Yin Zhenluo put away the transmission talisman, confused by Xuanyuan’s words.
“If that’s the case, then I can only strengthen myself. Xuanyuan must have his reasons. I believe that he can break through his shackles, but I won’t let him do it alone. I’ll help him as much as I can.”
Yin Zhenluo also left to go back to the Eastern Dynasty. Three days later, a shocking piece of news spread out from the Eastern Dynasty. If someone could drive out the Heart-Devouring Bug, Yin Zhenluo was rewarding them with the Godly Gold.
Many people were tempted, but no one dared to pick up the commission. The Yin Family was not one to mess with, and they had all seen what happened to Xuanyuan after he drove out the bug from Yin Tuxian’s body. What was the point of getting the Godly Gold if they were going to die anyway?
Xuanyuan didn’t realise what was happening. After leaving the emperor’s mansion, he had gone to the Immortals and the Tortoise gambling houses. When they saw Xuanyuan, they immediately tried to drive him out. After how he had bankrupted Cheng Men, none of the other gambling houses were willing to have him.
However, it was not easy for them to do so. In the end, both houses lost a lot of spiritual ice to Xuanyuan. He stopped after winning 1 ton of pure spiritual ice from the Tortoise gambling house, and 1.5 tonnes from the Immortal. He knew he couldn’t go too crazy, and instead began to cultivate and try to break through the orifices.
Xuanyuan’s prowess caused a lot of disturbance in the palace of the Northern Dynasty. While he may have thought he didn’t win enough, the saint of the Wugui sect and the 4 earth masters wallowed in regret.
Everyone wanted to punish Xuanyuan, but they couldn’t. They had already employed assassins to kill him, and they had failed. This was not the first time they had employed assassins to kill stone refinement masters.
Throughout history there were several stone masters, who were proficient in the art of stone refinement, but weak in cultivation. When the gambling houses lost heavily to these people, they employed assassins to kill these masters to send a message.
However, they had already sent assassins to kill Xuanyuan once. If they did it again, no one would think that it was them again.
Just as they finalised the plan, Xuanyuan received an invitation from the Lady of the Nine Heavens to come to the Nine Heavens Pavilion. Xuanyuan didn’t refuse, remembering that she mentioned that she had a way to get rid of the Heart Devouring Bug, which was the top priority for Xuanyuan.
Him departing for the Nine Heavens Pavilion was a source of relief for the gambling houses, since this meant that he would finally leave the houses.
The Nine Heavens Pavilion was a mysterious place. Several top-secret matters were discussed and negotiated here, and this place was built to maintain the harmony of the Northern Dynasty by resolving disputes between the civil and military departments.
The Lady of the Nine Heavens had to be someone of unparalleled intelligence, as well as proficiency in both military and civil affairs in order to suitably go between both sides. There was no doubt when it came to the capabilities of the current Lady of the Nine Heavens.
When Xuanyuan arrived at the Nine Heavens Pavillion, he felt as if there was a different aura. Located in the center of the palace, the pavilion floated high in the sky. Through the use of dispositions, it was also cloaked.
It was also built from a kind of Tianyin stone, on which countless markings and patterns were carved. The entire pavilion was covered from top to bottom with several mysterious enchantments and dispositions, which were interwoven to a complex degree.
The relationship between the Lady of the Nine Heavens and the Northern Dynasty went back to the old days. The first Lady was one of the closest friends of the first emperor of the Northern Dynasty, and ever since then the position had been handed down generation to generation.
The women of the pavilion were all talented, beautiful, and experienced. In addition, they all had their own unique views on the Northern Dynasty. Seeing this, Xuanyuan marvelled at the talent contained within the Nine Heavens Pavillion.
Unlike other significant locations, the pavilion contained no sculptures, no gardens or bridges, and no intricate stone formations. The only thing of note was a typical, ancient bookshelf, filled with information from throughout the ages. The entire history of the Northern Dynasty could be found, down to every last detail.
This bookshelf could be called the essence of the royal dynasty. It was the sole item that survived throughout the ages, through all the periods of unrest, through the rise and falls of empires, and the formation and destruction of several imperial dynasties. It had witnessed it all.
The first through the ninth floor were identical in layout, and were designed with historical locations in mind.
Within the pavilion, the Lady of the Nine Heavens was brewing tea for Xuanyuan. She appeared to be both clumsy and gentle. She wore a black dress, and her head was adorned with a purple and gold crown. Her eyes gleamed like stars, and her smile could light up the darkest nights. It was like someone from the ancient times had popped out of the history books and come to life.
As the sun was setting, Xuanyuan sat on the bench opposite the lady of the Nine Heavens and looked at her. She looked calm and focussed, and saw Xuanyuan’s eyes smiling as she poured him a cup of tea.
“Do you have an interest in brewing tea? If so, we can exchange notes. Anyway, please taste this unique tea. It’s called the Civil-Military Tea.”
Xuanyuan brought the tea cup up and slowly smelt the fragrance wafting from the tea. He felt as if the essence of the fine arts and martial arts were slowly becoming one, giving off the sense that the two of them complemented each other. The tea actually contained some of the mysteries of the heavens and the earth.
“This tea is really mysterious. Am I right to think that you have something to say?” Xuanyuan’s eyes were bright; he knew that this tea was no mere tea. Rather, it could be called an elixir.
“It was my pleasure to serve this tea for you.” The Lady of the Nine Heavens smiled and stood up, looking into the distance. She slowly asked, “Mister Xuanyuan, what do you think of the Northern Dynasty?”
Xuanyuan slowly drank all the tea, and he relaxed, feeling comfortable. The purity of Yin and Yang flowed through his heart, and he felt something hit the Heart-Devouring Bug. Flinching in pain, he barely managed to stop screaming out in pain.
He laughed out, hiding the pain, and looked at the magnificent sights. The country was rich, and it’s people were strong. The Northern Dynasty was a powerful empire.
“If we can balance the needs of the empire and the needs of the people, there is nothing better.”
“You’re very insightful.” Xuanyuan had immediately broken to the crux of the hidden danger, which was exactly what the Lady of the Nine Heavens was worried about. However, the actions of the emperor made her feel more confident. While there may be risks, she knew that they were worth the reward. She also was of the opinion that it was Cheng Yin’s fault, but she had no support.
“It’s a good thing you have a friend like Miss Shiguan. She’s a rare person, even making the emperor of the Northern Dynasty take a big step forward. If people can put aside their prejudices and be honest, there would be far less conflict in this world.”
“Haha, the emperor is truly magnanimous. He has the foresight to see the positives of uniting all the races. It’s just our thinking that is narrow. It may be easy to predict the way nature acts, but the human mind is unpredictable. All we can do is make our ebay efforts. The rest is up to fate.” Still in pain, Xuanyuan showed no outward sign of distress. His voice was firm and didn’t quaver.
“Over the last few days, Miss Shiguan has already dispersed the elixir into the water supply, and the plague has been controlled. What was going to be a death-filled wasteland is now filled with life. People are cheering her, and worshipping her as their goddess. In the meantime, the Mo troops have moved in and begun rebuilding, Under Miss Shiguan’s guidance, the humans and the Mo troops are able to work together. While there were small instances of friction, it was mostly harmless.” The Lady said, as the sky slowly turned inky black.
“It’s no wonder that the Emperor of Mount Tai speaks so highly of her. He even went so far as to use his life as a guarantee for her actions.” She said, her voice filled with admiration. “It looks like he was right to trust her.”
“Why did he go so far?” Xuanyuan was surprised. He never expected the Emperor to make such a risky promise, and he knew the amount of trust it would take to make such a promise.
“One must trust the other if things are to work out. The Emperor understands that without trust, the resentment will only aggravate.” She looked at Xuanyuan, her eyes filled with admiration.
“The Emperor of Mount Tai surely deserves his name.” Xuanyuan said, slowly chuckling at his own pun. His heart continued to twist in pain, but he didn’t show any outward signs. Throughout this whole time, he and the Lady of the Nine Heavens were talking about several matters, and she was impressed that he could easily continue the conversation.
It was not until he felt the pain in his chest dissipate did Xuanyuan look inside his heart. While the Heart-Devouring Bug was still there, the speed of the damage to the seal had slowed down.
The moon had risen, hanging in the night sky, surrounded by a sky full of stars. Xuanyuan felt the Yin and Yang aura slowly move to his abdomen. Suddenly, the orifice which he had not managed to break through so far was burst wide open.
The fourth of the Eastern Seven Stars vibrated violently, as a green dragon aura wrapped Xuanyuan. Starlight fell onto the pavilion as Xuanyuan broke through the Fang Ri aperture.
The starlight slowly flowed down and infused itself into Xuanyuan, and within his body, yet another bright star gleamed softly. His power rose from 14 emperor dragons to 16 emperor dragons.
When Xuanyuan opened his eyes, they looked like stars. He gave off an aura of the immortal dragon.
Seeing Xuanyuan open his eyes, and sensing that the acupoint in his abdomen had been completely refined, the Lady of the Nine Heavens sighed, and then slowly smiled as she thought to herself.
“The Civil-Military Tea was left behind by the ancient sages. It’s very harmful to the Heart-Devouring Bug, but I didn’t expect that it couldn’t kill the bug. How terrible. It’s no wonder that even the Nightmare Ghost can’t deal with it. I guess the only path left is to go into the disposition fields.”
“I thank you for the tea. It allowed me to break through the fourth of my acupoints, and completely refine it. It’s fine if it didn’t kill the Heart-Devouring Bug. If I want to beat it, I can only rely on myself. Once I grow stronger, and my control over the fighting fire strengthens, I can burn it down.” Xuanyuan smiled.
“Xuanyuan, I finally understand why you can ascend to the heavens. Despite being in just the imperial realm, you demonstrate such courage and will. Despite facing such pain in your heart just now, you were able to maintain a normal conversation with me. Even people in the xian realm can’t do it, but you were able to. I’m impressed.” The Lady of the Nine Heavens smiled at Xuanyuan, her eyes full of admiration. Xuanyuan was a rare, and outstanding man. It was no surprise that both Yin Zhenluo and Shiguan would be attracted to him.
No woman would not be attracted to a man like Xuanyuan. Were it not for her position, she would also have been attracted to him, but due to her status, she couldn’t afford such luxuries.
“Haha, what’s the matter?” Xuanyuan laughed dismissively. “Anyway, what’s the real reason you called me to the pavilion? I’m sure it’s not just to drink tea.”
“You are very perceptive. Do you mind if I ask where the pig is?”
Seeing that Xuanyuan was planning to go to the disposition field, he sent the pig to scout ahead, and set up some dispositions to protect them.
“I’m not sure where he is. He may have gone to talk with the Nightmare Ghost.”
“I would like to ask something of you, Mister Xuanyuan.” She said, indicating to the teapot.
“Oh? What’s the matter?”
“Since you have the Nightmare Ghost to protect you, this is something I can ask of you. This batch of tea was the last batch of tea of Civil-Military Tea I could brew. The disposition field contains a tree called Civil-Military Tea Tree, which was planted by an ancient sage of the Northern Dynasty. The tree contains his experiences and essence, and it’s very precious. I know that you plan on going to the disposition field to find a way to treat the bug. Every year, the Northern Dynasty suffers heavy casualties whenever we go to take a few branches. I ask you to please take some for us this year, since you are going inside anyway.”
“Haha, to think the Civil-Military Tree actually is within the disposition field. Promise her, and then we will take it all for ourselves.” Greed said rapaciously.
“But the disposition area is so huge, how will I know where to search?” Xuanyuan ignored Greed’s words. The Lady of the Nine Heavens had brewed the last batch to help him. It was only fair that he helped her.
Delighted that Xuanyuan promised to help, she took out a map and said, “This isa map of the disposition field. The red dot marks the location of the Civil-Military Tree. I hope this helps you.”
“Aren’t you afraid that I will cut it down and take it for myself?” Xuanyuan laughed.
“I believe that Mister Xuanyuan is not such a person. The tree is a treasure of the heavens and the earth, planted by the ancient sages using their own vitality. If Mister Xuanyuan can take out nine of those trees, you can have some for your own use.” The Lady of the Nine Heavens said gently.
“Very well, I shall take you up on your offer.”