Lu Buwei turned to look at the approaching smoky fiend as he kept standing on the stalagmite, with a disdainful smile on his face. He waved his hand upward and said, "Please strike, my Goddess!"
Without any prior sign, a sheet of golden light smeared with a faint purple hue sprinkled down quietly from above, wrapping around the dark smoke and melting it like a thin sheet of ice on a stream melting under the warm sunlight of the spring. Before long, it had vanished without a trace, leaving absolutely nothing in the air.
Many cultivators among the crowd who had prepared to do something were stunned. As they watched the golden light slowly dissipating in the air, they felt a coldness rushing from the bottom of their feet up into their head. It made them shudder, taking away all their courage to put up a resistance.
Lu Buwei gave a faint sigh and said in a grave tone with sincerity, "Fellow Daoists, you ought to understand what this place is! You've been here for some while, and I'm sure you've experienced the strictness of the restrictive mechanisms. No escape arts can work here, because the restrictive mechanisms are personally deployed by the Senior Gold Immortal."
Then he quickly changed his expression, now looking compassionate and benevolent, and said with a voice filled with mixed emotions, "Now that you are here, you'd better stay! Goddess Miao Xin has promised that once you have extracted all the Nether Ocean Dark Gold Copper in this mine, she will let you leave in peace! Isn't this good news for all of us?"
Cupping his fist with a solemn expression, he said with a sigh, "Please come forth, new fellow Daoists, and hand me all your magical items. I'll take care of them for the time being, and once you leave here, I'll return them to you!"
One after another, the surrounding Yakshas unleashed their blue sword beams, aiming at the over thirty cultivators who were new to the mine, including Wu Qi. After a brief moment of pondering, Wu Qi took the lead and walked towards Lu Buwei. As he walked, his muscles shrunk slightly, quietly swallowing the Spirit Breeding Ring hanging on his neck into his body. It was then wrapped by a thread of innate energy and buried deep into one of the spirit acupoints in his Seven Stealing Heaven Meridians.
Not only was the inheritor of Scroll of Stealing proficient in arrays, formations, and escape arts, their ability of hiding things was top of the line as well. If not, once they stole some treasures and were found by someone else by searching them, that would just ruin their mission and even put their life at risk.
Standing below the stalagmite where Lu Buwei had stood, Wu Qi raised his head, a bitter smile on his face as he shook his head and said with a sigh, "My name is Wu Wang... Senior, take a look at me. How could a cultivator in such a nasty situation have any magical items?" He lifted his single arm and waved it.
Lu Buwei gave Wu Qi a brief glance with his deep eyes. All of Wu Qi's fake Nascent Souls were destroyed, and the aura emanated from his body was between Xiantian and Gold Core realm, making him look just like an ordinary cultivator. His single arm was rather eye-catching though, as it was rare for a cultivator to get into such a miserable state. With his divine sense, Lu Buwei scanned Wu Qi's body, and he did not find anything worthy of suspicion. It was a known fact that things such as storage ring and other storage items were extremely difficult to be stored in one's body– the divine ability such as a world in a mustard seed was something that only Immortals could have learned! Very quickly, he moved his attention away from Wu Qi, casting his cold glance to the couple dozens of cultivators behind.
Over thirty cultivators walked out from the crowd with their heads hung low in sorrow, lining up to throw their storage items to the ground. Certainly, not all of them had given up everything, as someone must have hidden some magical treasures or spirit treasures in their bodies. But, Lu Buwei did not mind at all.
In this place where not even a single thread of natural energy could be found, ordinary cultivators could last at most two months before they ran out of their energy. When that happened, what was the point of having a few magical or spirit treasures with them?
Since the mine was locked down by a Gold Immortal, no ordinary cultivators could have a way to escape. And, since they could not escape and did not have access to natural energy, Lu Buwei did not worry at all that these cultivators might put up a rebellion. As long as he confiscated everybody's storage rings, he would be able to make sure nothing went wrong.
'But, what if someone really hides a storage ring...'
Even as Wu Qi was pondering on this question, Lu Buwei laughed out loud and said, "Alright, all the newly arrived fellow Daoists have surrendered their storage items. Now, I need the fellow Daoists who are here before them to point out who is hiding storage items, hiding something that they shouldn't. Hahaha, as long as your report is genuine, I'll have a handsome reward for you!"
Wu Qi's heart raced as he jerked his head around. He saw the cultivators who were working in the same pit as him, who he had taken pity on just now and given them food and drinks, had jumped forward almost at the same time. Including the old cultivator who looked the most miserable, they all pointed their fingers at him and cried out, "Supervisor Lu, this Daoist Wu Wang is hiding something good!"
Impatiently, the old cultivator roared at the top of his voice, "He had given each of us a large flatbread and a bottle of fresh water!"
Wu Qi gnashed his teeth with anger, staring fiercely at the dozen of cultivators and wishing that he could kill them right now. However, he could sense an indistinct pressure of a divine will prowling in the void near the cave ceiling. After weighing his current overall strength, he had decided to not do something rash.
Lu Buwei laughed and said with a nod, "Somebody, put on the record that these fellow Daoists have just earned themselves a minor merit!"
He paused for a brief while, then looked down at the crowd of cultivators and said with a smile, "Remember this, I'm a reasonable man who is fair in meting out rewards or punishments. Those who report a wrongdoer will gain himself a minor merit. Ten minor merits will get you an intermediate merit, and ten intermediate merits will bring you one major merit. Anyone who can accumulate a major merit, hehe, I'll open the door and send him away personally!"
He clapped and said, "Fellow Daoists who have just joined us, and my fellow Daoists who are here before them, do you think this is a good method?"
Several thousand cultivators applauded and cheered senselessly. They clapped their hands, stamped their feet, and had their faces twisted while shouting crazily, "Good! Good! Good! Supervisor Lu is wise and farsighted, fair in meting out rewards or punishments! We'll act in accordance with the rule!"
Their cheering was identical and uniform, with not even a single word changed. Wu Qi felt a chill ran down his spine, wondering if these cultivators had been brainwashed by Lu Buwei. If not, how did all of them behave like this? Gnashing his teeth, he raised his head to look at Lu Buwei. Be 'For an ambitious man like this, no matter where he goes, he will never willing to live in obscurity. Sooner or later, he will definitely create something huge!"
But still, Wu Qi could not understand how was it even possible that Lu Buwei arrived Pangu Continent two years ago, and was so unlucky to be captured alive by someone from Miao Ying Palace?
As his mind was troubled by that question and Lu Buwei's motive, the latter had rested his strict eyes on Wu Qi's face. "Fellow Daoist Wu Wang, is there anything else you wish to say? Now quickly surrender all your storage items! Do it now and I'll spare you the punishment!"
Wu Qi gave the cultivators who pointed him out a glance, a bitter smile on his face. Then, he turned to Lu Buwei, breathed out a long sigh, and said, "A genius method, Supervisor Lu. My heart was moved with sympathy, and that's why I offered them some flatbreads and fresh water. They were the food and drinks I've prepared for my secluded cultivation. These fellow Daoists had gladly accepted my offers, but little did I expect that they would sell me out!"
Lu Buwei smiled faintly, raising his hands up as he looked down at Wu Qi and said, "Fellow Daoist, this is the human heart!"
His voice was slow and long-drawn-out, filled with an unspeakable vicissitude. "Fellow Daoist, please surrender all your storage items. I really don't wish to have my hand further smeared with the blood of my peers!" He said with a sigh while looking at Wu Qi.
Wu Qi did not speak for a moment. Suddenly, he cupped his fist towards the sky and cried out, "May I make bold as to request Goddess to descent? I have a small gift which I wish to offer to Goddess, a token that hopefully can have me promoted!"
Lu Buwei's face turned cold instantly as he shouted, "What are you doing?"
A voice came drifting down from the void above, "Daoist Wu Wang? What gift do you have that can possibly make me promote you?"
Wu Qi looked up and said, "I met my sworn enemy out there, and during the battle all my magical items were destroyed and even one of my arms was chopped. By chance, from some Immortal of Myriad Immortal Alliance I've learned that a Patriarch has built a temporary dwelling palace in the Dark Abyss of Northern Ocean. I decided to seek shelter under him. But, things didn't go as planned, as I was captured and brought here to this mine. I'm willing to offer the treasure today just so I can become part of Patriarch's sect."
The voice that could hardly be distinguished between that of a male or female came drifting down again, "This... can be easily arranged! Now, let me see what good treasure do you have to offer!"
Wu Qi clenched his jaw as he quietly exercised his cultivation base. Energy rushed and rocked through his body, and before long, a jade bottle shot out of his mouth. Very carefully, he pointed his finger at the bottle. A spirit light soared out from it, amidst which was a clump of Fragrant Ganoderma that sent forth a fascinating aroma!
This Fragrant Ganoderma was a genuine spirit herb of Gold Immortal grade, which Wu Qi had found it in the passage outside Lady Dark Gold Water's palace. For Heaven Immortals and cultivators below the realm of Heaven Immortal, it was a lethal poison. But for Gold Immortals, it was a supreme herb that possessed various magical effects.
Peals of laughter filled with an unconcealable delight were heard coming from above, "Aye, a Fragrant Ganoderma? And it is fully seasoned? Although you looked miserable, but you do come with something good! Well, you don't have to stay in this mine anymore. From today onwards, you will be my outer sect disciple. I'll have you handle some sundry duties for now, and if you can go through the trial for one thousand years, I'll then promote you as an official disciple of Miao Ying Palace!"
As the voice went off, a golden light smeared with purple hue came sprinkling down. Immediately, the dozen cultivators who had pointed Wu Qi out just now gave a tragic shriek together, as a large sheet of golden flame that was sticky like molten gold sprayed out of their bodies. In just a few breaths of time, they were all burned into a heap of ashes.
A perfect silence reigned the cave. Nobody dared to make a sound, and only Wu Qi alone was standing with his back straight, face filled with a complacent smile.
Lu Buwei's face twisted as he gave Wu Qi a deep look. "Goddess, we can't take this man!" He said suddenly.
Wu Qi erupted with anger, staring furiously at Lu Buwei as he cried out, "Supervisor Lu, have I offended you before?"
The soft and gentle voice came drifting down from the void again, "You are not the one who makes the decision here. Supervisor Lu, do what you are supposed to do and stop worrying about other matters. You will invite great troubles if you can't keep your tongue in your mouth!"
The voice paused briefly, then continued with a chuckle, "Wu Wang, from now, you will be the deputy supervisor of this mine! Mm, do all you can to assist Supervisor Lu in managing the place!"
A golden light sprinkling down, wrapping the Fragrant Ganoderma before disappeared without a trace. At the same time, a green Daoist robe appeared on Wu Qi's body, and a heavy medallion made of cold iron was hanging on his hip.
With a cold grin on his face, Wu Qi cupped his fist and bowed to Lu Buwei. "Supervisor Lu, kindly give me your advice in the future!"
After looking at Wu Qi with a solemn expression for a while, Lu Buwei spun, brought his men, and left the cave.