When Princess Zhang Le made her return to Imperial Palace last night, as she just had a quarrel with Xiong Qing, her mood was cast with gloom, and it made her throw her head back and let out a long cry into the sky. As a result, a rainstorm that lasted for one whole night hit the area of over one hundred miles across Ji City. Early in the morning, it might be because she had recovered her cheerful mood, the rain clouds dispersed and the rain stopped, and there was a bright red glow coming from the eastern sky. It was another day with a fine weather.
The wind and rain during the night had washed and cleaned the entire Ji City, and the air was now filled with a refreshing water vapor. Facing eastwards, Wu Qi was standing on a rooftop, regulating his breath and circulating his energy. He had a great mood, as he felt every single cell in his body was cheering and dancing joyfully. The innate energies of Earth, Wood, Fire, and Water were flowing and rushing endlessly within the meridians in both of his arms. The heaviness of Earth, the vigor of Wood, the warmth of Fire, the softness of Water, four different kinds of marvelous feelings kept rolling and rocking within his body. Vaguely, there was a gleam of four colors in his eyes, and his entire body was filled with powerful strength, subtle yet explosive.
It had been one month since he obtained the three innate spirit objects from Dustless Lamp. As he had his foundation properly established with the Source of Water Chapter, and because he had formed two Gold Cores of Water element in his water meridians, the cultivation of Source of Earth, Fire, and Wood Chapter was advancing at a tremendous pace. Each day, he would see himself making a great leap. Currently, all these three cultivation techniques had reached the tier of Meridian Cultivation, and all the meridians in his body had been meticulously tempered by innate energies of three elements for over a hundred times. The strength and toughness of Wu Qi's meridians had almost reached the level of Earth Immortals of Nascent Soul realm.
Right now, he was standing aloof on the rooftop, facing the eastern sky and absorbing the first thread of innate purple energy of morning glow, which was produced by the Heaven and Earth every morning. Airflow was rocking around Wu Qi's body, and it seemed like his body was afloat and about to soar up into the sky. After an entire fifteen minutes had passed, when the morning sun finally leaped from the eastern horizon, casting its vast red glow and bringing the first light to the world, Wu Qi slowly stopped cultivating. Three wisps of white gas shot out from his nostrils and mouth, reaching a distance of over ten feet before they gradually vanished into thin air.
A noise was heard coming from the roof tile beside him. It was Lu Chengfeng, as he too leaped up onto the rooftop. Hastily, he faced the eastern sky and proceeded with a round of exhaling and inhaling. Only then did he brought his hand up and rubbed his drowsy eyes. He breathed out a long sigh and said, "In the future, it will be better for us to not let Xiong Qing and Princess Zhang Le meet each other. That reckless fellow knows no control of his words, and he could offend someone easily. Yesterday, if not because you were holding back Princess Zhang Le, she might have really killed him!"
Wu Qi stretched his body, sent out his divine sense and looked into his storage ring. He saw numerous upper tier energy stones of various colors that were piled up into a small hill in it. Then, with an indifferent manner he said, "Don't worry, that will not happen. Although Princess Zhang Le looks fierce on the outside, her heart is soft. She might say she wanted to kill him, but as a matter of fact, she won't do it. She knows Xiong Qing and his brothers are just a group of fools who have no brain. How would she be mad at them?"
His storage ring was now fully packed with upper tier energy stones of Gold, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth elements. Some of them were extracted from the energy stone mines found in Lu Chengfeng's fief, some of them were the tribute paid to him by 130 cities in Huai Yang region, his own fief; and others were secretly given to him by Princess Zhang Le. She knew Wu Qi was cultivating with the Qi Circulating Technique of Five Elements, and fearing that his progress would be too slow, she kept bringing Wu Qi a lot of energy stones of five elements.
'The toughest favor for a man to accept is from a beauty!' Wu Qi thought inwardly. Using his divine sense, Wu Qi kept surveyed the different colored energy stones in his storage ring, his mind troubled with happiness. He had made up his mind. If next time, Xiong Qing talked foolishly again after he was drunk, such as asking Wu Qi and Princess Zhang Le to quickly have sex and give birth to a baby, he would definitely find an iron pole personally, and teach this Xiong Qing how it felt when the butt got severely smote!
'You can say such thing to me on the side, but why should you talk foolishly in front of Princess Zhan? She is a very bashful young girl, and you are such a foolish bear demon. Aren't you just looking for trouble?' Wu Qi shook his head, as he thought of Xiong Qing and his brothers, who had their skin charred and flesh burned by the violent thunderbolts last night.
Lu Chengfeng too was stretching his back. He looked into the sky as a flock of birds flew past them, smiled and said, "You might be right. Princess Zhang Le does know who Xiong Qing and his brothers really are, and she will not do anything serious to them. No matter what, Xiong Qing and his brothers are the Imperial Sinecures that His Majesty personally bestowed. Thus they are not afraid that Princess Zhang Le will really chop off their head. And as their skin is thick and their muscles are tough, suffering from some burns will not really hurt them."
While both of them were discussing the situation last night where Xiong Qing made Princess Zhang Le flew into a rage with his words, at the backyard underneath them came the noises of Xiong Qing and his brothers, as they had begun their morning exercise. Twelve demon bears who stood twenty to thirty feet tall, their entire bodies clad in a dark green scales and black hairs, were gnashing their teeth and rubbing their fists, slamming and punching each other. The beautiful garden was now in a havoc. Trees and flowers were destroyed and sent flying all over the place, and the ground was shaking violently. The morning exercise of these boorish bear brothers was like a fierce battle with their deadliest enemy, with them exerting full force in every strike. It made Wu Qi's eyes twitch upon looking.
A loud boom rang out. The youngest brother of Xiong Qing, Xiong Bubao, let out a miserable howl as he was slapped flying away nearly one thousand feet by the joint attack from three of his elder brothers. He was seen throwing out a mouthful of blood. Lu Chengfeng's body trembled as he saw what happened. He jumped off the rooftop subconsciously, spun and left in a flurry. This group of boorish brothers had once again entered into a berserk stage, and it made them attack with full force without caring who was the opponent. There were a few times they nearly killed Lu Chengfeng, and since then, he dared not to come closer to them when they were having a morning exercise.
Wu Qi shuddered upon looking at the miserable condition of Xiong Bubao, and without the slightest hesitation, he too spun and ran in a flurry. While catching up Lu Chengfeng from behind, he said with a loud voice, "Regarding the fight of ownership for the gold mine in the upper reaches of Chang Lang River between the Gao Ling Kingdom and the Li Shan Kingdom, the West Supervisor Court has to come out with a judgment today. Should the gold mine be given to the Gao Ling Kingdom or the Li Shan Kingdom, or split equally between them? We have to come out with a solution as soon as possible. The armies of three hundred thousand soldiers from both kingdoms are now facing out on the both sides of the river, and the war is going to break out soon!"
Lu Chengfeng halted, his brows knitted into a tight frown. Shoulder to shoulder, both men walked toward the entrance while discussing the solution to this matter.
As the West Supervisor of Great Yan Dynasty, Lu Chengfeng was in charge of supervising the national affairs and as the mediator for all thirty-seven vassal kingdoms on the westward of Great Yan. When there was a conflict between two kingdoms, fighting for all sorts of resources and mines, it would have to be handled by the Supervisor Court. However, such conflict usually involved a tremendous interest, and the parties of the conflict were not two individuals, but two vassal kingdoms who owned powerful strength. If it were not handled properly, it would be a huge problem.
Talking and discussing all the way, both Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng felt an ache in their heads. This case of fighting for a gold mine between two kingdoms was submitted to them two weeks ago. However, the information contained in the submission was ambiguous and vague, as it didn't mention that the woods in the upper reaches of Chang Lang River belonged to which kingdom. It was a protracted and bitter dispute, how should Lu Chengfeng come out with a judgment easily?
The discussion went out for a little while, until they approached the main entrance of Duke Yan Le's Mansion. Wu Qi breathed out a long sigh, spread his arms, sneered and said, "Well, I've got a better idea. Aren't both of them deploying a combined army of three hundred thousand soldiers? Just let their armies fight among each other. Let the war come to a stop after three days, then according to the number of surviving soldiers, we will divide the profit of the gold mine for them. It is a fair and reasonable business."
The extremely irresponsible solution of Wu Qi nearly made Lu Chengfeng trip his own feet. He glared at Wu Qi furiously from the corner of his eyes, then scolded with a low voice, "Do you fear that His Majesty will not find any flaws in my task? Your idea is not going to work, under no circumstances will I approve it."
Wu Qi shrugged, shaking his head disapprovingly. As Lu Chengfeng mentioned about Yan Dan, Wu Qi felt something was strange. Over a month ago, Yan Dan and his brothers had indeed entered the process of breaking their Gold Core and forming Nascent Soul, and these days, Yan Dan had already started attending the Imperial Council. However, no news was heard regarding them forming their Nascent Soul. Could they be intentionally hiding the news? Although Wu Qi felt puzzled by this, he was not stupid enough to ask about it everywhere. He had hidden his question in his mind, waiting quietly and patiently for anything that Yan Dan and his brothers were going to do.
When Princess Zhang Le formed her Gold Core, a grand celebration was held. This time, so many men formed their Nascent Soul at the same time, but surprisingly, no news was heard. It was really strange.
Bearing the question in his mind, Wu Qi walked through the main entrance of Duke Yan Le's Mansion. At that time, he happened to see a long row of pitch-black coaches riding quickly toward his direction on the main street in front of the mansion. Along the way, the coachman shouted and ordered a few parades of ministers, who were on their way to their office, to stand back. While sending off an arrogant and unbridled air, the coaches came straight to the main entrance.
Although those ministers were being hooted and forced to bring their guards to the side of the street, it seemed they had recognized the owner of these coaches. Their face was filled with anger as they moved further away from the street, while a few of them kept peering towards Duke Yan Le's Mansion, pointing their fingers and talking about something.
Looking at the approaching coaches, Wu Qi let out a mild cough. From behind him Zhang Hu and Hu Wei came, leading a team of guards and came barring in front of the coaches. Luo Kedi and Ma Liang were guarding on both side of Lu Chengfeng, then the former cried out sternly, "Who are you? Halt your coaches at once. This is Duke Yan Le's Mansion, not a place you can intrude!"
The parade of coaches was rude and unreasonable. Although Zhang Hu and many guards were barring in front of them, they pretended that they couldn't stop the coaches and kept on pressing forwards, forcing Zhang Hu and his men to back off to the stairs in front of the entrance. Four Crocottas in front of the first coach kept riding forward, until their hooves stepped onto the stairs of Duke Yan Le's Mansion. Only then did they stop marching forward, panting and snorting.
Wu Qi's eyes went wide. A shivering gleam flashed from his waist as he drew out the Sword of Greedy Wolf and was about to swing it. But Lu Chengfeng took a few steps forward, glaring at the coach that almost charged up to the top of the stair and snapped, "Your behavior is rather overbearing and unbridled. Riding your coach and charging straight to my mansion, what do you want?"
Suddenly, the door of the coaches opened up and a couple dozens of black-armor guards came out from them. From a coach in the middle of the parade, a red carpet was seen rolling out and spread on the ground. An old man with a large head and big ears, clad in a golden Imperial outfit and holding a silver walking stick, came slowly down from the coach and walked on the carpet. The old man lifted his head and looked at Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng, then coughed, waved his hand and tossed a wooden box nearly one foot in both width and length to Lu Chengfeng.
Lu Chengfeng moved his body and dodged the black wooden box.
Wu Qi took a step forward and caught the wooden box. Without hesitation, he opened it. Its insides were padded with a white silk cloth, and a human head, having a pink skin complexion as if it was still alive, was neatly placed within. Judging from the face of the head, it belonged to a young man in his twenties. The face was handsome, a perfect appearance for a toy boy. However, when such a good-looking face was placed inside a wooden box, it was giving out a bizarre air.
Wu Qi's face darkened. He stared at the fat old man and cried out furiously, "You have brought us a dead human head in the early morning. Are you trying to bring misfortune to us?"
The fat old man coughed again, then he gazed at Wu Qi with a manner of utmost arrogance, and said with an indifferent voice, "Oh, Marquis Tian Yun. Hmph, until now, no one in Ji City knows why His Majesty suddenly bestowed you with a title of nobility, a young kid whose name is unknown here! However, as many said that Marquis Tian Yun is a man with peerless fortune, judging from what I see today, they are right enough."
He sneered, then continued saying with a deep voice, "This is the head of Taba Muxiang, the head of my nephew."
With a strange expression, the old man gave Lu Chengfeng a glance, then continued, "Please do me a favor, Duke Yan Le. Tell that mad dog, Qin Qingshui, that the death of Buji, the Duke of Yan Le, has nothing to do with me. Ask him not to trouble me again. For the sake of letting Taba Muxiang inherit the official post left behind by Duke Yan Le, my eldest son, Taba Qingye, was killed. If Qin Qingshui still wants to trouble me, then don't blame me for fighting all out with him!"
Taba Muxiang? Taba Qingye? Suddenly, Wu Qi knew who this old man was.