After studying the formation in the chasm on the map for two hours, Wu Qi shook his head.
"Your Excellency, I can only get a rough idea of the formation's layout from here. I've to observe it on the ground in order to find out the secret behind it."
Although Wu Qi was confident that few people could match his attainments in the field of formations, he did not dare to claim that he could crack all formations in existence. The knowledge he had inherited was too ancient, and he even suffered in Miao Ying Palace because of that. The formation did look very similar to a Scattered Stars Formation on the map; however, if he wished to be sure, he had to carefully study it from a closer distance, not in this distant way.
With arms crossed over his chest, King Yang Qiu stared at the map for a moment before asking in a flat tone, "Where did you get your knowledge of formations?"
Wu Qi thought for a moment, then fished out a piece of jade the size of a palm from under his sleeve. It had a rather primitive shape that looked like half a cloud, and its surface was carved with very exquisite patterns of stars and mountains. It also appeared to be very old, with colorful spots that went very deep into the surface, making it look antique while giving off a heavy air of vicissitudes. Wu Qi hefted the jade and handed it to King Yang Qiu with some reluctance.
"This is a catalog of formations that I accidentally found when I was hunting in some mountains near An Le County!"
Wu Qi looked wistfully at the piece of jade that King Yang Qiu held in his hand and said in a low voice, "There is also an immortal cultivation technique in it. But no matter how hard I try, I can't cultivate it. So, I have no choice but to concentrate all my effort into learning those formations and ignore the rest."
King Yang Qiu fiddled with the piece of jade, which was only about the size of a palm but weighed five hundred kilograms. Its quality was excellent, and it should be a supreme-grade Cloud Soul Jade, a kind of fabulous material used to make a variety of jade slips. It contained a very large collection of information, including a very detailed explanation for a complete set of formations, starting from the Array of One, all the way to Myriad Stars Formation, as well as a variety of ancient mystic arts, such as divination, prediction, psychic arts, and means of communicating with stars and energy veins. On top of all that, it also contained a complete immortal cultivation scripture—'The Most Exalted One Mantra'!
He sent his divine sense into the piece of jade and quickly went through the information, then erased all the cultivation techniques relating to the Most Exalted One Mantra before returning it to Wu Qi with a smile on his face. "As you said, the catalog of formations in it is very good, and you should study them more when you have time. But, those immortal cultivation techniques are from a heterodox scripture, so it's better to not keep them in there."
King Yang Qiu was very pleased. Wu Qi had proved his loyalty by handing the piece of jade over to him so openly. Most importantly, that explained why a military officer from the wilderness knew how to crack formations. Although he had just briefly glanced through the information, he knew that the formations contained in the piece of jade were all extraordinary, and even better than his own collection of various formations.
And when Wu Qi said he could not cultivate the techniques found in the Most Exalted One Mantra, King Yang Qiu laughed in his heart. 'It would be really strange if you could!' According to the information he received about Wu Qi, this man, 'Tan Lang', came to An He City to join the army after learning by himself how to absorb Pangu Sacred Energy to strengthen his fleshly body. As long as anyone had Pangu Sacred Energy in his or her body, he or she could not cultivate any immortal cultivation technique. This was the iron law known to everyone in the Heaven and Great Yu.
"Fortunately, this boy learned how to absorb Pangu Sacred Energy before he found the jade slip. Otherwise, I'd have lost a capable aide who is an expert in the field of formations! Tsk, how lucky!" King Yang Qiu looked at Wu Qi gladly, then suddenly asked, "If I were to triple the size of Dong Hai County, would you let me make a copy of your catalog of formations? I can assure you, in addition to you and me, there will be only three other people in the world who will study this catalog!"
Wu Qi knew it was King Yang Qiu's offer. As a King who personally led the army against the enemy, he must have seen the value of the jade slip. Tripling the size of Dong Hai County? Wouldn't that mean Wu Qi would have a territory as vast as a province? Although the population of this land might be a little sparse, after all, it would be a land as vast as a province, and wholly under his name!
Even if all the land area of one hundred Earths was added up, it would not be as large as the land of a province in Great Yu!
Without the slightest hesitation, Wu Qi handed the jade slip over to King Yang Qiu. "This thing doesn't have much value to me now. Your Excellency are free to let anyone study them, so long they are ones Your Excellency trusts. If truth be told, I'm more interested in leading an army and fighting in battles, and I really find that cracking formations is a tedious task!"
King Yang Qiu was more satisfied and appreciative of Wu Qi. He took the jade slip and copied all the formations in it into another jade slip, then returned it to Wu Qi. "Good, good, good!" King Yang Qiu praised as he nodded with a big smile on his face, "You've been very loyal to me, Tan Lang! Rest assured that I'll not treat you shabbily!"
He casually threw the jade slip to an Oracle in a black robe standing behind him. "I know someone from Yu Clan had said something very rude behind me," King Yang Qiu said in a deep voice, "As for the...hush-money...well, you can take it all! Later on, I'll send official letters to the relevant authorities and inform them that the territory of Dong Hai County will triple in size. After that is done, I'll give you a batch of people, livestock, seeds and money, so that you can develop Dong Hai County as soon as possible!"
Wu Qi cupped his fist and bowed respectfully to King Yang Qiu. 'How did he know I was blackmailing Yu Clan so quickly? Well, I reckon he must have a lot of eyes and ears in Zhong Ning City.' thought Wu Qi.
He tucked the jade slip back under his sleeve. Wu Qi did not really care about the catalog of formations copied by King Yang Qiu. He had killed so many Heaven Immortals and itinerant cultivators on Pangu Continent that he had collected hundreds of different formation catalog and cultivation techniques. What he had offered King Yang Qiu was nothing more than formations that had been doubled or tripled in power by the itinerant cultivators on Pangu Continent. Compared with the complex and enormous essences of formations contained in the Scroll of Stealing, they were like a stream trickling next to a vast expanse of ocean, not even worth mentioning.
The Most Exalted One Mantra was found in the hiding place of some upper-tier Heaven Immortal whom he had killed. Although it was a decent immortal cultivation technique, Wu Qi did not have the least interest in it. The reason he put it in the jade slip was just to convince King Yang Qiu of his story.
As for the jade slip, it was made by Wu Qi himself after he demonstrated his ability to crack the formation in Bo Yunting's army. With the method that Le Xiaobai used to forge cultural relics and antiques in those days, as well as the magic power he possessed now, he deliberately created such an antique-looking jade slip just to tell a lie.
How could a military officer from the wilderness, who had no solid root or strong background, and was cultivating the True Body of Heaven and Earth Scripture, be able to crack a formation that halted Bo Yunting's army of 100,000 troops? It was a question that anyone would ask. But, with such a jade slip, Wu Qi not only cleared himself of suspicion, but also showed his loyalty by offering it to King Yang Qiu.
Unexpectedly even to Wu Qi, the catalog of formation which he did not have the least interest in had brought him a very practical benefit. Dong Hai County's territory tripled in almost no time, reaching a size that was as large as a province. On top of that, it was not governed by Zhong Province, and Wu Qi was literally the local despot in that piece of land who could do anything at his will. The deal was a real bargain.
Not to mention the people, livestock, seeds and money King Yang Qiu promised him…With these things, he was able to increase Dong Hai County's growth rate a lot. Especially after being filled with new migrants, the people of Great Yan who remained in Princess Zhang Le's interstitial world would be able to come out and breathe the fresh air as well.
Both King Yang Qiu and Wu Qi were pleased and delighted for what they had got today, while many military officers in the great hall were staring at the jade slip carefully held by the black-robed Oracle with a feverish look in their eyes. These days, King Yang Qiu's army had suffered in all sorts of formations laid down by the alliance. With this catalog of formation, perhaps the situation was about to be turned around real soon!
In their eyes, Wu Qi looked like a very simple and honest young man, because he did not seem to understand the meaning of this jade slip to King Yang Qiu, or even to the whole army of Great Yu. All the military officers looked at him kindly, but at the same time, their hearts were filled with envy—the territory this fellow owned was already ridiculously large, and now, it was even tripled because of his contribution!
The land he owned now was as vast as that of a province, and it was under the direct jurisdiction of King Yang Qiu! Undoubtedly, Dong Hai County would be King Yang Qiu's most important nail hammered in the area around Zhong Province; and Wu Qi, who directly controlled it, would be a very important part of his power! With Wu Qi's Dong Hai County, King Yang Qiu officially extended his hand into the surrounding area of Zhong Province, directly affecting several nearby first-grade provinces!
Although Yu Mu was considered King Yang Qiu's subordinate, the people of Yu clan actually leaned closer to his father, so they were not as loyal and reliable as Wu Qi, a faithful confidant whom King Yang Qiu had discovered and promoted directly.
The satisfied Wu Qi and King Yang Qiu, together with the other military officers, assembled a large army and left the field headquarter for the huge chasm situated not far away ahead. Along the way, King Yang Qiu kept Wu Qi by his side while personally explaining to him the various changes in the formation, and the various scenes when the troops were killed in it. The military officers who followed them looked on with envy and jealous. They all knew that Wu Qi had become King Yang Qiu's favorite.
Like a torrent breaking through a dam, tens of thousands of soldiers charged hundreds of miles ahead in just a quarter of an hour to reach before the huge chasm.
The voices of the soldiers mixed with the roaring of their mounts into a deafening noise; dozens of flying ships whistled across the sky; a large number of Oracles hovered in the air, the powerful aura emanated from their body sweeping across all directions. Such a great commotion immediately alarmed the immortals in the chasm. Dozens of them flew out of it to stand atop several hills, then cupped their fists and bowed toward King Yang Qiu with a big smile on their faces.
"King Yang Qiu, are you here trying to attack the formation again? Haha... How many soldiers do you plan to lose this time?"
An old Daoist made the provocative remark with a tone that was full of ridicule and triumph. He had a long gray beard, and was clad in a yellow Daoist robe, with a sword strapped behind his back and a whisk in his hand.
King Yang Qiu gave the old Daoist a gloomy look. He was not angry, but said in a faint tone, "When I breach your formation, I'll certainly put you to death by dismembering your body piece by piece, and then let all my soldiers entertain your wife and daughters!"
As King Yang Qiu's voice echoed out, Wu Qi rode to the edge of the chasm and looked straight ahead.