Library of Heaven is Path
1147 Tian Qing
Chapter 1147: Tian Qing
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: StarveCleric
He knew that the King Zhongqing wanted to deal with him, but he hadn't thought that the other party would be so vicious as to inflict such grievous torture on Sun Qiang.
As the saying goes, even when beating a dog must one look at its owner. To kidnap his subordinate without any prior notice and use such cruel means on the latter, it was clear that the other party was undermining him.
"What do I mean?" King Zhongqing asked in a mocking tone. "Bring Vice Hall Master Ming in here!"
As he said those words, two guards escorted a figure in.
Upon seeing the other party's appearance, Zhang Xuan's face turned livid.
He recognized that figure. He was the vice head of the Jingyuan City Poison Hall, Ming Zhen!
Back then, he willfully chose to side with his own student and attempted to kill Zhang Xuan. Unfortunately, Zhang Xuan's soul happened to be out at the moment, and eventually, the entire Poison Hall was reduced to waste as a result of his actions... But wasn't he killed by Hall Master Ruo Qingyuan back then?
Why was he still alive?
And from the looks of it, he wasn't even in the slightest injured... On the contrary, it seemed like he had even managed to advance his cultivation up a notch.
Could it be that something had happened to the Poison Hall?
Furthermore, despite Sun Qiang being bound by heavy chains, there was nothing on Ming Zhen at all. It was as if he was an honored guest of King Zhongqing!
Zhang Xuan's face turned livid.
"Paying respects to Your Highness!" Ming Zhen clasped his fist.
King Zhongqing nodded and said, "Speak of what you know!"
"I used to be the vice head of the Jingyuan Empire Poison Hall, located in the territory of Hongyuan Empire. Two months ago, Sun Qiang altered his appearance and dropped by our Poison Hall, claiming to be the successor of the Poison Hall's founder. He displayed exceptional mastery in the Way of Poison that even I am unable to match up with…" Ming Zhen swiftly revealed everything that had happened at the Poison Hall.
"... After which, he entrusted the founder to Poison Hall Bai and Poison Master Hai. Initially, I was to be executed for my actions, but it's fortunate that the one who was responsible for executing me was my student, and it was due to that that I was able to escape with my life…"
"The successor of the Poison Hall's founder? If I hadn't heard this with my own ears, I would truly dare not believe such a matter. Zhang shi, this Sun Qiang over here is your subordinate, and yet, he is also a formidable poison master as well. What do you have to say for yourself?" Sneering coldly, King Zhongqing gazed down at Zhang Xuan haughtily.
"You are accusing me of colluding with the poison masters over this?" Zhang Xuan was still wondering if the other party had managed to obtain some kind of evidence regarding the matter, but it turned out to be this much only. Shaking his head, he continued, "Putting aside the fact the fact that this Ming Zhen fellow over here has dubious backgrounds, just the fact that he's a vice head of the Poison Hall should warrant him a death penalty. So, why is he standing right here, honored as a guest in your manor? Could it be that... King Zhongqing has colluded with the Poison Hall? Are you, in fact, a poison master, just like what others say of you?"
"Audacious!" King Zhongqing bellowed furiously.
"You are the one being audacious over here!" Zhang Xuan interjected with a roar. "There are plenty of people in the world who goes by the name of Sun Qiang, and yet, based on this kind of indeterminate evidence, you kidnapped my butler and tortured him? If I were to capture a dog and confer it the name of King Zhongqing, can I say that you are a dog? If my butler is truly the successor of the Poison Hall's founder, you will have long been poisoned to death for treating him in such a manner!"
"You…" Not expecting the other party to be so crude in his words, King Zhongqing nearly spurted blood. With a face livid with rage, he harrumphed, "My men proceeded carefully and subdued your butler before he could even retaliate, so naturally, he wouldn't have a chance to strike at all. There is no doubt about Ming Zhen's identity, and he has voluntarily left the Poison Hall to side with us. In fact, he has led our men to eradicate the Jingyuan City Poison Hall, and his merits are more than sufficient to make up for his wrongdoings!"
"Eradicate the Jingyuan City Poison Hall?"'Gedeng', Zhang Xuan's heart skipped a beat.
As formidable as the Jingyuan City Poison Hall was, if there was an insider to lead the elite forces of the Qingyuan Empire in, it would indeed be difficult for the Poison Hall to stand its ground.
If the Poison Hall were to be destroyed, what would become of Elder Xu and the others?
He hadn't thought that so much would happen over a short frame of two months.
"Indeed! No matter how he was before, his accomplishments are more than sufficient to bring credibility to his words. Furthermore, we have corroborated his words with the confessions of the other poison masters of the Jingyuan City Poison Hall, so there is no doubt about the authenticity of this matter!"
Standing up, King Zhongqing flung his sleeves and harrumphed, "Despite being a master teacher, you actually kept such a reprehensible poison master by your side. This is a blatant infringement of the Master Teacher Pavilion's rules. For the safety of Qingyuan City, I am obliged to apprehend you."
"For the safety of Qingyuan City? I, Zhang Xuan, am an upright master teacher of the Master Teacher Pavilion. If there's any problem with me, it should be the Master Teacher Pavilion to pass judgement. And you? Pardon me, but I don't believe that you are in charge of the Qingyuan Empire Master Teacher Pavilion!"
When a master teacher erred, only the Master Teacher Pavilion was qualified to judge them. A mere King of the Conferred Empire had no rights to take things in his own hands!
"I know that I'm not qualified to judge this matter, so I specially reported this matter to Vice Pavilion Master Tian Qing of the Master Teacher Pavilion to have him judge this matter!" Saying these words, King Zhongqing clasped his fist towards the hunched over elder seated beside him.
"Tian Qing?" Hearing that name, Zhang Xuan recalled a matter, and his eyes narrowed.
But before he could say a word, the elder stood up, and it was only then did everyone notice the seven stars on the emblem pinned on his chest.
A 7-star master teacher!
"Vice pavilion master?" Luo Qiqi and Yu Fei-er were alarmed, and they quickly turned their gazes towards Zhang Xuan.
If the Master Teacher Pavilion wasn't involved in this matter, Zhang Xuan might still be able to use his identity as a master teacher to avoid this matter. Yet, the other party actually brought a vice pavilion master of the Qingyuan Empire Master Teacher Pavilion in. This would really complicate matters.
"He sure did come prepared." Swiftly calming down, Zhang Xuan began reanalyzing the situation.
Previously, he had heard Wu shi briefly introduce the current circumstances within the Qingyuan Empire Master Teacher Pavilion.
The current pavilion master, Gou Tianze, was a Leaving Aperture realm primary stage expert. However, he had retired from managing the affairs of the Master Teacher Pavilion since many years ago, and currently, Vice Pavilion Master Tian was the one who was in charge.
As such, despite being a vice pavilion master, Tian Qing wielded authority comparable to the pavilion master himself, making him one of the most powerful individuals in Qingyuan City.
Zhang Xuan had thought this would only be a small conflict; perhaps he might have accidentally crossed King Zhongqing somewhere and the latter wanted to embarrass him. He hadn't thought that the latter would actually bring Vice Pavilion Master Tian into the picture as well.
As the person in charge of the regional Master Teacher Pavilion, Vice Pavilion Master Tian had the right to liaise with the headquarters. If the other party were to judge that he had colluded with the Poison Hall, he would never be able to cleanse his reputation.
But of course, while the Jingyuan City Poison Hall had a poor reputation, it hadn't really caused too much harm. At the very most, being associated with it would only tarnish Zhang Xuan's reputation.
"Zhang shi, I have heard of your affairs, and I know that you are a person who possesses exceptional talent and capabilities." Vice Pavilion Master Tian turned to Zhang Xuan and smiled. "King Zhongqing is in charge of the defenses of Qingyuan City. Given that he has uncovered evidence that suggests that Sun Qiang is a poison master, it's his responsibility to look into the matter, so I hope that you don't take this personally. The reason why he has invited you over to his manor instead of the Master Teacher Pavilion is in hopes of not blowing the matter up. After all, such a matter would soil the reputation of the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy, and this isn't something that any one of us would like to see."
At this point, Vice Pavilion Master Tian glanced at Ming Zhen before continuing on, "I have personally investigated the background of Poison Master Ming Zhen and the words that he has spoken, and I believe that his words can be trusted. However, worry not. Even though Sun Qiang is a poison master, the Master Teacher Pavilion will take into account the fact that you are unaware of the matter when passing judgement."
"Even though Sun Qiang is a poison master?" Hearing how affirmative Vice Pavilion Master Tian's words were, Zhang Xuan frowned in displeasure, "Since Vice Pavilion Master Tian has seen this matter from the start to the end, surely you should be clearer than anyone else here whether Sun Qiang is a poison master or not, right?"
While a poison master may look like any other cultivator on the surface, their frequent consumption and concocting of poison would inevitably result in some internal changes in their body. In fact, there were some formidable poison masters who could even poison an entire city to death with just a droplet of their blood.
On the other hand, Sun Qiang cultivated the orthodox and upright simplified version of the Heaven's Path Divine Art. His zhenqi was pure and attributeless, and that should be more than sufficient evidence to prove that he wasn't a poison master.
Considering that Vice Pavilion Tian was a 7-star pinnacle master teacher, he should know better than anyone that Sun Qiang wasn't a poison master. Yet, to be insisting that Sun Qiang was indeed a poison master here, it was obvious that he had chosen to side with King Zhongqing!
"Even though this Sun Qiang over here doesn't have the prowess of a 6-star poison master, his very deed of escorting the founder of the Poison Hall back to the Poison Hall headquarters is a grievous mistake in itself! The founder of the Poison Hall is said to possess the Constitution of Disaster, and as long as she desires so, she could easily bring great catastrophe upon mankind. You might not understand because you haven't seen the records regarding the war between mankind and the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe several dozen millenniums ago, but I had the privilege of looking through them in the Master Teacher Pavilion of the Empire Alliance. It was truly a huge tragedy that could hardly be described with words. Countless master teachers and innocent souls had died of poison in the long war, and indubitably, the founder of the Poison Hall had a significant role to play in the matter!" Vice Pavilion Master Tian spoke righteously with the air of one who was worried for the future of the world.
Mankind had suffered great casualties in the fight against the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe, especially from the lethal poison they utilized. If not for the founder of the Poison Hall, there wouldn't have been a poison master occupation in the first place, and such a tragedy wouldn't have occurred.
It could be said that the founder was the very enemy of mankind herself!
"As a master teacher, you have a duty to mankind. And yet, you allowed your own subordinate to act willfully and escort the founder of the Poison Hall back to her place. You have truly let all of us down this time around. " Vice Pavilion Master Tian sighed deeply. "However, if you were to confess to this matter, I'll implore the Master Teacher Pavilion to show leniency to you."
"Vice Pavilion Master Tian, do you honestly believe the nonsense about the founder of the Poison Hall?" Zhang Xuan shook his head. "If I recall correctly, the founder is a figure from the same era as Kong shi. Not even Kong shi could survive the trial of time, so do you think that it makes sense for the founder of the Poison Hall to still be alive at this point in time?"
"Naturally, I am skeptical of the matter as well. However, Ming Zhen has no reason to lie either. From what I know, even a Celestial Master Teacher has recently appeared in the world, so I don't think that the revival of the founder of the Poison Hall is something too absurd to believe." Vice Pavilion Head Tian said.
"Celestial Master Teacher?" Zhang Xuan scoffed. "How can that be? If that is true, the matter would have long spread far and wide in the world. There's no way that I, as the principal of the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy, would be oblivious to it!"
"It's a deduction made based on the recent happenings in our Teacher Acknowledgement Hall. Currently, the news has been sealed for fear of the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe learning of the matter, so only a handful of people in our Qingyuan branch knows of this matter." Vice Pavilion Head Tian replied. "It might sound preposterous, but as a master teacher, we have a duty to the masses. It's better to be safe than sorry."
"So, Vice Pavilion Master Tian intends to…"
"Simple. For the grievous crimes that he has committed, Sun Qiang must be executed on the spot. On the other hand, Zhang shi, while you might not have played a direct role in the matter, your oversight in managing your subordinates have indirectly resulted in the happening of this tragedy. As such, you must be punished for your actions as well. You will be exiled to the Subterranean Gallery for three months in order to make up for your wrongdoings with merit." Vice Pavilion Master Tian said.
"You want to execute Sun Qiang on the spot and exile me to the Subterranean Gallery?" Zhang Xuan felt as if he had heard a hilarious joke.
He abruptly stood up and patted his bottom before turning his gaze towards Vice Pavilion Master Tian, "What if…"
"... I refuse?"