Library of Heaven is Path
1310 The King of Destruction 1
After passing several streets, Zhang Xuan finally found the location where the formation master examination was held. He pushed open the door and walked in.
Its interiors were exceptionally cold and quiet, and there were only a couple of people inside. This formed a stark contrast to the bustle that the other Formation Master Guilds outside enjoyed.
"There's a strict limit to the number of candidates that the Sanctum of Sages recruit each year, and only formation masters possessing extraordinary talents or capabilities would be able to get in. On the other hand, ordinary students would rarely come over here unless they had to take the formation master examination." Chen Leyao explained.
"It's better this way. I like the quiet." Zhang Xuan replied with a smile.
Most of the examination he had undergone in the past were filled with people, such that regardless of what he did, he would have to queue up. It was terribly troublesome.
This should be able to spare him a fair bit of trouble, and it was also aligned with his humble and quiet personality.
"Are the two of you here to challenge the formation master examination?" At the front reception, a receptionist who seemed to be in his early thirties stepped forward with a bright smile on his face.
The emblem weaved into her robe reflected that he was a 6-star formation master.
"Un. I would like to take the 8-star formation master examination." Zhang Xuan said.
"8-star?" The receptionist was stunned for a moment before asking, "You?"
"Yes." Zhang Xuan nodded.
The occupations of the Master Teacher Continent maintained a very strict hierarchy concerning the access to books. Only when one's mastery of the occupation had reached the required rank would one be able to read the books deemed to be corresponding in terms of profoundness.
If he wished to browse through grade-8 formation books, he would have to become an 8-star formation master first.
And with his current proficiency, it shouldn't be much of a trouble for him to clear the examination.
"Ah, pardon me. It's just that you are so young and I was slightly taken aback for a moment." An awkward smile flashed across the receptionist's face as he quickly continued on. "May I know if you have brought your 7-star emblem with you here? I'll help you process your application."
"Here." Flicking his wrist, Zhang Xuan passed the 7-star formation master emblem over.
Guild Leader Han of the Qingyuan Empire Formation Master Guild had helped him apply for it after witnessing his skills relating to formations back at the Qiu Wu Palace.
Catching it, the receptionist took a look at the name and flipped open a book. After checking for a moment, he suddenly raised her gaze to look at Zhang Xuan doubtfully, "According to the records, Zhang shi, it has only been two months since you cleared the 7-star formation master examination. Are you certain that you want to challenge the 8-star formation master examination so quickly?"
Typically speaking, even the highly talented students of the Sanctum of Sages would require several decades of accumulated experience and knowledge before they would be ready to tae the 8-star formation master. Yet, this fellow had just barely cleared the 7-star formation master examination two months ago, and he was already challenge the 8-star examination? This was too fast!
"That's right." Zhang Xuan nodded affirmatively.
"Noted. I have processed your application. Alright, come with me." Seeing that the young man was certain on the matter, the receptionist quickly went through the administrative procedures before leading the way forward with a smile.
Those who were able to enter the Sanctum of Sages were either from prestigious clans or possessed extraordinary talents. He was only an ordinary receptionist, so there was no way he would dare to show any disdain or disrespect toward them.
Very soon, they arrived in a room. The receptionist bowed to an elder standing in the midst of the room and said, "Elder Su, Zhang shi over here wishes to challenge the 8-star formation master examination."
Weaved before the elder's robe was a formation master emblem, and on it, eight brilliant stars shimmered. At the same time, Zhang Xuan felt a wholesome sensation from the elder's cultivation, and he found that he was unable to tell how strong the latter was without the latter making a move.
Given so, it was likely that the elder's cultivation realm was at Saint 7-dan at the bare minimum.
"Kong shi has once preached education without discrimination. Those who seek to learn can all become his students. As such, the Sanctum of Sages doesn't just have master teachers but those of other occupations as well. The elder is probably a pure formation master." Zhang Xuan thought.
Through reading the information contained in his identity token, he managed to gain quite an understanding of the Sanctum of Sages.
While master teachers practiced supporting occupations as well, due to their time being divided over a wide span of occupations, it was inevitable that their mastery and depth of knowledge concerning specific occupations would be beneath that of those who specialized solely in it.
Take Pavilion Master Wu of the Qingyuan Empire for example, while he possessed considerable mastery as a formation master, when put in comparison with Guild Leader Han who specialized as a formation master, his skills would be barely worth a mention.
Every single unique occupation was profound and powerful, such that even the devotion of a lifetime wouldn't be sufficient to explore the depths of it, let alone for master teachers who regarded them as supporting occupations.
And the disparity in proficiency would only grow larger and larger as one approached the top.
For this reason, the teachers who taught supporting occupations in the Sanctum of Sages were those who specialized in the specific occupations instead of master teachers.
This way, the students would be able to gain a better insight into what each of these occupations fully comprise and was capable of.
"You wish to take the 8-star formation master examination?" Elder Su took a look at the information which the receptionist had passed to him, and a deep frown emerged between his brows. "To take the 8-star examination, your cultivation would have to reach Grand Dominion realm at the very minimum, but you are only at Leaving Aperture realm primary stage at the moment. You won't be able to set up a grade-8 formation due to your lacking cultivation."
The difficulty in setting up higher grade formations didn't just lie in their enhanced complexity but the greater demand in terms of zhenqi purity and capacity as well. For such a reason, there was a strict requirement on cultivation for formation masters.
Zhang Xuan didn't attempt to conceal his cultivation, so Elder Su was able to see through it with a single look.
"Reporting to Elder Su, even though Zhang shi's cultivation is only at Leaving Aperture realm primary stage, in terms of zhenqi, he pales nowhere in comparison to a Grand Dominion realm primary stage cultivator!" Chen Leyao interjected.
"If that's true, I guess I can consider making an exception for you. Alright, follow me." Elder Su nodded.
Having resided in Sanctum of Sages for a very long time, he had seen all kinds of geniuses. If the young man did possess such capability, it would be fine to make an exception for him too.
"Thank you, Elder Su. If I may ask, how do you intend to assess my zhenqi?" Seeing that he wasn't shut down on the basis of his lacking cultivation, Zhang Xuan heaved a sigh of relief.
It would really be troublesome if he could only take the examination once his cultivation reached Grand Dominion realm primary stage. He would have to find higher tier spirit stones and the corresponding cultivation techniques for it too. By the time he was done, it would already be several days later.
"We do have a formation that's specially used to assess one's zhenqi." Elder Su said before shaking his head in exasperation. "However, it was just destroyed by that 'King of Destruction' when he came over earlier, and we haven't been able to fix it yet!"
"King of Destruction?" Zhang Xuan was perplexed by that term.
"Indeed. He's a student who just got into the Sanctum of Sages a few years back. On his very first year, he challenged the examinations of three supporting occupations and brought about great devastation to all three examination grounds. This is already the third time he's taking the 8-star formation master examination... Hai! This is the reason why our branch appears so cold and quiet too. All of our elders have rushed over to supervise his examination, fearing that he would tear down our Steps of Formations…" Elder Su rubbed his glabella in distress.
"Brought great devastation?" Zhang Xuan was intrigued by those words. "What kind of devastation did he bring?"
In the past, he used to cause an upheaval each time he took an examination, but as the days went by, he eventually calmed down, becoming more dignified and mature. Putting everything aside, just look at how the Mountain Gate was still standing even after he had made his round through it.
"What kind of devastation did he bring?" Those words left Elder Su snorting so angrily that even his beard flew into the air. "I don't know for the other occupations, but in the three occasions that he had come over, he had destroyed at least an item each time! The first time, he destroyed the formation plate which I spent two months inscribing with difficulty! The second time, he destroyed an isolation chamber... And this time around, I thought that he just wanted to try out his strength, but he ended up destroying that strength-assessing formation of ours. Honestly, if it's possible, I would ban that King of Destruction from setting foot onto our branch ever again!"
"To actually devastate the same location three times... he sure is too much!" Zhang Xuan widened his eyes in disbelief at what he was hearing.
Even in times that he accidentally caused any damage to an examination facility or the sort, it would only be a one-time off affair. Yet, that fellow actually caused destruction in the same place thrice... That was really going overboard!
It was no wonder why the other party was addressed as the King of Destruction!
"Indeed. It's just an examination, does he really have to cause some damage each time he comes? You really can't imagine how furious I get each time I see him!" Elder Su slammed his palm on the table furiously.
"My sentiments exactly! I also find those who destroy public property and make themselves public nuisances abhorrent... But of course, if one were to do it unintentionally, that would be a different matter altogether…" Zhang Xuan remarked vehemently in agreement.
It was one thing to do it unintentionally, but those who create destruction with malicious intentions sure were abominable!
"Forget it, let's not talk about that fellow anymore!" The more Elder Su spoke about the matter, the more furious he felt. If he hadn't felt so indignant regarding the matter, a person of his standing would have never nagged about the issue before a student like that either.
After venting his frustrations, Elder Su turned to Zhang Xuan and nodded in satisfaction, "You aren't too bad."
Normally, whenever he spoke bad things about the King of Destruction, the other students would fidget timidly on the spot, not daring to even breathe loudly. Yet, not only was this young man unafraid, he even unabashedly revealed his resentment for the King of Destruction as well.
This made the goodwill he felt for the young man before him shooting furiously up the meter.
"Alright, you should start making some preparations. I'll assess your strength right now." Elder Su contemplated for a moment before saying.
"Preparations? Elder Su, didn't you say that the strength-assessing formation has been destroyed? How do you intend to assess my strength?" Zhang Xuan asked in intrigue.
"Simple. I'll suppress my cultivation to Grand Dominion realm primary stage and cross blows with you. As long as you can withstand three blows from me, I'll consider it as your pass!" Elder Su said with a smile.
Under normal circumstances, he had the right to refuse a candidate if his cultivation was beneath the mark, not to mention that the strength-assessing formation was destroyed too... But what could he do? The student before him just happened to meet his eye!
So, he decided to make a special exception.
Zhang Xuan was still wondering what kind of examination he would face when he heard those words, and he heaved a sigh of relief.
"Good. Let's do it here then!" Elder Su stood up and walked to the center of the hall.
The hall was extremely spacious, so there were no problems having a fight here.
Suppressing his cultivation down to Grand Dominion realm primary stage, Elder Su waved his hand and said, "Feel free to use your full strength. Even though this is an impromptu test to assess if you possess strength on par to a Grand Dominion realm cultivator, it is still a formal test, so don't expect me to go easy on you!"
"I'll try my best!" Zhang Xuan nodded grimly.
Even though the elder had suppressed his cultivation, it was very likely that he was a Saint 7-dan expert. Be it in terms of eye of discernment or reflexes, he was bound to be far stronger than Zhang Yunfeng. It would be foolish to hold back against such an opponent.
With a swift Z-step maneuver, Zhang Xuan dashed for Elder Su.
The movement technique he was utilizing was a Saint intermediate-tier battle technique from the Qingyuan Empire Combat Master Hall. It aimed to prevent one's opponent from launching any surprise attack through a constant change in positioning and movement trajectory.
Due to the intricacies in the movement technique, there were very few who would use it in a real battle. However, Zhang Xuan managed to integrate it perfectly into his attack, flitting swiftly from left to right as if a specter.
"Not bad." Elder Su's eyes lit up.
Considering how the young man before him was only at Leaving Aperture realm primary stage, he had thought that it was an exaggeration to say that the young man possessed strength on par with a Grand Dominion realm cultivator. However, looking at the swiftly-moving silhouette before him, he realized that there might be some credence to those words after all.
While harboring such thoughts, Elder Su released a powerful surge of energy from his body, forming a Dominion of five meters radius around him.
Shrouded within a Dominion, Zhang Xuan's movements immediately slowed down, as if he had descended into a bog.
"I'm going to be making my move. The first attack will be Palm of the Elephant-Dragon. It's a technique that harnesses the might of elephants and dragons, and further enhanced by my Dominion, it won't be easy for you to overcome it. So, do be careful…"
The young man before him had heartily listened to his grumbles and even displayed enmity toward the King of Destructions as well. This had left him feeling deep feeling of goodwill for the young man. As such, even though he wasn't planning on going easy, his very warning showed his care and concern for the young man.
"I'll give it my all." Hearing that, Zhang Xuan immediately felt an adrenaline rush through his body.
With a swift flit, he executed the Unbounded Voyager.
Fighting against Zhang Yunfeng had given him a deeper insight into how a Dominion worked. In essence, being impeded by a Dominion was somewhat equivalent to having a force acting against one. In a sense, it could be viewed as a rope pulling one back, hindering one from making any movement.
However, while the rope was taut on one end, it would be relatively slackened on the other.
The reason why Zhang Xuan had used a Z movement earlier was to draw Elder Su's attention into impeding his sideward movement, so that the abrupt use of the Unbounded Voyager would be able to catch Elder Su off guard. And as expected, before the latter could process what was going on, he had already managed to close the gap between the both of them.
With a flick of his wrist, he attacked with a palm strike of his own.
The other party had said that the Palm of the Elephant-Dragon wielded immense strength, so just to be cautious, he used the most powerful palm art he knew against it in retaliation—Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Palm!
The two palms collided with one another.
Not expecting the other party to close in the distance between the both of them so swiftly and even execute such a powerful palm art, Elder Su's eyes narrowed in alarm. Before he could even speak, a force harnessing crushing momentum was already crashing down on him.
"How could he be so powerful…" Feeling as if he had been struck by a comet, Elder Su's lips twitched uncontrollably.
In the instant of collision, he felt as if someone had shattered every single bone in his body, and he was immediately sent flying backward.
In mid-air, he attempted to unseal his cultivation to ward off the momentum of the attack, but the relentless might of the other party's palm crushing down on him denied him of any chance of doing so.
His crashed heavily into the wall of the room, creating a massive hole behind him.
Due to the overwhelming might of the crash, a massive crack swiftly crept up the wall, all the way up to the roof.