The morning light sprinkled upon the ground, lending a hazy atmosphere to the rising mist. A group of young men who had been drinking and partying all night wandered through the streets with debauched laughter, their attitudes arrogant and insolent. Pedestrians avoided the group, not daring to provoke them, causing these young men to laugh even louder and become even more unbridled.
Qi Cheng smiled. Many years ago he had been one of these people; it was really a time of his life that he looked back on with lingering emotions. But now, he finally understood that in order to truly live a happy life, one needed sufficient strength. Next, one needed a large enough backer.
Thus he had bid farewell to his previous life and became one of his honorable master’s disciples. His talent wasn’t the highest, but he was actually the most highly regarded by his teacher and was given the job of handling most tasks.
For instance, today.
He looked up at the signboard of the Western Mountain Inn. After appreciating it for a moment, he stepped inside and casually chose a table to sit at. Then, he called over a young waiter and ordered some small dishes. He slowly chewed, and as he ate the last steamed bun, he patted his belly in satisfaction. By this time, the sun had risen up high. The bright sunlight shined against him, warming his body.
“I’ve eaten my fill so it’s about time to get to work.” Qi Cheng stood up and casually walked towards the back courtyard path. He hadn’t registered for accommodation at the inn, and so according to its rules, he shouldn’t have been allowed back in the accommodation area. But, the several servants who stood at the intersection of the street seemed as if they didn’t see him at all and allowed him to freely stroll past.
The Western Mountain Inn couldn’t be considered too large, but in terms of garden scenery, they were amongst the best in Four Seasons City. Though the city was covered in a world of ice and snow, they had repaired and maintained this region enough that it gave off a wondrous aesthetic sense. Passing over the thick snow, passing through a bamboo grove, and then making his way around a small lake that wasn’t frozen and still emitted steam, Qi Cheng finally came to the corner of the lake where mist separated two different courtyards.
“Who are you! Halt!” The attendant shouted with a wary expression.
Qi Cheng stopped and smiled. “Are you a Ning Family cultivator? You aren’t defending your miss, so why are you out here?”
The attendant’s pupils shrank. “Who are you?”
Qi Cheng’s happy expression became richer. “My name is Qi Cheng. I am Grand Authority Ning’s disciple. I am here to visit Grandmaster Ning Qin.” He swept his eyes over the several surrounding people. “You should all know that with my status, I have no reason to speak nonsense with you people, so I don’t want to speak much more. Otherwise I will be unhappy, and even if I were to kill all of you here, no one would say anything.”
The attendant stiffened and the several other Ning Family cultivators also revealed looks of fear. Although Qi Cheng was still smiling, they could feel the piercing cold in his eyes.
He wasn’t just joking around. If he wanted to kill them…he would really kill them!
A light flashed in the attendant’s palm and a jade slip appeared. He crushed it and then clenched his teeth and moved forward. “I am here on the orders of Grandmaster Ning to defend this area. No one can disturb…”
Qi Cheng moved, his actions interrupting the attendant. He thrust his hands forward and the pressure of a peak Divine Soul erupted. The attendant froze in place, simply unable to move.
The courtyard doors opened from within and a black-robed figure stepped out. As his foot touched the ground, the terrifying pressure that trapped the attendant instantly shattered. Qi Cheng stuffily humphed and drew back several steps, anger flashing in his eyes. But soon, he smiled and said, “You must be Grandmaster Ning Qin. My name is Qi Cheng. I am here under orders from my honorable master to visit grandmaster.”
The attendant was saved from the precipice of death. He had a gratified expression, “Thank you for saving me, grandmaster!”
Qin Yu lightly said, “Leave.” He didn’t even glance at Qi Cheng and instead brought the several Ning Family people to leave.
This sort of disregard was the greatest form of contempt. Qi Cheng’s smile froze, turning into cold indifference. “Grandmaster Ning, my honorable master is Chu Taidou, otherwise known as Grand Authority Chu! I came here to visit on behalf of him and your manners are simply too disrespectful!”
Qin Yu paused for a moment. The eyes beneath his hood were frigid. “In my dwelling, you dare to harm my people. If it weren’t for consideration of Grand Authority Chu, do you think you could leave here intact? Leave before I change my mind.”
Qi Cheng was enraged. But, he had always been called a cunning and tricky individual. Although he was angry, he didn’t reveal it. Instead, his voice became increasingly cold, “Grandmaster Ning Qin, you shouldn’t be so confident in yourself!”
“Leave, or I will make you leave.” Qin Yu calmly replied.
QI Cheng took a deep breath. “Good. Then I will truthfully pass on grandmaster’s attitude to my honorable master. I hope that grandmaster’s stay in Four Seasons City will be smooth from now on.”
He turned and walked away, soon vanishing from sight.
Qin Yu’s eyes flashed with a dense light. To threaten him here? If it weren’t for the fact that he didn’t want to cause trouble right now, he would have taught that person a lesson.
The attendant and others all revealed looks of worship. Grandmaster Ning Qin was so strong and valiant! He didn’t even fear not giving Chu Taidou any face.
Ning Yuntao soon rushed over. He worriedly asked, “Grandmaster Ning, are you alright?”
Qin Yu said, “I’m fine. Go, we shouldn’t delay today’s treatment.”
Ning Yuntao relaxed a little. It seemed that Ning Qin didn’t have any intention of retreating. But as he thought about the news he received today and how the treatment had happened just yesterday, his complexion suddenly paled.
It was clear there was a spy in their Ning Family!
“Damn it!” Ning Yuntao roared inwardly. As soon as Qin Yu entered Ning Liang’s room, he turned and howled out, “Call everyone here!”
Soon, all cultivators from the Ning Family had gathered in the courtyard. They already knew what had happened; anger and nausea were interwoven on their faces.
Zong Yingming stood in the midst of the crowd, his heart restless. But, he displayed an extremely angry expression outwardly.
Ning Yuntao’s icy cold eyes swept over the crowd. “That’s right, I may not know who it was that revealed this matter, but I know it was one of you. Today, unless I give permission, everyone must stay in their rooms and no one can take half a step out! I guarantee you all that I will find this traitor!”
Within the silence, Ning Yuntao quietly said, “Yingming, stay behind and help me handle some things.”
Zong Yingming’s heart loosened. He respectfully bowed. “Yes, uncle!” He took a step forward and said, “After cousin’s daily treatments, she still needs maids to care for her. The three maids have cared for her since childhood and they don’t have much relation with the outside world. They should be trustworthy. It would be better to allow them to stay.”
Ning Yuntao nodded. “That’s a good idea. It was me who didn’t fully consider things. The three of you can stay and look after the miss. Everyone else go back to your rooms.” He turned and looked at Ning Liang’s room. The inside was peaceful; it was clear that treatment had already begun. But for some reason, he frowned, unable to rid himself of the restless feeling in his heart.
Although Ning Qin hadn’t changed his thoughts now, since Chu Taidou knew about this, he would never give up.
Could Ning Qin persist through this?
Ning Yuntao quietly said, “Yingming, immediately send a message to the family and inform the old master of this matter. Have him dispatch masters from the family here.”
This matter had already been exposed so there was no need to try to keep concealing it. He hoped that the Ning Family could block the suppression of Chu Taidou!
At this time, there was a great thunderous sound from the front of the dwelling. Ning Yuntao’s complexion changed, “What is happening?”
Roaring sounds continued to surge in. Two cultivators fled from the front entrance, chased after by four people.
The courtyard did have array formations but they were mostly for warning and isolating purposes. They didn’t have much in terms of defensive capabilities.
As several people fought, shockwaves spread out. The ground cracked and buildings collapsed, the chaos arriving right where they were!
Ning Yuntao stepped forward, blocking the two fleeing people behind him. “Draw back!”
He thrust out a hand. The aura of the Blue Sea realm erupted and the two cultivators revealed looks of fear. But soon, their eyes filled with a manic expression. They screamed and their bodies suddenly inflated like balloons. Countless tiny blood vessels burst open on their skin. It was like countless cracks had appeared on the surface of their bodies; it was a strange and macabre sight.
Ning Yuntao’s complexion changed. At this time, one of the cultivators suddenly surged in speed and shot towards him like a thrown boulder.
There was a heaven-shaking bang. As the cultivator approached he instantly exploded, his flesh and blood reduced to ashes from the terrifying strength. Ning Yuntao cried out loud. A layer of black light appeared on his body just before he was submerged in the explosive force.
And at this time, another fleeing cultivator reached the courtyard. His blood red eyes had already locked onto Ning Liang’s room and he was wildly running towards it.
Zong Yingming’s eyes widened with anger. He had only wanted to stop the treatment and have Ning Qin pay the price; he had never thought of putting Ning Liang in a deathtrap. His feet started to move but he wavered. It was clear that this cultivator had decided to die. If he recklessly rushed in, there was a possibility he would be dragged in with the dead.
A giant furnace phantom suddenly appeared, protecting Ning Liang’s room. The rushing cultivator slammed straight into the barrier.
The giant furnace phantom trembled and waves rippled along its surface. But no matter how violent or destructive that explosive strength was, it wasn’t able to pass through at all.
Ning Yuntao rushed out from the smoke, his clothing torn and his entire appearance distressed. As he saw what had happened at Ning Liang’s room, he immediately relaxed. But soon, anger surged from the depths of his heart. He turned towards those people that had been chasing after the two cultivators and shouted, “You bastards, just what are you doing!?”
The four cultivators came to a stop. One of them coldly sneered, “The army was arresting criminals and you were inadvertently affected. The Logistics Department will naturally contact you later to compensate you for damages caused. It’s best if you remain calm and retract the insults you just directed at the army, otherwise, I guarantee you will regret it.”
As he spoke, he took out a token. The sunlight reflected upon its cold surface.
Ning Yuntao’s expression froze. This was indeed a military token, and this person was even a commander. Although he couldn’t be considered a senior official in the army, he still wouldn’t fear the Ning Family.
“The criminals have committed suicide and our hunting mission has come to an end. Let’s go!” The commander put away the token and led his three subordinates to fly away, soon vanishing from sight.
“It’s rare to see the army try to capture criminals, but it actually happened here. It’s clear that the Ning Family has encountered some bad luck recently.” It was unknown just when Qi Cheng had arrived, but he suddenly appeared amongst the chaos and confusion. His smile was cold, “I think this is just a minor accident. Perhaps next time there will be something even more severe. What does senior Ning think?”
He cupped his hands and turned to leave.
The attendant’s face was covered with blood. He had an enraged expression. “Second Old Master, the one who threatened Grandmaster Ning Qin just then was him!”
Ning Yuntao clenched his fists, rage tumbling in his heart. But, he didn’t dare to attack, because doing so would provoke a dreadful calamity for the Ning Family.
It was clear that this act of the army trying to capture criminals was the work of Chu Taidou. It was to warn the Ning Family and also to warn Grandmaster Ning Qin.
But Ning Yuntao knew that this was the result of Chu Taidou being cautious and giving them some face. If he tore apart all pretenses of cordiality and attacked them directly, they would have no means to resist.
What to do? What to do?
Ning Yuntao was left at a loss.
“Uncle, the inn’s manager wishes to see you.” Zong Yingming quietly said.
Ning Yuntao took a deep breath. “Let him in.” Once the manager’s round body appeared, he directly said, “We will shoulder all losses from what happened today. You have no need to worry!”
The manager bowed. He bitterly smiled, “Senior Ning, why must you make things difficult for me? The inn shall return the fee you paid for these past days. I ask senior to bring your people away.”
Zong Yingming was happy but he put on an angry expression. “We paid money so by what rights do you think you can kick us out? Do you think we are easy to bully?”
The manager grit his teeth. “Fellow guests, it is our Western Mountain Inn that was disrespectful to you today, but no matter what, you can no longer stay. I ask you to leave as soon as possible!”
Zong Yingming opened his mouth to speak again but he was blocked by Ning Yuntao. “Enough. He shouldn’t be blamed. We’ll just move to a different inn.” He swept his eyes around and looked at the completely ruined courtyard. The only building left intact was Ning Liang’s room. It stood alone in the chaotic ruins.
Compared to the inn chasing them out, Ning Yuntao was more worried about Ning Qin’s attitude. Chu Taidou had already revealed just how low he was willing to go. Anyone who thought about this logically wouldn’t be willing to make him an enemy.
If Ning Qin decided to leave…Ning Yuntao heaved a deep sigh. To think about this anymore was useless. He could only wait for the result.
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