He was standing atop a golden dragon who rode the clouds, with breezes gently gusting about him. Behind his head, a beam of light towered tens of thousands of feet into the sky, piercing through the thick and heavy dark clouds and fogs, only to burst into a great sheet of yellow light. Along the way, he gracefully waved the jade flute in his hand, causing it to let out a soft whistle that sounded like a dragon's roar. Wherever his golden dragon went, the heavenly ghosts and various strange creatures of the Ghost Realm down below all fled in a flurry, scurrying in all directions as fast as their feet could take them.
The Jade Armor Dark Turtle flying ship was gliding lightly across the sky, pulled by an invisible and supple force. Standing atop the back of the ship, Wu Qi stared blankly at Prince Chang Qin, who was leading the way at a high speed. The handsome man had the look of an immortal, but instead of immortal energy, his body was filled with purple mists that was stronger and richer than Wu Qi could have believed. When he had his divine sense swept past the man, he saw the purple mists shining like a little sun, radiating a blinding light that caused him to quickly look away.
He was very strong, unimaginably strong! No wonder the two emissaries had fled in such a hurry. Prince Chang Qin did have the prowess that could make others flee upon merely hearing his name. But, why was this lineal descendant of the Yellow Emperor Xuanyuan, who existed only in myths and legends, appearing in this place? Why was he in the Ghost Realm? How did he know Wu Qi and his subordinates were here, and how did he find them?
As if he could sense the confusion in Wu Qi's eyes, Prince Chang Qin turned around with a smile on his face and said warmly, "I believe Marquis of Dong Hai Province was thrown into the void by someone, right? Some days ago, when I have my divine thought fused with the void, I sensed your trace, which was when I decided to bring you all here!"
With Prince Chang Qin's explanation, Wu Qi finally learned the full context of what had happened.
The prince had a territory in Ghost Realm that was independent of the thirteen Great Heavenly Ghost Kings and the four hundred Ghost Saints. A few days ago, while he had his divine sense fused with the void—a unique mystic art of studying the Great Dao of Heaven and Earth—on the peak of Mount Qifeng, the tallest mountain in his territory, he happened to find Wu Qi and his companions flying disorderly in the void, carried by violent tides of energy.
According to the direction in which Wu Qi and his men were flying, if Chang Qin did not intervene, the group would be drawn into the 'Heavenly Fiend Realm'. Compared to the Ghost Realm, it was a land of death with the natural environment being a million times worse, and creatures so savage and fierce that even Primordial Immortals dared not to visit it lightly. In addition to that, it was the source of the divine abilities and cultivation techniques that all fiend cultivators practiced, and the birthplace of the Fiend League's Patriarchs.
So, Chang Qin quickly used his mighty divine power to break through the void and tear open the outer barrier of the Ghost Realm, bringing Wu Qi and his men in.
Given his strength, Chang Qin could have brought Wu Qi and others directly into his territory. But, something had happened in the Ghost Realm in recent times, and because of that, his moves were interfered by an external force, resulting in Wu Qi and others landing far away from his territory.
Concerned for their safety, he left his territory to look for them everywhere. He was already less than 10,000 miles from them today when they were fighting with the heavenly ghosts. The energy fluctuations produced from the battle had attracted his attention, and eventually allowed him to arrive just in time to chase away the two ghost immortals and the group of heavenly ghosts.
Wu Qi bowed deeply to Chang Qin, expressing his gratitude. He knew what kind of a nasty place the Heavenly Fiend Realm was. Few in this world knew of its existence, but as he had inherited the Scroll of Stealing, he was one of them who knew the details related to it. Just like the Ghost Realm, it was an independent world born after a piece of land separated from Pangu Continent fused with the first thread of innate fiend energy.
Heavenly ghosts were cruel and greedy, while fiends were treacherous, cruel, violent, greedy, and evil. Compared to the simple-minded heavenly ghosts who acted on instinct alone, fiends were harder to deal with, and they posed a greater threat to immortal cultivators and other living beings.
The thought of him, Huang Liang, and all his men almost being dragged into Heavenly Fiend Realm made Wu Qi's scalp go numb, and his hatred for Liu Bang and King Zhang Qiu deepen. He swore to himself that he would repay the two for their 'kindness', and at the same time, his respect and gratitude for Prince Chang Qin grew stronger.
He knew how vast and irresistible was the power of the Sky Veiling Flag of Chaos, for he had personally experienced it when Liu Bang threw him into the void. So, he knew how great was the loss Prince Chang Qin had to suffer in order to rescue them in such a hurry, guiding a ship so large into the Ghost Realm. And yet, the prince did not hesitate. Wu Qi had put the kindness deep in his heart.
In addition, not only was the prince handsome, but he treated people warmly and kindly, which made Wu Qi felt well disposed toward him.
After telling Wu Qi how he had rescued them, Chang Qin began to point out the hills, mountains, and rivers they passed along the way, introducing his guest the famous sceneries of the Ghost Realm. The realm had a treacherous landscape, with a river easily stretching tens of thousands of miles wide, and gaps between the upper reaches and lower reaches so huge that the water roared down like meteorites; the impact was so immense that it could easily rip any existence below the realm of Gold Immortals to pieces.
But in the river that was so fierce and savage there lived fishes and dragons. Every so often, giant creatures shaped like flood dragons could be seen slithering across the waves. These creatures were actually 'ghost dragons', a kind of ghost who had lost their lives and were born after being nourished by ghost energy, who possessed divine abilities and magic power not weaker than the true dragons.
And the mountains they passed were even more peculiar. Some had very strong magnetic force, so strong that they could pull anything within hundreds of thousands of miles around over. Even Wu Qi could not resist the force, and had to rely solely on Prince Chang Qin's protection for safely passing these mountains.
Some of them were extremely cold, and some had given birth to a thread of Yang flame because of the pure Yin ghost energy in them, causing them to burn so violently that the region hundreds of thousands of miles around them was permanently red. There were also mountains constantly bursting with bolts of lightning, deadly beams of light, or poisonous fogs. All in all, this was a land riddled with all kinds of dangers.
After flying at a high speed for millions of miles and passing countless great mountains and rivers, they finally came to a vast expanse of flatlands.
It was surrounded by nine rings of rivers, each measuring well over a million miles wide and filled with magma and purple flames. Between them were nine belts of quicksand that stretched millions of miles long, nine stretches of bogs filled with terrible poisonous miasmas, and nine rings of trees which looked as if they were made of steel and were burning ragingly. They were sending a great sheet of purple mist and crimson flames tens of thousands of miles into the sky to form an impassable barrier around the flatlands.
But, all these natural barriers turned into an easy path with Chang Qin led the way on his golden dragon. No matter it was the terrible pillars of flame that shot up from the rivers, the powerful suction that emanated from the quicksand, the poisonous miasma that drifted out of the bogs and nearly dissolved the ship's outer shell, or the purple mist and crimson flames that rushed up from the flaming trees whose temperature was so high that they could have burned the sky to ashes, all the natural barriers gave way to them like a herd of tame sheep; allowing them to pass without being hurt.
In the middle of these natural barriers was a fertile flatland that was tens of millions of miles wide. A lake laid quietly near the foot of a lofty mountain, its water so blue that it looked like a supreme-grade sapphire, and its surface stayed still like a mirror even when the breezes were constantly gusting across. Thousands of golden dragons could be seen coiling calmly at the bottom of the lake, and whenever they opened their eyes, beams of golden light pierced through the water and went straight into the sky.
The mountain standing next to the lake was about tens of thousands of miles high. It was divided into nine levels from top to bottom, and each level had four archways made of fine jade and gold erected on all four sides. Numerous 10,000-feet-tall Long Bo men clad in heavy armors and armed with weapons were posted beneath each archway, guarding the gateways that led into the mountain like impregnable mountains.
Feathermen were soaring high up in the sky, riding on large rocs with bodies glinting goldenly and claws emitting purple-blue bolts of lightning. If one glanced about, one would see the sky above the mountain that almost occupied the entire flatland being blotted by rocs. There were at least a billion Feathermen patrolling about in the sky.
On the colossal mountain were rivers and waterfalls, valleys and gullies, peaks that poked through the clouds, and bottomless rifts. All the rocks were materials that were crystal clear like the finest jade, with countless strange plants growing across them. Among them were species that were long extinct on Pangu Continent, one of which was the Langxuan Tree—its trunk twisted like a dragon for hundreds of thousands of feet into the sky, its branches hanging heavy with all kinds of fine jade, with translucent fruits growing between them. Whenever a wind gusted through them, the air would be filled with an exotic aroma that freshened one's mind.
Wu Qi looked through an archway in front of him and saw that the mountain was dotted with lofty pagodas, archer towers, camps, and barracks. Under the supervision of generals clad in heavy armors, groups of soldiers were carrying out cruel training. They were using the cruelest methods to torture themselves, pushing their bodies to the limit so that they could quickly absorb the strong purple energy released by the mountain, using it to nourish their flesh, nurse their wounds, and rapidly improve their strength at the same time.
The soldiers' bodies were riddled with all kinds of scars, some caused by wild beasts, some by sharp weapons, and some by powerful immortal magic. Just from the scars alone, one could easily tell these soldiers were battle-tested elites.
The gap between these soldiers, whose faces were expressionless and eyes pale-gray, and the imperial army in Liangzhu, Great Yu's capital city, was like that between professional butchers and boy scouts.
Chang Qin turned around and gave Wu Qi a smile as he said with a nod, "Welcome to Mount Kunlun, or better known as Kunlun Heavenly Pass, which Great Yu uses to hold the Ghost Realm in awe. It is also where my imperial army is currently stationed."
Chang Qin's imperial army!
Kunlun Heavenly Pass!
Wu Qi took a deep breath, then ordered the ship to fly into the mountain, following behind Chang Qin.