Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
"Congratulations on completing Side Quest 3, earning 5 Available Points."
"Quest Rating: A (Pass)."
The instant Nie Changqing's bowed head touched the ground, the virtual system messages popped up in front of Lu Fan's eyes.
Lu Fan's heartbeat quickened.
This time the Quest Rating was an A! That was unexpected!
Excitement rose within Lu Fan. He had been rewarded with 5 Available Points, with which he could achieve Refined Qi Level 2.
All sorts of feelings welled up in Lu Fan's heart. Finally, he could level up...
That hadn't come easily.
This was his first time leveling up. Deep down, Lu Fan had a feeling of anticipation.
The rain stopped. The sky cleared as fast as the storm had come.
The wind dispersed the dark clouds.
The moon, round and smooth like a jade plate hanging in the sky, finally came out.
The moonlight flowed down from the sky and covered the ground in a thin veil.
Kneeling on the ground, Nie Changqing bowed. His head was soaked in the rain.
It had taken him a long while to make the decision to follow Lu Fan.
It had been a tough decision to make, and not just because of his pride as the former Daoist No. 10.
He was more concerned about Lu Fan and Nie Shuang's safety.
Nie Changqing was a Daoist outcast, and the Daoists had been trying to hunt him down.
Once he started to follow Lu Fan, the young man would be involved, too.
Lu Fan, however, had given the order to kill Han Lianxiao without hesitation. At that moment, Nie Changqing realized his worry was unnecessary.
Lu Fan had been prepared to accept the consequences of angering the Daoists from the moment he decided to kill Han Lianxiao.
With that realization, Nie Changqing decided to follow him.
He wanted to learn "Spirit Pressure," the technique Lu Fan had demonstrated earlier that belonged to cultivators.
Next to Nie Changqing was Nie Shuang. He was also kneeling respectfully on the ground.
Following Nie Changqing, Nie Shuang had also bowed to Lu Fan.
He said in his little boy's voice, "Me too!"
Holding the umbrella handle with both hands, Ni Yu couldn't help but titter.
Lu Fan came to himself, pulling his attention away from the system messages. Seeing what Nie Shuang was doing, he also chuckled.
"Okay. Get up."
"It looks like there's a buy one get one free deal on followers today. Sounds good to me."
He gave a light smile.
Nie Changqing rose to his feet, pulling Nie Shuang up with him.
"From today on, you will follow me. I happen to need a coachman. So, for now, how about you fill that spot and start teaching Ni martial arts on the side?" Lu Fan said.
The original Lu Fan had paralyzed legs. Even though he could use his wheelchair to move short distances, he had to resort to carriages if he needed to go anywhere farther.
"Yes." Nie Changqing cupped his hands in front of his chest.
"Shuang, you are welcome to join Ni in practicing martial arts," Lu Fan said with a smile as he glanced at Nie Shuang, who was holding his father's hand.
"Let's see which of you can become a Second Tier martial arts practitioner first! Your Young Master will reward the winner handsomely," Lu Fan said. He leaned back in his wheelchair and let his fingers tap casually on the armrest.
Ni Yu was still holding the umbrella. Her eyes instantly lit up.
Nie Shuang's eyes flicked up to Lu Fan, his lips compressed into a determined line.
"Young Master! Ni promises never to disappoint you!" Ni Yu's baby face was flushed a deep red with ambition and excitement.
She clenched the umbrella handle more tightly and shot a slightly defiant look at Nie Shuang.
Nie Shuang, who was apparently a boy with few words, simply tightened his fists.
Nie Changqing brushed a hand lovingly over Nie Shuang's head.
"Okay. It's getting late. Your Young Master is a little tired..." Lu Fan said lazily, dropping his chin back into one hand and rubbing the bridge of his nose.
"Yi Yue, take care of the dead bodies, if you will. Sister Ning, please push me back home," Lu Fan said. "Nie, why don't you and Shuang come and stay at Lu Manor?"
Nie Changqing slightly pursed his thick lips.
In truth, he still had a lot of questions for Lu Fan.
When he obtained the cultivation method, he gave it a try using the Transfusion Technique, yet it didn't work at all. He then concluded that the "Immortal Encounter" was fake.
The Knife Control Technique had claimed it could allow one to control a knife without touching it and kill an enemy from several miles away. He had thought such claims must be nothing more than fantasy.
After he saw Lu Fan perform Spirit Pressure, however, he started to believe it.
Lu Fan mentioned that all Nie Changqing needed was a special moment. He was curious about what that could be.
Ni Yu was standing by the side with a blush still on her pretty. She suddenly spoke up, as if something had just occurred to her.
"Young Master, the Master sent us to the Chen family to inform them that we'll be using some of their property instead of requiring that they pay us rent. Are we still going?"
Lu Fan paused, remembering the purpose of today's trip.
"Okay. Let's pay the Chen family a visit on our way back," Lu Fan said with a nod. He lightly rubbed the spot between his eyebrows.
Securing the use of this property would be of considerable significance to Lu Fan. That was where he planned to build his own Supreme Power.
This property would become the starting point of the fantasy universe he was about to build.
"Nie, how about you go home and pack up?" Lu Fan asked. "You can report to me at Lu Manor tomorrow."
He glanced at Nie Changqing, who was soaked and covered with wounds. Water was still dripping from his jaw.
"No need. Shuang'er and I don't have much to pack. We can go with you now," Nie Changqing said as he lowered his head respectfully, holding Nie Shuang's hand in his.
Lu Fan nodded and turned to Ning Zhao. "Okay. Sister Ning, give him a bottle of golden boils potion."
Lu Fan fell silent, and Ning Zhao took out a small bottle of potion and tossed it to Nie Changqing. Then she started to push the wheelchair, heading out of the tight alley.
Holding the umbrella, Ni Yu followed behind them.
Lu Fan glanced at her and smiled. He gently touched her head and said, "The rain has stopped. You don't need to cover me anymore."
Nie Changqing picked up his basket and put the slabs of pork back in place. He followed Lu Fan with slow steps, still holding onto Nie Shuang with one hand.
Yi Yue waited until Lu Fan and the others disappeared at the opening of the small alley before she set about her duty. Her gaze traveled to Han Lianxiao's dead body.
Mixed feelings filled her heart.
Han Lianxiao, Daoist No. 9, had almost taken her life with a single move.
Yet that same man had writhed like an insect when the Young Master pinned him to the ground.
The Young Master was far stronger than any of them had expected.
She made up her mind to become as strong as her Young Master so that she could protect him. She wanted to be taken seriously.
Yi Yue turned her gaze up to the shining moon. Her eyes glared with determination.
She snapped her whip, which instantly wrapped around the bodies of Han Lianxiao and the other two First Tier martial arts practitioners. She then headed out of the alley, dragging the bodies along behind her.
A red puddle was the only remaining sign of everything that had happened in the alley.
The thick odor of blood hung in the air.
The study of Lu Manor.
The candle flame danced merrily on its wick.
The heavy rain outside the window had been coming down all night, but it had finally slowed to a drizzle over the last few minutes. Water dripped rhythmically from the wooden frame of the window.
At the desk, Lu Changkong was writing on a satin-bound scroll. He lifted the brush with one hand as the other hand held his sleeve. While he wrote, his hand moved as smoothly as the wind.
Lu Changkong soon finished, but he waited until the ink had dried to call for someone outside the door.
The carved wooden door was pushed open.
Luo Yue entered the study. He was wearing a dark set of armor and had his sword with him. His hand rested formally on his sword's pommel.
"Take this letter to the capital city as soon as possible. Tell His Majesty that I will be on my way tomorrow, and I will be bringing the captured Grandmasters from the martial arts world with me," Lu Changkong said.
"Keep in mind that you have to hand this letter to the emperor with your own hands."
Luo Yue took the letter and bowed his head seriously. "I promise I won't fail you, City Master."
Lu Changkong smiled. "The world is falling into chaos...Those Grandmasters had been following the Imperial Advisor's orders, yet they suddenly betrayed us. If it weren't for Ning Zhao, Beiluo City would have been taken. At this moment, Tantai Xuan's forces would be heading straight for the capital city."
Luo Yue fell silent. As a trusted general under Lu Changkong, he was well aware of the importance of that battle.
"Back in his day, the Imperial Advisor could don his Confucianist gown, take a feather fan in hand, and deter all the schools and sects of the martial arts world. He even kept the Philosophers of the Hundred Schools of Philosophy at bay. Now, however, the Imperial Advisor is getting older and weaker, and the martial artists are acting up again," Lu Changkong said with a sigh.
Lu Yue also took a deep breath. "Those people just don't learn!" His tone was serious and cold.
"The world is different now. The late emperor passed away, and the Imperial Advisor's time has passed." Lu Changkong grew quiet for a long moment, then sighed again.
"Go ahead." Lu Changkong waved his hand, gesturing to Luo Yue that he could go.
Luo Yue cupped his hands to Lu Changkong and left the room. He put on his helmet and hurried to have his horse prepared.
Lu Changkong was wearing a Confucianist gown. He stood in front of the carved wooden window with his hands clasped behind his back.
He watched the moonlit night outside the window.
"Huang, is Fan'er doing alright?" Lu Changkong asked suddenly.
A black shadow appeared quietly in the room.
The man had a hunched figure, and rainwater still dripped from his body. He cupped his hands to Lu Changkong and said, "When the rain was heavy earlier tonight, the Young Master killed a Daoist officer."
"Really? Daoist officer? Which one?" Lu Changkong asked, hands still clasped behind his back. He was a little surprised.
"You hear 'Song of the Waves,' you see Daoist No. 9, Han Lianxiao," the hunched figured said in a husky voice.
"Daoist No. 9, the Fifth Resonance Grandmaster who liked playing the flute?" Lu Changkong raised an eyebrow. "How was he killed?"
Lu Changkong was curious. It was unlikely that Ning Zhao could kill a Fifth Resonance Grandmaster.
The hunched figure fell silent. The man seemed to be unsure of how to explain the scene with words.
He had been watching from a distance, so he hadn't seen it very well.
It had looked like the flute-playing Grandmaster fell flat on the ground in front of Lu Fan. Then, as the man laid there like an idiot, Ning Zhao ran her sword through him. But how could the man say something so ridiculous to Lu Changkong?
It was too weird...
"That's fine. What's done is done. Someone in the capital city has started taking action. The Daoists won't dare to make any moves for now. You keep protecting the Young Master… Ning Zhao is a Grandmaster now, but she is still too young," Lu Changkong said as he noticed that Huang seemed to be hesitant.
The hunched man bowed.
His shadowy form burst into countless pieces and vanished from the room like a wave crashing on the beach.
Standing in front of the window, Lu Changkong squinted his eyes and raised his hand.
In his palm, a light blue flow of energy was glowing. That one wisp of Spirit Qi moved freely in the center of his palm.
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