Jiang Li stood in front of the gate to Zijin Palace, looking at the snow drifting down from the sky . He felt somewhat frustrated and also somewhat at a loss .
From this day onwards, the Great Zhou Dynasty was no more .
He actually hated himself for not bearing a grudge when he was put in prison . However, when the old soldiers that he had trained opened the city gates for him and were beheaded by the Black Dragon Guard, he was filled with hatred .
Yet now that the dust had settled, there was not much joy in his heart, only a sense of tiredness and emotional fatigue .
The end of the Great Zhou Dynasty was an unstoppable event . In fact, if not for this cultivation storm, the Great Zhou Dynasty would have been destroyed long ago, judging by how the world was moving .
Perhaps Yuwen Xiu might not have even survived Zhao Kuo’s rebellion .
This battle had a huge impact on Jiang Li . The participation of cultivators in this battle completely undermined his understanding of warfare, and also his knowledge of military theory .
As he gazed at the white snow filling the sky, he was filled with cold and desolate feelings .
Maybe after this battle was over, it would be time for him to hang up his armor and return to a peaceful life as a farmer .
Yuwen Xiu sank into the depths of the green pond .
The atmosphere in the Imperial Garden was solemn .
Tantai Xuan watched the blood defusing into the waters of the green pond without much happiness .
The overthrowing of a dynasty was ultimately a tragic affair .
He looked at the old eunuch kneeling heroically in the snow . For Yuwen Xiu, it was probably fortunate that someone was able to accompany him in his last moments .
At first, Yuwen Xiu cared for nothing but the Black Dragon . The Master had left him, Jiang Li had left him, the ministers had turned away from him, and even the Thirteen Black Dragon Armored Men were only trying to take advantage of the Black Dragon .
Even so, there had been someone caring for and thinking about Yuwen Xiu .
“Take the old eunuch away and give him a proper burial,” Tantai Xuan ordered the soldiers behind him .
“Also, fish out the Great Zhou Dynasty Emperor’s body, and bury it in the Great Zhou Dynasty’s imperial tomb . ”
In the distance, Overlord put away his great ax . The battle was over . He had no more reason to remain here in the Imperial Garden, there were other things he needed to do .
Tantai Xuan watched as Overlord turned to leave and a serious expression appeared in his eyes .
The end of the Great Zhou Dynasty would be followed by a struggle for power between the Great Xuan Dynasty and Western Liang .
Compared to this war to attack Zhou, the fighting between the Great Xuan Dynasty and Western Liang to establish a nation could possibly be even crueler .
The Xuanwu Guards were protecting Tantai Xuan .
They were deathly afraid that Overlord would take this opportunity to attack with his thunderous power and slaughter Tantai Xuan .
After all, this very moment could be his best chance of killing Tantai Xuan .
Overlord was far too powerful, they had witnessed his strength in the previous battle with the Black Dragon .
Even the Thirteen Black Dragon Armored Men had been massacred by Overlord single-handedly .
To an existence like him, they were just small fry .
Tantai Xuan was unexpectedly calm . He gestured to the Xuanwu Guards, telling them not to be so nervous .
Overlord made his way to the exit of the Imperial Garden . He stepped on the bluestone path covered in snow and stopped, turning his head to look at Tantai Xuan .
Overlord shot an impassive look at Tantai Xuan .
Tantai Xuan gazed back calmly at Overlord .
They were the heads of two new kingdoms .
At the moment, they quietly regarded each other .
A fine horse galloped forward Mo Ju rushed from the capital city to the North County . Without stopping his horse, he rode for an entire day and night .
According to his predictions, the Great Zhou Dynasty would not last for much longer, and would definitely be defeated .
Once it was defeated, there would be a struggle for power between the Great Xuan Dynasty and Western Liang . This fight between the new nations would be as cruel as the war on Zhou .
Although the Great Xuan Dynasty seemed to be very powerful, with the Xuanwu Guard, Military God Jiang Li, Mo Beike, and so on…
Still, strictly speaking, Western Liang was stronger than the Great Xuan Dynasty .
Western Liang had Overlord .
Western Liang had the Internal Organs Realm Overlord .
As such, Mo Ju thought that he needed to invite someone capable of resisting Overlord to help the Great Xuan Dynasty .
Otherwise, in the upcoming war to establish an empire, the Great Xuan Dynasty had no hopes of winning .
Even though Tang Xiansheng had previously come looking for Tantai Xuan, Mo Ju could guess that though Tang Xiansheng seemed to favor Tantai Xuan’s side, he would not offer the trump card that was South County to the Great Xuan Dynasty to fight against Western Liang .
As such, the Great Xuan Dynasty had to fend for itself .
Riding against the heavy snow, Mo Ju began to feel dizzy .
The non-stop galloping for 24 hours had left him mentally and physically exhausted, feeling both cold and hungry .
However, finally, he made it to his destination .
At the base of Buzhou Peak, the heavy snow billowed, covering everything in multiple thick layers of snow .
Mo Ju got off his horse, putting on a down coat as he began to feel the chill seep in . Even though he was a cultivator, he did not have a deep commitment to cultivation, so his level of cultivation did not protect him from cold and hunger .
How many people in this world were strong enough to stand against Overlord?
Other than the mysterious White Jade City, there were not many in the world who could really stand toe to toe with the Overlord .
The South County’s Tang Yimo was one who could .
The former Master was another .
Aside from these two individuals, there was one more… The former Number One Daoist, Li Sansi .
Mo Ju had met Li Sansi before at Tianhan Gate .
Li Sansi had arrived too late and had been annoyed . Alone and armed with a wooden sword, he had left Tianhan Gate to pursue the great Xirong army .
Regarding Li Sansi’s strength, Mo Ju had no doubts .
After all, when he was at Buzhou Peak, Mo Ju had witnessed it . Back then, Li Sansi was not yet at the Internal Organs Realm, but after he left Buzhou Peak, he had entered the Internal Organs Realm .
For this reason, Mo Ju thought that he might find Li Sansi at Buzhou Peak .
The long and slow sound of a flute being played resounded continuously within the blizzard .
It carried a feeling of desolation .
The corner of Mo Ju’s mouth twitched . As he expected…he had found him .
The only person who liked playing music on the flute and would play such an intolerable tune was Li Sansi .
Mo Ju trudged through the snow .
He saw Li Sansi at the foot of Buzhou Peak .
An azure-robed Daoist priest on the back of a black ox on a bluestone, playing the flute with emotion .
The tune was extremely sorrowful, as though he was all alone and nobody could understand him .
Mo Ju shook off the snow from his silk scarf and straightened his clothes, making his way towards Li Sansi .
Very soon, he was standing in front of Li Sansi .
Li Sansi sensed Mo Ju’s arrival, but he did not stop playing the flute .
Mo Ju also did not interrupt him and calmly waited for a long time, even though his body was shivering in the heavy blizzard .
After much time had passed, Li Sansi stopped playing his flute, opened his eyes, and looked at Mo Ju with a mirthless smile .
“Military Counsellor of the Great Xuan Dynasty, Mo Ju,” Li Sansi said .
Mo Ju cupped his hands respectfully, hot air blowing out from his mouth, as he bowed towards Li Sansi .
“Ju, greeting Daoist Priest Li . ”
Li Sansi saw how Mo Ju was putting up a show of confidence despite shivering in the cold and laughed, picking up a wineskin, and tossing it to him .
“Have some wine to warm yourself up . ”
Mo Ju received the wineskin and took a gulp . His eyes lit up . “Is this Green Bamboo Leaf Liquor from Beizhu County below Tianhan Gate?”
Li Sansi had not expected Mo Ju to actually be able to recognize the wine .
The wine in his belly burned like an oven and the warmth made Mo Ju feel much more comfortable .
“How did you find me?
“And what business do you have with me?”
Li Sansi picked up the wooden sword that was covered in snow and gave it a knock, dislodging the snow that had piled on top of it .
Mo Ju had a serious expression on his face as he looked up towards Buzhou Peak, then pointed at the sword .
“The deeds of Daoist Priest Li Sansi below Buzhou Peak…are actually pretty well-known .
“When you flew into a rage and killed the thirty thousand men of the army attacking the North County, although I was not there at the battle, I’ve heard about it .
“As such, I knew I would find you here at Buzhou Peak . ”
Mo Ju handed the wineskin back .
Li Sansi was stunned and shook his head . “I wasn’t seething with rage or anything, it was just my own wishful thinking .
“Still, I can probably guess why you’ve come looking for me this time,” Li Sansi said . “The fall of the Great Zhou Dynasty will be followed by a war between the Great Xuan Dynasty and Western Liang . The Great Xuan Dynasty has no cultivators at the Internal Organs Realm, so you need me to help the Great Xuan Dynasty fight Overlord, correct?”
Mo Ju nodded, the look on his face turning serious immediately .
He took a step back, folding his hands in front of him and bowed solemnly .
“I’m not opposed to helping the Great Xuan Dynasty . I might not be able to defeat Overlord, but keeping him in check should not be too difficult,” Li Sansi remarked .
Li Sansi did not have an issue with helping the Great Xuan Dynasty . If the Great Xuan Dynasty were to be defeated, the territory of Buzhou Peak would fall into Overlord’s hands . Accounting for Overlord’s bad temper, there was no guarantee that he would not fly into a rage and order his armies to launch an attack on Buzhou Peak and challenge Zhu Long who resided in the peak .
Hence, Li Sansi had his own reasons for wanting to help the Great Xuan Dynasty .
His gaze fell back onto Mo Ju .
“However, I need you to help me with something in exchange . ”
Hearing this surprised Mo Ju, he had not expected Li Sansi to agree to help in such a big war so easily .
“Please state your request,” Mo Ju answered unflinchingly .
Li Sansi gripped his flute, looking up into the clouds towards the hidden pinnacle of Buzhou Peak .
He laughed .
“I need you to help me send something up to Buzhou Peak . ”
Mo Ju was already resolved to put his life on the line for this .
He never expected Li Sansi’s request to be something so simple .
“Why can’t you go up and deliver it yourself?” Mo Ju asked, puzzled .
Li Sansi reclined on his side atop the black ox, glancing sidelong at Mo Ju . His face twitched .
“This humble monk…is afraid of getting beaten to death . ”
Beiluo City .
Lu Changkong sat in the main hall . Below him, Luo Yue and the other generals of Beiluo City had assembled .
They were looking up at the clouds in the sky, the snow drifting down, bringing a chill along with it .
“It should be over now . ”
One of the generals sighed ruefully .
Lu Changkong got up to his feet . Dressed in a Confucius robe, he made his way to the door, looking at the sky filled with snow .
A scout was urging his horse forward as it galloped towards the city at high speed . When they entered Beiluo City, they made a beeline for the City Master’s Manor .
Flipping himself off the horse, he sprinted rapidly towards the main hall .
A letter quickly made its way into the hands of Lu Changkong .
Inside the main hall, Luo Yue and the other generals stood at attention, looking at the letter in Lu Changkong’s hands .
Lu Changkong shook off the snow that had collected over the letter, pulling out the message from the envelope, and scanned through its contents unhurriedly .
“The Great Zhou Dynasty has ultimately met its end after all . ”
Lu Changkong folded up the letter and sighed, his heart full of mixed feelings .
To tell the truth, ever since the Master died in the battle at Dongyang County, he had been able to predict the end of the Great Zhou Dynasty .
For the longest time, Kong Xiu had been the sole pillar of support for the Great Zhou Dynasty . Losing this pillar meant that the shaky edifice that was the Great Zhou Dynasty would collapse sooner or later .
The armies of the Great Xuan Dynasty and Western Liang were the gust of wind that would blow down this edifice .
Lu Changkong passed the letter to the generals .
He was feeling a little bit numb to everything .
With hands folded behind his back, he stepped into the open-air central courtyard, disappearing into the thick falling snow .
“The Great Zhou Dynasty has fallen in the end . ”
“Although we predicted this was going to happen a long time ago, but witnessing the end of a dynasty like this, is still hard for us to bear . ”
“You can’t go against the way the currents of the world . The currents of the world move like a fierce tiger, and unless one has supernatural power like the Young Master, even an imperial dynasty cannot withstand being overturned by the world . ”
In the main hall, the generals voiced their regrets .
The letter outlined the process of the Great Zhou Dynasty’s fall .
Along the long street in the capital city, Overlord had butchered the Thirteen Black Dragon Armored Men .
The old eunuch had fought to the death in front of the emperor .
Yuwen Xiu slit his own throat in the Black Dragon Pond, his corpse sinking into the pond’s depths, representing the defeat and fall of a dynasty .
Although the message was short and succinct, they felt like they could picture the carnage in the capital city, and see the scene of Yuwen Xiu at the end of his rope, committing suicide by slitting his throat at the Black Dragon Pond .
The news had not only reached Beiluo City .
Spies of various factions positioned in the capital city would quickly spread the news out of the capital city in the period of time that followed .
The whole world would soon feel the effects of the aftermath of the Great Zhou Dynasty’s fall .
On Beiluo Lake .
Shrouded in a dense cloud of Spirit Qi, Lu Fan sat in the wheelchair, calmly watching the Black Dragon as it floated above the lake’s surface, not daring to move an inch .
The small Responsive Dragon crouched at Lu Fan’s shoulder, its wings tensed up as it stared at the Black Dragon .
Leaning on the wheelchair, Lu Fan’s long fingers were tapping lightly on the fiery red Phoenix Feather Arm .
With each tap of Lu Fan’s finger, the Black Dragon felt an intense jolt of fear in its heart .
“You have devoured a total of 437 cultivators, and 895 regular people,” Lu Fan finally spoke, watching the Black Dragon .
“What a great appetite you have . ”
A look of fear surfaced in the Black Dragon’s eyes .
Lu Fan continued to talk impassively, his voice carrying across the entire Beiluo Lake, “I used to fish at this lake, and those fated to do so would be caught by me . There are many fishes in Beiluo Lake, and you were one of the few chosen ones, biting down hard on the fish hook . You secured a long wide road ahead of yourself, but as you traveled down this road, you caused it to become narrower and narrower . ”
Almost imperceptibly, the Spirit Qi on the lake began to transform into the shape of a huge swirl .
“As long as strength exists in this world, it will be split into good and evil, and evil creatures will be born . This is something I had predicted .
“However, I never expected that you would be the first evil creature to be born .
“I’ve told you before, if you make the wrong choices in life you will be returned to the furnace and remade anew . But now, I’ve changed my mind,” Lu Fan said .
“The Great Zhou Dynasty survived thanks to you and was also destroyed because of you . You previously bore the weight of a dynasty’s on your back, therefore, you will be transformed into a dynasty’s Dragon Qi and be reincarnated into the alternating rise and decline of dynasties . ”
When he had finished talking, a look of unwillingness appeared in the Black Dragon’s eyes, as it floated above the lake .
It had reached a false elixir realm and had grown its own Spirit Intellect long ago, even though it was still unable to speak human languages .
Still, its level of intelligence was not any lower than a human’s .
Why would it not be able to understand the meaning behind Lu Fan’s words?
To be transformed into a dynasty’s Dragon Qi… What did that mean? It meant that its path as a cultivator would be completely cut short, and it would only be able to exist as formless Dragon Qi, a resource that the people of the world would fight to take control of .
It was a devourer of mankind, and mankind had been its resource . Yet now, it would become a resource that humanity fought over to dominate the world…
How could it resign itself to this fate?
The Black Dragon was naturally unwilling to accept this .
It had ambition . It had been able to emerge on top, out of tens of thousands of other fishes . Naturally, it was ambitious . It had tried to leap through the Dragon Gate, and now, it was going to become the dragon above all dragons!
The gills at the Black Dragon’s neck suddenly spread open, vibrating continuously .
A look of rebellion flashed in its eyes .
The Black Dragon slapped its dragon claw into the surface of Beiluo Lake, creating a deep trough into the lake’s surface .
From under the Black Dragon’s dragon scales, rolling black Qi diffused .
With its jaws gaping wide, a thick heatwave and boiling black flames came spitting out .
It was aiming straight at its target, Lu Fan .
On Lu Fan’s shoulder, the small Responsive Dragon immediately spread its wings apart . Water surged within its mouth, prepared to spit out .
However, Lu Fan stopped it .
The Black Dragon was clearly refusing to accept Lu Fan’s judgment .
It wanted to resist the tragic hand it would soon be dealt with .
The burning dragon’s breath caused a dense cloud of steam to rise up from Beiluo Lake .
However, very soon, the Black Dragon’s eyes would narrow .
Because the white-robed Lu Fan was slowly standing up from the wheelchair .
In that instant, the white clothes he was wearing turned black .
Seated, he was an immortal . Standing, he was a demon .
“Will you still dare bare your fangs at me?” the black-robed Lu Fan asked coldly .
A fearsome and oppressive aura left the Black Dragon frozen in place .
As the dragon’s breath approached close to Lu Fan, it automatically dissipated into thin air .
Lu Fan’s hair fluttered in the wind, as he stepped across the lake’s surface to approach the Black Dragon .
Looking at the Black Dragon, he slowly raised his hand and placed a finger on the Black Dragon’s forehead .
The Black Dragon’s body began to glow as it was engulfed in countless rays of black light .
The massive body of the Black Dragon floating in the air began to shrink and shrink…
Finally, it turned into a black carp .
It only took an instant for the Black Dragon to be transformed into a black carp .
Its physical body had become that of a black carp, but the Black Dragon’s Dragon Soul was still floating in the air, along with a black-colored Dragon Pearl Golden Elixir .
With just a flick of his finger, the black carp’s body fell into Beiluo Lake with a splash, throwing up some water from the lake .
With a shake of its tail, the fish swam away carefree and with complete freedom in Beiluo Lake .
From a black carp to the Black Dragon, then back to a black carp in the end . Its time as a dragon was like a dream of grandeur .
In the end, the Black Dragon would be returned to the furnace and forged anew .
All that was left behind was a Dragon Soul and a black Dragon Pearl Golden Elixir .