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182 The Interaction Between Man and Heaven

 Snapping out of his reverie, Meng Qi intentionally changed the topic. He looked up at the sky and sighed. "The ceaseless autumn rain lingers. I see less and less thunder and lightning," he said.

While there had still been stormy weather these few days, the rain had been small and thunders barely audible.

What he wanted to say was that he wouldn't have to worry about the Devil Empress turning on him or setting traps if a thunderstorm hit tomorrow night. Of course, all these depended on chance.

Ruan Yushu held her zither and calmly said, "There should be one tomorrow."

"You have a skill like the Emperor's Divine Deduction?" Meng Qi asked in shock, anticipating his answer with hope.

She shook her head. "Not yet."

"Then why did you say there would be stormy weather tomorrow night?" he asked in confusion.

If that was just a maybe, then that could be said for each day. But he didn't think Ruan Yushu would spout nonsense. Could she be trying to comfort him? She didn't seem like it.

Ruan Yushu smiled and slowly said, "The mental realm of the Devil Empress and Right Chief Minister are close to the Exterior and their physical body realms have almost reached Half-step Exterior Scenery, at the stage of triggering an interaction between heaven and earth. If they display their full strength, there would most definitely be an exchange between man and heaven. Astronomical phenomena would be changed as well. Though these interactions aren't as strong as those of the martial pros of the Half-step Exterior Scenery, such influences are still powerful. As a result, the common astronomical phenomena are black clouds, thunder, lightning, and heavy rains."

Meng Qi had known her for a long time, but this was his first time hearing her talk so much.

"How do you know? Are you sure?" he asked in shock. Based on his knowledge of the Exterior and Half-step Exterior Scenery, he knew the Devil Empress and Right Chief Minister would probably trigger an interaction between themselves and heaven if they went all out. When that time came, it would be raining and thundering in the whole palace. But he had to carefully verify such things.

She slowly spat out a few words, "The Summary of Wulin."

"What's that?" He was confused.

"It's the secret document of the palace that records Jianghu events. Based on the recorded fights between Great Grandmasters, instances of interaction between human and heaven and its ensuing heavy storms were clearly noted," she said matter-of-factly.

"When did you read the Summary of Wulin?" Meng Qi's mouth twitched. Why wasn't he aware of such a thing?

She glanced at him. "When you were visiting the Imperial Princes, I asked General Lu to borrow it for me."

In a world where court and Wulin affected each other so deeply, it would be odd if the royal court didn't keep a record of Jianghu!

Meng Qi's face reddened and felt embarrassment crept up to him. "Didn't you say you weren't going because it was boring?"

"What do you think?" Ruan Yushu slightly raised her head.

He laughed twice awkwardly. "Show me the book now."

She nodded and left for her wing room.

Watching her swaying and graceful figure as she disappeared at the door, he smirked. "It'd be great if the interaction between man and heaven really exists. Then no matter who tries trap or attack me, I can cooly tell them I'm so powerful tonight that I scare even myself!"

Of course, his Sky Thunder might not be able to kill the likes of the Devil Empress if they could also trigger the interaction. But at least they wouldn't be able to withstand such an attack.

After a while, Ruan Yushu returned with a thick book in her hand and passed it to him.

Restraining his smile and calming himself, Meng Qi started reading the book carefully. As expected, he found many records of battles, like the one between Demon Venerable and Monk Longxiang, Demon Venerable and Tianhe Immortal Yudao on the Long Street, the Devil Empress and Royal Advisor Huangling, Sword Emperor and Right Chief Minister in the middle of River Pei, Right Chief Minister and Little Living Buddha on Little Lun Mountain, Sword Emperor and Living Buddha in Big Snow Mountain, and so on.

All these battles had triggered the interaction between man and heaven. About 70 to 80 percent of them caused thunder, lightning, and heavy rains. Around 20 to 30 percent resulted in black clouds that blocked the sunlight, rainbows in the sky, and dispersion of the fog that enveloped the snowy mountains...

The more Meng Qi read, the more serious he became. In other words, the Devil Empress had not been using her full strength against him. No wonder she declared that he wouldn't be able to escape if she truly wanted his life. But even if she really went all out and triggered the interaction, he still had tricks up his sleeve!

Of course, the interaction can only be initiated in a battle between Great Grandmasters of the same level. That way, they could push each other to higher realms, stimulate each other's Qi, and trigger the interaction. The Devil Empress may not even succeed even if she wanted to against him.

It seemed only battles between Great Grandmasters could result in such interaction. At least, that was these records suggested. Besides the battle between Demon Venerable and Monk Longxiang, none caused any deaths. Mostly, those on the losing end would escape. Meng Qi suspected they would have seized the chance to take an important step forward otherwise, where their soul, body, and life would sublimate and disintegrate.

"Evil Prince is stronger than what he seemed in our fight, seeing as he survived the attacks from the Devil Empress several times..." Meng Qi felt Evil Prince had chosen to be prudent and retreated during the battle in the middle of River Pei because he had never encountered such superb bladesmanship. If Evil Prince had tried his best and displayed all his strength, Meng Qi would have to use Sacrifice Formula to fight off or injure him. "Uh, it might be that the Immortal Pressing Art was so special and strong that he was able to escape multiple times..."

Meng Qi closed the book and allowed his thoughts to wander. He wondered when records of the battle between God-petrifying Sword and Evil Prince in the Royal city, God-petrifying Sword and Sword Emperor in Baiyi Hut, God-petrifying Sword and the Devil Empress in the Foggy City of Lanjiang would appear in the document. He also wondered when words like 'battle between Thunder Blade Furious Monk and Demoness of Grand Luo in the ruins' and 'fight between Reckless Monk and Sword Will in the middle of the river' would be recorded in the Ranking List of Young Masters... Wait, why was he thinking about Thunder Blade Furious Monk and Reckless Monk? Bah!

Meng Qi rubbed his temples and became concerned with his thinking. A thought suddenly came into his mind and he asked Ruan Yushu puzzledly, "Why did you emphasize the black clouds, thunder, lightning, and heavy rains?"

With her zither on her back and hands behind her, Ruan Yushu slowly walked toward her wing room and said coldly through Secret Voice-sending, "With the thunderstorm and rain, you can use a bolt of Sky Thunder to kill Yuan Mengzhi, the Gray Jade Hand. I believe you'll look forward to the stormy weather."

Meng Qi froze. Damn! The Ranking List of Young Masters really wasn't a good thing! Six Fan School indeed had nefarious intentions!

"Wait." He reigned in his anger and all his curses.

Ruan Yushu briskly turned around, eyebrows raised. She looked at him and waited for him to continue.

"Let's go to the royal city tonight and gather information. We shouldn't be acting recklessly tomorrow." If time allowed, Meng Qi wanted to be well prepared for all possibilities.

She nodded, agreeing with him.

They once again sneaked out the Courier Hostel and headed for the royal city. They crept along the shadows up and down and arrived outside the city in a while.

The two of them hid amongst the crowns of trees lining the street. Looking at the royal city, Meng Qi frowned.

The royal city was enclosed in a square made out of white stones. There were no trees at all! There was nowhere for them to hide!

Further, the lights on the city walls shone bright and turned the square as bright as daylight. Never mind a person, the guards could detect even a mouse or bird!

It would be hard to sneak in... Meng Qi and Ruan Yushu had also made a full circle around the royal city and found guards placed every three steps atop the city walls, looking nimble and sharp-eyed. They couldn't find anywhere to hide in the square around the wall. Further, the city walls being over 10 meters high mean they couldn't leap over them.

The royal court truly demonstrated their expertise in handling the martial pros of Jianghu. The situation made Meng Qi feel somewhat helpless but found it reasonable too. It would be strange if the court didn't take any precautions against the numerous pros of Jianghu!

He would have wondered how this court had survived, in a world where the likes of the Devil Empress, Monk Ruyi Sceptre, and Ghost King existed, if they left their grounds open for outsiders to waltz in as they please!

"It's possible to run across the square if I choose to enter where the guards are weaker and use the Transformation Strategy, but how do I scale a wall 10 meters high..." Meng Qi racked his mind.

If he targeted his Transformation Strategy at humans, he could damage their senses, cause them to hallucinate, and confuse their sense of space. If weaker guards looked over, they would be more easily disturbed the further away they were from him. They would then subconsciously ignore the place where Meng Qi was. Though they were powerful, they might still fall for Meng Qi's trick if they were not focused. Meng Qi wanted to make use of the second method but found it difficult to estimate the guards' strength because of their distance. So he had to depend on a bit of luck to find the right position.

The city seemed truly impregnable... Meng Qi sighed. He returned to the Courier Hostel with Ruan Yushu and decided to leave this problem to the Devil Empress. He planned on consolidating the sixth level of Golden Bell Shield and consider the changes of the first move of the Five Thunder Bombards, the Nine Annihilation at Heavenly Nights. He wondered if he could derive one or several Enlightenments of the Apertures blademanship using the nine blademanship essentials from the Heaven Blade Essentials.

Early the next morning, Meng Qi paid a visit to Lu Guan and asked deviously, "General Lu, I wonder how the Emperor is. Have you seen him?"

"I saw him from afar. He's still unconscious." Lu Guan heaved a sincere sigh, appearing melancholic. He was a person that the old Emperor plucked out of obscurity. Under the circumstances whereby the northeast was continuously degrading, he established the Tieshan Army step by step, recovered the country's lost territories, and drove out the enemies. He appeared to be one of the Emperor's most loyal and favored subordinates who constantly tried to repay the favor to his country. But in the end, his talent evoked the envy of others. He was framed by wicked men of abusing his authority over the army and aroused the Emperor's suspicion. He was thus relegated to the far west.

Meng Qi nodded and said no more. He excused himself and took Ruan Yushu to find Luo Shengyi. It was a dangerous task, so the probability of survival became higher the more help he got. And Luo Shengyi had clearly been excluded from their core plans by the Third Prince.

Luo Shengyi squinted after listening to Meng Qi's explanation and smiled wanly. "The Third Prince really is a tough guy... Zhen Ding, when do we take action?"

"We wait for the Devil Empress," Meng Qi answered.

The Devil Empress appeared before the trio at late noon when the sun was at its peak.

"Follow me." The Devil Empress once again put up the veil over her face.