The same phenomenon occurred in Chang’an as well.
Li Gang, who was suddenly alerted by the intense alarm appearing on the Sky-stabilizing Mirror in the middle of the intensive routine of processing the government affairs, put on an extremely shocked look. He did several gestures and urged the Sky-stabilizing Mirror to show the view he searched for.
A detailed map of the entire Chang’an immediately emerged on the surface of the mirror, only the area of Taibai County was still covered by a shade. No matter how earnestly he prompted the ancient mirror, he could not see anything concealed beneath the shade. Further, what was more unusual was, right at the moment, the shade was flashing dazzling purple light, as if thunder and lightning were running wild there. Li Gang could pick up the dreadful aura issuing from that area even behind the mirror.
The surface of the Sky-stabilizing Mirror was about to be shattered under that force.
Utter astonishment appeared on Li Gang’s usually refined and composed face.
He turned into a jet of light and shot to the sky.
As a fifth-step Celestial Being at the peak, he was able to fly without any support. In an instant, he was over ten thousand meters above the Chang’an City and darted a look in the direction of Taibai County. He distinctly captured the formidable energy fluctuations rushing from seven or eight hundred miles away even without casting his spiritual force.
“That’s the aura only a Sage can have.”
“What is going on in Taibai County?”
Li Gang felt a little ill at ease.
Moments later, he returned to the hall of the Chang’an government and sent for Zheng Cunjian without ado.
“Mr. Zheng, I’ll trouble you to pay another visit to Taibai County. Just now, a very bizarre event has occurred there. Please go and find what really happened there.”
In the Guanshan Pasture…
The Holy Clan that located on the only plain in the empire—the Guanshan Plain—was not protected by high walls or natural barriers. The place was a wide expanse of flat land, only in the central area towered many buildings in different height. The plain stretched afar and took up about the area within a radius of one hundred miles. No city walls could be seen there.
That area was called Guanshan City.
It was a city free of any defense.
But meanwhile, it was a city highly secured from invaders.
Because the combative blood was running in the veins of every dweller and every horse in that city.
During the past several thousand years, only once did the invaders come near the place, but they were blocked when they were ten miles away from Guanshan City.
That was attributable to the man guarding the city. He was a myth in the martial circle of the Western Qin Empire, a legendary figure who had never been triumphed over, a miraculous man who gained the eternal victory. His name was Li Poyue, the Guanshan Master.
All of his opponents would involuntarily prostrate themselves before the martial legend in worship.
His name made every Guanshan Pasture disciple and even every martial arts practitioner in the Western Qin Empire proud of. He was also their icon, their example.
In an ordinary hut surrounded by flourishing plants in Guanshan City, a handsome young man who almost looked like a jade sculpture slowly opened his eyes from his deep meditation. How beautiful that pair of eyes were! They harbored breeze and cloud, twinkling stars, the rising sun and moon, and the surging sea… Those eyes of his contained the profound beauty of nature.
That youth who looked too young for his age was Li Poyue, the Guanshan Master.
“Someone has activated the Immortal Force in Taibai Mountain?”
A trace of surprise climbed onto his features.
Only a few people in this world knew there was an exceedingly unique force in Taibai Mountain. It wandered about and often concealed between the mountains. It was quite distinguished from its kind and hard to be refined. Talents and demons from many generations had tried to transform the force into something they could command, but those attempts all failed. Even some Sages had come there in the hope that they could tame the Immortal force and break through the hindrance on the road to the Void-breaking Realm with the help of that force. But eventually, their hopes were all shattered.
Li Poyue had given it a shot himself but without success, too.
“Who has just done the thing that numerous talents have failed to do?”
He was intrigued.
At the same time, in a solemn-looking black shrine, a bald man in extravagant robes who appeared to be in his fifties was staring at a smashed jade. The muscles on his face stood out, as though they were rocks cut by an ax. His eyes were fixed unblinkingly at the jade, exuding a hint of astonishment as well as grief.
“Wenyuan has died. My most outstanding grandson has died.”
Gawking at the jade, he mumbled to himself.
“Who? Who killed him?”
He rose to his feet, looking gloomy and spiteful.
“Wenyuan was sent to Taibai County by me. And Liu Chong was there to protect him. Only a few in Chang’an are able to kill him. Li Gang, the Secular Sword Whiz, and Zhao Xue, the Taibai Sword Master… I need to go to Chang’an, to rid of anyone involved in the murder of my grandson. None of them will be spared!”
“He did carry around loads of good stuff.”
Gleefully, Li Mu opened Liu Chong’s treasure pocket.
The gold tickets alone in that pocket worth about five million gold ingots. But that was pretty normal, given that Liu Chong was a fourth-step Celestial Being and a well-respected elder of the Guanshan Pasture. He must have all kinds of incomes pouring to him endlessly. After all, Celestial Beings were still humans, trapped in the basic human needs. So, fortunes in the secular world played an important role in their lives as well.
Li Mu accepted all of the treasures with a broad beam.
Aside from the gold, there were dozens of secret martial arts manuals, such as the Heavenly Drifting Cloud Sword, the Feather-brandishing Sword, the Qi-cultivating Formula in Large Circles, the Southern Accumulated Snow Meditation Method, which were all second or third-grade Cultivation Methods. Although those arts were a far cry from the Xiantian Skill and the Zhenwu Boxing, they had the reference value for Li Mu to perfect his inventive martial arts.
In addition to those manuals, there were also some magic instruments, most of which were swords. Li Mu took a look but found that he could hardly recognize any of the materials. However, he detected that the Spiritual Qi fluctuations in those instruments were rather vigorous, so they must have been made of a variety of precious substances. After deliberating it for a moment, Li Mu decided to melt them all and use their raw materials to refine his Samsara Knife.
Another notable object in the pocket was a valuable vest. It was made of divine silk, impenetrable to any weapon, immune to water and fire. Li Mu did not know how Liu Chong obtained such a treasure, which was certainly priceless. It was just that it was obviously a woman’s size, so Li Mu could not wear it himself. He planned to give it a rough refinement and engrave some tactical deployments on it before handing it to Shangguan Yuting.
Besides all that, the pocket contained a mix of assorted articles, which differed very much from one another. Although Li Mu could not see how they could be useful to him, he preferred to keep them as spares, for he could not return them to Liu Chong anyway. If he gained more trusted subordinates in the future, they might serve as great rewards to be handed down to his men.
To Li Mu’s great surprise, Liu Chong’s treasure pocket held four small stones, too. Those stones were burned black, as if they had been smoldered. Li Mu was clueless about their use, but he recalled that in the treasure pockets of Chu Nantian, the Four Great Devil Zombies, and Meng Wu also lay some stone of the same kind, though they were in different colors.
And that had puzzled him for quite a long time.
“Guards, bring Liu Chong here for investigation.”
Now that Li Mu had captured one alive, he decided to get to the bottom of the issue.
Shortly, Liu Chong was escorted into the room.
The immortal-like expert of the Guanshan Pasture looked just like a phoenix being kicked off its rack. Covered with dust, he stood there with a crestfallen look. His cultivation had been fully sealed. At the sight of Li Mu, his dejected face instantly showed terrified respect.
“What are these things used for?” asked Li Mu as he took out the black stones.
Liu Chong immediately looked agonized. Yet, he dared not hide the truth, so he began, “The stones are called Star Stones. Those are rare stones that came into being after stars in the space fell to our world. They are of no use to ordinary people. But for strong martial experts above the Celestial Being Realm, they are great treasures.”
“Oh? Tell me more.” Li Mu’s curiosity was aroused.
Now that the stones were valuables, Li Mu was determined to figure out their use.
“As Star Stones are from outer space, they carry the rules of the outer worlds. Even though those rules might be incomplete, it is possible to deduce the whole picture through a piece of the epitome. For Celestial Beings and Sages, those stones are clues that can lead them to the Void-breaking Realm. If we comprehend some of those rules of the outer worlds, we will get a hold of the thin chance of entering the Void-breaking Realm.” Liu Chong stated.
“Contain the rules of the outer worlds?” Li Mu fumbled with those black stones and fell into the ponder.
The so-called Star Stones was practically the meteorites, if phrased in Earth Languages. Those meteorites contained rules of the outer worlds. It might sound a little far-fetched, but Li Mu did not believe he was the only smart guy in this world to see it while the other martial experts were all idiots. In fact, any expert who had reached or surpassed the Celestial Being Realm was the best of the elites. If they were born on Earth, they would definitely be something. Thus, Li Mu had no doubt that such a well-acknowledged assumption among those experts was correct.
“But what are the so-called rules of the outer worlds?”
Liu Chong promptly continued, “Other than that, the Star Stones carry the power of the outer immortals, which can be absorbed and digested by martial arts practitioners and become their own power. That’s quite conducive to their cultivation.”
Li Mu stared at the black stones in his hands, his face written with suspicion.
He had not detected any energy fluctuation in those stones.
Nor did he find any in the stones he snatched from Chu Nantian, Meng Wu, and other experts. So, how could he extract the power to increase his cultivation?
Noticing Li Mu’s expression, Liu Chong knew what was baffling him. He then said, “Those stones housed the power of fire. But when I obtained them, I soon depleted the power inside them, so…”
Comprehension suddenly dawned on Li Mu.
“That makes sense!”
The experts who got a hold of some Star Stones naturally could not wait to draw out the outer force as fast as they could to enhance their strength. Hence, when he found the Star Stones from Chu Nantian, Meng Wu, and the other experts’ treasure pocket, the energy in the stones had long since been drained by their former owners.
Nevertheless, considering that the Star Stones still carried the so-called rules of the outer worlds, those experts regarded the stones as precious treasures all the same and carried them around. They expected to study the abstruse rules after they made a breakthrough and entered the Celestial Being Realm or Sage Realm someday. After all, the stones held the clues leading to the Void-breaking Realm. That was even more valuable than the outer force they contained.
“What else can they do?” Li Mu persisted.
Liu Chong was too afraid to hide anything from Li Mu. Like pouring beans out of a bamboo tube, he withheld nothing. “Star Stones are also comprised of all kinds of amazing metals that cannot be found in this world. We call those alien metal the ‘immortal gold’. If the metals are melt, they can be used in forging weapons. Real Spiritual-tier weapons can be made out of these metals… But the problem is… The metals are too firm. They have been refined by the Heavenly Fire, so normal refining methods do not work on them…”
“Hold on. Spiritual-tier weapons?” Li Mu cut him off. “Weapons are categorized into different tiers as well?”
He had never heard of that before.
Liu Chong shot Li Mu an astounded look. It seemed to take him by surprise that Li Mu was ignorant of it. But he had to tell the truth anyway. “Your Honor, the weapons in this world are divided into various levels according to their materials, sharpness, power, qi conductivity, and many other factors. That’s a well-known fact. But that grading system only applies to ordinary weapons. When an expert becomes a Natural Expert, a Celestial Being, or even a Sage, he will have more stringent requirements on his weapons. Because normal weapons, even the best one that can easily cut open anything, can hardly withstand the flow of his mighty power and so can’t be used by such an expert. For that reason, some mysterious weapons that rise above all those secular weapons come to the stage to satisfy the needs of the high-level experts…”
“Cut off all the damn rubbish. Tell me the levels!” Li Mu bellowed. He was in a fit of pique due to Liu Chong’s contemptuous look, who clearly laughed at how ignorant he was.
At that, Liu Chong’s heartbeat stutter with fear. He hastened to reply, “Sure, sure, sure…”