Barely hidden behind a quivering maidservant who stretched her arms to her sides in a protective manner, Lu Jing Yi could see a glimpse of an oaken wheelchair.
The object was of a superior craft, with high quality materials and extensive dedication to the structure and functionality.
Even if it were to be obtained as a collective keepsake, one would have to cough up several coffers of pure gold to obtain a craft as exquisite as the one before the emperor.
Merely after a faint scan over the wheelchair, Lu Jing Yi’s pupils constricted in disbelief, his lower jaw slackening in astonishment.
Lustrous, black hair flowing to the waist, decorating that thin frame in a light swathe of black gossamer strands of silk.
An adorable, small streak of hair extending from her forehead was pure silver, rather striking within the sea of black, but Lu Jing Yi could only declare wholeheartedly that it complemented the girl’s overall beauty.
A small face that could nestle snugly against the palm of his hand, the facial features perfect to the eye. The nose, ears, and that small mouth slowly blowing out the chilly autumn air just like a cute child, the emperor was distraught to find himself unable to control himself, his right arm moving by itself towards the girl’s face to cup the soft, milky skin before him.
And when his gaze trailed to her eyes, Lu Jing Yi felt as if the pulsing of his blood had come to a sudden halt, before fiercely pumping in reverse without any regard for his life.
A pair of small phoenix eyes lazily met his gaze.
The dull sheen of the eyes and the scarlet irises pulled at his soul with gentle tugs, as soft as a lover’s caress and yet as merciless as a deadly venom.
All thoughts about Qin Yingfei, Wan Yan Rou, or the other flowers and peonies nurtured within his backyard slowly ebbed from Lu Jing Yi’s mind.
A wave of panic and fear struck the emperor, and yet that feeling similarly disintegrated into a tranquil nihility.
Even the empress’ figure, one that he had pursued for dozens of years before being granted the right to embrace, seemed murky and impure compared to the girl before him.
His feet shuffling forward in a mix of uncertain rationale and uncontrollable lust, the emperor shook his head multiple times, only to find the fog in his consciousness magnify with each passing second.
He only wished to stroke the flower before him, to admire at a close distance…
An aged palm heavily slammed onto Lu Jing Yi’s back, a massive torrent of spiritual essence flooding into the emperor’s body. With a loud cry, the emperor was flung to the side as an old physician rushed to An Fei’s side, steadying the slightly rocking wheelchair with a single finger.
Circling the somewhat exasperated An Fei, Physician Gao quickly scanned the unfortunate girl with a piercing gaze, ignoring the former’s uncomfortable squirming as his eyes seemed to be able to expose everything to view.
After a long moment, the physician released a long, flowing sigh before reaching with his right hand to firmly pat the girl on the head.
It was unknown exactly when the servants had retreated to the side, standing in an orderly manner with their heads lowered.
“Your Imperial Majesty,” Gao Yun Zhi calmly spoke, turning to face the bewildered emperor, his voice restrained and elegant yet concealing an unbearable sharpness within.
“Please respect the bounds of etiquette and propriety. What will you do if the empress finds out about this matter?”
Lu Jing Yi doggedly shook his head, massaging his temples and infusing a copious amount of spiritual essence into his mind. Observing the fog encasing his consciousness gradually ebb, the emperor blearily blinked several times until clarity returned.
“This…” he hesitated and spoke, no longer daring to use the endowment of the Imperial Family.
“What…happened to me? My mind…how did it get wrapped up by such a state?”
“If you were not so careless and lusting after a person’s appearance,” Gao Yun Zhi remarked with a cynical tone.
“Then how would you have fallen to such a trivial mind demon?”
“You dare call yourself a practitioner of the Nascent Soul Realm with such weak mental fortitude? Hmph!”
Hearing the disdain from the old physician before him, Lu Jing Yi felt the vestiges of anger and resentment rear their heads, demanding for vindication. However, he curled his fingers into tight fists, remaining seated until all that remained was a tranquil peace.
“Esteemed Senior,” the emperor asked while bowing.
“This one dares to ask, just how did you realize this one’s realm of cultivation?”
“Who doesn’t know that the emperor of Great Yong may only ascend to the throne at the realm of an early staged Nascent Soul cultivation, and must secede at the late stage?”
Falling into a state of pondering, the physician’s casual reply soared past the emperor’s ears, heard only by the fleeting autumn wind.
“Who doesn’t know…” Lu Jing Yi repeated. His eyes flaring as determination and biting resolve welled within, the emperor palmed his right fist behind his back, forcibly clearing his mind.
Closing his eyes, Lu Jing Yi incited his consciousness to envision a set of scales, directly placing his own mind onto one end.
Taking a deep breath, he willed the spiritual essence within his body to revolve at a frightening rate, and faint ripples were visible in the night sky.
“The <Heaven’s Eye> reigns above all!”
With the internal cry, the emperor’s eyes sprung wide open, a complex, golden diagram slowly rotating above the left iris. Sensing the agitated spiritual qi in the atmosphere, Gao Yun Zhi frowned, his own spiritual essence beginning to well within his hands.
However, the physician released a light huff and allowed the spiritual essence to calm and dissipate after some pondering. Before the emperor, the entire world had changed before his eyes, and yet was unchanged.
Within the dark night sky, tiny threads of spiritual qi intersected to create an enormous mesh that covered the world. Each string was of a different color, transforming the darkened sky into one of a bizarre and spectacular sight.
When Lu Jing Yi moved his gaze towards the inhabitants of the courtyard, he could see globes of various size and color, each radiating a unique spiritual trace. Xiao Ying, Xiao Wen, and the other maidservants had a ball of spiritual qi the size of a lima bean near their dantian; each of a single color.
His perception naturally flitting over to rest on Gao Yun Zhi, the emperor frowned at the odd sight, before fear and bewilderment began to surface on his countenance.
The globe of light within the physician could only be described as chaotic. At certain times, it radiated a blue glow; at others, red, gold, and black.
Moreover, the globe rapidly expanded and contracted in a periodic motion, as if mirroring the movements of a human’s breathing.
From the size of a meng bean, the ball of spiritual qi within Gao Yun Zhi rapidly expanded to the size of an adult’s head, surprising the emperor greatly.
The Great Yong Imperial Family’s technique, <Heaven’s Eye>, could be identified as a technique for observing the leylines of fate and destiny.
Establishing a connection with the atmospheric spiritual qi, the user forcibly widened the various acupuncture pores on their body to inundate their meridians and spiritual channels with raw, unattributed spiritual qi.
Along with the sudden rush of spiritual qi were fragments of the world’s destiny and predictions of the future, allowing the user to obtain small glimpses at possible future events.
Activating the technique in one eye allowed the user to pierce through all illusions and concealments enacted via spiritual essence, making the <Heaven’s Eye> technique Great Yong’s greatest strategic ploy.
With the opponent’s true cultivation and abilities exposed, it would be mere child’s play for the members of the Imperial Family to engender an effective strategy to obtain a worthwhile victory.
A single colored core of spiritual qi the size of a lima bean represented the general cultivation realm of Foundation Establishment.
Though still considered weak by wudu’s current standards, possessing maidservants with such levels of cultivation was still an uncommon sight.
A single colored core of spiritual qi the size of a baby’s fist represented the realm of Spirit Building.
The size of a loquat, Core Formation.
The size of an apple, Nascent Soul.
As for a core of spiritual qi possessing multiple colors that could expand to a maximum size of an adult’s head…
…Lu Jing Yi did not know.
Rather, he possessed no means of knowing what stage of cultivation Gao Yun Zhi possessed. The <Heaven’s Eye> of Great Yong was only tested to reveal realms of cultivation to the Nascent Soul Realm.
Hurriedly retracting the <Heaven’s Eye> and taking deep breaths to calm himself, Lu Jing Yi instinctively backpedaled as a series of horrible conjectures arose in his mind.
“Something wrong, Your Imperial Majesty?” Gao Yun Zhi politely asked, extending his aged right hand towards the retreating emperor.
“Dilated pupils, unstable circulation of spiritual qi within the meridians, is Your Imperial Majesty experiencing qi deviation?”
“No need!” Lu Jing Yi brusquely remarked.
“This emperor requires no assistance from this senior!”
Without further ado, the emperor turned his heel and departed from the courtyard with the greatest haste, appearing before the main gate of the Wei Manor in a few moments. Staring at the double doors of polished mahogany, he released a heavy sigh laden with countless emotions and thoughts.
As emperor of Great Yong and a member of the Lu Imperial Family, Lu Jing Yi had naturally trained in the <Heaven’s Eye> technique.
Though unable to surpass his preceding generation’s proficiency in the technique in observing the flow of destiny, he was more than capable of viewing another person’s realm of cultivation.
If the <Heaven’s Eye> returned a result he could not comprehend, then there could exist only two conclusions from the extensive research the Lu Imperial Family had conducted over several millennia.
First, the person’s cultivation exceeded the Nascent Soul Realm, perhaps extending into the fabled realm of Mortal Tribulation.
Or secondly, they were not human.
Either conjecture was more than sufficient to send Lu Jing Yi, the emperor of Great Yong, into a cold sweat as a deep terror branded itself in his heart.