More than 10 shadows were sitting on mats on the ground. Amongst them were men, women, and grey-haired elders. Without an exception, they all exuded terrifying Qi. Even though they were sitting there without moving, they suppressed others.
Without a doubt, everyone here was of the completion level.
Under a normal circumstance, powerhouses of this level usually are behind doors training and it's hard to see them, let alone have them all together. The reason why they convened here today was because they received Nan Gong Ru's message and they had to meet here.
What could they do? The mysterious flower had been bothering the Nan Gong Clan for thousands of years. They were near desperation and did not want to give up any hope.
"I have heard of the name Xian Ling, I've also heard of the name Ling Xian. He is a mysterious one." An elderly suddenly said.
"I have heard that name as well." A stocky man nodded, "Legend has it that he passed the test of the Tower of the Seventh Soul and brought great shame to the Chu Clan."
"Yes, the man is a phoenix amongst his own generation. Even the first Hidden Dragon only got to the sixth level yet he passed all the levels. It is unbelievable."
"It is true. The Tower tests the battling capabilities of a cultivator. For him to pass the test means he has reached the limit of the foundational level. He has surpassed the first Hidden Dragon."
"It is hard to believe. Not only is he great in battles, he is also talented in ancient arrays, surpassing Master Jiang. Even thinking about it makes me think this whole thing is insane. How can a 20 something year old be so terrifying?"
Everyone chimed in, their tone full of shock. As they complicated him, a middle aged man sighed, "I still do not believe he can identify the flower and lift the curse."
"Aye, that is true."
Another elderly sighed, "No matter how outstanding he is, he is still so young. There is no way he has the experience needed to lift the horrifying curse."
"That's right. I personally am not that hopeful. So many years have passed and we have invited countless number of talents, nobody could solve our problem. They do not even recognize the flower." An elderly in black sighed. Thinking that he was near death, he couldn't help but to display fear.
"No matter what, he said he has 50 percent chance of succeeding. Then we should wait and see." The first elderly who spoke grinned, "Let us wait and see if he can really identify the flower and solve our curse."
Hearing this, everyone nodded and closed their eyes.
After a while, they heard approaching soft footsteps. Many completion levelled cultivators opened their eyes.
Then, they saw two silhouettes walking by. They recognized one of them and did not pay too much attention on him. Instead, they fixated their gazes on the other silhouette.
The other had a smooth complexion and had straight brows. His demeanor was hard to describe due to its extraordinariness and grace.
It was Ling Xian.
After chatting with Nan Gong Ru, he followed him here to check out the strange flower.
"A multi-talented Heaven's Favorite… his aura alone stands out from the rest." The grey-haired elderly complimented, "You are the Master Xian who brought great astonishment to the island."
"You are flattering me, Senior. It is I." Ling Xian grinned and nodded at everyone.
Everyone nodded back in response with a kind smile. Even the few Elders who did not think he would succeed forced an ugly grin.
If this was anyone else, they would not be so respectful. But who was Ling Xian? Not mention his identity as an array master, his completion levelled cultivation level was enough for them to forget their high status and treat him as if he was of the same level.
"Ah, I cannot accept the Senior title. You are of the completion level and do not pale next to us." The grey haired elderly grinned, his foggy eyes flashed with shock.
The others reacted the same. Though they knew Ling Xian was young, only when they saw him in person, did they realize that the rumors were not exaggerating. Rather, the rumors downplayed him.
He was far too young.
Everyone exclaimed silently as they looked at the elegant Ling Xian. Thinking about him and comparing him to themselves, they thought they had wasted their years.
Then, the completion levelled cultivators exchanged glances and saw the bitterness in each other's eyes.
"You are flattering me again." Ling Xian smiled, unwilling to talk about this topic more. He changed the subject, "I am assuming you all know my intention of being here. Then let's not waste time and lead me to the flower."
The grey haired elder hesitated. After exchanging glances with everyone else, he gritted his teeth, "Okay, Master Xian. Please wait."
Then, he manipulated his Qi. A strange atmosphere dispersed throughout the air, making this palace look even more dark and chilling.
Then, the outline of a black flower appeared between his brows. The symbol was engulfed by black air – looking mysterious and eerie.
"The symbol of curse…"
Ling Xian frowned and helplessly smiled, "Senior, I am not trying to see the symbol of your curse, I wanted to see the flower."
"The curse symbol looks just like the flower itself. Master Xian, you can just look at the symbol." The elderly forced a smile.
What could he do. Every time he displayed the curse symbol, he hurt his own body a little more. But for that sliver of hope of lifting the curse, he had to sacrifice himself.
"Senior, you are not understanding me." Ling Xian didn't know whether to laugh or cry, "I cannot just look at the curse symbol. I have to see the flower itself."
The elderly frowned.
Everyone's expressions darkened as well. The symbol of curse looked exactly like the flower itself. If he truly knew the flower, the symbol itself would suffice. Why must he look at the flower?
How could they know that Ling Xian was only confident because he had the Essence of Herbalism? This Essence would only feed him information if he saw the physical spiritual medicine itself. The curse symbol was useless.
"Master Xian, please forgive my bluntness. But you do not recognize this flower do you?" The elder's expression was cold, doubting Ling Xian's intention.
Ling Xian hesitated. He can't just tell them that he had the Essence of Herbalism. Thus, he smiled helplessly, "Senior, I am here today to genuinely help you. So please take me to the actual flower."
Hearing this, the elderly spoke no more. Everyone held onto their silence as well. However, their faces revealed how much doubt they had. They doubted Ling Xian's ability and doubted his intention.
Ling Xian frowned. Though he understood where they were coming from, he was here to help and received such treatment. He was a little angry.
"If you all question me, then there's not much I can say."
Ling Xian spoke slowly, "Let me say one last thing – I hope you will not regret the decision you made today."
He then paid respect to Nan Gong Ru and got ready to leave.
Seeing this, the elderly gritted his teeth and made an executive decision, "Please stay, I trust you."
"This will be the wisest decision you make in your life." Ling Xian grinned, his confidence lit up the entire a palace, diluting the eeriness of this palace.
Perhaps his confidence infected everyone. Despite everyone's fear, they didn't stop him and silently agreed with the elder's decision.
The elder chuckled and exclaimed, "Master Xian, the reason why we do not want you see the flower is because we are under its curse. Every time we see the flower, the curse gets more severe and we lose at least 30 years of life."
"I see. No wonder then." Ling Xian realized everyone's hardship, "Do not worry, everyone. Once I see the flower, I will find a way to lift the curse."
"I hope so."
The elder sighed, not believing in Ling Xian. But since there was hope, then he will not give it up.
"Everyone, let's all lift the inhibition spell!"
Shouting, the elderly formed a hand seal and a strange rush of power flooded the area.
Everyone else sighed in unison before forming hand seals themselves.
Instantly, an infinitely amount of heavenly light exploded and a tiny jade box appeared in midair. The jade box slowly opened itself and revealed a mysterious flower.
It had a round shape but was missing half of it. Its stem was completely black and dark energy was revolving around it. Like an endless night, it gave off the vibe that there was no light in sight and only desperation remained.
Instantly, everyone's body began to shiver and dark energy circled their heads. Then, their energy began to leave their body and those who were originally in the advanced stage of the completion level dropped down to the intermediate stage.
Their breathing was getting more and more difficult and their faces were turning paler, as if they aged 10 years in an instant.
Just then, the Essence of Herbalism fed all the relevant information about the flower to Ling Xian. Ling Xian's face changed color and uttered out a shocking statement.
"This is… the legendary… Devious Burial Flower."