Wu Qi was walking in a long, dark passageway within Yu Gu's Supreme Tower while his ears rang with the sharp hisses of countless poisonous insects and animals. As he strode on, he crossed paths with groups of Oracles, maidservants, and guards, who stopped in place, bowing respectfully and silently as he passed. No one dared to raise their eyes above his waist.
Great Yu was a rigidly stratified dynasty. It was old, conservative, dull, and boring like granite; of all things in it, the Directorate of Celestials was known to be the oldest, most conservative, and the hardest part of this piece of granite. As Wu Qi walked down the passageway, some of the guards and Oracles at the sentries not only held their breath, but also used mystic arts to stop their hearts from beating for fear that they would make a noise that would disturb Wu Qi, the man who was King Yang Qiu's current favorite confidant.
He came to the hall where King Yang Qiu and the others were having a good time. Standing outside, he could hear strange voices coming through the thick and heavy bronze door. With a faint smile on his face, he considered for a moment, then turned and walked slowly out of the Supreme Tower through the tunnel in front of the hall.
From the outside, although Yu Gu's Supreme Tower appeared to be only about a mile in both width and length, the space within was extremely vast. It took Wu Qi more than seven minutes to walk out of it from the secret chamber.
Standing at the exit located at the top part of the Supreme Tower, Wu Qi spent a moment overlooking the scenery of Greenwood Plain. The moon was shining brightly in the sky, sprinkling its soft, silver light onto the Shadowless Greenwood. A faint green light could be seen radiating out of this mystical ancient divine tree, warm and jade-like, reaching thousands of miles away. Under the blanket of the light, the vast expanse of grassland looked quiet and peaceful. However, the quietness was occasionally disrupted by roars of wild animals ringing out from the lakeside across the distance, which told him that some carnivorous animals were having a night hunt.
Then, he turned to look at the hundreds of Oracles standing guard outside the Supreme Tower and said in a deep voice, "If His Excellency asks about me, tell him that I'm visiting the Greenwood Pass!"
All the Oracles bowed silently, signaling that they had heard Wu Qi's order. Wearing black robes and having their faces well-hidden under their hoods, these Oracles stooped like back paper-cut figures under the silver moonlight. Although Wu Qi had become accustomed to how they carried themselves, he still could not help but shudder at the sight.
Shaking his head, Wu Qi jumped off the Supreme Tower and landed on the ground down below. The fluctuation of an energy vein was quickly detected by him. His body blurred into motion as he exercised the Kuafu Steps and took a step forward, and in the next moment, he came to the exit of Greenwood Plain, standing in front of a long, narrow valley stretching between two lofty mountains. Connecting Greenwood Plain and the outside world, the valley measured about a hundred miles in length and three hundred feet in width. The two mountains, spotted with caves and crisscrossing plank roads, were where an army of one hundred thousand soldiers was stationed.
Wu Qi waved his hand at the sentries on the top of the mountain, then his body flickered and disappeared, reappearing on the other side of the valley. After passing through a layer of air about a mile in thickness and sticky as glue, he came to a basin in the valley and saw a mighty city looming not far ahead. As he stood there observing the city dotted with specks of light, the gusting night breeze brought the sound of women's joyful laughter and men's hoarse yells into his ears.
The mighty city was none other than Greenwood Pass. As it was built between mountains, it only had two tall rows of walls, which were forged using metal and densely covered with countless magical runes and restrictive spells. Inside, the city was thriving with businesses, and one could find almost anything there, including wine, women, and gamble. In fact, Greenwood Pass was purposely built for the soldiers protecting Greenwood Plain in and around this valley. Every few days, soldiers who were off duty would come to the city for pleasure.
The great value of the divine liquid it produced made Greenwood Plain an extremely important place for Great Yu. Because of that, it was permanently garrisoned by an army of one hundred thousand soldiers. Without permission, none of these soldiers were allowed to leave the area a hundred miles around Greenwood Plain; and to take care of their various needs, Greenwood Pass was built.
In the beginning, it was purely a military town serving only the soldiers. But because the nearby mountains produced powerful demon beasts and spirit beasts, and were abundant with spirit herbs and rare minerals, it attracted a large number of hunters and merchants who used it as a trading hub. As time went by, today's Greenwood Pass had become the largest trading center within this mountain range, even more bustling and prosperous than Zhong Ning City, the capital city of Zhong Province.
Wearing a black war robe and a blood-colored cloak, Wu Qi walked into Greenwood Pass with a relaxed expression. On either side of the spacious street were numerous shops, restaurants, brothels, gambling houses, and various other businesses. It was true that the culture of Great Yu was conservative, but no matter how conservative a place was, businesses such as brothels and gambling houses always existed. As a hundred thousand soldiers were stationing in Greenwood Plain, and because their salary was higher than average, the number of entertainment outlets such as brothels in this city was also greater than in other cities.
King Yang Qiu's troops had been stationed here for thirty-six days, but because Wu Qi was busy crafting his Dark Yin Celestial Tower, this was the first time he had had the time to visit Greenwood Pass. Even though it was already midnight, the city was still very lively, filled with a savage flavor of life. The air was constantly ringing with a peculiar piece of symphony, pieced up by the loud screaming and moaning of women and the deep panting of men echoing out of the brothels, the jarring sounds produced by all kinds of gambling devices in the gambling houses, the cursing and noises of fighting between drunk men in restaurants, and the stomping of feet and clapping of hands from the onlookers...
The shops were open, too, and were all dimly lit with only a few lamps. Every now and then, men with surreptitious behavior could be seen sneaking into these shops and showing the shopkeepers their loot in the dark, hoping that it would bring them a return enough for them to live comfortably for the rest of their lives. As a matter of fact, shops in Greenwood Pass did better at night than during the day, because if one sold something for a lot of money during the day, one was likely to be robbed in the streets within a few steps after leaving the shops. However, at night, it was much more concealed and safer.
From time to time, muffled laughter could be heard coming out of some shops. Clearly, someone had found something of great value in the mountains, and the shopkeepers had offered them a higher price than they had imagined. Although these shops were protected by various restrictive spells, Wu Qi's innate divine sense could freely enter and leave them. While smiling, he glanced through those loots, then lightly shook his head.
He did see a few good items, but that was not his purpose of coming here.
He had already mastered the art of divination Su Qin had taught him, and because of that, he was struck with a sudden sense of foreboding just now. He sensed an extremely strong killing intent approaching him, the same feeling he felt years ago when someone was trying to kill him with a Bear Slaughtering Arrow. 'Those people are really perseverant. I never expected that they still followed me around after all this time.'
For more than a year, Wu Qi had been aware that some people were stalking him. However, as he was staying in King Yang Qiu's field headquarters, those people did not dare to do anything reckless, because that would be no different from courting death. As a result, he had a year of peaceful time to refine the various materials. But, with the crafting of Dark Yin Celestial Tower completed now, he wanted this newly born treasure to taste some blood while taking the opportunity to find out who were the people stalking him.
As Wu Qi walked down the crowded street, the stream of people parted automatically to make way for him, leaving a gap of thirty feet around him, with no one daring to intrude. His war robe had revealed his identity, and those who made their living in Greenwood Pass knew one thing: to never offend anyone from Great Yu's army, as that would bring them no good. In fact, there was a well-established unwritten rule in Greenwood Pass—there was nothing wrong for the soldiers stationed in Greenwood Plain to kill people here!
The large empty circle around him made Wu Qi stand out in the street.
In a tall tower by the side of the street, Patriarch Yuan Hua and Lu Buwei squinted at Wu Qi as they heaved a long sigh of relief at the same time. "This little fellow is out alone at last! We finally have the chance to kill him!" Patriarch Yuan Hua said while shaking his head. "Hehe, an immortal abode...No matter what, I want that immortal abode!"
While nodding, Lu Buwei gave their surroundings a quick glance, then said with a cold grin on his face, "It seems that apart from us, there are many other people eying this fellow as well. Well, I can understand why. After the alliance's demise, the itinerant cultivator clans' days have become harder and harder, and each day, countless itinerant cultivators are dug up and exterminated. At a time like this, the allure of a secluded immortal abode is too great. Master, it seems that if we want to get that immortal abode, we still have to put in some effort."
With a ferocious blood-red light gleaming in his eyes, Patriarch Yuan Hua snorted disdainfully and said, "Then, we'll kill all those juniors together with this little fellow! Over the last year, I have collected countless blood essences and souls…Hehe, it's time for my Prime Magical Artifact to kill someone!"
As he said that, a large, blood-red flag slowly rose up from the top of his head. Under his control, the flag did not emit a single trace of light, which made it look dark in the moonlight. As soon as it appeared, the flag attached itself to the ground, then began to slither toward Wu Qi as if it were only a puddle of dirty blood that was quickly flowing away.
Meanwhile, a noisy clamor suddenly broke out on the street. From the hundreds of tall towers around Wu Qi, at least a thousand immortals and itinerant cultivators unleashed their flying swords at the same time, all slashing toward him. The density of flying swords was so high that they collided with one another right above him, causing hundreds of them to explode mid-air. Angry curses could be heard from across the distance, and were followed by a shower of magical artifacts, bolts of thunder, and all kinds of magical attacks.
"Kill, kill him! Kill him and we'll have an immortal abode that can guarantee our safety!" Many immortals and itinerant cultivators shouted at the top of their lungs!
Compared to last year, things had changed dramatically in Pangu Continent. Today, the living space for itinerant cultivators was squeezed to the minimum, and for that reason, the attractiveness of the absolutely secret immortal abode promised by Immortal Gourd had risen more than a hundredfold. To them, it was not only a reward, but a chance of survival, a chance that could allow their clans or sects to continue existing on Pangu Continent!
Therefore, Wu Qi's attractiveness had become greater as well. Soon after King Yang Qiu's troops arrived at Greenwood Plain, more than a thousand immortals and itinerant cultivators had arrived as well, all hoping to kill Wu Qi. There were more of them on their way here, but as they came from further places, they would only arrive at a later time.
Seeing numerous magical artifacts, bolts of thunders, and various magical attacks raining down on him, Wu Qi burst into wild laughter and unleashed his Dark Yin Celestial Tower.
The massive black tower hovered mid-air over him while streams of cold air and dazzling aurora enveloped him. In the next moment, numerous magical artifacts slammed and smashed onto the light barrier formed by the cold air and aurora, and, without an exception, they were either shattered by the terrible cold air or sliced into pieces by the extremely sharp aurora.
Shocked cries could be heard coming from the surroundings, and those immortals and itinerant cultivators who were too eager to strike were left coughing up blood while retreating in haste.
Wu Qi snorted coldly, then pointed a finger at the Dark Yin Celestial Tower. Immediately, water poured out of the bottom of the dark tower and transformed into hundreds of huge white dragons who began to fly toward those immortals and itinerant cultivators. Accompanied by cries of horror, those immortals and itinerant cultivators were swallowed up by the white dragons and pulled back into the tower.
It was at that moment that a shrill alarm rang out. The army garrisoned at Greenwood Pass was called out. Before long, powerful footsteps could be heard coming from all directions.
All of a sudden, a blood-red light rapidly rushed out of the ground in front of him, turning into a big blood-red flag and leaping toward his face along with a pungent smell of blood.