A grand parade came out of Liangzhu to welcome them. Rare fowls and beasts were flying about all over the sky, and what came before them were twelve pitch-black mammoths, each of whom stood a hundred feet tall and had a pair of golden tusks. These golden-tusked mammoths were ancient beasts born with sentience and an incredible strength, the strongest species among all the ancient giant beasts. Even the most famous divine beasts, such as the azure dragon and white tiger, could not match them in terms of strength.
They had become extinct in the outer heavenly realms, but shockingly, they were a part of the guard of honor in Great Yu.
A throne carved out of black stone was placed atop the back of each mammoth, on top of which sat an old man in black linen clothes, whose hair were tied up in a bun with a string of bramble. As Wu Qi glanced at them, he found that they looked almost identical—their height, skin tone, facial features, and even demeanor were similar to each other.
They appeared to be dull and rigid, and each wore a cold and blank expression. However, deep inside their bodies hid a terrible power that, once unleashed, could destroy anything. Calm and deep were the best words to describe the characteristics of their power, reserved almost like a black hole. No fluctuation of energy could be sensed emanating from them, but anyone who looked at them would instinctively feel a great danger. Compared to them, Yu Gu was almost as harmless as a rabbit.
Was this Great Yu's latent power? Standing next to King Yang Qiu, Wu Qi bowed deeply along the others, clenching his right hand into a fist and slamming his chest, producing a crisp sound of metal clashing on metal. Nearly a thousand generals, ten thousand military officers, and hundreds of thousands of soldiers did the same, slamming their fists on their chest plates to produce a loud boom that sounded like a deafening thunderclap.
Great Yu had a unique, somewhat strange administrative system. In addition to the departments directly under the Human Emperor, such as the Military Court and Directorate of Celestials, which were responsible for the day-to-day administration, there was a special institution, the Elder Council of the Tribal Alliance. Headed by the Elders of You Xiong clan and Elders of the various clans that had existed since the ancient times, including You Xiong clan and Gouchen clan, as its members, this council had the power to supervise Great Yu's state affairs, and even impeach and replace the Human Emperor.
The twelve black-clothed old men were the current twelve Great Elders of the Elder Council. Although they had no actual administrative power in the imperial court, their status in Great Yu Dynasty was incredibly high, much higher than that of King Yang Qiu's father, King Yang Shan. They were the kind of existences that could only be looked from afar and not be trifled with. Anyone who even slightly offended them would immediately become Great Yu's public enemy.
In Great Yu, offending the Human Emperor might only be a matter of exile to the pristine land. However, on offending the twelve Great Elders, it was likely that countless formidable warriors and Oracles from some clan would trample on the unlucky fellow's clan the next day, killing every man, woman, child, and even animals, then setting fire to the land to keep even grass from growing for centuries to come.
This was a group of people who were above the law, above all rules.
By sending existences such as these out of the city to welcome King Yang Qiu, it was clear how Great Yu reacted to the service King Yang Qiu had rendered this time. As Wu Qi listened to the identity of these old men which Yu Gu was secretly telling him with voice transmission, he could not help but feel elated in his heart. Since the twelve Great Elders were welcoming King Yang Qiu at the same time, Great Yu obviously attached great importance to his military merit. Didn't it mean that they would get extra generous rewards?
Behind the twelve golden-tusked mammoths were 108 black dragons, followed by 108 white dragons, 108 red dragons, 108 yellow dragons, and 108 green dragons. They all had four claws, and were shrouded in clouds which clearly showed that they were heaven dragons with profound cultivation bases. On the back of each dragon rode a heavily armored cavalry, armed with a specially made six-feet-long spear as purple mist that was invisible to the naked eyes rocked about them. As they drew closer, the threatening aura emanated from them made Wu Qi feel as if a mountain was weighing on his heart.
He then heard Ao Buzun lament in his ear, "Since when did the dragons, the proud imperial clan of all aquatic creatures in the ancient times, end up with such a lowly status, becoming the mounts of the human race? I should have killed their mothers after f*cking them in those years, so that they would never give birth to these offspring who would bring nothing but shame!"
"You don't have any descendants here, do you?" Wu Qi asked with voice transmission.
Ao Buzun sighed, then murmured under his breath, "The other four might not be, but the black dragons...Well, of all the prettiest black dragons in those years, I managed to sleep with every single one! Aye...If you count the time, some of them here might be my seeds indeed!"
Wu Qi was speechless. He would not want to be bothered by Ao Buzun's lament, so he shut off his left ear's hearing.
Behind the five columns of dragon calvary came a procession of cavalry riding phoenixes, green luans, peacocks, qilins, white tigers, black tortoises, and many other divine fowls and beasts. The cavalry were warriors with incredibly strong cultivation bases, each emanating an aura that was not weaker than that of the Yang Qiu brothers. In other words, they were all experts as strong as Gold Immortals. Wu Qi felt his heart beating faster as he looked at all of them. The fact that this guard of honor consisted of tens of thousands of experts whose cultivation bases were at the realm of Second Pangu Heaven showed him how fearsome Great Yu's latent power was.
Yet, it was understandable. The natural energy and Pangu Sacred Energy in You Xiong Plain were too abundant. A day spent here in cultivating was comparable to a few years in the outside world. And with all the countless spirit herbs, if Great Yu still did not have such an awe-inspiring latent power, that would be a complete waste of such a freakishly blessed land.
The divine fowls and beasts galloped across the sky, leaving countless colorful tails of light in the air as they circled King Yang Qiu's army nine times while exercising their divine abilities to fill the sky with dazzling rays and clouds that looked like fireworks. As the brilliant light enveloped the army, the twelve Great Elders slowly rode toward them and halted in front of Wu Qi and the others. Sitting atop his mammoth, the old man in the middle gave everyone a brief glance with his cloudy eyes, then rested his gaze at King Yang Qiu and squeezed out an expression on his face which could barely be considered as a smile.
"By the decree of His Majesty, we are here to welcome you, King Yang Qiu. You have done great service to Great Yu in eradicating the menace. Please enter Liangzhu now and bring with you your generals and military officers who have performed meritorious service in this mission. You will be rewarded accordingly. The rest of the army is to make camps outside the city. They will be rewarded as well." The old man paused, then gave a slow nod and continued, "The imperial court is very pleased with the annihilation of Myriad Immortal Alliance. Therefore, all your soldiers will be rewarded ten times much than usual."
King Yang Qiu bowed deeply again as he cried out in a deep voice, "This subject is very grateful for His Majesty's graciousness!"
Almost at the same time, hundreds of thousands of soldiers roared at the top of their lungs, shouting 'long live the Human Emperor', 'hail to the Human Emperor', and some other similar slogans. The thunderous cries churned and dispersed the clouds in the sky, revealing a vast expanse of clear blue sky.
After leaving the army outside the city, King Yang Qiu walked slowly into Liangzhu with nearly a thousand generals, including Wu Qi. They had been merrily welcomed when they arrived, but once inside the city, they were greeted with only emptied streets. The scene of tens of thousands of people packing the streets, all cheering and shouting, which Wu Qi had expected to see did not appear. Glancing at the clean and spacious streets, Wu Qi could not help but twist his lips.
It was only after some time that Wu Qi learned that those who lived in Liangzhu were all important officials of Great Yu, whose ranks of nobility were no lower than Marquis. With the glorious return of King Yang Qiu, these dignitaries had gone to the imperial palace to attend the ceremony of rewards, leaving behind only their servants and maids. As lowly born as they were and without their masters' permissions, how would those people come out on the streets and welcome their return?
After walking along the empty streets for more than a hundred miles, they came to a massive garden. Within, countless towering ancient trees clustered about thousands of palaces in varying sizes. Although he was still far from those palaces, Wu Qi could sense the vague spatial ripples coming through the void.
Stealthily, he gave the cluster of palaces a glance with his Chaotic Divine Eyes and could not help but lick his lips. The spatial restriction in this place had reached a pinnacle degree. Of the thousands of palaces here, if one just looked at any one of them, it would appear as a colossal palace sitting on a huge plot of land. Some of them even measured a few miles in both width and length. However, if one looked at them as a whole, the thousands of palaces were all packed in this garden that was about ten miles in both width and length, such that one wouldn't feel they were overly packed or narrowly squeezed together. Instead, there was plenty of space between the palaces as well.
When Wu Qi looked through the layer of spatial restriction with his Chaotic Divine Eyes, he realized that the actual length and width of the garden was over a thousand miles. Inside, there were mountains and rivers, moon, sun, and stars. It was a small but complete pocket world. Furthermore, the sun, moon, and stars in the garden actually moved along with those in the outside world, as if they were the projections of the actual celestial bodies.
Apparently, the spatial restriction here was finely and ingeniously designed, with its magical features not inferior to that of a Buddhist Kingdom in a palm and an interstitial world.
Surrounded by the guard of honor and guided by the twelve Great Elders, the company walked slowly into the garden through two giant statues that were thousands of feet high. The two statues, carved out of a single piece of black boulder, were images of two warriors with pythons hanging around their necks and leaping into the air; one had a sword in hand and the other a spear. The tips of the sword and spear touched each other to form an arch, under which, Wu Qi and his company walked through and entered the garden.
As they were walking past the statues, Wu Qi perceived a vague energy fluctuation. The statues were two powerful rock puppets, similar to those huge puppets Feng Lengleng used to attack Zhong Ning City when he was condemned. But, these two statues here were taller and larger, and supposedly, their prowess was stronger.
After walking through a thick layer of spatial restriction, Wu Qi was greeted by a beautiful scenery, which he found at least a hundred times more breathtaking than what he saw in You Xiong Plain. It was as if the water here was clearer, the trees were greener, the air was fresher, and the flowers were prettier. All in all, it was a magnificent scenery, to the point that Wu Qi had a delusion that he was in a dream.
Thousands of palaces constructed with boulders loomed across this breathtaking scenery. In front of each palace stood a row of stone pillars, as green flames rose to the sky from the braziers placed atop them, smearing the surroundings with a layer of cold green light.
Disturbing auras could be sensed hiding everywhere in this beautiful scenery. It was as if under every plant and flower was some deadly crisis. While walking here, Wu Qi, with his powerful divine sense and keen perceptive, felt as if someone was pressing weapons against his whole body at all times. He did not feel comfortable at all.
This was the imperial palace of the Great Yu Dynasty, the residence of the Human Emperor.