“Why don't they come in?”
Looking at the remnant souls wandering outside the mountain trough, Hong Luan asked in puzzlement.
“I don’t know.” Jing Yue looked around. “Do you feel…”
Qin Yanzhi, “Yes.”
Jing Yue, “I haven’t finished…”
Qin Yanzhi glanced at him. “This place feels like dead land.”
Jing Yue shared the same thought. Dead land didn’t refer to the dead energy in the mountain trough, but because there seemed to be nothing here. It was quiet, with no remnant souls, no plants, no water, only dark soil.
Once inside, it was like being shrouded under a cover and the outside was separated by a layer.
Liu Yun, “Those remnant souls seem very afraid of this place.”
Hong Luan, “I can’t help feeling that there’s something deep in the mountain trough trying to suck me away.”
Everyone looked at each other, feeling uneasy.
At this time, Jing Yue sensed that the blue phoenix in the jade pendant was calling him frantically, so he hurriedly unlocked the jade pendant and asked, “What’s the matter?”
The blue phoenix flew out, shouting anxiously, “Jing-jing! Ji-ji felt it! It's right here, right inside.”
Jing Yue, “Are you talking about that very important thing?”
The blue phoenix nodded vigorously. “Go forward and we’ll find it!”
Jing Yue frowned slightly. He wanted to move forward, but ten days had passed. If he continued to stay in the secret realm…
He suddenly noticed that the fine lines on Hong Luan's face seemed to have disappeared, and the other cultivators affected by the time had returned to their original appearance. Jing Yue grabbed his hair, and there was no trace of white in the thick black hair.
Even the influence of the Star Destruction Formation had been neutralized here?
What place was this?
Jing Yue's actions naturally attracted the attention of others, and they quickly realized the changes that came over them and were also puzzled.
But how would Jing Yue know? Even the blue phoenix didn't know anything, its attention fully taken away by the depths of the mountain trough.
“Jing-jing, let's go! Take Ji-ji there!”
Jing Yue, “This place is very weird, and there may be even more terrifying dangers lurking inside.”
The blue phoenix promptly changed its tone. “Then Ji-ji won't go. Ji-ji doesn't want Jing-jing to be in danger.”
Jing Yue rubbed its head. In fact, he was inclined to go forward. Firstly because of the blue phoenix, once they missed this opportunity, Ji-ji was likely to lose a great chance encounter. Secondly, he had a premonition that the chance the Jadecloud Bell was pointing to lay deep in the mountain trough.
But this was a perilous high stake gamble. He could not and had no right to let others take the risk.
“Let’s go. I’ll come with you.” Qin Yanzhi saw Jing Yue's struggle. Although he didn't know the reason, he transmitted his opinion to Jing Yue.
Jing Yue, “You…”
Qin Yanzhi, “Don't hesitate, don't regret.”
Jing Yue struggled for a moment and nodded to Qin Yanzhi.
He walked up to Liu Yun. “I want to explore the depths of the mountain trough, but this trip is very dangerous, so I don't recommend you to follow.”
Liu Yun, “Laozu…”
Jing Yue, “Listen to me, our purpose here this time is to find a way to deal with the demon spawn, but we gained nothing so far. I’m unwilling to go back just like this. Besides, I have a private matter to attend to. You really don’t have to take risks with me. If all of us are wiped out, it’ll be a severe blow to the righteous path. Someone among us must bring the news back.”
The others naturally heard it too, Hong Luan said, “If Jing-laozu is unwilling to give up, what about us? Now that we’ve entered this place, we’re no longer affected by the time changes, so we no longer need to be limited to ten days. Besides…”
Hong Luan glanced outside. “With so many remnant souls guarding outside, we can't go back.”
Several people nodded, agreeing with what Hong Luan said.
Jing Yue was about to speak when he suddenly felt a gust of wind.
This place was very dead just now, so where did the wind come from?
More strangely, when the wind blew, the remnant souls outside the mountain trough retreated in a panic, and in a blink of an eye, not a single remnant soul remained.
“What’s going on?” As soon as someone asked, they felt a stronger wind blowing. As the wind passed, they had the illusion that their lives were taken away.
Jing Yue also felt it and was hesitating whether to exit the mountain trough. Suddenly, the blue phoenix in his arms flew in the direction where the wind came from!
Jing Yue panicked and instinctively chased after it.
Qin Yanzhi followed closely behind.
The others took half a beat to react, but Jing and Qin had disappeared.
Liu Yun wanted to chase after them, but another strong suction force came from the mountain trough, which instantly swept away a Heavenly Grotto cultivator. If not for the other people’s quick reaction to grab hold of each other and temporarily stabilize themselves, they were almost swept away too.
The suction didn't disappear and even became stronger. Everyone knew that they couldn't last long, so they could only flee out of the mountain trough.
On the other side.
At this time, the blue phoenix's consciousness was extremely unclear. When the wind came, it awakened its bloodline instinct, making it forget who it was and everything around it. It could only fly in the direction of the wind.
It only knew that something was waiting for it and it must go there.
Suddenly, someone grabbed hold of it. The blue phoenix wanted to struggle, but a suction force swept it and the person who caught it away together.
Qin Yanzhi, who chased after him, stretched out his hand and grabbed only half of Jing Yue's hem. The sound of cloth ripping rang in his ears, his hands were empty, and he was swept in another direction.
Qin Yanzhi was very anxious but he couldn't resist. He could only watch Jing Yue disappear while he fell into darkness.
Suddenly, the world spun, and he seemed to hear the sound of the earth. His body was pulled violently, as if dismembered.
He saw another self, saw the other person being old at one time and young at another time. He saw his experiences from childhood to adulthood, and the scenes were slowed down as if he was watching other people's stories.
At the same time, warm energy emerged from his dantian and gradually poured into his brain.
Qin Yanzhi clutched his head and his mind was in chaos. He felt as if a monster was about to come out of his consciousness.
Suddenly, he heard the sound of a thunderstorm, and the lightning split the darkness. He saw the rain pouring down and a baby lying behind a rock.
He knew subconsciously that the baby was him.
Not long after, a Daoist appeared beside the rock, picked up the baby, and asked him, “Is that you?”
The Daoist quickly and firmly said, “It’s you.”
The roar of a ferocious beast was heard not far away. He saw the Daoist put the baby into the tree hole and ran up the mountain.
Not long after, the Daoist came back, took the baby out again, and poked the baby's face. But in a blink of an eye, the Daoist disappeared from the spot.
The rain turned to a drizzle, pattering.
Only he as the baby was left in the mountains.
The next day, a hunter came up the mountain, found him, and took him back.
The hunter didn't treat him well, but still raised him, day after day, year after year. When he was three years old, the hunter died.
The hunter's younger brother took over the hunter's property and sold him to a rich family in the city. The master and wife of the rich family treated him very well at first, but soon revealed their true colors. It turned out that the old master had that sort of perverted hobby, and the seemingly kind-hearted lady was actually his accomplice.
When the master tried to take advantage of him, he took the opportunity when he caught the other party off-guard and smashed the other party's head with an inkstone. Then, he deliberately set fire to create chaos and fled the city overnight.
He hid in a dry well, hungry and cold, and very scared.
He longed for someone to rescue him. In the depths of his consciousness, there was always a vague shadow that would appear when he was in danger and pull him out of the swamp of distress.
But no, no one came.
He became a beggar.
He was chased and beaten by people, and bitten by dogs. He would go hungry one meal and full the next, and no one came to his rescue.
Gradually, he no longer placed his hopes on being rescued, and he didn't know why he lived, but he kept living in a daze. Whether sick or injured, death did not take him away.
But suddenly one day, when he was about to pass out, the Daoist appeared again.
The Daoist's arms were warm, reassuring, and familiar, and he was reluctant to leave.
The Daoist even named him Yi Wang.
But when he finally gave his trust to the Daoist, the Daoist disappeared again.
He couldn't find the Daoist. In this huge world, he didn't have any news about the Daoist. He could only hold on to an illusory name and head to the extreme north.
The extreme north was too far away, and as a mortal, he might not reach it in his lifetime.
For this reason, he expended all efforts and cultivated by all means, and even sacrificed his body for others to refine medicine. His only purpose and belief in life was to find the Daoist.
He had a hunch that he would see the Daoist again.
This thought supported him, and for 17 years, no matter how painful it was, he never lost hope.
His wait was finally over, and he saw the Daoist again.
As time went by, ten winters passed in a hurry.
He followed the Daoist through the mountains and rivers, saw the world and human affairs, and the Daoist was always there.
One day, he suddenly wanted to go back to the first city, and suddenly there was no hatred in his heart.
He wanted to share his thoughts with the Daoist, but the Daoist gradually faded away.
He couldn’t catch him or make him stay.
“Go to Frostcloud Sect. I’ll be waiting for you.”
The Daoist left this sentence. Because of this, he went to the extreme north again, passed various tests, became a disciple of Frostcloud Sect, and met the head of Frostcloud Sect.
That person looked different from the Daoist, but when he saw the other person, he knew that that person was the Daoist but not him at the same time.
He found the Daoist, but he was not complete.
The Daoist didn't remember him either.
“What’s your name?” the Daoist asked.
“My name is Yi Wang.”
“Yi Wang? Good name. I have a disciple named Yi Nian. It seems you’re destined to be my disciple.”
The Daoist stood up and walked up to him.
“Yi Wang, from now on, you’ll be my second disciple.”
“Who are you?” For some reason, he asked this question.
The Daoist froze for a moment and smiled. “I’m Jing Yuan, the founder of Frostcloud Sect.”
With that said, everything returned to darkness.
Qin Yanzhi felt the warmth in his dantian getting hotter and hotter, rushing straight to his divine consciousness, and intertwining within, giving him a feeling of regaining what was lost.
In the darkness, he saw another child with scars all over his face looking up at a Daoist, “Who are you?”
The Daoist said, “I’m Jing Yuan, the grandmaster of Frostcloud Sect.”
The child didn't like to talk. Since he first met the Daoist, it had been almost a year since the last time he spoke.
It was the first time he heard the Daoist’s name, and he repeated it silently in his heart. Later in his life, he chanted this name over and over again, thousands of times.
He followed the Daoist back to Frostcloud Sect and became the Daoist's second disciple. He also had a senior brother named Yi Nian.
The child was not good at expressing himself, but what he liked most was when Shizun called his name—Yi Wang.
Because in his life, almost all the warmth was given by Shizun. Even though his senior brother treated him very well, he knew that if Shizun hadn't brought him back to Frostcloud Sect, if Shizun hadn't accepted him as a disciple, he wouldn't have been well received by Yi Nian.
Apart from his mortal body, everything else was given by Shizun.
He liked swords, so Shizun accompanied him all over the Bipolar World to find a good sword. He had no home, so Frostcloud Sect became his home. In his life, no one treated him better than Shizun.
He wanted to repay Shizun, help Shizun complete his technique, and to fulfill Shizun's wishes.
So he practiced day and night, focusing on swordsmanship, but unfortunately…
Qin Yanzhi's consciousness gradually regained clarity as if a purple flower was blooming in front of his eyes. He finally remembered that the two lives he experienced happened in the Forsaken Flower’s illusion.
He had no memory in the illusion but was saved by Jing Yuan.
But there was a third time.
The cold wind howled and swept up snow storms.
In the vast snowfield, there was a scorched deep pit and a buried cave not far away.
A young man knelt in front of the pit like a statue. Snowflakes that clung to his eyelashes were gradually melted by his body temperature, just like tears.
But it was impossible for the young man to cry. Since he could remember, he had never cried.
Even if Shizun had perished by lightning, even if there was no such person in this world anymore.
The young man knelt in front of the deep pit for 49 days. On the 50th day, he kowtowed three times to the cave, turned around, and left the snowfield.
He left his footprints on the snow. 2,000 years after this, he had never been here again nor had he been to any place in the Bipolar World.
He locked himself in the Frostcloud Sect and practiced hard day and night. Even though Shizun was no longer alive, he remembered everything Shizun taught.
If Shizun had any unfulfilled wishes, he’d fulfill them. What Shizun wanted to protect, he’d protect it.
Finally, he came out of seclusion and headed straight to the Schism Ocean with Taiqing.
The sky was dark with rolling clouds.
The corpses of humans and Yao were all over the place, and the mountains and rivers were covered with blood.
The powerhouses and half-saints fell one after another, and a young man covered in blood stood upright with a sword in hand.
Blood slid down the tip of the sword. There were piles of corpses in front of him and behind him, just like the portrait of Jing Yuan hanging in the Frostcloud Sect’s Patriarch Hall.
Shizun slayed Yao on the Mortal Realm Mountain while he chose the Schism Ocean.
Then, the young man used a secret technique to retract his three souls and put the souls in the sword to form the sword soul.
Taiqing turned into a huge sword shadow, shining brightly and obscuring all things, and beheaded the Yao Saint!
The earth shattered, mountains and rivers whimpered, the sky tore apart, and the stars dimmed.
That sword was the sword of heavenly Dao, the sword of origin, and the sword of everything!
The Yao Saint died, and the young man who lost his three souls also reached the end of his life.
In the swirling snowflakes, the young man seemed to sense Shizun's presence. He turned his head, but couldn't see anything.
But the young man still smiled contentedly. He knew that Shizun was here. Whether it was the underworld or eternal reincarnation, Shizun would always be in his heart and never leave.
Qin Yanzhi pressed his head tightly, his five fingers almost piercing his head. The scenes overlapped and crisscrossed, making him wonder which ones were real and which ones were illusions.
But in the end, Jing Yuan's appearance changed into another person. That person's eyes were full of starlight, and he saw his shadow in that starlight.
That person was warm, gentle, fearless, and powerful. He smiled and said to him under the moonlight, “I do like you.”
He suddenly felt a sharp pain in his divine consciousness, and Qin Yanzhi plunged into endless darkness once again.