Three flying ships shaped like wolves, with decorative wings on the sides of the deck, were flying through the sky. Each of them measured three hundred feet long, and could accommodate up to five hundred soldiers. They were the only large-scale combat machines owned by the Military Court of Hai Province.
Accompanied by Huang Liang, whose arms and legs were shaking, Wu Qi stood at the prow of the first ship as he glanced excitedly at the magnificent scenery of mountains and rivers that passed underneath. As Hai Province was situated right next to an ocean, its capital city, Ningbo City, as well as the five county cities, were built very close to the ocean. There were many fishing villages along the coastline. When the ships flew along the border between the land and the ocean, they could see many white sails fluttering in the breeze and hear the faint singing of the fishermen on the boats.
To their left was the ocean, and to their right was a boundless flatland, while further away into the land stood a vast mountain range. Here and there, small ridges stretched out from the mountain range and went straight into the ocean. They looked like dragons who were drinking water while dividing the flatland into many basins. Through these ridges, the energy veins in the ocean and the mountains were connected, thus turning the mountain range, that was stretching for hundreds of thousands of miles, into a region with the richest natural energy in Hai Province.
According to Huang Liang, countless itinerant cultivator powers had taken root in Hai Province since its establishment, and the strongest among them was Reverend Yao Yue from the Mount Moon Gazing. The officials of Hai Province knew that he was an ally of Myriad Immortal Alliance, the itinerant cultivator organization which was officially wanted by Great Yu. But, due to his fearsome overall strength and the thought of self-protection, they had never done anything too large-scale against the itinerant cultivators in the province, who were all led by Reverend Yao Yue.
And, since the murder of the former Military Minister twenty years ago, no one dared to do anything to the itinerant cultivators in Hai Province again. The province had turned into a paradise for itinerant cultivators, while countless natural resources and treasures had become the tonics that improved their cultivation base.
Wu Qi slapped the wolf-head statue on the bow of the ship and snapped, "This beautiful land belongs to the Human Emperor. How can we allow those itinerant cultivators to make a mess here? We must wipe out that Mount Moon Gazing! We must let those itinerant cultivators understand that Hai Province is the territory of the human race, not their paradise!"
But, Wu Qi told himself in his heart that Hai Province was the place he had chosen, and only those he approved, such as the Underhand Sect, could enter here. As for the other itinerant cultivators, they should quickly pack up their belongings and get out of here, or he would claim all their wealth as well as their lives!
The wealth of these itinerant cultivators could be used to train a new army loyal to him, and their lives meant military achievements! Wu Qi wanted to witness how the capital city of Great Yu, Liangzhu, looked like. But, in order for him to make the trip, it would take a lot of military achievements to build up a high enough title of nobility!
The capital city of Great Yu was the richest land on Pangu Continent, where countless rare and precious treasures could be found. At the thought of some mystic realms in You Xiong Plain which were recorded in the Scroll of Stealing, Wu Qi could not help but have his heart race!
The excitement made Wu Qi give the wolf-head statue another hard slap. But, it appeared that he slapped much harder than before, as the statue cracked with a snap. All of a sudden, faint dark smoke began to seep out of everywhere while the ship plunged whistling down from the sky.
Fortunately, the Oracles on the ship responded quickly. A few of them threw out some bone talismans which transformed into a large cloud that held the ship in the air, stopping it from falling further. In shock, Wu Qi turned to Huang Liang and shouted, "What's going on? I've only given it a light slap!"
With an embarrassing expression, Huang Liang bowed and said with a wry smile, "Your Excellency, since the establishment of Hai Province, there have been only three flying ships, and they are approaching the end of their lives. On top of that, they have not been fully maintained for all these years. I fear that most of the arrays in their interiors are long rotten and destroyed. They can hardly fly normally, so it is natural that your slap can easily destroy it!"
Wu Qi was rendered speechless. After pondering for a while, he asked a retinue brought by Yu He, the current Left Minister of Directorate of Celestials in Hai Province, "How much does the snake-shaped flying ship that brought us here cost, if I were to buy it from the authorities?"
The Left Minister bowed respectfully and whispered a figure. Wu Qi remained silent for a moment, then nodded and said, "Well, let us all squeeze in the other two flying ships. Destroy this ship here as I don't see any value in maintaining it!"
The figure given by the Left Minister was the total output of Hai Province in fifty years! It was not the tax income, but the total value of all the goods produced by the people of Hai Province in fifty years! And, it was only enough to buy a one-mile long, snake-shaped flying ship. As for the giant flying ship that measured up to one hundred miles long, the one used by the Military Court of Zhong Province, it was no different from a daydream with Hai Province's current income.
After moving all the soldiers from the damaged ship to the other two, Wu Qi looked at Huang Liang and said with a smile, "It's nothing but money. Hai Province may not have enough money to waste, but Reverend Yao Yue and his fellow Immortals certainly have all the money we need!"
Wu Qi rubbed his palms and looked into the distance. He was hoping that after so many years of operating in Hai Province, Reverend Yao Yue would have accumulated a significant wealth, which would be enough to pay him for the trouble of going all the way to find him! 'It is a pity that Zhang Le and the others cannot reveal themselves openly, or I'd definitely let her kill Reverend Yao Yue herself!' thought Wu Qi.
Waving their hands, a few Oracles unleashed dozens of scorching fireballs, shattering the damaged flying ship in the air. Amidst the dull explosion, the other two ships sped on with Wu Qi standing at the prow and looking coldly at Huang Liang, who was trembling beside him.
Initially, Huang Liang was excluded from the expedition. But, he was brought along later because nobody, including Wu Qi, knew where Mount Moon Gazing was. On Pangu Continent, there were countless mountains and rivers that had no name, and Mount Moon Gazing was just the name Reverend Yao Yue had given to the mountain himself. Not even the locals of Hai Province knew exactly where it was located. Therefore, other than Huang Liang, who had at least patrolled the entire Hai Province, Wu Qi did not know who could lead him to his destination.
The speed of the flying ships made Wu Qi feel as if he was going through a cruel torment. After flying for seven days and seven nights along the winding coastline, when he asked Huang Liang for the hundredth time why they had not yet reached Mount Moon Gazing, a massive mountain with luxuriant foliage standing between the ocean and the land finally emerged in the horizon. Huang Liang, who was nearly driven mad by Wu Qi, immediately pointed to the mountain and cried out with joy, "That is the Mount Moon Gazing! I can't be wrong because I've visited this place several times in the last few years!"
Wu Qi gave Huang Liang a sideways glance. "You've visited this place several times? What were you doing here?"
The question took the color away from Huang Liang's face. He lowered his head timidly and muttered, "I... I..." Biting his lips, he said, "I once found a few spirit herbs while on patrol, and brought them here in exchange for some gold and silver."
Wu Qi gave him a deep look and said indifferently, "The trading of spirit medicines and spirit herbs is an official business run by Great Yu, and you have committed a capital offense for selling them privately." After a pause, he patted Huang Liang's pale face and whispered, "Remember this, I represent Great Yu here!"
Huang Liang's eyes lit up as color was returning to his face. With a cupped fist and a deep bow, he said, "I understand!"
"Good!" Squinting his eyes, Wu Qi exercised the Chaotic Divine Eyes and glancing out over the Mount Moon Gazing, which was about a hundred miles away.
The mountain was surrounded by many overlapping peaks and ridges, which made them look like many lotus flowers crowded around a strange-shaped jade. The mountain itself stood about one hundred miles tall and several thousand miles in circumference, shrouded in a purple mist with nothing between it and the sun and moon in the sky. Clearly, it was an excellent blessed land for Immortals. According to their positions, the peaks in the surroundings shone with different colors, an evidence that Reverend Yao Yue had deployed many defensive formations around the mountain. Apparently, the region was strictly guarded by cultivators, because there were many buildings on the mountain.
"There is a market on the beach right at the foot of the mountain, where all the itinerant cultivators of Hai Province gather and trade," whispered Huang Liang. "Many of them visit it on a regular basis, and according to the information we've gathered, this market is the only base Myriad Immortal Alliance has in Hai Province!"
Wu Qi pondered in silence for a while. After that, he discussed in a low voice with the captain, whom Yu He had sent, and the leader of Oracles, and together, they laid down an overall plan.
Two flying ships parted in the sky to flank Mount Moon Gazing from left and right, while clouds gradually spread out from above them to cover their traces. The Oracles from Directorate of Celestials and the Immortals had been fighting against each other for countless years, so they naturally had developed a set of extremely effective means against the latter. This layer of Distracting Smoke was unique to the Directorate of Celestials, and was best in preventing the probing of divine sense sent out by Immortals.
Unless some unfortunate fellow bumped into the Distracting Smoke and collided with the flying ships, no one would know that there were two flying ships, one thousand soldiers, and several hundred Oracles hiding in the clouds! As long as they were led by a few formidable generals, this army was sufficient to inflict heavy damage, or even uproot an itinerant cultivator power.
As the flying ships disappeared into the distance, Wu Qi wrapped his feet with a gust of chill wind, then dragged Huang Liang with him and flew straight towards the beach at the foot of Mount Moon Gazing.
Since Huang Liang had sold his spirit herbs here before, it proved that he had some acquaintances in the market. It would be spoiling the fun if Wu Qi were to launch a full attack without speaking a word after they had taken all the troubles to finally get here. It would be better for him to take a look at what treasures were being traded in the market, find out how much loot he could potentially get, and only attack once the targets were determined. Wouldn't that be better than just rushing into the market and killing recklessly?
With all sorts of evil thoughts tumbling in his mind, Wu Qi flew towards Mount Moon Gazing with Huang Liang, whose face had turned pale once again.
A round moon was slowly climbing up in the sky, and wave after wave rolled across the ocean and ended their lives on the sandy beach.
On the beach that shone with a magnificent bluish-purple glow under the moonlight, the market that measured about ten miles in circumference was brightly lit, with many Immortals and itinerant cultivators enjoying themselves despite the time of the day.
Wu Qi landed right next to the market with Huang Liang and then strode into it. Although it was a big place, it was not guarded by a single guard. Therefore, nobody had noticed their arrival. After walking for a quarter of an hour along the street, they suddenly heard a cry of excitement from a shop. "Hahaha, Your Excellency Military Minister, are you bringing us something valuable again? Oh, what do you want this time? An aphrodisiac ecstasy? Or, the puppet talisman that can be used to control other people?"
Accompanied by the loud laughter, a middle-aged man with a large head and big ears, whose cultivation base was only at the Gold Core realm, strode out of a shop.