Yu You's natal magical artifact, the fire gourd, was acquired by him in a wild mountain somewhere in Pangu Continent that had just formed through absorbing primordial spirit energy, when he had reached mastery in his immortal magic after forsaking his human identity to secretly cultivate the Immortal Dao. As it had just been born out of the chaos, the mountain contained the power of the Great Dao of Primordial; its body was the condensation of the essences of the five metals, and beneath it was a poisonous cave of earth fire, which had given birth to a wisp of innate flame.
Nourished by the energy of fire and metal, a vein grew out on the back of the mountain, bearing the gourd.
It was a stroke of luck. Yu You took the fire gourd, but the vein was snatched by another itinerant immortal. After acquiring it, he had been refining it day and night with his own blood essence and soul, growing the wisp of innate flame in the gourd stronger than ever while a wisp of innate killing aura in it had transformed into countless flying swords. All of them were also tempered day and night by the power of the innate flame, becoming extraordinarily sharp and fierce.
He could hardly find anyone capable of resisting the power of the gourd; its flame could burn even a common Gold Immortal to ashes. Moreover, no one could withstand a strike from its flying swords, save those who chanced upon an upper or superior-grade Gold Immortal Artifact.
But, he was frightened out of his wits today when he saw Wu Qi's mighty Kunwu Swords, and saw that he was able to kill the God with the Fiend Slaying Sword Formation, the legendary sword formation of the human ancestors. Driven by fear, Yu You went as far as to make his precious natal magical artifact self-destruct, hoping to escape the dire situation with all his descendants by sacrificing this rare innate spirit artifact.
He threw out the gourd, setting it to self-destruct and locking it down on Wu Qi, then immediately ripped apart the void and fled in panic, bringing Yu Miao and the others with him. Chasing closely behind Wu Qi, the gourd flew across the distance of thousands of miles and smashed into the mountain where King Zhang Qiu was hiding. It exploded with a deafening boom and released the wisp of innate flame, killing aura, and the energy essence of five metals all at once.
The poor King Zhang Qiu was still sitting comfortably on the mountaintop with all his attendants and captains. He was confident that Wu Qi dared not to do anything to him even when he was found. So, even though Liu Bang had left stealthily, he had decided to remain here, waiting for the chance to shame Wu Qi later.
He had never dreamed that Yu You would do something so desperately. He knew that a natal magical artifact was of great importance to an immortal, but Yu You had set the gourd to self-destruct all the same. And, he did not expect Wu Qi to be so cunning, coming straight at him with the fire gourd hot on his heels. As a result, the self-destruction that should have nothing to do with him was brought down on his head by Wu Qi without his consent.
"Not good!" King Zhang Qiu cried out as he stared up blankly at the huge gourd that was smashing down toward him. He thought of asking the captains around him to prepare for the explosion, but he did not have the time. In the blink of an eye, the gourd's shell, which was condensed of pure innate fire energy, dissolved into a great wall of flame and swept out in all directions. Meanwhile, the wisp of innate flame, killing aura, and the energy essence of five metals burst out with a deafening boom. For a moment, the void within tens of thousands of miles was returned to its chaotic state by the terrifying explosion. Apart from the innate energy of fire and metal, there was no other energy that existed in this chaos.
All the hills and mountains, flowers and trees, rivers and lakes, birds and beasts…everything within tens of thousands of miles vanished. All the beings that were born of acquired energy were devoured by the innate energy of fire and metal at the same time. The two innate energies blanketed everything, devoured everything, and wiped out everything. The world was filled with only red and white lights, and nothing else.
King Zhang Qiu roared; he could pay no more mind to those captains around him. A beam of red light towered from the top of his head to the sky, and in it emerged the soul of Baxia, one of the nine sons of the dragon. With a dragon head, a turtle body, and a length of ten thousand feet, as soon as this Baxia made its appearance, it conjured an extremely thick and heavy black curtain of light and had King Zhang Qiu protected within.
Wu Qi had acted quickly. After luring the fire gourd to King Zhang Qiu, he immediately produced all 108 Kunwu Swords and turned them into a sword formation, having everyone around him protected. The Dark Yin Celestial Tower flew whistling out after that, sending beams of starlight into the sword formation. The Fiend Slaying Sword Formation was an all-inclusive formation, so after he had fused the 108,000 Great Daos he obtained from the Kaleidoscopic Star Core with it, the Kunwu Swords immediately transformed into countless dazzling stars, swirling about like fireflies. With that, the void around him and others was so heavily fortified that no energy of fire or metal ravaging outside could come close to them.
The self-destruction of the fire gourd had sent the innate flame to burn off everything, while the wisp of innate killing aura and energy essence of five metals transformed into countless beams of light that streaked disorderly across the void. Any acquired objects touched by the innate flame instantly vanished in a whiff of smoke. Meanwhile, King Zhang Qiu's loyal captains and all the tens of thousands of soldiers he brought here were pierced by countless light beams, their bodies riddled with holes beyond count. The air rang with their miserable howls and shrieks as the killing aura tore them into the smallest particles.
Bright red light and a foggy white mist had enveloped the region within tens of thousands of miles. Fortunately, Pangu Continent's structure was vastly different from that of the planets in the outer heavenly realms. Every stone here was a thousand times tougher and heavier, and even the structure of the void around it was much firmer. So, the self-destruction of the innate spirit artifact could inflict an area so large at the most, and then all of its terrible explosive force was gradually absorbed and digested by the Pangu Continent. The red light and the white mist that were the innate flame and energy essence of metals respectively were sucked into the earth, no longer as menacing as they were at the beginning.
If it were in some outer heavenly realm, the power produced from the explosion of an innate spirit artifact like this was more than enough to completely destroy a vast region with dozens of planets within. But here on the Pangu Continent, the destruction of such magnitude was compressed to its weakest.
Wu Qi had the sword formation to protect him, so he did not feel any strain. Although he was right at the center of the explosion, the power of Kunwu Swords and the formation was so mighty that the force of explosion could not even sway them, much less hurt him.
However, King Zhang Qiu was not so lucky. His heart was bleeding as he watched his trusted subordinates die one after another.
The captains who followed him here were from the clans who had served his branch for generations. They were all carefully chosen geniuses, and had been accompanying him since his childhood. Basically, they did everything together, including playing, studying, and traveling. Putting aside the duty of the lords and his subjects, the relationship between them was that of a brotherly friendship. Even a man as mean, unsympathetic, and ruthless as King Zhang Qiu, felt a stabbing pain in his heart when he saw these trusted subordinates of his—who had served him loyally for hundreds of years and attained the cultivation base above the Second Pangu Heaven—vanish into wisps of smoke amidst the raging flame, or be riddled into sieves by countless white beams.
The thick and heavy curtain of light his beast soul had conjured could only protect him alone, and even so, the dark curtain was constantly melting away amidst the flame and shaking violently under the impact of the white beams. Condensed from the innate killing aura and the energy essence of five metals, each of the white beams came with a shocking force of penetration. The soul of Baxia he had fused with since he was a child had the cultivation base equivalent to that of a peak-level Gold Immortal. But, a beast soul was, after all, a soul without a physical form. Even though Baxia was known for his great strength among the nine sons of the dragon, this one could barely protect him against the power of the explosion.
Every white beam that came smashing on his protective curtain turned his internal organs upside down, and when he saw his loyal captains die tragically in the flame one after another, he felt an excruciating pain in his heart and could not stop the warm tears from rolling off his cheeks.
"Tan Lang! You vile punk! I swear I will kill you someday!" Burning with a frenzy of rage, King Zhang Qiu turned around abruptly, staring furiously at Wu Qi who was less than a thousand feet away from him, and bellowed at the top of his lungs. The thick flames between them had obscured Wu Qi's face. With his teeth clenched, King Zhang Qiu pointed a finger at Wu Qi as a line of blood slowly trickled down the corner of his mouth, his face twisted like a devil.
Wu Qi heard King Zhang Qiu's bellow in the deafening rumble that sounded like the world was falling apart. He chuckled, brought his hand up, and drew his thumb across his neck. "There is no room for regret when matters have reached this stage. You want to kill me? Do you think I'll let you live so you can seek vengeance later?" he said with a cold grin.
Wu Qi clearly remembered how Liu Bang and King Zhang Qiu had thrown him into the boundless void with the Sky Veiling Flag of Chaos. Had Prince Chang Qin not drawn him over to the Ghost Realm, he would have drifted to somewhere unknown. Without an exact coordinate, any common immortal who fell into that vast expanse of emptiness would be trapped forever. It was true that Liu Bang was mean and ruthless, but had King Zhang Qiu not assisted him, he would not have dared to assault a Marquis of Great Yu right outside of You Xiong Plain.
Wu Qi gave a cold laugh, then whispered a few words to Princess Zhang Le. A faint smile brushed the princess's lips as the five-colored divine rays behind her back suddenly lashed out. With a depressing rumble, the divine ray stretched almost ten thousand feet long and fiercely ripped apart the innate flame surging between Wu Qi and King Zhang Qiu, sweeping the thousands of white beams away with one swift move.
Wu Qi guffawed, and then opened his mouth, the Blood Centipede Sword shooting out in the form of a centipede-shaped red sword beam. It was about a foot long, piercing straight through the air toward King Zhang Qiu's forehead. Immediately after that, the Natural Phenomena Medallion soared into the sky with a brilliant light. Twisting visions of mountains and rivers that looked like an ink-wash painting dashed whistling out of the medallion, shrouded in white clouds as they overtook the Blood Centipede Sword and smashed on the black curtain of light the soul of Baxia had conjured.
As a supreme magical artifact the Sacred Emperor Zhuanxu had personally crafted, the Natural Phenomena Medallion's power was extremely frightening.
A tiny slit was opened up on the dark curtain by the vision the medallion had sent over, and the Blood Centipede Sword flickered through it. Under King Zhang Qiu's frightened, incredulous glance, the sword pierced his forehead; destroyed his soul; and shot out from the back of his head.
"How could you kill me?" Those were King Zhang Qiu's last words.
Wu Qi laughed grimly. "Killing you is no different from killing a chicken! I hate b*stards like you who live off one person while secretly colluding with another!"
A sword beam flashed as Wu Qi called the Blood Centipede Sword back to him. The soul of Baxia let out a sad whine into the sky; just as it was about to turn into a beam of black light and enter transmigration, Ao Buzun suddenly jumped out of Wu Qi's sleeve with a greedy look on his face. He then opened his mouth and swallowed the soul.
"A soul of the dragon's son who is as strong as a peak-level Gold Immortal! A great tonic!" Ao Buzun's eyes filled with tears of excitement. "I can't believe there was such a good fortune waiting for me! Splendid! With this soul, I can regain at least one percent of my previous life's cultivation base!"
Wu Qi stared at Ao Buzun in horror. Again, this fellow had blurted out his secret—the soul of the dragon's son who was as strong as a peak-level Gold Immortal could only restore one percent of his previous life's cultivation base. Based on this, before he was made into a storage ring, could he be already...
Without the protection of the soul of Baxia, King Zhang Qiu's body was immediately exposed to the flames of the explosion. The tough fleshly body he had thoroughly tempered could last less than three seconds before it was quickly reduced to a plume of smoke and dissipated.
King Zhang Qiu was dead.
"Somebody, send an emergency message to His Majesty immediately," Wu Qi cried out suddenly. "Yu You from the Yu clan of Zhong Province had rebelled, and together with his accomplices, including Yu Miao, they assaulted and murdered King Zhang Qiu. This loyal subject, the Marquis of Dong Hai Province, Tan Lang, appeals to Your Majesty to order a thorough search across the world, and order the arrest of Yu You and his accomplices within Great Yu's territory."
The blame was firmly laid atop the heads of Yu Miao and his companions.