Over the past decade, he had never felt so upset.
He had always been a lucky guy. And it could be said that the greatest luck he had had so far was from becoming friends with Zhou Bao.
Befriending Zhou Bao was a great bargain for Li Xiu, for this could bring him huge profits. Being a friend of Zhou Bao undoubtfully rendered him the most competent successor of the Li Family of Pingzhou and helped his strength advance by leaps and bounds, easily surpassing his peers. Things that he had once reckoned to occur in the far future had already happened. But now, something unexpected had arrived.
The Li Family of Pingzhou had a thousand-year-old history. This family had branched out into numerous small families, even the main branch consisted of many sections. Li Xiu's father was the Family Head of the Li Family of Pingzhou, which belonged to the branch of direct descendants. When it came to the next generation, considering Li Xiu's extraordinary strength and the fact that he had befriended a high-ranking man, there was no doubt that Li Xiu would assume the post of the Family Head. In effect, it had happened in real life. Over the past decade, Li Xiu had gradually taken control of the family. Although he was not that interested in gaining power. In light of such a huge family, keeping everything running in proper order was already an achievement worth celebrating.
However, to everyone's surprise, the situation had started to change in recent years. Li Xiu's uncle Li Xian, who had been working for his father all these years, gradually stood out. Not only was his strength making rapid progress, he was also forming cliques within the family and dividing the influence subordinated to Li Xiu.
At first, Li Xiu had been dismissive about it. As far as he was concerned, the Li Family of Pingzhou was as firm as a sheet of iron. No matter how capable Li Xian was, it was impossible for him to stir up too much trouble.
Nevertheless, this matter was not as simple as he had thought.
As two years went by, the influence Li Xian had expanded considerably. Today, he could even stand up to Li Xiu as an equal.
Li Xiu had also heard news that his uncle seemed to have developed close relationships with people outside the family. These people were quite mysterious, but their strength was intimidatingly strong. Li Xiu had sent batches of agents to explore their backgrounds, but no messages were ever sent back to him. Apparently, the agents had all failed their missions. After that, Li Xiu had kept a constant vigilance, but he still couldn't do anything about his uncle.
Li Xiu had taken the controlling power of the family bit by bit. Since his father was also the Family Head who was in power, he had to behave more scrupulously in case someone got something on him or detected his negligence.
Moreover, despite the fact Li Xian had formed cliques and furtively fostered his own influence, he had never done anything to jeopardize the Li Family. He had even made several contributions during the past few years, rendering the Li Family widely famous. Now, as a family hero, Li Xian was becoming more and more important to the whole family.
Therefore, facing such a hero and a crucial family member, if Li Xiu could not discover any solid evidence, he and his influence really could do nothing about him. All they could do was sit aside and watch as he expanded his gangsters and built up his strength.
If what upset Li Xiu in the past was a potential concern, then, what he needed to deal with today was an imminent problem.
Recently Li Xiu had obtained news that Li Xian would take a major action during the Ancestor Worship Ceremony, and the target was precisely him.
Li Xiu had a premonition that Li Xian was going to usurp his throne.
If Li Xian did that, he would not care much about it. First, he did not attach too much importance to his post. Second, his strength had already entered the Individual Immortal phase. He possessed enough strength to counter any tricks the other side might throw at him.
Yes, absolute strength could subdue everything!
This was the motto Li Xiu believed in. This motto actually came from his friend, Zhou Bao, who had stabilized his position in the northwest precisely with his invincible strength, hadn't he?
Li Xiu had faith in his own strength!
As a man who had entered the Individual Immortal phase before the age of 30, Li Xiu naturally had enough faith in himself. If not, then, almost no one in the world would have the faith to live their lives.
"First Young Master, First Young Master, something went wrong, seriously wrong!"
Although Li Xiu had faith in himself, it did not mean he had faith in others as well. Right now, shortly after he sat down, a panic-stricken voice fluttered to his ears before he could have a quiet moment. Then, a cyan-robed footboy rushed in.
"Why so much panic?" Li Xiu scowled, showing a trace of unfriendliness.
"First Young Master, it's really bad! Second Master, Second Master, he..."
"What's up with Second Uncle?"
"Second Master led a bunch of helpers and headed for the manor of Miss Die Yi! He sai-said, he was going to arrest the evildoer!"
"What?" Li Xiu stood up at once. He clenched the cyan-robed footboy by the collar. "What did you say? Go to Die Yi's manor? What a jerk!"
His figure flashed and vanished from the yard. When he materialized again, it was in a small manor about eight kilometers from the Li family's house.
The manor was quite exquisite and luxurious. It was well located, too. It sat at the foot of a hill and beside a stream. It could be said to be a very peaceful and tranquil residence.
But right now, the beautiful scenery of this peaceful land was completely ruined by a series of clamors.
"Second Master, what are you up to by doing this? This is the Fragrant Butterfly Manor, the side premise of the First Young Master. You shall not break into this place without permission!"
"Break in? Humph, you, who are you? Dare to get in my way? Li Xiu has colluded with an evildoer, the woman staying inside this manor. Today, I, the Second Master, am here to take down this evildoer. It doesn't matter if this place is merely Li Xiu's side premise, even if it were the premise of our Family Head, for the sake of safeguarding the reputation of our Li family, I'm definitely breaking in!"
The man who was talking so confidently was a robust middle-aged man. With an air of condescending pride, he did not even bother looking the man blocking his way in the eye. Standing next to him were two men in snow-white robes. They were looking steadily forward and emitted an overbearing pressure. Their cultivations were already at the peak of Level Nine. With such strength and combat capability, they were indisputably the top practitioners in the Li Family of Pingzhou.
Although now with the formulas Zhou Bao had brought to the world, the overall strength of the martial arts world had advanced considerably, no major change could have occurred in the past decade alone. Above all, after a decade of wild plundering and refining, many of the medicinal herbs required in the tinctures had become rare. Maybe in a few years, the common medicinal herbs in the elixirs would become precious as well. Then, the Heaven Realm World would be restored to its original appearance. In that way, the elixirs would have been merely a small wave and the Heaven Realm World would still be galloping along the downhill road.
Take the Li family as an example. It was already a huge surprise to have an Individual Immortal in the family. In addition to the Individual Immortal Li Xiu, there were more than 10 people breaking through the Expert Realm, two of whom even ranked among Level Nine experts. All at once, the strength of the Li Family had soared up and outstripped the Wang clan in Cenzhou, becoming the first-placed well-known family in the world, second only to the Royal Yan Family and super schools like the Tian Long Taoism and the Sect of Flame.
Hence, with a strength at the peak of Level Nine, nobody could match the two except for Li Xiu in the Li family. Now, these men in snow-white robes had obviously grown impatient at Li Xian's slow progress.
"Where did you pop out of? How dare you! Blocking our way into the manor!" The man in a snow-white robe on Li Xian's right suddenly darkened his expression. He lifted one hand and threw the footboy barring their path into the air. "Let's go quickly, we will not let that evildoer get away!"
"How are you going to achieve that? Second Uncle, you're really crossing the line now, even daring to force your way into my manor?"
With a whoosh, an invisible Sword Qi swooped down and charged at the man in snow-white robes.
The man suddenly went sullen. Sensing the fierce momentum of this Sword Qi, he did not have the guts to take it straight on. He shifted aside and evaded the attack. However, his snow-white robe was not so lucky. It was sliced into small pieces that flew in all directions like snowflakes.
"How dare you!" yelled the other white-robed man. Seeing this getting troublesome, he raised both his hands and two jets of golden light shot out, aiming at Li Xiu who had just appeared.
"What a cheap trick!" Li Xiu merely sneered. He released two shots of Sword Qi towards the golden light. The man reached out in an attempt to fend off the Sword Qi, but was forced to take several steps backward and withdraw his celestial device.
"Xiu, why did you do that?" Seeing Li Xiu reveal himself, Li Xian questioned him with a tense expression.
"Why did I do that? I should ask you that question. Second Uncle, why are you breaking into my manor, beating my subordinate? What on earth are you up to? Starting a rebellion?"
"Don't go too far. No matter what, I'm still your Second Uncle. I see no respect for the elder in your words!" Li Xian barked. "Answer me, who on earth is living in your Fragrant Butterfly Manor?"
"This is my manor, and I have no obligation to explain anything to you. Please leave!"
"Humph, you don't have the courage to answer me, right? You may think I have no idea, but I do. I know the woman living in this manor is a demonic woman, an evildoer. You, a disciple of our Li Family, have ganged up with an evildoer! How humiliating! I came here today to get rid of this evildoer and protect the reputation of our family. Back off!"
"Are you done? If you're done, just get out! If not, I'll beat you out of this place!" Li Xiu's face was chilling. His voice also revealed a sharp stream of killing intent.
"You!" Li Xian bolted up and glared at Li Xiu without cowering. He had no intention of backing off. It seemed they were on the verge of breaking into a fight.
"Well, Li Xiu, you have no regard for superiors and discard our family's moral standards. But today I won't degrade myself to your level. When the Ancestor Worship Ceremony comes, I will settle this with you, humph!" Li Xian tossed his sleeve backward and wheeled around, leading his subordinates out of the Fragrant Butterfly Manor, displaying a show with a fine start but a poor finish.
Li Xiu squinted at them, his mind racing. "Coming with determination but returning in low spirits. What on earth is Li Xian up to?"
"They came here to get your number. Seems that your manor has entertained many hidden secrets!"
While Li Xiu was contemplating, a thin voice as weak as a mosquito sounded in his ears.
"Zhou..." At this voice, Li Xiu's gloomy expression abruptly rejoiced with wild excitement. He hastily looked up and opened his mouth.
"Okay, don't attract anyone's attention. I've got something to share with you, let's talk in private!"