While the Yaksha stopped Wu Qi from going further with an endless babbling on the ocean, he suddenly heard a rolling of drums coming from behind.
Wu Qi turned around to look over his shoulder, and saw ten flying ships moving in his direction, swift as the wind and quick as lightning. Large flags were fluttering above these dragon-shaped flying ships, with black background and a silver colored character - 'Yu', above which was a blood-red lion roaring with its head thrown back. A stocky man clad in a blood-red armor stood solemnly on the nose of one of the ships, fixing his eyes on Wu Qi's face across a distance of several tens of miles.
Both men's glances met in midair, but then Wu Qi turned around indifferently and told the Yaksha with a smile, "I'm just here to harvest some aquatic treasures in the Dark Abyss of Northern Ocean. I hope fellow Daoist can make things convenient for me. I will just stay here for a couple of days."
The Yaksha shook his head repeatedly and cried out, "If you want aquatic treasures, you can always look for the merchants on Ling Ao Island. The Dark Abyss of Northern Ocean was occupied by the Great Ancestor several tens of thousands of years ago, and it is now his temporary dwelling palace. If any cultivators from the outside world dare to step into here..."
Out of the blue, the Yaksha gave his own head a heavy punch, laughing strangely as he said, "I'm a fool! How could I have forgotten this? Putting any cultivators who intruded this place to death is a rule that expired two years ago. There is a different rule now!"
Then, he thrust the iron folk held in his hand forcefully into the water and lifted its head up. In the next moment, a water rope with the thickness of a thumb raised from amidst waves and coiled towards Wu Qi. A thought leaped into his mind, and he just let the water rope bind him without putting forth any resistance. The rope twined around him tightly and arranged into an ancient divine rune that had the meaning of 'binding, shackle'.
Ten flying ships came rushing and stopped before the border of the Dark Abyss. The stocky man standing on the nose of the ship cried out, "Patrolling Yaksha, please give me that Daoist. I'll definitely pay you back handsomely when the time comes!"
The Yaksha gave no answer but only a cold gaze. He picked up the other end of the water rope, then spun and left with Wu Qi being dragged behind. "Fellow Daoist, please do me a favor! This Daoist has murdered my brother-in-law. How am I going to face the others if I did not avenge him?" The man said with panic.
Wu Qi grinned, turning around to look at the stocky man and gave him a clownish wink. Meanwhile, as the Yaksha walked on the waves, dragging Wu Qi further into the Dark Abyss, he turned around and bellowed, "Save your breath! This Daoist now belongs to the Miao Ying Palace of the Northern Ocean, if you want him, go talk to the Elders. Now, stop bothering me!"
He grunted and snorted, grumbling under his breath, "We are just coolies who patrol the ocean and follow the orders from above. Why bother us? Tsk, you are one unlucky Daoist. I told you to leave, but you refused. Now, you will have to be a coolie just like us!"
The stocky man who stood on the flying ship was Mo Feihu, Niu Han's brother-in-law, a Lion General of the Great Yu and one of the four Generals stationed on Ling Ao Island. A flame of anger devoured him as he watched the Yaksha dragged Wu Qi away, his body shivering from head to toe. Suddenly, he raised his hand up, about to order ten flying ships to enter the territorial sky of the Northern Ocean and seize Wu Qi with force. But, he hesitated, and could not make up his mind for a long while.
At last, he stamped his foot and scolded under his breath, "Forget it! Niu Han is going to die this time! Who is that old fellow? What sort of evil spell had he cast to turn Niu Han into that thing? Tsk, forget it, I guess this Daoist would not know the background of Old Chan either!"
With a bitter smile on his face, Mo Feihu ordered the ten flying ships to turn their noses and fly back towards Ling Ao Island. The passing wind brought his order to a fairly far distance.
"Place a few witty scouts here for the next few days, and ask them to inform us when they see that Daoist."
"Mm, prepare a lavish gift. Pick a batch of Blue Coral Essence from the Dark Abyss and include in it, then send them together with Niu Han to the Directorate of Celestial in Ming Province. Ask if Sir Right Minister can personally tend Niu Han and lift that spell. B*stard... that old fool! Hmph!"
As the flying ships dwindled into the distance, the Yaksha dragged Wu Qi and flew deeper into the Northern Ocean. All the way, he did not speak a word, but the Yaksha had spoken after some moments of silence. The Yaksha clan was transformed from the spirits and demons in the ocean. They were loyal and mighty, with a very strong strength. Some of them even possessed peculiar innate abilities. Therefore, for those almighty experts who had taken ocean as their domain, such as dragon kings and some other legendary figures, the main force in their army and slaves were mostly Yakshas.
But, after all, Yakshas were transformed from spirits and demons, which made them less witty than the others. It was just like the Yaksha before Wu Qi, when he started to talk, he had told Wu Qi almost everything that he could get in touch with in the Miao Ying Palace.
After the Patriarch of Miao Ying Palace had occupied the Dark Abyss of Northern Ocean, he had built a palace in the bottom of it, for the purpose of using the pure Yin energy found in the Land of Nine Yin Negate Yang at the depth of Dark Abyss to craft some kind of supreme Fiend weapon. Over the last ten thousand years, Miao Ying Palace had imposed a very strict rule- those who intruded the region would be killed on the spot.
But, that had changed two years ago. When Goddess Miao Xin, the person in charge of all internal and external affairs of Miao Ying Palace, was patrolling on the Northern Ocean, she had captured a person from some unknown place. It was still a mystery to what kind of ability did that man have, but he managed to convince Goddess Miao Xin, who made him the supervisor of all the coolies of Miao Ying Palace.
Wu Qi thought he had heard it wrong, so he came next to the Yaksha and asked loudly, "What? The supervisor of coolies?"
The Yaksha gave him a pitying look, patted his shoulder, and said, "What do you expect, Daoist? Tsk, it is Supervisor Lu who gave us the order, that if anyone intruded Miao Ying Palace by accident, we can't kill them... Tsk, they have to be captured alive and made into coolies!"
He clicked his tongue and smiled fatuously, "I was dazed with sleep just now and nearly forgot about this new rule, and since you refused to back off, I even thought of killing you and feeding the fishes. But luckily, I managed to recall the rule set by Supervisor Lu. So, you can't blame me for this. It is your ill fate that has turned you into a coolie!"
Wu Qi's eyes rolled about quickly. With a slight twisting of his body, the water rope loosened a little. In his body was innate water element energy, and although the restrictive technique used by the Yaksha was rather genius, its power was weak. Therefore, there was no way it could keep him captive, and he could break the rope and flee at any time. Besides, being a coolie of Miao Ying Palace should not land him in some dangers, and he could take the opportunity to find out more information in that place.
Miao Ying Palace had occupied the Dark Abyss of Northern Ocean. It was the temporary dwelling palace for some figure of Patriarch level, an existence who even the authority of Yu Dynasty would not want to offend. Wu Qi realized that if he wished to obtain the thread of innate Yang energy from the depth of Dark Abyss, it was going to be extremely tough.
But, even if it were tough, he would still have to give it a try. To cultivate Immortality was like sailing against the current. If he did not struggle and pour in all his efforts, how could he progress even an inch?
The water splashed and splattered as the Yaksha sailed through the waves with Wu Qi. All the way, the giant birds flying in the sky and the huge fishes swimming in the water avoided them, none daring to stand in the way of this Yaksha. After pressing on for several hundred miles without bumping into any dangers, they came to a dark rock standing loftily on the ocean. A few Yakshas with the same ugly and ferocious appearance were seen laughing and joking on the rock, their hands holding fish poles.
However, as the aura emanated from them had a very strong deterring force for the fishes, how could there be any fishes daring to bite their baits? As a matter of fact, all the fishes within a radius of ten miles around them had long fled.
The Yaksha who had Wu Qi captive landed on the rock excitedly, flaunting his achievement to his mates, "My brothers, look what I've got today? A living coolie! Hehe, today is my lucky day!"
The few Yakshas threw away their fish poles and came gathering around them, reaching out their hands to touch and pinch Wu Qi. Their claws were bony and covered in a thick layer of scales, giving Wu Qi a very uncomfortable feeling and making his hair stand on their ends when they touched his skin.
One of them held up three fingers and said, "Not strong enough. He will surely die within three months because of exhaustion!"
Another one punched Wu Qi's chest, grinning from ear to ear as he said, "He has decent chest muscles. I bet he can last for six months before dying of exhaustion."
And so, all the Yakshas were betting when Wu Qi would die because of exhaustion. The longest bet was ten months, and all bet he would die of exhaustion in the dark pits under the ocean. Then, they produced their wagers and handed to the oldest Yaksha, who they made as the witness. It appeared that these Yakshas were very poor, as their wagers were merely a few shabby energy stones of inferior quality, that could not even be considered as lower-grade energy stones. Apart from those, there were also a few dull pearls and broken fish scales.
After all the Yakshas had placed their bets, only then did the first Yaksha drag Wu Qi up with a smile and walked into a teleportation formation built on the highest point of the rock.
A bright light flashed across the rock as both Wu Qi and the Yaksha vanished without a trace. When the light came into Wu Qi's eyes again, he had arrived in a mine filled with numerous holes on the wall, where a constant ringing of clinks and clanks was heard.
Nearly one thousand Yakshas clad in armors, their hands holding sharp blades, were standing near those pit entrances with their strict eyes sweeping from left to right, then from right to left.
Some cultivators clothed in ragged garments that could barely cover their skins were seen panting faintly, pulling one mine car after another made of pure iron with all their force, bringing car after car of black, heavy ores out of the depth of the pits. Those ores appeared to be extremely heavy, as from time to time, bright sparks were darting out from the mine cars' pure metal wheels when they brushed with the ground, and even left behind a deep trace on the rocky floor.
The mine Wu Qi was in measured tens of miles in both length and weight, and about seven to eight miles in height. Its wall was full of holes of various sizes, and behind each was the tunnel that led to ore deposits. There were at least two hundred of them.
Suddenly, there was a sound of disturbance coming from one of the pit entrances. A cultivator who was pulling a mine car previously had fallen to the ground, breathless. A few Yakshas gathered around him to inspect, then turned to give Wu Qi a look. They beckoned at him as one of them laughed and said, "Aye, this one has died of exhaustion after two months and ten days! Tsk, I've won the bet! Hey, newcomer, you'll replace him!"
The Yaksha who brought Wu Qi here gave an evil laugh as he waved his hand to cut the water rope, then grabbed Wu Qi up and threw him towards the pit about several miles away. As all Yakshas were born with an incredible strength, that throw alone had landed him right before the pit entrance.
A Yaksha picked up an iron chain from the mine car and strapped it tightly on Wu Qi's shoulder.
Another raised his whip and lashed it down viciously towards Wu Qi. "Work hard! Or, we will kill you!" He snapped fiercely.
The whip brutally slapped Wu Qi, ripping his burlap cloth to pieces.