“The sky is a chessboard, the stars are its pieces . ”
“The ground is a lute, the roads are its strings . ”
Lv Mudui stared at the words inscribed on the vertical boards and couldn’t help but read them aloud .
He felt his whole consciousness shake, and a look of astonishment crossed his wrinkled face .
The vertical inscribed boards, made of black iron, bore an overwhelming, terrifying power that rushed at his face . He staggered under the immense pressure and stepped backward . With each step he took, a black brick cracked beneath his feet .
Suddenly, he forcefully tapped his bamboo staff against the stair and tightly closed his eyes .
After a long while, he slowly exhaled .
Lv Mudui turned away from the couplets on the vertical boards . He didn’t dare to read them again or ask about them .
With a stony expression on his face, Nie Changqing held his butcher knife and cast a glance at Lv Mudui .
Lv Mudui’s willpower was stronger than his .
There came the sound of wooden wheels rolling across the ground .
Lu Fan, who was being pushed by Ning Zhao, came out of White Jade City .
“That’s a shame . Since you can’t bear the pressure from the couplets at the front door of my White Jade City, you can’t enter the building…” Lu Fan said calmly, his chin propped on one hand .
Lv Mudui clasped his hands, and, smiling bitterly, he said, “Sorry to disappoint you, Young Master Lu . ”
Lu Fan waved his hand . “No worries . Since you can’t go inside, let’s just talk here . ”
Lv Mudui straightened his collar, a serious look on his face .
“Young Master Lu, please go ahead . ”
Lu Fan straightened the thin woolen blanket on his lap . “I’ve heard that those from Astrology Sect can calculate anything in the world… I happen to have something I’d like you to calculate for me . ” Sitting in his wheelchair, Lu Fan gave a half-smile .
Lv Mudui’s eyes grew intense .
Lu Fan didn’t waste any more time . He flipped his hand, and an ivory color jade plaque appeared in his palm .
Lv Mudui gazed at the plaque, looking a little confused .
“This is called a ‘Heaven Qi Plaque,’” Lu Fan said slowly . “There are five of them . There are also five ‘Earth Qi Plaques . ’ They grant entrance to the Secret Realm of Hidden Dragon Ridge . In Hidden Dragon Ridge, one has a chance to get Immortal encounter . Only those with ‘Heaven Qi Plaques’ or ‘Earth Qi Plaques’ are allowed to enter the Secret Realm and get Immortal encounter . ”
After he said this, everyone went breathless for a moment .
Nie Changqing’s pupils dilated in astonishment .
The Young Master mentioned… the Secret Realm of Hidden Dragon Ridge?!
It struck him that when he was in the cultivation space and obtained his Immortal encounter by kneeling in front of the Immortal, the Immortal had also said there’s Immortal encounter in Hidden Dragon Ridge!
The Young Master had also been illuminated by the Immortal! He knew it!
As to “Heaven Qi Plaques” and “Earth Qi Plaques,” if Lu Fan hadn’t explained them, Nie Changqing wouldn’t have had any idea what they were .
Lv Mudui trembled all over .
Heaven Qi Plaques and Earth Qi Plaques?
These words struck Lv Mudui .
The Astrology Sect’s Philosopher, who hadn’t done any fortune-telling for five years, recently did a calculation and sent Lv Mudui to Beiluo City, claiming there was a significant encounter here .
At first, he hadn’t given it that much thought . Astrology Sect wasn’t concerned about societal affairs or the Imperial Court . They were carefree . What did they need the encounter for?
So what if one could reach the level of top martial arts practitioner like the Conqueror of West County?
A hundred years later, wouldn’t he still be nothing more than remains, having long since become one with the earth?
But he was wrong . Ever since he entered Beiluo City in the guise of a fisherman, he’d seen too many things that were way beyond his comprehension .
On Beiluo Lake, Nie Changqing had killed the Confucianists through the air from afar .
On the miles-long main street, Young Master Lu had gracefully placed a chess piece down and put extreme pressure on a swordsman .
Now there was this island covered in Spirit Qi, and half of the island had Heaven Facing Spiritual Chrysanthemums planted on it .
He caught something extraordinary in all this .
And ever since he met and talked to Young Master Lu, this feeling had only gotten stronger . To others, this young man was the Young Master Lu who “had crippled legs, was depressed, and useless,” which misled the entire world about who Lu Fan really was . At the moment when Beiluo City was on the brink of crisis, he had revealed his sharp claws and teeth to the world .
He attempted to tell Lu Fan’s fortune, but halfway through, he stopped and didn’t dare to keep going .
Because he’d never seen such a horrible fortune before .
Perhaps only the Astrology Sect’s Philosopher himself could tell Young Master Lu’s fortune .
Lu Fan’s fortune wasn’t for him to tell!
He finally realized what kind of encounter the Astrology Sect’s Philosopher had been talking about…
An ordinary martial arts encounter was nothing .
What the Philosopher meant was Immortal encounter!
Once a person got Immortal encounter, he might obtain immortality .
Immortality was what Astrology Sect pursued, and it was what Lv Mudui wanted too!
“Young… Young Master Lu, what can I do for you?”
Lv Mudui felt his mouth go dry, and his tongue felt like sandpaper . He could no longer remain calm .
Sitting in the wheelchair, Lu Fan was lightly stroking the “Heaven Qi Plaque . ”
He detected the change in Lv Mudui’s mood and knew that he had realized something .
Lu Fan’s gaze casually shifted to Lv Mudui .
“Not much . I just need you to calculate where the other nine ‘Heaven Qi Plaques’ and ‘Earth Qi Plaques’ are located,” Lu Fan said flatly .
His eyes were blazing .
He had set up the rule of Heaven Qi Plaques and Earth Qi Plaques . He’d also randomly sent the ten Qi Plaques to different places throughout the Great Zhou Dynasty .
To transform a Low Level Martial World to a Mid Level Martial World, even a High Level Martial World, he needed to start by changing people’s existing perceptions and getting them to accept the revival of Spirit Qi .
The Heaven Qi Plaques and Earth Qi Plaques would be the key to launching the revival of Spirit Qi .
Lu Fan’s request made Lv Mudui freeze .
He took off the three copper coins hanging from around his neck . He grabbed them with a particular movement and closed his eyes for a while . When he opened his eyes again, he was staring at Lu Fan .
He revealed the only front tooth he had left and forced a laugh . “Young Master Lu…”
“Can you calculate it?” Lu Fan asked .
Lu Fan was still playing with the Heaven Qi Plaque .
“No… I can’t…”
Lv Mudui tightly gripped the coins in his hand and swallowed .
Lu Fan paused and slowly looked up at him . “You don’t need to find each plaque’s exact locations . As long as you can give me a range within 30 miles, that would be fine . ”
Lv Mudui trembled . “No… I can’t…”
Lu Fan raised his eyebrows and sighed . “Can you tell the activation time of the Immortal encounter Secret Realm of Hidden Dragon Ridge?”
Lv Mudui’s legs turned to jelly, and his hand tightened around his bamboo staff .
“Young Master Lu, this old man… cannot . ”
Bang! Lv Mudui tossed the bamboo staff aside before dropping to the ground and crying .
Lv Mudui had initially been quite confident in himself . After all, he was the most outstanding disciple of Astrology Sect’s Philosopher . But now, he had broken down .
Lu Fan asked him three times . He said he couldn’t do it three times .
Lu Fan had seen through his disguise, so he’d stayed and waited for Lu Fan on purpose to show off, and the result…
Watching Lv Mudui howl, Lu Fan became confused . This old guy… is crying again?!
“Don’t worry about it . It’s normal that you can’t do it . After all, it involves Immortal encounter . If you had been able to do, then the Immortal would probably need to reflect on his own performance,” Lu Fan said .
He laughed and then said in a more serious tone, “How about you go ahead and spread the news about ‘the Immortal encounter Secret Realm of Hidden Dragon Ridge’ and the role of ‘Heaven Qi Plaques and Earth Qi Plaques’? Can you at least do that?”
Lv Mudui stopped crying . He wiped the tears from his red eyes, looking quite surprised . “Young Master Lu, you plan to tell the world about the Immortal encounter?”
Lv Mudui couldn’t understand why Lu Fan wanted to do this . If he told everyone the news… wouldn’t that increase the competition?
He didn’t at all imagine that this was precisely what Lu Fan wanted . Lu Fan wanted to spread the news far and wide .
“You think the Immortal encounter is easy to get? Since ancient times, all treasures have been guarded by something extraordinary, and the same is true for the Immortal encounter . I don’t want to be the pathfinder . If I fall for some trap, then everything will be over, so I need to find out the situation in the Secret Realm first,” Lu Fan said .
Lu Fan’s fingers were lightly tapping against the wheelchair armrests .
“Go spread the news so that all kinds of people from all over the world will come to check it out . And if there are traps or something else, they’ll be revealed, and I’ll have time to prepare for them before going there myself . As for who’s going to profit from it in the end…”
Lu Fan paused, and one corner of his mouth curled upward . He looked up and gazed into the distance .
“My White Jade City will . ”
Nie Changqing and Ning Zhao straightened up when they heard Lu Fan’s words .
As disciples of White Jade City, they both became fired up upon hearing the news .
Lv Mudui’s eyes also became intense .
Was White Jade City part of Lu Fan’s range of power?
Lu Fan was looking at the “Heaven Qi Plaque,” and the look in his eyes was profound .
“The Immortal wanted people who have ‘Heaven Qi Plaques’ or ‘Earth Qi Plaques’ to fight for the Immortal encounter . What’s his purpose? Since I can’t figure it out, I might as well muddy the waters . ”
The corners of Lu Fan’s mouth curled upward, and he said in a low voice, “It’ll be endless fun fighting against the Immortal . ”
Lv Mudui’s breath caught in his throat . In that moment, Lu Fan looked incredibly handsome .
Fighting against the Immortal…
Who on earth would dare to fight against the Immortal?
“No worries, Young Master Lu . I will take care of it,” Lv Mudui said in awe .
Lu Fan leaned back in his wheelchair and waved his hand . “You can go now . Afterwards, if things work out, you can get your Immortal encounter too . ”
Lv Mudui looked a little excited .
“Nie, please show him the way out,” Lu Fan said .
Ning Zhao then pushed the wheelchair forward, and they entered White Jade City and disappeared .
Nie Changqing, stone-faced, gestured to Lv Mudui that he was free to go .
Ning Zhao pushed the wheelchair along, her eyebrows furrowed . “Young Master, do you really trust him? What will we do if he betrays us?”
Lu Fan closed his eyes and leaned back in the wheelchair, his gown as white as snow . He smiled at Ning Zhao’s question .
“Don’t worry . Astrology Sect martial arts practitioners aren’t usually very strong in martial arts . Their strengths lie in deduction and fortune-telling . Even if he doesn’t have much fighting ability, if he can gather all the strong characters, he might be able to survive by avoiding dangers and pursuing good fortunes . But he won’t get an Immortal encounter . ”
“But he’s working with us, which is different . I promised him the Immortal encounter, and I’m going to keep my word . Plus, if he can really calculate, he should be able to tell that working with me will work out the best for him,” Lu Fan said .
Ning Zhao couldn’t understand .
Suddenly, something occurred to her, and she looked worriedly at Lu Fan . “Young Master, are you really going fight against the Immortal? Won’t that be dangerous?”
Lu Fan opened his eyes, the corners of his mouth curled upward . “Dangerous?”
“No . Safe . Very safe . Our White Jade City’s tenet is… If you fight against the immortal, the fun is endless,” Lu Fan said .
He burst out laughing .
Ning Zhao was puzzled . She didn’t understand why he was laughing .
Suddenly, Lu Fan stopped . As if sensing something, he lightly tapped his fingers against the throw on his legs .
It was a long time before he spoke again .
“Sister Ning, let’s get downstairs and welcome our important and respected guest . Yi Yue, go heat up a pot of green plum wine . Ni, light up the sandalwood scent and take out the chessboard . ”
On Beiluo Lake…
Its green surface was rippling .
The Imperial Advisor, who was on a fancy wooden boat, had his hands crossed inside his long, wide sleeves, and was leaning leisurely against the bow of the boat . He gazed at the silhouette of the island obscured by the lake’s thickening mist, and squinted his eyes . His white beard was softly moving in the wind .
Lu Changkong and Luo Yu were standing next to him, enjoying the refreshing breeze .
The thick fog parted .
A lone narrow boat was moving toward them, swaying back and forth . Lv Mudui, who was in a white gown and holding a green bamboo staff, was sitting at its bow .
On the big wooden boat, Lu Changkong and Luo Yue’s eyes focused on Lv Mudui .
The Imperial Advisor, on the other hand, lightly stroked his white beard and smiled . “Lv Mudui, from Astrology Sect . ”
On the small boat, Lv Mudui was a little surprised to see the Imperial Advisor . He stood up and bowed to him in a manner befitting a disciple .
They looked at each other in silence .
The two boats sailed past each other . One was leaving the island, and the other was heading toward it .
The Imperial Advisor withdrew his gaze .
The wooden boat kept gliding across the mist-covered surface of the lake, breaking through the mist .
Just as the fog in front of them started to dissipate…
In front of them, on the lake…
A strong man with his hair down and a butcher knife in hand was standing on a piece of deadwood floating atop the lake .
He was the only man guarding the entrance that no one was supposed to come through without Lu Fan’s permission .
He saw the wooden boat .
The man slowly looked up and let out a sigh . “It’s the Young Master’s order . Anyone who isn’t a disciple of White Jade City isn’t allowed on the island . ”