Library of Heaven is Path
1945 Ten Li Sword God
Against those of the same cultivation realm, Zhang Xuan could be said to be pretty much invincible.
Even if the opponent he was facing was an elder or the sect leader, he was confident that he would not lose with his abilities. Since that was the case, he should be able to bully them a little.
Those people were likely to have quite a few good items on them, and they were bound to have important information as well. As long as he could defeat them, he should be able to get some stuff out of them.
He might even be able to gather some news regarding the Spirit God Palace through this.
It seemed like his very first target after entering the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion would be to acquire a suitable Ethereal Token and enter their Ethereal Hall. Then, he would find the highest-ranking person possible and coerce the other party into giving him what he needed.
With such thoughts in mind, Zhang Xuan struck his leg in excitement before standing up. "That's truly a wonderful idea. I'll do just that!"
"Huh? What are you going to do?" Elder Lu Yun turned to look at Zhang Xuan with doubt in his eyes.
I just warned you that you might meet the elders or the sect leader in the Ethereal Hall; what are you getting all so excited about?
Are you possibly mentally retarded?
Elder Lu was still wondering if he should accept Zhang Xuan into the sect as well, but over the past few days, he had found that the latter had a tendency to suddenly go on an insanity streak. Each time Zhang Xuan acted in such a manner, his conviction to do so would waver a little, and by now, it had already dissipated entirely.
"Ah, it's nothing at all. My thoughts just wandered a bit," Zhang Xuan replied with a smile.
On the other hand, Dan Xiaotian clasped his face in embarrassment.
Passing through the towering gates, the aerial beast eventually landed on a tall mountain. Leaping down from the back of the beast, Elder Lu Yun swiftly arranged a residence for Dan Xiaotian.
"The rest of you should rest here for the time being. Dan Xiaotian, come with me. You have to take the examination first!" Elder Lu Yun said as he gestured for Zhang Xuan, Cao Chengli, and Elder Yi to stay in the residence for the time being.
"The examination I conducted for you earlier only shows that you have the qualifications to become an inner disciple. In order to formalize the process, you have to head to the Sword God Hall to display your swordsmanship!" Elder Lu Yun said.
"The Sword God Hall?"
"Yes, it's the place where disciples are tested. Be it menial disciples intending to become outer disciples or inner disciples hoping to become core disciples, they have to showcase their swordsmanship at the Sword God Hall. It's similar to my intentions when I got you to spar with Huo Jianghe, but the evaluation at the Sword God Hall will be far more accurate. It'll reflect your current strength more clearly!" Elder Lu explained with a smile.
"In a battle, a sword practitioner's swordsmanship is influenced by their physical state, mental resilience, reflexes, and so on. However, these factors are disregarded in the Sword God Hall. As long your comprehension of the sword has reached a satisfactory level, the results will reflect so!"
Dan Xiaotian widened his eyes in realization.
"Let's go!" Elder Lu Yun said as he beckoned Dan Xiaotian to follow him.
Zhang Xuan walked over and said, "Elder Lu Yun, I'm also interested in the Sword God Hall. Would it be inappropriate if I were to follow you?"
He had never heard of something that could test one's comprehension of swordsmanship before, and he was genuinely curious about how the system worked.
"This…" Elder Lu Yun hesitated for a moment before nodding. "I guess it should be fine!"
Under normal circumstances, no outsiders would be allowed in the Sword God Hall. However, considering how even menial disciples were able to enter the premises to take the examination, it should be fine for Zhang Xuan to tag along and have a look in his capacity as Dan Xiaotian's friend.
Thus, they got onto the back of the aerial beast once more and flew toward another mountain peak.
What was particularly striking about this mountain peak was that there was a sword-like building lodged into the ground on it, reminiscent of a tower.
"This is the Sword God Hall. Every day, numerous menial disciples, outer disciples, and inner disciples come over to have their swordsmanship evaluated," Elder Lu Yun said as they walked into the tower.
As soon as they entered, they saw quite a few people standing around the lobby with swords on their backs. Sword Intent could be felt in the aura they emanated. Shockingly, most of their cultivation was actually not beneath that of Zhang Xuan's!
As expected of one of the Six Sects of the Azure, it's indeed filled with plenty of experts! Zhang Xuan thought.
He had thought that his Ancient Sage 4-dan cultivation was not too bad, but it turned out that it could only be considered average at best.
Furthermore, those who were present were still not the most powerful of all. It was hard to imagine how powerful the core disciples, elders, and sect leader were.
Knowing that the two of them did not know anything about the Sword God Hall, Elder Lu Yun explained, "There are many rooms in the Sword God Hall, and every single one of them has a Sword God Pedestal. As long you pay an ample number of Sword Pavilion Coins, you'll be able to enter the room and test your swordsmanship!
"Of course, the first test you take is free. It's the subsequent ones that require money!"
"Ah!" Dan Xiaotian heaved a sigh of relief.
He had just arrived at the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, and he still had no idea what the Sword Pavilion Coins looked like. There was no way that he could have forked out the money required.
"Wait here for a moment, I'll open a room. Dan Xiaotian, you can enter first. Zhang Xuan, if you wish to give it a try, you can enter after he's done. The Sword God Pedestal can only assess one cultivator at a time, or else it will interfere with scanning the Sword Intent," Elder Lu Yun said before heading to the front receptionist.
Before long, they were already standing before an ornate door. Elder Lu Yun turned to Dan Xiaotian and said, "After you enter the room, hold the sword tightly and unleash your Sword Intent and conceptualization of your swordsmanship. If the manifestation of your Sword Intent surpasses one meter, you will be eligible to become a menial disciple. Ten meters, and you'll be able to become an outer disciple. Thirty meters, and you are qualified to join the ranks of the inner disciple. Right now, thirty meters is the goal you should set for yourself!"
"Thirty meters?" Dan Xiaotian nodded slowly.
He did not have much of a gauge on difficult it would be to reach thirty meters.
Noticing the contemplative look on Dan Xiaotian's face, Elder Lu Yun explained with a smile, "Don't worry, the manifestation of Sword Intent depends on your comprehension of swordsmanship, not your sword qi. With your cultivation, it's impossible to produce thirty-meter-long sword qi!"
"Ah, I see!" Dan Xiaotian scratched his head awkwardly.
With his current swordsmanship prowess, he could only exert sword qi of around two to three meters in length. Thirty meters was far beyond his current capabilities.
So, the 'manifestation of Sword Intent' that Elder Lu Yun was talking about was not referring to sword qi.
Dan Xiaotian pushed the door open and walked in.
Meanwhile, Zhang Xuan turned to Elder Lu Yun and curiously asked, "May I ask what the best record for an inner disciple's manifestation of Sword Intent is?"
If thirty meters was the minimum requirement to clear the selection, what was the record of the best sword practitioners in the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion?
"Under normal circumstances, one would be qualified to become a core disciple if the manifestation of his Sword Intent reached a hundred meters. That being said, there are quite a few inner disciples who have surpassed that record, and some of the best inner disciples have even reached three hundred meters and beyond," Elder Lu Yun said.
"Three hundred meters?" Zhang Xuan was astonished.
He had no idea how this 'manifestation of Sword Intent' was calculated, but if even outer disciples had trouble reaching thirty meters, those who could achieve a record ten times that had to be truly terrifying existences.
"Of course, that's only among the inner disciples. There are plenty of formidable experts among the core disciples, and some of them have even exceeded five hundred meters. Anyone who exceeds that record is bestowed the title of 'Sword God'. That's also where the titles 'One Li Sword God' and 'Two Li Sword God' come from. It's said that in the entire history of the sect, the most talented person once materialized his Sword Intent across a distance of ten li, and thus, others respectfully addressed him as 'Ten Li Sword God'!" Elder Lu Yun explained with admiration gleaming in his eyes.
"Ten Li Sword God?" Zhang Xuan was astonished.
While other sword practitioners were frustrating over how short theirs were, that expert actually reached over ten li. That was truly inconceivable!
"May I know how far your Sword Intent is able to materialize, Elder Lu Yun?" Zhang Xuan asked out of curiosity.
"Me?" Elder Lu Yun was slightly surprised by the question. A bitter look appeared on his face as he shook his head. "I don't have much talent for swordsmanship, so I didn't even make it as an inner disciple back when I was in my younger years. It was through my relentless hard work that I eventually reached my current level of cultivation and got myself the position of an external elder. Even though I have practiced the Way of the Sword for many years, I am still unable to reach the hundred meters mark. Currently, I'm only at ninety-seven meters."
"97 meters? That's already a formidable feat," Zhang Xuan remarked as he turned his gaze toward the sealed room in front of him.
This disciple of his had only learned swordsmanship from him for a night, and he had barely grasped one of his techniques. Given that his disciple did not have a deep understanding of the Way of the Sword yet… he could not help but wonder how well his disciple would perform.
The first thing that Dan Xiaotian noticed upon entering the room was a round pedestal with a sword lodged tightly at the center.
This must be the so-called Sword God Pedestal that Elder Lu Yun spoke of.
The space directly in front of him was a vast wilderness.
There were no walls at the front and top of the room in order to allow one's Sword Intent to traverse beyond several meters. Otherwise, it would have been terribly expensive to construct a room that could contain the manifestation of Sword Intent.
Stepping onto the pedestal, Dan Xiaotian drew the sword and took a deep breath. Focusing all of his attention, he began driving his energy.
Sword Intent was built upon one's comprehension of swordsmanship.
He had been practicing his swordsmanship for a decade ever since he was still young, so he carried deep comprehension and sentiments toward swordsmanship.
Just by holding onto the sword, he felt as if his hand was melding into it. Instead of a weapon, it was an extension of his arm.
Sensing his conceptualization, the sword began buzzing loudly as a milky white glow gathered around the Sword God Pedestal before advancing forth.
With resolute eyes, Dan Xiaotian drove his energy to its limits.
The Sword Intent burst forth.
Dan Xiaotian quickly opened his eyes to look into the distance, but what he saw made his face stiffen.
"A chi? In other words, a third of a meter?"
He had pushed his strength to his limits, but it turned out that the manifestation of his Sword Intent was only a third of a meter. If that was the case, did it not mean that his comprehension of swordsmanship could not even compare to that of a menial disciple?
"T-this can't be… Even Huo Jianghe wasn't a match for me back then!" Dan Xiaotian's head nearly exploded.
Elder Lu Yun had kept emphasizing how fair the Sword God Hall was, but in a real battle, his swordsmanship was able to best even Huo Jianghe. How could his limit be just 0.33 meters? That was impossible!
"Wait a moment, I defeated Huo Jianghe with the sword toss. Maybe I should try that move…"
After a moment of hesitation, Dan Xiaotian remembered that he still had that powerful trump card. Thus, he took a deep breath before flicking his finger.
The sword in his hand floated into the air.
Hong long long!
As soon as the sword left his grasp, an overwhelming Sword Intent burst forth from his body. In response, the sword also emanated its Sword Intent as well, and the room was swiftly filled with white mist. A powerful current gathered around the sword, like a swirling hurricane.
"This…" Dan Xiaotian was stunned once more.
When he pushed the Sword Intent within him to his limits, the manifestation was only 0.33 meters, but as soon as he used the sword toss technique that his teacher had imparted to him, before he had even shot out the sword, it had already caused such a huge commotion. If he finished executing the technique, what kind of results would he receive?
Was there really such a huge difference between the swordsmanship that he had comprehended with ten years of hard work and what his teacher had imparted to him?
With an awkward look on his face, Dan Xiaotian flicked the sword, and it immediately bolted into the distance.
White Sword Intent also flurried furiously forth along with the movement of the sword, vanishing from sight in the blink of an eye.
"This…" Dan Xiaotian blinked in bewilderment.
His own Sword Intent was only enough to reach 0.33 meters, but with his teacher's swordsmanship, the Sword Intent flew all the way out, till his eyes could not even see it anymore…
This was definitely way more than thirty, fifty, or even a hundred meters!
"Is it still flying?"
After waiting for a moment, the Sword Intent did not seem to have reached its end yet. This left Dan Xiaotian was a little stupefied.
Did it shoot out a little too far, such that his results were invalidated?
But while he was worrying over this matter, the wall beside him jolted a little before reflecting his results.
He was just a meter short of becoming a Sword God!Ten Li Sword God is also the author of Rebirth of the Urban Immortal Cultivator. The two authors are close friends with one another.