Library of Heaven is Path
1363 Looped Space
A spirit vein was torn out of the mountain valley and placed into this folded space in order to supply it with energy. Surely the person who had left behind this folded space would not have conducted this huge operation just to nourish a mere Dongxu Gourd, right? There had to be something more to it.
At this moment, Zhang Xuan also came to the same conclusion. He shot a glance at Bi Hongyin and the others and noticed the lack of surprise on their faces.
From the look of it, it seemed like they had known this in advance as well, which was also the reason they were willing to lend their strength to help Luo Xuanqing obtain the Dongxu Gourd despite the danger involved.
"Yun Lianhai, we'll be counting on you!" Luo Xuanqing said with a solemn nod.
"Un. Leave it to me," Yun Lianhai replied.
Without any hesitation, he executed his secret art once more, and a series of ripples diffused from his glabella into the surroundings.
The folded space expanded far beyond the spatial seal where they had previously been. The ripples diffused for a very long time, to the point where Yun Lianhai's body was beginning to tremble, before they finally came to a halt.
"How is it?"
Yun Lianhai had to gasp for air for quite a while before he managed to recover enough to reply. "I have sensed some ancient objects, but I'm not too sure if they are treasures."
"Lead the way!" Luo Xuanqing said.
As soon as the order was given, Yun Lianhai began making his way forward.
After a roughly ten minutes journey, the crowd suddenly came to a halt with perplexed frowns on their faces.
"Judging from the river in the sky, it doesn't seem like we are getting anywhere. Could we possibly be trapped within a Confinement Formation?" Bi Hongyin asked with a slightly perturbed voice.
Throughout their journey, she could not help but realize that no matter where they traveled to, the river of spiritual energy still appeared to be at the exact same relative position to them in the sky. It was almost as if they had not advanced a single step forward!
Facing such a situation, Luo Xuanqing lowered his head and pondered for a moment before saying, "It isn't a Confinement Formation but the effects of the distortion in space."
Achieving a breakthrough to Half-Dimension Sundering realm had granted him a deeper understanding of space, allowing him to swiftly notice what was amiss with the surroundings.
"Distortion in space?" Bi Hongyin asked doubtfully.
The scenery around them appeared to completely normal, devoid of the bizarre warps similar to the cone-shaped vortex they had seen prior to entering this folded space. As such, she could not help but harbor some doubts toward Luo Xuanqing's judgement.
"The distortion in space here spans across the entire folded space, so it isn't visible to the eye. The space that we commonly see is three-dimensional in nature, and it stretches endlessly into the surroundings. On the other hand, the space within this folded space seems to take the form of a ring. Traveling in a straight line will result in us walking in a loop, bringing us back to the point that we started from," Luo Xuanqing explained.
"On top of that, a distortion in space will cause light to distort as well, and this creates the illusion that we are walking in a straight line even though we are effectively walking in circles! If we could jump out of this folded space and look at ourselves from above, we should see that our bodies are distorted instead of upright!"
Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan nodded in agreement.
Distorted spaces were not apparent to those who were standing within them. In a sense, this was similar to how it was not apparent to an individual that the earth was round just by looking at their immediate surroundings.
The situation they were currently facing was similar to two endpoints in space connecting with one another, forming a closed loop that resulted in them walking in endless circles.
"If that's the case… how do we leave this folded space?" Yuan Xiao asked apprehensively.
Luo Xuanqing hesitated for a moment before replying, "Shatter the folded space!"
Hearing that, Bi Hongyin shook her head and said, "Folded spaces aren't stable. If anything goes wrong while shattering the folded space, there's a good chance that we might be trapped here for life!"
Folded spaces were not as stable as spaces in the natural world, and they were incapable of regenerating on their own. So, if someone exerted too much strength, it could result in its complete collapse, and all of them would be reduced to dust.
It was also for this reason that it would be unsafe for them to bring the Saint 8-dan Netherworld Azure Dragon Beast in.
"This…" Luo Xuanqing frowned.
He also understood this much, or else he would have made a move immediately instead of wasting his breath on words.
Zhang Xuan suddenly spoke up. "Actually, there's no need to shatter this space."
The crowd quickly turned their sights over.
"Look at the flow of the spiritual energy above us. No matter where we walk, it remains right above us. This only means that the space around the river is stable, or in other words, it isn't within the folded space we are in!" Zhang Xuan explained.
Looks of realization dawned upon the crowd.
Indeed, if the river was within the looped folded space as well, its relative position to them should change along with their movement. It did not make sense for it to remain fixed in position.
"If we wish to escape from here, we just have to find a way to delve into the river and move against its current," Zhang Xuan said.
"That's right!" Luo Xuanqing's eyes lit up upon hearing those words, and he quickly nodded in agreement as well.
"Since that's the case, let's make a move!"
Without any hesitation, the crowd immediately flew toward the river.
The river was actually a spirit vein. As soon as the crowd made their way into it, they felt overwhelming spiritual energy pouring toward them at an incredible speed, causing their breathing to hasten.
Luo Xuanqing waved his hand and formed a massive spatial bubble around the crowd, alleviating the pressure resulting from the strong currents in the river. With that, the discomfort was reduced significantly, and they began to make their way forward slowly.
This spirit vein could have been passed off as pinnacle spirit stones, but it has expended itself too much in order to sustain this space. What a pity! Zhang Xuan thought in lamentation.
If this massive spirit vein had still been in the mountain valley, it surely would have developed into a spirit mine filled with plenty of pinnacle spirit stones. However, in order to allow the space to remain operating normally, the spiritual energy within it had been slowly depleting, to the point where even producing high-tier spirit stones was a problem for it now.
But again, if this spirit vein had actually produced pinnacle spirit stones, it would have long been harvested by the other powers. There was no way they would have gotten a chance to obtain the Dongxu Gourd.
Right! I should try and see if I can communicate with that fellow!
Knowing that he would not be in any danger with Luo Xuanqing around, Zhang Xuan turned his consciousness into his body, toward his dantian.
He swiftly saw the fellow who had willfully dived into his body lying leisurely on the ground, exuding vibes similar to a lazy Sunday morning.
Seeing how the gourd was able to remain completely unfazed after all the trouble it had caused him, displeasure swiftly filled Zhang Xuan's mind. Since that fellow has absorbed my blood and acknowledged me, I should be considered as its master now!
Thus, he began trying to establish control over the Dongxu Gourd.
Under the drive of his power, the Dongxu Gourd began revolving in the air.
The power of space contained within the Dongxu Gourd began flowing through his body.
Wherever the power of space swept by, the Heaven's Path zhenqi in the area of his dantian would suddenly collapse inward, as if it had fallen into a depression.
What's going on? Zhang Xuan narrowed his eyes in alarm.
He had spent a great deal of effort to recover his zhenqi, so how could the Dongxu Gourd make it disappear just by emanating a bit of power?
No, that's not it. It's not that my zhenqi has disappeared—the space within my dantian has been changed. I can store much more zhenqi in here now…
After a swift scan, Zhang Xuan was stunned.
It was not that his zhenqi had vanished into thin air; the surrounding space had been distorted, allowing him to store much more zhenqi had before.
Wait a moment. A thought suddenly emerged in Zhang Xuan's mind. If I could set up a closed loop within my dantian as well and keep my zhenqi in perpetual revolution, not only will I be able to store more zhenqi, I'll be able to draw it swifter than before as well, granting me more explosive power.
As perplexing as the idea of a looped space might have sounded to one who was encountering it for the first time, it was actually a rather simple concept, and it was not too difficult for him to implement.
If I could exert all of my zhenqi in an instant, I might just be able to execute the Ocean Cataclysm Sword…
With that thought, Zhang Xuan's eyes lit up.
Even though the Ocean Cataclysm Sword still had a few flaws here and there, the main reason he could not execute it yet was mainly due to his output of zhenqi being too low.
No matter how huge a tank was, the amount of water it could pump out was still limited by the width of its pipes.
The Ocean Cataclysm Sword required far greater outburst of zhenqi compared to the Sea Severing Sword, but if he could set up such a looped space within his dantian, he might just be able to draw forth sufficient zhenqi instantaneously to execute the technique.
Let me give a try…
Sensing his strength, the Dongxu Gourd began to revolve slowly, gradually releasing the power of space around Zhang Xuan's dantian. It was a little similar to a bee constructing its beehive.
It seems like it'll take a while before the construction is complete.
Owing to the limitations in his cultivation, Zhang Xuan knew that it would take him a lot of effort to construct a looped space within his dantian even with the help of the Dongxu Gourd.
Nevertheless, it was a relief to see that he was able to drive the Dongxu Gourd without it resisting him. This meant that he had really managed to assimilate the latter.
Watching the construction of the folded space in his dantian, Zhang Xuan sighed helplessly.
It'll be fine as long as it doesn't cause any trouble. Just that, I'll need quite a bit of spiritual energy to complete the construction, so I need to start looking for spirit stones once more…
Due to his cultivation of the Saint Ascension Decipher, his zhenqi capacity far exceeded that of an ordinary cultivator. However, with the setting up of a looped space, he would require a lot more zhenqi in order to fill it up.
Making a rough calculation, he would require ten times as much as what he had at the moment!
This meant that he would have to gather spirit stones, absorb the spiritual energy within them, convert that into zhenqi, and deposit it into his looped space.
But given how poor he was at the moment, where was he supposed to look for more spirit stones?
If it really comes down to it, perhaps I should get Sun Qiang to compile a list of cultivators who are on the verge of a breakthrough in the Sanctum of Sages and 'share' their lightning tribulation when it comes, Zhang Xuan contemplated seriously.
He had benefited greatly from absorbing energy from the lightning tribulation during his previous breakthrough to Leaving Aperture realm pinnacle. Since he was able to do that for his lightning tribulation, there should not be any reason he could not do the same for the other lightning tribulations. With that, he should be able to fill up his dantian easily without any trouble.
I should have a discussion with Brother Luo later on and request to observe his lightning tribulation. Zhang Xuan nodded as he made up his mind on the matter.
After the previous absorption, the energy harnessed within ordinary lightning tribulations would not have much use to him anymore. However, the lightning tribulation that Luo Xuanqing would have to face when he pushed for a breakthrough to the Dimension Sundering realm should be able to meet his standards.
"Look, what's that?"
While Zhang Xuan was deep in thought, a sudden exclamation from the group pulled him back to reality. Raising his head to take a look, he realized that they had already reached the end of the river flow. A mountain range filled with peaks that rose right above the clouds appeared before his eyes.
However, on second look, he realized that the mountain was not real. It felt fleeting and beyond reach, a little like a painting someone had hung at the horizon of the world or perhaps just a mere mirage, a product of one's imagination.
"That's the highest level of painting, World Composition!" Luo Xuanqing remarked grimly.
"A painting at the level of World Composition far exceeds the realm Evocative Vividness, reaching a level where even humans can enter and live within the painting," Luo Xuanqing said.
Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan nodded. He took a closer look at the painting, and suddenly, a feeling of déjà vu came to him. He racked his brain in an attempt to capture the source of this feeling of familiarity when his eyes narrowed in astonishment. "This mountain range… Isn't it the same as the one in the painting that the Qingtian Emperor made me decipher?"