Library of Heaven is Path
"The Mountain Gate has collapsed?" Zhang Xuan was taken aback.
Everything had been perfectly fine when they challenged the Mountain Gate examination the previous day. Everyone had displayed their capabilities as best they could in order to get into the top five hundred. Why would it collapse all of a sudden?
"That's what Fei shi said earlier." A hint of disbelief could be heard in Chen Leyao's voice as well.
Clearly, she was also shocked by the news, or else she would not have been in such a hurry to relay it to Zhang Xuan.
"He's the elder standing at the front. He's the person in charge of all affairs relating to the Elite Division, so you can look for him if you have any problems in the future," Chen Leyao said as she gestured to the front.
Zhang Xuan turned his gaze over as well and saw a middle-aged man standing at the very front. He was surrounded by several students, who seemed to be asking him about something.
"Did they mention the reason behind the collapse of the Mountain Gate?"
The Mountain Gate had survived several dozen millenniums in the Sanctum of Sages, so why would such a thing suddenly happen at this point in time?
Chen Leyao pondered for a moment before saying, "I'm not too sure, but based on what I heard, it seems like the sculpture of Sage Kui has shattered."
Hearing that, Zhang Xuan was confused.
What did the shattering of Sage Kui's sculpture have anything to do with the collapse of the Mountain Gate?
"The Mountain Gate and the folded space were created single-handedly by Sage Kui, and most of the tests within were also supervised by his will. The shattering of the sculpture means that the will he left behind has dissipated, and without his support, the folded space ended up collapsing as well," Chen Leyao replied.
"This…" Zhang Xuan frowned.
To be honest, he was extremely grateful to Sage Kui for the help he had offered back during the entrance examination, and he had been planning on returning to find the latter after he gained the strength to activate the Sanctum Head Token. Who would have thought that the latter's will would dissipate so swiftly?
Zhang Xuan sighed deeply. "Even if he has spent most of his time over the past several dozen millenniums asleep, it's still inevitable that his life would eventually reach its end…"
There was a limit to the lifespan of all living beings. Not even Kong shi was able to free himself from the shackles of time.
Even if Sage Kui was a powerful expert prior to his death, there was still a limit to how long his fragmented soul could survive. If it had remained constantly asleep, he might still have been able to last for quite some time. However, each time a new sanctum head candidate appeared, he had to wake up once, and this ended up depleting his lifespan significantly. It had merely been a matter of time before his will dissipated.
"Indeed." Chen Leyao nodded in agreement. "Now that Sage Kui's will has dissipated, it'll be difficult for the next sanctum head to establish his position…"
"Difficult for the next sanctum head to establish his position?"
"Ah, you must still be unaware of it. According to the rumors, Sage Kui's will doesn't just sustain the entire Mountain Gate examination. More importantly, he is also the one who is in charge of selecting the next sanctum head. In fact, every single sanctum head has been personally chosen by him. Now that his will has dissipated, it'll be difficult for the next sanctum head to build legitimacy and credence to his position…"
As one of the top geniuses of the Glacier Plain Court, Chen Leyao had her own connections. While these matters might have been confidential secrets in the Sanctum of Sages, it was not too difficult for her to learn this much from her sources.
"This…" Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan was just about to continue speaking when a resounding voice arose from the center of the room.
Turning his head over, Zhang Xuan saw that the one who was speaking was Fei shi.
"It seems like everyone from the Elite Division is here. First and foremost, I would like to congratulate every single one of you for successfully becoming a student of the Sanctum of Sages. I'll be accompanying you for the next few years of your journey here, but before I get to anything, I would like each of you to introduce yourself to the others. The people gathered here will be your fellow classmates, and you will be seeing one another frequently in your time in the Sanctum of Sages. So, it would be good for you all to familiarize yourselves with one another as soon as possible. Alright, in first place, Feng Ziyi…"
Zhang Xuan turned his gaze over curiously, wanting to see the face of the top ranker of the entrance examination.
Feng Ziyi had outperformed even those of the Zhang Clan to come top in the entrance examination. From this feat alone, there was no doubt that the other party was a person of great capability.
A young man who appeared to be in his mid-twenties walked out. He had an ordinary-looking exterior, no imposing aura or dashing appearance. He was the type of person who would blend right into the crowd if one did not pay close attention to him.
However, under the assessment of Zhang Xuan's Eye of Insight, he could still clearly perceive the fearsome flow of energy that coursed through Feng Ziyi's body like the rapid tides of a river. There was little doubt that this fearsome flow of energy could be converted into devastating might within moments if willed so.
Grand Dominion realm advanced stage… He's indeed a formidable individual. Zhang Xuan nodded.
A cultivator had to possess unthinkable talent in order to possess such strength in his mid-twenties.
"My name is Feng Ziyi."
The young man simply introduced his own name before falling silent.
It would have seemed silly if anyone else had done the same, but for the mysterious Feng Ziyi, such actions only seemed to deepen the enigma around him.
"In second place, Zhang Yu!" Fei shi announced.
He had the details concerning every single student who enrolled into the Sanctum of Sages, but if Feng Ziyi was unwilling to say anything more about himself, it was not be his place to talk too much either.
Following the announcement, another young man stepped forward and clasped his fist.
This young man appeared to be even younger than Feng Ziyi, around his early twenties, but his strength did not feel any weaker than the latter's. It felt like he could bring forth a calamitous storm with just a wave of his hand.
"My name is Zhang Yu, and I'm from the Zhang Clan. I hope that we can work together and strive for greatness!" In contrast to Feng Ziyi's cold disposition, Zhang Yu spoke with a warm smile on his face.
Under the scanning of the Eye of Insight, Zhang Xuan found that there were no major flaws to be found in Zhang Yu's physical body, zhenqi, or soul, which made his strength exceptionally wholesome.
In comparison, the other offspring of the Zhang Clan that he knew of, such as Zhang Jiuxiao, Zhang Qian, or even Zhang Yunfeng, were truly not even worth mentioning.
If the two of them were to go all out in a battle, even though Zhang Yu's cultivation was only at Grand Dominion realm advanced stage, Zhang Xuan was not confident that he would be the one to emerge victorious in the end.
As one of the inner members of the Zhang Clan, Zhang Yu's bloodline ability was bound to be far stronger than Zhang Qian's. Along with the various profound battle techniques and powerful means he would have learned in the Zhang Clan, Zhang Yu likely possessed the strength to rival opponents several cultivation stages stronger than him as well.
Following Zhang Yu was Yuan Haiqing, Bai Qingxuan…
Zhang Xuan assessed every single one of them carefully, and while most of the rest came nowhere close to comparing to Feng Ziyi and Zhang Yu, they still left him feeling deeply bewildered.
It was no wonder these clans and powers were able to remain at the top of the Master Teacher Continent for so many years. They really did possess exceptional means in cultivating the talents of the younger generation.
All in all, the only one who could be said to have truly come from a humble background among the fifty students of the Elite Division was him.
It seems like the Master Teacher Continent is rather similar to my previous world. Due to the difference in upbringing and resources available to each individual, the powerful grow even more powerful whereas the weak grow even weaker. This gap will only continue to widen with time…
Zhang Xuan sighed deeply.
The stronger powers and clans had high-ranked master teachers amid their ranks and superior resources, thus allowing them to provide the best upbringing for their younglings right from the very start. This was not something that ordinary clans could afford to do.
As for those who had paved their way forward a step at a time, rising from the humble Tianxuan Kingdom all the way up here… well, such cases could be said to be practically non-existent. In a sense, Zhang Xuan's case could be considered a miracle among miracles.
It was really no wonder others automatically assumed that he was an offspring of the Zhang Clan.
It did not take too long for the front forty-nine students to finish introducing themselves.
"Last but not least, Zhang Xuan!"
As soon as those words were spoken, all eyes in the room immediately turned toward Zhang Xuan.
Despite not being from the Zhang Clan, Zhang Xuan had beaten up Zhang Qian and Zhang Yunfeng. This was a sight that everyone had seen with their own eyes back then, and that matter had left a deep impression on them.
Zhang Xuan introduced himself with a smile. "I am Zhang Xuan, and I am from the Qingyuan Empire."
"He's really from the Qingyuan Empire!"
"Despite coming from such a humble place, he still dared to make a move against the Zhang Clan? He sure is brazen!"
"But don't you think that it's weird how he was able to defeat Zhang Yunfeng despite being in fiftieth place?"
"That's indeed rather bizarre. Perhaps, he might even be a secret student of some 9-star master teacher of the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters…"
Upon hearing Zhang Xuan's introduction, the crowd immediately began discussing him in whispers.
Considering how Zhang Xuan was able to achieve such strength despite being unaffiliated to any powers and the very fact that he dared stand against the Zhang Clan fearlessly, there was no one in that room who thought that he was as simple as he had introduced himself to be.
"Alright. Now that you have made your introductions, I shall first talk about some of the basic rules in the Sanctum of Sages that you must abide by, followed by the various aspects you have to take note of when choosing your teacher," Fei shi said with a smile.
"Regarding the rules, they are all thoroughly explained in your identity tokens, so I won't waste your time by going into detail about them. However, there's one thing I would like to remind all of you on.
"As students of the Sanctum of Sages, you can compete with one another, but under no circumstances should you attempt to claim the life of your peers. If you have any irreconcilable conflict with anyone that you must settle at any cost, you can apply for a Master Teacher Confrontation with us. As long as three elders agree to your request, you'll be accorded a Life-and-Death Contract to carry on with it. Under the terms of the Life-and-Death Contract, the power affiliated with the individual who has lost their life in the Master Teacher Confrontation must not attempt to exact vengeance against the victor."
Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan nodded.
In a sense, these rules were similar to those of the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy.
Regardless of whether one was a master teacher or not, wherever humans existed, there was bound to be conflict. Even the most enlightened of individuals were no exception to the rule.
Even Kong shi had also lost his rationality to rage and sorrow before.
Conflicts would have to be resolved in a timely and appropriate matter, or else they would only continue growing bigger and bigger.
This was also why most organizations, be it Master Teacher Academies or the Sanctum of Sages, had systems in place to deal with such situations. Otherwise, if an individual was forced to bottle up their hostility and rage due to the rules, it could eventually lead to them committing far worse acts.
"As for the selection of teachers, I only have a very simple piece of advice for you all. Choose a teacher who is aligned with your strengths.
"The fact that you were able to rise above the other ten thousand candidates means that you possess an outstanding talent or skill. As such, I hope that you can sharpen this strength of yours and bring it to its very limits."
Following which, Fei shi began introducing some of the more formidable master teachers and exceptionally talented individuals of the other occupations in the Sanctum of Sages.
Upon hearing these introductions, Zhang Xuan shook his head in disinterest.
The Library of Heaven's Path was far better than any teacher he could have. As such, this topic held no purpose to him at all.
"Fairy Leyao, do you still have any more of the Wintry Spirit Essence that you gave me previously? May I buy some of it from you?"
According to what Sun Qiang had said, it seemed like it would be difficult for him to obtain pinnacle spirit stones without entering the Inner Sanctum, and the other alternatives seemed to be rather troublesome as well. However, upon seeing Fairy Leyao, he suddenly remembered the Wintry Spirit Essence. He had consumed some previously, and it had been extremely effective on him. He could raise his cultivation swiftly with it.
"That… I do have some Wintry Spirit Essence, but I'm planning on using it to push for a breakthrough to Grand Dominion realm," Chen Leyao replied hesitantly.
The young man was her benefactor, as well as the teacher of their young court chief. Under normal circumstances, she would not have turned down any request he had of her, but… she really needed the Wintry Spirit Essence to push for a breakthrough, so it was not convenient for her to give it away.
On the other hand, Zhang Xuan's eyes lit up upon hearing those words. "If I can help you achieve a breakthrough to Grand Dominion realm without using the Wintry Spirit Essence, would you be willing to sell your Wintry Spirit Essence to me?"
"If you can help me achieve a breakthrough, I'll give the Wintry Spirit Essence straight to you!" Chen Leyao said.