Library of Heaven is Path
2051 Inner Demons Flower
The dark shadows before him appeared similar to mist, as if they had no tangible form. However, their strength was not to be underestimated. They would be able to stand their ground even against Zhang Xuan's sword qi.
With a grim look on his face, Zhang Xuan muttered, "Could they be... Degeneration Beasts?"
He had read about Degeneration Beasts in the books before.
It was a unique lifeform in the City of Collapsed Space, rising and nurtured from the air of degeneration lingering in the area. They were known to be extremely vicious. Those that encountered one would find the air of degeneration seeping into their body, corroding their organs and even zhenqi.
To make matters worse, it was nigh impossible to expel the air of degeneration from one's body.
Elder Bai Ye had likely been wounded by a Degeneration Beast back then.
"Let me see how powerful you are!"
After confirming the other party's identity, Zhang Xuan brandished his Tongshang Sword and launched dozens of surges of sword qi right toward the Degeneration Beasts.
Waves of Swords!
This was a sword art that was not too difficult to grasp. As long as a cultivator had sufficient zhenqi, they should be able to learn it easily.
But as one advanced further in this technique, one would realize that there were many technical details that one had to take note of while executing the sword art, and these details could only be refined slowly by the sword practitioner themself through endless trial and error.
As such, it was known to be one of the hardest sword arts to master.
In the long history of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, there were not many who had managed to master this technique, but Zhang Xuan was definitely one of them.
Carrying might greater than that of ordinary Heavenly High Immortals, the dozens of surges of sword qi fell on the Degeneration Beasts.
Peng peng peng!
The Degenerations Beasts were immediately blasted into bits, and the collapsed buildings behind them were further devastated.
"It doesn't seem like they are very powerful..."
Seeing how he was still able to kill each of them with a surge of sword qi, Zhang Xuan heaved a sigh of relief. However, before he could even lower his sword, the black shadows before him began wriggling once more. The dissipated Degeneration Beasts swiftly reformed and continued with their offense.
"Complete physical immunity?" Zhang Xuan's face darkened.
He did not think that these Degeneration Beasts would be capable of regenerating so swiftly, such that his sword qi was completely useless against them.
"Are they more vulnerable toward soul-related attacks?"
He quickly drew his soul out from his body and executed a palm strike against the Degeneration Beasts.
Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Palm!
This was the ultimate art of Ancient Sage Qiu Wu, but he had modified it to be far stronger than the original. It was one of the rare battle techniques that combined physical offense with soul offense. Its prowess would be greater enhanced when executed in his soul state, allowing him to deal irreparable damage to souls.
His palm strike successfully tore the Degeneration Beasts apart, but just like before, it took only a few breaths for them to recover fully.
Zhang Xuan took a deep breath. He tried a few more means, but nothing was effective on the Degeneration Beasts.
This time, he was at a complete loss.
If these beasts were able to regenerate no matter what he threw at them, there was no way he would be able to defeat them. Eventually, even his seemingly boundless zhenqi would be worn down as well!
"Eye of Insight!"
After activating the Eye of Insight, he finally saw what was wrong.
Every time a Degeneration Beast was killed, the surrounding air of degeneration would nourish it, allowing it to regenerate and come back to life.
"These Degeneration Beasts can be said to be the very manifestation from the air of degeneration lingering in the City of Collapsed Space." Zhang Xuan widened his eyes in realization. "As long as the air of degeneration continues lingering in the area, it'll be impossible to defeat these Degeneration Beasts..."
No wonder he was unable to eliminate these things despite all the means he had utilized. Rather than saying that they were beings thriving on the air of degeneration, it would be more accurate to say that they were the air of degeneration itself. Unless one completely rid the area of the air of degeneration, these beings would be indestructible.
"If that's the case, the only way to deal with these Degeneration Beasts is to distract them."
He released another barrage of sword qi once more, but this time, his target wasn't the Degeneration Beasts but the already tattered buildings around them.
Rock fragments scattered around the area as the buildings collapsed further, causing new marks to appear on them.
As soon as the new marks appeared, the air of degeneration immediately concentrated around them in order to corrode them as well. Making full use of this opportunity, Zhang Xuan quickly slaughtered the Degeneration Beasts with a few bursts of zhenqi.
This time around, just as he had expected, they were not able to regenerate. More precisely, the rate of their regeneration was much slower than before.
"I should quickly press on. It won't take long before new Degeneration Beasts form, and they will be in greater quantities than before," Zhang Xuan remarked.
There was really something weird about the City of Collapsed Space.
Even though the new marks on freshly destroyed buildings would swiftly draw the air of degeneration to them, the problem was that this method could not be used too many times. Furthermore, as the corrosion spread, the air of degeneration would grow stronger and stronger, causing the number of Degeneration Beasts that lingered in the area to increase.
In other words, while it was possible to escape from a crisis by breaking some of the buildings, it also meant placing those who came after in greater danger. The air of degeneration would simply grow stronger and stronger till no one was able to deal with it anymore.
"I really wonder where the air of degeneration originates from. This has already surpassed the comprehension of High Immortals and even that of Semi-Divinities..."
Zhang Xuan quickly shook the thought out of his head before proceeding onward.
With his previous experience with the Degeneration Beasts, Zhang Xuan and his clone flew forward stealthily. They did not even dare pick the medicinal herbs on the ground anymore.
After advancing for another ten minutes, they suddenly sensed a furious outpour of zhenqi ahead of them. It seemed like there was a fight going on.
Zhang Xuan shot a glance at his clone before carefully proceeding forward. Circling around the wall, they saw two figures ahead of them.
They were the other two Heavenly High Immortals who had barged into Starchaser Palace with them!
Of those two, one of them had lost an arm whereas the other one had a glaring wound right across his chest. Due to the corrosion from the surrounding air of degeneration, their wounds had started festering, resulting in a pungent smell filling the entire area.
"To hell with you!"
"You b*stard, I'll rip you into shreds!"
The two of them roared furiously as they brandished their swords against one another.
They were of roughly equal strength to one another, so it was hard to tell who held the upper hand in the battle.
"Why are they fighting one another?" Zhang Xuan frowned.
He had thought that it would be either Fu Chenzi or Du Qingyuan, but who would have thought that these two Heavenly High Immortals had started fighting one another instead? Not to mention, they were even dealing such vicious blows against one another.
This was hard to comprehend.
Zhang Xuan widened his eyes and exclaimed, "No, it's likely that they have fallen into an Illusory Formation..."
He had encountered quite a few cultivators from the Hall of Gods thus far, and they were known to be perfectly rational, never allowing emotions to get in the way of their work. Yet, these two were frenziedly trying to rip one another apart, directing every attack at each other's vitals. It was clear that there was something influencing their minds.
Chances were that there was an Illusory Formation in the area.
Zhang Xuan quickly activated his Eye of Insight and scanned the surroundings, but soon, his eyebrows shot up in bewilderment.
As a veteran formation master, his comprehension of formations definitely ranked among the top in the Forsaken Continent. If there was an Illusory Formation in the area, there would have been some disturbances in the surrounding spiritual energy. There was no way he would have missed that with his Eye of Insight.
Yet, everything was serene in his Eye of Insight. There was no disturbance in the surrounding energy, and he could not find any formation flags or a formation core.
"Without formation flags and a formation core, it can't be an Illusory Formation. If so, what else could it be?"
Zhang Xuan quickly scanned the surroundings once more, and soon, his attention fell upon several uniquely-patterned flowers not too far away.
These flowers were dyed a bewitching red, and they were scattered around the ruins in radial symmetry. Through the Eye of Insight, he could see the flowers breathing in air of degeneration from the surroundings.
"These are... Inner Demons Flowers!"
Inner Demons Flower was a legendary plant that emanated a unique aura that gave birth to inner demons within one. It was similar to the Bloodsoaked Stone in terms of effects. Under normal circumstances, however, these flowers would not take effect even if a cultivator came in close proximity to it. It would only react when it came under attack.
Could it be that these cultivators launched an attack on these Inner Demons Flowers, leading to the flowers retaliating against them?
But as warriors of the Hall of Gods, they should not be so foolish as to indiscriminately attack other lifeforms, especially in a place as dangerous as the City of Collapsed Space!
"No, that isn't right." Zhang Xuan examined the situation closely for a moment before coming to a conclusion. "It's a trap someone set up beforehand, and these two simply stepped into it."
He noticed several spheres of energy implanted right before these Inner Demons Flowers, such that if someone approached the region, these spheres of energy would swiftly blast apart, drawing the aggression of the flowers.
It was likely that these two Heavenly High Immortals had fallen for that trick, thus landing them in their current state.
"Is it the doing of Du Qingyuan?"
Du Qingyuan knew the dangers that lurked in the City of Collapsed Space, but she still insisted on coming over. This suggested that she might be familiar with the environment here, and she intended to utilize it to her advantage in order to get rid of her enemies.
"Regardless of the truth, it's good news for me anyway."
Having made sense out of the situation, Zhang Xuan heaved a sigh of relief. He continued ahead, but he made sure to make a detour to avoid the Inner Demons Flowers.
However, barely after flying several meters forward, he suddenly halted.
"This won't do. It's a huge waste to leave just like that. Those two were going to die anyway, so I might as well just do it!"
With such a thought in mind, Zhang Xuan released dozens of surges of zhenqi into the surroundings.
With a stomp of his foot, a spherical barrier appeared around the two Heavenly High Immortals, protecting them from the aura of the Inner Demons Flowers.
Slowly, the two Heavenly High Immortals were freed from their unnatural states, and the crimson tinge in their eyes gradually faded.
"Just what were we doing..."
Regaining their wits, the two of them stopped their swords.
While the two of them were still in a daze trying to figure out what had happened to them, Zhang Xuan, disguised as a warrior of the Hall of Gods, walked over and said, "You were fighting against one another due to the effects of the Inner Demons Flowers in the area!"
"Inner Demons Flowers..."
Realizing how close they had come to killing one another, the injured duo felt cold sweat pouring down their heads.
They had heard about the fearful reputation of the Inner Demons Flower as well, but they had never thought that they would fall prey to it.
"I'm afraid that the effects of the Inner Demons Flowers might still be lingering in your bodies. In order to prevent the two of you from hurting anyone else, I'll have to ask you to pass your swords over to me for the time being," Zhang Xuan instructed firmly.
Those words brought frowns to their foreheads.
"Hurry up. If you succumb to the Inner Demons Flowers once more, all of us might just end up dying here!" Zhang Xuan berated furiously as he reached out to snatch their weapons.
The two of them had already been severely weakened due to their earlier battle, so they did not even manage to react when Zhang Xuan snatched their weapons. Before they knew it, their weapons in his hands.
Seeing how the other party had snatched their weapons forcefully, a displeased frown appeared on their faces.
"I didn't want to make such a move either. I'm doing this so that we can all get out of this darned place alive." Zhang Xuan chucked their swords into his storage ring before patting their shoulders to console them.
Afterward, he leaped into the air and flew away, leaving the dumbfounded duo with a few last words. "Alright, the two of you can have fun here..."
The barrier that Zhang Xuan had set up earlier burst apart, allowing the aura of the Inner Demons Flowers to slip in once more.
"What are you doing?"
Sensing the changes in their states of mind, the two warriors of the Hall of Gods were completely flabbergasted.
Did that fellow not go there to save them?
Why would he suddenly expose them to the aura of the Inner Demons Flowers once more?
Furthermore, what did he mean by having fun? What was fun about their situation?
But those thoughts only lingered in their minds for a moment before they were brought into an illusion once more. Before long, their eyes turned red, and they began charging at one another again.
Peng peng peng peng!
Even without weapons, they were not pulling their punches. Every single strike they dealt was deadly, such that it could take the other party's life if their moves connected.
Pu pu pu!
Before long, the two of them spurted a mouthful of blood and collapsed to the ground simultaneously. From the looks of it, they were already goners.
Even at their deaths, they could not figure out why their comrade would leave them to kill each other after taking away their weapons.
"There's nothing to watch, let's go!"
Knowing the outcome that awaited them, Zhang Xuan could not be bothered to waste his time with them and proceeded straight ahead.
Since they were going to die, it would be a waste to leave their weapons there. As for their corpses... he already had plenty of Heavenly High Immortal bodies in his storage ring, so he did not have to top up at the moment.