Late at night .
Western Liang .
In the camp, Xiang Shaoyun suddenly opened his eyes . Inside the tent, his terrifying Qi and blood were once again roaring .
His eyes were bloodshot, and blue veins stood out on his neck .
He raised his head . His thick, coarse hair was down, looking like whimsical, long steel needles . Inside his tall, strong body, there was startling Internal Blasting Resonance . Even the air around him bent and shuddered slightly .
Xiang Shaoyun’s eyes blazed with anger and shame impossible to hide .
So what if the guy was an Immortal?
How dare he make him kneel?!
He, Xiang Shaoyun, wouldn’t kneel to anyone in heaven or on earth… no one in the world was worthy enough .
Like a beast, he unleashed a growl, which echoed endlessly . It was so deafening that those who heard it felt as if their Qi and blood were going to explode inside their bodies .
Two restless wisps of Spirit Qi were entwining themselves around his strong arm .
In the distance, a soft voice sounded .
Under the moonlight, the girl was as gorgeous as a painting . She gazed at Xiang Shaoyun, her eyes shining with tenderness and worry .
Xiang Shaoyun covered his face and shook his head . Hearing Luo Mingsang’s worried voice, he finally calmed down from the intense emotions bothering him
Yet the shame in his heart couldn’t go away so quickly .
He was the Great Conqueror of West County, the lord of Western Liang . Even the Immortal had no right to make him kneel down .
Luo Mingsang looked so gentle and vulnerable, as soft and graceful as water . She walked to Xiang Shaoyun and put her arms around his wide, thick chest .
“You need to work on your temper,” she said . “You’re the commander in chief . You can’t act so recklessly . Many things require patience and deep consideration . Don’t act on impulse . It’s better to think things over first . You can’t expect to solve everything by force . ”
Luo Mingsang’s voice was incredibly soft .
The irritability on Xiao Shaoyun’s face softened . He stroked Luo Mingsang’s hair with his fingers, greedily sniffing its pleasant scent . He smiled .
“You’re wrong, Mingsang . There’s nothing that force can’t solve . If there is… it’s because not enough force was used . ” Xiang Shaoyun spoke in a domineering manner .
“I used to believe that I represented the ultimate peak of martial arts in Great Zhou . But I was wrong . After I got an Immortal encounter, I realized that there’s a world beyond the pinnacle of martial arts…”
Xiang Shaoyun raised his hand . The two wisps of Spirit Qi were calmly flowing in his palm .
“You are currently the commander in chief of thirteen counties,” Luo Mingsang said softly as she moved her hands in a circular motion across Xiang Shaoyun’s chest . Her tiny hands were smooth and delicate . “Don’t get distracted by things like that . By the time you actually make it to the top and establish the new empire, I won’t stop you from pursuing the martial arts Immortal encounter . But until then, you need to be cautious… after all, working with Hundred Schools of Philosophy is no different than asking a tiger for its skin . ”
One corner of Xiang Shaoyun’s mouth curled up as he continued stroking her dark hair . His fiery gaze traveled outside of the tent .
“As I said before, I’m going to make you the queen of the emperor . The whole world will be conquered for you, and the new empire will be established for you . ”
“As to Hundred Schools of Philosophy… the day I take the throne will be the day I get rid of them all . Mingsang, you don’t need to worry at all . ”
The Great Zhou Dynasty . Capital city .
The book tower .
Lying in his lounge chair, Yuwen Xiu opened his eyes, which were filled with shame and anger . It took him a long while to calm down .
“Your Majesty, how did it go? Did you get the Immortal encounter?” a gentle voice sounded from inside the quiet room .
The dim candlelight flickered in silence .
A white-haired elderly man with a healthy glow on his face gazed at Yuwen Xiu in a grandfatherly manner . He had on a plain gown and a pair of straw sandals .
In his hand, there was a letter that had been delivered by his coachman .
He’d read it already, yet his face hadn’t changed at all .
“Let’s just say I’ve got the Immortal encounter, Imperial Advisor,” Yuwen Xiu said hesitantly as he rubbed the spot between his eyebrows .
“You have?” The Imperial Advisor seemed confused .
Yuwen Xiu hesitated for a moment and told him what had happened inside the Dao Impartment Platform .
“The place of Immortal encounter… Hidden Dragon Ridge?” the Imperial Advisor said . He stroked his white beard, a look of contemplation on his wrinkled face .
A moment later, the Imperial Advisor stood up and slowly walked to the bookshelf . He picked out an old piece of yellowed paper with topographic drawings of different places on it .
“Lying like a crouching dragon, entrenched near Beiluo City… Hidden Dragon Ridge is located 30 miles away from Beiluo City?”
The Imperial Advisor tapped his finger on the topographic map of Beiluo City, absorbed in thought .
“My Majesty,” the Imperial Advisor said, “in today’s world, people who’ve had the Immortal encounter appear frequently . The situation’s become more complicated than ever . ”
Putting away the paper of topographic drawings, the Imperial Advisor coughed slightly .
“Your Majesty is one of the Blessed . Based on what you said, there are two more Blessed out there whose identities are unknown…
“Lu Ping’an from Beiluo City, based on my estimation, seems to be a Blessed . He has a follower who’s able to control his knife from afar and move it through the air . He might be a Blessed too…
“It’s hard to tell how many Blessed are out there, and abnormal events occur frequently . There, however, lies the hope for the Great Zhou to break the deadlock . ”
The Imperial Advisor coughed again . As old and withered as he was, his eyes were as bright as stars .
The hope to break the deadlock?
Yuwen Xiu’s eyes lit up . As the emperor, he clearly knew the situation in Great Zhou .
The counties were gathering their armies to overtake numerous cities, and were sweeping their way toward him .
Because of the chaos caused by war, roving bandits were everywhere . The Great Zhou had pretty much lost its control over many regions .
Now, he couldn’t do much except hide in the capital city .
“Imperial Advisor, can the Blessed really help our Great Zhou break the deadlock?” Yuwen Xiu asked with some excitement .
“As the emperor, if you can get help from the Blessed, it certainly will benefit the world…” the Imperial Advisor said as he looked outside the window, gazing at the stars in the night sky, and stroked his white beard . “Even dismissing the Hundred Schools of Philosophy might finally become more than a theory . ”
“My Majesty, please go to bed early . Tomorrow I need to pay a visit to Beiluo City…” the Imperial Advisor said .
Yuwen Xiu then clasped his hands and bowed to the elderly man . He then back-stepped and exited the room .
The elderly man’s eyes softened as he watched Yuwen Xiu leave with the eunuchs waiting outside the book tower . The grandfatherly look remained on his face .
He coughed slightly as he sat in the recliner .
“The older I get, the less useful I become . I don’t know how much longer I can help His Majesty shoulder the burden . ”
The flickering candlelight dimmed even more .
The Imperial Advisor let out a helpless sigh .
Lu Fan was somewhat hunched in the dark .
He hadn’t expected the reward to include a Go Manual this time .
Did that mean even the system was tired of him sucking at playing chess?
Lu Fan pursed his lips, focused his consciousness, and accepted the reward .
[Heavenly Go Manual: Soul Refining Meditation of Heaven Level Low Grade (upgradable) . Playing pieces based on the Go Manual and assessing the situation can revive and even forge Soul Strength . ]
[Hint: if used with Fantasy Creation Qi Refining Manual, it can increase the Qi Refining speed . ]
In his mind, several Go Manuals emerged . They were all composed of black and white chess pieces arranged in different patterns .
Lu Fan was in a daze as a scene emerged in front of his eyes .
Under an old but strong pine tree, two figures were sitting across from each other, a chessboard between them . Leaves were dancing in the wind . The two played a game of chess as they enjoyed their tea, and as they played, the landscape dramatically changed . In the sky, galaxies of stars evolved, and it was as if the two weren’t just playing with chess pieces, but everything in the world .
Lu Fan opened his eyes . Absorbed in thought, he grabbed the chessboard and placed it on his lap . He then took out the chess pieces and started laying them down according to the pattern in Heavenly Go Manual .
Heavenly Go Manual recorded nine patterns, each more difficult than the other .
The first game pattern was called Mountain River Strategy . There were 32 black pieces and 29 white ones .
Late at night…
Only the rhythmic sound of chess pieces could be heard .
The more pieces he played, the more energetic he became . The already-consumed Soul Strength was gradually revived as he became more absorbed in the game .
The pieces had been laid down . The night passed .
The next day .
Lu Fan picked up the chess pieces one by one from the chessboard and stretched .
It was a sleepless night, yet he had never felt more refreshed . Even his Soul Strength had been entirely revived .
Noises from outside the carved wooden vermilion door were heard, followed by a knock on the door .
Lu Fan answered .
Ning Zhao, Yi Yue, and Ni Yu pushed the door open and entered the room .
Ni Yu was carrying a basin of boiled water . Her cute face was flushed red by the steam . Yi Yue brought his breakfast .
“Morning,” Lu Fan said with a smile .
The day was beautiful, and it started off with a luxurious morning .
Lu Fan had his breakfast with the help of three maids . He enjoyed it very much .
The carved wooden vermilion door opened .
Ning Zhao pushed the wheelchair at a steady speed, while Yi Yue held Lu Fan’s umbrella for him . Ni Yu, who was carrying the chessboard on her back, followed behind .
In the yard…
Jing Yue seemed to have been up for a while . He rubbed his hands and put on a big smile as he saw Lu Fan, who was wearing a white gown .
“Morning, Young Master,” Jing Yue said .
Lu Fan glanced at him and nodded slightly .
His gaze then traveled to Mo Tianyu, who was buried in the courtyard with only his head sticking out of the ground .
Mo Tianyu wasn’t dead yet, but he looked extremely miserable . His hair was a total mess .
“Keep a good eye on him . If he dies or runs away, it’s on you,” Lu Fan said to Jing Yue .
Jing Yue’s smile instantly froze .
“Sister Ning, let’s head to White Jade City on Beiluo Lake Island,” Lu Fan said, one hand supporting his chin while the other rested on the thin woolen blanket covering his knees .
“Sure,” Ning Zhao smiled . She then pushed Lu Fan’s wheelchair outside the yard, with Ni Yu and Yi Yue following behind them .
In the yard, only Jing Yue was left . Alone and miserable, he took over guarding Mo Tianyu’s head .
As they left the yard, they saw Nie Changqing waiting outside with Nie Shuang, who, soaked in sweat, had obviously gotten up early to do exercise .
Lu Fan nodded slightly, and Nie Changqing and Nie Shuang also followed them .
The group left Lu Manor, got on the carriage, and headed toward Beiluo Lake Island .
At the same time…
Outside Beiluo City…
Five horses were galloping .
The carriage dramatically wobbled back and forth, and it didn’t slow down until it was near the city gate .
At the front gate of Beiluo City…
Lu Changkong was waiting with Luo Yue and his son, Luo Cheng . Lu Changkong wore a satin gown, while the Luos wore plain clothes .
The carriage gradually approached .
Lu Changkong stared at the carriage as it stopped at the gate .
He stepped forward, respectfully put his palms together, and bowed .
“Welcome! Imperial Advisor . ”