Four thousand eight hundred men, including Wu Qi, fell into forty-eight square arrays in the spacious arena. In the middle of it, Yu Mu, Yu Miao, and some other Elders of the Yu Clan were holding a grand sacrificial ceremony. They prayed to Heaven and Earth, and to the ghosts and deities, asking for their blessing so that the best and most suitable sons could be chosen, and that these chosen sons could safely rule over the sixteen ninth-grade provinces.
A huge altar was raised from under the ground. Many tablets carved with the names and images of various ghosts and deities were placed atop. Wu Qi saw that many of the tablets were carved with the names of Yu Clan's ancestors, and they were placed higher than many powerful ghosts and deities.
As the Grand Oracle of Zhong Province's Directorate of Celestial, it was Yu Mu's official business to carry out the ritual. As soon as he began to incant a spell and dance strangely, a gust of chilly wind blew out of the altar, and hundreds of shadowy figures emerged out of nowhere above it. The torchlights in the hall suddenly darkened, while the dreadful pressure emanated from these ghostly figures made Wu Qi feel a stabbing pain in his heart.
He looked at those shadowy figures in astonishment. 'So, these are the ghosts and deities worshiped by the Yu Clan, eh?' With just some of the secret spells of the Yu Clan, these evil ghosts and deities could be put to work, and they would unleash an extremely devastating force to bring all sorts of unimaginably miraculous effects into play. However, it was mentioned in the Dao of Ghosts and Deities which Princess Zhang Le inherited that ghosts and deities worshiped by a clan could only be driven with the clan's bloodline. As Wu Qi was not a descendant of Yu Clan, even if he managed to learn the secret spells, he wouldn't be able to control these ghosts and deities.
Judging from their auras, the strongest of them definitely possessed the cultivation base of a high-tiered Gold Immortal!
One of the conditions for judging if an Oracle Clan was thriving was the overall strength of the ghosts and deities they worshiped. The sighting of one as strong as a high-tiered Gold Immortal showed that the Yu Clan in Zhong Province possessed a truly amazing combative force. Wu Qi couldn't help but begin to wonder again, 'Since the Yu Clan in Zhong Province was so strong, what would be the level of overall strength possessed by the Yu Clan in the imperial capital of Great Yu?'
Stealthily, he exercised his Chaotic Divine Eyes and stared through those ghosts and deities hovering atop the altar, and saw the twisting space behind them. These ghosts and deities were very different from the Gods birthed by Heaven and Earth, and not the same as the Yin ghosts that took shape after humans died. They were a different type of powerful and magical beings who lived in the nameless void parallel to the world everyone else was living in. Only the existences who had mastered the Dao of Ghost and Deity could tear up the void with spells and communicate with these wonderful beings.
Much to his surprise, many of these ghosts and deities were similar in appearance to those carved on the Yu Clan ancestors' tablets. 'Some of their ancestors had actually turned themselves into ghosts and deities with some sort of mystic art, great power, and incredible divine ability.' Wu Qi thought, and he could not help but admire the inherent knowledge of these wealthy and powerful clans on Pangu Continent. When compared to a human who was trying to step into the realm of Heaven Immortal through cultivation, a human who was trying to transform into a ghost or deity would draw more hate from Heaven and Earth, and attract a more frightening Heavenly Tribulation. It would take great perseverance and strength for these ancestors to complete such an incredible transformation.
As the hundreds of ghosts and deities made their appearances over the altar, Yu Mu and all the other Elders of the Yu Clan fell to their knees and worshiped them devoutly.
An army of Yu Clan's private guards marched into the arena, dragging a large number of fleshly cattle, sheep, and some other livestock. At Yu Miao's command, the guards slaughtered the livestock in front of the altar. Blood gushed out along with a strong smell as it sprayed and smeared the altar.
Laughing merrily, the ghosts and deities stretched out their hazy arms and gestured at the livestock. A gust of chilly wind rolled up the animals, shriveling their bodies and turning them into ashes in an instant. All their blood, energy essence, and souls were extracted and fell into the hands of the ghosts and deities, then fusing into their bodies in a flash.
The figures of all the ghosts and deities had become clearer, and they seemed to have gained some energy. Some of them laughed contentedly, turning to disappear without a trace. But, hundreds of them remained over the altar, staring down with a strange gleam flashing in their eyes.
Afterward, Yu Mu and the other Elders placed many candles and incense sticks on the altar before leaving the arena at the same time, returning to the stone chairs hovering in the air. Once seated, Yu Mu waved his hand stately and said in a deep voice, "This is the time. Under the witness of many ghosts and deities, make a good fight for yourselves and for your Masters!"
After a moment of pause, he said again, "This duel is of great importance. The sixteen sons who win the positions of Prefecture Overseer will become elites to be trained by the clan. In the future, the Clan Leader and Elders of Yu Clan will be selected first from among the sixteen sons!"
As soon as Yu Mu spoke, the atmosphere in the hall changed. The sons who had not entered the list of forty-eight had their eyes turned blue with jealousy, while those in the list and had their subordinates entering the arena had their eyes shot with blood, glancing fiercely at their own brothers like some hungry wolves.
Gasping for breath, Yu He clenched his fists and made a gesture to Wu Qi, signaling him to slaughter everyone at all costs.
It was not only Yu He, but the seven strongest sons of Yu Clan had also performed a similar gesture. They suddenly rose to their feet and made a throat-slash gesture to their subordinates, indicating that they did not need to hold back and just kill at will. As all sorts of accidents could happen in a large-scale duel participated in by thousands of people such as this, in order to avoid any risk, the seven strongest sons could only let their subordinates fight all out for them.
There was a sudden blaze of green on the altar when Yu Mu shouted, "Let the duel begin! Life and death are decreed by fate, but a prosperous future can only be decided by yourself today!"
Wu Qi flicked open his eyes. With a cold grunt, he pulled out dozens of gold ingots from his sleeve and threw them out. Immediately, the arena rang with the shrill noises of objects piercing through the air as dozens of golden specks shot in all directions, along with the miserable howls of Oracles and warriors as their bodies were pierced by the ingots. The powerful force that came with the gold ingots exploded and shattered their bodies, sending blood and gore everywhere, which knocked their nearby companions to the ground.
"Back off! Form a formation and protect yourself! You won't have to fight!" Wu Qi shouted to the ninety-nine Oracles around him while quickly taking them to the rear.
Wu Qi's sudden attack that shattered hundreds of people had scared everyone in the arena. For a moment or so, no one dared to strike. Therefore, he was able to smoothly bring the ninety-nine Oracles back to the edge of the arena, where he ordered them to form a formation. Without hesitation, these Oracles quickly pulled out a large number of bone talismans and laid down countless layers of defensive barriers around them.
Wu Qi stood outside of the formation, squinting at the Moon Oracles in the arena and laughed.
Of the four thousand eight hundred men in the arena, nine out of ten were Star Oracles. Even though there were some nine-stars Oracles, they were only as strong as Nascent Divinity cultivators. With the exception of the seven strongest sons, who had about ten Moon Oracles each, the other sons had no more than one or two Moon Oracles. After all, Yu Mu and Yu Miao had warned them before the duel. Thus, no sons of Yu Clan dared to send the guards given by their Seniors into the arena.
Judging by the age and status of these sons, they were at most the County Great Oracles in Zhong Province. It was already considered a significant achievement for them to recruit a few Moon Oracles and a few warriors who had broken through the Six Stars Realm of First Pangu Heaven. There were a total of only seven warriors at such level, one from each of the seven strongest sons.
These men's expressions changed drastically when they saw how Wu Qi had killed hundreds of people in a flash with just one vicious blow.
Not knowing whether intentionally or not, the Moon Oracles of the seven strongest sons began to incant spells and sprinkle a large number of bone talismans at the same time. Bright lights flashed and blinked in the arena as layers of defensive barriers sprung out like mushrooms after the rain, all having the Stars Oracles behind them protected. When they were done, the Moon Oracles struck at once at the subordinates of other Yu Clan sons around them. Flames and lighting blots flew and shot everywhere, and the battle was immediately enveloped by deafening booms and smoke.
The seven strongest warriors, however, drew their weapons and suddenly attacked Wu Qi at the same time.
Wu Qi watched indifferently as the seven strongest human warriors rushed toward him. But Yu He, who was sitting high up in the stands, turned pale and stood up in anger. Glaring at the best of the seven brothers of his generation, he snapped, "Do you mean to get rid of me first?"
The seven brothers only gave him a haughty glance. Yu Mou, the third brother who Yu He had met in front of the Yu Residence, said with a faint smile on his face, "Brother Seventeen, it seems you've recruited a very strong helper! Perhaps, he is even stronger than us, your elder brothers!"
An understanding came to Yu He suddenly. By killing hundreds of opponents with just one blow, Wu Qi had aroused the fear of the seven strongest brothers, and hence driven them to join hands and attack him!
Wu Qi stared at the seven human warriors who were rushing toward him and shook his head.
The realm of First Pangu Heaven corresponded to the realm of Heaven Immortal. It was divided into nine Stars Realms, with each Star Realm corresponding to the four tiers of Heaven Immortal. With his current cultivation base of nine-tier Heaven Immortal, Wu Qi's cultivation base was as strong as a warrior of the Seven Stars Realm of First Pangu Heaven. These seven warriors, who had broken through the Six Stars Realm, were still at a great distance away from him.
He took a deep breath, pulled his shoulders back, and threw his chest forward to face the weapons the seven warriors had wielded at him.
A loud clanging noise rang out as seven weapons hacked at his body almost at the same time. He trembled, and then a tremendous force rushed out from inside of him, instantly splintering all seven weapons. Then, he punched out with a backhand. A great, ferocious-looking dragon materialized from purple mist rose into the sky, dragging seven warriors into its body as it ascended. Up in the air, its long body rolled up and ground the men to death. A rain of blood smeared the arena.
Wu Qi roared with laughter as he took a step forward, thrusting his fists like raindrops and killing almost half of the men who the forty-seven sons had sent into the arena in an instant. Of the four thousand or so men, more than two thousand seven hundred died horribly at the hands of Wu Qi. In particular, the Moon Oracles of the seven brothers, including Yu Mou, were all slaughtered by Wu Qi alone.
With the overall strength of a ninth-tier Heaven Immortal, killing these weak Oracles did not cost any of his strength, if truth be told.
The many ghosts and deities on the altar burst into a high-pitched laugh. They waved with satisfaction at the blood on the ground, and the blood and souls of those who had died flew into their hands at the same time, turning into their delicious food. The laughter shook the main hall while many of the sons of Yu Clan were terrified.
All of a sudden, Yu He threw his head back and let out a loud laugh, his voice filled with endless pleasure.