Dusk came rather early in this deep mountain. Wu Qi was standing on a lofty mountain to the east of the vast flat land, peering at the westering sun that slowly submerged under the horizon. The land before him was enveloped in a curtain of darkness. Torches and lanterns were being lit in the campsite. Troops of soldiers were seen marching in a neat and orderly parade everywhere, putting up high vigilance and keeping a close watch over their campsite.
From the wooden city in the center of the campsite, four groups of men, each clad in a long dark robe and a tall, rounded hat on their heads, walked slowly out in lines. They came out from four different city gates, and came to four main gateways of the campsite. Deep, muffled recitation of incantation rang out, following which, the natural energies in this piece of land suddenly became stirred up, chaotic and undulating. In Wu Qi's Spirit Eyes, he could see the energies in the air were disturbed, and split into tiny specks of energy particles, mixing together in a messy order, like a pot of boiling and rocking porridge.
Amidst the messy and chaotic energy particles, a huge number of talismans suddenly condensed and formed out from thin air. These runes were based on all the five elements, and were interconnected into a long chain. Like a great serpent, they slithered and wheeled around, above and underneath the campsite, deployed into several layers of alerting formations. Once any living being touched these defensive formations, they would be triggered and produce loud boom and dazzling light, enough to warn the army patrolling in the campsite. Some of the talismans even contained fearsome explosive energies, and once somebody touched them, the explosive force was more than enough to inflict a severe damage even on a Human Immortal of beginner-stage Gold Core realm.
Wu Qi shockingly watched how these men in black cast their spells. There was a description concerning such method in Scroll of Stealing, where one could disturb the natural energies in the air and form talismans out of thin air. It was a Dao of Talisman completely different from the method of drawing talismans used by orthodox cultivators, an entirely different system. It was a primordial system of talisman, which was much older, pointing directly to the way of using the source energies in nature.
According to Scroll of Stealing, when this Dao of Primordial Talisman was cultivated to an advanced stage, one talisman was enough to destroy an entire planet, bring flesh back to a skeleton, raise a dead man, and change seas into mulberry fields. One would be able to transform heaven and earth, and move stars to other locations. It had all kinds of unimaginably queer abilities. However, in the Scroll of Stealing, there were only methods of how to break these talismans. As for how to cultivate such an incredible Dao of Talisman, there was only one chapter which greatly confused Wu Qi - 'Book of Ancient God'.
The Book of Ancient God contained thirty-six thousand characters, each ancient and primitive, giving off an air from the times of great antiquity. Each of the characters contained their own profound principle and possessed a marvelous force. Nevertheless, the shadowy figure who gave Wu Qi Scroll of Stealing only emphasized in teaching Wu Qi the primary cultivation techniques of Scroll of Stealing, such as Seven Foundation Establishment Technique. He did mention about this Book of Ancient God, which obviously was a precious book that the shadowy figure stole from someone or somewhere, yet he did not provide any detailed explanation, and did not give Wu Qi any suggestions on how to cultivate it.
"These are Primordial Talismans!" Suddenly, Wu Qi's eyes turned brighter. Without even asking, the Book of Ancient God was an extremely rare and precious book, or else, it would not be included in Scroll of Stealing. But as the knowledge contained in it was overly profound and mystical, Wu Qi could not understand it at all. It seemed these men in black had inherited part of the Dao of Primordial Talismans, and perhaps, Wu Qi could find out the ways of studying this profound Dao from them.
Calmly observing how these men in black deployed all kinds of talismans across the entire campsite and how they turned it into an unbreakable stronghold, Wu Qi sneered. Stealthily, he turned into a greenish shadow, and relying on the cover provided by countless grasses on the ground, he approached the campsite soundlessly.
This great camp of the Qin army measured several dozens of miles in both length and width, completely surrounded by a ring of dirt wall, a ring of fences, traps, trenches, and tens of layers of defensive works formed into a tight security system. Between these rings were several hundred archery towers with elite soldiers seen standing on top of them, keeping a strict vigilance over the surrounding areas, while equipped with ballista and some other weapons of mass destructions. Although it was merely a field headquarter, the defense of this campsite after adding the defensive talismans was no weaker than Ji City.
Although it was the first time Wu Qi met the Great Qin Dynasty, it had greatly surprised him, and he was left speechless upon seeing a field headquarter that had defensive works comparable to the capital city of Great Yan Dynasty. He was wondering if even a field headquarter was so strong, how would it be for the capital city of Great Qin Dynasty?
The fragrance of rice and dishes came wafting from the campsite before Wu Qi. Large troops of soldiers were lining up orderly to receive their meal from the kitchens. There was a kitchen area specifically built in the campsite. Large tents were erected in the area, that served as the canteen for soldiers to dine. The layout of the campsite was reasonable, virtually a complete little city.
Taking the opportunity of the soldiers lining up to receive their meal and the changing of the guards, which made the campsite turn slightly disordered and the surveillance rather weakened, Wu Qi had his body completely transformed into a clump of misty green gas. He wafted forward through countless tall grasses, nimbly and soundlessly as he stole into the campsite.
There were tall grasses everywhere, making Wu Qi, who could use the escape art of Wood, feel like a fish in the water. He alerted no one during the infiltration. There were mystic techniques in Scroll of Stealing which allowed him to avoid those Primordial Talismans, and as the men in black who deployed those talismans were not expert in their cultivation, he was able to easily avoid several dozens of layers of talismans, and sneak into the great camp smoothly.
The Qin army was an extremely rigid organization, regarding when they were having their meals, changing guards, or even using bathrooms. They did it in a group of ten, and one hundred men in a troop. Everyone in the troop knew each other, and no one would leave the troop without prior permission. Once there was a stranger mixed with them, he would immediately attract the attention from everyone. After spending some time in observing the routine of Qin army, Wu Qi had no choice but to give up the idea of disguise as a Qin soldier. Using the escape art of Earth, he took a casual round in the campsite.
He found nothing unusual in the campsite. Apart from the barracks, he only found kitchens and bathrooms. Wu Qi realized that all the provisions and military gears in this place must have been carried by those formidable cultivators using magical treasures. Therefore, it was infeasible if he wished to do something to their provisions or military gears, unless, he could find those cultivators who carried these resources and stole their storage magical treasures.
However, when faced with an elite army such as this, even if they lost all their provisions and military gears, being in this vast mountain filled with abundant resources, it would not hinder them even a tiny little bit. There weren't any stables in the campsite as well, as all the soldiers were mobilizing on that wing-shaped flying magical item. Mounts were useless in the harsh mountain area. Thus, the plan of setting fire on their stables and stir up a havoc was a no go as well.
Wu Qi shook his head helplessly, cursing inwardly on the man who made Qin army into such a rigid organization with no weakness he could use. He carefully approached the wooden city located in the heart of the campsite. After the time it took to finish a pot of tea, Wu Qi came to the border of the wooden city, then from a remote corner, he squeezed into the inner part of it.
There were three palaces lined up in a straight line in the center of the wooden city. All three of them were the main palaces, while on both left and right of them were another three smaller palaces. Currently, the first main palace was brightly lit. Peering through the opened palace doors, one could see many tables neatly arranged in the hall. Some Imperial Eunuchs clad in black robes were carefully placing tableware and drinking vessels on these tables. In addition to that, some captains clad in heavy armor and obviously possessing the cultivation base of Gold Core realm were patrolling outside the palace.
It looked like there would be a banquet held in this place later, and supposedly, all the top-level personnel of Qin army would participate in the banquet.
Wu Qi pondered for a while, then had his body squeezed into the ground again. Cautiously, he moved further to the last main palace. According to the layout of this place, the first main palace was used for gathering and banquet, the second main palace for secret meetings, while the last main palace must be the residence of the most prestigious person in this entire field headquarter. Wu Qi had no idea whether it was Li Si or Bai Qi who lived in the last main palace, as one of them was the Chief General while the other one was the Prime Minister. Could they both share this last main palace?
While traveling underground, Wu Qi’s body suddenly turned stiff and stopped moving further. He slapped on his forehead forcefully, cursing himself for being so stupid. As Li Si and Bai Qi, both men with equal status, appeared in this field headquarter together, the only explanation to that was their superior was here as well, and that was why they came here as that man's retinues.
Wu Qi's heart suddenly raced, and blood throbbed in his temples. He panted, while there was a bright gleam flashing from his eyes.
The emperor of Great Qin Dynasty, who would that be?
He managed to calm down his feverish mind, restrained his aura, and using a mystic technique from Scroll of Stealing, had his entire body covered within innate energies of five elements, merging himself into the five elements energies in nature. After that, without making a sound, he sneaked into the last wooden palace. It was heavily guarded, surrounded by countless defensive mechanisms made from Primordial Talismans. A group of three hundred Human Immortals was seen stationed in this palace. Even those maids who were clad in long dark dresses, moving back and forth quietly while carrying basins and towels in their hands, were all having the cultivation base of Xiantian realm.
With utmost caution, Wu Qi poked his head out from the back of a pillar, running his eyes on those maids.
They were young, not some old ladies who had consumed pills that could keep their youthful look, but real teenage girls. It took Wu Qi by surprise, as there were nearly one hundred maids in this wooden palace, each of them young and beautiful teenage girls, and every single one of them possessing the cultivation base of Xiantian realm. Back in Ji City, among those young people who Wu Qi knew for having such cultivation base at this young age, probably the total number of them was equal to what he saw here.
However, in this main palace, they were merely maids of lowly status.
He followed closely behind a group of maids, who carried water buckets made from pure gold, silver plates, and soft, white towels, straight into the palace. Upon entering the palace, even though he was staying few feet underground, he immediately felt an enormous pressure, pressing down ceaselessly from above.
The pressure was not purposely unleashed because of Wu Qi, but had always been filling every inch of the air in this palace. Just like a small Sun, it did not have to be controlled purposely by someone, and could always radiate its bright light and heat into all directions.
With extreme caution, Wu Qi had his eyes stuck out from underneath a candle holder, complicatedly designed into a shape of a mountain and placed in a remote corner of the palace. He peered towards the direction where the pressure was coming from. He saw a dragon bed, and on top of it sat a middle-aged man, his upper body naked, and a crown seen mounted above his brows.
Wu Qi did not pay any attention to the face of the man, but was startled by the huge and vicious wound right at the center of his chest.
The wound nearly pierced through the middle-aged man's chest. In some parts, even light could be seen streaming through. It looked like a scratch wound caused by some kind of enormous beast. Amidst the scratch wound, Wu Qi could vaguely sense a thread of demon energy, sticky and nearly visible to naked eyes. It was crazily corroding the middle-aged man's body.
Using white towels soaked with hot water, a few maids were wiping off the dirty blood oozing out from the wound. Obviously, the man was exercising a mystic technique in healing his wound.
After a full fifteen minutes, the man opened his mouth suddenly and sprayed out a stream of black blood. Then, while coughing violently, he broke into a loud laughter.
"Hehe, it truly is a demon dragon who nearly attained the cultivation base of Heaven Immortal… Ying Zheng was being careless! This land under the heaven is yet the land that Ying Zheng can roam freely and look scornfully at!"
After given a few loud laughs, the man gnashed his teeth and roared out furiously, "But sooner or later, this land under the heaven will become the land that is held in my grip! That demon dragon, hmph, I'll have him punished by the execution of all the members of his clan, implicating the nine generations of his entire clan!"
A cry of a dragon echoed out from Ying Zheng's body. A clump of dark and misty water vapor soared high up into the ceiling, amidst which, eight flood dragons and a huge horned-serpent were seen slithering and wheeling crazily. An enormous pressure came pushing against Wu Qi's face, and made him felt like as if someone had just given him a heavy punch. His eyes were brushed by the pressure, and a severe pain hit him that made tears nearly burst out from them.