Xue Shaoli nodded seriously. He was about to take away the messaging jade note, but he suddenly thought of something and turned to look in the direction of the yard. With such a glance, his expression changed, and his eyes opened wide.
Aside from him, the other three cultivators also put on unbelieving expressions and looked at each other.
"This is impossible, right?"
"Did I mistake it?"
"One could, but we all saw it!"
Xue Shaoli was grim-faced. He hesitated for a while before he took out the messaging jade note and stuttered, "Master, have you heard it?"
"Say it. Be quick!"
"This... You might not believe it if I tell you that..." Xue Shaoli said in a trembling voice. He looked doubtful. If it was not his companions who confirmed this, he was unable to say those words. "Li Ye, that guy has just made a breakthrough to the Level 2 Qi-refining Stage..."
"Master, what I said is true..."
"Xue Shaoli! Are you f*cking dreaming? Li Ye, such a good-for-nothing has just reached the Qi-refining Stage for a few days. How is it possible to break through so quickly? F*ck, do you want to quit this job? If you do, come back then!"
"Everyone has seen it."
After the banquet, Li Ye came back to the courtyard where he lived.
Shangguan Qingcheng followed him and walked into the courtyard. She hesitated a little before she said, "Heir Apparent, after the interrogation, we know that it was Li Yao who ordered Song Ziwen and others to set the fire tonight. I guess they probably wanted to steal the Taoist priests. Now we have Song Ziwen and his accomplices in our hands, it's safe in our mansion."
Li Ye came to the hall and sat down, "That's for sure."
"But Heir Apparent wasn't prepared for it!" Shangguan Qingcheng widened her eyes as she said, "You didn't allow me to lay enough soldiers around you."
Li Ye looked at Shangguan Qingcheng and responded with a smile, "Because I was giving my opponents a chance and wanted to tempt them to make a move."
Shangguan Qingcheng was confused. "Duke Xing invited quite a few guests, but Heir Apparent, you've just reached Qi-refining Stage, so you might not be able to defeat all of them."
She said those words in a euphemistic way.
Li Ye replied, "Most of the guests in Duke Xing's Manor haven't exceeded Level 3 Qi-refining Stage. Duke Xing hasn't returned from his duty trip and his Level 3 Qi-refining practitioners have also been out with him, so Li Yao could only ask Level 2 Qi-refining practitioners to help him."
"If many Level 2 Qi-refining practitioners had come, you would have gotten into trouble." Shangguan Qingcheng bit her red lip.
Li Ye said, "They came to steal people, not to capture the manor, so he would not send many people here. I thought Level 2 Qi-refining practitioners would not be more than three."
"Heir Apparent, you've just achieved Level 2 Qi-refining Stage. Are you sure that you can defeat three by yourself?" Shangguan Qingcheng asked with her mouth shaped in a small "O".
Li Ye smiled. "Li Yao must be shocked to hear that I caught his people. In order to rob the Taoist priests or rescue his cultivators, he had to act on his own, for he was the highest-ranking cultivator in Duke Xing's Manor. This is my real purpose."
"Heir Apparent, do you want to lure Li Yao to here?" Shangguan Qingcheng felt she was a bit unable to keep up Li Ye's thinking. "Doesn't he think that each of the steps is difficult?"
Li Ye said, "Li Yao wants to compete with me for Prince An's title. I don't have the time to play with him. Tonight is the best time to solve this problem."
Shangguan Qingcheng responded with surprise. "Heir Apparent, are you sure that you can beat him?"
Li Ye gave no response.
After Shangguan Qingcheng left, Li Ye began to practice the skill, Purple Clouds from the East.
Purple Clouds from the East was a supreme art Li Ye had practiced on earth. It was a superb and powerful skill.
For the coming challenge, Li Ye had to seize the time to review.
Fortunately, he only needed to review the skill. Hence, he quickly got the hang of it.
"The sun rises in the east, rosy clouds are gathering, mountains and rivers are bathed in purple, the splendid view..." Li Ye recalled the cultivation method of "Purple Clouds from the East". "When Laozi rode a green buffalo through the Hangu Pass, purple clouds came from the east and floated over the pass. Seeing this spectacle, the guard Yin Xi realized that Laozi was not a mortal. People only learnt that Yin Xi begged Laozi to give him 5,000 words, but they did not know that Laozi left this superb skill 'Purple Clouds from the East' before he became the leader of the three greatest immortals.
"There were lots of gifted cultivators on earth in the Age of Dharma Decline. Various top-grade cultivation methods were created in the world, but the position of the technique "Purple Clouds from the East" had never been shaken.
"In those days, the archbishop of the west Mathis came to visit our country. With his peerless cultivation, he consecutively defeated our famous Great Cultivators and shamed our Cultivation World. Although my cultivation was inferior to him, I managed to beat him with my skill "Purple Clouds from the East" and let him get out of my country."
Li Ye put his thoughts aside and immersed himself in practice.
Shortly after, he opened his eyes, which glittered with excitement. "Level 1 of 'Purple Clouds from the East'—Cloud-gathering Punch!"
At this point, several white figures glided into the courtyard. They were Xue Shaoli and his companions.
After they told Li Yao that Li Ye had made a breakthrough to Level 2 Qi-refining Stage, Li Yao immediately ordered them to act quickly when Li Ye was left alone lest the event got more complicated.
"Due to the Small Mystery Formation, Liu Renneng got his fingers badly burnt in Tai Xuan Summit. But it was also because he underestimated his opponent. Li Ye has just entered Level 2 Qi-refining Stage. This time you must treat him seriously. Once you made a move, you should try your best to catch him."
Xue Shaoli recalled what Li Yao had just said.
"I have a Cloud-shaking Flag. This is a formation flag, a powerful weapon which is used to set a formation or break it. Master Yao lent it to me to deal with the Small Mystery Formation before we left."
Xue Shaoli thought, "The Small Mystery Formation hurt Liu Renneng. How could Master Yao not figure out something to deal with it? Li Ye hasn't visited Imperial Astronomical Observatory to take the cultivation method and has just reached the Qi-refining Stage, so he definitely doesn't know how to perform his skills. Without the Small Mystery Formation, he is a good-for-nothing!"
"When we catch him, we will find out where the Taoist priest is hiding and rescue them. We can also take back the Glazed Cyan Jade Gourd and do a great job for our master!"
Xue Shaoli was in high spirits. He looked back at the other three people and signaled for the start of the attack. Two of them walked in front and the other two followed, approaching the room lit by the candle.
"Song Ziwen and his people failed. Li Ye must be excited that he had done a nice job, so he definitely doesn't expect that we will suddenly attack him."
The closer he got to the door, the more excited Xue Shaoli became. "Song Ziwen and his people are trash. They can't do anything right. Thanks to them, we look smart and competent now."
Xue Shaoli glanced at the messaging jade note on his waist. The jade note was opened. Hence, Li Yao was able to hear every word they said or every sound they made.
When they were a dozen steps away from the door, Xue Shaoli held his breath and nodded at the Level 2 Qi-refining cultivator by his side. Both of them were familiar with each other, so they were able to read each other's mind. They were about to perform their skills and rush into the room.
Just at this moment, something happened.
The door was suddenly opened.
A black-robed figure ghostly glided out of the room while throwing a punch!
It was Li Ye.
He looked composed, his sleeves fluttering. He suddenly made a move without reservation, throwing them a punch, while he was in mid-air. The whole moves were completed in one go, going as smoothly as clouds and water. It was incredibly fast. "Cloud-gathering Punch!"
In the blink of an eye, the purple clouds billowed up in front of the door, like waves in the lake. It looked magnificent as if the sun rose at dawn and radiance fell on the billowy sea of clouds. Li Ye's blow was like the sudden appearance of a golden sun. It was magnificent and overwhelming. The whole courtyard was lit like the daytime.
The Level 2 Qi-refining cultivator, who had made eye contact with Xue Shao, did not react in time before Li Ye's punch was landed on the chest. He immediately spat out a mouthful of blood. Like a broken kite, he was sent dozens of feet away, fell into the flower bed and passed out.
Li Ye knocked down a Level 2 Qi-refining cultivator with a punch!
Xue Shaoli widened his eyes. His terrified face became clear under the radiance from the purple clouds. He had actually realized that it was not good for he felt the great power activated by the Spiritual Qi when his opponent suddenly started a fight.
"What is this cultivation method? It's actually so powerful?!" Seeing his companion being sent away and faint, Xue Shaoli was terrified. "This guy has not visited Imperial Astronomical Observatory. How can he own such a powerful cultivation method?!"
At the critical moment, Xue Shaoli growled. He waved his hands while retreating at an amazing speed. "Inferno Techniques!"
Then three fireballs, which were as big as bowls, condensed over his hands and moved toward Li Ye.
Xue Shaoli had reached the Level 2 Qi-refining for many years, so he was skillful at displaying the corresponding techniques. Generally, when Rank 2 Qi-refining practitioner used the Inferno Techniques, they would only unleash two fireballs at the same time, but Xue Shaoli could do three!
Although the fireball was not big, it had great power, which could smash the military standard shield with only one strike. In this case, one more fireball could help change the situation of the fight.
Xue Shaoli had been a practitioner for many years. With such a skill, he always had an advantage when fighting the cultivators at the same level.
However, at the moment, Li Ye did not take a look at the three fireballs. He flicked his long sleeves and snorted, "Small tricks!"
A spiritual wind came and a white light shield at the height of four feet formed in front of him. The three fireballs flew over in the shape of the character "Pin", hit the light shield and could not go further!
Xue Shaoli widened his eyes.
This was not the end. Li Ye pointed at Xue Shaoli and the three fireballs unexpectedly flew back toward Xue Shaoli!
"How is that possible?!" Xue Shaoli exclaimed. As a Practitioner of Qi techniques, he could see through what Li Ye displayed when flicking his sleeves and sticking out his finger. He knew that Li Ye used two techniques—Spiritual Qi Shield and Telekinesis. The former blocked the fireballs while the latter controlled them, turning them around!
"There has never been a cultivator at the same level who can completely block my Inferno Techniques!" Xue Shaoli was shocked. "It has to take someone 20 years to practice Telekinesis to the extent of controlling the flying fireball. How is it possible that Li Ye can do this?"
Watching the fireballs flying in the opposite direction, Xue Shaoli felt distressed. The three fireballs had great power against his opponent, but when it was his turn to deal with them, it was equally difficult.
"Spiritual Qi Shield!" Xue Shaoli drew a circle with his hands in front of his chest and a white light shield with a diameter of 30 feet emerged. Unlike Li Ye, who flicked his sleeves and activated the light shield in the blink of an eye, Xue Shaoli had to concentrate to perform this skill.
"Peng! Peng! Peng!" The three fireballs crashed against the Spiritual Qi Shield and burst into clouds of flame. Xue Shaoli was forced to retreat because of its impact force.
Not only that, the last fireball's remaining power broke the Spiritual Qi Shield, hit his chest, and scorched a piece of his collar. He felt stuffed in his chest and almost spat out a mouthful of blood!
This was what a Level 2 Qi-refining cultivator should react when resisting the Inferno Techniques displayed by a cultivator at the same level. Which one could be as composed as Li Ye?
Xue Shaoli felt relieved. At least, he managed to block the three fireballs and was not seriously injured, which meant he still had the power to fight.
Xue Shaoli was rejoicing in his survival, but the next moment, his face suddenly changed!