He had made sure to proceed very carefully this time around ever since he nearly lost his life from the previous assassination. He used Luo Ruoxin's disguise amulet to alter his appearance, soul aura, voice, and even his bloodline. Whenever he used his Gods' Sword Intent, he tried his best to conceal the nature of his swordsmanship as well.
No matter how discerning the Hall of Gods was, he was confident that he would have been able to fool them!
Yet, he was still seen through so easily... Not to mention, the other party was affirmative that he was indeed Zhang Xuan, assaulting him without the slightest hint of hesitation.
Even if news of his whereabouts had leaked somehow, he would have expected the Hall of Gods to harbor some reservation upon seeing him.
Or could it be that the Hall of Gods had some unique means of tracking him? If so, that would really be a huge disaster!
"Indeed," the youth replied. "The fact that you were able to slay four of our warriors shows that you are fairly strong yourself. However, this will be where your luck comes to an end."
Meanwhile, Zhang Xuan quickly assessed the current situation he was in.
Given his previous experience with the Hall of Gods, he knew that it would be impossible for him to break apart the folded space unless he were to kill these three Heavenly High Immortals in front of him.
He had faced only one Heavenly High Immortal the previous time around, but that was already more than enough to force him to a corner. Yet, he had to face three of them simultaneously this time around, and it was clear that every single one of them was stronger than the black-robed expert he had faced previously.
This was really a disadvantageous situation for him.
"Let's make a move together. If we were to fail this time too, our master will really kill us!" the youth said as he raised his palm and made the first blow.
His five fingers felt like five heavy mountains descending from the sky, crushing everything that stood in its way. At the same time, the other two also charged forth and flanked Zhang Xuan by his sides.
"Go!" Zhang Xuan immediately patted his tamed beast sack.
The four immortal beasts that he had tamed flew out.
The Serpentine Dragon charged toward the youth coming from the front whereas the Nine-headed Fiery Phoenix and the Seven-tailed Swordfang Tiger faced the other two Heavenly High Immortals coming from the sides.
"A child's play!'
The youth coming at Zhang Xuan from the front was slightly surprised by the appearance of the four immortal beasts, but in the blink of an eye, he had regained his calm. With a light chuckle, he continued pressing his palm downward.
The Serpentine Dragon felt as if it was pinned to the ground by five towering mountains. No matter how it exerted its strength, it was unable to move an inch at all.
While the leading youth in front was busy dealing with the Serpentine Dragon, Zhang Xuan made use of this opening to charge forward. Driving the Gods' Sword Intent, it was as if his entire body had morphed into an incomparably sharp blade.
With his opponents being three Heavenly High Immortals from the Hall of Gods, he dared not to let his guard down at all. He had to eliminate one of them as soon as possible in order to even out the scales.
Otherwise, once they were to successfully encircle him, he would be placed in a difficult position.
Furthermore, he didn't have a golden page with him at the moment. If he were to be defeated here, it would really be the end of him!
The youth in front didn't expect Zhang Xuan to be able to have such a keen grasp of timing, making use of the exact moment he was subduing the Serpentine Dragon to execute his offense.
He immediately whipped out a sword to deflect Zhang Xuan's attack.
His sword felt chilling and sinister, leaving goosebumps rising all over one's body. Nevertheless, as soon as a sword was in his hand, his aura suddenly surged.
It was a Heavenly High Immortal-tier weapon!
In terms of its sharpness, it was even above that of the Tongshang Sword.
The youth slashed his sword several times, releasing innumerable outbursts of sword qi that gushed right toward the charging Zhang Xuan.
If Zhang Xuan were to be struck by this attack, not only would his assault fail, most likely, he might even end up losing a limb as well.
Despite facing such an imposing attack, Zhang Xuan didn't retreat at all. Instead, with a furious war cry, he continued pushing his way forward.
"You are courting death!" the youth sneered coldly as he focused all of his strength on his sword, intending to overwhelm Zhang Xuan with this single blow.
But all of a sudden, his grip loosened.
The body of the youth froze on the spot.
To his horror, the Heavenly High Immortal-tier which he was brandishing imposingly a moment ago had vanished without a trace!
When did it happen?
Without his sword sustaining them, his sword qi swiftly dissipated as well. Before the youth could even react, Zhang Xuan's sword had already pierced into the youth's palm, skewering him all the way to up his shoulder.
Following that, he immediately infused sword qi into his sword frenziedly.
With a resounding explosion, the youth's arm was blown into bits.
"AHHH!" the youth cried in agony as he hurriedly retreated.
Zhang Xuan intended to chase after the youth, but at the critical moment, he chose to back away instead.
Right after Zhang Xuan retreated, several bursts of sword qi sliced through the area where he was standing a moment ago. When he glanced at the sides, he found the Serpentine Dragon, Nine-headed Fiery Phoenix, and White-eared Fox lying on the ground feebly.
In that short encounter with the experts from the Hall of Gods, they had already sustained heavy wounds.
The ones who had just made a move on him were, of course, the other two youths.
He had barely managed to inflict a single strike on the leading youth when the two youths had already defeated all four of his tamed beasts... This was much faster than he had expected.
Furthermore, it didn't seem like they had sustained any injuries while defeating the four immortal beasts.
The situation really wasn't looking good at all. The leading youth might have lost an arm, but that only translated to a slight loss in fighting prowess. With the loss of his four immortal beasts, he was in an even more perilous position than before.
At this moment, the leading youth had already managed to regain his footing in the battle. He forcefully clotted the gaping wound on his shoulder in order to stop the bleeding before taking out a metal seal with a flick of his wrist.
As an Earthly High Immortal-tier artifact, this metal seal wasn't as powerful as the earlier sword. However, due to its heavy material, it felt frighteningly heavy.
"Go!" the leading youth tossed the metal seal out.
Zhang Xuan immediately felt as if he was shrouded by a towering mountain. It felt like his body had been bound by some shackles which he was unable to struggle free from.
The Tongshang Sword was of higher tier than the metal seal, but the metal seal was simply too heavy. Even with Zhang Xuan's superior swordsmanship, it would be difficult for him to confront the metal seal directly. This was similar to how a rapier would never be able to best a mace in a direct clash no matter how powerful the rapier was.
"Hahaha! Let me see how you will deal with this!"
Seeing that Zhang Xuan had been shackled down by the pressure of the metal seal, one of the youths sneered coldly as they charged toward Zhang Xuan and thrust their palms toward him.
As long as they could incapacitate Zhang Xuan, they would be able to succeed in their mission. In any case, the only requirement they had was for the latter to not be dead, so it didn't matter how severely injured he was.
"You should watch with your eyes wide open then!"
As the palm thrust from the youth swiftly approached Zhang Xuan, the latter suddenly burst into laughter instead.
In the next instant, the metal seal in the sky suddenly vanished without a trace, causing the shackles weighing down Zhang Xuan to vanish. Making full use of this opportunity, Zhang Xuan immediately brandished his sword at the youth before him.
Puhe! Puhe! Puhe!
Just like that, the youth had all of his vitals punctured by a flurry of sword qi. With an indignant look in his eyes, he collapsed to the ground.
He wouldn't have expected the metal seal to vanish all of a sudden, freeing the young man who should have been immobilized. He also hadn't expected the young man to have charged up so many sword qi, waiting just for an opportunity to make his move.
After slaying one of the youths, Zhang Xuan exhaled deeply, but he dared not to let down his guard.
In order to bait one of them, he intentionally withstood the pressure from the metal seal. Furthermore, in order to ensure a kill, he pushed his sword qi to his limits earlier, causing quite a few meridians to rupture.
He wasn't in a very good state, but he knew that this wasn't time for him to rest yet.
The other youth had noticed that he was in a weakened state, and it was apparent the other party just wasn't going to allow him to catch his breath. While he was making his move, the other party had already circled to his back to launch a devastating palm strike.
The powerful outburst of strength caused Zhang Xuan's body to ricochet into the air. The strike was so powerful that Zhang Xuan's body went completely limp as it flew across the air, seemingly having lost all senses.
It was as if that strike had killed him.
The eyebrows of the youth shot up in alarm.
He had made sure to hold back earlier out of fear that he might accidentally bring about Zhang Xuan's death. If the latter were to die, there was no way he would be able to face the master!
Yet, for Zhang Xuan's body to go completely limp, could he have struck a vital and killed him by accident?
This couldn't be! This mustn't be!
He would be slaughtered if that was the case!
Worried, the youth immediately rushed toward Zhang Xuan's completely still body, wanting to see what was going on. However, his vision suddenly blurred as a figure appeared before him.
The figure standing before him was dressed in the exact same clothes as him, but the other party wasn't a member of their group. He was one of the black-robed Heavenly True Immortal experts who had failed the previous mission!
Just as the youth was wondering why this fellow would suddenly appear before him, he suddenly felt an intense pain in his throat.
He lowered his gaze to take a look... Padah!
His head rolled off his neck.
The truth was that Zhang Xuan had brought out not one but two Soulless Metal Humanoids. While the attention of the youth was captured by the first Soulless Metal Humanoid, the other one executed a sword art and lopped off the youth's head.
Under normal circumstances, such a ploy wouldn't have succeeded. However, all of the abrupt situations occurring one after another in quick succession had unnerved the youth's heart, causing his guard to be down for a brief moment. This created an opening for the Soulless Metal Humanoid to strike.
Pu! Pu! Pu!
In the next moment, however, Zhang Xuan's limp body crashed heavily onto the ground and coughed three mouthfuls of blood.
Through utilizing the Dongxu Gourd's ability and the Soulless Metal Humanoids, he had managed to take down two of his opponents within five breaths since the start of the battle. With this, he had finally managed to balance the scales.
But he had to put his own body on the line in order to do so, and he was on the verge of reaching his limits.
This was especially so when he intentionally took a palm from one of the youths in order to trick him.
If not for his Heaven's Path Divine Art and the other party holding back, he might have really lost his life then.
Zhang Xuan swiftly took out a jade bottle and gulped it down. Gradually, he could feel his injuries recovering. Heaving a sigh of relief, he turned his gaze to the final youth, the one who had lost an arm.
"Why does your master want to capture me?"
Even though Zhang Xuan had heard that it was due to him comprehending the Gods' Sword Intent, he didn't think that it made much sense.
The Gods' Sword Intent was indeed formidable, but it didn't seem likely for an organization as lofty as the Hall of Gods to stoop so low as to make a move on a mere True Immortal realm cultivator.
Furthermore, they seemed far too desperate to capture him alive.
The clues simply didn't link together. He felt that something was amiss, but he simply couldn't put his finger on what was wrong.
You aren't qualified to know," the youth replied coldly.
To be honest, he was taken aback by the situation as well. He would have never thought that a person who was an entire cultivation realm weaker than them would actually be able to lop off his arm and slay two of his peers within five breaths.
Realizing how fearsome the young man before him was, his face turned livid.
The master was already very displeased at the failure the previous time around. If he were to fail this mission as well...
He shuddered to imagine the fate that awaited him! The master possessed means that could make a person never so much in his life desire death!
Thus, he took a deep breath and narrowed his eyes.
"The master was right. You are a fearsome opponent. I didn't want to use the treasure which the master has bestowed upon me on you, but it seems like I have no other choice now..."
With a flick of his wrist, a round plate-like object floated into the air. As soon as it appeared, cracks began appearing in the surrounding space.
"A Semi-Divinity artifact?" Zhang Xuan's eyes narrowed into slits.