"Are they Shi Ming and the others?"
"Why are they bringing outsiders back here?"
Several voices sounded in the palace.
"Could it be..."
They soon realized something. Their hearts pounded heavily as their breathings intensified.
Following a few whooshes, skeletons, existences that were half-skeleton and half-human similar to Shi Ming, and a dozen cultivators who retained their fleshes but were covered in black runes came out of the palace.
Over eighty figures appeared above the palace within the blink of an eye. They were staring at Qin Nan and Zhang Zhiling while emitting various auras.
Zhang Zhiling took a deep breath. He could feel his scalp turning numb.
Qin Nan took a quick glance and was excited even with his strong mindset.
Fifty out of the eighty figures were peak Nine Heavens Supremes. The rest were all in the Greater Success Stage. Not a single one was in the early stage!
"Brother Nan, they still couldn't control themselves. They might attack you even if they don't intend to. Please be careful and help them lift a tenth of the curse so they could regain their freedom," Shi Ming said.
"Got it!" Qin Nan nodded. He unleashed the Dao Pattern to protect Zhang Zhiling before he turned into a ray of light and flew at the eighty figures.
"Water-Defying Sword Art!"
"Art of Heaven-Earth Transformation!"
The eighty figures executed a series of Dao Arts under the control of the curse.
Qin Nan suddenly moved to the other side and swung his saber. Thousands of saber intents poured down at the figures like a storm.
BANG BANG BANG!
A series of explosions took place.
Following cries of agony, a wisp of black aura rose from each figure and dissipated in the air.
"The curse is weakening!"
"Someone can actually lift the curse!"
"HAHAHA, this day has finally arrived!"
The cursed figures were overjoyed. They completely ignored the pain they were feeling.
They quickly looked at Qin Nan passionately.
"Shi Ming, what's going on?" A cultivator with complete flesh stepped forward and asked.
The man had black hair and purple-golden eyes. He was wearing a long white robe. He had already recovered from the excitement. He also had an immeasurable aura in his body.
"Brother Nan, he is the eighty-sixth Saint of the Xu Clan, Xu Ruchen. Fifty years ago, he was ranked fifteenth on the Supreme Leaderboard. He is well-respected among us, so he's like our leader," Shi Ming explained to Qin Nan before telling Xu Ruchen everything that happened.
Xu Ruchen looked at Qin Nan and bowed sincerely, "Cultivator Qin Nan, thank you for lifting a tenth of the curse for us so we can reclaim our freedom."
He said calmly, "I believe it's easier to spill the beans here. What do you want us to do after you help us lift the curse?"
Qin Nan said after a brief pause, "I'm not asking a lot from you. You will swear an oath that you will serve me for fifteen years after I help you lift the curse."
Qin Nan could have asked them to serve him for thirty years or even a hundred years. Most of them would still be willing to accept his condition.
However, Qin Nan believed it was unnecessary.
"Only fifteen years?"
The cursed cultivators were overjoyed.
They initially thought Qin Nan would demand a lot from them.
Xu Ruchen's eyes flickered with astonishment, "Cultivator Qin Nan, if we stumble into people of our clan or our close ones while we are serving you, can we not fight them?"
Qin Nan shook his head and said, "No, you have to fight them, but you won't have to kill them."
He was being targeted by many factions. It would be meaningless to recruit these people if they were reluctant to fight their own kin.
Xu Ruchen let out a sigh in his heart. He was already satisfied with the outcome.
"Everyone, we've reached an agreement. You may swear the oath now if you think it's acceptable," Xu Ruchen told the others.
"Cultivator Qin Nan, I, Zhuang Shisan hereby swore..."
The rest proceeded to swear an oath without any hesitation.
"Are you going to do it?"
Qin Nan raised his brows when he saw Xu Ruchen standing still on the side.
Was he not satisfied with the terms?
"Saint Xu, you should accept Cultivator Qin Nan's offer!"
"Yeah, you can surely achieve the Master Realm with your talents if you can reclaim your freedom!" the others tried to convince him too.
Xu Ruchen shook his head and said, "I'm happy with the terms, but I've never submitted to anyone. I also have an important matter to take care of first. Once I'm done with it, I'll accept Cultivator Qin Nan's offer. Hopefully, you are willing to take me in."
Qin Nan grinned. This Xu Ruochen was an interesting person.
"I understand, but I won't disappoint you if you submit to me temporarily," Qin Nan said.
He activated the twelve Arts of Dao Seeking.
"Twelve...Arts of Dao Seeking?"
"That's our Illusionary Dao Immortal Manuscript!"
The cultivators were astounded.
Xu Ruchen's eyes widened too. He saw the Dao Pattern and immediately realized something, "You...you have mastered an extraordinary path of cultivation?"
Qin Nan nodded.
Xu Ruochen fell silent briefly before he said, "Fine, I will swear an oath now."
Qin Nan looked at the others and smiled, "I will now help you lift the curse."
Xu Ruchen said as he remembered something, "Cultivator Qin Nan, remember not to overdo it. You just need to lift half of the curse for us."
"Oh? Why's that?"
Xu Ruchen said with a wry smile, "You might be unaware, but many of us are placed under the curse over a hundred years ago. They have already lost their flesh to the curse. They are only skeletons now."
"If you lift the curse, they might die as they are no longer able to support themselves."