fairies again, it means that he is going to try to kill the Immortal Taiping. But…why didn't he tell us?"
"Now the First Child Sword, the Lone Sword, and the Sword of the Universe are in Zhaoge City, less the Thoughtless Sword."
Zhao Layue said after counting all these swords, "I'll send the Thoughtless Sword to him that day via sword traveling."
Feeling surprised, Tong Yan asked, "Are you sure you don't want to go to Zhaoge City?"
Zhao Layue replied, "I'll go back to Green Mountain to kill Fang Jingtian, and he'll kill Taiping in Zhaoge City. It's a perfect arrangement."
Tong Yan felt even more astonished, wondering how she could fight someone when she was in such a terrible condition and the Green Mountain Meeting would take place in a short time. Even if she was uninjured, how could she challenge a figure in the Heavenly Arrival State? And she would give the Thoughtless Sword to Gu Qing by then, what weapon would she use at that time?
Tong Yan was aware that there was no way he could persuade her to give up the idea. "Don't you want to know why Gu Qing attempts to kill Taiping?" he asked.
"I can guess why," said Zhao Layue expressionlessly. "Like Jing Jiu said, it's hard to judge this sort of thing; it's a nonissue as long as one is willing to face the consequences. Since he has brought the trouble to himself, let him deal with it."
"What if he can't deal with it?" pressed Tong Yan as he stared into her eyes.
"He should kill himself then," barked Zhao Layue.
With a faint smile, Tong Yan said, "Actually, I didn't want you to go to Zhaoge City. I'm here just to get your opinion."
"Out with it," said Zhao Layue, lifting her thick eyebrows slightly.
Tong Yan didn't like her lifting her eyebrows; he said nonchalantly, "I wanted to know how much you're interested in the position of the sect master of Green Mountain. I was relieved to hear you were determined to get it."
"What are you talking about?" asked Zhao Layue, feeling perplexed.
Tong Yan asked confusingly, "Why do you intend to challenge Fang Jingtian if you have no intention of becoming the sect master?"
Zhao Layue replied, "It's because he is not dead yet; so Green Mountain can't have a new sect master."
Jing Jiu was indeed still alive; but he had been sleeping for one hundred and one years. There had never been any sign that he would wake up; he was no different from a corpse.
In many people's minds, he was dead. He was merely one of the living dead.
If he would never wake up, could his disciples handle the dire situation awaiting them?
Zhaoge City had a great many catkins in spring. The later the spring was, the more catkins there were in the air. The servants and the housewives responsible for cleaning the courtyards complained constantly about the scattering catkins. Those vendors selling food on the sides of the streets also complained about the issue. Aside of this issue, the populace enjoyed their daily lives as usual. They would go to the outskirts of the city once in a while for an outing in the green fields and observing the wonderful sceneries of spring. Yet, they had no idea that the Green Mountain Sect would select a new sect master that day and that a significant event would occur in Zhaoge City. Nevertheless, these seemingly incredible things would affect their lives one way or another. If they were all dead, the beauty of the spring would be meaningless to them.
"I've being thinking about the fact that the Heavenly Arrival State and the Undefeated State are in essence not different if one can't realize the goal of Cultivation. Though the person in the former state can go a bit further, the essence is the same regardless."
Sitting prudently on a stool by the bed, Gu Qing said in a low voice while looking at his Master in sleep, "Senior Master Zhao and Zhuo Rusui are already in the upper limit of the Broken Sea State. I'm far from that state, and my self-confidence is decreasing. Perhaps because of this, I opted to find another way to achieve the goal, and this is why Dao Heart is unstable and many undesirable things have happened…I've been in Zhaoge City more than one hundred years. Maintaining order in the imperial court and do something is not an easy undertaking. Sometimes I can't help doing something undesirable. In their eyes, I've changed a lot, and become a scheming person. But as you knew, I wasn't such a person back then."
Spring had arrived, and the Green Mountain Meeting was to take place. He had to do what he had to do. At the moment, he needed his Master's acknowledgement more than ever.
Unfortunately, Jing Jiu was still asleep, and he could in no way acknowledge him, regardless of whether Jing Jiu supported him or not.
"However, you don't know so much about my childhood. I was a carefree child to begin with; but I lived in that small dark and gloomy courtyard. I had to obey those seniors of the clan all the time, and I even had to flatter those old caretakers; I became nervous about everything when I went to Liangwang Peak. And so I've become a careful and prudent person. However, after I joined Shenmo Peak, I finally felt truly relaxed. And yet, because of your high expectation of me, I still can't act freely like my Young Brother and Zhuo Rusui. So I've always tried to restrain myself."
After hesitating for a moment, Gu Qing poked Jing Jiu's face lightly with his finger, as he found that no one was outside the window; he laughed out happily.
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