Library of Heaven is Path
It was no wonder Zhang Xuan would be so crestfallen by the matter.
All along, he had performed splendidly before his future brother-in-law, even impressing the latter through the taming of the Netherworld Azure Dragon Beast. His image in the latter's heart should have been flawless and impeccable… but who would have thought that a mere gourd would undo all of his efforts at this critical juncture!
It was one thing if he could not defeat a saint beast or an artifact, but for even a gourd hanging on a vine to pummel him to the point where he was forced to flee frantically as if a mischievous son being evicted out of his house… this must really be the greatest humiliation in his life!
"You were pummeled by a gourd?" Luo Xuanqing was startled for a moment before he finally understood what was going on. "That means to say that… Zhang shi, you have met the Dongxu Gourd? So, that thing really exists, and what we see isn't just an illusion?"
"That's right." Zhang Xuan nodded.
Due to Yun Lianhai saying that he could not sense the presence of a treasure, everyone's heart was left on an edge, fearing that their efforts had all gone to waste. Zhang Xuan's reassurance made all of them heave a sigh of relief.
Since it really existed, they still stood a chance then.
Seeing the dejected look on Zhang Xuan's face, Luo Xuanqing patted his shoulders and consoled him. "As an item that could help others comprehend the Dimension Sundering realm, its fighting prowess is likely to be on par with Saint 8-dan primary stage experts. As talented as you are, Zhang shi, your cultivation is still only at Saint 5-dan Leaving Aperture realm pinnacle, a great distance from it. It's only natural that you won't be a match for it. In fact, even I won't fare too well against it…"
Considering how the Dongxu Gourd raised the chances of a cultivator achieving a breakthrough to the Dimension Sundering realm by 50%, how could it possibly be anything ordinary?
As long as one's strength was not on par, putting aside capturing it, even if one were to capture it, there was no way one would be able to assimilate it!
It was only after hearing those words that Zhang Xuan finally felt a little better inside. He turned to the crowd and said, "I have already deciphered the crux to the spatial seal before us, and I'll bring you all to the gourd later on. However, I just want to warn all of you beforehand that the fellow is extremely violent, and there's a good chance that it'll make a move on us as soon as it sees us. So, I think you all should heal up first and condition your physical state to your peak."
The crowd nodded before taking a seat.
Zhang Xuan took a seat as well. He opened up his acupoints and swiftly absorbed the spiritual energy in the surroundings so as to replenish the zhenqi that he had lost earlier and heal his wounds.
Thanks to the concentrated spiritual energy that was present in the folded space, it took him less than four hours to recover completely.
While reinforcing his cultivation, Zhang Xuan began strategizing against the Dongxu Gourd. That gourd is really a little too powerful. It won't be easy to deal with it even with our current forces…
He had considered several ideas, but after some careful rumination, they did not seem to be feasible against the Dongxu Gourd.
Just as Luo Xuanqing had said, that fellow was likely to possess fighting prowess on par with Dimension Sundering realm primary stage experts, a level that was far beyond the current them.
Unless… he released Vicious' finger and head to collaborate with Luo Xuanqing and the others!
But of course, that would mean exposing Vicious' existence, and for a master teacher to be rearing an Otherworldly Demon… If the matter got out, he would surely draw the wary gaze of the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters upon him, and there was a chance that his master teacher license might even be revoked.
After quite some thought, Zhang Xuan was still unable to think of any good ideas. In this moment, Luo Xuanqing and the others suddenly stood up and said, "Let's head off!"
While they had sustained rather severe injuries from the earlier rebound of the spatial seal, after swallowing the recovery pill that Zhang Xuan had given them and utilizing the various means they possessed, they had managed to mostly recover from their wounds.
"Make sure to follow closely behind me. Don't even stray off by a single step," Zhang Xuan instructed severely.
Understanding the dangers that lay within the spatial seal, the others nodded.
Zhang Xuan swiftly sealed his cultivation before taking the lead into the seal.
Having comprehended the 3-dan Heavenly Art of Dimension Unravel, his grasp over space was stronger than ever. On top of that, he had already comprehended the secret of the spatial seal, so in truth, there was no longer any danger in here for him.
In terms of absolute ability to manipulate space, Luo Xuanqing was likely a little stronger than him, but within the spatial seal, Luo Xuanqing would not even be able to come close to matching to him.
With the prior experience of traveling through the spatial seal, the second attempt proceeded much smoother. It did not take too long for them to arrive in the vicinity of the river of spiritual energy, and they could clearly see the gourd hanging just beneath it.
"It's the Dongxu Gourd…" Luo Xuanqing's body trembled in agitation.
He could not see it clearly from afar, but now that he was already in its vicinity, he could see that it was the Dongxu Gourd. If he could assimilate it into his body, his chances of achieving a breakthrough to Dimension Sundering realm would be increased by 50%.
"I don't think that I'll be of much help to you from this point onward, so I'll just wait for you here," Zhang Xuan said.
Unless he were utilized all of his trump cards, his actions would not mean much in comparison to the fighting prowess of the crowd. So, it did not matter whether he involved himself in the fight or not.
"It's fine—you have already done enough." Luo Xuanqing and the others were pumped up. "With our strength, we should be able to subdue it easily!"
Zhang Xuan raised his clenched fist and gave a cheer of encouragement. "Good luck!"
Three minutes later…
The group was back outside the spatial seal, and Luo Xuanqing and the others were lying on the ground with bruised, miserable faces.
Their collaboration was superb, and every single move they utilized was well-calculated to corner their opponent. Nevertheless, they were still no match for the gourd, and they ended up being viciously pummeled instead. This was especially so for Yuan Xiao—his entire body was covered with round imprints of the Dongxu Gourd.
Yun Lianhai hesitated for a moment before saying, "Zhang shi, why don't you bring the Netherworld Azure Dragon Beast in? With it making a move, we should be able to destroy the Dongxu Gourd easily!"
The Netherworld Azure Dragon Beast possessed strength comparable to a Saint 8-dan pinnacle expert, and even if the four of them collaborated with one another, they still would not be a match for it. With its help, they should be able to subdue the Dongxu Gourd with ease.
"This…" Zhang Xuan was slightly troubled by that request.
It was not that he did not want to do that… but it had not been long since he had constructed an awe-inspiring image before the Netherworld Azure Dragon Beast, and if he had to engage its help just to deal with a mere gourd now…
His pride could not take it!
Besides, the folded space seemed to be constructed in a manner that did not allow Saint 8-dan experts to enter. Well, it might still be possible for him to bring the Netherworld Azure Dragon Beast in if he were to first store the latter in his Myriad Anthive Nest before letting it out, but such a course of action could possibly result in the folded space becoming unstable as well. If so, that would cause much more trouble than it was worth.
While the crowd was still conflicted as to what they should do, Luo Xuanqing suddenly gritted his teeth and resolutely declared, "Forget it, I'll use my bloodline ability then! I'll need you all to assist me later on."
"You are going to use your bloodline ability?" Bi Hongyin frowned. "Are you certain? You'll have to rest for at least a month if you use it, and that might cause you to lag behind Zhang Chun…"
While activating the bloodline ability would briefly grant an offspring of a Sage Clan overwhelming fighting prowess, it would also put a great strain on their body. For this reason, they would only choose to resort to it in desperate situations.
"I know, but as long as I can capture it, I should be able to push for a breakthrough to Saint 8-dan as soon as I recover after the month. This price is something that I can accept!" Luo Xuanqing replied.
Given his current rate of cultivation, he would at least require a few more years or even a decade or two of effort before he would be ready to push for a breakthrough to Saint 8-dan.
However, with the Dongxu Gourd, he should be able to succeed within just three months! So, resting for just a month was just a small price to pay.
"I see." Bi Hongyin nodded. "Since you have made up your mind, let's do it."
There was no such thing as a free lunch in the world. It would be blind optimism if a person expected to lay his hands on a treasure without giving something in return. Prior to making the journey here, Luo Xuanqing had already resolved himself to make sacrifices for this aim.
Having come to a decision, they quickly scattered to recuperate from their injuries and condition themselves back to their peak state.
Six hours later, they stood before the Dongxu Gourd once more.
"Hongyin, use your demonic tunes to interfere with its attacks. Yuan Xiao, try to draw the gourd's aggression upon you. Yun Lianhai, you will be going on the offensive alongside me. We only have one chance, so we have to succeed this time around!" Luo Xuanqing said solemnly.
"Alright!" the crowd replied resoundingly.
"Let's begin then!" Luo Xuanqing bellowed.
The next moment, overwhelming energy began billowing intensely within Luo Xuanqing's body, and it felt like his aura had been lit on fire. Following which, the space around him began to distort randomly.
He took a step forward and raised his palm, and the space around the gourd seemed to instantaneously freeze in place.
Sensing hostility directed toward it, the gourd immediately charged out indignantly, wanting to strike down its enemy. However, the strength that Luo Xuanqing wielded from activating his bloodline was simply too strong. Despite multiple attempts to dash out, the gourd was actually unable to break out of the confined space.
Triiing ting! Trriiiiiiinnng ting!
The melody of a zither began playing—Bi Hongyin had started her performance. Yuan Xiao and Yun Lianhai also charged forward to make their moves.
Watching the happenings, Zhang Xuan heaved a sigh of relief. They should be able to succeed this time around…
After activating his bloodline ability, Luo Xuanqing's prowess had more than doubled, and his current strength was not any beneath that of a Dimension Sundering realm expert.
As expected one of the top geniuses of the Luo Clan, the rise in his fighting prowess from activating his bloodline ability was frightening.
He had fought with Zhang Qian in the past, and he had seen the latter activating his Zhang Clan bloodline ability as well. Even though Zhang Qian's strength did grow significantly upon the activation, it came nowhere close to comparing to this.
It seemed the purer one's bloodline was, the more formidable the effects when one's bloodline ability was activated.
While Zhang Xuan was still deep in thought, the four experts had managed to suppress the Dongxu Gourd to the ground, and they were kicking it furiously. Bi Hongyin even raised her zither and smashed it down on the gourd furiously.
Under the crazed onslaught of the crowd, the gourd could only tremble fearfully on the ground, forming a miserable sight in contrast to the arrogance it had shown before.
Recalling how badly he was pummeled previously, Zhang Xuan nodded in satisfaction at that sight. You sure acted smug just now, didn't you? Take this to your heart, revenge is a dish best served cold!
This is the price you have to pay for acting arrogantly before me!
Let's see if you dare do something like that in the future!
Knowing that the battle was as good as concluded, Zhang Xuan turned his head over to the flowing river of spiritual energy in the sky.
This proved that there was indeed a spirit vein within the valley at one point in time, but someone had dug it out from the ground to nourish the Dongxu Gourd. On top of that, it had been used to sustain the folded space as well, so at this point in time, it was already on the verge of drying up.
What a pity… Zhang Xuan sighed deeply.
If this spirit vein had only been extracted from the ground not too long ago, the concentration of spiritual energy flowing within it would have been on par with pinnacle spirit stones.
While there was still plenty of spiritual energy flowing within the river, the concentration had already dipped considerably. At this moment, its concentration was only equivalent to high-tier spirit stones, so it was not of much use to him anymore.
Just as Zhang Xuan was about to retract his gaze from the river, he suddenly caught sight of the vine hanging over it in his peripheral vision. This vine seems to be good stuff…
It was roughly around the thickness of a finger, but its gleaming, jade-like exterior seemed to suggest that it was rich in spiritual energy. Previously, he had been paying so much attention to the Dongxu Gourd that he had neglected it, but examining it intently with his Eye of Insight, he realized that the vine was actually incredibly resilient, and the concentration of spiritual energy within it was far purer than that of a concentrated high-tier spirit stone.
"Let me take a closer look!" Unable to hold back his curiosity, he flew over with eyes gleaming in excitement.
It did not take long before he was standing in front of the vine. The vine had a brilliant green color that was reminiscent of emerald, and it felt cold to the touch. It was hard to put a finger on the feeling that the vine gave him, but it felt like there were countless folded spaces packed densely within it, similar to a beehive.
This… Zhang Xuan blinked in surprise.
He had felt such a sensation from the gourd as well. This should be what others called the power of Dimension Sundering, which was also what one had to comprehend in order to achieve a breakthrough to Saint 8-dan.
He had thought that such a power should only be existent in the gourd, but to think that the vine would carry traces of such power as well.
Will I be able to assimilate it? Zhang Xuan wondered as he touched it once more, and amid a cooling feeling that rippled through his body from his finger, a book materialized in the Library of Heaven's Path.
Zhang Xuan retracted his finger and took a few steps back away from the vine before immersing his consciousness into the Library of Heaven's Path to read the book.
However, at this moment, a series of crisp echoes reminiscent of squeals of delight sounded from the vine, and it dashed straight for Zhang Xuan.
Alarmed, Zhang Xuan raised his hand and grasped forward. "Store!"
In the blink of an eye, the vine was deposited into his storage ring.