Library of Heaven is Path
1203 Crisis at the Master Teacher Pavilion
In the Qingyuan Empire Master Teacher Pavilion, straw mats lay side by side on the ground, and eight corpses were neatly placed on top.
The corpses were each dressed in a master teacher robe, and the seven gleaming stars on their chests indicated their identities.
Zhang Xuan was extremely familiar with the elder in the center. It was due to the injustice that the elder had brought upon him that he had gone to the extent of crashing the Master Teacher Pavilion, even directly exchanging blows with him in the midst of doing so. He had thought that the elder would be severely judged by the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters, but who would have thought that he would die before then?
Zhang Xuan turned to Wu shi and asked grimly, "What happened?"
"It happened earlier in the day… Based on the list of names you gave me, I quickly moved to apprehend those related master teachers and apprehend them. However… just as I was interrogating the eighth suspect, my subordinate suddenly reported to me that eight master teachers of the Qingyuan Empire Master Teacher Pavilion had passed away!" Wu shi replied lividly.
He had interrogated the apprehended suspects discreetly so as to not alarm the enemy, but it seemed like the enemy had somehow learned of the matter and decided to kill eight 7-star master teachers to warn them against probing any further into the matter.
And the victims included even the old Pavilion Master Gou!
Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan's face darkened.
It was a blatant threat targeted toward them.
"Furthermore," Wu shi continued, "they all died in the same manner as Chen Zhe and the others. When we found them, their souls had already dissipated, leaving behind an empty body."
Zhang Xuan fell silent.
He had also noticed the same as soon as he stepped into the room. Despite their bodies being perfectly intact, the eight master teachers did not have a hint of life within them. Only the soul nabbing secret art could result in such a deeply unnerving death.
It's Vicious! Zhang Xuan clenched his fists tightly together.
Only Vicious had the strength to nab even Pavilion Master Gou's soul.
Just that… from what he knew, Vicious should have been in the Marshlands of the Northern Meadows. Furthermore, from what he had learned in the Qingtian Emperor's memories, it appeared that Vicious had been sealed by something, preventing him from leaving the region. Considering the long distance between Qingyuan City and the Marshlands of the Northern Meadows, how could he possibly carry out such a feat?
Zhang Xuan turned around and asked, "Where were they found?"
"They were found in their accommodation. Their family members thought that they were resting, so they did not disturb them initially. However, when they attempted to call for them but received no response, they approached them, only to realize that they had stopped breathing," Wu shi replied before turning to look at Zhang Xuan. "Does this matter have something to do with the Qingtian Emperor? But… isn't the Qingtian Emperor already dead?"
As a soul oracle, the Qingtian Emperor was skilled in soul arts, and he had killed Chen Zhe and the others using one of his secret arts. Zhang Xuan had already informed him of this matter, thus unraveling the cause of the mysterious deaths that had occurred in the Master Teacher Pavilion a while back.
But since it was affirmed that the Qingtian Emperor was already dead, who else could possibly wield the ability to pull off the same feat?
The deaths of these eight 7-star master teachers were simply so abrupt and mysterious that it had shocked everyone in the Master Teacher Pavilion, sending them into a fluster.
It was the norm for humans to fear those that they were unable to comprehend, and even master teachers were no exception to the rule.
Pavilion Master Gou had been viewed as the strongest individual in Qingyuan City, but if even he could be killed silently without putting up a fight, it did not seem like anyone would stand a chance against the murderer. The realization of this notion left the necks of the master teachers feeling cold.
"The Qingtian Emperor is dead, but the person behind him is still alive and kicking," Zhang Xuan replied with a vexed look.
"The person behind him?" Wu shi was perplexed by those words.
As the matter concerning Vicious' existence was simply too huge, Zhang Xuan had decided not to tell anyone about it. As such, not even Wu shi was aware of the matter.
"Yes. Even if the Qingtian Emperor was the Emperor of the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe, it is worth contemplating how he managed to learn the heritage of the soul oracle oracles when they had already disappeared many years ago. As such, I believe that there's a mastermind behind this matter who imparted the heritage of the soul oracles to the Qingtian Emperor. If my deduction is correct, he's probably the one who had caused this as well," Zhang Xuan replied.
"A mastermind who imparted the heritage of the soul oracles to the Qingtian Emperor?" Wu shi narrowed his eyes in alarm as he said, "How powerful do you think the mastermind is? If he's beyond the means of a Conferred Empire, I'll immediately report this matter to the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters and have them dispatch some men to assist us!"
The Master Teacher Pavilion had its own system. Typically speaking, while subordinate Master Teacher Pavilions would report major affairs to the Master Teacher Pavilion above them, they were still expected to resolve matters in the region by themselves.
Firstly, the headquarters also had their own region to care for, and they did not have the spare energy and time to be cleaning up after the subordinate Master Teacher Pavilions. Secondly, it would also serve as a platform to temper the master teachers in the branch.
If the headquarters had to attend to every single problem that the subordinate Master Teacher Pavilions were facing, it probably would not have been long before the advanced master teachers worked themselves to death.
However, if the problem exceeded the scope of the subordinate Master Teacher Pavilion, that was a different matter. If such a problem was left uncared for, it could possibly lead to a great massacre. In such cases, the subordinate Master Teacher Pavilion would be justified in calling for the aid of a higher ranked master teacher from the headquarters.
"How long will it take for the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters to dispatch an envoy?" Zhang Xuan asked with a frown.
Wu shi swiftly did a rough calculation before replying. "If I recall correctly, the Master Teacher Pavilion closest to us that has at least one half 8-star master teacher is the Qianchong Conferred Empire Master Teacher Pavilion. If the headquarters dispatched a half 8-star master teacher from them, judging from the distance, it would take at least ten days. However, if we require an 8-star master teacher, we would have to call for an envoy directly from the Empire Alliance Master Teacher Pavilion, and if that's the case, it will take twenty days at the minimum!"
"Ten days, twenty days? We don't have that much time to spare." Zhang Xuan pinched his glabella grimly. "By the time the envoy arrives, our Qingyuan Empire Master Teacher Pavilion could have very well been massacred!"
"What do we do then?" Wu shi asked anxiously.
Indeed, they could not afford to wait ten to twenty days. The enemy possessed an ability to kill their men silently, and in a single night, he had already managed to take out eight 7-star master teachers. If the enemy continued their massacre at the current rate, it would not be long before all of the 7-star master teachers of the Qingyuan Empire Master Teacher Pavilion were killed!
"I'm not too sure how powerful the mastermind behind the Qingtian Emperor is, but I believe that his strength shouldn't exceed the Leaving Aperture realm. Otherwise, the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters would have definitely kept a lookout for their movements," Zhang Xuan analyzed.
While the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters left the regional Master Teacher Pavilion to their own devices, they would still conduct a thorough scan throughout the world using a special technique from time to time. If they found any existences that exceeded the tier of the regional Master Teacher Pavilion, they would eliminate it immediately if they viewed it to be a threat, or else, they would maintain a close watch over its movements.
The highest fighting power in Conferred Empires was the Leaving Aperture realm. Considering how Vicious' eye was able to remain in the Marshlands of the Northern Meadows without alerting the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters, it was likely that he had not exceeded that level.
"But even if he has not exceeded Leaving Aperture realm, there is a huge difference in the prowess of a Leaving Aperture realm cultivator for each increment in the cultivation stage. As long as the mastermind wields strength exceeding Leaving Aperture realm primary stage, we will have no way of dealing with him!" Wu shi frowned.
In Leaving Aperture realm, a cultivator would be able to draw their Primordial Spirit out of their body and directly manipulate the energy in their surroundings to aid them in battle. Every increment in the cultivation stage would call forth a lightning ordeal, and as long as the cultivator survived it, it would temper their Primordial Spirit and significantly enhance their control over their surroundings. Due to that, there was a vast difference in the fighting prowess of Leaving Aperture realm cultivators of differing cultivation stages.
For example, even though it might appear that there was only a small cultivation stage difference between Leaving Aperture realm primary stage and Leaving Aperture realm intermediate, a dozen Leaving Aperture realm primary stage cultivators might not have even been a match for a single Leaving Aperture realm intermediate stage cultivator!
As such, even if the mastermind was still within the Leaving Aperture realm, if their cultivation had already reached Leaving Aperture realm pinnacle, there was no person or any power in Qingyuan Empire that would be able to stand against the mastermind.
"I understand that as well, but I don't have a clear gauge on the mastermind's exact power at the moment. Alright, let's put this matter aside for now. There are more important matters for us to attend to." Zhang Xuan turned his gaze toward the corpses on the ground and said, "Aren't you curious about how the mastermind managed to kill these eight 7-star master teachers discreetly?"
"That night, when I was assaulted by the Qingtian Emperor, I happened to learn of the secret behind their soul nabbing secret art. They utilize a medium to infiltrate the consciousness of a cultivator and take their soul away. This medium could be anything, such as an altar or even a soul fragment. So, one aspect that we should explore is what medium the mastermind used to kill these eight men. Did you find anything during your investigation of the case?" Zhang Xuan asked.
In close proximity, Vicious could nab the soul of anyone easily. However, over tens of thousands of li, he would have to rely on a medium to channel his soul energy.
Like the altar that he had found beneath Chen Zhe's residence a while back!
However, the altar should have been taken away by Wu shi and sealed. So… how did Vicious manage to kill these eight master teachers?
Wu shi was taken aback for a moment before replying. "This… I haven't been paying much notice to this matter…"
"Try to look into it. It could very well lead us to some clues," Zhang Xuan instructed before falling silent. Activating his Eye of Insight, he began examining the corpses before him carefully.
Pavilion Master Gou had a horrified expression on his face, as if he had encountered something he dared not believe before his death.
After a moment of examination, Zhang Xuan shook his head and sighed.
The physical state of Pavilion Master Gou was identical to that of Chen Zhe back then. Even through his Eye of Insight, he did not notice anything peculiar.
At this moment, Zhang Xuan suddenly recalled a crucial figure in this matter, and he hurriedly asked, "Wait, where is King Zhongqing? Where is he imprisoned?"
"I dispatched my men to have him arrested once more, and he was locked in the prison of the Master Teacher Pavilion. Last night, Emperor Chu Tianxing came to pay me a visit, presumably over the matter concerning King Zhongqing, but I turned him down," Wu shi replied.
"Emperor Chu Tianxing came to pay you a visit?" Zhang Xuan frowned.
King Zhongqing was only a mere subordinate of the Qingyuan royal family. It was not as if he was Emperor Chu Tianxing's son or anything, so why was Emperor Chu Tianxing so desperate to protect him, coming over whenever something happened, willing to pay a hefty price for his release even?
"That's right. However, I did not allow the two of them to meet. Furthermore, we have a legitimate reason to have King Zhongqing imprisoned this time around, so I don't think that Emperor Chu Tianxing will be able to do anything about the matter for the time being," Wu shi replied.
"I see… However, there's really something amiss about Emperor Chu Tianxing. I think we have to look into him," Zhang Xuan said grimly.
Based on the Qingtian Emperor's memory, Zhang Xuan was able to confirm that King Zhongqing had indeed defected to the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe. Considering how close Emperor Chu Tianxing was to King Zhongqing, it was a little hard to believe that there would be nothing wrong with him as well.
"Should I have him captured and interrogated?" Wu shi also had the same suspicions, but due to Emperor Chu Tianxing's position, he had been a little hesitant to make a move.
"We shouldn't rush into this matter. It would surely cause a huge uproar if we made a move against Emperor Chu Tianxing, so we have to amply prepare. What's more urgent right now is finding the medium that the mastermind is using to conduct the killings. After that, we should focus our efforts on getting rid of the mastermind."
Zhang Xuan contemplated in silence for a moment before sharing his analysis. "Only when the mastermind is dead will everyone be safe."
"That's true." Wu shi nodded.
Zhang Xuan was right. In a sense, an emperor could be said to be the very heart of an empire. Thus, if anything happened to the emperor, it could easily induce pandemonium among the populace of the empire.
And the pandemonium was only one small aspect of the matter. If the Master Teacher Pavilion failed to deal with the problem properly, they could risk losing their credibility!
Considering how the Master Teacher Pavilion was in charge of maintaining order within the region, if they wished to deal with the royal family, they would need to have concrete, irrefutable evidence. Otherwise, what would the other empires make of the matter?
Wouldn't they feel that their sovereignty was threatened by the presence of the Master Teacher Pavilion as well?
As such, no matter how confident they were of their speculations, it was far from enough.
Wu shi nodded. "I'll have my men look into the matter this instant."
"Aside from that, I might also need you to organize a group of men for an expedition to the Marshlands of the Northern Meadows."
"An expedition to the Marshlands of the Northern Meadows?" Wu shi frowned.
"That's right. I suspect that the mastermind is hiding there," Zhang Xuan explained.
"I see. Alright, I'll pick out the elites of the Master Teacher Pavilion and liaise with the Combat Master Hall to dispatch some of their experts as well!" Wu shi said.
"Alright then, I'll be taking my leave first to make some preparations myself," Zhang Xuan replied. "Farewell."
There were two things he had to do before heading to the Marshlands of the Northern Meadows. Firstly, he needed to try to raise the strength of the Golden Origin Cauldron another level, preferably to the Leaving Aperture realm. Secondly, he would have to urge Vicious to quickly devour the Qingtian Emperor's soul and clear his Leaving Aperture realm ordeal!
Only with these would he have sufficient cards to deal with the other Vicious. Otherwise, considering his current cultivation, he would not stand a chance if he headed over there recklessly. If things went wrong, he might even end up as the other party's nourishment.