2053 The Price of Bragging
“Kill him!” Zhang Xuan roared.
Even though the middle-aged man and Fu Chenzi had been inflicted with fatal wounds, as Semi-Divinity realm experts, if they were allowed to regain their footing, they would still be able to bring devastating might upon them in an instant.
Thus, Zhang Xuan unhesitatingly opened his tamed beast sack.
The Semi-Divinity metal chain immediately flew forth and bound the middle-aged man tightly.
At the same time, the Blackback Tortoise and Shark Three charged toward the middle-aged man whereas Shark One and Shark Two moved to support Zhang Xuan’s clone in dealing with Fu Chenzi.
While their strength was diminished on dry land, the fighting prowess they displayed was still extremely terrifying. In an instant, many bloodied punctures appeared all over the middle-aged man, and his arms were jolted apart by the powerful body tackle.
Everything happened so abruptly that the middle-aged man was overwhelmed by the current situation. Nevertheless, he swiftly recovered from his shock and made his move. With powerful killing intent gushing out of him, he summoned his halberd to knock away three Semi-Divinities encircling him.
Unfortunately for him, the movements of his halberd abruptly came to a halt as a Heavenly High Immortal realm corpse suddenly blocked its way.
Clenching his fists tightly, the middle-aged man willed his halberd to pierce right through the corpse and come to his aid, but before that could be done, a tremendous of energy abruptly bubbled within the corpse.
The corpse blew apart, causing the halberd to be jolted back by the shockwave. It wavered uncontrollably in the air as it struggled to regain its balance in the midst of the frightening gale.
The Semi-Divinity halberd was indeed a force to be reckoned with, but the sheer force from the explosion from a Heavenly High Immortal still jolted its spirit, confusing its senses for a moment.
It took it quite a lot of effort for the halberd spirit to regain itself, but just as it was about to rush forward to help, another corpse appeared and exploded right in its face.
After facing three consecutive exploding corpses, the halberd spirit finally reached its limit and fell from the sky. It seemed like it would temporarily be incapacitated.
These explosions did not cause any harm to the Semi-Divinity halberd at all, but the spirit inside had already been worn out, such that it was no exaggeration to say that the weapon had been ruined.
Meanwhile, the middle-aged man was continuously being struck by the four Semi-Divinity beasts. Finally, with a decisive ram from the Blackback Tortoise, his head sank into his shoulders, and his body fell to the ground with a loud thump.
All in all, from the moment that the battle started to the moment that the middle-aged man dropped dead, only three breaths had passed.
It was indeed an incredible feat to be able to defeat a Semi-Divinity realm expert from the Hall of Gods within three breaths, but one had to know that Zhang Xuan had expended three Heavenly High Immortal corpses and mobilized a Semi-Divinity artifact and two Semi-Divinity realm beasts for this battle.
Zhang Xuan was probably the only person in the world who could make such an extravagant move.
While they were dealing with the middle-aged man, over on the other side, Shark One, Shark Two, and the clone were charging right toward the collapsed Fu Chenzi.
It did not matter whether Fu Chenzi was from the Ethereal Hall or the Hall of Gods. Since he had already bared his fangs at Du Qingyuan, there was no need for them to hold back.
The clone rushed right up to Fu Chenzi and wrapped the latter tightly in his embrace, making sure to lock all his joints so as to prevent him from moving.
Meanwhile, Shark One and Shark Two rained ferocious attacks down upon the old man. Zhang Xuan flicked his wrist to bring out seven Heavenly High Immortal-tier swords, and these swords swiftly moved to encircle the other party, forming what was reminiscent of a silvery net around him.
Fsh fsh fsh fsh fsh!
Sword qi rained down on Fu Chenzi furiously.
Before he could even recover his footing in the battle, his body had been sliced apart, leaving slabs of meat and a pool of fresh blood on the spot where he had formerly existed.
Zhang Xuan had not bided his time in vain. He had observed the earlier battle carefully and analyzed all the weaknesses of Fu Chenzi and the middle-aged man, which had allowed him to design a plan that would allow him to take these two Semi-Divinity realm experts down swiftly with the least cost.
Seeing that everything had worked out fine, he heaved a sigh of relief.
His glance moved toward Fu Chenzi’s corpse as he murmured, “Did this fellow betray the Ethereal Hall?”
Having used the Library of Heaven’s Path to check on Fu Chenzi, there was no doubt that the latter was an elder of the Ethereal Hall. If so, why would he help this middle-aged man, who was a warrior of the Hall of Gods?
Did they have some kind of secret deal, or was he actually a spy from the Hall of Gods that had been tasked with infiltrating the Ethereal hall?
There was also the possibility that the Ethereal Hall might have submitted to the Hall of Gods, but Zhang Xuan did not think that the possibility was too likely. After all, the Ethereal Hall had already acquired an entire ‘?$ (God)’ character, and there was nothing that could shake their position on the Forsaken Continent anymore.
There was no reason the Ethereal Hall would collude with the Hall of Gods!
Not to mention, Kong shi was the current head of the Ethereal Hall.
Zhang Xuan had thought of keeping Fu Chenzi alive in order to interrogate him, but he dared not take any chances when dealing with Semi-Divinity realm cultivators. If he did not kill them while he had the chance to, there was no knowing what they would pull from their pockets later on. He could not risk them getting away and revealing his other identities and trump cards.
Knowing that he would not receive any answers just by pondering over the matters like this, Zhang Xuan turned toward the severely wounded copper-masked lady and clasped his fist. “Palace Master Du, I am the new head of the Sevenstar Pavilion, Liu Yang. Allow me to treat your injuries.”
Fu Chenzi had dealt the other party a fatal blow, and if she was not treated quickly, she could very well lose her life.
Zhang Xuan took out a jade bottle, but just as he was about to pass it over, the copper-masked lady suddenly thrust a sword right toward him.
“What?” Zhang Xuan was taken aback.
He hurriedly retreated, but the next instant, the copper-masked lady suddenly dissipated into a layer of mist, vanishing completely from sight.
Knowing that the other party was executing some sort of movement art, Zhang Xuan shouted, “Palace Master Du?” However, it was already too late. The copper-masked lady was no longer around.
“She is probably afraid that I would harm her as well…” Zhang Xuan shook his head helplessly.
Considering how the other party had just been backstabbed by Fu Chenzi, whom she was trying to protect, it was inevitable that she would be wary of him as well, even if he had just saved her from the two experts from the Hall of Gods.
He might attempt to exploit her at a time like that. Given that this was a critical period for Starchaser Palace, she could not afford to take that risk.
After all, the Sevenstar Pavilion could not be said to be in friendly relations with Starchaser Palace, but he still took the risk to venture into the dangerous City of Collapsed Space to save her. Not to mention, he had even brought out a Semi-Divinity artifact and four Semi-Divinity realm beasts.
It would be hard for her not to be skeptical.
Just that, the altar was still there.
She had put her life on the line in order to prevent the altar from falling into the hands of the other party. Why would she abandon it now?
With a helpless sigh, Zhang Xuan walked over to the middle-aged man whom he had just killed, took his storage ring, and claimed possession of it. Only then did he finally walk over to take a closer look at the altar.
The sky-blue flame was still burning on it. It emanated an aura that made one tremble, almost as if it was forging a connection with a god from the Firmament.
This made Zhang Xuan frown.
Based on what he had seen thus far, the copper-masked lady was in the midst of conducting a ritual when she was attacked, and she had not had a chance to complete it yet. So, the ritual should have come to an immediate halt as soon as she fled.
Yet, contrary to his expectations, the sky-blue flame was still burning with fervor. This was as inexplicable as a flame still blazing on even though there was no longer any firewood for it to feed on.
With a flick of his finger, Zhang Xuan put out the sky-blue flame. With his Eye of Insight, he examined the altar that was famed for being able to reach the gods, such that even the Hall of Gods would go to such lengths to acquire it.
At first glance, it looked similar to the altar that Sovereign Chen Yong had used back then to summon a deity from the Azure. It had a very old aura to it, indicating that it was an ancient artifact that had been passed down from generation to generation.
Zhang Xuan reached out to touch it. His eyes first widened a little before he helplessly burst into laughter.
“To think that they’ve all been fooled by that fellow!” Zhang Xuan chuckled as he shook his head.
He wanted to see just what was so precious about the altar that Fu Chenzi and the middle-aged man would go to such lengths in order to acquire it, but to his amusement, the altar was actually a fake!
It seemed like Fu Chenzi was not the only good actor after all.
That being said, he had to admit that the altar was indeed really well made, such that he was unable to see through it with his Eye of Insight. If not for the Library of Heaven’s Path, he might not have noticed the anomaly.
Shark One waddled over and said, “Master, there’s god blood smeared on the surface of the altar.”
Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan took a closer look and saw a layer of faint crimson inscriptions on the surface. Vaguely, he could hear a faint hum echoing from the inscriptions that quivered his soul.
Zhang Xuan took out the crimson pendant and placed it close to the inscriptions. As expected, the pendant began to heat up in resonance with the inscriptions.
“It’s indeed god blood…” Zhang Xuan exhaled deeply.
It was no wonder they were unable to see through the altar. Starchaser Palace had gone to the extent of using the invaluable god blood to create the effect of an ongoing ritual so as to confound their senses!
“But if this altar is fake… where’s the real one?” Zhang Xuan frowned.
Considering how Du Qingyuan had put her life on the line in order to distract the Hall of Gods from pursuing the real altar, where could the real one be hidden?
“Forget it. There’s no point thinking about all of this right now. My priority at the moment should be finding Palace Master Du. She is my only clue to Luo Ruoxin…”
With a flick of his wrist, Zhang Xuan stowed the altar and the corpses of the two Semi-Divinity realm experts into his storage ring. Then, together with the four Semi-Divinity realm beasts and his clones, he quickly darted in the direction that the copper-masked lady had disappeared in previously.
“Palace Master Du has sustained severe injuries, so it’s unlikely that she will have been able to get too far. Help me search for her together,” Zhang Xuan instructed.
Just like that, the group of six quickly combed the area.
Due to the rubble lying all around the City of Collapsed Space, there were many spaces where one could hide. If Zhang Xuan had to search the place all alone, who knew how long he would have to take?
Considering the dangers lurking in the area, it would be wise for him to quickly get it over and done with so that he could leave the area.
Around three minutes later, the Blackback Tortoise came before him and pointed in a direction.
The group headed in said direction, and through the Eye of Insight, Zhang Xuan quickly noticed that something was amiss.
There were no distinctive marks left in the area, but the spiritual energy there was considerably more concentrated than elsewhere. Not only so, the spiritual energy also felt as if it had been refined.
“She should be in the vicinity. It’s likely that she’s unable to control her strength from leaking out due to the severity of her injury,” Zhang Xuan said with a nod.
The copper-masked lady had been struck in her vitals, causing her to be in a very precarious state. She had made sure to conceal her tracks properly, but she was still unable to control her cultivation properly in order to stop her zhenqi from leaking out of her body.
Considering that the air of degeneration lingering in the area, her injuries would only continue to worsen. At this rate, she would really die.
Thus, it was of paramount importance for him to find her as soon as possible so as to ensure her survival.
Otherwise, everything would have been for naught.
Zhang Xuan quickly scanned the surroundings, but he was unable to find anything at all.
“Searching for her like this won’t do. Since she’s wounded, it’s likely that she’ll draw the surrounding air of degeneration to her. We should be tracing the movement of the air of degeneration instead…”
This, Zhang Xuan waved to his clone and said, “Hey, come here!”
With a deep frown, his clone came over.
“Stay very still and make sure not to move at all,” Zhang Xuan said as he took out the Tongshang Sword and pierced it right into his clone.
A gaping hole immediately appeared in his clone’s chest.
“I need you to walk around the area to test out the concentration gradient of the air of degeneration. The quicker the wound corrodes, the higher its concentration is,” Zhang Xuan said.
Zhang Xuan’s clone was speechless.
You are the one who wants to find the concentration gradient of the air of degeneration, so shouldn’t you be stabbing yourself? Even if you are afraid of pain, you have so many tamed beasts with you too… Why the hell are you stabbing me?
“Well, none of us have the ability to expel the air of degeneration from our bodies.” Zhang Xuan shrugged casually. “You are the only one who wields this amazing ability, so it goes without saying that this task should fall to you.
“This matter is completely decided based on our expertise and not because you pissed me off with your bragging earlier. I’m not the type of vindictive person who would settle personal grudges through such despicable means!”
The lips of Zhang Xuan’s clone twitched.
Well, you look exactly like the type of vindictive person who would settle personal grudges through despicable means to me right now!
All I did was brag a little bit, right? Do you really need to go to such lengths?