"Make a bet with me, and we shall see," Zhang Xuan said. "Well, even if you refuse my bet and take me away forcefully, there's nothing I can do. It's just that I find it ludicrous how a Heavenly High Immortal from the Hall of Gods would actually fear a mere Lesser True Immortal cultivator like me. From the looks of it, it seems like the Hall of Gods isn't anything impressive!"

"Lesser True Immortal realm?" Hearing those words, the trapped Elder Chou Huo immediately took a closer look, and it was only then that he noticed the change in Zhang Xuan's cultivation.

This stunned him.

The battle earlier had placed him in such a dangerous position that he did not have the luxury of allowing him mind to wander at all. He never would have thought that Zhang Xuan would manage to achieve a breakthrough so quickly after leaving the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion.

If the information that they had received was true, Zhang Xuan should only have been at Dimension Shatter realm primary stage when he first entered the sect, but in slightly more than a day, his cultivation had risen all the way up to Lesser True Immortal.

But bro, no matter how I look at you, you seem to be interested in nothing but causing trouble. After tumbling from one mess into another, where in the world did you find the time to cultivate?

Does your cultivation rise just by you breathing?

More importantly... what do you mean by killing the other party with a book? Are you serious about this?

Having lived for over two hundred years, Elder Chou Huo had read several hundred thousand books, but he had never seen a single book that could kill a person!

"There's no use provoking me," the black-robed Heavenly High Immortal expert replied nonchalantly.

"I know that someone as powerful as you won't fall for my provocation, but you shouldn't look down on my determination either. If you don't agree to my terms, I'd rather end my own life than go with you!" Zhang Xuan replied.

"End your own life?" The Heavenly High Immortal expert burst into laughter. "Do you honestly think that you will have an opportunity to do so before me?"

You seem to be blinded by your own arrogance," Zhang Xuan replied with composed smile. "Didn't those High Immortal-tier swords disappear before you knew it earlier?"

Those words made the Heavenly High Immortal expert's eyes narrow in shock.

Indeed. With his strength, there was no need for him to waste his words with Zhang Xuan at all. He could have easily captured Zhang Xuan and dragged him over of the Hall of Gods, but the reason he had yet to make a move thus far was because those High Immortal-tier swords had disappeared way too bizarrely!

Even though he had been observing the scene the whole time, he was still unable to make sense out of what had happened!

As such, he had thought that there might be some stronger power lingering in the area, and he had devoted all of his attention to guarding against it. That was also why he had watched as his subordinates were killed before his eyes without making his move. He feared that if he revealed an opening, that power would devour him in an instant.


The Heavenly High Immortal harrumphed coldly. "I can make a bet with you, but you are to rely only on your own strength. If anyone intervenes at all, I can't guarantee that I'll keep my end of the bargain."

He had gotten a thorough look at the young man's fighting prowess, and no matter what kind of trump card the latter had, it was impossible for the latter to kill him. His only worry was the 'expert' who had made all the swords disappear.

As long as that 'expert' did not appear, there would not be any problem at all.

Of course, even if the 'expert' did appear, the other party might not necessarily be a match for him. In this space, he was the absolute ruler. Unless one's cultivation had reached Semi-Divinity realm, no one would stand a chance against him.

In fact, he would not worry much even if Sect Leader Han of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion appeared before him! "Fine by me." Zhang Xuan nodded.

What he was going to do was, naturally, use the prowess of the golden page.

The reason he had bothered saying so much beforehand was because this folded space was concealed from the heavens, so he had no idea whether that would affect his ability or not.

Furthermore, considering how powerful the Heavenly High Immortal expert was, it was likely that he had many life preservation means. If he noticed the tremendous might of the golden page beforehand and made his escape before the golden page even came close, he might have ended up wasting the golden page for nothing!

That could have ended in a catastrophe, especially since he only had a single golden page with him at the moment. He only had one shot, so he had to do everything he could in order to increase his chances of success.

In any case, if this promise could delay the other party's movements by even a split second, it would still be worth the effort to do so!

"Fine, I'll stand here. Let me see what kind of means you have!" The black-robed Heavenly High Immortal expert stood on the spot as he looked at Zhang Xuan nonchalantly.

Despite not moving in the least, in truth, he was driving his zhenqi furiously in order to defend against anything that came his way. He was convinced that Zhang Xuan was setting this up in order to distract him, and he was prepared to counterattack as soon as the 'hidden expert' made his move.

"Here it comes then..."

With a thought, Zhang Xuan used the golden page that had formed earlier when he formally accepted Bai Ruanqing as his direct disciple. The Book of Heaven's Path immediately shot out from his glabella and appeared above the black- robed Heavenly High Immortal expert in an instant.

"It's really a book?" The Heavenly High Immortal expert was slightly taken aback.

He had honestly thought that it was just something ludicrous the other party had come up with on the spot in order to throw him off, but who could have known that it would actually be a real book!

He took a closer look at the book above him, wanting to determine what kind of artifact it was. Yet, to his astonishment, even with his eye of discernment, he was unable to see through its true nature!

He could not feel any energy pulsating from the book, making it seem as if it was an ordinary item. Yet, for some reason, he felt deeply pressured by its presence. It felt like he was standing before an inviolable being that he could not oppose no matter how he struggled.

"This is bad; I have fallen for that fellow's trap! This isn't a distraction but the real killing move!" The Heavenly High Immortal expert widened his eyes in realization.

He could not tell whether the book was a Semi-Divinity artifact or not, but one thing was for sure—it was not weak at all.

If the book smashed down on him, even with his current strength, he was not confident that he would be able to withstand it.

"Break!"

Without any hesitation, the Heavenly High Immortal whipped out a sword and charged right toward Zhang Xuan.

No matter what, he had to launch a pre-emptive move in order to protect himself!

Si la!

Due to his tremendous strength, several lacerations immediately appeared around the originally stable space. It felt like the entire folded space was starting to collapse.

"Crush him!" Zhang Xuan willed.

Hu!

The Book of Heaven's Path swiftly descended from the sky. Kacha!

It fell squarely on the black-robed Heavenly High Immortal expert's head, causing it to burst apart.

Putong!

His corpse fell limply to the ground.

Elder Chou Huo immediately felt the force binding his body loosening, allowing him to move once more. However, the sight that had appeared before him shocked him beyond words. His face was completely pale, and his body simply trembled on the spot.

It would be no exaggeration to say that the Heavenly High Immortal expert wielded strength comparable to even their sect leader, but he had been killed by a single book...

It was a decisive kill, such that the other party could not even retaliate at all.

Elder Chou Huo's eyes slowly fell on Zhang Xuan once more, but this time, his gaze was filled with deference.

Previously, he had only thought of Zhang Xuan as a junior, but at that very moment, the latter had already become someone equivalent to a peer to him. He silently swore to himself that he would never cross the terrifying young man before him.

"It succeeded!"

On the other hand, Zhang Xuan heaved a sigh of relief upon seeing that the Book of Heaven's Path had successfully rid him of his enemy.

He had worried that the golden page would not work properly—after all, the last time he used it was on a mere Dimension Shatter realm cultivator—so he had spent a lot of time trying to negotiate favorable terms that would raise its chances of success. But from the looks of it, there was no need to have done so at all.

The golden page was just as formidable as before!

No matter how powerful the enemy was, he would slay the other party with a single Book of Heaven's Path!

Zhang Xuan quickly flitted up to the deceased Heavenly High Immortal's side and flicked his wrist.

Hu!

The corpse was stowed into his storage ring.

Following which, he did the same for the other three Heavenly True Immortal experts.

Experts of their tier could be said to be walking treasure troves. As long as he could make use of them properly, he would be able to significantly increase the number of trump cards he had.

He did not think much of the matter in the past, but now that he had witnessed the tremendous strength wielded by those of the Hall of Gods, he knew that he had to be careful or else he might really lose his life.

Kacha!

With the death of the Heavenly High Immortal expert, there was no longer anyone to maintain the folded space. As a result, it swiftly collapsed.

The next moment, the bustling commotion of a lively street sounded in Zhang Xuan's ears. When he looked around him, he realized that he had returned to the street just outside the market.

Elder Chou Huo was standing nearby with a dazed look on his face.

After recovering from the earlier shock, Elder Chou Huo anxiously urged, "Elder Zhang, let's return to the sect..."

That was simply too dangerous!

He had always taken pride in his own strength, but when he was faced with the earlier black-robed figure, he had tasted the helplessness of despair.

Even though the two of them were both Heavenly High Immortals, an unimaginable gap stood in between the two of them.

Zhang Xuan nodded in response to those words.

He did not have any golden pages left, so it was important for him to take caution. If he encountered any experts of the same caliber as the black-robed figure from earlier, he might just meet his end!

Receiving Zhang Xuan's approval, Elder Chou Huo swiftly wrapped Zhang Xuan in his zhenqi, and the two of them quickly made their way toward the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion.

There was no guarantee when the Hall of Gods would send more people after them, so it was best for them to leave as soon as possible. As for Bai Ruanqing, she should be safe since she was not the target of the Hall of Gods. They could always inform her of what had happened through a Communication Jade Token afterward.

"Elder Chou Huo, I recall that you have mentioned that those of the Hall of Gods have always been cold-natured. What does that mean?" Zhang Xuan popped a couple Superior Immortal Pills into his mouth as he spoke.

"I don't really know too much about the Hall of Gods myself, but I once heard Sect Leader Han mentioning that they select their members in the same way gu is bred. Those who eventually join their ranks are the survivors who have gone through countless battles and undergone the cleansing of blood time and time again. The process killed all their emotions, and the only thing that remains in their minds is the will to accomplish whatever mission they are entrusted with. Aside from that, the concepts of camaraderie and so on don't mean a thing to them," Elder Chou Huo replied.

The Hall of Gods was an incredibly elusive existence on the Forsaken Continent, and this was actually the first time that he had met the members of the Hall of Gods. He did not think much of them when he first heard those stories, but only upon encountering them in person did he realize just what kind of monsters the Hall of Gods was filled with.

Take the Heavenly True Immortal whom Zhang Xuan had stabbed in the rear multiple times earlier. In truth, Zhang Xuan had not been fooling around when he did it back then. The attack was definitely fatal, but the Heavenly True Immortal, despite being caught off guard, had been able to maneuver himself at the last moment to reduce the damage as much as possible. Not only so, his fighting prowess seemed to only grow as he sustained more and more injuries, as if it was impossible to wear him down.

The same went for the one whose arm Zhang Xuan had severed. Losing an arm seemed to have only triggered his true fighting potential.

Only those who had gone through the most hellish of circumstances could possibly display such frightening tenacity in a battle.

"Did the Hall of Gods make a move because I have comprehended the Gods' Sword Intent and feared that my growth would pose a threat to their authority?" Zhang Xuan was a little confused by the situation.

When he first heard of the Hall of Gods, he had thought that the latter was a lofty organization that refused to involve itself with mortal affairs unless a person overstepped their bounds and challenged the gods. However, to dispatch such powerful experts to take his life as soon as they learned of his existence, was that not way beneath their standing?

Another detail that he noticed was that the black-robed figures were instructed to take him back alive, and they seemed to be deeply fearful of accidentally taking his life. This did not make sense at all! If their goal was just to get rid of a potential threat, would they not have been much better off killing him on the spot?

"This... I'm afraid that I don't really know, but I believe that to be the primary reason. Otherwise, Sect Leader Han wouldn't have sent me to protect you around the clock," Elder Chou Huo replied.

"Those who are aware that I'm the one who has comprehended the Gods' Sword Intent should only be limited to those among the Elder Council," Zhang Xuan murmured with a deep frown. "How did the Hall of Gods know that it's me? Furthermore, given by how quickly they acted, it seems like they were aware that I was in Wuhai City as well."

This was indeed something that was worth thinking over.

He had checked the background of those present in the Elder Council with the Library of Heaven's Path, and they were definitely trustworthy.

It was also in the spur of a moment that he had decided to head to the Wuhai City, and he did not give any indications beforehand. Unless he could figure out the truth behind this matter, he would not be able to rest easy.

"Let's discuss it with Sect Leader Han. He might have some ideas in mind." Elder Chou Huo was also unable to figure out the answers to those questions, so he could only reply with a shake of his head.

"Bai Ruanqing should still be cultivating in the silent chamber in the Ethereal Hall. I'll have to trouble you to inform her that I have headed back to the sect," Zhang Xuan said as he swallowed another two Superior Immortal Pills.

Elder Chou Huo replied with a nod before hastening his speed.

Ten minutes later, they were back at the Elder Council once more.

"You mentioned that the Hall of Gods has already sent assassins after Elder Zhang Xuan?"

Hearing Elder Chou Huo's report, Han Jianqiu's face twisted in shock.

"That's right," Elder Chou Huo replied. "They dispatched a Heavenly High Immortal and three Heavenly True Immortals."

"A Heavenly High Immortal and three Heavenly True Immortals?" Han Jianqiu recoiled in horror. He looked at the two of them with a look of disbelief. "Given that powerful line up, how did the two of you manage to escape from them?"

"It's truly an embarrassment to say this, but I wasn't of much help at all. It was Elder Zhang Xuan who pushed for a breakthrough to the Lesser True Immortal realm at that critical moment, and with the Tongshang Sword you have gifted to him earlier, he slew the three Heavenly True Immortal experts before... before..."

In the midst of his explanation, Elder Chou Huo turned to glance at the young man standing beside him, and all of a sudden, his entire body stiffened on the spot. His eyeballs nearly popped out from sheer shock.

"Y-you... When in the world did you reach the Heavenly True Immortal realm?"

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