Deep, muffled sounds of thunder were heard coming from the sky above, as if an army of burly men was hitting ferociously on war-drums. The muffled sounds of thunder came without end, making anyone who heard it have their heart race in a disordered rhythm. Even with Wu Qi's cultivation, the thunderous noises had shaken him and made his blood and Qi flow continuously within his entire body. He felt a burning sensation come right from his nostrils, and blood almost burst out from them. For Wei Xiaoxiao, who was now lying on the rooftop and trapped by Nie Baihong, the situation was even worse. She had rolled her eyes and fainted while blood could be seen oozing and dripping down from the corner of her lips.
However, for the few men standing aloft on the rooftop, no matter it was Nie Baihong or Wu Qi, or even Lu Chengfeng, they were all men with a strong mind. No one was looking at this Wei Xiaoxiao or even paying any attention to her, as if the peerless beauty lying on the rooftop was something that never existed. Even if she were struck by thunder and had her entire body disintegrated into ashes, none of these three men would feel pity whatsoever, let alone the fact that she was just having some blood flowing out from her mouth.
"Who exactly is the person that has just formed a Gold Core in the Imperial Palace? Why is this Thunder Tribulation looking so strange? It has been accumulating the energy for fifteen minutes, yet it still hasn't struck down even a single Heavenly Thunder?" Nie Baihong stooped and looked towards the direction of the Imperial Palace while wondering. Then, according to his own experience, he told the other men about his prediction of the situation, "For any ordinary cultivator, once he has formed his Gold Core and has his Daoist body transformed into an Immortal body, he would usually face Triple Thunder Tribulation. But as for today, it is unusual, really unusual."
Nie Baihong kept shaking his head, then murmured, "When I was facing my tribulation, the thunder cloud merely brewed for ten minutes before it struck down the first thunder. But for today's situation, ha, it is strange, out of ordinary! Could it be a random demon ghost kept in the Imperial Palace has formed its Gold Core? Or some demon beast is going to take a human form? Or else, how could this be happening?"
While having his eyes rested on the tribulation clouds hovering in the sky, Wu Qi had his mind filled with delight. He didn't feel nervous or uneasy like how Nie Baihong behaved, who seemed like be on his guard against all possible dangers. It was because within the Scroll of Stealing, after one formed his Gold Core, there was a secret art called: 'The Positive and Negative Thunder Stealing Art of Five Elements'. It was a skill used to steal the energy of the Heavenly Thunder faced by cultivators, then using the purest Yang energy of nature to grow the strength, temper the body, Gold Core and soul, and eventually train the body to an incredible level.
However, through this secret art, both the body and the Gold Core were not the only things that could be strengthened. By cultivating according to the art of stealing thunder, as long as there was sufficient amount of Thunder Tribulation, he could even form a thread of Nascent Divinity during Gold Core realm by relying on the divine energy of the Heavenly Thunder. The Nascent Divinity was something that could only be cultivated by Earth Immortals of peak Nascent Soul realm. Once the Nascent Divinity was formed, then the cultivator would truly enter the realm of immortality. This was the heaven defying ability of Scroll of Stealing, which allowed its cultivator to form a thread of Nascent Divinity during Gold Core realm, a divine tool that allowed the cultivator to escape from a critical situation and kept his own life safe.
Therefore, when Wu Qi saw the rolling and rocking lightning striking amidst the dark clouds and heard the rumbles of the thunder, he felt this Heavenly Thunder was so cute and friendly to him. He suddenly fell in love with Ji City, and the love he had for the city had become deeper. He just wished that once he formed his Gold Core, it would be better to have more cultivators face their tribulation every month. Then, he would profit from them greatly. If he was able to own a thread of Nascent Divinity during Gold Core realm, even though it would be just a tiny thread of it, how many things were there which he could achieve?
An hour had passed. Nie Baihong's face had turned pale like the white snow during a heavy snowfall in winter. He murmured, "Could it not be the Thunder Tribulation of Gold Core, but the legendary Thunder Tribulation of Nascent Soul? This is not possible! Even if it is the Thunder Tribulation of Nascent Soul, according to the records in the book, it would not accumulate energy for more than an hour!"
Right after Nie Baihong finished his words, a strong light suddenly enveloped the entire Ji City. A thunderbolt, slightly over one foot in diameter and stretching seven to eight miles in length, surrounded by countless crimson fireballs, was seen striking out from the eye of the dark cloud with a massive boom. It streaked through the air and hit right into a place in the back garden of Great Yan Dynasty's Imperial Palace. The halos clad around the palace suddenly flashed, like a balloon being pumped with more air as they expanded, bringing forth a large curtain of dazzling showers that stretched towards the sky.
Within the blink of an eye, the thunderbolt struck onto these halos. An enormous rumble rang out, making the entire Ji City tremble. All the roof tiles in Duke Yan Le's Mansion were jumping up a few inches into the air. Some of them even fell off and hit the ground, shattering into tiny pieces. The servants and serving ladies in the mansion were letting out shocked screams; many of them stumbled their feet and lost their balance, fell to the ground and couldn't stand up for a while.
From his instinct, Wu Qi felt a massive and enormous pressure of mightiness descending from the sky. Then, he saw how the thunderbolt broke and shattered eighteen layers of halo like splitting through bamboos with a sharp blade, before it lost its energy and vanished into thin air. Vaguely, he also saw some human figures being thrown up in midair from the top of the palace wall. Supposedly, those were the soldiers who were guarding the perimeter of the Imperial Palace. The aftershock from the impact between the thunderbolt and the defense mechanism of the palace had knocked these poor soldiers flying into the air. Judging from the height of the palace wall, these soldiers would have at least a few pieces of their bones broken when they finally slammed onto the ground.
While secretly calculating how much of the loss had this thunderbolt caused to the palace, another eight thunderbolts struck out from the eye of the dark cloud in succession. Each of them was thicker and longer than the previous one, and the color of the fireballs surrounding them took different colors: orange, yellow, dark green, light green, blue, purple, black, and white. All these fireballs contained an extremely frightening force of thunder, and once they impacted onto the halos protecting the palace, they exploded instantly, producing rings of shockwave that spread ragingly in all directions and caused the entire Ji City to shake violently.
When the last thunderbolt surrounded by ten of thousands of white fireballs was forcefully neutralized by the defensive mechanism of the Imperial Palace, countless white rings of shockwave spread and swept out from the center of the collision. The palace wall facing the direction of Duke Yan Le's Mansion could no longer withstand the tremendous force. Countless cracks were seen opening up, and a stretch of the wall nearly three miles long was blown away by the shockwave. Innumerable rubbles and tiles were seen flying few miles high up into the sky, shooting and falling onto the city area towards Wu Qi's direction.
With Nie Baihong protecting them, all the rubble and broken tiles were crushed into ashes using his sword energies. But those princes and nobles living around Duke Yan Le's Mansion were now struck with a calamity. Wu Qi saw a huge piece of palace wall with a size of nearly one hundred feet falling into a Marquis' mansion adjoined to Duke Yan Le's Mansion. It hit perfectly onto the living courtyard of the master located in the back garden of the mansion, and the entire courtyard collapsed and crumbled into a pile of rubble. At least a dozen servants were buried under the fallen city wall.
The rumbling of collapsed buildings kept lingering in their ears. At least three to five hundred houses and mansions around Duke Yan Le's Mansion were collapsed and destroyed by the falling rubble. The losses were huge.
Amidst the cries and screams of countless men and women, the vortex of dark cloud hovering in the sky was slowly dismissed and faded away. With an expression like he had just seen a ghost, Nie Baihong stared at the dismissing clouds and kept murmuring, "The ninefold Thunder Tribulation, the first Thunder Tribulation after forming the Gold Core is a ninefold Thunder Tribulation. Who is the person that attracted this tribulation? If he is a human cultivator, how great is the sin he had committed so that he attracted a ninefold tribulation? If not because of the defensive mechanism of the Imperial Palace, who could withstand this ninefold Thunder Tribulation?"
A clear cry came from afar. It sounded like the cry of a juvenile phoenix: crystal clear, sweet, melodic, and pleasing to the ears. It was as if a stream of refreshing spring water was being poured and injected from the top of their head into their body, cleansing and making them feel freshened up all over again. Suddenly, numerous tiny whirlwinds rose from the surface of the river surrounding all four directions of Ji City. They brought up a large amount of fresh water from the river to gather into the city. A faint fragrance slowly diffused in the air while countless slim and tender white clouds were fleeting over the sky of Ji City; beads of clean water were dripping down from above. The refreshing and cool water vapor had nourished the entire Ji City, as an unspeakable vitality was now beaming up from within the city itself.
A feeling of restlessness suddenly struck Wu Qi. He hastily looked around, and saw something: nourished by this fragrance and water beads, a large patch of plants growing in the back garden of Duke Yan Le's Mansion suddenly bloomed with flowers. The mosses hiding under the shadow in the corner of the wall suddenly grew and expanded, and very soon, they clad the entire wall and cast a green hue to the entire Duke Yan Le's Mansion. The trees planted in the garden were like being injected with some kind of stimulant; they were now growing taller excitedly. Within the blink of an eye, they had gained an additional height of two to three feet.
The energies of five elements lingering aimlessly in the air were now fluctuating abnormally, as if a mystical force had gained control over them. All of a sudden, a few large trees which were still growing rapidly caught fire, and right at the moment when the tongue of flame coiled up the trees, a few buildings within Duke Yan Le's Mansion were enveloped in raging flames as well. This didn't happen only to Duke Yan Le's Mansion, as fire could be seen springing up from everywhere within Ji City.
Firstly it was water, then wind, and now fire. Before Wu Qi and the others could figure out what was going on, the ground suddenly vibrated and shook, as a massive earth element energy had become restless underground. The buildings within the courtyard of the neighbors on their left collapsed with a loud boom. All of them were destroyed by the suddenly erupted earth elemental energies from underground. At least over two thousand buildings, pavilions and houses collapsed due to this sudden strike. Before the dust of the collapsed buildings could rise into the sky, they were once again brought down to the ground by the drizzling of rain that came from the sky above.
Then, ringings of countless swords came to their ears. The gold energies in the air had started to go on a rampage as well. The entire Ji City spanned across 170 miles in both width and length, and no one could figure out how many civilians were living in the city. But one thing they could be sure was, as all civilians had to cook their own meals, the number of cleavers, iron woks and all other cutleries that one could find in the city would have reached an astronomical number. When the gold energies rampaged, all the buildings in Ji City were seen having their roofs broken with numerous holes. A great number of cleavers, iron woks, blades, spears, swords, pikes and all sorts of weapons were soaring up into the sky. One could even see steaming hot rice and dishes from the iron woks flying around in midair.
The entire Ji City had gone restless, as countless civilians were now crying and yelling in great terror.
The natural energies were now fluctuating in an unusual manner, and supposedly, the source of this abnormality came from the cultivator who had just formed his Gold Core. A thought suddenly came into Wu Qi's mind, he suddenly thought of a person- Princess Zhang Le! Instinctively, he had a feeling that if there were a person who could cause such an abnormality in Ji City, that person would definitely be Princess Zhang Le. As she was born after absorbing all the essence of life from her mother, she must have also inherited some mystical abilities from her mother. As the holy lady of the barbarian tribes, Princess Zhang Le's mother must have possessed some kind of divine abilities.
However, what happened was too shocking for even him. A cultivator who had just formed her Gold Core had actually caused such a strange sign in the environment, this was simply incredible. At least for now, Nie Baihong's face had turned pale like a vampire who never walked under the sun, and his body had turned stiff, standing still in silence.
Suddenly, an extremely powerful and mighty ripple of energy was sensed coming from the far distance. An over two hundred feet long ray of golden beam, surrounded by a few hundred less than ten feet long sword beams, was seen flying from the north of Ji City. The golden light flashed and flickered, causing anyone who saw it feel a sharp pain in their eyes, and be forced to close their eyes immediately. When Wu Qi opened up his eyes once again, the golden beam had disappeared. He saw a young man, clad in a dark green imperial costume of the emperor, hovering right above the imperial palace.
As he was peering from a far distance, Wu Qi could not get a clear glimpse at how the young man looked. But since the moment this young man arrived, under this piece of sky, this piece of land, and throughout the entire Ji City, it was as if he was the only person remaining standing. No matter which direction one stared into, they would only see this man, his slightly bent body, which seemed to be cast in a shadow of tiredness.
Nie Baihong suddenly cried out, "The emperor of Great Yan, Yan Dan! What level of cultivation has he attained?"
The emperor of Great Yan, Yan Dan? So, this man clad in dark green imperial costume was the founding emperor of Great Yan Dynasty, the man who solely controlled the entire Great Yan Dynasty for over two thousand years? Wu Qi quickly focused his vision and looked towards the man. If this Yan Dan was the same Yan Dan he knew from the history book back on Earth, then this man would be a real famous man of history, a man who Wu Qi had been admiring for long.
From within the imperial palace, cheers of soldiers suddenly broke out.
"Hail to our Emperor! Long live the Emperor!"
The ground was once again shaken by the thunderous cheer.