Approximately one hundred miles away from the river bank where Wu Qi was confronted by a few men was a small village, completely surrounded by several small mountains. Blood was seen flowing in small streams all over the village, with dead bodies scattered everywhere. Buildings and dead bodies were burning in a fierce flame, emitting a pungent and stinking smell that filled the air. Some broken weapons were found lying messily around. Apparently, they were all destroyed by powerful force.
Nearly thirty vigorous soldiers, clad in black body armor and wearing no helmets, were roaming slowly within the village with broadsword held in their hands. They were searching for the remaining barbarians that were hiding amidst firewoods, rice jars, wells or some other hiding places, and once they found one, they would pull them out and chop them into two. Meanwhile, some soldiers were entering buildings that did not catch fire, bringing out some energy stones, metallic ores and moving them outside the village.
On a small flat field near the entrance of the village was a stack of loot consisting of several thousand energy stones which had yet to be polished, together with various metallic ores. A dozen burly warriors, all clad in the same heavy armor, were seen clustering near a burly man, who wore a pale-crimson armor. He was carrying a massive Tiger-head spear in his hand, sorting and counting the loot. It took the burly man a full fifteen minutes to finish counting these energy stones, and the result made him scratch his head worriedly.
"It is still not enough. Together with those we found in the past few days, we only have less than five hundred upper-grade energy stones. Our mission is to collect one thousand upper-grade energy stones and thirty supreme-grade energy stones. Go search the surrounding areas and see if you can find other barbarian villages." The burly man placed all the energy stones and metallic ores into his storage bag hanging down from the side of his waist, then continued saying in a low, muffled voice, "If we are the slowest in completing the mission, the punishment of one hundred strokes is not something I will enjoy… My butt will explode because of that!"
Before his words could fade into thin air, a bright blue beam was seen shooting high up into the sky suddenly at a far distance, immediately followed by a rapid rumble of explosions that sounded like muffled thunderclaps. A huge talisman several dozens miles in size emerged after the explosion, lasting for the time it took to finish a pot of tea, before it gradually dispersed into countless tiny specks and faded into nothingness.
The burly man and all his subordinates raised their heads, looking at the sky with their pupils contracted to the size of a needle hole.
"Heavenly Spirit Sect? That means we have bumped into some living persons?" The burly man stuck out his tongue and moistened his lips, pointed randomly at a few subordinates and said, "You go, bring this finding back now. The rest of you, follow me. Let us find out who are these fools. Hehe, how could they unleash such a large area summoning talisman in this place? Do they have no fear that they might attract some ghosts?"
Upon receiving the military order, the few vigorous soldiers immediately stepped onto a specially made magical item, which looked like a skating board, three feet long and shaped like a cigar, with two wings spread from both sides. While producing whistling noises, the magical item brought the men one thousand feet up into the sky, and quickly thrust towards a far distance. Meanwhile, the burly man threw the tiger-head spear out. It transformed it into a ten feet long bloody beam and completely enveloped his body, as it began flying towards the direction where the bright blue beam was coming. The rest of the heavy-armored soldiers sprung into the sky while riding on bright beams as well. The several dozen soft-armored soldiers stepped onto the same winged magical item and following behind them closely.
Under the tremendous pressure, Wu Qi's body was seen swaying back and forth, like the aquatic plants amidst the raging waves that would be completely destroyed in any moment. He narrowed his eyes, fixing his gaze straight at the four cultivators coming in fast towards him. With a loud voice, he snapped, "Are all of you the seniors from Heavenly Spirit Sect? What makes you hunt Wu Qi to this place?"
The surrounding air was trembling subtly, as the energies of Earth, Water, Wind and Fire element were all rocking in an unusual manner. Riding on fierce winds, four cultivators clad in long yellow robes came in hot, and within a blink of an eye, they had deployed a small array of five elements around Wu Qi. Together with the middle-aged man who arrived earlier, all five of them tightly confined Wu Qi within a space nearly one thousand feet in diameter. The jade slabs underneath their feet emitted a blinding glow and attracted the natural energies of five elements in the atmosphere. They turned them into powerful shackles of five elements, completely sealing off the movement of energies in the area.
It was an array called 'Minor Energy Sealing Array of Five Elements'. Once any cultivator below the realm of Gold Core was trapped by it, not only could they no longer absorb any energy from the outside world, the circulation of the energies in their body would also become greatly sluggish. If an ordinary Xiantian Daoist was trapped in it, he would not be able to exert any of his energy, becoming meat on a chopping board.
Wu Qi's body shuddered, while two lower-grade flying swords besides him also fell onto the ground. He collapsed weakly, sitting on the ground and crying out loud into the sky, "Executing a man without a proper reason is a great torment! Seniors, you can kill Wu Qi, but you have to let Wu Qi know the reason of being killed! Who exactly had Wu Qi offended? Even if it is an inevitable death, you'll have to let me die in peace!"
Among the four cultivators who came later, there was an old man who had reached the mastery stage of Gold Core realm, the strongest among all five of them. Obviously, he was the leader of the group. There was a bright green gleam that shone from his eyes, and he had a pair of extremely rare eyes with double pupils each. With a cold voice, the old man said, "I'm Ling Wuju from Heavenly Spirit Sect, the Sect Elder in charge of passing down cultivation techniques. Young lad, do you really have no idea what is the reason that you must be killed?"
With hands and legs swinging in the air and body trembling endlessly, Wu Qi collapsed on the ground, throwing a glance over at Ling Wuju with a pathetic look. He sighed and said, "I've really no idea."
Ling Wuju rested his eyes on Wu Qi's face, having his body shivering with anger. At last, he snapped furiously, "If not because of you who poked your nose into other people's business, causing the destruction of Wei Merchant, why should we consider to hunt you, a mere junior of Xiantian realm? Do you have any idea that, after Wei Merchant was raided, the annual income of Heavenly Spirit Sect immediately fell sharply by seventy percent? Do you know that because of being involved in the case of Wei Merchant, thirteen Sect Elders of Heavenly Spirit Sect were killed under the orders of His Majesty?"
Wu Qi immediately drew in a sharp cold breath. He wasn't surprised about the secret cooperation between Heavenly Spirit Sect and Wei Merchant, as they must have been producing some powerful talisman in the dark and supplying to Wei Merchant. However, he was shocked to find out that the secret income actually contributed seventy percent of Heavenly Spirit Sect's total income! Now, that was a serious grudge he had brought to himself! And that was not the end, as Yan Dan had given out an order to kill thirteen Sect Elders of Heavenly Spirit Sect! They were thirteen Human Immortals of Gold Core realm!
No wonder Heavenly Spirit Sect sent out five Human Immortals to hunt him down, spending months in tracking him and never give up. If not because, his aura was concealed entirely by all sorts of defensive mechanisms and formations from time to time during the construction of his secret caves, and distracted the activities of energies surrounding him, these few Human Immortals would have long found him. How many Human Immortals of Gold Core realm could a sect own? Yet, with just one single imperial order, Yan Dan had killed thirteen of them. It was indeed a huge debt of blood!
As the Heavenly Spirit Sect could do nothing to Yan Dan, they simply turned to Wu Qi and poured their anger at him! By sending out five Human Immortals, it showed their determination of killing Wu Qi. There was nothing Wu Qi could do about it. After all, in the official explanation given out by Great Yan Dynasty, he was the greatest contributor in wiping out Wei Merchant, and he was the one who found out all the detailed information about them!
Wu Qi forced a smile, staring at Ling Wuju, sighed and said, "Elder Ling, if I tell you that even I have no idea how His Majesty investigated into the case, will you believe me?"
Shaking his head, Ling Wuju said, "It doesn't matter whether I believe it or not. Most importantly, from top to bottom, the entire Heavenly Spirit Sect need an explanation. We can't do anything to you if you keep staying in Ji City, but since you've come to this place, alone in a remote and barren mountain, then don't blame us for being cruel."
Ling Wuju raised his hand up and took out a two-feet by four inches, light-purple talisman, and was about to toss it out. But suddenly, Wu Qi cried out, "Hold on! I have another question! How did you track me? We left Ji City using teleportation array and came to the Lu Kingdom. Even if you know some mystic techniques in tracing, the distance between us is too great. How was it possible for you to track me so easily?"
Ling Wuju pondered for a brief moment, nodded his head and said, "Well, I'll tell you then, so you can die in peace! The teleportation formation constructed by Great Yan Dynasty is not the only one that can travel between Ji City and the Lu Kingdom. Not long after you arrived at the Lu Kingdom, we had also arrived. As long as the distance between us is not greater than thirty thousand miles, by using the cornerstone treasure of our sect - the Heavenly Star Positioning Disk, we would be able to detect your position. There is no way you can run away from us."
Wu Qi shook his head in shock. Besides the official teleportation system constructed by Great Yan Dynasty, there was another set of teleportation formation right inside Ji City? And it could transport people to the Lu Kingdom as well? Then the question was, who constructed it? Could it be Wei Merchant? It was possible, but not likely. So, who else could it be? Could it be that the great purge carried out by Yan Dan for the Great Yan Dynasty did not remove all the threats?
For quite some time, Wu Qi did not say anything. At last, with a rather cowardly manner, he asked, "Who constructed this teleportation array? If you want to kill me, at least tell me everything before I die."
Ling Wuju opened his mouth, words seemed to have almost come out of it. But suddenly, he sneered, glared at Wu Qi furiously and roared, "Young child, are you trying to dig out secrets from me? Don't ever think about it! Do I look like someone who could be easily fooled? You damn maggot, you can go die now!"
With a shake of his wrist, the light-purple talisman in his palm suddenly burst out a great jet of flame, transforming into a purple-red flaming dragon, thrusting toward Wu Qi.
Wu Qi could recognize this talisman. It was the 'Thirty-ninth Talisman of Flaming Dragon'. Among all the offensive talismans sold by Heavenly Spirit Sect, because of its incredible strength, it was listed as a controlled commodity. It came with a power equal to the eighty percent of a full force strike produced by a Human Immortal of beginner-stage Gold Core realm, a very strong talisman for sure. In the underground market of Market of Four Seas, it cost a whopping one hundred thousand gold coins each, and the supply was extremely rare.
The intense temperature enough to melt rocks caressed Wu Qi's face, while a long, sonorous dragon roar shook his ears and brought pain to them. The several dozens of feet long flaming dragon thrust whistling down, but with a blink of his body, Wu Qi suddenly fled several thousand feet away, reappearing not far behind the middle-aged man who found him first.
A loud boom rang out, and the flaming dragon impacted the ground and produced a large pit, nearly one thousand feet deep and few hundred feet in diameter. All the rocks, sands, and dirt inside the pit had turned into scorching hot lava. The red-hot lava was raised up high by the force of the explosion, turning into countless fireballs the size of a rice bowl, splashing and shooting in all directions. Dark smoke and fire surged and billowed into the sky, while rocks and dirt flew and shot in random directions. No one could have a clear glimpse at Wu Qi's whereabouts.
Ling Wuju did not see the sudden change that happened in a split second just now. He asked doubtfully, "Have we killed him?"
A cold gleam was seen flashing in Wu Qi's eyes, who was now hiding behind the middle-aged man. Two five colored beams suddenly burst out from his eyes, as he opened his mouth and spat out the Sword of Greedy Wolf. It transformed into a ten feet long sword beam, enshrouded with tiny wisps of flame. He was now controlling the sword with the Sky-burning Sword Technique of Heaven Breaking Sword Sect. The sword beam had completely turned into Fire of Samadhi, which could be used to trigger the natural fire outside and use it to burn all things under the heaven. When the technique was cultivated to the ultimate stage, a strike of it could set the heaven and earth ablaze.
The middle-aged man did not expect that Wu Qi could have escaped. For a mere Xiantian cultivator who had all his energies refrained by Minor Energy Sealing Array of Five Elements, after being locked down by the Flaming Dragon Talisman, how could he still be alive?
Together with a shrilling howl of a wolf, the Sword of Greedy Wolf pierced through the man from his back, shooting out from his chest while bringing out a great amount of burning blood.
Suffering from the deadly strike, the middle-aged man let out a miserable howl. He hastily turned his head, and his eyes went wide and stared at Wu Qi. "Be careful, Senior Brothers, there is something strange about this kid!" He cried out furiously. Suddenly, all his blood essence shot sprayed out from his mouth, turning into a jet of blood and fell onto the jade slab underneath his feet.
Immediately, a blinding light burst out from the thirty feet long jade slab, together with a loud rumble of thunderclaps. It sprung up into the sky and pressed forcefully towards Wu Qi's head.