The east summit was very steep and the peak could only accommodate three people.
There were cliffs on all sides, icicles hanging on the edge, the ground slippery, and the sky was dim with snow. Every hour, a gust of squall would blow from the bottom of the cliff, so strong that it could almost tear everything within its path into pieces.
Despite the harsh conditions, Jing Yue found that place very suitable for practicing swordsmanship. Under the squall, each move required more strength than usual. The narrow space also forced people to control the sword style more steadily and more meticulously. Otherwise, if the movement was slightly distorted, it may not be able to withstand the attack of the wind, or stumble accidentally and fall off the cliff.
When Jing Yue brought Qin Yanzhi up here for the first time, the latter was almost swept away by the wind, but fortunately, he was pulled back in time.
But the shadow of fear didn’t fall upon Qin Yanzhi. In the beginning, he couldn’t stand up at all, and now he could stand firmly in the wind. It only took him 20 days. Compared with the chicken that was still often swept away by the wind, it was really something to be proud of.
As for blue phoenix, Jing Yue didn’t even bother to lend a helping hand. Anyway, it could fly back as soon as the wind stopped.
Jing Yue taught little Qin Yanzhi what he had learned from Qin Yanzhi one by one, telling him what a sword was, how to recognize it, and how to treat it. He always remembered Qin Yanzhi once said that he focused on cultivating the seven sword styles before he comprehended the Daoyi Sword Technique. Jing Yue’s talent in swordsmanship was no better than that of the other party, so he dared not teach him randomly, and just told little Qin Yanzhi to do the same.
At this moment, he held a wooden sword exactly like Qin Yanzhi's in both hands, separated his legs about a foot away front and back, straightened his waist, flexed his elbows to lift the sword, and said, “When cleaving, the eyes must be focused on the target. The strength starts from the waist, through the upper arm to the forearm, and then through the wrist to the hilt and tip of the sword. The arms should be stretched out, strength starting from top to bottom, with the tip of the sword pointing in the same direction and taking the opponent down.”
Qin Yanzhi imitated Jing Yue's movements and tried several times against the wind. The short body was a little unstable, but he still struck out with great difficulty.
He was happy in his heart, only feeling that this action made his pores excited. The process of learning the sword was like a process of finding himself bit by bit, like it belonged to a part of his body, making him feel affectionate and familiar.
Qin Yanzhi followed Jing Yue's rhythm, sword after sword, repeatedly, without feeling bored or tired.
When the setting sun shone on the stone and dyed the sky scarlet, Jing Yue finally retracted the sword.
Qin Yanzhi was wearing only his undershirt at the moment. He was so tired that he was sweating profusely, panting, and waiting for Jing Yue to wipe the sweat from his flushed face.
At the same time, blue phoenix flew up from under the cliff staggeringly, and said without shame, “Once Ji-ji transforms, this little wind will be nothing. As long as I cough a little, all of them will stop!”
Jing Yue, “Oh.”
Blue phoenix, “…” Mark my words!
Jing Yue knelt and said, “Close your eyes.”
Qin Yanzhi tightly closed his obsidian eyes, his long eyelashes cast a shadow under his eyes. Jing Yue wiped his face randomly and said, “Okay.”
He helped little Yanzhi put on the robe again and picked him up. Every day when he went down the mountain, Jing Yue would carry him and walk, because Qin Yanzhi's arms and legs were shaking after a day of sword practice.
In short, Jing Yue considered himself a responsible nanny.
Two people and a ‘chicken’ bathed in the afterglow of the sunset back to the Daoist temple. The view was outlined in a warm golden color, making people relax unconsciously.
But before they could enter the gate, Gui Sheng rushed in, crying, “Sect Leader! Wu-gege has been caught by the Yamen! They said he stole something. He'll be flogged a hundred times and have his hands chopped off… boohoo…”
Jing Yue said in shock, “What's going on? Take it easy and tell me slowly.”
Gui Sheng sobbed as he recounted the story.
It turned out that today, Wu Zhongchun was getting ready to go down to the mountains to replenishment some things. Gui Sheng wanted to go with him, so the two went to the county together.
When they arrived, they ran into a marriage procession. The bridegroom dressed all in red rode on horseback, the procession behind him clamoring and scattering auspicious money, and a group of county folks also followed to collect the money.
Gui Sheng was still young after all, so he followed the crowd to pick up some money, while Wu Zhongchun watched over him on the side.
Suddenly, someone yelled that they had lost money. Several government officials rushed over and grabbed Wu Zhongchun and Gui Sheng. They just started cultivating for more than a month, so how could they be an opponent for Yamen officials? They were subdued in a few moves.
The Yamen official directly snatched the auspicious money from Gui Sheng’s hand, which the person who lost the money claimed belonged to him. No matter how Wu Zhongchun and Gui Sheng explained, the person insisted that Gui Sheng stole the money. Thus, they were brought to the Yamen.
The county magistrate concluded that Gui Sheng stole the money and was caught red-handed without trial. Gui Sheng was so frightened that he burst into tears. Seeing that an unwarranted disaster was inevitable, Wu Zhongchun had to say that he picked up the money, and Gui Sheng just helped him hold it.
The county magistrate easily acquiesced to his remarks and imprisoned Wu Zhongchun, but released Gui Sheng instead.
Gui Sheng, “I really didn’t steal the money. Sect Leader, please save Wu-gege. The county magistrate stated that he’ll be executed publicly tomorrow.”
Jing Yue sneered. Before he could speak, blue phoenix said, “Fabrication! Jing-jing, this is a common routine! Ji-ji’s wise eyes can see through everything at one glance!”
Jing Yue, “…”
If the blue phoenix tribe symbolized wisdom, then Ji-ji was most likely a traitor among them.
But Ji-ji was right this time. Wu Zhongchun and Gui Sheng had indeed fallen into a trap. But the county magistrate kept one and released the other, and didn't really care about who to keep. It could be seen that the ultimate goal was not the two of them, but the person whom the released person would seek help from.
Jing Yue thought about what happened recently. Well, this was most likely done by that Penal Warden.
As for the purpose… was it to trick him down the mountain? Or find some helpers to beat him up? After all, formations were set up at the entrance of the col, and most people couldn't find the way up the mountain.
Jing Yue already had some measures in his mind, so he calmed Gui Sheng down with a few comforting words and asked him and Qin Yanzhi to return to the temple first. He also reminded them not to tell Mother Wu about this, so as not to worry her.
“I'll go down the mountain and bring your Wu-gege back. Don’t worry. Even if your Wu-gege lost his hands, I can attach it back for him.”
Gui Sheng knew of the master's abilities and felt at ease. He smiled through the tears and stretched out to take Qin Yanzhi’s hand.
However, Qin Yanzhi retreated abruptly, hid behind Jing Yue, clinging tightly to Jing Yue’s legs, and his dark eyes looked at Gui Sheng indifferently and vigilantly. Seeing that, Gui Sheng's heart filled with chills and he couldn't help but stop his movements.
Jing Yue, “Yanzhi, let go.”
Qin Yanzhi shook his head vigorously.
Jing Yue, “Don’t fool around.”
Qin Yanzhi lowered his head in silence but his grip became tighter.
This time, Jing Yue did not indulge him. Instead, he forcefully broke away from Qin Yanzhi’s hold. Seeing that the other party still wanted to chase after him, he threw Qin Yanzhi and Gui Sheng back into the temple with a wave of his sleeves.
He was about to step into a trap. Although the Penal Warden was only a mortal and the power of heaven's punishment was ridiculously weak for him, Jing Yue still treated it with caution, because accidents were always accompanied by contempt, and he had always loathed such accidents.
The big world.
The spiritual energy in Jing Yue's body circled rapidly. It had been seven or eight days since he woke up.
There was no day or night in the place where he was, and he couldn’t even tell the passage of time. Jing Yue could only estimate the time by relying on the number of big or small circuits of spiritual energy circling in his body. He found that the time flow of the two worlds was irregular in comparison. At times, only an instant had passed in the big world but five or six days had passed in Haotian Realm. Other times, he had performed one big circuit but only an instant had passed in the other realm.
Therefore, he still didn’t know how much time had passed since he fell into this place until he woke up. However, he estimated that it wouldn’t exceed a hundred days.
As his body gradually improved, he used his spiritual sense to detect the surroundings. Unfortunately, his spiritual sense was limited to this narrow space. Apart from him, blue phoenix, and Qin Yanzhi, the only other living thing here were those glowing mushrooms.
He guessed they had fallen into a space fragment, in other words, a secret realm in a certain place. They could only wait for the secret realm to open, or achieve the Heavenly Grotto stage and refine this secret realm before they had the opportunity to leave this place.
Suddenly, he noticed a change in the breathing pattern of the person next to him, so he stopped practicing and looked at Qin Yanzhi.
Qin Yanzhi felt that he had finally walked out of the boundless darkness. He seemed to have been asleep for a long time, so long that his body seemed to be rusty and lost all sense of touch.
Very soon, memories of what happened before the Nine Heaven Rift was sealed came to mind—he met Old ghost Chimei, succeeded in breaking through his realm during battle, but in the end, he was forced to use the Heavenly Void Swordplay. Just as he was about to die, a breath of vitality surrounded him... What happened later?
A five-year-old child who had lost his mind, a young Daoist priest with a little blue chicken on his shoulders, Prosperous City, Flying Blossoms Mountain, Jujube Village…
Countless fragmented memories impacted his sea of consciousness and gradually formed a complete world—Haotian Realm!
It was horrifying. What happened exactly?
At this moment, he suddenly heard a voice saying, “Is Qin-zhenjun awake?”
Qin Yanzhi glanced sideways and it was Jing Yue.
The other party turned around and gently helped him sit up. Qin Yanzhi said, “Thank you very much.”
Jing Yue made no comment, only smiled. Qin Yanzhi acutely noticed something different in the other's smile, as if… a trace of curiosity amid the closeness?
He felt a little strange inwardly, and then, Jing Yue said, “I felt your pulse just now. The breath of vitality is gradually healing your wounds. Now that you’re awake, how do you feel?”
When he mentioned it, Qin Yanzhi was shocked to feel intense pain replacing the original numbness. He tensed suddenly and clenched his fists, but said, “I’m fine.”
He was indeed fine. At this time, none of his Amethyst Core, meridians, or spiritual dais was intact, but he could feel vigorous energy repairing all the damages little by little. Even his spiritual dais had gradually stabilized. It was conceivable that Jing Yue brought him vitality.
“You saved me?”
Jing Yue blinked. Wasn’t it obvious?
Qin Yanzhi said in confusion, “But I remember the Nine Heaven Rift closing…”
Jing Yue, “I know you have many questions. Let me tell you slowly.”
Therefore, Jing Yue started talking about how he rescued Qin Yanzhi until his awakening, as well as his memories and speculations about the Haotian Realm.
“You should have sensed the ‘other self’, right?”
The words made Qin Yanzhi, who had always been calm, stunned, “You mean, in the small world is my ‘other self’? And you and I are still in the big world?”
Jing Yue nodded. “Although it’s just a guess, I can't think of a more reasonable explanation.” He paused, and tentatively asked, “How did you become… a baby?”
Qin Yanzhi frowned for a moment and shook his head.
Disappointment flashed in Jing Yue's eyes. It seemed that Qin Yanzhi was not aware of Yi Wang’s swordsmanship train of thought.
Qin Yanzhi didn't notice his oddity and asked, “Where is this place? Since you and I are in the big world, why has no one come to help?”
Jing Yue, “It’s most likely a hidden secret realm. We have a chance of refining it, but we can’t leave for the time being. Fortunately, the spiritual energy here is quite sufficient, so you can heal your wounds with peace of mind.” He said half-jokingly again, “In this way, have I repaid Qin-zhenjun’s kindness?”
Qin Yanzhi nodded and solemnly said, “You saved me at the cost of your life. I will remember it from the bottom of my heart.” After a long while, he said, “Thank you very much.”
Jing Yue rolled his eyes secretly. How could there be such a boring person in the world? Qin Yanzhi was cuter as a child.
Thinking of Qin Yanzhi in the Haotian Realm, and comparing it to the face in front of him that stopped people from talking, Jing Yue suddenly laughed.
Qin Yanzhi had a rare stroke of perceptiveness and quickly guessed what Jing Yue was laughing at. His face remained calm, but his hand hanging aside clenched tighter. He wanted to capture the ‘other self’ in the Haotian realm and annihilate him. Just thinking about what the other party did was an embarrassment!
Even though he was calm and unmoved by external factors, he couldn’t control his inner emotions…
Jing Yue smiled happily as he admired the suspicious blush on Qin Yanzhi's ears.