A long table with an incense burner, incense sticks, and candles, some drinking vessels, along with three animals used for the ritual: cow, goat, pig...
Zhao Kuo's storage ring was totally the warehouse to a grocery store, as Wu Qi could find nearly everything and anything out of it. At any rate, a near perfect ritual to become sworn brothers was completed smoothly. Among the witnesses to this holy ritual was the Heaven itself, and the two great pythons, who kept staring at two large muscles on Zhao Kuo's buttock while drooling endlessly.
Although it was a holy ritual to tie as sworn brothers, but the sworn brothers each said a completely different oath.
Wu Qi's oath was very simple. He swore to the Heaven that as long as Zhao Kuo was loyal to the brotherhood, Wu Qi would not take the initiative to frame or hurt him, and when Zhao Kuo was facing any troubles, Wu Qi would act accordingly to save him. On the other hand, Zhao Kuo's oath was very complicated and long, like a contract to sign his life away. It included many clauses that were unreasonable and harsh, which gave Zhao Kuo a tearless grief.
Also, as Wei Xiaoxiao once used her Soul Replacement Puppet to avoid the punishment for breaking her oath, Wu Qi had included the following clause in Zhao Kuo's oath that he swore with his Prime Nascent Divinity: 'If Zhao Kuo betrayed the brotherhood, or performed deeds that caused harm to the elder brother, Wu Qi, Zhao Kuo would be punished by the Heavenly Thunder for eternity. The oath will take effect as long as Zhao Kuo is still alive, be it to the end of the time. If Zhao Kuo possesses any magical item with the effect similar to Soul Replacement Puppets, the oath will take effect immediately, and the Heaven will be the witness and wipe out Zhao Kuo instantly!'
It was a very cruel and malicious oath, and thus, after swearing the oath, Zhao Kuo looked at Wu Qi with his eyes turned green.
Wu Qi gladly untied the Spirit-Restricting Rope. Although Zhao Kuo was tall and burly, about half a head taller than Wu Qi, but Wu Qi still walked up to him and gave him a powerful hug while saying, "Second Brother! With me, your elder brother taking care of you, you can roam this world freely and do as you like in the future!" Then, he patted Zhao Kuo's shoulder, and without hesitation, he took out a Heavenly Wit Fruit and gave it to Zhao Kuo. "Eat this, this is Heavenly Wit Fruit. Not only can it improve your intelligence, it can also improve your ability to gain enlightenment about the Heavenly Dao by three to ten times greater!"
Zhao Kuo's eyes went wide and nearly had the eyeballs popped out. Without saying a word, he snatched the Heavenly Wit Fruit and swallowed it, then immediately sat down cross-legged and began circulating his cultivation base, focusing all his attention to absorb and digest the medicinal strength. A faint light emitted from inside of his body, while a dazzling light beam shot out from between his brows, reaching to a distance of nearly ten feet. In addition to that, he was now looking vague and obscure, as if he had fused with the surrounding environment.
Two hours later, Zhao Kuo opened his eyes and rose slowly up. He took a deep breath, cupped fists and bowed deeply at Wu Qi while saying, "Zhao Kuo offers greeting, my Elder Brother. That really is a precious natural treasure... It is... it is..." He could not find a proper word to describe the feeling, so he just shook his head and praised, "It is magical indeed! With this spirit fruit, I can see hope in becoming a Heaven Immortal, and this is because of the kindness of you, my Elder Brother!"
Wu Qi shook his head indifferently and said in a calm tone, "Don't mention that. We are brothers now, aren't we? Since we are going to be separated in two different immortal sects, me staying in White Cloud Immortal Sect and you in the Tranquil Vimalā Sect, and we are working in different alliances of dynasties, there are many things we can plan out in the future. Therefore, the smarter we are, the better."
Zhao Kuo smiled and said with an accent of comprehension, "If that old ignorant Lu Buwei tries to scheme against Elder Brother again, or anybody who is going to do something malicious to you, I promise that Elder Brother will receive the news right on time. Also, if there is anyone on your side trying to scheme against me, or my father and brothers, please do inform me as well, Elder Brother!"
Wu Qi smiled and nodded his head, then lowered his voice and said, "That is the rightful thing to do. With us unifying as brothers, there is nothing we cannot achieve in the future!"
Then, he sunk into a brief moment of silence, pondering. At last, he asked in a deep voice, "I saw a few powerful crossbows in your storage ring. Are they the standard weapons used by Great Zhao?"
Upon hearing that, Zhao Kuo immediately took out a few large crossbows from his storage ring. The crossbow had a body shaped like a flood dragon, and a pair of powerful arms fashioned like the wings of a phoenix. Pointing at the crossbows, he smiled and said, "Yes. They are the 'Star-Shattering Crossbows' used by Great Zhao's Imperial Guards, and must be shot with bolts forged using supreme-grade energy stones. Some claim a single bolt fired from it can shatter a star, and hence the name. Although it is rather an exaggerated statement, it is still capable of bringing a great threat to Earth Immortals of Nascent Soul realm."
Reaching his hand at the few crossbows and taking them away with one swift move, Wu Qi nodded and said, "Great! You are free to do as you please now, as I'm going to bring ill-fortune to someone."
He had a fist-bump with Zhao Kuo, then threw Gold Horn and Silver Horn into the Spirit Breeding Ring, transformed into a stream of yellow mist and plunged into the ground. Zhao Kuo's face twitched when he saw that. Staring where Wu Qi disappeared, he cried out with shock, "He can travel freely in this immortal abode? No wonder I didn't find out how he sneakily attacked me from behind! How frightful! But it is worthwhile to become a sworn brother with someone like him, and he can be a strong aid to my father. With that Heavenly Wit Fruit, perhaps in less than one hundred years I will be able to..."
A bright gleam flashed in his eyes. Suddenly amidst the light screen behind Zhao Kuo's back, a great army rushed out from the camps and began fighting and slaughtering each other, sending forth a soaring murderous aura that swept across the area.
Meanwhile, Wu Qi was traveling at top speed under the ground, carrying with him the Star-Shattering Crossbows that Zhao Kuo had given him. He roamed the entire immortal abode, and his targets of assassination were not just Great Zhao's generals and cultivators, as he even murdered a few Great Chu's generals. Nearly one hundred Great Qin's practitioners and generals fell under Wu Qi's sneaky assault as well.
As Cang Ao Immortal Abode was filled with countless restrictive spells, it made all the cultivators murdered by Wu Qi focus over ninety percent of their attention in breaking them. As Wu Qi was sneakily attacking them from behind using immortal item, how could anyone defend against such a nasty assault? As a result, those who were found by Wu Qi and bore resentment against him were all killed by him. Of course, Wu Qi would not provoke those formidable existences such as Xu Fu and Li Si, and he just turned and left them when he saw one.
All of those murdered by Wu Qi would have their bodies hacked into pieces, and near their dead bodies, a row of large characters could always be found, telling people that it was Lu Buwei who killed them. Although the method of framing Lu Buwei was useless for those cunning and treacherous emperors and ministers of six dynasties, it was enough to disgust Lu Buwei, and make him lose his appetite for at least half a year.
Another half a month went by. Led by cultivators from two immortal sects, basically most of the restrictive spells in Cang Ao Immortal Abode were broken. Many regions could be freely traveled across now, and it allowed many cultivators to assemble into large groups. Very soon, the dead bodies of those generals and cultivators murdered by Wu Qi were discovered, which terrified the emperors and ministers of six dynasties: someone was attacking his own fellows in this immortal abode!
One day, when Wu Qi was traveling aimlessly under the ground with a Star-Shattering Crossbow in his hand, he suddenly sensed a very familiar chilly aura of ghosts coming down at him from the surface. Stealthily, he poked half of his head out, and saw a large square and a tall tower off in the distance. Sure enough, it was Lu Buwei, and with him was a group of over thirty members of Lu clan. They were in the middle of attacking the restrictive spells found on the front gate of the tower. Among those members of Lu clan, eight of them were Nascent Soul cultivators, and the rest were Gold Core cultivators. Led by Lu Buwei, the group kept unleashing attacks at the front gate and generating many jets of golden flame that shot in all directions, while the tremendous shockwave of the attacks made the ground vibrate violently.
The tower was erected on a flat square paved with green bricks. It was actually an enormous space constructed by Heaven Immortals using the method of 'Mount Sumeru in the Mustard Seed'. The square measured nearly one hundred miles in both width and length, and was surrounded by a wall so tall its top was touching the clouds. Right in the center of the square stood the thirty-six-floor tower, with each floor sized down as it approached the top. The tower had a grand and magnificent outlook, sending forth an air of sturdiness that no word could describe.
There was a plaque mounted on the lintel of the tower's front door, with three large characters engraved on it: 'Spirit Pills Pagoda'.
Five ghosts of different colors had revealed themselves right next to Lu Buwei, waving their claws to smash at the golden restrictive spell found at the front gate. Lu Buwei was seen sitting on top of a golden disc, throwing his head back and laughing aloud, "Let's see what is the difference between the immortal pills left behind by ancient Immortals and the pills concocted by our clan. Hehe, it will be best if we can find some pill formulae!"
Wu Qi frowned. As this was a Spirit Pills Pagoda left behind since the last two Great Apocalypses, even if there were some immortal pills, they would have turned into ashes by now. Unless they were pills concocted by Primordial Immortals or Divine Golden Immortals, which had gained sentience like living beings and could absorb natural energies to cultivate themselves, any pills concocted by the lower tier Immortals would just be some lifeless items. With ten billion years spread across the two Great Apocalypses, no matter how mighty these pills were, they would have turned into ashes by now.
Nevertheless, the pill formulae mentioned by Lu Buwei could be something worth investigating. The Scroll of Stealing only recorded some heterodox pill formulae, such as ecstasy or pills that could numb one's senses, and only a few very rare orthodox formulae such as Ancestral Awakening and Body Tempering Soup. Since Wu Qi was going to survive in the world of cultivators, how could he not master a few excellent pill formulae? Not only he himself could use them, he could also give to the people around him.
After a moment of silence, the air behind Wu Qi's back wobbled, as eighteen celestial fiend puppets left his body and revealed themselves. Slowly their bodies wiggled and crept, with one transformed into Zhao Ling, and the other transformed into some Great Zhao's generals who Wu Qi killed earlier.
He handed the Star-Shattering Crossbows to these puppets, pointed his finger at Lu Buwei soundlessly, then plunged back into the ground.
With heavy steps eighteen celestial fiend puppets ran towards Lu Buwei and the people of Lu clan, while the puppet that transformed into Zhao Ling shouted at the top of his voice, "Old Mister Lu, Zhao Ling thinks that just Lu Le'er alone is not tempting enough!"
Suddenly, seven Star-Shattering Crossbows were fired. Bolts forged using supreme-grade energy stones shot whistling forward, piercing through the air with their tips glinting brilliantly, as they flew straight towards Lu Buwei and the people around him. Eight Earth Immortals of Nascent Soul realm cried out immediately, drew their defensive magical treasures, and greeted the threatening bolts. Lu Buwei turned and saw the Star-Shattering Crossbows in the puppets' hands, then immediately yelled out, "That's the Star-Shattering Crossbow! DO NOT fight the bolts with force!"
Before his words could fade away, seven bolts measuring twelve feet in length each had already smitten on some people of the Lu clan. The bolts exploded, sending a blinding light and raging flame that swept across the land ten miles in circumference. A few members of Lu clan were shaking as if about to fall. The light of their defensive magical treasures dimmed, as they were nearly shattered by the Star-Shattering bolts.
Then, a dragon cry was heard. Several tens of purple beams darted out from under the ground, trapping Lu Buwei and all the people of Lu clan in a circle.
Wu Qi sprung from under the ground, clad in a beast skin and covering his face with a white cloth. Purple beams kept shooting out from his forehead, as the Cold Electric Mirror ceaselessly unleashed several hundred lightning bolts and smote viciously onto Lu Buwei and his people. Lightning bolts and raging flame flooded the entire area, crashing and shattering the defensive magical treasures used by the people of Lu clan, while their bodies were turned into nothingness by the wave of lightning bolts that came pouring at them like the fiercest tidal wave.
Lu Buwei was caught unprepared and did not have the time to unleash his defensive magical treasure. He howled painfully, as his abdomen was hit continuously by a total of seventy-two lightning bolts, sending his flesh and blood flying all over the place.
In just a twinkle, a large see-through hole was opened up in Lu Buwei's abdomen.