A light snowfall had just happened over Ji City, blanketing both inside and outside of the city, and the fertile land several tens of thousands of miles around it with a thin sheet of white snow. Wisps of smoke rose continuously from the chimneys in countless towns and cities. The faint smoke twisted and mixed with the cold breeze and fog in the air, like a huge veil that made the sky look gray, and prevented the sunlight from reaching the ground. The biting breeze of the early winter blew across the wilderness, whistling as if millions upon millions of foul ghosts were howling everywhere. From time to time, large sheets of snowflakes were brought up by the breeze, whirling and sweeping across the land.
One thousand five hundred miles to the west of the city, inside peach woods covered by a thin layer of snowflakes, a tiny dot of black light suddenly shot out from midair. In a blink of an eye, the black dot expanded and turned into a black ball with the diameter of nearly one hundred feet. Tiny electric arcs leaped and burst from the black light ball, hitting the ground and sending dirt and tiny rocks flying everywhere, while creating deep holes of various sizes one after another. The air was filled with nearly inaudible noises of explosion. After hovering in midair for less than two seconds, the black light ball suddenly vanished into thin air.
From the vanished black light ball, a few middle-aged men, clad in luxurious robes and surrounded by a dozen cultivators whose faces were beaming with energy, made their appearance. Upon their arrival, they ran their eyes in the surroundings. One of the men took out a map, then casually unleashed a stream of bright light and sent into it. In an instant, a large sheet of bright glow surged out from the map, showing the landscape of the Ji City and the surrounding land of tens of thousands of miles. There was a tiny golden dot blinking somewhere on the map, which was this group of the men's current position.
"This 'Ten Thousand Miles Shooting Stars Talisman' found by Patriarch in an Immortal's Cave is indeed an ingenious object. We were millions of miles away, yet it actually transported us straightway into the territory of Great Yan, although there is a deviation of about one thousand miles from where we were supposed to arrive. But that is all because our cultivation base is insufficient to make it precise." said the middle-aged man with a pleased smile, holding the map in his hand. Then, he continued, "If it were Patriarch himself who used this talisman personally, I'm sure he could reach right in front of Ji City's gate, without any deviation or whatsoever."
Another middle-aged man was seen holding a translucent, pale-golden talisman which appeared to be made from some strange materials, and kept bursting out with tiny sparks. He placed the talisman into his storage ring with the utmost seriousness and care. After that, he nodded with a smile and said, "I've no doubt about that. Patriarch has encountered another Immortal's fate, and perhaps this time, he will have the opportunity to form his Nascent Divinity. Once Patriarch has his cultivation base take the leap, we would have no fear of anybody in this part of the world!"
All of the middle-aged men laughed joyfully together. Then, together with the group of cultivators standing behind them, they rode on their sword beams and began flying towards Ji City. They flew at an incredible speed, and after slightly over one thousand miles into their journey, they jumped off and walked towards Ji City. As all of these men were either Earth Immortals of Nascent Soul realm or Human Immortals of peak-stage Gold Core realm, even though they were walking, their speed was still incredibly fast. Usually, they could travel over several thousand feet with just one step. Not long after that, they had arrived before Ji City's gate.
As they were all luxuriously clad, and their bearings were extraordinary and lofty, those City Guards did not give them too much trouble and simply allowed them into the city. Wearing a reserved smile, the group of men rented a few luxurious coaches near the city gate, then using a very loud voice, they gave the order, "Bring us to Wei Merchant in the Street of Wealth and Honor. It is in Middle District One."
The few coachmen answered with an even louder, sonorous voice, waved their whips in the air and produced a few loud whipping noises, driving the coaches towards Middle District One. To reach their destination from the outermost city gate, there was a distance of over one hundred miles to cover. Although the roads in Ji City were wide and the beasts that used to pull the coaches were running pretty fast, it would take somewhere from four to six hours to arrive.
Right after the few coaches left the door of the coach-renting shop, a dozen of barely visible dark shadows had already sprinted out from behind the shop, rushing quickly towards different locations in Ji City. At the same time, a couple dozens of Golden-Wings Swallows, tiny but incredibly fast, suddenly soared up soundlessly from several civilian's houses in the surroundings, flying at a high-speed towards the Scouting Office, Swallows, Criminal and Justice Court, and a few other offices of Ji City's law enforcement.
The coaches went on and on, and behind them, city gates were shut one after another. Troops of City Guard soldiers ran up to the top of the city wall, activating all kinds of powerful offensive weapons such as ballistae and crossbows, while all the bolts and arrows were glinting with bright lights unique to runes and energy stones. These formidable weapons possessed the power that could harm cultivators, and were all leather weapons produced by expert craftsmen from Mo Sect. If a Gold Core Human Immortal were hit by even just one bolt or arrow, they would be instantly killed.
High up in the sky, the numbers of Sky Patrolling Eagle Guards who were on routine patrol had also increased gradually. Usually, a team of them would be watching three to five neighborhoods, but now, every neighborhood was being watched over by two teams of Sky Patrolling Eagle Guards.
On every commanding height in the city, the bright glow of all kinds of colors could be seen, as they were now occupied by numerous beast warriors from Scouting Office, putting up high vigilance on these important places. In addition to that, in every streets and alley that those few coaches went by, the number of tradesmen, vendors, and pedestrians also increased. Using various excuses that no one could find any error with, they roamed the streets while laughing and joking with each other. A giant, invisible web had completely netted these few coaches.
When the sky was getting dark, the few coaches finally arrived before the brightly lit main entrance of Wei Merchant. It had been washed and cleaned up completely, looking exactly like when Wei Xiaoxiao was still here. Guards clad in Wei Merchant's uniform were still standing before the entrance, and there were still doormen and coachmen awaiting near the entrance. A herd of couple dozens of gallant horses was tied on the hitching posts at the vicinity of the entrance, kicking their hooves and snorting impatiently. A few coachmen were seen comforting them from the side.
There were a dozen extraordinarily luxurious coaches parked before the main entrance. Apparently, the place was visited by some prestigious guests.
Tunes played using carillon could be vaguely heard coming from inside of the mansion, graceful and beautiful like the heavenly melody, very pleasing to the ears. The few middle-aged men left the coaches, then casually tossed out a few thumb-sized Sea Pearls, each costing almost one hundred gold coins, to the few coachmen who brought them here, serving as the fees. After that, they held up their heads and threw out their chests, going straight into the mansion while being surrounded by the group of cultivators. Hanging down on the side of their waists was a purple-gold token which only the core members of Wei Merchant could possess, a symbol representing that these men had the same status as Wei Xiaoxiao. Looking at these group of men, the servants and guards standing at the entrance dared not to neglect, hurried up and brought them in with the greatest manners.
The few coachmen who brought them here fiddled the costly Sea Pearls in their hands, then a cold smile emerged on their faces as they shouted at the few middle-aged men, "Thank you for the heavy gifts, Masters! We pray that Masters can live a peaceful life, bestowed with wealth and honor for generations, served by hundreds of children and thousands of grandchildren, showered with fortune and a long life!" Amidst the long, sonorous blessing cries, the few coachmen drove the coaches and went away slowly from Wei Merchant's mansion. The door then shut, as over three hundred Gold Core cultivators came with hurried but soundless steps. With the quickest speed, they placed one after another premade formation disks on the ground, and in a blink of an eye, three layers of formations had been deployed around the entire Wei Merchant's mansion.
The common civilians who lived in the surrounding few streets had long been evacuated. The open area in these houses was now fully covered with all kinds of formation disks, while a great deal of Gold Core and Nascent Soul cultivators were running busily and nervously around them, connecting them together and forming a complete, grand formation. The function of all the formations was of trapping and restraining, and there weren't any offensive formations that could be found.
The few middle-aged men strode straight to the main hall of the mansion, which was usually used to receive guests. When they were about tens of feet away, one of the men gave a loud laugh and said, "Xiaoxiao, father is here to see you. Haha, you've done your work here really well! Patriarch himself had even given you words of praise before me. I am really proud of you!"
The music in the hall did not stop, nor did he hear any reply from Wei Xiaoxiao. The group of men brought their men and entered the hall, but what they saw shocked them.
Apart from a group of nearly one hundred musicians who were playing music, man was sitting loftily in the center of the hall - Yan Dan, and beside him sat another middle-aged man. The middle-aged man was clad in a long moon-white robe under a mandarin jacket, and mounted with a tall crown above his brows. His facial complexion was clear as jade, and his bearing elegant. A brief smile was on his face while he and Yan Dan were chatting.
When the men from Wei Clan walked into the hall, they happened to hear that middle-aged man speaking to Yan Dan, in a warm and gentle voice, clear from any impurities, "Princess Zhang Le has reached the age of getting married. If we allow her to roam freely every day outside, that will only bring harm to the reputation of Great Yan's Imperial Clan. It is especially true when she followed Marquis Tianyun and went to Shi Martial Club, a place only uneducated and uncivilized people go to. Their behavior had brought shame to Your Majesty, and all the members of Imperial Clans! How could the princess of Great Yan be so irresponsible and unruly?"
He sighed lightly, then picked up a bronze wine glass and tossed it off. Then, he continued in an indifferent voice, "I think, it is better to find a worthy man among the members of Imperial Court, and let Princess Zhang Le marry him. We should confirm her married status first, then cut off her connection with some unruly, lawless, uneducated, and uncivilized men, so that she can never do something that might embarrass Great Yan Dynasty in the future."
Yan Dan frowned, clasped hands at the man and said, "I agree with you, Chief Editor. But among all the offspring of the Imperial Court members, who is the worthy man?"
Yu Wende, the Chief Editor of Great Yan Dynasty, a man who had a great influence among all the civil ministers, and was also the birth father of Yu Qianqian, chuckled and said, "That will have to depend on Your Majesty's decision. We, the Great Yan, have so many members of Imperial Court. Let me name a few of them: the youngest grandson of General Yue Yi, who earned the title of Silver Flood Dragon… The fierce tiger from General Qin Wuyang's clan, the Qilin son of General Fan Yuqi, the youngest son of Master Su Qin… Su Muye, the man with the title of Myriad Yin and Yang… These are all worthy and talented young men who could marry Princess Zhang Le."
Yan Dan lightly clapped his hands, nodded and said, "You're absolutely right about them, Chief Editor. I'll give this matter a careful consideration."
Yu Wende did not say anything again. He poured himself a glass full of wine smilingly, raised it up and threw a glance over at the people of Wei Clan, who stood staring blankly, "What a pleasure to have friends come from afar! Wei Clan, oh or should I say, my friends from Lu Clan, the emperor of Great Yan has been expecting your arrival."
Yan Dan rose slowly. A gray and white colored gas was rolling and wheeling rapidly around him, turning into a ball of dense cloud that spun at a high-speed like a Taiji diagram. He looked at the people of Wei Clan, smiled and said, "You must have come from a very far place. Please pardon me for not welcoming you at the gate. I hope old mister Lu Buwei is well?" An airflow of the same two colors, gray and white, was seen whirling quickly in Yan Dan's eyes. A bright, stern and aggressive gleam shone from them, sending out a tremendous pressure that pressed against the bodies of the guests, preventing them from moving.
Yan Dan had been trapped at peak-stage of Gold Core realm for over two thousand years, and as the Reincarnation Technique of Nine-death and Nine-resurrection cultivated by him was a truly magical technique, the core energies accumulated by him was simply enormous. After he heard the provocative words of Wu Qi, he was finally able to break through the bottleneck and step into the realm of Nascent Soul. Thus, like a tidal wave that crumbled the mountains, those core energies simply pushed his cultivation base straight up to peak-stage of Nascent Soul realm.
On top of that, as the Reincarnation Technique of Nine-death and Nine-resurrection focused on tempering one's Nascent Divinity, Yan Dan's divine sense had become incredibly dense. When the pressure was being released, the people of Wei Clan felt like their chests were pressed by some huge rocks, causing them to not be able to move or breathe properly. Even the few Earth Immortals of Nascent Soul souls that followed them here felt the same.
Wei Xiaoxiao's father cried out madly, "Yan Dan, how do you know our Patriarch's name?"
An indifferent smile emerged on Yan Dan's face. He shook his head, sighed and said, "Not everyone under the heaven can keep their mouth shut, and the few senior stewards of your Wei Merchant in Ji City are also not someone that would take death calmly. When I, Yan Dan, wish to know something, do you think I will fail?"
Then, he sneered, with strange gleams whirling in his eyes. Staring at the people of Wei Clan, he snapped, "Since you're here today, then just stay down!"
The gray and white airflow around him suddenly rolled violently, transforming into an over one hundred feet tall huge hand and grabbed towards the people of Wei Clan with a biting coldness.
Suddenly an Earth Immortal of Wei Clan took a step forward. Blood shot out from his seven apertures as he cried out, "Retreat quickly, young master! Your old servant, me, will sacrifice my life and stop this evil being! I hope young master can treat my offspring well. Your old servant thanks you for everything!" Then blinding golden light began shooting out from his body. This Earth Immortal actually ignited his own Nascent Soul! An enormous force burst out from his body and transformed into a jet of dazzling flame that shot right into Yan Dan's face.
Yan Dan's giant hand was shattered by it, and his divine sense and the pressure unleashed by him were also shaken by the flame. Taking the opportunity, the people of Wei Clan moved back. But suddenly, countless bright beams thrust out from every direction around them, as the several layers of trapping formations were finally activated!