A deathly silence ensued, everyone put up their guards, with eyes darting everywhere for any incoming blow. As the stalemate continued, the pressure only mounted, visible from the sweat pouring out of them.
It was an 8th layer of Bone Tempering cultivator who gave the start, flying all of a sudden and landing dead. The others jerked and saw Kui Lang letting his hand down.
“If you don’t fight, I will do it for you until I reach the quota. As for who the poor devils are, time will tell.” Kui Lang’s eyes glinted.
The crowd tensed harder, their eyes turning crazy.
Someone took out a demonic treasure and hacked around him while the rest unleashed their power and picked their closest neighbor.
Wails, shouts and cries set the stage for the blood spurting everywhere, dying the lit cavern an eerie red.
Corpses littered the ground as they fell, yet their eyes did not have the panic or shock one would assume, but only fear mixed with madness.
Zhuo Fan took it all in with a critical eye. [It is madness born out of dread and horror. What started as a fight for survival has devolved into this fanatic killing into oblivion, forgetting even their goal.]
In a slaughterhouse like this, their inner demons took control while they only played along as puppets on a string to kill and kill with empty minds consumed by a sick thrill.
This was the Asura Circle, a place where one became demons and stopped being human…
One 3rd layer of Profound Heaven expert lost his mind in the madness and targeted Zhuo Fan, despite the obvious three layer gap.
Zhuo Fan was tranquil while standing there, breaking his bones and tendons with practiced ease.
But not even that agony could wipe the manic grin on the corpse’s face.
Zhuo Fan shook his head, his mind lacking sadness or joy, only having serenity.
He just stood there among the fanatic killings, unmarred and untouched by its corrupting influence. Only making a move when an overzealous killer went for him.
As if he was the eye of the storm, despite the frantic winds lashing at his clothes, his steel will never wavered.
At the same time, he was glaringly obvious in the circle.
“What’s with him?” Kui Lang frowned, pointing Zhuo Fan out, “Such a bloodthirsty arena makes even my blood boil a bit, so why is he the only one unaffected? It’s like he isn’t even here.”
Yue Ling frowned, “He is truly an oddity, unlike how a demonic cultivator should be, or any cultivator for that matter. This stage would make even righteous cultivators turn to bloodlust, but he… “
“He’s a true expert.”
Elder Yuan rubbed his beard, staring at Zhuo Fan with a deep look, “Everyone has their demons. As demonic cultivators, we draw them out and refine them to achieve enlightenment about the inner workings of the world. But most people only glare at the surface of their demons, resulting in being consumed by them in a bloodbath like this. Except him, having understood the root of his demons and having tempered his heart to another level, a true demon. The inner demon has no hold over him, while he has it in complete control.”
Elder Yuan sighed, “So young, yet he has such a deep heart. It will bring him a limitless future.”
Elder Yuan was full of praise, making Kui Lang and Yue Ling speechless.
[When did the old timer turn into a sage? And why is he talking gibberish?]
“Old Yuan, have you lost it?” Kui Lang stared at him.
Elder Yuan chuckled, finding himself under their scrutiny, “Ha-ha-ha, it’s just my feelings. Please don’t mind it. I was just saying that Zhuo Fan is special, someone you should get close to.”
Kui Lang decked Elder Yuan and spat, “So your act is to have us look after him? Think you’re an expert with your aphorisms?”
“Ha-ha-ha, yeah, I won’t ever do it again.” Elder Yuan smiled.
The two shared a glance and shrugged.
The old foggie wasn’t much to look out, yet his act and preaching almost had them.
[It gives credence to the saying, the old are hypocrites. And this old guy must’ve made it into an art…]
An hour into the killings, the Asura Circle’s reverberating roars and shouts of murder never let up, time in which the ever collected Zhuo Fan figured he could do some fishing among the chaos while waiting.
Kui Lang figured the killing was enough and sounded the bell.
Though it wasn’t that easy pulling their minds out of their demons’ control.
No choice but for Kui Lang and Yue Ling to let their voices out, “Cease at once!”
The thunderous sound echoed in the cave so much even the ground shook. The two’s powerful soul, along with their voices, yanked their minds into collapsing.
The crazed killing field turned deathly silent.
The living participants held their heads and groaned while flouncing around. The dead forever remained still among the pool of blood; their eyes open, bloodthirsty yet empty.
Kui Lang saw Yue Ling’s nod and said, “This should last them two months.”
Yue Ling returned the nod, having a rare smile on her lips…
But just then, Kui Lang’s smile froze and his eyes widened.
“What’s wrong?” Yue Ling raised an eyebrow.
Kui Lang lifted a shaky arm to point.
Yue Ling found herself experiencing the same shock as him.
There, Zhuo Fan stood just like before, watching his neighbors with self confidence.
“That’s not possible. We used Bewitching Whispers together. Why is he still standing?” Yue Ling couldn’t make sense of it.
Kui Lang surmised, “Since a Profound Heaven cultivator’s soul has no chance of being stronger than ours, it leaves only one option, he has a soul demonic treasure!”
Yue Ling nodded, having reached the same conclusion.
“I have said he is special. Sirs should take good care of him.” Elder Yuan jumped in.
The two nodded after a pause.
Not anyone could just have a soul demonic treasure. [He’s just a 6th layer of Profound Heaven cultivator. Someone must be watching his back to possess such a bauble.]
The two held Zhuo Fan with higher regard on the spot.
Yet behind this misconception, one’d find Zhuo Fan a freak of nature with a soul so strong, not even peak Radiant Stage could top it.
As for backing, ha-ha, Xie Wuyue did invite him here, but his immense confidence in himself left him to his own devices; i.e. he had none.
Alas, Zhuo Fan was neck deep in mysteries and good at keeping others away…
Moving on, Kui Lang turned to the rest of the survivors with a shout, “Grats, people, you have survived another Asura Circle. You are now free to go. There are many tasks that await you tomorrow.”
Kui Lang and Yue Ling had others collect the corpses as they left.
The lucky men here who still lived left overjoyed at their new lease on life. While only Zhuo Fan sneered, “They’re no different from cattle.”
“But they are different. They have a hint of hope.” Elder Yuan smiled, coming over and seeing everyone gone, “Men are selfish and men’s hearts have demons. Uprising has no chance of success and the sect would’ve long since removed the Labor Office if it didn’t serve its purpose. But to keep that from happening, the sect gave them a slim hope, to cultivate hard and they would come out as executive elders at some point. That’s why they fight, so that one day they’ll excel, while making Labor Office fulfill its purpose in the meantime.”
“In truth, it’s not the sect rearing them, but they are locking themselves inside their pen.” Elder Yuan’s eyes glinted with disdain, “Which is perfect. In a world where strength is everything, even here, only the strong make their way forward. As for the weak, the stragglers, death becomes them.”
Zhuo Fan nodded.
The world was cruel, its creatures nothing but fodder. It went double for demonic sects.
Labor Office was hell, the supplier for the sect’s disciple’s cultivation needs while also being the place where the strong transformed. The survivors of this hellhole were crucial pillars of the sect, having gone through one culling after another.
It only went to show its importance to the Demon Scheming Sect.
The Labor Office was empty of anything humane, reduced to mere survival or death. But unlike the world outside that had the same nature, this was a corner of the world free of hypocrisies.
Zhuo Fan’s eyes flashed as his heart and mentality grew, as he understood more about the world he was part of…