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The entire palace was now covered in a dense, black mist. The moisture level in the air skyrocketed, even condensing into countless water droplets hanging on the bronze candle holder before Wu Qi. Vaguely, there were bolts of lightning flashing under the ceiling as the water vapor turned into dark clouds and rapidly brushed against each other, producing some muffled thunders. Ying Zheng was sitting with his back straight amidst the dark cloud and black mist. Eight flood dragons and one serpent were seen rolling and slithering within the dark mist behind his back, giving off a peerless air of arrogance and vast mightiness that condensed into a pressure as heavy as a great mountain, and filled every inch of the air in the palace.

Wu Qi stared at Ying Zheng astoundingly, looking at the eight flood dragons and one serpent behind his back. They looked similar to the technique cultivated by beast warriors of Great Yan Dynasty. However, those beast warriors only borrowed the enormous force contained in the beast's soul, unlike Ying Zheng, who had the power of eight flood dragons and one serpent completely merged into his body. There was a tremendous energy surging and rocking like a great tidal wave inside Ying Zheng's body, and all the power was under his absolute control.

One was borrowing while the other one was completely controlling; the difference between the two was apparent.

Chunks of muscle on Ying Zheng's body were twitching and moving rapidly. Inside of the huge and frightening looking wounds on his chest, countless tiny, newly formed muscles were seen growing and stretching quickly as drops of sticky, dark demonic energy were being slowly forced out using enormous energies, turning into pungent and stinking smoke that faded into thin air. Ying Zheng's eyes went wide, clenching both fists tightly while his body was shivering violently. He kept letting out deep, muffled laughs that sounded weird.

"I swear, one day I will kill you! You are merely a demon dragon, how could you refuse in contributing your blood essence and soul, helping me in cultivating the 'Nine Dragons Cauldron Grand Magic'? This is a capital offense!"



He gnashed his teeth until cracking noise could be heard. While venting his anger, Ying Zheng kept exercising his energies in forcing out the residual demonic energies in his wound. The healing process went on for another fifteen minutes. Suddenly, a huge amount of sticky sweat sprayed out from his body, then he panted, leaning against the dragon bed tiredly. A few maids quickly came forward, using hot water and towels to wipe the sticky and stinking sweat from his body.

After a short busy moment, Ying Zheng's body was properly cleaned. He bowed and looked at the wound on his chest, which had now shrunk into a tiny hair-sized wound. He shook his head angrily and said, "What a demon dragon! With just one blow, you killed thirty thousand elite soldiers of mine, and even had me severely wounded. Hmph, once I've completed my cultivation of the first stage of Nine Dragons Cauldron Grand Magic, having my Nascent Divinity of dragon soul formed and stepping into the realm of Heaven Immortal, I'll slaughter you, and you will be aiding me in the cultivation of the second stage!"

With the help of the maids, he put on his Imperial outfit, then slowly rose to his feet. The dark mist in the palace gradually retracted into his body, and the shapes of eight flood dragons and one serpent went missing without a trace. Ying Zheng took out a little purple-gold stick and softly knocked on a jade bell hanging beside his bed, producing a crystal clear bell ring that echoed to a very far distance. Not long after that, the sound of light and hurried footsteps came into the palace as an old man, short in stature, his face beaming with energy and looking free of vulgarity, walked slowly into the palace. He was clad in a large black robe with long loose sleeves, and a tall, rounded crown on his head

Wu Qi closed his eyes immediately and pulled his head down three feet underground, relying only on his sensitive hearing to continue eavesdropping.

Upon the arrival of the old man, Wu Qi immediately saw his pair of dimly lit green eyes, which looked like a pair of ghost flames. His pupils were split into two halves from the middle by a fine line, and each pupil took the shape of sun and moon. A bizarre and chilly gleam was shining out from them. There was a description concerning these kinds of pupils and eyes in the Scroll of Stealing. They were the Dharma Eyes owned by practitioners who cultivated the Dao of Primordial Talismans. Such Dharma Eyes could see through Yin and Yang, and everything under the heaven. When faced with a man who owned such eyes, even the one who had cultivated the concealment technique from Scroll of Stealing would have to be extremely cautious.

There was even a remark in Scroll of Stealing that if one could steal a thread of spirit energy from such eyes, he would be able to bring a great improvement to his cultivation of Spirit Eyes, given him endless benefits when using them. On top of that, if Wu Qi could obtain some precious materials, using them to refine his eyes with the help of a mystic technique in Scroll of Stealing - 'Mystic Eyes of Universe', his eyes would possess some mighty forces.

But at the same time, there was a warning that came in the Scroll of Stealing: Those practitioners who were qualified to cultivate such Dharma Eyes were all existences who had practiced the Dao of Primordial Talismans for a very long period of time, and each possessed a deep and profound cultivation base. Compared to other ordinary cultivators, they were very unpredictable and bizarre. Thus, upon meeting with one, he had to be extremely careful, and quickly flee to a distance of over ten thousand miles if something was amiss. Or else, with the bizarreness and powerful abilities of Primordial Talismans, any slight careless mistake would end up in a fatality.

That was the reason why Wu Qi closed his eyes immediately, as he dared not let even his vision be detected by the old man. He had also held his breath, making his aura disappear, and even had his heart stop beating using a mystic technique. All the functionalities of his body had now entered a state of near death. After that, he unleashed the innate Earth energies and completely enveloped himself, turning him into a dirtball which looked and felt exactly like the soil around him.

The old man walked slowly into the palace, wearing a solemn expression as he kneeled and bowed before Ying Zheng, "Your Majesty, Xu Fu[1], your humble servant, offers greeting!"

With both hands clasped behind his back, Ying Zheng threw a glance over at Xu Fu, then said in an indifferent voice, "You may rise now. How many energy stones had we collected over the last few days?"

Xu Fu rose to his feet and answered seriously, "Your Majesty, our generals and soldiers had been working laboriously for the past few days, attacking barbarian villages in the surrounding areas and collecting energy stones. We have collected a total of one hundred and thirteen thousand energy stones of upper-grade quality. However, regarding the most vital energy stones of supreme-grade quality, we found only three thousand of them. If we are going to construct a teleportation formation, mobilizing reinforcement from Xian Yang[2] to this place..."

He paused, hesitated for a brief moment while green gleams were flickering in his eyes. At last, he said in a rather dry, dull voice, "The distance between Xian Yang and here is over hundreds of millions of miles. Without some extraordinary treasures such as Spatial Breaching Spirit Gold used as the core of the formation, the energy consumption would be too great. On top of that, as the magnetic field in this mountain range is in a constantly chaotic state, the force required to break open space is one hundred times greater than normal. With the energy stones we have collected so far, they are insufficient to communicate with Xian Yang."

Ying Zheng snorted heavily. He remained in silence for a long while, and finally said in a cruel, merciless tone, "Both Left and Right Treasures Bearers were weak and incompetent, as they had caused the loss of all the energy stones and formation disks brought here by me. But, since they were killed by that demon dragon, they had paid the price for their mistake. As for their clan members... kill all the members of their three clans, and make it as a warning to others. As the Treasure Bearers, their duty was to protect my treasures. They had neglected their duty, and that is an unforgivable sin."

Upon hearing what Ying Zheng said, Wu Qi suddenly understood the problem that Ying Zheng and his men were facing.

Evidently, and without even asking, by bringing together a vast army and traveling such a long distance to here, Ying Zheng was up to no good. However, the Nine Dragons Cauldron Grand Magic cultivated by him required him to seize the blood essence and soul of flood dragons, so that he could fuse them with his body and have his cultivation base keep improving. It happened that they bumped into a demon dragon in Meng Mountains, who had his cultivation base nearly stepped into the realm of Heaven Immortal. As a result, Ying Zheng enthusiastically brought his vast army to the mission of slaying the dragon. But, as the demon dragon was overly strong, not only was Ying Zheng severely wounded, he almost had his entire army completely wiped out by the demon dragon.

The loss of the soldiers was not the only damage. Supposedly, both the Left and Right Treasure Bearers who always followed beside Ying Zheng were someone who served like his stewards. Ying Zheng had brought a huge amount of energy stones and formation disks to this expedition, having the intention of constructing a teleportation formation so that he could keep in touch with Xian Yang any time he wanted, and get reinforcements and supplies of resources. For the teleportation formation that could connect with Xian Yang that located hundreds of millions of miles away, the number of energy stones and formation disks required must be of a significant amount, and would require a great deal of storage magical treasures to store them.

A mighty emperor such as Ying Zheng would never have all ten fingers of his fully covered with storage rings, as that would make him look too vulgar. Therefore, the duty of Left and Right Treasure Bearers was to help bear and manage all his energy stones and spirit items. But, misfortunes never came singly, as the demon dragon struck and killed both Left and Right Treasure Bearers while all the energies stones and treasures were seized by him, causing Ying Zheng and his men to be trapped in Meng Mountains.

What a bunch of unlucky fellows! Wu Qi shook his head, taking pleasure in their calamity.

Then, he heard Xu Fu say calmly, "Do not worry, Your Majesty. Our Prime Minister, His Honorable Li Si, had met a cultivator outside, and judging from his look, he was not one of the barbarians who lived in this mountain. With the appearance of that cultivator in this area, it is a sign that we are not far away from human habitation. As long as we can find their cities, we will have all the energy stones we need."

Ying Zheng greatly rejoiced, and asked in a hurried voice impatiently h, "Really? Do you know where does that cultivator came from? What is his background? And which kingdom does he belong to?"

Xu Fu kept quiet for some time. At last, he replied dryly, "That young cultivator killed twenty Human Immortals under the Captain of Yulin Calvary, Bai Qitian, and was trying to flee using an escape art of Earth element. It was at that moment His Honorable Li Si struck, killing him on the spot with the magical power of Dharma Words. His bones and flesh were crushed into meat paste. It is no longer possible to ask anything from him now."

"Li Si!" Ying Zheng snapped ferociously, but immediately broke out into a loud laughter. "Well, well, that does not matter now. With the discovery of a cultivator who is not a barbarian, it proves that we are not far from human habitations. No matter the distance be thirty to fifty thousand miles, or even greater than that… Once we can find a city, with the several hundred thousand brave soldiers of mine, I can wipe out their entire kingdom! Then, as long as we have the teleportation formation constructed, bringing over reinforcements from Xian Yang, hmph!"

After he gave a few loud laughs, Ying Zheng strode straight out from the palace. When walking, he kept laughing wildly and said, "My loyal members of Imperial Court, come share my joy! Haha, Prince of Wu'an had found us several hundred pretty barbarian girls today! They are all extraordinarily beautiful! I know all of you have gone through hardships recently as my loyal servants… So, come share the joy with me! Somebody, play the music and let the banquet begin!" The loud laugh of Ying Zheng slowly faded into a far distance. Suddenly numerous cries of 'Long live the Majesty!' echoed out and soared high up into the sky, together with powerful energy waves that swept across the entire area.

Xu Fu did not leave the palace. He took a few rounds of walk in the palace suspiciously, then suddenly his eyes went wide, emitting large sheets of dazzling green light as he began scanning the palace from top to bottom. Wherever the sheets of green light went, everything turned transparent. No matter it was gold or silverware, wood logs or dirt or rocks, everything became transparent like water or glass.

He scanned and surveyed the palace for a while, but found nothing unusual. Then, Xu Fu had his eyes stare towards the ground.

The sheets of green light shone on the ground, turning it transparent. From the surface to nearly ten thousand feet underground, everything turned into transparent substances that emitted a pale green glow. Wu Qi was hiding a few feet down the surface of the ground. He felt a dimmed light being sprinkled down from above. It gave him a peculiar feeling, icy and evil, and nearly cut his body apart from the innate Earth energies.

Fortunately, the innate energies came with extraordinary and magical effects. Although Xu Fu's Dharma Eyes were bizarre and unpredictable, his cultivation base was not strong enough. The innate Earth energies enshrouded Wu Qi's body near perfectly and mimicked the transformation of the surrounding rocks and dirt, making his body turn transparent under the shine of the green light. Xu Fu had his eyes scan through several thousand feet of the ground within the entire palace, but was presented with the same result: nothing unusual.

But when Wu Qi ran his eyes at the surrounding dirt and rocks which had turned transparent, he could not help but have his heart race with fear. Xu Fu's Dharma Eyes were incredibly frightening. By fusing innate energies of five elements into both eyes, Wu Qi could only have his vision reach several feet underground. But Xu Fu could see through ten thousand feet underground with his Dharma Eyes. They could even be compared to the power of some extraordinary Spirit Items.

It made Wu Qi become even more covetous of the Spirit Energy in Xu Fu's eyes, and his desire of cultivating the technique of Mystic Eyes of Universe had become greater as well.

Although Xu Fu found nothing after the initial search, he still refused to leave. Like a vulture who smelled a rotten corpse but was yet to take a bite of the flesh, he kept pacing back and forth in the palace, peering everywhere with his pair of dazzling green eyes.

Nearly an hour later, the music had already begun to play in the foremost palace. Only then did Xu Fu stomp his feet, sneered and left the palace. But barely a few steps away, suddenly he waved his hand, as a strange black beam, one foot and three inches long, several hundred times finer than a human hair, appeared between his fingers.

He casually pointed his finger out. Abruptly, the dark beam transformed into countless tiny black silks that covered the entire palace, riddling it with countless tiny holes.

[1] Xu Fu - He was a court sorcerer in Qin Dynasty, sent by Qin Shi Huang (Ying Zheng) to the eastern seas twice to look for the elixir of life. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xu_Fu)

[2] Xian Yang - The capital city of Qin Dynasty.

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