The emperor screamed and rushed to hide behind the dragon throne. The others also panicked and scattered in an attempt to flee. Before the guards standing outside could even rush in, they were thrown out of the hall dozens of feet away with a flick of the praying whisk.
Amid the chaos, only Jing Yue stood calmly on the spot. He saw the jade seal and finally understood why the state preceptor could control the power of a country's law when he was only a level-3 Qi Refining cultivator. It turned out that this seal was at fault.
The state preceptor was seen chanting under his breath, “The word is law, the act is the decree. Activate!”
With the jade seal as the center, a circle of translucent light spread outward like clear ripples.
The majestic power of the law was gathered from all parts of the Chen Kingdom. The people in the palace hall were already prostrated on the ground, as weak as a puddle of mud, but the impact on Jing Yue was minimal.
In the astonished eyes of the state preceptor, Jing Yue drew out the peach wood sword unhurriedly. With a gentle flick of the sword tip, the jade seal fell to the ground instantly. The state preceptor spat a mouthful of blood and took a few steps back, clutching his chest. The originally pale face looked like it was covered under a layer of plaster as he swayed wobblingly.
“Who are you exactly?”
The state preceptor couldn’t believe that someone could easily escape the control of the jade seal. Under the law, all beings should be submissive!
Jing Yue didn’t answer but stretched out his five fingers and made a grabbing motion in mid-air. The next moment, a bright yellow figure was caught in his hand.
Before the officials who had regained their freedom had time to rejoice, the emperor was seized by the ‘immortal master’. Prince Ning, who just got up from the ground, exclaimed in surprise, “Xianzhang, what’s the meaning of this?”
But Jing Yue just shouted, “Get out!”
With a violent shake of his hand, a wisp of black mist quickly emerged from between the emperor's brow, and the emperor fell straight to the ground.
At this sudden turn of events, not to mention the ministers, but even the state preceptor was stunned.
Prince Ning pointed at Jing Yue quaveringly and said raggedly, “You… you killed the emperor!”
Jing Yue rolled his eyes, took the jade seal into his hand, and squeezed it hard.
A sharp scream pierced everyone's eardrums. The scattered wisps of black Qi in the hall gradually gathered, condensed into a human form, and shouted in terror, “You can actually find me!”
Jing Yue said in disdain, “Your body possession trick can only fool the state preceptor of the Qi Refining stage. I can smell your evil stench across 800 miles and you want to hide in front of me? I knew you existed as soon as I saw the emperor that day. How about it? Is the protective charm useful?”
Earlier on, when Jing Yue explored the emperor’s body with his divine consciousness the very first time, he noticed that there was a living soul and an evil soul sealed in his body, and the aura of the evil soul was very familiar. The two souls were so entangled that he couldn’t extract the evil soul alone, so he gave the emperor a protection charm.
This talisman that he learned from Green Bamboo Sanctuary was used by the cultivator to protect the soul when the soul was unstable. Once activated, it could stabilize the caster’s original soul, and make it easier to extricate the evil soul.
Initially, he wanted the emperor to activate the talisman on the spot at that time, but after some thought, the evil soul was probably related to the state preceptor, so why not deal with the two together? Thus, he lied to the emperor and told him that this was a body suppression charm that could freeze the state preceptor and render him motionless.
As for why the state preceptor felt the effect of body suppression from before, Jing Yue merely added a spell on the talisman.
At this time, the black fog already knew that it had fallen into the trap. Its soul-mind was injured a while ago and could only absorb the purple and gold dragon Qi to recover. It had almost drained Prince Ning of it before returning to the emperor’s body to recuperate.
It finally realized that the Daoist priest in front of it was the person who caused the serious injuries, but it was a pity that its spiritual sense could only affect the host when the host was asleep. Usually, it would be naturally suppressed by the host’s original soul without the other party’s awareness. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have allowed the Daoist priest an opportunity to get close to the emperor!
Fortunately, now it had absorbed enough purple gold dragon qi and its strength had skyrocketed, so it shouted angrily, “I want you dead!”
Jing Yue only felt that the jade seal in his hand suddenly became light as if it was disconnected from something. Then, he saw that the black fog became thicker and thicker, and it was already ten feet tall in a blink of an eye.
In the air, the black mist waved and screamed shrilly, “Cannonball!”
A few strands of black smoke turned into flames and surrounded Jing Yue. He felt a burning sensation on his skin and immediately activated his spiritual energy to cover himself with a thin layer of ice.
With another shout from the black fog, countless black strands gathered again, carrying a cold sharpness this time, as though a sharp blade cutting through flesh.
Jing Yue drew the vapor in the air to form a water bubble to protect himself. The black smoke tried to pierce through the bubble but the bubble froze in an instant, forming a solid ice wall, completely sealing the black smoke in it.
The black fog nearly cried in frustration. It squirmed again and roared heartily, “Brush!”
A wisp of black smoke separated from the black mist and transformed into a huge spiked brush. With every stroke, it scraped some cracks on the ice wall. If the brush was used on a human body, big chunks of flesh would be torn out.
“Hey, why do you need to call out the spell each time?”
Jing Yue asked in curiosity. This was an idiotic move, like telling the opponent what was going to happen next.
Black fog, “…”
Ahahahahahhhhhh, it didn’t want to, but it must be shouted aloud before it could work, ahahahhhh!
Jing Yue realized that he had struck the sore spot that the black fog didn't want to mention to others, and felt ashamed for a moment. He also found that the power manipulated by the black fog was much stronger than the state preceptor, and every move was a form of torture, which strengthened his speculation.
It was quite interesting but he didn’t want to try it one by one.
With a flash of Jing Yue’s body, the ice wall was still intact, but his entire person had appeared outside the ice wall. He made a clenching motion with one hand, the water vapor solidified into an ice spear in his hand, and he threw the spear at the brush!
The black smoke dissipated again. The black fog knew it could do nothing to the Daoist priest. In a fit of anger, it completely disintegrated and the mass of black smoke burrowed into the bodies of the officials in the hall.
Everyone felt like their bodies were submerged in boiling water. The high temperature suffocated them and almost melted their skin and bones.
Amid the miserable screams, Jing Yue’s eyes darkened. With a wave of his sleeves, the black fog wreaking havoc in everyone’s body was being forced out. At the same time, he activated the palm lightning technique and water net technique. With the combination of water and lightning, the black fog was firmly trapped in it!
Sizzles of lightning sparked on the water net, tightening little by little, squeezing the living space of the black fog.
The black fog twisted and turned like a worm. Every time it touched the water net, it could feel the power in its body dissolving. In fright, it yelled, “Forgive me! Please, spare me!”
When Jing Yue nailed the dying black mist with the peach wood sword, the hall finally calmed down.
After a long time, someone asked with a trembling voice, “Xianzhang, what is that thing?”
Jing Yue, “We have to find out from the state preceptor then.”
The state preceptor was still lying on the ground, blinking in confusion after being called out. “I… don’t know either…”
Jing Yue, “Where did you get your dharma seal?”
State preceptor, “Dharma seal?”
Jing Yue, “It’s the jade seal you have been manipulating.”
The state preceptor’s face changed drastically. After a long while, he finally said hoarsely, “I picked it up…”
It turned out that his name was Sun Zhong, originally the major secretary of the Dali Temple when the previous emperor of Chen was in office. Back then, he was framed by his colleagues and sentenced to exile. During the escort, Sun Zhong and his entourage suddenly encountered an earthquake and everyone died. Only he survived by chance because he fell into a crack in the ground.
Sun Zhong found a jade seal in a crack in the ground. When he touched it, his mind suddenly comprehended a technique.
“At that time, I dare not return to Chen Kingdom for fear of implicating my family, so I could only cultivate in the deserted mountains. After I was successful and came out, I found out that Chen Kingdom already changed two emperors.”
His words stunned all the officials. The state preceptor was an official of the emperor's grandfather's generation? And he was still alive?
That was right! Some officials suddenly remembered that after the state preceptor took over the office, he had exonerated a certain Sun family. Could it be his own family?
The palace hall was quiet until Jing Yue broke the silence.
“If I'm not mistaken, that deserted mountain was originally a dragon vein, but over the years, the mountains and rivers had diverted, and the dragon vein was abandoned. As for the jade seal you picked up, it’s a dharma seal formed by absorbing the power of the dragon vein in the past years. A cultivator who activated this seal can control the laws of a country.”
“Originally, the dharma seal is only a magic weapon, but the seal in your hand has developed a seal spirit. When you found it, the spirit hadn’t yet fully awakened, and as the secretary of the Dali Temple, you were naturally compatible with it, so you were able to cultivate the techniques in the seal. As your cultivation level increased, the seal spirit finally gained its spiritual consciousness.”
State preceptor, “Seal spirit? Are you saying…”
Jing Yue, “It’s none other than the black fog you’re seeing now.”
Sun Zhong was shocked. “How is it possible? How can the laws of a country be evil?”
Jing Yue, “You’re wrong. Any spirit developed from a low-level artifact is born without good or evil. Just like a newborn baby, it needs the guidance of someone close to it. Since you awakened it, you’re the closest relative, but being a rogue cultivator with a weak cultivation base, it’s difficult for you to detect its existence. Coupled with your grievances and anxiety at that time, the seal spirit was affected by your negative emotions and was not corrected in time. Evil thoughts developed over time.”
“It doesn't want to be constrained anymore. It wants to get rid of the control of the dharma seal and transform into a human being!”
After saying that, Jing Yue glanced at the black fog. “Am I right?”
The trapped seal spirit shrank into a ball, unable to gather even the human form. Facing Jing Yue's questioning, it dared not lie and could only weakly explain one by one.
It was only after Sun Zhong entered the secular world again and was welcomed into the palace by the emperor that the spirit had the idea of taking a human form. It vaguely felt that as long as it had enough purple and gold dragon qi, it could achieve that dream. However, the purple and gold dragon qi on the emperor was too pure. In the beginning, it could only attach to the royal relatives with a weaker bloodline and devour the dragon qi in secret.
The purple gold dragon qi was closely related to the country’s fortune. Soon after, Sun Zhong discovered the astronomical change in Chen Kingdom. After several predictions, he discovered the great calamity that would befall the Chen Kingdom. Thus, he spent all his effort to set up the Penal Temple and scattered his magic into the supervision seal. With the seal as the eye, he monitored every corner of Chen Kingdom, trying to eliminate and punish evil, and support the prosperity of the country by absorbing the laws of a country.
Sun Zhong’s plan was just nice for the seal spirit, because extending the country’s fortune meant that it could devour the dragon qi for a longer time. It even injected some of its spiritual consciousness into the supervisory seal to occasionally help the penal warden’s action.
The seal spirit knew that Sun Zhong was a foolishly loyal person, and this matter involved the bloodline of the royal family and the fortune of the country. Even if he wanted to monitor the surroundings, he would not monitor the royal family, so it could slowly devour the dragon qi. And Sun Zhong’s behavior after that was as expected.
With less and less purple gold dragon qi available for it to absorb, the seal spirit finally reached out its claws to Prince Ning and the emperor. If not for the timely appearance of Jing Yue, the Chen Kingdom would have fallen within a few years.
After learning the truth, the officials had lingering fears, while Sun Zhong was saddened.
Although he knew that the current laws were strict and brought many burdens to the people, he always had a clear conscience. He believed that his sins were in the present while the merits were for the future, and everything was for the good of Chen Kingdom. However, only now did he realize that the disaster of Chen Kingdom was actually caused by him.
“You’re already a man of cultivation and shouldn’t get too involved in the mundane world. Otherwise, disasters will inevitably occur. You… shouldn’t stay in Chen Kingdom.”
After hearing Jing Yue’s words, Sun Zhong was even more bewildered.
He was born to a scholarly family, taught to be loyal to the emperor and to love the country. Even when he was wronged, he never betrayed the country and was still committed to protecting it. He regarded Chen Kingdom as his home and the people as his responsibility. If he were to leave, he wouldn’t know where else to go.
Sun Zhong stared at Jing Yue and suddenly fell to his knees. “I beg Xianzhang to show me guidance.”
Jing Yue's eyes narrowed slightly and said, “I’m the leader of Mini Frostcloud Sect on Flying Blossoms Mountain. If you like, you may follow me into the mountain to practice Dao.”
In the 27th year of Qianhua, Emperor Chen recovered from a serious illness and immediately ordered the abolition of the Penal Temple and the removal of Sun Zhong as the state preceptor.
In the same year, Chen Kingdom appointed Mini Frostcloud Sect on Flying Blossoms Mountain as the state religion. Daoist temples of all sizes must enshrine the gilded statue of the founder of Mini Frostcloud Sect and ensure endless incense for thousands of years.