Library of Heaven is Path
1307 Here Comes My Sword Sheath!
"This is exactly the aspect about Zhang shi that amazes others without fear. No matter how inconceivable a feat is, he's able to pull it off with perfect ease using unconventional methods…" Zhang Jiuxiao's eyes gleamed in admiration.
As an offspring of the Zhang Clan, he had grown up hearing about the greatness of the 'young prodigy'. As a result, he had grown up admiring the talents of the young prodigy, but in this moment, there was no one else in his eyes but Zhang Xuan.
No matter how formidable the young prodigy was, it was all based on the purity of his bloodline. How could he possibly compare to Zhang Xuan?
With sufficient time, Zhang Jiuxiao had no doubt that Zhang Xuan would be able to exceed the young prodigy and reach the very pinnacle of the world.
"He's indeed... exceptional." Zhao Xingmo muttered in a daze.
From the moment Zhang Xuan managed to defeat him easily during the preliminary selection, he had already known that the young man was anything but normal. Just, he couldn't have imagined that the young man would be so abnormal!
From the current looks of it, he would be able to forge a legend for himself even in the Sanctum of Sages, where geniuses were aplenty.
"You have had your three moves. It's my turn!" Zhang Xuan loosened his huddled body and stretched his neck before speaking with a grin.
The attack from the lightning tribulation was indeed within his calculations. He had compiled a book on Zhang Yunfeng through the Library of Heaven's Path, and there were several hundred flaws reflected there. Picking one of them out and designing a scheme to do him in was, honestly, not that difficult.
With a swift movement reminiscent of a streak of lightning, he dashed right up to Zhang Yunfeng and stabbed his finger forward.
A brilliant burst of sword qi reminiscent of a shooting star shot forth, and upon contact with the latter's Dominion, it easily creating an opening and pushed ahead.
Back when he was still at Primordial Spirit realm pinnacle, his strength was still too weak to overcome Zhang Yunfeng's Dominion. However, after the consecutive breakthroughs, his strength had already surpassed the limits of the latter's Dominion, such that it couldn't impede him any longer.
Seeing how the sword qi actually managed to breach the defenses of his Dominion, cold sweat immediately rained down Zhang Yunfeng's forehead. With a flick of his palm, he hurriedly took out a sheathed sword to fend against the sword qi.
Ding ding ding!
The sword qi collided with the sword sheath and produced a resounding sonic boom before dissipating entirely. On the other hand, Zhang Yunfeng was forced to retreat two steps before he was able to ward off the might of the sword qi.
"He used a weapon?"
"Considering that it's supposed to be a fair duel, his act of drawing a weapon should suffice for this duel to be ruled as his loss!"
"Those of the Sage Clans possess innumerable powerful artifacts in their possession. If artifacts were to be allowed in the duel, it would become a battle of wealth instead of a battle of strength!"
Even though Zhang Yunfeng didn't draw his sword out of his sheath, his very act of taking out a weapon still induced a wave of disapproval from the crowd.
Offspring of the Sage Clans had no lack of good artifacts. Any single one of them could easily drive others into despair. For this reason, even though there was no explicit rules banning the usage of artifacts in the Challenge of the Defeated, there was a tacit agreement amongst the candidates against it.
On the dueling ring, Zhang Yunfeng paid no heed to the commotion of the crowd beneath and quickly popped a pill into his mouth in order to recover from the injuries he had sustained from the lightning tribulation. After which, he turned to Zhang Xuan and said, "I must admit, you are indeed a formidable adversary.
"I might have drawn my weapon, but you don't have to worry. I know that you are a cultivator from Qingyuan Empire, so I won't bully you either. This sword of mine is known as Glacial Frost, and it's a half Saint high-tier artifact. It would be indeed unfair for me to fight you with it, but its sheath is only at Saint intermediate-tier... I'll just use this sheath, but you can use any weapon you want."
After which, Zhang Yunfeng pulled out his sheath and wielded it. A surge of concentrated Sword Intent flowed forth from him, emanating a great pressure on those standing before it.
Even though he was armed with a sheath instead of a sword, his sheer mastery in swordsmanship enhanced his fighting prowess by more than twofold.
"He's only going to use his sheath?"
"Well, considering that his sheath is a Saint intermediate-tier artifact, I guess that it would still be acceptable since he won't be relying on the superior strength of his weapon to achieve victory."
"On top of being a talented sword practitioner himself, he practices the profound sword arts of the Zhang Clan too. If Zhang Xuan were to accept the duel, there was no way he would be a match…"
"I've heard of how frightening the Zhang Clan's swordsmanship is as well. Zhang Xuan won't stand much of a chance against it…"
Such mutterings could be heard from the crowd.
As a half Saint high-tier artifact, once the Glacial Frost Sword was drawn, there would be no cultivator of the same cultivation realm as Zhang Yunfeng who could match him, much less Zhang Xuan. Naturally, the circumstances would be extremely unfair to Zhang Xuan.
However, if Zhang Yunfeng were to wield only the sheath of his sword whereas Zhang Xuan could choose to use any weapon of the same tier, the duel could still be considered to be fair.
"How about it? Do you dare to fight me?" Zhang Yunfeng looked at Zhang Xuan with a hint of provocation in his eyes.
"You're only going to use your sword sheath?" Zhang Xuan frowned.
"That's right. You don't have to feel restrained by me, you can use any weapon you want!" Zhang Yunfeng replied, heaping even more pressure on Zhang Xuan to accept the duel.
"We have already competed on movement techniques and battle techniques, so shouldn't we compete on our weapon mastery as well? After all, only with a weapon in hand can a cultivator display his true fighting prowess. Besides, what I specialize in isn't bare-handed combat either."
"This…" Zhang Xuan revealed a hint of hesitation.
Indeed. With a weapon in hand, a person's fighting prowess could potentially rise exponentially.
Take Zheng Yang for example, without his spear in hand, there was no way he could have cleared the Dragon Gate Formation and become the Progeny of Combat.
Personally speaking, Zhang Xuan rarely used any weapons because his opponent tended to be too weak. After all, why go through the trouble of holding a weapon when a punch was sufficient to resolve the problem?
"May I first take a look at your prowess with the sheath before deciding whether I should use one or not?" Zhang Xuan pondered for a moment before asking.
If Zhang Yunfeng's prowess with a weapon was formidable, he could still consider wielding a weapon. Otherwise, there was really no need to take out the Lingxu Sword for something as minor as this.
After all, it wasn't really his hobby to bully the weak.
"You want to take a look at my prowess with a weapon? Alright then, I'll grant your wish." With a light chuckle, Zhang Yunfeng pushed his palm forward, and his sheath immediately flew forth like a prowling snake pouncing upon its prey.
This was a rather peculiar move, carrying distinctive traits of both swordsmanship and spearmanship. It was ingeniously angled in a manner that aimed to seal multiple acupoints at once. If the strike were to really land on its target, the target would surely be incapacitated, losing all fighting prowess and even sustaining severe injuries!
"Not bad!" Zhang Xuan remarked as he flicked his fingers forward.
Multiple sword qi sprung forth, blocking the way of Zhang Yunfeng's sheath.
Ding ding ding ding!
It was a melody similar to a torrential shower raining down upon a roof. Watching as the sword qi clashed against his sheath, Zhang Yunfeng's eyebrows shot up as he pushed his palm up.
With a powerful sweeping movement, the sheath forcefully deflected the sword qi on it back toward Zhang Xuan.
Facing this sight, Zhang Xuan narrowed his eyes and quickly retreated.
It was no wonder why Zhang Yunfeng proposed fighting with their weapons! In just a single encounter, it was already apparent that he was extraordinarily gifted in weaponry.
Even though he was only armed with a sheath, his pierce was as sharp as a spear, his sweep was as forceful as a pole, and every single maneuver was conducted with the agility and flexibility of a sword... With all these three coming together in a sword art, it became a technique nigh impossible to guard against.
Despite cultivating the Heaven's Path battle techniques of numerous weapons, Zhang Xuan still found himself in a fluster for a short moment there.
It seemed like weapon battles were really where Zhang Yunfeng's true forte lay.
However, despite how swiftly Zhang Xuan was retreating, the sheath seemed to move at an even swifter speed, pursuing closely behind him. No matter how he attempted to swerve and dodge, he was unable to escape from the pursuit of the sheath.
"That is... Wave Treading Stride? He actually managed to infuse the movement technique into the manipulation of his weapon?" Elder Liu exclaimed in astonishment.
Wave Treading Stride was a movement technique that made use of the momentum of the opponent in order to advance or retreat, reminiscent of how a water strider drifted along with the waves.
As a movement technique, it was developed with the intention of facilitating the movement of a cultivator. Yet, who could have thought that Zhang Yunfeng would have actually integrated the technique into the manipulation of his weapon as well!
If Zhang Xuan couldn't find a way to knock away the sheath, it would continue following him as if a shadow. No matter where he escaped to or how fast he moved even, it would track his movements tightly, unable to be shaken off.
Over on the dueling ring, Zhang Xuan had come to the same realization as well. Thus, he executed the Unbounded Treader and flitted away.
In the blink of an eye, he appeared at the other end of the stage. At the same, he raised his palm and thrust it forward.
Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Palm!
Due to the excessively swift movements of the Unbounded Treader, the sheath found itself unable to catch up for a moment when it was abruptly faced with the overwhelming strength of the palm strike. Colliding face on with it, a resounding explosion sounded. Following which, intense shockwaves rippled from the collision, causing the entire dueling ring to shake non-stop.
With this abrupt intervention, the sheath was forcefully shook out of its previous state.
"How about it? Does my prowess with a weapon in hand satisfy your criteria?" Retracting his sheath, Zhang Yunfeng asked with a hint of pride in between his brows.
He had viewed his ability to integrate Wave Treading Stride into the utilization of weapons as one of his greatest pride, and indeed, it was something worth being proud about as well.
"Not too bad!" Zhang Xuan nodded earnestly.
Using just a mere sword sheath, Zhang Yunfeng was actually able to leave him in a fluster for a moment there, nearly trapping him. Truly, as expected of a genius of the Zhang Clan. The means that he possessed were indeed formidable.
"Do you dare to fight against me for a round? You appear to be rather proficient in swordsmanship, so I presume that you are a powerful sword practitioner yourself too. Since that's the case, your fighting prowess should be much greater with a sword in hand, right?" Zhang Yunfeng continued.
"I'm indeed more powerful with a sword in hand, but my weapon is a little too powerful... I'm afraid that it will be unfair for you!" Zhang Xuan said with a conflicted look. "Why don't I use my sword sheath as well?"
"You are going to use your sheath too?" A disdainful sneer escaped fro Zhang Yunfeng's lips. "What I have shown your earlier is just the tip of the iceberg of my ability with a sword. In a real battle, I'll be far stronger than that... If you were to only wield a sheath as well, I fear that you might be severely injured in the battle!"
"That won't happen, you don't have to worry about that. Even without drawing my sword, I'm still plenty formidable." Zhang Xuan replied to Zhang Yunfeng's words with a leisurely smile.
"Oh? Very well, let me witness the prowess you are able to bring forth with just your sheath then!" Harrumphing coldly, Zhang Yunfeng raised his arms, and a powerful aura burst forth from him.
He had started practicing weaponry from a very young age, be it saber, spear, sword, halberd, pole... He had some degree of mastery in every single one of these conventional weapons, which was also how he could give spirit to a seemingly ordinary sheath, granting it strength that would make it invincible in its power class...
And yet, the other party actually wanted to face him with a sword sheath as well...
Are you joking with me?
Since you are that arrogant, let me put you back in your place then! You shall know that not everyone can be like me, Zhang Yunfeng, displaying superior prowess even with just a mere sword sheath equipped in hand.
"Are you certain... that you want us to fight using sword sheaths?" Zhang Xuan asked hesitantly.
"Of course, you were the one who said you want to use a sword sheath too!" Zhang Yunfeng sneered coldly. "Why? Are you planning on backing down at this point?"
"It's not that. I'm just a little worried. Well, look out then. I'll be taking out my sword sheath now…" With a conflicted expression on his face, Zhang Xuan flicked his wrist.
Zhang Yunfeng was startled for a moment before he felt a mighty gale gushing at him. Raising his head, he saw a round platform several meters in radius falling right for his head.
Before he could even process what was going on, he was already smacked onto the ground in a '太' shape. His feet which were barely exposed at the end of the round platform were twitching non-stop—at least a consoling indication that the poor man beneath was still alive. Nevertheless, this smack should have rendered him incapable of fighting anymore.
"This…" Seeing that the other party wasn't even able to take a single one of his attacks, Zhang Xuan scratched his head and said with a flat tone, "Ah, I should have warned you beforehand. My sheath is a little bigger than the others…"