The emperor and ministers of Great Yan trembled at the same time when the dark smoke gushed out. No matter it was Yan Dan or Xun Kuang, or the juniors of Great Yan's imperial clan and aristocratic clans who waited in the great hall, everyone collapsed to the ground and could not move at all.
Wu Qi and his companions were the only group of people who could still stand firm. The few maidservants who brought the baby over had fallen to the ground as well with their bodies twitching convulsively, and stopped breathing soon. Although they were only common girls and did not suffer the same curse as the rest, they were attacked by a biting coldness that came together with the dark smoke, which was actually an evil force that could corrode one's soul.
They were already dead with their souls extracted by the dark smoke. But, their bodies were still alive, warm and soft to touch, looking as beautiful as though they were just sleeping. Still, their souls were already gone.
Ao Buzun had shrunk his body to only three inches long, and was laying on his stomach atop Wu Qi's shoulder like an earthworm. The purple inkstone, which had also shrunk to the size of a soybean, was being held in his mouth as he gazed at the billowing dark smoke with his shifting eyes while murmured under his breath; his words were so vague that no one could hear what he was talking about.
The baby, only one-month-old at most, floated up from the arms of a maidservant. The clothes swaddling him were corroded by the dark smoke, and in just the blink of an eye, turned into specks of rotting ashes that fell onto the ground. A strange evil gleam shone from the naked baby's eyes; his pupils were expanding and soon replaced his whole sclera, turning his eyes completely black. As he studied Wu Qi with the pair of evil eyes, the latter felt a shiver wash up from the bottom of his feet; soon, his entire body turned cold.
Fearing that the baby might harm the people in the great hall, Wu Qi unleashed a stream of black spirit light from his index finger. It conjured thousands of black runes, each as small as an ant, and attached to everyone's body. These primordial runes could fend off all kinds of evil beings, and were used by ancient cultivators to protect their souls from evils.
The baby laughed in a bizarre way. Gently, he raised his fair, tender hands and clapped slowly in admiration. "It's been a long, long time since I've seen such original primordial runes. Those used by the current Oracles of the human race are just crap! Instead of learning the good things left behind by their ancestor, they insisted on learning the lousy things that they had modified thoroughly!"
With a soft sigh, the baby shook his head and said, "They are surely deteriorating from generation to generation! But, you are one interesting little boy...for you to have inherited the orthodox legacy of primordial runes! It is a grand and simple art… With just one word, you can kill or resurrect a man, shatter the void or form a world. It was the Great Dao that the ancient human race used against the innate Gods. The runes and talismans they are using now...Well, I'm too lazy to condemn them."
His voice was soft and delicate, sounding like the crying of a newborn kitten, but his words were old. The weird contrast made everyone in the great hall bristled. Wu Qi felt his heart was drumming. He held Princess Zhang Le's hand and pushed her behind his back, then took a step forward and cried out in a deep voice, "Are you Hei Mo, the Celestial Fiend from the outer domain?"
The baby made a gesture, and the flagon of wine placed in front of Yan Dan flew into his hand. He took a sip of the wine, smacked his lips to savor the aftertaste, then replied in an indifferent tone, "Yes, I am Hei Mo. Are you trying to undo the Black Celestial Forbidden Curse?"
After a moment of silence, Wu Qi nodded and said, "Yes! Did you teach King Yang Shan the curse?"
Leisurely, Hei Mo finished the wine and flung the flagon to the ground. Then, he stretched himself, crossed his legs, and sat comfortably on a clump of dark smoke in mid-air. Finally, with his chin in his hands, he stared at Wu Qi and said with a smile, "I did teach him the curse."
Looking at Hei Mo with clenched jaws, Wu Qi asked, "Why did you do that when I was undoing the curse?"
Hei Mo curled his tiny lips and grumbled innocently, "What have I done?"
"Then why are you here? Why did you possess the baby's body? Why did you take away the lives of these maidservants? Why are you not letting me undo the curse?" Wu Qi demanded angrily.
The five-colored divine ray surged from behind Princess Zhang Le's back, turning into five swords that wheeled rapidly in the air and filled the great hall with jarring noises. The princess's eyes flickered with gleams as she stared at Hei Mo, looking as if she would strike as soon as he did not provide them with a reasonable answer.
Hei Mo gave Princess Zhang Le a surprised look and exclaimed, "A demigod who has awakened the bloodline of the Ancient Gods? Aye, and you are such a beautiful girl! Well, well... If those old fogeys find out about you, they will certainly fight against each other just to get hold of you! Wait, you've also formed your innate divine soul! Ugh, you've no idea how valuable you are... Their sons and grandsons are always on the look for an excellent wife like you to produce offspring for them!"
Wu Qi's face darkened instantly. "Answer my questions, Hei Mo! If you utter any more nonsense, don't blame me for my impoliteness!"
Glancing askance at Wu Qi, Hei Mo spread his little arms and said casually, "I mean well. You better ask your girl to not show her power so easily. If her existence were known to the current leaders of the Ancient Gods on Pangu Continent…hehe…the Eastern Green Emperor, Northern Black Emperor, and Western White Emperor would surely send their lackeys to abduct her!"
Wu Qi stared coldly at Hei Mo. His eyes were flashing with lightning as natural energy rushed into his body from the surroundings, quickly transformed into bolts of lighting by the Eye of Heaven Wrath. Hei Mo's face paled a little, and he looked thoughtfully into Wu Qi's eyes. "Don't be mad! We can always talk this out!" He said while shaking his head and sighing. "If you are still angry, I'll take my leave now and sell your girl out. Don't blame me when you are being chased by people from all over the universe!"
The bolts of lightning in Wu Qi's eyes vanished instantly. With a cupped fist and a warm smile on his face, he said, "You don't have to do that, Senior! Like what you've said, we can always talk this out!"
Hei Mo squinted at Wu Qi's smiling face and shuddered suddenly. He shook his head, then smiled wryly and said, "How unlucky for me to bump into a little boy who's so tough to handle! Tsk, you are much difficult to handle than King Yang Shan and his people, all those wooden poles! Alright, let's be honest with each other!"
After pondering for a brief moment, Hei Mo began to speak.
The Black Celestial Forbidden Curse was a mystic art which Hei Mo taught King Yang Shan after a blood sacrifice. It was only a small part of a strange cultivation technique that he found in the battlefield where many of the ancient almighty experts died after an apocalypse in the primordial era. The cultivation technique, called the 'Black Celestial Mantra', was a technique devoted to the refining of one's divine soul. It was extremely bizarre and powerful at the same time. But, it was based on a completely different concept from the cultivation technique Hei Mo was practicing, and after he tried to cultivate it, he almost went nuts!
So, the Black Celestial Mantra became Hei Mo's private collection. At one time, after King Yang Shan offered him a one-off sacrifice of three thousand Heaven Immortals, which increased his power by a great deal; and a huge amount of rare and precious natural treasures, which allowed him to craft a Prime Fiend Artifact to kill one of his old rivals, Hei Mo rewarded King Yang Shan the mantra.
The curse was very complex, and once controlled by it, it was extremely hard to crack it.
When Hei Mo taught King Yang Shan the curse, they had agreed that if anyone tried to break it, that person's soul would be sacrificed to Hei Mo. No one had ever tried to break it in all these years, so when Wu Qi tried to undo the curse on the baby's soul, Hei Mo arrived at once.
"You can't blame me. This is the Ghost God's contact King Yang Shan has signed with me!" Hei Mo laughed while bending his fingers to count. "Over the years, he has controlled at least several million people with the curse! Hehe, if I can harvest their souls, as well as the souls of all of their countless descendants, I can double my power at the very least!"
After taking a deep breath, Hei Mo told Wu Qi with a smile, "Frankly, King Yang Shan will never release those people who are under his control. However, he couldn't guarantee that the method to undo the curse wouldn't leak. That's why he made a contract with me. Whomever is controlled by him, once someone tries to undo the curse for them, the souls of the controlled will be my offerings!"
Upon hearing this, Yan Dan and others could not help but curse in their hearts at the same time. Fan Yuqi, irascible as he was, swore furiously and cursed King Yang Shan's ancestors.
Hei Mo glanced sideways at Fan Yuqi and sneered, "Curse them, swear them… The louder, the better! King Yang Shan's ancestors are probably your ancestors too, although thousands of generations ago. Hehe, you are all humans, and all humans originated from Pangu Continent. You can curse them all you want. After all, they are your own ancestors! Curse them as loudly as you like!"
Fan Yuqi clenched his jaws and shut his mouth. Seeing this, Hei Mo laughed so hard that he almost rolled off the dark cloud.
Wu Qi exchanged a helpless glance with Yan Dan, then asked with a bitter smile, "What do you want then if I wish to undo their curses?"
Just now, as soon as Wu Qi was about to undo the curse on the baby, Hei Mo had arrived. He was certain that the curse must have been altered by Hei Mo, and perhaps, the life and death of all these people were in fact under the latter's control all the time! In Hei Mo's heart, all those who were controlled by the curse were fat lambs, so when someone began to undo the curse, he immediately came to harvest the souls!
'This scoundrel!' Wu Qi cursed in his heart!
Hei Mo looked to his left, then to his right, and after a long moment of pondering, he suddenly stared sheepishly at Wu Qi.
"Very simple! You can exchange for a person's soul with the blood sacrifice of ten people!"
While smiling, Hei Mo made a gesture and said, "The enmity between you and King Yang Shan is not my concern. Ten people for a soul, that's a fair price!"
Wu Qi ground his teeth while Yan Dan and others turned pale!
There were over a million people in Great Yan's imperial clan and aristocratic clans! At this rate, how many lives would it take to free everyone from the curse?
Still, Wu Qi stomped his feet and agreed to the deal.