Yu Mu's residence was a low and flat hall situated in the main residential area at the backyard of the Yu Residence.
Wu Qi followed Yu Huai into the hall where Yu Mu lived, walking along a dark and deep tunnel into the inner area. The tunnel opened to many forks on both sides, with short, dark, and oppressive passages that led to various halls such as Yu Mu's living place, meditation chamber, alchemy workshop, and others.
At the end of the tunnel was an oddly shaped hall. The round hall was one hundred and twenty feet in diameter, and hundreds of feet in height, yet it did not have a ceiling, which made it look like a deep well from above. A precise map of the stars was carved on the walls, with millions of bean-sized stars. It was unknown as to what kind of restrictive spell was used, as the stars were actually moving slowly over the wall along the path of the stars in the sky.
A beam of sunlight projected into the hall from the sky, and dust could be seen dancing sparsely amidst the golden ray.
In the middle of the hall were two large stone chairs. Yu Mu, who had changed into a loose, gray, linen robe, was sitting in the chair on the left-hand side. The one on the right had a lady seated on it, who seemed to be in her twenties, pretty and youthful.
The lady was also dressed in a gray, linen robe, her feet bared and her long hair hung loosely behind her. Her hands were playing with a set of jade divination sticks. Her face and body looked young, but when she looked up at Wu Qi, he was surprised to find that she was not as young as he had expected. She had a pair of beautiful eyes, but they, which were supposed to be smart and lively, were motionless. They were as deep as wells, and were filled with an air of vicissitude. It made her feel almost a little older than Yu Mu.
Wu Qi and Yu He stopped at a distance of twenty feet from the two in the chairs, while Yu Huai walked slowly in front of them and bowed, "Father, Mother."
The corners of Wu Qi's eyes twitched a little. This beautiful lady, who was outwardly young but inwardly old, was actually Yu Huai's mother? The lady who was once Yu Miao's betrothed and came from a hermit clan that possessed the bloodline of Gods?
Obediently, Yu He knelt down on his knees and kowtowed to Yu Mu and the lady, "Grandpa, Grandma!"
Wu Qi also bowed his head while cupping his fist and said, "Tan Lang offers greetings to Your Excellency Grand Oracle and... Old Madam!"
The corner of Yu Mu's mouth twitched a little. "Good... Yu Huai, was it Bone Ao who attacked just now?" He said in a low voice, "Three men are dead. Yu Hao, Meng Kao, and Wang Xing, who has just been killed by a thousand snakes... One of them is Yu Miao's son, and the other two are his capable disciples, and they all died in a strange manner. The Elders are busy out there right now, and have not found the culprit."
Yu Huai gave a deep laugh and said, "I'm afraid they'll never find the culprit!"
Before he could finish, Yu Huai's old mother suddenly reached out her hand and gave him a hard slap in the face. The slap threw him tumbling back and slam headlong into the wall. "Why are you speaking like one of those ghostly things?" The old lady snapped fiercely, "Hmph! You were once a normal son of mine, yet you've actually practiced that kind of forbidden technique and turned yourself into a ghost. Do you find it fun?"
Yu Huai did not dare to reply as a dry smile crept over his face. He climbed to his feet obediently and walked back cautiously, rubbing his face along the way.
Wu Qi lowered his head, and so did Yu He. Then, they heard the old lady scold again, "Yu He, don't you ever learn from your good-for-nothing father! I had only forbidden him from marrying concubines, and yet he went ahead to practice that forbidden technique! Hmph, see what you have become now? You mean to make me angry, don't you?"
Glaring at Yu Huai, the old lady continued, "You are a good-for-nothing, just like your father! When you make a concession to that old fool Yu Miao, he will push one step further, and when you make ten concessions, he will push twelve steps further! I'll see how many more concessions can you make!"
With her head held high, the old lady threw the jade divination sticks into the air. Bright sparks flashed midair, and she was gone in the blink of an eye.
Wu Qi looked at Yu Huai in amazement. His mother had forbidden him to marry concubines, and thus, he went ahead to practice some forbidden technique and turned himself into a skeleton? How could he be so cruel to himself? Wu Qi had a feeling that all the members of the Yu Clan were shrouded in an immense ghostly aura, and it seemed that he could not find any normal man here! Furthermore, the old lady was indeed cruel and ruthless, and her jealousy was just overboard! Her son had already practiced a forbidden technique, and yet she still not allowed him to marry a few concubines?
Yu Mu cleared his throat and said coolly, "What is it that you want from me?"
Yu Huai laughed strangely again, but then suddenly covered his mouth with one hand and glanced around, making sure that his old mother was no longer in the hall. Only then did he lower his voice and tell Yu Mu what had happened to Wu Qi just now. "Judging by what they have done, Tan Lang could be killed by them at any time. If that happens, Yu He will lose his helper, and our plan will fail eventually."
Yu Mu gave Wu Qi a glance and nodded slowly. "Indeed, we need to give him something that can protect his life," he said, "because once he is dead, we'll have to send our own men to aid Yu He. But, that will certainly alert them and make them more careful in their actions, resulting in the increased difficulty for us to catch their tails. That will not do."
After weighing for a brief moment, Yu Mu rose to his feet and said, "Well, let's go to my private storehouse. Not only Tan Lang, Yu He, you will need to choose some good things to protect yourself as well. Hmph, I'm sure they will do anything out of desperation. You are my only grandson, and since your grandmother does not allow me and your father to take in any concubines, if you die... I'll have no descendant to worship me in the future!"
Accompanied by Yu Mu's rather helpless nagging, the four of them walked to the southeast wall of the rounded hall. Yu Mu spent a little while to study the slow-moving map of stars on the wall, then quickly reached out his right hand to point at hundreds of different stars with a flicker of phosphorescence on his fingertip. His movements were a mixture of fast and slow, light and heavy, and the flicker of phosphorescence on his fingertip shone bright and dim from time to time. Although Wu Qi was watching his movements from behind, he failed to understand the exact mystery behind them.
Yu Mu's pointing was completed in an instant. Suddenly, a white light erupted from the wall. The four of them felt their bodies lightened, and were rolled into the white light. Wu Qi looked intently, and saw that behind the white light was a small teleportation formation, which was hovering in a one-mile wide pocket world created with magic. They flew directly into the formation, and as a strong light flashed, they had been transferred to another place.
It was a vast space that measured more than a million miles in circumference. There was no light in all its darkness, only a tiny continent suspended in the void. Hundreds of thousands of wooden racks and tables were placed on the smooth and flat ground, on top of which were a great array of rare and exotic treasures, gleaming with all sorts of colors.
Yu Mu turned to Yu Huai and said, "You've been here a few times, but it's the first time Yu He has come. Explain to him what this place is."
Yu Huai immediately explained to Wu Qi and Yu He the origin of this space.
Many Aeons ago, among the ancestors of Yu Mu was a man who had reached the realm of Primordial Immortal through cultivating the True Body of Heaven and Earth Scripture. Before his death, he followed the way of how the Great Saint Pangu had created the universe. He exploded himself and created a space in the sub-dimension for his descendants, which could exist forever as long as it was not attacked by an external force. The space was capable of producing some extremely rare treasures every year, and it was also the safest private storehouse under the heaven.
Unless one was led here by a son of Yu Clan who possessed the bloodline of Yu Mu's lineage, or was protected by a sufficient cultivation base, anyone who intruded this space by mistake would be wiped out completely by the force of the space, a force strong as that of a full power strike from a Primordial Immortal himself!
Wu Qi shuddered. Not only was this private storehouse a good place to keep treasures, but also a fatal trap!
'What is Yu Mu's intention in bringing me here? Is it to show off the rich foundation of his clan in order to make sure that I do my best to help Yu He? It must have been so. Otherwise, Yu Mu would not have brought me into such a secret place, even if he had wanted to give me some treasures.'
Meanwhile, Yu He was dancing with excitement as he was surprised to find out that this little space was created by his immediate ancestor.
Instead of letting Wu Qi and Yu He into the tiny continent that was about ten thousand miles in length and width, Yu Mu beckoned directly at it, and a few objects flew with a rainbow of light towards him. He handed Yu Huai a set of skeletal armor made of spirit bones and asked him to refine it, then handed Yu He another set of skeletal armor and a few magical items, and asked him to refine them carefully as a means of protecting his life.
What he gave Wu Qi was a strange-looking storage ring, a serpent with its head and tail touching each other; a fist-sized pearl, pitch black and with innumerable clouds tangled inside, veiling countless mountains, rivers, towns, and people; and a palm-sized jade slip.
The storage ring was filled with the energy stones, immortal stones, and various treasures demanded by Wu Qi. And, inside the jade slip was a set of mystic arts practiced by Oracles, as well as the complete set of True Body of Heaven and Earth Scripture.
Yu Mu thought that since Wu Qi was just a hundred-men Lieutenant in the Military Court of An Le County, he would not have possessed the complete set of True Body of Heaven and Earth Scripture, as it was under the strict control of the Great Yu authorities. So, he decided to give it to Wu Qi. As for the mystic arts practiced by Oracles, he meant to take his chances to see if Wu Qi had the qualification to practice both the True Body of Heaven and Earth Scripture and the various mystic arts of the Oracles at the same time.
If Wu Qi could practice the mystic arts of the Oracles, then Yu He would have a strong and talented helper. Otherwise, Wu Qi could still have a great progress in his cultivation base with the complete set of the True Body of Heaven and Earth Scripture.
And, the most valuable of all was the black pearl!
The pearl was condensed from all the Shen energy of a Spirit Shen who had lived for many, many Aeons. After it was refined by the Seniors of Yu Clan, it possessed a very strong defensive strength against all kinds of curse spells of the human race. It also had all sorts of magical abilities that could cover one's trace, conceal one's aura, and hide one's fate from the Heaven Secret. It was an excellent supplementary treasure.
It was only that the members of Yu Mu's clan had been practicing cultivation techniques that focused more on frontal attacks. So, even if the enemy attacked them with curse spells, they were accustomed to fighting back with a stronger and more violent spell. That was the reason why an evasive treasure such as this Spirit Shen Pearl was not valued by them, and therefore, was given to Wu Qi.
After listening to Yu Mu's explanation, Wu Qi was delighted for a moment, and he hurriedly bit his fingertip according to Yu Mu's order and stained the Spirit Shen Pearl with his blood.
Immediately, a plume of smoke rushed out of the pearl and wrapped Wu Qi in it.