Li Ye waved his hand, indicating the armored guard to calm down.
These nobles of the Imperial Clan didn't bother him at all. Being a Grand Cultivator, these cultivators in the Qi-refining Stage were like ants in his eyes. They weren't worth his attention.
He might not have his cultivation back then but he wouldn't lose his mental state as an expert.
"Heir Apparent!" The faces of the thin-scaled armored guard reddened after seeing that Li Ye was ignoring those nobles. "These people are too much!"
Li Ye glanced at the guard and said dully, "It's no problem. When I return from the Tai Xuan Summit, they'll naturally discover who's the joke here."
The armored guard stared blankly at him. For a moment, she didn't know what to say. These words were reasonable but the premise was that Li Ye must obtain the Immortal's Fate on the Tai Xuan Summit.
However, the reality was that Li Ye had no cultivation. Neither could he cultivate. Though the words of the nobles were incredibly displeasing to the ears, they were not unreasonable. How could the Taoist's Luck and the Immortal's Fate be so easily obtainable?
The young armored guard didn't dare to hope.
Li Ye took in the guard's expression. Naturally, he knew what the guard was thinking.
The guard wasn't the only one. The rest of Prince An's manor had the same thought. Even though they weren't explicit in their feelings, it was easy for Li Ye to see the disbelief in their eyes. How could Li Ye encounter the Immortal's Fate and embark on his cultivating journey?
After all, he was a good-for-nothing who had been crippled for 20 years.
These days, Practitioners of Qi techniques with a position among the officials and visitors of the Prince An's Manor had left a long time ago to find a different future. Only the guards belonging to the manor remained, unable to leave the manor.
However, these soldiers were no longer loyal to Li Ye. They were probably thinking about how to perform well after their new master arrives.
Thinking of this, Li Ye cast his gaze on the thin-scaled armored guard. As a transmigrator, he naturally knew this guard was nothing but loyal to him.
Li Ye smirked but didn't wish to explain himself.
When they reached the territory of the Cloud-engulfing Mountain, they took a turn to pass through a mountain road. The road was narrow and rugged, preventing them from continuing on the back of their horses. Li Ye and the rest started walking.
Fresh trees and flowers abound in the height of springtime, with the color of green blanketing the entire mountain. Li Ye led the black-robed, black-armored guards of Prince An's Manor along the winding mountain road. The hundred-strong troop was like a dragon or snake. The sounds of armor and footsteps corresponded with each other.
The well-trained guards of Prince An's Manor were also part of the riches that Prince An left for Li Ye. Even though none of them was a Qi-refining cultivator, they were mostly elite soldiers. The guard with thin-scaled armor, especially so.
Those beneath the Qi-refining Stage were ordinary martial artists. Martial artists were divided into stages of Warrior Knight, Warrior Master, and Warrior Mentor. A Warrior Knight could fight a tiger, a Warrior Master could fight 10 enemies in a war, while a Warrior Mentor could become a courageous general on the battlefield.
The journey that was supposed to take three days ended up taking only two days. Tai Xuan Summit was close ahead.
After sunset on the second day, everyone set up camp on level ground on the mountain.
With a hundred-strong troop, things like pots, tools, felt, and tents were naturally prepared. While Li Ye was enjoying the view from an elevated position, the guards were cooking and pitching their tents. Even though they weren't loud, the mood was quite boisterous.
Before long, a yurt was erected. When it was time to eat, the thin-scaled armored guard brought Li Ye a piping hot meal.
"The meals will have to be simple and easy while traveling. I'll have to ask Heir Apparent to make do with these..." the thin-scaled armored guard said somewhat guiltily when he presented the food.
Li Ye glanced at her before smiling. "I'm not the Heir Apparent who lives like a prince anymore."
The thin-scaled armored guard was stunned. Initially confused, she soon realized what he meant. The Heir Apparent in front of her was saying that he was in a poor condition and couldn't inherit Prince An's title. Thus, he wouldn't be making extravagant demands. Was that it?
"Heir Apparent..." The thin-scaled armored guard bit her lips and looked at him with determination in her eyes. "Even if you're in a poor condition, you can't be unduly humble!"
Li Ye gave her a meaningful look without replying.
The thin-scaled armored guard in front of him had a particularly fair face. Unlike the fairness of a pale face, hers was more of bewitching and beautiful fairness.
Standing in stark contrast with her fair face was her dark red lips. If her fairness was bewitching, then her lips were an enchanting red. This girl's eyes were striking enough to shake one to the core.
Her name was Shangguan Qingcheng.
Shangguan Qingcheng came from a general's household. Her ancestors were high-ranking officers of the Army of Inspired Strategy for generations. This was their 19th generation but there were no sons.
Her father had followed Prince An to war for many years and was Li Xian's trusted aide. Several years ago, he died on the battlefield when Li Xian ambushed the Nanzhao Kingdom after they encroached the border. Li Xian felt immense guilt over his death and had Shangguan Qingcheng take up an official post in his manor.
Even though Shangguan Qingcheng was a woman, Li Ye didn't look down on her. In this world, power was paramount. There were female officials in court and female disciples in the Immortal sects. Moreover, Shangguan Qingcheng was a Warrior Master.
Seeing how reticent Li Ye was, Shangguan Qingcheng excused herself and walked out of the yurt. She sat with a group of guards and had her meal with them.
"General Shangguan, will Heir Apparent really be able to obtain the Taoist's Luck and become a cultivator after going to the Tai Xuan Summit?" one of the guards asked hesitantly.
"Whether or not Heir Apparent can obtain the Taoist's Luck is his business. What right do you and I have to comment on it?" Shangguan Qingcheng replied coolly.
The guard hemmed and hawed before saying, "What I mean is that Heir Apparent has already come of age yet is still unable to cultivate. Moreover, he hasn't been able to inherit Prince An's title either. If he can't obtain the Taoist's Luck this time and fail to become a cultivator, I fear he'll be unable to make a comeback... We have to think for ourselves in such unstable times. Why don't you take us away from Prince An's Manor and go somewhere else for our future, General Shangguan?"
"Shut up!" Shangguan Qingcheng flew into a rage. "If you dare to spout nonsense again and disturb the morale of the army, I'll punish you using martial law!"
The guard scrunched his neck, not daring to speak anymore.
Early the next morning, everyone once again took down their tents and continued their journey.
Tai Xuan Summit was the main peak of the Cloud-engulfing Mountain. The closer they were to their destination, the more precipitous the road became. The guards of Prince An's Manor were dripping with sweat thanks to their armors and sabers.
Suddenly, Li Ye sensed something. He looked up and saw a residence on the mountain peak.
The house had yellow roof tiles lined with flying cornices. The design was plain, like an iron writing brush with a golden hook. The pressure it emitted was as heavy as three thousand catties. Moreover, its location on a summit lent it an aloof air.
There was a Taoist monastery on the Tai Xuan Summit called the Taixuan Monastery. Even though the monastery had only one hall and two buildings, as well as only three Taoist priests, its reputation wasn't weak. After all, it was a place where Yuan Tiangang left his vestige behind.
Li Ye arrived at Tai Xuan Summit around noontime. He left half of his guards at the foot of the mountain, bringing only Shangguang Qingcheng and other familiar faces to enter Taixuan Monastery.
The door to the monastery wasn't closed. When the Taoist priests inside noticed visitors, they welcomed the latter at the door.
The middle-aged Taoist priest didn't look confused. With his wind-swept long beard, bearing, and manner of speaking, he looked rather like an Immortal. Behind him were two young Taoist priests in their twenties. Their expressions were tranquil.
Living in this monastery high up on a summit was akin to being cut off from the rest of the world. These three looked exactly like the Taoist Immortals described in legends.
However, Li Ye felt not even the slightest bit of fear or respect when he looked at these people.
As long as one was human, one would have to eat, drink, piss, and excrete. There was no human who could be truly free of worldly concerns. Never mind other aspects. These three Taoist priests had received Li Yao's order to set up the Xiaoxuan Formation inside the main hall of the monastery, causing Li Ye severe injuries in his previous life. It even caused him to lose his jade medallion. With such conduct, how could they be described as Taoist Immortals unconcerned with worldly trifles?
The middle-aged Taoist priest brought Li Ye to the main hall, stopping outside the three-step stone stairs. He pointed at the stele inside the hall and said, "Heir Apparent wishes to comprehend the Taoist scripture. It is in that place."
He then gave a Li Ye a mysterious look and pretended to be profound. "The only issue is that only fated people can comprehend Celestial Master Yuan's scripture. If fateless people forcefully set foot on the stone steps, I'm afraid they'll provoke the prohibition formation and evoke backlash. That'll be a catastrophe."
The middle-aged Taoist priest gave Li Ye a look that said he would have to watch out from here now before swiftly retreating. The priest went to the house next door with the two other priests and sat cross-legged on praying mats. They looked as if they wouldn't interfere with this matter, but in reality, they were waiting to watch a good show.
"Heir Apparent..." Out of concern, Shangguan Qingcheng couldn't stop herself from taking a step forward after seeing Li Ye move toward the stone steps. She was hesitant to say what was on her mind. When Li Ye glanced at her, she looked like she didn't know how to find the appropriate words.
Li Ye had no cultivation. Neither could he cultivate. If a person like him had Immortal's Fate and Taoist's Luck, wouldn't all the cultivators in the world have heaven-defying Immortal's Fate?
Her concern deepened after hearing the Taoist priest's words. If the priest was right, it was impossible for Li Ye to walk on those stone steps with his aptitude for Immortal's Fate. He would even incur backlash. Wouldn't that be asking for trouble?
However, she couldn't bring herself to stop Li Ye. More than anyone, she wanted to see Li Ye obtain the Taoist's Luck. Moreover, since Li Ye had come to Tai Xuan Summit, he would surely not give up when it was right in front of him. She couldn't bring herself to disobey his desire.
Thinking of this, Shangguang Qingcheng flew into a rage. She turned her head to glare at the middle-aged Taoist priest. "Priest, you must explain yourself. What do you mean by fated people and non-fated people?"
"Fated people are fated, and non-fated people are non-fated. I haven't even achieved the Qi-refining Stage. How would I be able to comprehend things like Immortal's Fate and Taoist's Luck?" the middle-aged Taoist priest replied indifferently. He closed his eyes, looking like he was beyond mortal affairs.
Shangguan Qingcheng nearly choked with anger. She gnashed her teeth, wanting nothing more than to cut the Taoist priest with her saber.
Li Ye turned his head right then and said serenely, "General Shangguan, you don't have to engage with him. I have my ways."
Shangguan Qingcheng was speechless after meeting Li Ye's eyes. She could detect his determination and confidence in his gaze. It was like he was a king encountering small flies and like he could cause his enemies to crumble into dust with a flick of his sleeves.
His imposing manner befuddled Shangguan Qingcheng. She didn't know where he found such confidence.
Right then, the middle-aged Taoist priest who hid his hands inside his sleeves while resting cross-legged on a praying mat triggered the message-transmitting jade bamboo slips hidden inside his sleeves. He said telepathically, "Li Ye has arrived at Tai Xuan Hall. The Xiaoxuan Formation is activated."
At the same time, inside Duke Xing's Manor in Chang'an City a hundred miles away, Li Yao's heart throbbed. He immediately fished out the jade bamboo slips inside his sleeve and heard the report from the middle-aged Taoist priest on Tai Xuan Summit.
Li Yao was playing chess with someone at this moment. After hearing the middle-aged Taoist priest's message, he knew a catastrophe was about to befall Li Ye and a significant point in his plot was about to be complete. He couldn't help beaming.