Late at night, inside Duke Yan Le's Mansion…
On the wooden platform floating in the small lake of the back garden, Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng were lying flat on their backs, staring quietly at the night sky filled with twinkling stars.
Each of them had a wine jar in hand, from which they would gulp down mouthfuls of wine every now and then. Wu Qi had just finished talking a moment ago, as he told Lu Chengfeng about the plans he and Yan Dan had, the cause and effects of the incident, as well as the interests involved. Lu Chengfeng's mind was weighed down after learning everything, which made him keep pouring wine into his mouth and exhaling heavy breaths that were filled with a strong alcoholic smell.
"This will be a risky trip, so you need to be extra cautious and careful!" After a long moment of silence, Lu Chengfeng said in a deep voice, "Do not worry about those properties and people of yours in Great Yan. I'll help you to look after the Star picking City, the Number One Martial Club Under the Heaven, as well as Meng Xiaobai and the rest of the men. They are my brothers too. I will take good care of them, and won't allow anything bad happen to them."
Wu Qi responded with a deep, heavy voice as well, "Alright, you do take care of yourself."
Throwing a small and exquisite Spirit Breeding Ring over to Lu Chengfeng, Wu Qi said, "This is a Spirit Breeding Ring crafted by me. The area inside it is not too large, only about one hundred acres in total. I've placed one hundred newly recruited Long Bo people inside. All of them have transcended thunder tribulations and formed their Gold Cores, and once they get into a formation, they are capable of killing Nascent Soul cultivators. Take the ring and use it to protect yourself."
Lu Chengfeng did not stand on ceremony with Wu Qi. He took over the ring and wore it on his finger, then pulled out a string of fine silk with over thirty storage rings hanging around his neck, throwing all of them over to Wu Qi. Upon looking at the long string of silk with over thirty glinting storage rings, Wu Qi nearly broke out into a loud laughter, wondering since when Lu Chengfeng learned this strange hobby of his?
He sent his divine will into these rings. Each of them had a storage area of roughly one thousand feet in width, length, and height, while they were all fully filled with countless energy stones. Be it supreme, upper, middle, or lower grade, everything that one expected to find was there in the rings. Just the lower-grade energy stones alone had taken the storage space of three rings, and the rest were all energy stones of mid-grade and above.
Lu Chengfeng said smilingly, "Over the last few years, I've managed to gather some benefits as the Chief Supervisor of the mines. Now, take these energy stones with you. As the saying goes, be thrifty at home and spend liberally while traveling. As you are going to travel, it will be better for you to bring something that can help. Besides, we are not poor people, so how could you not bring more energy stones with you when traveling?"
Wu Qi nodded, and with a clean sweep of his divine will, he transferred all the energy stones into the Black Dragon Spirit Ring. A small black dragon soul dashed out from the ring, opened its mouth, and swallowed all the storage rings. With that, the storage space inside Black Dragon Spirit Ring expanded once again, and the black dragon soul let out a pleasing and comfortable dragon cry.
Patting the black dragon soul and shoving it back into the ring, Wu Qi sprung to his feet and said, "So, I'll just leave everything at home over to Elder Brother!"
Lu Chengfeng rose to his feet and answered, "Don't worry, I'll take care of everything here!"
Nodding his head, Wu Qi stepped onto a cloud and flew quickly towards the imperial palace. It was only a few miles away from here, and therefore with just a blink of the cloud, he had already arrived there. He leisurely landed before the entrance to the secret vault inside the palace. Princess Zhang Le and Ma Yi had already been waiting for him outside the secret vault, and when they saw him, Princess Zhang Le rushed beside him and hugged his arm without saying a word.
On the other side, Ma Yi gave Wu Qi a respectful bow as he said in a low voice, "His Majesty has said that Duke of Tianyun is allowed to freely take away everything in the secret vault!"
While nodding, Wu Qi came before the main entrance of the secret vault, fished out the Token of Nine Swallows which Yan Dan gave him, and mounted it on a socket right at the center of the door. Streaks of glowing light flowed out of the token, spreading out as they moved across the thick, heavy door of the secret vault. The door opened up soundlessly, showing them an entrance that led to an isolated area about two hundred feet in both width and length. A group of thirty Great Yan's sinecures kept guard in this area, and there was a short-distance teleportation formation right at the center.
Holding hands, Wu Qi and Princess Zhang Le walked into the teleportation formation. A few sinecures adjusted the destination of the formation and activated it. A strong light burst out and flickered, as Wu Qi felt his body become lighter and his vision filled with ever-changing lights and shadows. In the next moment, he and Princess Zhang Le had arrived before another door.
They were in a huge cavern about one thousand feet in both length and width, completely empty, with not a single person around. The door before them stood one-hundred feet tall, dark-green, and without even a single decorative pattern on its surface. Two combative puppets crafted by Mo Sect, each standing one hundred feet tall, their eyes dull and lifeless and bodies completely made of metals, were seen standing before the door. They were exuding a scorching heat wave that made one feel suffocated.
Without the slightest hesitation, Wu Qi produced the Token of Nine Swallows and waved it before the two puppets. Only then did he bring Princess Zhang Le closer to the door, using his right palm to lightly press a few times on it. With every press he made, there would be a dot that lit up on the door. Very soon, these bright dots formed a pattern of the Big Dipper and began to spin. The door opened up soundlessly, revealing Great Yan's secret vault.
Over the last two thousand years, Great Yan Dynasty had been constantly expanding this secret vault. It had a total of nine levels, with each level measuring roughly one hundred miles in circumference. The collected taxes and tributes offered by various vassal kingdoms during the two thousand years period were all stored here. One of the levels was made especially to store a huge amount of grain, dried meat, wine, and many other necessities. The food supply stored in the one mile tall and one hundred miles in circumference storehouse was more than enough for Great Yan Dynasty to cope with the natural calamities and man-made disasters that happened simultaneously in a few vassal kingdoms.
Besides one whole level of food supplies, there was also a half-level full of salt and herbs, one level full of gold and one level full of silver. What was stored in the rest of the levels were various natural treasures that Great Yan Dynasty plundered during these years, along with rare and precious materials that only cultivators could use.
After walking into the secret vault, Wu Qi went straight to the level where all the various rare and precious metals were stored. Standing before its entrance, his skin rippled like water as eighteen celestial fiend puppets walked out of his body while issuing deep laughs. On their faces that looked identical to Wu Qi was a smile of extreme excitement. Pointing his finger at the secret vault, Wu Qi breathed out a long sigh and said, "You don't have to save money for Great Yan Dynasty. Devour as many as you can, and store as many as your body can take. Hmm, try your best to refine these metals and improve your cultivation base as soon as possible. I have two Nascent Souls now, and both of them have the cultivation base of peak-stage Nascent Soul realm. You have to catch up!"
Eighteen celestial fiend puppets howled together excitedly, leaving behind afterimages in the air as they rushed into the secret vault. Very soon, sounds of mice munching on soybeans were heard coming out from it. Amidst the ceaseless cracking and munching sounds, the rare and precious metals Great Yan Dynasty had saved up for so many years were depleting at an incredible rate.
Paying no further attention to the eighteen celestial fiend puppets, Wu Qi came before the door of the secret vault that stored demon beast inner cores, blood essence, skins, bones, and other related materials. A white light burst and flickered from the Spirit Breeding Ring, as the drooling Gold Horn and Silver Horn rushed out of it, following immediately by ten thousand Long Bo people.
Pointing at the secret vault, Wu Qi said with a deep voice, "Empty this secret vault! Swallow anything that you can swallow now, and as for those you can't swallow, pick materials that are easy to store and bring them away. We have no idea when we will be coming back here again. Since we'll be spending most of our time traveling, it will be really tough to gather so many good things ourselves!"
Gold Horn and Silver Horn cried out loudly and jollily, bringing the group of Long Bo people as they charged into the secret vault like a pack of hungry wolves.
It was exactly as what Wu Qi said, it would be nearly impossible for them to gather so many materials of excellent quality when they were traveling in the future. With Wu Qi alone, even if he turned himself into a miner and worked day and night, how many materials could he gather? As Great Yan was an enormously rich dynasty with over two thousand years of savings, if Wu Qi did not help them spend some of the savings, he felt it would be unfair for the agreement between him and Yan Dan.
After that, bringing Princess Zhang Le with him, Wu Qi came to the secret vault that stored various spirit pills and herbs. He walked straight into it and glanced around with his divine will. Then, all the ingredients that he knew could be used in those ancient pill formulas, heedless of their qualities, were grabbed up with his divine will and shoved into Black Dragon Spirit Ring. Even as he was doing that, the black dragon soul inside the ring quickly sorted these ingredients into categories, then stored them separately and neatly in different storage areas.
As the efficiency of divine will was much greater than manual labor, in just one hour, Wu Qi had gone through the entire secret vault, storing spirit herbs and looting thirty percent of the contents. Among them, just the spirit herbs that could be used to concoct Drunken Dragon Incense weighed several million kilograms, as Wu Qi had decided that he would put this unorthodox spirit medicine into a good use in the future.
After looting the spirit herbs, Wu Qi entered another level of the secret vault. What was stored here were all strange and eccentric items, many of which were so peculiar that even Xiong Wanling, an old demon who had lived many years, would fail to recognize. However, although these items were bizarre and unusual, Wu Qi knew their exact usages and functions. As the Scroll of Stealing contained illustrations and descriptions of all the spirit items found in this universe, all the rare natural treasures, as long as they were valuable, couldn't escape from Wu Qi.
Like a mouse who fell into a rice jar, Wu Qi looted over half of the strange and eccentric natural treasures. Apart from some items that he did not like, he took away almost everything here.
After bustling for one full day and night, Wu Qi finally let out a loud, sonorous cry.
Eighteen celestial fiend puppets walked back towards Wu Qi with slow and heavy steps. Without uttering a word, they fused back into his body. Wu Qi could clearly sense that these puppets were overeating! Apart from the rare metals they could digest now, they had also opened up a pretty large storage space within their bodies, storing a huge amount of rare metal ingots. This had taken away a fairly large portion of their physical strength, thus causing difficulty in their movement.
Led by Long Yuan, the Long Bo people came back with each carrying large or small bundles. Some of them were bleeding at the noses. In order to quickly improve their cultivation base, these big guys had swallowed some demon cores of powerful demon beasts. As a result, their internal heat became quite vigorous and caused them to bleed from the noses.
Among them all, Gold Horn and Silver Horn had the sorriest looks. They were dragged over to Wu Qi by Long Yuan with their eyes rolling upward. The two covetous pythons kept spraying out mouthfuls of blood shrouded in various peculiar flames, as well as exuding surging waves of energy.
The python brothers were overeating as well! Since when had they seen a secret vault fully filled with demon cores, blood essences, and many other precious treasures that could greatly supply their energies and cultivation base? As a result, heedless the fact of whether their bodies could endure such a great supply, they swallowed down several hundred demon cores of Nascent Soul demon beasts. The result? Their bodies nearly exploded due to the tremendous surge of energy, and their internal organs were nearly thoroughly cooked.
Nevertheless, as the brothers possessed ancient bloodline of an extraordinary beast, although they almost killed themselves by overeating, their strong vitality had kept them alive. After giving their situation a brief examination, Wu Qi set his mind at rest, and shoved both of them back into the Spirit Breeding Ring.
One after another, the Long Bo people had also walked into Spirit Breeding Ring. Wu Qi pondered for a brief moment, then he took away plenty of golds, silvers, pearls, and grains, wines, rice, and some food from the secret vault, only then leaving with Princess Zhang Le, fully satisfied.
Outside the secret vault, Yan Dan and Yan Qijun were waiting for them.