Covered by the darkness of the night, Zhaoge City was at its darkest moment just before dawn.
A crisp sound occurred in a manor house near Taichang Temple. It seemed that something had broken after it fell to the ground.
State Duke Lu woke up from his dreams, propped his upper body and looked at the floor. His expression suddenly changed as he saw the broken pieces of a precious ceramic ware on the ground.
Who would come to visit him in the middle of the night? Was it the Immortal Master Jing Jiu who had come back?
He suddenly felt dizzy; but he felt a little better after getting up. Soon after, he heard the clamors outside the room and felt something out of place. As he pushed open the door of his room, State Duke Lu found out that the whole manor house was in the midst of chaos.
The newly lit lanterns illuminated the corridor gradually.
Lu Ming led the caretakers and others heading toward State Duke Lu hastily, as he was still fastening his pants.
"What happened?" State Duke Lu asked his son with a grave expression.
Lu Ming answered, "It was an earthquake. The earth shook a great deal earlier."
State Duke Lu realized why he felt so dizzy after waking up.
More and more people woke up, left their rooms and came to the courtyard, bewildered, or fearful.
The situation outside the state manor house was mostly the same.
The folks who had been awoken by the quake came out onto the streets in tandem, while holding their children and elders, their clothes unbuttoned. Though they were still rubbing their eyes, their sleepiness had gone completely.
The ringing of bells echoed among the streets and alleys as an alarm for the residents. The sounds of horse hooves could be heard in the distance, meaning the magic army was gathering and about to come out to maintain the order.
The officials of the Overwatch Council were called upon to go to the palace in a rush.
A moment later, the officials of the Pure Heaven Bureau headed in all directions of Zhaoge City; the strongest energy among them went to Taichang Temple.
All of Zhaoge City woke up before the arrival of morning.
State Duke Lu walked into Taichang Temple, his look terrible; it was unclear if it was because he didn't sleep well last night or if it was something else.
The official on duty was touched, thinking that State Duke Lu came even earlier than his subordinates, and he was really diligent now.
But this official was unaware that many important figures had already arrived at Taichang Temple.
"Are you sure the origin of the earthquake is from the underground here?" asked State Duke Lu while staring into Zhang Yiai's eyes.
Zhang Yiai was the chief commander of the Pure Heaven Bureau, and he was under just as much pressure as State Duke Lu at the moment. He looked even worse than State Duke Lu, saying, "I wish it didn't come from there."
An official of the Overwatch Council said while holding a magic treasure in his hands, "The origin of the earthquake is five miles under our feet; but this subordinate doesn't understand why…"
State Duke Lu cut him off before he could finish his sentence, saying, "Master Jiang, please leave."
The official of the Overwatch Council was taken away. An official who knew a bit about Taichang Temple said to State Duke Lu, "Well…was it because the divine dragon woke up?"
State Duke Lu shot this official a glance as if staring at an idiot, musing that the Old Dragon had never slept, let alone woken up.
A man suddenly appeared in Taichang Temple, his energy calm and powerful.
"Big Brother Yue," Zhang Yiai greeted him.
This man was Yue Qianmen, the Valley Master of Qianyuan at the Center Sect, a swordsman in the Lianxu State who was of a high generation and enjoyed high status.
And he had another identity at present, which was the guest at the Palace of Prince Jing Xin.
Yue Qianmen demanded icily, "Why didn't you go in? What are you doing here?"
The status of the Valley Master of Qianyuan at the Center Sect was equivalent to that of Shangde Peak at the Green Mountain Sect.
Though Zhang Yiai was the chief commander of the Pure Heaven Bureau, an important figure in the imperial court, he was, in Yue Qianman's eyes, still a mischievous Young Brother, so his demeanor toward Zhang Yiai was rather forthright.
The Fiend Prison was right underneath Taichang Temple. The sudden quake meant that a mishap must have occurred down there. It was natural for the Center Sect to be concerned.
State Duke Lu suddenly said, "This official will take care of it. Elder Yue, please calm down."
Yue Qianmen said icily, "State Duke should know the relationship between the Fiend Prison and our sect."
State Duke Lu said, "Elder Yue should remember that the accord reached by the imperial court and the Cloud-Dream Mountain states clearly that Taichang Temple is in charge of the Fiend Prison."
Yue Qianmen had a special status at his sect as well as in the imperial court, so he had no fear of a state duke. "What if I want to enter by force?" asked he, as the expression in his eyes grew colder.
State Duke Lu said with the unchanged countenance, "Then, this official will stop you for sure."
Yue Qianmen's fixed his gaze on State Duke Lu's sleeve, laughing out of extreme anger. "Are you going to strike me, an elder of the Center Sect, using the magic treasure of our Center Sect?" he demanded.
A formidable magic treasure was hidden inside State Duke Lu's sleeve, called the "Deviant Wind and Fine Drizzle".
The Deviant Wind and Fine Drizzle was a gift given to Taichang Temple by the Center Sect.
The atmosphere suddenly grew tense in the room.
State Duke He started calming down both sides with furrowed brows. Zhang Yiai relied on remaining silent as a way to show his predicament.
Nobody noticed that a white cat was crouching atop a wall not far from them.
The white cat fixed his sight on Yue Qianmen's face; the expression in the cat's eyes was nonchalant, perhaps even cruel in some sense.
All of a sudden, the wall on which the white cat crouched quivered, and the white cat jumped off the wall with a meow, vanishing without a trace.
The area of about a square mile around Taichang Temple started shaking violently; and some of the unstable yard walls collapsed, dust rising in the air.
State Duke Lu and others were right inside Taichang Temple, so they felt it more directly, and were almost knocked down to the ground.
The expression on Yue Qianmen's face had changed slightly, and he insisted on forcing his way to the deep part of Taichang Temple.
This sort of thing had never happened in the Fiend Prison.
Something bad must have happened to the Old Dragon!
State Duke Lu held the Deviant Wind and Fine Drizzle tightly in his hand, ready to use it to stop Yue Qianmen.
Yue Qianmen was an elder in the Lianxu State, and had a profound Cultivation state, similar to the upper state of the Broken Sea at the Green Mountain Sect, so it was hard to stop him by a magic treasure. However, State Duke Lu had no choice but to try it, because Jing Jiu was still inside the Fiend Prison; and it was possible that the two earthquakes had something to do with him. It would be a disaster if Yue Qianmen entered the Fiend Prison and found Jing Jiu.
The distant morning sun had finally peered a bit, and its light shone on the wall of Taichang Temple, making them look bright.
A powerful energy appeared and blocked Yue Qianmen.
The doors and windows in Taichang Temple had all collapsed, and the dusts in the cracks of the bricks were suppressed by the energy and didn't rise up.
A short and fat figure appeared after the light suddenly disappeared. It was Sir Jin Mingchen of the Royal Palace.
Jin Mingchen took three steps back in silence. "The Emperor issued the decree that nobody is allowed to enter the Fiend Prison without his personal note and State Duke Lu's agreement."
Yue Qianmen grunted once, but didn't take further action. Yet, it was obvious that he would do something if a mishap really happened in the Fiend Prison.
Jin Mingchen looked at Zhang Yiai and State Duke He, saying, "The Emperor asked you two to evacuate all the residents of Zhaoge City as soon as possible."
Upon hearing this, both State Duke He and Zhang Yiai felt stunned. "All the people?" they prompted Jin to confirm.
"Yes," Jin Mingchen replied emotionlessly.
No matter whether they understood it or not, they had no choice but to obey the order, because it was the order issued by the Emperor.
Zhang Yiai and State Duke He left Taichang Temple as quickly as they could. They soon gathered as many forces of the Pure Heaven Bureau and the imperial court as possible to evacuate the residents of Zhaoge City.
The Cultivation practitioners in Zhaoge City and those in the nearby sects showed their importance at a time like this.
Apart from the arriving flying boats, these Cultivation practitioners, who got the permission to fly in the streets, gave the evacuating residents a sense of safety and intimidation.
With the aid of these Cultivation practitioners, the magic army could employ more violent methods to maintain the order.
The armored horses divided the crowds into smaller and less perilous groups, which would then be brought out of the city from the city gates or on the flying boats.
All the residents in Zhaoge City had to be evacuated; the Jing House was no exception.
At such a critical moment, the Zhao Manor House and Gu Business Association didn't forget to send some helpers over. The evacuation from the Jing House was smooth and efficient.
Yet, Jing Li couldn't find the white cat until the end.
The youth had worry written apparently on his face while sitting by the window of the carriage.
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