Moonedge Pavilion, solitude chamber.
“Sect Leader, something bad has happened!”
A short Daoist with a youthful appearance suddenly startled awake from his meditation and frowned slightly. “What major event deserves such panic? Am I about to die or is Moonedge Pavilion about to fall?”
“Yes, you’re right.” The messenger disciple replied foolishly.
The short Daoist flew into a rage. “What did you say! I dare you to say that again!”
The disciple fell on his knees. “Sect Leader, Wang-shixiong offended Frostcloud Sect. I’m afraid they will come knocking on the door soon.”
After listening to the disciple’s tale, the facial muscles of the short Daoist twitched and he gritted his teeth. “Where is that useless troublemaker Wang Yishui?”
“He… ran away.”
The short Daoist was furious. “Find him! Even if you turn Credence City upside down, find me that jinx!”
He had no other choice. Even the sect leader needed someone to take the blame. Besides, he really knew nothing about this!
As a result, Wang Yishui, who fled into the mountains, had not even spent one night in peace when he was captured by the disciples of Moonedge Pavilion.
No matter how he wailed and complained about his grievances, the sect leader was indifferent. He only ordered someone to destroy Wang Yishui’s spiritual roots, threw him into the water dungeon, and obediently waited for Frostcloud Sect to come after them.
However, Moonedge Pavilion never received a visit from Frostcloud Sect, and Wang Yishui never got the chance to see the sun again.
This was the afterword.
Jing Yue was not aware of the happenings, because the master of eavesdropping, the blue phoenix, had followed him to the Central region.
After traveling for more than 20 days on the sky vessel, the Frostcloud Sect entourage finally arrived at Traverse City where the Three Realm Temple was located.
As soon as one entered the boundary of the city, a seemingly non-existent Sanskrit chanting could be heard. The sound was very soft, not disturbing, but exuded a tranquil Zen-like atmosphere.
After entering the city, everything was different.
The city was actually comprised of three circles, each circle within the other. Inside each circle were passages in all four directions, traversing through the entire city.
Among them, the outer ring mostly consisted of private residences, the middle ring was where the monks lived, and the Three Realm Temple was located in the innermost ring.
Most of the houses in Traverse City were low-rise. Even if one stood at the outer ring, one could clearly see the towers in the inner ring.
Most of the people walking on the streets were monks in robes with attentive expressions. Walking among the mortals, there was a natural sense of integration.
It was as if they were born as one, painted seamlessly into a picture scroll.
Occasionally, a mortal would pay respects to a monk. At this time, the monk would sprinkle a handful of talisman paper and throw it over the other's head as a blessing.
A wind that was filled with the smell of burning incense caused the monks’ sleeves to flap in the gust, and yellow talisman littered everywhere on the eaves, streets, and trees.
There were many people on the street, but it was quiet and gave a sense of peace.
In Traverse City, it seemed that all worldly troubles would precipitate and be forgotten.
“Traverse City can indeed help people to cross over.” Jing Yue sighed.
Wei Tianli nodded in agreement. “The two largest cities in Central Region, Traverse City in the north, and Bliss City in the south.”
Jing Yue, “Bliss City? Is that the city where Nine Heaven Academy is located?”
Wei Tianli, “Exactly. The so-called ‘North Traverse South Bliss’ actually refers to Three Realm Temple and Nine Heaven Academy.”
Jing Yue nodded slightly. He knew that the Three Realm Temple in Central region was equivalent to the position of Frostcloud Sect in the Evernorth, and that Nine Heaven Academy was at another level of its own.
Wei Tianli continued, “I heard that Laozu is interested in Nine Heaven Academy?”
“Mm, it sounds very interesting.”
“Is it because of Qin-zhenjun?”
Jing Yue startled. “Why do you say that?”
“Since Qin-zhenjun took over as the leader of Nine Heaven Academy five years ago, there are a lot more people who wanted to join the academy during the opening this time compared to the past, all because of his title as the top genius of the cultivation world.”
A laugh escaped from Jing Yue. “I just wanted to take a look at the library of the academy. Besides, I’m quite sure the leader seldom conducts lectures, right?”
“You’re right. Laozu is about to establish the foundation. If you can meet a chance encounter in the Central region this time, we might be in time for the opening of the academy.”
“I hope so.”
They did not go to the Three Realm Temple directly because an eminent Buddhist monk of that rank would be mourned for 28 days, while this day happened to be the 27th day, so the ceremony would be tomorrow.
The group of people walked aimlessly around the outer ring. When they passed by the Flying Immortal List, they noticed that there were only about a dozen people crowded in front of it, most of them fellow cultivators who came to express their condolences.
Jing Yue was slightly surprised. “The people in Traverse City are very special. Are they not interested in the Flying Immortal List?”
Wei Tianli, “The people here have always been like this. Nothing seems to arouse their attention and nothing can make them afraid.”
Jing Yue smiled and blue phoenix rejoiced in his consciousness. “Fortunately, Jing-jing is not a monk. If you were born in Traverse City, Ji-ji would be so bored.”
“Maybe then you can cultivate wholeheartedly.”
Blue phoenix, “… No way!”
During that conversation, a white-bearded veteran appeared in the front of the Flying Immortal List. With a wave of his hand, the list shone with a faint light, and there seemed to be some changes to it.
Jing Yue, “That is…?”
Wei Tianli, “People from the rogue cultivator alliance. They are the ones responsible for the Flying Immortal List.”
Jing Yue, “Isn’t the alliance in the East Yu mainland?”
Wei Tianli, “Yes, that’s their headquarters, but the Seven Continents are full of rogue cultivators, so they have people everywhere. They have many sources of information and they have sufficient manpower to verify it. No one is more suitable to manage the Flying Immortal List.”
With his question answered, Jing Yue said, “Let’s go and have a look.”
Perhaps because Qin Yanzhi was mentioned earlier, Jing Yue still saw his name at first glance, still imposing and as steady as a rock.
Wei Tianli’s name was naturally on the list too, but there was no change to his ranking, still in 6th place.
Since he had confirmed that the Laozu was interested in the Nine Heaven Academy, he made a special introduction of the people on the Mountain River List to the other. These cultivators were either lecturers in the academy, still studying, or had graduated from the academy.
“Huh? Lin Weixue has moved up more than a dozen places on the ranking.”
An elder by the name of Wang next to him commented, “He’s quite talented. In just ten years, for one who has never made the list, he successfully raised to the top 20 among the Amethyst Abode cultivators.”
Another person said, “Many people regard guarding the Schism Ocean as a curse and are terrified of it. In fact, as long as you are determined and seize the opportunity, you might even be the second Lin-zhenjun.”
Jing Yue overheard the conversation and saw Lin Weixue’s name, and asked curiously, “Did he do something?”
Elder Wang, “It’s a long story…”
It turned out that Lin Weixue was originally an elder of the White Phoenix Sword Sect. He violated the rules ten years ago and was exiled to Schism Ocean for a hundred years.
In the first few years, nothing major happened. In the 8thyear, however, Lin Weixue followed a group of fellow cultivators across the Schism Ocean into the Yao Detention Mountain to kill monsters, and he disappeared for 3 years.
At that time, the guardians of Schism Ocean assumed that he was dead, but the White Phoenix Sword Sect sent a message informing them that Lin Weixue’s soul lamp was still intact. Everyone searched for a long time to no avail.
Elder Wang, “Unexpectedly, three years later, Lin Weixue walked out of the Yao Detention Mountain with the bodies of 12 Yao Marshals.”
Jing Yue got a shock. “Yao Marshal? A marshal is equivalent to an Amethyst Abode cultivator. Lin-zhenjun is no more than an Amethyst Abode cultivator himself. He possessed such strength?”
Elder Wang, “That’s right. Everyone else was also confused. The White Phoenix Sword Sect didn’t disclose any specific reason, but Lin Weixue became famous after this incident. And because of his great contributions, he was also able to return to the sect in advance. In the next ten years, his cultivation progress is even faster.”
Hearing this, blue phoenix became agitated again. “He must have met a chance encounter on Yao Detention Mountain. Maybe he has recognized some old monster or even the demon emperor as his godfather, but in fact, he has already betrayed the human race! The 12 corpses of the Yao Marshal are nothing but a fake trophy. You must be wary of such people!”
Jing Yue, “…”
It was a night without stars and moon.
There was a Yao Tower on the back mountain of Three Realm Temple, thirteen stories high, with hundreds of thousands of big and small Yao sealed inside, and there was even a Yao King.
During the turbulent times of the Yao Catalyst 8,000 years ago, some of the high-ranking demons headed by the Yao Saint were killed, some were detained on the Yao Detention Mountain by enchantments, and some were taken to the Three Realm Temple and contained in the Yao Tower.
The Yao Tower was a complete formation, using the hundreds of thousands of Yao as the trigger, and was used to absorb and purify the Yao energy derived from the heavens. Once the Yao world gained less Qi, their strength would be reduced accordingly.
Therefore, even though eight thousand years have passed, the Yao in the tower were still alive.
At this time, in front of the Yao Tower, two young monks guarded the door with lanterns in their hands.
Jie Se, “Tomorrow is Master Kong Miao’s ceremony. I heard that both Frostcloud Sect and Sword Inscription Sect have arrived in Traverse City.”
Jie Sha, “Of course they must attend. Alas, I hope the ceremony goes smoothly tomorrow. There are too many accidents happening in the temple recently. I’m quite worried.”
Jie Se said in dissatisfaction, “Even if Master Kong Miao passed away, his soul will protect our temple. What’s there to worry about?”
At this time, a middle-aged monk approached them. He was very thin and his monk robe seemed to be hanging on a bamboo pole.
Jie Se and Jie Sha cupped their hands and greeted, “Master Jing Wu.”
Jing Wu returned the greeting with no expression on his face, but there was a slight sadness in his eyes.
“Stay on guard here. I’ll enter the Yao Tower to have a look.”
Jie Se and Jie Sha did not notice any peculiarities. There were many formations both inside and outside the tower, and someone would regularly check if the formations were intact.
When the door of the Yao Tower closed, Jie Se said, “Since Master Hui Yuan passed away, Master Jing Wu has been in poor spirits. I heard that someone has seen him crying secretly.”
Jie Sha, “What’s so strange about that? Master Hui Yuan was brought back as a child by Master Jing Wu, and he was fully raised by him. It’s not an exaggeration to say that he was like a son to him. What's more, Master Hui Yuan is so talented that even Master Kong Miao had high hopes for him. Who would have expected that he’d suffer from deviation?”
He sighed again. “It’s normal if Master Jing Wu is not able to accept it for a while. We’re Buddhist practitioners, but we’re not Buddha after all. Aren’t we just human in the end?”
Jie Se agreed with a lingering fear. “But I really didn’t expect Master Hui Yuan to leave before Master Kong Miao. I heard that when he was found, his entire body was soaked in blood, his eyes were staring, and there was a strange smile at the corner of his mouth.”
A chill ran across Jie Sha’s heart. He frowned and said, “Shidi, watch your words!”
A gust of wind whirled, with the howling of the night, the bells hanging on the eaves of the tower rang, and the forest outside the demon tower also swayed.
Jie Se and Jie Sha shuddered. The faint light illuminated the dark tower door behind them, like the huge mouth of a fierce beast that could swallow people whole at any time.
The night was long.
The next day, the sunlight dissipated the morning mist, and the tall tower of Three Realm Temple could be seen vaguely.
The monks scattered some grains on the tower trough, attracting the birds to fight for food.
Suddenly, the surrounding air distorted slightly. 999 stone pagodas that formed the temple’s protection barrier dissipated and the gates of Three Realm Temple opened wide, welcoming the cultivators who came to express their condolences.
As everyone was aware, the protective barrier of the Three Realm Temple was only activated at night. In the daytime, it was no different from ordinary monasteries.
Everyone was welcomed and anyone could stay.
Jing Yue followed everyone in, and could not help remembering that he was the one who brought Kong Miao here thousands of years ago. When he first stepped into the monastery, he saw Great Master Zhen Rang sitting under the Bodhi tree, with his kind face and benevolent eyes, saying that he had been waiting for him for a long time.
The breeze blew up pieces of Bodhi leaves and circled the stone tower.
Jing Yue stirred from the memory, only to find that the Bodhi tree from back then had withered away, and the Great Master had also fallen during the Yao Catalyst, long gone in the cycle of reincarnation.
After ten thousand years, too much had changed.
When Jing Yue entered the square in front of the Hall of Buddha, he immediately felt the majestic aura of Buddhism, leaving a sense of awe in people.
A frost jade coffin was placed in the center of the square, and Kong Miao’s remains laid quietly in it, looking very peaceful as if he was just asleep.
The current abbot of Three Realm Temple, Jue Yuan, and many high-ranking monks sat around the coffin, chanting scriptures for the afterlife. When the hour arrived, the heavenly fire would descend to burn Kong Miao’s remains, leaving his Sarira, and send his soul for reincarnation.
The people of Frostcloud Sect were led to a clearing by a little novice monk. After Jing Yue sat down and looked around, he found many familiar faces that had appeared during his initiation ceremony.
Finally, his gaze landed on a group of cultivators with long swords on the right. While sitting on their knees, their backs were straight, their faces were stern, and their auras were like sheathed swords.
The Sword Inscription Sect!
Jing Yue could tell at a glance, but the leader was changed from Qin Yanzhi to a white-haired veteran, most likely the current sect leader, Fu Chen-zhenjun.
The other party seemed to have sensed his gaze. A pair of eagle-eyes suddenly flipped around and was slightly taken aback at the sight of Jing Yue, before bowing his head slightly as a sign of respect.
When a sect leader was faced with a patriarch, the status was always lower.
Jing Yue nodded in response, closed his eyes, and gradually relaxed amid the endless chanting. His consciousness returned to zero as if his soul had drifted away.
Vaguely, a sense of subtle strangeness welled up within him, but he could not grasp hold of it even after attempting to do so.
Jing Yue was still trying to make sense of this feeling when his heart suddenly shuddered. The unknown danger made his hair stand on end.
He opened his eyes and saw that even the blue phoenix, which was hiding in his clothes, poked its head out and looked around alertly.
The temple bell rang for no reason. The mountain shook instantly and the birds scattered. In the distance, a red light shot into the sky!
Abbot Jue Yuan stood up abruptly and exclaimed angrily, “Insolent troublemakers!”
At the same time, a monk covered in blood rushed into the square and shouted hysterically, “Oh no! Jing Wu rebelled! He activated the inner formation of the Yao Tower and all the Yao have escaped!”
Wei Tianli: Is it because of Qin-zhenjun?
Jing Yue: ??? What has he got to do with anything?