"Principal Zhang, we'll help you stall him. Meanwhile, you try to get away."

Wu shi and Hall Master Xing stepped forward as they frenziedly drove their zhenqi to ward off the pressure on them, protecting the other members of the group.

Whatever the existence before them was, he was simply too powerful. There was no way they would be able to escape unscathed from his clutches. However, if they went all out, perhaps, they just might be able to buy sufficient time for Zhang Xuan to escape.

Zhang Xuan's incredible talents would surely play a critical role in furthering the strength of mankind in the future, and a person like him could not be allowed to die just like that. Thus, saving him would be their final contribution to mankind!

"Get away? If we had tried before that little island floated all the way up, we might still have been to get away, but now…" Zhang Xuan shook his head and sighed. "Did you really think that he's explaining everything to us just to vent his emotions?"

"This…" Not understanding what Zhang Xuan was getting at, the crowd fell silent.

Indeed. It was perplexing why Vicious would actually reveal all of these valuable secrets to them, such that they even forgot about the predicament they were in for a moment. Thinking about it once more, his actions felt more like… buying time.

"Given that his will has only just escaped from its restraints, it required some time in order to gain absolute control over such a massive island. Thus, he decided to use these information to divert our attention. If I'm not mistaken, he should have already gained full control over the head by now. Even if we start running now, considering how big the marshlands are, there's no way we will get away in time. Furthermore, given the treacherous terrain we are in, our haste might just land us in deeper danger," Zhang Xuan replied.

Wu shi and Hall Master Xing had only just advanced their cultivation to Leaving Aperture realm primary stage whereas Vicious was at Leaving Aperture realm pinnacle. Even if put their lives on the line to stall Vicious, how long could they possibly stall him for? Not to mention, given Vicious' superior cultivation realm, he would surely catch up soon after.

Most likely, he would be caught before he could even escape ten li away!

"But Zhang shi, if you knew what the other party was up to beforehand, why didn't you flee earlier?" Ji shi couldn't help but ask.

Since you saw through the other party's motive, you should have escaped when you had the time to do so! Why did you still remain here to play along with his games and ask him questions? Now that the other party has gained full control over the little island and returned to his peak state, we are all doomed!

Instead of responding to Ji shi's question, Zhang Xuan walked forward and gazed at the massive face before him.

"There's no way we can escape at this point, and we don't have the strength to rival you either… I hope that you can just answer this final question of mine. Who is the puppet that you were referring to?"

"Hahaha! To still be concerned about this matter despite the situation you are in, your mental resilience sure is incredible, perhaps even on par with Kong shi back then! I'm starting to think that it would be a pity to kill a genius like you just like that." Vicious shook his head as he gazed down at Zhang Xuan with a look of pity.

"I'll offer you one last chance then. As long as you pledge your loyalty and offer your soul up to me, not only will I tell you who the puppet is, I'll even spare your life. When I finally obtain a Celestial Amulet of Legacy, I'll take you along with me to find the Great Codex of Spring and Autumn and even aid you in becoming the next World's Teacher!"

"You want me to pledge loyalty to you?" Zhang Xuan's lips curled up in disdain. "I have lived as a master teacher, and I'll die as one too! There's no way I'll side with an Otherworldly Demon like you. However, even if you don't tell me who that puppet is, I already have a good idea who he is!"

"Oh?" Vicious looked down at Zhang Xuan with a playful look in his eyes, as if daring the latter to give him a guess.

"It's the emperor of the Qingyuan Empire, Chu Tianxing, right?" Zhang Xuan replied calmly.

"Oh?" Vicious' eyes narrowed.

"Tian Qing was the vice head of the Master Teacher Pavilion, and yet, while he hasn't uncovered any information about the Celestial Amulet of Legacy yet, the puppet you spoke of did. From that, it can be seen that the puppet possesses an exceptionally high standing in the Qingyuan Empire. There's no way Wu shi or Hall Master Xing could be your ally, and Pavilion Master Gou has been killed as well… Thus, that only leaves us with Chu Tianxing!" Zhang Xuan revealed his deduction.

It was not too difficult to guess this.

A person who could uncover news about an elusive Celestial Amulet of Legacy had to have a powerful intelligence network in the Qingyuan Empire, one that was even wider than the one Tian Qing controlled. As powerful as the Qingyuan Empire Master Teacher Pavilion's intelligence network was, there was still a single power in the Qingyuan Empire whose intelligence network surpassed it—the Qingyuan royal family.

And the one who could tap into the intelligence network of the royal family was naturally the emperor of the Qingyuan Empire, Chu Tianxing!

Furthermore, Chu Tianxing's actions had truly been very suspicious.

King Zhongqing had been captured time and time again, and yet, Chu Tianxing was willing to pay a heavy price each time to bail him out. Furthermore, now that he thought about it, on the night that the souls of eight master teachers of the Qingyuan Empire Master Teacher Pavilion were nabbed, Chu Tianxing had visited the Master Teacher Pavilion under the pretext of paying a visit to King Zhongqing.

He had not been able to connect the dots earlier, but upon hearing Vicious mention a puppet, everything swiftly came together to form a clear picture.

"To be able to see through everything with just a few clues, as expected of a Celestial Master Teacher! You are keener than I expected," Vicious sneered coldly, not intending to deny the matter.

There was no reason for him to deny it at this point. In any case, the people before them were pretty much dead men anyway.

"Celestial Master Teacher?"

"Zhang shi… is a Celestial Master Teacher?"

Hall Master Xing, Ji shi, and the others were astonished.

Of the crowd, the only one who was aware of Zhang Xuan's true identity was Wu shi. Due to safety concerns, Wu shi had not even revealed the matter to Hall Master Xing.

Thus, upon hearing the words of the Otherworldly Demon before them, all of them widened their eyes in shock, unable to believe their ears.

In the long history of the Master Teacher Continent, there had only been a single Celestial Master Teacher, and that was Kong shi. And yet, the young man before them was actually a Celestial Master Teacher as well?

"You didn't even tell your comrades about the matter? Hahaha, you sure are a wary individual! That's right! He's a Celestial Master Teacher, a person whose existence is acknowledged by the heavens themselves! As long as premature death doesn't come to him, it's only a matter of time before he becomes the next World's Teacher!"

Vicious burst into a hearty laughter before abruptly coming to a halt. A cold glint surfaced in his eyes as he continued. "However, it seems like that will never come to be. I have fought with Kong shi on many occasions, and I am very familiar with all his means. You may have a thousand ideas in your mind, but let me tell you that you are just wasting your effort! How about it? Submit to me, and you can continue living in this world. Otherwise, not only will you die, even your kin and friends will have to suffer due to your obstinacy!

"I'll be honest with you here. The very moment you arrived in these marshlands, I instructed Chu Tianxing to capture your student. Chances are that your student is already being held captive at this moment," Vicious sneered.

"You had Chu Tianxing capture my student?" Zhang Xuan's gaze turned incredibly cold.

He could not have imagined that Vicious would actually stoop down to such lowly and underhanded means against him.


"Do you honestly expect me to believe your words? My student is currently cultivating in the Combat Master Hall, where he's protected by countless combat masters. Even if Chu Tianxing attempts to make a move against him, can he possibly breach the defenses of the Combat Master Hall?" Zhang Xuan harrumphed coldly.

Currently, he only had a single direct disciple in the Qingyuan Empire, Liu Yang!

Before he left, he instructed Liu Yang to focus his effort on cultivating in the Combat Master Hall. Even though Chu Tianxing wielded great power and influence in the Qingyuan Empire, surely he would not dare barge into the Combat Master Hall and cause a ruckus!

"Of course, I concede that there's no way Chu Tianxing will be able to breach the defenses of the Combat Master Hall… but what if he invites your student out?" Vicious said with twisted smile.

"Invites?" An ominous feeling surfaced in the back of Zhang Xuan's mind as he clenched his fists tightly.

Zhang Xuan had suspected Chu Tianxing of betraying mankind prior to leaving Qingyuan City, but due to the lack of evidence, he had decided against publicizing the matter for the time being. Instead, he had Wu shi dispatch a few master teachers to keep a tight watch over the latter.

If Chu Tianxing invited his student to the royal palace as a guest in his capacity as the emperor of the Qingyuan Empire, there would really be no reason for Liu Yang to turn down the invitation.

And once Liu Yang left the secure Combat Master Hall to enter the royal palace…

To make matters worse, Wu shi and Hall Master Xing were currently by his side, so there was no one left in Qingyuan City who wielded sufficient authority and strength to oppose Chu Tianxing head on!

Seeing that he had finally broken Zhang Xuan's calm demeanor, Vicious sneered coldly, "Since you were coming over, wouldn't it have been disrespectful of me if I did not give you my warmest welcome? Humph, if I did not have at least this much in me, how could I have possibly fought on equal grounds against Kong shi back then?"

"I'll give you some time to think it over, but know that there is a limit to my patience. Submit to me, and I'll spare you and your student. I will even impart the complete heritage of the soul oracles to you on top of that and support you in becoming the next World's Teacher! Otherwise, I'm afraid that you will just have to watch helplessly here as your student suffers a tragic death!"

"You…" Zhang Xuan glared at Vicious in rage.

This was the first time that someone dared to threaten him like that.

In Qingyuan City's Combat Master Hall…

On the third day after the departure of the group to the Marshlands of the Northern Meadows, the Combat Master Hall ushered in an esteemed guest—the emperor of the Qingyuan Empire, Chu Tianxing.

"Division Head Zhou, I'll really have to trouble you for this matter. King Zhongqing is still being locked in the Master Teacher Pavilion, and honestly speaking, he really didn't commit any heinous crimes that warrant such extreme treatment! The biggest mistake he really made was provoking Zhang shi. I don't want to put you on the spot either, so I just hope that you can bring me to him so that we can attempt to reconcile!" Chu Tianxing said with a vexed look on his face.

He had come to the Combat Master Hall with several guards, who were currently standing behind him, in order to meet with the head of the Weapon Division, Division Head Zhou.

In Hall Master Xing, Division Head Liao, and Division Head Wei's absence, the responsibility of managing the affairs of the Combat Master Hall ended up falling on his shoulders.

"Pardon me, Your Majesty, but your arrival is truly untimely. Zhang shi has recently gone into seclusion, so I'm afraid that you will have to return another day." Division Head Zhou shook his head as he turned down Chu Tianxing's request with an apologetic look.

Hall Master Xing had instructed that this expedition was a confidential operation, so if anyone sought them in this period of time, he had to turn them down with an appropriate excuse.

As powerful as the Qingyuan Empire Combat Master Hall was, it would still be beneficial for it to maintain amiable relations with the regional royal family. As such, it would not be good for it to turn away Chu Tianxing curtly.

"Zhang shi is in the midst of a seclusion? I see…" A look of disappointment surfaced on Chu Tianxing's face. "If I recall correctly, Zhang shi has a direct disciple named Liu Yang, right? If it isn't too much trouble, may I meet him instead? I heard that he's seventeen this year, and I happen to have a daughter who is around his age. I think that it would be good for youngsters like them to get acquainted with one another."

"This…" Division Head Zhou was put on the spot.

He had already turned down Chu Tianxing's request to meet Zhang Xuan, so if he hindered the latter from meeting Zhang Xuan's student as well, it would seem as if he was intentionally making things hard for Chu Tianxing.

Division Head Zhou pondered for a moment before replying. "Pardon me, but I'm afraid that I can't make a decision on Liu Yang's behalf. Allow me to send my man over to ask him first. If he's preoccupied at the moment, I fear that there's nothing I can do!"

"I'll be troubling you then, Division Head Zhou," Chu Tianxing replied with a smile. "As you know, I came here with the intention of mending relations with Zhang shi. If you could have your men put in a few good words for me, I'll extend my deepest gratitude to you once the matter is done!"

"Un." Division Head Zhou nodded before beckoning a combat master over to issue a few instructions.

The combat master hurriedly rushed over to Liu Yang's residence, but before he could even get close, he could already hear loud 'Peng! Peng! Peng! Peng!' sounds echoing from within.

Knocking on the door and entering, he soon saw a seventeen-year-old young man brandishing his spear powerfully. Perhaps due to his long hours of training, his entire body was drenched with sweat, and his face had turned a little pale even.

"Young Master Liu, you…" The combat master couldn't help but kindly advise, "I think you should take a rest first! It won't do to push yourself too far, or else you might injure yourself! It'll be disastrous if you damage your foundation in the midst of your training."

Their Progeny of Combat had decreed that all combat masters must respect Zhang Xuan as their own teacher, and Liu Yang was Zhang Xuan's direct disciple. However, Liu Yang was neither a master teacher nor a combat master, so eventually, they chose to simply respectfully address him as Young Master Liu or Liu gongzi.

Every single combat master was carefully sieved from countless master teachers, so there was no such thing as a subpar cultivator within the Combat Master Hall. While the combat master who had just entered Liu Yang's residence was just an ordinary member of the Combat Master Hall, he could still easily discern that Liu Yang had overexerted himself in the midst of his training.

It was good for a cultivator to be diligent in their training, but if they were to go overboard and exceed the tolerance limit of their body, they could very well damage the foundation of their cultivation, and such damage was incredibly difficult to repair!

More importantly, excessive desire for swift success could easily result in a disturbance in one's state of mind, especially when the results did not meet up to one's expectations. An impaired state of mind could easily breed inner demons, and it could potentially cause one's cultivation to go berserk as well.

"I know that, too, but time waits for no one!" Liu Yang stopped his training and wiped away his sweat.

His teacher had a total of seven direct disciples.

Zhao Ya, Lu Chong, Yuan Tao, Wei Ruyan, Zheng Yang, Wang Ying… The six of them had already managed to find their own path, and they were bound to ascend to great heights in the near future.

He was the only direct disciple who remained with their teacher, and he had the responsibility to uphold his teacher's reputation. But with the current growth of his cultivation, he would soon be lagging far behind the others… and this had left him feeling greatly pressured.

Watching Zheng Yang become the Progeny of Combat and commanding the combat masters authoritatively had only served to fuel his anxiety further, to the point that he felt as if he would collapse under it.

He was desperate to grow stronger. He wanted to prove that he was not weaker than anyone else!

With nowhere to vent that feeling of anxiety, the only thing he could do was cultivate desperately, gritting his teeth to persevere on even when his body was groaning in pain.

Liu Yang turned to the combat master and asked, "You were looking for me?

"If there's nothing, I'll be continuing on with my cultivation now."For those who might have forgotten, Ji shi is Ji Tianxiong, the head of the Northern Meadows City Master Teacher Pavilion.



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