"Celestial Technique of Goddess Xuan..." While murmuring the name of this divine cultivation technique, Wu Qi rode on a cloud and flew black slowly to the Meng Fortress.
It was already broad daylight when he finally arrived at the Meng Fortress. As the sunlight cast upon the earth and drove away all the darkness, Qu Ping ordered all the mountain ghosts and stray deities to hide deep under the ground. With that, the bright sky finally returned above Meng Fortress once again. When Wu Qi entered the front gate, he noticed a few muscular captains with unfamiliar faces, their hands touching hilts and sizing him up from afar.
These captains had a different visage from the people of Great Yan, as their brow lines and noses were loftier, their statures were taller, yet they looked skinnier. As a matter of fact, they were having a similar stature as Bai Qi and Wang Jian. Then, Wu Qi suddenly recalled that these few captains were the spies that Lu Buwei planted in Qin army. It was the scouts under them who reported back that everything was perfectly normal, and eventually lured Ying Zheng into the deadly trap.
All of them had the cultivation base of Nascent Soul realm, and because of their relationship with Lu Buwei, there was no way they could be friends with Wu Qi.
Wu Qi grinned, then cupped his fist and gave them a slight bow from afar. The few captains returned his greeting with a cold smile, gave Wu Qi a deep look, then turned to talk with a few old men, who were clad in a long robe and wore a tall crown. Wu Qi's pupils constricted, as narrow as the needle-eye, as he could recognize these few old men. The old man who stood at the forefront was the Patriarch of Heavenly Spirit Sect - Lord Heavenly Spirit, the Earth Immortal of peak-stage Nascent Soul realm who had the most profound cultivation in the Dao of Talisman in Great Yan Dynasty.
They were indeed fast enough to gang up. Wu Qi was astonished by Lu Buwei's excellent ability in some aspects. It seemed that it had only been a few days since Lu Buwei arrived at the Meng Fortress, and yet, he had already made a close connection with Lord Heavenly Spirit. Now, the two most direct and deadly foes of Wu Qi had ganged up, and with that, Wu Qi would definitely have to face some hard time in the future. Compared to Lu Buwei's power and Lord Heavenly Spirit's overall strength, Wu Qi was still too weak to stand up against them.
While frowning, Wu Qi shook his head, then walked straight towards the direction of Mayor Mansion.
All of a sudden, from a small alley right next to him, a few tall and burly captains were seen striding straight at him. Either intentionally or unintentionally, one of them held up his elbow and thrust it forcefully towards Wu Qi's right ribs. It was a powerful strike, as it produced loud wind breaking noises along the way. Wu Qi was shocked, and with a slide of his feet, he abruptly shot several hundred feet forward. The elbow strike missed his right ribs and continued thrusting forward.
A muffled boom rang out, as the elbow smashed into a wall to the left of Wu Qi and crushed it to pieces. Dust leaped and filled the air, while the few burly captains acted like nothing had happened. They gave Wu Qi a glance smilingly, not saying anything as they spun and strode away along the main street.
Wu Qi was taken aback by the sudden assault. Then suddenly, he recalled the warning that Yue Yi gave him during the palace banquet - as a warrior, he only considered life and death, and paid no attention to right or wrong. Wu Qi could not help but wail in his mind, 'Old mister Yue Yi, even if you are going to put on an act to accommodate Yan Dan's plan, can you please not make it so real? Sending Great Yan's captains to kill me on the street like this? If this happens too frequently, it will leave a very negative impact on my mental health!'
Those captains were cultivating the Earthly Indestructible Body technique from the Indestructible Sect, and they had the cultivation base of at least peak-stage Gold Core realm. Their skin and muscles were extremely tough and strong. Even an ordinary Earth Immortal when smitten by someone who was expert in the Earthly Indestructible Body, his dharma body would suffer some injuries, let alone Wu Qi, an 'early-stage Gold Core realm' cultivator. If an ordinary Human Immortal of early-stage Gold Core realm got hit by that elbow strike just now, he would have his bones and tendons cracked and broken!
Off in the distance, the few defected Qin captains, Lord Heavenly Spirit, and a few cultivators, were all surprised to witness the scene when Wu Qi was assaulted by someone on the street. They exchanged glances, faces filled with joy. Wu Qi gazed at them furiously, spun and decided to leave Meng Fortress. It appeared that he could no longer stay in Meng Fortress now, and it seemed to him those mountains guarded by Heaven Breaking Sword Sect were rather safer for him.
He spun and strode away. But, barely after a few steps away, a group of imperial eunuchs walked hurriedly out from the entrance of Mayor Mansion behind him. The man that led the group was the loyal servant of Yan Dan, the Internal Prime Minister, the Chief Commander of the Imperial Army of Great Yan Dynasty, Ma Yi. When he saw Wu Qi, he quickly shouted at him, "Duke of Tianyun, where have you been? Quick, quick! His Majesty is looking for you! Somebody, bring Duke of Tianyun to meet His Majesty now. I still need to deliver the imperial decrees to many places! What are you waiting for? A bunch of useless fools!"
A few imperial eunuchs, each clad in a red cloth, hurriedly rushed over and circled around Wu Qi, bowing and nodding as they greeted him and urged him to meet Yan Dan in the Mayor Mansion now. Feeling a little bit dazed, Wu Qi gave Ma Yi a look, who appeared to be in a hurry, and confirmed that it was impossible for Ma Yi to participate in the scheme of against him. Only then did he set his mind at rest, followed the few imperial eunuchs, and entered the Mayor Mansion.
They walked across a few winding corridors and came to the main hall in the backyard, which was used for any discussion and meetings. Upon entering the hall, Wu Qi saw Yan Dan and Qu Ping sitting aloft in the center of the hall, while many civilian and military officials from both Great Yan and Great Chu were standing in rows on both sides, according to the rank of their status. As the Chief Supervisor of Great Yan's West Field Headquarter, Lu Chengfeng was also standing in the row of civilian ministers. Wu Qi saw him tilting his head and looking over at the entrance.
Wu Qi nodded his head slightly at Lu Chengfeng, hinting that he was alright. Then, he strode into the hall and gave Yan Dan and Qu Ping a bow each.
Qu Ping nodded his head indifferently, as a Duke of Great Yan Dynasty, a man who served as the lure, did not worth too much of attention from him, the Emperor of Great Chu Dynasty. He casually pulled out a black puppet from under his sleeve, and with a smile, he gave it to an imperial eunuch standing right next to him. Then he said, "Oh, you're here, Duke of Tianyun, Wu Qi. Although we did not manage to kill Ying Zheng this time, but for the sake of luring our target, Duke of Tianyun had risked your life by venturing deep into the enemy territory. According to the agreement we had beforehand, this ancient celestial fiend puppet is yours now."
The Great Chu's imperial eunuch, who was clad in a green outfit, carefully cupped the puppet with both hands and handed it over to Wu Qi. Wu Qi took over the puppet carefully. So, this was the precious treasure that Qu Ping had promised Wu Qi. It was a heavy puppet that weighed at least 500 kilograms. If not for Wu Qi having laid himself a very solid foundation, cultivating with the technique of Dragon Transformation Script, which provided an excellent tempering to his fleshly body, he would be having a hard time just holding this puppet in his hands.
The puppet was fashioned with a very peculiar shape. It was the shape of a celestial fiend, with the head of a cow and the body of a human. It was clad in a heavy armor, while holding a large double-bladed axe with both hands, body emanating with an immense cold air. Qu Ping said smilingly, "You've to refine it with your blood essence, and then you will be able to fuse a single thread of your soul into it, turning it into an incarnation of yours. With sufficient cultivation base, this puppet can turn into an incarnation with similar cultivation base as the host, and its limit is Heaven Immortal. I found it by accident in an ancient Immortal's Cave. To me, it is just some toy, but it can be a protection to you."
It could be easily told that not only Qu Ping, even all the other ministers and generals from Great Chu did not pay too much of attention to this puppet. Firstly, it was highly possible that Great Chu actually owned many similar puppets. Secondly, as Great Chu owned countless formidable mountain ghosts and strayed deities, a celestial fiend puppet that could merely be an incarnation did not carry so much importance in their minds. Though it was indeed an excellent treasure, in order to use it, one had to split part of his soul to control it, which meant it would weaken the strength of the host's soul.
All the cultivators below the realm of Heaven Immortal would always worry about their cultivation base not being strong enough, fearing that their Nascent Divinity and soul were not stable enough. So, how would they split their soul just to refine something that could give them an incarnation? Having hundreds and thousands of incarnations was a trick that only a true Heaven Immortal would have the interest to develop.
Sure enough, this celestial fiend puppet was a precious treasure, but to all the people that were presented in the hall, it was an object of little value, as valuable as chicken ribs. If Wu Qi had the cultivation base of Nascent Divinity realm right now, this puppet could be immediately turned into an incarnation with the overall strength of Nascent Divinity realm. With that, he would have his overall strength doubled! But, by letting a cultivator with early-stage Gold Core realm cultivation base refine this puppet, even if he had several dozens of them, what was the use of several dozen Gold Core cultivators? An Earth Immortal could still kill all of them with just one single palm strike. Besides that, the amount of blood essence and soul that cost to refine this puppet would definitely delay the progress of the Gold Core cultivator by many times.
However, Wu Qi did not look at it that way. Blood essence and soul were something he could regenerate easily, and thus, unlike all the other cultivators, he did not regard them as so important.
The celestial fiend puppet looked ancient and heavy, and it shone with a strange gleam. Wu Qi reckoned it must be a pretty nice treasure. Furthermore, a treasure that allowed him to have an incarnation worthed a significant value to him. Then, he would not have to be worried of being incapable of dealing with many matters simultaneously, and with the help from many strange mystic techniques he learned from Scroll of Stealing, he would be able to accomplish many tasks easily. Clutching his hands tightly on the puppet, Wu Qi thanked Qu Ping for the great reward. It was surely a perfect treasure just for him.
As this puppet really matched Wu Qi's taste, is gratitude sounded very truthful and sincere.
That sincere attitude made Qu Ping feel rather embarrassed for himself. He gave Wu Qi a look, then turned to look at Yan Dan. Suddenly, he broke out into a loud laughter and said, "Well, well, it seems that Qu Ping is being not generous enough. Hmm..." Sticking one hand under his sleeve Qu Ping fished around for a while, then he took out a total of 17 celestial fiend puppets, all identical and having the same size as the first one, and handed them over to the imperial eunuch right next to him. He threw his head back and laughed, then said, "Qu Ping has been holding these celestial fiend puppets for a very long time. Although I've spent numerous hours in studying them, I still cannot figure out how they were made. Well, let them be gone now. Give all of them to Duke of Tianyun, as Qu Ping will now focus all my mind in cultivating, and I'll not be bothered by these external objects."
And so, all 17 heavy celestial fiend puppets came into Wu Qi's hands, and thus completed the set of 18 puppets, each holding 18 different cold weapons of the ancient time, from blade, speargun, sword, halberd, to axe, whip, lance, spear, and many others. Wu Qi was greatly thrilled, hurriedly expressing his appreciation with a solemn manner. Then, he placed all 18 little celestial fiend puppets into Black Dragon Spirit Ring.
After a moment of silence, while Wu Qi was about to make a report to Yan Dan, informing that he had seized many books that contained cultivation techniques of Great Qin's ministers and generals, he suddenly saw the fat Lu Buwei come walking in with swaggering steps. Upon entering the hall, Lu Buwei casually nodded his head at Yan Dan and Qu Ping.
Yan Dan rose to his feet hastily, smiled at Lu Buwei and said, "You are here, Teacher? Are there any important matters that made you come here?"
Lu Buwei gave Wu Qi a gaze coldly, then said, "The construction of teleportation formation connected to other dynasties has been completed. The emissary of Great Wei is waiting outside right now... Currently, Great Wei is having a war with Great Zhao. In my opinion, we should take this opportunity and dig out as many benefits as possible from Great Wei."
Wu Qi shut his mouth immediately, stepped back into the row of Great Yan's civilian and military officials, then gave Lu Buwei a deep look. Relying on his Five Ghosts Grand Magic, this old fellow had traveled many dynasties and established his Wei Merchant in all the capitals of those dynasties. Now, by relying upon his power and strength, the teleportation formation that connected Great Yan Dynasty with many other dynasties had been constructed very quickly. And with that being done, the emissary of Great Wei had arrived here amidst the delicate situation.
Qu Ping laughed and asked with a soft voice, "Who is this emissary that come from Great Wei?"
Lu Buwei cleared his throat, replied with a rather dried voice, "He can be considered as one of our old friends... Duke of Long Yang, the man who governs Great Wei's current political situation and power."
Wu Qi tripped on his own feet and nearly dropped to his knees.
 Duke of Long Yang - Well, according to the Legalist philosophical work, the Han Fei Zi, Lord of Long Yang was a gay, King of Wei's favorite. There is an interesting story about him with King of Wei, you can read it at the link after this. By the way, there is an NSFW image if you followed the link. (Source: http://andrejkoymasky.com/liv/fam/biol3/long03.html)