Library of Heaven is Path
1323 All Wrong
"You…" Goosebumps immediately rose all over Shui Qianrou's body, and she nearly lost all rationality.
It was just a moment ago that she had reminded the young man to act with prudence so that he would not offend her teacher accidentally, and then he actually grabbed the surge of sword qi protecting the residence as soon as he arrived.
Can't you just cool it down a little?
Realizing his mistake as well, Zhang Xuan hurriedly apologized. "Ah, pardon me. I'll release it right now!"
He had sensed the surge of sword qi as soon as he arrived by the entrance of the residence, and he had feared that it would accidentally harm Shui Qianrou, so he had secretly captured it. He did not think that it would actually be a doorkeeper left behind by Jian Qinsheng to fend off uninvited guests!
In fear of the sharp sword qi, there would surely be no one who would dare mess around with it. This was as good as turning away all guests.
Regardless of what Jian Qinsheng's intentions for leaving behind the sword qi were, that was not something for Zhang Xuan to interfere with. As a guest, it was indeed rather inappropriate for him to have captured the doorkeeper.
Thus, he swiftly released his grip on the sword qi.
The struggling sword qi did not think that it would be released all of a sudden. Similar to a wild cat abruptly being released from its restraint, it whizzed uncontrollably outward.
The stone pillar propping up the entrance gate was immediately sliced apart
It fell to the ground, raising a cloud of dust.
"This…" Zhang Xuan was completely dumbfounded by the unexpected damage.
All he had done was release the sword qi. How was he to know that the latter would be so unreliable, whizzing off to destroy the very place that it was supposed to guard.
Still, to capture the other party's doorkeeper and indirectly result in the destruction of the gate… what would Jian Qinsheng think of him?
But he really did not do it intentionally!
"…" Shui Qianrou's vision turned dark.
She had reminded Zhang Xuan time and time again to be careful, but it was as if her words had fallen on deaf ears. Now that he had caused such a huge commotion even before meeting her teacher…
You are really putting me at a difficult position, do you know that?
While Zhang Xuan was still feeling deeply stifled by what had happened so far, a loud bellow suddenly sounded from the residence. "Who is it?"
Following which, eight men suddenly rushed out and encircled them.
"Senior Xie, it's me!" Alarmed, Shui Qianrou swiftly stepped forward to calm down the situation.
"Junior Shui? What happened over here?" Senior Xie frowned.
"Zhang shi over here has heard of our teacher's reputation, so he wanted to pay a visit to him. I forgot to warn him in advance about the sword qi, which resulted in this mishap," Shui Qianrou swiftly explained on Zhang Xuan's behalf.
"Our teacher's sword qi is known for its incomparable sharpness. To not know of it in advance and yet remain unharmed in the face of it, even turning it against the gate instead, it seems like the friend you have over there is a skilled sword practitioner!" Senior Xie's eyebrows shot up, and he began assessing Zhang Xuan intently from head to toe.
Senior Xie was a young man in his early thirties. He was dressed in a green robe, and with a sword in hand, he exuded a sharp and domineering aura.
His cultivation had already reached Saint 6-dan, Grand Dominion realm intermediate stage!
"I have only learned swordsmanship for a short moment and am lacking in skills, so I wasn't able to react in time when the sword qi appeared previously. I am sorry for the trouble I have caused." Zhang Xuan swiftly spoke up, too.
He had come with a favor in mind, so it would be best for him to maintain a humble attitude.
Besides, he had not forgotten his motto of maintaining a low profile at all times yet!
"There's no need for any apologies here. The reason our teacher has left this surge of sword qi here is to assess the visitors' comprehension of swordsmanship. Only those who possess an innate sensitivity toward swordsmanship will be able to notice it in advance and avoid being harmed by it," Senior Xie replied with a hearty smile. "Alright, I'll bring you to meet our teacher!"
"You'll bring me to meet your teacher?" Zhang Xuan was stunned.
Did he accidentally take the wrong script?
In the past, when he accidentally caused some damage here and there, the other party would be convulsing all over, glaring at him with such hostility that he felt like he would combust under it. But this time around, no one was angry at him? And they were even inviting him to meet their teacher?
Was this a trap? Were they afraid that he would run as soon as they talked about compensation, so they decided to first bring him into the heart of their base before extorting a fortune out of him?
Or perhaps… was the demolition of the residence a part of Jian Qinsheng's test for his visitors?
Thinking back, most powerful experts had rather bizarre quirks of their own. Taking Sage Kui for example, he was nothing but a fragmented soul now, and yet, he was still diligently whittling down that metal rod of his. Perhaps, demolition was the little quirk that the austere top swordmaster of Sanctum of Sages had?
It would be wonderful if that was really the case. Zhang Xuan was confident that he would be able to score full brownie points from Jian Qinsheng if so!
Having guessed this much, Zhang Xuan turned to look at Shui Qianrou, wanting to see the answer from her face. However, the latter had a look of utter confusion on her face, which suggested that she was not aware that Jian Qinsheng had such practices.
Forget it! Regardless of whether it's a blessing or a disaster, I'll just have to deal with it when the time comes!
After a moment of dilemma, Zhang Xuan heaved a deep sigh on the inside before he clasped his fist and directed a polite smile to Senior Xie. "I'll be troubling you then!"
After which, he followed Senior Xie into the residence.
Perhaps because it was located in the Sanctum of Sages, Jian Qinsheng's residence was not too big. However, as if to make up for the lack of quantity with quality, it was exquisite. For starters, it was surrounded by a massive formation that allowed sword qi to flow freely on the inside. These surges of sword qi moved in accordance to some kind of a profound pattern, as if inviting sword practitioners to decipher its secrets.
Such an environment would be highly effective in aiding sword practitioners in deepening their comprehension of swordsmanship, allowing them to improve by leaps and bounds within a short period of time.
Secretly activating his Eye of Insight, Zhang Xuan studied the formation carefully and swiftly identified the locations of the formation flags and formation core. This way, if anyone were to dare make a move on him, he would be able to reduce the entire residence to rubble in an instant. This knowledge left Zhang Xuan feeling reassured inside, and he nodded in satisfaction.
While Zhang Xuan was still examining his surroundings, Shui Qianrou discreetly walked to Senior Xie's side and asked through zhenqi telepathy, "Senior Xie, what's going on here?"
She was Jian Qinsheng's disciple as well, and all along, she had known the sword qi guarding the residence to be a measure to prevent outsiders from barging in casually. When in the world did it become a test?
"Our teacher went to watch the earlier entrance examination, and he said that there are a few talented individuals among the new batch of freshmen who possess a profound understanding of swordsmanship. So, he altered the strength of the sword qi slightly, saying that those who are able to notice it in advance and remain unharmed in the face of it are those who possess great aptitude in swordsmanship. He tasked me with bringing anyone who manages to fulfill these two criteria to him. You didn't hear of the news because you left early in the morning," Senior Xie replied.
The entrance examination was a huge affair in the Sanctum of Sages, and most elders would pay close attention to it in the hope of finding a suitable successor.
As austere as Jian Qinsheng was, it was his deepest wish to pass down his ancestor's swordsmanship, so he wanted to find a suitable successor to groom.
"I see!" Coming to realize the situation, Shui Qianrou finally heaved a sigh of relief.
All was fine as long as her teacher was not angry!
Circling around a flower garden, a gazebo soon came into appearance. An elder was standing within the gazebo with a sword in hand, seemingly cultivating some kind of sword art.
"Our teacher is currently practicing his swordsmanship, so I'll have to ask you to wait here for a moment." Senior Xie waved his hand.
"Alright." Zhang Xuan halted as he looked at the elder in the gazebo intently, interested to see what he was going to do.
The elder's movements were extremely slow, but there was a distinct feeling of unbounded flexibility from it, a little reminiscent of the Taiji Fist.
Every single slash seemed to seal off an entire area of space, leaving those facing it with no way to escape from the attack.
"What profound swordsmanship," Zhang Xuan remarked in awe.
As one who had comprehended Sword Quintessence, Zhang Xuan could be considered as one who had reached the very pinnacle of swordsmanship. To the untrained eye, the elder's movement might seem to be nothing much, full of openings for one to exploit. However, with just a glance, Zhang Xuan could tell the extraordinary prowess of the sword art.
Slow as it might have been, the elder's swordsmanship harnessed the very essence of swordsmanship in it.
It actually bears some semblance of the Heaven's Path Sword Art!
It was an indubitable fact that swordsmanship was valued for its flexibility and swiftness in movements, but it would be sheer foolishness to equate swiftness to strength.
A swift sword wielded fearsome prowess, but if it was unable to strike the vitals of the opponent, it would merely be a waste of strength.
Anyone could pick up a weapon and slash it wildly in quick succession. Such a maneuver would appear frightening, keeping most at bay. However, a true expert would be able to instantaneously see through the openings in the attacks and subdue the individual with a single strike.
In a battle, swiftness was far from enough. Precision was of the utmost importance as well.
The elder's swordsmanship was extremely slow, such that it would be more accurate to call it a performance than a real sword art, but every single movement of his was aligned with the essence of swordsmanship. Even the air seemed to tremble in resonance to his movements, sealing the entire space altogether. This bore a striking resemblance to his Heaven's Path Sword Art!
It was the kind of swordsmanship that was completely devoid of excessive actions. As soon as the blade was drawn, it would surely strike a vital spot.
It was due to this property that Zhang Xuan had been able to instill fear in the hearts of his opponent through his Heaven's Path Sword Art, and none of those in the same cultivation realm as him stood a chance against his swordsmanship.
After the initial shock, Zhang Xuan soon shook his head. However, while it does bear a striking resemblance, it's still lacking a little!
As similar as it was to the Heaven's Path Sword Art, it simply was not it.
In swordsmanship, even the slightest of difference could create the greatest difference in results!
If the elder were to face him with such swordsmanship, even if the elder wielded strength similar to the puppet in the Jia Corridor, Zhang Xuan would be able to defeat him easily!
It was not to say that the elder's swordsmanship was weak, but the current sword art he was executing could be said to be a poor imitation of the Heaven's Path Sword Art. Every single move it made would simply be naturally curbed by the real Heaven's Path Sword Art, thus placing the elder in an absolutely disadvantageous position.
Regardless of whether this sword art was created by him or the Third Sanctum Head, the very fact that he could achieve this level of swordsmanship is a frightening feat in itself. Still… I can only say that it's a huge pity! Zhang Xuan sighed on the inside.
The Heaven's Path Sword Art was created by compiling innumerable sword arts together, and it had already achieved the level of simplified profoundness.
As an ordinary human, it was indeed incredible for the elder to have been able to come so close to comprehending the essence of swordsmanship.
While Zhang Xuan was still deep in thought, the elder in the gazebo finally halted his movements and retracted his sword. His aura felt as steady as a mountain, and his zhenqi swiftly retracted like the ebbing tide, making it impossible to discern anything extraordinary about him with the naked eye.
If not for witnessing the wonders in his swordsmanship, Zhang Xuan might have thought of him as an ordinary old man.
With a light smile, the elder turned to Zhang Xuan and asked, "This friend over here, I saw you shaking your head earlier. Is there something inappropriate with my swordsmanship?"
"Inappropriate? That's not it." Zhang Xuan paused for a moment before continuing.
"It would be more apt to say that… it's completely wrong!"