Just like Zhong Province, Mingu Province was a first-grade province, and it had a very strange landscape.
With the exception of a handful of plains and mountains, more than ninety-five percent of its land was ripped with deep chasms. From east to west and from south to north, countless chasms stretched across Mingu Province like the sulci of the human brain.
One of the largest chasms, the Min Chasm, already occupied thirty percent of Mingu Province. It was a vast chasm with the deepest point discovered so far reaching 700,000 miles below sea level; and there were many more dangerous hollows at the deeper level, where even the Supreme Oracles of Great Yu were not interested in exploring. Legends had it that Min Chasm was the Great Saint Pangu's navel, who himself had transformed into Pangu Continent, and that it had no so-called deepest chasm at all. As long as someone was willing to explore, they would be able to find a deeper hollow.
The capital city of Mingu Province, Green Chasm City, was located on the edge of Min Chasm, in a vast basin no more than a hundred miles deep. Tens of thousands of miles of land around it had been cultivated into fertile fields; abundant sunshine and rich water vapor here made it possible to produce very rich crops every year. On top of that, Mingu Province not only abounded in all kinds of spirit herbs that preferred shady and cool environments, but was also the largest producer of all kinds of spirit items, such as jade essence and spirit stone milk.
So naturally, Myriad Immortal Alliance had set up a lot of strongholds here. With so many deep chasms available for using as hiding spots, the rich natural treasures which were extremely useful to immortals and cultivators, and even the number of demons being a hundred times more than the other provinces, it was not a surprise that many immortals and cultivators from the alliance scrambled to set up their cave abodes in Mingu Province. In addition to them, countless clans of immortal cultivators who did not join Myriad Immortal Alliance had also built their homes here.
When Wu Qi stepped out of the teleportation formation in the center of the city, several heralds in black robes were already waiting for him. After verifying the identity medallion and official documents he had brought with him, they led him into a chariot dragged by a three-headed blue lion. The Oracle who controlled the chariot let out a light cry, and a thin sheet of cloud immediately emerged underneath the chariot, which brought the chariot and the guards came with Wu Qi hundreds of feet up in the air. Before long, the chariot was flying out of the city at top speed.
Sitting in the chariot, Wu Qi finally had a chance to study the Green Chasm City. Its shape, and even the layout of the whole city, was the same as the other cities in Great Yu: the mansion of Prefecture Overseer was situated in the center of the city, with the Military Court and Directorate of Celestials standing to its left and right, and the Punishment Court found in a corner of the city, next to a dungeon built in the ground. Basically, as long as one had been to any Great Yu city, one would not get lost here, because all the official buildings were in the same location, and even the location and size of the toilets were the same.
The only difference between Green Chasm City and Zhong Ning City was that the rocks near this city were slightly greenish because of geological differences. So, Green Chasm City looked a little greener and more alive than the dark Zhong Ning City, which seemed to be covered under dark clouds all year long.
After flying for hundreds of miles, Wu Qi saw a cloud platform suspended about a thousand feet above a flat grassland, on top of which stood an archway, a large tent, barracks, and many soldiers who were drilling. Compared to Bo Yunting's cloud platform, this one was a few times larger, and it even had a small palace with three courtyards.
This was King Yang Qiu's field headquarter! Below the cloud platform was a neat array of barracks with more than twenty thousand black tents visible at a glance. According to the military system of Great Yu, where only ten soldiers could fit into one tent, it showed that there were at least two hundred thousand soldiers here.
Hundreds of huge flying ships were patrolling in the clouds above the field headquarter; Oracles could be seen flying across the sky where ghostly figures constantly emerged and disappeared. What was even more surprising to Wu Qi was that a few faint beams of hundred miles wide light would occasionally fall from the sky; whenever they swept over his body, he would feel his body become tense, with tiny electric arcs darting out of his skin.
It was a divine ability similar to the 'Truth Seeking Grand Magic' used by the immortals, capable of exposing someone who was using magic or artifacts with similar function to turn invisible, a very efficient method to prevent the enemy scouts from sneaking into the camp and spy on military intelligence. And, if someone used a divine ability or magic to peep at the camp, these beams of light could also create an early warning, so that the Oracles in the army could respond in a timely manner.
It was an excellent divine ability, but Wu Qi never saw it being used in the army under Bo Yunting's command. It might be a defensive mechanism that came with some kind of a powerful weapon. Either way, it proved that King Yang Qiu's army was much better armed than the army of Zhong Province.
Wu Qi looked up into the sky. After a rough calculation, he found that there were at least twelve Jade Armor Dark Turtle flying ships here. Even Zhong Province, a powerful first-grade province, had only three of those! This meant that King Yang Qiu's army of two hundred thousand soldiers was equipped with ordnance four times that of Zhong Province's army!
Led by the few heralds, Wu Qi set foot on the cloud platform. His guards were taken to a nearby barracks for a rest. After another round of close inspection and verification, he finally entered the great hall standing in the middle of the platform and saw King Yang Qiu, who was discussing battle plans with his aides.
Whether it was a hall or a tent, the official buildings of Great Yu liked to compress space with a divine ability, making them very similar to an interstitial space. From the outside, the length and width of King Yang Qiu's great hall were not more than hundreds of feet, and the height was only a dozen feet. But once inside, Wu Qi found that it was more than ten miles in length, seven miles in width, and about a mile in height. There was not a single pillar in the great hall, and the vast empty space caused a great psychological pressure on those who entered it for the first time.
Hundreds of Long Bo men in rock armors stood guard close to the walls on the left and right sides of the great hall. Their eyes gleamed with golden light whenever they blinked, and the strong aura emanated from their bodies made Wu Qi feel as if a huge boulder was pressing against his chest. Clearly, these Long Bo men were mighty warriors, and Wu Qi even suspected that their cultivation bases had transcended the realm of Gold Immortals!
The grandeur of the King of Great Yu was indeed different from that of the local officials. Of all the generals under Bo Yunting, only about a hundred of them were as strong as Gold Immortals. But here, each of the hundreds of Long Bo men King Yang Qiu merely used as guards of honor had the overall strength of a Gold Immortal!
The ceiling was inlaid with numerous pearls and precious stones, the bright and clean light of which created a several miles wide map on the floor, looking particularly eye-catching. The three-dimensional map was changing dramatically, with mountains, rivers, and other different terrains flashing by from time to time. But, the most frequent features were deep chasms located in different places.
With his hair disheveled, King Yang Qiu wore a black skit armor and a lion belt around his waist; his exposed upper body was only covered with a small bronze disc guard at the chest and a shoulder guard. As soon as he saw Wu Qi enter the hall, the corner of his mouth twitched a little as if it were a smile. Then, he beckoned at Wu Qi and said in a deep voice, "Tan Lang, come over here. Tell me what you see in this terrain!"
The map flickered and changed as he pointed a finger at it, and soon, it stopped to present everyone the image of a deep chasm, which measured about ten thousand miles in length and about a hundred miles in width; shaped like an eye with a deep pool right in the middle. The landscape in this chasm was harsh; the ground was densely filled with thin and straight stone pillars that were about thousands of feet tall, making it almost impossible to pass through on foot. However, the landscape within hundreds of miles of the pool was the exact opposite: it was as beautiful as a painting. There were many palaces and pavilions made of gold bricks and jade tiles near a hill on the edge of the pool, all of which were shrouded in a faint layer of purple mist. Whenever the breeze blew past, the rising purple mists made the whole place look like a realm of immortality.
Wu Qi cupped his fist and answered loudly, then strode up to the map and fixed his gaze on the chasm that was thousands of miles long in reality, but only a few miles long on the three-dimensional map. The map, specially made by Great Yu's Military Court, was a tool to assist the army in battles. Whenever Wu Qi looked at any mountain, all the information about it was sent back to him in the form of divine sense.
After carefully studying the chasm for a while, Wu Qi nodded thoughtfully. Inside it was a formation built on natural terrain, and the person who constructed it was of a very high caliber. All the stone pillars, thirty-six thousand of them, were actually the eyes of the formation which corresponded to the stars; he reckoned the formation must have a very powerful immortal artifact as the formation base. It was an incredibly strong and complex formation, so much so that only true Masters of Formation could understand what principles it was based on.
"This seems to be a formation constructed by the immortals!" Wu Qi said slowly after a period of pretentious contemplation.
King Yang Qiu pricked up his eyebrows and gave Wu Qi an approving look. But, just as he was about to speak, an airy laugh was heard coming from one side. "Since you can tell that this is a formation constructed by the immortals, would you be able to crack it? If you, general, can really crack this formation as those people had claimed, His Excellency will certainly reward you handsomely! Only, can you really understand the secret of the formation, or are you just putting on a show?"
The laughter was full of sarcasm and the words were even more aggressive against Wu Qi. All in all, the person who spoke was full of malice toward him.
Wu Qi lifted his head in astonishment and looked in the direction of the voice. Then, he saw a middle-aged man sitting in a wooden chair with four wheels. Wearing a neat white robe and a black ribbon around his waist, the man held a goose-feather fan and looked scholarly with his disheveled hair. He was handsome and elegant too, but his eyes were full of dismissive sarcasm and jealousy as he looked at Wu Qi.
With a sneer, Wu Qi cupped his fist to the man and asked, "May I make bold to ask your name, sir?"
The man gently waved his fan but made no answer. He looked as if he was too disdained to even answer such a question.
King Yang Qiu gave the man a glance and said in a flat tone, "General Tan Lang, this old gentleman is Sir Yu Qingcheng. He is the master of Yu Academy my father founded."
Yu Academy? What a familiar name!
Yu Qingcheng? Wasn't he the clan leader of the Yu Clan in Great Yan during the period when they suddenly flourished, as well as the founder of the Yu Academy in Great Yan? Apparently, this old fellow was still alive! Wu Qi laughed at himself in his heart, 'It seems that there is an inseparable connection between Yu Clan and me... I can't believe I'm actually meeting someone like Yu Qingcheng here!'
Ignoring the reason behind Yu Qingcheng's provocation, Wu Qi nodded and said with a smile, "Judging by that tone of yours... could it be that Sir Yu already knows how to crack this formation?"
Upon hearing Wu Qi's words, Yu Qingcheng's face turned purple with both shame and anger.