Li Kuanglan said, “Of course not.”
Ji Tianqing sized her up from head to toe, then left to right, but was rather disappointed to find nothing unnatural in her demeanor.
Clasping her hands behind her back, Li Kuanglan broke into a laugh. “You think you can throw my mind into disarray with just that?”
Ji Tianqing shook her head. “In terms of swordsmanship, you can be counted among true experts. It’d be disappointing if you lose your composure just because of this. But I heard Empress Li and Eunuch Liu are secretly scheming something, the latter even arrived personally in the neutral lands. Does that have anything to do with you?”
Ji Tianqing gazed at Li Kuanglan with narrowed eyes, her eyes as gentle as they were sharp.
Li Kuanglan laughed indifferently. “Why not ask Eunuch Liu directly if you want to know? He left not long ago, you’ll still make it if you chase after him. He didn’t keep this journey a secret, don’t tell me you didn’t know he was here.”
Ji Tianqing smiled. “How can I reach a high character like Eunuch Liu? Since he didn’t come here to see me, why would I go meet him? Isn’t it easier to just ask you?”
Li Kuanglan laughed loudly. “Sorry, we’re not that close.”
Ji Tianqing shrugged, saying bitterly, “We’ve known each other for so long, yet you’re still so heartless.”
“The same goes for all sword practitioners, I’m no exception.”
Seeing that their conversation wasn’t about to come to a conclusion, the two cast their gaze toward the small courtyard where Qianye had disappeared. All the idle people in the alley had disappeared while they were conversing.
“How come he still isn’t out yet? Don’t tell me he’s really doing something with that slutty fox!” Ji Tianqing pouted, apparently full of anger.
“Bad acting.” Li Kuanglan offered her evaluation.
Ji Tianqing smiled. “Ah, you found out.”
Li Kuanglan replied, “When I said your acting was bad, I meant you were really angry. Sometimes, covering things up just makes it worse.”
“Really?” Ji Tianqing looked harmless.
“I refuse to admit that...”
Li Kuanglan had long since expected Ji Tianqing’s shamelessness. She simply kept on gazing at the small courtyard with her hands behind her back. After a moment of observation, she said, “Your secret art is indeed powerful, but can you really fool a true expert?”
“It should fool the lowest level of divine champions if there isn’t much origin power usage.
“Very good!” Li Kuanglan made to draw her sword, but Ji Tianqing grabbed her hand. “I can’t draw my blade?”
“Cold Moon’s Embrace is too sharp, my secret art can’t keep it disguised unless you retract all your sword energy.”
Li Kuanglan relaxed her hand. “I can’t do that.”
“If you can do that, there’s no need for me to compete with you. I’d just admit defeat.”
Frowning, Li Kuanglan was about to retaliate when a cryptic aura surged out from the little courtyard and actually caused their origin powers to fluctuate. It was rare for anything to be able to excite their origin powers. The two exchanged glances briefly before running toward the small courtyard.
At this moment, Qianye was standing at the doors of the storehouse and gazing at a strange machine. He simply couldn’t associate this metal cylinder—with a mess of pipes and thingamabobs sticking out of it—with an engine. However, an inexplicable sense of palpitation gripped Qianye the moment that fatty removed the cloth.
That fatty was well above a hundred and fifty kilograms in weight, but his small eyes were bright and lustrous. The brief moment of pallor on Qianye’s countenance didn’t escape his notice. He patted the machine forcefully, saying, “How is it? Good stuff, right? Only experts can sense how special it is. Old Cat has never lied to anyone.”
The palpitation gradually faded away, but Qianye knew that it wasn’t an illusion. He had experienced such a sensation when he was facing the Earth Dragon’s skeleton, an innate biological fear toward a void colossus. How was this odd, ancient machine related to a colossus?
According to the fatty, this engine was discovered in the passage leading to the Great Maelstrom. Back then, it was fished out when it drifted close to the neutral-land exit. The mercenaries who undertook this task paid a painful price—two customized airships were sucked into the tunnel and lost forever. They might have reached the Great Maelstrom if they were lucky enough, but it was more likely that they had been ground to dust inside the tunnel.
Whether or not the fatty was telling the truth, Qianye knew from the palpitating sensation that this ancient machine was extraordinary. He was currently the owner of an ancient vampire bloodline, and not many beings could instill instinctive fear in him.
Qianye looked away from the engine, asking, “Where’s the box of rare minerals?”
The fatty seemed disappointed to find Qianye completely uninterested in the engine. Following a clap of his, four strong men carried a box into the room.
The container was even smaller than an ordinary suitcase, yet it was bound by steel chains as thick as one’s arm. There was a chain stretching out from each corner of the case, shouldered by one muscular man each. The sheer weight made each step difficult, and they looked like they were carrying a small mountain on their backs.
They finally arrived in position and lowered the box with a long sigh, unloading the chains on their shoulders as they did so. Just from their posture, it was obvious that the box was several tons in weight. There must be something special about this box of ores, considering how heavy it was.
“I want to take a look.”
Old Cat pointed at the box. “Please feel free.”
Qianye didn’t use East Peak. Instead, he fished out his vampiric blade and slashed at the chains, slicing through the many layers of steel in one cut. The sharpness of the dagger shocked Old Cat. He narrowed his eyes, saying, “Good blade! Only a count would possess such a weapon, right?”
“I robbed it,” Qianye replied indifferently.
Old Cat shrugged and kept his silence thereafter.
Qianye slowly opened the box and noticed the complicated metallic structure of the interior. Apparently, the container itself was made from a special type of metal alloy and equipped with intricate weight-bearing mechanisms. That was the only way it could remain undeformed while containing the weight of its contents.
There was a square metallic ingot at the center of the box, emitting an eerie blue glow. This ingot was actually made from eight separate ones placed together. It was just that the surface was so smooth that one could hardly see the gaps between them.
The external appearance seemed to match Song Zining’s description, and the weight was also a match. However, Qianye remained silent while stroking the cover of the case. The container itself gave off a fantastic sensation, and it seemed even stronger than the metal ingots.
Qianye closed the case with a bang, saying, “Good stuff.”
Old Cat laughed. “That’s for sure! Old Cat does business based on trust!”
But his smile froze in place. With a slap of Qianye's hand, the box vanished on the spot! Old Cat was startled, but he quickly came to and roared, “Protect the engine!”
But the word "engine" hadn’t even escaped his mouth when Qianye arrived next to the machine. He reached out to pat the strange engine, also causing it to vanish on the spot. It was at this time that Qianye turned around with a smile. “I’ve received the goods, now let’s talk about the price.”
Old Cat’s expression transformed drastically. “You actually have high-grade spatial gear!?”
Qianye replied with a faint smile, “I was a bit lucky.”
Old Cat’s expression was ashen. “Good, very good. It’s my misjudgment this time. Return the goods and we can forget about this. Otherwise, you can forget about getting off easy, no matter how powerful you are.”
“Oh?” Qianye responded in surprise. “You never intended to go through with this trade, did you? Then, there’s no need for us to discuss terms. I’ll ask you one last time, are you sure you want to do this?”
Old Cat spoke after a moment of silence, “Did you notice something wrong with the case?”
Old Cat suddenly became irritated. “Impossible!”
Qianye said in a leisurely manner, “It is indeed a genius idea to smelt the actual ore into the box and only use a token amount in the ingots. Had I discarded the box for convenience, wouldn’t I have fallen right into your trap? Unfortunately for you, I noticed the profundity of the box out of intuition.”
Old Cat’s expression turned ugly. “Fine! What will make you return the goods?”
Qianye replied, “Not discussing the price?”
“Return the item and we’ll talk.”
Qianye sneered, “You can forget about taking back something that’s in my hands. Since you don’t want to talk about the price, then there’s no longer a need to discuss anything.”
Old Cat’s expression was ashen. He said through clenched teeth, “Are you trying to commit robbery?”
“It was a trade at first, but I feel that there’s no need to discuss trade with someone who wants to trick me.”
Two sharp daggers slipped into Old Cat’s hands. The aura of the four burly men who had carried the box in began surging as well. Everyone transformed sharply, revealing the style of an expert. Old Cat blocked the door in one step, saying, “Qianye, drop the goods or forget about leaving.”
Qianye revealed a cold smile. The sound of ocean waves reverberated inside the warehouse, but this time, the five men suffered a massive repelling force instead of weight. Even Old Cat couldn’t hold on and was pushed back step by step. The four subordinates couldn’t resist for a breath’s time before they were flung into the walls.
Next, the walls of the warehouse could no longer take the rolling force. They collapsed with a boom, sending a cloud of dust and gravel snaking out in all directions. Only the roof of the warehouse fell down vertically, smashing into everyone below.
At this moment, Li Kuanglan and Ji Tianqing were still flying over. Shocked by the sudden developments, they increased their speed all of a sudden and arrived above the warehouse in the blink of an eye. But their expressions shifted almost immediately as their silhouettes came to a stop, and they flashed away in different directions.
A beam of brilliant sword energy burst upward, practically brushing past the duo.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie