Sounds of light footstep echoed out. Standing amongst the crowd, Wu Qi peered towards the entrance curiously.
A faint fragrance wafted into the hall with the breeze. Suddenly, it was as if a clump of cloud suddenly emerged at the entrance, as a young man came walking slowly into the hall. He stood about seven feet tall, and was clad in a loose lotus-white outfit which fashioned between long robe and palace dress, yet was very hard to tell the difference between them, while a large mantle draped over his shoulder.
This young man had an outlook that Wu Qi found it hard to properly describe. He was like a jade sculpture, smooth and delicate; every particular gesture and behavior of his was gentle and well-proportioned, fitting perfectly with moral standard and principle. Everything on him, every single strand of his hair, the tiny dot of pinkish rouge between his brows, they all looked like the act of nature, which did not project any discordance that looked offending to the eye. Slowly, he walked into the hall, bowed slightly to offer a greeting to Yan Dan and Qu Ping, then said, "Long Yang offers greeting, Your Majesty!" Then, he turned to Yan Dan, smiled and said, "I haven't seen you for a long time, and now the once Your Highness Crown Prince has become Your Majesty."
*Clang!* A few maids standing behind Yan Dan accidentally dropped and crashed the jade plates and bowls that were held in their hands. Their faces turned deadly pale immediately, and were dragged away to behind the hall by a few imperial eunuchs, who had a strange look in their eyes.
Nearly all the civilian and military officials in the hall swallowed a lump in their throats at the same time. Apart from Wu Qi and a few other people who could still keep a clear mind, when all the other people saw Duke of Long Yang for the first time, they immediately felt their flesh creep.
The outfit clad by Duke of Long Yang looked like the style of both a man and woman, but it also did not look exactly like the style of either a man or woman. Furthermore, when one looked at his visage, his stature, and his gestures and behavior, one could take him as a peerlessly handsome man, but at the same time, a lady with an exceptional beauty. In brief, if one thought he were a man, he would be a pretty man; if one thought he were a lady, he would be a beautiful lady who was least thirty percent more attractive than Yuji or Yue Tan.
Standing among Great Yan's civilian and military officials, Lao Ai had his eyes fixed straight at Duke of Long Yang. Suddenly, sounds of silk tearing and ripping were heard coming from between his crotch. Lao Ai let out a muffled snort, quickly bent his body, and cleared his throat. Then, not giving out any excuses to cover his embarrassment, he spun, turned into a gust of wind, and disappeared from the hall.
In the meanwhile, a few Great Chu's military officials, who had a rather vigorous blood and energy, were seen bending their bodies embarrassingly. Struck with panic, they turned their glances and dared not to give Duke of Long Yang a second look. They knew this Duke of Long Yang was a man, but for a man who looked more feminine than ordinary ladies, he was actually a demon who made them fear him more than Lao Ai. Everybody knew what kind of a strange cultivation technique that Lao Ai was practicing, and as men themselves, they would only feel jealous of his Great Sun Technique.
But Duke of Long Yang could make men with a weaker mind to be gradually attracted by his look and behavior, and eventually fall in love with him. And this made every single man in this hall, who did not have the special interest towards other men, feel a tremendous terror rising up from the bottom of their hearts. At the thought that they actually fall in love with a man at first sight, such terror simply made every man with a normal sexual orientation feel a chilled stream flow through their hearts.
As if he had just seen a ghost, with both hands shivering, Lu Chengfeng turned his body sideways and turned his pale green face over to Wu Qi. Carefully, he transmitted his voice to Wu Qi, "Why is this Duke of Long Yang looking like this? He... how could he be more attractive than those ladies?"
Wu Qi forced out a few laughs under his breath. He too dared not to take a few more looks at Duke of Long Yang, as this was a man who carried an offensive strength stronger and more evil than Lao Ai. Although there were Seven Holy Deities and Devils who kept guard in Wu Qi's spiritual ocean, when he caught the first glimpse of Duke of Long Yang, his mind was immediately shaken, and he barely managed to stabilize his soul with the power of Divine Flame of Order, to keep his mind clear.
This was a peerless demon that could attract both men and women, a demon even more psycho than Lao Ai. Although he looked as warm and gentle as a jade from his appearance, as if he would never post any threat, based on Wu Qi's instinct, this man was a pearl condensed from arsenic. He was at least ten thousand times deadlier than all the poisonous matters under the heaven.
Yan Dan cleared his throat and broke the strange atmosphere in the hall. He forced out a smile and said, "Duke of Long Yang, it must have been a very tiring journey for you to come from such a faraway place. Please have a seat! Hmm, prepare seats for all the ministers in the hall. We shall not let everyone keep standing like this!" Yan Dan did notice how those civilian and military officials bent their body embarrassingly, and thus, he thought it would be better that everyone could just sit down.
Some imperial eunuchs quickly brought many low tables into the hall and placed them accordingly. With that, everyone could finally sit down on their knees.
Only after everyone took their seat did Duke of Long Yang use a very graceful manner, so graceful that it would make all beautiful ladies under the heaven be jealous to the maximum, slowly picked up a teacup that was handed to him by two maids whose faces were blushing. Gently, he curled up his red lips and took a light sip of the fragrant tea that was supplied by Great Yan's imperial palace. After that, he placed down the teacup, face blooming with a smile as he said, "A very nice tea. It is rich in fragrance, indeed an excellent tea."
Waving his hands and flinging both long sleeves behind him, Duke of Long Yang raised his head, smiled at Yan Dan, and said, "It was not a tiring journey, really. Prime Minister Lu has constructed the teleportation formation, and what Long Yang did was just take a few steps, and I came from Great Wei's imperial palace straight to this place. So, what was so tiring about it?"
The tender and charming gesture of Long Yang had made many people in the hall have their minds wandering to some outer space. And this time, even Wu Qi nearly failed in withstanding Long Yang's behavior. He pinched on his own thigh furiously, and relying on the severe pain, he managed to wake himself up completely. Lu Chengfeng, sitting right next to him, simply took out a small awl and poked straight into his thigh, then gave it a fierce twist. Only then was he able to keep a clear and sensible mind.
Yet, over seventy percent of the civilian and military officials in the hall simply had their eyes rested straight on Duke of Long Yang, showing a greedy and lustful expression on their faces. They looked like they could not wait to devour this man with just one mouth. Fortunately, he was Great Wei's emissary. If he were an ordinary man, perhaps he would have long been abducted by someone, and the wife and concubines of some influential official from either Great Yan or Great Chu would discover that their husband had lost interest in them.
Yan Dan swallowed a lump in his throat, forced a smile, and said, "That's... excellent. Is there anything that Duke of Long Yang wishes to share with us, the Great Yan and Great Chu, during your visit this time?"
Duke of Long Yang nodded his head lightly and went straight to the point, "Prime Minister Lu had told me about the incident that Great Yan and Great Chu joined hands in scheming Ying Zheng, and nearly killed him. Someone like us, we know very well about what each of us is looking for, so I'll not play those old-fashioned tricks. Let's make the long story short: an alliance will be formed between Great Yan, Great Chu, and Great Wei. After that, we'll annihilate Great Zhao and deter Great Qi. Then, we'll join hands in attacking and conquering Xian Yang, slaughtering every clan members of Emperor Qin. What do you think?"
Then he took out a scroll from under his sleeve, and said with a deep voice, "Our Majesty has authorized Long Yang that Great Wei is willing to be forever tied to Great Yan and Great Chu in bonds of brotherhood. We can say our prayers to the Heaven and Earth, that the three dynasties of us will never battle each other. However, Great Qin is destined to be wiped out. As for Great Zhao, as they are currently having a war with us, the Great Wei, we'll just destroy them together."
Not waiting for Yan Dan and Qu Ping to say a word, Duke of Long Yang continued, "Both of you are wise leaders, and you should know that this is a vast world, and we can totally share it together. There is no point in fighting a bloody war that causes unnecessary casualties. But, as Great Qin is the implacable foe to all three of us, as long as we can eradicate this deadly foe, we will be able to coexist peacefully."
Yan Dan frowned, sunk into a deep pondering, while Qu Ping smiled coolly and said, "What Duke of Long Yang said is perfectly logical and reasonable. Forming an alliance and attacking Great Qin, I think this is what all of us can agree with. But, why is Great Wei having a war with Great Zhao right now? I hope Duke of Long Yang can explain this to us."
Wu Qi raised his brows, as he was immediately attracted by the topic. According to what he learned, it was only until recently that all these dynasties made contact with each other. Between Great Wei and Great Zhao, no matter how he looked at them, they should not be fighting with each other upon the first contact. There must be some reasons behind it that were not known by many people.
Duke of Long Yang smiled. Gazing at Yan Dan and Qu Ping, he said, "Sure enough, it is impossible to hide anything from both of Your Majesty!"
Then, lightly he clapped his palms, and numerous white lotus petals flew out from the edge of his palms immediately, emanating a faint scent as they wheeled around him, Yan Dan, and Qu Ping. These white lotus petals shone with soft light, sending forth an upright air and did not feel evil. The faint scent that wafted through the air refreshed the mind of those who smelled it, and made their minds clear again.
A misty white fog was whirling around Duke of Long Yang, Yan Dan, and Qu Ping, preventing anyone from looking at the movements of their lips and hearing their words.
Stealthily, Wu Qi exercised the Mystic Eyes of Universe, and his eyes immediately flickered with bright gleams, which allowed him to see through the white fog unleashed by Duke of Long Yang with the intention of preventing any glances. With the lip reading technique, Wu Qi saw Duke of Long Yang tell Yan Dan and Qu Ping, "It is actually not something serious. The expeditions from both dynasties discovered a ruin left behind by some immortal in the depth of He Mountains, which covered a very large land. Both managed to obtain some pretty interesting loots, and during the fight for the treasures, both expeditions lost some men."
Then, Yan Dan replied, "If it is merely the loss of some men, I don't think that will cause both dynasties to battle each other, right?"
Duke of Long Yang shrugged elegantly and shook his head. The charming gesture slightly distracted both Yan Dan and Qu Ping, while Duke of Long Yang continued, "Yes. But among the men that were killed, there were three Princes from Great Wei, and four Princes and seven Imperial Grandsons from Great Zhao." He smiled lightly, then said coolly, "As the location of the ruin is closer to us, the Great Wei, our reinforcement arrived earlier, and thus, we managed to kill a few more men than them."
'So, this is the reason?" thought Wu Qi while he narrowed his eyes. It seemed the standard of both expeditions was extremely high, as both teams were led by Princes, and even a few Princes were killed during the mission. Perhaps, some of the dead Princes were core Princes who held true power and prestige in both dynasties. Or else, they would not simply resort to a war just because of the death of a few princes.
Qu Ping laughed and said, "Since there is a ruin left behind by some immortal... and since all three of us are going to form an alliance..."
Looking at each other, Qu Ping and Yan Dan smiled.
Duke of Long Yang pursed his glossy lips, smiled lightly and said, "We, the Great Wei, will have exclusive control to sixty percent of the final loots. This is our bottom line."
As Yan Dan and Qu Ping heard that it was a ruin left behind by some immortals, and it covered a very vast land, how would they give up so much of the benefits? Immediately, both men joined hands and pressured Duke of Long Yang, asking for more benefits. After a round of sharp debate that lasted the time to finish a pot of tea, and under the tremendous pressure from Great Yan and Great Chu, Duke of Long Yang had no choice but to give in.
In the end, Duke of Long Yang suddenly sighed and said, "Well, Great Wei will have exclusive control to forty percent of the final loots, while Great Yan and Great Chu will each control thirty percent, as this seem reasonable to me. But, I have another condition: after the alliance is formed, the first thing is to launch an attack at Great Zhao, and when the war is over, Great Wei will occupy at least seventy percent of Great Zhao's territory. If you don't agree with this, we'll rather share that ruin with Great Zhao, and not give it to any other people. Besides that, I also have a little personal score to settle."
Yan Dan and Qu Ping exchanged a glance, then Qu Ping smiled and said, "What kind of personal score? Who is the person from either Great Yan or Great Chu who is having some resentment with you, Duke of Long Yang?"
Duke of Long Yang smiled. Suddenly he dispersed the white fog and the white lotus petals and rose to his feet. He pointed at Wu Qi with his finger and cried out, "Wu Qi, you little twerp! Are you brave enough to fight with my swordsman? If you are a man, then don't act like a little girl, and if you can kill my swordsman, I'll never give you any trouble in the future!"
Wu Qi was struck dumb with astonishment, while both Yan Dan and Qu Ping were stunned. Pointing at his own nose, Wu Qi asked, "Me? But why? Your Highness, have you mistaken me for someone else?"
Radiant with a heroic spirit, Duke of Long Yang let out a lovely smile, shook his head, and said, "Yes, you're the one I'm looking for, Wu Qi. Someone has paid me an astronomical price and requested me to kill you."
Out of his instinct, Wu Qi turned to look at the man who sat at the foremost of all Great Yan's ministers, Lu Buwei.