345 The Exceptional Masters

    Meng Qi's mouth twitched. That piece of information actually cost a whopping 3,000 Karma points. He truly was a poor person!

    He put this issue aside for the moment and tried to appraise the Five Thunder Bombardment of Sky, checking if their spoils from Zhenwu's Decoy Grave had caused a reduction in the cost of completing it.

    "The Gist of Trueness is incomplete. You can learn only the first move of the Nine Annihilation at Heavenly Nights, the Five Thunder Bombardment of Sky. The completion of the impartation of the Gist of Trueness requires 119,200 Karma points."

    "Completion of the Crippled Move of the Five Thunder Bombardment of Sky requires 4500 Karma points."

    This elated Meng Qi. To think 800 Karma points was decreased in one shot! The four kinds of essences that he had learned were incredibly useful. Huangfu Tao's advice was of great value!

    It seemed like he would have to find a chance to return to the Nine Villages World sometime soon. Firstly, he wanted to trace the Black Tortoise Jade Pendant to complete the second part of the task. Secondly, he wanted to get more reference materials from the descendants or successors of Huangfu Tao. That would once again lower the cost. Who knows if he might be able to comprehend the Dharmakaya move, the Five Thunder Bombardment of Sky, directly... Meng Qi was filled with pride and confidence as these thoughts crossed his mind.

    He took the chance to request for the appraisal of the 'Who am I, I am Who' ink scroll as well as Jiang Hengchuan's mysterious accessories.

    "Dongyang God's handwritten ink scroll, a trigger item. The decryption of its specific use requires 8000 Karma points."

    "Civil Star's accessories. This is a symbolic item containing a special breath imprint for the purpose of identification."

    Sure enough, it was a sign of the Myths... Meng Qi had no use for the accessories at the moment, so he put it back in the room. He tossed the ink scroll into Ruan Yushu's Space Ring. Since it was a trigger item, perhaps they might have a chance to use it in a task. It was better to take it with them!

    He invited Jiang Zhiwei and the others to his room and told them the results of the appraisals to see if there were any other clues.

    Jiang Zhiwei raised her eyebrows and hesitated momentarily before saying, "Patriarch Dharma of the Shaolin Temple once encountered a terrifying demon before his Nirvana. He was finally able to eliminate it after destroying the pure land. Could the demon have cursed the Muscle-bone Strengthening Scripture before it died? Any misstep may trigger the demon's lingering soul and cause the user to slip into the Devil Path."

    Meng Qi had heard his Master mention something like that before. He also thought of the strange phrase, 'The kind and benevolent shall not enter', and barely nodded. "Maybe it's possible."

    Since they were pressed for time, they didn't discuss the matter any further. Meng Qi said, "I won't exchange the Muscle-bone Strengthening Scripture for Karma points. That way, I can share the nine postures with everyone. However, the number of points required to make up for the missing parts and adjust the sequence of the postures won't change. It's the same for everyone, so when you add it up, that'll be 10,000 points. We need to come up with some other way..."

    "If there isn't, then forget it." To begin with, Ruan Yushu had excellent body potential and had already rid of her common body. The arts that she was practicing were also topnotch, so she didn't have any particular desire for the scripture.

    Jiang Zhiwei smiled. "Hold on. We can't take your scripture just like that. You have to wait until we acquire Karma points or find something else to exchange with you, or we wouldn't be able to live with a clear conscience. It's not like we had obtained the scripture together."

    It was the same case with the Transformation Strategy. Back then, they also made it up to Meng Qi with Karma points.

    "Well, no matter what, we have to make it up to you. Since you want to return to the Nine Villages World as soon as possible, whoever gets a Samsara talisman shall give it to you." Qi Zhengyan agreed with Jiang Zhiwei.

    Not everyone had to participate in every part of a series of tasks. As long as they still chose to share, they could still make the choice to go together later. After all, it wasn't easy to obtain a Samsara talisman. They couldn't always gather. Sometimes only one or two of them would be able to complete certain parts together. Since the Nine Villages World had the impartation of Thunder God, Meng Qi was the most suitable person to go there.

    "Okay." Meng Qi took a deep breath. He was the first to step out of the room and walk to the Central Light Pillar to begin his exchange.

    Zhao Heng smiled, keeping his hands behind his back. He had no curiosity about their private conversation, nor did he show any dissatisfaction at being excluded. People always had their share of secrets, and they shouldn't be forced to share them with another in their first meeting.

    Meng Qi had already spent 600 Karma points, leaving him with 1,630 points. He first exchanged for necessities like Recover Pills and Filth-extracting Pills before telling Jiang Zhiwei and the others, "I have the Buddha's Lamp, so it'd be pointless for me to get a Devil-rinsing Charm. I intend to pool together some Karma points to trade my sword for a Precious Weapon. It'd be best if the weapon could be used to restrain evil spirits, zombies, and the like."

    "Not bad. Pick a good one. If you don't have enough points, we can lend you some." Jiang Zhiwei had no objections. Precious Weapons could attack from a distance, and used many times over a long time. On the other hand, Meng Qi wasn't just any ordinary swordsman. His focus was on his physical body, the sword was just a facilitator.

    Ruan Yushu and Qi Zhengyan didn't say much. They scanned the Exchange List to help Meng Qi choose a sword.

    Meng Qi took this opportunity to exchange Meridian for 350 Karma points, as well as Black Butterfly's drug, hidden weapons, and other items for a sum of 250 Karma points. He kept only a bottle of Bone-weakening Mist and Heaven and Earth Converging Darts for himself.

    Time and tide wait for no man, so they quickly made their selections and soon locked onto a particular long sword.

    "Flowing Fire, a Precious Weapon, worth 1,500 Karma points. Its red scales were forged from the Earth Fire of the Eight-part Sky Dragon, keeping its heat within. It can easily cut through metal and capable of raging fires. At full strength, it can bring about a change in nature within a five-mile radius; clouds would burn and fire would flow through the air, turning the area into a fiery hell. If all its power is concentrated, others wouldn't be able to tell the exterior level. Instead, invisible sword Qi will attack. Once the enemy is hit, a flash of Yin fire will rise from the soles of his feet, while the fire from the Eight-part Sky Dragon will shoot down from his mid-brows. When the two flames converge, the enemy will be reduced into ashes."

    It was a bright and beautiful long sword with a red blade that seemed to sway, like a flame that was constantly burning.

    Meng Qi raised the sword and projected his will outward, leaving a mark on the sword. He slowly familiarizes himself with it, growing accustomed to its weight, size, and character.

    The light and shadow changed after about five minutes and the square disappeared before Meng Qi and the others.

    After being in a brief state of vertigo, Meng Qi discovered that he was in a dark night where the cold wind blew. He seemed to be in the wild. On his left was a large heap of rubble that stretched for a long distance. It appeared to be a Taoist temple that had been burned down. He could tell because there were still many halls and rooms around with darkened walls due to the fire.

    "Where is this place?" Meng Qi looked at Zhao Heng. The latter had been to this world, so perhaps he knew where they were.

    Zhao Heng looked around and pointed at a hall among the wreckage. "I see some light over there, so there should be someone. Let's go and ask."

    Since he was confident in the team, he felt that together they had nothing to fear as long as they didn't meet Skyscraping True Devil. Hence, he was bold in deciding to go straight over.

    If Skyscraping True Devil had been there, they would have long sensed its overwhelming Devil Whelm!

    "Sure." Meng Qi, Jiang Zhiwei, and the others exchanged glances but didn't oppose his suggestion. They don't have much time If they wanted to destroy the passage to the Demonic World within a month. After all, the eight demons wouldn't necessarily stay together to torture the living beings there. It was a big world and it would take time to get to each of them.

    Perhaps the difficulty of the mission was time!

    Many Jianghu folks were gathered in the main hall. They were more or less divided into three groups, all with their own leaders.

    One of them had simple features, with a little white hair. He wore a robe. He glanced at everyone and solemnly said, "I don't know where Iron Demon heard that the reason they couldn't get rid of us is that there are three objects suppressing the orthodox fate between heaven and earth. There is one in the ruins of the Evergreen Temple that Gao Zhen left behind. He secretly contacted the three devils and asked them to rush over to destroy it."

    "Fortunately, many people possessed by demons are just temporarily enduring the humiliation and still believe in the right path. They revealed the matter to me. To get ahead of the four devils, I only had the time to contact Madam Tong, the Thunderous Sword Godness, and Mr. Zhu, the Eight-fingered Heavenly Palm. We're still a distance away from joining forces with the four demons."

    "Gao Zhen's relic is hidden in Evergreen Temple. I don't know about their locations, so we must search for them slowly. However, the four devils may arrive and try to stop us any time. It is a very dangerous mission. All you brave heroes, it's still not too late to back out."

    The crude-looking Taoist briefly described the cause of the incident again. He didn't make any kind of motivational speech to encourage people to stay.

    Behind him were several Taoists of both genders, who appeared to have followed him here.

    The leaders of the other two groups were a middle-aged woman in imperial robes and an old man in black robes. They were none other than Tong Yao and Zu Wenzhong that the Taoist had mentioned.

    Tong Yao looked plain, yet fierce and imposing. She carried a sword encased in green leather and spoke in a resolute manner, "We have backed out many times, but if we do so today, I fear that there'll be nowhere left for us to go and there'll be no chance of us ever making a comeback. My disciples aren't willing to be possessed by the demons and will fight to their death if necessary."

    "The seven-foot sword in my hand isn't as good as the Three World-saving Sages, but I'll fight to the death and make sure that the demons suffer plenty."

    Her breath burst out and flourished around her as she spoke, causing the surrounding Upstanding Qi to tremble. It was like there were countless sharp swords waiting to attack.

    Her influence affected most of her disciples, many of whom were women, and they revealed their fervor. Only a few were trembling and didn't dare to look up, but they dared not quit, either.

    The crude-looking Taoist was none other than Taoist Baizhang, the Qi-shaking the World, one of the few Great Masters that the righteous path had left. Together with another monk and a commoner, they were called the Three World-saving Sages. They bore amazing strength, rivaling even the strongest devil beneath Skyscraping True Devil. He sighed. "We're not afraid to die, but our young friends are still in their prime. If they don't want to, please don't force them. Perhaps in the future, one of them may become a hero who will defeat Skyscraping True Devil."

    Zu Wenzhong's hands were clasped behind his back. He looked at the disciples and friends behind him, as well as the Rogue Cultivators who had rushed over upon hearing the news. In a low voice, he said, "You can decide if you want to leave or stay."

    They had all decided to come after hearing the news. Though they couldn't help their fear, they still generously replied, "Our land has fallen into the hands of the demons and the country has been turned into a chaotic state. How can we be content with this fleeting comfort?"

    Taoist Baizhang suddenly looked serious. "Since that's the case, I shall shamelessly issue orders. Madam Tong and Mr. Zu, please join me in watching out for and guarding against the ambush of the four demons. If they arrive, we'll stop them and delay them until our young friends find the relic or evacuate the place."

    "Our young friends will split up and search the Evergreen Temple for Gao Zhen's relic. It should be an ancient tripod."

    "Alright." Tong Yao immediately agreed.

    One of her disciples asked in worry, "Master, the three of you are up against four demons. I fear it'll be difficult. Why don't we split our team up and help with the battle formation?"

    Just as he finished his question, they heard a long laugh and a voice that said, "How could you exclude me from something like this?"

    They saw a young man walking in with his hands behind his back. His clothes were black, lined with dark red thread. He had a gorgeous long sword at his waist. He had handsome facial features and an air of elegance.

    Behind him were four other people, two men and women. The women were beautiful with outstanding dispositions, while the men appeared carefree or steady, both seeming extraordinary as well.

    Taoist Baizhang blurted, "Donor Zhao, the Shocking the Heaven and Earth?"

    He was a rising star whose name had shaken up the world a few years ago. He was a mere step away from rivaling Taoist Baizhang and the others on the same level. With his help, their hope had greatly increased!

    The famous Zhao Heng laughed upon hearing the Taoist's words. "Senior Baizhang, I haven't seen you in a long time. How have you been?"

    So it was the Shocking the Heaven and Earth? Various members of Jianghu whispered among themselves as the tension in their hearts suddenly eased a little. With the help of such a master, it would be possible to block the four demons for a long time.

    Taoist Baizhang looked at Meng Qi and the others behind Zhao Heng smiled and replied, "You haven't returned to Jianghu for many years. I thought the devils killed you."

    Zhao Heng's expression turned serious. "The eight demons are wreaking havoc and causing misery, whereas the righteous path has withered. I have no choice but to go overseas to get help."

    He turned to Jiang Zhiwei, Meng Qi, and the rest and said, "These four are exceptional masters that I've invited from overseas!"

    Exceptional masters? The heroes stared at the newcomers in disbelief.

    When Zhao Heng first made a name for himself, there were people who were astonished by his age. However, this three so-called exceptional masters seemed even younger! A lot younger!
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