Twelve corpses were laid in a row on the drill ground. They were clean, without any bloodstains. Each corpse had a very tiny wound on the chest, as well as both sides of the head near the temple. It was these wounds that took their lives.
The soldiers who were training on the drill ground had all rushed to the walls, and the defensive mechanism of the city had been fully activated. A grayish white fog pervaded the wilderness about a hundred miles from the wall, and there were some strange shadows moving in it. They seemed to resemble humans, but if one looked carefully, they were actually shadows of twisting and bending figures. The fog was the first defensive barrier of Ningbo City - 'The Hundred Weeping Ghosts of the Yellow Spring!'
There were only Huang Liang and a few hundred warriors on the drill ground. When Wu Qi arrived with a few soldiers, he was squatting next to a corpse, sniffing at it like a hound and running his fingers across the body. He looked so absorbed in what he was doing that people might mistake him as a pervert who took a special liking to corpses.
Wu Qi strode over to him and asked in a low voice, "Have you found anything?"
Huang Liang lifted his head. His usual obscene expression and unctuous manner were gone, replaced by an astonishing seriousness. "They were killed in a flash, almost as if they were too weak to counterattack," he said in a deep voice. "There is no smell of blood on their weapons… Evidently, they did not hurt the enemy. And, all their blood was drained, and their bodies are filled with a strange potion."
The drill ground suddenly rang with footsteps as Yu He, who had received the news, hurried over with many officials of Hai Province. He happened to hear Huang Liang's report, and he snapped, "All our patrols are headed by at least a captain of One Star Realm of First Pangu Heaven. But, they were killed without sending back a single signal? Are all the wounds exactly the same?"
Huang Liang was about to speak when a sharp, unpleasant tinkle of a copper bell suddenly resounded in the distant hills, piercing into everyone's ears like an awl. Except for Wu Qi, who was far stronger than the rest, everyone was forced to cover their ears with their hands and squat down uncomfortably. As the harsh tinkle continued to ring, the twelve corpses on the ground suddenly bounced to their feet, fiercely reaching out their fingers that were bent like hooks to grab the person closest to them.
A moment ago, these corpses looked normal, except that their blood had been drained and their skins had turned pale as snow. But, as soon as the tinkles echoed across the drill ground, their bodies suddenly shriveled, and their skins tightly wrapped around muscles that dried up like bacon. Their pale skin tone was replaced by an eerie-looking green. Their eyes, which abruptly flicked open, were shot with blood, and their fingers had turned into something like iron hooks; pitch black and giving off a pungent stench. Clearly, their fingers were poisonous.
"How dare you!" Wu Qi snorted coldly as he stamped on the ground with one foot. The drill ground paved with boulders immediately rippled like the surface of water, and a ring of shockwave spread out in all directions. The living men felt nothing but a quick weakness in their feet; however, a rapid cracking noise was heard as the shockwave swept past the twelve zombies and shattered their leg bones. With both legs broken, the zombies fell to the ground, their arms waving wildly in the air and their mouths roaring constantly.
"What a surprise, someone is actually using the art of zombies against us!" said Wu Qi with a deep laugh. Suddenly, there was a mass of gray fog rushing out of his palms. Accompanied by a shrill ghost howl, the fog kindled, producing a green flame that burned silently around his palms. The flesh on his palms had turned into a very strange form, pale green in color and transparent, with the bones clearly visible, which were exuding a very evil black gleam.
"Oh, you've mastered the Nether Ghost Palm? It looks like we have not backed the wrong horse! Cultivating both body and magic? Tan Lang, you've amazed me!" Wu Qi was about to take on the zombies when a deep, hoarse and unpleasant voice suddenly rang out. Clad in a long black robe that wrapped his entire body, Yu Huai strode over with several men in the same outfit. As he neared, he kept praising Wu Qi for his rare and extraordinary talents.
Wu Qi shook his head and said with an indifferent smile, "You are flattering me, Your Excellency Yu Huai. I just want to teach Myriad Immortal Alliance a lesson, so they will stop playing tricks with us!"
A cold and evil laugh burst out of Yu Huai's mouth. "The lesson must be taught indeed! But, the Nether Ghost Palm will give us a better result when it is directly striking on a man's body. Using it to remotely attack someone is just not as good. Hehe, since they are using the art of zombie, I might as well teach them a lesson!"
Wu Qi withdrew the Nether Ghost Palm and looked curiously at Yu Huai.
When Wu Qi met him, the man was dwelling in his own great hall to refine one hundred and eight fiend corpses with some forbidden technique. It showed that he was very skilled in the arts of zombies. As he said, the Nether Ghost Palm, which Wu Qi had learned recently, could cause a very serious injury when it directly struck on a man's body, but its power would not be as good when used across a distance. It would be better to just let him do his thing, and Wu Qi could take the opportunity to watch what he was capable of.
In the distant hills, the tinkles of the bell grew more and more rapid, as if the man who rang the bell was anxious to make these zombies attack. But, how could they hurt anybody when their legs were broken and could only crawl and roll on the ground?
Yu Huai came to the twelve zombies and let out a few strange laughs. Suddenly, a thick black fog poured out of his black robe, quickly enveloping the zombies and squeezing into their orifices like some living creatures. The zombies' bodies stiffened, then slowly flew up and huddled together in the air. In front of Wu Qi's stupefied eyes, the zombies fused like droplets of water, gradually turning into a body that was as tall as a man, its skin pitch black in color.
Drawing out a black bone knife, Yu Huai walked up to the body that was suspended in the air and intoned a few spells under his breath. When he was done, he put the knife into the zombie's forehead, then its chest, abdomen, ribs, and some other vital spots. In total, he stabbed the zombie eighteen times. Finally, with an evil smile on his face, he casually slapped the top of its head.
All of a sudden, the zombie vanished into thin air. Almost as soon as it disappeared, a terrible scream was heard coming from the distant hills. Before long, dozens of sword beams shot up into the sky and flew towards Ningbo City with a menacing air, while the scream continued in the background, so loud that it churned the clouds in the sky.
With a mean smile on his face, Yu Huai said, "An Immortal in his top form suddenly has the flesh of twelve zombies inside his body, and the flesh contains the eggs of the Nether Butterfly who only live in the Yellow Springs. When the larvae hatch, they will eat his flesh, and it will take them three days and three nights to finish all his flesh and his soul! Hehe… They should never play their little tricks in front of me!"
Wu Qi gasped. He tried to imagine how it would look like when an Immortal suddenly had the flesh of twelve zombies in his or her body, as well as countless eggs hatching and ready to devour his flesh. It was a cruel torment without any doubt. A shiver washed down his back as he grew wary of the various fearsome mystic arts practiced by the Directorate of Celestials. Since Yu Huai knew such a method, it was likely that Yu Miao would have mastered some curse spells that were even more dreadful. 'I must be extremely careful. Otherwise, they might catch me by surprise someday,' he thought.
Soon, the dozens of sword beams had arrived outside Ningbo City, and a high-pitched female voice rang out between them, "This is ridiculous! How could you sneak attack fellow Daoist Hua Yin with such an evil technique? He is going to die miserably! All of you are heavy with sin, and you will soon suffer from the wrath of the heaven!"
Laughing, Wu Qi bowed at Yu Huai with a cupped fist, "Your Excellency's divine abilities are truly powerful and unfathomable. Those b*stards of Myriad Immortal Alliance are here. I'll take my leave now and deal them head-on blows!"
Yu Huai waved his hand indifferently and said, "Well, off you go then. They are just a bunch of Heaven Immortals… You can totally finish them alone. We will not send our sinecures for now. Mm… Take your time to play with them. Let us see how much power can Myriad Immortal Alliance pour into Hai Province!"
As Yu Huai and Wu Qi were talking, on a mountain about nine hundred miles from Ningbo City, a black stone chair was placed on the summit, on which sat a man clad in a black linen clothes; a tall jade crown was present on his head, his face expressionless and his body exuding an aura of death like that of a zombie. Without saying a word, the man was looking in the direction of Ningbo City. Behind him stood a row of thirty-six generals clad in heavy black armor, and they were not talking either.
When the man saw across the distance that Wu Qi was leading some soldiers up the wall to confront the Heaven Immortals, he finally spoke. "Cultivating both the body and magic... I can't believe Yu Mu found such an excellent talent! His name is Tan Lang? Pay more attention to him, and if you can, promote him when there is a chance. The Yu Clan in Liangzhu is already in my hand, so we can consider this man as one of us!"
One of the generals behind him responded in a low, muffled voice, then asked, "Your Excellency, the Leader of Myriad Immortal Alliance had been severely wounded by your father, and he is gathering life-saving spirit herbs all across the universe. Of the eighteen Elders of their Divine Hall, thirteen have been seriously injured by your father's plot. In my opinion, they should be dwelling in seclusion to nurse their wounds. Then, why are they stirring up trouble here and there?"
While frowning, the black-clothed man considered for a moment, then slowly lifted his right hand and said, "They must be up to something. In addition to Hai Province, Myriad Immortal Alliance is stirring up conflicts in more than two hundred ninth-grade provinces. In any case, regardless of what they are up to, kill them all with the strongest force. Deliver my decree and see that none of our armies lower down their guard!"
Thirty-six generals responded in unison behind him. As the man was about to give other orders, a gust of wind suddenly blew over, and a man clad in a black outfit and with only two eyes exposed rushed out of the wind, then fell respectfully to his knees in front of the man.
"Your Excellency, the new Celestial Ambassador appointed by the Heaven to Great Yu's Imperial City has arrived!"
The man lifted his head and asked curiously, "Which Celestial Lord is it? Or, could it be an Immortal King?"
The messenger answered in a deep voice, "He is... the Immortal King of the Heaven, the King of Han, Liu Bang!"
The man suddenly clasped his palms and crushed the arms of the stone chair. "Liu Bang?"
Not daring to look up, the messenger said hurriedly, "And, he is accompanied by the Three Heroes, Zhang Liang, Han Xin, and Xiao He. The three Heaven Lords are appointed as deputy ambassadors!"
An insidious smile crept over the man's face. Then, he suddenly burst into laughter, transformed into a dark smoke, and flew into the sky, disappearing in the blink of an eye.