Under a tall bodhi tree in a garden outside the city of Liangzhu, King Bai Shan and a monk sat opposite each other. The monk wore a jade-color robe, his face handsome and his demeanor elegant and graceful. The tree was surrounded by countless visible and invisible traps, and many fearless warriors raised by King Bai Shan were hiding in the dark to make sure no one could get in here easily.
King Bai Shan was sipping tea from a cup carved out of black stone. Meanwhile, the monk with a cleanly shaved scalp was smiling and fiddling with a scroll woven from silver-white silk placed in front of him. The scroll was a map of twinkling lights and shadows, marked with a row of words: 'The Duty Roster of Great Yu's Garrison in Outer Heavenly Realms of West Region'. None of the two spoke.
The silence was broken by the sound of footsteps. King Zhang Qiu and Lord Long Yang, who was dressed in a white robe, walked abreast to the two sitting under the tree. King Zhang Qiu reverently addressed his father with a bow. With a smile on his face, Lord Long Yang gently clapped his hands, and as white lotus flowers were drifting out of his fingertips, he greeted the monk, "This Junior, Long Yang, offer greeting to Prabhutaratna Buddha."
Prabhutaratna Buddha looked up and chuckled as soon as he glanced at the lotus flowers falling from Lord Long Yang's fingertips. "You have a predestined relationship with the Buddhist League, Believer Long Yang. Young Your Highness, has that Tan Lang been sent to Prison Dragon Pond?"
Lord Long Yang smiled and stood aside in silence, his eyelids drooping. King Zhang Qiu looked a little pale as he said in a deep voice, "No, unfortunately. That fellow had learned the Dragon Kill, and both his fleshly body and divine ability are pretty strong. Several Oracles I sent had constructed a formation to teleport him to the Prison Dragon Pond, but he broke the formation halfway and escaped."
King Bai Shan's cheeks twitched a little. "What happened to your men then?" he asked.
"They had consumed 'Corpse Rotting and Soul Melting Pills'. Their flesh is nothing but soil now, and their souls are nowhere to be found," said King Zhang Qiu coldly.
Upon hearing that, King Bai Shan's expression relaxed. "Good. Pay their families good compensation." Putting down the teacup, he turned to Prabhutaratna Buddha and said with a cold smile, "I've undertaken a great risk to bring you here, so I'll take no more risk for an insignificant junior. If you can kill him, do it yourself. If you can't, leave as soon as possible!"
Prabhutaratna Buddha tucked the scroll into his sleeve, then put his palms together before his chest and said, "For the benevolence of the Buddha, how can Your Highness cast me aside like this when you have helped me sneak into the You Xiong Plain? Is it true that those old fellows in Directorate of Celestials have left the You Xiong Plain, just as you have told me before?"
"His Majesty was fuming with rage at the tragic death of Gouchen Guang, the former Left Minister of the Directorate of Celestials," King Zhang Qiu put in. "As a result, the Elders and the heads of various divisions of the Directorate of Celestials have left to pursue the murderers. Now, with the exception of their Grand Oracle, Baihuang Mu, the only people in Liangzhu who can pose a threat to you are those who dwell in the Secret Palace."
With a faint smile on his face, Prabhutaratna Buddha slowly rose to his feet and said, "Those in the Secret Palace? I've never worried about them. They would never come out unless I go to the palace and try to assassinate the Human Emperor. And as for that Baihuang Mu... he can never stop me from killing Tan Lang."
He looked up at the sky and said with a cold grin, "Since you can't help me send Tan Lang to Prison Dragon Pond, I've no choice but to kill him myself. He had killed my missionary disciple, and for that, I'll kill him right here in Liangzhu, lest people think that the Buddhist League will only resign to adversity and swallow humiliation silently!"
King Bai Shan and King Zhang Qiu quickly exchanged a glance. "If you want to kill him, please do it openly," said King Zhang Qiu as he took a step forward. "It will be even better if you can leave behind a letter stating your reason for killing him. Oh, by the way, this Tan Lang is now King Yue Feng, Ji Ao's most trusted confidant, and it's said that Ji Ao has the intention of cultivating him into a Supreme Oracle!"
Prabhutaratna Buddha cocked his eyebrows and gave a few sneers before shaking his head with a glum expression.
"A Supreme Oracle who cultivates both fleshly body and magic... How can I let such a person exist?" He sighed. "Looks like I've to ask him to take a walk in the transmigration. If he is smart enough, I can make him the Protector of my Buddhist Kingdom. I think he does have a predestined relationship with the Buddhist League."
Lord Long Yang smiled as he placed his palms together before his chest and said 'Amitabha'.
King Bai Shan gave Lord Long Yang a glance, then turned to look at his son and gave a disapproving grunt. Meanwhile, King Zhang Qiu only smiled as he looked at Lord Long Yang and then Prabhutaratna Buddha without noticing his father's expression.
With a mocking smile on his face, Prabhutaratna Buddha took a step and disappeared from under the bodhi tree.
Standing on top of the hill, Wu Qi was helplessly questioned by a group of dull and boring officials from the Punishment Court. Dozens of officials whose cultivation level was above the Seven Stars Realm of Second Pangu Heaven were carefully searching for useful evidence in the vicinity. Twelve officials surrounded Wu Qi, asking him why he had come here, what had happened, whom he had met, why the scene had become such a ruin, and some other similar questions.
Although Wu Qi had produced his seal and official paper as the Marquis of Dong Hai Province to prove that he was a high-ranking nobleman of Great Yu, these officials did not permit him to leave. They did not care who he was, and just regarded him as the most common suspect while repeatedly asking him all kinds of questions.
They questioned him for a full quarter of an hour, during which, the officials who were searching for evidence had found some melted gores, some fragments of an array disc and bone talismans, and a few broken bone staffs.
As a result of these well-trained officials' efforts, the broken array disc was almost put back together as one, and using a method of reverse deduction, they were able to find out where it might have teleported Wu Qi to.
It was Prison Dragon Pond, one of the most notorious lands of death in You Xiong Plain. In the ancient times, an evil dragon had come to You Xiong Plain and caused a lot of trouble. At that time, Great Yu had just survived from a catastrophe, losing more than eighty percent of its elite. And with the rest of its experts seriously injured, they were unable to kill the mighty dragon. In the absence of any other means, Great Yu could only trap the evil dragon in the Prison Dragon Pond with the help of all the natural restrictive spells found there.
But, they did not realize that they had made a mistake. It was true that the evil dragon was trapped and could no longer cause any trouble, but he was lucky enough to fully control all the natural restrictive spells in there. Although he could no longer escape from that place, because he had control over everything there, the place became a dangerous place that enjoyed a notorious reputation in Great Yu. No one dared to get within a thousand miles around it, and even Supreme Oracles were reluctant to visit there unless necessary, as it would invite them nothing but troubles.
If Wu Qi was teleported into Prison Dragon Pond, he would have faced inevitable death even with his overall strength of a fifth-tier Gold Immortal.
The expressions of the officials from Punishment Court all became serious. They had confirmed that the explosion outside the city of Liangzhu had nothing to do with Wu Qi; instead, he was a victim. Someone was trying to send him, a freshly baked marquis who received an extra reward from the Human Emperor, into the Prison Dragon Pond with a short-distance teleportation formation. It was an attempt to murder a newly conferred nobleman. In Great Yu, it was a felony punishable with confiscation of property and execution of the entire clan.
A message was immediately sent back to Liangzhu. More Punishment Court officials arrived at the scene and began questioning Wu Qi about the appearance of the few old men. At the same time, more investigators rushed to the scene, and Wu Qi was amazed at the extent to which they searched for all the evidence they could use. They even found a few hairs left on the ground after the bodies of the few old men had melted away.
Wu Qi was glad to have someone tracking down the murderer behind the scenes for him, so he fully cooperated with their investigation. He pointed a finger at the ground, causing a few lumps of soil to rush out of the earth and form into several statues in the likeness of the few old men. The statues were then hastily uprooted by the officials and sent back to Liangzhu. They were going to use them to find out the background of the few old men. As long as these old men were in Liangzhu before, with the power of the Punishment Court, they would be able to trace their identities.
After a long questioning, the officials had no more questions for Wu Qi, and they warned him to better stay in the city until the matter was settled. After all, Wu Qi was the Marquis of Dong Hai Province, and if something bad happened to him when he was visiting Liangzhu, it would be an insult to the entire Great Yu.
Wu Qi agreed to them. However, just as he was about to return to the city with the few officials, a white cloud suddenly swept gently down from the sky in their direction. With a faint scent and a muffled chanting that penetrated straight into one's soul, the cloud, about a few miles wide, engulfed the entire hilltop at a speed that seemed slow but was actually incredibly fast.
All the officials from the Punishment Court, the investigators who had never cultivated before, and even the few officials who arrived later, whose cultivation level was in the Eight Stars Realm of Second Pangu Heaven, fainted. They snored softly as the white cloud rolled them up and sent them to an unknown place.
The white cloud had blotted the surroundings, and amidst the dense cloud, Prabhutaratna Buddha, dressed in a jade robe and smiling, walked out slowly.
As soon as he saw Prabhutaratna Buddha, a thought leaped into Wu Qi's mind and made him aware of whom this monk was. "Prabhutaratna Buddha?"
Since he arrived in Pangu Continent, Wu Qi had offended a few people from the Buddhist League. However, only Prabhutaratna Buddha alone knew he was Tan Lang, and had the courage to sneak into You Xiong Plain to hunt him down. After all, he had killed Prabhutaratna Buddha's missionary disciple, Ming Li, and even gave his head to Ji Ao, who later sent it to Great Yu's imperial court as evidence.
A small gesture from him had caused Great Yu to make all kinds of arrangements against the Buddhist League's small tricks. Therefore, Wu Qi was not surprised that Prabhutaratna Buddha would come here to find him.
Prabhutaratna Buddha smiled, placing his palms before his chest as he said, "Benefactor Tan Lang, you have made the Buddhist League suffer!"
Even as he said that, he reached out his right hand. Immediately, a giant golden palm emerged in the sky, grabbing down toward Wu Qi with a thunderous chanting lingering in the air.