The Golden Origin Cauldron, which had been smashed into the ground previously by the Qingtian Emperor, finally came to and struggled to its feet. Upon seeing the sight above, it could not help but shudder in fear.

"Master… sure is vicious!"

It had thought that after fusing with the Black Goldcrystal Ore and undergoing three lightning ordeals to reach Leaving Aperture realm advanced stage, it could finally be considered an expert among experts. Yet, who would have thought that it was still a level beneath its master?

For someone as keen, resourceful, and powerful as the Qingtian Emperor to be reduced to such a state, it really felt like a dream.

The Golden Origin Cauldron made a mental note that no matter what it did in the future, it should never cross its master regardless of the situation.

The cauldron did not even dare imagine what kind of plight it would be put into if it did so.

"Enough!" After a series of pummeling, Zhang Xuan finally waved his hand.

Upon hearing those words, his clone had a look of disappointment on his face.

Spending day after day trapped within the Myriad Anthive Nest, it was not easy for it to have an opportunity to come out and pummel someone. It had not even had its fair share of fun yet when everything suddenly came to a halt.

At this moment, the Qingtian Emperor's Primordial Spirit was already as weak as it could get, and it seemed as if it would dissipate at any moment.

It had sustained significant damage from the Art of Cloning, and the relentless pummeling from the two Zhang Xuans had really done nothing to help. Not only had his Primordial Spirit grown incredibly weak, his mind was also on the verge of snapping as well.

"I will… kill… you."

Despite his frailty, the eyes of the Qingtian Emperor were still burning with hatred.

"Yes, yes, I know, I know. There's no need to get anxious now. I'll just do a quick Soul Search on you, so bear with it. It'll be over before you know it!" Zhang Xuan consoled as he tapped his finger on the glabella of the Qingtian Emperor's Primordial Spirit.

"No!" Seeing that Zhang Xuan was going to use Soul Search against him, the eyes of the Qingtian Emperor widened in fright. He immediately struggled, wanting to escape, but the suction power of the altar was simply too strong. His Primordial Spirit just would not move an inch no matter what he did.

The struggling of the Qingtian Emperor was interfering with his Soul Search, so Zhang Xuan turned to his clone and instructed, "Clone, come over and help me hold him in place. I'll conduct a Soul Search on him to get the intelligence we need first."

"Sure thing!" Excited, Zhang Xuan's clone immediately hopped over to the Qingtian Emperor and sent a forceful kick to the latter's head.


In an instant, the Emperor of the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe was reduced to a '大' shape on the altar. With an indignant look in his eyes, he continued struggling with all his might, but things simply would not go as he wished.

"Still being disobedient here, eh?" Shaking his head, Zhang Xuan's clone raised his hand and yelled, "Sword!"

Hu la!

The Glacier Rain Sword immediately flew into his grasp. "If you dare move once more, I'll pierce my sword right through your throat!"

The Qingtian Emperor immediately froze on the spot, not daring to move at all.

"That's more like it. Good boy!" Nodding in satisfaction, Zhang Xuan's clone turned to Zhang Xuan and said, "Alright, it's done. You can conduct a Soul Search on him now!"

"Un." Zhang Xuan placed his finger onto the Qingtian Emperor's glabella before sending a sliver of his consciousness in.

Just as he was about to examine the latter's memories carefully to see where Vicious was, the entire hall suddenly began shaking. Following which, an eerie voice boomed.

"Who would have thought that a Celestial Master Teacher would actually be skilled in the arts of the soul oracles too? If I spread this news, do you think that the humans will continue accepting you as one of their own, or will they send their strongest experts to assassinate you?"

Following that, a cold laughter echoed in the air. The voice seemed to sound right within Zhang Xuan's ears, making it impossible for him to discern the source of it.

"You are finally showing yourself, huh?"

Halting his Soul Search, Zhang Xuan swiftly shoved the altar and Qingtian Emperor's Primordial Spirit into his storage ring before standing back up.

He had known that Vicious was definitely in the area, and the Soul Search was actually just a ploy to lure the latter out.

"Despite being only at Saint 3-dan pinnacle, you were able to defeat the Saint 5-dan advanced stage Qingtian Emperor. I must say, as expected of a Celestial Master Teacher. Just like Kong shi back then, you do have a unique insight into cultivation and combat that far surpasses other geniuses," Vicious remarked meaningfully. "However… you are still too young. In your current state, it's simply too easy for me to kill you!"

Right after saying those words, Zhang Xuan suddenly felt the world spin around him. A powerful might tugged at his soul forcefully, nearly dragging it out of his body.

"This…" Zhang Xuan's face darkened.

It was the same feeling that he had felt from the massive eye he had encountered back when he was in Chen Zhe's residence. It felt as if he had lost control of his soul, and the slightest mistake in his control would result in his soul being devoured whole.

Driving his Heaven's Path zhenqi furiously, Zhang Xuan struggled desperately against the powerful suction force. However, the other party was simply too powerful. In the blink of an eye, it felt as if a black hole had materialized right before him, as if it would not rest until it devoured him whole.

Hu la!

Eventually, Zhang Xuan's soul was dragged out of his body and pulled over to the altar.

"T-this… What a huge soul you have!" Vicious was visibly stunned by what he saw.

Skilled in the arts of the soul oracles, the strength of his soul was extraordinary as well. Yet, who would have thought that the young man before him would have one that was even bigger than his! This had already surpassed a level that he could comprehend!

However, the shock only lasted for a moment. Swiftly regaining his composure, a pair of eyes suddenly appeared from the other end of the black hole, staring at Zhang Xuan silently.

"You should know that I have the ability to kill you easily."

"I don't deny that," Zhang Xuan replied calmly.

"Good. I like dealing with candid people," Vicious replied. "Since that's the case, you should also know that the reason I have spared you for so long is because you still have some value to me!"

"You want me to free you?" Zhang Xuan asked.

"It's indeed easier to speak with the intelligent! As long as you free me, I'll can spare you this once!" Vicious said.

"You will spare me? Do you mean that you will allow me to exist as a Soulless Metal Humanoid or your puppet as soon as you are freed from your restraints?" Zhang Xuan scoffed.

"You don't have any other options," Vicious replied frankly, not denying the matter.

"Since I'll face death regardless of whether I help you or not, tell me, why should I free you?" Zhang Xuan shook his head.

Vicious harrumphed coldly. "You don't have any choice in this matter. If you want to see all of the master teachers and combat masters who have accompanied you here dying before your eyes… feel free to turn me down!"

Following which, the black hole suddenly stirred, and a screen appeared.

It was Hall Master Xing and the others.

At this moment, they were still surrounded by countless Soulless Metal Humanoids. Those guarding the outer perimeter—Division Head Wei, Division Head Liao, and the others—had already sustained considerably injuries, and they seemed to be drained as well.

They had been chosen to participate in this expedition for the superior strength they possessed compared to their peers, but against so many puppets who felt neither pain nor exhaustion, it was inevitable that they were eventually worn down.


At this moment, a mechanism suddenly whirred into action within the room, and a figure slowly walked out, heading toward Hall Master Xing and the others.

The figure was a Soulless Metal Humanoid as well, but it wielded strength far greater than the others in the room. Astonishingly, it was a Leaving Aperture realm intermediate stage puppet! Powerful zhenqi burst from its acupoints, seemingly flaunting the superior strength that it wielded.

"Your comrades already have their hands full dealing with the other Soulless Metal Humanoids. If I make a move as well, how many of them do you think will remain alive at the end of this?" The pair of eyes continued staring intently at Zhang Xuan, as if peering right into his thoughts, as it sneered coldly. "You don't have much time left to make your decision."

Following which, the Soulless Metal Humanoid on the screen dashed right into Hall Master Xing's group.

"Everyone, stand your ground…" Alarmed, Division Head Wei bellowed anxiously.

However, before he could finish his words, the Soulless Metal Humanoid had already sunk its palm into his chest.


Division Head Wei was immediately sent flying into the wall, coughing up huge mouthfuls of blood.

His abrupt absence resulted in an opening in the formation. Before the others could move to close the opening, that fellow charged toward the second strongest of the group, Division Head Liao, to incapacitate him.


Under normal circumstances, even against a Leaving Aperture realm intermediate stage expert, as long as Division Head Liao exerted his full strength, he would at least have been able to withstand a few blows and buy some time. However, after the long battle with the Soulless Metal Humanoids, his zhenqi and stamina were already reaching their limits. As a result, he ended up caving in within a single blow, collapsing weakly to the ground.

In the blink of an eye, two members of their group had been incapacitated.

"You bastard! I'll kill you!" Seeing that two of his companions had been severely wounded, Zhang Jiuxiao roared furiously. Whipping out the two Saint intermediate-tier sabers he had, he began launching a barrage of attacks toward the Soulless Metal Humanoid.

However, seemingly expecting Zhang Jiuxiao's move, the Soulless Metal Humanoid raised its hand and tapped his finger forward.

Weng! The swords suddenly froze in midair.

With a flushed face, Zhang Jiuxiao struggled with all his might, but he found that he was not able to move at all. It was as if someone had glued him to the floor.

In the end, he was only a Primordial Spirit realm primary stage cultivator. As powerful as he might have been, the gap between him and a Leaving Aperture realm intermediate stage cultivator was simply too great.

After being pinned on the spot, the Soulless Metal Humanoid sneered coldly as it walked forward and struck Zhang Jiuxiao with its palm.


Zhang Jiuxiao was immediately sent flying. However, while he was flying in midair, a brilliant light suddenly shimmered from his chest, and his retreating figure abruptly came to a halt. It seemed like some kind of protective amulet or the sort had been activated.

As an offspring of the Zhang Clan, he still had a few protective artifacts on hand in case he met with danger.

"Interesting… However, if you think that the amulet will be able to stop me, I'll have to say that you are being hopelessly optimistic!" Vicious scoffed.

Under his control, the Soulless Metal Humanoid bent its knees before abruptly leaping up. Then, with a series of fluid motions reminiscent of a musician playing a zither, a barrage of attacks was launched toward Zhang Jiuxiao.

Weng weng weng weng!

The activated protective amulet shielded Zhang Jiuxiao well, shielding him from harm. However, as the barrage of attacks continued, the radiance of the protective barrier gradually grew dimmer and dimmer.

No matter how powerful a protective barrier was, it was limited by the energy it harnessed. It might have been able to withstand a powerful blow or two, but too many times, it would eventually reach its limit.


The protective barrier finally shattered, and just like the others, Zhang Jiuxiao was struck forcefully into the wall, sustaining severe injuries in the process.

After subduing the three stronger members of the group, the rest was simple. It did not take long for the three elders whom Wu shi brought over to be incapacitated as well. Other than the severely wounded Wu shi and Hall Master Xing, it could be said that their entire group had been wiped out.

With a cold smile on its lips, the Soulless Metal Humanoid slowly walked over to Hall Master Xing with its palm raised, seemingly ready to kill the other party at any moment.

Knowing that the two severely wounded individuals wouldn't be able to withstand the might of his Soulless Metal Humanoid's attacks, Vicious glanced at Zhang Xuan provocatively. "How about it? Submit to me, and I can spare your comrades. As a Celestial Master Teacher, surely you won't watch your comrades die one by one before your eyes, right?"

The principles of the master teachers were not just mere guidelines. Rather, it was a faith that they embraced, and their state of mind was built upon this faith, giving them the strength to stand resiliently in the face of fear and despair.

However, if a master teacher abandoned their principles and watched idly as their comrades die before their eyes, it could potentially lead to a collapse of their faith and their state of mind, making it difficult for them to make any advancement in their cultivation in the future.

"Watch my comrades die before my eyes?" Hearing Vicious' words, Zhang Xuan abruptly burst into laughter. "Of course I won't!"

"You…" Bewildered by Zhang Xuan's bizarre outburst, Vicious was just about to speak when the scene within the screen abruptly changed. The 'severely-wounded' Wu shi and Hall Master Xing abruptly leaped up from their positions to attack simultaneously.


Their attack was extremely abrupt, and the Soulless Metal Humanoid was simply too close. As a result, before the Soulless Metal Humanoid could react, a massive hole was plunged through its chest, causing its ribcage to shatter entirely.

Vicious was completely taken aback by the course of events. At that moment, Zhang Xuan suddenly spoke.

"How about it? Submit to me, and I can consider sparing your Soulless Metal Humanoid! As a person who once successfully trapped Kong shi, surely you won't watch your comrades die one by one before your eyes, right?"

"…" Vicious.



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