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Even though Transcendent Mortals were far stronger than Fighters and possessed a significantly greater degree of control over nature, they were still incapable of flight. It was at least seventy to eight meters from the ground to the mechanism on the ceiling, and the surrounding walls were tough and slippery. It was nigh impossible to climb up!
"What can we do then? Are we... supposed to just die like that in here?"
Hearing those words, the hope in everyone's hearts extinguished in an instant.
Since this fellow had failed to possess any single one of them, naturally, he couldn't use his soul oracle abilities. Besides, even if he could, he wasn't trustworthy!
This formed a huge dilemma. If they didn't find a solution, they might just end up being trapped down here for life.
"How about this? One of you all sacrifice yourself to allow me to possess your body so that I can take all of you out. Otherwise, if this goes on, it's just a matter of time before your rations run out, " the tomb owner said.
Given that this was an enclosed space, no matter how much sustenance they had, it would just be a matter of time before it ran out.
Seeing that the fellow hadn't given up yet, Zhang Xuan slapped the lotus in displeasure.
"Shut up, it's not your place to speak here!
"You don't need to worry about how we're going to leave here. You currently have two choices before you. You can choose to become my servant and jot down your soul oracle ability down for me. In exchange, I'll find a way to free you from that lotus."
"Servant?" The tomb owner was taken aback, and he nearly burst into tears. "Aren't I supposed to acknowledge you as my teacher?"
"The offer has already passed. If you'd agreed just now, not only would I have freed you, I'd even have imparted the complete cultivation technique to you so that you wouldn't need to fear the Five Soul Declines. However... it's already too late!" Zhang Xuan waved his hands impatiently.
"I..." The tomb owner sounded a little constipated, and he was so frustrated that he could die on the spot.
That was to be expected. Back then, he'd still possessed the upper hand and had some leverage over the other party. Given the other party's identity as a master teacher, he wouldn't stoop so low as to harm his own student... But now, he was nothing more than a captive. His life and death hinged on a thought of the other party. It was already benevolent of the other party to offer to take him in as his servant.
After a moment of silence, the voice helplessly said, "What's the second option?"
"I'll slowly interrogate you, and once I get my answers, I'll dispose of you!" Zhang Xuan spoke impassively.
He couldn't help but tremble at his words. Even though the other party had spoken calmly, the tomb owner knew that the other party would really do it.
"Alright, I, Mo Hunsheng, am willing to be Zhang shi's servant..."
The fellow before him had overcome his assault, saw through his ploy, and even opened up a sealed Crimson Metal Coffin. His means and capability were way off charts. It would probably be a walk in the park for the other party to eradicate him. There was no need to hesitate at all.
After living for so many years, he understood the value of life.
As long as he could free himself from this wretched lotus, being a servant was the least of his worries.
After making up his mind, the tomb owner prepared to speak when the other party's impatient voice sounded, "What are you trying to do?"
"I'm making a vow..." the tomb owner, Mo Hunsheng, replied.
"What's the use of making a vow? Sign a soul contract! Don't tell me that a soul oracle like you doesn't even know something as basic as this!" Zhang Xuan slapped the lotus.
You must be joking! Given the innumerable mysterious means that soul oracles possess, I would be a fool to trust your vow.
"Soul contract?" The lotus trembled.
He was about to go insane. He thought that he could fool the other party with a show, and as soon as he freed himself from his restraints, he could teach the other party a lesson. Yet, who knew that... the other party didn't even fall for his trick!
A soul contract was something similar to a contract with a tamed beast. Once it was established, one mustn't go against it. Otherwise, one's soul would dissipate.
For a Transcendent Mortal 9-dan expert like him who was just a step away to reaching a whole new realm to sign a contract and become the servant of a Transcendent Mortal 1-dan cultivator?
The more he thought about it, the more frenzied he felt.
"Why? Aren't you willing?"
Just as he was still feeling conflicted, he felt a silver needle pierce him and a surge of pure zhenqi seared his soul.
"AH... I agree..."
It was clear that his life was in the grasp of the other party. Mo Hunsheng dared not hesitate any longer. A white light flashed, and a sliver of soul gushed into Zhang Xuan's head.
Soul contract established!
Sensing his control over the other party's life and death, Zhang Xuan knew that the other party had completely submitted to him. Only then did he flick his wrist and put the lotus away into his storage ring.
Regardless, this was a God artifact. It might be capable of incredible things so he decided to study it after they returned.
After a moment of hesitation, Zhang Xuan turned to Hall Master Sai and the others and said, "I hope that everyone here will refrain from spreading news regarding this lotus!"
Zhao Ya and the others were his student so they were trustworthy. However, the same could not necessarily be said about the rest of the group.
After all, a God artifact was a treasure surpassing that of even Saint artifacts. If news of its existence were to leak, Zhang Xuan would definitely be pursued to the ends of the world.
Even if other people didn't dare to attack him in the open for fear of the backlash from the Master Teacher Pavilion, it was hard to guarantee that they wouldn't resort to underhanded means.
"Zhang shi, rest assured. If I reveal this matter, may the heavens smite me and my soul fall into oblivion!"
Knowing what the other party was worried about, Hall Master Sai raised his hands and vowed to the heavens.
Following which, Zhao Feiwu, Jin Conghai, Gu Mu, Luo Zhu, and the others did the same as well.
They understood the danger behind carrying something beyond one's means to protect.
Zhang Xuan had taken away the most valuable lotus whereas Sun Qiang had kept the other coffins in the first chamber. Given that everyone had worked hard in coming here, they couldn't possibly just leave empty-handed.
Thus, Zhang Xuan pointed to the coffins around and offered, "Un. Since you've all worked hard in coming here, you can't simply leave empty-handed like that. Those coffins were forged by 6-star blacksmiths so they could be considered as treasures as well. I believe they should fetch quite a sum!"
Those were Crimson Metal Coffins forged by 6-star blacksmiths, and they were all extremely resilient. They were of equal quality to Spirit pinnacle weapons even though their utility might not match up to it.
If sold, it could definitely fetch a considerable sum.
"There's no need for it, we ended up contributing nothing at all..."
"Zhang shi, you're being too polite..."
Understanding Zhang Xuan's intentions, the crowd hesitated for a moment before eventually shaking their heads.
If not for Zhang shi, they would have surely all died. To take something on top of that... they were too embarrassed to do so.
But even though they didn't obtain any treasures, they still managed to obtain a part of the Soul Guiding Formula. If they were to study it, it could prove to be beneficial to their cultivation.
"Since you all aren't interested in it, I won't stand on ceremony then. Sun Qiang, collect everything here..."
Before they could finish turning down the offer, Zhang shi's voice sounded once more.
After which, Butler Sun immediately rushed forward excitedly and moved all of the coffins, including the one which Zhang Xuan had wrecked previously, into his storage ring.
"..." The crowd.
The person in front of them was obviously such a formidable master teacher, and if he wished for it, everyone would rush forward to fulfill his demands. Yet, he was still such a scrooge.
That coffin had already broken into numerous fragments and yet he was still collecting all of the pieces, one at a time. If he could, would he go to the extent of even dismantling the mechanical system?
Just as they were thinking so, the other party's voice sounded, "Sun Qiang, bring Little Mo around and take away all of the traps that can be dug up. Those are good items!"
"..." The crowd.
"Cough cough... Zhang shi, it's still too early to be scavenging for treasure. Regardless of whether it is the mechanical traps or the coffin, we have to first be able to get out first..."
Choking on her saliva, Zhao Feiwu couldn't help but say.
The most important issue at hand was neither the revelation of the existence of the lotus or the scavenging of the mechanical traps and coffins... It was to find a way to leave this area!
Given that the Dragon Severing Lock was in place, the group couldn't go back the way they'd come from. On top of that, they were incapable of flight as well. If so, how were they supposed to leave here?
If they couldn't leave this area, it would be meaningless even if he were to take everything of value here.
"Get out? Hasn't Little Mo spoken about that already? There's a path on top!"
Zhang Xuan pointed.
Seeing how the other party lack of depth in thoughts, everyone was speechless. Zhao Feiwu rolled her eyes and replied, "But... it's so high! We aren't able to fly so how are we supposed to leave?"
"It's just flying," Zhang Xuan replied nonchalantly. "I can do it!"
"You can do it?"
Shocked, everyone widened their eyes in shock.
Are you for real?
Even a Transcendent Mortal 9-dan expert was incapable of flight, and yet, you, a Transcendent Mortal 1-dan cultivator, said that you are... able to do it?
Nodding his head casually, Zhang Xuan explained, "It's just an ability of a Celestial Master Teacher, it's nothing much!"
Just like the lotus, the issue regarding the Red Dust Heaven Ascending Steps should not be made known to outsiders. However, given the circumstances, Zhang Xuan couldn't possibly hide his ability of flight any longer. Thus, he decided to attribute the matter to an ability of a Celestial Master Teacher.
In any case, Celestial Master Teacher was a completely spontaneous event and not everyone would be able to become one. Even if one was jealous, there was nothing one could do about it.
Besides, there had only been one Celestial Master Teacher in the world before Zhang Xuan—Kong shi. Thus, no one could say for sure whether Celestial Master Teachers were capable of flight or not, and there was no way they could verify it as well. As such, this was the ideal excuse.
Everyone was on the verge of puking blood.
That was flying... It was something that even Transcendent Mortal 9-dan experts were incapable of. Yet, why do you think of it as easy as though going to the market to buy cabbage?
At the same time, they also felt perplexed. Were Celestial Master Teachers really granted the ability of flight as well?
But... they didn't recall seeing it in any of the books regarding Kong shi?
Even so, Celestial Master Teachers were a mysterious existence, and so, no one could say what they were capable of for sure.
"Wait here for a moment!"
Driving his zhenqi, Zhang Xuan began rising up into the sky, flying swiftly toward the mechanism at the ceiling.
Red Dust Heaven Ascending Steps—Parallel Heaven Scroll!
Back when Zhang Xuan was at Half-Transcension, he could only sustain himself for a few breaths before falling down. Now that he was at Transcendent Mortal 1-dan pinnacle, his zhenqi had become purer and thus, the duration he could sustain himself had increased.
His limit was currently dozens of breaths.
In this short period of time, it was impossible for him to travel a great distance. Even so, opening a tunnel and flying out of it was a simple task.
"He's really flying?"
Seeing Zhang Xuan floating up, the mouths of the crowd twitched violently.
Flight had always been one of the greatest dreams of mankind. Yet, a Transcendent Mortal 1-dan was currently soaring in the air...
This was way too fearsome!
"It's best not to reveal anything regarding Celestial Master Teachers and soul oracles to anyone else... Zhang shi is a person who will achieve great things in the future. We cannot afford to offend such a person!"
After a long moment of silence, the same thought appeared in everyone's mind.
A hero would eventually shake the world with his name, a dragon would eventually dominate the skies.
A person destined for great things could only be befriended. By no means should one ever offend such a person.
And Zhang shi...
... was such a person.