A Buddha had fallen.
Wu Qi sensed a strong smell of conspiracy in Prabhutaratna Buddha's death. As a Buddha who was strong as a Primordial Immortal, an important figure of the Buddhist League, and one of the eight Buddhas in charge of recruiting believers on Pangu Continent, Prabhutaratna Buddha had come all the way to Pangu Continent himself. He violated the Human Emperor's prohibition by sneaking into You Xiong Plain like a fool, all because he wanted to avenge his disciple by killing Wu Qi?
And a small potato like Wu Qi had unknowingly acted as a bait. Shortly after Prabhutaratna Buddha struck, sixty Supreme Oracles who were said to be searching for Gouchen Guang's murderer suddenly appeared and killed him in just a few short moments. No matter how Wu Qi looked at it, he smelled only conspiracy.
Hundreds of Oracles were busy cleaning the battlefield. To the Oracles of Great Yu, the materials taken from the body of a Buddha, even if it were only a hair, were all extremely precious treasures. For example, a hair taken from Prabhutaratna Buddha's armpit—if he did have hairs growing there—could be used to craft a type of vicious arrow capable of not only accurately hitting a target ten thousand miles away, but also destroying all sorts of dharma body of the immortals and golden body of the Buddhist League, a weapon that could cause significant damage to the cultivators from Immortal and Buddhist League.
The bones of a Buddha could be made into powerful talismans; the skin could be crafted into protective clothing; the flesh could be concocted into pills or fed directly to various poisonous insects and animals, both of which could greatly improve their cultivation bases. Of course, the most important thing was the brain. The Oracles had ways to extract parts of a Buddha's memories from the brain, which could contain the divine abilities they cultivated or some other important information, which was extremely valuable strategic intelligence for Great Yu.
Therefore, apart from some flesh and blood eaten by Ao Buzun and the dragon python sisters, every piece of broken bone, flesh, and hair was carefully collected by these Oracles. They worked so meticulously that nothing was left behind, and they could even piece Prabhutaratna Buddha's body back to a rough shape with all the bits and pieces they had found.
Wu Qi stood like an innocent bystander and as he these Oracles carefully collecting the materials that were the remnants of Prabhutaratna Buddha's body.
He saw Yu Gu ordering some disciples to fight over a bone with the disciples of another Great Oracle. It was a transparent, multicolored finger bone, which was obviously fully filled with the Buddha power. That made it a rare sacred object of the Buddhist League. If it were crafted into a magical artifact, it would certainly be a very powerful treasure. And if it were offered as a sacrifice, a finger bone as small as this was worth as much as sacrificing hundreds of thousands of Heaven Immortals all at once.
As dozens of low-ranking Oracles were fighting each other over the finger bone, Yu Gu and the Supreme Oracle were bickering over who should own it. Wu Qi stood blankly there and listened to their quarrel. It seemed that Yu Gu and the unknown Supreme Oracle were related by marriage of their son and daughter, but the two had shed all pretenses of cordiality in order to claim the bone, and kept shaming each other by exposing the nasty deeds the other had done.
It was Yu Gu who won at last. He triumphantly took the bone and put it away, while the defeated Supreme Oracle sulkily brought his disciples to another small mound not far away and fought with another Supreme Oracle over a few drops of Prabhutaratna Buddha's blood.
It was only after Yu Gu had put the finger bone into his sleeve that he realized Wu Qi was still here. He turned around and said with a smile, "What are you still doing here, Marquis? The matter is resolved now, so you can carry on with your own business!"
Wu Qi was a little dumbstruck. He pointed a finger at his nose and said, "I'm free to go? But, this..."
At first some old men constructed a teleportation formation and tried to teleport him into Prison Dragon Pond, then Prabhutaratna Buddha jumped out of nowhere and assaulted him, and then this group of Supreme Oracles emerged out of thin air and shamelessly smashed Prabhutaratna Buddha into pieces. Wu Qi thought he was a victim in this whole series of events, and he was even questioned for a long time by a few officials from the Punishment Court. Why was that it was none of his business all of a sudden?
Ao Buzun and the dragon python sisters were lying on their stomachs atop his shoulder, belching. It did not seem to hurt him if he left now. However, it did leave a bad taste in his mouth. 'How can you send me away like this after using me as bait? Aren't you going to give me some compensation?'
Not far away, Gouchen Li gingerly picked up a piece of Prabhutaratna Buddha's spine and happily put the foot-long bone into a black jade jar filled with potion. When he was done, he looked up and said in a flat tone, "You are no longer needed here, Marquis of Dong Hai Province. Prabhutaratna Buddha is the one who tried to set you up from behind the scenes. Now that he has been killed, you are free to go now!"
A bright gleam flashed in Gouchen Li's eyes as he nodded and said, "The fact that you are able to survive from three consecutive attacks of a Buddha makes me think highly of your future. Do pay a visit to the Gouchen clan when you have some free time." He paused to give a strange laugh, and went on in the same lofty manner, "Recently, a group of girls in my clan have just flowered into striking beauties. If Marquis of Dong Hai Province is interested, you can marry any one of them!"
He thought for a moment, then smiled and said again, "With the help of Gouchen clan, I believe you will have a chance to break through to the realm of Supreme Oracles in the future. Furthermore, if you marry one of my girls, we will be of the same clan, and that will give Gouchen clan the obligation to help you develop your Dong Hai Province."
Gouchen Li's tone was flat. When he spoke of marrying one of his girls to Wu Qi, he sounded as if he was merely giving out a reward, and showering the latter with great honor by agreeing to do so. Wu Qi could hear the hidden message in his words —'By allowing you to marry one of my girls, I'm actually giving you face, and you will be a fool who fails to appreciate my kindness if you don't personally come to my house and seek the marriage alliance.'
He could even hear something else in Gouchen Li's words —'Yes, we did use you as a bait, and you did a good job as a bait. I know you are a little angry about this, but I've promised to give you one of my girls as compensation, and you should thank me for that!'
Yu Gu's face flickered slightly. He gave Gouchen Li a look, then suddenly burst into laughter as he grabbed Wu Qi by the arm and flung him away. Wu Qi muttered a curse as he flew uncontrollably with a gust of wind and was sent drifting through the sky by Yu Gu to the city gate of Liangzhu.
"What a bunch of old b*stards!" Wu Qi cursed under his breath as he looked angrily at the direction of the hill where the battle had just been fought. What Gouchen Li said had proved that this group of old fellows was watching the battle from the start. However, none of them come forth to offer Wu Qi any help. It was only until Prabhutaratna Buddha was poisoned with the Avichi incense and his physical strength had weakened to the lowest level that they jumped out to claim the prize!
Wu Qi felt a bad taste in his mouth. After all, he was Great Yu's Marquis of Dong Hai Province, but why did it seem that his life was not so important in the eyes of these old fellows? A little irritated, he decided not to enter the city for the moment. Instead, he squatted down beside a ditch near the gate, cupping his chin with his hands and pondering over what had happened today from beginning to the end. After thinking over and over again about the causes and consequences of the incident, and figuring out dozens of possibilities, he raised his middle finger to the sky.
"Fine, I can still choose not to play with your game, can't I?"
With a bellyful of resentment, Wu Qi gritted his teeth and walked into the city. His foundation was still too shallow; after all, he had just been promoted to Marquis of Dong Hai Province. Although he knew he was being used as bait, he could only swallow it for now. But, he was not prepared to let this matter rest. No matter who was behind all this, there was a price to pay. He would not let go of those who looked down on him and put him at risk by using him as a tool today.
"Just you wait!" Wearing a gloomy face, Wu Qi asked some passer-by for the address of King Yang Shan's mansion and made his way down the main street. He had recorded what happened today in his book. When he returned to his own territory, Dong Hai Province, which now wholly belong to him, he would devote himself wholeheartedly to the development of the Underhand Sect, and pour all his efforts into accumulating his strength. When he had enough overall strength and power in hand, he would certainly come back here and settle the scores with these people.
'Compared to these Supreme Oracles who spend their days scheming and plotting against each other in the imperial court like Gouchen Li, those Oracles in the Secret Palace are just too cute and kind!' A thought suddenly came to Wu Qi. Although they, including the Wuchang brothers, were a bit ridiculous in their conducts, that was only their true nature. It actually made them much cuter than Gouchen Li and the other old snakes who always tried to scheme against others.
Gnashing his teeth, Wu Qi came to the front door of King Yang Shan's mansion. He looked up at the ancient bronze door as he cupped his fist and greeted the hundreds of heavily armored soldiers posted there, "Would you please announce that Tan Lang, the Marquis of Dong Hai Province, asks to see Ji Ao, King Yue Feng?"
Although Wu Qi had decided to leave You Xiong Plain and go back to Dong Hai Province to develop his own power, he had to inform Ji Ao about his decision before leaving. After all, everyone now knew he was Ji Ao's confidant, and was already branded.
Just as Wu Qi finished speaking, a middle-aged man clad in a luxurious brocade robe, who was so tall and stocky that he almost looked like a Long Bo man, walked out of the side door. Behind him followed dozens of burly men, who looked proud and fierce like a pack of lions and tigers. Even when they gazed at others, their eyes gleamed with bloodthirsty light.
The middle-aged man happened to hear Wu Qi, and he immediately turned his head to look over. "Tan Lang? Are you the one who works for my third brother, the Tan Lang who cultivates both magic and fleshly body? Aye, little fellow, kneel down before me and pledge your allegiance to me now, or today is going to end up really bad for you!"
Amidst a burst of laughter, a burly man with dark skin and bluish eyes made a dash toward Wu Qi, stretching out both his hands and slapping down toward his shoulders. He was going to force Wu Qi to kneel to the middle-aged man!
Wu Qi flew into a rage. He had just been verbally insulted by Gouchen Li, and now this guy was provoking him, too?!
In complete disregard of them standing in front of King Yang Shan's mansion, Wu Qi growled, "Are you looking to die? Scram!"
As dark dragon scales emerged to cover Wu Qi's right fist, he thrust it toward the burly man's chest.