Library of Heaven is Path
1298 Sage Kui“s Dilemma
Due to the inferno burning within one's eyes, those who practiced the Divine Eyes of the Ninth Netherworld would find their sensitivity toward colors fading as time passed, and eventually, the entire world would appear to be nothing but black and white to them.
Due to the nature of the injury, it was an irreversible symptom. There was no way to recover from it.
This was not listed in the flaws in the Library of Heaven's Path, but through Zhang Xuan's deep understanding of the Way of Medicine and cultivation, he could still deduce this much from working backward.
"Color blindness? What's that?" Sage Kui was stunned by the foreign term.
He had never heard that terminology from anyone's mouth before.
"You don't know what it is?" Zhang Xuan was startled for a moment before realization struck him.
Due to the difference in worlds, it was indeed possible that the notion of color blindness was not as prevalent or common in this world.
So, Zhang Xuan pondered for a moment to decide how he should explain the concept. "Color blindness refers to a lack of sensitivity of one's eyes in perceiving different colors. Take my clothes for example, what's the color that you see?"
"Gray," Sage Kui replied.
"It's light-blue, not gray," Zhang Xuan stated with a shake of his head.
"Light-blue?" Sage Kui frowned.
Is this supposed to be what light-blue looks like? Why doesn't it seem to be the case?
"Let me ask you a different question instead. How many colors are there in a rainbow?"
While saying those words, Zhang Xuan waved his hand and created a rainbow bridge of seven colors in the sky.
"I can discern a couple of colors from it, but… there doesn't seem to be seven colors in the rainbow you have created. Furthermore, most of the colors are of similar tones, so I can't really say for sure either…" Staring at the rainbow intently, Sage Kui felt a ripple of shock striking his mind.
He had seen plenty of rainbows when he was younger, and he could accurately distinguish seven colors from them. But now, he could only identify three colors in total, and the difference between the three was very vague. Could he really have been suffering from color blindness, just as the other party had said?
Was this really the side effect from practicing the Divine Eyes of the Ninth Netherworld that his teacher had left behind?
For so many years, he had harbored absolute faith toward the optic art that his teacher had created. However, under the persuasive and logical analysis of the young man before him, he could not help but begin doubting.
"Then… is there a way to resolve the problem?" Sage Kui asked.
"So far, I only managed to analyze the flaws in the optic art. I haven't really found a way to resolve them yet…" Zhang Xuan shook his head.
The Library of Heaven's Path would only reflect the flaws of techniques, and Zhang Xuan had not come into contact with any optic art manuals before, so he could not compile anything with the Divine Eyes of the Ninth Netherworld to perfect it.
"However, since we have identified the problem, it will only be a matter of time before a solution is found!"
As long as Zhang Xuan could find sufficient optic art manuals to perfect the Divine Eyes of the Ninth Netherworld, those problems would be resolved as well.
Back then, there had also been many faults with Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Palm, and cultivation of the technique could have caused one to go blind, too. Nevertheless, through compiling it with many other cultivation techniques, he had resolved that problem.
"Let's hope so…" Sage Kui nodded. "So, will you still be cultivating the Divine Eyes of the Ninth Netherworld?"
Sage Kui knew how powerful the Eye of Insight was as well, and it would indeed a pity to go blind as a result of cultivating an optic art.
"I think I'll hold off cultivating the technique for the time being. I'll try to resolve the current problems before cultivating it," Zhang Xuan replied.
Despite its flaws, the Divine Eyes of the Ninth Netherworld was still an extremely formidable battle technique. He would have to find some way to access optic art manuals so as to compile them together with it and perfect it.
In any case, there was no rush for the time being. What he was lacking in the most at the moment was not battle techniques but his cultivation.
If his cultivation was too low, no matter how many formidable battle techniques he had, he would still be unable to faze the Zhang Clan and the Luo Clan.
"Un, that would be good, too. For the next three days, you should try to gain a complete understanding of the Divine Eyes of the Ninth Netherworld. If there's anything that you are unable to comprehend, feel free to ask me. You won't have any more opportunities to clarify your doubts once you leave this land in three days!" Sage Kui nodded.
"Thank you, elder!" Zhang Xuan replied before sitting on the ground.
While he appeared to be staring at the words in the air, his consciousness was immersed within his mind as he tried to fully grasp everything concerning the Divine Eyes of the Ninth Netherworld.
There are more than thirty flaws to the optic art all in all, and every single one of them poses great damage to the body.
After a moment of studying the optic art, Zhang Xuan rubbed his glabella helplessly.
It was not that he did not want to cultivate the technique, but there were simply too many flaws in it! How could a perfectionist like him possibly swallow something like this?
If he forced himself to cultivate it, he might very well die from repulsion before anything else.
Seeing that Zhang Xuan had paused on the spot for some time now, Sage Kui asked with a kind smile, "How is it? Is there anything concerning the Divine Eyes of the Ninth Netherworld that confuses you? I can address your doubts here!"
Knowing that Sage Kui was asking out of goodwill, Zhang Xuan hesitated for a moment before shaking his head. "There are quite a few aspects of the optic art that confuse me, but it's fine. I don't think that you'll be able to address them either."
It was not that he was underestimating Sage Kui, but it was likely that even Ancient Sage Bo Shang himself would have been unable to address his doubts! Otherwise, there was no way he would have ended up blinding himself.
"You are saying that I won't be able to address your doubts?" Sage Kui frowned in displeasure. "I've spent several centuries cultivating the Divine Eyes of the Ninth Netherworld, even reaching the second realm of it. As long as it's a problem regarding its cultivation, I'll surely be able to answer it!"
He knew that the young man before him possessed an exceptional eye of discernment, being able to notice such a major flaw in the optic art with just one look. Nevertheless, he had still cultivated the technique for many years now, and not to mention, he was also a powerful cultivator. He was confident that with his deep understanding of the battle technique, he would be able to address any questions that the young man could come up with.
"You'll surely be able to answer it?" Seeing the confident look on Sage Kui's face, Zhang Xuan turned his gaze over and smiled lightly. "Very well, I do have a few questions that I would love to have some answers to. I would be very grateful if you can answer them. Firstly, in the Gaze of Deities and Demons, what is the exact form that the demons and deities should assume? If it's just based on personal conceptualization, won't be effectiveness of the optic art be compromised?"
"This…" Sage Kui was startled by the abrupt question.
In this world, there was no one who had seen a true deity or demon before, so naturally, they were beings that were extremely hard for any human to truly imagine.
In fact, whenever Sage Kui cast the technique, he would instinctively attempt to image bloodshed and carnage, intending to use killing aura as a substitution for the conceptualization of deities and demons to instill fear in the hearts of others.
Just as Sage Kui was about to reveal his method, the young man before him had already spoken up once more. "If what we are going to image is just plain slaughter, once the killing intent corrodes one's eyes and consciousness, how would one be different from the Otherworldly Demons? Furthermore, what demons and deities stand for should be supremacy, not slaughter. If we use slaughter to replace the concept of supremacy, wouldn't that be an inaccurate interpretation of the technique?"
Hearing those words, Sage Kui's face turned pale.
Indeed. As a result of his frequent conceptualization of bloodshed and carnage, there was a period of time when he found himself unable to control the killing intent within him anymore, and he ran all the way down to the Subterranean Gallery to slaughter Otherworldly Demons to vent his emotions.
In a sense, using the slaughter to substitute the demons and deities would turn the technique into a depraved art, which was at odds with the standing and beliefs of a master teacher.
"My second question!" Seeing that Sage Kui was unable to answer his first question, Zhang Xuan decisively decided to move on.
"The Gaze of Deities and Demons utilizes one's eyes as a medium to attack another's soul. However, for the attack to reach its target, one must first absorb a hint of the target's soul energy in order to lock the attack onto the other party's Primordial Spirit. However, if the target is aware of this aspect of the technique, they could use it as an opportunity to overwhelm one with their soul energy, putting one in a perilous position. Taking a step back, even if the target isn't aware of this opening, if the target's Primordial Spirit is far stronger than one's own, a forceful attack would inflict significant damage upon one!"
Sage Kui fell silent, unable to speak a single word at all.
This was another flaw of the Gaze of Deities and Demons, and even his teacher, Ancient Sage Bo Shang, had been unable to resolve it.
But while this was indeed a potential opening, considering the fast pace of a battle, there would be very few people who would be able to notice it and use it against them.
As such, it could not be considered a major flaw.
Just that… since the other party had pointed it out, it would not feel right to say that it was a negligible flaw.
"My third question. In order to cultivate Asura's Wrath, one must use the inferno to reforge one's eyes and the frigid ice to temper them. Through the intersection of hot and cold, one will be able to form a balance of duality within one's eyes, which is aligned with the nature of the world as well. However… while two contrasting powers in one's eyes can enhance the strength of the formation maps and strengthen the lines of insight, it will also suppress the strength of one's soul as well, reminiscent of a seal. This will inadvertently result in the weakening of one's Primordial Spirit…"
"My fourth question…"
Zhang Xuan posed all his questions one after another.
With each question asked, Sage Kui's face turned paler by a shade. By the time the tenth question was asked, his silhouette had already turned faint, and it seemed as if he would vanish at any moment.
At this point, he was no longer shocked but horrified.
While the Divine Eyes of the Ninth Netherworld was created by his teacher, it was inevitable that it would have its own flaws as well. Nevertheless, under normal circumstances, these flaws were not too apparent, so they would not cause much of a problem in its execution.
Yet, with just a single glance, the young man was able to see through all of these flaws, reciting them one after another precisely. If the young man had been an enemy, with just this knowledge, the young man would have been able to overcome his optic art easily and blind him with a single move!
The realization of this made Sage Kui break out in cold sweat.
He had thought that after learning the Divine Eyes of the Ninth Netherworld, there would be hardly anyone in the world who would be a match for him. In any battle, as long as he utilized the optic art, he would be guaranteed victory.
But after hearing the young man's words, he realized that the only reason he had remained undefeated for so long was because he had never encountered a true expert. If he had encountered an enemy of the young man's caliber back then, it was questionable whether he would still have his eyes with him at this moment.
As the saying goes, 'the most proficient of swimmers can drown in water'. Complacency would eventually bite back at one.
He was able to discern so many flaws with just a look… and I was actually tried to offer him guidance…
Sage Kui's body stiffened. He felt so stifled that he could not even speak a word.
It was just a moment ago that he had declared confidently that he would offer the young man guidance, but as soon as the young man starting stating his questions, he found that he could not even answer a single one of them.
The searing sensation on his face left him feeling like burying himself in a hole.
"This is my thirteenth question… Never mind, I'll just stop here today. Elder, have you thought of the answers of any of them?"
There was a momentary silence before the young man spoke with a comforting voice. "There's no need to rush into it; you can slowly take your time to ponder over them. In any case, we still have two days more here. For the time being, I'll take a sleep first. Feel free to wake me up when you're done, and I'll continue asking the other questions I have in mind."
"Cough cough!" Sage Kui's lips twitched wildly as his silhouette faltered.
This was supposed to be a session to clarify doubts, but why did it seem like the young man was assessing him instead?
More importantly… he knew that there was no way he could come up with a fitting answer to those questions!
Putting aside him, even his teacher would have been unable to do so! If his teacher was really able to answer these questions, he would have improved the Divine Eye of the Ninth Netherworld already.
Given so, there was no way he would be able to answer those questions even if he were to ponder over them for two years, let alone two days!
The reason he had left behind a sliver of his will was to assess the later generations, but now, he found himself being stumped before them instead.
Just where in the world did this monster came from?
After contemplating for some time and deciding that there was no way he would be able to answer any of the questions, Sage Kui could only turn his gaze back to the young man helplessly. However, what he saw was the young man deeply asleep on the ground instead. Saliva was dripping down from his opened mouth, and there was a sweet smile on his face, as if he was having a good dream.
This… Are you the first-generation sanctum head, or am I?
Sage Kui's vision immediately turned dark. The sheer frustration that he felt left his very existence faltering non-stop, as if he would dissipate at any moment.