The tunnel in the alternate dimension was filled with streams of colorful light, swirling and drifting aimlessly.
A lotus throne was flying at high speed in the tunnel, silver in color and emanating a five-colored glow. Princess Zhang Le was seen sat cross-legged on top of it, body shrouded in an auspicious light. Every now and then, the five-colored divine light behind her would roll, pushing her and the lotus throne further into the tunnel at a higher speed. On an average, her speed was ten times faster than the rest of the Immortals when they were traveling from outer heavenly realms to Pangu Continent with a super-long-distance teleportation formation.
Lord Xiansheng and Catfish were sitting with extreme caution at a corner on the lotus throne, clutching with their hands tightly on the throne itself as they feared that they might be thrown out into the tunnel. As Princess Zhang Le had been exercising her divine ability to speed through their journey, a high speed like this was not something they could endure. If they were thrown out of the lotus throne, they would lose their way in the boundless alternate dimension, and even a Primordial Immortal would not be able to find them.
Being as inattentive as they were lazy, Gold Horn and Silver Horn were dozing and snoring next to Princess Zhang Le with their long bodies coiled up. A human leg was seen hanging from the corner of Gold Horn's mouth, while Silver Horn had a human arm. Clearly, they had just taken a hearty meal.
The leg and arm belonged to an unlucky fellow who they bumped into not long ago in the tunnel, who appeared to be a Twenty-seventh Tier Heaven Immortal. He was riding on a shuttle-shaped magical treasure, moving agilely when they went past each other. Amazed by the princess's extraordinary beauty, he actually came flying next to them and uttered some flirty words.
In the end, a five-colored divine light swept across him and shattered his magical treasure, causing all his bones to be crushed by the tremendous pressure in the tunnel. As greedy as they were, Gold Horn and Silver Horn darted up the moment he was crushed, using their big mouths to rip the man into two halves before Lord Xiansheng and Catfish could even do anything.
Before the poor Twenty-seventh Tier Heaven Immortal could even fight back, he was already devoured by Gold Horn and Silver Horn, contributing all his energy essences to the python brothers.
Abruptly, Princess Zhang Le opened her eyes as she concluded her meditation. The five-colored divine light behind her back expanded by a few times, giving the silver lotus throne another boost as it sped through the tunnel.
"Patriarch Yuan Hua, should the men sent by you hurt Wu Qi, even if it is just a single hair of his, I'll definitely slaughter every single person in Yuan Hua Sect, leaving no stone unturned!" Princess Zhang Le vowed as she gnashed her teeth, her palms clenched into tight fists with popping sounds coming out of the joints. Sitting next to her, the two little sisters, Peppermint and Angelica, stuck out their tongues gingerly as they quickly closed their eyes, daring not to give her another look.
"Hang in there, Wu Qi! No matter how many people had Patriarch Yuan Hua sent to kill you, you must not die!"
The five-colored divine light behind her back rolled and rocked violently, while the five-colored gleam shone from her eyes turned red in just a flash, now looking like two pools of blood.
The silver lotus throne sped away in the tunnel, dwindling into a tiny silver speck and vanishing without a trace.
In the outskirts of Zhong Ning City, the administrative center of Zhong Province on Pangu Continent, there stood the training ground of new recruits for Zhong Province's Punishment Court.
Yan Bugui, who looked at least one foot taller than a few months ago, his body beefy with chunks of muscles looking as if he were molded from steel, was seen carrying a small hill that was about one thousand feet tall over his shoulder, panting heavily as he ran across the training ground. He was followed by several dozens of burly men of a similar size, who shouldered hills smaller than his while bolting through the field. They all had their eyes staring straight in front, panting and screaming as they ran with all their strength.
A dozen fierce beasts were chasing closely behind them. From time to time, these beasts would land their claws or bite the buttocks of the few men who fell last in the rank. Although they had been very careful with their attacks, as their mouths were huge and their teeth were sharps, a small bite would usually take away a large chunk of flesh from the few poor guys.
The few new recruits shrieked and wailed with pain, their eyes shot with blood as they carried the small hills on their shoulders and bolted at a greater speed, overtaking those who were running in front of them. Before long, another round of howling, wailing, and screaming was heard coming from behind, from the few unlucky fellows who were now the last. And, they increased their speed as well, overtaking another group of people and letting them taste the claws and teeth.
After racing around the training ground for a dozen of rounds, the few guys who were last in the rank fell to their feet, throwing the small hills on their shoulder to the ground with a boom. As they laid feebly on the ground, those fierce beasts leaped onto them, giving each a round of messy ripping and tearing with their claws. It was not long before they were horribly mangled, their bodies filled with wounds and some even having their bones exposed.
The men rolled and jerked convulsively on the ground, wailing and howling with pain. A few soldiers clad in uniforms of Punishment Army came rushing over to them and drove the fierce beasts away. Then, they dragged the wounded men into a grand hall built with huge rocks next to the training ground like dragging wooden pillars.
The hall was pitch dark, with its ground sunk into a massive pool measuring one thousand feet in both width and length. It was filled with a medicinal liquid crimson in color, sticky like fresh blood, and sending forth a pungent smell. The soldiers dragged the wounded men to the edge of the pool, then threw them in like some rubbish. In just a blink, the crimson medicinal fluid slithered into the wounded men's bodies like some living beings. Irritated by the powerful medicinal strength, the muscles near their wounds jerked violently, washing them with a severe pain and making them shriek at the top of their voices. Some nearly tore their vocal cords.
A group of tall and stocky men stood at the edge of the pool, each holding a whip made of snakeskin in hand. Those who screamed the loudest in the pool would be given a brutal lash, leaving a deep, long, and bloody mark on their skin. The medicinal fluid would quickly squeeze into the fresh wound, causing the man to howl again and receive another brutal lash.
Yan Bugui was the first man who finished running fifty rounds on the training ground. When he passed the finish line, even a man so strong as him was drenched in sweat, with stars dancing before his eyes. He lifted the enormous hill off his shoulder and threw it hundreds of feet away, then went down on his knees with both hands supporting his weight as he panted heavily.
A Criminal Officer clad in a dark long robe came with a few soldiers from the Punishment Army and stood before him, nodding satisfyingly as he said, "Hu Bugui, you made it first again in the monthly assessment. Well done! You are the best among this batch of new recruits!"
The officer fished out a dark-purple pill bottle from under his sleeve and threw it to Yan Bugui. "Here are three Marrow and Bone Strengthening pills, more than enough to improve your muscle strength by ten times. Based on your current progress, consume one every three months, and once you have finished them all, you will have an overall strength that can fight against a Thirty-sixth Tier Heaven Immortal!"
Yan Bugui received the pill bottle respectfully, then offered the Criminal Officer three kowtows in accordance to the Punishment Court's rules.
A profound shock seized his heart. Back when he was on Myriad Immortals Planet, by borrowing the power of a beast soul and spending over twenty years in arduous cultivating, he had only managed to bring himself a cultivation base of peak Xiantian realm. But on Pangu Continent, in this Punishment Court of Zhong Province, through consuming secret pills and practicing the True Body of Heaven and Earth Scripture that was only passed secretly among the human race, as well as the tempering of his fleshly body with some kind of mystery spirit energy which those Oracles from the Directorate of Celestial had gathered with strange formations, he was able to obtain a cultivation base that could allow him to fight against a Heaven Immortal in just less than a year!
The potential of the human race was simply incredible!
"Thank you, my lord!" Yan Bugui said sincerely with the pill bottle clasped tightly in his palm.
The Criminal Officer gave Yan Bugui a satisfied look, then nodded and said with a smile, "You may raise now. The Chief Judge has summoned all of you. He has a mission for you." Including Yan Bugui, twelve new recruits of Punishment Army who performed the best were called into the Punishment Court of Zhong Ning City, meeting the Chief Judge himself.
Though they were told to meet the Chief Judge, none of them could see his true look.
Inside a deep, dark hall, on top of a throne shrouded in black mist, there sat the Chief Judge. Even though Yan Bugui knew the Chief Judge of Zhong Province was sitting there on the throne, despite how hard he tried to look, he failed to see the man's true features. The dense and sticky black mist had veiled him from any probing glances.
A deep, powerful voice rang out from the throne.
"You are the best warriors among the new recruits."
"You, as the new soldiers, have not been smeared with the smell of Punishment Court, and your faces have not been recognized by our foes."
"Therefore, I have a mission for you. Each of you will bring a group of elite soldiers and lurk in twelve different cities, gathering all the information you can. I've received the authorization from Zhong Province's Prefecture Overseer, Sir Feng Lingling, giving you the permission to employ all means during the mission, to kill anybody who tries to hinder your mission. No matter they are officers from the human race, ordinary civilians, or those annoying Immortal cultivators who should be damned to rot in hell and never reincarnate again. You have the permission to kill anyone should you deem it necessary!"
The floor in the hall lit up suddenly, showing a detailed map of three hundred provinces around Zhong Province. There were twelve bright specks blinking on the map, the destinations where Yan Bugui and the others would carry out their mission.
"You are free to choose the city you wish to go to. Once you've decided, go and get the money, medicines, and other supplies you need, then pick yourself a group of fewer than one hundred subordinates who will assist you in the mission."
'We are free to choose the city we wish to go to?' Without even thinking twice, Yan Bugui chose An He City as his destination, which was one of the twelve blinking specks on the map!
After all twelve of them had decided their destinations, the Chief Judge reminded them, "Over a year ago, the Punishment Court had lost a batch of elite soldiers and generals in the vicinity of these twelve cities. They were your seniors, their cultivation base was stronger than yours, and so were their experiences. This is a very dangerous mission. But do not worry. If you die in the mission, we will take care of your family."
Yan Bugui went down on his knees and cried out with a strong voice, "We will definitely carry out the mission diligently and shrink from no sacrifice! It is time to teach those unruly and arrogant Immortal cultivators a good lesson!" His declaration had prompted the other eleven men to drop to their knees, crying out loud that they would do the same while finding out all the information about the cities.
The Chief Judge clapped his hands to show his praise and said in a dignified tone, "Well, you may go now. Find out everything in those cities for me, and..."
"…it is time to teach those unruly Immortal cultivators a stern lesson!" He announced while gnashing his teeth in anger.
Led by a few Criminal Officers, Yan Bugui and his company left the Punishment Court. And after getting themselves the required supplies and equipment, along with picking themselves a group of men who were loyal to them, they went stealthily to their destinations via Great Yu's official teleportation formations.
A few days later, Yan Bugui arrived at An He City with a group of men.