Loud banging noises could be heard coming from all directions, as the civilians in An He City began to slam their doors and windows close.
Grinning coldly, Miao Yihu spun to stare at Reverend San Le, who was walking slowly towards him along the main street. He pulled out a rounded bone mirror and waved it at Reverend San Le. A faint dark light flashed across the mirror's surface made from the polished bone of an unknown creature, and followed by the flickering of an ancient-looking rune. Suddenly, Reverend San Le's body swayed a little, and a green light burst out from him, from which a vague ghost howl echoed out.
Miao Yihu shook his head and retracted the bone mirror. "How dare you, a mere early-stage Nascent Soul cultivator, speak to me like that?" He said gloomily.
He glanced around with a sarcastic expression, extending both arms to slowly draw a circle towards the surrounding cultivators. "A bunch of wild chickens and stray dogs… The strongest among you only possess a cultivation base of Nascent Soul. What gave you the courage to attack us, the army from Great Yu's Punishment Court? I'll give you ten seconds to get the hell out of here!"
Reverend San Le snorted coldly, pushing through the crowd and coming next to Miao Yihu. He lowered his voice and said, "Your Excellency, An He City is Euphoria Heavenly Palace's territory. Our Ancestral Master is Patriarch Muji, and behind him is Patriarch Xuan Yi from the Dark Palace in Hui Ming Heavenly Realm!"
Miao Yihu lowered his arms, which he raised previously to provoke the surrounding cultivators, and placed them on Reverend San Le's shoulders. He stared into Reverend San Le's eyes and said with a cold grin, "Here, this place, is Great Yu's territory. The Heaven rules the Immortals, and the Human Emperor rules the human race. This is the universally acknowledged Heavenly Commandment."
Reverend San Le took a deep breath, gazing at Miao Yihu's arms that were placed on his shoulders. "But at present, An He City is a territory ruled by us, the Immortals. If Your Excellency does not wish to trigger a war between the human race and Immortals, please do not act wantonly here!"
Miao Yihu drooped his eyelids slightly, and a strange smile emerged on his skinny and rather grim face. He loosened his hands and ignored Reverend San Le, but spun and smiled at Wu Qi. "Daoist Greed, show me your Nascent Soul. If you are a cultivator from the Fiend League, you will have to follow me. If you are not, you can abandon that title and I'll spare you today."
Wu Qi thought for a while. A white cloud rushed out from the top of his head, as the fake Nascent Soul practicing the Asamskrta Energy Unity Scripture rushed out amidst a large column of blood and vapor. A bent blade was seen hovering above the fake Nascent Soul, fuzzy as if it were entirely formed from water vapor. When it spun occasionally, wisps of bright light were shooting out from it. The bent blade was a spirit weapon which Immortal Green Staff had given him when he left the Green Cliff Planet. It was crafted using Misty Cloud Stone, mixed with metals of five elements, a perfect weapon to match the Asamskrta Energy Unity Scripture.
The Asamskrta Energy Unity Scripture was an orthodox cultivation technique of the Dao League. On top of that, as it emphasized on cultivating one's nature and character, it matched perfectly with the essence of the most original 'Dao'. When the fake Nascent Soul flew out of Wu Qi's body, it was surrounded by a fresh air. Clouds took the shape of Ganoderma, dragons, and tigers as they wheeled around it. Meanwhile, Wu Qi's hair were waving as he sent forth a refreshing aura. He looked exactly like an upright, orthodox cultivator who had cultivated his nature and character.
Miao Yihu's face darkened instantly as he gave Wu Qi's Nascent Soul a fierce glare. He snorted coldly, waved his hand, and cried out in a deep voice, "Regroup and leave An He City now!"
As his order echoed out, the surrounding armored warriors began to return their swords and blades to scabbards, loosen the trigger of their strongbow, and return all the weapons to the sack strapped on their backs. Before long, they had fallen in rank and marched towards the city gate. The army of Punishment Court was well trained, and every single one of them was an elite. It only took this army of nearly two thousand warriors two breaths of time to regroup and leave the city through the east gate. As they left, Miao Yihu shoved the drawing back to the side of his waist, nodded smilingly at Wu Qi, then brought a few of his assistants and personal guards to leave the city.
Three flying ships were approaching An He City from the horizon at top speed. They were here to bring Miao Yihu and his army away. With a smile on his face, Miao Yihu brought his army and left the city. However, even as he was stepping out of the city, he spun and spoke with a loud voice towards the city, "Reverend San Le, Daoist Greed, remember this: this place is Great Yu's territory! You are merely living here temporarily! Sooner or later, Great Yu will reclaim this region!"
Three flying ships landed, and Miao Yihu brought all his warriors to board the ship. A near inaudible wind breaking noise rang out as the ships pierced through the clouds and soared up into the sky, flying southward slowly.
A hurried clatter of footsteps was heard. The Stay-behind Officer for An He City, Zhu Linggong had arrived with a few of his soldiers. When he saw Wu Qi, he quickly cupped his fist and offered Wu Qi a greeting, "Senior, was that the Criminal Officer from Zhong Province's Punishment Court? You have to pay extra attention to him, because the people from the Punishment Court have always had a notorious reputation. Once they come to you, they will follow you like maggots on the bones. I don't think he will let this matter off so easily."
The advice had surprised Wu Qi. "But it seems to me that Miao Yihu is a reasonable person." He said with a smile. "He left immediately after finding out I am not a cultivator from the Fiend League."
Zhu Linggong shook his head with a bitter smile on his face. "Since when have the people from the Punishment Court been reasonable to others?" He muttered.
Wu Qi's heart missed a beat when he saw Zhu Linggong's bitter smile. Because of losing the control over An He City, apart from Zhu Linggong and his direct family members who had become the Stay-behind Officers, the rest of the members of his clan had been exiled. Zhu Linggong should be the man who had a very deep understanding of the approaches used by the people from the Punishment Court. Judging from that, Miao Yihu would not let Wu Qi off so easily.
After assessing the current situation, Wu Qi smiled and patted Zhu Linggong's shoulder, "Bajie is doing well, and my people are taking a good care of him in the City Lord Mansion. Don't worry, I'll raise him up properly and provide him a bright future."
Wu Qi smilingly hinted Reverend San Le with a wink. The latter blew a whistle, and the surrounding cultivators began to dismiss in all directions. After that, Wu Qi and Reverend San Le quickly flew on clouds towards the City Lord Mansion. However, when they were halfway, Wu Qi released a celestial fiend puppet and made it disguise as himself, following Reverend San Le back to the mansion. Meanwhile, he himself had transformed into a gust of wind as he flew towards the direction where the three flying ships had gone.
After inheriting the Song of Gale, Wu Qi's flying speed was incredibly fast when he transformed into a gust of wind. With just slightly less than an hour of flying southward, he had already traversed over ten thousand miles. Off in a far distance, he saw the three flying ships descending into a valley. Wisps of smoke rose continuously from within the valley, and although he was still far away, Wu Qi could smell the fragrance of roast meat and cooked rice through the winds.
It was an inconspicuous valley within a vast mountain range. There was a spring in this valley that stretched about three to five miles long. Nearly one hundred soldiers were roasting meat and cooking rice next to the spring. Several hundred tents were erected amid a small area of woods not far away, and some soldiers were patrolling the valley with blades and spears in their hands.
The ships landed in the valley. Miao Yihu walked out of one of the ships, his face dark as he walked into a tent with a few of his assistants and personal guards. Exercising the innate earth element escape art, Wu Qi followed Miao Yihu into the tent, hiding under the ground three feet away from Miao Yihu's feet. He narrowed his eyes and listened attentively to any sounds that came from above.
A long table made with black stones was placed in the tent. Miao Yihu and four of his assistants sat on the table without any proper order. A personal guard brought him a cup of scorching hot tea. Miao Yihu took it, and downed the tea as if it were not hot at all. After that, he suddenly drew the sword from the side of his waist and heavily hacked the table. A loud clang echoed out as the sword went one-foot deep into the table. Miao Yihu loosened the grip, leaving the sword in the table as it vibrated violently and kept issuing a deep, muffled noise.
"This Daoist Greed is the one who His Excellency Prefecture Overseer wanted!" He pulled out the drawing and threw it onto the table, "All of you have seen him personally today, his Nascent Soul is a Nascent Soul of Fiend League! Even if he is not that Daoist Greed, he must be somewhat connected to that criminal!"
Four assistants rose to their feet together, bowed their heads, and answered, "Your Excellency is right, this Daoist Greed is the criminal who Prefecture Overseer wanted!"
Miao Yihu gave a heavy snort. As he brushed the edge of the sword with fingers, he murmured, "Since this Daoist Greed is the man we are looking for, I'll have the excuse to assemble an army and attack An He City. Right, Euphoria Heavenly Palace and Golden Pavilion Temple had perished together. Patriarch Muji is severely wounded, and Arhat Wrath has fallen. Who else could fight against Great Yu's army in the region around An He City?"
He lightly tapped the table with fingers and said in a low voice, "I know that Liu Yi is unreliable! Trickery, scheme, what's the use of all that? Only a formidable overall strength can solve everything! If anyone dares to block my way, I'll destroy him with violence. And this, is how we run the world!"
With a cold smile on his face, Miao Yihu squeezed his lips into a thin line as he thought savagely. At last, he murmured, "I'll avenge you, third brother! Hmph, a mere An He City has killed by birth brother. How could I not retaliate?"
An assistant reminded him with a cautious tone, "Your Excellency, with your current authority, you can only assemble an army of not more than two thousand soldiers! Although an army of this size is more than enough to conquer An He City, if Patriarch Muji sends his disciples to aid the city, I afraid we might not be able to stand up against his revenge!"
Wu Qi narrowed his eyes. 'Miao Yihu is seeking revenge for his third brother? Could his brother be the young General who I've killed previously?' As he only thought of shifting the blame on Yu Miao, he did not waste time to check that young General's background. Little did he expect that this Miao Yihu was actually behind the incident, and had now rushed all the way here to seek revenge for his brother, under the cover of an official business.
Miao Yihu shook his head and said, "We just have to conquer An He City, and the rest is none of our business. As long as we spread the news that Daoist Greed is related to Patriarch Muji, His Excellency Prefecture Overseer will definitely back us up!"
Four assistants exchange a glance, clenching their palms into fists as they slammed their chest and answered in a unified voice, "A brilliant idea, Your Excellency! It shall be done!"
Miao Yihu smiled faintly. While he was about to tell them his full plan, a loud booming was heard coming from the outside. Strong winds rolled up scorching hot flame and swept across the tent, kindling and burning it off in a twinkle. Miao Yihu sprung to his feet and glanced around. The valley had already turned into a hell on earth.
A black-bearded Daoist stood on a cloud, his hand holding a dragon skin fire sack as he kept shooting out one thunder-flame after another, showering the valley with explosions. Whenever a ball of thunder-flame touched the ground, a fire cloud would be produced and blanket several dozen acres of land. Strong winds and high temperature swept across all directions. Those armored soldiers were either ripped to shreds by the explosions, or had their flesh and bones turned into charcoal by the high temperature. Some were even howling and shrieking tragically, running wildly about with their bodies covered in flame. Crackling noises could be heard as their skin and flesh were being burned, while oil was seeping out of their skins and dripping to the ground.
Fuming with rage, Miao Yihu pointed at the Daoist and cried out fiercely, "Nasty Daoist! Why are you attacking us?"
The Daoist smiled faintly and gave Miao Yihu a glance. "Oh, there are five slightly stronger ants? Not bad!" He said under his breath. He waved his hand and threw out several dozens of thunder-flames, thrusting them straight towards Miao Yihu and his assistants.