Yue Xu raised the spear up, pointed it at Wu Qi's face and shouted, "Wu Qi, you son of a b*tch, who allowed you to hurt my beloved son? For the past few days, you've been hiding in Duke Yan Le's Mansion, and you were lucky that as it is not convenient for me to find you there. But since you have the guts to swagger through the streets today, I'll never let you off so easily!"
Blood splashed around as Yue Xu swung the spear down, then he continued roaring out furiously, "You shall face your death today!"
Meng Xiaobai and a few of his fellow villagers sprung forward and quickly carried Luo Kedi up. There was a bowl-sized hole in his left chest, while wisps of flame were seen dancing and darting out from the wound, sending forth a pungent scorching smell. Luo Kedi had lost his consciousness, and his body leaned motionlessly on Meng Xiaobai's chest. Only the subtle movements on his chest showed the sign that he was still alive.
Wu Qi fixed his eyes on Yue Xu, who came with an extremely arrogant and overbearing manner. Then, he turned his eyes to Luo Kedi, who was nearly killed by Yue Xu. He narrowed his eyes, took a deep breath and said in a very cold voice, "General Yue Xu, what did you just say? You want a duel with me? Just because of your useless son, who recklessly attacked me with his spear?"
Yue Xu stared at Wu Qi's face coldly. In his razor-sharp vision hid a rather peculiar and indescribable expression, "Yes! Since you have the guts to hurt my beloved son, you'll have to prepare to face your death! You are the son of a b*tch who was raised and taught by pigs and dogs! Who gave you the audacity to touch my son? You are courting death!"
Wu Qi tilted his head and rested his eyes on Yue Xu's face for a moment. Suddenly, he laughed. "You want a duel? Fine! Somebody, bring me a writing brush and ink!"
At night on the same day. The atmosphere in Duke Yan Le's Mansion was stern and heavy. Wu Qi, Lu Chengfeng, and Princess Zhang Le were sitting on their knees facing each other, their expressions grave while no one was talking. Jing Ke was sitting at the end of the hall, drinking wine alone, while he kept murmuring under his breath, as if he was cursing something or someone.
At last, Princess Zhang Le suddenly rose to her feet, stomped angrily and cried out, "Does that old fool Yue Xu know no shame? He is challenging Wu Qi, a mere Daoist of Meridian Cultivating tier in Xiantian realm, with his cultivation base of peak-stage Gold Core realm? Why doesn't he just get his father, Yue Yi, to challenge Wu Qi himself? I don't care, I'll go and kill that old fool now. Ask Yue Yi to come talk to me afterward!"
Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled within an area of ten miles from Duke Yan Le's Mansion. Fist-sized hailstones were coiled up by a strong wind and slammed messily to the ground. It was now in mid-winter, yet the snow-clad Ji City was showered by hailstorms. Clearly, it was Princess Zhang Le's contribution, but it also showed how angry she had become. The roofs of countless mansions and houses around Duke Yan Le's Mansion were innocently destroyed, riddled with big and small holes, while many of their servants and maids were injured.
Jing Ke let out a heavy cough. He placed down the wine dipper and said in an indifferent voice, "If Your Highness really kills Yue Xu, it will most likely bring His Majesty into a difficult position, and Wu Qi would not be able to face the public anymore. As a man from Great Yan, if he does not have the courage to draw his sword and answer the challenge after being insulted publicly, could he still be considered a man?"
Taking a deep breath, Jing Ke continued in a cold voice, "Let’s not forget that Wu Qi had agreed to the duel, and one month later in the drill ground of Imperial Palace, he and Yue Xu will fight a death match. A gentleman never goes back on his word. If he had rejected the challenge, it might not be a big deal. But since he had accepted, there is no way he can avoid the fight."
Princess Zhang Le's body was trembling from head to toe with anger. She spun and gave Jing Ke a fierce glare, then turned to Wu Qi and shouted at him furiously, "Why are you so stupid? Why did you accept the challenge? Although you did injure Yue Xiao, but that is because he tried to attack you first, and grandpa had already scolded him! Why..."
Jing Ke interrupted her, as he said indifferently, "Your Highness, that's enough. Please don't get angry, as that will only mess things up. Great Yan is facing an external threat from Great Qin now, and internally, we still have to deal with so many messy issues. Just a few days ago, we had captured a few core members from Wei Merchant, and His Majesty has many problems that bring him headaches. If Your Highness gives more worries and troubles at this moment, I fear that you might drag yourself into the chaos."
He sighed, turned to Wu Qi and gave him a curious look. "However, I do wish to know one thing. Wu Qi, why did you accept Yue Xu's challenge? The difference between your cultivation base is too vast, and if you rejected his challenge, there was nothing he could do to you." asked Jing Ke.
Wu Qi smiled and replied with a cold voice, "He had hurt my man before my very own face. Under such condition, there is no way I can back off from the challenge. I know I've made a rather impulsive decision. However... what's the wrong with that?!" Suddenly the image of Zhang Yi and Su Qin hovering in midair, facing each other and giving no attention to anything around them flashed through Wu Qi's mind. It was just a challenge from Yue Xu, why should Wu Qi be afraid of him?
'If you want a duel, so be it! I'll have your head bashed and battered, and let you die with everlasting regret!' It would be the best opportunity to deter some people in Ji City, telling them that they should not think of Wu Qi as an easy target. Or else, having a group of Human Immortals who kept plotting secretly on how to kill Wu Qi would be something really annoying.
He gave everyone a cold and emotionless laugh, then continued saying, "Also, as Yue Xu did not respect his own status by insulting Wu Qi's Master and parents, he should not blame me for risking my life just to fight him. Even though he has the cultivation base of peak-stage Gold Core realm, and Wu Qi only possesses the overall strength of Xiantian realm, nevertheless, you ought to know that, there are ways under the heaven which can allow Wu Qi to form my very own Gold Core in just one month."
Princess Zhang Le's eyes went wide in pure terror as she roared angrily, "Are you crazy, Wu Qi? There are indeed mystic techniques which allow one to form one’s Gold Core in a very short amount of time, but almost every person who used such methods had died! Even out of ten thousand men who used that, you'll be very lucky to find one that managed to survive the methods! Y-yo-you, are you really crazy?!"
After a moment of silence, Wu Qi shook his head, sighed and said, "Zi Xuan, it is beyond Wu Qi's capability to resist! That Yue Xu had seriously wounded Luo Kedi before my eyes, nearly crippling him completely. If I refuse to fight with him, how is Duke Yan Le's Mansion going to maintain its dignity in Ji City?"
Amidst the raging wind, a white thunderbolt suddenly streaked by. It was Nie Baihong, shrouding in shivering sword energies as he walked one step at a time into the hall. Wu Qi turned to him and saw a row of deep footprints on the flat floor tiles. He could not help but feel a pain in his heart, wondering why this Master of his always destroyed things around him? All these floor tiles were hand-crafted by expert craftsmen. Every piece was of very high quality and cost a lot of money. Yet, many of them were destroyed by this Master of his.
Nie Baihong had no idea what Wu Qi was thinking in his mind. If he did, he would surely thrust his sword and hack Wu Qi's head. He walked into the hall, his body emanating a biting cold air as he just came through the raging hailstorm. Then, he said in a cold voice, "Stop arguing. In Yue Xu's words, he had also insulted me. Hehe, he said that Wu Qi was taught by some pigs and dogs? Doesn't that mean I'm someone like a dog or pig? I'll represent Wu Qi in the duel!"
The twisted face of Princess Zhang Le immediately bloomed with a smile. She clapped her hands, laughed and said, "That's great! Nephew Baihong is such a clever and understanding man! You will be the one who will handle this problem. Kill that Yue Xu! If Yue Yi dares to make any noise, I'll definitely drive his whole clan crazy!"
Wu Qi rose slowly up, wearing a solemn expression as he bowed to Nie Baihong and Princess Zhang Le. Then, he gave a light laugh and said, "Master, Zi Xuan, if you really did that, Wu Qi would never be able to show my face in the streets. As I've accepted the challenge, although I'll be most likely killed in the duel, I will still try my best to fight Yue Xu. Zi Xuan, please bring me a few Gold Cores from Imperial Treasury, and some medicines that are required for the mystic technique of forming my Gold Core. Wu Qi appreciates your help!"
He let out a few proud laughs while looking at Princess Zhang Le, whose face fell upon hearing what he said, and told her some words of comfort, "When using the mystic technique to form the Gold Core, one would have his body disintegrated and die because his corporeal body cannot withstand the impact from the core energies and medicinal strength. However, Wu Qi had saved a catfish-flood-dragon in Meng Mountains, and had asked her to give me some of her blood essence, which I've since then used to strengthen my body. With the current strength of my body, I can guarantee that I will form my Gold Core without any problem!"
Suddenly, Wu Qi punched his fist right into Jing Ke's face. He only used less than ten percent of his strength in this punch.
Jing Ke disapprovingly greeted the punch with his palm, while shaking his head as he said, "Although the blood essence of flood dragon can strengthen your body, but..."
Before he could finish his words, Wu Qi's fist had slammed into his palm. Suddenly, Jing Ke's eyes went wide and gave a loud cry because of surprise. With just one punch from Wu Qi, his tall and burly body was knocked flying back, shattered the curtain behind his back and rolled like a ball into the back room, struggling hard to get on his feet. After some time, only then he ran out from the back room while rubbing his red and swollen right palm, staring blankly at Wu Qi and saying angrily, "How come your body..."
Wu Qi rolled his eyes, clasped his hands behind his back and said proudly, "When Wu Qi was still little, I had accidentally consumed a ten thousand years old 'Dragon-blood Centipede Grass' in Meng Mountains. As a result, my corporeal body has been one hundred times stronger than ordinary people since a very young age. On top of that, as I've obtained some blood essence of flood dragon this time, my body has gone through another round of strengthening. No ordinary Human Immortal can have a body as strong as mine. So, Wu Qi is very confident in using the mystic technique to form my Gold Core."
Princess Zhang Le, Jing Ke, Nie Baihong, and Lu Chengfeng had their eyes brightened at the same time. Four of them quickly surrounded Wu Qi and sized him up for a very long time.
Jing Ke pinched and squeezed Wu Qi's muscles, nodded and said, "You do have very strong and intrepid muscles! Hehe, with this, you will have no problem forming Gold Core with the mystic technique. Zi Xuan, you don't have to steal some Gold Cores from the Imperial Treasury, I still have over thirty upper-grade Gold Cores in my house, which were left behind after I killed some Human Immortals these years. I'll give a few of them to you!"
Princess Zhang Le said with a beautiful smile on her face, "Zi Xuan suddenly recalled that there are some spirit medicines in Imperial Treasury which can increase one's muscle strength. I'll bring them to Wu Qi, so he can have a higher chance of success!"
After a moment of silence, Lu Chengfeng said, "But, Yue Xu's overall strength is at peak-stage of Gold Core realm. Even if Wu Qi formed his Gold Core, he still cannot defeat him, right?"
Wu Qi gave him a strange smile, then turned to look at Nie Baihong. Nie Baihong's eyes began to shine, as he laughed joyfully and said, "Don't you know that Wu Qi had purchased two Acquired Spirit Pearls at Rate Treasures Conference? The power of these Acquired Spirit Pearls is immense, and any Gold Core realm cultivator can control them. He will have no problem dealing with Yue Xu."
Jing Ke gnashed his teeth and said, "I'll invite Gao Jianli so he and I can keep guard for Wu Qi, making sure that he can form his Gold Core without any distraction. Well, I better go find Old Mister now and get a set of excellent quality protective armor from Mo Sect, and see if I can find a set of powerful weapons produced by Mo Sect, hmph!"
Jing Ke slapped and rested his palm on Wu Qi's shoulder, sneered and said, "If you win this duel..." Pressing Wu Qi's shoulder, he sighed and said, "If you win, I'll take you as one of my sons and nephews in the future." He shook his head, then strode out from the hall.
Zhang Le, Nie Baihong, and Lu Chengfeng continued with their discussion, drafting and plotting on different strategies that could help Wu Qi in winning the duel.
Meanwhile, Wu Qi was staring thoughtfully at Jing Ke's back. When the news regarding the duel between him and Yue Xu was spread, he was immediately visited by Jing Ke. The man came with a pretty strange expression, and before he left, the way he talked to Wu Qi was also rather peculiar. It made Wu Qi wonder, could he again get dragged into some unknown, deeper conflicts?
But, he felt so wronged, as he knew nothing about those conflicts at all. So why was he the one to get dragged in again?
He shook his head and sighed. A cold gleam suddenly shone from his eyes, as he finally made up his mind. Regardless of what kind of conflicts were hiding behind the duel, he would kill Yue Xu one month later!