Wu Qi and Prince Chang Qin sat opposite each other at the top of Mount Kunlun, in a pavilion surrounded by Langxuan trees and exotic flowers.
The view here was excellent. Standing in an open area with no obstruction, one's vision could easily reach millions of miles away as long as he or she had the overall strength. Bright lights were sprinkling down from the sky, blanketing the entire mountain with a gentle glow. Mount Kunlun was the only place in the Ghost Realm covered in starlight
But unlike normal days when the starlight could shower the region freely, the sky over Mount Kunlun was shrouded in faint dark clouds now. Two moons that were red as blood were hung high above the mountain, sprinkling a cold and merciless red light which ripped the silvery purple starlight to shreds. All the exotic flowers looked listless under such an evil light.
Prince Chang Qin pulled out a golden scroll from under his sleeve. As he unrolled it, a beam of light sprung out of it, in which appeared Wu Qi's portrait. While smiling, he nodded to Wu Qi and said, "Whenever Great Yu confers new nobles, this 'Portraits of Great Yu's Nobles' will show me their images and titles. I admire your bravery and fortune, Marquis of Dong Hai Province, for you have helped King Yue Feng in slaying Immortal Ding Jun, and were bestowed with an immense Virtue by the Heavenly Dao!"
Wu Qi smiled as he offered the prince a half-bow and said, "You are flattering me, my Prince! Such a trifling contribution is hardly worth mentioning."
Now he knew how Chang Qin was able to call out his title at first sight. The Portraits of Great Yu's Nobles? Great Yu had such an extraordinary treasure? A thought came to Wu Qi's mind. If even Prince Chang Qin had such a thing, it was possible that the Yellow Emperor Xuanyuan had something similar as well. At the thought that his name might have been learned by Xuanyuan, Wu Qi felt his heart filled with mixed emotions.
'The Yellow Emperor, Xuanyuan, one of the legendary ancestors of the human race...' Wu Qi could not describe the dreamy feeling he felt at the thought that he might have had some contact with a figure like this.
Chang Qin rolled up the scroll and tucked it back his sleeve. Outside the pavilion, two beautiful maids in pink dresses walked slowly toward them along a jade-paved path. One of them carried a fruit plate with both hands, on top of which were a dozen exotic fruits recorded in the Scroll of Stealing that Wu Qi had never seen in real life; and the other had a flagon and two wine cups. Although they were still hundreds of feet away, the rich aroma wafting out of the flagon had intoxicated Wu Qi.
Chang Qin personally poured wine for Wu Qi and urged him to eat a few more fruits that were only grown on Mount Kunlun. The fruits all had various miraculous effects. Some could improve one's physical strength; some could make one run as fast as a gust of wind; some could improve eyesight; some could improve hearing and allow one to listen to even the whispering of insects.
But, the most precious of them all were twenty fruits picked from Langxuan trees. They were shaped like apples, their color glossy red as if they were carved from jade, and each one of them was shrouded in a mist and emanated a strong life force. This fruit had nothing but one effect: it could prolong one's life. A fruit could give a person a life span of 47,000 years; and if nine were taken in a row, a life span of 1,080,000 years was guaranteed.
It was a pity that a person could only consume up to nine of these fruits. It would lose its miraculous effect after that, even if the person ate it frequently like rice. Every one thousand years, the Human Emperor would host an appreciation feast for his subjects, during which, this fruit was occasionally given as a reward. It was the supreme treasure sought after by all the senior ministers and members of the imperial clan. Of all the spirit medicines that could prolong one's life, its effect was considered one of the best.
The fruits that were extremely precious in Great Yu were merely served as refreshments here, and judging by the way he ate them, Prince Chang Qin did not regard them as something valuable. Whenever Wu Qi ate one, he would follow; soon, the prince himself had eaten twelve of them.
Wu Qi looked at Prince Chang Qin, speechless. The fruit had melted in his mouth without leaving anything behind. Its juice was sweet and refreshing, which went straight into his internal organs like a gentle breeze gusting in the sky, warming him from inside out. When the warm stream entered his spiritual ocean, his divine soul opened its mouth and sucked it in, and then it immediately grew stronger by about thirty percent.
The effect of the fruits of Langxuan was to strengthen the soul and nourish the flesh, hence prolonging a person's life.
After pondering for a moment, Wu Qi found it reasonable for Chang Qin to not attach much importance to these rare exotic fruits. According to the legends, these fruits were native to Mount Kunlun. Since the mountain had been made into Kunlun Heavenly Pass under his command, the exotic fruits the outsiders deemed as precious treasures were no different than rice to him. After coming to this conclusion, Wu Qi threw his hesitation to the wind and devoured a dozen fruits of different effects in a row.
Ao Buzun's mouth watered when he saw that. In front of Chang Qin, a three-feet-long line of saliva hung from the corner of the little black dragon's mouth, whose head poked out above Wu Qi's brows. The prince was amused at the sight of that, and he lightly clapped his hands. Before long, two maidservants brought over a large bucket full of exotic fruits and placed it in front of Wu Qi. Looking at Ao Buzun with a smile on his face, Chang Qin said, "He is an ancient true dragon, isn't he? Aye, you also have two Dragon Pythons of Fire and Ice! What a fortune, Marquis! Help yourself, these fruits are nothing to me!"
Ao Buzun let out a long hiss while exulting. "I've long heard Prince Chang Qin is a handsome, elegant, generous, and gallant man, but it was not until I saw you in person that I found you to really be worthy of the reputation! Hehe, I'll not stand on ceremony now!" With his mouth wide opened, Ao Buzun plunged into the bucket and began to devour those exotic fruits. Hastily, the dragon python sisters rushed over as well, feasting on those fruits at a speed that was thirty percent faster than the black dragon's. As they were all ancient extraordinary species, they had inherited all kinds of knowledge through their bloodlines, so it was natural that they knew the benefits of these fruits.
After giving Ao Buzun and the sisters a look with a kind smile on his face, Chang Qin turned to Wu Qi and said, "Marquis, let me be honest with you…The reason I brought you into Ghost Realm is that I need a favor from you."
Wu Qi bowed slightly to him and said, "Just tell me what I need to do, my Prince. As the subject of Great Yu, I will..."
Chang Qin laughed as he quickly waved his hand, then shook his head and said, "No, you have gotten it wrong. It's true that you are a subject of Great Yu, but I..." he paused and pondered for a moment before going on, "Well, I'm not the Prince of Great Yu, and I'm not your superior. Neither of us is subordinate to the other, so when I need your help, I've to seek your permission."
Wu Qi gave him a surprised look, then nodded and said, "If that is the case, please tell me what you need of me, my Prince."
The prince laughed, then began to talk.
The Mount Kunlun where Wu Qi was at now was the legendary one that he knew, the mountain that was once the residence of ancient Gods and later became the Yellow Emperor's palace. But, as a major change had happened to the heaven and earth after several apocalypses that broke out in the ancient times, the Yellow Emperor had uprooted the mountain with his mighty divine power and thrown it into Ghost Realm, where he then forcibly occupied a piece of land and asked Prince Chang Qin to guard it with massive forces.
Naturally, the many Ghost Kings and Ghost Saints of the Ghost Realm hated Kunlun Heavenly Pass, which was a sudden intruder in their realm. For countless years, they had tried numerous ways to throw it back to Pangu Continent. However, as Mount Kunlun was an independent world on its own, whenever these Ghost Kings and Ghost Saints intruded it, they lost the blessing of the Ghost Realm. Many of them were severely beaten by Prince Chang Qin and forced to flee in dismay, hence giving the prince a fierce name.
In addition to deterring the powers in the Ghost Realm and harvesting various rare resources, Kunlun Heavenly Pass was also charged with the task of keeping all sides under strict surveillance.
Ghost Realm was situated in a very strange position. In layman's term, it was a thoroughfare, a chaotic node of the force of space and time. From here, one could easily travel to other realms, whether it was the Heaven, Pangu Continent, the chaotic void beyond the outer heavenly realms, Fiend Realm, Demon Realm, the Yellow Springs, and so on.
Chang Qin presided over Kunlun Heavenly Pass with the Mirror of Kunlun, an ancient extraordinary treasure which allowed him to keep a close eye on all the activities that happened in the various realms, including the Nine Heavens, which were situated above the Thirty-three Heavens; and the Yellow Springs, where the deceased entered their transmigration. With that, if he noticed some unusual changes in some places, especially those targeted against the human race on Pangu Continent, he could immediately send the intelligence back to the Yellow Emperor Xuanyuan and the imperial court of Great Yu so that they could react on time. Meanwhile, the hundreds of millions of soldiers stationed in Kunlun Heavenly Pass were the vanguards who would cope with all sorts of unexpected events.
Compared to all kinds of conflicts and clashes that broke out in Kunlun Heavenly Pass, Myriad Immortal Alliance's harassment against Pangu Continent was merely a child's play.
During the recent days, Chang Qin had discovered that some unusual changes had occurred in the outer heavenly realms and a few other important places. Some regions with proper preparations were destroyed, many spies were killed, and something very wrong was happening in many places. And when he wanted to send the news back to Pangu Continent, he found that the Ghost Realm was completely locked down!
The thirteen Great Heavenly Ghost Kings and the four hundred Ghost Saints had joined forces to lock down the Ghost Realm. They had moved the Myriad Tribulation Ghost Eyes they had cultivated into the void to form the Myriad Tribulation Sky Locking Formation, completely isolating the Ghost Realm from the rest of the world. The hundreds of blood-red moons Wu Qi saw in the sky were actually not celestial bodies, but the eyes of those Ghost Kings and Ghost Saints; and the moonlight that filled the ream was the natal divine light they had cultivated.
The prince could not send the news back to Pangu Continent by all means of communication, and the messengers he dispatched were all killed halfway by unknown people. He himself was confident of breaking through the blockade and returning to Pangu Continent, but under no circumstances could he leave Kunlun Heavenly Pass!
The whole defense mechanism of Kunlun Heavenly Pass was in the hands of Chang Qin alone; he was the soul of Mount Kunlun. If he left, the pass could be breached by the great army of the Ghost Realm. The risk was too great for him to rush out of the realm to deliver the message.
Chang Qin took a deep breath and drank a mouthful of wine, then said to Wu Qi with a serious expression, "No matter what the reason is that made the Ghost Kings and the Ghost Saints lock down the Ghost Realm, I'm certain that this unusual change is targeted against us, the human race. Can Marquis be my messenger and bring a letter to the Sacred Emperor and the Human Emperor?"
Wu Qi was slightly taken aback. 'Why is he entrusting me with such an important task when all the previous messengers were killed? Does he think that I am stronger than them all?'
With a wave of his hand, a beam of green light shot up from the prince's palm, in the middle of which was a star chart.
"Have a look at this, Marquis," said Chang Qin in a deep voice. "This is the route I've worked out, one that you can use to return to Pangu Continent!"
Looking at the star charts, Wu Qi's eyes grew wide abruptly!