Library of Heaven is Path
1306 Wave Treading Stride
From the moment he said those words to his breakthrough and the lightning tribulation, a total of eleven breaths had passed... It was a single breath more than what he had promised earlier, and the fact that the other party didn't try to assault him within this period of time was honestly praiseworthy.
No matter what, he must return the favor!
"What did you say?" Zhang Yunfeng gritted his teeth so tightly as it felt as if they would chip under the immense force.
It was just a moment ago that he thrashed Zhang Xuan upside down, but all of a sudden, Zhang Xuan was actually offering to give him a three moves advantage? That was blatantly underestimating him!
"Make your move. I promise you that I won't retaliate in the next three moves you make!" Zhang Xuan placed his hands behind his back and smiled.
"You're really seeking death!" Zhang Yunfeng couldn't suppress his rage any longer.
While he wasn't one of the most talented individuals in the Zhang Clan, he had a composed and steady personality. It was for this reason that he didn't rush into agreeing to help Zhang Qian exact his vengeance... But Zhang Xuan's words had really struck the thorn in his heart this time around.
For the longest of time, he had been extremely concerned about the widening gap between him and the other geniuses of the Zhang Clan, and Zhang Xuan's casual attitude and words of underestimation only served to further remind him of the matter.
In an instant, rage consumed his entirety, and he couldn't help but want to tear the young man before him into shreds.
Zhang Yunfeng began walking forward slowly.
Even though he was walking atop the smooth dueling ring, somehow, his movements felt as if he was riding upon a wave. Despite his slow speed, there was an imposing momentum behind his movement reminiscent of the choppy waters of a stormy sea.
Previously, in view of his standing, he had decided to hold himself back a little. However, now that he had decided to go all out, his overwhelming strength immediately showed through.
"It's the Zhang Clan's Wave Treading Stride!"
"Rumors have it that the Wave Treading Stride was created by an elder in the Zhang Clan while he was observing a water strider moving along the ripples in the water. Not only were its movements agile, it was also well poised for offense and defense, similar to a leaf floating atop the ocean—no matter how treacherous the waves get, it would still remain afloat."
"This technique is similar to Shadow Tracking, but it's much more profound and grander!"
"Since Zhang Yunfeng has gone to the extent of using this technique, it seems like he has started getting serious!"
"Zhang Xuan is likely going to be defeated... His ability to withstand the lightning tribulation is indeed incredible, but a cultivation of Leaving Aperture realm primary stage is just too low!"
Discussions broke out amidst the crowd.
While Zhang Xuan's breakthroughs were shocking, in their view, it was likely that Zhang Xuan had just reinforced his cultivation immensely over the months, thus allowing him to easily take this final step forward in this critical juncture.
As formidable as Zhang Xuan had performed in the lightning tribulation, his true strength was still bound to be lacking as compared to the genius of the Zhang Clan, especially given the huge disparity in their cultivation realms.
"I shall make you regret looking down on me!" Zhang Yunfeng raised his palm and forcefully pushed it down upon Zhang Xuan.
This palm may seem unimpressive on the surface, but as the one standing before it, Zhang Xuan felt as if a torrential tsunami was towering before him, inducing a slight feeling of helplessness in him.
Saint intermediate-tier battle technique, Air Propulsion Palm!
Completely overwhelmed with anger, Zhang Yunfeng didn't bother to hold back at all. In an instant, Zhang Yunfeng had turned the dueling ring reminiscent to the bottom of an ocean. Any movement made within the range of his attack would require his permission.
"Not bad!" Zhang Xuan remarked calmly with his hands still beneath his back.
With an agile flit, he dodged Zhang Yunfeng's lethal attack and materialized at the other end of the dueling ring.
After achieving a breakthrough to Leaving Aperture realm primary stage, his fighting prowess had increased by at least twofold. While he hadn't really tried out how powerful he was at the moment, he was confident that if he were to use his full strength, Zhang Yunfeng wouldn't stand a chance at all.
It was for this very reason that Zhang Xuan dared to give the other party a three moves advantage.
While he only had the Primordial Spirit realm Heaven's Path Divine Art with him at the moment, the Leaving Aperture realm cultivation technique manual books he had collected back at Qianchong Empire's black market, along with those he had obtained from Ji Lingfeng's storage ring, had given him a deep insight Leaving Aperture realm. Even though they weren't sufficient to form the Leaving Aperture realm Heaven's Path Divine Art, he was still able to compile out a decently wholesome cultivation technique manual. Furthermore, his diligent cultivation over the past few days had firmly reinforced his cultivation.
It was due to all of these factors that he was able to push for multiple breakthroughs so easily after ingesting the potent Wintry Spirit Essence.
As for the lightning tribulation, he had gone through the Saint Ascension Ordeal, which granted him significant resistance toward lightning. On top of that, as he cultivated the Heaven's Path Soul Art, his Primordial Spirit was already yang in nature. As a result, the lightning tribulation which all cultivators were so frightened of was actually nothing more than a walk in the park for him.
This was also the reason why the 'bathing' scene earlier occurred. He wasn't showing off but attempting to spread the lightning over his Primordial Spirit in the shortest time possible so as to best temper his Primordial Spirit.
Even so, he still exceeded the time by a single breath... How embarrassing.
As for his massive soul, he had used the Heavenly Art of DImension Unravel to compress it into a smaller form so that it wouldn't stand out too much. Otherwise, if a ten-meters large Primordial Spirit were to slip out of his body, there was no saying that the lightning tribulation might even be scared into escaping.
"Do you think that I would let you run away?" Seeing that Zhang Xuan had dodged his first attack, Zhang Yunfeng narrowed his eyes and flicked his finger toward the sky.
A powerful sword qi burst into the heavens. From this move, it could be seen that his comprehension of swordsmanship had reached a decent level as well—Upper Sword Heart.
Wu wu wu!
Halfway through its trajectory, the sword qi abruptly burst into several hundred surges of smaller sword qi, scattered all around the area as they surged for Zhang Xuan.
A battle technique? Zhang Xuan was slightly surprised.
He thought that it was only a casual flick of sword qi, but the move turned out to be a battle technique too.
While the splitting of the sword qi would result in each of them harnessing significantly weaker might, such a barrage of attack was more effective in inducing panic in the opponent.
In a fight between experts, one's state of mind was extremely important too. As soon as the opponent started to lose his composure, one would be able to drag him into one's momentum and influence his movements, thus gaining full control over the flow of the battle.
But while such a move might have incredible effects when directed toward other opponents, it wasn't too effective against Zhang Xuan.
With another flit, Zhang Xuan arrived at the other end of the dueling ring, evading every single one of those mini sword qi cleanly.
"Is dodging the only thing you are capable of?" Zhang Yunfeng harrumphed coldly.
Two moves had already passed, but he didn't even come close to catching the young man's shadow. This had borne some feelings of frustration within him.
"I said that I would give you a three moves advantage, so of course, I won't back down on my words." Zhang Xuan said with a soft chuckle.
"You…" Zhang Yunfeng's face reddened in rage.
Unable to take it anymore, he charged forth once more.
This time, his speed was severalfold faster than before. It was still far from a match against Zhang Xuan's Unbounded Treader in terms of speed, but it was definitely far faster than ordinary movement techniques.
"What incredible speed! What movement technique is that?"
"It's the highest level of mastery of the Wave Treading Stride, Rippleless Treading!"
"He actually cultivated the Wave Treading Stride to the highest level? As expected of a genius from the Zhang Clan!"
A few amongst the crowd recognized the movement technique that Zhang Yunfeng was using, and shock surfaced on their faces.
Wave Treading Stride, this was an extremely difficult movement technique to master. Not only was it highly demanding on one's talent, it also took many experimentation and practice before one could grasp the feeling of it. Yet, to be able to reach Rippleless Treading, the highest level of the technique, at such a young age, it must be said that Zhang Yunfeng was truly an outstanding individual.
Amidst shocked gazes, Zhang Yunfeng had already arrived at an area less than five meters away from Zhang Xuan. With a shrill buzz, he activated his Dominion, and it swiftly engulfed Zhang Xuan as well.
In an instant, Zhang Xuan felt immense pressure crushing him from all directions. It was as if he was grasped in the palm of another, unable to move at all.
He's indeed formidable... Zhang Xuan's face turned livid.
Typically speaking, at Saint 6-dan primary stage, a cultivator would have just formed his Dominion, and it would assume a form reminiscent of flowing water, so the pressure it could exert wouldn't be as great. At later stages, it would take a form reminiscent of a bog, followed by mercury, and finally lead... As one progressed through the various cultivation stages of Saint 6-dan, the prowess of one's Dominion would grow significantly stronger.
As such, even though the radius of one's Dominion would barely change at all, it was rather easy to classify its strength.
While Zhang Yunfeng was only at Saint 6-dan primary stage, his Dominion was already extremely compact and dense, such that even Zhang Xuan would have some trouble trying to blast it apart.
"It was a grave mistake to give me a three moves advantage. Since that's the case, you need not dream about making a move at all!" Zhang Yunfeng bellowed coldly as he struck his palm down upon Zhang Xuan.
Augmented by the strength of his Dominion, this palm strike was at least two times as powerful as before. Even before it reached its target, its sheer might would have already suppressed one's soul and physical body, destroying any thoughts of retaliation in one's mind.
Raising his head, all Zhang Xuan could see was a dark shadow looming above him. His movements were restricted by Zhang Yunfeng's Dominion, preventing him from escaping at all.
If it had been a moment before, there is no way I'll be able to withstand that palm strike without counterattacking. But now…
There wasn't any hint of nervousness to be seen on Zhang Xuan's face, and he showed no signs of counterattacking either. Instead, he simply hugged his body together to protect the vitals of his body.
"He can't be dreaming of facing the attack head on like that, can he?"
"Even Grand Dominion realm cultivators would be unable to withstand that blow from Zhang Yunfeng! To attempt to withstand it without putting up any significant defenses at all, is he courting death?"
"I really don't know whether to say that the fellow is fearless or plain dumb!"
Upon seeing Zhang Xuan's actions, the crowd fell into a daze.
If one were to execute a battle technique within one's Dominion, the might of the battle technique could be easily enhanced to twofold stronger than before. Zhang Yunfeng's Air Propulsion Palm wielded devastating might even without his Dominion, and yet, Zhang Xuan was actually intending on taking it face on? If things were to go wrong, he might even be smacked to his death!
"Should we intervene in the duel?" Elder Han Zhu watched on the situation in jitters.
"There's no need for that. Zhang Yunfeng isn't a reckless person, he won't kill another candidate right before us." Elder Liu's fists were also tightly clenched despite his words, and there was a contemplative gleam in his eyes which made one wonder what he was thinking about.
Amidst shocked gazes, Zhang Yunfeng's palm landed squarely on Zhang Xuan's back, and amidst a resounding sonic boom, a powerful blast of shockwave swept into the surroundings.
Seeing that the young man who had just achieved consecutive breakthroughs really didn't attempt to dodge at all, many amongst the crowd couldn't help but cover their eyes with a cringe, not daring to see what had just happened.
However, before they could hear an anticipated cry of agony from the young man, another explosion abruptly sounded, and a deep groan escaped from Zhang Yunfeng's throat instead.
Quickly turning their eyes over once more, they saw the genius of the Zhang Clan retreating in a fluster with a pale face. His hands were trembling non-stop, and his eyes were marked with horror.
Those who had covered their eyes before didn't see what had happened previously, and they were baffled by the abrupt change in circumstances.
"It's the lightning tribulation!" a master teacher amidst the crowd exclaimed in agitation.
"That's right! Just a moment ago, Zhang Xuan's Primordial Spirit devoured the entire sky of lightning, but instead of assimilating it, he allowed it to wrap itself all over his body instead. Not only was Zhang Yunfeng's palm strike neutralized by that very lightning, he even suffered a backlash from his attack! Just look at his pale face! I reckon that his Primordial Spirit has suffered significant damage from that previous move!" the master teacher remarked excitedly.
"You said that he allowed the lightning tribulation to wrap itself all around his body so as to use it to protect himself?"
The crowd staggered on the spot.
It was true to devouring lightning would help to temper one's physical body and Primordial Spirit, but there was a huge problem in that course of action—it was extremely difficult to release the accumulated lightning within one's body. Over time, it could slowly wear down one's body, causing significant damage to one.
But when Zhang Yunfeng's palm strike fell on Zhang Xuan, he ended up drawing away the lightning within the latter's body, thus sparing the latter from the agony of the lightning while significantly injuring himself... It was two birds in a stone for Zhang Xuan.
"Could it be that... Zhang Xuan had guessed that Zhang Yunfeng would utilize this palm strike, so he intentionally gave the latter a three moves advantage in hopes of using the latter's strength to draw out the lightning within his body after tempering his body and soul?"
Someone suddenly shouted out.
In an instant, looks of disbelief and horror appeared on the faces of every single expert in the square.
If that was really an intentional act on Zhang Xuan's part, that would really be terrifying. That would mean that not only did he grasp the might of the lightning tribulation well, he had also seen right through Zhang Yunfeng's strength and personality as well!
Otherwise, if anything were to go wrong, the one who would be severely injured would be Zhang Xuan himself!
"Can he still be considered a human?"
Upon realizing what was going on, the crowd gulped down a mouthful of saliva as they glanced at one another. A deep fear rose from the depths of their souls.
It was one thing to be highly talented, but to be able to keenly see right through others as well...
If they were to face Zhang Xuan in a battle as well, would they stand a chance at all?