However, Zhou Bao did not intend to make them embarrassed.
He raised his hand and unleashed their restraints. "I will let you go. But I need you to remember that I will show no mercy to the martial arts practitioners who enter here from now on!"
Indeed, Zhou Bao would no longer show them mercy.
He established a sentry post outside of the small town at the foot of Jilei Mountain. The sentry post functioned like a city gate—no matter who wanted to enter the town, he had to get in from the sentry post. If there was someone who did not come in or out from the sentry post, then he would be regarded as an intruder. As for the place where the yard was located, it had become a forbidden ground. Without Zhou Bao's permission, nobody was allowed to enter.
The entire martial arts world was shocked!
It was natural that the martial arts world was astonished. As the famous World Hero Competition had just ended, everybody thought the martial arts world would return to peace for a period of time. However, the reality was quite different, in fact. The first news came that the Li Family of Pingzhou's legitimate son, Li Xiu, had slept with Xining King's Eldest Son, Yan Fei's, fiancee, then he was chased thousands of miles by Yan Fei. He was finally rescued by Zhou Bao when he was in the northwest region. And what was most surprising was that Zhou Bao and Yan Fei fought against each other with Pure Yang Celestial Devices. The fight not only ended with Zhou Bao's success, but he also obtained Yan Fei's Pure Yang Celestial Device, the Octupole Exquisite Pagoda, that he had gotten in the World Hero Competition.
His behavior was so surprising, arrogant, and bold.
While everybody was shocked by Zhou Bao and was keen on seeing how he would manage the pressure that was to come to him soon, one of the interested party, the Li Family of Pingzhou's legitimate son Li Xiu, should have returned to Pingzhou. Meanwhile, he also brought back other astonishing news. The news was that Zhou Bao had sold the Pure Yang Celestial Device, the Octupole Exquisite Pagoda, that he grabbed from Yan Fei to the Li Family of Pingzhou. Maybe other people did not know how much Zhou Bao had earned in this transaction, but Yan Fei had lost face because of it. The royalty also suffered losses from this incident. As for those who could think things through more carefully, by considering Zhou Bao's series of behaviors since he had become known in Jianghu, they had entirely and secretly believed that Zhou Bao belonged to the influences of the well-known family that Tian Long Taoism represented.
Things would have been easy if it had ended there. However, other astonishing news followed. There were many scouts sent by different influences to check out Zhou Bao's Pure Yang Celestial Device after they learned that he had a powerful one. But their actions irritated him—Zhou Bao immediately picked on Prince Ning's expert subordinate who had gone to spy him and beheaded the guy. What was even more surprising was that Zhou Bao only returned the unfortunate guy's body back to them, while the guy's head was hung at the sentry post as a warning to others. Nobody knew how long the head would be there!
Prince Ning was famous for his toughness, hence, what Zhou Bao did was like a slap in his face.
"Bastard, damn it! This Zhou Bao is too conceited. He dares to humiliate me like this!"
Normally, the Dragon-pressing River was untraversed. But now, countless tents were stationed along the bank of the river, as if an army had arrived.
The fact was that it was not an army, but the tents of the new lords and their subordinates.
One year had passed since Northern Yuan's land was enfeoffed. The northern prairie gradually became busy with the operation of different influences. Although it was busier than before, it could not be compared to the Central Plains. For thousands of years, the nomads lived wherever there was grass, hence, they never built any decent buildings. As for the Central Plains people, they would not change their habits even though they had settled down in the north. That was why rounds of construction projects spread through the north. And before the new city was established, the tents became the best place for them to live.
Then, an outrageous roar came from a very ordinary tent that was buried among the sea of tents.
"Your Royal Highness, please calm down, please calm down!"
A big group of people scattered to the left and right side of the tent, while Prince Ning was standing in front of a desk, slamming his palm onto it.
Those who sat in the left row were all ordinary people. They dressed with grace and no Internal Qi could be found in their body. And those who were in the right row all contained abundant Internal Qi in their bodies. There were even seven or eight guys who seemed to have Gang Qi. They were all experts above Level Seven. As for the black-robed elder named Yuantingyueshi, who stood in the first row, his Internal Qi was deep and plentiful. Obviously, he was an expert at the peak of Level Eight.
If one could see all these people, he would be astonished by the power of this Prince Ning!
He had so many experts whose cultivation was near Level Seven or Eight! The outside world all felt for him as he had lost a Level Seven expert in the northwest. Some even thought that Prince Ning's power had been seriously weakened. But the people did not know that a Level Seven expert did not mean much to him.
The people who were gathered in the tent now already had a power that was beyond most well-known families' in this world. Therefore, if Prince Ning were to become crazy, he could massacre nearly the majority of them.
But for now, he could not think about that. He not only had to hide his power, but also needed to take revenge on Zhou Bao!
It was because he was entirely provoked by Zhou Bao's behavior.
As a noble and the Jin Emperor's son since he was a born, when had he suffered so much?
Even His Highness the Prince of the Jin, his elder brother, had not made him suffer so much. Although his brothers competed with each other using both open and secret means, no one ever dared to slap him in his face so flagrantly!
Who was Zhou Bao? He was merely a wild boy who had come from Ten Thousand Huge Mountains. But he dared to slaughter his subordinate and hang his head on the sentry post. It was more than a slap in his face, it was more like a provocation. If he could not regain his face, he would have nothing to depend on in Jianghu or the Jin, let alone compete for the position of emperor. That was the reason why he was so outraged and swore to get his face back.
A young man who was in the left row comforted Prince Ning, saying, "Your Royal Highness, please calm down. We need further consideration on this matter!" The man who spoke had a handsome face and a scholar's style, with wisdom filling his eyes.
"Further consideration, you want me to have further consideration on this matter? But, Zhou Bao has slapped me in my face. Tell me, how can I have further consideration on this matter?!" Prince Ning roared, "No, I have to regain my face back. I have to!"
"Surely, we have to get our face back, but the loss would outweigh the gain if we expose our actual strength!" The intellectual continued unhurriedly while Prince Ning was angry. "Zhou Bao is very powerful. He is the most powerful man among the youngest generation. He only has a Level Seven cultivation, but his combat capability is at the peak of Level Eight!" As he spoke here, he took a glimpse at the black-robed elder who sat in the first row on the right side. Then he smiled and continued, "Moreover, he has a Pure Yang Celestial Device. I believe that Zhou Bao can even face a Level Nine expert with it. Hence, it is not easy to deal with him!"
"Surely that doesn't mean that I'll be afraid of him!"
"Of course, you don't have to be afraid of him. But you have to deal with him carefully. Your Royal Highness, you also know that Zhou Bao is only a wild boy from Ten Thousand Huge Mountains. So he can't grow so rapidly even though he has a panacea. Therefore, there must be a powerful influence behind him. And I'm sure that the influence is neither from the Wu Family nor from Tian Long Taoism!"
"It is easy to eliminate the Wu Family, for it is only a mid-level well-known family. Although it's rich enough to turn against a country, Tian Long Taoism is its backer. Its own power is not strong. Only one Level Seven Elder had existed in the Wu Family before Zhou Bao. Hence, if the Wu Family has the ability, they no doubt won't spend so much effort on a disciple who doesn't have the Wu's family name. As for Tian Long Taoism, they do have powerful strength, and Zhou Bao is very close to Wang She. But Zhou Bao isn't Tian Long Taoism's disciple, so he can't obtain such big benefits like the Pure Yang Celestial Device from them. What's more, if Zhou Bao is Tian Long Taoism's disciple, he won't give the Octupole Exquisite Pagoda to The Li Family of Pingzhou. A Pure Yang Celestial Device still means a lot for Tian Long Taoism. And there's another thing, Your Royal Highness, I don't know whether you have thought of it. Zhou Bao once fought with the Cool Breeze Gang and destroyed the organization by himself. When the Cool Breeze Gang intended to deal with his family, some people were secretly protecting his family. Although we don't know who they are, I am sure that they are all Level Seven experts and they don't belong to Tian Long Taoism."
"I know what you mean. This is nothing more than Zhou Bao having a powerful influence behind him, so it is not a good time to turn against him. However, this time, he is too extravagant. If I don't fight back this time, I may not get the chance again."
The young intellectual nodded. He knew that Prince Ning was telling the truth. Face was an easy matter to talk about, but for him being in a high position, often was the case that, once he lost his face, his prestige would be destroyed in a minute. And he would hardly have the chance to earn his face back. That was why what Zhou Bao did to him made him furious and he almost lost his mind. Zhou Bao was diabolical, he had no scruples about Prince Ning at all. Hence, Prince Ning had to get his face back.
"I also understand the reason, however, you don't have to deal with Zhou Bao in person!" The Younger smiled gently and said, "The only thing that is concerning is whether Your Royal Highness is generous enough!"
"Generous about what?"
"Zhou Bao's Pure Yang Celestial Device!"
His words evoked a slight disturbance.
"Please explain your idea clearly!"
"As Zhou Bao has a Pure Yang Celestial Device and he also has his own strengths, it is uncertain if we can succeed even if we use all our power to deal with him."
As he spoke here, the people who sat opposite him all smiled. "I hope my words haven't offended you. If Zhou Bao is alone, things won't be difficult. But when he uses his Pure Yang Celestial Device, I suppose we might lose a lot even if all of you fight him together. Elder Sun, what is your opinion?"
"I agree with you. The Pure Yang Celestial Device's power is unimaginable. You don't have to find excuses for us. If he has a Pure Yang Celestial Device, it will still be difficult for all of us to beat him!"
Elder Sun was the black-robed elder, whose cultivation was at the peak of Level Eight. He opened his eyes and glanced at the young intellectual peacefully.
"It's correct that because of the weapon we can't confront him now. If we do, not only is it a waste of time, it will also do harm to His Royal Highness. It's better to push him against others."
"Others? Who? Who can deal with him?"
"Your Royal Highness, what do you think?" The young intellectual did not answer Prince Ning directly, he gave a mysterious smile instead. "What is the most important part of your plan?"
"You mean—!" Prince Ning was shocked for a moment, and his voice also raised. But half-way through speaking, he lowered his voice down.
"You mean we can let the guys from Kunlun Mountain go to deal with him?"
"Who is not eager to get a Pure Yang Celestial Device? Kunlun Mountain was a famous organization in Northern Yuan before. Although it is not comparable to the Palace of Destruction Demon, it is crowded with masters of martial arts. In addition, the Kunlun Master still exists. Hence, nobody dares to find trouble with them. The only problem is that Northern Yuan is extinguished, and Living Buddha Ba Siba was also killed by Ma Tianchang, so they don't dare to take any big action now. However, in this way, their power is retained successfully. Your Excellency, it is also because of their retained power that you intend to cooperate with them, isn't it?"
"Right! I do want to cooperate with Kunlun Mountain. But even if I have established cooperation with them, it is not suitable for us to reveal that matter." Prince Ning sneered, "How can I let them get my face back?"
"Your Royal Highness, your plan is huge and amazing, so there are many difficulties to realize it. Our behavior can't be hidden from those who keep an eye on us. What you need to do now is to disturb things in the north. Then the people won't be able to figure out your real purpose. As for cooperating with Kunlun Mountain, it is the first step to disturb things. Our scheme should go like this: Kunlun Mountain finds trouble with Zhou Bao in order to get his Pure Yang Celestial Device. Simultaneously, Your Royal Highness is about to find fault with Zhou Bao. Fortunately, before you find him, Zhou Bao is defeated by Kunlun Mountain and has lost his Pure Yang Celestial Device. At that time, if Zhou Bao still lives, things will be easy for us."
"Your reasoning quite makes sense!" Prince Ning nodded nonstop after hearing the young intellectual's words and added, "But what if Kunlun Mountain cannot deal with Zhou Bao either? Don't forget one thing: Zhou Bao also has a powerful influence behind him!"
"If Kunlun Mountain can't take him down either, Your Royal Highness needs not to deal with him anymore. We'd better make friends with him!" The young intellectual smiled bitterly. "Everything is illusory when one is that powerful. The alternative is to instigate trouble between him and other influences. In a word, we shouldn't encounter him directly."
Prince Ning knew that the young intellectual's words made sense, but they still made him angry. "I am Prince Ning, descendant of the Celestial Emperor, do I really have to submit to that wild boy?!"
The young intellectual was silent. He lowered his head and was still smiling like an innocent lamb.
"Alright. In that case, go to Kunlun Mountain and ask for cooperation. Bai Qinghu, you go with him."
"Yes, Your Royal Highness!"
Suddenly, a man stood up near the desk. He bowed to Prince Ning and spoke respectfully.
"Your Royal Highness, now that we want to use Kunlun Mountain to deal with Zhou Bao, we still need to make our stance clear before it happens!" At that moment, another intellectual stood up and said, "If we don't show them our attitude, people will think we are truly afraid of that wild boy."
"Yes, you are right. Yu Cai, please dispatch somebody to start trouble with Zhou Bao right now. And one more thing, the subordinates cultivation shouldn't be too high. A Level Three or Four cultivation is enough. I guess Zhou Bao won't deal with the people whose cultivation is so low!"
"Yes, sir. I'm on my way."
"Eh, this bastard Prince Ning, what's his purpose? Is he crazy? How can he dispatch only a few of them here? Their strength is so lame, but their attitude is unyielding in contrast. What on earth do they want?" Since Zhou Bao had expelled the martial artists who had snuck into his territory with violence, his territory immediately became quiet.
Zhou Bao already felt bored, but the quietness made him even more bored. Since he established the sentry post, nobody dared to trespass on his territory and the small town using Lightness Skills or martial arts. Although martial arts practitioners would also go through this area, all of them followed his rules. After all, it was a joke to attempt to fool a Level Seven expert's spiritual mind in such a small town.
Meanwhile, they were also well-behaved when they entered the town. Except for asking about rumors, they never did anything exceptional. Hence, Zhou Bao appeared rather bored now. As for the yard, few would even go there. The reason was simple: scouts who had entered there already knew what was there.
The yard was only a place that Zhou Bao used to practice his martial arts. And people who could sneak out of the yard all had a good cultivation. Therefore, they could notice the Evil Qi under the mine vein. It turned out that the rumors were real. Zhou Bao decided to build his yard there to practice a sort of special technique because an Earth Vein Evil Qi was located there. The refined-iron mine was nothing compared to a powerful special technique for a practitioner!
So Zhou Bao felt rather bored. After a Level Seven expert was killed, Prince Ning finally had made a reaction yesterday. He dispatched an intellectual with guards whose cultivation was less than Level Five. They had come here in a threatening manner, asking to take back the head of the expert who had been killed and demanding an explanation for killing Prince Ning's subordinate. Of course, Zhou Bao did not spare a glance at them and expelled them immediately. But things were weird from his point of view.
It did not seem like Prince Ning's normal way of doing things!
"He only dispatched a few subordinates here. And they merely spoke a few threatening words. They left here without even fighting. What did Prince Ning want? Was he showing his white feather? Or did he have other intentions?"
Among the sons of the Jin Emperor, Zhou Bao was most familiar with Prince Ning. And he was also most afraid of Prince Ning. Obviously, Zhou Bao would not believe that Prince Ning would let it go just like that after losing his face in a humiliating manner because this prince was always famous for his bloody and iron conduct.
That was impossible. Even if Zhou Bao was not familiar with Prince Ning, he would not be so silly to believe that Prince Ning would just let it go.
Since he would not let it go but, instead, did an eccentric thing, the only explanation was that Prince Ning had concocted a scheme for Zhou Bao.
"Things are so troublesome, really freaking troublesome. As Royal Highness, why on earth do you come to the north and find fault with me? Can't you stay in the Central Plains to enjoy an easy life?" Zhou Bao cursed Prince Ning in his mind. "The north is bitterly cold, it is not suitable for a prince to live here. He even bought some territories here. What does he want to do? Could it be that he plans to do business here?!"
Zhou Bao recalled his talk with the Level Seven expert whom he had met on the Blacktail Plain, then he thought about Prince Ning's recent eccentric behavior, but he could not figure out what Prince Ning wanted.
Since he could not figure it out, Zhou Bao decided to ignore his doubts. And it did not take long for him to be drawn by another matter, which was practicing.
Of course, he was not focused on his own body's practice. He was actually focusing on the Green-scaled Poisonous Scorpion's practice. Controlled by his thoughts, the Green-scaled Poisonous Scorpion had become his puppet. In addition to the Demonic Cultivation Technique that he had gotten from Green Spirit, its strength had improved dramatically. If nothing else, the poisonous needle on its tail was now unimaginably powerful and indestructible!
It was indeed unimaginably powerful and indestructible. It would also take him a while to deal with the tail if he used his Pure Yang Celestial Device, the Golden Flame Mirror.
The Golden Flame Mirror was a multifunctional celestial device that combined offense and defense together. It had different functions, including a golden light that had a powerful attack and a constraint force that was used to attack Black Demon Chama; Green Lotus that could block out the four holy mountains when faced with the Octupole Exquisite Pagoda; and the mysterious flame that removed Yan Fei's spiritual brand from the Octupole Exquisite Pagoda.
As a matter of fact, if nothing else, Zhou Bao was quite sure that the Golden Flame Mirror's golden light could be offensive and defensive at the same time.
However, after some experiments, he found that no matter if it was the Golden Flame Mirror's golden light or the cyan scattered light of the Innate Green Lotus Flame, none of them could stop the Green-scaled Poisonous Scorpion's stinger from thrusting in. The stinger could stab into the Golden Flame Mirror's body more than one inch, and it almost injured the Golden Flame Mirror's pneuma. For now, the Green Spirit Scorpion Sting had merely reached the Basic Level. Even he could not imagine what kind of power it could have when it reached the Advanced Level.
Only then did Zhou Bao realize that the evil beast's Natal Power might also be more powerful than a human practitioner's celestial device.
Zhou Bao was upset about the fact that the Golden Flame Mirror was deeply injured by the stinger. Although the device was still powerful, it already had a weak point. So, he had no choice but to use Natal Qi to cultivate the Golden Flame Mirror. It took half a month to repair the Pure Yang Celestial Device. During this period, there were three times that he almost reached Level Eight. But with great effort, he managed to suppress the intense impulse, which still left him annoyed now.
After finishing half a month of closed-door training, the first person Zhou Bao saw when he opened the door was Zhu Ba, who was practicing in the yard. 49 Demon Devil Needles floated around Zhu Ba's body, emitting an extreme cold spirit and scattering in different directions.
Zhou Bao could not help but smile in appreciation, for in his eyes, even though the Demon Devil Needles seemed disordered, they were actually insidious enough.
"Zhu Ba, it seems that you haven't wasted your time during these days. You have improved your understanding of Demon Devil Needles!"