Library of Heaven is Path
1113 What a Dark Color
Chapter 1113: What a Dark Color
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
The higher ranked a poison master was, the more feared they were by the populace.
And a poison master who could concoct poison that was effective even against a Half-Leaving Aperture realm expert… That was truly fearsome!
At the very least, he must be at 7-star pinnacle.
"That's not it. I am a physician, and with my knowledge of medicinal herbs, I should be able to easily deduce a prescription for your condition!" Zhang Xuan replied calmly.
Considering that the man standing before him was the head of the Combat Master Hall, there was no way he could admit that he was a poison master.
Hall Master Xing shook his head. "I'll pass then…"
As much as physicians were knowledgeable about medicinal herbs, there was still a significant difference between the field of study for physicians and poison masters. In the concoction of poison, the slightest difference in the environment or combination of medicinal herbs could result in a huge difference in the resulting medicinal property. Just relying on fundamental knowledge of medicinal herbs would not suffice for one to deal with poison.
Otherwise, if every physician could be a poison master as well, the existence of a 'poison master' occupation would have been rendered meaningless.
Hall Master Xing was not willing to bet his life on that possibility.
"Are there no other ways beside these two options?" Division Head Liao asked with a frown.
One was unfeasible at the moment whereas the other one was too risky. He had thought that with a high-ranked spirit awakener to enchant the Primordial Spirit of Hall Master Xing, the latter's fighting prowess should be able to be increased by leaps and bounds. Yet, who would have thought that the latter would end up being crippled instead?
What was with this?
Zhang Xuan hesitated for a moment before saying, "Actually… I do have another solution. I just fear that… you will be reluctant to agree to it!"
"It's actually rather simple. Open up your Primordial Spirit and allow me to probe into it. I'll find the sentience of the spirit within your Primordial Spirit and kill it," Zhang Xuan replied.
The three combat masters glanced at one another and fell silent.
Opening up one's Primordial Spirit meant to lower every single line of defense one had. If the other party attempted to do anything to Hall Master Xing, he would be completely helpless to retaliate.
Hall Master Xing shook his head. "I apologize, but… I can't do that!"
Even if the person was the trusted Division Head Liao, he still would not be willing to lower all of his defenses, let alone an unreliable stranger!
"There's nothing else I can do then, unless…" Another thought came to Zhang Xuan's mind, but before he could speak of it, he swiftly shook his head.
Zhang Xuan looked at Hall Master Xing hesitantly before eventually relenting. "I can try concocting some poison that is capable of wiping away the spirit in your Primordial Spirit. Of course, that is easier said than done, and I might require multiple attempts before I get it."
With his comprehension of poison, it was not entirely impossible for him to succeed in that. However, Hall Master Xing's situation was a little peculiar—a cactus growing fruits on his head and a flower sprouting on his bottom—so it was a little difficult for him to ascertain the type of spirit so as to determine what would be effective. Thus, it might require several attempts before he got it right.
"That won't do!" Hall Master Xing quickly refuted the idea with twitching lips.
A poison that would kill the spirit could very well end up killing him! If he were to let the other party to experiment on him… wouldn't it be more likely for him to die first?
"That's all I've got. If none of that works with you, there's nothing else I can do…" Zhang Xuan shook his head.
Honestly speaking, he was not entirely at fault for this matter either. He had warned Division Head Liao to prevent anyone from entering, but Division Head Wei just had to barge into the room in the midst of the process, preventing him from eliminating the consciousness within the spirit.
It was a combination of mistakes that resulted in this huge farce.
Hall Master Xing fell silent.
He could tell that the other party was earnestly helping him, and it was no one's intention for such a mishap to occur. However… those solutions were truly unacceptable for him.
"Sun shi, let me think over this matter for a while." Hall Master Xing pondered for a moment before abruptly suggesting, "Right, didn't you say that you would like to enter the Trial of Inner Demons to temper your will? Why don't you give it a try now while I ponder over this matter?"
"Hmm?" Zhang Xuan blinked in surprise.
Wasn't that quite a huge leap in thought?
They were just in the midst of discussing how they could save the other party, but the other party suddenly proposed that he try out the Trial of Inner Demons.
"Rest assured, the main goal of the Trial of Inner Demons is to temper one's mind. If you find yourself reaching your limit, you can just admit defeat and leave. As long as you don't push yourself too far, it won't be dangerous!" Taking Zhang Xuan's silence as a sign of apprehension, Hall Master Xing consoled him with a smile.
However, the smile did not seem to have the slightest sincerity within it. Instead, it was so forced that the cactus on his head began shaking, and the fruits were on the verge of falling off.
Zhang Xuan was assessed Hall Master Xing silently for a while before eventually nodding slowly. "I'll give it a try then."
While he had no idea what Hall Master Xing was up to, he did not think that the other party would harm him. At this moment, the other party needed some private space to ponder over the matter and make a decision for himself. Since that was the case, it was indeed a good opportunity for him to challenge the Trial of Inner Demons and temper his will. Perhaps, he might even find some inspiration within and come up with a better way to resolve Hall Master Xing's condition.
"Un. Division Head Liao, open up the Trial of Inner Demons once more!" Hall Master Xing instructed.
"This…" Division Head Liao frowned. A moment later, he slowly nodded. "Alright."
After saying those words, he walked up to the wall and placed his hand on it. A moment later, the passageway surfaced once more.
Directing a nod toward the crowd, Zhang Xuan walked into the passageway, and it did not take long for him to disappear from everyone's sight.
As soon as Zhang Xuan's figure disappeared, Division Head Liao immediately asked, "Hall Master Xing, Sun shi isn't a member of our Combat Master Hall. Why did you let him enter the Trial of Inner Demons? You also know that the greatest heritage of our Heart Division is in there."
The Trial of Inner Demons was a forbidden land even to ordinary combat masters. It was only open to the hall masters and division heads. Contained within it was the greatest heritage of the Heart Division, and Hall Master Xing had actually allowed an outsider to enter. Why?
"Don't worry, the heritage is only attainable upon clearing the entire Trial of Inner Demons. Even someone of my prowess is unable to clear it, let alone a Saint 1-dan cultivator like him," Hall Master Xing replied grimly.
Division Head Liao pondered for a moment before nodding. "Yes, that's true as well."
He had been too caught up in the allowance of Sun shi's admittance into the Trial of Inner Demons, so he had not thought of this point.
Even among the generations of hall masters, only five of them had managed to attain the greatest heritage. Given so, it was nigh impossible for a mere spirit awakener to clear the trial.
"There's no need to worry about the heritage for the time being. You also know our current circumstances; I have to resolve the problem I am plagued with as soon as possible in order to deal with that Xuanxuan Faction, as well as to participate in the Convention of Combat Masters. So… I am planning on allowing his will into my Primordial Spirit!" Hall Master Xing informed the other party grimly.
"You are going to allow him into your Primordial Spirit? Hall Master Xing, I urge you to reconsider!"
Division Heads Liao and Wei were startled, and they hurriedly tried to talk him out of the matter.
Opening one's Primordial Spirit and allowing an outsider to enter was no joking matter. Placing the trust in the wrong person could very well spell death! As the head of the Combat Master Hall, the other party could not take such a risk!
"I have already made up my mind. I understand the dangers very well myself; that's also why I had him enter the Trial of Inner Demons. If he harbors malicious thoughts in his mind, the inner demons that will be bred as a result will be proportionately greater, thus putting him in grave danger. By then, even if I do not make a move, he will be punished by his own evil intents, perhaps facing death even.
"On the other hand, if he has an upright and pure mind, inner demons will be unable to harm him. If it's proven that he's a man of good character, I am willing to take the gamble and entrust my Primordial Spirit to him," Hall Master Xing said.
"This…" The duo mused over what they had just heard.
Inner demons were a manifestation of the negative emotions within one's heart. If that fellow harbored malicious thoughts toward Hall Master Xing, the inner demons would reflect his will, thus putting him through great suffering.
If the other party could traverse within the Trial of Inner Demons safely, it would show that the other party held compassion within his heart. If so, it might be worth taking the gamble for Hall Master Xing to entrust his Primordial Spirit to the other party.
Seeing that the duo was hesitating, Hall Master Xing placed his hands behind his back and said, "Risk is inevitable if one wants to achieve great things. In truth, I don't blame Chen Zhuqing, Yan Qinghai, Lu Wangqiu, and the others for joining the Xuanxuan Faction. On the contrary, I envy them even."
In that moment, he resembled a tenacious cactus in the midst of a desert.
"You envy them?" The two division heads were bewildered by those words.
The division heads' mass defection to the Xuanxuan Faction was no different from snubbing the Combat Master Hall's heritage, soiling its dignity and honor. If they were the hall master, they would have surely exploded at the division heads by now.
"Indeed. The Combat Master Hall is a branch of the Master Teacher Pavilion, and it serves as the military force of mankind. What does a military force require? It goes without saying—strength! As long as it augments our strength, allowing us to fend off the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe and any threats that stand in our way, there are little qualms as to what we are limited to doing as long as we do not overstep our moral bounds. These are the words that our founder left us back then, as well as the motto that we, combat masters, all live by," Hall Master Xing said.
Division Heads Liao and Wei nodded.
The very purpose for the existence of the combat masters was to protect mankind on the frontlines.
As long as it was not against the principles of the Master Teacher Pavilion, they were allowed to do anything in their pursuit for strength. After all, an excessively controlled environment would only stifle one's growth.
Those from the Xuanxuan Faction might be from a vassal nation, but their comprehension of combat had far surpassed their own, reaching an unfathomable level. If studying from the Xuanxuan Faction could grant them greater strength, why should one oppose it?
There was no shame in seeking knowledge from others, no matter how noble or how senior one was—that was an ideal that Kong shi himself had sought to propagate!
Asking for guidance from a cultivator who was weaker than one was not shameful; on the contrary, it highlighted one's humility and dedication to improving himself, thus giving others a good impression of them. The pros and cons were extremely clear here; the problem lay only in whether one was able to let go of one's pride or not.
"Despite being Primordial Spirit realm experts, they were willing to lower themselves and seek guidance from the Xuanxuan Faction. That displayed their strong thirst for knowledge and power, and that is a good thing! However, as the head of the Combat Master Hall, it is my responsibility to uphold the honor and dignity of the organization, so I have no choice but to stop them so as to not turn our branch into a laughingstock of the world." Hall Master Xing sighed deeply.
"Un." The duo nodded.
After explaining the matter, Hall Master Xing turned his attention back to the passageway and said, "Alright, let's see whether Sun shi harbors malicious thoughts or not. We should be seeing his fox tail 1 soon if he intends to harm me…"
Nodding, Hall Master Liao placed his palm on the wall.
The opaque wall transformed into transparent jade.
Noting the look of confusion of Division Head Wei's face, Division Head Liao explained, "This jade wall is able to detect the number of inner demons within. The more malicious thoughts one harbor, the darker the color of the jade wall will become. For one, due to our combat masters dedicating most of our time to furthering our combat skills, their state of mind tends to be much more innocent and purer, so most of them will face less than a dozen inner demons. Previously, when Hall Master Xing entered the Trial of Inner Demons, he only had three inner demons to deal with, so the wall was nearly transparent…
"Most master teachers also face a dozen or so inner demons at most, and the wall will turn slightly translucent. Only those who harbor malicious thoughts will produce dozens of inner demons, resulting in the color of the jade wall to turn darker!
"If the wall remains translucent throughout while Sun shi is within the passageway, it would mean that he is a righteous person, and we need not worry about him stabbing us in our back. Naturally, it would be relatively safe for Hall Master Xing to bare his Primordial Spirit to the other party…" At this point, a cold glint surfaced in Division Head Liao's eyes. "However, if the wall turns dark, it would mean that he harbors malicious thoughts in mind. If so, we should end his life as soon as he emerges from the passageway. That is, if he manages to escape the Trial of Inner Demons alive in the first part!"
Hall Master Xing and Division Head Wei nodded in agreement. Just as they were about to respond, their faces suddenly warped in shock. Noting that something was wrong, Division Head Liao quickly turned around to look at the wall behind him.
The transparent jade wall had been gleaming brightly a moment ago, but in the blink of an eye, it was suddenly dyed pitch-black.
"The jade wall has turned black? How could this be? That would mean that there are more than a hundred inner demons inside…"