Right at the very moment when Wu Qi saw Zhang Yi and Li Xin, he touched the Spirit Breeding Ring on his hand instinctively, as all the magical treasures and flying swords, including all sorts of talismans, were getting ready to strike. Fortunately, he had already let all one hundred Long Bo men drink the Ancestral Awakening and Body Tempering Soup, and made them form their Gold Core. Thus, even though he was facing Zhang Yi and Li Xin, Wu Qi had the confidence to trap both men with the formation constructed by one hundred Long Bo men.
On top of that, with the Acquired Pearls of Five Elements and many other magical treasures he possessed, Wu Qi believed that he could kill any one of them with a sudden strike.
Being confident in what he had, Wu Qi did not overreact. Instead, he stared at how Li Xin strode before him, took over the black dog and walked to the back of the house. Very soon, he heard the last cry let out by the dog before it was killed. Meanwhile, Li Xin did not even give Wu Qi a look when he did all those things.
Keeping a straight face and maintaining the same heart rate, Wu Qi turned to look at Zhang Yi, cupped his fist and bowed. "Your junior, Duke of Tianyun from Great Yan Dynasty, Wu Qi, offers greetings to old mister Zhang Yi. Can I know the purpose of old mister’s visit? Are you here to rob something, or to abduct Princess Zhang Le and offer her to Ying Zheng? Please bear in mind, old mister, you are now standing in the land of Ji City, and old mister is pretty old now. Be really careful, as you might have your arms or legs broken easily."
Zhang Yi laughed involuntarily, while Su Qin gave Wu Qi a slap, smiled and said, "Well, let go inside the house. They are not here for troubles."
Su Qin took off the mantle and brought Wu Qi into the house. The interior of the house looked no different from those ordinary village homes. It was spacious, fairly empty, with not many pieces of furniture in it. A fire pit was dug out right in the center of the house, burning steadily and radiating a comfortable warmth in the entire house. A few clean hides were placed around the fire pit, with two tables placed on top of them. The paint on the tables was nearly peeled off completely.
A small shrine was mounted on the back wall of the house, and an ancestors memorial tablet was placed on top of it. But it looked like Su Qin's ancestors must have been starving, just like what happened to the pigs in the pigsty and the horses in the stable. There were only a few moldy fruit pits placed in a clay plate before the memorial tablet, while imprints of teeth could be found everywhere on them. It seemed like some mice had eaten the fruits. Beside the plate was a small bronze incense burner, but it was empty without any ashes. Su Qin must have never offered any incense stick to his ancestors for over seventy to eighty years.
On one corner of the house were some farm tools placed messily. They were all rusted, apparently never touched for at least fifty years. Placed beside these farm tools were a few large baskets, inside which some dried corn and grains could be found. With his keen eyes, Wu Qi saw many mice drooping on the surface of the grains. Supposedly, when the mouse were having a feast in the baskets, Su Qin was too lazy to get up and chase them away.
Three men sat on their knees beside the fire pit. Su Qin flipped his palm, and fished out an azure colored tea set from under his sleeve, decorated with ocean blue raindrop imprints. He began boiling the water and making tea in a leisurely manner. The water was a supreme-grade spring water that was taken out from a fine clay water urn, which was pulled out from under Su Qin's sleeve. The tea was also a supreme-grade tribute tea, taken out from a crystal tea mug and also pulled out from his sleeve. Topping them with the tea making skill that Su Qin had been practicing for over two thousand years, very soon, the entire courtyard was enveloped by a faint and graceful fragrance of tea.
Su Qin smiled complacently, looking at Zhang Yi as he said, "This is a supreme-grade tribute tea. In those years, for the sake of getting this tribute tea, I had deployed three million waterborne forces of Great Yan, traveled twenty thousand miles across the great east ocean, and declared war on the Featherman Kingdom. I spent three years to capture 738 cities of theirs, and forced the Featherman Kingdom to offer this supreme-grade tribute tea, 50kg every year for a straight ten years."
He breathed out a long sigh, then continued showing off his proud achievement, "This tea only grows on the Third High Heaven in the Featherman Kingdom, on a cliff eighty miles above the sea level. They are nourished by the wind and dew of high altitude, which makes them the best tea. On top of that, only the young shoots picked using the tongue tip of virgins under the age of fourteen years old can be made into this splendid tea. Come, give it a good taste!"
Wu Qi took over the teacup handed to him by Su Qin, then placed it on the table before him. He looked at Su Qin, smiled and said, "I don't like drinking somebody else's saliva!"
Su Qin was in the middle of pouring the tea into his mouth, but Wu Qi's words made him halt, and caused him to choke on the tea. After a round of violent coughing, he rose and threw the full tea set out of the door. He gave Wu Qi a grumpy glare, then said sullenly, "You rascal! What you said has completely ruined the tea!"
Zhang Yi laughed, then from under his sleeve, he pulled out another tea set. Its color was sky blue, and a water urn that contained the same supreme-grade mountain spring. Slowly and gracefully, he began making the tea, as he smiled and said, "This tea of mine is also a tribute tea of Great Qin. It has a strong fragrance and is a great tonic for one's energy. Only on a battlefield where millions of people were killed, where the killing intent and spirit of warriors were gathered, such a good tea can be grown. Also, those who harvest the tea are not young and delicate girls, but elite warriors with vigorous blood and energy. The tea harvested by them can greatly nourish one's blood and energy, strengthen muscles and bones, while replenishing one's lost bone marrow."
"The Prime Minister of Great Qin Dynasty is showing off before us. So, what do you have to say about this tea?" said Su Qin in a cold voice, as he turned to look at Wu Qi.
Wu Qi kept quiet for a brief moment, kept his eyes half shut and said, "Cook the crane for meat and burn a stringed instrument for fuel - it is rather offensive against the culture and will spoil the fun. Wu Qi does not have the heart to say that."
Su Qin smashed and shattered the table beside him angrily. "You've already burned my crane! Now, I want you to cook Zhang Yi's crane as well!"
Zhang Yi threw his head back and let out a wild laugh while saying, "But my crane has no fear of any cooking! How are you going to cook this spirit tea that has grown from the nourishment of blood and energies on a battlefield?"
Looking at the cheerful and confident Zhang Yi, Wu Qi casually said, "This spirit tea can only take roots and grow on a battlefield that millions of people have died in. But when these millions of people are killed, their feces and urine would be oozing out, causing the earth to be flooded with a filthy mess. So, whether it was the blood and energies of human that nourished this spirit tea, or the spirit tea absorbing the feces and urine which made it into your beloved tea, we have no idea at all... But Wu Qi will never drink someone's urine!"
A dead silence enveloped the house. Su Qin placed both hands under his sleeves, tilted his head up and looked at the ceiling, sinking into a gruesome silence.
Zhang Yi's face was twisting, his lips twitching as he kept staring at Wu Qi. After a full ten minutes, only then he slowly grabbed the whole tea set and threw it out of the house. Shivering as he fixed his eyes on Wu Qi's face, he snorted coldly and said, "Cook the crane for meat and burn a stringed instrument for fuel, you're the worst man who only knows how to spoil someone's fun. Young lad, with just a few words, you have destroyed two rare treasures under the heaven… You... you...!"
Wu Qi sighed lightly, then he took out three small wine jugs made from black clay from the Black Dragon Ring, and passed one to each of the old fellows. He opened up the wine jug and drank two mouthfuls of wine, shook his head and said, "I've destroyed two rare treasures under the heaven? Hmm, both of you have been drinking them for over two thousand years, so what if you keep drinking them? It is just that you cannot get past the devil hiding inside your mind."
He gulped down a few more mouthfuls of wine, then looked at Zhang Yi, sneered and said, "Well, old mister Zhang Yi, can you tell me what your purpose of visiting here is? I had seen you fight fiercely with old mister Su Qin that day, but why are you sitting together now, cracking jokes and having a fun time?"
Su Qin said hurriedly, "It is our friendship developed when we were under the same teacher that makes us sit together and have some fun time, while we severely wounded each other that day because of the different masters we serve. We can never mix personal relationship with our official duty. After the incident that day, Zhang Yi had come to me, asking me to bring you here as he had something important to discuss with you. That is the reason why I brought you here today."
With just a few words, Su Qin had washed his hands off this case. "My role here is just that of a pimp. As for what kind of business you two are going to discuss, that's none of my business," said Su Qin while clapping his hands.
Sounds of footsteps rang out, as Li Xin carried a large clay pot and came walking in. The pot was fully filled with neatly cut black dog meat. He placed the clay pot on top of the fire. The flame was burning ragingly, and very soon, hot steam began bubbling out from the cold water. Li Xin gave Wu Qi a look, stretched his hand out and said, "Young lad, I remember you. I've failed to kill you with three arrows. You're really a despicable man. How could you use the one you saved as your shield? If you were one of Great Qin's soldiers, you would have long been punished under military law." He snorted coldly and shouted, "Give me some wine!"
From his storage ring, Wu Qi took out a few more large wine jugs, placing them near the fire pit so the heat from the flame could warm the wine. But very quickly, Li Xin had grabbed over a large wine jug and began drinking the wine from it, never taking a second look at Wu Qi.
Zhang Yi let out a light cough, then began speaking slowly, "Wu Qi, we came to Ji City for two reasons. First was to survey the rough national strength of Great Yan, but actually, this was just an attached mission. We have another important mission, and that is..."
Suddenly, Zhang Yi gazed at the Black Dragon Spirit Ring on Wu Qi's finger, which was one of the two rings he was currently wearing. Wu Qi only wore two rings with him now, one was the Black Dragon Spirit Ring, and the other one was the Spirit Breeding Ring. He had placed all his personal belongings in the Black Dragon Spirit Ring. Noticing Zhang Yi's bizarre glance, Wu Qi quickly covered both rings with another hand, sneered and said, "What I've found will be mine, and I'll never return it back even if Ying Zheng is requesting it! If he wants the ring, tell him to come get it himself."
Zhang Yi shook his head and said, "He cannot come here! His Majesty is severely wounded, and is currently recuperating in our field headquarter. In the future, when he brings the great Qin army here attacking Ji City, he will settle the score with you personally. The reason I come here today is just to claim back a gold inlaid lacquer box inside the ring."
Wu Qi quickly sent out his divine will and swept across the Black Dragon Spirit Ring. Without the need of Wu Qi searching himself, the Black Dragon Item Spirit had spat out a box. It was not a large box, and measured about two feet in both length and width, and one foot in height; a luxuriously and exquisitely made, gold inlaid lacquer box. Wu Qi placed the box on the ground before him, pressing one hand on it as he stared at Zhang Yi with a smile and said, "So is this the box you want? Now tell me, what are the contents of the box?"
Zhang Yi gave the box a deep look, then said in an indifferent voice, "Those are the remains of the Queen, some jewelry and a few set of clothes which she wore during normal days, and a personal letter the Queen left for His Majesty."
Wu Qi sent his divine will into the box, and confirmed the contents as per what Zhang Yi told him. All of them were some ordinary objects without emanating any energies. It was no wonder why Wu Qi never noticed this box when he was tidying and organizing the content of the ring. He pondered for a few moments, then said indifferently, "Ying Zheng sent the Prime Minister of Great Qin to Ji City, risking his life just because of this box?"
Forcing out a smile, Zhang Yi nodded and said, "This box is more important than Zhang Yi's head. Of course, with my senior brother, Su Qin here, although this was a risky mission, at most I would be severely wounded, but no harm would come to my life."
"It is not that Su Qin doesn't want to kill you, but even if His Majesty of Great Yan Dynasty sees you today, my junior brother, he will only capture you alive and be loathed to kill you. Hehe, a personal relationship will stay personal, while official duty will always be done during the official period. Su Qin will never mix personal relationships and official duty into one." said Su Qin quickly, as he once again washed his hand off this case.
Wu Qi patted lightly on the box, narrowed his eyes and said with a smile, "I don't care how deep your personal relationship is. If you want this box, exchange it with something that will interest me!" He paused, gave Zhang Yi a surprised look and asked, "By the way, as the grand and magnificent emperor of Great Qin, the land he occupies is not much smaller than the one occupied by Great Yan Dynasty. There are more girls in the land he rules than he could ever want. So, what makes the remains of the Queen so special?"
Su Qin did not say anything, wearing a curious expression and looked thoughtfully at Zhang Yi.
Zhang Yi kept quiet for some while, then finally told both of them the story.