Library of Heaven is Path
1467 The Zhang Clan’s Swordsmanship
Seeing the upside-down, already fainted Zhang Qin, the looks of Zhang Xu and Zhang Hen's face froze in place. In this moment, they found themselves unable to utter even a single word.
All along, they felt that no matter how talented Zhang Xuan was in swordsmanship, there wouldn't be too much of a disparity between his skills and theirs. After all, they were also renowned swordsmanship geniuses themselves too!
Yet, who could have thought that despite Zhang Qin using his full strength right from the start, he would still be defeated in just a single move! Not to mention, the other party didn't even use his sword qi—he simply sent a kick right over… and it was all over!
"Let me try your skills!" Exhaling deeply, Zhang Xu bucked up his courage and walked forward.
He knew Zhang Qin's fighting prowess very well. While the latter paled in comparison to him in swordsmanship, he could still be considered as a top-notch expert. Despite so, Zhang Xuan still managed to defeat him without drawing his sword. Given so, there was no way Zhang Hen would stand a match against him.
Thus, he decided to step forward and face the other party.
But in this moment, Zhang Hen stepped forward as well and said, "Allow me to fight him first. Even if I can't defeat him, I'll at least force him to execute his swordsmanship. This way, you'll stand a better chance at victory!"
"Don't bother. The both of you can come at me together!" Seeing how the two young men were bickering with one another as to who should go first, Zhang Xuan waved his hand impatiently. "I still have to cultivate, so I don't have the leisure to be spending my time fooling around with you two!"
As he spoke, he opened up his acupoints to absorb the rich spiritual energy in the surroundings.
"Hmph! Since that's what you asked for, don't blame us for not going easy on you then!" Knowing the limitations of their strength, Zhang Xu and Zhang Hen didn't turn down Zhang Xuan's offer due to their pride.
They shot a glance at one another before walking up to the middle of the room together.
"Considering your earlier move, it would indeed be difficult for us to defeat you individually. Just to avoid any contention later on, while the both of us will be coordinating with one another against you, the moves we will use would still be in the scope of the Zhang Clan swordsmanship, so there won't be any breach in the rules!" Zhang Xu said.
After which, he clasped his fist and bowed slightly as a show of courtesy toward his opponent.
"Let's start!" Zhang Xuan said impatiently.
He had known all along that the Zhang Clan was shameless, so they were bound to find all kinds of excuses to put a righteous name to whatever they did. As such, he couldn't be bothered to argue with Zhang Xu on what constituted as fair play.
Zhang Xu and Zhang Hen swiftly suppressed their cultivation down to Grand Dominion realm pinnacle, and with a powerful push, they dashed forward in diverging directions and flanked Zhang Xuan from both sides. A screeching moan echoed loudly in the air as they slashed their swords viciously down upon Zhang Xuan.
On the surface, it might appear as if there was nothing unique about their swordsmanship, perhaps a little slow even, but their attacks were ingeniously directed right at Zhang Xuan's blind spots. No matter how he attempted to maneuver out of the situation, they would still be able to swiftly alter their moves accordingly and continue cornering him further.
True speed wasn't just about swinging one's sword in the fastest way possible but launching effective attacks in rapid succession.
"This is... the Xingmeng Swordsmanship!" Qin Jiansheng exclaimed in astonishment.
The Xingmeng couple were known for their astounding expertise in swordsmanship. Just the fact that even Yang shi was full of praises for them was sufficient to show just how powerful they were.
The swordsmanship that Zhang Xu and Zhang Hen were pulling off at the moment was a sword art that the two of them had come up with. While this sword art wasn't as fast as the other moves in the Zhang Clan swordsmanship, its sharp movements and flexibility in adapting to any situation made it a frightening adversary to face.
Putting everything aside, if the two of them were of the same cultivation realm as him, even he would have no choice but to admit defeat to them!
The Xingmeng Swordsmanship was named after its two creators, and its conception was centered around the capricious nature of life, an endless series of ups and downs, as if a mere dreamy illusion. If executed well, putting aside its astounding physical prowess, it had the ability to sway one's Primordial Spirit and place one into an unstable state of mind. Just on this basis, those of weak minds would stand no chance against it at all!
"Your swordsmanship is not too bad!" Zhang Xuan nodded his head slightly in approval.
The swordsmanship of the duo left Zhang Xuan with a disoriented feeling as if he was transcending through history, watching as countless dynasties rose and fell before his eyes. Countless grand buildings ascended and collapsed before his eyes... Wealth and power, these were things that humans had always been fixated with, but in the face of time, it seemed like none of these mattered at all. Even the greatest of splendor would eventually be buried under the sands of time.
Had it been anyone else facing such an attack, no matter how resilient their mental fortitude was, they would still find themselves in a distraught state under the attack. However, Zhang Xuan was an exception to the rule.
Not even inner demons were able to faze him, let alone an attack of this caliber!
He remained perfectly conscious before the attack of the duo. As if a mere spectator of those passing sights, he calmly tore his sword through facade after facade, seemingly tearing down dynasty after dynasty.
Zhang Xu and Zhang Hen's faces paled as blood spewed from their lips. They found that their swords had, at some point in time, flown out of their grip and plunged into the wall behind them, trembling ceaselessly from the impact.
As powerful as their collaborative swordsmanship was, it was simply still too weak before Zhang Xuan. He was able to easily destroy their conceptualization and inflict grievous damage on them.
"We have lost…" Zhang Xu muttered despondently as he retreated several steps back.
At this point, it was clear that they didn't stand a chance against the young man before him at all.
He thought that after comprehending the Speed Sword Quintessence and inheriting the clan head's swordsmanship, he would be matchless amidst the younger generation. But before this young man, all of his strength that he had taken pride in just seemed so laughable, as if he was just a small kid playing house.
The young man's comprehension of the sword had exceeded them by far too much, to the point where he didn't how he could start breaching the gap between them.
"You have lost," Zhang Xuan said. "I hope that you will carry out your end of the bet and bring me to browse through your Zhang Clan swordsmanship manuals."
While he did manage to get some insight as to what the Speed Sword Quintessence consisted of from his brief clash with Zhang Xu and the others, he would still have to browse through the books in question in order to compile a Heaven's Path Sword Art and learn it.
"Don't worry, I'm not one to break my promises," Zhang Xu shook his head and said. "However, you are only allowed to browse through our books for at most two hours. I'm afraid that this is the longest duration I can buy for you given the limitations of my authority!"
While it was indeed impossible for those who didn't have the Zhang Clan bloodline to learn the Zhang Clan swordsmanship, no matter what, they couldn't have outsiders browse their manuals so casually and spread it around. From the very start, Zhang Xu had already decided to grant Zhang Xuan only two hours at most when he promised the latter's request.
Within such a short period of time, it would be impossible for anyone to make sense of something as profound as the Zhang Clan swordsmanship.
"It's fine." Knowing Zhang Xu's intentions, Zhang Xuan couldn't be bothered to say anything more.
In any case, he only needed to sweep his gaze past a book in order to collect it into his Library of Heaven's Path. Two hours should be more than enough for him to take everything away.
"This way, please."
Seeing that Zhang Xuan had agreed to it, Zhang Xu and the others swiftly led him over to a vast hall. Within the hall was a room which bore some resemblance to the one which Jian Qinsheng had brought him to back in his residence. At the very center of the room as a massive '剑 (Sword)' character.
This '剑 (Sword)' character had a vastly different aura from the ones left behind by the Old Sword Maestro and Jian Liushui. It was a sensation a little like a flitting surge of light, somewhat similar to that of lightning, and it felt as if it would slip away as soon as one averted one's gaze away from it.
"Here are the manuals which our founder has left behind. If you possess the aptitude to our Zhang Clan swordsmanship, you'll be able to naturally grasp it. Otherwise, there's nothing I can do to help you either," Zhang Xu said.
"Un." Zhang Xuan waved his hand perfunctorily in response.
The more profound a school of swordsmanship was, the greater the importance a sword practitioner's aptitude played in comprehending it. For something of the level of the Zhang Clan swordsmanship, without a certain level of disposition toward it, it would be impossible for one to comprehend it.
Similar to that of the Sword Lagoon, beneath the '剑 (Sword)' character, there were many texts detailing the insights that preceding sword practitioners had grasped while practicing the swordsmanship so as to inspire the later generations.
With a swift sweeping glance, Zhang Xuan collected all of these texts into a book into the Library of Heaven's Path.
He lightly flipped the compiled book open and began browsing through it.
"He can't really be trying to learn our Zhang Clan swordsmanship, can he?" Seeing the serious look on Zhang Xuan's face, Zhang Qin turned to Zhang Hen and whispered worriedly.
The current Zhang Qin had already awoken from the blow he had sustained in the duel he had with Zhang Xuan previously. While his head was still hurting a little from the impact, he was already able to function as per normal.
"Our clan head is famed to be the most talented swordmaster in our clan over the past few millenniums, but nevertheless, it still took him three months before he could comprehend the Speed Sword Quintessence. There's no way that fellow will be able to make sense out of our profound Zhang Clan swordsmanship in just two hours!" Zhang Hen replied calmly, completely unworried about this matter.
"Besides, he doesn't possess our Zhang Clan bloodline, so there's no way he'll be able to comprehend the conceptualization of time in our swordsmanship!"
Zhang Xu also joined the conversation and analyzed, "Most likely, he just wants to browse through our books so as to uncover the flaws in our swordsmanship and gain an advantage in future duels!"
"Flaws? Our Zhang Clan swordsmanship has been practiced by many generations of predecessors, but no one has ever been able to truly curb our swordsmanship before. How can there possibly be flaws in our swordsmanship?" Zhang Qin scoffed.
Barely after those words were spoken, a crisp echo sounded. The alarmed crowd quickly raised their heads to search for the source of the sound, and very swiftly, they noticed a slight crack in the '剑 (Sword)' character in the middle of the room.