The snow was falling, causing the City Lord Mansion to be smeared white by the snowflakes that fell endlessly from the sky. Wu Qi guessed it must be at least thirty to forty degree Celsius below zero now, right in the Six Rivers City and the areas around it. However, he could still see countless armored soldiers keeping guard at all the important places across the mansion. It seemed as if they did not feel the biting cold at all. They stood straight where they had been stationed like iron pillars, eyes not blinking even when the cold breeze came caressing their faces.
They were the soldiers from the Ironclad Army of Great Qin, which was composed of only the native people of Pangu Continent. It had taken Bai Qi just one year to train them right here, in the Six Rivers City, all by himself. As Wu Qi followed the two burly men and walked past these soldiers, he felt the corners of his eyes twitching uncontrollably. Though their cultivation base was so weak that he could kill them with just a pinch, the cruel look on their faces and the killing intent emanated from their bodies had made him shudder.
'This damnable Great Qin! They sure are the strongest among all the six dynasties when it comes to the art of war!' Wu Qi thought with his mouth twitching. At the same time, he felt glad that they were at Pangu Continent, as no number of lesser soldiers could decide the result of a war.
They walked through the snow-covered ground and entered the back garden. Twelve maidservants were seen carrying plates made of white jade, piled up with spirit fruits which were only ripe enough to be harvested during the cold weather, and serving them into the residence where Reverend Li Yang and Fairy Xuan Die were staying.
Standing before the door to the simply decorated yet majestic abode, Wu Qi called out in a deep voice, "Junior Black Dragon asks to speak with Seniors."
In the next moment, Fairy Xuan Die's voice was heard coming through the door, "Oh, Black Dragon is here? Come in now. It happens that I do have some use of you!"
Wu Qi answered respectfully and strode into the abode. He went around a screen, walked through a corridor, and came to the inner chamber. In Great Yu, the architectural and decoration style was both quaint and conservative. Although what he had entered was called an abode, the decoration of its inner chamber was very simple. The only thing that was of luxury were the four huge bronze incense burners placed at the four corners, where firewood burned vigorously inside them, heating up the chamber and making it feel like spring, while filling the air with a refreshing aroma.
Clad in a green Daoist robe, Reverend Li Yang was leaning on a couch with four naked girls kneeling next to him, gingerly trimming his fingernails. On the other side, Fairy Xuan Die sat cross-legged on a cloud bed, wearing a luxurious feathered coat made of the feathers of sparrows. With a pleasing look on her face, she was holding a small wine glass in one hand, taking small sips every now and then, while the other was pinching a spirit fruit with pure white skin that radiated a faint cold mist.
Wu Qi gave the four girls a quick glance as he entered the inner chamber, then bowed to the two Seniors and greeted, "Junior Black Dragon offers greeting, my Seniors!" The glance had filled his heart with a faint killing intent. Clearly, Reverend Li Yang had taken the four girls as his cultivation vessels. Although they looked as young and full of life as ripe plums, their energy essences had been fully extracted. Wu Qi reckoned that they could only live for another two months at the most.
Reverend Li Yang snorted coldly and said in an indifferent tone, "I've not seen you offering us a greeting over the last three months. You are worse than Zhang Yi and Bai Qi. How dare you!"
Fairy Xuan Die giggled and said with her usually gentle voice, "Don't blame him. I know Black Dragon is nursing his wounds in a seclusion. He can only serve us better once his wounds are treated! Now listen to me, Black Dragon."
Wu Qi answered quickly and respectfully, "I'm always at your service, Fairy."
Fairy Xuan Die was very satisfied with Wu Qi's attitude. She studied him with her divine will, then nodded and said, "You look full of spirit and energy with that cultivation base of peak stage Nascent Soul realm. Mm, if you serve us well, we will definitely reward you accordingly once we return to our Sect. Do you understand?"
Wu Qi bowed and said with a smile on his face, "I understand. Your wish is my command, Fairy!"
Fairy Xuan Die chuckled at his answer. "During the three months of time when you were nursing your wounds in a seclusion, I had given Zhang Yi and Bai Qi an order." She said coolly. "I had told them to assemble some men and search for energy stone veins outside the city, and harvest all the energy and immortal stones they could find. But, I suspect they might be lying to me, as they only brought me so few energy and immortal stones. With this lousy rate, I've no idea when I would be able to get all the resources I need."
Wu Qi's heart fluttered in his chest. He had just escaped from Miao Ying Palace after being the chief supervisor of the mine for three years. Could it be that he was to carry out that old trade again?
What Fairy Xuan Die told him next proved his guess, "Now that you have fully healed, I want you to supervise them, and make them extract the energy and immortal stones at a faster rate. Should you find that they are really playing some small tricks behind me, purposely slowing down the speed, kill them with the tree talismans we have given you. After that, you will handle the entire Six Rivers City alone!"
Wu Qi cupped his fist, bowed deeply, and said, "I will make every effort to serve Seniors. If Zhang Yi and Bai Qi dare to play their little tricks, I'll definitely teach them a good lesson!"
He waited for some while, and after realizing that Fairy Xuan Die had nothing else for him, he bowed slightly and withdrew from the chamber.
His brows furrowed into a tight frown as he walked towards the great hall. Countless thoughts were tumbling in his mind. Why would Reverend Li Yang and Fairy Xuan Die want so many energy and immortal stones in such a hurried manner? Both of them were Gold Immortals, and it was the immortal pills of excellent quality they needed to heal their serious wounds. With only energy and immortal stones, it would take a very long time for them to be fully healed, perhaps up to a few Periods.
On top of that, if it were true that they were badly in need of energy and immortal stones, and if Zhang Yi and Bai Qi did play tricks during the past three months, with her relentless temperament, Fairy Xuan Die would have long killed the both of them. Their overall strength was weak, as they had just become Heaven Immortals not long ago, and she could kill them easily. So, why had she not acted yet and even asked Wu Qi to handle them?
It was a puzzle worth pondering! With a faint smile on his face, Wu Qi entered the great hall and sat on the big chair that belonged to the City Lord. He cleared his throat and gave out an order in a stately manner, "Ask Old Mister Zhang Yi and Bai Qi to see me here. Tell them that I've something important to discuss."
Through the main door of the hall, Wu Qi could see the butterflies still dancing amidst the falling snow. But, he suddenly felt that they looked lifeless, as most of them were just hovering mid-air, and did not show much activity.
It was these lifeless butterflies that Fairy Xuan Die had used to lock down the Six Rivers City and the land of ten thousand miles around it!
He sat there pondering silently, while his eyes flickered.
Soon, he heard some footsteps, then Zhang Yi and Bai Qi walked together into the great hall. Upon seeing that Wu Qi was sitting in the chair that was placed in the center, both men exchange a glance before giving him a fierce glare. Helplessly, they seated in the chairs that were placed on both sides of the hall, one on the left and the other on the right.
Wu Qi cleared his throat and cupped his fist to Zhang Yi and Bai Qi as he said with a smile, "You must be weary with all the work over the last three months."
Bai Qi grunted and did not answer him. Zhang Yi smiled, then nodded and said, "It is nothing. Has fellow Daoist fully recovered after nursing your wounds in seclusion? Aye, I suppose you are aware that the Seniors have asked us to mine energy and immortal stones. But, manpower is one thing that is lacking in Six Rivers City, and the Seniors are not satisfied with the mining speed!"
Zhang Yi stared at Wu Qi with a strange gleam flickering in his eyes, as if he were trying to tell him something.
Wu Qi saw that, and he seemed to understand what Zhang Yi was trying to tell him. Zhang Yi and Bai Qi were using some approach to sound out Reverend Li Yang and Fairy Xuan Die.
He sat there quietly for a brief moment, then gave Zhang Yi a deep look and said, "From today onwards, I'll be fully in charge of all the affairs that are related to the Seniors. All you need to do is to give me men and make them obey my command. I've greeted the Seniors today, and I've learned that you are not doing well enough!"
Bai Qi glared at Wu Qi with curses about to spew out of his mouth. But, he caught Wu Qi's flickering eyes, and it made him swallowed the curses. Then, he sat back down. "Do it all by yourself if you think you are better than us! Try not to crack wise and just do a lip service here!" He pointed one finger at Wu Qi.
Wu Qi raised his head and said with a cold grin, "Of course, I will do better than you! From today onwards, I want everyone in Six Rivers City to listen to my command! The old and weak will harvest various spirit fruits outside the city and serve them to the Seniors, and I want all the youths and soldiers to work in the mine! They need to gather a 'sufficient' amount of energy and immortal stones for the Seniors in the shortest time possible!"
Wu Qi had emphasized the word 'sufficient', and he hoped Zhang Yi and Bai Qi would understand him.
At the same time, his eyes were blinking rapidly with a worried look in them. He was trying to tell Zhang Yi and Bai Qi that both the Seniors were Immortals who killed without batting an eyelid, and should they become impatient from the wait, they would definitely kill someone to show their power. Wu Qi would not feel anything if both Bai Qi and Zhang Yi were killed, but it would not be good if he were caught in the crossfire.
Zhang Yi and Bai Qi studied Wu Qi with their eyes for a while. At length, they rose to their feet together and bowed to him, then said, "We will see how fellow Daoist will manage this!"
Wu Qi nodded and felt slightly relieved. Apparently, they did understand what he was trying to tell them. He took a deep breath, then turned to look at the ceiling, cupped his fist and said, "Seniors, are you satisfied with my decisions?"
Before long, he heard Reverend Li Yang's voice, "You are doing well! We need energy and immortal stones to heal our wounds now. If what you give us later is less than satisfactory, we will have no choice but to kill you all!"
Wu Qi smiled and answered, "I'll carry out the task with all my heart, and I'll make sure the result is most satisfying!"
Under Wu Qi's command, all the people from the Six Rivers City and the hundreds of villages around it were gathered up. The people living on Pangu Continent had a very strong physique. Old and young men and women could still leave their houses to work in the cold winter. Though it was very tiring, there was no risk to the safety of their lives.
Wu Qi had sent several tens of thousands of old and weak to harvest various spirit fruits and herbs in the mountains, while with the help of Zhang Yi, he sent all the young adults to an energy stone vein which they had found earlier, and ordered them to mine all the energy stones with their best effort.
With over two hundred thousand people working laboriously, in just a few days of time, spirit fruits and herbs that piled up like a small hill was sent back into Six Rivers City.
Then, a few days later, a great amount of energy and immortal stones was sent to Reverend Li Yang and Fairy Xuan Die's chamber. They were greatly delighted, and thus treated Wu Qi with a better attitude. Wu Qi had also noticed that they had not used the energy and immortal stones to heal their wounds. Instead, Fairy Xuan Die had kept them all with her.
The discovery had further assured Wu Qi's speculation.