Just like the first imperial banquet which Wu Qi had participated in before, today's imperial banquet had winded up in a hurry as well. The three unlucky fellows, who thought highly of themselves and expressed their desire of marrying Princess Zhang Le in front of so many people, were severely wounded by the thunderbolts attracted by Princess Zhang Le. If not because they were healed in time by some imperial physicians, their career path could have changed, as they would have become the subordinates of the Internal Prime Minister, Ma Yi.
Yan Dan had no choice but to casually scold Princess Zhang Le with a few words, before he announced that the imperial banquet had come to an end.
During the process, Wu Qi did see the twisted faces of Su Qin, Fan Yuqi, and Qin Wuyang. He reckoned that when Su Qin and Fan Yuqi returned, they would definitely teach their good-for-nothing offspring a good lesson. However, Wu Qi could not guess the reason behind Qin Wuyang's twisted face. Perhaps Qin Wuyang hated that Princess Zhang Le did not show face to his clan? Nobody would know the exact answer. Anyhow, Wu Qi had decided that in the future, he would always bring some troubles for Qin Wuyang.
Wu Qi followed the crowd and left the imperial palace. He did not ride any horse, but instead, boarded Lu Chengfeng's flying coach.
The coach went past two streets under the escort of many guards. Then, right before Lu Chengfeng's eyes, Wu Qi transformed himself into a stream of yellow and green color energy, passing through the floor of the flying coach into the ground below, and disappearing without a trace. It was as if Lu Chengfeng never noticed Wu Qi's usual behavior, as he was smiling and wielding a small carving knife in his hands, slowly carving tiny runes on an array pillar.
Every now and then, he would fondle the two storage rings on his fingers. The weight of the rings made him feel at ease, especially when he thought of the 15kg rare and precious flood dragon blood essence in one of the rings, he would felt his heart race. Gold Core, he now had the chance to form his own Gold Core!
He threw away the carving knife and lifted up the window curtain, looking through the window at the dark night filled with a raging snowstorm. He murmured under his breath, "Wu Qi, I've said this before… You and I are brothers, and we will enjoy the wealth and honor together. I owe you too much, you're my true brother!"
Meanwhile, Wu Qi was traveling quickly under the ground. He was following a faint scent, which came from a thyme seed he stuck on Yu Wende's coat when the crowd was moving out from the hall. Very soon, amidst the dark night, he found the coach rode by Yu Wende and Yu Qianqian. In Great Yan Dynasty, Yu Clan was a highly honorable clan. Thus, their coach had a simple and elegant design, sending forth an antique flavor. The coach was merely escorted by tens of guards who only had the cultivation base of thirty to forty years, almost equaling nothing.
However, as all the people under the heaven knew that Yu Clan was famous for their talents in composing poems and painting, the most honorable clan in Great Yan Dynasty, they did not have any political opponent. Instead, they were the target that many people were trying to draw over to their side. They had an aloof status, thus, even if they were walking alone in the street, they would not be greeted with assassination. The group of tens of Houtian guards was merely an act, as Yu Clan was the only clan in Great Yan Dynasty that did not need to be protected by any guards.
But for tonight, Yu Clan had paid the price for their aloof and highly honorable status. Stealthily and soundlessly, Wu Qi sprung out from under the ground, and clung himself gently underneath the coach like a wandering spirit. Then, he placed his left ear tightly against the floor of the coach. In next moment, he heard the voices of Yu Wende and Yu Qianqian.
"Is there anybody around us?" Yu Wende asked in a soft voice.
Then, a very subtle divine will, so mild that even Wu Qi could barely detect, swept across the surrounding. Then, Wu Qi heard Yu Qianqian say in the same low voice, "No, I don't find any outsider around."
Wu Qi felt his flesh creeping. If he had not concealed his aura using the mystic technique in Scroll of Stealing and had been using an ordinary escape art of five elements, that divine will would have already detected his presence. Judging by the ripple of this divine will, it seemed like to be focusing in detecting all sorts of escape arts, a technique similar to those eavesdropping and peeking techniques in Scroll of Stealing which were able to detect various subtle and unusual existences.
Wu Qi could not help himself and sneered. Although all the people in Great Yan Dynasty thought Yu clan was just a highly honorable clan who was famous for their poems and painting, but could a true highly honorable clan know such a marvelous technique? Also, when Yu Qianqian exercised the mystic technique, her aura was leaked and Wu Qi immediately sensed her real overall strength - she was an early-stage Nascent Soul cultivator!
In her twenties, she already had the cultivation base of early stage Nascent Soul realm! On the other hand, Princess Zhang Le, who was regarded as the one and only peerless genius of Great Yan Dynasty, who already had the cultivation base of Xiantian realm when she was born, only attained a cultivation base of early-stage Gold Core realm now. Yet, this Yu Qianqian, who was only about ten years older than Princess Zhang Le, had already formed her Nascent Soul? Meanwhile, she had always busy hosting meetings of poems and painting, going for outings with those young scholars. So basically, she did not have the free time for cultivating in seclusion.
Wu Qi gasped without making any sound, sneering inwardly. So, this was the true color of the Yu Clan?
The subtle divine will, which Wu Qi could barely sense, remained lingering in the surrounding air. "Still your plan is better than mine, father. Now that Su Muye, Fan Jinlin, Qin Yanhu have stood out to fight for Princess Zhang Le, what a wonderful outcome!" said Yu Qianqian.
Yu Wende smiled reservedly, then said, "I've spent hundreds of years in plotting out everything, and had just knocked out a few cracks on the iron wall of Great Yan Dynasty using Wei Merchant. But before I could bring my talents into full play, that Wu Qi stirred up everything. This son had ruined my plan, and it is time to bring him some troubles."
Sighing lightly and letting out a wry smile, he then continued, "Yan Dan is not a simple man. For generations, we, the Yu Clan, had been stirring up many great events, trying to bring a chaotic situation to Great Yan. However, all the hard efforts of our ancestors were dissolved by Yan Dan using various tactics. It was my turn to host Yu Clan during the last one hundred years, and I had managed to produce some results. But I never expected Yan Dan would simply destroy all our plots with an overt plot."
He sunk into an emotional thought. At last, Yu Wende gave Yu Qianqian a serious lecture, "Qianqian, you've to learn this through our failure. Using covert plots and schemes might bring us into a temporary advantageous position, but only by using open and overt plot, relying on the general trend, and threatening our opponent using a formidable force that no one could resist, can we obtain the final victory."
"Now that the five demon kings have made their debut, Mo Di, Xun Kuang, Su Qin, Han Fei, and some other trump cards have also shown their faces. With that, Yan Dan's power has reached its peak. When faced with the absolute power, among all the plots and schemes that we had deployed during the last one hundred years, none of them are useful anymore. The hard labor of one hundred years has once again thrown to the winds. With the help of these people, Yan Dan could at least have another five hundred years of stable period. If we wish to strike again, we have to find ways to do something to these five demon kings, Mo Di, Xun Kuang, and those few other men."
The sounds of finger tapping on wood could be heard. It seemed like Yu Wende had sunk into a deep thought while tapping on a table. Then, Yu Qianqian's voice rang out, "Qianqian understands. With the help of these people and Great Qin coming knocking on the door of Great Yan Dynasty, for the time being, Great Yan's foundation will not be shaken. Most probably, Qianqian would have to do like how our seniors had done in the past, marrying myself off to some young and talented man, and seeing if my offspring can have the chance to create a disturbance for Great Yan in the future."
"It is good for you to have such thought." said Yu Wende with a deep voice, "As for now, the best opportunity is lying right before us. In the future, the foundation of your offspring will definitely be stronger than the current foundation of Yu Clan. He will have a greater chance of success, and he will have more chances to train himself."
"What chance do we have recently?" asked Yu Qianqian.
Yu Wende chuckled and said, "Try to think it over. With your talent, I'm sure you can guess it."
Yu Qianqian thought quietly for a brief while, then suddenly laughed and said, "Recently, as Great Yan Dynasty discovered a large deposit of Spatial Breaching Spirit Gold, the ruling and control over their land has become more direct and convenient. Therefore, the existence of all vassal kingdoms has become unnecessary. Yan Dan will use the current opportunity of eradicating the rebellion to greatly reduce the strength of every vassal kingdom. In the future, perhaps he will even abolish the status of all vassal kingdoms, and divide the land into provinces that are administered by provincial officials."
"You get the point." said Yu Wende proudly, "The system of vassal kingdoms will be abolished, and all the monarchs will definitely be confined to Ji City. However, Great Yan Dynasty would still need civilian officials to help them administer the local provinces, and they will send many civilian officials to all parts of their land. Meanwhile, in the Imperial Court of Great Yan Dynasty and even all the civilian officials in every single vassal kingdom, half of them are from Yu Academy. Once the system of vassal kingdom is abolished, these civilian officials will then hold the power of local authority in their hands. That will bring us, the Yu Clan, endless benefits."
Wu Qi felt that his heart get twisted. He was almost certain that what Yu Wende said would definitely become real in the future.
The Yu Academy was a private academy established by Yu Clan. Inside it, one could learn not only history, but also knowledge of mathematics that could be used in bookkeeping, knowledge of geometry that could be used in land surveying, knowledge of the law that could be used in administering general civilians, and many other subjects. The sons of influential officials would be taught history subjects in Yu Academy, while those from poor background would learn the practical knowledge. For many years, Yu Academy had brought up many apprentices and disciples, and roughly half of the middle and lower grade officials in the Imperial Court of Great Yan Dynasty and even all the vassal kingdoms were from Yu Academy.
Meanwhile, the people of Great Yan Dynasty had a fine tradition of respect for teachers. The saying of 'he who teaches me for one day is my father for life' was not just some empty words.
By selecting suitable candidates from this large pool of apprentices and disciples, and making them the administrative officials in all the future provinces, it would be better than using those monarchs who had their own clan interest and clan legacy. Those monarchs could always choose to not giving any face to Yu Clan, yet the apprentices and disciples of Yu Academy would definitely provide the best result for the Yu Clan.
Wu Qi just could not understand one thing. By pouring so much of efforts in plotting and scheming against the Great Yan Dynasty in the dark, what exactly did Yu Clan want? It was certain that they did not do it just for fun, could they?
While pondering about their motive, Wu Qi heard Yu Wende spoke again, "Speaking of that, apart from Su Muye and the other few targets that jumped out recently, among all the youth in Great Yan Dynasty, who can actually please your eyes?"
A long moment of silence reigned the coach. At last, Yu Qianqian's voice came into Wu Qi's ears, loud and clear.
"All the youth in today's Great Yan are simply hopeless. Yue Xiao and those other youths with the same status, although they claimed themselves the title of Silver Flood Dragon, Son of Qilin or Fierce Tiger, yet they are merely toys in my hand. They cannot be considered as talented youths." Yu Qianqian sighed lightly, then continued, "If Qianqian really has to find one that is pleasing to my eyes, I think Wu Qi is the only one. Although he is slightly younger, and is having an affair with Princess Zhang Le, he does have excellent talent in painting, and can compose some marvelous poems. His cultivation base and character are not bad as well, especially his ruthless and merciless temperament, as that can be the best supplement to Yu Clan."
She gave a cold laugh and said, "After laying low for so many years, Yu Clan has lost its courage. If he can become part of Yu Clan, I'm sure he can bring some extra courage to us."
The muscles on Wu Qi's arms suddenly tensed up. Without hesitation, he plunged back into the ground and traveled to a street three thousand feet away.
While gnashing his teeth, Wu Qi pulled out one hundred heavy ballistae from Black Dragon Ring. They were the specially made armor-piercing ballistae from Great Qin, able to pierce through the body of Nascent Soul demon beasts, very powerful weapons that were placed in the ring by Ying Zheng. Using his divine will, Wu Qi made all one hundred ballistae hover in midair, aiming right at the direction where the coach of Yu Clan was coming from. After that, he changed his accent and gave out a loud shout.
"Yan Dan, you little boy! Today, I will kill the leader of Yu Clan and destroy one of Great Yan's arm! This is a warning to you!"
"The mighty army of Great Qin will soon reach your wall! To all the ministers of Great Yan, if you do not surrender to us now, what are you waiting for?"
As Wu Qi's loud and wild cry echoed out, the jarring and shrilling alarm suddenly rang out from everywhere.
Immediately after that were the sounds of bowstring twanging, as one hundred bolts were being launched and pierced through the air soundlessly with long bright tails behind them, shooting towards the incoming coach. Not able to let out even a tiny bit of cry, the group of tens of guards and horses were immediately crashed into meat paste by the frightening force, splattering into all directions.