After killing Liu Renneng, the guards of Prince An's Manor inside and outside the Taoist temple withdrew their weapons and returned to their positions in the formation without any prompting. Injured guards tried their best to stand straight while getting support from their companions.
The guards looked at the figure standing on the eaves in the wind with bright eyes. They roared in unison, "Heir Apparent is formidable!"
Shangguan Qingcheng's eyes were burning with passion as if she was trying to melt Li Ye down.
Li Ye's attack earlier shocked and excited them.
He was able to severely injure a Rank 2 Qi-refining practitioner with one move after just learning Qi-refining. An expert like him was the Heir Apparent that they had been looking forward to. Moreover, Li Ye had shown no hesitation in killing Liu Renneng. Such courage and respect for them struck deep into the hearts of the guards.
Finally, the hundreds of guards were truly loyal to Li Ye at this moment.
On the roof, the pale golden Dragon Qi in Li Ye's body quietly cruised. Streams of white and red Qi flowed from the heads of the guards inside and outside the monastery into his body. Once inside, they were absorbed by the Dragon Qi and turned into Spiritual Qi. The Spiritual Qi then settled inside his Ocean of Qi.
Sensing a change in his Ocean of Qi, Li Ye raised an eyebrow.
After obtaining the Luck of a hundred people, Li Ye's Level 1 Qi-refining cultivation was now complete!
The current Li Ye wouldn't be defeated by any Level 1 Qi-refining practitioner even without using the cyan jade gourd!
The corner of Li Ye's mouth tugged a little. He seemed to be ruminating as he stared in the direction of Chang'an City.
If not for the jade gourd that was upgraded to become a Rank 2 magic treasure and if not for Liu Renneng's "prompt" arrival, Li Ye wouldn't be able to so swiftly earn the undying devotion of his hundred soldiers.
Chaotic times were about to descend on them. Now that Li Ye had his first group of loyalists, his circumstances were different from the past. After all, there was safety in numbers. In certain aspects, achieving an ambition involved the "gathering of a crowd and congregation of power". The beginning was always the most challenging part of the journey. Now that he had taken the first step, he was already standing on the starting point of his journey to fulfill his grand ambition.
Even so, Liu Renneng was unfortunate, indeed. Had he not bragged about piercing the Small Mystery Formation with a single sword strike, he wouldn't have suffered such a defeat. However, how could he have known that the cyan jade gourd contained an even stronger Great Mystery Formation?
Liu Renneng had injured more than ten of the guards of Prince An's Manor. Without requiring Li Ye's orders, Shangguan Qingcheng was already ordering her men to bandage their injured companions. Several who died from their severe injuries would be transported back.
"The Luck of one hundred people still isn't enough to push me into Level 2 of the Qi-refining Stage. But there are still eight hundred guards in the manor and many more officials and servants. If all of them become loyal to me, I wonder if their Luck will be enough..." Li Ye swiftly leaped down from the roof. He raised an eyebrow as he recalled the condition of Prince An's Manor.
The current Prince An's Manor not only had no Qi-refining guest or advisor holding the fort down but many of its subordinate officers had received Li Yao's bribes and became traitorous. Those officers were waiting for Li Yao to become the new master of Prince An's Manor.
Li Ye, who retained memories of his past life, knew that there would be a scheme waiting for him when he returned this time.
Li Yao wasn't the only one who noticed the strange fluctuation in Spiritual Qi on the Cloud-engulfed Mountain; so did many cultivators of Chang'an City. However, unlike Li Yao, they weren't too concerned. Those with somewhat higher cultivations could tell that if it was the outcome of a cultivator breaking into the completion stage, the commotion would just be a reflection of his successful entry into the Qi-refining Stage.
Practitioners of Qi techniques of the Tang Empire were nearly as numerous as court officials of Rank 7 and above. It didn't matter whether you add or minus a Level 1 Qi-refining practitioner. Even though Li Ye's attainment of the Qi-refining ability caused quite a commotion much greater than most people, it wasn't a rare sight in the imperial court.
However, some people were exceptions: the princes, dukes, and nobles who knew Li Ye went up to Tai Xuan Summit.
Grand Prince Gong, Duke Chen, and Prince Yue's Heir Apparent had attended Li Ye's coming-of-age ceremony together and were pretty close too. The moment the fluctuation in Spiritual Qi happened on Tai Xuan Summit, they connected the dots immediately that Li Ye might have obtained the Taoist's Luck that Yuan Tiangang left behind.
"I think it's not him. Even if someone made a realm breakthrough on Tai Xuan Summit, it might not necessarily be Li Ye. After all, no one saw with their own eyes that it was him."
Inside a teahouse on the Fortune and Peace Lane, Duke Chen glanced at the Vermilion Bird Street from the window before turning to tell Grand Prince Gong and Prince Yue's Heir Apparent, "Li Ye wasn't able to cultivate for twenty years. It's too frightening if he really obtains the Taoist's Opportunity and Luck that Celestial Master Yuan left behind and enters the Qi-refining Stage in a day. The possibility is rather low."
"Low possibility? I say it's completely impossible."
Prince Yue's Heir Apparent curled his lips, his expression full of disdain. He was in the Warrior Mentor Realm and hadn't entered the Qi-refining Stage. Naturally, he didn't believe Li Ye could surpass him out of the blue. "Do you know how many people in the Imperial Clan who managed to enter the Qi-refining Stage at the age of twenty? Which of them isn't a seasoned genius? What right does Li Ye has to stand on equal footing with them?"
Grand Prince Gong was seated in a spot where he could see the city gate. Being a Level 3 Qi-refining practitioner, he could recognize the faces of the pedestrians coming in and out of the city gate even there were hundreds of them. He said serenely, "If we want an answer, all we have to do is wait. Considering the journey, they should be returning from the Cloud-engulfed Mountain and entering the city through this place today."
"Either way, I don't believe it. It's just a waste of time to see him." Prince Yue's Heir Apparent sipped his tea without care.
Before long, Grand Prince Gong's eyes brightened. "He's here."
At the end of his line of sight, a green-clothed young man with a belt made of animal hide was traveling on his horse. Under the protection of a small and young soldier in a thin-scaled armor, the man led one hundred troops with thundering footsteps through the city gate.
"It's really that guy, Li Ye." Duke Chen walked up to the window and stretched his neck for a better look.
Prince Yue's Heir Apparent was about to get up when he sat back down again. He sneered. "How is he? Did that guy really enter the Qi-refining Stage?"
"How could we tell if he doesn't make a move... But the troops are walking in a neat formation and look to be in high spirits. It seems like they have returned victorious. There's no trace of dejection at all. Looks like..." Duke Chen glanced at Grand Prince Gong, not continuing his sentence.
"He's putting on a show to disguise his inferiority. Isn't he just afraid of people laughing at him?" Prince Yue's Heir Apparent snorted.
Suddenly, Duke Chen took a sharp intake of breath and looked shocked. Grand Prince Gong's expression also turned cold.
In front of the crowd streaming in and out of the city gate, a white cat lying in the arms of a small girl in a brocade suddenly jumped out. The girl gave chase as the white cat weaved through the crowd and flitted in front of Li Ye's horse. The girl had her full attention on her cat, with all her focus on catching it. She was unaware that she was running in front of Li Ye's horse and was about to be trampled on.
Right then, Li Ye, who was on the back of the horse, waved his hand. With a flick of his sleeve, the girl rose into the air and fell into Li Ye's arms.
After seeing this, Duke Chen uttered in astonishment, "Telekinesis!"
Grand Prince Gong said in a solemn voice, "Seeing as he can use telekinesis, there's no doubt he's a Practitioner of Qi techniques!"
Prince Yue's Heir Apparent was taking a bite out of his pastry when he heard this. His hand trembled and the crumbs of the pastry sprinkled all over his robe. He immediately walked to the window and looked in the direction of the street. He saw Li Ye getting off the horse and handing the girl in his embrace to the maid who was rushing over to them.
"Impossible..." Prince Yue's Heir Apparent muttered. Noticing Grand Prince Gong and Duke Chen looking at him with a strange look, he immediately recalled how he had sneered at Li Ye earlier. He was so ashamed that blood rushed to both his face and neck.
"This is impossible. Isn't Li Ye just a good-for-nothing..." Prince Yue's Heir Apparent said in dissatisfaction. Even so, he didn't finish his sentence because he couldn't bring himself to finish it. If a person who had attained the Qi-refining ability was a good-for-nothing, what would that make him, a Warrior Mentor Realm cultivator?
Duke Chen ignored Prince Yue's Heir Apparent and returned to his own table. He flicked his sleeves backward with a grim expression. He addressed Grand Prince Gong, saying, "Looks like there'll be another wave of chaos in Chang'an City now that Li Ye has entered the Qi-refining Stage."
Grand Prince Gong's expression was unchanging. He slowly replied, "It's naturally a good thing for my Li family's Tang Empire to have an additional Practitioner of Qi techniques and Grand Prince."
Duke Chen sneered. "Your Highness, a straightforward person doesn't resort to insinuations. Even if Li Ye enters the Qi-refining Stage, he might not necessarily inherit Prince An's title. It's his fault for wanting a royal title named Prince An. It's incredibly easy for Li Yao to obtain the title, yet unimaginably difficult for Li Ye."
Grand Prince Gong was still expressionless. "Even though the Imperial Clan dislikes Li Ye because of his commoner mother, he's nevertheless a Practitioner of Qi techniques now. It's not an unsolvable problem."
Duke Chen sneered but said nothing. Evidently, he didn't agree with Grand Prince Gong's words in the slightest.
Prince Yue's Heir Apparent stayed in a corner, neglected. Grand Prince Gong and Duke Chen, who were discussing Li Ye, didn't spare him a single glance. While they were conversing, Prince Yue's Heir Apparent looked like an outsider as if his current status couldn't even match up to Li Ye. His face twisted into an incredibly unpleasant expression but unfortunately, he had no place to vent his anger.
Li Ye didn't return to Prince An's Manor. Instead, he had Shangguan Qingcheng lead the troops back with the Taoist priests in tow and made a beeline for the Court of the Imperial Clan.
The Court of the Imperial Clan was responsible for all affairs involving the Imperial Clan. As a child of the Imperial Clan, Li Ye must report his cultivation at the Court of the Imperial Clan after entering the Qi-refining Stage. Him inheriting Prince An's title was also something that the Court of the Imperial Clan would handle.
Li Ye mustn't delay this matter any longer because Li Yao was already colluding with certain officials of the Court of the Imperial Clan in the first place.
To ordinary cultivators who had just entered the Qi-refining Stage, the first place they must visit was the Imperial Astronomical Observatory that held authority over all the Taoist methods and Immortal's sects in the world. They must register and report their cultivation as well as receive manuals detailing cultivation methods of telekinesis, inferno techniques, and the like.
If the Ministry of Appointments was responsible for supervising all bureaucrats, then the Imperial Astronomical Observatory was responsible for supervising all cultivators. In the past, when Yuan Tiangang was still in the mundane world, he once presided over the Imperial Astronomical Observatory.
However, Li Ye put aside all these. He currently had no plans of going to the Imperial Astronomical Observatory for he had no need for their cultivation methods.
The official institution of the Court of the Imperial Clan was located west to the Imperial City. With its cinnabar door and tall eaves, the building was certainly impressive. After entering the Court of the Imperial Clan, Li Ye looked for the office responsible for royal titles. He had just arrived at the lobby when a young official dressed in a green official robe coming to him. He cried in surprise when he saw Li Ye. "Isn't this Prince An's Heir Apparent? What wind blows you here today?"
Li Ye knew this Rank 7 official of the Court of the Imperial Clan. The official was also a child of the Imperial Clan, named Li Guangqian. The hypocritical Li Guangqian pretended he knew nothing when Li Yao faked concern for Li Ye. He had always looked down on Li Ye and would always be sarcastic with the latter when they met. He was always sarcastically pointing out that Li Ye couldn't cultivate.
Li Ye glanced at Li Guangqian but ignored him. He immediately walked into the lobby.
Li Ye's indifferent attitude immediately infuriated Li Guangqian. He inserted himself in front of Li Ye, blocking him. He raised his chin and said sarcastically, "What's wrong? Didn't you hear me speaking to you? Don't tell me that you, a good-for-nothing who can't cultivate, have gone deaf and blind?"
Li Ye narrowed his eyes at Li Guangqian. "A good dog doesn't block paths."
"You..." Li Guangqian was instantly angered.
In the past when Li Ye still couldn't cultivate, he would try his best to avoid Li Guangqian whenever they met. His unyielding attitude today greatly dissatisfied Li Guangqian. Moreover, many people assumed that Li Ye had no hope of ever attaining a royal title in his life after he failed to inherit it on his coming-of-age ceremony. Thus, Li Guangqian had no reservations and threatened Li Ye fiercely, saying, "You weak, good-for-nothing! How dare you speak to me this way? Aren't you afraid I'll kill you with a single punch?!"
Li Ye sneered. "You can try me."