Silence rippled across the entire battlefield.

Even Wu Chen and the scholarly young man were startled, resulting in a temporary halt of their battle. All eyes were gathered on the Otherworldly Demon smashed into the ground, and not a mouth could find any words to say.

Every single one of them had sensed the surging aura earlier, and for the first time in many years, an Ancient Sage existence had made his appearance. Yet, he had only managed to say a single word—"What?"—before meeting his end…

This was too shocking!

Ancient Sages were the pinnacle existences of the Master Teacher Continent. While it would be an exaggeration to say that they were indestructible, their life force was so resilient that most of them managed to live till the end of their time. Yet, right before their eyes, an Ancient Sage just had his physical body and Primordial Spirit completely smashed into bits, destroying any chance of survival through and through.

What in the world was going on?

When in the world did Ancient Sage become so fragile, shattering at a simple touch?

Or rather, what in the world was that book? Where in the world did that fellow obtain that book from?

And… could that book still be used?

With a pale face and a trembling body, the scholarly young man bellowed anxiously, "Retreat!"

An attack that even an Ancient Sage was unable to withstand, there was no way that they would stand a chance against that! With horrified expressions, the Otherworldly Demons each tore apart an amulet, and dimension rifts appeared around them.

"Where do you think you're going?" Zhang Xuan sneered coldly as he raised his hand, intending to seal the space around them to prevent their retreat.

But before he could do anything, a voice sounded in his head. "Let them go."

He quickly turned his gaze over to Luo Ruoxin, only to see the latter shaking her head with a deep frown between her brows.

Zhang Xuan hesitated for a moment, but he still decided to heed Luo Ruoxin's instructions.

Weng! Weng! Weng!

Spatial disturbances rippled across the area as the scholarly young man and the others who had ripped an amulet apart vanished into dimension rifts, leaving only Qi Zhen and the others from the Seer Guild behind.

Knowing that it would be nigh impossible to catch them once they had gotten away, Zhang Xuan took a deep breath and asked the young lady beside him, "Why?"

He knew that his girlfriend was not a person to do things without reason, so she was bound to have her motive for asking him to let them go. It was also in view of this that he had chosen to heed her instruction.

"You wouldn't have been able to stop them if they really wanted to get away," Luo Ruoxin replied calmly.

"Even if I can't stop them from getting away, I would at least be able to kill another one of them!" Zhang Xuan replied with clenched fists.

Considering how his enemies were all Sempiternal realm cultivators, while it might have taken some time, they would still have been able to undo his spatial seal eventually. From such a perspective, their escape was inevitable. Nevertheless, using the time that they spent on breaking his spatial seal, he was confident that he would have been able to slay at least one more Otherworldly Demon!

"Killing another Otherworldly Demon wouldn't have made much of a difference," Luo Ruoxin said grimly. "More importantly, there wasn't just a single Ancient Sage here earlier!"

"There wasn't just a single Ancient Sage here earlier?"

Those words caused Zhang Xuan's pupils to dilate in horror as he suddenly realized how close he had come to death earlier. "You are saying that… there were more Ancient Sages hiding in this Seer Guild other than the one I killed?"

"There were at least three more of them. However, it seems like that decisive blow shocked them. Knowing that they don't have the strength to withstand the might of your book, they chose to flee… However, if you tried to stop them, they could have launched a counterattack out of desperation. Even if it's you, I don't think that you have the means to deal with three Ancient Sages simultaneously yet," Luo Ruoxin said.

"I…" Zhang Xuan fell silent.

He had used his only golden page earlier, which had been triggered from Luo Xuanqing's gratitude from the impartation of the simplified Heaven's Path Spatial Sealing Art.

He had already used it on one of the Ancient Sages, and if another Ancient Sage had really appeared then, there would have been nothing that he could have done.

That could have really spelled the end of all of them.

While it was true that the crushed Ancient Sage had met his end even before he could display his true prowess, Zhang Xuan could tell from the aura that the other party had emanated that he would not have stood a chance at all in a proper duel. In fact, just the overwhelming aura emanated by the Ancient Sages would have been enough to subdue him.

It was not without reason that Ancient Sages were so revered in the world. Without absolute strength, there was no way they could possess so much influence.

After calming down from the shock of just how close he had come to death, a doubt arose in Zhang Xuan's mind. How did so many Otherworldly Demon Ancient Sages manage to sneak into the Master Teacher Continent without alarming the Master Teacher Pavilion?

It was true that most human Ancient Sages were in hibernation. However, based on what he knew, the human Ancient Sages seemed to have some way of sensing hostile Ancient Sages. It was through such a system that they had been able to protect mankind from the threat of the Otherworldly Demon Ancient Sages over the past millenniums!

So, it should have been impossible for the Master Teacher Pavilion to remain oblivious to the arrival of so many Otherworldly Demon Ancient Sages on the Master Teacher Continent!

Unless… the entire Master Teacher Pavilion had betrayed mankind!

As if seeing through the doubts Zhang Xuan harbored, Wu Chen explained, "It's likely the doing of the Seer Guild headquarters. They used some kind of secret art to conceal the presence of these Ancient Sages, thus allowing them to slip past the detection of the Master Teacher Pavilion and the human Ancient Sages!

"Furthermore, they ingeniously chose Harvest Valley City as their base of operations. It's an inconspicuous city, located at a safe distance away from the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters and most major powers. More importantly, there is no Master Teacher Pavilion in the vicinity to curb the local Seer Guild, thus making it an ideal location for a hideout without incurring any suspicion!"

Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan fell into deep thought.

Harvest Valley City was located against a mountain, making it a natural fortress. On top of that, it was located against a stream, which provided it with the water required to irrigate the fertile land around it. With such advantageous conditions, it was able to swiftly develop into an independent power, reminiscent to that of the Zhang Clan and the Luo Clan.

Perhaps it was to prevent external powers from interfering excessively in its local affairs, but for many generations, the general populace had vehemently objected to any external powers taking root within the city, and this included the Master Teacher Pavilion. As a result, it had become one of the very few places without a Master Teacher Pavilion branch.

For this reason, it was the ideal location for the Otherworldly Demons to hide in.

"But even if the Seer Guild is helping to conceal the presence of these Otherworldly Demons, the Otherworldly Demons would still have to slip past Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's seal in the Subterranean Gallery in order to get to the Master Teacher Continent. Every Subterranean Gallery is tightly guarded by master teachers, so isn't it ridiculous for so many Otherworldly Demons to be able to slip through?" Zhang Xuan asked.

"I found that rather weird, too. I have been investigating this matter since parting with you and Milady, but I'm still unable to figure out the reason behind that…"

"Isn't the answer to that obvious?" Luo Ruoxin suddenly interjected. "There's someone within the Master Teacher Pavilion helping them."

Zhang Xuan's body jolted upon hearing those words.

In truth, he had also arrived at the answer himself, but he simply dared not believe it.

In order to pull something like that off, the person or group colluding with the Otherworldly Demons had to be of considerably high standing within the Master Teacher Pavilion.

Who could they be? Why would they choose to betray mankind?

It's very likely that the Otherworldly Demons were aiming for Vicious' upper body this time around… Considering how anxious they were to find the upper body, willingly taking the risk of travelling over to the Master Teacher Continent, there's a good chance that they have already amassed Vicious' other body parts! Zhang Xuan thought grimly.

It was one thing for the Otherworldly Demons to be amassing Vicious' body parts, but Zhang Xuan did not feel that their motives were that simple.

Even if Vicious was one of the strongest Otherworldly Demon Emperor in history, surely they would not need so many Ancient Sages to personally supervise the operation of stealing back his upper body.

Most likely, those Ancient Sages were there for a different purpose… but that purpose was not something that he could figure out at the moment.

In any case, it seems like I'll have to tread warily around the Master Teacher Pavilion in the future… Zhang Xuan had been intending to report this matter to the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters, but given the current circumstances, it would be better to put it off for the time being.

He had never been to the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters personally, so he could not be sure whom he could trust. If the information fell into the wrong hands, it could possibly lead to a disastrous outcome. For one, those traitors could twist the facts against him if they deemed him a threat.

The situation was currently rather volatile, so it would be best for him to lie low for the time being.

It seems like even the Master Teacher Pavilion isn't trustworthy anymore! I have to swiftly unite all of the powers that I have at the moment—the Zhang Clan, the Luo Clan, the Sanctum of Sages, the Combat Master Hall… Zhang Xuan thought with an awful complexion. We are simply too vulnerable to the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe at the moment!

No one would have expected the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe to have spies within the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters as well. Without knowing whom to trust, Zhang Xuan could only rely on himself.

For the time being, he could only try to unite all of the powers that he had at his disposal and pray that the invasion of the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe would not come too soon.

"Zhang Xuan, the corpse of an Ancient Sage is filled with treasures. This fellow might have barely stepped into the level of an Ancient Sage, but his corpse still has many useful materials that you can use," Luo Ruoxin suddenly said.



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