The cultivators were still working laboriously in the pitch-dark mine, knocking and digging at the hard rock walls. The ringing of metal and rock clashing echoed without an end.
Under the supervision of several hundred foremen and over one thousand Yakshas, none of the cultivators dared to slack off. They were extracting ores with all their effort, producing a volume about twenty percent more than that when Lu Buwei was the supervisor.
Wu Qi had ordered some Yakshas to help him open up a rectangular cave in his chamber, roughly one thousand feet in both width and length, and slightly over one mile in height. Now, he was sitting in the center of the cave, tilting his head up and staring blankly at the ceiling. The walls around him were fully carved with extremely complex patterns of formations and dotted with runes.
"Minor Universe Yaksha Soul Depriving Formation!"
Even as he murmured the name of the formation, his mind had already sunk into the state of enlightenment, doing the best he could to analyze the essence of the formation. This formation was just one of the most basic formations among several thousand others found in Miao Ying Palace. However, as long as he could fully understand this fiend formation, it meant that he would find a breakthrough point in Miao Ying Palace's vast Dao of Formations. From there, he would be able to analyze the rest of the more complicated formations.
He did not have to learn everything from scratch, as he already had the foundation established with the profound and complex essence of formations found in the Scroll of Stealing. Therefore, although Miao Ying Palace's formations possessed a myriad of changes and were extremely complicated, what he needed was just a key.
A moment ago, after carving the Minor Universe Yaksha Soul Depriving Formation onto the walls, ceiling, and ground, he immediately entered into the enlightenment state and exercised the Mystic Eyes of Universe with full power. Countless three-dimensional arrays flashed rapidly across his eyes. Apparently, Miao Ying Palace's fiend formations were closely related to the several tens of thousands of formations from the Fiend League, Evil League,, and Ghost League that were recorded in the Scroll of Stealing. They seemed to be the products of mixing several dozens of Dao of Formations, and had gone through some incredible transformations.
It was like Wu Qi had countless fundamental mathematical formulae in his hands, and through them, he wanted to derive the advanced formulae, such as algebra and others. The basic knowledge of formations that Goddess Miao Xin had given him were like the proofs of concepts, showing him how the algebra formulae were derived from those fundamental formulae.
For three whole months, he continued to study the Minor Universe Yaksha Soul Depriving Formation in the state of enlightenment.
He did not sleep or rest, eat or drink during the period, but had indulged himself in the state of enlightenment at every moment. The knowledge he gained in every fifteen minutes was comparable to that of ordinary cultivators who had studied it for decades. As a result, after three months of restless effort, his understanding of the Minor Universe Yaksha Soul Depriving Formation was comparable to that of Miao Ying Palace's cultivators who were expert in the Dao of Formations for tens of thousands of years.
All of a sudden, with a slight twitching of his finger, 3,600 lower grade energy stones whistled out, forming the outline of a complicated, three-dimensional formation before him. It had the shape of a thirteen-story, upside down pyramid, with numerous complex runes fully filling up each story. At the moment when the formation took shape, several dozens of ferocious-looking Yakshas emerged out of nowhere, filling the cave with their forlorn howls and an immense aura of death. Wu Qi could not help but shudder.
These Yakshas were not the same Yakshas who worked in the mine. Instead, they were the Nether Yakshas who had a similar characteristic as those Heavenly Fiends from the outer domains, summoned from the deepest region of the legendary Land of Transmigration in the Nether Hell, from the Yellow Spring, the filthiest and evilest water under the heaven according to the legends. Though their appearances looked similar to that of the Yakshas on Pangu Continent, their overall strength was at least one hundred times stronger, and they were thousands of times more savage and evil. They were a strange species which were considered the fiercest and cruelest under the heaven.
The several dozens of Nether Yakshas raised their tridents up high as they leaped towards Wu Qi. As he was still in the enlightenment state, he gave them a glare with his emotionless eyes. Immediately, the Divine Flame of Order transformed into several dozens of sharp blades, shooting out of his eyes. The blades pierced the hearts of these Yakshas, and a purple and green colored divine flame rose from their bodies. Amidst tragic howls, the Yakshas were refined into fist-sized Nether Pearls, which contained all of their energy essences.
Before these pearls could fall to the ground, Wu Qi moved his fingers again. Obeying his command, the pearls spun and flew up while glimmering with a black glow as they pierced through the air and embedded themselves into several dozens of runes, which looked insignificant amongst the complex formation. Then, he pointed his finger at the pearls and recited an incantation. The pearls cracked and shattered, while the entire formation turned fuzzy, and was shifting and swaying violently. Before long, all 3,600 lower-grade energy stones crumbled at the same time. Wu Qi had just destroyed the formation without too much of an effort.
His eyes flickered with a strange gleam. He had finally mastered the essence of the Minor Universe Yaksha Soul Depriving Formation.
And with that, he managed to have a glimpse into the previously obscured true look of Miao Ying Palace's Dao of Formations. It was full of endless secrets indeed, but the essence of formations found in the Scroll of Stealing had provided him a great help in deciphering those secrets. In the end, all the fiend formations created by Miao Ying Palace could be summarized with four words: novelty, changeful, dangerous, and sinister.
They were novel. All the formations had various changes that were unseen before, and the ways to deploy them were completely different when compared to the rest.
They were changeful, having all kinds of powers that one could ever imagine. An orthodox formation could at most manifest three hundred different restrictive spells in one second. But, this Minor Universe Yaksha Soul Depriving Formation could come up with 36,000 restrictive spells within the same time frame, just like all the various restrictive spells he had seen in Miao Ying Palace.
They were extremely dangerous. The entire formation was riddled with dangers and threats, without having even an escape door like those ordinary formations.
They were sinister, because all Miao Ying Palace's fiend formations were deployed with various fierce and savage creatures found under the heaven, such as the Heavenly Fiends and Yin Gods from outer domains, the Nether Yakshas, and many others. They were the cores of all the fiend formations. Once trapped inside, the formation would rip through the void and summon an endless stream of these foul creatures. If one failed to break out of the formation and was trapped for a long time, he would be devoured by the endless fierce creatures sooner or later, even if he were a Primordial Immortal.
"A woman is always a woman. Even if she is a Primordial Immortal, she is still a woman by nature!"
After fully understanding the Minor Universe Yaksha Soul Depriving Formation, Wu Qi had also gained some insight of Patriarch Miao Ying's character. Even though she was a Primordial Immortal, she was still a woman, and the Dao of Formations invented by her had given him only one impression – narrow-minded!
Only a woman would turn formations into something with so many bizarre changes. Nothing could be more poisonous than a woman's heart. Presumably, Patriarch Miao Ying feared that the formations would not be able to kill those who were trapped. Therefore she had cudgeled her brain, and eventually decided to use all these foul creatures as the strongest offensive strength of the formations.
However, that had also become their weakness. The fact that all Miao Ying Palace's fiend formations relied heavily on external creatures had provided Wu Qi a readily exploitable loophole.
If they were the formations that relied on the natural power of heaven and earth, he would be powerless against the formations of this level. But, since they were borrowing the power of various creatures from outer domains, he could always use these creatures' own power to destroy the formation, just like how he did to the Minor Universe Yaksha Soul Depriving Formation. It was equal to breaking Miao Ying Palace's formations with their own formations.
"This is the only chance for me to break through the formation deployed at the entrance of the Dark Abyss!"
He clenched his jaw and nodded silently.
Taking a deep breath, he waved his hand to wipe out all the formations carved on the walls, making them as smooth as a mirror. Then, with a slight movement of his fingers, the next formation, Minor Universe Fiends Transform Immortals Formation, gradually took shape on the walls. It was double in complexity compared to the first formation, with numerous interlocking lines and runes, so complicated that it could make the brain of any ordinary Immortals boil by just looking at it.
Fortunately, he was supported by Le Xiaobai's insane intelligence, had consumed the Heavenly Wit Fruit, and was able to enter the enlightenment state at will. With all of that, although the second formation was double in complexity when compared to the first, it actually looked simpler in his eyes.
Since he had already found the end of a thread among the messily tangled strings, he should be able to unravel the secrets of Miao Ying Palace's Dao of Formations soon.
Time! All he needed now was time! As long as he was given sufficient time, he had the confidence to crack all of Miao Ying Palace's formations.
"Lucky that Patriarch Miao Ying is not a genuine Grandmaster of Formations." The thought suddenly leaped into his mind as he was studying the formation. Sure enough, Patriarch Miao Ying was not a genuine Grandmaster of Formations. Instead, she was an expert in another field which could also be found in the jade slip, the Dao of Pills.
Luckily, she was not a Grandmaster who devoted all her effort in researching formations. Otherwise, Miao Ying Palace's formations would definitely be one hundred times more profound than they were now, and Wu Qi would surely fail to find out the ways of breaking even one formation in such a short amount of time, much less deriving the ultimate solution that could break all the formations.
One month went by swiftly, and Wu Qi had cracked the second formation.
Another half a month went by, and he managed to crack the third formation, the Minor Universe Seven Lustful Fiends Formation.
And after another half a month, he managed to crack seven elementary formations without too much of effort.
Those were all the formations found in the jade slip, and he needed more advanced formations to study and crack. However, Goddess Miao Xin had only given him these, because according to common sense, just these few fiend formations alone would cost the Heaven Immortals who recently joined Miao Ying Palace several thousand or even tens of thousands of years to study; only then could they obtain some results.
He rose to his feet slowly, narrowed his eyes and murmured with a deep voice, "I need more formation maps of Miao Ying Palace's fiend formations. Mm, I wonder what Lao Ai has been doing recently?"
A series of popping sounds were heard coming out from within his body as he moved. Five months of cultivating in a seclusion had skyrocketed the strength of his fleshly body by at least ten times. It was so strong that nearly all his meridians were clogged, causing the inferno hell energy to flow with difficulty.
Evidently, the True Body of Heaven and Earth Scripture and the cultivation techniques practiced by Immortals could not fit in the same body. After it was being practiced, one's meridians would slowly fill up with the purple mists, preventing immortal energy from flowing through the meridians. On top of that, the immortal soul would also be gradually absorbed by the fleshly body and transformed back to the soul of an ordinary mortal.
'Apparently, this is the limit. I cannot continue the practice of True Body of Heaven and Earth Scripture, or I won't be able to exercise any of the fiend techniques found in Inferno Hell Fiend Scripture.' He shook his head and sighed discontentedly.
Then, he swung his arms, realizing his Seven Stealing Heaven Meridians were still as usual. The innate energy had reached a perfect balance with the purple mist he had absorbed.
Suddenly, he thought of the innate Yang energy at the bottom of the Dark Abyss. As long as he could find it and form the innate Chaotic Spirit Body, with its unique characteristic of containing everything, he could definitely practice both cultivation techniques at the same time. With the countless divine abilities and spells given by the Seven Foundation Elevating Technique, as well as the formidable fleshly body given by the True Body of Heaven and Earth Scripture, he could already see a bright future ahead of him!
He let out an excited cry, bouncing and running around in the chamber for some while before the stone door was suddenly thrown open by someone.
The rosy Lao Ai and delicate Lord Long Yang walked abreast into the chamber.