Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Exactly how big was the Wuhuang Continent? Lu Fan had no idea.
But he did know that the Great Zhou Dynasty had a vast territory divided into 16 counties. The first emperor had appointed 16 mayors, one for each county. Since then, the number of mayors had been gradually reduced to 13 under the reigns of the successive emperors.
The royal power had declined through the years. The last emperor had suddenly died at the age of 30. Five of his six children were princesses, so there was only one male heir to the throne.
The new emperor had only been 11 when he was crowned.
His young age brought great vulnerability to the country, which was eventually consumed by chaos as rebellions started everywhere.
Lu Fan was still sitting in the wheelchair. Now that the clots of Spirit Qi had been taken care of, he had regained his ability to walk.
Yet because he had been confined to the wheelchair for more than a decade, Lu Fan didn't want to advertise his sudden recovery. He had decided to stay in the wheelchair for the moment.
Ni Yu appeared to still be in shock as she pushed the wheelchair. Her eyes were glaring with curiosity and excitement. Her face flushed red.
The picture of Lu Fan's wiggling toes had been imprinted vividly in her mind.
The aloof persona of her Young Master had collapsed.
Of course, she was more surprised by the fact that his legs could move now!
When they reached the entrance to the garden, the other two maids hurried toward them. The maids felt their hearts skip a beat when they saw Ni Yu pushing Lu Fan's wheelchair.
They soon let out sighs of relief when they noticed that Lu Fan was doing fine.
"Little Ni, let Sister Ning take over here," Lu Fan said to the blushing Ni Yu behind him.
Ning Zhao was the name of the oldest maid. She replaced Ni Yu behind the wheelchair as Lu Fan had ordered.
Ni Yu stuck her tongue out slightly and stepped aside, standing with the other maid.
Ning Zhao glanced suspiciously at Ni Yu's flushed face. Noticing that Lu Fan had a contented look, she knitted her brows slightly.
Had… something happened between the two?!
"Sister Ning, did you two go to my father?" Lu Fan asked. He had noticed Ning Zhao's suspicious look, but he felt no need to explain himself.
A clean hand wanted no washing.
"The Master is in the study. He asked us to have Doctor Hua come and check on you." Ning Zhao's voice was soft, and there was sympathy in her tone.
"Don't bother. Just push me to the study," Lu Fan ordered briefly.
Ning Zhao nodded and pushed his wheelchair out of the garden, heading to the study.
Since the development of Spirit Qi had been completed, the system reminded Lu Fan that the Access tab was available to view. But Lu Fan didn't plan to check it out yet. He was afraid that if he fell into the "creep mode" again, his father and the maids would freak out. That was unnecessary.
In the study, the red-hued door carved with exquisite patterns was already open. Ni Yu and the other maid waited outside, and Ning Zhao cautiously pushed the wheelchair in.
There was no threshold in the door frame so that Lu Fan could go in and out more easily.
From a distance, Lu Fan saw a tall, strong man wearing armor and a helmet.
As he heard the sound of the wheelchair rolling across the floor, the man in the study turned his head. His penetrating eyes glowed with the coldness of a combat-seasoned military man. The temperature in the room seemed to lower under his influence.
"Father," Lu Fan greeted him.
Even though he had obtained the original owner's memory, it was still strange to call this man his father.
The moment he saw his son in the wheelchair, the coldness in Lu Changkong's eyes faded away.
"Fan'er*, Ning Zhao told me that you were in a trance. Are you not feeling well?" Lu Changkong asked with concern.
He had been on duty on top of the city wall when he received the message sent by Ning Zhao. Upon hearing the news, he had gone straight home without even taking off his armor.
He took a closer look at Lu Fan and let out a sigh of relief, seeing that his son was okay.
"I couldn't be better. Sorry that I made you worry, Father," Lu Fan said with a smile.
As Lu Fan's father, Lu Changkong knew his son very well. He noticed that Lu Fan was different than usual.
Despite Lu Fan's disability, no one in Beiluo City—maybe no one in the entire Capital City of Zhou—dared to call him useless. Lu Changkong's influence wasn't the only reason for that; Lu Fan's achievements were also impressive.
While he was unable to learn martial arts, Lu Fan was profoundly knowledgeable about Confucianism. Even the Imperial Advisor spoke very highly of him.
But Lu Changkong was well aware that even though Lu Fan had worked hard in his Confucianist studies, deep down, something still bothered the young man. His paralysis and inability to move around freely dwarfed him in front of others. That wasn't an easy worry to shrug off.
"You can leave for now." Lu Changkong waved his hand, motioning for Ning Zhao to leave.
Ning Zhao paused for only a fraction of a second before backing out of the study and closing the door.
"Fan'er, the whole world is now in chaos. Twelve counties have already risen against the emperor. Beiluo City, as the northern forefront of the Capital City of Zhou, bears the brunt of the rebellions. I have to be on duty and lead the soldiers, so I can't spend enough time with you. Please do not hate me for that."
A hint of apology flickered in Lu Changkong's eyes.
Lu Changkong's apologetic look left a warm feeling in Lu Fan.
Lu Changkong was a good father. Despite his disability, Lu Fan had maintained his mental stability all these years without developing any antisocial tendencies. Lu Changkong had supported his son wholeheartedly since his birth, which had contributed considerably to Lu Fan's mental well-being.
Lu Fan hesitated for a bit, then decided to tell him.
There would be no way to hide it from his father, anyway.
Telling the truth now would be better than being questioned about it later.
Lu Fan looked up at Lu Changkong, his eyes glowing strangely.
"Father, I have something to tell you..."
Lu Changkong's eyebrows furrowed slightly. "Go ahead."
But Lu Fan didn't say anything. Instead, he pulled the thin blanket away from his legs.
He then rested both hands on the armrests, using the strength of his arms to stagger to his feet.
Silence. Seconds of silence.
A moment later, waves of energy from Lu Fan's Qi and blood started flowing in streams around the study, giving off surges of power as they crossed each other. Even the scroll paintings hanging on the walls shook with the waves of energy.
Lu Changkong hurriedly stepped forward to support Lu Fan's body. His eyes were filled with astonishment.
He had once hired the best doctor he could find to examine Lu Fan's legs in the hope of treating them. But the conclusion remained the same: Lu Fan would never stand on his own two feet. Now Lu Fan had somehow miraculously stood up all by himself!
This was almost too much to swallow.
As he stared at his son, Lu Changkong's lips attempted to move, but he couldn't say anything. Emotion had closed his throat. It was a minute before he found his voice.
"Fan'er, do you want to take a couple of steps?" Lu Changkong asked cautiously.
Lu Fan's face was flushed red. Lu Changkong's strong Qi and blood flow was like a throbbing pressure within his body. Maybe this was what martial art practitioners were capable of in this Low-Level Martial World.
Lu Fan took a deep breath, pressing down the strange feeling. With Lu Changkong's help, he started to move forward. His first steps were unsteady, and he almost fell.
In Lu Changkong's eyes, however, the only thing that mattered was that Lu Fan could walk!
Lu Changkong burst out laughing, the sound of his joy filling the study.
A lingering moment later...
With Lu Changkong's cautious help, Lu Fan sat back in the wheelchair.
Lu Changkong had no idea how his son's legs had recovered, but he didn't even want to ask. He didn't have to know everything.
The fact that Lu Fan's legs worked now was the best fortune he could have asked for.
Lu Changkong gave his son a stern look. "Fan'er, don't tell anyone besides your three maids about this. You can walk now. That's great! But if word of this gets out, the Imperial Advisor may ask the emperor to order you to go to the Capital City."
"We need to keep this to ourselves as long as possible. I selected and trained Ning Zhao and the other two to protect you. Their loyalty and devotion are unquestionable. As for anyone else, you can't trust them."
Lu Changkong's face was grave.
Lu Fan knew a little about what was happening in the Great Zhou Dynasty.
Twelve counties had risen in rebellion, and the whole country was in chaos. Only six cities were still under the control of the royal family of the Great Zhou Dynasty. Together, those cities were barely the size of a county.
To prevent the city masters of the six cities from defecting, the Imperial Advisor ordered the first heirs of the five city masters to live in the capital city under his oversight. Supposedly, the young men were sent there to learn Confucianism. In truth, it was so the capital could keep an eye on them and contain the cities' power.
The Lu family was known for their generations of loyal generals. In addition, Lu Fan's legs were paralyzed, and he couldn't practice martial arts, not to mention that he had always been vulnerable to all kinds of sickness. He was considered an exception and allowed to live at home.
The other five city masters were fine with it.
But if they found out that Lu Fan's legs had healed, there was no way the city masters would still be so understanding. They would put pressure on the Imperial Advisor to ask Lu Fan to live in the capital city.
Lu Fan knew the stakes. He nodded his understanding.
"Good. You can go back to your room now. Take a good rest. Now that your legs are healthy, I won't have to worry about you so much anymore. Now you can relax and meet with your uncle Tantai."
Lu Changkong's face regained its serious and cold expression.
Lu Fan returned to his room.
The three maids started cleaning up, and Lu Fan finally had some time to himself.
He focused his consciousness, and the stats page appeared in front of him.
[Host: Lu Fan]
[Title: Qi Refiner (permanent)]
[Refined Qi Level: 1]
[Soul Strength: 1]
[Physique Strength: 0.5]
[Spirit Qi: 10 wisps]
[Transformation Reward: Temporarily Unavailable]
[World Ranking: Wuhuang Continent (Low-Level Martial World)]
[Access: (Quest), (Dao Imparting Platform), (Spirit Qi Deployment)]
Since he had already developed his Spirit Qi, the system reminded him that Access had been activated, so Lu Fan's attention was immediately drawn to that entry.
Three options appeared under Access. He had expected the changes.
"Quest? Dao Imparting Platform? Spirit Qi Deployment?"
Lu Fan squinted.
Among the three options, Spirit Qi Deployment was the only active one. Dao Imparting Platform and Quest were both grayed out.
He tried to focus his consciousness on the two options, yet there was no response.
Apparently, they required specific circumstances to be activated.
Lu Fan decided to put those two aside for the moment and started looking into Spirit Qi Deployment.
He closed his eyes and immersed his consciousness into [Spirit Qi Deployment].
A message appeared suddenly.
[Access to Spirit Qi Deployment: based on the host's current Refined Qi Level, Qi can be deployed using the Spirit Qi in the host's dantian. Targets will yield various multipliers (minimum is 100). In this way, the host can improve the practice environment and lead the way for other practitioners.]
[Note: Spirit Qi Deployments with human bodies as targets don't qualify for multipliers.]
Lu Fan was pleasantly surprised.
To transform a Low-Level Martial World into a fantasy universe, he needed enough Spirit Qi.
Now he had it.
Gaining access to Spirit Qi Deployment solved his Spirit Qi problem.
Lu Fan could not only create Spirit Qi himself; he could also move it around.
He had obtained the power to start a great Spirit Qi recovery movement.
The whole world would experience a full-blown transformation because of him.
Besides that, Lu Fan noticed something else.
Spirit Qi could be deployed into human bodies!
That meant that using Spirit Qi Deployment, he would be able to create practitioners who could benefit from Spirit Qi!
Lu Fan's eyes widened with a flash of inspiration.
Perhaps he should find someone for an experiment in Spirit Qi Deployment.
Ning Zhao was rolling rice paper on the desk with her delicate hands when a sudden shiver ran down her spine. Someone's gaze had sent a chill through her.
She instantly looked up, only to find Lu Fan in the wheelchair...
He rested his elbows on the armrests, palms under his chin, and stared at her with a mischievous smile.
*Endnote: The ending "'er" in "Fan'er" denotes that a child is being addressed.
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