"Why do I want to get rid of this body? First of all, we need to understand who I am."
Jing Jiu's line of sight fixed on the distant stream among the peaks, which looked like a golden whip under the midday sunlight.
"I'm not the upstream of a river in my former life nor the downstream in my present life. There is an interesting metaphor used by the Zen sects to describe this karma."
He raised the forefinger on his right hand after drawing back his line of sight.
A sword fire started burning on the tip of his finger.
"It's like a flame being used to light a stick; then the flame will be used to light another stick and so on. As such, are the flame on the last stick and the one on my fingertip the same flame?"
The peaks were deathly quiet.
Ada lay in Zhao Layue's bosom while looking at the flame on Jing Jiu's fingertip with narrowed eyes.
Though it was not difficult to understand the concept of the Zen sects, it was nevertheless not very fitting for Jing Jiu's circumstance.
As expected, Jing Jiu continued, "If these flames were connected but not the same flame, what color would I be?"
The flames are different for different substances in terms of their color and brightness; for instance, the flames of stick, coal, sword and paper were all different from each other.
Jing Jiu didn't like it; or in other words, he didn't like the continuation of himself this way.
He said to Ping Yongjia, "Hence, I wish to take off the cloth, get rid of the body and throw away the sticks."
Ping Yongjia had finally understood it now.
It was why he had left the All in One.
It was why the Green Girl had left the Green Sky Mirror.
And it was why the Snow Girl had left this world.
There were neither sticks and coal nor sword and paper, but the flames.
It was the state Jing Jiu had been pursuing.
However, he hadn't reached the state yet…so who was he then?
"I'm the outcome of all of my karma."
Jing Jiu made the statement once again.
He gazed around at the surroundings.
The Cultivation practitioners among the peaks could all sense his gaze.
The peaks of Green Mountain had also sensed it.
The owner of the restaurant in the distant Cloudy Town had sensed it.
Jing Li in Zhaoge City had sensed it.
The Green Bird on a tree branch had sensed it.
The Young Zen Master in the small temple had sensed it.
Gu Qing on the sea had sensed it.
"We have met here because of fate, and here we are."
Jing Jiu looked at Zhao Layue; he was actually looking at the whole world at the moment.
It was quiet throughout the world.
Everyone was waiting for him to say the last words before his ascension.
No one knew what he was to say.
It was believed to be wonderful and inspiring statement.
"I'm leaving," said he.
A sword light shot up into the sky.
It arrived in the high sky in an instant.
And it was inside the Empty Realm in the next instant.
Not a shadow of Jing Jiu could be seen on the ground.
Looking at the fast traveling sword light, Chen Xueqiao slapped the arms of the wheelchair lightly while commenting disappointedly, "He has just left, like that?"
She couldn't stand up, so she had no choice but to stay in the wheelchair. Everybody else among the peaks had stood up.
They had all fixed their gazes on the sky, feeling half excited and half anxious.
The sword light could be seen from every corner of Chaotian. Countless mortals walked out from their houses and looked up at the sky with either bewildered or thrilled expressions.
If the departure of the Snow Girl were not counted, this was the first time after a long while that the humans had witnessed another ascension; it was impossible for them not to feel anxious. Normally, it was a natural outcome now that Jing Jiu had the control of the All in One Sword Formation and his Cultivation state was exceedingly high. However, the rules of heaven were fair; the higher an ascendant's Cultivation state was, the stronger the heavenly punishment. As such, the Snow Girl, who was the highest lifeform in Chaotian, had encountered the strongest heavenly punishment. If the Fairy Lady Bai Ren hadn't left a passage, she might not have succeeded in her ascension attempt. Jing Jiu was said to be the strongest swordsman since ancient times. What sort of formidable heavenly punishment would he encounter? More importantly, the people hadn't forgotten: he had failed once in this endeavor.
Heaven and earth had responded to the endeavor. A great deal of thunder broke out in the Thunder Region; they twirled around at an extremely fast speed and headed toward the sword light after they gathered together to form a huge whirlpool of thunderstorm. Looking up at it from the ground, the huge whirlpool of thunderstorm resembled an eerie huge eye bearing down on the ground with a formidable pressure.
The strong wind was howling. The sand and pebbles were hurled up in the air in Cloudy Town and the surrounding areas. The mortals were hastening to get out of the harm's way, not daring to look up at the sky even with one glance.
Cultivation practitioners had a sharp sight. They could tell that the bright and thin lines in the whirlpool of thunderstorm were actually the broad flashes of lightning, and they couldn't help but feel flabbergasted, wondering how Jing Jiu could pass through thousands of flashes of lightning in the whirlpool of thunderstorm even though he was a figure in the Heavenly Arrival State. They thought that he might disperse as a waft of smoke when he was struck by such formidable lightning.
A flash of lightning had come down from the whirlpool of thunderstorm and struck the sword light squarely.
A barrage of surprised screams went up among the peaks of Green Mountain.
Zhao Layue and the others turned toward Ping Yongjia.
Ping Yongjia shook his head in bewilderment, indicating that he hadn't sensed anything.
The lightning hadn't caused any damage to the sword light; it dissipated in an instant. In the next moment, dozens of flashes of lightning landed on the sword light and then dissipated, causing no harm to Jing Jiu.
Seeing this, the Cultivation practitioners among the peak of Green Mountain felt a bit relieved…only to witness a more dreadful scene soon after.
The whirlpool of thunderstorms was twirling faster and faster, as if the whole sky had begun to rotate. Tens of thousands of flashes of lightning merged together to become broader ones until they turned into a mountain of lightning, emitting a blindingly bright glow.
As the sky began to rotate, the Cultivation practitioners in the lower states couldn't withstand it any longer; they felt dizzy and were on the verge of vomiting. As a result, they had no choice but to sit down cross-legged to meditate.
As the flashes of lightning merged into a radiance that was brighter than the sunlight, most of the Cultivation practitioners couldn't withstand it anymore. They had all lowered their heads, not daring to take one glance at it. The Immortal Guangyuan and the other strong swordsmen looked at the scene in the sky with a grave expression on their faces, wondering if Jing Jiu could withstand it since they believed that the lightning was capable of vanquishing everything in this world.
Jing Jiu was drawing nearer to the bright lightning.
His face was illuminated brightly, as though glowing.
The formidable energy and the intense light seemed capable of setting the Empty Realm on fire.
This sort of dreadful heavenly punishment had never occurred in history.
"I'm truly the most powerful swordsman."
The idea had suddenly come up in his mind at such a critical moment.
Though it was a logical conclusion, it sounded a bit too arrogant nonetheless, as if he were a child who had just joined Green Mountain.
Most of the ascendants would choose to dodge the heavenly punishment or bear it until the trial of heaven was over and subsided by itself.
Jing Jiu didn't opt to do so.
Nor had he done so last time.
However, there was nothing in the Empty Realm even though he could control the All in One Sword. What could he do?
The sound of wind could suddenly be heard in the permanently quiet Empty Realm.
It was caused by the air and the clouds and fog that had been summoned by Jing Jiu from the area below.
A great many clouds and fog came surrounding Jing Jiu after they were stretched out to become thin strands as sharp as swords, piercing at the bright lightning.
He had sliced the sky with a swing of his sword last time when he ascended.
He opened the sky with ten-thousand swords this time.
Innumerable sword lights that were even brighter than the flashes of lightning appeared in the sky, forming a dense light net after they were all connected.
The whole world became extremely bright; even the dim sea looked transparent.
The shocking fact was that the flashes of lightning in the whirlpool of thunderstorm had a pointed tip now, as if they had all turned into a sword; instead of piercing toward Jing Jiu, they were heading toward the sky.
"How can he use the heavenly punishment against…the heavenly punishment?" the astonished voice of the Chief Nun of the Water-Moon Nunnery came out from inside the small green curtain sedan.
Bu Qiuxiao commented sentimentally, "Both the lightning and thunder are part of the All in One."
"The so-called path toward heaven turns out to be a part of our heaven and earth," remarked Cao Yuan thoughtfully.
The whirlpool of thunderstorm that had occupied the entire sky vanished. The blue sky returned, but the sword lights were still visible.
The sword lights were electricity, clouds, and air, glittering and traveling around in the sky, as if they were tens of thousands of shooting stars that would never drop down. It was an amazing scene.
The tens of thousands of sword lights had gradually abated, disappearing from Ada's gloomy pupils.
Ada was in Zhao Layue's bosom.
Zhao Layue was headed toward the outskirts of Cloudy Town while heaving Yin San's body back when the Immortal Jing Yang was ascending; she didn't even take a glance at it. She didn't miss even the briefest of moments of it this time.
She remained reticent as she looked at the flowing clouds with golden edges and the disappearing sword lights.
Even if you won't come back, I can go out to look for you; but what if I can't find you?
The ascension was a departure of life and death.
She was perceiving the feeling of life and death quietly.
A weed was growing up beside her foot.
This world was so dark that it was like the body of the Dead Dog.
And this world was so cold that it was like the hometown of the Snow Girl.
The moment the tens of thousands of sword lights disappeared from the devilish pupils of the cat, a warped space had suddenly appeared in this dark and cold world, which was actually a gap.
A sword light flew out of the gap at an unimaginably fast speed and then halted all of a sudden. Jing Jiu had shown up in person.
He turned his head toward where he had come from.
It was empty and vacant.
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