A hundred strands of light writhed like serpents in front of Wu Qi, coming in all kinds of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, and so on. The thinnest one were several times thinner than a hair, and the thickest was as thick as a bucket; the shortest was about three feet long, and the longest was about a thousand feet long. Each of them emitted a powerful and mysterious energy of blood, and were beating like hearts.
They were also shrouded in faint layers of mist, within which, the figures of some giant beasts and fierce fowls could be seen flashing about. Among the figures were an azure dragon, a white tiger, a black tortoise, a green luan, a phoenix, and many other divine beasts and fowls of the ancient times. They were the one hundred bloodlines of divine beasts and fowls Wu Qi had demanded from the Thousand Spirit Palace. As long as he fused these bloodlines with himself, he would be able to transform into all kinds of divine beasts at any time, possessing their divine abilities and mastering all sorts of mystic arts inherited from their bloodlines.
Both the immortals and mortals of Great Yu admitted that the divine beasts and fowls were created by the heaven and earth, and that each of them corresponded to a certain principle of the Great Dao. Therefore, they could easily accomplish many things that immortals and humans could not. For example, a Gold Immortal would have his immortal body crushed to pieces when he went down into a bottomless abyss hundreds of thousands of miles deep under the water, but even a juvenile azure dragon could swim freely in such a treacherous place without any harm.
Another example was the divine fowl, Gales. Right after breaking out of their eggs, juvenile Gales could already fly freely in the astral wind belt existing above the Nine Heavens, a place riddled with dangers where even a mighty Primordial Immortal had to exercise great caution. Flying in the astral wind belt was their instinct, their innate divine ability, just like walking on the ground for mortals.
Extracted by the Oracles of the Thousand Spirit Palace when they were slaughtering divine beasts and fowls with ancient bloodlines for experiments, the one hundred bloodlines given to Wu Qi as compensation were extremely pure. With them, he could transform into a hundred different kinds of divine beasts and easily reach some places that ordinary people could never reach.
Wu Qi thought of some dangerous places recorded in the Scroll of Stealing, where rare natural treasures could be found. Even with his current cultivation level of fifth-tier Gold Immortal, he would be doomed if he were to visit those places. However, with the power of these divine beasts and fowls, he could easily go to those places to take away the treasures inside.
And when he combined this ability to transform into divine beasts with his innate escape art, it would be much easier for him to sneak into the residences of those mighty experts and steal their things, as the defensive mechanisms found in their treasure vaults were usually constructed with natural forces derived from the Great Dao.
Digesting and fusing the bloodlines with chaotic energy controlled by the Seven Foundation Elevating Technique, and eventually turning oneself into a divine beast was the ultimate mystic art in the Scroll of Stealing. At his peak, the figure who taught Wu Qi the Scroll of Stealing possessed the bloodlines of over three thousand and seven hundred divine beasts and fowls; Wu Qi was nowhere near as good as he was.
Looking at those Oracles of Thousand Spirit Palace whose faces were twisted in anger, Wu Qi smiled and waved his hand, putting the one hundred bloodlines in his sleeve. He had offended these people badly today, so he thought a compensation of a hundred bloodlines was more than enough. However, he would certainly find an opportunity in the future to steal all the over two thousand bloodlines of divine beasts and fowls from their warehouse!
He cupped his fist and bowed to Wuchang Chi, whose face was dark with rage, and said in a deep voice, "That's it for today. But, if the Thousand Spirit Palace continue to harass me..."
Beside him, Baihuang Mo waved his hand and said, "If they harass you again, just let Yan Tian Palace fight them to the death! I'm not going to deal with this anymore!" With his past scandal nearly exposed by Yu Chen just now, Baihuang Mo did not wish to stay here any longer. So, after saying that, he flicked his sleeve sulkily and went back into the Secret Palace with the pot of stinking potion in his hands.
As he made his way to the door, Baihuang Mo suddenly slapped his forehead, then turned around and said with a cold grin, "Look what you have done to the entrance! It's going to be a disgrace to the Secret Palace if it gets out! You have caused all this mess, Wuchang Chi, so you better fix it for me!"
The four Wuchang brothers exchanged a look. Then, they snorted coldly at the same time and agreed to fix the entrance with clenched jaws.
The beams of fire and ice unleashed by the dragon python sisters previously had collapsed a stretch of cliff wall over a hundred miles long in front of the Secret Palace's entrance. In the places where magnificent statues once stood were streams of lava that poured down slowly along with huge icicles jutting out: it was a complete mess.
It was no small task to keep the face of the Secret Palace as magnificent and solemn as before. But, Wuchang Chi was not in a position to reject that. All the mighty Elders of Thousand Spirit Palace were now in seclusion, so Wuchang Chi, who lacked strong backers, had no other choice but to swallow his resentment.
Yu Chen burst out laughing when he saw Wuchang Chi's unsightly expression. He strutted back and forth in front of the Thousand Spirit Palace's crowd, then smiled and said, "You may take your leave now. Well, if anyone dares to provoke my people again, don't blame me when I place the Great Universe Formation in front of his ancestral mansion! Haha!"
The Elders and Oracles of Yan Tian Palace roared with laughter on hearing that. They all felt very proud today for being able to beat up the Oracles of Thousand Spirit Palace and wound hundreds of them with formations. This was usually the case with the divisions of the Secret Palace, where a little dispute could lead to a big conflict. Of course, such clashes rarely caused any death, and they usually ended up with some division's face being trampled underfoot by some other division.
One after another, Oracles from Yan Tian Palace and Thousand Spirit Palace made their way back into the Secret Palace, returning to their own places. Some went back to study formation diagrams, and some continued to heal their wounded companions. Meanwhile, the Wuchang brothers, who were beaten up and forced to compensate with the bloodlines of a hundred divine beasts and fowls, began to make plans to win back some face. But, all this had nothing to do with Wu Qi.
As the First Master of Yan Tian Palace, Yu Chen personally escorted Wu Qi from the Secret Palace. Walking in the long and windy valley, he elaborately introduced Wu Qi to the divisions of Secret Palace and the complex relationships between them.
Through his narrative, Wu Qi gained a deep understanding of the Secret Palace. It was actually a collection of the brightest and most talented geniuses of Great Yu, who delved into all sorts of sophisticated knowledge and studied almost everything in the world. But, because it was an institution made up of a group of geniuses, everyone was so proud of themselves that they disagreed with everyone they met.
As a result, there were a lot of disputes between the divisions. Each division thought what they were studying was the most important Great Dao, and the others were merely wasting their times in heterodoxy. And because of that, a small, high-intensity but rarely fatal conflict would erupt between the various divisions every once in a while. Compared to those, today's conflict was not a big scene at all, as there were only two thousand people involved from both sides.
Just six months ago, a clash broke out between the Thousand Spirit Palace and Divine Gu Palace, the latter specializing in all kinds of venomous magic. The root cause was a trifling matter—a pair of their disciples fell in love and then separated. Because of that, tens of thousands of Oracles from both sides fought each other with all sorts of magic and mystic arts. During the three-month conflict, Secret Palace was packed with zombies and poisonous insects, as well as strange and unheard-of malicious things that crawled and rolled around. Eventually, it got all the divisions involved.
By the time all the Elders of the Elders Council came forward to calm the situation, the conflict that had spread throughout the entire Secret Palace had left 150,000 Oracles bedridden. Fuming with rage, the Elders Council locked up all the Elders from Thousand Spirit Palace and Divine Gu Palace in a cave in the back mountain, where they were punished by being ordered to spend half a year thinking of their mistakes in front of a wall. That was why Wuchang Chi said that his Elders were in seclusion.
'150,000 Oracles were bedridden?' Wu Qi looked at Yu Chen in horror, who was foaming at the mouth.
"Do you know why Wuchang Chi sounded so abject when he saw me today?" Yu Chen crowed, doing a little victory dance, "Four months ago, I had brought some of my disciples and laid out a Minor Red Sun Fiend Formation, which burned tens of thousands of their disciples. Who dares to run wild in front of me before they get their faces back?" His face lit up as if he were still excited about what he had accomplished.
He gave a cold snort, then looked at Wu Qi and said with a smile, "Tan Lang, you are a genius who cultivates both fleshly body and magic at the same time, so I really want you to join Yan Tian Palace. As long as we have you, Yan Tian Palace will be able to step above all the other divisions!"
Wu Qi could only laugh dryly. He suddenly felt that it was a wise decision to refuse to become a part of Yan Tian Palace. In fact, he did not think that his aptitude was particularity excellent; it was only his luck that had brought him the Scroll of Stealing, a heaven-defying scripture. A place like the Secret Palace where talented lunatics flocked together was really not for him!
Seeing Wu Qi's reluctance, Yu Chen sighed softly and patted him on the shoulder. "Think again…If you marry my youngest daughter, even Yu Mu and the others will have to address you as their Patriarch!"
Wu Qi made no answer and just kept the same dry smile on his face, his facial muscles twitching.
Yu Chen shook his head helplessly. Ahead of them, a dozen white-robed Oracles were quietly waiting in an open field surrounded by trees, together with two elderly men in black robes. Yu Chen blinked and whispered to Wu Qi, "The two little fellows are the heads of the Directorate of Celestials' treasury. His Majesty decreed you to pick a Supreme Tower from the Directorate of Celestials as a reward, didn't he?"
Wu Qi nodded; Emperor Haozun did indeed give him the extra reward.
Yu Chen gave the two black-robed old men a quick glance and whispered in Wu Qi's ear, "Well, there is a hidden treasury deep inside the one you are going, which can be opened as follows...Remember to pick yours from among the Supreme Towers that have the most dust and are placed in the most inconspicuous corners, especially those which seem to lack an edge or two."
Wu Qi looked at Yu Chen in shock, but the latter just laughed, flicked his sleeves, and turned to make his way back into the valley. Wu Qi was thinking about what Yu Chen had told him when the two black-robed old men said, "Marquis of Dong Hai Province, come with us to the Directorate of Celestials and pick the Supreme Tower that His Majesty has rewarded you!"