Library of Heaven is Path
271 Contract Gu 2in1
The guards were gritting their teeth and had tolerated the other party’s action of knocking the Great Herb King unconscious since he said that it was a secret art.
However, he went overboard and claimed that the Great Herb King reaped what he sowed. That was clear provocation, so how could they take it lying down?
"How dare you!"
"You're looking for death!"
The numerous guards glared furiously at Zhang Xuan, and a cold gleam flashed from the swords in their hands. The moment the command was given, they would immediately mince this braggart of a fellow.
"There must be something wrong with his head."
"I've known Bai Chan for a while, and while his character is so-so, his brain should be functioning normally. Why has he... become so dumb all of a sudden?"
Initially, everyone thought that Zhang Xuan would bring up some astonishing theory, so upon hearing those words, the physicians present nearly spurted blood. All of them stared at Zhang Xuan dumbfounded as if they had seen a monster.
Every single person who had been to Red Lotus City were all aware of the Great Herb King's might.
In this piece of land, he was no different from an emperor. Even if a prince of Tianwu Kingdom were to come here, he would have no choice but to lower his head before him. Zhang Xuan's action of smacking him unconscious was already provocative, yet he went a step further to say that he was 'suffering for his own deeds'...
Have you grown tired of living, or do you think that the Great Herb King has an amiable personality?
Physician Cheng Feng stared at Zhang Xuan as if he were looking at a fool.
Can it be that... this fellow's head had been kicked by a savage beast?
Otherwise, why would he say such preposterous words?
"Doomed. This time... we're really doomed..."
Mo Yu smacked her forehead. At this moment, she was on the verge of tears.
Zhang Xuan could explain his action of knocking the Great Herb King out as a requirement for his secret art, but the words he spoke afterward thoroughly offended the other party. There was no point of return.
If you want to die, go ahead. But why must you drag me down with you...
My purpose here is to gain some knowledge and worldly experience. Who did I offend to warrant this...
Forget it, since we came together, even if this fellow has suicidal tendencies, I shouldn't leave him in the lurch!
Even though she felt stifled, Mo Yu gritted her teeth and spoke telepathically to Zhang Xuan, "Zhang Xuan, inform the Howling Firmament Beast to come over right now. I have with me the formation plate that my father left behind for me. I should be able to buy some time with it, so hurry up. Perhaps, we might still stand a chance."
They might be in the depth of the enemy's base, but given the Howling Firmament Beast's Half-Zhizun cultivation and its ability to fly, there was a good chance that they could successfully flee.
However, the crucial problem was how they could survive until the Howling Firmamant Beast's arrival.
Grabbing her storage ring tightly, Mo Yu surveyed her surroundings warily. The moment anyone makes a move on them, she would immediately retrieve and toss the formation plate.
As the princess of a kingdom, she possessed several tricks for survival up her sleeves.
Formation plates were convenient tools on which a large formation was engraved through special means. Even if one wasn't a formation master, one could easily activate it in times of need by pumping their zhenqi into the plate.
While it was significantly weaker than true formations, it was portable and could be triggered instantaneously, making it a nifty tool for survival.
However, this object was expensive and was a one-off consumable. Only someone of her standing would be able to afford it.
"Why should I call for it? Don't worry!"
Seeing the anxiety on the other party's face, Zhang Xuan smiled.
Seeing the fellow continue to act so calmly despite being in grave danger, Mo Yu was on the verge of exploding. "You've offended the Great Herb King, and if we don't leave right now, we might just die here!"
"Offended him? I'm explaining his illness to him, how will this offend anyone?" Zhang Xuan waved his hands casually as he assured her. "There's no need to worry, just stay here and wait patiently!"
"Explaining his illness?"
Mo Yu went insane.
How can gloating over the other party by claiming that he is suffering for his own deeds be considered as explaining illness?
I've been an apprentice physician for so long, but I've never heard of such a case.
Stay here and wait patiently? I would really be insane if I were to stay and wait patiently under such circumstances!
Mo Yu was infuriated, but she knew that it wasn't the time to throw a tantrum. She surveyed her surroundings and analyzed the ideal escape path.
If she had known that this fellow was so unreliable, she wouldn't have come adventuring with him.
"Physician Bai Chan, I've invited you over with goodwill to treat the old master, and yet, you spouted such derogatory words. If you don't explain yourself, you don't even have to dream about leaving this manor!"
Ignoring everyone's shock, Butler Lu flung his sleeves angrily and glared at Zhang Xuan.
If the other party hadn't treated his problem, he would have decapitated the other party with a sword before he had a chance to explain himself.
"There's no need to rush, I'll explain everything clearly. Just that... there are many people present. Are you sure that you want me to speak?" Zhang Xuan was nonchalant toward his threat, simply smiling in response.
"Stop putting on an act here. No matter how incredible your words may sound, the only thing that awaits you is death!"
"To dare to taint the Great Herb King’s honour, you deserve to die!"
"Butler Lu, why waste words on him? With just a single command, we will mince this fool who dares to insult the old master immediately!"
Seeing how the other party was unrepentant, the guards were on the brim of erupting. Not hiding their killing intent for Zhang Xuan, they bellowed furiously.
Every single one of these guards was Tongxuan realm experts, and with several dozens of them unleashing their cultivation at once, people in the room began to breathe heavily under the pressure and their hands became moist with perspiration.
Even the faces of the numerous Zongshi realm physicians turned pale. Unable to withstand the might, they retreated uncontrollably.
While Zongshi realm experts were far stronger than Tongxuan realm cultivators, the guards had been living together and had forged a strong teamwork. On top of that, they wielded various lethal measures that even Zongshi realm experts would find it hard to guard against.
Seeing how the guards were on the verge of attacking Zhang Xuan, Butler Lu waved his hands and roared, "Step down!"
Then, he turned to Zhang Xuan and said, "Physician Bai, these guards are loyal to the old master. Your words have offended them, and if you don't explain yourself, even I will find it hard to stop them."
His words were laced with threat.
If Zhang Xuan failed to provide a reasonable explanation, these guards would destroy him in an instant.
"I'm fine with explaining yourself, but this involves a secret. My view is that I shouldn't speak of it before such a huge crowd!"
Even though he was standing on the edge of the cliff, Zhang Xuan didn't seem worried in the least. He walked leisurely to the Great Herb King and declared calmly, "How about this, I will just say two words. If you think that my diagnosis makes sense, we can talk about it. Otherwise, you can just kill me right away!"
After interacting with the Great Herb King, Butler Lu nodded his head, "Fine!"
Zhang Xuan smiled, "My two words are simple... Contract Gu!"
"Contract Gu? What's that?
Butler Lu was wondering what miraculous words Zhang Xuan would spout, and he couldn't help but fall into a daze upon hearing his words. Just as he was considering whether he should make mincemeat of the other party, an expression of shock suddenly appeared on the dying Great Herb King’s face. His murky and lifeless eyes suddenly gleamed in agitation.
"Get... get... the others out..."
Struggling with all his might, his hoarse voice echoed in the air.
Seeing how Bai Chan had caused the withered Great Herb King to struggle so terribly to speak with merely two words, everyone turned to look at him as though he was a monster.
They thought that he was doomed and didn't expect such a twist.
Can it be that... these two words wield some kind of magic?
Seeing the old master speak, Butler Lu rushed to him immediately. Then after a moment of conversation, he stood up and scanned the surroundings.
"I apologize, but the diagnosis ends here, so I'll have to invite all of you to leave! I will have my men send the compensation each of you."
After which, he couldn't help but glance at Zhang Xuan.
The Great Herb King's condition was critical and he wasn't able to say anything. Even so, Butler Lu had been serving the other party for numerous years, and he was able to understand the other party's intention just through his gaze.
The old master's intentions were simple.
Do as Physician Bai says! He's the only one who can save him!
Can such a brazen fellow, who seemed to be spouting nonsense, really be capable of saving the old master?
Can it be that it is as he said, that the old master is suffering for his own deeds?
"Great Herb King and Butler Lu, we will be taking our leaves then!"
Seeing that Butler Lu had already invited them to leave, even though the crowd was baffled within, they turned around to leave without any hesitation. However, before walking out of the lounge, they couldn't help but send a confused glance at Physician Bai Chan.
With just two words, this fellow is able to get the Great Herb King to chase them out. Can his words be really true?
But... I don’t recall any illness that is called [Contract Gu]...
"You all should leave as well!"
Ignoring the bewilderment that the crowd was in, Butler Lu ordered for the guards to leave as well.
Knowing that this was the intention of the old master, they answered and left the lounge quickly.
Upon seeing everyone leave, Mo Yu hesitated for a moment and, eventually, decided to remain.
Regardless of whether the fellow was right or not and whether he would be reduced to meat mince in a moment's time, she had come with him, and it wouldn't be right for her to leave alone.
Even though the prideful princess had an unpleasant mouth, she seemed to be a loyal buddy. Inconspicuously, Zhang Xuan nodded his head in response to her decision.
Soon, they were the only ones left in the room.
"Physician Bai Chan, now that everyone has left, can you explain the matter?"
Knowing that Mo Yu came along with Physician Bai, Butler Lu turned to Zhang Xuan and bowed respectfully.
"Un!" Zhang Xuan nodded. "Actually, I already had a rough idea of the situation when I first saw the Great Herb King earlier. After using my secret art, I have now ascertained his condition..."
At which, lamentation flashed through Zhang Xuan's eyes. "The Great Herb King isn't ill or poisoned. Rather, he's afflicted by something called [Contract Gu]! This was implanted in him when he made a deal with a specific someone, and now that the person is dead, under the effects of the Contract Gu, he, expectedly, will lose his life as well!"
"Contract Gu... What's that?" Butler Lu was still unable to comprehend the situation.
Despite coming into contact with physicians and medicinal herbs daily, he had never heard of this term.
The Great Herb King clearly knew what the other party was talking about, but it wasn't convenient for him to speak now. Even though Butler Lu could perform basic communication with him, it was impossible for the other party to express such a complicated matter.
"Contract Gu is a special practice used when making a deal with someone to win the other party's trust, and it is one of the means unique to a poison master. To summarize, it is similar to the life and death contract between beast tamers and their savage beast. Once established, it is equivalent to becoming a loyal subordinate of the other party. Once the master dies, the subordinate wouldn't live for long either, and he would soon follow the other party."
"This thing is normally used by poison masters to manipulate their subordinates. The moment one establishes the contract, his life and death are no longer within his control. If he were to disobey the will of his master, he would suffer the ache of thousands of bugs nibbling at his heart!"
With a grim expression, Zhang Xuan explained slowly.
"Is there... such a thing in this world?"
Butler Lu was astonished. He found the entire affair hard to believe.
If the other party hadn't spoken of it, he would have never believed that such a thing could exist.
At the same time, Mo Yu's eyes were about to pop out from her sockets.
She hadn't heard of Contract Gu, but she knew clearly what a life and death contract was.
With this kind of contract, the moment the master dies, regardless of how strong or where a savage beast was, it would also breathe its last.
From Zhang Xuan's descriptions, it seemed that the Contract Gu was much more potent than that. If that was truly the case, didn't that mean that humans could be commanded and tamed as though savage beasts?
That was an extremely terrifying thought!
"Can it be... that this Contract Gu is related to the old master's condition?"
Butler Lu recovered from the shock, but his face remained ghastly pale.
"Not only is it related, it is exactly the cause of it!"
Glancing at the Great Herb King, Zhang Xuan shook his head in lamentation. "As the Great Herb King and the sovereign of the Red Lotus City, he chose to become another person's subordinate and willingly allowed the other party to implant this kind of vicious gu into him. If this wasn't suffering for his own deeds, what else can it be?"
The emperor of Tianwu Kingdom dared not to offend the Great Herb King of Red Lotus City, and 3-star physicians willingly lowered their heads before him. His standing was far superior to the kings of Tier 2 Kingdoms. Despite possessing such prestige, he willingly consumed a Contract Gu to become another person's servant. If this wasn't courting his own death, what else could it be?
He couldn't blame anyone else for his own plight.
Upon hearing those words, the dried face of the Great Herb King turned slightly red. Regret brimmed in his eyes.
"Physician Bai, please save the old master!"
Finally knowing what the old master was suffering from, Butler Lu's body trembled, his knees bent, and he knelt to the floor.
Watching the old master grow weaker and weaker and being unable to identify the cause had left him distraught, but as the second-in-command of the manor, he couldn't cave in. Now that a glimmer of hope had finally appeared before him, he could no longer hold it in.
Having grown up in the Great Herb King Manor, he possessed absolute loyalty toward the Great Herb King.
On top of that, if the old master were to die, the other herb kings would make use of this opportunity to attack the manor and the Great Herb King Manor’s crumble would be absolute. As the butler of the manor, he would suffer the brunt of the impact, and it would be hard for him to live for long.
Regardless of whether it was for his loyalty toward the Great Herb King or for his own life, he mustn't allow anything to happen to the Great Herb King.
Since this Physician Bai was able to see through and treat his own affliction, as well as determine the root of the old master's frailty, he might have a solution for the matter.
"Get up first!" Zhang Xuan reached out to help the other party up. Shaking his head, he said, "Once the contract is established, the Contract Gu enters one’s bloodstream. It is extremely difficult to solve the matter!"
After establishing a contract, the gu worm dives into one's innards and moves along with his blood flow. It is impossible for it to be located and destroyed.
"As long as Physician Bai treats the old master, the Great Herb King Manor is willing to accede to any of your requests..." Butler Lu clenched his jaws.
"To save him, I'll have to find the location of the gu worm and extract or exterminate it!"
Zhang Xuan explained.
"However, the gu worm is alive, and it flows along with the blood. The moment it realizes that it is in danger, it will escape immediately. How can I capture it like that?"
The main reason for the Great Herb King's suffering was the gu worm living in his body. The solution for the problem actually sounded extremely easy; one merely had to extract or exterminate it. However, it was hard to put into practice.
That thing lives in one's bloodstream, and cannot be seen or felt. In addition, it is constantly moving about and knows how to avoid danger. How is it possible to remove and destroy it?
Before the gu worm can be killed, the person would have probably died first.
"Since Physician Bai is able to determine what the old master is suffering from, you must have a solution. I beseech you to save him!"
Butler Lu knelt down once more.
The many physicians that had examined the old master weren't even able to identify the illness. Bai Chan was their only hope.
"I can save him, but... I have a condition!"
After hesitating for a moment, Zhang Xuan said.
While others would be hard-pressed to look for the gu worm, Zhang Xuan was different. With the Library of Heaven's Path, Zhang Xuan could plainly see the location of the gu worm. Thus, it was still possible for him to treat the Great Herb King.
"Physician Bai, feel free to speak of your condition!"
Hearing that the other party could really treat him, Butler Lu clenched his fists tightly in agitation.
"I want to go to the Poison Hall. I hope that someone can bring me there after I cure the Great Herb King!"
Zhang Xuan glanced at Butler Lu.
Butler Lu didn't expect the other party to come up with such a condition. "Currently, the Poison Hall isn't accepting any guests, especially physicians. It'll be extremely dangerous for you to head there now!"
Poison masters and physicians are at perennially odds. Aren’t you, a physician, courting death to want to visit the Poison Hall?
"Dangerous for me to head there now? What do you mean?"
Noticing a hidden meaning to the other party's words, Zhang Xuan stared at him doubtfully.
Glancing at the old master and seeing that the other party wasn't objectionable to him revealing the issue, Butler Lu gritted his teeth and said, "An internal conflict has broken out within the Poison Hall, and it is currently closed to outsiders. They refused all guests, and even the old master isn't allowed to enter. Heading there now... is truly an unwise decision!"
"Yes!" Butler Lu said. "However, if Physician Bai really wishes to visit the Poison Hall, the conflict should probably die down within a year. By then, it should be much safer..."
"A year? That's too long!"
Zhang Xuan shook his head.
In the first place, the reason why he chose to disguise as Physician Bai Chan instead of taking the physician examination at Tianwu Kingdom was so that he could get to the Poison Hall as soon as possible to resolve the poisonous aura that was lingering in his body. Since he was unwilling to wait even a month, how could he possibly wait a year?
What joke is this!
"As long as you bring me to the entrance of the Poison Hall, I'll settle the rest myself. If you promise to accede to my condition, I will save the old master now. Otherwise, let’s forget about everything!"
Zhang Xuan calmly said.
"However, I doubt that there's anyone else in the surrounding thirteen kingdoms who can save the old master!"
The other party seemed to be determined. Thus, Butler Lu turned to consult the old master, and upon seeing him blink his eyes, turned back to Zhang Xuan.
"Alright, the old master has agreed!"
Zhang Xuan nodded, "Place your old master horizontally. I'll begin my treatment now."
Given that this was the Great Herb King Manor, Butler Lu wasn't worried about the other party doing anything foolish. Thus, he adjusted the reclining chair to place the old master in a lying position.
Knowing that the other party was about to remove the Contract Gu from his body, nervousness flashed on the Great Herb King's dry face.
Butler Lu and Mo Yu might have never heard of the Contract Gu, but as the person who had it implanted into his body, he knew that there was nearly no cure for it.
Yet, the person before him claimed that he was capable of treating it! Even though he didn't truly believe the other party's words, he, nevertheless, wanted to give it a try.
Since he had already decided to treat the other party, Zhang Xuan immediately got on with it. With a jerk of his hand, a box of silver needles appeared in his palm.
Then, submerging his consciousness into the library, he flipped to the page where the flaws were listed (which reflects the location of the Contract Gu's worm).
He drove his zhenqi and immediately pierced a silver needle right at the spot where the worm was last located.
The silver needle which was infused with the Heaven's Path zhenqi would definitely be able to easily destroy the gu worm if it were to pierce through it.
After piercing the needle into the other party's body, Zhang Xuan circulated zhenqi around the other party's body for a moment. Noticing the absence of the presence of the gu worm, Zhang Xuan's complexion darkened.
"The gu worm actually escaped..."
Time was wasted discussing the matter after the compilation of the book, and the gu worm in the Great Herb King was no longer at the position indicated in the book.
It seemed that the book had to be refreshed for him to pinpoint the new location of the gu worm.
Hesitating for a moment, Zhang Xuan turned to look at the Great Herb King sheepishly.
"Great Herb King, I'm sorry but... is it convenient for you to pass out once more?"
Gu is a venomous being used often in voodoo and black magic in the south China.
There are many methods of preparations depending on the custom, but the most traditional one is to keep countless poisonous animals into one jar and let them fight it out.