When Wu Qi was running wildly across the Pangu Continent, the internal strife of Yu Clan in Zhong Province was in full swing.
On the day of Princess Zhang Le's visit, Yu Mu and Yu Miao suddenly broke out into a confrontation; and subsequently, the Yu Clan in Zhong Province was officially split in two. As the current Clan Master, Yu Mu had a great advantage over his opponent. He had ordered the clan's private army to take down Yu Miao and his companions, and the tens of thousands of soldiers obeyed. With that, misfortune struck not only Yu Miao and those Elders who were close to him, but also their family members. Since most of them resided within Yu Clan's mansion, Yu Mu's order had resulted in over seventy percent of them being captured alive.
Yu Miao and the Elders managed to flee Zhong Ning City, but most of their family members were in Yu Mu's hands. Yu Mu had grasped the righteous cause and legal status, and was in control of the clan's private army, as well as the forces from some other channels. Hence, most of Yu Clan's allies could only communicate with him; and therefore, Yu Miao and the dozen or so Elders around him, who represented the Yu Clan in Zhong Province, were losing out completely.
Over the past month or so, Yu Mu had never stopped at anything to suppress Yu Miao. He had sent men out to capture those from Yu Miao's branch who had won the powers of the thirty provinces in the previous competition. Some lucky ones managed to escape, while the others who were too late to react were taken down from their thrones of Prefecture Overseer and captured alive.
All the powerful clans in Zhong Province were paying close attention to the internal strife of Yu Clan. A struggle for power within a clan such as this was not uncommon in Great Yu, but rarely had been one that was so bloody and thorough. The high-handed approach of Yu Mu, and how he had taken so little time to bring Yu Miao down, had literally become the classic lecture of internal strife.
Some powerful clans had thought of fishing in this troubled water, but when the Yu Clan in Liangzhu suddenly sent dozens of Elders and a larger number of experts to 'visit' Yu Mu, they immediately pulled their hands back. They knew they could afford to offend the Yu Clan in Zhong Province, for a clan that was plagued by internal strife did not have the leisure to counter their harassment. However, they dared not to fight against the Yu Clan in Liangzhu. Even Bo Zhongfu was not strong enough to compete with the Yu Clan in Liangzhu, as it was one of the most important powers in Great Yu's Directorate of Celestials!
After slightly over a month of ruckus, all of Yu Miao's powers had been taken over by Yu Mu. The Prefecture Overseers of thirty provinces, the powers of the various branches of Yu Clan, and the clan's income streams across Zhong Province, all were taken over by the people Yu Mu had sent out. Meanwhile, Yu Miao was charged with the crime of colluding with immortals, and Bo Zhongfu had issued a warrant to have him captured.
It was a starry night. Under the bright starlight, Princess Zhang Le hovered atop a dark cloud, her body emitting an ominous aura as she sent her vast divine sense spreading in all directions, completely enveloping the province in front of her. Inch by inch, she was searching for anything that was suspicious.
More than a dozen captains, whose cultivation bases ranged from the Five Stars and Six Stars Realm of the Second Pangu Heaven, along with thousands of soldiers, were quietly guarding the princess in three serpent-shaped flying ships near her. They were sent here by Ji Ao. When he heard that Wu Qi was assaulted by someone and had gone missing after being thrown into the void, he flew into a rage. Without hesitation, he complained to Emperor Haozune and sent scouts to find out more information about Dong Hai Province.
When he learned that Yu Miao was colluding with some powerful clans in Zhong Province to scheme for Dong Hai Province's power, his pent-up anger exploded. He immediately used all his connections in the imperial court to give the fiercest reaction to the matter. That was why Liangzhu's Yu Clan was able to poke their hands into Zhong Province so smoothly, and why Princess Zhang Le had several thousand elites protecting her.
Yu Miao's quick downfall had much to do with Ji Ao's outburst. He had misjudged the importance of Wu Qi for Ji Ao, and underestimated the impression Wu Qi had left in the hearts of some people in Great Yu. As a result, when he did what he should not have done to the property of the now missing Wu Qi, the reactions from all sides had brought him and those close to him to the brink of extinction.
Princess Zhang Le suddenly gave a cold laugh. She murmured a few incantations under her breath, and a chilly wind abruptly rose and swept out in all directions. In just the blink of an eye, the entire province down below was enveloped by the biting wind. It was a sixth-grade province under the jurisdiction of Zhong Province, and was ruled by a powerful local clan, the Ye clan. After Bo Zhongfu had taken over Zhong Province, Ye clan had defected to him as fast as it could. After some flattering and pleading of its allegiance, it had smoothly replaced the previous Prefecture Overseer who had fled with his entire clan, taking over the power of this province.
Of all those who had colluded with Yu Miao to share the interests of Dong Hai Province, Ye clan was the most aggressive one.
In the retaliation Princess Zhang Le launched over a month ago, this province ruled by Ye clan had suffered the most tragic consequences. All its crops, pastures, and vegetation were eaten clean by the swarming locusts in just three days. Then a plague suddenly broke out, causing more than ninety percent of its population, which originally numbered in billions, to fall ill in bed. In just over a month, the province was already on the verge of collapse.
But just tonight, Princess Zhang Le had discovered with her divine sense that Yu Miao and the dozen of Elders whom Bo Zhongfu had ordered to be captured, as well as the clan members who had fled the Yu Clan's mansion with them, were all hiding in a secret chamber within Ye clan's mansion.
The air of the whole province was filled with plague viruses that were invisible to the naked eye. They were not ordinary viruses, but the ones conjured from the divine power of the God of Scourge Princess Zhang Le had formed. Invisible and emitting no energy, seemingly alive and lifeless at the same time, they were impossible to be detected and guarded against with common Dao magics and divine abilities, save for a spell cast by a God who possessed an opposite divine power.
In addition, these tiny viruses were equivalent to Princess Zhang Le's incarnations. She could control them with her divine sense at any time, and learn everything within a thousand feet around them. As they had now thoroughly mixed with the air of the entire province, nothing could hide from her divine sense so long as the place had air.
Yu Miao and the others were in the secret chamber within the Prefecture Overseer's mansion! Princess Zhang Le could clearly sense their auras.
Yu Miao had borrowed the power of the Ghost God he worshiped, along with a few other powerful magical artifacts, to seal off the activities within the chamber. However, in the face of the divine ability of the Ancient God Princess Zhang Le had mastered, his defense was riddled with holes like a sieve. Controlled by her divine sense, the density of the viruses in the air around Yu Miao and the others became higher and higher, and gradually, they accumulated to a degree that led to a qualitative change.
In the secret chamber, which was spacious but somehow gave off a rather narrow and oppressive feeling, Yu Miao sat cross-legged on a hassock, his face pale. The dozen or so Elders were also sitting in a daze on their hassocks, all staring at the Secluded Elder who sat in the middle of them. The Clan Master of Ye clan named Ye Tianyan, who was also the Prefecture Overseer of this sixth-grade province, sat off to the side with an unsightly expression as sweat was streaming down his skin.
At first, Ye Tianyan did not want to provide Yu Miao and his company a shelter, who had come to him with tails between their legs. But, they were too strong for him to refuse, and Ye clan did not have the strength to oppose them. On top of that, Yu Miao had threatened him in the face that if he refused to provide them shelter, the entire Ye clan would be slaughtered. So, he had no other choice but to keep them in his mansion.
Ye Tianyan felt like weeping when he thought of those important clan members of his who had been planted with vicious curses, and had their life and death controlled by Yu Miao. 'I should not have listened to him…I should not have joined him to scheme for Dong Hai Province's land... I was too greedy...'
'Heavens... All the crops in my territory are eaten clean by the locusts...There will be no harvest this year, and even in the next few years! Moreover, ninety percent of my population is confined to bed by sickness, with many of them are dying soon...'
Never in the history of Great Yu had ninety percent of the population in a province died at the same time. It was not hard to imagine what would happen to Ye clan if something like this happened. At the thought that he might soon have to face the fury of the Human Emperor, Ye Tianyan felt a shiver run down his back.
'A bane…Everyone from Yu Miao's clan is a bane!' Ye Tianyan clenched his hands into fists with a desire of punching Yu Miao in the face. 'It's all his fault, this old b*stard! If he had not tempted me, how would Ye clan be involved in such a big trouble?'
'But, what mighty figure is presiding over Dong Hai Province now? With Marquis of Dong Hai Province gone missing after being dragged into the void, why is Dong Hai Province still able to come out with such a horrible counterattack? All those who had colluded with Yu Miao had their territories ravaged by all kinds of natural disasters...Which God of Scourge had he offended actually?'
The Secluded Elder sat cross-legged on the hassock with his head bowed. After a long while, he finally nodded and broke the silence, "With things as such, there is only one way that can save us. Liangzhu has no reason to wipe us all out. As long as we bow our heads and admit defeat, and pay Dong Hai Province some compensation, I believe this matter can still be resolved."
Yu Miao's face flickered, his jaw clenched. "Great-grandfather, how are we going to bow our heads and admit defeat?"
The Secluded Elder and the other Elders all turned to look at him at the same time. How were they going to bow their heads and admit defeat? What could be better than pushing Yu Miao out as the scapegoat? These Elders hated him to the bone now. They did not know why he kept targeting Wu Qi. They would not blame him if he had killed Wu Qi, but he had not! Moreover, he even caused the downfall of the Yu Clan in Zhong Province!
They felt a stab of pain in their hearts when they thought of their own people who had been captured and were kept in captivity by Yu Mu. Although they had managed to escape, most of their people had fallen into the hands of the enemy. Their bloodlines were at the verge of extinction!
Yu Miao could see the hostility in the eyes of the Elders around him, and a flame of fury rose from his heart up into his head. He lurched to his feet, fuming in rage. But just as he was about to scold these Elders for not holding their positions firmly, he suddenly sensed something strange in the air.
The air suddenly turned blue and misty, as if it was filled with a thin cloud of smoke. When he took a deep breath, he found that no oxygen had entered his body at all. Instead, it was a mass of tiny things that had clustered together and made the air thick as glue. As soon as they entered him, these horrible things, which were so tiny that they could not be detected even by divine sense quickly grew and expand by absorbing his blood essence and nutrients, then multiplied rapidly, and soon filled his blood vessels and inner organs.
Yu Miao gave a shriek of shock while Ye Tianyan swayed and fell heavily onto the ground beside him.
What was left of Ye Tianyan was a thin sheet of human skin. In just one short breath of time, the viruses had devoured all of his blood and flesh. Then, a thick plume of blue smoke suddenly sprayed out of his cracked skin, which was made up of the viruses transformed from his blood essence!
Startled, the Secluded Elder cried out in a hoarse voice, "The enemies have found us! Quick, get out from here, and...try to reason with them!"
Right after he said that, the Secluded Elder opened his mouth and coughed up a mouthful of blue blood, with plumes of blue smoke billowing out of his throat.
Seeing this, all the Elders in the secret chamber had their faces turned deadly pale.