At the darkest hour of the day before the daybreak, the overly passionate Princess Zhang Le and the few other people finally left Duke Yan Le's Mansion, rushing to different places so they could help Wu Qi prepare everything that was needed to form his Gold Core with the mystic technique. Meanwhile, Wu Qi returned to his own abode, after which, he immediately plunged into the underground, transforming into a stream of yellow gas and heading straight towards Yue Yi's mansion.
As there were too many major incidents happening recently, the defense of Ji City had been tightened many times than before. There were defensive mechanisms everywhere underground, which could prevent anyone from traveling through the earth, while probing and alerting formations could be found in every corner. However, when they were faced with Wu Qi's Innate Escape Art of Earth Element, these defensive mechanisms were practically existing for nothing; and those probing and alerting formations were easily broken by him. Nothing could detect his trace.
On top of that, several hundred cultivators of Great Yan were patrolling under the ground, using escape art of Earth element as well. However, the speed at which they moved through the ground was really slow. It was as if they were a group of dying fishes that had lost their oxygen supply, while Wu Qi was like the barracuda in the sea, who could swim the fastest among all other fishes. There was no way these slow-moving cultivators could detect Wu Qi. He nimbly overtook these patrolling cultivators and finally arrived under Yue Yi's mansion.
He spent some time in carefully observing all the defensive mechanisms and formations that covered the entire ground of the mansion. The finding made Wu Qi shake his head and sneer. There were nine layers of defensive formations above the sky and nine layers under the surface of the ground. Although the security was tighter than the one he found under Prince of Ren, Yan Xianchen's mansion, they were still very easy to break through. It seemed that the Masters of Arrays who worked for Great Yan Dynasty had a really weak attainment in the Dao of Formation, as none of these defensive formations could cause a problem to him.
Without too much effort, he blocked off a few energy veins that supplied energy to the formation and opened up a small breach. Then, he dove through the breach like a fish and came into the Chief General's mansion, poking his head out from a spacious backyard. It happened that the place he came out from was behind a low flower bush with nobody around. Then, he saw a pavilion far in front of him, blanketed with wisteria and exotic flowers, with lights vaguely flickering through them and deep, muffled melody be heard faintly.
The Chief General, Yue Yi, had led an army out to the field, battling those vassal kingdoms who colluded with Wei Merchant in the crime of plotting a rebellion. Yue Yi was very strict in managing his clan, and many of his descendants had followed him to the field, leaving only his youngest son, Yue Xu, in charge of the Chief General's Mansion. Thus, the only one who could enjoy the music and fool around in their backyard at this hour would be none other than him.
From the corner of his eyes, Wu Qi gazed at the direction where the lights came from. He narrowed his eyes, then stealthily unleashed his vast divine sense, sweeping across the entire pitch-black and man-less backyard. Very carefully, he avoided the pavilion, moving his divine sense like the river water that rose soundlessly in the night of spring, making no noise while slowly soaking every inch of the ground. Very soon, he discovered some ripples of energy coming from underneath a small hill in the backyard.
There were a total of eighty-one huge energy veins that flowed under the entire Ji City, and eventually, all of them converged right below the Imperial Palace of Great Yan. Therefore, the Imperial Palace was the blessed land that had the strongest and densest natural energy in Ji City. As one of the few Chief Generals of Great Yan Dynasty, the top man in Great Yan Dynasty's army, there were three main energy veins that flowed right under Yue Yi's mansion, and eighteen smaller energy veins converged at this place. Together, they flowed into a few energy caves that were filled with a copious amount of natural energies.
These energy caves allowed Yue Yi's clan members to cultivate right at their very home, and the speed of their cultivation would not be slower than any of the thirteen Immortal Dao Sects, who had their base built outside Ji City. Through his divine sense, Wu Qi discovered that the energy cave located right below the small hill was the largest one in Yue Yi's mansion. Countless razor sharp energies were shooting out from the energy cave, and vaguely, there was a towering murderous aura of blades and swords being constantly emanated from it.
The Acquired Pearl of Gold Element, which Yue Yi bought with the price of thirty cities, was found inside this largest energy cave. The cultivation technique practiced by Yue Yi was a Gold element technique, which focused on cultivating the killing aura of the battlefield - the 'White-tiger Slaughtering Script'. All the members of his clan were cultivating the same technique. By using the Acquired Pearl of Gold Element as the core of the energy cave, the natural energies of five elements were gathered and transformed, so the energy cave turned into a pure Gold Element energy cave. It allowed the speed of cultivating White-Tiger Slaughtering Script to be increased by a few times.
Wu Qi smiled complacently. It looked like Yue Yi did not refine this Acquired Spirit Pearl into his Prime Magical Treasure, but instead, used it as the core to the energy cave so it could improve the cultivating speed of his descendants and juniors. Wu Qi nodded his head and shrunk back into the ground, carefully moving towards the small hill.
A few energy veins converged roughly two hundred feet below the small hill. The copious natural energies condensed and formed into sheets of fog that one could see with naked eyes, enveloping a stone chamber about three hundred feet in circumference. A human-head-sized, silvery-white pearl was seen hovering midair in the center of the stone chamber. Several dozens of runes were wheeling slowly around the pearl, while the surrounding natural energies kept being absorbed into it, transforming into a silver-colored energy that glimmered like molten iron. Such energies spread slowly out from the pearl and rippled out layer by layer. They were finally absorbed by a group of tens of youths, who sat cross-legged under the pearl.
These youths had their eyes closed and were emanating an intense, menacing aura. The illusion of blades, spears, swords, halberds, all sorts of weapons could be vaguely seen flashing and flickering around them. Behind each of them was a small sheet of pale white mist, and amidst the mist hovered a shadow of a white tiger. As these youths did not have the same level of cultivation base, some of the white tigers behind them had already formed a complete head, while some only had a claw, or half of the tail. The broken bodies of these tigers looked foggy and incorporeal, not giving off too much of a threat.
Wu Qi laughed coldly. He took out a small stick of Drunken Dragon Incense Stick which he made back in Meng Mountains, lit it without making any sound and blew the faint incense into the stone chamber. Very soon, the bodies of these youths from Yue Clan began to move back and forth. The speed of energy circulating in their bodies slowed down, and eventually, it came to a complete stop. Their muscles were relaxed, and each had the same foolish smile on their face. After that, they fell to the ground and went into a deep slumber.
Wu Qi soundlessly squeezed out from the ground and came before the Acquired Pearl of Gold Element. He pointed his finger lightly at it, crushing all the runes wheeling around, and caused the wandering energies in the air to explode and disperse. Finally, he grabbed the pearl with his palm. He looked at the pearl, feeling satisfied, then sent out his divine sense to examine it. As he had expected, Yue Yi did not refine the pearl, and just made it as the core of this energy cave, using it to transform the natural energies.
"Now, that does save a lot of time and effort for me!" He laughed, then spat out a mouthful of flame, rolled up the Acquired Pearl of Gold Element and began refining it. After some time, he opened his mouth and swallowed it into his body, which had now shrunk into a tiny light ball. A stream of energy was sent out to wrap around the pearl, then brought it slowly down into his dantian. Together with the other four Acquired Peals which Wu Qi obtained earlier, all five of them formed into a perfect five element formation in his dantian.
When the Acquired Pearls of Gold, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Water Element gathered together, a tremendous transformation began to happen inside Wu Qi's dantian. His energy became denser, and when they were circulating in his body, the aura of five elements weaved and constructed into a flawless balance. The energy essence in his five important organs had taken a leap as well. They were now beaming with vigorous energy, and kept transforming the energies of five elements and fusing them into his meridians, which then circulated in his body and resonated with all five Acquired Pearls.
On top of that, right in the middle of the formation constructed from five Acquired Pearls, a huge amount of energies began to gather. Gradually they condensed into a very tiny speck that no naked eyes could see. Wu Qi knew that this tiny speck was the embryonic form of his Gold Core, and as long as he followed the core forming technique of Unity of Sword Energies Script, he would be able to form his Gold Core now.
Of course, it was impossible that he would form his Gold Core in Yue Yi's mansion. He had to do it under the guard of Jing Ke and some other people, with the help of Princess Zhang Le and Nie Baihong, using that brutal and evil technique to form his Gold Core. Or else, if he, an itinerant cultivator of Xiantian realm, suddenly formed his Gold Core with no reasonable explanation, that would surely attract all kinds of suspicious and strong attention. That would do no good to Wu Qi.
After taking away the Acquired Pearl of Gold Element, Wu Qi threw a glance over at the group of youths lying on the floor. They were truly the offspring of a Chief General, as all of them wore a storage ring that no ordinary cultivators could easily get their hands on. Without hesitation, he took away all the storage rings and hung them around his neck with a tiny silk string. Then, from these storage rings, he took out all several thousands of pieces of lower-grade energy stones and several dozens of bottles of pills, tens of middle-grade magical items, and several hundred thousands of gold and silver coins. Finally, he shoved them all into the Black Dragon Spirit Ring.
He chuckled, then quickly plunged back into the ground and traveled towards the brightly lit pavilion in the backyard.
The entire pavilion was carved out from brilliant jade stones. The thin railings were hollowed-out with patterns of flowers and plants, an extremely exquisite and luxurious design. Dense bush of wisteria blanketed the pavilion, preventing anybody from peeking into it. A group of nearly one hundred black-clothed guards was seen standing guard one thousand feet away from the pavilion, putting up a very tight security in the entire surrounding. However, this did not stop Wu Qi from traveling through underground and squeezing into a dense bush of wisteria.
With extreme caution, he narrowed his eyes, covering the tiny bright gleam that shone from his pupils. Then, Wu Qi tilted his body slightly and peered through a tiny opening between the wisteria, which allowed him to see into the finely built pavilion that measured about twenty feet in both width and length through an opened window.
There were two tables placed inside the pavilion, with many delicious dishes, fruits and wines on top of them. The floor was paved with a thick layer of cushion made from silver fox's skin. A teenage girl, clad only with a sheer fabric around her waist, sat on her knees at one of the corners, focusing all her attention in stroking a zither, playing melodious tunes that filled the air. There were another two teenage girls in the pavilion, having the same fabric coiled around their waist and kneeling beside the tables, serving Yue Xu and another man.
Carefully Wu Qi took a peek at the other man. What he saw made his heart race.
The guest, that Yue Xu was serving now in this hour before dawn was the Prince of Ren, Yan Xianchen.
He was wearing a casual outfit, leaning his back against a soft cushion behind the table. His face looked relaxed, while his right palm was placed on the thigh of the teenage girl beside him. While fondling the soft and silky skin back and forth, he was talking with Yue Xu smilingly. With his back straight, Yue Xu sat on his knees behind another table, showing a look of listening attentively, a very obedient and submissive look.
At the moment when Wu Qi arrived, he heard Yan Xianchen giggling and telling Yue Xu, "At any rate, you must kill that Duke of Tianyun one month later. I suspect that this little fellow is not an itinerant cultivator with the origin of an ordinary civilian, but a man who was pushed out by Jing Ke, Gao Jianli and their comrades, with the intention of stirring up the situation. Since they wish to stir up the water, I'll just kill that Wu Qi. Let's see what kind of backup plan they have."
He sighed lightly, then grabbed the long hair of the teenage girl and pulled her to him. While squeezing and pinching the delicate body of the girl, he shook and said, "They moved as sudden as lightning, and the lightning bolt was pretty frightening. Tsk, everything was in good order, but after that Wu Qi arrived at Ji City, His Majesty suddenly performed a great purge here. I can sense the traces of a few old fools behind this. Hehe! In short, that Wu Qi must be killed!"
Yue Xu answered him reverently and respectfully. Then, Yan Xianchen continued, "Now that you have a perfect opportunity to kill Wu Qi, if you completed the task, I'll grant the two wishes of yours. Zhang Le will definitely be married to Yue Xiao. As for your kidney meridian that was damaged on the battlefield, as long as you begin cultivating the 'Great Sun Technique', it will definitely regrow in no time. We have experiences in this, can't you see that after a few eunuchs in the Imperial Palace cultivated the Great Sun Technique taught by me, they all had their little brother regrown?"
Yue Xu answered him respectfully once again, his face filled with a thirsty smile. He ferociously glared at the teenage girl beside him, and suddenly had a bizarre blush rush up to his face.
Meanwhile, Wu Qi was astounded by what he heard. At last, he stealthily transformed into a stream of yellow gas and left the place at top speed.