After drawing support from the Dragon Qi to absorb the Luck inside the Taoist scripture, Li Ye had successfully attained the Qi-refining ability. He also finally understood the function of the Dragon Qi.
In a nutshell, it was meant to converge Luck for his use.
"The imperial court has its Luck, as do people. The so-called Luck of the nation, Luck of the officials, and Taoist's Luck are the same thing."
Li Ye, being a Great Cultivator of the Age of Dharma Decline on earth, understood this perfectly well. "A Hidden Dragon who wants to accomplish a great cause and become a True Dragon step by step must rely on the convergence of the Luck of the world. A court official obtains an official's Luck, a Taoist cultivator obtains Taoist's Luck, and the one who obtains people's loyalty will be able to converge people's Luck. The ultimate result is that 'many hands provide a great strength'. If a Hidden Dragon has as many as troops and court officials as water droplets in the rain, as many strategists as clouds in the sky, a myriad of cultivators, millions of soldiers, then he would have an 'unstoppable force'. How would he fail?"
Li Ye's comprehension of Tao was clear and he became even surer of the path that he would have to take on from now on.
Dragon Qi might not be a Spiritual Root, but the former had replaced the function of the latter. It helped Li Ye walk on an unusual cultivation path.
Li Ye conveniently picked up the cyan jade gourd and began examining it.
He didn't pay the gourd any mind earlier but upon closer look, he immediately noticed something different about it. "This gourd looks like an ordinary magic treasure with Small Mystery Formation hidden in it. It looks like the most low-level magic tool in the Cultivation World but the fluctuation of Spiritual Qi inside the gourd seemed to have a tiny sliver of abnormality."
Before his transmigration, Li Ye had at least cultivated to become a Great Cultivator and had seen more magic tools than he could count. His insight, knowledge, and experience wasn't something an ordinary cultivator could hope to compare.
"Let's first erase the owner's consciousness inside this gourd." Struck with an idea, Li Ye poured his consciousness into the gourd, wanting to erase the owner's consciousness. However, the moment both consciousnesses came into contact, he encountered the fierce resistance of the owner's consciousness. Unexpectedly, there was nothing he could do about it.
"Looks like the owner's cultivation is higher than mine." Li Ye knew the cause, but he wasn't willing to just give up. After mulling over it, he triggered the Dragon Qi above his Elixir Field and once again penetrated the jade gourd with his consciousness.
The owner's consciousness inside the jade gourd shuddered the moment it touched Li Ye's consciousness that was laced with Dragon Qi. It seemed to emit a hair-raising screech but no matter how it struggled, it was still erased by the Dragon Qi.
"This Dragon Qi is extraordinary indeed. This jade gourd is now mine." Li Ye smiled faintly. He cut open his finger and let a drop of blood fall on the jade gourd so that it would recognize its new owner.
Li Ye's consciousness once again pierced the jade gourd and he carefully examined the condition of the gourd.
Li Ye's expression changed ever so slightly. The space inside the gourd was wider than he expected. The lines of white light formed the Small Mystery Formation were inside.
However, the Small Mystery Formation didn't occupy even one-tenth of the space inside the jade gourd.
"Sure enough, the Small Mystery Formation is only one small part of this gourd." Li Ye's consciousness examined the interior of the gourd for some time. He swiftly understood what was going on. "There's still a grand formation outside of the Small Mystery Formation. Since it's not activated, it didn't show itself."
Li Ye hesitated no more and activated the Small Mystery Formation while simultaneously observing if there was a change inside the gourd.
The moment the white lines lit up, the threads of green light that surrounded them flickered. Li Ye's heart jumped when he saw this. "Is that... Great Mystery Formation?"
Li Ye was overjoyed. The power of Small Mystery Formation was limited; it could cover the area of a hall at most and the range of its effect was about ten meters. However, the Great Mystery Formation was different. Not only was its power a level higher, but its range was also larger. If Li Ye could obtain the Great Mystery Formation, he could use it to cover a courtyard at least. Not only could he use it for self-protection, but he could also save the soldiers of Prince An's Manor from damage.
That wasn't all. The Great Mystery Formation was equipped with defensive measures. The light shield it produced was impenetrable by sabers and arrows. Moreover, those within the formation could freely use their skills and throw spears from inside!
In a nutshell, the Great Mystery Formation was also a home protection tool and an essential and amazing tool for when one was leaving for a battle.
The cyan jade gourd containing the Small Mystery Formation was merely a Rank 1 magic treasure, but if he could activate the Great Mystery Formation, the gourd would become a Rank 2 magic treasure!
A Rank 1 magic treasure was considered the lowest kind of magic tool in Immortal's sects. Even Level 1 cultivators in the Qi-refining Stage would have one or two of these. However, when it came to Rank 2 magic treasures, they wouldn't even be able to obtain them. Never mind them, not even Level 2 and Level 3 cultivators had the right to possess such a treasure!
Since Li Ye knew the structure of the Great Mystery Formation, he didn't hesitate and penetrated the jade gourd with his Spiritual Qi. He mapped out the Great Mystery Formation using the Spiritual Qi as the lines.
The moment the Great Mystery Formation was complete, the flickering green lights in the jade gourd became brighter. The quality of the jade turned even mellower as if it had completely shed its exterior shell.
"This cyan jade gourd is a Rank 2 magic treasure from now on. This will be useful." Li Ye was a little happy after obtaining his first magic treasure since transmigrating here. A cultivator navigating the Jianghu couldn't do without a magic treasure helping him.
The battle strength of a cultivator without a magic treasure wasn't on the same level as a cultivator equipped with one. In a battle between cultivators, magic treasures were a crucial factor. It was akin to an armored elite soldier fighting an unarmed, defenseless burly man.
Li Ye was pleased after analyzing the jade gourd. The Great Mystery Formation merely occupied two-tenth of the space inside the gourd after taking shape. This meant there was a possibility of improving the rank of the jade gourd!
However, the empty space that wasn't occupied by the Great Mystery Formation was peaceful at the moment. Li Ye couldn't see anything for the time being.
The corners of Li Ye's mouth curved into a smile. "Li Yao, you had no choice but to use a magic treasure to stabilize the main hall just so you could lay down a formation to harm me and steal my jade medallion. Unfortunately, you're inexperienced and short-sighted. You didn't know that this jade gourd isn't a Rank 1 magic treasure at all, but a Rank 2 tool that you should treasure. But you're as good as handing it over to me now."
Duke Xing's Manor.
The Practitioners of Qi techniques who were dispatched to Tai Xuan Summit of the Cloud-engulfed Mountain had long departed. Li Yao was silent as he stayed in his room. The advisor who accompanied him dared not say a single sword.
Li Yao, being a cultivation genius of the younger generation in the Imperial Clan, had his pride. This pride originated from his formidableness and his formidableness was borne out of comparison. It was established after meeting so many young cultivators.
To Li Yao, even when he was looking at other people, Li Ye wasn't worthy of entering his vision. That was because Li Ye couldn't cultivate at all. He was an existence that Li Yao couldn't even be bothered to look at and thus, there was no reason for comparison.
Ignoring Li Ye was a habit he developed over twenty years.
A habit couldn't be broken that easily.
Thus, up until now, Li Yao was still in disbelief. Neither could he accept that the fluctuation of Spiritual Qi on Tai Xuan Summit was due to Li Ye obtaining the Taoist's Opportunity that Yuan Tiangang left behind.
"A good-for-nothing who can't cultivate, a lowly seed with a commoner mother, a joke that the Imperial Clan laughed at for twenty years. What right does he have to obtain an opportunity that even I can't obtain?"
Li Yao was unwilling to admit this kind of change because he had been coveting Prince An's title for a long time. He was determined to win it.
Li Ye's fatal shortcoming was his inability to cultivate and his commoner mother. That was why the Imperial Clan looked down on him as well as the basis of why Li Yao coveted Prince An's title.
And now this basis was about to be shattered.
"If Li Ye achieves the Qi-refining Stage..." Li Yao was unwilling to mull over it. He had paid a hefty price to obtain Prince An's title. After all, it wasn't cheap to bribe the officials of the Court of the Imperial Clan.
"Impossible! A good-for-nothing is just a good-for-nothing! How can he become a Practitioner of Qi techniques like me?! How can he block my way, render all my efforts useless, and make me unable to obtain the title?!"
The more Li Yao thought about it, the angrier he became. Li Ye's face appeared in his mind but it had turned exceptionally vile, making him feel incredibly uncomfortable. He stood up and kicked the desk that was recently replaced until it broke. He glared at the advisor next to him. "Why isn't there news from Liu Renneng yet?!"
Liu Renneng was the Practitioner of Qi techniques that Li Yao dispatched to Tai Xuan Summit.
"I suppose he didn't make it. After all, it's a little far away..." the advisor said quietly. His expression drastically changed mid-sentence and his face instantly paled. He clapped his hand over his mouth and spat out a mouthful of blood. His eyes were full of fear. "How, how is this possible?"
Li Yao frowned. "What's wrong?"
"Someone actually erased my consciousness on the Glazed Cyan Jade Gourd with the Small Mystery Formation that I left on Tai Xuan Summit and stole it?!" the advisor cried in horror.
Stunned, Li Yao immediately clenched his fists and gnashed his teeth. "Only a Practitioner of Qi techniques can steal someone's magic treasure. Could it be that good-for-nothing Li Ye had really succeeded?"
"Even if he attains the Qi-refining ability, how can he steal my Glazed Cyan Jade Gourd with his Level 1 Qi-refining Stage?" The advisor was in disbelief. After all, he was a Level 2 cultivator.
Li Yao inhaled deeply, his eyes flashing with an ominous glint and his expression malevolent. Now that things had come to this, he also understood what was going on. It was impossible that the stolen Glazed Cyan Jade Gourd had nothing to do with the fluctuation of Spiritual Qi on Tai Xuan Summit. Unwilling as he was, he must admit the worst outcome had occurred: Li Ye had become a Qi-refining cultivator!
It took Li Yao some time to cool down. "Send a message to Liu Renneng. Tell him to bring back those Taoists no matter what!"
The Taoists were in collusion with him. If Li Ye took them away, he would be able to accuse Li Yao of a conspiracy to murder him at the Chang'an Court and the Court of the Imperial Clan. Then, Li Yao would have to suffer all the consequences.
"Liu Renneng is a Level 2 Qi-refining Practitioner while Li Ye is still a newbie. Li Ye isn't a match for him. Should we..." A murderous glint crossed the advisor's eyes. "No one else knows of this..."
Tai Xuan Summit.
Li Ye put the jade gourd away, hanging it near his waist. With such a treasure in hand, Prince An's Manor would be a lot safer in the future at least. He didn't have to fear small-scale rebellions, as long as nothing major happened.
Now that he had attained the Qi-refining Stage, he could start learning Taoist methods. To him, learning the basic techniques was essentially a matter of revision. Telekinesis, inferno techniques, and the like could come easily to him now. High-level cultivation methods with strong power, like the supreme art called "Purple Clouds from the East" that he majored in when he was on earth, required him to spend a lot of time to cultivate before he could summon the kind of power he previously held.
Back when Li Ye dominated the Cultivation World during the Age of Dharma Decline, he had never seen a cultivation method stronger than "Purple Clouds from the East". There were several that were close to being on par, such as "Pre-winter Peculiar Ghost Punch" of a certain archbishop in the west.
Li Ye had no plans of staying in Tai Xuan Summit. Inside the main hall, he stood up and gave the statue of Zhenwu Dadi a final look before turning around to leave.
The armored and armed Shangguan Qingcheng immediately walked up to him. Her movements were so swift that the sound her armor was making was sharp and clear. Her line of sight fell on Li Ye, her eyes so bright that there seemed to be stars swimming in her pupils. "Have you attained the Qi-refining Stage, Heir Apparent?"
Li Ye nodded. "How did the interrogation of the Taoist priests go?"
"They're tight-lipped." Shangguan Qingcheng's fiery temper flared up when the priests were mentioned. She was so upset that she gnashed her teeth. "But if you give me more time, I'll definitely be able to make them spit out everything they know!"
Li Ye smiled, unconcerned. He knew what those people were hiding. They were reluctant to speak because they were counting on Li Yao's formidable influence. They were waiting for him to come and save them.
"Congratulations, Heir Apparent, for finally entering the Qi-refining Stage and becoming a Practitioner of Qi techniques from here on. You're now an expert of the imperial court! Your future is surely unimaginably bright!" The guards of Prince An's Manor also came up to Li Ye while he was talking to Shangguan Qingcheng. The well-trained guards stood in formation on the empty ground to salute him, the sound of their armors moving resounding in the air. They said in unison, "Congratulations, Heir Apparent!"
They had little hope that Li Ye would succeed earlier. Even when they set off from Chang'an City, they didn't believe that he would obtain the opportunity. Some even thought of finding a different master for this was a world where the strong dominated the weak, after all. The Tang Empire, in particular, emphasized on having martial spirit. Only cultivators could command respect from others. Now that they witnessed for themselves how Li Ye had succeeded in attaining the Qi-refining Stage, the thoughts that they shouldn't harbor all vanished.
A bald-headed guard cupped his fist in his other hand and said firmly, "It took you a day to attain the Qi-refining ability. This miracle is never heard of. Now that you've obtained this Luck, inheriting Prince An's title is a matter of time. We'll surely be behind you, Heir Apparent, and toil for you!"
Li Ye looked at the guards of Prince An's Manor. These were all elite soldiers that Prince An instructed and an advantage that he had in his fight for a great cause in the upcoming chaotic times. They were also the first building block of his foundation.
Shangguan Qingcheng took a step forward and muttered into Li Ye's ears, "Some of the people here were previously entertaining disloyal thoughts. Now that you've attained the Qi-refining ability, your status and position are naturally different. Should we capture and severely punish them to set an example?"
When Shangguan Qingcheng spoke, the guards all watched Li Ye closely. Even though they didn't hear her exact words, they could guess the contents. Those who previously harbored disloyal thoughts, especially the ones who gossiped in front of Shangguang Qingcheng, were so nervous that their foreheads were drenched with sweat.
After becoming a Practitioner of Qi techniques, it would take Li Ye no effort whatsoever to punish them. Regardless of whether he could inherit Prince An's title, he could already crush them, on the basis of his position and authority alone.
Li Ye waved his hand. With a grim face, he narrowed his eyes at the guards. "You're all guards of Prince An's Manor and can be considered my personal soldiers. From now on, fulfill your obligations properly and naturally, I won't treat you all unfairly!"
His words meant that he was willing to forget their faults and not bear recriminations. He would only consider their future performance. The heart of the guards thumped after hearing what he said. Those who were nervous calmed down, all relieved that they had gotten lucky. Simultaneously, they were also reproaching themselves for their misjudgment. Those who had been loyal to Li Ye all along gained even more respect for his bearing. They thought to themselves that this was the magnanimity of a master.
Immediately, the guards all made a firm resolution to follow Li Ye from now on and gain merits.
"We pledge our lives to you, Heir Apparent, to repay your kindness!" the guards inside and outside the monastery yelled in unison, their voices echoing throughout the temple and soaring into the sky.
Following the guards' vow of loyalty, a change occurred in the scene in Li Ye's eyes.
White or red streams of Qi rose from the top of the guards' heads and floated quietly in the air. Having previously been a Great Cultivator, Li Ye knew those white and red streams of Qi represented everyone's Luck. The white Qi came from those with ordinary aptitude. If he wasn't mistaken, they would never become an official in their lifetime. Those with red Qi were those with the possibility of making something out of themselves in the future and becoming officials.
Simultaneously, the Dragon Qi above Li Ye's Elixir Field also moved as if it was trying to cruise around and converge everyone's Luck for absorption. However, it only moved for a brief moment before regaining calm.
Li Ye thought, "The Dragon Qi is able to gather Luck for my use and help me improve the efficacy of my cultivation. Even though these guards are professing their loyalty to me now, the reality is that their loyalty is insufficient. That's why their Luck didn't converge and come to me... Looks like I need to gain more power to make them truly loyal to me."
Even so, Li Ye wasn't impatient. Things like this required time.
He was confident in himself. Just as he was about to order everyone to make their journey home, his heart suddenly detected something. He flew up to the roof with a single step and looked in the direction of the bottom of the summit with his hands clasped behind him.
A masked, black-clothed person was leaping between the mountain roads, his feet stepping on rocks and tip of trees. Each of his steps crossed more than thirty meters as he rushed over to the Taoist temple.