Zhang Xuan frowned.

The brain was the command center of a body. Even if Vicious' body was divided into many parts at the moment, the authority that the brain had over the other body parts still remained. In other words, even if the Vicious in the Book of Heaven's Path was stronger than the other Vicious, it would still have no choice but to submit to it.

Furthermore, while the fighting prowess that the brain wielded was severely limited, the sheer amount of knowledge it retained granted it many other means, which made it a frightening opponent to go against.

For one, it was due to the means that the other Vicious possessed that allowed him to make the Qingtian Emperor his subordinate, control so many Soulless Metal Humanoids and puppets simultaneously, and cast soul arts with superior proficiency that could nab even Zhang Xuan's soul.

Fortunately, while Zhang Xuan had been powerless against the other Vicious' soul nabbing secret art previously, the advancement of his cultivation to Embryonic Soul realm pinnacle had granted him the strength to withstand the technique, making it impossible for the other party to kill him with the soul nabbing secret art anymore. Nevertheless, that did not mean to say that the other Vicious did not have any other means that he could use against him.

After all, how could an old monster who had rivaled Kong shi in his peak possibly only know the soul nabbing secret art?

Zhang Xuan hesitated for a moment before asking the Vicious in the Book of Heaven's Path, "Let me confirm again, you won't be able to defeat him in a direct encounter?"

"That's right. Even if he's weaker than me, I don't think that I'll be able to disobey the commands of the brain blatantly. In a direct encounter, he'll be able to control me easily. The only time I will stand a chance against him is when he's unconscious. As long as I can erase his consciousness and replace it with mine while he's out, I'll be able to possess him," Vicious replied.

"Unconscious?" A helpless smile surfaced on Zhang Xuan's lips.

How could that be possible?

The other party's soul was so strong that it could even drag his massive soul into a black hole; how could he possibly knock a soul that powerful unconscious?

That was an impossible mission!


Since the two of them had conversed directly with their souls, even though it seemed like they had chatted for some time, in truth, only half a breath had passed so far.

Back in the hall, making use of the opportunity while Zhang Xuan's clone was preoccupied, the other three puppets swiftly dashed forward to encircle Zhang Xuan. One of them raised its fist and flung it forcefully toward him.

"Golden Origin Cauldron!" Knowing that there was no way he could defend against three puppets with his current strength, Zhang Xuan bellowed loudly, and the Golden Origin Cauldron immediately appeared before him.

It swiftly charged forward with its bottom facing a puppet.


The fist collided with the Golden Origin Cauldron's bottom, and with a deep chime, the puppet was forced to retreat several steps back.

The reason the Golden Origin Cauldron had not been a match for the Qingtian Emperor was due to the superior combat skills that the latter possessed. With his opponent being a puppet that was only capable of relying on its brute strength this time around, the Golden Origin Cauldron's outstanding defense granted it a huge advantage in the battle.

Nevertheless, the puppet was not weak. The both of them fought on equal grounds with one another, but it seemed like the Golden Origin Cauldron currently held the upper hand.

However, before Zhang Xuan could ease up, the remaining two puppets charged at him.


Overwhelming auras gushed out from the two puppets, creating a powerful gale in the area. It felt as if a devastating storm was brewing within the hall, preparing to bring a catastrophe upon those present.

In face of such strength, Zhang Xuan's face paled. He swiftly pointed forward and exclaimed, "That person over there is the real Zhang Xuan, so go for him! I mean, just look at how powerful he is…"

"…" Zhang Xuan's clone.

However, the two puppets seemed to remain unconvinced. They continued charging toward Zhang Xuan furiously, launching attack after attack.

Dodging their attacks in a fluster, Zhang Xuan exclaimed desperately, "I am really just the clone! Have you ever seen a clone more powerful than the main body before?"

Thinking that there was some logic in those words, one of the puppets hesitated for a moment before heading over toward Zhang Xuan's clone, collaborating with the previous puppet to launch a barrage of devastating attacks. It did not take long before the head of the Zhang Xuan's clone was flattened once more.

Zhang Xuan's clone was truly on the verge of tears. The main bodies of the other clones were powerful and selfless, diving unhesitatingly into danger to uphold their beliefs. On the other hand, his main body…

Heavens, just what kind of crime did he commit in his previous life to be born to such a main body?

But thinking back again, it seemed like he had done the same thing to the main body back at the Qiu Wu Palace, so he did not have any right to complain.

With a weary heart, Zhang Xuan's clone could only swallow his frustrations and try his best to deal with the two puppets. Nevertheless, it did not take long for several dents to appear all over his body.

It was fortunate that he was forged out of the Nine Hearts Lotus, or else he would have really lost his life there and then!

Just as Zhang Xuan's clone was about to explode from frustration, the main body suddenly sent a telepathic message to him. "Clone, try to stall those two puppets for the time being. I'll come and help you as soon as I get rid of this one!"

"… Fine!" Hearing that his main body was not intentionally abandoning him, the stifling sensation that Zhang Xuan's clone felt in his chest finally alleviated slightly.

Boom boom boom!

Despite abandoning his defense altogether and devoting his full strength to offense, Zhang Xuan's clone only barely managed to rival the two clones.

"Interesting…" The voice of the other Vicious echoed eerily in the hall. "But regardless of which of you is the main body and the clone, none of you will get out of here today!"

He had not expected Zhang Xuan's clone to wield such strength, fighting on equal terms with two puppets. With a cold harrumph, he was just about to continue speaking when he suddenly froze. "Y-you… What are you doing? Kill him!"

Sensing the anxiety in the other Vicious' voice, Zhang Xuan's clone was bewildered. He quickly forced back the two puppets with two powerful punches before hurriedly turning a glance to his main body. And then… dumbfounded.

At some point in time, the puppet that had been chasing after his main body mercilessly, seeming as if it would not rest until it butchered the latter, was suddenly kneeling before his main body with a look of reverence on its face.

On the other hand, his main body seemed to be saying something that caused the puppet to tremble uncontrollably in excitement.

"The heck…" Swallowing a mouthful of saliva, Zhang Xuan's clone widened its eyes in shock.

It had fought so desperately that its head had even been flattened multiple times throughout the course of the battle, and it did not even manage to scratch his enemy. Yet, his main body had made the puppet willingly kneel down to him just by uttering a few words. They originated from the same soul, so how could there be such a huge gap between them?

Overwhelmed by frenzy, Zhang Xuan's clone focused its hearing to find out just what words of sorcery the main body was saying, only to hear some unexpected words. "… Go! Remember, your teacher loves you!"

Right after those words were spoken, the puppet that had been chasing his main body around suddenly rushed straight for him.

"I…" Horrified, Zhang Xuan's clone immediately began to run away, only to see the puppet charging past him to clash with one of the puppets it had been dealing with.

Peng peng peng peng!

The two puppets were equally matched, and it did not seem any one of them would emerge victorious anytime soon.

The mouth of Zhang Xuan's clone twitched upon seeing that sight. Taking a deep breath, it was just about to deal with the other remaining puppet when the main body suddenly appeared before it. With a melodious tone, the main body began speaking. "Born as a puppet, doomed to obey the commands of others for life. What a tragic fate it is, don't you think? Come, listen to me…"

It did not take long before that puppet knelt earnestly before his main body as well.


With a shout from the main body, the puppet immediately charged for the puppet that was currently clashing with the Golden Origin Cauldron.

Ignoring his shocked clone, Zhang Xuan heaved a sigh of relief. "Phew, it's done!"

Having comprehended the Heart of a Teacher, the effectiveness of his Impartation of Heaven's Will had expanded from just humans to beasts and artifacts as well. In fact, he had even managed to get Zhang Jiuxiao's weapons to acknowledge him as their teacher before. Considering that these puppets had their own spirits as well, naturally, it was also possible for him to win them over with his Impartation of Heaven's Will.

"This move of yours sure is convenient! With this, you will be able to get any puppet to submit to you without even lifting a finger," Zhang Xuan's clone remarked in awe.

Zhang Xuan turned to his clone and said, "Are you interested in it? If you want to learn it, I can teach you."

"…" The face of Zhang Xuan's clone reddened in exasperation. "We are both the same person, is there really a need for you to pose before me? It's just Impartation of Heaven's Will, who doesn't know how to do that?"

After saying those words, Zhang Xuan's clone charged up to one of the 'unconverted' puppets and reached out, as if a holy priest offering a hand to salvation. "Born as a puppet, doomed to obey the commands of others for life. What a tragic fate it is, don't you think? Come, listen to me…"


His head was flattened with a forceful punch.

"I…" Zhang Xuan's clone was crazed.

The same person saying the same words—the puppets had kneeled right after hearing them from his main body, but when he spoke them, he ended up being pummeled instead.

Are you all bullying me because I'm a clone? This is discrimination!

Seeing his clone's state, Zhang Xuan shook his head and sighed deeply. "Jeez…"

Ultimately, his clone had also come from his soul as well. However, when would his clone learn to be as humble and low-profile as he was?

To be thinking of how he could pose before others every single day, did he really have nothing better to do?

Forget it, I should try to find Vicious first!

Ignoring the puppets and his clone, Zhang Xuan activated his Eye of Insight and began scanning the hall.

However, other than the four puppets, there did not seem to be anything of note within the hall.

There must be some kind of mechanism in here… Recalling how there were mechanisms in the previous halls he had been through, Zhang Xuan was just about to search for the one within the hall more thoroughly when Vicious' furious voice suddenly erupted.

"Using your Heart of a Teacher and the Impartation of Heaven's Will to beguile my puppets… you really have a sharp tongue, just like Kong shi! However, given how many times I have clashed with Kong shi before, do you think that I would be completely unprepared for this?"

"What?" Zhang Xuan narrowed his eyes.

He quickly turned around, only to see that the two puppets he had just beguiled earlier abruptly shuddering intensely before their heads burst with a resounding explosion.


Their headless bodies fell limply onto the ground.

"You left another trick within them?" Zhang Xuan's face darkened.

As expected of Vicious, he was indeed prepared for all kinds of situation. Anticipating the possible betrayal of his subordinates, he had left a trick in them so that he could kill them whenever he wanted.

"Do you think that I would have been able to survive so long without at least this much brainpower?" Vicious sneered coldly.

Considering that his enemy was Kong shi, if he did not even have this much wariness in him, he would have been killed by the Master Teacher Pavilion many times over.

In the face of such a situation, Zhang Xuan clenched his fists tightly.

Killing the puppets that he had just beguiled did not just cost him two powerful soldiers, more importantly, it also served as a warning against those who intended to betray Vicious.

As powerful as the Heart of a Teacher paired with the Impartation of Heaven's Will was, it was not exactly brainwashing. It served to win others over by merit, not through force.

The spirits of the puppets had seen how their companions were killed right before their eyes, which caused their wills to instinctively reject Zhang Xuan's teachings out of fear of death. Given so, it would be nigh impossible for Zhang Xuan to win them over.


At this moment, the two remaining puppets suddenly charged at Zhang Xuan even more frenziedly than before.

The deaths of their companions had left them feeling as if there was an invisible noose around their necks, and they realized that they could very well be killed by Vicious if they failed to kill the young man before their eyes.

Against the frenzied assault of the duo, even Zhang Xuan's clone and the Golden Origin Cauldron ended up being forced back.

The other Vicious chuckled gleefully. "Let's see how well you will cope this time around!"

"Cope? There's no need for that at all!" Zhang Xuan replied casually.

"No need for that?"

"Indeed. There's really no need to go through so much trouble just to deal with those puppets." Shrugging leisurely, Zhang Xuan flicked his wrist, and Demoneh and Demonbee appeared before his eyes.

He had moved these inner demons into the Myriad Anthive Nest prior to entering the Ghost Cavern.

"Go, possess those two puppets!"

"Yes, Teacher!"

Demoneh and Demonbee morphed into two clouds of black mist and flew over to shroud the puppets.


The intangible nature of inner demons made it impossible for physical might to faze them, and soul-wise, considering how even cultivators would easily succumb to their onslaught, how could mere puppets possibly withstand their assault? In the blink of an eye, they had already dived into the glabellae of the puppets.

Gudong! Gudong!

As soon as the inner demons entered the puppets' bodies, the two puppets staggered weakly for a moment before collapsing to the ground.

"You… Inner demons?" Vicious was crazed.

He was the one who had conjured those inner demons back then! Who would have thought that the other party would actually use those inner demons against him at this crucial moment?

"Indeed. While these inner demons are unable to destroy the spirits of the puppets and gain control of their bodies, they are still more than capable of incapacitating them for a short period of time, rendering them powerless!" Zhang Xuan chuckled softly.

Inner demons could confuse an individual's mind, robbing them of their fighting ability. Even though Demoneh and Demonbee were unable to effectively gain control of the puppets, they were still able to keep them busy for some time.

"Excellent. Excellent! I concede that you are indeed a formidable opponent, but while you might be able to stop two of my puppets, will you be able to stop this many of them simultaneously?" With his voice trembling with rage, Vicious roared angrily.

Following which, a mechanism suddenly whirred into action, and a door opened. Following which, more than a hundred puppets dashed into the hall simultaneously.

The face of Zhang Xuan's clone paled as it widened its eyes in disbelief. "There are so many of them?"

On the other hand, the Golden Origin Cauldron cowered backward in fear. If he could have cowered beneath his lid, he definitely would have done so at this very moment.

"Hahaha! Hahahaha!" Vicious' manic laughter echoed resoundingly in the hall. "I have more than a hundred puppets here. Do you have enough inner demons to incapacitate every last one of them?"

But Vicious' glee did not last long.

The young man shook his head and replied calmly, "You are in luck. I happen to have enough."



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