Nie Baihong was walking side by side with Wu Qi, his face filled with joy. With a gloating manner, he said, "For what I've just told you, you better keep it to yourself and don't let any other people know. Ha, whoever told this out will be struck with misfortune. Ai, for so many years, I've yet to figure out who is the mastermind behind that incident. Ha, haha, hahaha! You must under no circumstances mention it to another person!"
Wu Qi gazed at Nie Baihong with a helpless look. This Sect Leader of Heaven Breaking Sword Sect was such a mean person. He had just exposed his own private secret to Wu Qi, yet immediately taken revenge by telling another serious secret regarding Princess Zhang Le. Though the matter was not considered extremely serious, it wasn’t a small matter either. By exposing it, Wu Qi could get himself killed easily. Yet, holding such secret in his mind felt like a prickle that kept poking him.
Actually, it wasn't a queer matter to be mentioned. It was concerning Princess Zhang Le's mother.
A barbarian girl who was offered to the Crown Prince of Great Yan Dynasty by a vassal kingdom, she was not a random ordinary barbarian girl that they found in a remote mountain, abducted by knocking her with a stick from the back and placed her in a gunny bag. As a matter of fact, the mother of Princess Zhang Le held a prestigious status among the barbarians, a status that Wu Qi could hardly believe.
Before Great Yan Dynasty was established, on the very same piece of land they currently occupied stood a loose alliance of tribes. At the present time, those barbarians who fought fiercely with all vassal kingdoms of Great Yan Dynasty, who started wars every couple of days, were the descendants of that alliance of tribes. At the time one hundred years after Great Yan Dynasty was established, this alliance was defeated by Great Yan Dynasty, and countless barbarians fled and plunged into deep and remote mountains, where the origin of their tribes came from. This was what caused the current situation where the mountains and woods surrounding Great Yan Dynasty was filled with barbarians.
This alliance of tribes didn't have an administration leader, but was led by a religious leader. During that time, the most prestigious religious leader of barbarians was a lady officiant, who hosted the offering ceremony for 'Deity of Wa'. The position of lady officiant was passed down to only one single person for every generation. When each lady officiant was still alive, she would have a Holy Lady under her. Once the lady officiant passed away, the holy lady would inherit the throne and became the new lady officiant. She would be the religious leader and spiritual mentor for all the barbarians.
Princess Zhang Le's mother was the barbarian's holy lady during that time. For an unknown reason, she was captured alive by the monarch of that vassal kingdom, and was offered into the palace of Yan Qijun. Like what was mentioned before, after a grand feast and getting drunk by a great amount of fine wine, Yan Qijun had raped this holy lady, who gave birth to Princess Zhang Le.
Nothing seemed unusual if that was the end of the story. But the fact was, all holy ladies of barbarians were gifted with extraordinary talents, and they were born with all kinds of magical and peculiar abilities. As it was still a question on who did that, when the holy lady had Princess Zhang Le in her womb, someone fed her a 'Heaven-Defying Nascent Seizing Pill'. The medicinal strength of the pill had forcefully merged all her spirit, Qi and energy into Princess Zhang Le's body.
That was why Princess Zhang Le had spent such a long time breeding in her mother's womb before she finally came to meet the world. After she was born, the holy lady was dead as all her blood essence was depleted. And because all her mother's Qi essence was used to grow Princess Zhang Le, in just a short period of a little over ten years, Princess Zhang Le had cultivated to the Embryonic Breath tier of Xiantian realm, just one step away from forming her Gold Core and officially becoming a Human Immortal.
Therefore, though this matter wasn't extremely serious, it was still like a prickle that poked forcefully right into Wu Qi's heart, causing him to feel really unwell. If he told this to Princess Zhang Le, he might attract some unwanted calamities to himself, or perhaps, Princess Zhang Le would never bother about the origin and background of her mother. However, if he didn't tell Princess Zhang Le about this and just kept it to himself, it would make him feel really uncomfortable, and it went against his heart. No matter what, currently, he and Princess Zhang Le were having a close relationship.
Looking at Wu Qi's depressed and hesitant expression, Nie Baihong once again let out a loud laugh, rocking forward and backward in a joyful manner. Wu Qi shook his head, and couldn't help and complained inwardly. This Sect Leader of Heaven Breaking Sword Sect was such a mean person. With this kind of narrow mind, Wu Qi really wondered how he was able to cultivate into the realm of Gold Core. Wu Qi sighed and shook his head, continued riding and finally arrived near the entrance of Duke Yan Le's Mansion.
Wu Qi was surprised by what he saw when he arrived near the entrance. A row of over ten coaches was stopped beside the entrance of Duke Yan Le's Mansion. They looked insignificant upon first glance, yet when he cast a second look at them, he discovered the unusual luxury hiding under the seemingly insignificant outlook, as he saw even the nails on the wheel were made from purple gold. A troop of nearly two hundred guards, clad in a soft body armor and a cloak on the outside, was standing near the coaches with their back straight, giving forth an air of eliteness and aggressiveness. Their eyes were surveying the surrounding in high vigilance.
No symbol of dark green swallow that was usually used by the nobles of Great Yan Dynasty could be found on these coaches. On the side of the coach made from ten thousand years old 'Deep Water Gold Sander Wood', hung an insignificant, palm-sized badge. Two golden colored smiling faces were placed side by side on a dark background. The smiling faces had gone through a modification of artistic exaggeration. Their brows, eyes, and noses all seemed fine and detailed, yet the two big smiling mouths were very eye-catching.
While Wu Qi was surveying these coaches and guards, the guards had also noticed Wu Qi. A team of twelve guards moved their feet and lined up in a half-circle defensive formation towards Wu Qi's direction. For these guards, it was a near-instinctive behavior, as they yet to be sure if Wu Qi was posting any threat to them. But, they still had already come out with a response.
Wu Qi took a deep look at these guards, nodded his head and smiled. He then jumped off from the single-horned deer and threw the rope to the doorkeeper who came greeting upon him. With warmth and a friendly attitude, he led Nie Baihong into Duke Yan Le's Mansion. When they passed through the entrance, Wu Qi felt his heart ache as he saw the area passed by Nie Baihong. As he expected, on the stairs raised to the entrance of Duke Yan Le's Mansion, which were made from fine jade, and the open square behind the entrance that cost a hefty price to build, he saw a line of deep footsteps left behind by Nie Baihong.
What a wastrel, thought Wu Qi inwardly. This guy did destroy the floor wherever he went by. Wu Qi shook his head, then he suddenly recalled that for the dozens of miles of the journey they took from the entrance of Ji City to Duke Yan Le's Mansion, the street was fully imprinted with Nie Baihong's footsteps. His mood suddenly turned joyful, as he almost broke out in a loud laughter.
Wu Qi took a deep breath and let out a loud laugh, then he cried, "Yan Fu, Yan Fu! Quickly inform young master. We have a prestigious guest in the house! Get young master here and welcome our honorable guest!"
The gray-haired Yan Fu came hastily out from the main hall. He rushed in front of Wu Qi and said, "Mister Wu Qi, Master is accompanying a guest right now. Aye, we indeed have a prestigious guest. I'll inform Master at once and get him here immediately!" Yan Fu had been working as the chief steward in Duke Yan Le's Mansion for many years, and his experience and knowledge had given him a pair of keen eyes. When he saw how Nie Baihong was hovering in mid-air, and the footprints deeply branded beneath, he knew they were visited by an unusual guest. Without the slightest hesitation, he went to inform Lu Chengfeng about it.
However, Nie Baihong had spoken and stopped Yan Fu from leaving. With an indifferent voice, he said, "Never mind that. Wu Qi, lead the way. Those coaches outside of the entrance belong to Wei Clan of Great Yan Dynasty. Although your master is a cultivator, I do know about the reputation of this Wei Clan. Anyone who is caught up by them, even an Imperial Duke, he would have to suffer a great deal of loss. Let me see what the purpose of the visit from these people of Wei Clan is."
Wei Clan? A clan that could let the people with the status of Imperial Duke to suffer a great deal of loss?
Wu Qi was shocked, "Does this Wei Clan also cultivate Dao?"
Nie Baihong shook his head. While following Wu Qi and walking fast towards the hall used to receive a guest, he sneered and said, "They are not cultivators, yet they possessed something more powerful than flying swords and magical treasures. Money… Money makes the mare go. The acknowledged wealthiest clan of Great Yan Dynasty is this Wei Clan! They are the imperial merchants employed by Great Yan Dynasty. At the same time, they also carry out their own trade privately. The properties of Wei Clan can be found all over Great Yan. Without considering anything else, they own forty percent of Great Yan Dynasty's energy stone veins. In addition to that, they are the only one that are allowed to sell energy stones to all Immortal's Sect in Great Yan Dynasty."
Wu Qi was amazed. He looked at Nie Baihong and asked, "They control forty percent of energy stones supply in Great Yan Dynasty? With what do all the Immortal sects purchase energy stones from them?"
Nie Baihong replied coldly, "Take Heavenly Spirit Sect as an example, they use all sorts of powerful talisman in exchange for energy stones. Another example is Valley of Medicine, they are using varieties of pills in exchange for what they need. The people from Wei Clan are avaricious, and they are the most cunning and treacherous people I ever met. Yet, they are supported by the Imperial Clan, hmph!"
Wu Qi rolled his eyes, lowered his voice and asked, "Does Heaven Breaking Sword Sect have any special products like talisman or pills?"
Nie Baihong shut his mouth immediately, then he pulled a long face that looked longer than a horse’s face. Wu Qi suddenly understood why Nie Baihong had such a negative view towards Wei Clan. It looked like Heaven Breaking Sword Sect was merely a sect that only knew how to kill, and didn't produce any talisman or pills that could be used to exchange for energy stones. Thus, they could only live their life on the energy stones supplied by Great Yan Dynasty. It was no wonder Princess Zhang Le could threaten Nie Baihong with the supply of energy stones and magical items.
No wonder Nie Yaonu thought so highly about Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng. As Lu Chengfeng owned two provinces as his fief, there must be energy stone veins that existed in these lands. After taking Lu Chengfeng as Heaven Breaking Sword Sect's disciple, they could have enough resources to develop and expand further, and these resources didn't have to be shared with other Sect Elders such as Yan Li. It was a worthwhile deal for them. True enough, there wasn't any free lunch under the heaven, and the Sword of Greedy Wolf was not given to Wu Qi without any cost at all. As for the Arts of Heaven Patching Formation which Lu Chengfeng would learn in the future, it would also not to be taught without any price.
Wu Qi twitched his lips and shook his head as he continued leading the way and brought Nie Baihong outside the hall used to receive guests.
Right when they came to the stairs that led into the hall, they heard the displeased voice of Lu Chengfeng coming out from the hall. "So, that is what it is. It is the iron merchant of Wei Clan that took the fancy of those iron mountains and iron smelting factories? Hehe, you can just be honest with me. Why are you taking such a long route, asking Yan Heluo of Prince Ci to threaten me by force?"
Lu Chengfeng sneered, before he cried out again, "I think, besides from the iron mountains and iron smelting factories, the Wei Clan also had their eyes on those energy stone veins which are yet to be dug up in my fief? Ha, what kind of a person does Wei Clan think I am? With such a petty price, you want me to give up all those energy stone veins? What a fancy dream!"
A sweet, soft and tender voice like the chirping of lark rung out after Lu Chengfeng's words, in a pitiful tone, "If that is what Duke Yan Le thought, what else can I, a young girl with little experience, could say? It is just that, this is the first time I left my clan for training. Yet, if I can't get this business done in a proper manner, my future path in the clan would have been destroyed completely. Can't Duke Yan Le be a kind and generous man, and provide a great help to me just once?"
The girl sighed, then continued with a soft and charming voice, "As long as Duke Yan Le is willing to let me manage those iron mountains and energy stone veins, no matter what Duke Yan Le wants to do to me, I'll be all yours!"
Lu Chengfeng burst out into a loud laughter, then said, "Maiden Wei, what kind of a person do you think I am?"
Wu Qi blinked his eyes, then he too let out a loud laugh.
"Indeed! The girl from Wei Clan, do you really think our young master is a virgin who has never touched a girl before? How much does it cost to spend a night with the most famous girl in Ji City? Even if you spend every single night with our young master for one whole year, and even if he makes out three times with you in one single night, you and he only have sex for over a thousand times. How could that be worth the value of seven iron mountains and all those energy stone veins?"
Wu Qi's words were harsh to the ears. In an instant, a furious scold came breaking out from the hall, "Outrageous! You're courting death!"
A ray of sword beam suddenly shot out from the hall with a jarring whistle, flying right towards Wu Qi's face.