Looking at this old man who came with a respectful and cautious manner, having all his aura carefully retracted for the fear of creating any misunderstanding, Wu Qi nodded and said, "Fellow Daoist, there’s no need for such politeness. Fellow Daoist is the City Lord of this place. According to common practice, I should be the one who pays you a visit."
Extending his hand and pointing at the hall used to receive guests northward of the courtyard, Wu Qi smiled and said, "Since fellow Daoist is already here, please come in and have some tea."
The manager of Garden Inn rushed out excitedly, yelling and ordering his servants to quickly bring the best spring water from the mountaintop and make some tea for the guests. The old man and two middle-aged men gave Wu Qi a respectful bow, then followed his steps and entered the hall. Their expressions were reverent and cautious, daring not to show even the slightest impoliteness.
Xiong Wanling and the other four Nascent Divinity old demons were staying in their own rooms. They were not interested in entertaining these Gold Core cultivators, who they considered small potatoes. However, Yan Qijun and Zhao Kuo were curious about the unexpected visitors. Before Wu Qi could call them, they had already walked out of their rooms and sat on the master seats in the hall. It was especially true for Zhao Kuo, as he was grinning cheekily with his ankle placed on his knee, narrowing his eyes and staring leisurely at the three visitors.
As the master seats were seized by Yan Qijun and Zhao Kuo, Wu Qi could only sit down on a large chair opposite to the old man. He nodded his head and said with a smile, "I'm Daoist Bai, and these two are my Uncle-Masters, Daoist Yan and Daoist Jun. May I know how do we address you, fellow Daoists?"
Yan Qijun and Zhao Kuo expressed their greetings with a nod. The old man and two middle-aged men hastily rose to their feet, cupped their fists, and bowed at the duo. Carefully, they gave the Wu Qi and the duo a glance. Amidst the dark mist behind Wu Qi's back, there was a small flying sword darting back and forth sneakily, while Yan Qijun and Zhao Kuo did not show any strange sign. Since they were both Wu Qi's seniors, and they did not possess any Gold Core strange signs, they were evidently both Nascent Soul cultivators.
A very obvious look of excitement emerged on the old man's face, then he began to introduce himself and his companions in a respectful manner. The old man was Tian Ju (橘 Orange), the current Clan Leader of Tian clan, while the two middle-aged men were his sons, Tian He (禾 Grain) and Tian Dao (稻 Paddy). Upon hearing the introduction, Wu Qi laughed in his heart. These few men were indeed the true master of Tian Le City, as even their names were related to agricultural products.
After hearing the introduction, Wu Qi bent slightly forward, then smiled faintly and said, "What brings you here, Clan Leader Tian?"
Tian Ju rubbed his hands. Carefully, he cast his eye on Yan Qijun, who was sitting there motionlessly and had a bearing of an emperor, and Zhao Kuo, who had his ankle placed on his knee and looked exactly like a prodigal son. He laughed dryly and said, "Junior..."
Wu Qi waved his hand, then smiled and said, "Clan Leader Tian, you don't have to address yourself as a junior. It makes me feel bad on hearing that."
Tian Ju hurriedly corrected himself and said, "This old man understands, totally understands." He cleared his throat and continued, "A moment ago, someone from my clan told me there are a few seniors who have come visiting Tian Le City. Naturally, I've to come here and pay the seniors a visit. Hmm, may I know the purpose of your visit...?"
Wu Qi rolled his eyes about and pulled out a story in a blink. "Oh, we are from the Thousand Waves Planet." He said with a smile, "We received an order to gather some spirit herbs and rare items from Xue Yuan Planet. But little did we know this was actually an unlucky trip, as a few senior Heaven Immortals got into a fight and shut down the ways of leaving and entering the planet. Sigh, how can we complain about the decision of those senior Heaven Immortals? As a result, we can only settle down in Xue Yuan Planet temporarily to wait and see when we can return home."
Laughing bitterly, Wu Qi shook his head, then sighed and said, "In the past few days, we heard that Snowflake City and White Frost City were destroyed by someone. Originally, we stayed in Snowdrift City, but we wondered would those people purposely attack all four major cities on Xue Yuan Planet? If that was their intention, Snowdrift City was not a safe place to stay any longer. Therefore, we decided to come here to the Tian Le City, trying to avoid being dragged into the calamity."
Yan Qijun chimed in at the right moment, "Tian Le City is not an attractive place. I think no one would purposely create trouble here!"
As Snowdrift City was the closest major city to Tian Le City, it was entirely reasonable for Wu Qi to mention that they were staying in Snowdrift City originally. And, in order to avoid any danger that might happen to Snowdrift City and endanger themselves, they decided to find a remote little city and settled down temporarily. It was also a perfectly logical explanation.
"We noticed that Tian Le City has a very beautiful scenery, a place where we can indulge in the rural fun. That's the reason which made us decide to stay here for a few days." Wu Qi said with a smile, "Once the commotion is settled down, and the Grand Universal Teleportation Formation can be used again, we'll return to Thousand Waves Planet as soon as possible. Is there any advice Clan Leader Tian has for us?"
Upon hearing that Wu Qi and his companions were from Thousand Waves Planet, and had received an 'order' to come gathering spirit herbs and rare items on Xue Yuan Planet, the faces of Tian clan trio immediately bloomed into a smile. Tian Ju said impatiently, "I see! So, you are seniors from the Thousand Waves Planet! No wonder you have such an incredible cultivation base. Actually, I do have something that needs your help. But if any of my next words offend seniors, please forgive me!"
Wu Qi gave Yan Qijun and Zhao Kuo a quick glance. "Well, just say anything you want." said Yan Qijun coolly, "We are not unreasonable people. Since we are fellow Daoists, and we are going to stay in Tian Le City for a period of time. If there is anything that we can help Clan Leader Tian with, we'll be glad to do it. However, it better not something that involves those few senior Heaven Immortals."
Tian Ju was seized with great joy. Quickly, he rose to his feet with two of his sons, cupping his fists and bowing. "No, no. This matter has nothing to do with those few senior Heaven Immortals! This is actually a conflict between Tian Le City and the Lin clan from Shan Liang!"
Yan Qijun's face turned unsightly upon hearing the name, as it made him think of Lin clan of Snowflake City. For the sake of some upper-grade energy stones, that lunatic Lin Qiuluo had forced Yan Qijun into a desperate situation, and nearly made him lose his life. Although Lin Qiuluo and Lin clan, and even Immortal Chang Wu, had received the cruelest retaliation, Yan Qijun still felt that his heart was filled with resentment.
"Lin clan?" Wu Qi stared thoughtfully at Tian Ju as he asked without showing any emotions.
Tian Ju took a step forward, then lowered his voice and said, "This Lin clan is not related to Lin clan of Snowflake City. However, as both clans are having the same surname, this Lin clan had been sedulously buttering up the Lin clan of Snowflake City. Over the years, they did manage to establish some relationship with them."
Wu Qi put up a stern face purposely. Grinning coldly, he said, "Lin clan of Snowflake City, hmph!"
Tian Ju's face flickered, as he said hastily, "Senior, please listen to this old man. We've heard some news over the past few days. Snowflake City is destroyed, and all the members of the three major clans in the city are exterminated. Lin clan of Snowflake City is gone completely. Therefore, this Lin clan has lost its backing. If not because of this, with the weak foundation of Tian Le City, how could this old man have the courage to fight them?"
Yan Qijun nodded slowly. He had a very bad impression of the surname of Lin clan, and he felt ill at ease whenever he heard this surname. In addition to that, since this Lin clan was somewhat related with the Lin clan of Snowflake City, they could never blame him for being ruthless.
Wearing a faint smile on his face, Wu Qi too placed his ankle on knee. It happened that the manager was serving tea. A moment later, Wu Qi took a sip out of a teacup, then smiled and asked, "Alright, let's see what this Lin clan is capable of. Can Clan Leader Tian let us know what is the cause of the conflict between you two?"
Tian Ju pondered for a brief moment. After that, he held up five fingers and told Wu Qi, "If seniors can help this old man destroy that Lin clan's wild ambition, will seniors be contented with fifty percent of all the profits that we obtain in the end?" Tian Ju stared nervously at Wu Qi and kept blinking his eyes.
Instead of telling them the cause of the conflict, he straightaway brought up the percentage of profit-sharing. Wu Qi suddenly saw the light. "So, you've discovered a treasure, and that caused a conflict between both clans? Hmm, this treasure should be hiding somewhere in this mountain range, and it happens to sit right on the borderline between the two clans, right? Hmm, is it some spirit herbs? I don't think so. Or maybe an energy stone vein? A fire element energy stone vein? This is unlikely as well. I reckon it must be a cold element energy stone vein, eh?"
A bright gleam was seen flickering in Wu Qi's eyes as he stared at Tian Ju and his sons, whose faces turned pale. "This place is infested with underground fire. Thus, only a fire element energy stone vein can be produced. However, if what you found is a fire element energy stone vein, with the unique characteristic of your cultivation technique, the aura you emanate will be full of impurities if you are stained with fire element energy. But judging from what I've sensed so far, the three of you still have a pure cold aura without any impurities. Therefore, what you discovered is a cold element energy stone vein that breeds right next to an underground lava pool!"
Yan Qijun and Zhao Kuo's eyes went wide at the same time as they stared at Wu Qi in shock. Judging from the panicked expression Tian Ju and his sons had after hearing Wu Qi's analysis, they knew what Wu Qi said was accurate!
Wu Qi complacently took a sip out of his teacup, then said while fiddling with the cup, "A cold element energy stone vein that grows right next to an underground lava pool, it is a very rare case! Usually, at a place where Yin and Yang are opposing each other, there will definitely be some extraordinary treasures!"
Staring coldly at Tian Ju, Tian He, and Tian Dao, who had sat back to their chairs dejectedly, Wu Qi said coldly, "Do you think with the overall strength of Tian clan, you can safely keep an extraordinary treasure such as this? And how are you going to digest all the benefits brought by an intact energy stone vein?"
Sweat ran down like raindrops from Tian Ju's forehead. Shivering from head to toe, he looked at Wu Qi, then said stammeringly, "You... you..."
Wu Qi sighed and said, "You should not have come to us... but since you already did that, Tian He, Tian Dao, you can acknowledge my Uncle-Master as your Master! Offer this energy vein to us, and we will grant you a prosperous future!"
With a slap on his forehead, Wu Qi's Nascent Soul sprung out of the top of his head and hovered above him, blinking as it glared at Tian Ju and his sons.
Yan Qijun was struck with terror instantly. He jumped to his feet and cried out, "Kid, when did you form your Nascent Soul? You, how old are you now?"
Zhao Kuo was yelling with shock as well. He pointed at the Gold Core strange sign behind Wu Qi's back and yelled, "Your Gold Core strange sign is still there, but how about your Nascent Soul... What devil are you?"
Wu Qi laughed dryly. He turned around and squeezed the dark mist behind his back into a small black ball, then threw it into his mouth. "Well, I just formed my Nascent Soul two days ago. It was an accident, and I've totally no idea how it came out! Hahaha! As for the Gold Core strange sign, it is a great tool to deceive someone. See, even you can't tell my actual cultivation base!"
While laughing, dark mist began to burst out from the pores all over his body. Very quickly, another dark cloud was formed behind his back. Five flying swords were seen flying and wheeling about sneakily within the dark cloud. Looking at the Nascent Soul hovering above Wu Qi's head, while there was still a Gold Core strange sign behind his back, both Yan Qijun and Zhao Kuo groaned helplessly, then threw themselves back to their chairs.
Tian Ju rolled his eyes. He began to feel regret for coming here and asking for help from Wu Qi and his companions. He felt that his heart would ache if he were really forced to give up too many benefits!
However, while he was still weighing the situation, an energy ripple of Nascent Soul cultivator was sensed coming from above Tian Le City suddenly. Following this energy ripple was an old voice that sounded very complacent. "Old Tian, that land of treasure now belongs to the Lin clan!"
A loud boom echoed out. A thunderbolt streaked down from the sky, brutally smiting on Tian clan's ancestor mansion in the city.