At the foot of Flying Blossoms Mountain, there was an old tree with snow piled heavily on the branches, and three men stood under that tree.
A tall man was wearing only a single coat in the cold weather, his pectoral muscles exposed, looking like two rocks. He said, “Is that felon a cultivator?”
Another tall and thin man replied, “He blocked heaven’s punishment with only a flick of his sleeves. Only a true Daoist has such ability!”
There was also a middle-aged man with a full, round face, looking particularly stern, saying, “Yi’er, the heaven’s punishment in your token can only be aimed at some mortals. Naturally, it has no binding effect on those who know a little bit of Daoism. As for the supervisory seal in my hand, it’s an official seal that can invoke a level -1 heavenly punishment. How can a small Daoist like him escape from that?”
The tall and thin man replied, “Yes, the second uncle is right! Thank you for your help. Today marks the death of the villainous Daoist!”
This person was Zhao Xueyi. After suffering such humiliation that day, he dared not report this matter to the Penal Temple and could only seek help from the elders of the family. He had a second uncle with formidable means since young. Many years ago, he was elected to join the Penal Temple as a level-1 Penal Warden. His position as a county Penal Warden was also obtained due to some connections with this second uncle.
The higher the status of the penal warden, the stronger the power of heavenly punishment contained in the supervisory seal carried. The power of the official seal was more than ten times stronger than that of the county seal. Therefore, Zhao Xueyi believed that the Daoist surnamed Jing would not escape this time!
Moreover, the second uncle also brought an aide along for insurance. The other party had been trained by the state preceptor before and also knew some Daoism.
Zhao Xueyi was full of confidence. Now that everything was ready, they just had to wait for that villainous Daoist to come down the mountain!
But they waited and waited. He squatted for more than two hours until his feet were almost frozen and numb, and there was still no sign of him.
Second uncle, “Yi’er, are you sure that felon will come down?”
Zhao Xueyi was also a little unconfident at this time and hesitated, “I think so? He seems nosy, bad-tempered, and arrogant. Now that we’ve captured someone from his temple, shouldn’t he come down the mountain to save him?”
After Zhao Xueyi was bullied that day, he even sent someone to inquire about Jing Yue. He knew that the other party came to Flying Blossoms Mountain alone two years ago, and also knew that he had accepted the widow and his son, as well as Wu Zhongchun and his mother into the temple. He also carved the formation on the stone monument of the village, declaring Jujube Village under his control.
Zhao Xueyi was so angry when he thought that as a penal warden, he had strong backing, and he always had his way. He didn’t expect to fall into the hands of a little Daoist priest with no background. He was so embarrassed and humiliated that even the villagers of Jujube Village dared to despise him!
But he dared not retaliate against Jujube Village for the time being. It was better to get rid of Jing Yue first.
After gathering some people with some difficulty, he unexpectedly couldn’t find the way up the mountain. It was like being trapped in a maze, always spinning around in place. With no other choice, they could only stay at the foot of the mountain and wait for the opportunity. But after waiting for more than 20 days, Jing Yue never showed up. Only the kid, Wu Zhongchun, came down the mountain!
They thought about it and decided to lure the snake out of the cave, and that was why Wu Zhongchun was arrested today.
Second uncle frowned, “Perhaps the one surnamed Jing could see that it’s a trap and got scared?”
As soon as the voice fell, a figure came slowly on the snow-covered mountain road. The man was dressed in a gray-blue robe that looked worn-out, but his clear face was set against the silver-white of the mountains, like a little red plum blossoming under the bright moon, making it impossible to look away.
The man and the snow looked like a fusion from an ancient painting. The only contradiction was the little blue chicken standing on his shoulder with the chest all puffed out.
Blue phoenix was gleeful at this time, chirping incessantly with an air of looking down on the world. After all, Jing-jing didn’t bring Qin Yanzhi and Gui Sheng along with him, only Ji-ji. Those who dared to compete with it for favor were left crying in the temple!
Although Jing-jing said it was because Ji-ji was good at running away, blue phoenix believed that Jing-jing adored it from the bottom of his heart. He knew what plot Ji-ji enjoyed watching so he performed it especially for it!
Zhao Xueyi stood up abruptly. Oh, his head was dizzy. He had squatted for too long.
“Surname Jing, you actually have the guts to come down the mountain!”
The two helpers looked at each other. They knew the main actor had appeared.
The burly man's face was full of cynicism. “So it's a wild Daoist priest who hasn't even grown up!” He suddenly raised his voice. “Boy! I thought you were going to be a cowardly turtle for the rest of your life! Since you dare to come down from the mountain, humph!”
He smashed his fist into the peach tree next to him. The snow on the top of the tree was shaken down and covered his head. Some of it fell into his shirt, making him shudder with cold.
“Pfft…!” Jing Yue couldn’t control it and started laughing. Blue phoenix was even more amused, flapping its wings until it almost fell.
Burly man, “Anyway, today marks your death!”
Towards this sort of cannon fodder who bragged all day without taking any action, Jing Yue couldn’t be bothered to reply and decided to just teach him a lesson.
Jing Yue quietly released his divine consciousness. He realized that Zhao Xueyi and the middle-aged man were both mortals, but they carried the aura of heaven's punishment on their bodies, while the braggart was a level-6 cultivator!
But he was just at the Body Forging stage.
Thus, the opponent’s ranking was instantly downgraded from ‘the ill-intentioned person who dared to dig a hole for him to jump’ to ‘the stupidly confident person who came to his doom’. Then, Jing Yue made his move.
The originally clear mountain path suddenly fogged up. Jing Yue's figure disappeared into the fog in a blink of an eye.
The mountain became very quiet. Not even a call from birds could be heard, so quiet that it made people panic.
There was a sudden drop in temperature in the surrounding areas. Zhao Xueyi only felt that his breath was about to freeze. With chattering teeth, he said, “Second uncle, be careful. The evil Daoist has cast a spell.”
Zhao Xueyi turned around. Where was his second uncle? Even the burly man disappeared without a trace.
As for the eagerly awaiting second uncle, he pulled out the supervisory seal at the moment and said nervously to the burly man next to him, “Brother Qiu, this fog seems very strange, like it can swallow people whole. Yi’er is gone. We can’t be separated anymore. Why don't you and I hold each other's hands, in case he uses some sorcery to separate us.”
The burly man was at a loss on how to get rid of the fog. Hearing this, he applauded. “Good idea! Brother Zhao, you’re too smart!”
Thus, the two clasped their hands and held each other tightly.
In the mist behind them, blue phoenix used its wings to cover Jing Yue’s sight. “Jing-jing, don’t look! The scene is too spicy!”
Jing Yue, “…”
He could feel that as the middle-aged man urged the seal, there was a shallow fluctuation in the surrounding area and a stronger force than the last time spread. But to him, it was still nothing more than a tickle.
Jing Yue swatted away blue phoenix’s wings. With a slight move of his index finger, a thunderbolt coalesced on his fingertip. A crackling sound was heard, and the two men holding each other’s hands keeled over in a dead faint, posing no challenge at all.
Then, Jing Yue turned the snow into ice. He raised his hand and an ice prison rose from the ground, trapping the two in it.
He slowly walked out of the fog and picked up the large seal that the middle-aged man had dropped on the side. Jing Yue observed the item curiously, a square gold seal with a ferocious-looking tiger engraved on it. Just as his divine consciousness probed the seal, he suddenly felt an evil, sticky gaze staring at him through the seal. Jing Yue snorted coldly, stirred his divine consciousness, and that breath instantly dissipated into nothing.
At the same time, in one of the great halls of the imperial palace of Chen Kingdom, a thin yellow-robed man suddenly turned pale. He pressed his forehead with both hands, his five fingers seemed to sink into his skin, and an unbearable pain came from his divine consciousness, forcing him to throw up a mouthful of blood before passing out in a coma.
When the thick veil of dense fog finally lifted, Zhao Xueyi found that the second uncle and the burly man were trapped in the ice prison. They were unconscious with no indication if they were dead or alive.
And next to them, Daoist Jing stood upright, still smiling at him brilliantly.
Zhao Xueyi trembled uncontrollably. He finally understood that he had met a formidable opponent. To take down his second uncle who possessed the official seal and the burly man who was learned in Daoism so quickly, how could he afford to offend such a person? Thus, his knees went weak, collapsed in the snow, and yelled, “Please, please spare my life!”
Jing Yue fidgeted with the middle-aged man’s official seal and curiously asked, “Does your state preceptor also possess a supervisory seal in his hands?”
Zhao Xueyi stammered, “I’ve not seen the state preceptor, but I heard from my second uncle that the state preceptor has a supervisory seal made of jade.”
Jing Yue pondered. Since the state preceptor could control the power of a country’s laws, he most likely relied on the jade seal. The other party might even have gotten the opportunity to cultivate because of the jade seal. It was probably self-taught with no one to guide them. Otherwise, how would they dare to get so deeply involved in the mundane world?
He had alerted the enemy just now, so he might as well head to the capital city earlier. Anyway, for the development of Mini Frostcloud Sect, he would sooner or later have to take care of the underlying threat of the state preceptor.
As for the small potatoes in front of him… he really couldn’t be bothered.
Jing Yue, “Go and bring Wu Zhongchun back. If he loses as much as a hair, your two companions are dead.”
Zhao Xueyi nodded immediately. “I’ll bring him back at once! Xianzhang, rest assured. Nothing will happen to him.”
Jing Yue, “Come here.”
Zhao Xueyi was too frightened and dared not refuse. He could only climb forward and looked up at Jing Yue in horror. Then, he saw the other party stretch out a finger and tapped it on his forehead.
Two words flashed in Zhao Xueyi's mind. It was not that he didn't want to avoid it, but he was so scared that he froze into a stone sculpture, so stiff that he couldn't move at all!
However, after waiting for a while, there was no other discomfort except for a slightly cool sensation on the forehead.
Jing Yue, “You won’t notice the curse I’ve placed on you, but if you dare to leak any information or disobey my orders, I’d sense it immediately. When the time comes…”
That sentence scared Zhao Xueyi so much that he stumbled down the mountain, wailing the entire way…
Blue phoenix had enjoyed a great drama of showing off and was in an unbearably good mood. It bounced around and said, “Jing-jing, what curse did you put on that guy? How come Ji-ji couldn’t feel it?”
Jing Yue, “There’s no curse. I just poked his forehead and bluffed him.”
Even if Zhao Xueyi found someone else to come with him, Jing Yue wouldn’t be afraid, but it would be troublesome. Besides, he didn’t want to get more involved in the mundane affairs of the mortals, so he deceived the other party.
When Jing Yue returned to the temple with blue phoenix who had suffered a great shock, he saw Widow Jiang and Gui Sheng standing by the door, both looking at him with anxiety and anticipation.
Jing Yue nodded at them. Widow Jiang breathed a sigh of relief and Gui Sheng jumped for joy.
Jing Yue thought that since Qin Yanzhi was so reluctant to leave him just now, could he be waiting for him at the door? But he could see no sign of him.
Widow Jiang smiled gently and said, “He’s in the yard. He has been waiting at the door before you came back. He hurriedly hid after hearing the sound of footsteps. The kid is just so awkward.”
A laugh escaped Jing Yue. Shaking his head, he went looking for Qin Yanzhi.
As soon as he entered the yard, he saw Qin Yanzhi holding a peach wood sword, facing the plum tree and standing with his back to him.
Jing Yue called out to him but was ignored. He raised his eyebrows, approached him, and gently pulled at Qin Yanzhi, but the other party twisted away from his hold, his whole body taut, and was determined not to look at him.
Jing Yue was helpless. Even if Qin Yanzhi was only five years old, this was too petty of him, right?
He said, “What’s wrong? Is little Yanzhi angry with Gege?”
Seeing that there was still no movement, he had to go to the front, but was stunned.
—Qin Yanzhi was crying, he was actually crying?!
His big eyes were red and the tears fell uncontrollably, but he pressed his mouth tightly and refused to make a sound.
This scene simply surpassed Jing Yue's imagination. The shock was no less than seeing Qin Yanzhi as a child for the first time. No, this was even worse than that.
He had lived for a long time and personally raised three apprentices. The first apprentice was honest while the second apprentice was aloof. Although the third one was nicknamed the Crybaby, it was plain wailing for most of the time. He had never seen a child crying so sadly in front of him before.
Furthermore, although Qin Yanzhi was still small, Jing Yue always remembered the adult appearance of the other party. Often, it was really difficult to treat the other party as a five-year-old child. Now that this had happened out of the blue, he was at a loss.
For a while, Jing Yue didn't know what to do. Even blue phoenix quietly shrank to the side. There was only an inaudible sob in the yard.
Qin Yanzhi was full of tears, his stubborn little face concealed the helplessness of forced suppression, his wet eyelashes made him look all the more fragile, and the pitiful little appearance melted Jing Yue’s heart into a puddle. Instinctively, he pulled little Yanzhi into his arms and patted him gently on the back.
Qin Yanzhi was still struggling fiercely at first, but Jing Yue kept hugging him tightly and comforted him softly. Qin Yanzhi cried and said, “I don’t want to be apart from Gege. I want to be with you! Be together!”
The eavesdropping blue phoenix angrily snapped off a branch. That should be Ji-ji’s line!
Suddenly, Jing Yue laughed and said, “You’d better save this line and say it to your future Dao partner.”
The tears in Qin Yanzhi's eyes began to gather again, and Jing Yue hurriedly said, “Okay, you have the final say.”
After persuading for a long time, with Jing Yue saying all the good things and making all sorts of promises, Qin Yanzhi finally smiled amid his tears, even blowing a snot bubble from his nose.
Jing Yue, “…”
Qin Yanzhi stretched out his arms to wrap around Jing Yue's neck, and buried his face on the other party's shoulder a little bit shyly, the tears and snot making a mess. Only the exposed ears and neck were flushed red.
Jing Yue looked at the sky silently, thinking about that face in the big world, and felt that he could no longer look directly at it…
Author’s Notes: Peanut Gallery
Jing-jing: Lil Rouge's ears are red
Rouge forcing himself to stay calm and alert: What are you trying to say?
Jing-jing: You share the same soul indeed!
Ji-ji: Hateful! I hate Lil Rouge!
Ji-ji: Jing-jing, Ji-ji has advanced!
Jing-jing looking from left to right: I don’t see it.
Ji-ji triumphantly: Ji-ji can break a branch easily now, much better than the time we went to the beast fortress!