"Do the two of you want to join Concourse of the Underworld and take our great master as your master?" First Court King Qinguang who heard their reply, almost felt his eyes falling right out of their sockets.
It was not only King Qinguang; the other nine Yama kings were in complete disbelief as well.
Even Yun Yang was stunned, looking like a deer caught in headlights.
What sort of diabolical plot was this all about?
One was the master of The Merciless Tower, another was the head of the Hall of Crimson Blade - both were the leading chiefs of the two largest assassination organizations. Their identities were kept secret, that of the leading ten court kings, King Songdi; they were only slightly below the Yama kings' master, Earth Treasury. Even when both organizations had been severely damaged, it was not yet to the extent of being under somebody else's roof!
Yet, these two men had spoken such things under everyone's watchful gaze. How could it not startle them?
"I know that what we have just said is barely believable, we sincerely wish to be part of the Concourse of the Underworld. To show our sincerity, both of us are willing to make the heaven's vow, and perish we shall should we violate it," Hen Bieli said with sincerity etched across his face.
Despite Earth Treasury's experienced and composed manner, curiosity still got the better of him.
That one word was the honest thought of everyone on the spot.
Making a heaven's vow was no joke. It was a promise that could not be made in jest. This meant that the latter half of Hong Zhan and Hen Bieli's lives were to be tied to Concourse of the Underworld now. The token sum paid was actually little, but why did the pair make such a decision?
If they had done so to acquire the others' trust, it did not seem like they had to go to such an extreme!
Hen Bieli chuckled humorlessly. "I know that what we say sounds preposterous and hardly believable, no matter the listener, but during the battle in Tiantang City, we brothers were blinded by greed. All that was in our minds was to get hold of the dragon hide treasure map - without a care. This caused the force of Tianxuan Continent's assassins to be completely drained in this battle…"
Although his tone was bitter, Hen Bieli's diction was exceptionally clear, without any hesitation. It was evident that he had considered this repeatedly during this period of time. "The assassination career of Tianxuan Continent can be said to have gone to its lowest point, almost irrecoverable. The both of us are guilty in the eyes of the ancestors of the assassination world!"
Hong Zhan continued and said, "Overlooking the whole continent, the Concourse of the Underworld is the only assassination organization whose structure is still intact. I've discussed with big brother, we don't wish to recover the glory and prestige we had in the past; we only ask that we can secure the continuation of the assassination heritage using the remainder of our lives! That's all we ask for!"
"Based on this, while it seems absurd that we're joining Concourse of the Underworld, in actual fact, it's the best option that kills more than two birds for us. As long as we join the Concourse of the Underworld, not only will our safety be ensured, the families of those brothers following us could guarantee an income source. Most importantly… the field of assassination can continue flowing in Tianxuan's martial world."
Hen Bieli nodded, looking emotional. "We're not trying to be dramatic in saying that we don't want the assassination career to be doomed. We're hard-pressed, with enemies everywhere, but with our capabilities, it's not exactly a chore if we wish to keep our peace until our last breath! We're all assassins - we are killers who receive commissions and end lives, but it's still a business that has so much legacy! Assassin - the one who controls the power to kill or leave alive! Maybe the continent will disagree, maybe they'll want us gone, once and for all. This power to kill or leave alive must not be thrown away from our hands! We don't want to see this trade vanishing from the people!"
"So we've come today not asking for cooperation, but only to join in. Our sincerity lies in our willingness to make the heaven's vow - it's also the most credible guarantee we can give!"
Hen Bieli wore white from head to toe while Hong Zhan was clad wholly in black. Both men stood tall like spears, awaiting the reply of Earth Treasury and the ten court kings standing in front of them.
Earth Treasury frowned and said, "I completely believe what you two are saying. However, simple words like these can't conclude your addition to the Concourse of the Underworld. Everything else is not an issue, but you both are pinnacle experts of this realm, your cultivation base has a system of its own. The Concourse of the Underworld's cultivation is different, a complete contrast to the cultivation methods in this continent. Just this aspect has already denied the possibility of you joining the concourse."
"If both of you wish to join the Concourse of the Underworld, you'll have to begin cultivating from zero, practice a cultivation method that's entirely unlike the cultivation you originally do. That means that your proficient cultivation base right now is the greatest obstacle to your addition to the concourse because that very same cultivation base won't only not be beneficial in cultivating the concourse's unique art, it'll bring more harm than good. Would you really be willing to give up the cultivation base you have and redo it again?"
The question drew a frown and a dry chuckle from all ten Yama kings.
Earth Treasury went straight to the point, sharply and unforgiving, but it was an unavoidable crux. If they could not reach a consensus in this, it would be a waste of time, no matter how sincere Hen Bieli and Hong Zhan were.
However, how could a question make such peak forces waste away their cultivation base and rebuild it? It was ridiculous!
At least, the ten Yama kings were certain that they would definitely be reluctant to do so if they were in their place.
"We're willing to!" Unexpectedly, Hen Bieli and Hong Zhan agreed without any hesitation.
The group was rendered speechless for a long time.
Did they really just agree to it?
How could they just agree?
Should they have agreed so easily?
"Senior, while the reason we agreed to remake our cultivation base and restart the practice is to express our sincerity, it's actually also from selfishness. As pinnacle cultivators, we know ourselves well. We know that our cultivation method has no further heritage - there isn't any future path for us. Although we've yet to come to the peak of the pinnacle class, we're not far from it. Yet, as we progress and reach the tip, we'll only stray farther from the real cultivation journey. The essence will essentially be out of our grasp. Overlooking this world, only the Concourse of the Underworld's complete cultivation method can lead us across the boundary of this realm, to go further and higher."
Hen Bienli said rather abashedly, "In fact, this is the main reason we've come forth this time."
"I see." Earth Treasury pondered with a frown and said, "If so, the Concourse of the Underworld can actually take you in - but both of you still have to make the heaven's vow. Once you join the concourse, you'll have to make obsolete your entire cultivation method before you make the switch to the Concourse of the Underworld's art. If you can fulfill these two conditions, I shall allow both your addition to the concourse and appoint you guardian positions."
Hen Bieli and Hong Zhan looked at each other before they nodded immediately and kneeled down on the spot to make their vows. Then, they bowed down nine times in three separate motions to Earth Treasury, completing the procedure of their pledge to serve him as their master formally.
"The initial intention of both your additions to the Concourse of the Underworld was to maintain the assassination industry. The decision to kill or leave alive by the Concourse of the Underworld shall be designated to the both of you," Earth Treasury said, "You're in black and white each, so you shall adopt these two positions - Black and White Impermanence!"
"The presence of Impermanence, the presence of death!"
"Come, let us enter the Haunting Temple! This place is but the best cultivation land for the phantom art."