Lu Fan calmly looked at the Dragon Pearl Golden Elixir and Dragon Soul that floated in the air in front of him .
Tens of thousands of silver blades and the Phoenix Feather Sword gathered together to form the Thousand Blades Chair behind him . Lu Fan slowly took a seat, and his black shirt transformed back into a white robe .
Lu Fan raised a hand, and the Dragon Pearl Golden Elixir floated into his hands .
This was a fake elixir . It was not the real Golden Elixir .
As for what to do with the Black Dragon, aside from returning it to the furnace to remake it anew, Lu Fan planned to turn the Black Dragon’s Dragon Soul into Dragon Qi as a means of influencing the dynasty in order to quickly change its destiny .
If the Emperor could gather Dragon Qi during his cultivation, he would be able to intimidate the forces of evil .
This would allow the Emperor to avoid being easily swayed by these evil influences .
This was also one of the paths of cultivation .
Lu Fan sat atop the Thousand Blades Chair as the Dragon Pearl Golden Elixir floated quietly in front of him . From within the Golden Elixir, the cries of tormented souls could be heard howling .
These were the lost souls that were born after the Black Dragon had devoured humans, which the Black Dragon had used to temper into a Golden Elixir . However, these tormented souls were the reason the Black Dragon was unable to reach the true Golden Elixir Realm, and could only become a fake elixir .
With a single thought, the Spirit Pressure Chessboard instantly appeared in the air in front of him, floating before Lu Fan’s body .
The Dragon Pearl Golden Elixir also floated in place .
Lu Fan turned his attention to setting up a game .
This time, he did not use the Mountain River Strategy or the Wind Rain Strategy, choosing instead, to use the third strategy in the Heavenly Go Manual, the Mortal World Strategy .
In the mortal world, life was like a living purgatory .
Lu Fan wore a calm expression as he placed pieces down on the chessboard .
The black and white go pieces seemed to bear immense weight, and picking up and placing down each piece on the board took the same effort as moving mountains .
As he placed the pieces on the board, slowly but surely, the grudges and negative energy from the tormented souls on the Dragon Pearl Golden Elixir was cleansed, quietly transforming into a black glow and disappearing .
The Dragon Soul circled the Dragon Pearl Golden Elixir, and under the influence of the chessboard, became increasingly pure .
The small Responsive Dragon watched the chessboard for a while before it was overcome with boredom and flapped away with its meaty wings .
It flew up high in the sky .
Then, tucking in its wings, it turned into a cannonball, diving down sharply from the sky .
With a loud splash, it disappeared into the waters of the lake .
The sudden disturbance frightened the fish in the lake, scattering them in all directions, and causing a flock of gulls and herons to take flight .
The small Responsive Dragon wandered about excitedly in the lake, as though it was looking for something .
Very soon, it clutched onto a black carp with its draconic claws . The black carp was scared to death, repeatedly thrashing its tail about in a frenzy .
The small Responsive Dragon tossed the black carp aside disinterestedly and continued its search .
However, after scouring the lake, it was unable to find the black fish it was looking for .
The small Responsive Dragon poked its head out of the lake . It lay on the Dragon Gate, pouting its mouth and spitting out a jet of water, choosing instead to play happily with the Tianji Pigeons .
The Great Zhou Dynasty has collapsed .
The hundreds of people who held ministerial positions in the Great Zhou Dynasty did not resist it . They did not put up a fight or try to escape, instead, they went down on their knees before Tantai Xuan as he walked out of Zijin Palace .
Tantai Xuan scanned the Great Zhou officials under him, his eyebrows knitted slightly .
Following this, he turned his gaze into the distance, where Jiang Li stood leaning on the palace gate, covered in silver armor .
Overlord also emerged from Zijin Palace, paying no heed to the hundreds of officials kneeling before him .
There was the sound of a horse’s hoofbeats .
A horse-driven carriage stopped in front of the Imperial City .
Mo Beike, who had rushed over from Beiluo City, pulled aside the curtains and slowly emerged from the horse carriage .
He saw Jiang Li and the myriad of officials kneeling on the ground, he saw Overlord and Tantai Xuan who stood in front of them .
With mixed emotions, Mo Beike looked at Overlord .
Overlord did not show any warmth towards Mo Beike, giving him only a passing cursory glance . Then, he slung his great ax over his back and led the Xiang Family’s Army out of the Imperial City .
As Overlord passed by Mo Beike, Mo Beike bowed slightly towards him .
Overlord nodded in acknowledgment and brushed right past him .
The two men were like the most familiar strangers .
As for the officials and ministers of the Great Zhou Dynasty that had gathered, Overlord could not be bothered to deal with them at this time . He even purposely let them be .
“Giant, you’ve returned!”
Conversely, Tantai Xuan sprinted down quickly from the top of the platform, rushing to Mo Beike’s side and supported him by the arm .
Mo Beike’s heavy eyelids twitched, as he chuckled . “On my trip to Beiluo, this old man had a long chat with Young Master Lu, and it seems I’ve missed out on some things . ”
“As the situation was pressing, we could not afford to wait for you to return before starting our attack . Thankfully, we emerged victorious in this battle . ”
Tantai Xuan held Mo Beike by the arm . Yuwen Xiu’s end had impressed upon Tantai Xuan the importance of having good subordinates .
For instance, if the Master of the Great Zhou Dynasty had not died, the situation would have been completely different .
Overlord ordered Xu Chu to take the Xiang Family’s Army and station themselves within the Imperial City .
As for him, he stood atop a chariot, riding to the city gates and letting the rest of the Western Liang army into the city .
After the army had entered the city, the densely-packed Western Liang army let out a thunderous cheer .
Overlord got down from his chariot, handing his great ax over to one of his aides, rushing over to the horse carriage he had long-awaited .
From within the horse carriage, a beautiful woman appeared .
Luo Mingsang alighted daintily from the horse carriage, looking tenderly at Overlord .
Overlord did not mention the letter .
He held Luo Mingsang by the arm and they walked leisurely down the capital city’s long street .
He had wanted her to be a picturesque beauty, and now this desire would soon be fulfilled .
In front of Zijin Palace, the officials of the Great Zhou Dynasty kneeled .
They did not dare to even twitch, or make any suspicious movements . As officials of a defeated empire, they could only wait for the judgment that the enemy had in store for them .
Tantai Xuan supported Mo Beike as they slowly walked forward .
“Giant, what should we do after this?” Tantai Xuan asked .
“How should we deal with these hundreds of officials of the Great Zhou Dynasty?”
Mo Beike’s eyelids were heavy . He glanced at the Imperial City that was covered in snow, then at the hundreds of officials of the Great Zhou Dynasty kneeling on the ground . Shaking his head, he laughed .
“My lord,” Mo Beike answered, “this old minister’s advice is for you to do the only thing left for you to do, which is to lead your armies and leave the Imperial City .
“You do not have to stick your nose into the affairs of the capital city .
“You do not have to take notice of these officials . ”
Tantai Xuan was taken aback .
He had never expected Mo Beike to actually offer up such a suggestion .
“This old minister’s decision comes from understanding Overlord . If I was as careful as Mo Ju, I might have asked my lord to leave the Imperial City the instant Yuwen Xiu slit his own throat . ”
Mo Beike’s expression grew stern .
“Power is in the hands of the strong . Although the Great Xuan Dynasty is not weak, in terms of strength we cannot compare to Western Liang .
“If my lord loses himself to the allure of authority of the flourishing capital city, and believes that we currently have the capability to engage Western Liang in a fight for dominance… then my lord would be gravely mistaken,” Mo Beike warned .
“The Great Xuan Dynasty does not have anyone who can face Overlord in battle now . If a war were to break out, there is an 80% chance that we will lose . If my lord becomes a prisoner of war, then any lofty plans or ambitions would immediately go up in smoke . ”
In the distance, Jiang Li had removed his helmet and approached, gripping his silver spear .
“My lord, the giant has a point .
“Your humble servant recommends immediately ordering our armies out of the Imperial City,” Jiang Li added .
Even though Jiang Li was aware of how difficult this decision was, he had to admit that this was the only way out for Tantai Xuan right now .
“Many of the soldiers in the Great Xuan Dynasty’s army have sacrificed their lives and blood to take over the Imperial City… Having to leave it behind like this is really difficult to accept!”
Tantai Xuan clenched his teeth .
Still, he knew that Jiang Li and Mo Beike were right .
He recalled the scene of Overlord quietly turning back to meet his gaze at the Imperial Garden .
He let out a cold sweat just thinking about it .
Tantai Xuan sighed ruefully to himself .
Following this, he turned towards the Xuanwu Guard behind him and ordered through gritted teeth, “Prepare to leave the Imperial City!”
Mo Beike’s eyes sparkled as he smiled .
Jiang Li also took a long look at Tantai Xuan . Tantai Xuan was not the most brilliant ruler, but…he listened to advice . He was able to process the counsel his ministers gave him and come to a decision after analyzing all the suggestions .
This was a commendable skill .
If it was Overlord in his shoes, regardless of whether he was weak or strong, he would not be able to make this decision to leave behind the Imperial City .
What had to be done, had to be done .
After all, taking down the Imperial City had come at no small cost to the Western Liang nation .
With Overlord’s temperament, it would be impossible for him to give up or retreat .
“Of course…before we leave, there’s somewhere I need to go,” Mo Beike said .
Tantai Xuan was stunned for a moment .
Mo Beike looked towards Zijin Palace through the snow, taking in a deep breath . “The Great Zhou Dynasty Library Pavilion . ”
He feared that if he did not make a trip to the Library Pavilion now, he would regret it later .
The army of the Great Xuan Dynasty pulled out of the capital city .
Before they left, they moved crate after crate of bamboo scrolls and books from the Great Zhou Dynasty’s Library Pavilion .
Of course, because there were simply too many books in the Great Zhou Dynasty Library Pavilion, Tantai Xuan could only take about a third of its contents with him .
After that, the Xuanwu Guard and the Great Xuan Dynasty army retreated from the Imperial City .
They did so even though many of the Great Xuan Dynasty’s soldiers were unwilling, and many of the military leaders were dissatisfied .
This feeling was compounded by the onlooking Western Liang nation generals, as the mocking gaze of the enemy made the soldiers and leaders of the Great Xuan Dynasty army feel a profound sense of humiliation .
Even so, their lord had made the decision, so none dared to oppose it .
The hundreds of officials continued to kneel in the clearing in front of the Imperial City . Tantai Xuan had not dealt with them, and a thick layer of falling snow was piling up .
Overlord approached with hands clasped behind his back . He had already arranged for a place for Luo Mingsang to rest .
He needed to deal with some matters in the Imperial City .
Though Tantai Xuan’s retreat from the Imperial City came as a surprise, it was still within his expectations .
Mo Beike’s return had allowed Tantai Xuan to make an optimal decision . Mo Beike knew Overlord very well .
If Tantai Xuan had not pulled out and waited for Overlord to make his move, Overlord would definitely launch an attack on Tantai Xuan’s army, and the main bulk of Great Xuan Dynasty’s forces would be captured here .
“What did they take with them?” Overlord asked Xu Chu, who stood behind him .
“From the Great Zhou Dynasty Library Pavilion, they took many books of ideas and records of cultivation methods for blood and qi, which contained the thinking of the Hundred Schools of Philosophy . They also took some books about the law of the Great Zhou Dynasty . All in all, it came to about five carriages worth of books . ”
Hearing this, the Overlord could not help but laugh .
“This must have been the idea of that old fogey with Tantai Xuan,” Overlord remarked .
“He really understands me .
“Take the remaining books from the Great Zhou Dynasty Library Pavilion and organize them . As for books related to the Hundred Schools of Philosophy…”
As he said this, Overlord paused .
Xu Chu looked over doubtfully .
Following this, the Overlord looked at the crowd of officials kneeling below him and said, “Burn them all . ”
Xu Chu was dumbfounded, not expecting Overlord to actually order such a thing .
“It doesn’t matter . Mo Beike took quite a few books with him . Burning the rest of them will show the rest of the world that when I said I promised to dismiss the Hundred Schools, I meant what I said .
“Additionally, all the books kept in the Library Pavilion are to be changed to records of cultivation methods . The Black Dragon’s Dragon Gate should also be developed .
“Strength is the basis of everything . Only with powerful strength can a dynasty remain standing firm .
“Do you know why the Great Xuan Dynasty troops retreated from the Imperial City?”
Overlord laughed .
“It was because they were too weak . ”
Xu Chu scratched his head and nodded .
This kind of talk was too confusing . Fighting and killing were far simpler .
“My lord, what shall we do about these Great Zhou Dynasty officials?” Xu Chu asked .
Overlord glanced over at the hundreds of officials . Under his sharp and icy gaze, the bodies of the kneeling officials trembled .
“Get your men to do a proper investigation . If any of them are corrupt officials, kill them .
“If they are innocent, let them go . ”
Hearing this, Xu Chu frowned, asking, “My lord, you’re not going to keep these experienced officials in your service to help you with their counsel?”
The Overlord’s lips curled up in a smirk as he heard this . “I don’t need them . In any case, if they had been good at giving counsel, would the Great Zhou Dynasty have fallen?”
Hearing this reply, Xu Chu thought Overlord made a lot of sense and nodded at once .
“Yes sir . ”
As the hundreds of officials below them heard this exchange, they felt their bodies grew ice cold .
“Your Majesty, have mercy…
“Have mercy, please, Your Majesty!
“We are willing to submit, we are willing to submit!
The hundreds of officials cried out .
Even so, the Overlord paid them no heed whatsoever, clasping his hands behind his back and turning to leave . His burly and tall figure soon disappeared in the billowing snow .
He stepped into Zijin Palace, looking towards the tall Dragon Throne .
Knitting his brows slightly, he turned, passing through Zijin Palace and moved towards the Black Dragon’s Dragon Gate in the Imperial Garden .
Compared to the Dragon Gate, the Dragon Throne that symbolized the authority of an emperor was not as attractive to him .
The Great Xuan Dynasty army left the Imperial City and made their way to Yuanchi City, one of the six great strongholds . The city stood facing the capital city from afar, like a tower of opposition .
In truth, the troops of the Great Xuan Dynasty army were holding a deep grudge .
They had been involved in the takeover of the Imperial City, so why did they, the Great Xuan Dynasty army, have to leave, while the Western Liang army got to take control of the Imperial City?
By retreating like this, was this not equivalent to the Great Xuan Dynasty giving up the struggle for power, and letting Western Liang win all the support from the aristocratic families and powerful despots?
However, it had been Tantai Xuan’s decision, so the soldiers dared not complain .
Of course, some of the smarter military leaders seemed to guess that something was up .
The news began to spread .
Nobody had expected this, and so the powerful aristocratic families which should have supported the faction immediately taking over the Imperial City did not make an immediate decision .
Instead, they chose to wait and observe the situation .
None of these aristocrats were fools, they seemed to have caught the scent of something abnormal .
As expected, a shocking piece of news came from South County, throwing many of the aristocratic families into an uproar .
Tang Xiansheng of South County had not only chosen to not set up an independent country but had secretly begun to spread the word that he was on the Great Xuan Dynasty’s side .
All the aristocratic families had originally believed that when the Great Zhou Dynasty fell, there would be a three-way struggle for power .
In the end, South County had decided to forfeit their place and it was just a two-way fight between Western Liang and the Great Xuan Dynasty .
This left many of the aristocratic families astonished .
Inside Yuanchi City, Tantai Xuan was flipping through the books Mo Beike had brought out of the Great Zhou Dynasty Library Pavilion . These books did not only recorded the philosophy and culture of the Hundred Schools of Philosophy . More importantly, they contained information about how the Great Zhou Dynasty had been ruled in terms of its laws and so on, and so they were of tremendous value .
Tantai Xuan had no choice but to admire Mo Beike for prioritizing the taking of these books .
It was also fortunate that Overlord did not value books such as these .
Jiang Li had yet to remove his coat of silver armor and walked over from a distance .
Mo Beike was seated and sipping hot tea when he saw Jiang Li enter . He was slightly taken aback . Thereafter, as though he remembered something, he gave Jiang Li a smile .
Standing up, he cradled the teacup in his hands and stepped out the door with his back hunched .
He would give Tantai Xuan and Jiang Li some space .
At this point, Tantai Xuan seemed to notice him, and hurriedly put down the book in his hands, looking at Jiang Li .
“General Jiang, why aren’t you going to rest? This battle must have been hard on you . ”
Jiang Li was very composed . Looking towards Tantai Xuan, he let out a breath .
Cupping his hands together in respect and bowing slightly, he said, “I am indebted to my lord for your trust and care all this time .
“Now that the Great Zhou Dynasty has collapsed, your servant grows weary in mind and body .
“It is time for your servant to hang up his armor and retire as a civilian . ”