Despite all the rumors that spread among ordinary civilians, it was the fact that this dense forest was a restricted area under the control of Great Yan Dynasty's military.
Led by the team of iron-armored soldiers, Wu Qi had been riding wildly for the past ten minutes. Relying on the incredible speed of their mounts, the company had finally arrived at the border of this nameless forest. Upon getting closer to this place, Wu Qi immediately felt an uneasiness creep all over his body. The combative instinct inherited from Wu Wang had made Wu Qi aware that people were hiding everywhere around him. There were at least tens of large-scaled weapons currently aiming straight at him and his company. In addition to that, at least three hundred men were watching them from the dark.
This forest had a very strict defense, at least double the defense in the Imperial Palace of Great Yan Dynasty. Wu Qi ran his eyes around and could roughly perceive a few small heaps of earth along both sides of the passage which were the possible hiding places of the readied weapons. Besides that, he actually could not find out anything unusual.
The captain of the soldiers pulled out a light-green token of identity, raising it up high above his shoulder and injected his innate energy into it. In an instant, a crystal clear squeal of swallow rang out and soared into the sky. Then, from a far distance came noises of whistling. Upon hearing the whistles, the captain gave his order, and the company continued their journey along the passage into the dense forest. Meanwhile, Wu Qi could sense that the visions that locked down on him were now gone.
The passage that cut into the dense forest was approximately twenty feet from edge to edge. Great trees and tall grasses had filled both sides of the passage. Frequently, troops of monkeys would spring and leap from tree branches on one side of the passage to the other side, while making noisy chatters and flinging a few pits of fruits towards Wu Qi and the escorting soldiers. Flocks of sparrows flew past swiftly over them, pouring down rains of droppings that splashed and smeared everybody's head and face. Fortunately, Wu Qi was protected by his innate energy. Thus, all the bird droppings were being repelled at a few feet away from him. However, that had made the soldiers around him receive a couple dozen more droppings than others.
They pressed on for another tens of miles along the passage. Then, they saw two tigers walking side by side out of the forest, with two cubs, who looked like they still fed on milk, following behind them while staggering and swaying. The family came to the middle of the passage, lazily lying down and relaxing under the warm sunlight. The company had no choice but to leave the passage. They took a detour in the woods beside the passage to bypass this family, and only then did they return to the passage to continue the journey.
However, after only a few miles further down the passage, they were greeted with a sounder of wild boars, grunting with joyful yet sharp oinks and running across the passage. A large cloud of dust filled the passage, and their journey was delayed again.
At last, when this large family of wild boars had finally gone past the passage, the company continued their journey for another twenty miles, before they were once again halted by seven to eight great serpents. These were serpents with a body as thick as a water bucket, fully covered with white scales and a single horn crowned on their forehead. Subtly, Wu Qi could see claws underneath their abdomen. Apparently, these were serpents who had attained a significant cultivation, and soon would transform into dragons. This group of great serpents had their long body coiled up and resting lazily in the middle of the passage. The sunlight showered down between tree branches hanging above the passage, bringing them warm and comfort, while their tongues kept darting in and out of their mouth.
This time, Wu Qi couldn't refrain himself but feel a creepiness on his flesh. The tigers and wild boars they met just now were ordinary wild animals, though compared to the same species back on Earth, their bodies were much larger, and their blood and energy were much stronger. Yet, they were still considered wild animals. However, these great serpents were not far away from transforming into true dragons, and there was a pressure that was vaguely emanating from their body, which made Wu Qi's heart race. Gold Core had been formed in their bodies, and if the grade of their bloodline was slightly lower, their achievement in cultivation should have been sufficient for them to transform into human shape, just like Xiong Qing and his brothers.
Nevertheless, as the bodies of these serpents were enormous in size, and their bloodlines belonged to the clan of Flood Dragons, compared to Xiong Qing and his brothers, the difficulty of transforming into human form was much greater. According to Wu Qi's estimation, they would have to go through their Thunder Tribulation and transform into true dragons, casting off their skins twice. Only then these group of great serpents could truly transform into human shape. But even so, their current overall strength was still stronger than ordinary Human Immortals of Gold Core realm.
With their long bodies coiling up in the middle of the passage, this group of great serpents was staring at Wu Qi and his company with witty eyes. Obstinate and crafty looks actually filled their eyes, as they assumed the posture of not giving way to this group of travelers, stretching and erecting their upper bodies while jauntily darting their tongues in and out. The company had no alternative, as they could not afford to offend these obstacles. In the end, Wu Qi and all the men had to dismount again, bring their mounts off the passage and take a detour to skip this part of the passage.
As they journeyed further, Wu Qi's view was greatly widened. He saw many strange and peculiar wild animals and demon beasts. It was especially true when he saw an aged soft-shelled turtle, who had a turtle shell with a circumference of thirty feet. The turtle too had formed his Demon Core, and had gained an intelligent mind. However, he stupidly mistook that he was a monkey, and kept climbing up and down on trees chasing behind a troop of monkeys. The funny look of his made Wu Qi speechless, while some soldiers in the company were letting out a low and deep laugh.
The captain turned around and looked at Wu Qi, laughing with a low voice and said, "This soft-shelled turtle is Old Mister's favorite pet, and had been following Old Mister since the day Great Yan Dynasty was founded. However, his brain was damaged when he tried to transcend his Thunder Tribulation many years ago, and that is the reason why he acts rather foolishly. You'll get used to it."
This soft-shelled turtle is Old Mister's pet? Without hesitation, Wu Qi asked, "Who is this Old Mister?"
The answer came very naturally from the captain, "Oh, he is the founding ancestor of Mo Sect, Old Mister Mo Di . As His Majesty, Chief General and Central-Prime-Counselors have taken him as their teacher. Thus, all of us address him as Old Mister. He is a man who loves and embraces nature. In this forest of Mo, except for this passage we tread, no one is allowed to touch even a blade of grass or tree. As a result, the forest is flourishing, and numerous animals are living freely. On top of that, several hundred Demon Immortals are cultivating in Mo Sect."
He pointed his finger in the direction where they came from, then let a wry smile while saying, "The few great serpents that barred the passage just now are the inner disciples of Mo Sect. They have been overly spoiled by Old Mister, and always love to goof with us. As we can't afford to offend them, we have no choice but to let them do whatever they like. But fortunately, Mo Sect has a set of strict rules. Besides making mischief with us, they don't commit any other evil deeds. Although their looks are fearsome and ferocious, they are all vegetarians."
Giant pythons who ate only vegetables? Wu Qi shook his head.
He suddenly came to a realization regarding what he had just heard. Mo Di, the founding ancestor of Mo Sect! But Wu Qi felt really strange, because according to all the records that Le Xiaobai had read from books, Mo Di supposedly did not have any relationship with Great Yan Dan. So, why was he here, and even became the teacher of Yan Dan, Jing Ke, and the other men?
Soon, Wu Qi ditched this question out from his mind. He was yet to find out the real reason how Yan Dan, Jing Ke, and all their brothers came to this world, so why should he bother about how Old Mister Mo Di came here? Perhaps, Mo Di and Yan Dan, Jing Ke were having a favorable impression of each other. Thus, he had decided to establish Mo Sect here.
While they traveled further, figures of men began to emerge on both sides of the passage. These were men clad in burlap clothes, having their hairs hanging down loosely and walking barefoot. Axes and large bamboo baskets were held in their hands, as they walked around in the forest while harvesting all kinds of mushroom and edible wild herbs, cutting down some dried and dead tree branches and tying them into bundles of firewood. Their clothes were simple and crude, and they looked skinny. Yet, every single one of them had a ruddy complexion, and their faces were filled with an indescribable expression of happiness.
Although they were walking in the woods, it felt like as if they had totally merged with the woods itself. When they were breathing, the woods were breathing as well; when they were smiling and laughing, the woods were smiling and laughing. Every single movement of them matched perfectly with some kind of path found in this piece of sky and earth. The natural aura given forth by them had touched Wu Qi's mind. The cultivation base of these men was varied; the weakest among them were ordinary mortals who did not have any innate energy in their bodies, while the strongest of them had attained the cultivation of Respiration tier. Nevertheless, regardless of their cultivation, all of them could merge with the woods, like it was their second nature.
It was something that Wu Qi, who had formed two Gold Cores in his Water meridians, was yet to achieve. Merging with nature was easier said than done, and one could only realize how tough it was by trying to do that. At least, all the Human Immortals who Wu Qi had met till now had different strange signs following wherever they went, and it was completely opposed to nature. At all times, these people were suffering from the push and pressure from nature. So, how could they merge with nature?
However, although these men had a weaker cultivation base, they were able to achieve it easily.
Seeing Wu Qi and his company passing by, these men came near the passage, carrying a large bundle of firewoods on their back, and smiled while bidding their greetings to the visitors. The iron-armored soldiers quickly cupped their fist and returned the gesture, not daring to show the slightest arrogance before these men. The captain whispered to Wu Qi, "These men are the disciples of Mo Sect. Although some of them have a rather weak cultivation base, their talents are not in using the force of arms. Any one of them that leaves Mo Forest will possess the ability to boost the existing combat force of an army by at least a few times. As a matter of fact, there are disciples of Mo Sect currently staying in the few strongest armies of Great Yan Dynasty, giving counsel to the armies behind the scene."
Wu Qi nodded his head quietly. Old Mister Mo Di did not only promote the concept of 'impartial caring' and was against any injustice or warfare, he at the same time was a famous educator and a militarist.
They walked along the passage for a long distance. When the sun was already westering, and the red gleam glinted throughout the entire Mo Forest, Wu Qi finally came to a plain right in the center of Mo Forest. Upon his arrival, Wu Qi couldn't help but take a deep breath, as he wore a blank expression and stared at an incredible building that stood before him.
This plain in the heart of the forest had a circumference of one hundred miles. It included a few small hills, a few little rivers, and a small lake. Amidst the rivers and the lake, numerous villages with log structures were scattered around, each of them fitting perfectly in the surroundings, and not looking offensive at all. Many disciples of the Mo Sect were clad in simple clothes and concluding their daily tasks. Some just came out from the fields, some were holding on fish baskets and rising from the river, and some were carrying all kinds of instruments while coming out from the surrounding woods with their faces smiling.
Amidst these villages that looked perfectly harmonious and natural, a pillar of purple flame with tens of feet in diameter was towering into the sky from the ground. At a spot nearly one thousand feet from the ground, this pillar of underground flame, which contained an unlimited and dreadful heat, was seen supporting a city of steel and iron, with the circumference of several miles. On the bright and clean surface of this mighty city, countless huge runes were blinking and flickering with the same glow as that purple flame pillar.
"This! What is this!?" Wu Qi was struck dumb. It was not a large city. In this world, a city with a circumference of a few miles could only be considered as the tiniest city. However, this entire tiny city was purely forged with steel and iron, and it was an achievement that required an immense amount of work. Although with the national strength of Great Yan Dynasty, forging a city like this was not a big deal, making the entire city hover one thousand feet above the surface, according to what he had learned from Scroll of Stealing, could only be accomplished by an Immortal who had attained the realm of Heaven Immortal.
Could there be a Heaven Immortal in this Mo Sect?
Tilting his head up and staring blankly at the floating city, Wu Qi let the mount underneath him bring him closer to the city.
 Mo Di, or better known as Mozi, was a Chinese philosopher during the Hundred Schools of Thought period. A very intelligent person, if you wish to know more about him, check out here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozi)