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There were many paths in the Mausoleum of Books, but only one path led straight to the summit: the Divine Path on the southern face, paved with white jade.
Ascending the mausoleum on the Divine Path was a matter of great significance.
Only the Emperor, the Pope, and the Holy Maiden of the south had the right to ascend the Divine Path, as this right represented supreme authority.
Before Xun Mei, many other people had attempted to intrude upon the Divine Path, but other than Zhou Dufu, not one of them succeeded.
Wang Po wanted to intrude on the Divine Path to fulfill his promise to an old friend, to challenge the Imperial Court, and to take revenge on Emperor Taizong.
Xu Yourong stood deep within the forest inside the Hundred Herb Garden, gazing at the bulge of grass as she whispered, "Empress, you once said that Daoist Ji was Emperor Taizong's most loyal minister, even a somewhat abnormally fervent follower, so will he allow such a thing to happen?"
A breeze rustled the leaves and the blades of tender grass that had recently poked their heads out of the earth. The Tianhai Divine Empress had entered her eternal sleep, so she could not answer the question.
"Whenever I think about how I have to make an enemy of such an abnormal person, I really do get nervous."
Xu Yourong had a very serene expression, with none of the nervousness that her words described. Only the tremble of her eyelashes revealed her true emotions.
What she was going to do, what she had decided, was far too frightening. The slightest lack of caution would result in the tragic death of tens of thousands of people.
To make this decision, or to make the entire continent believe that she would dare to make such a decision, required her to have an extremely formidable will.
An extremely formidable will was naturally one devoid of emotion. This was the grand and supreme Dao.
Xu Yourong's brows knit together, making her seem somewhat weak and pitiful.
No one had ever seen her like this before.
Not even in the Garden of Zhou, when she was heavily injured and on the verge of death, not even when it was someone as close to her as Chen Changsheng.
Only that smooth stone path on Sunset Valley and that tree by the cliff had ever seen her like this.
Her index fingers lightly met in the breeze.
She gazed at where they touched and said to herself, "You're capable; you can do it."
As she muttered in this delicate and timid fashion, her eyelashes gradually stopped trembling.
She raised her head to look once more at that mound in the grass, her eyes still calm.
Calm taken to its extreme was apathy.
Much less this grassy mound, not even floods that could drown the world could make her care.
"May the Sacred Light forever be with Empress."
Xu Yourong turned and left the Hundred Herb Garden.
As her dress swayed, a trail of wildflowers bloomed along her path, and then was instantly burned to nothing by golden flames.
From Xun Mei's house to the base of the Divine Path was not far. It had not taken much time for Chen Changsheng, Gou Hanshi, and the rest to rush over there back then.
But Wang Po took a very long time.
At some point, his blade had left its sheath and come to rest in his hand.
If someone saw this, they would assuredly be shocked and confused.
When he fought with Tie Shu in the snow, it had taken him a very long time to take out his blade. Only at the end did he slash down with his blade and cleave the heavens and earth.
Why had he taken out his blade so early today? Who was he prepared to slash at?
Wang Po did not plan to slash at a person.
Today, the Mausoleum of Books was abnormally deserted. There were no cultivators viewing the monoliths, and even the Monolith Guardians had disappeared.
Even if there was someone here, they were not worthy of his blade.
He slashed at those branches that obstructed the road, the rotted fences, the stones of the path uneven from years of disrepair.
As his blade descended, the tree branches crumbled, the bamboo fences were crushed, the stones rendered into powder. All of this was blown away, leaving an even and new surface.
After he left, the blade marks left on the mud and stone gradually disappeared, but the blade intent concealed itself in an even deeper space as if to hide something.
Wang Po walked to the base of the Divine Path and looked at where that pavilion used to stand.
People now knew that the Divine General Han Qing of that time had already broken into the Divine.
It was no wonder that on that night, even though Xun Mei had awoken from his dream and was at his peak, he was still not able to get past Han Qing.
Who would come now to stop him from intruding on the Divine Path?
Wang Po did not walk up the Divine Path. He quietly waited for that person to arrive.
His blade had been re-sheathed, but its energy continued to fill the world and even continued to slowly increase.
He was in no rush, because the longer he had to wait, the more energy his blade could accumulate, until it finally reached perfection and became flawless.
Perhaps for this reason, it didn't take long for the person he was waiting for to appear.
Wind stirred the clear water in those shallow canals into countless tiny ripples, creating countless complex and incomprehensible designs.
These ripples seemed to contain the wonders of the world and greatly diluted Wang Po's blade energy.
Shang Xingzhou appeared on the Divine Path, his sleeves fluttering, his black hair combed to perfection, his handsome features exuding a threatening aura.
Wang Po said, "As expected, there's absolutely nothing new."
He was not at all surprised to see Shang Xingzhou. Probably no one was.
In this present age, it was probably only Shang Xingzhou that could stop him from intruding upon the Divine Path.
Shang Xingzhou did not answer.
Compared to talking, he cared more about the practical result.
He looked at Wang Po, his eyes filled with admiration, like he was looking at a most outstanding junior.
But admiration ultimately transformed into regret.
In his plans, Wang Po would play an extremely important role in the northern expedition. He had even intended to give him the vital mission of breaking into Xuelao City.
Unfortunately, this outstanding human expert would die today.
A bout of rain descended over the Mausoleum of Books with Shang Xingzhou's arrival.
It was not a spring shower, but a rain of arrows.
Countless crossbow bolts and feathered arrows buzzed through the air in a torrential downpour.
These arrows and bolts scorched through the air, leaving behind streaks of fire and glimmering with Sacred Light.
Wang Po did not turn around. He had already sensed the rain of arrows.
He was somewhat surprised and then somewhat melancholy.
He had not expected the Imperial Guards outside the Mausoleum of Books to possess so many Sacred Light arrows.
It was obvious that the Imperial Court had anticipated his appearance at the Mausoleum of Books. Such a vast quantity of Sacred Light arrows was an extremely targeted and terrifying measure.
It seemed that three years ago, when he broke into the Divine on the Luo River, the Imperial Court had already begun preparing to kill him.
Shang Xingzhou stood on the Divine Path, also within the scope of the rain of arrows, but he had no intention of leaving. He simply stared at Wang Po.
It was like he was looking at a corpse.
He had cultivated his Dao for more than a thousand years, so he naturally had ways of dealing with Sacred Light arrows, and he was certainly more capable than Wang Po.
And if he did not leave, Wang Po could not leave.
No matter how powerful Wang Po's blade was, it could not block both him and the rain of arrows at the same time.
At this moment, a sword glow suddenly rose from a forest in the southwest region of the Mausoleum of Books.
It was an extremely plain and clean sword glow.
A bird took flight in alarm, but before it could leave its branch, it was cut down by another sword glow.
This was an extremely resplendent sword glow.
More and more sword glows began to rise from the forest.
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