Library of Heaven is Path
1059 You Are the Skyleaf King 2
"Scarletleaf King?" Zhang Xuan narrowed his eyes.
"Indeed, it's me. To be able to recognize me by my voice… You are the one who killed those two fools, Stoneleaf King and Jadeleaf King, am I right?" the voice sneered coldly.
In the next moment, Zhang Xuan felt his body tensed up. As if a poisonous viper was eyeing him, his body suddenly jolted in alarm.
It is the pressure from the other party's Primordial Spirit… Zhang Xuan thought as sweat trickled down his cheeks.
It was not even close to the other party's full strength, but it could already vanquish all thought of retaliation in his mind.
Zhang Xuan swiftly drove his Heaven's Path zhenqi, and only then did he feel the pressure alleviating significantly.
Clenching his jaws, he scanned his surroundings and spat, "Indeed. I was the one who killed them. Are you intending to avenge them?"
The Scarletleaf King was truly well-hidden. Even when using the Eye of Insight to scan the area, he found that he was not able to find the slightest clue about the other party's whereabouts.
"Avenge? Why should I? The fact that they were killed by a Nascent Saint in the first place shows that they are not qualified to serve as Kings. Worthless flies like them are better off dead!" the Scarletleaf King sneered coldly.
The Otherworldly Demonic Tribe was cold-blooded by nature. The only thing that tied them together was their allegiance to the Emperors. Other than that, even if their companions were to die before their eyes, they would not be fazed in the slightest.
"Since you were able to kill them so swiftly, such that they didn't even have any time to send a message to us, that goes to show that you are quite a figure yourself. It would be a pity to kill you so quickly." The Scarletleaf King chuckled. "Why don't we play a game instead?"
"Play a game?" Zhang Xuan was taken aback.
The others were also bewildered by the Scarletleaf King's sudden proposal.
"Indeed. The rule of the game is simple. Aren't you all trying to escape from this place? I have five clues here, and as long as you can obtain all of them, you will be able to escape from the formation easily and meet with my real self!" the Scarletleaf King said.
"Five clues? Hah, you won't be handing them to us on a silver platter, will you? What is the price?" Zhang Xuan sneered coldly.
"Sharp, it is so much more convenient to negotiate with smart people like you!"
The Scarletleaf King chuckled softly before saying, "The way to obtain the clues is simple. Kill one master teacher, and I will give you the first clue. Kill another two more, and I will give you the second. Kill another three more, and I will give you the third… so on and so forth. So, as long as you kill fifteen master teachers, you will be able to receive all of the clues and escape from the formation safely!"
"You want us to kill our own comrades?" Zhang Xuan's face turned livid.
There were only thirty of them at the start, and eight of them were already dead, so there were only twenty-two of them remaining. If they were to kill another fifteen… their expedition team would be pretty much wiped out!
The expedition team was also exhausted both physically and mentally from stumbling into dangerous formations one after another. The more time that passed, the more desperate the crowd would become. Perhaps, it might really come to a point where members of the expedition would attempt to kill one another or sacrifice themselves over the matter.
The Scarletleaf King was preying on their weakened minds to turn the expedition team against one another while sitting out on the fight himself. A devious and scheming mind, it wouldn't be easy for them to outmaneuver a person like that.
"Indeed. You are a smart person, so you should know what is best for you in this situation. Even if you reject my offer, it's just a matter of time before all of you are wiped out by the formation. At the very least, if you choose to play along with me, you might still have a chance to meet me and avenge the others!" the Scarletleaf King replied leisurely.
"Despicable!" Hearing those words, the faces of the crowd reddened in anger.
Just as the other party had said, if they continued barging through the formations, it would just be a matter of time before they were killed. Only with the clues would there be a hope for them to escape from the darned formation and avenge their comrades.
"He is trying to create a rift among us! If we do so, what will be the difference between us and the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe? What rights will we have to call ourselves master teachers?" Wu shi bellowed in an attempt to calm the wavering minds.
They were truly in a very disadvantageous position at the moment. With a bleak hope of escaping from the formation themselves, they had to make a decision.
Should they persist with their principles or take the pragmatic way out?
"Right, I forgot to tell you. No matter who does the dirty job, as long as fifteen people within the expedition team die, I will give you the clues." At this point, the Scarletleaf King burst into a hearty laughter before continuing. "Make your decision quickly! I will give you two hours to decide. Hehehe! I am looking forward to your response…"
The piercing voice by their ears gradually drifted off, as if signifying that the Scarletleaf King had retracted his attention from them.
Wu shi extended his Spiritual Perception to his surroundings before turning back to the crowd and said, "He seems to have left."
"What do we do now?" Wo Tianqiong asked with a conflicted frown.
The others instinctively turned toward Zhang Xuan for directions.
It did not seem like a feasible solution for them to push their way through, but… were they going to start killing one another as the other party demanded?
"Don't listen to the Scarletleaf King's words, his very motive is to turn us against one another. It is even more so in such situations that we have to stand united!" Zhang Xuan surveyed the crowd and spoke forcefully.
"Indeed. Think about it. Even if we survive from killing one another, it will eventually give birth to inner demons deep in our hearts, hindering us from furthering our paths. In the worst-case scenario, the other party might even use it to leverage control over us afterward," Mu shi added.
"To be honest, there isn't much of a chance that we will be able to get out of here alive!" At this point, Wo Tianqiong abruptly interjected into Mu shi's words. "As long as you successfully kill the Scarletleaf King and avenge Elder Feng and the others, we are more than willing to lay down our lives for you!"
"Indeed. From the very start, we knew that we could meet our end in the ancient domain. Since it's only a matter of time before we succumb to the formation, I'd very much rather sacrifice myself so that the rest of you can safely find a way out of here!" Wu Ran said.
"I share the same opinion with the others. Our deaths are nothing, but nothing can be allowed to happen to Principal Zhang and Wu shi. The both of them are the hopes of our expedition team. Only with them around will we have a chance to escape from here and slay the wretched Scarletleaf King!" Feng Xun nodded.
Those words swiftly won nods of approval from the crowd.
Their line of thought was simple. Fifteen casualties was not a small price to pay, but at the very least, some of them would be able to get out of there alive. That was much better than the expedition team being entirely annihilated within the formation.
"I am touched by your sentiments, but… can we really trust the Scarletleaf King to keep his word and give us the clues? Furthermore, can the clues he gives us really lead us out?" Zhang Xuan said grimly.
They were willing to selflessly put themselves on the line to forge a route for the others to advance on. But the problem was that… their sacrifice could turn out to be futile in this case!
Taking a step back, even if the Scarletleaf King really gave the clues to them, allowing them to escape from the formation, as master teachers, there were simply some principles that they would have to hold on to, even at the cost of their life. They would not sacrifice others for their own welfare!
Otherwise, what would become of the faith they had held onto dearly as master teachers all this while?
"What do we do then?"
The crowd also understood the logic behind Zhang Xuan's words, but… after seeing so many of their comrades dying one after another, they simply could not stand it anymore. It was out of desperation that they chose such an extreme course of action.
Zhang Xuan shook his head bitterly. "I have no idea…"
At this point, he had no idea how the formation operated or where the Scarletleaf King was. Without such vital information, there was no way he could formulate a feasible plan to help them get out of their current situation.
"You don't know?" Seeing that even Zhang Xuan was helpless before their current situation, the faces of the crowd sank as if deflated balloons.
In their journey together, Zhang Xuan had overcome obstacle after obstacle easily, and it felt as if there was nothing in the world that could stump him. At this point, seeing how even the most capable individual among them was helpless, they suddenly felt deeply lost.
"I can't stand it anymore! Didn't the Scarletleaf King say that it will suffice as long as fifteen of us die? Just make sure to avenge me when the rest of you escape from here!"
After a long moment of silence, a loud bellow abruptly sounded. Unable to take it any longer, a combat master raised his sword to end his life.
"Hold it right there!" Not expecting that someone would still attempt to commit suicide after he had already laid everything out so clearly, Zhang Xuan frowned deeply as he flicked his finger.
A surge of zhenqi knocked out the sword in the combat master's hand. Wu shi also swiftly stepped forward to seal the other party's cultivation.
The problem they were facing at the moment was not an issue that could be resolved with just the sacrifice of others. They could not just stake their lives on the integrity of the Scarletleaf King, if he had any at all. That would be utter foolishness!
They had to think of another plan.
"Don't stop me! Let me die…" the combat master continued bellowing loudly.
The sealing of his cultivation did not seem to have dispelled the combat master's intention of ending his life at all.
"Since you aren't going to allow us to end our lives, allow me to do the job then…"
Almost immediately after they managed to settle the issue with the combat master, another roar sounded, and a master teacher stepped forward to launch an attack toward the combat master beside him.
"Humph!" Seeing the act of aggression by the master teacher, Feng Xun flitted forward and kicked the master teacher away forcefully.
With a spurt of blood, the master teacher crashed heavily onto the ground, sustaining severe injuries.
"Feng Xun, what are you doing?" Shen Pingchao hurriedly rushed down to help the wounded master teacher up before glaring at Feng Xun wrathfully.
The wounded master teacher was an elder of their Luoqing Master Teacher Academy.
"What am I doing? For daring to assault our men, you should be glad that I didn't kill him on the spot!" Feng Xun roared angrily back.
Their combat masters had been standing on the spot, doing nothing at all, when the master teacher suddenly stepped forward to assault them. Had he not made a move, their combat master could have very well died! Yet, the other party was still asking what was he doing? He must be joking!
"I reckon that you are just finding an excuse to make a move against us. Since that's the case, why don't you start with me?" Shen Pingchao harrumphed coldly.
"You'd better not piss me off. Throughout this entire journey, your men have been nothing but a huge burden, and I have been wanting to give you a piece of my mind…" Feng Xun sneered coldly.
Not expecting the expedition team to end up arguing with one another while in such danger, Wu shi roared angrily, "Enough!
"We are all master teachers and combat masters! While we have come to this ancient domain with the conviction to lay down our lives for our mission, it would be utterly foolish to turn against one another under the provocations of an Otherworldly Demon. If that happens, how are we going to face our predecessors? How are we going to face Kong shi?"
"Humph!" Hearing Wu shi's lecture, Feng Xun and Shen Pingchao glanced at one another before turning away angrily. For the time being, they chose to suppress their rage.
"Alright, take a deep breath and cool down first. For the time being, let's discuss how we can escape from here," Guild Leader Han said.
"How can we escape from here? This formation has a complex layered design with traps lying in wait at every turn. Furthermore, even if we manage to escape from the formation, will we be a match for the Scarletleaf King?" Feng Xun said with a deep frown.
"I fought with the Stoneleaf King myself, and even if Wu shi utilizes his full strength, he will only be an equal to the Stoneleaf King… Considering the greater strength that the Scarletleaf King harnesses, I don't think that we stand a good chance of getting out of here alive."
"I still think that we should sacrifice fifteen among us to obtain the other party's clues. As long as we preserve the strongest of our forces, we should still be able to match the Scarletleaf King. Otherwise, who knows how many of us will die within this formation?" the other Thousand Men Commander of the Combat Master Hall, Jiang Yuan, said.
"But if we do so, we will be playing right into the Scarletleaf King's hands…" Wu shi frowned.
"Playing right into the Scarletleaf King's hands? You might be right, but do we have another choice? To tell you the truth, I am very certain that there is a spy among us. Otherwise, how could the Otherworldly Demons have such a tight grasp of our movements? How could they remain constantly ahead of us? Don't you think that it's too much to consider it a coincidence?" Jiang Yuan said.
"Spy? How is that possible? We are all master teachers, so how could there possibly be any traitors among us?" Wu shi shook his head.
"You Xu was also a master teacher himself, but didn't he betray mankind eventually?" Jiang Yuan pointed it out coldly.
"This…" A conflicted expression surfaced on Wu shi's face. Frowning, he turned to Jiang Yuan and asked, "Jiang shi, for you to speak such words, could it be that you have noticed something?"
"I did notice a few things that are amiss with the situation…" Jiang Yuan harrumphed coldly before turning to Luo Ruoxin with a sharp glint in his eyes. "Luo shi, there are a few questions that I would like to ask you."
Luo Ruoxin frowned. "Go ahead."
"When we first entered the ancient domain, even Wu shi and Guild Leader Han did not notice that it was a Spatial Formation, but somehow, you were able to tell with just a glance.
"In the Unbounded World, all of us were bewitched by the demonic tune and suffered significant depletion in our stamina and zhenqi, but somehow, you were the only one who remained relatively unharmed. Not only so, shortly after you left, our expedition team immediately came under the assault of the Otherworldly Demons.
"For the Black Sandstorm of Oblivion, none of us were aware that soul-type artifacts have the ability to fend off the corrosion, but somehow, you knew full well about it. In fact, thinking back, you were the one who told us to follow the footsteps of the Otherworldly Demons… but look at this. We ended up walking right into their trap!"
Jiang Yuan sneered coldly. "How do you intend to explain this?"
"Now that he has pointed that out, it does indeed seem a little fishy…"
"Indeed, isn't everything that has happened a little too coincidental? There is something wrong with this Luo shi!"
"At the very start, I thought that it was weird that Luo shi would request to join the expedition at the very last minute. Now that I look at it, there is indeed something deeper to it…"
"Let's see how she responds to that…"
Right after hearing Jiang Yuan's analysis, the faces of the crowd immediately darkened. They quickly stepped away from Luo Ruoxin, isolating her.
"You think that I am a spy?" Not expecting the other party to suddenly point his finger at her, Luo Ruoxin frowned in displeasure.
"Indeed. Disguising yourself as one of our own, you slowly led us into trap after trap. We sure were fools for listening blindly to your words. Of the Qingtian Lineage, there is only one who possesses such wits and capability. If I'm not mistaken…"
Jiang Yuan glared at Luo Ruoxin sharply as he said, "You are the Skyleaf King!"