Library of Heaven is Path
1441 Zhang Jiang
Known as one of the most talented female offspring of the Zhang Clan, Zhang Ziqing was a celebrity among the younger generation. On top of that, she had a graceful disposition and ravishing looks, which led to her having many suitors. Each day, there would be many men who tried to approach her, hoping that they might just luck out and win her fancy, and this had become a major source of annoyance for her.
As such, she had once declared that no matter who the person was, as long as his age was not beyond thirty and he was able to surpass her in the fields of zither, chess, and painting, she would marry that man without any hesitation.
While she did say such words, it was just to stop others from harassing her. After all, she did not think that there would be anyone in the world who could best her in those three fields.
But who could have thought that there would a man who was actually able to triumph over her in the field of painting so easily?
Even though this fellow's personality isn't too good, and his words are very jarring, there's no denying that he's a person of great ability. It might not be too bad to marry him.
Such was the thought that flashed across Zhang Ziqing's mind upon hearing someone amid the crowd reminding her of the matter.
Never in her life had she contemplated the notion of marrying any man before as she had always felt that they were all unworthy of her consideration, but if it was this man… she might just be able to grudgingly accept it.
As soon as such a notion took root in her mind, it swiftly grew at a pace where even she was unable to repress it anymore. Thus, she turned to Zhang Xuan and asked, "May I know if Zhang shi is skilled at the zither too?"
"I do play it from time to time," Zhang Xuan replied with a nod.
Well, he was actually an 8-star demonic tunist, but it would still be best for him to keep a low profile.
"Then… what about chess?"
"I'm afraid that I don't know a thing about it." Zhang Xuan shook his head.
He had learned many occupations, but chess simply was not in the set of skills that he was interested in, so he had never really sought to learn it. As such, it could be said that he knew next to nothing about it.
"It's fine, I can teach you. Does Zhang shi want to drop by my humble abode to have a further discussion about the arts?" Zhang Ziqing asked with a slightly reddened face.
The intention behind her words was very clear. In a sense, this could already be considered as good as a confession.
"Discussion about the arts?" Zhang Xuan frowned a little before shaking his head. "It's only out of convenience that I have picked up those arts, and I consider them a pastime. I have already spent two days studying painting, and pardon me, but I'm afraid that I have no interest in devoting any more time into it."
He was here to face slap the Zhang Clan and force the young prodigy to appear, so how could he possibly have any spare time to learn about the arts or the whatnot?
Besides, I can further my understanding of the arts just by collecting the relevant books. Do I need to waste my time discussing them with you?
Hearing the young man's rejection, Zhang Ziqing's complexion immediately turned rather awful. However, she swiftly noticed a certain detail in the young man's statement, and she could not help but ask, "Did you say that you have only spent two days studying painting?"
"I'd reckon so." Zhang Xuan pondered for a moment before nodding. "I think that should be roughly it."
The only reason he had learned painting was to meet the prerequisites required for his master teacher promotions. He had spent roughly two hours for each level, so to reach 8-star, it would have taken him around sixteen hours. Even adding up the time he had taken to browse through painting books and practice hands-on painting, the duration still should not exceed two days.
However, being the humble man that he was, he chose to round the number up.
"You have only studied painting for two days, but you were able to achieve such a deep understanding of painting?" Zhang Ziqing was unable to believe the words the young man was spouting.
On the other hand, Zhang Xuan was not willing to dwell too much on such a useless topic, so he reached out his hand and demanded, "Since you've lost the bet, it's about time for you to pay up what you owe me."
It was only because of the pinnacle spirit stone that he had accepted the challenge. Since he had won the challenge, it was a given that he should claim his rightful reward.
"The bet…" Recalling their bet, Zhang Ziqing could not help but chuckle at how trivial the matter was. "You should have heard what the young man said earlier. As long as any one is able to best me in painting, zither, and chess, I will marry that person without any questions asked. Considering how you are far beyond me in the field of painting, as long as your mastery in zither playing and chess are decent… I can consider spending the rest of my life with you…"
As her voice trailed off, Zhang Ziqing's face reddened in embarrassment.
For a lady, it was already very bold for her to speak of such an embarrassing matter so forthrightly.
"What are you talking about? Are you trying to talk your way out of paying me my pinnacle spirit stone?" Seeing that the young lady had no intention of paying the pinnacle spirit stone, Zhang Xuan's eyes immediately bulged in fury.
They had already agreed upon it prior to the duel; there were so many eye-witnesses around them that could testify to that! How could she renege on her promise after losing the bet… and not to mention, even force him to marry her?
You must be dreaming!
"Ah?" Zhang Ziqing was startled by the unanticipated response.
Nothing was going as she had imagined.
"A loss is a loss. No matter what, you must pay me one pinnacle spirit stone!" Zhang Xuan exclaimed indignantly. "Don't bother coming up with excuses. There's no way I'm going to let you avoid payment today!"
"You…" Zhang Ziqing nearly lost her sanity in that instant.
In the young man's eyes, was she not even worth a single pinnacle spirit stone?
If others learned that she, one of the top geniuses of the Zhang Clan, had been snubbed over a mere pinnacle spirit stone, she would become the laughingstock of the entire Master Teacher Continent!
"T-this… Zhang Xuan's mind really works in a very odd manner!" Zhang Wuchen could not believe what he was hearing. It took a very long moment before he was able to mutter those words.
"Indeed. This is the first time I've seen someone daring to reject Ziqing, and not to mention… with such an absurd reason at that!" Elder Wuzhen also found the situation inconceivable.
As the saying goes, even the mightiest of heroes are unable to overcome the ordeal of a beauty.
With Zhang Ziqing's capabilities and looks, she was a person who commanded countless pursuers in the upper society, and yet, she had been rejected for a mere pinnacle spirit stone.
Taking a step back, if the young man had really married Zhang Ziqing, given the latter's connections in the Zhang Clan, he would have been able to obtain all of the pinnacle spirit stones that he wanted in the world!
So, was it not simply irrational to fuss over a single pinnacle spirit stone?
After a moment of thought, with a shake of his head, Zhang Wuchen remarked, "Most likely, he doesn't want to have any ties with the Zhang Clan!"
Someone as talented as Zhang Xuan could not possibly be a fool, so there was no way he would be unable to comprehend the intention behind Zhang Ziqing's words. Nevertheless, he still chose to say those maddening words. From this, it was apparent that he did not want to be too deeply involved with the Zhang Clan.
Perhaps Zhang Xuan's rejection of Zhang Ziqing had provoked the other geniuses of the Zhan Clan—a young man flew forth from the crowd and landed right in the center of the square. "Zhang Xuan, I am Zhang Jiang from the Zhang Clan. I would like to challenge you."
"What do you want to challenge me in?" Zhang Xuan asked leisurely.
He would have to be blind to not notice the younger members of the Zhang Clan lurking all around the crowd. He knew that they were trying to put him down, presumably due to what had happened to the Defense Formation at the entrance earlier on. However, since the purpose behind his visit to the Zhang Clan was to stir the pot as much as possible, he did not mind having them coming at him.
"I don't have many talents, but I do have some confidence in my beast taming ability. Since you dared to insult an esteemed member of our Zhang Clan, I hope that you have the guts to accept my challenge too!" Zhang Jiang said with fury burning in his eyes.
In contrast to Zhang Jiang's hostile attitude, Zhang Xuan's response was rather placid, as if he was completely unperturbed by the other party's words. "How do you wish to compete?"
"Simple. Three years ago, the Zhang Clan managed to capture a ferocious saint beast. Till now, no one has been able to tame it, and even I have failed against it. As long as you can successfully tame that saint beast, I'll accept my defeat," Zhang Jiang said.
"What if I can't tame it?" Zhang Xuan shook his head.
Judging from what Zhang Jiang was saying, he seemed to be implying that it would be his loss if he failed to tame the saint beast, but this would be an unfair challenge. The fact that Zhang Jiang was unable to tame the saint beast showed that the saint beast was a tricky fellow to deal with. If he failed to tame the saint beast, it could only mean that the saint beast was beyond their abilities to deal with; it did not necessarily mean that Zhang Jiang's beast taming skills were superior to his.
While Zhang Xuan was confident in his beast taming skills, the effectiveness of his tricks was limited to beasts who possessed the Dragon Bloodline or were slightly weaker than him. Against those that were much stronger than him, he had no foolproof method of taming them.
"I heard that you were able to easily tame the spirit in our Defense Formation, so you shouldn't have any trouble taming a saint beast, right?"
A smile crept onto Zhang Jiang's lips as he continued. "I have been with the saint beast for three days so far, but our intimacy is already at twenty-five points. If you can reach a level of intimacy exceeding that within three days, I'll admit that you are superior to me!"
"Twenty-five points?" Hearing that there was a fairer basis for comparison, Zhang Xuan finally nodded in agreement. "Then… if I tame the saint beast, will I be able to take it away with me?"
This was something that had to be discussed beforehand. After all, this saint beast belonged to the Zhang Clan, so naturally, they would have to discuss its allocation beforehand, or it could lead to unnecessary complications.
"Even though this saint beast was caught by the clan head, if you are able to tame it, it should be fine for you to take it away!" Zhang Jiang said.
At this point, a vicious glint flashed across his eyes before he continued. "If you lose the challenge, I won't demand any pinnacle spirit stones or the like from you. However, I want you to kneel down, apologize to Ziqing, and scram right out of the Zhang Clan!"