Since coming back to the Three-Thousand Nunnery from Dayuan City, Ping Yongjia had been sitting on the bridge, keeping some distance from the others.
He was gazing away at the distance amid the wind while holding his bent knees, pretending to be lonely. He couldn't help but make a comment on the elopement of Gu Qing; but he was reproached by Zhuo Rusui.
After that, he isolated himself from everybody else, saying not a single word, as if he was forgotten by the others.
Yet, the others were fully aware of why he isolated himself.
Ping Yongjia was the spirit of the All in One Sword. Where did he go when the Immortal Jing Yang was reborn as a sword?
"You people think too much of it."
Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui didn't hear this statement of Jing Jiu's. Zhuo Rusui and Yuan Qü heard it, but they chose not to believe it. As Ping Yongjia said, they thought Jing Jiu was that sort of a person, one who would not take the moral and affecting consequences into account because he would seek a way to keep on living at any cost.
It wasn't until now that they started to learn the truth after Jing Jiu related past events.
The flowing stream under the small bridge was illuminated by starlight. It was so quiet at the Three-Thousand Nunnery that Jing Jiu's voice was still drifting in the stream.
More than one hundred years ago, the Immortal Jing Yang intended to bring the All in One Sword with him when he ascended, in the same way the Immortal Taiping promised the Dark Phoenix and the Dead Dog that he would bring them with him while ascending.
It was easy for him to bring the Lone Sword and the Thoughtless Sword to ascension; it was because they were in a very high state, but they didn't have the spiritual awareness. In order to bring the All in One Sword with him to ascend, he had to help the All in One Sword elevate the state high enough for ascension because it was a living sword devil.
As such, two futons were found in that manor cave.
Thinking of the scene in which Jing Yang and the All in One Sword sat on the futons, Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui felt a complicated emotion, but it was also something they desired.
"Why did you ascend by yourself?" asked Zhao Layue.
Jing Jiu replied while looking at Ping Yongjia on the bridge, "It's because we found out that he couldn't ascend. I had no choice but to depart alone."
Liu Shisui inquired in bewilderment, "Since the All in One and the Green Sky Mirror are both the true spirits in the heavenly state and were born with the Contained Heaven and Earth, why can't he ascend?"
Jing Jiu said, "The Green Girl is in the Contained Heaven and Earth State, but she can't ascend either. The Snow Girl was in the Contained Heaven and Earth State and couldn't ascend in the beginning. Nevertheless, they are different from the human Cultivation practitioners."
Hearing what Jing Jiu said, Ping Yongjia could vaguely recollect something. He asked while looking at the mountains under the stars, "Hence, you had been trying to find a way for me?"
"Correct. I spent a few years helping you leave the sword; but you lost all of your memories and ran away after turning into a mischievous monkey."
Jing Jiu went on, "I was at the critical moment of ascension then; I had no choice but to ascend without you. Later, I encountered you on Green Mountain, but I wasn't sure if you were actually still yourself."
To gain the true freedom for the All in One, the spirit of it must be separated from the ware or liberated from its confinement.
It sounded mysterious, but it was actually quite simple, and something like it had already occurred twice.
Jing Jiu followed the same principle to help the Green Girl leave the Green Sky Mirror and the Snow Girl leave this world.
Ping Yongjia felt uneasy as he asked, "Can I still call you my Master?"
"Being a teacher for a day will make one a father figure for the rest of their life," said Jing Jiu. "Moreover, it was I who conducted you into the Cultivation circle in your former life."
Hearing this answer, Ping Yongjia felt relieved. He came running from the bridge and sat by Jing Jiu.
The Green Girl commented, "You were reborn as a sword by employing the Thunder-Soul Wood after your failure of ascension and being sneak-attacked by Bai Ren…You are really lucky."
Zhao Layue and Liu Shisui turned to Jing Jiu reflexively, wondering if this could be counted as being lucky.
The two of them experienced a slight change in their attitude toward Jing Jiu after they came back from the manor cave. In addition to admiration, they had a hint of sympathy for him.
Jing Jiu shot Zhao Layue an inquiring glance.
Zhao Layue related what Nan Wang said in the manor cave.
Zhuo Rusui, Yuan Qü and Ping Yongjia also had a hint of sympathy in their eyes while looking at Jing Jiu after hearing this.
It was an excruciating pain to not feel anything or the beauty in the world and to travel the world like a zombie.
"It's not that bad," said Jing Jiu after a moment of silence.
Zhao Layue said while staring into his eyes, "It's not good."
It was nonetheless an undesirable way to live a life, no matter how steady one's Dao Heart was and how strong one's willpower was.
"I've spent most of my time sleeping in the last one hundred or more years. The spiritual soul can perceive things in the Green Sky Mirror; so it's not that bad. And…I can always perceive something somewhere else."
Jing Jiu walked to the top of the bridge and looked at the world under the stars.
In this world, there were the wind, flowers, snow, the moon, the arising and setting of the sun and the stars, the rising and ebbing of the tides.
He could see and perceive all of these.
It was true that he didn't like eating hotpot.
For him, the bone marrow soup in hotpot was no different from butter soup, and the soups with more or less spices were the same for him. There was no difference between the black intestines and the intestines of a thousand layers when tasting them; there was no difference between the beefs of different body parts, and there was no difference between the raw oyster of Lelong County and the cold oyster of Dongyi Dao.
Yet, he liked watching others eat hotpot. He liked seeing Zhao Layue eat the meats hungrily, Zhuo Rusui and Yuan Qü fight over the meats, and Liu Shisui and Gu Qing cut the meats.
He didn't like drinking tea. He couldn't tell the difference between the Little-Elegant Tea and the Maojian or the Bloody Tea; but he liked looking at the world through the steam coming up from the teacup, listening to the soft plopping sound in the iron kettle, and the attentive look on Gu Qing's face when he stared at the silver coals in the small stove.
Likewise, he didn't like drinking wine. The green wine that brought a slight sensation to the Immortal Taiping and the Grandmaster of the Mysterious Dark Sect tasted like water for him.
The only exception was that he could sense a bit of burning pain on his skin when he bathed in the lava river under the Cold Mountain; it was really a comfortable feeling.
He probably felt the same in the lava river as the way others felt when they drank wine and ate the spicy foods.
It was true that he didn't like any of those and he didn't care that much about those things.
This should be his condition.
The worst thing was that he couldn't cry.
He wouldn't shed tears no matter how brightly the morning sun shone on his eyes.
It was a troublesome fact.
Jing Jiu let loose a wry smile as he thought of this.
"This is it for the matter," said he while turning to the disciples.
It was quiet at the Three-Thousand Nunnery.
Looking at his figure on the bridge, the disciples thought he was truly lonely.
Many years ago at the Plum Meeting in Zhaoge City, Zhao Layue had a similar feeling when she saw his face as the zither music played by Lian Sanyue rang out.
"All the objects are each other's cause and effect. You're all my effects, and I yours," said Jing Jiu. "I'll affect you, and so will you me. I'm a part of your lives, and so are you for me, including Gu Qing…He is overseas; his desire is fulfilled, and has also fulfilled mine. Why shouldn't I feel happy for him?"
Ping Yongjia said, "Yes, I can sense that you're really happy at the moment, Master."
Jing Jiu said to him, "You go back to Green Mountain."
Ping Yongjia was taken aback, wondering what he had done wrong.
Zhuo Rusui sighed, as he thought that it was impossible for the Immortal Sect Master to feel comfortable when his emotions, such as happiness, angry, sadness and enjoyment, were all perceived through somebody else, and that nobody would feel comfortable when they might be controlled by another person. However, Ping Yongjia chose to speak out rather than shut his mouth. It was understandable that the Immortal Sect Master was inclined to make Ping Yongjia feel uncomfortable.
Ping Yongjia left by running away like a gust of wind, ruffling a great many lotus leaves in the lotus pond. He disappeared into the darkness of the night on his way back to Green Mountain before the others came back to their senses.
The young sect master of the No-Mercy Sect was led to the Three-Thousand Nunnery after Ping Yongjia's departure.
Peng Lang felt a bit nervous as well as somewhat embarrassed; it was because he was the only outsider there, and the others present were all the disciples of Green Mountain.
Jing Jiu motioned for him to follow him into the meditation room and to close the door behind them.
Zhao Layue and Zhuo Rusui exchanged a look before she shot Liu Shisui a glance.
They were all of natural Dao quality and had the highest talent at the Green Mountain Sect and even in the whole of Cultivation world.
Yet, someone named Peng Lang had suddenly come along.
The name of Peng Lang was quite ordinary, and he looked ordinary as well. However, he spent merely a little over one hundred years before he had broken through the Heavenly Arrival State.
And he was not someone in the regular Heavenly Arrival State, but someone who could kill Emperor Xiao with a swing of his sword and block the striking sword from Jian Xilai.
It was simply unbelievable.
What were he and Jing Jiu talking about?
Was it something to do with the karma?
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