Chapter 1153: Meeting Elder Xu Once More
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97

While he was not the one who had orchestrated the incident, it was partly due to him that the Poison Hall had ended up in its current state. If they were handed over to the Master Teacher Pavilion, many self-righteous individuals would surely speak up against them, and it was hard to say what kind of fate would befall them in the future.

However, if they were to be taken to the Combat Master Hall instead, the situation would be entirely different.

Not only would the poison masters be able to resolve their current crisis, they would also be given a new identity that would allow them to walk in the open. Just based on these two benefits alone, the poison masters would not reject his proposal.

Additionally, if the Combat Master Hall could capitalize on the strength of the poison masters, their overall prowess would surely increase by leaps and bounds.

"That won't do!" Hall Master Xing's face twitched, and he hurriedly waved his hands to reject the suggestion.

"Why not?" Zhang Xuan asked with a frown.

"As you know, poison masters are used to living carefree lives. I fear that it would be difficult for our Combat Master Hall to control them. Furthermore, as you know, the cultivation techniques that they practice are unorthodox and depraved; master teachers look down upon this." Hall Master Xing shook his head. "No matter what, the Combat Master Hall is still a branch of the Master Teacher Pavilion."

In order to raise their cultivation, poison masters reared poisonous bugs, consumed lethal poison, and even used their life force to cultivate Gu. Most of their means had already breached the moral code of the master teachers.

Combat masters were a type of master teacher, so if they were to accept the poison masters, how would their peers view them in the future?

Combat masters did strive to obtain greater strength, but the means by which they did so were important as well. They had principles to follow, so they could not simply go around accepting everyone.

"That's simple. I'll teach them a new cultivation technique that is orthodox and upright. On top of that, I'll instruct them to heed Hall Master Xing's words, so you need not worry about being unable to control them," Zhang Xuan said.

It was indeed true that the horrific practices common in the cultivation of poison arts were unacceptable to the masses, but this was not a matter that was too difficult to resolve.

As long as he imparted his simplified Heaven's Path Poison Art to them, not only would they be able to advance their cultivation swiftly, there would also be no need for them to resort to unorthodox means anymore!

"This…" Hall Master Xing contemplated over the issue.

It might have felt as if the young man before him was making light of the matter, but having seen the other party's capability in person, he had absolute trust that the other party would be able to pull it off.

A person whose understanding of battle techniques was so deep that he could master a Saint low-tier battle technique to Consummation eleven breaths after first looking at the manual might really be able to alter poison cultivation techniques to make them orthodox.

If the person before him could resolve those two problems, accepting the poison masters into the Combat Master Hall was something that he could consider. After all, it was indeed the truth that the addition of poison masters to their ranks would bolster their forces considerably.

Putting everything aside, it was precisely due to the usage of poison that King Zhongqing had been able to rise to his current rank within a short twenty years.

At this point, Wu shi suddenly interjected. "While poison masters have a poor reputation, the fact that the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters have never ordered their elimination shows that there's a purpose to the existence of the poison master occupation and that they are willing to give the Poison Hall a chance. If Principal Zhang really has a way to convince the poison masters to work for the welfare of mankind, I'll report this matter to the headquarters and convince them of this matter. I believe that they would be glad to see this as well!"

Poison masters were the worst enemies to make, and at the same time, they were also the most reliable allies to have.

Their capability in group battles was nothing short of phenomenal. If they could assist in the fight against the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe, mankind would stand a far better chance.

While the Poison Hall headquarters were well-concealed, the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters was bound to know where it was. Yet, over numerous millenniums, they still had not taken action against them as they did for the soul oracles. This was more than sufficient to show that they were not unpardonable.

Furthermore, these poison masters that were currently locked in the King Zhongqing Manor's underground prison had grown up on the island just beside Jingyuan City, and they had rarely ventured out of the island. They might have been poison masters, but they had never harmed anyone.

Since they had never harmed anyone or committed any evil deeds, would it not be a little presumptuous of them to kill them just because of their occupation? If so, what would become of the values that master teachers preached?

"Alright!" Hearing Wu shi agree to the matter, Zhang Xuan heaved a sigh of relief.

While Hall Master Xing's cultivation was higher than Wu shi's, in terms of standing, the latter was still a notch higher. Since Wu shi had said such words, he must have had a feasible plan in mind to carry out the matter.

"Please wait here for a moment. I'll head to the underground prison to talk with the poison masters and see if I'm be able to convince them. If it does not work out, we'll just have to find some other way to deal with them," Zhang Xuan said.

"This… But Principal Zhang, what about your wounds?" Wu shi asked worriedly.

"Don't worry. With my constitution and your recovery pill, I'm fine now. It won't impede me from talking with them." Zhang Xuan waved his hand with a smile.

Recalling the various incredible means that the young man possessed, Wu shi knew that while the injuries the other party had sustained were considerable, they would not pose much of a problem for him. Thus, heaving a sigh of relief, he continued. "That's a relief. However, poison masters are known to be rather scheming, so allow me to follow you to the underground prison. This way, I'll be able to protect you if anything happens."

"It's fine. Given your current standing and identity, I fear that your presence will be pressurizing to them. It'll do for me to face them alone." Zhang Xuan turned down Wu shi's goodwill.

If he wanted to convince Xu You and the others to obediently join the Combat Master Hall and obey their words, he would surely have to reveal his identity as Sun Qiang to them. Naturally, this mustn't be done before Wu shi, or else the latter would learn about his identity as a poison master.

"This…" Wu shi hesitated for a brief moment before nodding. "Alright then, I won't enter the underground prison with you. However, we will be waiting outside, and once we notice that something is amiss, we'll immediately barge in and make a move!"

"I'll be relying on the both of you then," Zhang Xuan replied with a smile, knowing that the duo was worried about him.

Led by the master teacher from before, it did not take long for the crowd to arrive at the entrance of the underground prison.

Wu shi and Hall Master Xing stood guard outside while Zhang Xuan entered the underground prison alone.

The prison was dimly-lit and eerie. There were all sorts of powerful formations set up here and there to prevent the escape of the imprisoned cultivators.

Shortly after walking in, 'ge ge ge', Zhang Xuan's bones and muscles began rearranging themselves to assume the appearance of 'Sun Qiang'.

"Elder Xu…" Very soon, Zhang Xuan found Elder Xu, and just as the master teacher had said, it seemed like he had been subjected to harsh torture. He was clearly much skinnier than he had been two months prior, and his aura felt withered as well.

With just a look, it was apparent that his wounds were not light.

There were roughly a hundred other poison masters captured in the underground prison. As for the other members of the Poison Hall… it was hard to say whether they were alive or dead.

"Founder!" Upon seeing Zhang Xuan, Elder Xu and the others were stunned for a moment before agitation struck them.

The identity of the middle-aged man before them, Sun Qiang, had been verified by Poison Master Hai and Poison Master Bai of the headquarters. Thus, they had no doubts about his identity at all.

"I am not your founder, just a person who escorted her back then. It'll do for you to just address me as Sun Qiang," Zhang Xuan replied with a smile. "You have truly suffered a lot. Here are some pills to heal your injuries. Quickly swallow them to regain some strength."

He flicked his wrist and took out a couple of jade bottles before passing them around the poison masters.

He had plenty of pills from acquiring the storage rings of the Ten Kings of the Qingtian Lineage. As long as he infused some Heaven's Path zhenqi into each of the pills, it would grant them miraculous effects in recovering wounds and fatigue.

"Yes!" Without any hesitation, Elder Xu and the others took the pills and swallowed them.

As soon as the pill dissolved in their mouth, the Heaven's Path zhenqi contained within them swiftly flowed through their bloodstream to the rest of their body, and their wounds began healing at a discernable rate.

"This…" Noticing the changes in their bodies, Xu You and the others were startled. They could hardly believe what was going on.

The effectiveness of these pills was far, far more potent than the recovery pills that they concocted. As expected of the individual who had escorted the founder! Without a doubt, the other party must have inherited the founder's heritage!

After the poison masters had somewhat recuperated from their wounds, Zhang Xuan asked grimly, "What happened to the Jingyuan City Poison Hall?"

"The Poison Hall…" At this point, Xu You's eyes reddened in deep indignation. His voice grew slightly hoarse, as if there was something stuck within it. "… has been destroyed. We are the only ones who remain. Everyone else has been… killed."

As the ex-vice head of the Poison Hall, Ming Zhen knew all the secrets of the Poison Hall, and this included the flaws in their formations and defensive systems as well. Under his lead, King Zhongqing's forces had been able to sneak into the Poison Hall successfully without alarming anyone, taking the Poison Hall off guard. As a result, the Poison Hall was completely wiped out in the tragedy.

"Killed? You are saying that King Zhongqing killed everyone in the Poison Hall?" Zhang Xuan's face turned completely dark.

He had thought that it would at least have been a roughly equal fight, with both sides suffering some casualties. Yet, from the looks of it, the situation seemed far worse than he had imagined.

"That's right… They attacked in the middle of the night. Caught off guard, we were swiftly encircled and subdued. That night, a river of blood flowed through the Poison Hall. Just like that, the ten thousand years of heritage of the Poison Hall was destroyed…" Elder Xu clenched his fists tightly, and his voice gradually grew more and more agitated. Eventually, it came to a point where he found himself unable to continue speaking anymore.

"This…" Zhang Xuan was at a loss for words. He had no idea how he should comfort Elder Xu's pain.

He had been to the Poison Hall as well, and on top of poison masters, there were many ordinary civilians. These civilians did not possess the talent for cultivating poison arts, so they spent their lives idly on the island. Who knew that they were not spared either!

The fear of poison masters wasn not completely unfounded, but these poison masters had spent the entirety of their lives on a remote island, isolated from the rest of their world. They had never ventured beyond their island to harm anyone, but King Zhongqing had callously stepped in and ruined the relatively peaceful world that they had constructed for themselves!

Initially, Zhang Xuan had wondered if he had gone too far by scheming against King Zhongqing in such a manner, but from the looks of it now, he regretted not doing worse!

A person like him deserved to die a thousand times over!

After taking a deep breath, Elder Xu continued. "After King Zhongqing massacred the entire Poison Hall, he rounded up all the poison masters ranked 5-star and above, sealed our cultivation, and imprisoned us here. Every single day, he would use cruel torture techniques on us to have us mass concoct poison for him!"

When he spoke of King Zhongqing, flames of fury burned in his eyes. If he could, there was no doubt that he would have ripped the other party in two without any hesitation.

"Mass concoct poison?" Zhang Xuan knitted his eyebrows. "What kind of poison is he concocting?"

In the Qingyuan Empire, King Zhongqing was definitely a figure worthy of the phrase ' beneath a single man, above the masses 1 '. Putting aside the incredible cultivation he possessed, he also wielded unbounded authority as well. If a person who wielded that much power wanted to deal with his political rivals, there was no need for him to go through the trouble of mass concocting poison at all.

Or to put it in simpler terms, King Zhongqing was up to something huge.

"It's the Scattering Breeze Powder!" Elder Xu replied.

"Grade-5 poison, Scattering Breeze Powder?" Zhang Xuan frowned. "Colorless and odorless, it is a poison that saps one of one's strength upon inhalation, rendering one powerless for a short period of time. However, its ability to drift freely along with the breeze allows it to incapacitate a huge number of people simultaneously, though it is only effective on those beneath Saint realm. How much of it did King Zhongqing demand?"

All in all, the Scattering Breeze Powder could not be considered a lethal poison, but its ability to spread far and wide made it extremely difficult to guard against.

"Ten tons," Elder Xu replied grimly.

"Ten tons?" Zhang Xuan's eyebrows shot up.

Just an ordinary jade bottle of Scattering Breeze Powder released into the air could knock out several hundred individuals. To produce ten tons of it… Was he planning to knock out an entire city?

What the heck did he need so much of it for?

Noticing Zhang Xuan's worry, Xu You swiftly explained, "He's the sworn enemy of our Poison Hall, so how could we possibly serve him? Thus, we refused to obey his orders."

At the same time, realization suddenly struck him, and he looked at Zhang Xuan with a peculiar gaze. "Fou… Elder Sun Qiang, how did you know that we are here? You weren't noticed by the guards when you came here, right?"

Even though Zhang Xuan's sudden arrival in the underground prison was perplexing to him, Elder Xu's trust in the other party remained unwavering, simply on the grounds that he was the man chosen by the founder.

As a poison master who had grown up in the Poison Hall, it was inevitable that he would have blind faith in the founder.

Nevertheless, he was still worried about the other party. Their deaths were nothing much, but if they were to implicate Elder Sun Qiang in this matter, they would have truly let the founder down!

"Don't worry, I have already subdued King Zhongqing, and he has been taken away by the Master Teacher Pavilion for interrogation. The reason I am here is to save you all!" Zhang Xuan replied.

"You have subdued King Zhongqing?"

"You are here to save us?"

The crowd stared at one another with shock gazes, not daring to believe what they had just heard.

They had thought that they were doomed to spend the rest of their lives rotting within this underground prison. Yet, never in their dreams had they thought that the elder who had delivered the founder back to them would come to save them, even exacting vengeance in their stead.

"Un. However, your current identities are a little awkward. It would be difficult for me to free you all given the present circumstances. Thus, I hope to give you all a new identity, but I'll need your consent for this matter," Zhang Xuan said.

"A new identity?" Elder Xu was perplexed by those words. "What would that identity be?"

The other poison masters also turned their sights over.

"Combat masters!" Zhang Xuan replied concisely.



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