A head flew high and far, belonging to Daoist Fatduck, the master of Mount Black Duck; Wu Qi had removed it from its body with a powerful kick. The mountain was beautiful, but everything was smeared with blood right now. Corpses of cultivators were scattered everywhere, at least four hundred of them. Another two hundred or so cultivators had buried their heads between their hands, kneeling obediently in the square on the mountaintop, surrounded by soldiers clad in heavy armor who emanated menacing auras.
Laughing merrily, Huang Liang was dragging a few young and beautiful female cultivators towards the square. "Your Excellency!" He shouted as he neared, "These few girls are really young, with the oldest only nineteen years old! Hehe… And, they are all virgins!"
Wu Qi waved his hand, signaling Huang Liang that he could do whatever he liked with the girls. Thrilled, Huang Liang and a few hundred-men lieutenants from Ningbo City immediately cupped up the few girls and rushed into a nearby building. Before long, shrill cries of help rang out of the building, and was quickly followed by the rapid noise of body slapping on body and vague moaning.
Although the few youngest and prettiest female cultivators on the mountain were taken by Huang Liang and the few lieutenants, there were still several hundred decent-looking serving ladies around. Wu Qi turned and gestured at a few nearby military officers. At the sight of this, these officers excitedly led their soldiers and rushed towards the serving ladies who had been captured alive, forcibly dragging them into a nearby pavilion as they struggled and begged for mercy.
According to Great Yu's military laws, adultery and raping were strictly prohibited during the war. However, the same laws did not protect Immortals, their clan members, and servants. A general would be beheaded if he was found committing adultery with a fox demon, even if it were the demon that had seduced him. But, no matter how many women related to Immortals were raped during wars, Great Yu's military laws would never protect these unfortunate women.
All the living beings born on Pangu Continent were spirit beings blessed by the Heavenly Dao. Therefore, they were strictly protected by Great Yu's military laws. On the other hand, the Immortals had jumped out of the Three Realms and were not part of the Five Elements. They could no longer be considered humans, as their behavior had violated the Heavenly Laws. Because of that, when it came to Immortals, Great Yu's military laws had no mercy, but rather, encouraged the cruelest means of killing.
It took Wu Qi half a month to breach Mount Black Duck with the help of three thousand private guards of Yu Clan. During the process, he had killed all the stronger Immortals and cultivators, and eventually Daoist Fatduck himself; only managing to capture two hundred or so cultivators below the realm of Nascent Divinity. It had been one year since he participated in wars with the army from Hai Province. The soldiers had fought in many fierce battles, and did not rest for almost a year. Hence, he simply permitted them to act wildly, hoping that it would boost their morale and strength.
Even if he were strict with the army, if he forbade the military officers from raping those female cultivators and serving ladies, according to Great Yu's military laws, they would still be sold into brothels. He could do little to nothing to change their destiny.
The suppressive mission against Myriad Immortal Alliance had been going on for more than a year. After the blood sacrificial ceremony, accompanied by dozens of elites from the Scouting Office and three thousand private guards of Yu Clan, Wu Qi had joined the army of Zhong Province in the war.
The new Prefecture Overseer of Zhong Province, Bo Zhongfu, had thought of establishing his authority by sending one hundred thousand private soldiers of Bo Clan to reinforce Ningbo City. But in the end, the meteor thrown by the three Gold Immortals had completely wiped out the army along with the city. The outcome had sent him fuming.
Meanwhile, as Myriad Immortal Alliance continued to stir up trouble and destroyed over two hundred capital cities of ninth-grade provinces, they had successfully provoked the Human Emperor, who decreed the alliance to be annihilated. With the decree, Bo Zhongfu immediately assembled another army to attack the various bases of itinerant cultivators. Wu Qi had joined the mission with three thousand private guards, and they were placed in the left wing of the army.
Under the leadership of Daoist Fatduck, all the itinerant cultivators within ten thousand miles around Mount Black Duck had gathered together to resist the army led by Wu Qi. Even as the battle was progressing, Bo Zhongfu's third son, Bo Yunting, was leading tens of thousands of soldiers to besiege the Green Phoenix Rock, some thirty thousand miles away. A very famous itinerant cultivator in Zhong Province, Fairy Phoenix, had called upon many itinerant cultivators to fight against him. The situation of the other battlefield was more tragic than here, with both sides suffering great casualties.
While some of the soldiers were enjoying the tender bodies of serving ladies, the others who did not hunger for women were conducting a raid. They seized all of Daoist Fatduck's treasures, such as gold and silver ingots, pearls, corals, turtle shells, gemstones, and many other valuables; piling them up into a small hill in the square.
Later, a flying ship flew over and hovered in the sky. Dozens of Oracles from Dong Hai County's Directorate of Celestials jumped off the ship, landing before Wu Qi and bowing respectfully. After that, with some restraining devices such as Immortal Detaining Needles and Soul Suppressing Talismans, they detained all the two hundred or so cultivators who knelt in the square. When they were done, the ship slowly descended, and after all the cultivators were escorted up the ship, it quickly flew back to Dong Hai County.
Wu Qi looked up at the clouds in the sky as he quietly did some counting with his fingers.
Currently, there were more than six thousand itinerant cultivators being held in the dungeons of Dong Hai City, but their quality was far inferior than that of Reverend Yao Yue and his clan members. It seemed there was still a very long way to go, before he could gather enough offerings to hold three hundred and sixty sacrifice ceremonies as requested by Lei Meng.
Nevertheless, with so many itinerant cultivators caught in the crossfire between Great Yu and Myriad Immortal Alliance, it was not difficult to capture some of them. As long as the war could last for more than a decade, Wu Qi was confident that he could gather enough itinerant cultivators as sacrifices.
In the distance, the Military Governor of Zhong Province was counting the number of cultivators and Heaven Immortals the army had slain. Each corpse was counted as one military merit point, and of the seized valuables, half would be handed over to Zhong Province's treasure and counted as military merit as well. Of the remaining half, Wu Qi, as the commander of the army, could get twenty percent alone, while the military officers including Huang Liang could get forty percent, and the rest would be distributed evenly among the three thousand soldiers.
As the governor was busy counting, Wu Qi sat on a rock, overlooking the bloody Mount Black Duck as he took out a jar of wine and drank a few mouthfuls. He had no clue about Myriad Immortal Alliance's motive. Not only had their sudden attacks caused great losses to Great Yu, but they had also brought a chaotic destruction to all the itinerant cultivators on Pangu Continent.
When the Human Emperor's flame of anger spread out of You Xiong Plain along with his armies, the future of itinerant cultivators on Pangu Continent was doomed to be bloody. The culprit of this, the key backbones of Ascending Immortal Hall and Stealth Immortal Hall, were still fighting against Great Yu's armies with their own men; but, seventy percent allies of Wandering Immortal Hall had already chosen to withdraw from Myriad Immortal Alliance, and had escaped to the outer heavenly realms, away from Pangu Continent.
"Maybe, they are just courting death, eh?" Shaking his head, Wu Qi finished the wine and smashed the jar on the ground, then fished out a silver token from his sleeve. The token was forged with a ferocious Qilin surrounded by six clouds on its face. It represented his current rank in Great Yu's military.
The military system of Great Yu was extremely complicated, especially those of the upper ranks, which were divided by the titles of divine beasts and birds. Even now, Wu Qi still could not understand them at all. But, the military system of the middle and lower ranks was pretty simple to understand.
The ranking was divided by Bronze, Silver, and Gold; Bronze for a lieutenant, Silver for a colonel, and Gold for a general.
The ranking was further divided into grades. There were nine grades for lieutenants, six grades for colonels, and three grades for generals, with Tiger, Qilin, and Dragon as their tokens respectively. A general might serve in the Military Court of the upper three grades of provinces, a colonel in the middle three grades of provinces, and a lieutenant only in the lower three grades of provinces.
After warring for one year, capturing twenty-seven rally points of itinerant cultivators, slaying six hundred and seventy-nine Heaven Immortals with his army, and seizing countless resources, Wu Qi was promoted to the highest grade colonel of Great Yu military. With just a little bit more military merits, he would join the ranks of generals.
Among the three thousand private guards who followed him on the expedition, more than one hundred of them were the lineal and collateral descendants of the Yu Clan, and they had also obtained excellent military merits, being promoted to lieutenants and colonels. With enough military merits and official military ranking, they could totally leave the territory of their clan and take up important positions in other major provinces, or simply apply for transfer to You Xiong Plain and join the Imperial Army.
The expedition had brought Wu Qi great benefits, and the descendants of the Yu Clan who followed the army had also been rewarded with the benefits they deserved. Therefore, his ties with the Yu Clan had become stronger, and as his army had won every battle, it made him the most prominent figure in the Yu Clan.
Looking up at the sky and counting the time, Wu Qi took out the map of Zhong Province he had received from Bo Zhongfu on his departure. He unfolded it and moved his finger 3.5 million miles across the terrain, from Mount Black Duck to another rallying point of itinerant cultivators, the Black Qilin Cliff.
According to the tidings brought back by the elites of Scouting Office, almost all the itinerant cultivators in the nearby counties had gathered there; nearly one hundred Heaven Immortals and ten thousand itinerant cultivators. It was true that all itinerant cultivators were scared out of their wits when Great Yu's armies were down in the fields hunting them. But, there were also some wise Immortals gathering others to form a strong group, so that they could protect themselves. Their overall strength was astonishing when grouped together, so it was not an easy task to wipe out a whole rallying point.
After considering for some time and hearing the moaning and panting in the buildings gradually subsiding, Wu Qi rose to his feet and cried out in a stern voice, "Somebody, send all the captured servants and serving ladies to Zhong Ning City in a flying ship for sale. The rest of you, pack your things as we are heading for Black Qilin Cliff! Governor, sort and count all the weapons, armors, bone talismans, and the likes. Immediately request supplies from Third Young Master if there is any shortage!"
All the military officers responded with a thunderous roar, and the army began to move methodically.
Just as three thousand soldiers had set foot on three large flying ships and were about to set out, a gust of strong wind suddenly came from a distance. Before long, a few Oracles clad in gray robes revealed themselves amidst the wind. "Third Young Master has ordered the armies of Zhong Province to rest and reorganize where they are!" One of them shouted, "And, the officer who leads the army is to follow us to attend a council in Blue Phoenix Rock!"
Wu Qi looked at these Oracles, puzzled. They were sent by Bo Yunting, he had no doubt about that. But, why did the army have to stop?
He received Bo Yunting's letter from the Oracle, then unfolded it and glanced at it.
"The Celestial Ambassador, the King of Han, Liu Bang 1 , personally comes to Zhong Province to mediate?"
"King of Han?"
"Damn it!"He is another history figure from the Warring States Period, the founder and first emperor of the Han dynasty.