Ji City, the capital city of Great Yan Dynasty... For over two thousand years, it had been expanded fifteen times. During each expansion, besides increasing the height and strengthening the existing city wall, another brand new city wall would be built a few miles away from the existing wall, encircling a larger area into the city. As a result, from the outermost city wall to the innermost wall of the palace, Ji City had a total of seventeen layers of city walls.
The most recent extension happened thirty years ago, and the newest city wall had the length of one hundred and eighty miles. Amidst the thin morning fog, the tall and long city wall looked like a sleeping dragon, lying quietly in this vast open field.
Each layer of city wall stood one hundred and fifty feet tall, and with the depth of one hundred feet. The entire wall was made from extremely sturdy Obsidian rock, and was cast with molten alloy, which made the wall even more indestructible. Though these Obsidian rocks were at least twice has hard as a diamond, their surfaces were carved with many Earth elemental runes and arrays. At all times, these carvings would draw the natural energies from underground, using them to further strengthen the wall. Because of that, the wall would occasionally shine with a dazzling yellowish gleam, striking awe into anyone's mind who looked at it.
At the distance of every two miles, an archery tower of one thousand feet was built on top of the city wall. They had the same length and width of one hundred feet, and a total of nine levels. A great number of Mo Machines and catapults were deployed on the tower, giving them a devastating lethal force. In addition to that, countless secret passages and chambers used to house soldiers were found inside of the city wall. Numerous look out holes, spear and arrows holes could be seen with naked eyes. By just looking at these deep, dark holes, one could easily feel a creeping sensation on one’s flesh.
As the long parade approached the city wall of Ji City, Wu Qi couldn't help and feel his heart starting to race faster and faster and his blood billowing and surging through his blood vessels. Instinctively, he had a feeling that something unexpected would occur in this massive city, an event that would seriously affect him, or even the Great Yan Dynasty itself.
He took a deep breath, then pointed his finger at a wooden talisman hanging down from his waist. The few simple runes found on the talisman flickered as an indistinct force immediately diffused from it, enshrouding Wu Qi and concealing his energy wave. After that was done, if anyone looked at Wu Qi now, he looked just like an ordinary warrior who had the cultivation base of thirty to forty years of innate energy.
Lu Chengfeng, Luo Kedi and Ma Liang also injected a thread energy into the wooden talisman found on their waists, using it to conceal the aura of their innate energy. These four Talismans of Concealment were personally crafted by Lu Chengfeng. Besides the Earth Energy Armor Array and Grand White Gold Dagger Array, it was the last array with practical usage that Lu Chengfeng knew.
With the lobbying of the Grand Butler from 'Tao family', the parade entered the Ji City without any problem. The soldiers standing guard at the city gate didn't even inspect their coaches for any illegal items, and just simply let them entered the city.
Ji City was the heart of Great Yan Dynasty. More than few hundred thousand soldiers were stationed here all year round, and the wealthy clans who lived in the city had also hired countless private army men and guards. No one could ever guess how many experts were hiding among these private hirings. As Wu Qi and the parade only came with a mere four thousand private guards, they were just like a single drop of water that fell into a large lake relative to the massiveness of Ji City; they couldn't even cause a single ripple in it. As a matter of fact, nobody really took them seriously.
The parade rode along the main street that was three hundred feet wide, passing through all thirteen layers of city wall while on their way, and only then came to a stop. The area further down was the core residential area, and the residents who lived there were all princes and nobility of Great Yan Dynasty. A lineal son of an ordinary wealthy merchant, someone who came from a dependent kingdom under Great Yan Dynasty, had no right to enter the core residential area.
The Lu clan of Liyang had purchased an enormous mansion in advance, which was more than enough to house over five thousand people. Guided by the Grand Butler who was accredited in Ji City from Lu Clan, the convoy entered and stationed in the mansion. After some restless moments, Wu Qi immediately ordered Zhang Hu, Hu Wei and few others to arrange some soldiers to stand guard.
After taking a bath and putting on clean clothes hastily, Tie Yuewu immediately ordered the Grand Butler who was stationed in Ji City, Lu Qiuluo, to lead her way in paying a visit to the Grand Master who held the power of Imperial Family Court, Duke Yanxing, Yu Xuan. Together she brought three coaches full of gold, jades and jewelry.
The real name of Duke Yanxing was Yu Xuan, and he was the 392nd grandson of Emperor Yan Dan. He was an expert in political tactics, covetous of wealth and a womanizer, who valued material gains above justice. A man who held the true power of Imperial Family Court of Great Yan Dynasty, he was specifically in charge of supervising and managing the birth, senility, illness, and death of all imperial family members, and also punishment, reward, the replacement of nobility title and so on.
If they wished to let Lu Chengfeng smoothly inherit Yan Buji's title of nobility, fiefs, and various government posts, they had to buy off this Yu Xuan first.
It was early morning when Wu Qi and the convoy entered the city, and it took them a long time to finally settle down, by which it was already noon. After Tie Yuewu took a bath and put on clean clothes, sorted and counted three coaches full of treasures, it was already late in the afternoon when she visited Yu Xuan. As the matter was pressing, the longer they dragged on, the more changes could happen. Therefore, although Tie Yuewu knew paying an unexpected visit to a Duke of Great Yan Dynasty was not accustomed to standard formality, but at this critical moment, she couldn't care that much anymore.
Her visit didn't bring back any news, nor did she come back. From late in the afternoon until the moon hanging high up in the middle of the sky, Tie Yuewu didn't make her return, and none of her personal guards followed her along came back with any news. As time went by, not only Lu Chengfeng, even Wu Qi had started to feel nervous.
Lu Chengfeng was sitting up straight in the main hall. Both his hands were hiding under the table, and his fingers were trembling violently.
On the other side, Wu Qi was strolling slowly inside the courtyard with his hands clasped behind his back. He walked like a fish swimming in the water, his pace swift and light, and didn't bring up any dust, nor made any sound. From time to time, he would look into the sky or turn his head and look at Lu Chengfeng. His brows were knitted tightly in a frown.
They waited for another hour. Wu Qi felt something was amiss now. He stomped his feet forcefully, then said with a deep voice, "Besides from Lu Qiuluo, does anyone else know where the location of Imperial Family Court is? Get someone here, I need him to lead me to the place."
Lu Chengfeng sprung up on his feet, kept shaking his head and said, "No, you can't go there. This place cannot be compared with Little Meng City. Countless experts are living and hiding in Ji City, and just the soldiers on night patrol alone are more than ten thousand. I even heard there are real cultivators who patrol the city during night time. You can't go out now."
Wu Qi stomped his feet again, shouting with a low voice, "Then, tell me where they are gone. No matter what the result is, they should have at least sent us a message, right?"
While both men were discussing the matter, Zhang Hu suddenly barged into the courtyard hurriedly. He bowed toward Lu Chengfeng, then with a quick voice he said, "Young master, brother Wu Qi, a few servants of Imperial Family Court are here with the lady's seal. They invite young master to a secret meeting in the Imperial Family Court."
Lu Chengfeng was joyful on hearing the news. Without hesitation, he dragged Wu Qi and proceeded outside.
Wu Qi quickly beckoned over his shoulder. Luo Kedi and Ma Liang exchanged a glance, then quickly followed their footsteps.
Outside the main hall, a few men, clad in a black cape and having their faces covered under the shadow of their hoods, were seen standing quietly under the arch of the corridor. Upon hearing the footsteps of Wu Qi and few others, these men turned their head hurriedly, passing over a thumb-sized, crimson seal made of jade stone. "Are you young mister Chengfeng? Following the order of our master, we're here to invite young mister for a secret meeting."
Together with the seal, they also passed him a token cast using gold, silver, copper, iron, and tin. The palm-sized token was fully engraved with symbols of wind and cloud, and amidst these wind and cloud was a green bird with its wings spread. On the back of this token was a full sun, and a tiny character of 'Ji' engraved in the center of the sun.
Lu Chengfeng took over the seal and examined it. It was indeed the private seal always carried by Tie Yuewu. On the other side, Wu Qi took the token in his hand. Though the token was small, it was heavy to carry. He turned the token around and gave it a thorough look, and sure enough, he found the characters of 'Imperial Family Member of Great Yan Dynasty - Yu Xuan' at the edge of the token.
He weighed the token in his hand, then Wu Qi asked, "Why none of the personal guards who followed the lady came back together with you?"
With an indifferent voice, the man who spoke earlier answered, "Do you really think that anyone can walk freely in Ji City during night time? By bringing one more people, we'll have to face more trouble."
He sneered, then continued with a rather arrogant tone, "Even for you, when we're entering the inner city later, you'll also have to hide in the coach. You can't make any noise, nor any movement at all. Or else, if you cause any troubles, don't blame us for not providing any help. Young mister Chengfeng, you better not forget that you're still the eldest son of Liyang Lu Clan for now!"
Lu Chengfeng snorted lightly, then turned to Wu Qi.
"Our young master needs to bring a few personal guards with him." Wu Qi narrowed his eyes and said with a low voice.
The man in black gave Wu Qi and few others a gaze. "Besides young mister Chengfeng, you can bring not more than four personal guards. We came in a small coach, and it can't carry too many people." He said indifferently.
Wu Qi pointed at himself, Luo Kedi, and Ma Liang, then said, "Just the three of us will accompany our young master."
The few men in black nodded their heads together. Without saying another word, they pulled down their hood that covered their face, spun and walked away.
Amidst a shadow outside the mansion, a small double-wheeled, pitch-black coach was waiting for them. After Wu Qi and the company had entered the coach, the few men in black clustered around the coach and began the journey into the inner city.
Frequently along their way, they passed through some teams of night patrolling soldiers. However, when these soldiers saw the faint green lantern hanging on the shaft of the coach, all of them behaved like they never saw the coach, and simply let them pass through.
They met no obstacles along their way. These few men in black indeed had a great authority. At this hour of the day, all the gates inside Ji City had been locked up. But, without alerting anybody, they had asked someone to open up the side doors of two city walls, pressing further into the inner city.
The streets of the inner city of Ji City were built following the specifications inherited from two thousand years ago. The widest street was only thirty feet from left to the right. On both sides of the street lived the princes and nobles of Great Yan Dynasty, and the walls of their residences were at least one hundred feet tall. This made the street feel even narrower.
The men in black drove the coach through the narrow streets and passed many turns, eventually, coming to a remote and quiet alley.
The coach suddenly halted. Wu Qi was startled as he was constantly watching for the activity through a slit on the window. The surrounding was dark, and he couldn't even see a door. How could it be the Imperial Family Court? He asked hastily with a low voice, "My friends, where are we now?"
Few men in black laughed at the same time. They spun suddenly and dissolved into the darkness with just a few leaps.
Wu Qi was taken aback. He let out a loud cry and gave the coach door a powerful kick. A muffled boom burst the silent surrounding and the door shattered, sending bits of wood chips flying in all directions. Wu Qi immediately jumped out from the coach.
Amidst the darkness, a couple dozens of strong winds came towards him noiselessly. In just a split second, they had approached him and enveloped his entire body.
More strong winds assaulted toward the coach. The shivering murderous air greatly agitated Lu Chengfeng and the other two, who were still inside the coach. Their bodies broke out in a cold sweat.