The Zhang family was undoubtedly the number one clan in the former Chu State; its status was almost the same as when the Grand Scholar Zhang was in power. It was mainly because Grandmaster Zhang had lived for a really long time. However, only the members of the Zhang family knew how hard it was to serve him since he had many strange habits.
To say nothing of speaking toward the sky, he had a habit of digging wells. Ever since they moved back to the former capital from the south, the first thing he ordered the family to do was dig several wells. As the manor house of the Zhang family expanded, more wells had been dug. The dark openings of the wells could be seen whenever they walked past the corridors and screen walls, or under the flowering trees. It was not safe to have so many wells in the yards. Now that Grandmaster Zhang was growing older and weaker by the day, what if he fell into one of the wells by accident when he looked into it? As such, the Zhang family had sealed most of the wells with iron bars.
"How can I look into the wells when you people have barred them?! Take those bars away!" he yelled while waving his cane, his face red.
His granddaughter looked at his white hair while supporting his elbow, feeling a bit sad. She gave her father a signal with her eyes.
The Master of the Zhang family sighed helplessly, and waved his hand to motion for the caretakers to take out the iron bars on the openings of the wells. He approached his father and supported his other elbow.
Accompanied by dozens of prominent members of the Zhang family, including the masters, their wives, sons and daughters, the Grandmaster Zhang began to look at the wells.
When he came to the well named the "Spring Well", he looked down at the bottom of the well while propping his hands against the walls of the well, remaining silent for a long time.
The family members watched him concernedly, worrying that something might happen to him.
"This well is most like the well in the south…" muttered Grandmaster Zhang.
The members of the Zhang family had no idea why this well was called the "Spring Well". They had to dig very deep to get to the ground water since the capital didn't have a rich resource of it, and so this well was far from being a gushing spring.
"You people have no idea how talkative that guy was…He was a lot more talkative than I; he kept on spitting water when he spoke. Tsk…tsk."
A smile showed on the wrinkled face of Grandmaster Zhang; it was unclear what kind of an interesting event he was recalling at the moment.
All of a sudden, the smile disappeared from his face; he spat out a mouthful of fresh blood after swaying a few times.
The blood dropped on the wall of the well, then trickling down to the bottom of the well.
A barrage of frightened cries broke out in the courtyard. The group approached him in a hurry, in an attempt to bring him away from the well.
Grandmaster Zhang grabbed the edges of the well firmly with his hands that were as strong as two iron clamps. Staring at the dark bottom of the well, he yelled, "Your Majesty, kill her!" His pale face was full of sadness and anger.
Hearing this, the expression changed on the faces of all; they wondered if the Grandmaster had neared the end of his life, otherwise he shouldn't have been so confused.
All of them were fully aware that the "Your Majesty" he mentioned was the last emperor of the former Chu State.
The late emperor had died along with the cruel Qin Emperor many years ago.
Why did he call to the emperor?
A green bird ignored the hostile attitude of the few iron eagles and transformed into a human after landing on top of Yunxing Peak.
The Green Girl said uneasily to the pair of master and disciple, Jing Jiu and Ping Yongjia, who eyed each other wordlessly, "Though I don't know how he found out about it, something bad must have happened."
A blood-red sword light illuminated the thick clouds and fog; Zhao Layue had arrived from Shenmo Peak. It was evident that she was worried about Jing Jiu's condition.
Ping Yongjia was still feeling flabbergasted due to Jing Jiu's request earlier. "Master, what exactly do you want me to do?" he pressed.
Hearing this, the Green Girl and Zhao Layue could guess what Jing Jiu wanted to do.
The Green Girl could guess it because she and Ping Yongjia were the same kind; Zhao Layue could do so because she knew a great deal about Jing Jiu's secrets.
It was obvious that Jing Jiu's request for Ping Yongjia was similar to what Liu Ci required of Jing Jiu during the Battle of the West Ocean.
Now that the sheath of the Inherited Heaven Sword was destroyed, Ping Yongjia was the only one who could still command the swords of Green Mountain.
If Jing Jiu intended to kill the Immortal Bai with the Sword Formation of Green Mountain, he had to have Ping Yongjia in his hands.
However, doing so would put Ping Yongjia's life and death in Jing Jiu's hands as well, though Ping Yongjia would never be able to oppose Jing Jiu's wish.
The peak shrouded with clouds and fog generated a formidable intent with all sorts of sword wills, making anyone feel uncomfortable.
Glancing at Jing Jiu once, Zhao Layue said to Ping Yongjia, "Sect Master wants to borrow a sword."
"Borrow a sword? But I don't have a sword…" exclaimed Ping Yongjia, feeling perplexed.
Yet, he suddenly understood everything.
Like the Fire Carp, he was naïve, but not stupid.
He recalled many past events in a brief moment. He had never tried to make sense of them until Zhao Layue mentioned the words "borrow a sword".
It occurred to him that he had learned the shapeless sword body after sleeping for a few years on the Sword Peak, even though he had never had a sword.
Back in Zhaoge City, the rain of swords couldn't harm him in the least.
There were many other details, like Jing Jiu asking him earlier if he knew why he was requested to be the peak master of the Sword Peak.
"So…I am nothing but a sword, right?"
Ping Yongjia said this while pointing a finger at himself. He felt rather delighted after the initial shock and apprehension.
If he had found out he was a sword rather than a human being when he first joined Green Mountain, he would have cried every night and felt extremely miserable. He might have told the masters and asked if he would be imprisoned in the Sword Jail to be with those demons and devil men. But now…he knew that his Master was a sword, and it was not a big deal that he was also a sword.
However, his Master wanted to borrow him, the sword…He was aware that the Inherited Heaven Sword was the object his Master feared the most, which is why his Master had it destroyed, and it was the very reason why his Master talked to him in such a serious and solemn manner.
The expression in Ping Yongjia's eyes grew determined, like what they had been in Zhaoge City. He extended his hands toward Jing Jiu after forcing all of the sword wills out of his body.
The formidable sword wills turned into sword lights after they left Ping Yongjia's clothes and body, illuminating the dark cliff.
Seeing this, the expression in the Green Girl's eyes was a bit strange, but what Zhao Layue felt at the moment was admiration. If it were her, she would agree to Jing Jiu's request; but it was still different in Ping Yongjia's case.
Looking at the sword lights drifting out from Ping Yongjia's body, Jing Jiu suddenly laughed out loud.
It was a rare behavior for Jing Jiu.
Zhao Layue felt ill at ease.
"I don't want to borrow the sword," said Jing Jiu. "All I want is to ask you for one thing."
"Ah? What is it then?" Ping Yongjia pressed in surprise.
"Don't kill me," said Jing Jiu while looking at him.
It became quieter on the peak, and it was as quiet as a graveyard.
A few shrieks could be heard outside the clouds and fog.
Jing Jiu continued, "Even if I want to kill someone, you shouldn't attempt to kill me."
Gasping with opened mouth, Ping Yongjia had no idea what his Master was talking about.
"Don't kill me even if I become someone like my Big Brother who wants to destroy this world or harm the people whom you cherish more than this world."
Jing Jiu concluded in the end, "All in all, you can't kill me or forbid my freedom no matter what."
The expression changed slightly on the faces of the Green Girl and Zhao Layue, because they understood Jing Jiu's intention.
Ping Yongjia had finally understood him. "Of course, I won't do it. It's mutiny!" he yelled while waving his hands wildly, an incredulous expression showing on his face.
"A person can't lift oneself up…" said Jing Jiu.
Zhao Layue suddenly cut him off, "Yes, one can."
"That's flying, a different matter," said Jing Jiu after shooting her a glance.
He continued, "I can become a sword, but I can't be a holder of the sword at the same time."
Yes, he could be a sword, the most powerful sword since the beginning of time.
The very sword had killed the Grandmaster of the Foggy Island, Nan Qü, in the sky over the West Ocean, sliced the Scorching Sun George open, destroyed the mountain gate of the Mysterious Dark Sect, illuminated the Muddy River, and killed countless demons.
Who was qualified to use this sword?
Liu Ci was dead, and so was the Immortal Taiping. Though the Queen of the Snowy Kingdom had learned the Inherited Heaven Sword style, she was sent to the upper world by him due to his precise calculation.
More importantly, the Inherited Heaven Sword was destroyed, nobody in this world could use this sword anymore.
Hence, Jing Jiu came before Ping Yongjia on the Sword Peak.
"No way," said Zhao Layue.
"Since you have guessed his origin, you should know that he has the ability to do so."
Jing Jiu went on, "Everybody thinks that I have destroyed the Sword Formation of Green Mountain; but in fact, the Sword Formation of Green Mountain can be rebuilt as long as he is around."
Zhao Layue demanded while staring into his eyes, "If so, why don't you rebuild the Sword Formation of Green Mountain with him and then go kill the Immortal Bai?"
"It's too slow to rebuild the Sword Formation of Green Mountain, and the sword formation is itself too slow," said Jing Jiu.
If it was too slow, it would be too late as he had stated sentimentally earlier.
Zhao Layue called out the Thoughtless Sword before saying, "Use her. You can also use the Lone Sword and the Sword of the Universe to set up another Sword Formation of Slaying Fairies."
The Thoughtless Sword was the fastest among the swords of Green Mountain, even among the swords of the whole world.
"As you know, this sword is not as fast as I," said Jing Jiu calmly.
Zhao Layue looked at the sky outside the clouds and fog, her short hair tousled by the mountain wind; the expression on her face was rather tenacious.
"I still can't agree to it."
"He can be trusted."
"No! I can neither trust myself, nor Liu Shisui nor anybody else as far as this matter is concerned."
Zhao Layue pulled back her line of sight and said earnestly, "Your fate must be under your own control."
The Green Girl, who hadn't spoken the entire time, suddenly commented, "You shouldn't be that kind of a person."
"What sort of a person should I be?" pressed Jing Jiu.
The Green Girl answered without hesitation, "You're a person who is afraid of death."
It was well known that he was very lazy and loathed troubles regardless of whether he was the former Immortal Jing Yang or the current Jing Jiu; one of his salient traits was his fear of death.
All he wanted to do was stay behind closed doors on Green Mountain, cultivating and not paying any attention to the affairs of the world. He had never risked his life for anything except for once in his current life, and that for the sake of Lian Sanyue. He was unwilling to take one step closer to hazard even when the Cultivation world the day before encountered the dangers that they hadn't experienced in the last one thousand years; it was because he had predicted everything, including the return of the Immortal Taiping and the arrival of the Fairy Lady from the sky.
Liu Ci had always wanted to use him as a sword, but he had never agreed to it until Nan Wang was severely wounded in that temple. In order to get rid of the hidden danger to himself this time, he didn't hesitate to destroy the Inherited Heaven Sword. Yet...now he wanted to put his own fate in Ping Yongjia's hands.
Was it because the Immortal Bai intended to destroy the world?
Zhao Layue couldn't figure it out, nor could the Green Girl.
"As for the reason, I'll tell Bai Yuan when I meet her," said Jing Jiu.
Zhao Layue snapped angrily, "What on earth do you want to do?"
Jing Jiu said, "I'm going to do what I want to."
This was a brilliant answer.
Zhao Layue asked after a moment of pause, "What do you want to do now?"
With a smile, Jing Jiu answered, "I wish to call upon wind and rain, and travel ten thousand miles in an instant."
By now Zhao Layue realized that he had heard the conversation she had with the Immortal Taiping a few days ago.
The Green Girl murmured, "You're neither like Taiping nor Liu Ci. You can't withstand it for long."
She and Jing Jiu were both the true spirits of the heavenly state and were born with the Contained Heaven and Earth; as such, her judgment should be accurate.
Zhao Layue asked while staring into his eyes, "Are you sure you'll be okay?"
It was the third time she did so.
Jing Jiu rubbed her head while saying, "Don't worry. I won't die."
Having said that, he extended his hand to the Green Girl and said, "Give the Green Sky Mirror to me."
Unlike what she used to do, the Green Girl didn't scoff and mock Jing Jiu that day. She reached out her small hand and patted on Jing Jiu's palm with a "pah" sound.
Ping Yongjia recovered his senses from the initial shock. "Master," he said in a crying tone, "it's too dangerous. What if I become a main antagonist in the future?"
Jing Jiu had said so many words to him that day already; so his patience with him wore thin, furrowing his eyebrows slightly.
He was nevertheless not like Zhao Layue.
Pale-faced, Ping Yongjia didn't dare delay further; he pointed his trembling finger at Jing Jiu.
Jing Jiu's feet left the ground, drifting in the air. He looked exceedingly light, as if he were a gust of gentle wind.
Back when he had learned the Underworld Fairy Sword in the Fiend Prison, he drifted in the air in front of the Underworld Emperor once.
Later, he had drifted in front of Nan Qü once at the ruins of the small temple in the deep part of the mountain.
The sword lights were floating among the cliff, hovering around Jing Jiu.
The sword wills were connected, and so were the minds with similar sword wills.
Ping Yongjia suddenly found that he could read all the thoughts his Master had in his mind. He couldn't help but feel excited, his fingers trembling even more violently.
In the next moment, Ping Yongjia pointed his finger to the distant East Ocean.
Jing Jiu disappeared from the original spot.
A strong wind whipped up on the cliff.
Zhao Layue and the other two looked in the direction of east.
Liangwang Peak was located east of the Sword Peak.
A band of smoke and dust kicked up in Liangwang Peak, looking like a blooming flower.
As the smoke and dust dispersed, a hole could be vaguely seen in a cliff there. The morning sunlight shone through the hole as straightly as a brush pen.
A sword light was vaguely visible in the distant sky, traveling to the east at an extremely fast speed, and disappeared into the morning sunlight in the blink of an eye.
How could the world have such a fast traveling sword?
The sword light illuminated the peaks of Green Mountain, alarming many of them.
Sitting on the black rock atop Qingrong Peak, Nan Wang heaved an alcohol jar with a nonchalant expression, her naked feet stepping on the flowering tree. It was unclear what was on her mind.
The Immortal Guangyuan was sweeping the fallen leaves on the stone beam connecting Shiyue Peak and Xilai Peak. Sensing the change of energy on the Sword Peak, he looked up at the sky with an admiring expression.
The Dead Dog got up slowly while looking at the sword light at the distant horizon. The expression in his eyes was quite amiable; it seemed as if he was quite satisfied.
The disciples of the peaks walked out of their manor caves in tandem, bidding farewell to the sword light amid the morning sunlight with their eyes.
Ada strolled to the edge of the cliff and squatted on the ground, the blood stains on his body glowing slightly under the morning sunlight. He generated a slight sacred sensation.
The ocean of clouds below the cliff of Shenmo Peak was a bit chaotic, which was similar to Ada's mood at the moment, as he wondered what kind of an insane thing Jing Jiu was doing.
Looking at the distant sword light, Yuan Qü muttered, "If the Sect Master won't come back…"
"Then it would be…" rejoined Liu Shisui calmly.
"Pooh! Pooh! Pooh!"
Zhuo Rusui spat at the ground many times.
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