These buildings were connected with the purple palace via flying bridges. They constituted a picture of a terrestrial road; it had an implicit charm.
A lady sat cross-legged on a white futon in the hall of the three-layered purple palace. She had a plentiful figure, and was attired in a light-green royal robe. Her eyes were closed; they seemed to be smeared with a gentle radiance – like water.
Another girl sat cross-legged on a similar futon opposite to her. She was clad in a bright-green and magnificent-looking robe.
It was none other than Zhong Xiu.
There was a serene look on her face. However, a hint of melancholy could be seen in the depths of her eyes.
The layout of the hall was simple and elegant. It gave an impression of bleak emptiness.
"Miss Xiu, have you made a firm resolve that you would enter into the Jade Waves Pond in order to achieve eternity by ending the cycle of life and death?" the voice of the woman dressed in light-green clothing reverberated in the hall.
"Yes, Master." Zhong Xiu nodded.
"You know that your Master has always allowed nature to take its course. You’re my most promising candidate. But, I don’t wish to force the regret of my past upon you… and allow you to replace me. After all, there’s no way to return once you’ve set out in pursuit of this road," the royal beautiful maiden dressed in light-green clothing said.
"Respected Master, I’ve made-up my mind," Zhong Xiu raised her head and said in a resolute tone.
"If that’s the case… then you can go. Given your natural endowments… you can succeed in this if you stay in the Jade Waves Pond for one year," the beautiful lady opened her eyes and said.
There was a rural market in the vicinity of the Purple Ling Shan Mountains. Shi Mu walked out of a shop. His face was sparkling with gladness. There was a small cloth-wrapped packet in his hand; it seemed to contain seven or eight medicine bottles.
This market belonged to the Wonderful Sound Sect. Shi Mu descended from the mountain, and started to stroll around the marketplace. Suddenly, he realized that the Bone Tempering Pill and the Blood Strengthening Pill were also sold in the market. Moreover, the quality of these pills was far better than the pills that were sold by the Black Demon Sect.
So, he exchanged almost all of his belongings for the Bone Tempering and the Blood Strengthening Pills. These pills were sufficient to support his practice for at least one year.
Now, the time had finally arrived for Shi Mu to depart from the marketplace. Shi Mu stood firm, and pulled out a map from his clothes. The entire area of the human race was clearly marked on this map. The topography of various regions of the cities were also vividly portrayed on the map.
Shi Mu started to examine the map carefully. He was looking for an itinerary to return to the Black Demon Sect from the Wonderful Sound Sect. Suddenly, his eyes fell on a mountain-range that stood between the two mountains.
"Wan Long Mountains!" he murmured.
Then, an image of a beautiful silhouette floated into his mind. He remained glued to his spot for a moment. After that, he walked towards the exit of the marketplace.
After one month…
Shi Mu arrived in the vicinity of a huge mountain-peak on another horse-drawn carriage.
It seemed from afar as if the curtain of white clouds were wound around the mountain-peak. Countless palaces and buildings could be seen in the vicinity. They seemed to be scattered everywhere, and were shrouded in a vast layer of mist. They bore an ambience of an unworldly Wonderland.
This was the famous and illustrious Wan Long Mountain; it stood upright on the eastern peninsula of the mainland. It was the entrance to one of the three big Sects of the Da Qi kingdom – the Tian Yin Sect.
Shi Mu gazed towards the buildings on the hilltop. Then, he took out a small white jade box from his bosom. The texture of this jade box looked exquisite. An ice crystal-like pattern was carved on its surface; it was faintly emitting a wisp of cold air – like a cube of ice.
This jade box was made-up of a high-quality ice jade. A fist-sized green fruit came into view as Shi Mu opened its lid; it was the Green Frost Fruit.
Shi Mu closed the box. Then, his gaze fell on the summit of the mountain; there was a hint of hesitation in his eyes.
Shi Mu had bumped into the Demon Witch of the Tian Yin twice. But, his observant eyes hadn’t failed to notice that she specialized in the Ice-Attribute Cultivation Arts. Therefore, this Green Frost Fruit was best suited to her.
Shi Mu wanted to deliver this fruit to her in person. But, he couldn’t ignore the promise that he had made to her earlier. He could meet her only after he had stepped into the Xian Tian realm. Therefore, his climbing the mountain would be equal to breaking the promise that he had made to her.
Suddenly, a sound of footsteps was heard from the front. It sounded as if a number of people were approaching in his direction.
Shi Mu hastily kept the jade box. Then, seven or eight people walked over from the nearby mountain-pass; they seemed to be the disciples of the Tian Yin Sect.
"Who are you? Why are you wandering in the vicinity of our Sect?" The disciples looked surprised on seeing Shi Mu. Then, a white-robed girl shouted while resting her hands on her waist. She seemed to be the leader of this group.
"I’m..." Shi Mu started to explain. But then, he was left startled.
The white-robed girl was also dumbfounded. She carefully looked into Shi Mu’s eyes.
"You’re... Brother Shi Mu?" the white-robed girl spoke in a surprised tone.
"Sister Qi, long time no see," Shi Mu jumped down from the carriage, and greeted with a smile.
This woman was none other than Qi Xuan of the Tian Yin Sect. She was the same girl who was with Shi Mu in the stronghold during the barbarians’ invasion.
They hadn’t seen each other since several years. Qi Xuan’s cultivation had made a remarkable progress during this period. Now, she had stepped into the advanced-stage of the Hou Tian realm.
Suddenly, a thought dawned upon Shi Mu’s mind. He remembered that an extremely unusual relationship existed between Qi Xuan and the Demon Witch of Tian Yin.
"What has brought Brother Shi to the Tian Yin Sect?" Qi Xuan waved her hand, and signaled other disciples to leave them alone and wait in the distance.
"I was just passing through this place… I happened to have some personal matter to take care of," Shi Mu said.
"Brother Shi, you’re now considered to be an outstanding disciple of the Black Demon Sect. I’ve heard that you joined the ambassador group that was dispatched by the Union to the barbarian’s wasteland in order to form a peace agreement with them. You also made an incredible contribution for this peace agreement. This news has already spread in the Union," Qi Xuan said in an inquisitive manner.
Shi Mu was a little surprised to hear these words. But then, he recalled that Huo Wu wasn’t only the Princess of the Da Qi Kingdom, but was also a disciple of the Tian Yin Sect. So, he felt a little relieved in his heart.
"I happened to travel with Princess Huo Wu. It was merely a chance encounter," Shi Mu replied with a soft chuckle.
They continued to talk for some more time. Qi Xuan’s talks mostly revolved around Shi Mu’s experiences in the barbarians’ wasteland. She seemed to be quite interested in this matter.
"We’re talking here like strangers. Brother Shi, it would be better for you to follow me to the Sect’s welcome peak… since you’ve come here with a thing on your mind. If there’s any matter that I can help you with… then feel free to ask," Qi Xuan said.
"It’s no big deal. Moreover, we can’t keep talking endlessly. Oh, by the way… perhaps Sister Qi can help me with one matter," Shi Mu said in a hesitant manner.
"Brother Shi, please feel free to ask anything." Qi Xuan was little surprised. Then, she said.
"May I ask… is your elder – the Demon Witch of Tian Yin still in the Sect?" Shi Mu asked after a momentary hesitation.
"Young Lady Tian Yin? She’s in the Sect. But, she’s currently occupied with her closed-door practice. So, Brother Shi is looking for Young Lady Tian Yin, isn’t he?" Qi Xuan’s eyes flashed as if she had realized something. She then asked in a mischievous tone.
"Cough! ... Actually… I want to give her something. But, it’s seems very inconvenient to climb-up the mountain. So, may I request Sister Qi to do this on my behalf?" Shi Mu’s complexion turned slightly red as he replied.
"Come on..." Qi Xuan’s face revealed a ridiculing expression. She put out her hand with a faint smile on her face.
"Here it is." Shi Mu’s face grew hot as he took out the jade box from his clothes.
Qi Xuan chuckled twice as she reached out to receive the box.
"Brother Shi, you rest assured. Leave this matter to me. I’ll definitely deliver this thing to the Young Lady Tian Yin on your behalf," Qi Xuan said.
"Thank you so much, Sister Qi." Shi Mu felt relieved. He then clasped his hands across his chest to express his gratitude.
Both of them continued to chat casually for some more time. After that, Qi Xuan left the place along with the other disciples of her Sect.
Shi Mu gazed at the receding figures of Qi Xuan and others for a moment. After that, he shifted his gaze towards the buildings on the hilltop. He remained motionless for a while.
"I'll be back soon!" a hint of firmness flashed through his eyes as he muttered to himself. Then, he flicked the reins in order to change the direction of the carriage, and drifted away towards a distant place.
The carriage disappeared into the distance in a fleeting moment.
There was an extremely high mountain peak on the Wan Long Mountains; it looked beautiful and secluded. A thin layer of clouds was floating in the vicinity of this peak – like a cotton wad. The mountain-peak seemed as if it was shrouded in a white veil.
A lofty building was situated on the top of the mountain-peak. It was an elegantly-styled building; it seemed to be a woman's residence.
This place was the residence of the Demon Witch of Tian Yin – Lang Huan Feng.
Qi Xuan and a fairy-like maiden sat opposite to each other in a hall of one of the attics.
Shi Mu would’ve been bubbling over with excitement if he was there. This maiden was none other than the dream of his life – the person he yearned for day and night; she was the Demon Witch of Tian Yin.
The Demon Witch of Tian Yin looked much younger than how she looked in the woods a few years ago. In fact, she looked like a teenage girl.
A table lay between the two women. A small white jade box was placed on the table; it was exuding a wisp of cold air.
"Shi Mu?" The Demon Witch of Tian Yin looked astounded as she said.
"It was him. I met this guy a few hours back in the mountains. He asked me to deliver this thing to you," Qi Xuan said while nodding her head.
The Demon Witch of Tian Yin creased her eyebrows as a trace of unbelievable look flashed across her eyes. She didn’t speak anything for a while.
She then picked-up the jade box, and opened its lid. A whiz of faint fragrance mixed with a wisp of coldness was diffused into the air. After that, the Green Frost Fruit came into the view.
"This is... the Green Frost Fruit!" The Demon Witch’s face revealed an astonished look. She blurted out hastily.
Qi Xuan wrinkled her eyebrows, and her face revealed a puzzled look. It seemed that she hadn’t heard these words before.
But, the sniff of this exquisite aroma had felt extremely refreshing to her; as if it had penetrated deeply into her heart. The Demon Witch also looked slightly excited. Therefore, Qi Xuan could guess that this ordinary-looking fruit must be some kind of a Yin-attribute priceless thing.
A ray of light flashed across Qi Xuan’s eyes, and disappeared.
"That Shi Mu, where’s he now?" the Demon Witch looked at the Fruit a few times. She then asked after a momentary hesitation.
"He departed right after giving me this jade box. He said that it was too inconvenient for him to climb-up the mountain," Qi Xuan replied truthfully.
The Demon Witch looked a little surprised. But, she immediately resumed her calm state, and closed the jade box.
The green ring on her finger shot a beam of green light as she moved her hand. Then, the jade box vanished into thin air. It was hard to say where it had gone.
Qi Xuan’s eyes lit-up brightly. She looked at the green ring in the Demon Witch’s finger in an envious manner.
The green ring was an extremely rare space-attribute magic tool. It was used to store things for convenience. In fact, it eliminated the trouble of carrying heavy things.
The number of space-attribute magic tools was extremely less across the seven big Sects. Only a handful of Xian Tian level people possessed such tools.
"There’s no need to leak the matter pertaining to Shi Mu outside the room," the Demon Witch said.
"Yes." Qi Xuan was curious to know the reason behind the secrecy. But, she complied in front of the Demon Witch.
Qi Xuan didn’t have any reason to stay in the room any longer. Therefore, she bid her goodbye and left.
The Demon Witch walked to the window. Her beautiful eyes flashed as she looked towards the floating mist in front of her eyes. Then, a trace of smile glittered across her face.
After that, she turned around and walked away from the window.