“Are you saying that we and the Four Rapscallions can both find the Divine Palace, and that we may encounter each other in the Land of Eternal Night in the freezing northmost area?”
Frowning, Qi Zhongdao glanced at Li Yao and said, “Fellow Cultivator Spiritual Vulture, you are the one who discovered the leads of the ‘Divine Palace’, and the specific map and the internal structure of the Divine Palace are in your head. Since you are willing to share everything with us openly, it is indicative enough of your trust in us. Naturally, we will respect your opinion. How do you plan to deal with the issue?”
Li Yao opened his hands and casually said, “If possible, I would swallow the secrets in the Divine Palace by myself. However, I fear that the Land of Eternal Night is not open to an individual. The Four Rapscallions are certainly not something that I can deal with alone. Although I am adept at the arts of refining and traps, I am not experienced in grave robbing. Of course, I can only find someone trustworthy to cooperate with me!
“Fellow Cultivator Ba and Master Bitter Cicada are both famous men of justice in the world of Cultivators. Fellow Cultivator Yan and Fellow Cultivator Qi are more or less dependable, too. It doesn’t matter to me how the issue is addressed, as long as you promise that everything about the arts of refining and the mysterious primeval magical equipment inside the Divine Palace will be given to me to study!”
Ba Xiaoyu and Master Bitter Cicada looked at each other and was more or less relieved, feeling lucky that ‘Master Spiritual Vulture’ was dedicated to refining and not as ambitious as the Four Rapscallions!
Qi Zhongdao nodded and drew a rough map on the ground with his spiritual energy. “Fellow Cultivator Spiritual Vulture is quite right. If the Divine Palace does exist, it is definitely not a place that can be explored single-handedly. Please take a look. This is the relative location of the Divine Palace, the Dark Cloud Prairies, and the states of the Great Qian Dynasty!
“The states under the government of the Great Qian Dynasty are in the south, and the Dark Cloud Prairies, which are occupied by Ghost Qin, lie in the north. However, the northmost Land of Eternal Night is still tens of thousands of kilometers north of the Dark Cloud Prairies.
“The boundless Dark Cloud Prairies have a coverage that is almost half the territory of the entire Great Qian Dynasty. It is only with the help of the vast prairies that Ghost Qin’s people managed to compete with the Great Qian Dynasty!
“If we go to the Land of Eternal Night, there are only two roads. We can either penetrate through the Dark Cloud Prairies, which is apparently not a viable option, or take a large detour from the ocean next to the Dark Cloud Prairies!”
Qi Zhongdao drew a curve on the side of the map and continued. “The critical problem is personnel and supplies. The Land of Eternal Night is a freezing hell. The natural spiritual energy is in disarray and highly unfavorable for training!
“For the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators such as you and me, we have to inhale and exhale tremendous spiritual energy to prevent our level from falling. If the natural spiritual energy is too chaotic for us to absorb, we will have to carry tremendous crystals with us as supplies. Together with the food, magical equipment, herbs, and other provisions, I’m afraid that a hundred Cosmos Rings will not be enough!
“Besides, if we encounter the main troops of the Four Rapscallions in the Land of Eternal Night, how are we going to accomplish the mission even if we can slay a thousand low-level Cultivators on the enemy’s side with just the five of us?”
It was indeed a critical question.
The Three Saints, together with Li Yao and Master Bitter Cicada, versus the Four Rapscallions. The former had a slim edge.
However, the five of them were mostly all lone wolves, whereas the Four Rapscallions had countless trusted soldiers and subordinates.
In the hopeless, frozen land where there were no supplies, as long as the Four Rapscallions drained their spiritual energy and physical strength in the war of attrition, they would be dead for sure!
“The five of us are not enough to compete with the enormous forces behind the ‘Four Rapscallions’, nor are we capable of excavating all the secrets about the Divine Palace.”
Looking at Li Yao, Qi Zhongdao asked, “Do you agree, Fellow Cultivator Spiritual Vulture?”
“Are you suggesting we inform all the Cultivators of the news?” Li Yao replied coldly. “Hehe. I have only one remark for those guys who are as greedy as hyenas, as idiotic as swine, and as sordid and vipers—better destructors than constructors!”
“Well said!” Ba Xiaoyu clapped his hands and said, “I’ve been too much about the behavior of the swine-like Cultivators! Old Qi, if we truly inform them of the existence of the Divine Palace, believe me, just for the map inside Fellow Cultivator Spiritual Vulture’s head, they will blow each other’s brains out. When the journey to explore the Divine Palace really begins, the dirty traps and tricks on the way will be even greater eye-openers for everybody!”
“Fellow Cultivator Qi is a man of manners.” Master Bitter Cicada also sighed and said, “It’s a shame that few Cultivators are as mannered as Fellow Cultivator Qi. Have you not been educated in the trip to the southeast, Fellow Cultivator Qi?”
Qi Zhongdao listened in silence. There was no emotion on his face, which seemed to be forged out of iron. After a long time, he said slowly, “Since we share a pessimistic view about the Cultivation sects in the world, and it is a mandate that we cooperate with a certain powerful force… what about the emperor?”
Everybody was dazed by what he said.
“Huh?” Ba Xiaoyu the Beggar bulged his eyes and eyed Qi Zhongdao up and down as if he had never seen the guy before. “Cooperating with the emperor? What a surprise. I remember that you have always led all the major sects in competition with the court, Old Qi. Rumor even has it that the old emperor kicked the bucket because he was too mad at you!”
“Wrong!” Qi Zhongdao replied. “Everything I did was meant to keep the stability of the world! The Cultivation sects and the court are like two legs of a person that can only walk steadily if they are equally strong! It will do nobody any good if one of the legs is too long or too thick!
“When Wang Xi was in power in the past, he established the Ghost Character and instigated conflicts among the major sects through his diplomatic tricks. As a result, all the Cultivation Sects were living in anxiety and even attacking each other. So, when the leg that was the ‘court’ was too thick, I led the main sects to check and balance the emperor and Wang Xi’s power!
“Then and now are different. Now, Wang Xi has lost his power, and the new emperor is new to the throne. Despite his ambitions to revive the Great Qian Dynasty, his foundation is still relatively weak. As a result, the leg named ‘Cultivation sects’ is expanding rapidly! You have witnessed everything during our trip of disaster relief to the southeast. If things go unchanged, the country will be no more!”
Qi Zhongdao raised his voice. Excitement beamed out of his dark face that was as tough as iron, as if a solid mask had been shattered with furious flames flowing out of the cracks!
“Right now, the world is about to be embraced by chaos, and every Cultivator may face their inevitable doom soon!
“However, the avaricious, shortsighted elders and leaders of the Cultivation sects are still minding only their selfish interests and fighting each other! Just as Fellow Cultivator Spiritual Vulture said, they are as ravenous as dogs and as stupid as swine. They are better destructors than constructors!
“If they continue messing around, a great war will break out before long. Then, the world of Cultivators will become a dog-eat-dog hell!
“We already realized that during our meeting below Roaring Tiger City the other day.
“However, despite our physical strength and our seemingly fancy titles, we are incapable of changing anything. We can only watch the world of Cultivators sliding into the abyss. After another few steps, everybody will fall and crash into pieces!
“That day, didn’t we sigh over the fact that even the super Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators invincible in the world were still unable to change the dirty and chaotic world?
“This is a great opportunity for us to reorganize the Cultivators and purge the world!
“As long as we excavate the secrets in the Divine Palace and receive the legacies of the primeval creatures, and preferably, if we each have a Cloud Qin Gold Statue, the entire world of Cultivators will run according to the will and rules of the five of us. Won’t it be a hundred times better than the mess right now?
“There will, of course, be unnoticed problems to cooperate with the proud, ambitious Emperor Phoenix. That’s all the more reason for the five of us to be united!
“As long as the five of us reach a consensus and stay fully united, the emperor, the Four Rapscallions, and the rogue Cultivation sects will all be suppressed by our will!”
Qi Zhongdao’s astonishing declaration cast the other four super Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators into a long silence. White mist was popping up from everyone’s forehead, a sign indicating that their computational ability had been boosted to the maximum.
After a long while, Master Bitter Cicada recited the sutras briefly and said, “The vast changes in the world are too overwhelming for a monk to grasp and predict. However, I’m told that the new emperor has indeed accomplished several impressive things in the Divine Capital since he ascended to the throne a year ago. He pays great attention to the happiness of the people, too. Although his style is still a bit immature, he is already showing the demeanor of a wise monarch. If the court can stabilize the situation and protect the people from the harm of blades, it will be a blessing for everyone.”
Ba Xiaoyu also craned his neck to study the relative location of the Great Qian Dynasty, the Dark Cloud Prairies, and the Land of Eternal Night. Scratching his stinky hair, he said, “I don’t know much about battles. However, by common sense, if we intend not to be blocked and harassed by a large batch of enemies, we will have to strengthen the attacks on Ghost Qin from the south and stall the enemy’s elite forces there. The Cultivators that are just loose sand can never achieve that purpose. Only the army of the court will be able to do that!
“Few troops in the court are brave enough for battles today. The elites are all under Emperor Phoenix’s control. If we want our trip to be a success, the emperor seems to be our only possible partner.”
“The emperor is not a dead person.” Yan Liren was studying the stripes on the sheath of his sword with his full attention. He casually mumbled, “For such a huge operation to explore the Divine Palace, do you think that the emperor will not know it even if we don’t tell him?”
The few of them did not seem to object to the cooperation with Emperor Phoenix.
After all, they did not lust for power at all, and there was no fundamental contradiction between them and the emperor.
Li Yao, however, stared at Qi Zhongdao for a long time before he said something that was beyond everyone’s expectation.
“Fellow Cultivator Qi, you have long been in touch with Emperor Phoenix, and this isn’t the first day that you’ve wanted to join your hands to deal with the Cultivators, right?”