As Jing Jiu woke up, heaven and earth seemed to have woken up in the as well.
Similar happenings had occurred several times before; but it was a bit peculiar this time.
Those in the highest state in Chaotian were fully aware that this was his last deep sleep and last wake-up.
Next, he would either die at the sword of Jian Xilai or depart.
A spiritual awareness came out from the deep part of the snowland, swept over White Town, courtyards and barricades and finally disappeared into the small temple in front of the reddish mountain.
"Why are you so happy when he wakes up?"
The Young Zen Master mumbled while crawling out from the underneath of the table after he was certain that the Queen of the Snowy Kingdom was not paying close attention to this place.
He stepped over the high doorsill and looked at Dayuan City in the south; he was unaware that his face was full of relieved expression.
The news that Jing Jiu was awakened spread to the Underworld. It was not delivered by the messenger but by means of the lava that splashed like the fireworks.
Cao Yuan was blocking the exit of the lava with his body. He looked like a large Buddha heaving the sky when being viewed from afar.
He sensed what had happened at the Three-Thousand Nunnery. He spun his head around to look in the direction of the human world and revealed a faint smile as his line of sight met Bu Qiuxiao's.
The Drifter was unaware of what these two important figures in the process of saving the Underworld were doing at the moment.
She was in a stupor for a long time while gazing at the colorless tree in the royal palace.
All of a sudden, a leaf turned green, which was quite noticeable in the Underworld. She guessed what had happened and cried out excitedly.
The green trees were everywhere in the royal palace of Zhaoge City. In the midsummer, the trees brought chilly feeling to the nobles in the royal palace, and yet the people in the palace were not impressed so much with the chill offered by the trees.
Many wildflowers suddenly sprang up at a patch of the field outside the city and at a section of the city wall.
Having finished listening to the report of the officials of the Pure Heaven Bureau, Gu Qing set down the brush pen and lifted his head to look at the red wall outside the window.
A large "Zen" was written on the wall.
The paint of the wall was slightly peeled off because it had been eroded by the wind and rain over the years.
A piece of the paint curled up as a gust of wind blew over in the morning. The paint happened to be on the upper-right corner of the "Zen", pointing toward the sky, as if it would fly up at any moment.
Gu Qing finally felt relieved after taking a long and slow breath. He came out from the grand hall and bowed toward Dayuan City a few times, his expression very earnest.
He was well-known to be a prudent and filial person, so he shouldn't behave in such an excited manner. His behavior might make others feel uncomfortable.
"If you were seen by someone, they would think you are feigning it."
The Royal Dowager Hu walked over with a plate of green grapes in her hands. She peeled one grape and put it into his mouth, a mocking grin showing on her face.
Though she had come to the palace several hundred years ago and was a respectful royal dowager, she still looked like a young woman with a naïve and adorable expression.
"Let's go," said Gu Qing while looking at her with a faint smile.
A grape was squeezed to pieces as the Royal Dowager Hu tightened her fingers. "What are you talking about?" she asked in a slightly trembling voice, her eyes opened wide.
Her simple question revealed a series of complicated emotions, starting with the bewilderment and going to excitement and then to the uneasiness in the end.
Gu Qing said, "Jing Yao is on his way to Dayuan City. The whole of Chaotian is paying attention solely to that place. It's the best opportunity for us to take off."
The voice of the Royal Dowager Hu grew shakier, "But…but the Immortal has just woken up. With the threat of the Godly Swordsman of West Ocean…how can we leave right now? Aren't you worried?"
Gu Qing rubbed her head with his hand while looking at her like he did to an ignorant child with a propitious smile, "How can my Master lose?"
The Royal Dowager Hu protested, "But his opponent is none other than the Godly Swordsman of West Ocean!"
"So?" pressed Gu Qing.
After some thought, the Royal Dowager Hu suddenly shoved the plate with the green grapes into Gu Qing's chest before she turned to run into the palace hall. She came out clad with the costume of a palace servant girl; and yet, she didn't look awkward and unfitting in the least.
She tilted her head up to look at Gu Qing, her face full of pride and courage.
With a smile, Gu Qing took her hand, heading toward the outside of the palace hall.
Both the Great Formation of Zhaoge City and the formation of the royal palace were under the control of Gu Qing.
Gu Qing left the royal palace while holding the Royal Dowager's hand and a plate of green grapes in his own. They hadn't returned since.
Nobody knew about this. It wasn't until dusk that the palace servant girls found that the Royal Dowager was nowhere to be found after they came to the palace hall with the cookies favored by the Royal Dowger; then they started panicking.
Soon, they found the Master Governor of the State was also nowhere to be found.
It was deathly quiet throughout the royal palace.
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Even though Jing Yao had been the emperor for one hundred years, he still remembered his Master's teaching; he didn't confine himself to the royal palace of Zhaoge City all the time, and he more often than not rode on the sword rather than on a flying sedan when he traveled.
Of course, his flying swords were always surrounded and protected by the Cultivation practitioners of the royal family and the disciples of Green Mountain.
Jing Yao was on the verge of breaking through the Broken Sea State, but he still felt a bit painful when the Chaotic Wind blew in his face. However, he didn't lower the altitude because his Master taught him that a Cultivation practitioner must experience the hardship and that they had to experience more of it as their Cultivation state improved.
Jing Yao was in a good mood at the moment. It was not because the extensive mountains and rivers under his feet were all his territory, but because he had just learned that his granduncle woke up.
It was then that he learned other news.
The First Child Sword halted in midair, looking as pure as a trace of water.
The white-haired Sir Niu backtracked slowly with hunched back.
No one dared approach Jing Yao.
The Emperor looked exceedingly lonely at the moment.
The whistling Chaotic Wind, somehow, added a sensation of deathlike stillness.
Jing Yao lifted his head to look at a place in the sky, the place called the Empty Realm, remaining silent. The quivering sleeves of the royal robe demonstrated how angry he was at the moment.
After a long while, he had finally calmed down. He turned around to look at Zhaoge City, and said while waving his hand wearily, "Okay, this emperor is informed."
Jing Yao had learned about it.
The eunuchs and the palace servant girls had learned about it.
The chancellors, the One-Cottage House, and the whole of Chaotian would learn of it soon.
In fact, many of them had already knew about it, including Jing Yao himself.
The affair between the Royal Dowager and the governor of the State that had lasted over decades could in no way be concealed from all the people. And yet, some people didn't dare talk about it, and others didn't dare ask.
Quite few people had found out Ping Yongjia's identity by now.
As the sword light was pursuing the Immortal Bai in the human world and in the Underworld, it was impossible for the Immortal Guangyuan, Nan Wang, Zhao Layue and the others guarding around the Sword Peak not to figure out who he was.
Yet, nobody dared ask about the matter.
If the spiritual soul of the Immortal Jing Yang was attached to the All in One Sword, where did the spirit of the All in One Sword go?
Even Zhao Layue thought that it was a relentless story and that Ping Yongjia had enough reason to avenge himself. Ping Yongjia remembered something that day and left Green Mountain with a great deal of courage. He spoke his perplexity indignantly after he arrived at the Three-Thousand Nunnery; then they all heard Jing Jiu's words "You all thought too much of it".
Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui had actually thought nothing of it.
By the time they came back from Green Mountain overnight and saw Jing Jiu, they only thought of the remaining shell lying on the stone bed full of wounds and what Nan Wang said. They hadn't given a thought to whether Jing Jiu struck the spirit of the All in One Sword out to be reborn as the All in One Sword after his failure of the ascension attempt.
Under the gazes of all the people present, Zhao Layue came before Jing Jiu and hugged him tightly, burying her head in his chest.
The people present displayed all sorts of emotions and behaviors. Liu Shisui was quite sad; Yuan Qü was flabbergasted and speechless; Zhuo Rusui had raised and impish eyebrows; the Immortal Guangyuan was speechless with opened mouth; Nan Wang's face was as cold as frost; the Green Girl covered her face with her hands; Ping Yongjia was pondering something; and Ada was almost squashed to death.
Every New Year's Day, Zhao Layue would bow to Jing Jiu as a disciple and then hug him; but she always did it in private, never in front of others.
Jing Jiu had no idea what had happened and why the expressions in Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui's eyes revealed a hint of sympathy. He extended his hand to rub Zhao Layue's head and on Liu Shisui's head to stop him from coming over. Then, he took Ada and held him in his arms. In the end, he turned to Nan Wang, "Did you burn it?"
Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui would definitely hesitate before making the ultimate decision in that manor cave; but Nan Wang would not.
"That's right. It's I who burned it; so what?
"Looks like I didn't miscalculate it; you hated me so much that you would disperse my bones and ashes even if I was dead."
If what he said was a joke, it was not funny.
If it was not a joke, what he said was an inconsiderate statement.
Nan Wang turned and left the Three-Thousand Nunnery without spinning her head around once after uttering a sneer.
It was then that Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui had noticed that the Godly Swordsman of West Ocean was gone and that…Ping Yongjia was here, feeling startled.
"Whatever you people intend to ask me has to wait," said Jing Jiu. "I have to get ready."
Hearing this, the group felt surprised. Over the last one hundred and more years, Jing Jiu had never prepared for a fight, no matter whether it was the fight against Zhuo Rusui on Cloud-Dream Mountain with flames filling sky, or against the Immortal Taiping and the Immortal Bai.
Was the Godly Swordsman of West Ocean really that powerful? Or, had Jing Jiu's attitude undergone a significant change?
Ping Yongjia asked nervously, "Do I have to prepare something?"
Only when Jing Jiu was controlled by Liu Ci or Ping Yongjia, he became the sword light dominating heaven and earth.
"I'll do it myself this time," said Jing Jiu.
It was an unexpected answer for the group, as they thought that his Cultivation state was certainly inferior to his opponent since he had woken up as a figure in the Heavenly Arrival State not so long ago in Zhaoge City. He could fight against the Immortal Taiping and the Fairy Lady Bai Ren on Green Mountain where he could rely on the Sword Formation of Green Mountain. But, with the destruction of the Sword Formation of Green Mountain, how could he fight against the Godly Swordsman of West Ocean?
"Congratulations," said the Green Girl suddenly.
Zhao Layue and the others vaguely guessed it; but they still couldn't believe it.
The remaining body vanished like the dispersed ashes and smoke in the manor cave.
And the person at the Three-Thousand Nunnery opened his eyes.
Jing Jiu other than the Immortal Jing Yang would exist in this world from that moment on.
What did all this signify?
Jing Jiu's preparation was very simple.
He lay on the bamboo chair for two days, sleeping quietly amid the aroma of the lotus flowers and the croaking of the frogs.
The wooden door was pushed open, a middle-aged man in a gray clothing walked in. His face was expressionless, resembling a stone statue.
Jing Jiu asked after opening his eyes, "Have you arranged the matters after your death?"
Jian Xilai uttered a "hmm".
The lotus flowers swayed wildly as the strong wind kicked up, the waves forming on the surface of the lake.
Two sword lights shot up into the sky, tearing the ocean of clouds apart and heading toward the distant horizon.
An ancient-looking and exceedingly aged sword boat was traveling in the blue sky.
A large patch of ocean of clouds blocked the people on the boat from seeing the scenes on the ground, but they could occasionally see Dayuan City through some gaps in the clouds.
"This sword boat hasn't been used for more than one hundred years; it's traveling too slowly. I didn't expect it to travel so many days to reach the destination. If it were a sword boat of the Green Mountain Sect, it would only take seven days to arrive. Sect Master, don't forget to ask the Cultivationists of Shiyue Peak of Green Mountain to help repair the boat after the Inauguration Ceremony of Opening the Mountains. We have already seen Dayuan City, but why haven't we seen the Three-Thousand Nunnery yet? Did the Cultivationists of the Green Mountain Sect set up a great formation?" A whitehaired old man was mumbling nonstop, seemingly very talkative.
This old man's name was Sun Changxiu, Pei Baifa's Young Brother. He had the highest status at the No-Mercy Sect among the masters of the previous generation.
The young sect master suffered a headache as the old man had been talking incessantly to him during the entire journey; but he couldn't do anything about it. He had no choice but to listen to his mumbling patiently.
The Elder Sun said excitedly, "Our sect has sealed off the mountains for more than one hundred years; I'm afraid the Cultivation world has forgotten about us a long time ago. We have to do something significant when we come back, and the significant event is unfolding right in Dayuan City. Heaven and earth bestow no mercy to the humans, but we are deeply indebted to Green Mountain. If you drove Jian Xilai out of the Three-Thousand Nunnery, you would surprise the world with your sword work!"
The No-Mercy Sect hadn't informed anyone about their intention of opening the mountains, including the Green Mountain Sect, the purpose of which was to give Green Mountain and the entire Cultivation world a happy surprise.
Hearing "surprise the world with your sword work", the young sect master felt astonished.
"Didn't you say that Bu Qiuxiao and the Young Zen Master couldn't beat him? How can I do it then?"
"Who could kill Emperor Xiao with a swing of the sword in Chaotian? Sect Master, you should have more confidence in yourself," said the Elder Sun. "Even if you're not a match for that wicked Xilai, he has cultivated the sword work much longer than you. As long as you can resist his sword a few times, you will be able to become famous in the world."
He was quite confident that once their sect master had demonstrated his talent in the sword work, those so-called geniuses like Zhao Layue, Liu Shisui, Zhuo Rusui and Tong Yan were nothing in comparison.
Two bright sword lights suddenly illuminated the sky.
The two sword lights seemed to be one mile in width, looking like two ribbon as well as two large rivers looming over heaven and earth.
The ocean of clouds ruptured abruptly, as two straight and empty regions appeared in the sky, where all the air had disappeared, to say nothing of the fog and dusts.
Who could emit such powerful sword lights? And why did two of them appear at the same time?
The Elder Sun and the people of the No-Mercy Sect came by riding on a rundown boat. They hadn't contacted the people on the ground, which is why they didn't receive the news that the person had already woken up. Yet, when they saw the two formidable sword lights, there was no way they couldn't guess the owners of them.
The two sword lights came over after breaking through the air and clouds. The sword wills had arrived before the sword lights reached the old boat of the No-Mercy Sect.
Along with numerous cracking sounds, many ruptures appeared on the old boat. The formations and the crystal boiler were all torn to shreds; the boat was on the verge of breaking apart.
Looking at the white space illuminated by the two sword lights, the Elder Sun revealed a horrified look on his face, as he was aware that he and this old boat would be annihilated in the next moment.
It was then that a figure appeared in front of him, blocking the blinding sword lights.
It was none other than the young sect master.
He held the sword sheath in his left hand and the sword hilt in his right hand.
The two powerful sword lights made him tremble from head to toe.
For some reason, his hands remained rather steady.
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