A dead silence reigned the drill ground. Wu Qi had brazenly killed Yue Yi's son, Yue Xu, and the formidable overall strength put out by him caused many raised eyebrows.
Except for Yan Dan and a few people who knew the origin of his Gold Core cultivation base, all the other influential members were speaking in each other's ears, whispering about why Wu Qi, a little Xiantian Daoist, could suddenly possess the overall strength of Gold Core realm. There were even some well-informed people linked the series of thunderbolts that smote down in Zhang Le Garden with Wu Qi's sudden improvement, thinking that Wu Qi must have faced his Thunder Tribulation in Zhang Le Garden and formed his Gold Core.
Right when those influential members and ministers of Great Yan Dynasty were busy exchanging all sorts of information, Yan Dan's voice was heard throughout the entire drill ground, "Lao Ai, you want the title of a Prince, that will do! If you do have the courage, why don't you follow me into the Imperial Palace and have a detailed discussion? Wu Qi has won the duel, and not only have you lost a heavy stake, before we kill Ying Zheng, you will be my servant!"
Lao Ai, who had his face turned very unsightly because of Wu Qi's victory, suddenly threw his head back and let out a wild laugh. "Courage? Do you think I, Lao Ai, am a timid person? Well, being your servant before killing Ying Zheng does not bother me at all! Hehehe!" He kept letting out evil laughs for a while, then pointed his finger at Wu Qi and said in a cold voice, "Not bad, young lad! At present, you are the only one that I cannot see through in the entire Imperial Court of Great Yan Dynasty! Interesting, interesting!"
Putting his arms around the spear, Wu Qi clasped hands at Lao Ai while saying, "I wish I could deserve such compliments, Prince of Changxin. Since we will be fellow ministers in the Imperial Court, I hope Prince of Changxin can take a good care of me." He paused, let out a cold laugh and continued, "Wu Qi's body is delicate, and bones are soft, they can never withstand the torture from a furious storm. In the future, if Prince of Changxin wishes to pick a fight with someone, please don't ever make me as your target. Because not only will it bring harm to Wu Qi, it will not serve you any good either."
Lao Ai's pupil contracted. His face turned gloomy as he gave out an angry cry, "Are you threatening me?"
"Yes, I am threatening you!" said Wu Qi with a sneer.
Lao Ai turned over and looked at Yan Dan, grinned hideously and said, "Look at this, Yan Dan, this young lad is threatening me!"
Yan Dan gave Lao Ai a look, ignoring his words as he yelled out, "A grand feast will be thrown out tonight at Imperial Palace. The attendance of all the civilian and military officers of Imperial Court, and all ministers and members of Imperial Clan is required. Apart from those Generals who are out for the warring campaign, those who fail to attend will be punished for being disrespectful. Announce my decree, tidy up Yue Xu's corpse, and give him an elaborate funeral of a Marquis. Hmm, also, confer Lao Ai as the Prince of Changxin, ranked above all the other Princes, and he will not receive any fief for the title."
After he was finished saying that, he gave three loud laughs, stretched his arm and pointed in the direction of the Imperial Palace. "Prince of Changxin, after you!"
Lao Ai had proven himself to be the peerless man of evil, as he did not keep the conflict with Wu Qi in mind. Instead, he was laughing wildly into the sky. His long hair were waving violently in the strong cold wind, as a sinister gleam was seen flashing from his eyes. Then, he suddenly transformed into a stream of wild wind shooting towards Yan Dan. While he was still in midair, Lao Ai punched out his fist towards Yan Dan. Meanwhile, Yan Dan gave a wild laugh as well, as a gray and white airflow burst out from behind his back while he raised his right fist and greeted Lao Ai.
Two fists collided in the air, yet no noise was generated. In the next moment, blood coughed out from both men's mouth while their shirts were ripped apart. The skins on their right fists were breaking and falling, covering the two fists with fresh blood that made them look like two bloody gourds. They exchanged a glance, and once again laughed out wildly together. After that, they flew towards the Imperial Palace while holding hands.
Wu Qi placed his arms on his chest, tilted his head sideways while looking at the departing Yan Dan and Lao Ai, ‘What a dubious behavior between the two of them! Tsk, don't tell me both of them are gays?’
A graceful and cultured voice filled with mysteriousness suddenly rang out, "His Majesty doesn't have those messy hobbies. Duke of Tianyun, Wu Qi, congratulations for winning the duel. Looks like no one will try offending you in the Imperial Court for a short while. Su Qin has prepared some good wines and dishes, hoping to invite you over to my house. I wonder if I have the honor to invite you?"
Wu Qi startled, then quickly turned over. True enough, it was Su Qin and Mo Di who stood behind him.
He forced out a smile, hastily cupped his fist and said, "Wu Qi would never reject an invitation from a senior! Hmm, half a moment!"
He spun, facing Jing Ke who had turned into a white beam while flying over his head towards the Imperial Palace, and roared out loudly, "Chief General, you have won so many spoils today, so you must split some of those with me! Or else, I will tell every single civilian and military officer of Imperial Court that you are the one who helped me cheat, helping me forcibly form my Gold Core, thus allowing me to have the overall strength to control the Acquired Spirit Pearls and kill Yue Xu! It is you who ordered me to kill Yue Xu!"
Wu Qi's voice was very loud and sonorous, and everyone in the drill ground heard him very clearly. Those influential members had their bodies trembled as they nodded their heads thoughtfully while exchanging glances with their friends. Right enough! If not for the support from Chief General Jing Ke, Wu Qi was just a little kid who merely wormed himself into the Imperial Court. How could he have the vigor to fight with the people of the Yue Clan?
So, it was Chief General Jing Ke who ordered the murderer to kill the youngest son of Chief General Yue Yi! Even those people who had lost all their wealth in the bet had become extremely excited. It was indeed an explosive news. The white beam trembled and almost fell from the sky, then Jing Ke's depressing curses could be heard coming from above, muffled and inaudible. He did not stop but simply flew straight into the Imperial Palace.
Both Su Qin and Mo Di were staring at Wu Qi, not saying a word for quite a long while. When Wu Qi finally turned back to them in a great delight, only then Mo Di shook his head and said, "You naughty boy! Everything had been calmed down, but you instead want to stir it into a further mess! With what you shouted just now, Yue Yi would definitely pick a fight with Jing Ke. Hmm, these are troublesome matter, count me out, count me out!"
With a wave of his sleeve, Mo Di suddenly vanished from where he was. No ripple of energy or whatsoever could be sensed.
Wu Qi's heart raced. Mo Di's cultivation had reached such an incredible degree? He could hardly tell that during normal times.
Meanwhile, Princess Zhang Le had already brought a large group of guards while sprinting towards Wu Qi excitedly. From still a fairly far distance, she sprung up and landed beside Wu Qi, grabbing his arms intimately. Su Qin looked at Princess Zhang Le smilingly, shook his head and said, "Princess, I've booked Duke of Tianyun first. He needs to accompany the old man for a chat in my home. I'm sorry, Duke of Tianyun cannot accompany Princess today! There will be a banquet tonight, and Princess can see Duke of Tianyun then!"
Then, he gave a loud laugh and grabbed Wu Qi's shoulder, and with a flicker of his body, he had already brought the latter outside of the palace.
Wu Qi had no idea how Su Qin did that, while Princess Zhang Le was staring blankly at her emptied arms. Suddenly, she stomped her feet and murmured, "Su Qin, you old fogey! Next time, I'll set fire to your thatched cottage! Old fogey, you only know how to bully a junior! Hmph! I'll bring Su Xiaosu to a brothel next time and make her sing some songs there. I'll make your heart ache for your granddaughter!"
Outside the Imperial Palace, Wu Qi took over a coarse black mantle passed to him from Su Qin. Then, the latter lightly slapped on the heavy armor clad on his body, making it fall to the ground. Both men put on the black mantles, treading over the thick snow, and walked down the street like two ordinary civilians who lived at the lowest social level of Great Yan Dynasty.
Both men were walking very fast throughout the entire journey. Very soon, they went out of Ji City.
Outside Ji City was a silver snowfield that stretched as far as the eye could see. They continued walking on a road that was trod by pedestrians and coaches for another fifteen minutes, and finally came before a small village. A few stray dogs were lingering near the entrance of the village, as if they were about to enter the village in search of food, yet were scared of something.
Su Qin laughed. He rolled up his sleeves and picked up a broken tree branch on the ground, then walked sneakily behind the few stray dogs. Suddenly, he swung the tree branch and smashed forcefully on a stray black dog. The dog howled and cried for some time, then lied motionlessly on the ground with foam oozing out from its mouth. Su Qin threw away the tree branch and grabbed the black dog by its head, laughing out loud and said, "Now we have a delicacy for our guest! Marvelous!"
Wu Qi's lips were twitching as he shook his head. He walked up and took over the stray dog in Su Qin's hand, smiled and asked, "So old mister does like eating dog meat?"
"What food do you think I like to eat?" Su Qin turned to look at Wu Qi and asked, "Living an extravagant life, each meal will be served by several hundred servants and maids, and have a couple dozens of naked ladies bring me the foods?" He shook, smiled and said, "I once did like that kind of lifestyle, but as of now, after living for so many years and getting tired of being alive, I instead recalled this hobby from my youth."
He patted on the black dog, breathed out a long sigh, and said, "It has been over two thousand years… Damn it, I'm really old now!"
Then, he laughed, shook his head, and placed both hands behind his back as they walked slowly into the village.
This was an ordinary village, occupied by roughly five to six hundred families, all of which were ordinary farmers. Wu Qi sent out his divine will and ran through the pedestrians they bumped into, and confirmed that they were just ordinary people. It seemed these people were rather familiar with Su Qin, as when they met him, they would give him a smile, cupping their hand and bowing at him, while offering their greetings, "Greeting, Old Master. Have you taken your meal, Old Master?"
One could tell that Su Qin was very popular among the villagers, and it seemed none of them knew what kind of role he played in the Imperial Court of Great Qin Dynasty.
While walking through the village, Su Qin kept replying to the greetings from the villagers, while smilingly telling Wu Qi, "I can no longer get used to staying in a magnificent mansion. For the last three hundred years, I have developed the liking of staying in remote villages outside the city. I grow some vegetables and raise some pigs, and when I have free time, I'll find a few stray dogs and cook them. I spend most of my time teaching my youngest son and youngest granddaughter, and those are the most delightful experiences in my life."
Wu Qi felt his hands shivering. He could not find an appropriate word to describe Su Qin's behavior. He forced a smile and murmured under his breath, "Old mister does has a heart of an innocent child, ugh... naive and... with a unique taste?"
Su Qin laughed complacently, and brought Wu Qi to the end of the only road in the village, reaching a small courtyard.
The courtyard occupied a land of about seven to eight acres. In the front of it was a small flower nursery. However, the plants were all withered, and there weren't any flowers could be seen. Right at the back of the house was a few acres of vegetable field. Some unharvested vegetables were lying around in the field, the aftermath of a heavy snowfall. To the left of the house was a pigsty. A few skinny pigs were grunting listlessly while lying on the ground. There was one pig who seemed to have starved for a very long time, as it was munching on the wooden railing and making some cracking noises.
To the right of the house was a stable. Three horses who were supposed to serve as transportation were opening their eyes widely, lying listlessly on the floor and waiting for their death to come. Judging from the look of them, they should not have fed for half a month, as their skin was drooping down loosely.
Upon seeing Su Qin walk into the courtyard, three horses and the few pigs quickly struggled up at the same time, letting out miserable howls at him.
Su Qin looked at these livestock in shock, sighed lightly and said, "I merely went out for a little bit over a month, how did you all become like this? Zhang Yi, you rascal! I did ask you to take care of my livestock! Why are three of my pigs missing? And two horses are gone as well!"
A large piece of pig shoulder blade was being thrown out from the house. Then, Zhang Yi walked weakly out from the house with narrowed eyes.
"What are you yelling at? We have eaten three pigs and two horses in the past month. Aye, there is a black dog? Li Xin, come out here! Clean the dog and quickly cook it! It is not easy for us to come here at Great Yan Dynasty. Let's eat a few more of their livestock, and that will be deemed as a great service to Great Qin! As we are weakening the national strength of Great Yan Dynasty!"
"One more livestock we eat here, when the war breaks out in the future, the soldiers of Great Yan Dynasty will have one less livestock to eat!" said Zhang Yi with a huge smile on his face.
Li Xin answered the call and came out from the house. While walking out, he used a dagger to pick his teeth.
Wu Qi loosened his grip, causing the passed out stray dog to fall heavily to the ground. Was this really Su Qin's house?