Library of Heaven is Path
"You want me to show you my swordsmanship?" Dan Xiaotian was slightly bewildered by Zhang Xuan's abrupt request.
"To be honest, Brother Dan, I examined your swordsmanship earlier, and I realized that your ability to summon your strength and the momentum of your strikes are a little lacking. So, I was wondering if I could take a look. I might be able to find a solution to those problems. If you are able to advance your swordsmanship over the next three days, it might be possible for you to be accepted into the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion as its disciple!" Zhang Xuan said with a smile.
With his eye of discernment, he was able to discern the flaws in Dan Xiaotian's swordsmanship and come up with solutions to resolve them. The reason he wanted Dan Xiaotian to display his swordsmanship once more was to test if he could use the Library of Heaven's Path there.
"Brother Zhang, do you understand swordsmanship?" Dan Xiaotian asked with a frown.
"I know a thing or two!" Zhang Xuan nodded.
"That's amazing! Well, I have already given up hope on becoming a disciple of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, so there's no need for you console me." Dan Xiaotian glanced at his crippled left thigh. "Nevertheless, if you are knowledgeable in the field of swordsmanship, Brother Zhang, I would be more than happy to exchange some insights with you. Ever since I have become unable to cultivate, I had to figure my way out bit by bit, so my progress has been rather limited…"
Dan Xiaotian's low esteem had been exacerbated by his sudden inability to cultivate. As a result, even though he had devoted himself to learning swordsmanship, he did not dare display it before others, let alone find a sparring partner to test his skills on.
Perhaps it was because he viewed Zhang Xuan as an ordinary human, he did not feel that much lesser than him. Thus, he had no qualms exchanging insights with the latter.
With a flick of his wrist, Dan Xiaotian's sword sliced through the air and pierced forward.
At the same time, a book materialized in the Library of Heaven's Path.
After flipping open the book and browsing through its contents, Zhang Xuan heaved a sigh of relief.
Fortunately, it seemed like the Library of Heaven's Path could be used in the Azure. Previously, when Luo Ruoxin placed the Great Codex of Spring and Autumn into the Library of Heaven's Path, the latter had gone through a major upgrade. Most likely, it was this upgrade that allowed the Library of Heaven's Path to peer into the heavens of the Azure without much trouble.
"How ludicrous. Dan Xiaotian, you are practicing your swordsmanship? Do you still think that the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion will take someone like you as its disciple?"
While Zhang Xuan was still deep in thought, a cold sneer sounded from the outside. Following which, two figures walked in with widened strides.
The first figure was a young lady who seemed to be around fifteen or sixteen, roughly the same age as Dan Xiaotian. She was dressed in a light-yellow dress, and her eyes were filled with pride and smugness. Her chin was slightly tilted up in a condescending manner, reminiscent of a self-important noble standing before a bunch of peasants. She was the one who had spoken earlier.
Behind her was a middle-aged man in his forties. He was dressed in a simple buttoned shirt, and he had a sword tied around his waist. As he approached, one could feel overwhelmingly sharp sword qi emanating from his presence.
"Third Young Master…" Elder Yi quickly rushed in behind those two figures, and with a look of indignation and guilt on his face, he lowered his head and spoke in desolation. "I'm sorry. I couldn't stop them…"
Dan Xiaotian swiftly halted his swordsmanship before turning to look at the young lady before him. At that moment, he was so agitated that he stumbled on his own words. "Xu-Xue Qin?"
"Enough!" Looking at Dan Xiaotian with disgust in her eyes, the young lady waved her hands impatiently and said, "You know why I have come here, but instead of coming out to welcome me personally, you dispatched a lowly servant to send the marriage agreement over. Did you think that this matter can be resolved that easily?"
"You want to back out of our marriage agreement, so I had Elder Yi give it to you. What more do you want from me?" Dan Xiaotian's face reddened in anger.
"What I want from you isn't much. I just need you to announce to the entire city that you were the one who chose to back out of the marriage agreement of your own accord because you feel that you aren't worthy of me. It was after a period of careful deliberation before my father finally decided to respect your opinion and end the marriage agreement. By giving me this mere sheet of paper, are you expecting me to tell everyone that I, Xue Qin, refused to marry you? How could I allow the noble City Lord Manor to have such a stain on its reputation?" Xue Qing harrumphed coldly.
If others heard that she had broken off her engagement with Dan Xiaotian because she had successfully become a disciple of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, it would surely stir up a huge controversy. This would be detrimental for her in building up her reputation. However, if she could get Dan Xiaotian to back out of the marriage agreement instead, she would not have to sustain the slightest smudge to her reputation.
Seeing everything from the sight, Zhang Xuan could not help but shake his head in disapproval.
She sure is vicious…
It was one thing for this Xue Qing to back out of the marriage agreement, but to think that she would even want Dan Xiaotian to announce it to the entire city. While backing out of the marriage agreement, she still wanted Dan Xiaotian to become the bad guy!
How incredibly cheap she was!
With a ghastly pale face, Dan Xiaotian clenched his fists as he glared at Xue Qin coldly.
It went without saying that Dan Xiaotian had also figured out what Xue Qi was up to. Overwhelming indignation seeped in through his entire body.
This was utter humiliation!
It was as if the other party was preparing to smack his face while asking him to hold up his face for her.
But the problem was that… there was nothing he could do about the situation! He was completely helpless!
"Dan Xiaotian, the Second Young Mistress and I didn't come down here to negotiate with you. We are here to pass down an order to you," the middle-aged man who had come with Xue Qing said impassively. "Within three days, you are to make this announcement to the entire city, or else… be prepared to pay the price!"
"Who are you?" Dan Xiaotian asked as he glared at the middle-aged man coldly.
"I am the swordsmanship teacher of the Second Young Mistress, Xue Chen!" the middle-aged man replied proudly.
"Xue Chen? I know you!" Seemingly having heard this name before, Dan Xiaotian's eyes widened in astonishment before he shook his head in self-mockery. "I sure am honored to have the head instructor of the City Lord Manor pay a visit to me personally. May I know what the price I will have to pay if I refuse to abide by your command is?"
As the head instructor of the City Lord Manor, Xue Chen's strength was not to be underestimated. He was, in fact, an Ancient Sage 3-dan expert!
"Well, it's very simple!" Xue Chen waved his hand nonchalantly, completely unaffected by Dan Xiaotian's provocation. "Over these years, the Dan Clan has offended quite a few people, isn't that so? You should also know that if not for your engagement with Xue Qing, you would have already died many times over!"
Those words were hurtful, but Dan Xiaotian knew that they were the truth.
Given his weak cultivation, if not for the marriage agreement, there was no way the enemies of the Dan Clan would have allowed him to live so long!
"Well, if these men make a move against you, do you think that you and that old man over there will be able to stop them?" Xue Chen shrugged coolly.
Realizing the hidden intention behind Xue Chen's words, Dan Xiaotian's eyes widened in disbelief. "Are you going to silence us? Aren't you afraid of the possible repercussions my sudden death would have on the City Lord Manor's reputation?"
"How would your death affect the City Lord Manor's reputation?" Xue Chen remarked calmly. "Let me see. Our city lord would be enraged to learn of your demise, and he would dispatch men to exact vengeance for you. As for our Second Young Mistress, she would mourn for a long time, and eventually, she would decide to depart from this land of grief and head to the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion!"
Those words made Dan Xiaotian's heart beat faster and faster as he realized how wretched his situation was.
If they really acted out this play, not only would the reputation of the City Lord Manor not be marred, it would even be praised for its compassion. At the same time, Xue Qin would also be more respected in the city for her loyalty to her fiancé.
They would say that even though Xue Qin had become the menial disciple of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, she had still held steadfast to her promise to marry him, but alas, as fate would have it, they were not meant to be.
"You… Fine! I'll agree to it!"
Dan Xiaotian's hands were clenched so tightly that his fingernails were digging into his flesh, and his joints had become all white. However, despite his indignation, he knew that the current him was completely powerless.
Law of the jungle, survival of the fittest. Weaklings like him were bound to be preyed on by the strong.
"That is more like it!" Xue Qin nodded in satisfaction. She raised her hand, and Xue Chen immediately took out a document and passed it over to Dan Xiaotian. "This is the document for the annulment of our engagement. All you have to do is seal your name on it, and we'll handle the rest. Rest assured, we'll announce the matter to the entire city by today!"
Dan Xiaotian hesitantly reached out to grab the document before reading through it carefully.
It was an official notice supposedly written by him to announce his intention to annul the engagement, and his reason behind the action was stated as well.
The reason was extremely simple. He was injured, and not only was he unable to cultivate, he was unable to fulfill the role of a man, making him a true cripple through and through. In order not to stall his fiancée's future, he decided to willfully annul the engagement, and he sought her forgiveness for this. The City Lord Manor, in view of its past relations with the Dan Clan, had rejected his proposed annulment of the engagement time and time again, so he had no choice but to officially announce the annulment of their engagement using such a crude method. He sought the understanding of the City Lord Manor for his abrupt actions.
Xue Qin was actually going to the extent of claiming that he was crippled as a man!
The overwhelming humiliation that Dan Xiaotian felt made his blood surge to his head, and he nearly exploded on the spot.