Early in the morning, Yan Bugui packed himself a small bundle, boarded an oxcart with the other nine new recruits of the same village, and began their journey towards the Myriad Home Village, which was thirty miles away from here. The few new recruits were joking and chatting merrily with each other on the oxcart. Their mood was as bright as the rising sun in the sky.
Yan Bugui did not join their conversation. Instead, sitting on the shaft, he turned to wave at Wu Qi and Su Qin.
Wu Qi smilingly waved his hand as he bid farewell to Yan Bugui.
Su Qin had both hands tucked under his sleeve, squatting on a rock beside the road like an old farmer as he stared blankly at the rising sun. At last, he breathed out a long sigh and said, "It is a risky journey. I just hope this fellow will not bump into those people from the Myriad Immortal Alliance, or he would be dead even if he had 100 lives!"
Wu Qi said in a deep voice, "Only with great risk could one find a great opportunity. Under the heaven, how could one earn good fortune in peace and without going through hardship?"
He tightened the bandage on his shoulder and said faintly, "It's time for me to go. I need to seek that slight fortune of mine."
Su Qin rose to his feet and said with his lips twisted sideways, "I've to go as well. There are many places where I've to keep an eye on. It's not easy for those boys to come here, and I'm the only person who is here to coordinate their mission. I need to take a good care of them. Tsk, I don't believe that without even a single copper coin with me, I can't bring myself a life of wealth and glory on this Pangu Continent!"
He clicked his tongue complacently and said with a cold grin, "With my silver tongue! Hmph!"
With his head held high and hands clasped behind his back, Su Qin swaggered southward towards a few villages several thousand miles away from here, where some elite Scouting Officers were hiding. The morning breeze gently caressed his body, fluttering his tattered burlap cloth like the naked wings of a black crow whose feather were gone in a flame.
Wu Qi stared at his back and said, "Take good care of yourself too! This place is not safe. I hope you will still be alive three years later!"
Su Qin halted for a brief moment, then nodded without looking back. After that, he kicked the ground and dashed tens of miles away in just a flash.
Wu Qi smiled, raising his head to look at the morning sun, commencing his journey to the north. His pace was slow, but each step would bring him several hundred feet closer to his destination. The ground was gliding away quickly under his feet. In a very short time, he had already traveled several thousands of miles. With Zhong Ning City as the set-off point, he carefully avoided all the cities and towns along the course that would bring him to the Dark Abyss in the Northern Ocean.
He kept on walking. Pangu Continent was an immensely huge, almost boundless land. Although Wu Qi had been using an escape art while walking, he had only covered half of the course after two months of time. He had been walking from dawn to dark, from dark to dawn, without rest, and it had wearied him both mentally and physically. Eventually, after crossing a desert full of bottomless quicksand, he found himself a grassland with plenty of water and lush grass, where he halted and took a short rest.
He sat lazily on the ground with back leaning against a large rock that was placed right next to the main road, quietly watching people hurrying to and fro on the road that ran through the entire grassland. The human race's ability in reproduction was incredible. Although Pangu Continent was expanding at all time, it seemed the entire continent had been fully filled with humans. At least, up until now, apart from some harsh lands where no living beings could have survived, Wu Qi had yet to find a place with no human presence.
The grassland measured several hundreds of thousands of miles in circumference, and this road alone was over tens of thousands of miles long. Towns and villages stood in great numbers on either side of the road, and countless merchants and pedestrians were traveling on it. While sitting on the side of the road to regulate his breath and recover the energy, Wu Qi was enjoying the expressions of the people that went past before him.
He observed their emotions, their movements, and their words. These humans were of insignificant and low origin, and did not possess any incredible power whatsoever. However, they were thriving on this land of magic, reproducing and expanding their population. Wu Qi could sense an immense life force that vaguely matched with the Dao of Heaven and Earth on these people.
For three days and three nights, he sat on the roadside, sinking into a deep meditation. The moment he sensed the vast life force hiding in the body of ordinary mortals, he suddenly felt the ground under his feet trembling. It was as if the entire Pangu Continent was a living person, and the trembles were its heartbeats. At the same time, an exceedingly massive and boundless life force which frightened Wu Qi was exuding from under the ground, slowly spreading across the land.
The life force had always been there. However, it was only when Wu Qi sensed the endless life force hiding in the body of ordinary mortals that he could see this purple life force which rose from under the ground and spread across all directions like a mist. It had blanketed the entire Pangu Continent, blended with the essences of the stars that sprinkled down from the sky, and transformed into a layer of hazy, golden energy that lingered between the heaven and earth.
The deep, muffled heartbeats kept ringing next to Wu Qi's ears. Gradually, his heart began to beat in sync with the strange heartbeats.
As that was happening, the purple life force came fusing with him. He could feel an itchiness creeping within his body, and the serious injury which he ignored purposely was healing at an incredible rate. In just a blink of an eye, and before Wu Qi could have the time to stop the sudden change, the wound on his chest had been fully healed, and his skin was fair and smooth, as if he was never wounded.
When Wu Qi finally woke from the intriguing enlightenment with a start, he discovered that a portion of his broken arm had magically regrown. From his shoulder to elbow, half of the arm had regrown in just a few short breaths' time. In addition, the strength of the new arm was a few times stronger than his other arm. He could tell that it was because the pure muscle strength of the new arm had been improved, and not because of an enhancement from any natural energy.
Wu Qi sucked in a cold breath through his teeth as he raised his head to look at the sky. He seemed to briefly understand the principle of the cultivation techniques practiced by the human race.
As he continued to be in a trance, a shabbily dressed old man was seen walking along the road with tottering steps towards Wu Qi's direction. His back was hunched, with a bamboo basket strapped on it, filled with ordinary herbs that did not worth any value, and his hand held a sickle. He had a very serious hunchback, the hump on his back almost as big as that of a camel. And because of that, his eyes could only see the ground three to five steps before him, but not the things straight up ahead.
He was very old, skinny, and wizened, with his back hunched over. His grayish-brown skin was dotted with age spots. This was an old man who had one foot in the grave. He walked slowly on the road, humming a ballad with a very simple tune, which felt extremely old when listened to. The passing wind carried the voice across the distance, stirring Wu Qi up, who was sitting blankly on the ground.
Wu Qi gave the old man who carried a large bamboo basket behind his back a look and breathed out a faint sigh. He had a feeling that he had just found a cultivation technique which was even more magical than the Dragon Transformation Script. For the very least, the Dragon Transformation Script could never regrow his broken arm in such a short amount of time. He reckoned that if there were a person who could control this endless purple life force, that person's body would never be destroyed as long as his feet were standing on the ground.
"Just like the Giant in the western myth, who could have an endless strength as long as both feet were standing on the ground!" Wu Qi clicked his tongue.
The old man walked past Wu Qi with tottering steps. It was as if there was an ache in his back, as after taking a few more steps away from Wu Qi, he halted to rub and pound his back with both hands. Clearing his throat, the old man turned to speak at Wu Qi with a sigh, "The passing of time has made me into a useless old man... When I was young, people always said I can travel far with a mountain on my shoulder! But look at me now? Sigh, I'm really old!"
Wu Qi was slightly surprised, as he did not expect the old man to talk to him. He responded with a smile and a nod, then replied with a serious tone, "Why are you still on the run at this age? You should be staying at home and enjoy the happiness of leisure!"
The sun was hanging high up in the sky while pouring its scorching heat down to the earth. The unbearable temperature drenched the old man with sweat, some coursing down across his cheeks and falling to the ground, leaving tiny traces of water on the dried dirt road. The old man panted, shook his head, and said, "My sons and grandsons have disappointed me, so how can I stop working? Enjoy the happiness of leisure? Sigh..."
He sighed faintly and shook his head, then continued to walk further along the road.
Wu Qi quietly staring at the back of the old man, shaking his head as well.
But, as he rose to his feet, getting ready to resume his journey to the Northern Ocean, he heard a rapid clatter of hooves coming from behind like a sudden thunderclap.
At first, the clatter was pretty far away, but it was approaching at an incredible speed. In just two breaths of time, it had traveled at least tens of miles of distance. Wu Qi was struck with shock as he quickly turned to look back into the direction. He saw a group of fierce cavalries riding wildly along the road on a strange beast each, who looked like a buffalo but had its body fully covered in hard green scales, with two long sharp horns protruding from its head, and running like a gust of wind.
It was an army with over one thousand cavalries. Each of the soldiers was clad in a heavy armor, and even their face was covered with a thick metal mask, exposing none of their skin. A weapon sack made of leather was placed on either side of the saddle strapped on the back of the twenty feet long beast which looked like a buffalo, inside of which was an eight-feet long coiling-dragon halberd. The leading soldier was carrying a thirty-feet long flagpole, on top of which was a huge blood-red flag waving in the breeze.
The pedestrians and carts and coaches on the road quickly moved to either side of the road in a flurry, fearing that they might obstruct the army of cavalries and bring themselves an undeserved calamity.
However, as the old hunchback man had a poor eyesight, and it seemed like there was a problem with his hearing as well, although he had been turning his head to look around, he just could not find anything unusual. But, he knew that something terrible was approaching through the vibration from the ground.
"Damn old fogey, do not get in the way!"
The cavalries had come very close to the old man. The leading soldier swung a long whip held in his hand, the diameter of which was about a toddler's fist and made of beasts' tendons, thrusting it viciously towards the old man. The whip streaked across the void with a sharp whistle, darting towards the old man like a venomous snake.
The people in the vicinity were crying out shockingly. From the look of it, the whip strike could even leave a large crack on a rock, let alone this old man!
Wu Qi frowned. With a few swings of his body, he came next to the old man, leaving a few afterimages behind. Then, he grabbed the old man on the waistband and got off from the road with a few rolls and climbs. The whip brushed past Wu Qi like a snake, ripping his burlap sleeve to shreds.
"Hmph! That's a quick dodge!" The leading soldier gave a muffled snort, but did not stop to trouble Wu Qi further. Instead, he brought the army of cavalries and rode away.
Wu Qi rolled to the side of the road with the old man in his arms, then shook his head. He did not use any magical power or spell just now, but relied purely on his powerful muscle strength to perform all the movements. As a result, he looked rather sorry when he was trying to dodge the attack.
The old man coughed violently. At last, he rolled his eyes and said with a long sigh, "The public morals are no longer what they were in the good old days. In my days, nobody would be so disrespectful to an old man! But look at them now. I'm an old man with one foot in the grave. Can't they just let me die in peace?"
Wu Qi shook his head. He avoided the glances from the passerby, produced a few silver ingots, and shoved them into the old man's hand. After that, he spun and left without saying another word.
Suddenly, the old man reached out his hand and grabbed Wu Qi's sleeve.