Nan Wang lifted her head and looked at Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui after sniffling a few times, the pitiful expression in her eyes returning to nonchalant one now. "You two don't have to feel pity for him. Maybe he thinks it's better this way and that it can save a lot of troubles," she said.
For instance, he had no need for bathing, eating, satisfying desires, to mention a few; but…it was no different from being dead.
"The Young Zen Master said the other day that he might be unwilling to cut off all the karma owed by Jing Yang."
Nan Wang went on, "This body is his last connection to his former life. His spiritual soul wants to come back by instinct; as a result, he is unwilling to wake up over there."
Was it that he couldn't wake up because he didn't want all the karma in his former life to disperse like the clouds and fog?
This reason sounded quite mysterious and hard to understand, but the Young Zen Master had discussed the Dao with the Immortal Jing Yang for one hundred days and had a better understanding of reincarnation. As such, the view of the Young Zen Master must be closer to the truth.
"But…he can't come back anymore," said Liu Shisui forlornly while looking at the stone bed.
The remaining shell on the stone bed had wounds of various sorts all over it, and it had been doused by fairy energy for many years. As a result, it was almost impossible to repair.
"He has concealed this manor cave for so many years, indicating that he hasn't lost his hope. He must know that he will face the ultimate choice someday."
Nan Wang continued, "Hence, he left the black board with someone else. And he was unwilling to give it to us and asked the Mysterious Heaven Sect to keep it first…"
It was the hardest thing to make a choice, even if the right to make the choice was given to one's most trusted person. It was still not an easy thing to do; it was simply that the feeling of pressure of making the choice had spread.
Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui felt the pressure at the moment. What should they do then?
A silvery bell rang out suddenly in the quiet manor cave.
It didn't come from the silvery bell on Ada's neck since he was staring at the futons quietly.
The ringing came from Nan Wang. It was the crisp sound of silver bracelet clashing with other silver ornaments.
There was no wind in the manor cave, but her dress billowed.
Countless flower-like flames appeared as an indescribable barbaric energy emerged from her body.
Though the barbaric energy was not very remarkable, it seemed to have come from ancient times, giving off a sacred feel to it.
The flames didn't discharge formidable heat waves, but they gave off a sensation as viscous as lava.
She was employing the magic method of the southern barbaric tribes.
Zhao Layue changed her look slightly as she guessed what Nan Wang intended to do; but she didn't stop her.
Liu Shisui showed an incredulous expression in his eyes as he saw the flower-like flames drop on the stone bed and the remaining shell of the Immortal Jing Yang.
Sizzle!!! Sizzle!!! Sizzle!!!
The body was ablaze and burned to ashes rapidly after it had lain in the manor cave for more than one hundred years, and hadn't changed a tad.
The ashes were pure, devoid of any color other than white. It was as white as snow, resembling the crumbs off a jade ground by the Sword Formation of Green Mountain.
A gust of mountain wind suddenly blew over, puffing the ashes on the stone bed; they disappeared into the air after turning into innumerable drafts of green smoke.
Seeing the scene, Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui felt at a loss, as if they had just bidden farewell to someone who was most important in their lives but that they had never met.
Nan Wang said drily, "If one is dead, his body should disappear like the dispersed ash and smoke. There is no point in keeping it and making it so mysterious."
Having said that, she headed toward the outside of the manor cave, her hands folded behind her back.
Ada turned around and followed closely behind her after smelling the futons once more and wagging his tail a few times.
The silvery bell rang in the front, followed by the ringing of another silvery bell in the rear, echoing in the long and gloomy passageway. When the sounds of the silvery bells mixed with the noise of the underground river, they sounded like calling for lost souls.
A rumor had been passed around on Green Mountain that a ghost existed on the Sword Peak.
The rumor was understandable because the peak was always shrouded in clouds and fog full of formidable sword wills and the sword embryos would fly out from the cracks between the rocks once in a while.
In fact, the current peak master of the Sword Peak was indeed a ghost.
The sword ghost and the sword spirit were the same according to the Sword Scripture of the Green Mountain Sect.
The moment the last connection the Immortal Jing Yang had in this world had vanished like the dispersed cloud and smoke, the clouds and fog on the Sword Peak had also dissipated for a moment, receiving a bright ray of sunlight.
The sunlight illuminated the fallen rocks and the cliff wall.
Ping Yongjia, who had sat in the grotto, was nowhere to be found.
The sunlight was indeed very bright. Ping Yongjia couldn't help but squint his eyes. He pushed open the wooden gate after a long hesitation; the first thing he saw was the small bridge.
As a true shapeless sword body, it didn't take him long to have arrived in Dayuan City from Green Mountain. In fact, he was only a little bit slower than Jing Jiu when he ran on the ground.
The Green Mountain disciples in the stream valley hadn't sensed his arrival.
He walked onto the small bridge slowly, heading toward the other side of the stream. His steps were lighter than the breeze, making no sound in the least.
On the other side of the round window, Jian Xilai was perceiving the essence of the sword work while holding the corpse of the Dark Phoenix facing the lake. He suddenly turned around.
Though Ping Yongjia could conceal himself from everybody else, he couldn't do so from him.
Jian Xilai gazed at Ping Yongjia's pale face with slightly raised eyebrows, as if he had seen the strangest thing in the world.
Hearing the commotion from Jian Xilai, Ping Yongjia rushed into the meditation room as quickly as his legs could carry him. In the meantime, the gray and bent strange sword was drawn and pointed at Ping Yongjia's back with a buzzing sound.
Zhuo Rusui appeared under the corridor unnoticeably, the Swallowing Boat Sword laying on his knees; the wills of the Inherited Heaven Sword had already built a dense formation to block the entrance to the meditation room.
Though Ping Yongjia was their colleague, they were more cautious about him than about Jian Xilai.
"You people have been suspicious of me," said Ping Yongjia indignantly, standing at the foot of the bridge. "But have you thought that you're also suspecting my Master at the same time?"
If Zhao Layue didn't suspect that Ping Yongjia might find an opportunity to snatch Jing Jiu's current body, why wasn't she willing to go back to Green Mountain? Why had the Three-Thousand Nunnery suddenly become another residence of the Green Mountain Sect?
Yuan Qü didn't give a response, feeling a bit embarrassed.
This was indeed an embarrassing issue.
Zhuo Rusui sighed, "Even though we trust you, we can't withstand the punishment when the two senior masters come back."
Ping Yongjia left Green Mountain and came here with a great deal of courage; he was unwilling to leave the place. "Master, they all suspect you're a bad man!" he yelled toward the meditation room.
Zhuo Rusui and Yuan Qü were quite upset, thinking that he shouldn't have spoken it out loud even if everybody had such a thought.
Ignoring them, Ping Yongjia continued, "They believe that you have snatched my body to be reborn as a sword after your failure in ascension …which they are worried that I will come and get my body back."
Zhuo Rusui couldn't stand it anymore and reproached after standing up, "Stop yelling! The outsider is nearby; he will hear this."
Ping Yongjia ignored him as he continued yelling, "I've certainly forgotten everything in the past. I had the same suspicion when I found out about my origin, but…but…I don't think it's the case."
Zhuo Rusui mused that what he thought was irrelevant; if the Immortal Sect Master hadn't beaten Ping Yongjia out of the All in One Sword, how could he have been reborn as a sword body?
"I don't think it's the case anyway," Ping Yongjia returned indignantly, adding a crying tone to his voice.
"Of course, it's not the case."
A calm voice came out from the meditation room.
It grew deathly quiet at the Three-Thousand Nunnery. Zhuo Rusui and Yuan Qü were stunned speechless. Ping Yongjia opened his mouth soundlessly, not knowing what to say. It was not because this statement had a remarkable meaning, even though it was meaningful; it was because it was Jing Jiu who had said it.
Jing Jiu was walking out from the meditation room, his black hair dropping to his back like a waterfall. He looked like a person in the dream, indescribably handsome.
It was a dream no matter where one lived.
A person pretending to sleep can't be awakened; and a person who doesn't know he is in a dream can't wake up either. Yet, as long as he woke up, his dream would be over.
The whole world had woken up at the same time.
So had the flowers in the lotus pond and the three dazed disciples.
Zhuo Rusui stepped aside as quickly as he could.
Yuan Qü handed Jing Jiu a cotton ribbon as soon as possible.
Gu Qing had remembered the scene in the Green Sky Mirror clearly and told Yuan Qü what to do.
Jing Jiu took the cotton ribbon and bound his black hair casually. "Don't think too much of it," he said to Ping Yongjia.
Ping Yongjia recovered his senses from the initial excitement. Hearing what his Master said, he pointed his finger at Zhuo Rusui and Yuan Qü indignantly, unable to speak for a while, thinking that the thought had nothing to do with him and that it was his big brothers who had thought too much of it.
Jing Jiu didn't pay attention to him. He turned around and came to the lakeshore, and extended his right hand to Jian Xilai.
Jian Xilai handed the Dark Phoenix to him.
The corpse of the Dark Phoenix still felt warm since it was held by Jian Xilai close to his body for many days.
Jing Jiu threw the corpse of the Dark Phoenix into the sky.
The Dark Phoenix scattered in countless light particles, forming a large bird in the air. Its tail looked much shorter, but its wings were much longer. The figure created by the light particles resembled a phoenix in a painting.
The light particles rubbed against the air, creating countless flames, which then disappeared into the high sky, looking like a phoenix traveling to the other world.
Jing Jiu pulled his line of sight back and looked at the middle-aged man beside him, saying, "Not bad."
"It's okay," returned Jian Xilai.
"Come with me?" asked Jing Jiu.
Jian Xilai said, "Wait for me for three days."
Zhuo Rusui, Yuan Qü and Ping Yongjia arrived by the lake. Hearing the conversation, they wondered if the two of them intended to take a bath, light an incense and change clothes.
"I'm not very confident; so give me three days to arrange the matters after my death."
Jian Xilai went on with a faint smile, "However, feeling unconfident is something very interesting for me, which is why I think I should be able to kill you."
An appreciative expression showed in Jing Jiu's eyes, "The current you are rather interesting."
Zhuo Rusui mused that the two of the most boring men in the world were talking about interestingness, which was truly absurd.
Jian Xilai departed from the Three-Thousand Nunnery, leaving a few gusts of gentle wind roving back and forth on the surface of the lake.
Jing Jiu reached his hand into the wind but failed to find any sensation in it, thinking it was truly dreary.
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