The Supervisory Department of the Western Qin Empire had sub offices in governments at all levels, which were managed by the Sub-divisional Chief Supervisors. And the Routing Supervisor, whose status was between the General Chief Supervisor and the Sub-divisional Chief Supervisors, was also pretty paramount and powerful. His role was similar to the imperial envoy. His duty was to supervise specific cases, which required complete support of relevant Sub-divisional Chief Supervisors.
Lu Lizi was a man over 50. He was short, ugly, and dark-skinned, who could easily put children into nightmares when they took a brief glance at him. Nonetheless, his cultivation was quite profound. Decades ago, he had already become a peerless master of the Natural Realm. It could be said that he was almost a well-known figure in the Wulin of the entire Western Qin Empire.
Due to his frenzy of power, Lu Lizi enjoyed a fairly high status among the 36 Routing Supervisors of the headquarters of the Supervisory Department, even though his strength was not the strongest, perhaps one of the last ranks. This time, it was he who asked the headquarters to dispatch him to Chang’an for supervising the case of Supervisor Xu’s disappearance and the murder of the prince of Lord Zhenxi.
After only a bit of investigation, he knew Li Mu had something to do with the disappearance of Supervisor Xu.
And he was certain that the murder of Qin Lin, the prince of Lord Zhenxi, was committed by Li Mu even without investigation.
As the two cases added up, Li Mu surely could not get away with no conviction.
According to the protocols of case processing in the Supervisory Department, all Lu Lizi needed to do now was to notify the local government and wait for the latter to arrest the criminal and hand him over. Then, he would escort the criminal to the capital to take credit for his terrific work. If so, the case would be closed.
Thus, based on this protocol, he directly informed the Chang’an government organ of his hope to arrest Li Mu. After all, the culprit was merely a Natural Expert. Given the strength of Chang’an government, it should not be a problem for them. So, he was not very worried about that. But there was one thing that intrigued him, and that was how come a boy of 15 was already a Natural Expert. He prepared to dig into that question unhurriedly when they were on the way of sending the captured Li Mu to the capital.
However, the reply of the Chang’an government utterly surprised and enraged Lu Lizi.
They said they did not have enough force to arrest the criminal. That was clearly an excuse of dereliction.
As a Routing Supervisor from the headquarters of the Supervisory Department, Lu Lizi felt he did not get the respect he deserved from the Chang’an government.
That was practically a contempt of the Supervisory Department.
But after careful deliberation, Lu Lizi, though quite furious, came to the conclusion that he probably had no way to bend Li Gang, the magistrate of Chang’an, to his will. Considering they were in two totally different power system, and Li Gang, as the governor-general of the region, had power over all the forces, finance, and administration of the entire Chang’an. He was indeed a figure with real power, so it would be very difficult to challenge him.
“Well, I can arrest Li Mu myself anyway. Humph, when he is taken into custody, I’ll make him implicate Li Gang in the crime. Even if that can’t take Li Gang down, it might give him a wake-up call.”
Lu Lizi made up his mind. He smirked wickedly and ordered his men to catch Li Mu at once.
He was quite confident about that plan. Because when the Supervisory Department wanted to arrest somebody, normal martial arts practitioners dared not resist, unless they were lawless fiendish brutes.
However, his men soon came back and reported to him that Li Mu was nowhere to be seen in the whole city.
“Then, go to the Holy House. Don’t they say Li Mu has a lover in that Holy House? Bring that hooker to the Supervisory Department. I shall see whether he will come to her rescue or not,” commanded Lu Lizi as he pounded the desk.
He then sent a trusted subordinate he brought here from the Supervisory Department in Qin City to the Holy House along with 20 men of the local Supervisory Department.
It was in the middle of autumn. The climate was dry and crisp.
The military grave was serene and quiet.
After entering the Natural Realm, Li Mu only felt he was more energetic than ever and his state could not be better. Having completed a practice that lasted one night and half a day, it turned out that he felt not even the slightest fatigue but became quite bouncy.
So, he reckoned he might as well proceed with the practice.
Before, he had failed to master the fourth style of the Zhenwu Boxing. That was because he only cultivated his physique but not his spirit and could not thread the styles together. Now that he had reached the Natural Realm, improved both his bodily and spiritual power, and felt quite good at the moment, he decided to give it one more shot.
He launched the Lifting Pole Style, the first style, and then the second, the third style…
That wisp of Natural qi also started swirling fast inside him as he did the styles of the Zhenwu Boxing.
But Li Mu did not plunge into the fourth style at once. Instead, he performed the first three styles repeatedly as he adjusted his state. Like playing on a swing, he was gathering the momentum bit by bit. Gradually, he pushed his spirit power and stamina higher and higher.
He felt like he was on fire now, for he was burning hot from head to foot.
His internal qi spread out involuntarily and formed a layer of invisible pressure around him with a radius of a hundred meters. And that wisp of Natural qi as thin as a hair was zooming fervently in his Eight Extra-Meridians as though a rotating star, completing one circle after another.
“Here it comes…”
Li Mu hollered in an undertone. As he finished the third style, Cracking Sky, his movement immediately changed. His arms locked together. As if he had no joints, his arms wielded in an unbelievable orbit and forged a perfect circle which seemed to be the round diagram of Tai Ji. Then, the movements of his arms became so fast that they were blurred, producing mist before him.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
A series of thunderous cracks similar to the sound of bursting beans were heard from the joints of Li Mu’s arms.
Shortly, it could be heard from every part of his body.
His bones were undergoing a rearrangement or a new combination, which appeared to be extremely bizarre.
In the end, Li Mu only heard a boom in his head and felt some gate in his body had been opened. New currents of power were surging, and they instantly flooded to every cell in every corner of his body.
He had finally mastered the fourth style of the Zhenwu Boxing, which was called Grasping the Bird’s Tail.
“My assumption is correct. That I had failed to master the fourth style before is because I wasn’t able to produce internal qi at that time. Although the Zhenwu Boxing is a skill to enhance my body, each of its styles embodies the truth of martial arts. Thus, without the nourishment and assistance of internal qi, I can hardly get a hand of it.”
Li Mu was very thrilled by this new achievement.
He sensed that the strength of his corporeal body had scaled an incredulous height again.
Since Zhenwu Boxing was a skill to cultivate his body, it was natural for his strength to soar after he digested the fourth style.
Now, Li Mu felt he could hoist a mountain or intercept a river, even an exhale of air could blow away an expert at the peak of the Master Realm.
It was kind of formidable, kind of dramatic.
But it was nothing if compared to the power of those unparalleled talents who dominated a sea of stars.
Because the old faker had mentioned that those privileged Virgin Goddesses in the universe were peerlessly tough and powerful. Their one punch could send a continent to the bottom of the sea, and their one kick could flatten the mountains stretching several hundred miles away. And many experts and old demons in the universe even could crumble a star with a squeeze. And that Divine Emperor, whom the old faker worshiped most, was able to set up formations with stars. He was definitely in the ultimate realm of martial arts.
Li Mu started to mull over his new power.
The first three styles of the Zhenwu Boxing all contained a certain piece of truth about martial arts, like the body-lighting skill.
But Li Mu seemed to have no clue on what the truth behind this fourth style, Grasping the Bird’s Tail, was for the moment.
Even so, he did not lose his patience. Instead, he stood on the same spot and performed the Zhenwu Boxing over and over again. When it came to the fourth style, he deliberately slowed down to allow his spiritual force to focus. He even opened his Third Eye to observe the change inside his body and to detect the energy fluctuations in the vicinity.
Gradually, Li Mu made some discoveries.
“The fourth style, Grasping the Bird’s Tail, is a defensive move…”
An inspiration dawned upon him.
He kept executing the fourth style of Zhenwu Boxing as he noticed that it was constantly remolding his body, especially his arms, skin, bones, muscles, veins, marrow… All those parts were enhanced again and again by that style. Li Mu even felt the strength in his shoulders and arms were getting more frighteningly powerful than the rest of his body.
“The body-strengthening effect of the Grasping the Bird’s Tail seems to mainly work on the arms? That’s weird. Because the first three styles fortify the whole body.”
As Li Mu performed the fourth style on and on, he was a little surprised.
The Zhenwu Boxing did seem to take a turn when it came to the fourth style.
With his internal qi circulating and his blood raging, Li Mu came to realize that his arms vaguely bunched as if some air had been pumped into them. His fingers, palms, forearms, upper arms, and even shoulders all swelled up. His arms grow thicker, his muscles on the arms bulged like rocks, his blue veins also protruded and entwined his arms like serpents.
He felt like he became Popeye who just ate a ton of spinach.
“Fu*k! Did I just really get a pair of Kylin Arms?”
Li Mu could not understand the change in his body.
He could tell that when his arms swelled up, the strength in them had multiplied. If he threw a punch out, he believed he could even crush a mountain.
Under that condition, he performed the Grasping the Bird’s Tail again and gained some new idea. This time, he not only took his power up a notch but also caused energy turbulence in the environment. When his palms and fingers moved, spots of shimmering light appeared around him. It seemed that they composed a certain pattern, but Li Mu could not see it very clearly. At last, they forged a huge energy vortex which looked like a black hole that could devour everything.
“No, that’s not right. This style is not completely defensive. On the contrary, it contains the sign of a counter-attack. It absorbs the enemy’s power and then throws it back… Wow, this is the method of Star Relocation Skill the southern Murong family excelled at in the ‘Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils’. Turns out this is the truth concealed behind the fourth style of the Zhenwu Boxing!”
Li Mu was suddenly enlightened.
The energy vortex created by the Grasping the Bird’s Tail could engulf the offensive power of the opponent and transform it before sending it back.
“What a freaking ricochet!”
“It’s certainly a superb technique of counter-attacking!”
Li Mu laughed gleefully at once.
If he cast it at the right time, the Grasping the Bird’s Tail could surely help him get rid of some really dangerous enemies.
Given that there was a wrench storm looming over the city of Chang’an these days, the timing of Li Mu comprehending that new truth of martial arts could not be better.
“Now, it has been proved that the Xiantian Skill and Zhenwu Boxing supplement each other and reinforce each other. Indeed, the greatest truths are the simplest. They are the most basic methods, but they are also the most abstruse methods. No wonder the old faker compelled me to practice the two methods over a decade and merely gave me short lectures about the other Taoist magic arts, the tactical deployment, and the incantations in usual days. Only now did I realize these two Cultivation Methods are the fundamental ones.”
The higher Li Mu’s cultivation was, the more enlightenment he gained.
By then, the night was about to fall.
Come to think of it, Li Mu had spent a whole day and a whole night in the military grave for practice.