After hearing that, Yan Liren, Ba Xiaoyu, and Master Bitter Cicada all looked at Qi Zhongdao in bewilderment.
After all, Qi Zhongdao, the nominal ‘leader of all the Cultivators’, had always firmly stood on the Cultivators’ side to check and balance the court’s force. One might even say that he was the representative of all the Cultivators!
“With the assistance of Wang Xi,” Li Yao said, “the late emperor almost suppressed the entire world of Cultivators, but it raised the intense dissatisfaction among the main sects. After Emperor Phoenix ascended to the throne, perhaps under the pressure of the Cultivation sects or perhaps because he did not trust Wang Xi, he deprived Wang Xi of all his power overnight!
“However, just because Emperor Phoenix banished Wang Xi does not mean that he will bend to the Cultivators. On the contrary, he might want to raise his own Wang Xi to keep the Cultivators in check. With the Great Qian Dynasty in peril right now, he does not have much time for his reorganization. It is impossible for him to bring up a trusted subordinate from nothing. Fellow Cultivator Qi is his best candidate. He is Emperor Phoenix’s ‘Wang Xi’!”
“Is it true?” Ba Xiaoyu could not help but ask, “Old Qi, did the emperor really turn to you?”
Qi Zhongdao was emotionless, but the veins on the back of his hand were suddenly rising. He stared at Li Yao and replied one word after another, “I am a man of integrity, and I don’t have any clandestine secrets that I cannot share with other people. It is true that the emperor has reached out to me, proposing to purge the smoky world of Cultivators through thunderous approaches in order to restore the peace and order!”
“Did you agree, Fellow Cultivator Qi?” Master Bitter Cicada asked.
“I didn’t.” The brilliance in Qi Zhongdao’s eyes dimmed. He said in a low voice, “I am the grand leader of the Grand Mystery Sect and a member of the world of Cultivators after all. I believed that as long as every Cultivator abides by the rules and bears the big picture in mind, we can restore the former vigor and prosperity on our own. So, I was reluctant to allow the emperor to meddle with the internal affairs of the main sects.”
“It’s a pity that the main sects’ doings during the trip to the southeast have completely disappointed Fellow Cultivator Qi,” Li Yao added for him. “Your blood is cold, and your heart is dead. You’ve realized that it is impossible to cleanse the dust, smoke, and scoundrels with just the strength of the Cultivators. It’s just like a man who is mired in a swamp. If there is no external force to help him, he will only fall deeper and deeper until he is doomed! Only by cooperating with Emperor Phoenix and relying on the force of the court can we expect to revolutionize the world of Cultivators!”
Qi Zhongdao’s eyes were frozen for a while, as if he was unwilling to admit the pathetic fact. Sighing gloomily, he said, “There’s another reason why I didn’t agree at that time. At that time, I was all by myself, and I did not have any chips to bargain with the emperor. Even if I agreed, I would only be his chess piece and his lackey. Moreover, I didn’t believe that Emperor Phoenix had the capabilities to suppress the main sects. If the contradiction between the two parties intensified and a civil war of the Great Qian Dynasty was caused, then I would be forever blamed in the history books!
“However, your participation and the news regarding the Divine Palace have given me a new glimpse of hope!
“As long as the five of us are united, we will be a force that can shake the world, and we will have enough bargaining chips whether we are faced with the emperor or the main sects!
“If we can control the Cloud Qin Gold Statues in the Divine Palace, we will be able to purge the world of Cultivators with our invincible strength and bring new rules to the main sects and even the entire world. I can assure you, fellow Cultivators, that the rules will certainly be bright and justified!
“This is my lifelong dream. What do you think, fellow Cultivators?”
Like black nails, Qi Zhongdao’s words pierced into everyone’s heart deeply.
Master Bitter Cicada sighed and said, “I wish for nothing but the peace and happiness of all the ordinary folks in the world. If I have to pay a visit to the freezing hell in the Land of Eternal Night in order to achieve that, why not?”
Ba Xiaoyu spat on the ground heavily and clapped his hands in laughter. “This beggar has long been pissed off by the pretentious, shameless Cultivators of the main sects. Cooperating with the emperor does not look like a bad idea if it can teach them to behave!”
“To reiterate what I said,” Li Yao said, “as long as everything related to the arts of refining inside the Divine Palace are given to me to study, it doesn’t matter who we cooperate with!”
“What about you, Fellow Cultivator Yan?”
Qi Zhongdao shifted his eyes to Yan Liren.
Yan Liren was an elder of the Purple Pole Sword Sect. Of the five Cultivators, he and Qi Zhongdao were most involved with the Cultivation sects.
Yan Liren was still studying the stripes on the sheath of his sword, as if he was decided their influence on the weight of the sheath. Without bothering to raise his head, he replied, “The Purple Pole Sword Sect or Emperor Phoenix matter little to me. You can fight however you want. There’s only one thing that I care about, which is whether or not there is an opponent who is worthy of me drawing my sword in the Divine Palace!”
He suddenly raised his head, with brilliance of interest beaming out of his eyes. He mumbled, “Has it ever occurred to you that the Divine Palace is very close to the battlefield of the fight between Wu Suiyun and Meng Chixin, the two Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivators?
“At that time, Wu Suiyun and Meng Chixin had their confrontation in the Land of Eternal Night. It is said that they countered an unprecedented blizzard in the middle of their fight. The cold front was so fierce that even the air froze! After the blizzard was over, the two Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivators had already vanished!
“Do you think that Wu Suiyun and Meng Chixin might be related to the so-called ‘Divine Palace’ in a mysterious way?”
The question cast the four of them in a daze. They looked at each other in bewilderment and apparently could not offer an answer.
“Heh!” Yan Liren suddenly grew interested. He extended his thick and short fingers and flicked the sheath hard. “During the journey to explore the Divine Palace, it is possible that I will encounter the Four Rapscallions, who are worthy opponents that I must wield my sword with full strength to defeat; two seniors in the Divinity Transformation Stage; and even legendary deities whom I can also try to kill. This seems to be a lot of fun and definitely can’t be missed!”
Finally, the five super Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators reached a consensus driven by different motives!
Li Yao, however, had one last question.
“Fellow Cultivators, have you seen Wang Xi in person before? What does he look like?”
Li Yao picked some random pebbles on the desolate island and crushed them into powder, building a vivid sand sculpture, before he fixed it temporarily with his spiritual energy. It was Wang Xi, who had appeared under the form of ‘Long Yangjun’ just now.
As a refiner, Li Yao had to conduct shaping and micro carving on the components on many occasions. Although his sculpture was not a piece of shocking artwork, the ration was precise, and the face was vivid. It looked precisely like the real person.
“Is this Wang Xi?”
Everybody frowned at sculpture that Li Yao had made, which was a female with a plain face and a plump body.
“This is Wang Xi.”
Exactly like Li Yao had done, Yan Liren also built a sculpture of Wang Xi with pebbles and broken stones.
“Yes. This is how Wang Xi usually appears in public occasions!”
Wang Xi used to be a powerful eunuch in the court. Naturally, there was no need for him to hide from everyone. Many Cultivators had seen him in person. Yan Liren and Qi Zhongdao, in particular, had met him at a close distance many times, which allowed them to capture his features precisely.
Li Yao observed Yan Liren’s sculpture carefully. Wang Xi was not an arrogant, condescending weasel that most people imagined a powerful eunuch to be like. Instead, he looked like a graceful, if not vulnerable, middle-aged scholar. Except for his fair face and his lack of beard, he did not look much different from other Cultivators.
Since Yan Liren had always been fighting with Wang Xi in terms of their sword arts every time they met, the sculpture of Wang Xi was also carrying a sword on his back. His glittering eyes did befit the expected appearance of an unparalleled swordsman.
After Li Yao juxtaposed the two sculptures and compared them, he could not help but conclude that ‘Wang Xi’ and ‘Long Yangjun’ were too different.
However, it did not suggest anything. For Cultivators at the level of Li Yao and Wang Xi, it was not difficult to change their bones and muscles in order to expand or shrink their body size or to control the secretion of their androgen and estrogen to generate different secondary sexual characteristics!
If Li Yao was willing, he could stimulate the estrogen inside his body to secrete crazily. As a result, his skin would naturally be fair and smooth, his beard and his leg hair would drop, his subcutaneous fat would grow thicker, and his breasts would rise. That was certainly not a big deal!
Wang Xi, Long Yangjun, what is the real identity hiding behind you?
Li Yao suddenly thought of Wang Xi’s profiles that he had read before.
According to the files, Wang Xi had been admitted into the palace around ninety years ago.
Most eunuchs were raised from their childhood, unless they were the special talents that were direly needed by the royal family.
It meant that Wang Xi had been born approximately a hundred years ago, which was a critical time.
A hundred years ago, two Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivators vanished, never to be seen again, in the blizzard near the Divine Palace.
A hundred years ago, Wang Xi was born, and he was finally setting off to explore the Divine Palace after spending his entire life searching for the clues.
Still a hundred years ago, a mysterious signal was sent from the Ancient Sages Sector to the Heaven’s Origin Sector and the Flying Star Sector!
Was everything mysteriously related?
The answer to everything would have to be found out after they arrived at the Divine Palace!
A month passed.
Hiu! Hiu! Hiu! Hiu!
Arrows were raining upon the battle formation overwhelmingly across the sky that was occupied by the dark clouds like a flock of hungry crows, raising a round of desperate of screams and the sounds of blood springing out!
After a deafening roar, the iron cavalry from the central plateaus rushed toward the fertile Dark Cloud Prairies like a torrent of steel!