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What was happening on the observing platform of the Green Mountain Sect drew a great deal of attention; hundreds of gazes were fixed on Jing Jiu's left hand.
He held his left hand tightly, though not out of excitement or anger.
The people had all seen the scene in the Illusionary Realm of the Green Sky Mirror when Jing Jiu grabbed the tripod, so they could vaguely guess what was in his left hand.
The news that Bai Qianjun had been wounded severely had already reached them; as such, they were even more certain that the Fairy Book of Longevity should be in Jing Jiu's left hand.
Yet, what they couldn't understand was why Jing Jiu kept holding the Fairy Book in his hand rather than putting it away. Wasn't he worried that something unexpected could happen to it?
A deep and gloomy voice blurted out, "What Jing Jiu did has obviously violated the rules. If it were allowed by the rules in the very beginning, who wouldn't want to break the barrier?"
The speaker was en elder of the Kunlun Sect, referring to the event of Jing Jiu winning the tripod.
A highly achieved swordsman of the Great Marsh sneered, "Even if you wanted to, could you do it?"
Now that someone from a sect that was friendly to the Green Mountain Sect had spoken, those sects that were close to the Center Sect didn't want to keep silent, and so they spoke out one after the other. They thought that the way Jing Jiu won the Fairy Book was hardly convincing. The atmosphere was chaotic, on the verge of becoming turbulent.
It was then that somebody on the observing platform of the Green Mountain Sect uttered a sound of "hmm".
This sound came out from his nose. Though it had a nice tune to it, it didn't sound so great, being full of lethargy. However, it also had a challenging intent.
When they heard the sound, the crowd didn't feel so comfortable. As they lifted their head to look in the direction of the sound, they found that the noise maker was Zhuo Rusui.
Zhuo Rusui lifted up his eyelids slightly, and glanced over the faces of the crowd, saying nothing.
However, everybody was aware that the "hmm" he uttered was unmistakably the oral mantra of the Green Mountain Sect.
Do you wish to die?
n.o.body wanted to die here.
Thinking of Zhuo Rusui's fame and his brutal performance in the Illusionary Realm of the Green Sky Mirror, all the people, including that elder of the Kunlun Sect, fell silent. It was deathly quiet outside Huiyin Valley.
Still, the people here couldn't determine whether the way Jing Jiu won the Fairy Book would be considered by the Center Sect as complying with the rules.
They believed that the sect masters of several major Cultivation sects were discussing this matter somewhere in the deep part of the Cloud-Dream Mountain.
Jing Jiu mused that the pair of master and disciple, Liu Ci and Zhuo Rusui, were quite alike.
Of course, he wouldn't pay any heed to what those people had said. "As for why I insist on it, I have my own reason," Jing Jiu said to Nan w.a.n.g.
Nan w.a.n.g demanded emotionlessly, "Even if your suggestion is totally absurd?!"
Jing Jiu and Nan w.a.n.g were not talking about the matter of giving the Fairy Book to the Water-Moon Nunnery, which was different from what Sese and others believed.
Nan w.a.n.g had never liked the Water-Moon Nunnery because of Lian Sanyue; but she wouldn't care about such a matter.
If possible, Jing Jiu would rather not speak to Nan w.a.n.g, let alone speak to her at such a close distance. But, this matter was too troublesome, so he needed to see Liu Ci as soon as possible.
"Yes," Jing Jiu answered.
Nan w.a.n.g shot him a cold glance, without saying another word.
There appeared dozens of very thin strings in the sky behind Nan w.a.n.g; the Zither Sword shot up skyward to somewhere in the air.
The scene had drawn the attention from more people.
Nan w.a.n.g told Fang Jingtian, "Jing Jiu and I have to leave first."
As she said that, the Zither Sword had broken through the sky and returned to their residence. Dozens of thin strings appeared again.
As Nan w.a.n.g retrieved the strings, she and Jing Jiu had already arrived on the peak top.
Fang Jingtian frowned slightly, wondering what had happened. He didn't want to stay there any longer, and he instructed the Green Mountain disciples to gather together and leave the place by riding their swords.
Leaving the place didn't mean that they would leave the Cloud-Dream Mountain; they merely left the Huiyin Valley.
Leaving the mountain right after obtaining the Fairy Book would appear arrogant and impolite, which was similar to what the green bird had thought of Jing Jiu.
With the flashes of the sword lights, the Green Mountain disciples had returned to the House of Peeled Skin.
Fang Jingtian's face was rather dismal. He walked along the long corridor to arrive at the back of the cliff. He came to the front of Jing Jiu's room.
Nan w.a.n.g sat in front of the door with her legs crossed.
Dozens of invisible sword strings scattered in the surroundings, encircling the whole room.
Seeing this, Fang Jingtian asked, "What the heck is going on?"
"He doesn't want to tell me," Nan w.a.n.g said.
"I have just learned," Fang Jingtian said, "he actually intends to give the Fairy Book to the Water-Moon Nunnery."
"I'm not against it," Nan w.a.n.g said.
"Who gives him the right to make the decision?"
Fang Jingtian exclaimed furiously, "The Fairy Book of Longevity is the precious treasure left behind by the Great Grandmaster Bai; it is important to our sect. Not even you and I can't make the decision, let alone Jing Jiu!!"
Shooting a glance his way, Nan w.a.n.g remarked with a mocking tone, "Do you want to make the suggestion, like what Jian Ruyun did, to expel Jing Jiu from the mountain gate?!"
Jing Jiu had become a disciple with an exceptional talent nurtured secretly by the nine peaks of Green Mountain many years ago after the Sword Trial on Green Mountain. And he didn't disappoint the Green Mountain Sect when he won the first place in the Cultivation tournament at the Plum Meeting and the tripod this time. Moreover, he was the personal disciple of the Immortal Jing Yang and an elder on Shenmo Peak. Who was qualified to discipline him besides the Sect Master and the Sword Justice Yuan Qijing?
Fang Jingtian's countenance grew gloomier as he said, "Young Sister, as I remember, you have never liked Shenmo Peak that much?"
"I still don't like them; but I'm telling you the fact," Nan w.a.n.g said.
Fang Jingtian remained silent for a while and said, "Let me go in to talk to him."
"n.o.body is allowed to go in," said Nan w.a.n.g.
Fang Jingtian demanded, "What on earth has happened?"
Nan w.a.n.g closed her eyes, not paying any heed to him.
There was nothing Fang Jingtian could do, so he waved his sleeve dismissively and left.
Nan w.a.n.g opened her eyes. "The Fairy Book…is problematic?" she inquired while looking at the flowing clouds and the gentle wind outside the railing.
"Yes." Jing Jiu's voice rang out behind her.
Jing Jiu was staring at his own left fist, where the Fairy Book was held. Though the Fairy Book was sealed by his palm, it still exuded the faint fairy energy outwards.
Fortunately, the fairy energy was exceedingly faint so that only certain divine animals and he could sense it.
He had made calculations several times before entering the Illusionary Realm, but the results were always undesirable.
By then, he had realized that he would encounter some problems in this Dao Compet.i.tion, and that was why he asked Gu Qing to return to Green Mountain first.
By now it seemed that his premonition was correct. Yet, it had already happened, and it was meaningless to think about it.
He pushed open the door, took out the bamboo chair and lay on it.
Sensing the commotion behind her, Nan w.a.n.g arched her brows slightly, thinking this scene was truly unsightly. So she drifted up while sitting cross-legged, and stopped at an elevation half a foot above the bamboo chair.
Suddenly, a noise could be heard outside the railing at the cliff's edge; it seemed that someone was climbing up the cliff.
Neither Nan w.a.n.g nor Jing Jiu made a move; it was because they knew who the climber was.
Jing Jiu was still lying on the bamboo chair.
And Nan w.a.n.g was still drifting in midair.
Liu Shisui crested the peak top. As he witnessed the strange scene on the peak top, he was flabbergasted at first, and then came back to his senses.
"Greetings, Senior Master Nan; greetings, Young Master."
Liu Shisui bowed down and knocked his head on the ground six times.
Jing Jiu said, "I asked you to come over to check on your condition. Since I saw you climb up the cliff so easily, it seems you are fine now. You should go back."
"Yeah," mumbled Liu Shisui. Yet, he thought that it was his young master who asked him not to go anywhere afar, and now he climbed up here with so much effort; why did Jing Jiu ask him to go back so soon? Honesty doesn't equate to stupidity. Liu Shisui soon realized that his Young Master must have encountered something forbidding, or even some sort of danger; otherwise, Senior Master Nan wouldn't need to act as a guard here.
"I'd like to stay here and protect you," he offered.
Jing Jiu shot him a look.
Liu Shisui understood his intent, but he was still hesitant.
"I'm here to protect him. You have nothing to worry about. Get the heck out of here and go back to your place."
Nan w.a.n.g added with a slightly curt expression, "You should have repented in the Sword Jail, but instead you are here to be seen by all the others. If the fact were known, how could the masters of Green Mountain discipline other disciples in the future?"
"He was called upon by the Sect Master," Jing Jiu said.
Liu Shisui felt somewhat embarra.s.sed, thinking what Nan w.a.n.g said was true and that it would be better for him to return to the Fruit Formation Temple sooner, now that the young master had already obtained the Fairy Book.
As he was about to leave, he noticed the bamboo chair was badly damaged. "I planted some bamboo over there. Should I make a new one for you?" Liu Shisui offered since he couldn't stand seeing his young master lie on a damaged bamboo chair.
"Okay," said Jing Jiu.
Liu Shisui climbed over the railing and descended the cliff the same way he came up.
Thinking of their conversation, Nan w.a.n.g somehow felt uncomfortable. She sneered, "Where did your other disciple go?"
Jing Jiu knew it was Gu Qing she was asking about, saying, "I asked him to return to Green Mountain early on."
Nan w.a.n.g arched her brows as she pressed, "You had known that you would win before entering the Illusionary Realm and that the Fairy Book was problematic?"
Jing Jiu uttered "hmm".
After a pause, Nan w.a.n.g pressed again, "The Sect Master let Liu Shisui partic.i.p.ate in the Dao Compet.i.tion as a No-Mercy Sect disciple and he came here to oversee it personally, because he knew you would win?"
Jing Jiu uttered "hmm" again.
Nan w.a.n.g looked at the scenery outside the cliff, reflecting on something.
"Why hasn't he come back yet?" Jing Jiu asked.
The person he inquired about was the Sect Master of Green Mountain, Liu Ci.
Nan w.a.n.g said, "You won the Fairy Book by not following the rules; some people are not convinced. The Sect Master has to deal with the complaints on your behalf, so obviously he wouldn't be back so soon."
"If I'm not mistaken, he should come back sooner than you have expected," said Jing Jiu.
Nan w.a.n.g demanded, "Are you only willing to talk to the Sect Master about the issue of the Fairy Book? You don't trust me?"
She felt indignant, and since she thought that she, as the peak master of Qingrong, had to guard the door for this young disciple, it made her even more upset.
Seeing her back figure, Jing Jiu knew she was upset.
He remembered the large rock atop Qingrong Peak many years ago, and the young and obnoxious woman under the flowering tree behind the rock; a hint of smile formed on the corners of his mouth.
It was a rarely seen emotion in Jing Jiu.
A moment later, he recalled the folk songs sung by that young woman while being drunk; his smile vanished instantly.
In the deepest part of a secret valley on the Cloud-Dream Mountain, there was a secretive manor cave.
The forbidding formation was extremely powerful in the manor cave, which could even resist the a.s.sault of the swordsmen of Green Mountain in the Heavenly Arrival State for a while.
A hand holding the Heavenly Retrieval Orb set it down in the middle of a stone table.
Countless light rays beamed out from the Heavenly Retrieval Orb, illuminating the four walls of the manor cave.
The roof of the manor cave was a dome. When the images were all connected on the dome, it looked exceedingly extensive.
Those images were the recordings of what the partic.i.p.ants of the Dao Compet.i.tion in the Illusionary Realm of the Green Sky Mirror had experienced for many decades.
Everything they had experienced there was recorded in these images, including the remotest villages and the slightest movement and expression.
The images flashed at a high speed, turning into an iridescent ribbon, and yet, in a pair of relentless and unaffectionate eyes, these images had no difference from the real scenes.
There was no need for the Immortal Bai to ask the green bird about what had happened in the Illusionary Realm.
As long as she wanted to, she could pull out any image from that world and find out what had happened in the past.
The green bird had no way to conceal anything from her.
The Immortal Bai didn't watch anybody else, but Jing Jiu and the green bird.
She watched the infant born in the Royal Palace of Chu State, who stood up looking at the sky and the earth, grow up, and cultivate without paying any attention to the mortal affairs
It was Jing Jiu's first strike when Master Mo entered the Royal Palace.
"Very fast," the Immortal Bai murmured, "but it's still not fast enough."
The images fast forwarded; soon they revealed the last part of their experiences.
The red leaves seemed ablaze on the Buzhou Mountain, and the stone steps were like the jade ribbon. The Qin Emperor ascended the stone steps and met Jing Jiu in the temple.
Dozens of the Qin swordsmen were cut into meat blocks, and the Qin Emperor was severely wounded; but Jing Jiu's hand was still on the sword's hilt.
At the time, the green bird looked at the distant mountains, the red leaves, and the Qin Emperor; she ignored some important images, be it intentionally or unintentionally.
All of these scenes were witnessed by the Immortal Bai now.
"It's truly fast," she remarked.
Two animal eyes as large as the grinding wheels gradually appeared in the shadows at the far end of the manor cave, which were chilly and hideous, full of lethal intent.
"You have made a great deal of trouble in the Fiend Prison, and the Old Dragon died because of you. Now you came here to s.n.a.t.c.h the precious treasure of our Center Sect only after a few years…"
Seeing Jing Jiu walk to the empty s.p.a.ce in those images, the Immortal Bai muttered expressionlessly, "You think I have forgotten, have you?!"