Library of Heaven is Path
2004 Heading to the Starchaser Palace
With the death of their masters, the imprints on the storage rings were released. Thus, Zhang Xuan only had to drip his blood on them in order to tame them.
He quickly browsed through the contents of the storage rings, and soon enough, a bitter smile surfaced on his lips.
He thought that he would be able to gather quite a few treasures given how powerful his opponents were, but to his shock, they were appallingly poor!
Other than the High Immortal-tier swords which the Dongxu Gourd had already swallowed, there were only a couple of recovery pills, edible food, clear water, and a few sets of clean clothes.
Zhang Xuan continued looking through the contents of the storage ring, but there was nothing else that was of value. However, he did find something surprising in them.
This is... the Ethereal Token?
Did the experts of the Hall of Gods use Ethereal Tokens too?
That notion somehow didn't seem too convincing to him. It was hard to picture the lofty experts of the Hall of Gods utilizing a creation of what they presumed as 'inferior beings' of the Forsaken Continent!
Something felt rather bizarre here.
A frown furrowed his forehead as he picked up the Ethereal Token and tapped on it lightly. He slit the tip of his finger and dripped a droplet of blood on the token, intending to tame it and take a look at what was within. However, in the next moment, the Ethereal Token abruptly crumbled into innumerable pieces.
Seeing such a sight, Zhang Xuan shook his head and sighed.
The Ethereal Token wasn't like the other artifacts, where it was possible for others to tame it after the original owner died. It was designed in a way such that it would be destroyed if anyone other than the original owner tried to claim possession of it.
In other words, he wouldn't be able to view what was within the Ethereal Token.
He tried maneuvering with the other three Ethereal Tokens, but they ended up disintegrating too. Left with no choice, Zhang Xuan could only give up on it.
"It seems that Kong shi's invention has been acknowledged by even the Hall of Gods..." Zhang Xuan murmured. He looked at the four corpses before him once more and smiled to himself, "Even though there's nothing valuable amongst their possessions, at the very least, their very bodies are already treasures!"
These bodies could be forged into Soulless Metal Humanoids, and that was already an invaluable treasure to him. "Time to get to work then."
Sitting on the floor, Zhang Xuan drew his soul out of his glabella and began working on the corpses before him.
In the faraway sky of the Azure...
A door shrouded in shadows creaked open, and a black-robed figure rushed in anxiously. He walked right into the center of the dark hall. The area was illuminated by flickering candlelight, and the imposing back of a figure could be vaguely seen at the center of the room.
"Master," the black-robed figure kneeled onto the floor and greeted subserviently.
"How did it go?" the imposing figure asked without moving in the least.
"It's a failure... The four of them have been wiped out!" the black-robed figure replied with a trembling body.
He dared not believe that it was possible for something to be true when he first received the news. He had to check several times before he could even process the information in his head.
That was a Heavenly High Immortal and three Heavenly True Immortals from the Hall of Gods! To think that they could be killed by a mere Pseudo Immortal...
Such a thing was completely inconceivable to him.
"They are dead?" the imposing figure remarked with a contemplative voice.
There wasn't the slightest surprise to be heard in his voice at all.
He nodded his head slightly as if he had expected such an outcome, and he said, "As expected of a person chosen by the heavens. He is indeed blessed with great luck... just like that man. However, the more that's the case, the more he moves my heart..."
The black-robed figure kept his head lowered in fright as he listened to his master's mutterings. He dared not to interject for fear of incurring his master's wrath.
"Where is he at the moment?"
"Master, he seems to have returned to the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion," the black-robed figure reported.
"Since he is back at the Sword Pavilion, there's no need to make a move on him for the time being," the imposing figure instructed.
"Yes, master..." the black-robed figure replied subserviently. "If he chooses to never leave the Sword Pavilion, what should we do then?"
"He will have to come out soon," the imposing figure replied confidently.
"Understood, master. I'll keep a lookout on him and make a move as soon as he leaves the premises," the black-robed figure replied.
"Un. Dispatch more capable personnel the next time around. Same as before, I need him alive. It doesn't matter whether he's injured or not, but I want a breathing man presented before me," the imposing figure instructed.
"Yes, master!" the black-robed figure replied with a deep bow before backing out of the room.
At the same time, the silhouette of the imposing figure gradually grew dimmer and dimmer before fading amidst the darkness of the room.
There was no way Zhang Xuan could have been aware of the happenings over at the Hall of Gods. At this very moment, he was pinching his glabella in distress as he rose back up to his feet.
"The corpses of the three True Immortal corpses are still within my means to refine, but I'm still a little too lacking to deal with the High Immortal corpse..."
It took only a few moments for him to refine the corpses of the three Heavenly True Immortal experts into Soulless Metal Humanoids, but when it came to the Heavenly High Immortal expert, no matter what he tried, it didn't seem to work at all.
"My soul is still a little too weak at the moment..." Zhang Xuan shook his head sourly.
He had managed to find cultivation technique manuals to advance his zhenqi cultivation all the way to Heavenly True Immortal realm, but he wasn't so fortunate when it came to his soul cultivation.
At the very moment, his soul cultivation was still only at Heavenly Pseudo Immortal realm. Without the corresponding Heaven's Path Soul Art, he was unable to make a breakthrough.
As the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion focused mainly on sword art and Sword Intent, there wasn't any particularly high requirement on one's soul energy. As such, there weren't too many books regarding soul cultivation. Due to that, he was still a long way off from compiling his True Immortal realm Heaven's Path Soul Art.
I should try to find ways to further my soul cultivation... Zhang Xuan thought as he kept the corpse of the Heavenly High Immortal back to his storage ring.
This wasn't just so that he could refine the corpse of the Heavenly High Immortal. It was a requirement for him to achieve a breakthrough to High Immortal as well.
Even though he hadn't managed to gather enough cultivation technique manuals to compile the High Immortal realm Heaven's Path Divine Art yet, through the books he had gathered thus far, he was still able to gain some understanding regarding the cultivation realm.
Similar to his breakthrough to Ancient Sage back then, his soul, physical body, and zhenqi must be in perfect harmony in order for him to successfully reach High Immortal realm!
Such a problem didn't exist for others as they had never cultivated their soul in the first place as their zhenqi cultivation would have taken a far more dominant position. As such, it was much easier for them to harmonize their souls together with their zhenqi cultivation.
On the other hand, Zhang Xuan would need to establish an equilibrium between his soul cultivation and zhenqi cultivation in order to achieve a breakthrough, and that could only be done by raising his soul cultivation up to par as well...
Thus, the most urgent matter at hand for him was to find soul cultivation techniques!
With such thoughts in mind, he walked out of the private chamber.
Since he had already mastered the Ascendant Cloud Sword God Formula and fully grasped the Gods' Sword Intent, there wasn't much reason for him to remain here anymore.
Han Jianqiu was standing outside of the private chamber when Zhang Xuan came out, and he hurriedly asked with a smile, "How is it?"
"It's still alright... Sect Leader Han, may I know which of the Six Sects specialize in soul arts?" Zhang Xuan pondered for a moment before asking.
He had already browsed through all of the books in the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, and honestly, he bore no hopes that he could gather sufficient True Immortal realm soul cultivation techniques here. As most cultivators on the Forsaken Continent still focused on zhenqi cultivation, unless he were to find a sect that specialized in soul art, otherwise it would really be terribly difficult for him to find the necessary books to advance his soul cultivation.
Not quite comprehending the rationale behind Zhang Xuan's question, Han Jianqiu replied contemplatively, "If I have to name the power among the Six Sects that is the most skilled in soul arts, it would definitely be no other than the Starchaser Palace. They are capable of communicating with the gods, and they are even able to make use of tributes to allow gods to descend upon lower dimensions. I can't think of any other power that is more skilled in the field of soul arts other than them."
"Starchaser Palace?" Zhang Xuan nodded quietly.
He had heard the name of this sect far too many times in the past.
"Each of the Six Sects has its own field of specialty. Unlike the rest of us, the members of the Starchaser Palace aren't exiles of the God Tribe but the indigenous population of this land. They are blessed with powerful souls at birth, so their field of specialty naturally gravitated toward soul arts.
"For our Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, as you can see, we are more skilled in the field of sword, but in contrast, we are much lacking in the development of our souls. The Myriad Beast Hall, just as its name suggests, is proficient in the art of taming beasts. Every single one of their core disciples has at least a powerful beast as their companion, so their fighting prowess really isn't to be underestimated.
"The Sevenstar Pavilion is the number one business on the Forsaken Continent. It acquires and sells all kinds of artifacts through its vast channels that spread across the entire continent. In terms of fighting prowess, it's definitely unable to match up to the other five sects, but its vast wealth is more than enough to prop it within the ranks of the Six Sects.
The Blackmirror Citadel specializes in the forging of weaponry and artifacts. Your Tongshang Sword is one of their masterpieces. Last but not least is the Evanescent Immortal Sect. They reside in the northernmost sea, and their disciples are incredibly skilled in movement techniques."
Han Jianqiu quickly explained the backgrounds of the Six Sects in the Azure.
"I see," Zhang Xuan nodded in realization.
He had heard about the Six Sects quite a few times, and they were frequently mentioned in books as well. However, it was much more insightful to have someone who was knowledgeable about the Azure explaining it to him directly.
You mentioned that the members of the Starchaser Palace are from the indigenous population of this land and not exiles of the God Tribe. May I know what that means?" Zhang Xuan asked.
Most of the matters that he had gotten himself involved with recently somehow ended up being related to the Starchaser Palace in one way or another, and that had made him deeply interested in this power.
"As you might know, most of those living on the Forsaken Continent are people who have been exiled from the God Tribe. However, this piece of land wasn't barren prior to our arrival. Those people who have been living here even before us are known as the indigenous population. The Starchaser Palace is a power formed by the indigenous population, and the source of their strength originates from their superior souls that allow them to communicate with even the gods," Han Jianqiu explained.
Zhang Xuan nodded in realization.
"Are you intending to learn soul arts?" Han Jianqiu asked.
"That's indeed what I have in mind at the moment," Zhang Xuan nodded. "I would like to make a trip over to the Starchaser Palace to take a look."
"This..." Han Jianqiu frowned. "It's a vast distance between the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion and the Starchaser Palace. Even if you were to ride on an immortal beast, it would take you ten days at the very least to arrive there... Considering that you have already caught the eye of the Hall of Gods, and judging from how hostile the Starchaser Palace is toward outsiders, I don't advise you to make this journey."
Zhang Xuan nodded with a deep sigh.
He had also thought of these factors as well. Considering that it was an organization made solely out of the indigenous population, it wasn't too hard to deduce that they weren't too friendly toward the exiles who had claimed possession of their lands too.
It would be hard for him to convince them to allow him to access their repository of soul cultivation technique manuals.
Furthermore, it was very likely that the Hall of Gods was keeping a lookout on his movements, so leaving the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion at this juncture was an extremely dangerous move.
However, if he didn't make this trip, he would never be able to advance his soul cultivation and eventually achieve a breakthrough to High Immortal realm!
It was a risky move, but he viewed it to be necessary as well. Wasting any time would just be giving the Hall of Gods more time to prepare itself, thus placing him in a worse position.
Besides, the Godblood Rock he had seen back at the Wuhai Market could very well be related to Luo Ruoxin. No matter what, he had to make a trip over to the Starchaser Palace to investigate the matter too.
As for the dangers, he was indeed a bit apprehensive at the notion of having to face the experts of the Hall of Gods. Without a doubt, he wasn't a match for them at the moment. However, as long as he disguised himself well and made sure not to expose his Gods' Sword Intent, it shouldn't be too easy for the Hall of Gods to find him either.
"If you insist on heading to the Starchaser Palace, allow me to go with you then. While Du Qingyuan isn't an easy person to deal with, I think I should at least be able to convince her to give you leeway to study their soul arts..." Han Jianqiu proposed.
With his Semi-Divinity realm cultivation and superior swordsmanship, even if he was unable to subdue the experts of the Hall of Gods, he should still at least be able to buy some time for Zhang Xuan to escape in dire situations.
However, Zhang Xuan shook his head and said, "It's fine, I'll head there alone."
If Han Jianqiu were to follow him, the chances that they would be exposed would be much higher. He felt that he would be in a much safer position sneaking over discreetly.
More importantly, he was intending to look into the matter concerning the Godblood Rock and Luo Ruoxin. At least for the time being, he didn't want too many people to know about it.