Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
[Host: Lu Fan]
[Title: Qi Refiner (Permanent)]
[Refined Qi Level: 1]
[Soul Strength: 1]
[Physique Strength: 0.5]
[Spirit Qi: 8 wisps]
[Transformation Reward: Fantasy Creation Qi Refining Manual]
[Current World Ranking: Wuhuang Continent (Low-Level Martial World)]
[Access: Quests, Dao Imparting Platform, Spirit Qi Deployment]
As Lu Fan flicked his finger, the stats page appeared before his eyes. In the Spirit Qi field, the number of wisps decreased by one. He was now left with eight wisps.
"Activate Access… Spirit Qi Deployment."
"Deployment Target: Ning Zhao."
He used his consciousness to confirm this.
The scene in front of Lu Fan's eyes changed. The sun had been shining brightly a moment earlier, but now the world instantly darkened. Shapes of people and buildings became mere outlines, allowing him to see straight through them.
It was like an atlas from the viewpoint of the heavens.
When he shifted his consciousness, he realized he could zoom in as much as he wanted, and he could now see the outline of Ning Zhao right in front of him.
There was a light blue wisp of Spirit Qi within Ning Zhao, and it seemed to be burning brightly in her dantian.
That was the first wisp of Spirit Qi that Lu Fan had given Ning Zhao.
With a flick of his finger, he willed the second light blue spark to fly gently out toward Ning Zhao's form.
In the next moment, the additional wisp of Spirit Qi flowed into Ning Zhao's dantian like fuel being tossed onto a fire.
Lu Fan exited that fantasy-like mode. The world, which had turned into mere outlines and allowed him to zoom in and out as he pleased, went back to normal.
Lu Fan felt like a needle had been driven through his skill. He lifted a hand to hold up his head as his hair cascaded through the gaps between his fingers.
In the Soul Strength field of the stats page, the number one had become 0.5. It had decreased by half.
Now both Soul Strength and Physique Strength were on par.
"So remote deployment of Spirit Qi actually consumes my Soul Strength. I have been too careless about this." Lu Fan shook his head and laughed ruefully at himself as he took a deep breath.
The first time he had deployed Spirit Qi, Lu Fan had done so by holding Ning Zhao's hand, so it hadn't consumed any of his Soul Strength.
But this time, he was atop the city wall, while Ning Zhao was below.
Remote deployment apparently had a cost.
Lu Fan suddenly became alarmed. If his Soul Strength hit zero, would he become a vegetable?
It seemed like even though he had the advantage of the system, he couldn't become reckless. Even though being bold and wild might feel good in the moment, it wasn't worth it if he became useless in the process.
Lu Fan exhaled and put the thoughts out of his mind.
His bloodshot eyes looked down over the low section of the wall.
With Lu Fan's latest gift of power, Ning Zhao now had two wisps of Spirit Qi. Even though she still hadn't fully grasped the use of the Spirit Qi, the additional energy would still advance her skill in obvious ways.
How powerful would Ning Zhao become?
Lu Fan was rather looking forward to seeing that.
At the bottom of the gatehouse...
The battered city gate opened.
Lu Changkong sat astride his horse, his upper body still bare. He stalked forward on his horse, dusty hand gripping his long halberd.
He was there to help Ning Zhao.
How could he allow Ning Zhao to face four enemies alone? And all four of them were Grandmasters.
If he joined in the fight, then it would be two versus four, and there was a chance they could still retreat into Beiluo City. One could not simply allow a Grandmaster to die.
In the distance, Feng Shi, who had been galloping away furiously, also pulled up his horse and turned to watch the battle.
He wasn't going to miss this battle of the Grandmasters.
And he wasn't the only person watching with anticipation.
All of North County's troops were approaching.
Tantai Xuan's red cape billowed in the wind as he stood on the battle observation deck, which was slowly moving forward. He, too, was watching the battle about to begin at the bottom of Beiluo City's wall.
There was only one of her against four Grandmasters.
Even though the Young Master had granted her one wisp of Spirit Qi to aid her, Ning Zhao wasn't very confident...
But since the young master said he had her back, she believed in him.
The young master had experienced a real immortal encounter, and he was going to change the world!
The three Grandmasters of the martial arts world, as well as the Grandmaster serving Tantai Xuan, all rushed toward her.
The Grandmasters who trained in external energy were like ferocious wild beasts, and those who trained in internal energy were like an overflowing river!
Ning Zhao lifted her Cicada Wing Sword and waited grimly.
Suddenly, Ning Zhao's body jerked.
A red flush appeared on her calm, beautiful face.
In the next moment, her red lips parted slightly, and her eyes lost their focus.
A warmth settled on her from above, washing over her skin and down into her body.
Ning Zhao looked up, and her hair flew around her head as her dress billowed.
She knew this feeling!
The young master had granted her another wisp of Spirit Qi from afar!
Ning Zhao didn't have words to describe her excitement.
This was definitely the move of an immortal!
All the emotions within her culminated in a feminine shout.
Her dantian pulsed like a roaring furnace. She could sense that her soul had become sublime, and she felt like she had broken free from something she had never even realized was holding her back.
"Is this the Second Stage of the Qi Core Realm?" Ning Zhao's long lashes trembled slightly, and color filled her cheeks.
The four Grandmasters were still rushing at her.
The pressure from them, which had nearly made Ning Zhao's Qi and blood stop flowing, suddenly disappeared.
Ning Zhao swung her Cicada Wing Sword.
The two wisps of Spirit Qi flowed out from her dantian like pearls from a dragon.
As she leaped up and spun, her light dress billowed, making her look like a sprite dancing through the air…
There was astonishment on the four Grandmasters' faces.
Her attack struck all of them.
The force from that one move caused their hands to split open, their blood spurting out like crimson arrows. They were thrown from their horses, their bodies skidding several feet over the ground before they came to a halt.
A single swing of the sword had struck down four Grandmasters!
The entire battlefield froze.
Everyone's eyes turned to the woman in a light dress and holding a Cicada Wing Sword.
Hoofbeats sounded in the silence like the pitter-patter of rain.
Lu Changkong's face froze as he emerged from the city gate with his halberd in hand.
Was that… was that Ning Zhao? How had she become this ferocious?
Was this the maid he had found for Lu Fan?
Was a maid under his care… this powerful?
At the top of the gatehouse...
Luo Yue's mouth was wide open, and disbelief filled his eyes.
She had won?!
Ning Zhao had struck down four Grandmasters all by herself?!
Luo Yue suddenly thought of something as he turned to look at Lu Fan, who was seated in his wheelchair. Although he was slightly pale, his face was calm and natural, as if he had expected all of this.
"Young Master…" Luo Yue began.
He had a million questions, but his intuition told him that the change in Ning Zhao had something to do with Lu Fan.
Ning Zhao landed back on the ground gracefully, her face still cold and calm. She didn't even glance at the four Grandmasters.
Her long lashes fluttered, and her gaze landed on Feng Shi, who was still sitting mutely on his horse some distance away.
When her gaze locked on him, Feng Shi snapped out of his daze.
He was so frightened that he shuddered.
"D*mn it!" he whispered to himself.
Hesitating no longer, he kicked his horse and continued his escape toward the North County troops.
He started to regret stopping to watch the show. Why had he bothered?
Back at the gatehouse...
Lu Fan was sitting in his wheelchair with his head tilted to one side and a hand over his face.
"Sister Ning, I'm very tired. Get this over with quickly."
Lu Fan was very weak.
His voice wasn't loud, but Ning Zhao's pretty ears caught every word, even though she was at the bottom of the city wall.
She leaped forward in an instant.
She was even faster than a horse!
Feng Shi felt like his soul would leave his body soon, and his hands and feet were ice-cold from fear.
Even the horse under him, which was trying its best to gallop away, didn't give him any sense of security.
He looked up toward the oncoming northern troops and saw Tantai Xuan standing on the battle observation deck, his red cape flying grandly in the wind. He yelled in a trembling voice, "Commander, save me!"
Tantai Xuan's eyes focused, and the scholar next to him, Mo Ju, narrowed his eyes as well.
The shout had barely passed Feng Shi's lips when he turned his head and saw that Ning Zhao had landed silently on his horse behind him. She was now standing and looking down at him.
A terrible chill sank into Feng Shi's gut.
Before his huge body could even react, Ning Zhao slashed him twice with her sword. Feng Shi howled in pain as both his legs were severed and blood poured from the wounds.
With the flick of her sword, Ning Zhao also severed the ligaments in his hand. She picked him up by the collar and flew off the horse.
Somehow, she made the entire affair look effortless. Every movement she made was elegant and tasteful.
Tantai Xuan's troops stood right in front of Ning Zhao.
She glanced at them before turning back to the city, still carrying Feng Shi.
She had managed to strike down four Grandmasters with her sword, but it wasn't possible to go up against an army of 50,000 by herself.
The Spirit Qi from the young master had changed her immensely, but she was only a little stronger than an ordinary Grandmaster.
If she wanted to go up against 10,000 men by herself, that might become possible eventually, but only after she reached an advanced stage of the Qi Core Realm.
Lu Changkong snapped out of his daze.
Picking up where Ning Zhao left off, he gathered up the four stunned Grandmasters and took them back into the city.
Ning Zhao also flew back into the city, Feng Shi dangling from her hand.
The old, battered city gate of Beiluo City slammed closed behind them.
When he got back into the city, Lu Changkong immediately raised his long halberd and roared, his voice resonating in the streets.
"The enemy troops are coming! Prepare for battle!"
"Protect the city, even if it costs you your life!"
"Protect the honor of Great Zhou!"
Ning Zhao carried the despairing Feng Shi forward, and all the nearby guards glanced at her fearfully.
This woman was simply too terrifying.
"This is the man who was hurling insults at you from the bottom of the wall, Young Master. I have taken him prisoner, and you can decide whether to kill him or torture him," Ning Zhao said as she threw Feng Shi in front of Lu Fan with a radiant smile.
But her smile vanished the moment she saw how pale Lu Fan looked.
Her heart sank.
Lu Fan rubbed his palms together with little excitement as he looked at Feng Shi, who had collapsed on the floor and was pretending to be dead. He suddenly felt very empty.
At that moment, a message from the system popped up.
[Congratulations on completing the side quest. You now have two available points, and access to the Dao Imparting Platform has been activated.]
[Quest Rating: B (Pass).]
Lu Fan raised an eyebrow. He had only gotten a B for this side quest. It looked like Ning Zhao's power still wasn't quite enough.
But since the system said that he had completed this mission, the coming attack from the northern troops shouldn't affect Beiluo City too much.
Now that the crisis facing Beiluo City had been resolved, Lu Fan didn't want to waste any more time on this side of the city. Not only had the consumption of his Soul Strength left him exhausted, but...
He really wanted to go back and have a closer look at his quest reward.
"Father, I'll hand this crazy man over to you. You can skin him, chop him up, steam him, or boil him… Whatever you prefer, Father," Lu Fan said to Lu Changkong, who had just reached the top of the gatehouse. But he trailed off toward the end, waving his hands suggestively instead of finishing.
Feng Shi's muscles tensed as he lay on the ground, pretending to be dead. The terror in his heart spread throughout his body.
Was Lu Changkong's son a demon?!
Lu Fan glanced at Ning Zhao and said, "Sister Ning, take me back home."
Since the mission had been completed, it was time to leave.
"Fan'er, did this shake you up? Go home and rest well…"
Lu Changkong's heart ached when he saw how pale Lu Fan's face was.
He didn't believe what Yi Yue had said at all.
What was this about an encounter with an immortal? That was utter rubbish.
There was no such thing as immortals in this world.
Ning Zhao didn't say anything, nor did she explain anything to Lu Changkong. She felt that she must have had something to do with why the young master had become weaker, and so she was fearful and heartbroken.
As soldiers got into formation to defend the city around the gatehouse, Ning Zhao pushed the wheelchair, taking Lu Fan down to ground level.
When they reached the bottom of the wall, Yi Yue returned to Lu Fan's side with a pale but respectful expression on her face. Ni Yu held onto the handle of the umbrella and followed closely.
Lu Fan placed his hands on the throw that covered his legs. He closed his eyes to rest as his maids pushed him along. They left quietly, the same way they had come, not taking anything away from the scene.
The evening sun was low in the sky.
The last of the day's sunshine shone across them, stretching the shadow of the eldest maid far across the dusty surface of the street.
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