Yu Miao's summer house sat on Mount Hanyu, just outside Zhong Ning City.
A few palaces built with black boulders stood like monsters between the mountain streams, interconnecting with little paths. Wild geese were gliding across the surface of the water, and the air rang with the sound of trickling water. It was a place that looked surprisingly elegant. Guards in fitted black leather armors hid in dark corners between the woods and boulders, their fierce and deep eyes glancing vigilantly at the surroundings.
Occasionally, plumes of gray and faint fog gushed out from between the boulders, vague and twisting figures flickering inside. Under the cover of the fog, these Yin ghosts had no fear of the scorching hot sunlight, and were revealing themselves in broad daylight, prowling restlessly between the wilderness. If some outsiders intruded this area, they would either alarm the others with eerie howls, or swoop at the intruders and suck all their blood and energy.
In the grass along the paths, a large number of venomous snakes and insects were gently wriggling. They were all ferocious creatures carefully selected by the Yu Clan in Zhong Province, and had been raised with curses and poisons, which made them extremely savage and vicious. Even immortals who were bitten by these vile creatures could be in mortal danger. And, among them there were a few snake kings and insect kings whom Yu Clan had raised for innumerable years; their venom could easily kill even Gold Immortals.
In the mountains was a green cliff wall, and a stream of white water was constantly rushing out of a several feet wide hole opened on its surface. The stream, about ten feet in diameter, rushed rapidly and filled the air with thunderous noises that sounded like the breathing of some flood dragon. Dozens of dull-looking burly men in heavy armors stood guard on both sides of the stream, their lifeless, grayish white eyes glancing around blankly. Not far away from them, a few Oracles with nine Moons embroidered on their sleeves sat on the boulders on the edge of the water with their legs on their knees, leisurely talking to each other now and then.
Entering from the opening on the cliff wall and walking along the white water for several miles, a hole could be seen emanating an immense cold breeze at a spot where the water seeped into the ground, which plunged downward for tens of miles into a natural cave abode made of cold jade.
The cave abode, about a mile in circumference, was a hollow inside a huge chunk of cold jade that had existed for ten thousand years. The cold air emanated from it was so intense that it could easily shatter any weapons and armors made of metal. The white and clean jade looked almost translucent, with blinding cold gleam radiating out of it like blades and swords, making ordinary people unable to stare at it with bare eyes. An azure bed made of ice was placed right in the center of the cave abode, on top of which laid Yu Miao, who was fully naked and with both legs missing. With teeth tightly clenched, he was being doctored by an Elder of his branch.
The ice bed was harvested by the ancestors of the Yu Clan from some dangerous place in an outer heavenly realm. Its temperature was extremely low, and even ordinary immortal artifact would crack if it were to be touched by just the cold breeze. Had it not been because Yu Miao's cultivation base was equivalent to that of a Gold Immortal, and he had consumed a large number of precious herbs to protect his heart meridian and fleshly body, he would have turned into a corpse by the deadly temperature.
A dozen Elders from the Yu Clan in Zhong Province sat in a circle around him, staring fixedly at the Elder as he doctored Yu Miao.
The Elder was the oldest and most senior one among all of them in the Yu Clan, and he had been dwelling in seclusion for years. He stood about ten feet tall, and although his body was skinny like a mummy, his hands were fair and smooth as if they were carved out of the finest jade. No hands of even the peerless beauties could look as beautiful as his. At the moment, he was focusing all his spirit and energy on his hands, and as his fingers moved, they left trails of soft light in the air.
With a jade blade, a jade needle, and a spool of transparent thread in his hands, the Elder was quickly sewing Yu Miao's nerves, blood vessels, and meridians, connecting two healthy-looking legs for him. In a corner of the cave abode, a handsome youth was seen laying on the ground with eyes wide open. He had a gash at his forehead that went deep into his brain, which appeared to be the reason for his death. Both his legs were taken away, and were now being transplanted to Yu Miao's body.
The blood flowing out of the gash in the youth's forehead was thick and golden, with a slight hint of purple. It was the blood that only a Gold Immortal could have. He was in fact an eighteenth-tier Gold Immortal. However, he was now laying there motionlessly, dead just like an ordinary mortal.
The silence in the cave abode was broken by a faint sound as the Elder used his jade blade to cut off a transparent thread; the operation was completed. Then, he grabbed a fist-sized medicine bottle placed on a jade table next to the ice bed, carefully dug out some pale green medicinal cream with a finger, and applied it on the seam between Yu Miao's body and the transplanted legs. The seam disappeared as soon as the cream touched it. Yu Miao growled in pain as the ghost blood in his body gradually circulated into his new legs to modify the blood of Gold Immortal that remained in there. As the two completely different types of blood devoured and fused with one another, he felt a severe pain as if someone was crushing his legs inch by inch with a millstone.
The excruciating pain made Yu Miao's face distort. Clenching his jaws, he sat up on the ice bed, then cupped his fist and bowed respectfully to the senior Elder. "Great-grandfather, thank you for healing me personally! This useless descendant was bullied by a lesser peasant!"
With a casual air, the senior Elder tucked the jade blade, jade needle, and the spool of thread under his sleeve. After that, he said in an indifferent tone, "It doesn't matter. We all have to suffer several losses in our life. You only had your legs taken away... Back in those years... hehe..."
Shaking his head, the Elder turned and walked toward the depth of the cave abode, paying no more heed to Yu Miao and the Elders from his branch.
Yu Miao exchanged a glance with the Elders around him. They all knew what the senior Elder was implying. Back in those years when the Yu Clan in Zhong Province was going through turbulent times, the Yu Clan in Liangzhu tried to seize the control of the Yu Clan in Zhong Province. They had sent Yu Mu over to take over the position of the clan leader. Unwilling to accept the fate, the senior Elder stood up to fight against Yu Mu, but in the end, he was severely wounded by someone sent by the Yu Clan in Liangzhu. All his internal organs were smashed to a pulp during the battle.
Luckily, the Ghost God worshiped by the senior Elder possessed the power to make the dead come back to life; therefore, he was spared from death after Yu Miao and the others secretly organized a blood sacrificial ceremony. Even so, the senior Elder could only regain his ability to move after laying on the bed for several decades. And since then, he had been dwelling in seclusion in Mount Hanyu, never stepping out to meet another person.
"Yu Lei is dead! I've lost another son!" Yu Miao growled in a deep voice.
Every single Elder around Yu Miao was pulling a long face as they looked at him with a hint of grievance in their eyes. Yu Miao had only lost a son, and he still had plenty of sons, grandsons and granddaughters. He could always produce more sons if he really wanted. However, in order to pay Wu Qi the so-called 'hush money', all these Elders had forked out a large amount of gold and silver, as well as countless rare and precious natural treasures.
Sons were just something that he could produce with some concubines, but those gold, silver, and natural treasures were saved up by these Elders through painstaking efforts. It would only take him a few minutes to produce a son, but it took them thousands of years to accumulate so much wealth! And yet, in the end, just because Yu Lei had insulted King Yang Qiu with words, they had to give away almost all their wealth!
With the grievance brooding in their hearts, all the Elders kept quiet. The personal enmity between Yu Miao and Wu Qi had seriously hurt their interests. As a matter of fact, these Elders did not support Yu Miao unconditionally. If it were not for the fact that they needed him to take the lead in contending with Yu Mu for the power in the clan, they would not have paid any attention to him. But now, with Yu Mu using the opportunity of his misconduct to strip him of his official post as the Left Minister of the Directorate of Celestials, whether these Elders would still support him like before would have to depend on the situation.
Yu Miao read these Elders' thoughts in a flash. Undoubtedly, this meant a great threat to him. With his present overall strength, if he were to lose the support of the Elders from the branch of Yu Clan in Zhong Province, he was likely to be thrown into a dangerous situation or even killed by Yu Mu in just three to five years.
He cleared his throat and said, "I'll compensate all your losses with the properties under my own name." A few Elders quietly estimated the value of properties that were currently under Yu Miao's name, then shook their heads at the same time. What he had currently was far from enough to compensate the losses of the dozens of Elders here.
Yu Miao understood their concerns. He reached out his hand and pulled out a scroll from the void, then threw it over to the closest Elder. "These are the mineral veins I've secretly obtained over the last three hundred years, and the immortal markets I've opened in various provinces. They should be enough to compensate your losses."
The Elders leaned over to the scroll. After carefully going through all the properties recorded in it, they could not help but suck in a cold breath at the same time. Although it was prohibited by Great Yu, as the Elders of the Yu Clan, they all had experiences in secretly mining immortal stones and energy stones, and sold rare metals and spirit medicines. They all had some secret dealings with the immortals. However, this was the first time they saw someone do that on such an enormous scale! Under Yu Miao's name, he had several hundred immortal stones and energy stones veins, and over two hundred immortal markets in various provinces!
Nevertheless, just as he claimed, these properties were more than enough to compensate their losses!
The Elders looked at Yu Miao contentedly, and their faces wore the respectful smile which Yu Miao was familiar with.
Nodding satisfyingly, Yu Mu said in a deep voice, "As long as Tan Lang is still alive, I cannot be reconciled. But now, he is King Yang Qiu's personal guard, and if we try to assassinate him again, I fear His Excellency might..." he paused briefly, then went on with a frown, "Also, I can't find his actual location with divination. Yu Mu must be the one behind this."
All the Elders turned to look at him, wondering how he was going to solve this problem.
Wu Qi had found King Yang Qiu as his backer, and was supported by Yu Mu. If they killed him, the chances of them offending King Yang Qiu was very high; if they continued to attack Wu Qi by themselves, it was very likely for them to face Yu Mu directly, who could easily kill them all with his mighty cultivation base without even leaving behind a single evidence.
Yu Miao smiled bitterly, then sighed and said, "Since this is the personal enmity between me and that fellow, let me solve it all by myself!"
Clenching his teeth, he went on, "To be honest with you, I plan to hire an immortal to assassinate him at a high price!"
All the Elders were taken aback, and then laughed at the same time. The hiring of an immortal to assassinate Wu Qi at a high price was clearly the best way to go. They exchanged glances, then nodded at the same time. With the war between Great Yu and Myriad Immortal Alliance raging across Pangu Continent now, who would suspect them if Wu Qi were to be killed by an immortal?
An Elder hesitated for a moment, then suddenly suggested in a low voice, "In that case, why don't we offer a high price and have Yu Mu..."
The corner of Yu Miao's mouth curved into a smile.