Nobody could figure out how Gu Qing had found the whereabouts of the Immortal Taiping, nor could they know why Gu Qing had suddenly attacked him. Even Ping Yongjia, who operated the Sword Formation of Slaying Fairies, didn't have a clue.
To say nothing of the formidable Immortal Taiping himself, he had the Dark Phoenix and the Great Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect, the two powerful demons, to help him.
It was still a risky endeavor and almost impossible to win even though Gu Qing had the Great Formation of the royal palace and the Sword Formation of Slaying Fairies in his control and the secret aid of the Young Zen Master.
If Jing Jiu hadn't woken up in time and demonstrated his prowess as a fairy man in the Heavenly Arrival State, Gu Qing would have died in the old plum garden.
What he did was not fitting for someone who had always been prudent.
Hearing what the Royal Dowager Hu said, Gu Qing merely let loose a forced grin, saying nothing.
A single tear fell down as the Royal Dowager Hu's eyelids quivered slightly. "Like I said before, what I want is not much; all I want is that you will hold my hands when I'm dying and burn me along with all the gifts the late emperor gave me…" she said softly. "If you died that day, who would hold my hands to console me when I'm dying? Who would cremate me?"
Gu Qing said while holding her hands and staring into her eyes, "Don't say such a thing again; otherwise, I will feel jealous of the late emperor. And I know I shouldn't.
The Royal Dowager Hu let loose a laugh and said, "The late emperor was very open-minded; he wouldn't get angry even if he knew you were jealous of him."
If Zhuo Rusui were here, he would roll his eyes when he heard of the exchange, wondering what kind of nonsense they were making.
It was quiet in the palace hall. The stars were twinkling in the sky, as if they were winking at the people who were madly in love.
Gu Qing and the Royal Dowager Hu had been holding each others' hands for a long time without saying a word; words weren't needed then. After a long while, the Royal Dowager Hu felt the wet sweat on her palm, which brought her back to the reality. She found that Gu Qing furrowed his eyebrows and was evidently troubled, so she asked concernedly, "What's the matter?"
"My Master…didn't go back to Green Mountain, and he should still be in Zhaoge City. But why hasn't he come to the royal palace? I'm afraid that he is displeased with me," said Gu Qing, feeling dejected.
Hearing this, the Royal Dowager Hu grew nervous as well. "I don't think so. The Immortal Sect Master might have something he needs to take care of right now. Maybe he'll come here tomorrow," she murmured.
Looking at the distant palace hall enshrouded by the cold intent, Gu Qing wondered what matter could be more important than that in that palace hall.
Jing Jiu didn't come to the royal palace the next day and many days after that. One early morning at the end of spring, the commander of the Divine Army, Gu Pan, finished patrolling the royal palace while being crowded by his subordinates. He took the comb handed by one of his subordinates and started combing his gray hair fluttering in the wind. Then he waved his hand to gesture for his subordinates to open the gate.
As the gate of the royal palace was opening, he heard a barrage of surprised cries.
"What has happened?" Gu Pan demanded tersely, furrowing his eyebrows.
The morning sunlight was disturbed slightly as a man landed in front of the gate of the royal palace; he looked like a fairy man in a painting with his white cloth tousling.
With a slightly changed countenance, Gu Pan bowed hastily and said, "Greetings, the Immortal Sect Master."
His subordinates and the guards had all guessed the identity of this man, and knelt down nervously as well as excitedly.
Jing Jiu didn't pay any attention to them as he headed toward the inside of the royal palace. He arrived in the middle of the square a few moments later.
Some of the green stone slabs were obviously repaired lately, which used to be the deep pit created by Gu Qing's fall.
On the other hand, the marks created when Lian Sanyue fought with Kou Qintong, the Immortal Tan and Bai Ren one hundred years ago had been long gone.
Standing in the midst of the morning sunlight, Jing Jiu fell silent for a while as he recalled the blood and the corpses lying throughout the square that day, not to mention the swords in the large pool of blood and the swords that were inserted on the corpses like wild grass.
For mortals, the Battle of Zhaoge City happened one hundred years ago, but it seemed to be an event that had happened only one year ago in his mind.
It seemed that he could still see vividly the scene in which Lian Sanyue left this world.
Jing Jiu caught a glimpse of the side hall covered with the snow, and went to the grand hall.
Hearing the footsteps, Jing Yao, Ping Yongjia and the Drifter came to the grand hall and bowed to Jing Jiu.
Gu Qing walked into the grand hall supported by somebody. He knelt down before Jing Jiu and said nothing with his head lowered.
Jing Jiu gestured for Jing Yao and the other two to leave. "Out with it," Jing Jiu said to Gu Qing.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
"Your disciple has disgraced you," said Gu Qing in a trembling voice, feeling ashamed.
"In what way?" asked Jing Jiu.
"Your disciple was seduced by beauty…No, your disciple's Dao Heart is unsteady and craves that beauty. I have seduced…the Royal Dowager. The crime I've committed is unforgivable."
Having said this, Gu Qing felt relieved. Then, he told Jing Jiu about how he started the affair with the Royal Dowager Hu and what ensued since except for a few details, and he tried his best to take the full responsibility for the affair.
Jing Jiu didn't give a response to what he said. "Anything else?" asked Jing Jiu.
Gu Qing was taken aback as he thought that he had also done many immoral things in the imperial court over the last one hundred years. As such, he also told Jing Jiu about what he had done in the imperial court.
He had been the behind-scenes plotter for many of the schemes carried out in the imperial court.
Before he could finish telling Jing Jiu about the occurrences in the imperial court, Jing Jiu raised his hand to gesture for him to stop. "You've told me about these matters already. No need to repeat them," said Jing Jiu.
Gu Qing had figured out what Jing Jiu meant after the initial bewilderment. His face grew paler; and he felt more awkwardness than embarrassment.
In the last one hundred years, he had plotted many schemes in the imperial court and purged many chancellors; and he was also under tremendous pressure because of his affair with the Royal Dowager Hu. He couldn't tell anyone about these troubles of his…Hence, he told his Master in details in the evening after he went back to the Jing House.
"Have you been awake the entire time?" asked Gu Qing in surprise.
Jing Jiu said, "I was not awake, but I could hear you."
Gu Qing had no idea what kind of condition Jing Jiu was in.
Soon, he thought regretfully that the reason his Master didn't come to the royal palace until so many days later must be that Jing Jiu was displeased with what he had done in the imperial court and believed he was a shrewd person.
Jing Jiu knew what was on his mind, and said, "I told you the first time we met on Shenmo Peak that you were a shrewd person and that I didn't mind it."
Gu Qing was baffled, wondering what his Master was trying to say.
Jing Jiu continued, "However, it's really stupid to commit suicide when you encounter a trivial problem. Can death resolve the issue?"
"I informed the Young Zen Master ahead of time and told the Senior Master Yuan; if the Senior Master Taiping is going to do…"
Gu Qing stopped short as he realized his Master had just said something unexpected.
"A trivial problem?"
The Senior Master Taiping made use of his affair with the Royal Dowager to force him to do something that would harm Green Mountain. How could he say it was a trivial problem?
"You…you don't think your disciple has done something inappropriate, do you?" Gu Qing asked expectantly though he felt bewildered and baffled.
"As I said, one has to take the responsibility for their choices; it has nothing to do with doing right or wrong things," said Jing Jiu. "It's impossible to judge the affection between a man and a woman. My objection to it is simply because I think it's too troublesome. You can't learn my way of doing things, but following your own heart is also the Dao."
What Jing Jiu said seemed sophisticated, but it was actually quite simple.
It was believed that Jing Jiu attempted to convey the following ideas: This is your choice, so you can opt to die for the choice; though I think it's stupid to do so, I don't think it's wrong; and if you like somebody, so be it; even if I think it's wrong to do so, you shouldn't be concerned; even if the whole world believe you're wrong, you shouldn't be concerned; you're not even afraid of death, why are you concerned about others' opinions? This way of thinking is irrational.
Among the people of Shenmo Peak, Gu Qing was not the one who was close to Jing Jiu and could comprehend his intentions quickly, but he was the one who could grasp his intentions precisely and comprehensively. Hence, he understood all the meanings in Jing Jiu's words. He couldn't help but fall silent for a long time. Though he was glad that his Master had forgiven him, he still felt under a great deal of pressure.
"But if this affair were known by others, it would cause many troubles."
"The Retrieved Heavenly Orb is in my hands."
"Master…Did you watch it?"
Gu Qing knew what Jing Jiu meant by uttering "hmm", so he changed the topic hastily. "Yet, the affair will eventually be known by others."
"If someone can guess it, it's because you're inept," said Jing Jiu. "But if you're inept, why did you do such a thing?"
Gu Qing felt embarrassed, but he still insisted on saying, "Even if I can conceal it from others, I can't conceal it forever from Zhen Tao. I've cheated on her after all."
"If you think it's troublesome to tell her, conceal it from her then. It's better to conceal it until your death or ascension," Jing Jiu said expressionlessly. "If you can't do it, you'd better tell her and let her decide."
Letting Zhen Tao choose meant that she would decide if she still wanted Gu Qing or if she could forgive him.
Normally, it was impossible for her to forgive him.
As such, Gu Qing had to make a choice.
Gu Qing remained silent for a long time. "Even if I choose the one in the royal palace, I still can't be with her."
"Where are you two now?" asked Jing Jiu.
Gu Qing understood what Jing Jiu meant. The expression in his eyes became more relaxed and also grew determined.
The Royal Dowager Hu and he were both in the royal palace right now.
They were together already.
Therefore, they were together.
Was "covering the eyes and letting the others guess" Jing Jiu's solution?
Gu Qing might have forgotten one possibility, but the Royal Dowager Hu didn't.
When the Royal Dowager Hu learned that Jing Jiu was on his way to the royal palace, she drove away all the eunuchs and servant girls and knelt on the ground in the palace hall, waiting for him to come and kill her.
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