Outside, there was a bleak snowstorm .
Jiang Li wore a coat of silver armor, frozen blood still stuck to it . He had his hands cupped together, bowing forward with a resolute expression .
The last time he had mentioned his desire to retire from his duties, he had been thrown into prison by Yuwen Xiu .
What about now?
What would Tantai Xuan do?
Jiang Li’s mind was racing with thoughts .
Tantai Xuan observed Jiang Li for a long time .
Then, he smiled a carefree smile .
“Brother Jiang must be very tired . ”
Tantai Xuan sighed . He was the descendant of a military family and had continued to uphold his family’s honorable military traditions . In truth, Tantai Xuan could tell that Jiang Li was a lazy person by nature . He was someone who enjoyed peace and quiet, who enjoyed being carefree .
He loved quietly sitting on a small stool, sipping on a bowl of delicious chicken soup .
However, life had not allowed him to live carefree . He had become the Military God . He had to lead armies tens of thousands of men strong . He had to fight to uphold the honor of his military family .
Jiang Li did not expect this comment from Tantai Xuan and was stunned by it .
“Your servant is not tired,” Jiang Li answered .
“Who are you trying to fool with that nonsense . If you’re tired then just say you’re tired . There’s nothing to be ashamed of…”
Tantai Xuan patted Jiang Li on the shoulder, relieving him of his bowed position .
“If you want to hang up your armor and retire, then go ahead and do it . I’m certainly not going to stop you . You are wound up way too tightly . You need to let yourself go a little,” Tantai Xuan told him earnestly .
“Go . Pack up and have a good rest . ”
Though Tantai Xuan looked like a rough man, he was very attentive in his concern for others .
Jiang Li was stunned . He had never expected Tantai Xuan to let him retire so easily .
It was known that a war with Western Liang was approaching and based on the Great Xuan Dynasty’s strength, they would basically be completely crushed by Western Liang at this point . Trying to achieve victory was far too difficult .
At such a time, Jiang Li’s importance did not need to be elaborated upon . Any other ruler would probably be unwilling to let Jiang Li leave .
Yet Tantai Xuan did so .
His attitude was not that of a ruler, but of an old friend .
Jiang Li had nothing else to say . Everything that he wanted to express was put into a single bow .
Tantai Xuan merely smiled .
Jiang Li turned to leave and walked out of the house . The snow in the sky was cold indeed, drifting through the air like white crystals, obstructing the vision of everyone around .
As Tantai Xuan watched, the figure of Jiang Li gradually disappeared into the snow .
Not long after Jiang Li had disappeared from view, Mo Beike made his appearance .
“Giant . ”
Tantai Xuan looked at Mo Beike and nodded, greeting him .
“Is my lord really letting Jiang Li leave?
“The difference in the combat power of the Great Xuan Dynasty with and without Jiang Li is at least thirty percent,” Mo Beike said .
The nickname Military God was not just for show .
“How could I not let him go?” Tantai Xuan said, looking straight at Mo Beike . “Forcing him to help will not bring out his full strength .
“The fact that I was able to get Jiang Li’s help to successfully attack Great Zhou is already cause for celebration . ”
Mo Beike smiled at this, the wrinkles of his deeply creased face twitching .
From under his heavy eyelids, a pair of eyes stared out deeply at Tantai Xuan .
“My lord does not need to be discouraged . Ju’s long disappearance means he has gone to find help for my lord . ”
Tantai Xuan was taken aback .
He remembered the letter stained with blood and laughed, shaking his head .
“Let him be… I don’t care . ”
Although he had torn the letter, it was impossible for there not to be a rift between them . After all, during the attack on Zhou, Mo Ju had not been present .
There was a chance that Mo Ju had predicted something would happen and thus departed without telling anybody .
When he thought about Mo Ju, Tantai Xuan felt dejected because he had really trusted him .
Ultimately, this man was his confidante, a strategist whom he had always relied on .
In the end, Mo Ju was actually with the Confucianists, a pawn planted by the Great Zhou Dynasty’s Imperial Advisor, Kong Xiu .
Even though Mo Ju had never done anything to undermine him, Tantai Xuan still felt depressed after learning this fact .
Tantai Xuan had not disclosed Mo Ju’s true identity to Mo Beike .
“It’s about strength . If I had Overlord’s strength, what would I need to be afraid of?”
Tantai Xuan sighed ruefully .
“In the era of cultivators, the weak must submit to the strong,” Tantai Xuan said . “If I manage to wield true authority, I will definitely proclaim to the world the creation of the Great Xuan Dynasty Academy . I want the public to master cultivation and be able to start no matter their age .
“By training more and more strong individuals, the Great Xuan Dynasty will become more stable!”
This was his vision for the future . The era of cultivators was upon them, and the Great Xuan Dynasty needed more strong cultivators to defend the country and even to take up ministerial positions in order to maintain the stability of the nation . Only by doing so could they find their footing in these turbulent times .
Tantai Xuan had a long discussion with Mo Beike .
The snow falling outside became increasingly heavy .
Jiang Li removed his silver armor .
Without informing anyone else, he slung his luggage on his back and discreetly left the army camp .
He leaned against the heavy city walls, covered with scars . The mottled ancient city walls seemed to be retelling many stories of war .
Jiang Li had entered the army when he was twelve . He was now thirty . It had been a long eighteen years .
He had spent all his youth on the battlefield, and he definitely felt some reluctance to leave it behind .
In the blizzard, he heard the sound of footsteps .
Jiang Li was shocked, turning his head to look, and saw a familiar female figure .
Chi Lian was carrying a piece of luggage on her back, standing stubbornly in the snowstorm . Specks of white snow hung from her long eyelashes .
“Wherever my lord goes, Chi Lian will follow,” Chi Lian said .
Jiang Li smiled . He had not requested that Chi Lian stay in the army camp . Chi Lian used to be his subordinate, and out of the many subordinates he had, she was the only one left today .
Jiang Li stopped leaning against the city walls and remarked, “Let’s go and look for Qingniao . I miss the chicken soup she used to make . ”
Chi Lian’s eyes lit up . Her body swayed gently in the wind, and under the split hem of her long dress, her long, pale legs could be seen intermittently .
The two of them descended from the city walls under the puzzled gazes of the soldiers guarding the city .
They walked into the brilliant white snow, disappearing outside the walls of Yuanchi City, headed on foot for Beiluo City .
Buzhou Peak .
Wearing a down coat, Mo Ju carried a jar of Green Bamboo Leaf Liquor in each hand .
He had begun his climb up Buzhou Peak from the foot of the mountain . Buzhou Peak was very tall, and after half a day’s climb, he had only reached halfway up the mountain .
Even so, he did not give up . Li Sansi had told him that as long as he helped with this task, Li Sansi would assist the Great Xuan Dynasty in fighting Overlord .
Mo Ju was well aware that he was the Great Xuan Dynasty’s only hope now .
Going to White Jade City to look for someone who could match Overlord was unrealistic…
He also did not feel capable of convincing any of the disciples of White Jade City to help him .
Then again, Tantai Xuan had suffered greatly thanks to White Jade City . Why would they turn around and help the Great Xuan Dynasty now?
He let out a breath of hot air .
Mo Ju continued his climb towards the top of Buzhou Peak .
At last, he reached the pinnacle .
It was as though he had entered paradise on earth .
Countless flowers were in bloom, and the place seemed to enjoy a perpetual springtime .
Atop the mountain peak, there was a completely different scene awaiting him . At the foot of the mountain, the world suffered a bitterly cold and lifeless winter, yet at the top of the mountain, it was a beautiful picture of spring .
He heard the mellifluous sound of a flute being played .
Mo Ju was stunned . He could tell that this was the same tune that Li Sansi had been playing . However, the quality of the music was completely different .
If he had to compare them, Mo Ju could only say that Li Sansi’s rendition of it was utter nonsense .
The melodious flute music stilled his mind and spirit, and the panting Mo Ju calmed down, unconsciously shaking his head .
Then, the music from the flute stopped .
At this moment, Mo Ju laid eyes on a young lady sitting atop a bluestone .
At the same time, the air suddenly grew harsh and sharp, as though a large invisible hand had abruptly gripped Mo Ju by the throat .
Beads of cold sweat suddenly dripped from Mo Ju’s forehead .
Mo Ju struggled to speak .
The young lady on the bluestone slowly turned her body to face him, revealing a beautiful face with delicate skin . However, her eyes were shut tightly, as though opening them was some kind of strange taboo .
Her long eyelashes quivered .
The young lady seemed to want to open her eyes .
A boundless aura of death enveloped Mo Ju, and he faintly felt like a huge behemoth was staring at him .
So… so scary!
It was no wonder Li Sansi did not dare come up here for fear of being beaten up .
How could a young lady be so frightening?!
“A friend asked me to bring two jars of wine to you, Miss . He said he was afraid that if you had no wine to drink, you would be bored…” Mo Ju hurriedly explained as he was lifted in mid-air .
“That friend also urges you not to drink too much…”
Then, while he was still speaking, one jar of Green Bamboo Leaf Liquor was already in the young lady’s hands . She popped off the cap like a seasoned drunkard and downed the wine in a single gulp .
A whole jar of wine… in a single gulp .
Mo Ju was dumbfounded .
Was she some kind of wine tub?
Having drunk the jar of wine, the fearsome energy that filled the air dissipated .
Mo Ju let out a breath of relief, collapsing to the ground on the mountaintop .
Without even realizing it, his entire back had been drenched with cold sweat .
“You can take your leave . Tell him not to send me wine anymore . If my father heard about it, he would be punished,” the young lady said in a clear and crisp voice .
Mo Ju was stunned . Li Sansi was a cultivator at the Internal Organs Realm . Who was this young lady’s father, that he could actually give Li Sansi a beating?
Mo Ju rose to his feet, shaking the dirt off his down coat . He cupped his hands respectfully towards Zhu Long, who was still carrying the other jar of Green Bamboo Leaf Liquor, her dainty nose twitching over the sealing clay .
“Miss, you don’t need to worry . My friend has a frightening level of cultivation and is one of the first-class cultivators in the world . Even if he can’t win in a fight, he should be able to escape . ”
Mo Ju laughed .
Zhu Long tilted her small face slightly upwards, her eyes still shut . Even though she did not open her eyes, Mo Ju felt like he was being looked down upon .
The young lady’s expression was as though she was judging a mentally handicapped person .
“If my father wants to beat him up, there’s nowhere in the entire world he can run to,” Zhu Long replied .
After that, Zhu Long did not say another word .
She hugged the jar of Green Bamboo Leaf Liquor, sitting quietly on the bluestone .
Mo Ju swallowed hard as he glanced over the dense piles of bones on the mountaintop, feeling an inexplicable chill coming over him .
At first, the peak that was in spring all year round, the bluestone, and the young lady seemed to create a picturesque scene .
However, with these bleached bones added to the equation, the entire picture felt a little eerie and frightening .
Mo Ju did not want to stay long and gestured respectfully towards Zhu Long .
Then, he turned to descend Buzhou Peak .
His pace was slow at first, but he felt an ill wind coming from behind him .
As such, he began to pick up the pace as he descended, going from a stroll to a mad sprint, gripping his down coat .
Zhu Long sat silently on the bluestone . Springtime on the mountaintop was beautiful, but it was also lonely .
The young lady motioned with her pale hand, and from within a dark cave, a peach blossom floated over .
On the peach blossom, there was a crystalline blue droplet, containing extremely powerful waves of Spirit Qi .
Zhu Long pouted, then revealed a joyous smile .
She popped the sealing mud off the wine jar, pouring the drop of Spirit Qi into the jar .
Instantly, a faint glow emerged from the mouth of the wine jar and the wine began to sparkle with light .
The young lady, Zhu Long, raised the wine jar, preparing to gulp it down in one go .
Then, after some thought, she changed her mind . Holding the jar of Green Bamboo Leaf Liquor reverently, she sat up on the bluestone, slowly taking small sips of it .
As for the peach blossom, she stuck it into her dense locks of hair . They looked as though they were smiling at the spring breeze on top of the mountain .
On top of Beiluo Lake, within the dense cloud of Spirit Qi, there was the faint booming sound of a deep dragon’s cry .
Lu Fan sat in the Thousand Blades Chair, having finally finished arranging the Mortal World Strategy on the chessboard . The tormented souls in the Dragon Pearl Golden Elixir had also been enlightened and vanished .
Lu Fan pinched the Dragon Pearl Golden Elixir between his fingers . At this point, it finally revealed its resplendent gold color and could truly be considered a Dragon Pearl Golden Elixir .
A golden Dragon Soul floated around in the Golden Elixir .
In Lu Fan’s vision, lines jumped, and the geographical terrain features of the land immediately appeared on the Spirit Pressure Chessboard .
Reaching out his hand, he pinched the Dragon Soul as though he was plucking a tea leaf .
Lu Fan plucked the Dragon Soul and threw it onto the Spirit Pressure Chessboard .
The sound of the dragon’s roar seemed to shake the mountains and rivers .
“This is imperial dynasty Dragon Qi . With the collapse of the Great Zhou Dynasty, it will be split into two, one belonging to Western Liang and the other to the Great Xuan Dynasty . ”
Lu Fan’s white clothes flapped in the wind, floating like an immortal .
His voice seemed to carry some bizarre waves of great Dao power .
Up in the sky, the Plane’s Origin seemed to come into view vaguely .
It was as though it was responding to Lu Fan’s words .
The Dragon Soul morphed into two rays of golden imperial Dragon Qi, surging into the Spirit Pressure Chessboard and splitting up, heading to their two destinations .
Lu Fan raised his hand, picking up a chess piece between his long fingers .
He placed it lightly onto the chessboard .
The dropped chess piece was like a lock, locking the Dragon Qi in place .
One piece locked down Western Liang, and another locked down the Great Xuan Dynasty .
As for the final struggle between the Dragon Qi, Lu Fan would not intervene .
The struggle between the Dragon Qi represented the struggle that would decide the fate of the imperial dynasty .
This was the struggle for the imperial court in this era of cultivators .
Boom, boom, boom!
A strange phenomenon appeared in the heavens .
Above Yuanchi City, it seemed as though a golden dragon was circling in the sky .
All the soldiers were shocked stiff . They raised their heads to look up at the circling golden dragon . It was godly, mighty, dignified, and indomitable .
Tantai Xuan and Mo Beike made their way outside .
After seeing the golden dragon, they were filled with shock .
Then, after the golden dragon had made another loop, with a resonant cry, it suddenly dove straight down and entered the terrified Tantai Xuan’s body .
He was struck by an invisible wave of force which made Mo Beike tremble as he staggered three or four steps backward .
“What was that?” Mo Beike asked, horrified .
He looked at Tantai Xuan and saw that a noble aura was being exuded from Tantai Xuan’s body .
It was as though, at this moment, Tantai Xuan had developed a disposition that was more and more like a monarch’s .
Tantai Xuan was slightly stupefied . Was this an Immortal Encounter?
Was this the first time he would personally experience an Immortal Encounter?
A noble golden dragon!
Mo Beike could not help but feel excited .
Even though he was not of the Tianji School and did not know any techniques for observing Qi, at this moment, such techniques were not necessary on Tantai Xuan, as his entire body seemed to glow with a golden light .
Mo Beike bowed respectfully, overcome by emotion .
It was not only him . In an instant, the entire army stationed at Yuanchi City bowed to Tantai Xuan .
In the capital city, a similar phenomenon occurred .
Standing on snow-covered ground, Overlord looked up at the circling golden dragon, only to see it dive straight down and enter his body, making him glow with a golden light .
After a long time, Overlord opened his eyes and noticed that his power had become more dominant .
Golden light shone from his eyes, as subtly, the world grew increasingly vivid to him .
“What is this thing?”
Overlord raised a hand, still reeling from the surprise .
With his Internal Organs Realm-level cultivation, he seemed to be unable to see the truth behind the matter .
Suddenly, the Overlord raised his head to look in the direction of White Jade City, his eyes sparkling brightly .
“Lu Ping’an… Is it you? Is all of this… your doing?”
Compared to Tantai Xuan, who had never received an Immortal Encounter and was completely in a daze, Overlord was much more adept at wielding this newfound power .
With a single thought, a golden light appeared behind Overlord and there was a faintly visible Dragon Pillar formed of Dragon Qi reaching into the sky .
The Dragon Pillar was four to five feet high, and under this Dragon Pillar, Overlord felt his own strength receive a small boost .
Of course, this kind of increase in strength was not very obvious .
On top of Beiluo Lake .
Lu Fan smiled as he pinched the Dragon Pearl Golden Elixir in his hand .
With a single thought, a formless flame spread out from the center of his palm, fiery and fearsome .
The Dragon Pearl Golden Elixir instantly melted .
Lu Fan’s Spiritual Sense surged, and using the techniques found in the Tool Refining Manual, he circulated the now liquified Dragon Pearl Golden Elixir . In a few moments, it had transformed into a large seal .
The top of the large seal had a carving of a soaring golden dragon .
“This is the Imperial Dragon Seal . It can only be activated with Dragon Qi,” Lu Fan announced in a magnificent voice . “The one who completes the seal will gain control of the world . ”
He flicked his finger on the Phoenix Feather Arm .
In an instant, the Phoenix Feather Sword whooshed out, sweeping across him in a flash of steel .
The Imperial Dragon Seal was instantly sliced into two .
Like flicking a glass marble, Lu Fan flicked the halves into the Spirit Pressure Chessboard, where they transformed into golden lights and disappeared immediately .
Having done all this, Lu Fan stretched himself lazily, and like a bolt of lightning, disappeared from where he was .
When he reappeared again, he was already on the second floor of the White Jade City Pavilion, sitting in his wheelchair, listening to the snow, leaning against the railing .
And, in the distant Yuanchi City and the capital city, one half of a golden Dragon Seal suddenly appeared in front of Tantai Xuan and Overlord .