The halberd was the offensive-oriented Semi-Divinity artifact that he had obtained from the middle-aged man. Naturally, he did not neglect to tame it on his way there, and the only reason he had not brought it out thus far was because he had planted it in advance to snipe down the enemy should the latter attempt to escape.

If the old man had been at full power, there was no way such an attack would have worked. However, his severe injuries and the corrosion of the air of degeneration had reduced the old man's fighting prowess to less than a hundredth of what it was, not to mention that the old man had devoted the dredges of his strength to escape.

Even though the old man had managed to avoid being skewered in the head, the halberd would still ensure that the other party would not be able to escape.

Putong!

Unable to withstand the impact of the halberd, the old man plummeted into the water, causing a tall pillar of water to rise into the air.

Wuuuuuuu!

Witnessing this sight, the Blackback Tortoise and the three sharks immediately went into action. The ocean was their battlefield, and their pride would not allow any land-dwellers to best them on their home turf.

The severe water swiftly turned choppy, and furious waves could be seen rising one after another.

A few breaths later, a dying old man was dragged out from the surface of the sea by Shark One.

If Zhang Xuan's means had shaved away ninety percent of the old man's health points, the encirclement of the four beasts had destroyed another ninety percent out of the remaining ten percent!

If not for the old man's resilient mind, he likely would have fallen into a coma due to the multiple traumas that he had sustained.

Facing the old man, who was held firmly in place by the four beasts, Zhang Xuan stared at the old man firmly in the eye and asked, "Who is your master? Why are you trying to kill me?"

He was utilizing the means of a soul oracle in order to interrogate the old man. Through befuddling one's consciousness, it was possible to make one reveal one's deepest secrets.

It was just that he was usually reluctant to use these means.

"I finally understand why the master is so bent on capturing you. Your capabilities are truly formidable," the old man replied calmly, completely unaffected by Zhang Xuan's means. "The winner takes it all. Since I have lost, the only fate that awaits me is death. You need not dream of trying to pry any information out of my mouth..."

"Sh*t! Retreat!"

Before the old man could even finish his words, Zhang Xuan's eyes suddenly narrowed in horror. He hurriedly pulled his four beasts together with him and dived into the depths of the ocean.

Kaboom!

A few instants later, an explosion of unbelievable proportions occurred. With a deafening rumble, overwhelming pressure and devastating heatwaves swept across the Ocean of Exiled Stars, threatening to vaporize everything.


A humongous mushroom cloud could be seen rising in the air. The water that was within the area of the explosion scattered over a radius of several hundred li, causing a massive flash rain.

Pu pu pu pu pu!

Blood spurted from the mouths of Zhang Xuan and the four beasts, and it took them a long while before they came to.

It was only three breaths between the moment Zhang Xuan realized what the old man was going to do and the moment of the explosion. With the incredible speed of the Semi-Divinity realm aquatic beasts, they were able to dive tens of thousands meters deep within this short period of time.

Nevertheless, they were still nearly blown to smithereens by the explosion!

If they had been standing right next to the old man when he exploded his cultivation, their bodies and souls would have been obliterated on the spot!

"And he dared to call me a lunatic..." Zhang Xuan murmured as he looked at the massive crater that had appeared on the surface of the ocean as a result of the explosion.

Even the Blackback Tortoise, who boasted near-invincible defense, could not help but shudder when it recalled how close it had just come to death.

It had long heard that the Hall of Gods was filled with deranged individuals, but who would have thought that they would really off their rockers?

To engage in suicide bombing without the slightest hesitation... Just the shock was enough to shave decades off its lifespan!

That was really too terrifying.

"It's a pity..." Zhang Xuan shook his head.

"It's indeed a pity how someone as powerful as him came to such a tragic end..." Shark One nodded in agreement.

"That's not it. I find it a huge pity how I paid such a huge price to defeat him, only to receive nothing in return. Is there a greater tragedy than this in the world?" Zhang Xuan cried out.

The four Semi-Divinity realm beasts.

Zhang Xuan had really gone all out to defeat the old man. He had used two Semi-Divinity corpses and used up his air of degeneration. Even his Semi-Divinity artifact had ended up sustaining severe damage as a result of the plan.

He had thought that it would at least be worth it if he could trade all that for a more powerful Soulless Metal Humanoid, but in the end, he had received nothing at all!

To put it in simpler terms, he had invested heavily in the battle, only to reap no returns. It was inevitable that he would feel so stifled.

But thinking about it again, given the opponent that he was up against, he was already lucky to still be alive.

With a grasp of his hand, the tattered Semi-Divinity metal chain swiftly flew to Zhang Xuan. He took out several bottles of chicken soup and soaked the metal chain with it.

Tzzzzzz!

It did not take long for the metal chain to recover to its original condition.

Naturally, Zhang Xuan had known that this was possible prior to the execution of the plan. Otherwise, he would have found it hard to part with such a useful Semi-Divinity artifact.

"Let's return!"

Knowing that it was likely that the Hall of Gods would not dispatch anyone for him in the short-term after losing such a powerful expert, Zhang Xuan quickly moved the other four beasts back into the tamed beast sack, preparing to leave the area.

At this moment, though, a voice suddenly echoed in his mind. "Master, were you looking for me earlier? Is something up?"

A little yellow chick leisurely waddled in front of him. Its small, feeble body was swaying from side to side, reminiscent of a drunkard who had just awoken from a long sleep.

Just looking at this sight filled Zhang Xuan with the urge to rush forward and give that little yellow chick a beating it would never forget.

When he wanted its help earlier, that little yellow chick was sleeping like a dead log, but as soon as the enemy was defeated and the coast was clear, it popped up and asked if he needed help. It was almost as if it was mocking him!

If not for his good temper and the possibility that he might not have been able to defeat it, he would have charged forward that very instant to pummel it!

Your cultivation... doesn't seem to have grown at all?" Shark One asked with a doubtful voice.

Zhang Xuan was slightly surprised to hear that for a moment. He quickly turned his gaze over, and indeed, there was something amiss.

He had thought that the little yellow chick, after devouring a droplet of the god blood, would experience a huge growth spurt and reach the same level as the Blackback Tortoise and the others. Yet, contrary to his expectations, it felt the exact same as before. There was no change to its cultivation, and even its physical appearance looked the same as before.

It was as if... the god blood was totally ineffective on it!

But how could that be?

Even if it was less than a droplet, that was still the blood of a real god. There was no way it could have just disappeared into the little yellow chick without making any difference at all.

"I don't really know why. I suddenly felt intoxicated after drinking that blood, so I slept for a while. That thing didn't seem to do anything except make me fall asleep." Little Chick shook its little bottom as it spoke.

It was also surprised to see things turning out this way.

It had thought that consuming the god blood would allow it to become a powerful expert in an instant, but things did not happen as it expected.

If even god blood did not work on it, how was it supposed to advance its cultivation to higher realms?

"Alright then..."

Zhang Xuan carried on asking a few more questions, and he even made sure to examine Little Chick closely, but there were really no visible changes. In the end, he had no choice but to shrug in exasperation.

In the end, he stowed Little Chick back into the tamed beast sack together with the other four beasts before heading back to Starchaser Island.

Nearly a day had passed since heading over, and it was about time for his inauguration as the new head of Starchaser Palace.

As he had used an alias back at the Myriad Beasts Hall and the Sevenstar Pavilion, everyone thought that they were different individuals, so the response had not been too intense.

But this time, the very same Zhang Xuan who was known to be the sect leader of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion was going to become the palace master of Starchaser Palace as well...

Just thinking about how high profile it would be made him gasp a little.

Most likely, the news should have already reached all the other sects, stirring a commotion of unprecedented proportions!

Just as Zhang Xuan thought, an uproar had indeed been stirred on Starchaser Island.

"I can't believe this! Why is our Starchaser Palace nominating an outsider as the next head? Where is our palace master? Why isn't she announcing the news?"

"It seems to be a unanimous decision made by the First Elder and the rest. Our palace master seems to be out at the moment."

"Are they making this decision without consulting our palace master? Isn't that equivalent to a revolt?"

"Are you insane? How can you say those words aloud? Based on what I heard, our palace master left a will behind nominating Sect Leader Zhang Xuan to take over her position..."

Such discussions could be heard throughout Starchaser Palace.

As the indigenous population of the Forsaken Continent, they had never been on good terms with the other sects. Under normal circumstances, even if their palace master wanted to step down, she should have nominated one of her own people to take over her position. Yet, she actually chose to pass down her seat to the sect leader of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion.

Just the very thought of it was ridiculous!

This was as good as trampling on the dignity and prestige of Starchaser Palace!

An elder harrumphed in displeasure. "Shut your mouths! Our palace master has made an offering to a god, and it's under the will of the god that she made such a decision. Could it be that you think that your words weigh more than those of a god?"

"Under the will of the god?"

Those who had voiced their doubts earlier swiftly shut their mouths fearfully upon hearing that.

As the ones closest to the gods of the Firmament, those from Starchaser Palace had always carried great deference toward the gods in their hearts. They did not think that the elder would dare make a false claim under the name of a god, so naturally, they dared not question her words anymore.

On the other hand, however, it was proving a difficult feat to convince those of the other sects to accept this matter.

In the main hall of Starchaser Palace sat a very confused Han Jianqiu.

"Just what in the world did our sect leader do to make Du Qingyuan willingly nominate him as her successor?"

He knew that Zhang Xuan had been determined to make his way to the Ocean of Exiled Stars, but what he did not expect was for the latter to squeeze Du Qingyuan out and take over her position within a few short days.

Could this have been something that was planned beforehand?

If that was the case, why did Zhang Xuan claim that he was an unaffiliated cultivator?

"Regardless of the truth, this isn't necessarily a bad thing for the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion. It'll be good if we can forge a friendly relationship with Starchaser Palace," Han Jianqiu murmured with a frown.

When he passed his position down to Zhang Xuan, he had already resolved himself to follow the latter's directives. No matter what it was, as long as it did not compromise the welfare of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, he would follow the young man's orders.

It would be unbecoming if he, as an elder of the sect, attempted to overturn the sect leader's decision without a compelling reason.

Hu!

"Han Jianqiu, what happened?"

A shadow flashed through the air as a figure rushed right into the main hall. It was none other than Elder Qin Yuan from the Myriad Beasts Hall!

"I can't accept this. There's no way the Sevenstar Pavilion can accept this. Unless you can give me a proper explanation for this matter, you can expect our Sevenstar Paviliom to take necessary actions in retaliation!" Elder Kui Xiao walked into the main hall right behind Elder Qin Yuan.

They were all staring at Han Jianqiu intently, expecting him to explain what had just happened.

How in the world did the head of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion end up becoming the head of Starchaser Palace as well?

The Six Sects had always been independent existences, each of them reigning over a region of the Forsaken Continent. There had never been any official alliance within the Six Sects.

It was this balance of power that had allowed for peace and harmony among them.

As such, it was inevitable that the other sects would feel a little nervous upon hearing this news.

"I'm not sure what's going on either," Han Jianqiu replied with a troubled frown.

"You aren't sure?" Elder Qin Yuan had always been extremely hot-tempered. Upon hearing how Han Jianqiu was intending to feign ignorance, he immediately flung his sleeves and bellowed, "Do you think that we'll let this matter pass just because you don't know a thing? You are shaking the power balance of the Six Sects with this move!

"Did you think that your Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion is the only one capable of making alliances? Very well! Just you wait! Our Myriad Beasts Hall shall make an alliance with the Sevenstar Pavilion as well!"

"Sect Leader Zhang might have comprehended the Gods' Sword Intent, but he isn't the only genius on the Forsaken Continent," Elder Kui Xiao sneered. "Our Sevenstar Pavilion has Pavilion Master Liu Yang whereas the Myriad Beasts Hall has Hall Master Zheng Yang. Shall we see if he can stand his ground even against the two of them?"

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