Library of Heaven is Path
1190 The Demands of the Copper-Masked Figure
Chapter 1190: The Demands of the Copper-Masked Figure
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
After recovering from his shock, the copper-masked figure quickly shook his head and said, "No, that doesn't make sense! If the Zhang Clan intended to make a move on me, there would be no need for them to do it so discreetly. They would have just crushed me openly!"
The Zhang Clan was known to be the Number One Clan of the Master Teacher Continent, possessing many experts. If they had known about the secret behind the painting, they would have just found him and killed him directly. There was no need for them to go about it in such a roundabout manner.
It was true that the Master Teacher Pavilion did ensure some degree of order and equality in the world, but rules were meaningless before absolute strength.
And the Zhang Clan wielded such absolute strength to overlook the rules.
"I don't know how else I can prove it to you, but what I saw in the painting back then was indeed the bathing beauties!" Seeing that the other party did not trust him, Zhang Xuan anxiously urged, "If you don't believe me, feel free to ask around. I am known in town for my honesty and humility…"
"Enough!" Knowing that it would only be a waste of mind to argue who the culprit was, the copper-masked figure harrumphed coldly. "There is no point arguing over this now. The reason I have brought you here today is to have you restore the painting. If you get it done, I can consider letting you off!"
Even though someone had added new content on top of the painting, it should still be possible to restore what was beneath at the hands of a sufficiently skilled painter.
This was especially so given that the bathing beautiful ladies had been added recently, and there was a clear contrast between it and the rest of the painting.
Given that the young man before him had been able to decipher the seal on the painting easily, achieving what neither him nor Guild Leader Meng were able to accomplish, there was no doubt that his mastery in painting had already reached the pinnacle of Qingyuan Empire, perhaps even comparable to the Sorrowless Old Man's. If the young man were to work on the painting, there was a good chance that they would be able to restore the original painting.
However, Zhang Xuan shook his head and sighed. "It's not that I don't want to help you, but even I am unable to do it…"
"You can't do it?" The copper-masked figure suddenly sneered coldly as killing intent lit up within his eyes. "It seems that you still haven't understood the situation you are in. You are currently just a mere soul. If your pitiful brain is unable to process what that means, let me phrase it out clearly for you. You. Are. Already. A. Dead. Man!"
"Dead?" Horror surfaced in Zhang Xuan's eyes. As if he was unable to believe what he had just heard, he exclaimed with widened eyes, "I am dead?"
He quickly lowered his head, only to see his translucent body. In that instant, his vision darkened, and he fainted from shock.
"…" Seeing the other party's actions, the copper-masked figure clawed at his hair in frenzy.
Given that he had used a secret art to nab away the other party's soul, anyone who did not have a screw loose should have noticed what was going on!
To put on such an elaborate act and even faint on the spot… Brother, do you think that I don't know that souls can't faint?
Under normal circumstances, given that the young man's soul had been bound in place and his physical body was already dead, shouldn't the young have been eager to heed his commands?
To put on such an act… What the heck was going on?
Suppressing his urge to rush forward and tear the young man before him apart, the copper-masked figure clenched his jaws and spat coldly, "Stop your act. Without my permission, you won't even be able to commit suicide, let alone faint!"
"Ah? I can't faint here?" Zhang Xuan sat back up regretfully before shaking his hand leisurely. "Forget it, I won't faint for the time being then. However, I was really not lying to you when I said that I am unable to restore the painting to its original state."
Hidden within the painting was Kong shi's silhouette. Considering the implications of the matter, there was no way he would restore the painting to its original state.
On the other hand, seeing the other party shrug away his fainting act without the slightest bit of embarrassment, the copper-masked figure felt so furious that he could have exploded from rage at any moment. It took him a few large breaths before he managed to suppress his rage. Narrowing his eyes, he spoke in a callous tone. "Don't think that I have no way of dealing with you just because you are a soul. Since I was able to drag you here, naturally, I know of ways to put you through suffering that would make you wish that you were dead!"
"Since I am already dead, why don't you just have me killed once and for all?" Zhang Xuan replied leisurely, paying no heed to the copper-masked figure's threats at all.
"You…" The copper-masked figure's breathing hastened from anger, and his chest fluctuated intensely. "Since you don't know what is good for you, I'll just have to use Soul Search on you then. For your arrogance, I shall make sure that your soul dissipates for good!"
Right after saying those words, he grabbed forward, and a powerful might suddenly burst forward.
Seeing the movements of the copper-masked figure, a glint flashed across Zhang Xuan's eyes. "That's… a soul oracle technique!"
The main reason he had allowed himself to be captured by the copper-masked figure was to see who the other party was and what the other party was up to. He did not think that the other party would actually be able to utilize the means of a soul oracle…
As shocked as Zhang Xuan was, he did not resist the copper-masked figure's offense. Instead, he allowed the latter to enter his mind easily.
This was because he could tell with a glance that it was not Soul Search but Soul Read.
Soul Search was an extremely violent technique. It allowed one to learn what was in the mind of another, but in the process of doing so, it would destroy the other's soul as well, resulting in death. On the other hand, Soul Read was much less powerful than Soul Search, but it would not harm the soul.
It seemed like the copper-masked figure still hoped that Zhang Xuan would be able to restore the painting for him, so he dared not kill him straight.
"Let me see what you know!" Harrumphing coldly, the copper-masked figure delved his consciousness into Zhang Xuan's mind, and very soon, he found what he wanted to know.
A frown emerged on the forehead of the copper-masked figure as he muttered in disbelief. "You really don't know the secret behind the seal…"
Through his Soul Read, he could tell that the other party really knew nothing about the content beneath the seal. In other words, he was not the perpetrator who painted on the bathing beautiful ladies on the painting.
Furthermore, in his search, he had found that despite the other party's brazen personality, he was really an upright and talented master teacher.
"It looks like I have really gotten it wrong this time around…" After seeing all that, the copper-masked figure retracted his consciousness from Zhang Xuan's mind.
He had been extremely certain that it was the young man who had altered the painting before, but the evidence before him had smashed the theory to pieces. However… since he had already captured the young man, he should at least get the young man to restore the painting for him. Otherwise, his effort over the years would have really been in vain.
He really is a soul oracle, and from the looks of it, it seems like he has a close relationship with Tian Qing and the others.
While the copper-masked figure was reading Zhang Xuan's mind, Zhang Xuan was also secretly reading the other party.
His understanding of soul arts was much higher than the copper-masked figure's, so it was not too difficult for him to bypass the other party's mental defense.
Nevertheless, for fear of alarming the other party, he only probed at the surface of the other party's mind, so he only received some basic information.
Based on the results he had received, the copper-masked figure had a very close relationship with King Zhongqing and Tian Qing. That was how he had managed to convince Tian Qing to snoop into Chen Zhe's residence despite knowing the dangers to lure their group here while he hid at the altar, preparing to nab Zhang Xuan's soul when the opportunity was ripe.
"I was initially intending to conduct a Soul Search, but out of mercy, I'll give you one last chance. Right now, you have two options before you." Knowing that the young man before him really knew nothing at all, the copper-masked figure harrumphed in disdain. "The first option, restore the painting for me, and not only will I spare your soul, I'll also bring you back to life, granting you greater power than you possess at the moment!
"The second option, succumb to my Soul Search and vanish from the face of this world! Your mastery in painting is indeed praiseworthy, but there are plenty of painters in the world who are more skilled than you. Even without you, it's only a matter of time before I manage to restore the contents of the painting!"
"You'll bring me back to life?" Zhang Xuan asked in bewilderment.
"That's right!" The copper-masked figure waved his hand, and a body appeared before his eyes. "This is known as a Soulless Metal Humanoid. As long as you accomplish what I ask of you, I'll allow your soul to reside in it, and through it, you will be able to continue living and existing as an ordinary human!"
"Soulless Metal Humanoid…"
Zhang Xuan was surprised. He could tell that the other party's Soulless Metal Humanoid was of a far higher grade than what he had seen before, most probably crafted with the body of a Primordial Spirit realm pinnacle expert. Not only so, the craftsmanship was also particularly exquisite, making it reminiscent of a real human.
If a soul were to be deposited into it, the average 7-star master teacher would not even notice that it was an artificial body.
Seeing Zhang Xuan's astonished expression, the copper-masked figure smirked gleefully. "Even if you don't have much of an understanding of the soul oracle occupation, as a master teacher, you should have at least heard of the Soulless Metal Humanoids, right? With it, not only will your current fighting prowess be enhanced, more importantly, I will also grant you a different identity and place you in a position of great power!"
"Place me in a position of great power? Could it be that… both Tian Qing and King Zhongqing are Soulless Metal Humanoids?" Zhang Xuan's eyes narrowed in shock.
To be able to become the vice head of the Master Teacher Pavilion, there was no doubt that 'Master Teacher Tian Qing' really did exist. There was no way the Master Teacher Pavilion would make the huge error of allowing a Soulless Metal Humanoid to become a vice pavilion master. However, it was possible that the real Tian Qing had been killed at some point in time, and his body had been forged into a Soulless Metal Humanoid.
Through using a soul to drive Tian Qing's Soulless Metal Humanoid, the enemy would be able to impersonate him, assuming the powerful role as the vice head of the Master Teacher Pavilion. Furthermore, there would be no one who would check on his identity as he was already verified to be a human.
That might have been the case for King Zhongqing as well.
If that was truly the case, this would really be frightening.
Just thinking about how the fake Tian Qing had been able to fool the eyes of the others for so many years, only exposing himself in order to kill Zhang Xuan… How many more undercover spies did the enemy have?
It was no wonder the Master Teacher Pavilion had destroyed the soul oracles without any hesitation! If the soul oracles had truly attempted to plot their vengeance, just this ability of theirs would throw the Master Teacher Pavilion into huge chaos!
Just imagine being put in a state where one could not recognize who was a friend and who was an enemy, being forced to doubt everyone.
"King Zhongqing isn't a Soulless Metal Humanoid. It isn't as easy to forge one as you think!" The copper-masked figure refuted Zhang Xuan's words.
The copper-masked figure harrumphed disdainfully. "He's just a loyal dog!"
"Then… what about Tian Qing?" Zhang Xuan asked on.
"Tian Qing?" At this point, the copper-masked figure sneered coldly before turning toward Zhang Xuan. "Do you wish to see my face?"
Zhang Xuan's heart skipped a beat upon hearing those words. Keeping his calm, he said, "I do. Given the current situation, it's really hard for me to trust you. As you have said, I'm already dead. I have nothing else to lose, and there's no need for me to go all out to help the person who killed me!"
He had been curious about the true identity of the copper-masked figure for a very long time, but the latter had never used a battle technique before him. The previous Soul Search had not registered as a battle technique to the Library of Heaven's Path, so he was not able to compile a book on the other party through that.
As such, he still had no idea whom the copper-masked figure truly was.
It would be best if he could convince the copper-masked figure to take off his mask.
"Humph! Tough words for a person in my grasp. You might be dead already, but your soul is still in my grasp. As long as I wish to, I can put you through suffering beyond your imagination!" the copper-masked figure sneered as he slowly took the mask off his face.
At this point, the young man before him was already no threat. Firmly bound to the altar, he could claim the young man's life any time he wanted to, so he did not fear the latter's retaliation.
Thus, it was not a big deal for him to show the other party his appearance.
Zhang Xuan stared intently at the face of the copper-masked figure as the mask was slowly pried open. A look of disbelief gradually crept onto his face.
"How could it be you?"