The puppet made of bone did not explode or crack, but melted completely like ice.
With one swift motion, Wu Qi tore open his clothes and threw out a puddle of fluid. Upon touching the ground, it turned pale-blue in color and was emitting a pungent stench. There was a tiny patch of light sparking on the boulder-paved ground along with a steady crackle. The fluid was extremely corrosive, so the defensive mechanism of the grand hall was activated automatically to prevent it from destroying the ground.
The hair on the back of Wu Qi's neck bristled. He could sense that in the void right next to him, not in the Prime Dimension where he was but in the parallel Sub-dimension, a few evil existences were carefully sneaking up on him. They were very strong, each having the cultivation base of a high-tiered Heaven Immortal at the least, and were emanating a very strong evil aura, filled with the desire of blood and slaughter. Apart from that, he could not sense any other aura.
Yu Huai's face had turned pitch black as Wu Qi turned to look at him. He did not expect the enemy would attack Wu Qi so quickly, as he had just finished crafting three life-saving puppets and explained the internal conflict of Yu Clan to him.
They were not giving him or his father any face! An eerie red gleam shone like blood in Yu Huai's eyes as he gritted his teeth and said, "Whoever did this, he is courting death! Bone Ao, kill that man! I will offer three hundred human warriors with abundant blood and energy to you as sacrifices!"
A sheet of gray mist came drifting out from behind Yu Huai, from inside of which, the skeletal Bone Ao roared with a satisfying laughter while reaching out both hands to grab the void beside Wu Qi. A shrill howl suddenly rang through the grand hall as the void shattered, and six twisting white figures were pulled out by Bone Ao. Laughing excitedly, the rapacious ghost shoved the six figures into his mouth.
These figures were also ghosts and deities, and they came from the same world as Bone Ao. It would bring him a great benefit by swallowing them, just like how an Immortal had his energy reinforced and his foundation strengthened by consuming some Ganoderma Fluid. Bone Ao laughed triumphantly as wisps of ghostly flame suddenly burst out of his fingertips, turning into dozens of pale-white bone swords that wheeled three rounds around Wu Qi before abruptly disappearing into the void.
All of a sudden, Wu Qi and the pair of father and son heard a loud, tragic howl echoing out from somewhere in Yu Residence. It was as if the howl had rung right next to their ears, full of horror, despair, and consternation. A commotion broke out after that as the howl had alerted the people of Yu Clan and aroused the entire Yu Residence.
Before long, the door of the great hall suddenly flung open. Two Oracles clad in black robes walked slowly into the hall, their eyes shining with a faint green gleam. They came before Yu Huai, dropped to their knees, and said, "Your Excellency, Elder Yu Miao's ninth son, His Excellency Yu Hao, was struck by a sudden death. At the time of his death, it was as if a thousand arrows had pierced his heart, and his blood essence and soul were seized. What he left behind was a dried corpse."
Laughing grimly, Yu Huai waved his hand and said, "That b*stard Yu Hao? A comforting piece of news indeed... Yu He, it was Yu Hao's third son who took away the position of the Great Oracle of An Yi County from you two years ago. Hehe, now the score is settled!"
Yu He smiled faintly, then turned to look at Bone Ao who stood behind Yu Huai and asked, "Will anyone find out about this?" His voice sounded a little bit worried.
Yu Huai smiled proudly and said in a calm voice, "No one will ever find out who killed Yu Hao unless the old dog Yu Miao conducts the investigation himself. Hmph, he will have to do it within a quarter of an hour and use his Prime Magical Item to find out anything. Otherwise, he will never find any clues!"
Glancing back at Bone Ao, who was hovering behind his back, Yu Huai said with a cold grin, "Bone Ao is one of the Ancestor Gods worshiped by Liangzhu Yu Clan, and his mighty power is not something the Yu Clan in Zhong Province can ever imagine! He has been protecting Liangzhu Yu Clan since the time of the Great Emperor Xuan Yuan!"
Wu Qi raised his head in astonishment. A ghost that had existed since the time of the Yellow Emperor, Xuan Yuan? If that were real, his power must be stronger than those ghosts and deities worshiped by the Yu Clan in Zhong Province, right? However, it seemed the cost of driving him to work was not cheap, as Yu Huai had already promised him three hundred human warriors with abundant blood and energy. Wu Qi wondered where Yu Huai was going to find so many warriors to sacrifice?
Yu Huai waved his hand, and the two Oracles who had come in to deliver the message answered in a deep voice, rose to their feet, and walked out slowly. The doors of the great hall slowly closed, and the interiors became dim again. With both hands placed on his knees, Yu Huai frowned as he looked at Yu He, then at Wu Qi.
"The selection of sixteen sons of the third generation to be the Prefecture Overseers of ninth-grade provinces is an important strategy for the Yu Clan of Zhong Province to strengthen itself!" Yu Huai said in a deep voice, "All the time, Yu Clan has only been holding the power of Directorate of Celestials in Great Yu's Imperial Court. But now, because we have betrayed the former Prefecture Overseer, Feng Lingling, we are given the power of thirty provinces."
While frowning, Yu Huai lowered his voice and said, "This is an excellent opportunity for the Yu Clan to expand our influence from the Directorate of Celestials to the local officials. Yu He, your grandfather and I intend to take advantage of this opportunity to let Liangzhu Yu Clan directly get involved in the power structure of Zhong Province. Of the thirty provinces, we need to hold twenty-five in our hand at the very least."
Yu He looked at his father in shock, while Wu Qi looked at Yu Huai in bewilderment. It was no doubt it would be of great benefit to Liangzhu Yu Clan to take the power of twenty-five provinces from the Yu Clan of Zhong Province, and Yu Mu was certainly loyal to the Liangzhu Yu Clan. But, would the Yu Clan of Zhong Province be willing to let them do that? Would they be willing to let go of such lucrative rights and interests?
Then, they heard Yu Huai speak again, "So, whether when you were competing for the power of a province, or when you are running a province in the future, your grandfather and I cannot provide too much of help. You will have to settle everything by yourself and Tan Lang's help." Putting up a finger, he said, "One year... I need the both of you to survive for one year out there. Let those people who followed Yu Miao do more harm against you, and with that, we'll have plenty of chances to strike back!"
Wu Qi's brows knitted in thought. 'He means to have Yu He and I be the baits to lure the clan members on Yu Miao's bandwagon into attacking us. As long as he gets the evidence that Yu Miao and his people have done harm to the members of the Yu Clan, as the Principle of all the Yu Clans in Great Yu, Liangzhu Yu Clan will have an excellent excuse to interfere. But, under the aggressive suppression of Yu Miao and others, Yu He's life might not be in danger, but I will certainly be in an awkward situation...'
"If it hadn't been for Tan Lang," said Yu Huai as he turned to look at Wu Qi, "I would have asked Yu He to take the office of Prefecture Overseer in peace and feather his own nest. The plan would not have involved you. But, since he has recruited such a strong helper like you, we hope that both of you can help Liangzhu Yu Clan accomplish this."
Just as Wu Qi was about to speak, another puppet burst into flames. The blue flame burned his skin and made it sizzle, causing a patch of his skin, about the size of a palm, to be filled with blisters. Startled, he pulled the puppet out and threw it away. "They are attacking again! Damn it! We have not even assumed the office yet!" He roared furiously.
Yu Huai's expression changed slightly, and he immediately waved his right hand. At the gesture, Bone Ao gave a deep roar and grabbed the burning puppet in his hand, then blew out a black breath and fused it into the puppet. All of a sudden, the little puppet turned into a wisp of dark smoke and shot away, wheeling nine rounds around Wu Qi before disappearing into the void.
Another commotion broke out in Yu Residence, and before long, the two black-clothed Oracles who came earlier walked into the great hall again, their bodies shrouded in an evil aura. They dropped to their knees and said in a low voice, "His Excellency Meng Kao, the Chief Star Oracle of the Eastern Sky who serves the Directorate of Celestials in Zhong Province, the disciple newly taken in by Elder Yu Miao, was suddenly burned to death by a self-kindled ghost flame, leaving nothing behind but a heap of ashes. His soul is nowhere to be found. Elder Yu Miao woke up once, but when he learned that Yu Hao and Meng Kao had died, he fainted again with rage."
Grinning coldly, Yu Huai gestured away the two Oracles. "They are really not letting this go, aren't they?" he said indifferently, "But, we can't blame them. The old b*stard's son is dead, and that drove patience out of his disciple's mind. Hehe, Tan Lang, you may rest assured that although there is a great risk in this, but we will pay you enough! On top of what Yu He has promised you, we'll give you more!"
Wu Qi stared at Yu Huai as he was lost in thought. At last, he nodded slowly and said, "Well, give me a storage ring with big enough capacity, and then give me plenty of energy stones, immortal stones, defensive bone talismans, various magical items, gold and silver, and life-saving pills. Oh, I also want some cultivation scriptures. I believe Your Excellency Yu Huai can easily fulfill these requests, right?"
Yu Huai laughed. "Very well, I like blunt men. Whatever you want, I'll give it to you. So long as you help Yu He keeps Hai Province's affairs in order, and so long as the both of you can get through that old b*stard Yu Miao's suppression and retaliation and let them bounce as high as they can, you'll get more once the matter is settled!"
After a moment of pondering, Yu Huai said with a smile, "As for the things you have just asked for, Yu He will take you to the secret vault later on. Pick anything you want at will."
But as he said that, the last puppet in Wu Qi's possession suddenly sprung up in the air. A snake-shaped green gas wrapped around the puppet, its mouth opened wide while trying to devour the puppet. Bone Ao's reaction was so quick that he grabbed the little puppet and ripped the snake-shaped green gas to pieces, doing two things almost at the same time. After that, he pointed one finger out to unleash a bone snake into the puppet's body. As expected, another miserable howl was heard coming from somewhere in the Yu Residence.
Wu Qi's face was ghostly pale with fright. He glanced at Yu Huai and Yu He, whose expressions were equally ugly as his, and said with a bitter smile, "Besides, can you give me a few hundreds of these life-saving puppets? Yu Miao's sons and disciples are crazy. They can attack me at any moment!"
Wu Qi was absolutely terrified. The human Oracles had mastered all sorts of secret lethal spells and arts, and as Yu Miao's sons and grandsons and disciples had fixed their gazes at him, he did not know if he could make it through the life of being attacked anywhere and anytime!
Of course, he had ways of saving his life, and the Dao of Ghost and Deity inherited by Princess Zhang Le was extremely profound. But, since there was room for extortion, why couldn't he extort more good things from Yu Huai?
Yu Huai's teeth squeaked as he ground them hard. "It's simply lawless!" He bellowed.
Grabbing Wu Qi and Yu He's arms, he cried out in a low voice, "Come with me. We'll go to my father, and I will ask him to give each of you a defensive magical item. Nobody can stand if this goes on! I have only one son, unlike Yu Miao, who has so many b*stards!"
With a dash, Yu Huai took Wu Qi and Yu He out of the great hall.