Chapter 1011: Earthleaf King
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
At this very moment, Ruo Qingyuan's heart had already stopped. His already wounded body was withered, creating the impression that his skin was just clinging off his bones. His eyes were bulging from their sockets, as if he had witnessed something horrifying. His right fist was tightly clenched around a bottle of poison, but it seemed like he hadn't had a chance to use it before he was killed.
"Is that it?"
Gazing at the scene from above, Poison Master Bai seemed to have noticed something from examining the corpse, so he turned to Poison Master Hai to seek his opinion on the matter.
"Yes, it seems so…" The latter nodded his head grimly.
"Exactly what I thought!" Poison Master Bai narrowed his eyes, and with a tone that felt as sharp as a knife, dripping with bone-chilling killing intent, he spat, "The Otherworldly Demonic Tribe…"
Upon hearing those words, Zhang Xuan frowned. "You are saying that… Hall Master Ruo Qingyuan was killed by the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe?"
While the reputation of poison masters wasn't good, they hadn't sided with the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe entirely back during the war, and they hadn't been in contact with them ever since. Otherwise, no matter how deep the Poison Hall had hidden, the Master Teacher Pavilion would surely have found and eradicated them completely.
Considering that they hadn't been in contact, it was bizarre that an Otherworldly Demon would suddenly appear here and even kill a hall master. What was going on?
Furthermore, hearing the other party's tone, it seemed as if they had already confirmed the matter.
Poison Master Bai nodded as he explained, "Hall Master Ruo's corpse is withered; this shows that his blood essence has been sapped dry. That is an ability that only the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe possesses."
"His blood essence was sapped dry?" Activating his Eye of Insight, he turned his gaze toward Hall Master Ruo's corpse once more to examine it, and his complexion turned incredibly awful.
Just as the other party had said, the hall master's blood essence had indeed been devoured by something. It was extremely horrifying.
Blood essence was the foundation of a human's vitality. For it to have been forcefully sapped dry, the excruciating pain that Hall Master Ruo had suffered in the process was unimaginable. This was an extremely vicious method of murdering another!
"This is the offensive means of the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe?" Zhang Xuan was astonished.
While he had faced quite a number of Otherworldly Demons to date, more often than not, he had been able to kill his opponent before the other party had been able to make a move against him. As such, he didn't really have much of an understanding regarding the callous means utilized by the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe. However, in the moment that he saw the corpse of Hall Master Ruo, he finally understood why the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe was so deeply feared by all of the races, including the humans.
To sap all of a person's blood essence was no different from eradicating one's existence. No proficiency in the Way of Medicine could bring back a man who had lost his blood essence.
A thought flashed across Poison Master Bai's mind, and he exclaimed in astonishment, "The Otherworldly Demons must be here to snatch the booklet!"
For an Otherworldly Demon to have struck the moment Ruo Qingyuan entered the Mausoleum of Hall Masters to retrieve the booklet… it couldn't possibly have been a coincidence.
Hearing Poison Master Bai's analysis, Poison Master Hai nodded grimly in agreement as a sharp glint flashed across his eyes. "Considering that we heard Ruo Qingyuan's voice not too long ago, it is apparent that it hasn't been long since he was killed. Most likely, the murderer should still be in the vicinity. If we give chase right now, we might still be able to catch up with that scoundrel."
Right after saying those words, Poison Master Hai immediately scanned his surroundings with an intent gaze, seemingly trying to make out the location of the fleeing Otherworldly Demon. A moment later, he shook his head helplessly.
The Otherworldly Demon might have fled hurriedly right after killing Hall Master Ruo in a single strike, but he had also made sure to erase his trail so that no one would be able to follow him easily. Considering how big the island was and how powerful the Otherworldly Demon seemed to be, it would be impossible for them to catch up with the other party if they were to get the direction wrong at first.
"Let me take a look!" Zhang Xuan narrowed his eyes as he began scanning the surroundings.
They had rushed over at top speed right after hearing the commotion, but typically speaking, there shouldn't have been time for the Otherworldly Demon to get too far away.
As long as the Otherworldly Demon hadn't left the island yet, it would be possible to catch up with and subdue the other party with the strength that Poison Master Bai and Poison Master Hai's possessed, allowing them to exact vengeance for Hall Master Ruo.
Studying the depression carefully with the Eye of Insight, it didn't take long for a faint trail to appear in Zhang Xuan's sight.
"The Otherworldly Demon went that way!" Zhang Xuan pointed.
Upon seeing the direction that Zhang Xuan was pointing at, Poison Master Bai and the others couldn't help but be perplexed.
The direction pointed was the very direction they had come from.
On their way to the Mausoleum of Hall Masters, they hadn't seen anyone escaping. Furthermore, considering that they were in the base of the Poison Hall, shouldn't the assassin have been trying everything in his means to escape at this very moment? To be heading to the heart of their base at this very moment instead of fleeing, wasn't the other party courting death?
It was not that they were unwilling to trust this 'Sun Qiang' person, but without the will of the founder, the other party was a mere Nascent Saint cultivator. It was indeed a little difficult to believe that he was capable of tracking down the trail of a Saint 4-dan expert when even a Saint 5-dan expert like Poison Master Hai was helpless before the matter.
The booklet could very well disappear forever should they allow the murderer to escape with it. Knowing that there was no time for an explanation, he hurriedly beckoned the others to follow him before flying in the direction of the trail.
Seeing how affirmative the other party was, Poison Master Bai and Poison Master Hai decided to toss aside their doubts for the moment and hurriedly pursued 'Sun Qiang'.
Not too long after leaving the Mausoleum of Hall Masters, Zhang Xuan suddenly came to a halt. He scanned his surroundings carefully, and a deep frown emerged on his forehead.
The Otherworldly Demon was extremely cunning. There had still been a trail a moment ago, but it had abruptly disappeared at this point. Even through his Eye of Insight, there was no sign of the other party anywhere.
However, this sufficed to show that the Otherworldly Demon didn't have any time to get away yet and could very well be hiding in the area.
"Where is he?"
The surroundings were mainly flat. There were a couple of low-lying buildings and miscellaneous plants scattered around the area, but from the sky, it was possible to catch a bird's eye view of everything easily. If the other party was truly in the area, there was nowhere he could hide himself.
"Unless…" Zhang Xuan lowered his head as his eyes narrowed.
Since the other party was neither in the sky nor on the ground, that only left a single possibility… the other party was underground!
However, there was not a hole to be found on the ground. There didn't seem to be any way they could get into the ground to pursue the other party.
Noticing Zhang Xuan directing a doubtful gaze on the ground, Poison Master Bai walked up to him and asked, "What? Are you suspecting that the Otherworldly Demon is hiding underground?"
"Un." Zhang Xuan nodded. "The trail ends right here. Other than underground, I cannot think of anywhere else."
"This isn't a difficult problem to resolve. To know whether the other party is underground or not, we just have to check it a little," Poison Master Bai replied.
In the next moment, a brilliant glow emanated from his Yuanshen acupoint as a figure that shared the same facial features as Poison Master Bai slipped out from it.
Separation of the Primordial Spirit from the physical body!
With a light movement, Poison Master Bai's Primordial Spirit slipped into the ground and disappeared from sight.
Primordial Spirits were similar to souls in many ways. Unlike physical bodies, they were capable of warping their form freely, allowing them to pass through most impediments easily. As tough as the ground was, there were still small pores in between that allowed a Primordial Spirit to slip in easily.
Not too long after Poison Master Bai's Primordial Spirit descended into the ground, the crowd suddenly felt the earth beneath their feet shaking violently. Following which, a figure abruptly burst out with a resounding explosion.
"Where do you think you are escaping to?"
As soon as that figure appeared, Poison Master Hai responded swiftly and charged up with a deafening bellow. Gathering immense strength in his hands, he formed a massive palm, which tore down the buildings and trees in the surroundings before it could even strike the ground.
At this moment, Poison Master Hai was already a Saint 5-dan expert. Even the most casual of actions from him wielded the strength to move mountains and split oceans, making it hard for anyone to stand against him.
Upon seeing the devastating attack launched by Poison Master Hai, the figure knew that he would surely die if he were to be struck by the attack. Thus, he curled himself into a bundle in the sky and descended like a streak of lightning back to the ground.
The speed he was moving at was even faster than when he had leaped out from the ground earlier.
Falling toward the ground at such unbelievable speed, everyone thought that the figure would surely incur severe injuries upon impact. Yet, contrary to all expectations, the figure disappeared into the ground as if a water droplet falling into a pile of sand, disappearing within the soil in the blink of an eye.
"This is… the Art of Earth Traversing!" Poison Master Hai exclaimed in shock.
His strike had created a huge hole in the ground, but the enemy was nowhere to be seen. Alarmed, his eyes narrowed warily.
"Art of Earth Traversing?" Zhang Xuan asked doubtfully, having never heard of the name before.
"It is an ability that runs through a unique bloodline that grants one's body the ability to travel freely underground just like a Primordial Spirit, never hindered by anything in one's path." After swiftly explaining the matter to Zhang Xuan, Poison Master Hall bellowed loudly, "Bai Ting, you chase him beneath. I will wait above and strike him as soon as he surfaces. No matter what, we can't allow that fellow to escape!"
"Alright!" Beneath the ground, Poison Master Bai's voice sounded.
Moving in the form of his Primordial Spirit, he could travel freely through the pores of the earth. With two Saint 5-dan experts collaborating with one another, one working on the surface and the other one beneath the ground, it would be impossible for the enemy to escape even if he possessed the ability to traverse through earth freely!
Boom boom boom!
A series of intense tremors struck the area, and various buildings in the area fell easily as if they were simply piles of hay. Examining the situation from the sky, Zhang Xuan and the others couldn't help but feel as if there were two mighty dragons clashing with one another beneath the ground, creating huge shockwaves through the ground with each blow they traded.
Huge cracks emerged on the surface, and they swiftly crept along the surface, covering more and more ground. A turbid gush of smoke burst forth from a couple of these cracks, and the temperature in the area rose. Soon, the smoke dissipated to reveal flurrying lava within the cracks.
Poison Master Bai had barely made the breakthrough to Saint 5-dan just a moment ago, so he was still unable to control his strength perfectly. It was one thing to battle in the sky, but to clash beneath the ground… This was indubitably bringing a catastrophe upon the Poison Hall!
If the battle between Zhang Xuan's physical body and Hall Master Ruo had resulted in the loss of precious historical architecture of the Poison Hall, the battle between Poison Master Bai and the Otherworldly Demon would be no different from bringing utter ruination upon the Poison Hall!
The trembling earth felt as if a massive beast had come to life, reducing innumerable exquisitely designed buildings to rubble.
After a long period of time, a figure finally darted out of the earth once more. This time, his movement wasn't as nimble as before. As soon as he appeared, he spurted a mouthful of blood, and he crashed heavily to the ground.
Poison Master Hai, who had been waiting patiently outside for the prey to be driven over to his side, swiftly spread open his fingers and grabbed forward. Numerous surges of zhenqi crossed with one another to form a firm cage around the figure, sealing the other party's movements.
"As expected, it really is an Otherworldly Demon!" At this point, Zhang Xuan finally got a clear look at the other party's appearance, and a deep frown surfaced on his forehead.
The other party bore some semblance to the Goldenleaf King and the other Otherworldly Demon Kings he had killed before. On top of that, the other party emanated a sharp aura, which clearly revealed his Saint 4-dan cultivation.
The Violetleaf King discreetly sent a telepathic message to Zhang Xuan discreetly from the Myriad Anthive Nest. "Young Master, that person is the Earthleaf King! He is also one of the Ten Great Kings of our Qingtian Lineage. His fighting prowess might be beneath mine, but he possesses the ability of earth traversing, allowing him to easily escape from any crises. He is our most capable scout!"
The Violetleaf King was a Saint 4-dan expert, so as long as Zhang Xuan permitted him to, the other party could easily extend his Spiritual Perception beyond the Myriad Anthive Nest to detect what was happening in the area.
Zhang Xuan couldn't help but ask, "Earthleaf King? Another one of the Ten Great Kings? Why would he be here?"
He seemed to be meeting the Ten Great Kings of the Qingtian Lineage everywhere he went. So far, he had already encountered half of them, and he had successfully killed or forced them to submit to him thus far.
Honestly speaking, had Poison Master Bai and Poison Master Hai not made a breakthrough to Saint 5-dan, there was no way they would have been able to capture the other party, considering the other party's ability to travel freely underground.
After a moment of contemplation, the Violetleaf King revealed his deduction. "My guess is that the Qingtian Emperor didn't feel secure entrusting the vital mission of acquiring the map to me and the Waterleaf King, so just to be safe, he secretly sent the Earthleaf King over to carry out the mission should the both of us fail. Most likely, the fellow must have followed you and Elder Xu here!"
The Otherworldly Demonic Tribe was unaware of the location of the Poison Hall, or else he and the Waterleaf King wouldn't have resorted to ordering the city lord to search for the Sepulture Flower all around the city to lure an elder of the Poison Hall to them.
Thus, for the Earthleaf King to suddenly appear in the Poison Hall, chances were that he had been trailing them all along.
Zhang Xuan shook his head. "That's not necessarily so. I think that it is more likely that he might have gotten into the Poison Hall by following Poison Master Bai and Poison Master Hai."
Knowing that the Otherworldly Demons were after the map as well, Zhang Xuan had made sure to proceed very carefully when he left Jingyuan City. If there had been someone following him, he would have surely noticed it.
On the other hand, Poison Master Bai and Poison Master Hai probably didn't think that there would be anyone following them, thus creating an opening for the Earthleaf King to exploit.
Had it been anyone else, the powerful formation of the Poison Hall would have surely kept them at bay. However, considering that it was the Earthleaf King who was skilled in the Art of Earth Traversing they were talking about, the other party just might have been able to burrow his way through the formation with relative ease.
After making his way into the Poison Hall, the Earthleaf King had been camping underground, not daring to make a reckless move in fear of the retaliation of the Poison Hall. It was only when he heard that Hall Master Ruo was going to acquire the booklet alone that he secretly followed the other party, striking the moment that the other party took out the booklet.
Based on what he had planned earlier, he had thought that he would surely be able to get away easily with his ability to traverse through earth. Yet, who could have thought that Poison Master Bai and Poison Master Hai would suddenly make breakthroughs overnight, thus granting them the strength to corner him, rendering him incapable of escaping. 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far