The Grand Oracle of Great Yu's Directorate of Celestials, Baihuang Mu, was a dull and dry man. Not only was he skinny as a tree trunk, but his speech was dry and tasteless. After questioning the two old men about the incident, he said to Wu Qi in a flat tone, "I'll ask Yu Chen for an explanation for the matter. Although I owed him a favor, he can't play such a trick."
Looking nervously at Baihuang Mu, Wu Qi asked in a low voice, "How about this Supreme Tower?"
Baihuang Mu shook his head and said, "Now that you have it, it belongs to you. You have His Majesty's decree, and it's your luck to have this Supreme Tower. It's none of your business, so you don't have to think much about it. Someone, send Marquis of Dong Hai Province away."
Several black-robed Oracles slowly approached and signaled Wu Qi to leave the treasury.
Wu Qi gave Baihuang Mu a look, then cupped his fist and bowed to him silently before leaving the treasury after the few Oracles. The matter was settled more easily than he had imagined. Just now, when the two towers merged into one, something magical happened to the Star Pearls and the time magic, causing a sudden increase in the suction. It was so strong that the star power the suction pulled down from the sky was able to break through the defensive formation and pour into the treasury, which eventually alerted even the Grand Oracle, Baihuang Mu.
Baihuang clan was ranked as the most powerful one among all the clans that served Great Yu's Directorate of Celestials. Of all the Supreme Oracles who appeared in the history, about ten percent came from Baihuang clan. This showed how lofty this clan's reputation and status was in Great Yu. As the Grand Oracle of today's Directorate of Celestials and the ultimate superior of all the Directorates of Celestials in various provinces, Baihuang Mu's cultivation base had reached an unfathomable height.
So, upon realizing that his action had alerted this almighty expert, Wu Qi was afraid of what trouble he might have to face. But, he did not expect that Baihuang Mu was actually such a nice person to talk to. He had let Wu Qi leave the treasury after asking just a few questions. As for how he was going to ask Yu Chen for an explanation, it was none of Wu Qi's business anymore. Since Yu Chen dared to guide him to get the extraordinary treasure that could manipulate time, it was certain that he was not afraid of Baihuang Mu.
The Directorate of Celestials was situated between a stretch of hills on the east side of the city of Liangzhu, with its countless palaces spreading across the top of the hills and the bottom of the valleys. Along the way, Wu Qi noted down the route from the treasury to the outskirts as they walked past thousands of palaces of varying sizes, each of which was frequented by many Oracles. These were just the palaces along the way from the treasury, and there were more hidden in the fog on the back of the hills.
Led by the few Oracles, Wu Qi left the Directorate of Celestials. After telling him which road could bring him to the city and where he could find Ji Ao and the others, they paid him no more heed and walked away.
Wu Qi shook his head. He glanced at the surroundings for a moment, noting down the nearby terrain, and then craned his head to look at the city walls of Liangzhu dozens of miles ahead. At last, he began to walk toward the city. Ji Ao should be waiting for him at King Yang Shan's mansion by now. As an important official who had great power in Great Yu's imperial court, it was not difficult to find out where his residence was once Wu Qi was in the city.
After walking a few miles from the Directorate of Celestials, Wu Qi came to a great river. It was about a hundred miles wide and circled the city of Liangzhu, walking along the river bank of which he arrived at the east gate of the city. Like other rivers on You Xiong Plain, seventy percent of the water in this river was liquefied natural energy while the rest was clear water. On top of that, the riverbed was not covered with ordinary sand, but with gemstones as big as fists and jade as big as human heads. In fact, anything scooped out of this riverbed was a rare treasure in the outside world.
Several old fishermen in straw raincoat were fishing with fishing rods in the grass by the river. They appeared to have very strong muscles and bones, and although they did not practice any cultivation technique, their physical strength was amazing. When Wu Qi's divine sense swept across their bodies, he found that they were almost as strong as lower-grade Heaven Immortals. In other words, they could easily move a mountain by the strength of their arms alone.
Their fishing rods, lines, and hooks looked very crude and primitive, apparently made by themselves. However, the fishing rods were made of Golden Specks Purple Bamboo, the lines were the silks spat out by the snow silkworms that had lived for 10,000 years, and the hooks were ground out of Star-shaped Black Iron. It was a luxurious set of fishing tools, and if it were given to immortals, they only needed to casually refine it with their true flames and fuse it with a powerful item spirit to immediately transform into a set of upper-grade Heaven Immortal artifact.
The corner of Wu Qi's mouth twitched when he saw the fishermen laugh and pull a huge golden carp out of the river. The fish was as long as an adult's height, with a pair of long whiskers and shiny golden scales covering its entire body. Its eyes looked like the eyes of a dragon, glittering with golden light whenever they blinked. Clearly, it was a carp who had lived long enough to transform into a demon. With his body coiled up atop Wu Qi's head, Ao Buzun sighed and said, "Just give it a chance and it can transcend and transform into a dragon. Unfortunately, living here in this place, its destiny is to be fished out of the water and turned into a plate of food."
Wu Qi shook his head in silence. He gave the fishermen one last glance before continuing his journey to the city.
The natural energy in You Xiong Plain was so dense that the mortals living here were different from the rest of the outside world. Although these fishermen had never practiced any cultivation technique, their overall strength was no less powerful than Heaven Immortals. With its land stretching billions of miles across, Wu Qi believed there must be more than a trillion ordinary mortals living here. All Great Yu had to do was to distribute all sorts of cultivation techniques to the civilians here and it could form a large army within ten days. Even though the immortals had mighty cultivation bases and formidable divine abilities, Great Yu had an absolute advantage in numbers of people.
Perhaps this was the reason why Great Yu and the Heaven were able to coexist, but the latter had not been able to completely invade Pangu Continent.
Not far ahead, a group of farmers carrying hoes and plows was laughing merrily as they walked along the riverbank in the direction of Wu Qi. They saw him and recognized the outfit he was wearing as the one that could only be worn by the marquis of Great Yu. But, instead of rushing over and kneeling down before him, these simple-looking farmers in plain and clean clothes only greeted him from a distance. Wu Qi could feel freedom and equality from them; even though he was a marquis, these farmers regarded him as an ordinary man.
He felt good; with a smile on his face, he cupped his fist and greeted the farmers.
Each one of these farmers was tall and muscular, with broad, stocky shoulders and thickset arms that were filled with explosive strength. Similarly, they had never practiced any cultivation technique, but as they lived in You Xiong Plain, they were constantly nourished by the rich natural energy, and that gave them a strong vitality and incredible physical strength. Their luck was undoubtedly much better than that of the mortals who lived in the outside world. And because they were living in a place with abundant natural energy, their lifespans were ten times longer than their counterparts outside.
Ao Buzun sighed with mixed emotions and said, "My ancestors used to say that every human being had the strength to topple mountains and overturn seas in the ancient times. I didn't believe it at first. 'How could these humans who are only desserts to us be so strong?' I used to ask myself. But now, it seems that my ancestors did not lie. The ancestors of today's human beings must have been born with mighty divine abilities, and therefore, they had been able to reproduce from ancient times to the present day."
Wu Qi nodded in silence. Relaxed, he fully immersed himself in the surrounding scenery. He saw farmers talking merrily in the nearby farmland, small fishing boats gliding up and down the river, and beautiful village women washing clothes by the water. The simple and primitive pastoral scene made him let down his guard. 'I reckon even the legendary land of peace away from the turmoil of the world would pale in comparison to Liangzhu…' thought Wu Qi.
Just as he took another step forward, the void around him suddenly turned dark, and an immense pressure rushed toward him from all directions. His clothes were crushed to pieces under the terrible pressure, and his long hair was pulled straight.
The sudden attack caused Wu Qi to give a furious roar. As countless black dragon scales quickly emerged from beneath his skin, his body abruptly grew to tens of feet tall while he smashed his muscular arms into the void at the same time. A thunderous boom rang out and the void trembled. He heard a faint cry of alarm right before he saw light again, and the next thing he knew, he was standing on top of a hill.
Leaning on bone staffs, several old men in black clothes stood hundreds of feet away, staring at Wu Qi in horror. The ground near him was full of shattered energy stones and bones. Apparently, these old men had secretly constructed a formation to teleport him from the riverbank to somewhere. But, they did not expect him to react so quickly, and they had underestimated his strength, causing the formation to be destroyed right after it was activated.
Wu Qi gave the surroundings a quick glance. The terrain was relatively high, and the walls of Liangzhu were visible more than two hundred miles from here. Near this hill were hills that stretched for hundreds of miles, all of which were covered with trees whose trunks were straight and bright green. The hilltop he had emerged on was originally covered with such trees as well, but the tremendous shockwaves generated from the disintegration of the formation he had destroyed had wiped them all out, and even a large part of the hilltop had disappeared.
"Who sent you? And what do you want to do?" Wu Qi, in his dragonman form, had a thick cloud of black smoke wrapped around each of his fists, inside of which flashed countless ghost skulls. He stared fiercely at the group of old men and slowly approached them while they slowly lifted their bone staffs as if they were about to engage him in a battle of life and death.
At that moment, beams of strong light shot up into the sky from within the city of Liangzhu. Dozens of heavily armored soldiers, each with a pair of white wings flapping behind their backs, were flying in Wu Qi's direction at top speed. In the meantime, the city walls began to glitter, and some manors and palaces outside the city were covered with a layer of light. Like a colossal beast that was roused from sleep, Liangzhu bared its fangs and showed its claws without hesitation.
The few old men stared at Wu Qi, their faces ashen. "It seems that we have failed. I didn't expect you'd be able to destroy the Fantasy Flying Formation we built together," said one dryly. "We certainly deserve to be punished by death for failing to accomplish the task assigned by our master, but you also deserve to die for messing with our master's plan!"
Wu Qi leaped forward, trying to capture a man alive for questioning. But, the old men suddenly burst into strange laughter, and in the blink of an eye, blood that was as black and thick as ink began to ooze out of their seven orifices. Before long, their bodies melted into puddles of filthy blood, and even their souls were completely dissolved by the poison.
What a brutal way to prevent the secret from leaking! Wu Qi felt a chill run down his back. Less than a day had passed since he had arrived in Liangzhu. He wondered who was so eager to kill him.