Library of Heaven is Path
1365 Collapse of the Ancient Domain
"You recognize me?" Zhang Xuan was taken aback.
"You made me come to see the flaws in my cultivation, so you can be considered half a teacher to me. How could I not recognize you?" the sculpture replied.
"Flaws in Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's cultivation?"
"Half a teacher?"
"Does this mean that… Zhang shi has actually offered pointers to Ancient Sage Qiu Wu?"
The teeth of Luo Xuanqing, Bi Hongyin, and the others clattered from shock upon hearing those words.
The significance of this matter was truly big, to the point that knowing too much might even cost them their lives!
"But… aren't you a fragmented soul?" Zhang Xuan asked in intrigue.
Even though they had met once another in the Qiu Wu Palace, each fragmented soul should have been an independent existence. Normally, it should have been impossible for any of Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's fragmented souls outside of the Qiu Wu Palace to share memories with those within, so how did the one before him recognize him?
"Each fragmented soul is an independent existence, but the order in which they are created is significant, too. It'll be nigh impossible for fragmented souls that are created earlier to read into the memories of those who are created later, but as for fragmented souls that are created later, through some special means, it isn't too difficult for them to share the memories of those that were created earlier. Not to mention, you are even carrying my heritage along with you, so it's even easier for me to do so," the sculpture explained.
Zhang Xuan nodded in realization.
He had been carrying the Qiu Wu Palace with him wherever he went, and while it was currently stored in his storage ring, considering Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's unfathomable mastery over space, it was not too difficult for him to figure out what had happened within.
"It's no wonder you tamed the Dongxu Gourd and got here so quickly. Your presence here explains everything. Ahem, I still have some things to attend to, so… Goodbye!"
With a sudden 'kacha!', a crack ran through the sculpture.
Following which, the imposing aura that was compelling subservience in the crowd receded like an ebbing tide.
Following which, the sculpture abruptly exploded into countless fragments amid a cloud of dust, and it took a long while before everything settled on the ground.
"Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's will… has dissipated? But he hasn't told us what the heritage is yet!"
With twitching eyebrows, Luo Xuanqing and the others clawed at their hair, unable to believe the situation unfolding right before them.
They had traveled far to get there, and after a great deal of hard work, they had finally been just a step away from obtaining the heritage when the sculpture abruptly exploded before their eyes, and the will harnessed within it dissipated.
What the heck was this?
They slowly turned toward Zhang Xuan and said, "Zhang shi…"
Facing the glares of the crowd, Zhang Xuan was completely dumbfounded as well.
Was that Ancient Sage Qiu Wu not a little too unreliable? He had also dissipated the previous time before saying what the heritage was! In fact, this time around, he had barely said anything at all.
He had seen so many wills… but in terms of speed, that fellow was surely the first!
It was no wonder he could come up with battle techniques such as the Unbounded Voyager. It turned out to be completely aligned with his innate nature!
But thinking of it again, Kong shi was rather fast as well. They had met two times so far, but each time, he did not manage to get the solution for the Innate Fetal Poison out of him.
This master and servant pair… No wonder the two of them managed to click with one another!
Under the murderous glares that were intensifying by the moment, Zhang Xuan replied with twitching lips, "Ahem, maybe this is a test posed to us by Ancient Sage Qiu Wu? He might have hidden the heritage somewhere in this folded space and want us to find it ourselves?"
That had been the case in the Qiu Wu Palace too. After Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's will dissipated, he had managed to find the Heavenly Art of Dimension Unravel through studying the three words 'Qiu Wu Palace' at the entrance.
Considering that it was the same Ancient Sage Qiu Wu they were talking about, he was likely to go by the same pattern.
Hearing those words, the crowd traded doubtful gazes, seemingly trying to ascertain the likelihood of Zhang Xuan's words being true.
Luo Xuanqing pondered for a moment before saying, "Back then, before our old ancestor obtained Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's heritage and comprehended the spatial laws, he also seemed to have gone through a similar experience.
"Zhang shi is right. A person like Ancient Sage Qiu Wu would only pass down his heritage to those who have undergone his careful selection. It wouldn't make sense for him to give his all to someone he has only met once!
"Let's comb through the area. We might just be able to find something."
Seeing that Luo Xuanqing had covered up for him, Zhang Xuan heaved a sigh of relief.
Bi Hongyin and the others nodded before getting to their feet to search the area.
The walls of the palace were also made of some kind of mysterious stone, and just like the gates, there were characters inscribed on them as well.
Bi Hongyin and the others could not interpret those characters, so they could only turn to Luo Xuanqing for help.
"These characters aren't a cultivation technique but just inscriptions to fortify the defenses of the palace. Even though this is a folded space—thus, there are no storms to weather—this fortification played a crucial role in allowing the palace to remain standing even after the passing of many millenniums," Luo Xuanqing explained.
Regardless of weather conditions, all structures would still eventually wear down with time. Without the fortification inscriptions, the palace would have long collapsed from the accrued damage.
Seeing that these characters meant nothing at all, the crowd was a little disappointed. At this point, Bi Hongyin suddenly thought of something and turned to Yun Lianhai. "The heritage should also be considered a treasure, too. Yun Lianhai, do you sense anything in the area?"
Since Yun Lianhai had been able to lead them there, there was a chance he would be able to lead them to the heritage left behind by Ancient Sage Qiu Wu as well.
"I'll give it a try." Yun Lianhai nodded before activating his unique ability.
This ability of his could only be considered to be tapping into his bloodline rather than activating it, so while it would cause some damage to him, it was not to the point where he would be incapacitated for an entire month.
Opening the third eye in between his eyebrows, he swept the area swiftly before suddenly coming to a halt. "I sense something weird in that direction…"
He pointed in a direction as he said those words.
The crowd quickly turned their gazes over.
It was directed toward the area just beneath the sculpture.
Rummaging through the shattered stone fragments, they soon found traces of a folded space.
The eyes of the crowd lit up, and Luo Xuanqing raised his finger and tapped on the folded space.
With a brilliant burst of light, a line of words surged out of the folded space and appeared before the crowd.
"Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Fist!" Zhang Xuan read out.
He had thought that Ancient Sage Qiu Wu had just said those words on a whim, but who would have thought that he had really left his heritage behind?
"Legend has it that Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's strongest battle techniques involve his finger, sword, fist, and palm, and they carry the prefix 'Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow'. The palm art is at Saint intermediate-tier, the fist art is at Saint high-tier, and the sword art is at Saint pinnacle… Even the old ancestor of my Luo Clan was unable to find those battle techniques, but to think that we would actually stumble on one of them here…" Luo Xuanqing was so agitated that his eyes were glowing.
"Finger, sword, fist, and palm?" Zhang Xuan was taken aback.
He had learned the Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Palm before, and it was indeed a Saint intermediate-tier battle technique. He had thought that it was just an independent battle technique, but to think that it would actually be part of an entire series!
He quickly looked at the words in the sky and commanded in his mind, Flaws!
A book materialized in the Library of Heaven's Path. Placing his finger on it, a constipated look swiftly appeared on Zhang Xuan's face.
There are even more flaws with it, Zhang Xuan thought with a shake of his head.
Just the 27 flaws in the Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Palm had left him feeling deeply uncomfortable within, but this one actually had 31 flaws.
To be fair, it was a decent battle technique with formidable strength, but… how could he bring himself to cultivate such a flawed technique?
Ever since he started cultivating the Heaven's Path Divine Art, he had already grown accustomed to practicing skills that were devoid of flaws. Like a germaphobe, even the slightest hint of a fault would leave him feeling deeply uncomfortable, as if bugs were crawling over his skin… and there were actually 31 of them in this manual!
Zhang Xuan swiftly gathered all of the fist art manuals that he had practiced so far and compiled them together with it.
There are still 28 flaws.
Even though Zhang Xuan had seen quite a number of fist art manuals in the past, their tier was simply too low. They were still sorely lacking to complement the faults found in a Saint high-tier fist art.
Several hundred thousand books, but they only managed to remove three flaws in total.
Zhang Xuan shook his head and consoled himself. Forget it, I'll just have to find more fist art manuals when I return to the Sanctum of Sages to perfect the Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Fist.
In any case, there were plenty of secret manuals in the Sanctum of Sages. As long as he could clear the examination for them, he should be able to gather quite a number of fist art manuals. With time, he would surely be able to perfect it!
At this moment, the ground beneath their feet suddenly began trembling, and the space around them began distorting.
"Crap, this is bad. The dissipation of Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's will and the taking away of the Dongxu Gourd have led to instability within the space. At this rate, it'll soon collapse," Luo Xuanqing exclaimed in shock.
Similar to the Mountain Gate of the Sanctum of Sages, the structure of this folded space was simply too complicated. Without someone to sustain its operations, it would swiftly collapse at the slightest hint of impact.
And clearly, this was what was happening at the moment.
Everyone's face paled.
As powerful as they were, they were still limited by the space they were in. If the folded space were to collapse, there was a good chance that they would be crushed between dimension rifts and die… unless they could achieve a level that surpassed this folded space!
But that would require them to be at Saint 9-dan at the very minimum!
"We need to leave right now, or else we might just die in here!" Luo Xuanqing exclaimed anxiously.
"But… I have only remembered two lines of the entire fist art!" Bi Hongyin exclaimed with a reddened face.
"I have also only managed to remember two lines," Yuan Xiao said.
There were countless cultivators who dream of obtaining Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's battle technique, and it was a stroke of luck that they had managed to find it. Yet, to have to leave without memorizing its entirety… they just could not get over the indignation in their hearts.
"Your lives are more important. No matter how powerful the battle technique is, it'll be futile if you don't have the life to practice it. I have also only managed to memorize four lines myself. Hurry up, let's go!" Luo Xuanqing urged with a wave of his hand.
This battle technique had been created by Ancient Sage Qiu Wu, and it harnessed the essence of his wisdom. All in all, it contained more than several hundred lines, and despite their superior memory as cultivators, it would still take them at least an hour to memorize everything.
Barely a minute had passed so far, and it was already a formidable feat for them to have been able to memorize two to four lines.
But again, between a battle technique and their lives, it was clear which was more important!
"Alright!" Seeing that the surrounding space was shaking more and more intensely, such that dimension rift cracks had started appearing around the area, Bi Hongyin and the others realized that they could not afford to waste any more time. They quickly followed behind Luo Xuanqing to dash out of the folded space.
Naturally, Zhang Xuan followed suit.
They had proceeded slowly to carefully scan the area so as to ensure that they did not miss anything important when they were walking through the passageway toward the palace earlier, but with danger right behind them, they could not afford to do that. They flitted forward desperately as if their lives were on the line, and it took merely two breaths before they returned to the top of the river flow.
Luo Xuanqing swiftly summoned a spatial bubble once more and wrapped it around the entire group before driving it forward with all his might.
Ten breaths later, they returned to the bottom of the river, where they had first encountered the Dongxu Gourd.
Barely after they returned there, they saw a huge dimension rift swiftly devouring the palace and the river behind them.
"That was a close shave…"
Cold sweat trickled down the crowd's backs.
It was fortunate that they did not hesitate for too long there, or else they might have died.
"Let's quickly get out of here," Luo Xuanqing said as he used a secret art of the Luo Clan to forcefully tear open an exit in the folded space.
Everyone quickly leaped up and headed out.
A deafening gale whistled by their ears, and intense vertigo swallowed them, leaving them in a deeply disoriented state. Fortunately, this only lasted for a moment.
When they opened their eyes once more, they were already back at the cavern.
Barely after they managed to find their footing once more, the sesame-sized spatial distortion suddenly emanated a blinding burst of light before vanishing from view.
The ancient domain had really fully collapsed!