Library of Heaven is Path
1235 Raiding the Execution Platform
In the square outside the royal palace, a huge crowd had gathered, numbering at least in the hundred thousands. There was a towering platform at the very middle of the square, where Sun Qiang, Elder Xu, and the others were firmly held in a kneeling position. Their cultivation was sealed, preventing them from struggling free and escaping.
Looking at the group atop the platform, Song Chao asked anxiously, "What should we do?"
The members of the Xuanxuan Faction had arrived early in the morning, but the guards protecting the execution platform were all Saint realm experts. In fact, there were even Primordial Spirit realm elders from the Master Teacher Pavilion stationed in the area as well.
Against such fighting power, putting aside saving Sun Qiang and the others, they would be subdued before they could even get close to the execution platform!
"I don't know! For Butler Sun, Principal Zhang didn't even hesitate to cause an uproar in the King Zhongqing Manor! Given how highly Principal Zhang regards Butler Sun, if the latter is killed, I really can't imagine what kind of destruction Principal Zhang will bring upon Qingyuan City," Song Chao said with a deeply worried frown.
He had become acquainted with Zhang Xuan back in the Myriad Kingdoms Alliance, and he knew how protective the latter was of those around him.
No matter what, Sun Qiang was Zhang Xuan's butler, and if he was killed just like that, Zhang Xuan would surely raise a storm!
Perhaps, the entire Qingyuan City might even be wiped off the map!
"Is there any word from the Combat Master Hall? They have received Principal Zhang's enlightenment, so they can be considered half students to him. But why is it that none of them are here at this crucial moment?" a member of the Xuanxuan Faction remarked furiously.
They had been training with the combat masters over the past few days, and they had imparted many of their combat tricks and secret arts to them without any reservation. Yet, in their time of need, none of the combat masters were willing to help them raid the execution platform. Naturally, some members of the Xuanxuan Faction was deeply unhappy at this matter.
"We can't blame them for this either. I heard that a few of the division heads have visited the Master Teacher Pavilion to demand for Sun Qiang's release, only to end up being imprisoned by Song shi. On top of that, Song shi has even made an official order demanding that all combat masters remain within the Combat Master Hall, or else they will be punished for defying military orders…" Song Chao shook his head and sighed deeply.
Combat masters were considered the military of the Master Teacher Pavilion, and for them, there was nothing higher than a military order.
Considering that this was an order coming from a quasi 8-star master teacher from the Qianchong Empire, not to mention that he was an envoy dispatched by the Empire Alliance Master Teacher Pavilion, no matter how indignant the combat masters were, they had no choice but to obey Song shi's orders.
The sole responsibility of a soldier was to obey the orders of his superior, and this was the same for combat masters.
"Without the aid of the combat masters, it'll be nigh impossible for us to save Butler Sun and the others!" The member of the Xuanxuan Faction who had spoken earlier hesitated for a moment before closing his eyes in despair.
With their cultivation realm, there was no way they could breach the defenses around the execution platform. It was truly a hopeless situation.
"I know that, too. Raiding an execution platform is a severe crime. Regardless of whether we succeed or not, there's a good chance that we'll be stripped of our master teacher licenses, and perhaps, we might even be executed on the spot to serve as a warning to the others. It will be unreasonable of us to demand others to put their future on the line for our sake. We only have ourselves to count on," Song shi said grimly.
Even if their raid ended in a failure, just their act of attempting to undermine the orders of a quasi 8-star master teacher was enough to warrant them the death penalty. The members of the Xuanxuan Faction who had dared come to the square had come prepared to die.
How could they expect the combat masters to risk their lives to save someone whom they hardly knew? They had no moral obligation to do so at all.
At this point, a voice suddenly sounded behind the members of the Xuanxuan Faction.
"Who says that you only have yourselves to count on? Do you not consider us your brothers?"
Alarmed, the members of the Xuanxuan Faction hurriedly turned around, and they saw familiar faces appearing before their eyes.
Xiao Qin, Shi Hao, Jiao Tan, Lu Jianling, Dong Rui…
They were all combat masters of the Combat Master Hall. All in all, there were several thousand of them!
"You… How did you all get here? Wasn't there a strict order against any combat master leaving the Combat Master Hall?" Song Chao asked worriedly.
"We did receive the orders, but those orders only apply to combat masters… From this moment on, we are no longer combat masters!" Shi Hao explained with a smile.
"All of you are no longer combat masters?" Song Chao widened his eyes in shock.
At this point, he suddenly realized that none of the combat masters gathered there were dressed in their combat master robe.
"You… are relinquishing your identities as combat masters? B-but…" Song Chao clenched his fists tightly apprehensively. However, despite his worry about the combat masters, he could not help but feel a surge of warmth flowing into his heart.
In the days that he had spent with the combat masters, he had come to learn how much their identity meant to them. It was their pride, their honor, and their calling.
But to save Sun Qiang, they were willing to throw aside what they had worked for over many years.
In a moment, the eyes of the members of the Xuanxuan Faction turned red.
"As combat masters, we can't blatantly go against the orders of a superior. Otherwise, what would become of the credibility of the Combat Master Hall? We cannot allow the name of the Qingyuan Empire Combat Master Hall to be sullied because of us! So, we had no choice but to abandon our identities…" Shi Hao shook his head grimly.
Jiao Tan also sighed deeply.
"Is this really worth going so far?" Song Chao asked hoarsely.
"Zhang shi isn't just your principal—he's our teacher as well! Without him, we would not have been able to attain the current strength we possess. We never would have known that combat and battle techniques could be interpreted in such a manner as well. We were just mere strangers to him, and yet, he taught and guided all of us without any reservation. We are all deeply indebted to him," Qin Xiao said. "So, how can we simply watch idly in his time of need?"
"Indeed! Zhang shi is the most magnanimous person I have ever seen! To have met and learned from him is a true blessing from the heavens. Now that something has happened to his butler, there's no way we can stay out of this!"
"You don't have to talk us out of this." Shi Hao patted Song Chao's shoulder. "Unless you don't view us as your brothers?"
Taking a deep breath, Song Chao suppressed the overwhelming emotions he felt and replied, "Of course not!"
Indeed. Those who conducted themselves upright and properly were bound to find many people willing to stand up for them in times of need, let alone someone of Zhang shi's character!
He could still remember the day when Zhang Xuan duped him of his spirit stones, and he had been so furious that he even wanted to kill the latter. But as he gradually spent more time with the latter, he came to realize that there was a lot more to him. Zhang Xuan might have his flaws, but he knew right from wrong, and he persisted in the principles that he believed in regardless of how dire the situation was.
Unknowingly, he actually found himself becoming Zhang Xuan's loyal subordinate, willing to heed his orders and lay down his life for him.
This was not just a question of personal charisma anymore. What was more important was his magnanimity and his outlook! For the sake of what he perceived to be the greater good, he was willing to put aside his personal interests and impart profound battle techniques to others unreservedly.
Only a true teacher would have so many willing to stand up on his behalf and bleed for him!
"Since you regard us as your brothers, don't turn down our help. Alright, have you all thought about how you intend to raid the execution platform?" Shi Hao asked. "We'll back you up accordingly."
"Un, we have come up with a plan." Knowing that this was no time to chat, Song Chao swiftly got down to business. "Later on, before the execution, there will be a reading of crimes first. I intend to make a move at that moment. We'll be trying to breach the defenses of the execution platform through the 'Grand Formation of Myriad Stars'. We'll be facing Primordial Spirit realm experts later on, but with our sheer numbers, we might just be able to overwhelm them for a moment and buy sufficient time to free Butler Sun and the others!"
"Grand Formation of Myriad Stars… Indeed, that is the best collaborative formation to use in this situation!" Shi Hao nodded in agreement.
The Grand Formation of Myriad Stars was a formation often used by the military of empires. It served to combine the strength of an entire army together to launch a powerful assault toward a single target.
The members of the Xuanxuan Faction were not too powerful individually—most of them were about Transcendent Mortal 7-dan to 8-dan—but when the might of over ten thousand men was combined through the massive formation, they might just be able to put together enough strength to subdue even a Primordial Spirit realm expert!
"But… have you thought about how you will bring Butler Sun and the others out of Qingyuan City after rescuing them?" Shi Hao asked. "If there's no feasible escape route, they will only be captured again shortly after. That will render the rescue operation meaningless."
"This…" Song Chao and the others fell silent.
They knew that with the chances of success were extremely slim with their current strength, and they had already prepared themselves to lose their lives in the raid. As a result, they had not really thought too deeply about the follow-up after rescuing Sun Qiang and the others.
However, now that the combat masters were backing them as well, there was a chance that they might just pull it off successfully. As such, they had to start thinking about a follow up to the rescue operation, or else Sun Qiang and the others would just be recaptured soon after.
"Do you have an idea in mind?" Song Chao asked Shi Hao.
"As a matter of fact, I do. My plan is rather simple. Instead of raiding the execution platform, we should find a way to hold Song shi hostage!" Shi Hao said.
"Hold Song shi hostage?" Song Chao widened his eyes in disbelief.
"Indeed. Song shi is the key to everything that has happened. As long as we subdue him and have him take back his orders to execute Butler Sun and the others, we will be able to have Butler Sun and the others released. After that, we just have to hold him for a sufficient period of time for Butler Sun and the others to get out of Qingyuan City."
Song Chao and the others contemplated for a moment before slowly nodding in agreement. "That does sound like a feasible idea…"
It was solely based on Song shi's command that Sun Qiang and the others were being executed. In other words, as long as Song shi took back his orders, Sun Qiang and the others should be able to leave Qingyuan City safely.
"How do you intend to carry your plan out? We'll follow you!" Seeing that Shi Hao had a better plan in mind, Song Chao and the others quickly turned their attention to Shi Hao.
"It's quite simple. Just move on my command later," Shi Hao said.
However, before he could reveal his plan, a resounding voice suddenly echoed from the execution platform, instantantly silencing the voices of the hundred thousand men in the square.
An elder floating above the execution platform gazed at the crowd beneath before speaking in an authoritative voice. "I am quasi 8-star Master Teacher Song Xuan!"
Qianchong Empire Master Teacher Pavilion, Song shi!
"Sun Qiang, along with his conspirators from the Poison Hall, raided the royal palace overnight, knocking out all of the guards with their poison before murdering Emperor Chu Tianxing. For the heinous crimes they have committed, I hereby decree that they are to be publicly executed!"
"He's Song shi?"
Previously, they had not really thought much about the other party. However, upon feeling the unbelievably powerful aura that the other party emanated, Shi Hao and the others could not help but begin hesitating.
A Leaving Aperture pinnacle expert could not be defeated by numbers alone.
Song shi scanned the surroundings, and unable to find the missing Liu Yang amid the crowd, a disdainful smile crept onto his lips as he harrumphed coldly. "It's noon. Carry out the execution!"
As those words were spoken, a huge execution blade rose into the air, preparing to fall upon the necks of Sun Qiang, Elder Xu, and the other poison masters.
Seeing that it would be too late if they did not make a move right now, Shi Hao bellowed, "Now!"
Right after those words were spoken, countless surges of zhenqi gathered together to form a massive dragon, and it charged with incredible momentum toward Song shi in the air.
This massive dragon had the strength of over ten thousand members of the Xuanxuan Faction and several thousand combat masters. While their cultivation was not too high individually, they still posed a frightening force when their strengths were put together.
The massive dragon seemed to tear right through space, appearing before Song shi in an instant.
"You brazen scoundrels…" Not expecting someone to actually raid the execution platform and even make a move on him, Song shi's eyes immediately narrowed in fury.
He raised his hand and pressed it forcefully downward.
The sheer might of his palm strike froze the massive dragon in mid-air!
As a Leaving Aperture realm expert, an existence just a step away from the Grand Dominion realm, Song shi was no longer an opponent who could be defeated just by combining the strength of the masses.
"How dare you scoundrels raid the execution platform and assault a quasi 8-star master teacher? I'll deal with you all personally after executing this bunch here. Execute them!"
After fending off the massive dragon, Song shi sneered coldly as he raised his other hand.
Countless execution blades immediately fell for the necks of Sun Qiang and the others.
But… at the very last moment, the execution blades suddenly froze in midair.
Following which, an ice-cold voice swept through the surroundings like a tornado, resounding loudly in everyone's ears.
"You want to execute my men? Let me ask you, how many heads do you have?"
Following which, a figure suddenly appeared in the middle of the square, gazing down on the execution platform as if a deity who had descended from the heavens.