Chapter 1074: We Can't Escape!
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: StarveCleric

"You will know once you come along with me…" Noting the perplexed looks on the faces around him, Vice Principal Ji Yan shook his head bitterly and replied.

Traversing through the mist, they soon arrived at a certain room.

There were all kinds grade-7 pinnacle seals and traps lying all around the area. Even for an expert of the Skyleaf King's caliber, there was no doubt that he would be torn into shreds if he were to be trapped within them.

Upon seeing this sight, Zhang Xuan nodded in realization.

Judging from the current situation, it seemed like the Skyleaf King wielded the absolute advantage within the Saint Ascension Hall. Unable to stand up against him, they could only remain within this room and set up formations and traps so as to fend off the other party.

Pushing open the door and entering, the room was only roughly several dozen square meters large. There wasn't a single window within the room, and the only source of light within it was the dim radiance of a Night Illumination Pearl.

Leaning against the wall was an old man whose both legs and right arm had been severed. Nevertheless, upon seeing the group which had returned, he hurriedly flew up and rushed towards them with eyes filled with disbelief.

"Vice Principal Ji, this…"

For the past two years, they had been the only humans within the Saint Ascension Hall. Thus, it wasn't too difficult to imagine his imagination upon seeing Zhang Xuan and the others.

"Vice Principal Tan, this is Wu shi from Qingyuan Conferred Empire." Vice Principal Ji Yan introduced.

"Vice Principal Tan? You are Tan Qing from the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy?" Finding the name familiar, Zhang Xuan pondered for a moment, and a figure abruptly surfaced in his mind.

The Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy had a total of four vice principals, and Mu Renxu, Ji Yan, and Tan Qing were three of them.

"That's indeed me…" Tan Qing nodded. With a perplexed look, he turned to Ji Yan and asked, "May I know how I should address these master teachers?"

"This... Actually, I encountered them while they were being pursued by the Skyleaf King, so I quickly saved them and led them back here. I haven't really gotten a chance to ask them for their names yet…" Vice Principal Ji Yan replied.

As the situation was very precarious earlier, there wasn't any time for them to introduce themselves to one another. As such, he wasn't too sure whom the other three beside Wu shi were either.

"This young man over here is the newly-appointed principal of the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy, Zhang shi. This young lady is Luo Ruoxin, Luo shi. Last but not least, this elder is the head of the Qingyuan Conferred Empire Formation Master Guild, Han Xu." Wu shi swiftly introduced the group.

"Newly-appointed principal?" Upon hearing the introduction, the eyes of the duo quickly turned to Zhang Xuan, and a deep frown appeared on their foreheads.

They weren't able to report the matter to the headquarters before heading to the ancient domain due to the urgency of the matter back then, so their abrupt disappearance was bound to create some chaos in the leadership of the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy. It was understandable that they would attempt to elect a new principal as soon as possible in order to stabilize the situation, but still, the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy was still one of the Four Great Academies... How could they allow a mere Nascent Saint cultivator, not to mention such a young child, to become the principal?

Weren't they making too light of Hongyuan?

"Principal Zhang might be young, but he possesses extraordinary capabilities. It's due to him that we were able to advance through the ancient domain safely!" Noting the complicated looks on the duo, Wu shi could tell what they were thinking, so he hurriedly stepped forward to speak on Zhang Xuan's behalf.

To be honest, Zhang Xuan was simply too young that it was inevitable that others would doubt his capabilities. Even he himself had doubted the legitimacy of the other party's inauguration as the principal back then, let more the duo before him.

"... You're right. How could a person who was able to venture so deeply into the ancient domain possibly be someone ordinary?" After hearing Wu shi's words, the duo pondered for a moment before nodding in agreement.

They had experienced the brutality of the Qiu Wu Palace firsthand, so they knew very well the dangers that lurked all around. Without outstanding capability, it was impossible for one to venture safely from the entrance to this point.

Not to mention, even a person as esteemed as Wu shi had chosen to speak on the behalf of Zhang Xuan.

Scanning the room, Zhang Xuan realized that a certain person was nowhere to be seen, so he asked with a perplexed frown, "Where is Old Principal Zhang Yinqiu?"

Since the two vice principals were still alive, the old principal who had just sent the Principal's Seal out shortly before should still be alive as well. Why wasn't he anywhere to be seen? Not to mention, Vice Principal Ji Yan had earlier replied his question with not a 'two' but a 'less than three'...

"Principal Zhang Yinqiu…" Ji Yan and Tan Qing glanced at one another as the light in their eyes dulled. After a moment of silence, Ji Yan was the one who spoke up, "He's already dead…"

"Dead? But Vice Principal Ji, didn't you say earlier that there were 'less than three' of you remaining? There are only two of you here…"

The one who spoke this time around was Guild Leader Han. Clearly, he had also noticed the anomaly in Vice Principal Ji's words earlier.

If there were only two of them remaining, an ordinary person would respond with a 'two'. However, Vice Principal Ji Yan had replied with a 'less than three' instead... There was bound to be a deeper reason behind it.

There was no way a 6-star pinnacle master teacher would make such an elementary verbal mistake.

"Indeed. There is still one more person other than us around, and he is Principal Zhang Yinqiu. However, the current state he is in... It's truly no different from being dead... However, he isn't here at the moment. I can only bring you to meet him within a specific timing!" Vice Principal Ji Yan explained.

"No different from being dead?"

Wu shi and the others glanced at one another in bewilderment, unsure of what the two vice principals were driving at. However, looking at the duo, it seemed like they were reluctant to speak of it anymore, so they decided not to probe too deep at the moment as well.

After a momentary pause, Wu shi turned his gaze over and asked, "What happened two years ago? Why didn't you report the matter to the headquarter?"

In truth, Wu shi wasn't the only one who had been pondering over this question. Even Zhang Xuan found the matter incredulous as well.

Considering how the old principal had erected a tomb for himself in the Mausoleum of Principals, there was no doubt that he was aware that the dangers lurking in the ancient domain were far beyond his means. Given so, the logical course of action should be to report the matter to the superior Master Teacher Pavilion. So, why did he remain silent on the matter, choosing to assemble an expedition team out of his own academy instead?

"It's not that he doesn't want to report the matter to the headquarter, but that there was no time for it!"

Vice Principal Ji Yan shook his head with a bitter smile. "Wu shi, you are quite close with Principal Zhang Yinqiu, so you should be aware that he idolizes Elder Wu Yangzi a lot. The greatest interest in his pastime was to explore the history of Elder Wu Yangzi and investigate his disappearance... Under his relentless efforts, he eventually found some intelligence and an important artifact concerning the ancient domain. His immediate response was to report the matter to the headquarter, but somehow, the news managed to travel to the ears of the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe before he could do so. In the end, not only did the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe manage to dupe the important artifact away, they even managed to learn of the deeper secrets concerning the ancient domain…

"Shortly after, he learned that the ancient domain was on the verge of opening, and there was no time to be lost. Thus, he gathered all of us overnight and rushed over as soon as possible!"

Vice Principal Ji Yan's explanation only served to deepen the frown on Wu shi's forehead, "Zhang Yinqiu has a Communication Jade Token connected straight to the headquarter. As long as he wishes to, he could inform the headquarter of the matter any time he liked. It wouldn't have delayed him by too much... So why didn't he do so?"

It wouldn't take more than ten breaths for Zhang Yinqiu to construct a message to the headquarter to inform them in detail of the entire incident! For a person who gathered an expedition team overnight and rushed right towards the ancient domain... Surely sending a message shouldn't be too difficult?

Claiming that 'there was no time for it' was truly a poor excuse!

"If I am not mistaken, instead of saying that the news traveled to the ears of the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe, perhaps it might be more accurate to say that they had insider news on the matter? In other words, a spy of the Otherworldly Demon had intercepted the message before it reached the headquarter, and that spy happens to be from the headquarter as well, and this left Old Principal Zhang Yinqiu deeply distrustful of the headquarter... Am I right?" Zhang Xuan pondered for a brief moment before stating his deduction.

Since Zhang Yinqiu didn't send out the message to the headquarter to inform that of the matter, that could only mean that there was something preventing him from doing so.

"This... Zhang shi is indeed astute. It's indeed as you have said…" Hearing those words, Vice Principals Ji Yan and Tan Qing couldn't help but nod their heads in awe.

To be able to deduce this far based on the nuances of their words, this young Zhang shi's discernment ability was truly outstanding. It was no wonder why he was eventually elected to succeed Principal Zhang Yinqiu as the new principal of the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy.

"Spy? From the headquarter?" Wu shi was stunned for a moment before he clenched his fists tightly together.

He was a smart person as well, and it didn't take him too long to figure out what was going on.

In the first place, Zhang Yinqiu didn't have much of an understanding of the Qingyuan Conferred Empire Master Teacher Pavilion. Thus, when he was duped of the important artifact and intelligence from a fake master teacher from the headquarter, he became deeply apprehensive. He didn't know whom he could trust, so eventually, he didn't send out a message at all.

Perhaps Zhang Yinqiu was intending to pay a visit to the Qingyuan Conferred Empire Master Teacher Pavilion to inform them of the matter personally, but he abruptly received news that the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe was about to enter the ancient domain. Left with no choice, he could only assemble an expedition team by himself and head in personally, and eventually... none of them managed to return back.

"Who is it?" Wu shi eyes narrowed menacingly.

He knew all of the master teachers in the headquarter, so who in the world could the spy be?

"We are all trapped here, so it's meaningless even if we were to reveal the name to you now…" Vice Principal Ji Yan shook his head in disconsolation.

It was not like any one of them could escape and apprehend the spy, so what was the point of them speaking about the matter at the moment?

Since that was going to be the case, they might as well just remain silent, so as the very least, there would be one less frustration for them to bother about.

"Is it really impossible to escape from here?" Guild Leader Han asked.

"Un. I'm sure you should have seen the seal outside. It's constructed in a manner that makes it unidirectional, only allowing one to enter but not to leave. It is most probably set up by Ancient Sage Qiu Wu himself, so... unless one were to obtain his heritage and comprehend the secret behind the seal, otherwise it will be impossible to escape from here!" Vice Principal Tan Qing shook his head.

At this moment, he suddenly recalled a matter, and he looked at Wu shi and the others and asked with a gleam of hope in his eyes, "Right! Back then, the Skyleaf King was tight on our trail, and we weren't able to shake him free. As such, we could only escape here directly. However, on your journey here, you should have noticed the door leading to Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's heritage, right? How is it? Did you obtain the heritage?"


Hearing those words, a look of awkwardness surfaced on the faces of Wu shi and the others.

They did manage to enter the correct door, they successfully met Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's sculpture as well, and they even cleared the trial smoothly... But, they still failed to obtain the heritage!

Would the two vice principals believe them if they were to tell them of such a bizarre matter?

"What's wrong? Could it be that... you didn't notice the mark Principal Zhang Yinqiu left behind?" Noticing the peculiar expressions on the faces around him, Vice Principal Ji Yan couldn't help but ask.

The mark was very apparent, so surely master teachers of their caliber should have noticed it easily!

"You were indeed the ones who had left the mark behind! But since you know that the heritage lies within the door, why didn't you enter to take a look?"

It was Guild Leader Han's turn to be perplexed this time around.

Since the mark was left behind by them, it should be apparent that they had opened the doors and confirmed the correct one to advance to. Since that was the case, why didn't they enter it? If they had chosen to enter it, the Skyleaf King could have died under the might of Ancient Sage Qiu Wu.

"Back then, we did manage to trigger the mechanism in the square that causes the nine doors to appear... However, shortly after we confirmed the right door, before we even had the opportunity to check it out, the Skyleaf King arrived at the square as well. The implications of Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's heritage is simply too great. If the Skyleaf King were to obtain it, it could become a calamity for the entire mankind! We can't afford to take such a gamble, and we dare not to either! Thus, Principal Zhang Yinqiu secretly left a mark on the door before rushing over here. Having a skeptical personality, even though the Skyleaf King saw the nine doors, he dared not to enter to check them out either for fear of it being a trap, so he continued pursuing us instead. Eventually, all of us ended up here…" Vice Principal Ji Yan recounted the situation back then.

His words and description were nonchalant, but Zhang Xuan and the others could feel how intense the situation was back then.

The fact that Vice Principal Mu Renxu had lost his life in the square, and the others had to flee without having an opportunity to collect his corpse went to show how dangerous the situation was back then.

"By the time we entered the pavilion, we were already all exhausted. Even though we managed to slaughter all of the Otherworldly Demons aside from the Skyleaf King remained, we also suffered great casualties in the process, to the point that we are the only survivors of the initial expedition team... It is fortunate that the terrain within here is complicated, that's why we were able to survive til now. Otherwise, we would have sure been wiped out long ago…" Vice Principal Ji Yan sighed.

"I see!" The crowd nodded in response.

They had all experienced the fearsome might of the Skyleaf King themselves—even a collaboration between the powerful Wu shi and Guild Leader Han wasn't sufficient to match him. Considering how Vice Principals Ji Yan and Tan Qing were only at Saint 1-dan pinnacle back then, it wasn't difficult to imagine how helpless they would have been.

It had truly been difficult for them to have survived two years while being trapped with the Skyleaf King.

"Right, you still haven't told us whether you have managed to obtain Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's heritage or not?" After explaining the matter, Vice Principal Ji Yan asked once more.

This matter involved whether they would be able to escape from here or not, so he was determined to clarify this matter.

"This... We managed to clear the trial, but before Ancient Sage Qiu Wu could reveal to us what his heritage was, his fragmented soul had already dissipated after suffering multiple traumas from Principal Zhang!" After a long moment of silence, Wu shi finally spoke up.



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