The disciples of Shenmo Peak had a popular evaluation about Jing Jiu: He didn't talk too much, but his sword was very formidable.
It was true that Jing Jiu didn't talk that much. Hence, when the door of the meditation room had been closed for a long time, Zhao Layue and the others all felt it odd and came up with many conjectures.
Did he attempt to persuade the young sect master of the No-Mercy Sect to join Green Mountain?
It suddenly occurred to Liu Shisui that his Young Master bade him to learn the sword work with Jian Xilai so that he could take on Peng Lang as his personal disciple.
"Maybe not; he is nonetheless the sect master of the No-Mercy Sect," he said to Zhao Layue in a hushed voice.
Zhao Layue said, "Think about the case of the Young Zen Master."
Liu Shisui and the others had suddenly come to their senses. The Young Zen Master had discussed the Dao with the Immortal Jing Yang on Shenmo Peak for one hundred days back then. Afterwards the Cultivation circle believed that the Immortal Jing Yang was half a master of the Young Zen Master, which is why the Fruit Formation Temple had a good relationship with Shenmo Peak even though the Green Mountain Sect and the Fruit Formation Temple were not that close.
"Will they talk for one hundred days this time also?" Zhuo Rusui yawned before offering, "Why don't we all go to bed first?"
The stars twinkled in the sky as well on the surface of the lake when being reflected. It was a quiet night; no sound could be heard in the meditation room. It was a good opportunity to sleep. However, no one was willing to leave. As time elapsed, the starlight grew dimmer and the sun peeked over the horizon in the east. Along with a faint squeaking noise, the door of the meditation room was pushed open as Peng Lang walked out from it.
Yuan Qü knew that it was inappropriate for his Master and Zhuo Rusui to ask Peng Lang; so he approached him with a bow, inquiring Peng Lang with a faint smile about what he and Jing Jiu had talked about.
Peng Lang said with an appreciative expression, "The Immortal gave a lot of good advice for my sword work and allows me to come to your Sword Peak to find a sword for myself."
The group thought Jing Jiu did what they had guessed, thinking that he would be a first-class businessman if he were in the trade.
Thinking of their conversation, Peng Lang remarked in bewilderment, "The Immortal thinks my name is not fitting, but it can't be changed. I don't know what that means."
This was indeed hard to understand; it was also beyond the comprehension of Zhao Layue and the others.
No sooner had Peng Lang left than the small green curtain sedan landed in the morning sunlight.
As the morning wind tousled the curtains slightly, the Drifter glided out from it. "Who has just left? Why did the Senior Master Guangyuan see him off?" she asked curiously.
Speaking of the order of generation, it was rather chaotic at the Green Mountain Sect, but Jing Jiu was the source of the problem. It was confusing because he had two different statuses in this and last lives.
Hearing what the Drifter said, Zhuo Rusui found it rather preposterous when he thought of that young sect master of the No-Mercy Sect.
He turned around and went to the lonely grave in hopes of relaxing a bit by practicing a set of boxing.
Yuan Qü explained the status of Peng Lang to the Drifter. She felt startled to hear it, but she didn't think more of it. "Teacher, how come you've become so powerful?!" she shouted toward the meditation room gleefully.
As she dashed to the meditation room, she bumped into someone and then drifted up like a leaf.
"What are you doing?!"
She yelled irritatingly after she pressed down the leaf-like black hair in front of her forehead. When she found the person blocking her was Zhao Layue, she stopped complaining, saying nothing.
"He has something to take care of right now; wait a while," said Zhao Layue.
The morning sun shone on the stream under the small bridge, the flowering trees and the lake, as well as the meditation room.
Jing Jiu stretched his hand into the air and condensed some water in his hand. After he warmed the waster in his hand with the sword fire, he moistened a cotton towel with his damp hand before he came before the bed and started washing Bai Zao's face.
The towel with warm steam brushed past the beautiful and pale face slowly, wiping off a few dusts and several strands of natural worm silk that hadn't dissolved yet.
He hadn't done this sort of thing back when they were trapped in the snowland more than one hundred years ago, and it was because she was inside the silk cocoon at the time, and also because he thought it was meaningless to do so back then.
The meaning was to be rendered, and so were the rituals; for instance, he had always eaten hotpot before doing something significant, and he would wish to achieve certain deeds before his departure.
He washed Bai Zao's face, neck and hands thoroughly. After that, he stood up and walked out of the meditation room.
The morning sunlight shone on the corridor, making the wooden floor glitter, which was similar to the scene when Lian Sanyue left the world.
Standing amid the morning sunlight, Jing Jiu remained silent for a long time; it was unclear what he was reflecting on.
"All of you go back to Shenmo Peak, waiting for me there." Then, he turned to the Drifter, "You too. Don't hasten to go back to the Underworld yet."
The Drifter knew that something significant would happen, and vaguely guessed what it would be. Her pale face displayed a hint of distress under the sunlight.
Dozens of sword lights illuminated the Cold Mountain.
But it didn't mean there were many flying swords in the sky.
Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue landed on the ground; the sword lights emerging from the rims of their clothes abated gradually.
The barren plain was actually not inhospitable; many green bushes and weeds were growing here, which experienced a brief and bright radiance in their short lives when being illuminated by the fleeting sword lights.
In front of Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue was a large cleft, extending to a red plain in the distance, which used to be the Scorching Sun Gorge.
Many wild plants were growing on the cliffs around the cleft, and it was because the underground fire source had been subsiding and the lava had lowered a great deal, but it had more to do with the passing of time.
Liu Ci had departed more than one hundred years from this world.
Jing Jiu was displeased whenever he thought of him. He didn't wish to stay here any longer and flew to the deeper part of the cleft with Zhao Layue.
The two of them had passed a great many narrow and gloomy passageways, the badly damaged ancient battlefields, and the meandering and serene lava rivers before they arrived at the deepest end of the Gathered-Soul Valley.
The Immortal Bai had already dismantled the formations set up by the Center Sect. The transparent huge wall was nowhere to be found, but the lava had ceased pouring into the Abyss. It was because a scholar was busy doing something and the large Buddha was blocking it from underneath.
The slits were everywhere on Bu Qiuxiao's cotton cloth, as well as the marks burned by the lava.
He was writing the amulets in the sky with a brush pen. He was so preoccupied with the work that he didn't even notice the arrivals of Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue.
A large amount of energy with the scent of inky words came out from his pen and fell down to the river to make the lava coagulate gradually. The miraculous thing was that the coagulated lava, unlike the surface of the rocks, had many deep amulets that seemed as if being carved by knives, and looked like a piece of paper with words written all over it.
Though it was not the Guard-City Pen, it could write wonderful words at the hands of the Saint.
"What a great prose of heaven and earth it is!" Jing Jiu praised while looking at the scene.
Hearing his voice, Bu Qiuxiao was startled. He turned around and asked Jing Jiu with a small smile, "Is Immortal going to leave? Did you come to bid farewell to us?"
"I'd like to know the answers to two questions."
Jing Jiu continued, "The question regarding you is who that person was, you or your Teacher."
Bu Qiuxiao looked at Zhao Layue beside him.
"She knows," said Jing Jiu.
Bu Qiuxiao said in a slightly cold tone, "Immortal promised me that you wouldn't tell anybody."
Jing Jiu said, "After my departure, someone at Green Mountain has to know about this secret; otherwise, how can they control you?"
It was evidently a shameless scheme, yet he made it sound like a straightforward plan. Bu Qiuxiao was impressed with his relentlessness. However, there was no way he would tell Jing Jiu the answer.
"I'm not going to tell you," he said earnestly.
Jing Jiu told Zhao Layue, "He Zhan's biological father was the Teacher of the House Master Bu."
"I'll remember it," said Zhao Layue while nodding.
It was then that a deep, hoarse and bell-like voice came up from the Abyss, "But I've also heard it."
"The true Buddha keeps his mouth tight. He should be able to trust you," said Jing Jiu.
The Saint had a temper as well. Bu Qiuxiao had no patience to listen to Jing Jiu's nonsense, demanding, "What is the second question?"
Jing Jiu flew to the upstream of the lava river and looked down at the Abyss.
A large amount of lava had flown to the Abyss in the last few days, and all of it had coagulated. It looked like a sky ladder connecting the Underworld and the human world right now.
A pair of broad and steady shoulders was seen at the other end of the sky ladder.
Jing Jiu asked, "Sanyue had told me the story of your birth; was it true?"
No sound could be heard on the other side of the Abyss for a long time.
It seemed that Cao Yuan had no intention of answering this question.
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