Half a month later, Wu Qi's injuries had fully recovered. Yet, up to this point in time, he still had no idea what mystic tricks had Yan Dan been playing with. What Wu Qi did was merely play the fool with that old devil, Lao Ai, helping Lu Chengfeng avoid owing a favor to Princess Ying Chuan. Then, he too had played a trick on Wei Xiaoxiao and counter-ambushed those men she deployed in assassinating him, while capturing some prisoners.
After that, there came a great purge, as if a fierce thunderstorm was raging through the entire Ji City. It was a true purge, and the level of cruelty had greatly frightened Wu Qi. When he came back from the mine, Lu Chengfeng was struck with wild joy. He told him about what happened during the few days when he was in the mine. Wu Qi could not refrain himself and kept shaking his head while listening to the story, as he was deeply moved by the cruelty of the Imperial Clan.
Out of one hundred Imperial Clans of Great Yan Dynasty, seven Clan Leaders and their direct clan members were slaughtered. Tens of thousands of their associated clan members were punished because of the crime they committed, together with their personal guards and private army, wives, concubines, sons, and daughters. In just one day and one night, nearly five hundred thousand people either had their heads chopped off, sent into exile, or thrown into lifelong imprisonment. It was a miserable situation. All the members from other clans were watching at the happenings with fear, their feet trembling and cold sweats breaking out.
Nevertheless, the name of one hundred Imperial Clans of Great Yan Dynasty was still maintained. All these years Yan Dan had given birth to a few more sons. He selected seven sons among them who possessed extraordinary talents, making them inherit these seven clans. Besides having lesser clan members, the title of one hundred Imperial Clans did not change at all.
Apart from the seven Clan Leaders who had their entire clans purged, several tens of thousands of ministers of various positions were punished as well. For the crime of misconduct in office, neglecting his supervisory duties, incompetence, and a few other negative reviews, Qin Qingshui was forced to resign from his position of Central Wind Guard's Chief Supervisor, and became a man who lived an idle life. The position of Minister of Criminal and Justice had also been taken from Haoying Clan. Among the Nine Ministers and Three Prime Counselors, except for Gao Jianli, who still held on the same post, all the others had been replaced by someone else. The old prestigious members had fallen, while new influential clans rose. Great Yan Dynasty had just completed a bloody transition of power.
The man who personally attended to the great purge of seven Clan Leaders and numerous members of prestige was the Crown Prince himself, Yan Qijun. Allegedly, those seven Clan Leaders were actually having their eyes on the title of Crown Prince, which had made Yan Qijun really angry about them. That was why he wielded the butcher knife and made the entire Ji City flow with streams of blood.
In addition to that, one of the Eight Princes who governed the state affairs, Yan Xianchen, was summoned before Yan Dan and received a stern lecture for a complete six hours. However, he managed to maintain his official post, but his title of nobility was reduced by one rank. Half of his private army was taken away, while half of his fiefs were recalled by Yan Dan as punishment. But Wu Qi felt strange about one thing: Yan Dan did not do anything to Lao Ai, who was hiding in Yan Xianchen's mansion, and he did not hear any news related to him either. He had no idea what plan did Yan Dan have.
Besides from these unfortunate prestigious members, several dozens of the numerous guild halls of various vassal kingdoms in Ji City received a ruthless mass slaughter from the Blood Swallow Army. Numerous civilians who were involved with them were also killed during the purge. Meanwhile, out of all martial clubs and associations in the Mighty Martial Street, about half of them were found colluding with those prestigious members who committed the crime. In a joint force operation between Blood Swallow Army and City Guards, a fierce war broke out in the Mighty Martial Street, which lasted a whole three days and three nights. It resulted in several thousand martial clubs of various sizes being completely wiped out, while half of the street was reduced to shambles.
At the same time, the main force of Great Yan Dynasty, their field army, was deployed under the lead of Yue Yi and a few other generals and captains, getting ready to attack those revolting vassal kingdoms. It would be a war that lasted for a very long period of time, as Great Yan Dynasty occupied a vast piece of land. Even though all other vassal kingdoms who were still loyal to Great Yan Dynasty had joined the forces, the war could never be ended within a short amount of time.
For all of the above, the final and official explanation given out by Great Yan Dynasty was: In conjunction with the Swallow, Scouting Office and Blood Swallow Army, the Marquis of Tianyun, Wu Qi, was assigned to investigate the case of the rebellion of vassal kingdoms and the assassination of Duke of Yan Le, Yan Buji. With the splendid strategy of Wu Qi, along with his bravery in facing the dangerous situation personally, he managed to lure out the mastermind behind the rebellion, the Wei Merchant. He slaughtered every single traitor and all the treacherous criminals, bringing peace back to Great Yan Dynasty.
That was the official explanation. While Wu Qi was still in the dark as to how the Swallow, Scouting Office, and Blood Swallow Army were investigating the case, the merit had fallen onto his head. From 130 cities, his fief had now taken a leap to a total of 300 cities, double of what he originally had. However, proportionate to that, the number of his enemies had suddenly skyrocketed exponentially. At least, among various vassal kingdoms, there were currently millions of people who wished to kill him.
With a sad and sorrowful expression, Wu Qi complained about his misfortune to Lu Chengfeng, expressing how innocent he was in the entire event. It was true that Yan Dan asked him to work together with Jing Ke and Gao Jianli in investigating the assassination of Yan Buji, yet before he could begin with the investigation, a heaven shaking and groundbreaking result was presented before his face. On top of that, all the credits were now falling onto his head. He had a feeling that he had become the bait cast by Yan Dan once again, and he had no idea who the prey that Yan Dan was trying to entice was.
It was a bad feeling for him, an extremely bad feeling.
Therefore, after making sure the management rights to the ore vein that could produce Spatial Breaching Spirit Gold were officially handed over to Lu Chengfeng, Wu Qi began to impatiently urge Lu Chengfeng to set out. He prepared to commence the plan which both of them had been planning for long: helping Tie Clan break away from the Lu Kingdom and became an independent power by themselves while splitting the Gao Ling Kingdom together with the Lu Kingdom and the Li Shan Kingdom. At the same time, Wu Qi planned to pay a visit to Meng Mountains. He wanted to find himself a spirit vein within a secret and beautiful place, constructing an Immortal's Cave which served as one of his hiding holes.
While Lu Chengfeng brought some men and began the preparation, summoning Princess Ying Chuan and the emissary of Li Shan Kingdom to meet him, Wu Qi brought some men and rushed to the Garden of Zhang Le. During the battle of the city gate, Princess Zhang Le had suffered quite a serious injury, especially when she was forcefully impacted by the dark skeleton transformed from the fiend. It had left her with a pretty nasty injury. After busying himself for so many days, he had to pay a visit to her.
However, it seemed that her injury was quite bad, as she had been in a secluded cultivation, trying to heal herself. With their faces filled with distressed expressions, Bai Zhu'er and Bai Zu'er had barred off Wu Qi several times from visiting the princess. Left with no alternatives, Wu Qi requested both girls to send his regards to Princess Zhang Le, and only then did he make his return to Duke Yan Le's Mansion.
The night before they departed, Wu Qi secretly produced three Minor Universal Teleportation Arrays of small size, which at most could teleport ten men at one time. He placed one at the bottom of the lake in the back garden of Duke Yan Le's Mansion, one at the sewer right outside of Duke Yan Le's Mansion, and one in an unoccupied civilian house somewhere remote in the Ji City.
The original owner of this house was a spy deployed by a vassal kingdom who participated in the rebellion, and had had his entire family slaughtered during the purge. The house was confiscated and nationalized by Great Yan Dynasty, and was quickly auctioned off by the official. Without facing any issue, Wu Qi had bought it over, and shoved one of the arrays deep under a dried well at the backyard of the house.
After all the preparations were done, early morning the next day, Wu Qi and his company came to the Imperial Palace of Great Yan Dynasty.
Wu Qi, Lu Chengfeng, together with Luo Kedi, Ma Liang, Meng Xiaobai, Zhang Hu, Hu Wei, and a few other loyal members were accompanied by Princess Ying Chuan and her retinues, along with the emissary of the Li Shan Kingdom who had his face filled with joy. The group of over one thousand people came to a barbican located in the southwest of the Imperial Palace.
The so-called barbican was actually a city within the city. It was a square-shaped city that was built at the corner of Imperial City, fully enclosed within a tall wall, one thousand feet in both width and length. The wall was entirely cast using metal, with countless powerful maps of defensive mechanisms engraved deeply on its surface. Throughout the year, more than ten Human Immortals of Gold Core Realm were stationed in this city. On top of that, nearly one hundred lofty archery towers were scatteredly erected near the perimeter of the city, while several thousand ballistae and Mo Machines provided a tight security to the entire place.
Yet, all these were just the defensive forces that one could see on the outside. While standing before the entrance of the barbican, Wu Qi could sense an extremely powerful energy reaction coming from under the barbican. He reckoned there must be a self-destructing formation constructed underneath it, and was piled up with a great amount of Fire element energy stones. Once the defensive mechanisms at the outer perimeter were breached, and when this formation was activated, unless it was an existence of Heaven Immortal, no one would be able to survive the massive explosion.
The floor in the barbican was paved with neatly hewed jade slabs. On top of the floor was a complicated formation, several hundred feet in diameter. Couple dozens of jade slabs, the size of water urn, were seen hovering on top of it. These jade slabs were engraved with complicated lines and patterns as well, with many energy stones socketed on top of these lines and patterns, glinting with a dazzling glow.
As Lu Chengfeng claimed that he was traveling to the Lu Kingdom for attending an official mission of West Supervisor Court, the energy stones used to activate the teleportation formation of Great Yan Dynasty were paid by the national treasury. If not because of that excuse, the cost of transporting over one thousand men to the Lu Kingdom would be enough to send the entire Lu Kingdom to bankruptcy, or completely deplete all of Lu Chengfeng's current wealth. Currently, many Imperial Eunuchs were seen carrying bags of energy stones, carefully and meticulously inserting them into the sockets found in the formation. A few Human Immortals were walking around and inspecting the formation, unleashing finger incantations from time to time and making sure the formation was in a stable state.
While Wu Qi was watching how those Imperial Eunuchs were working, Princess Ying Chuan came beside him, bringing together a fragrant scent that caressed his face. With both her arms gently wrapped around Wu Qi's left arm, her face blushed with an ambiguous smile. She giggled and said with a soft voice, "Marquis Tianyun, you're such an incredible man! Do you know that the entire Great Yan Dynasty was stirred into a mess by you alone? What exactly is going on? In the past few days, many people were killed, and the place is filled with a pungent smell of blood!"
Wu Qi turned his head and looked at Princess Ying Chuan, suddenly gave a smile and said, "Doesn't Princess knows the detail about the event?"
Princess Ying Chuan returned a sad gaze, sighed lightly and said, "Ying Chuan is just the daughter of a mere monarch of Lu Kingdom. What makes me a significant person in Ji City to know everything?"
Wu Qi gave her a deep glance. He spread both arms and forced out a bitter smile while saying, "Actually, besides from what happened at Shi Martial Club, which happened after I received some intelligence mentioning that Shi Tianmo was connected to the case of Duke Buji's assassination, I've no idea about all the other matters. Hmm, Wu Qi is merely a spear, wielded in the hands of His Majesty and Gao Jianli to scare some people. And honestly, I too am in the dark about the root cause of all the recent happenings."
With a wondering look in her eyes, Princess Ying Chuan said again gently, "That day, His Majesty brought his men out of the blue and visited Wei Merchant. Upon his arrival, the Wei Merchan suddenly activated their formation and entrapped His Majesty. Could Marquis Tianyun not know anything about this event? What is the reason for His Majesty to have paid a visit at Wei Merchant, and for what..."
Suddenly, Wu Qi interrupted Princess Ying Chuan. Keeping his composure, he pulled his arm out from her breast, chuckled with a low voice and said, "Auntie Ying Chuan, Wu Qi, and Marquis Liu Suifeng are good friends." He took a few steps back, not paying any more attention to Princess Ying Chuan, who was still trying to play the coquette. Vaguely, he saw the shadow of Lao Ai behind Princess Ying Chuan. Perhaps this great man of evil had sensed that things had now gone out of his control, and was trying to probe some answers out of Wu Qi?
It looked like Wu Qi's sudden assault at Shi Martial Club had greatly shaken Lao Ai. However, even Wu Qi himself was confused by the current situation, as he totally had no idea what Yan Dan, Gao Jianli, and their brothers had learned, what they had done, and what Wu Qi could say as of now. Since he was in confusion, it seemed that keeping a vague attitude was the best option for Wu Qi right now.
Suddenly, the formation emitted a dazzling glow. A crystal clear ringing was heard coming out from twelve jade slabs placed in the center.
A Human Immortal cried out loud, "It is ready! All of you can now be transported!"