Jing Jiu didn't pay much attention to the Fire Carp.
The Fire Carp swam to the edge of the pond and under Jing Jiu's shadow, wiggling his tail in an obsequious manner.
The carp's behavior reminded Jing Jiu of Ada. He felt a bit affable as he said to him, "I'm rather pleased to see you enjoy your life here."
After that, he turned to Grandmaster Zhang and remarked, "You've lived much longer that I expected."
The passing of time in the Green Sky Mirror neared that in the outside world. The eldest son of the Grand Scholar Zhang was still alive after so many years.
He returned contentedly, "Your Majesty has heavenly luck. I'll keep on living as long as you bestow a sliver of your luck on me."
Jing Jiu discerned that he was aged and had a weak body now, yet he could still live for a few more years, so he didn't say anything more. "Do you wish to go back?" he asked the Fire Carp.
He of course referred to going back to Chaotian.
Feeling a bit startled, the Fire Carp said indignantly while pouting his mouth, "I'm merely a sliver of spiritual soul right now; how can I go back?"
Learning that his friend could go back alive, the eldest son of Grand Scholar Zhang felt overjoyed. "Since His Majesty asks you to go back, he must have a way to do so," he chastised the Fire Carp.
The Fire Carp thought of Jing Jiu who had revived his own life by attaching his spiritual soul to the All in One Sword. "Do you intend to turn me into a sword fish?" he inquired curiously.
It was impossible to find another All in One Sword in the world.
Jing Jiu said, "Someone gave me a Jade Egg of Rosefinch. He hoped that I could make the jade egg hatch; but in fact, it's hopeless."
The Green Bird flew over from the sky and landed on Jing Jiu's shoulder. "Are you going to give it to this stupid fish?" she asked.
Though the Fire Carp knew she was the master of this world, he couldn't control his emotion. "You're a stupid bird!" he retorted.
If Zhuo Rusui were here, he would have commented that the Center Sect ended up in such a terrible condition because their divine animal behaved in such a terrible fashion.
Jing Jiu said to the Fire Carp, "Your nature is similar to that of a rosefinch; so you should have a chance to revive."
"Will I become a devil?" inquired the Fire Carp.
The Grandmaster Zhang couldn't help commenting, "You're a devil right now."
"No, no, no. I don't wish to become a bird fish, or a fish bird."
The Fire Carp shook his head incessantly, creating sprays on the surface of the pond.
"Are you sure you want to stay here? You have to know that it's not a long-term solution, and a mishap might occur," said Jing Jiu.
A few bubbles came out from his mouth as the Fire Carp looked at the worried Grandmaster Zhang; the bubbles burst instantly as they reached the surface of the water, and the voice of the Fire Carp was heard.
"I'm quite happy here, though I'm just a sliver of spiritual soul. Well, I don't care what will happen. I'll wait and see until this old guy dies."
Upon hearing this, the Grandmaster Zhang had almost choked to death on his own saliva. He snapped after coughing twice, "I'll barbecue you first before my death. Maybe, I can live another couple of decades!"
Jing Jiu had no interest in paying further attention to this matter. He turned around and walked into the Clan Hall, because he didn't want to listen to the two who were even more talkative than Zhuo Rusui and Liu Shisui.
The incense in the Clan Hall had lasted a long time, and the green smoke had also lingered a long time. It was unclear what Jing Jiu had done there before he left the hall.
"Have you noticed anything out of place?" the Fire Carp asked curiously.
Grandmaster Zhang returned, "How can I discern the expression on Immortal's face?"
Jing Jiu flew to the high sky alongside the Green Bird.
He felt the scene familiar. It was not that he thought of the occasion when he broke through the sky after he won the tripod at the Dao Competition; rather, the scene reminded him of another scene in which he ascended from Green Mountain more than one hundred years ago.
The whole of world was falling away from him; but it entered his sight in another manner, making him see it more clearly.
There was a ghost under the tree in the royal palace of Zhao State; the pirate ships on the blue sea had become the ghost boats; the ghosts could be seen in the Scholar Palace in Xianyang. The whole world was full of ghosts.
"Did you create those ghosts?" he asked the Green Bird.
"What kind of nonsense are you talking about?" she retorted.
Jing Jiu was sure that she had nothing to do with the matter, saying nothing more. He left the Green Sky Mirror after bidding farewell to her.
By the time Jing Jiu opened his eyes, what he saw was not the dull cliff wall but a face very close to his.
It was a pretty face, eyes and brows looking like those in a painting; yet, the eyebrows seemed to be able to take off like swords, with a formidable intent.
He was of course acquainted with this face, but he had never seen it at such a close distance. He could even see himself reflected in the distinctive black and white eyes.
More significantly, his lips and hers were touching.
Zhao Layue sat up, looking at the downstream of the lava river calmly while holding the Green Sky Mirror. It seemed that nothing had happened.
Jing Jiu uttered an inquiring "hmm".
Without turning around to face him, she asked, "You didn't like it?"
After some thought, Jing Jiu said, "You don't have to do it while I'm asleep next time."
Zhao Layue said, "I'll be embarrassed to do that; and there won't be a next time."
"It's up to you," said Jing Jiu.
Zhao Layue suddenly remembered the scene in the brothel she saw from the top of the Near-Star Building back when she and Jing Jiu were in Shangzhou City. "It's really boring," she said while shaking her head.
When the Grandmaster Zhang said that he would like to barbecue the Fire Carp, it was a banter between friends; he wouldn't actually put the fish's life in danger.
However, it was a different outcome for He Zhan. When he claimed to barbecue a fish, he would kill a fish first and put it on the fire to barbecue. He wouldn't cook a fried fish like those wicked peddlers did in the night market of Zhaoge City even though they promised to barbecue the fresh fish.
"I have a nickname 'The Second in the World'; but I'm definitely better than you in barbecuing fish. I haven't even told Tong Yan about my secret recipe."
He Zhan fetched clean water in the stream by filling up the bamboo tube, which he would use for boiling the soup of fish bones.
A crisp sound of silvery bell came out from the inside of the forest. It remained unclear what Sese was doing in there.
Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue sat on the grass of a higher elevation, listening to the sound of bell and He Zhan's boasting. They thought these two Cultivation partners were indeed a good match.
It didn't take long before Sese ran out from the forest cheerfully with a deer that was shocked unconscious by her Clean-Heart Bell.
It had been peaceful in the snowland lately. It was rather warm in White Town. The ice and snow had melted and become the streams in midsummer. Many green trees had gown on the mountains, and so had the wild animals. As such, there was a variety of foods for the meal.
Zhao Layue had eaten most of the two barbecued fish. She looked like a mischievous child indulged in eating when one looked at her greasy mouth.
Jing Jiu shot her a glance.
She shot him a stare back.
Sese didn't notice the exchange between Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue. Thinking that she wouldn't be able to see Jing Jiu in the future, Sese felt sad as well as delighted. She threw herself into Jing Jiu's chest as they bade farewell to each other.
He Zhan coughed twice as he looked at Jing Jiu.
Jing Jiu watched him quietly, waiting for him to speak.
He didn't do it in the end.
It was because He Zhan was smart enough to suspect the hidden secret regarding his birth.
And he was also smart enough not to ask.
The two of them arrived at the edge of a cliff as they traveled along the stream. Below was White Town. Looking down at the town, they could see many banners with scripts. However, they didn't have any sensation of sacredness when seeing them. Instead, they felt it rather messy to have all these banners.
Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue made their way to the foot of the cliff and walked into the small temple.
The large Buddha was saving the Underworld at the moment. The person on the base of the lotus flower was a little monk.
In Jing Jiu's eyes, the Young Zen Master was always the little monk he had known a long time ago.
Zhao Layue sat on the high doorsill after swinging her short braid to the front. She let loose a faint smile as she recalled the fallen peach flowers many years back.
"I heard that you told them about the karma at the Three-Thousand Nunnery. But I don't think it's an appropriate explanation."
Jing Jiu said to the Young Zen Master, "It's better to state that Jing Yang and I are a fire rather than the upstream and downstream of a river."
Having said this, Jing Jiu took out a thin stick and set it on fire.
Later, he took out another thin stick and lit it with the flame on the first stick.
In the next moment, he took out the third thin stick.
Realizing that the thin sticks were the pile he left behind at the Three-Thousand Nunnery, the Young Zen Master reached out his hands in an effort to stop Jing Jiu.
"I understand…I understand! It's unnecessary to elucidate such a simple principle by doing this. Please stop burning them! Please!"
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