Library of Heaven is Path
1985 Meeting the Sect Leader
"Third Elder, I dare not lie to you. It's truly my earnest wish to learn the saber. The Way of the Saber crushes everything in its path with overwhelming might, and I find it extremely fitting of my personality and temperament..." Seeing the slight doubt in the other party's eyes, Zhang Xuan quickly added on with an earnest look on his face.
The agile sword and the forceful saber; it was a conventional notion that it was impossible for a man to master both weaponry together.
Since the other party was intent on making him learn swordsmanship, there was no better excuse than to claim that his true passion lay in the Way of the Saber... It was not as if he was a disciple of the sect, so it didn't contravene the rules of the sect.
As long as he could show that he was skilled in the Way of the Saber, he should be able to convince the other party to give up on the notion of taking him in as his student.
"Cough cough! If that's the case, may I ask you to display your saber art? I'm quite interested to see how adept you are in the Way of the Saber!" Elder Bai Ye took another deep breath to calm himself down before asking.
I know that someone as formidable as you would surely be unwilling to become my student, but of all excuse you can come up with, you are telling me that you wish to learn the Way of the Saber instead? Very well, let me see what you can do then!
Just watch as I spot traces of Sword Intent in your saber art! I'll see how you are going to explain yourself afterward!
To be honest, he wouldn't have minded if Zhang Xuan had turned him down directly. But to put up all these acts and toss him so many ridiculous excuses, it would be a lie to say that he wasn't displeased.
"I'm afraid that I don't have any saber with me..."
"Don't worry, I have one here."
Zhang Xuan was just about to turn Elder Bai Ye down with a wave of his hand when the latter suddenly whipped out a saber.
Even though Elder Bai Ye specialized in swordsmanship, he still had some other types of weapons with him. This was a part of his swordsmanship training as well.
A useful way to better understand the strengths and limitations of swordsmanship was to try out other weapons too. Through uncovering the possibilities of other weapons, one could uncover unconventional ways to exert one's swordsmanship.
This was similar to how the Nine Swords of Dugu[l] had Saber Subduing Stance, Whip Subduing Stance, Arrow Subduing Stance, Palm Subduing Stance...
"... Alright then!"
Seeing that there was no other way out of this, Zhang Xuan took the saber and flicked it lightly. A powerful Saber Intent swiftly suffused his entire body, contrasting him to be an incomparably mighty saber that would even smash a hole into the heavens above.
Elder Bai Ye and Bai Feng narrowed their eyes in speechlessness.
At this very instant, they felt the Sword Intent in their body being suppressed by the other party's Saber Intent to the extent such that they couldn't even lift their heads up!
To put it in other words... Zhang Xuan's Saber Intent was actually even purer and more powerful than their Sword Intent!
But the young man before them was supposed to be the person who had comprehended the Gods' Sword Intent! How in the world was it possible for his Saber Intent to be so formidable as well?
It almost felt as if their years of hard work had gone completely to waste...
On the other hand, Zhang Xuan carefully assessed the shocked expressions on the two elders before nodding in satisfaction. From the looks of it, it seemed like he had finally managed to convince Elder Bai Ye of the matter.
"As I have mentioned, my true expertise lies in saber arts instead of swordsmanship..." Zhang Xuan said as he flicked his saber and retracted his Saber Intent.
He had really gone all out so that he wouldn't have to become Elder Bai Ye's student this time around!
You are indeed more skilled in saber art..." Elder Bai Ye swallowed a mouthful of saliva. Knowing that he was going nowhere at this rate, he decided to just come clean with the matter, "To be honest, the reason why I'm here is not to take you in as my student. Instead, it's to confirm your identity and bring you over to the Elder Council!"
"Confirm my identity?" Zhang Xuan's heart skipped a beat, but he concealed it with a confused look. "What do you mean by that?"
"If I'm not mistaken, you are I Am Low Profile and I Am Very Handsome, right?" Elder Bai Ye asked.
"Huh? Pardon me, but I'm not really catching what you are saying over here," Zhang Xuan was panicking a little inside, but he maintained a look of bewilderment on his face, "What do you mean by low profile and handsome?"
"There's no need for you to deny this matter any further. I know my granddaughter very well. She's an impatient and reckless person, and she has never been really serious about learning swordsmanship before... Otherwise, she wouldn't have only reached the level she's currently at after years of training. However, within a short hour after meeting you, she gained the strength to confront the number one expert of the core disciples. Other than I Am Low Profile, the genius who has comprehended the Gods' Sword Intent, I can't think of another person in the world who could pull off a feat like this!" Elder Bai Ye said.
Zhang Xuan's panic quickly turned into embarrassment before eventually culminating into burning rage.
If you have already known my identity right from the start, why didn't you just say it out loud?
You made me put on an act and display my saber art, are you treating me like a monkey for your entertainment?
In order to alleviate Zhang Xuan's worries, Elder Bai Ye hurriedly added, "I bear no ill will toward you. If I did, I would have already made a move. While you have comprehended the Gods' Sword Intent, your cultivation is only at Lesser Pseudo Immortal realm at the moment. I don't mean to be rude, but you wouldn't be able to pose a threat to me with your current strength."
He had no idea what kind of methods Zhang Xuan used in order to achieve a breakthrough within such a short period of time, but the fact that he was able to enter the core disciples' Ethereal Hall meant that he had managed to advance his cultivation to Lesser Pseudo Immortal realm.
"Fine then, I'll admit to it!" With an irritated sigh, Zhang Xuan tossed away his excessively respectful attitude and replied.
He did notice that the other party had failed to see through his cultivation, but he chose not to clarify the matter. He didn't want to give himself away until he finally discerned Elder Bai Ye and the sect's intentions.
If it was possible, he would have preferred not to reveal his identity as I Am Low Profile at all, but he could sense the conviction in Elder Bai Ye's words. The latter was definitely not just trying to sound him out.
Since he had already been revealed, there was no point in him struggling so desperately to conceal his identity. He might as well just admit to it candidly.
Furthermore, there was some truth in what Elder Bai Ye had said. He had no gauge of a High Immortal's prowess at the moment, but at Heavenly Pseudo Immortal realm, it didn't seem like he would have a good chance of triumphing over Elder Bai Ye. For the time being, it didn't seem that Elder Bai Ye harbored malicious intentions toward him.
"Indeed..." Seeing Zhang Xuan admitting to it, Elder Bai Ye clenched his fists tightly together.
While he was confident in his deduction, he was still unable to curb his heart from beating in agitation when he heard the news.
The man who had comprehended the Gods' Sword Intent was really standing before him...
Ever since the founding of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion several thousand years ago, there had been no one who had reached such a height other than the founder!
"Would you be willing to accompany me to the Elder Council? As the person who has comprehended the Gods' Sword Intent, your existence is of great significance to our sect. If nothing goes wrong, it's very likely that you would become our sect leader in the near future!" Elder Bai Ye clasped his fist and spoke respectfully.
The way in which the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion chose its sect leader was extremely simple—it was determined by one's mastery in swordsmanship.
As the one who had comprehended the Gods' Sword Intent, as long as Zhang Xuan was able to raise his cultivation up to par, it was only a matter of time before he became a sect leader.
"It's likely that I would become your sect leader in the near future?" Zhang Xuan was stunned.
He had thought of many possibilities, but he never thought that the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion would actually be looking for him to become their new leader...
To be honest, he was indeed moved by this offer. This identity would grant him greater protection to survive in the Azure. Furthermore, with the influence of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, it would be much easier for him to unearth Luo Ruoxin's trails too!
"Un!" Elder Bai Ye nodded.
"I understand. I'll follow you to the Elder Council... However, I do have a request. I understand that I'll be facing the other elders, so it's inevitable that they would learn of my identity too. But as far as possible, I hope that this matter doesn't reach the ears of too many people," Zhang Xuan said.
Even if Elder Bai Ye and the sect had no intention of harming him, it would still be best for him to act prudently. As the saying went, 'a tree rising above the forest will eventually fall to the fiery wind'.
It was for practical reasons why he was so determined to conceal his identity. If others were to learn of his abilities, there was no guarantee that some might attempt to harm him.
"Don't worry, we have no intention of doing anything that would put you in the way of harm!" Elder Bai Ye replied with a nod.
He understood the dangers of drawing the attention of others onto one as well.
He turned to Bai Ruanqing and instructed sternly, "Ruanqing, do not speak of whatever that has happened here to anyone else. I'll be heading out with Brother Zhang for a while!"
After which, he turned to Zhang Xuan and said, "Let's go!"
Elder Bai Ye quickly wrapped Zhang Xuan around in his zhenqi before soaring into the sky.
Watching as Zhang Xuan disappeared in the horizon, Dan Xiaotian couldn't help but fall into deep thoughts over what he had just heard, "There's a chance that teacher might become the next sect leader of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion?"
He had always known that Zhang Xuan was a highly talented individual with extraordinary fighting prowess, but still, he had never imagined that the latter would actually have comprehended the Gods' Sword Intent!
Despite his young age, he was already next in line to become the leader of one of the Six Sects!
As for Cao Chengli, he suddenly widened his eyes in utter shock as a realization finally struck him. It dawned on him why the Young Master had so many weird rules, prohibiting him from entering the residence with both his left leg and right leg...
He actually had the audacity to criticize I Am Low Profile loudly before the Young Master... Wasn't that equivalent to insulting the Young Master in his face?
Cao Chengli hurriedly stroked his chest to calm himself down. He thanked the heavens for allowing him to survive what that could have very well been a fatal mistake.
Sect Leader Han, Elder He, and the others were staring at the wall before them with such intent gazes that it almost seemed as if they would bore a hole in the wall.
Deng deng deng deng!
A series of flurried footsteps echoed from the outside.
Elder He quickly glanced at the arriving elder and asked, "Is there an update on 'I Am Low Profile'?"
"No, that's not it... Someone has challenged all of the core disciples!" the old man exclaimed anxiously.
It was the very same old man who had visited Elder Bai Ye just a moment ago.
"Someone challenged all of the core disciples? Could he be 'I Am Low Profile'?" Elder He narrowed his eyes in shock as he swiftly rose to his feet. "No, that's not right. Isn't his cultivation supposed to only be at Dimension Shatterer realm consummation?"
"That person is called 'I Am Very Handsome'! He challenged dozens of core disciples simultaneously and slew all of them. Elder Bai Ye and I have headed there discreetly, but we ended up getting killed as well..." the old man said with a reddened face.
"He was able to kill dozens of core disciples and even defeat Bai Ye and you... He must indeed be the genius who has comprehended the Gods' Sword Intent," Sect Leader Han nodded slightly. He turned to the wall before him and ordered, "Find where I Am Very Handsome is at the moment!"!
If it was just killing dozens of core disciples, it was still well within his means to do so as well. However, if his opponent included Elder Bai Ye and the old man before him, even he would have a fairly tough time dealing with them.
There was no doubt about it. 'I Am Very Handsome' and 'I Am Low Profile' were likely to be the same person!
The wall in front flickered, but nothing appeared.
"Sect Leader Han, that person has already left the Ethereal Hall after killing the core disciples!" the old man explained. "However, Elder Bai Ye seems to have confirmed that person's identity. He's looking for that person at the moment, and he requests for you and the other elders to return to the Elder Council to await his return. He believes that he would be able to bring that person over soon enough!"
"Bai Ye has already confirmed that person's identity?"
The few elders looked at one another with a look of disbelief on their faces.
It was a known fact that Elder Bai Ye was severely wounded, and his life was hinging on a thread.
Due to his physical condition, he was even excused from the Elder Council. How did he manage to confirm the identity of that person ahead of them?
"Well, it's like that..." the old man began explaining the matter.
He was unaware of the matter regarding Bai Ruanqing purchasing the medicine from Zhang Xuan, but he did know about what that came afterward. He felt that it was the basis behind Elder Bai Ye's deduction of that person's true identity.
"Bai Ruanqing has only learned two moves from that person, but her ranking swiftly rose from the seventeenth place to the first place. She even fought my grandson to a draw?" Elder He widened his eyes in disbelief.
If he was still a little uncertain a moment ago, right now, he was utterly convinced that Elder Bai Ye had gotten the right person.
"Let's quickly return then!"
Knowing that this matter had been resolved, the crowd quickly made their way back to the Elder Council.
Barely after they took their seats, the doors opened. Elder Bai Ye walked in with a young man beside him.
"Sect Leader Han, you are back!" Elder Bai Ye's eyes lit up after seeing the person sitting on the center seat. He quickly gestured to the young man beside him and introduced, "This is the person who has comprehended the Gods' Sword Intent, Zhang Xuan!"
The crowd quickly glanced over out of curiosity.
To their surprise, the other party was only in his early twenties. That was an unbelievably young age for a cultivator who had reached the zenith of swordsmanship in the Azure!
"Zhang Xuan, this is our sect leader, Han Jianqiu!" Elder Bai Ye gestured to the old man sitting at the center of the group and said.
"Sect leader?" Zhang Xuan gazed over.
Han Jianqiu had the appearance of someone in his sixties. He was dressed in a green robe, and his presence seemed to be suffused with sharp Sword Intent, making it difficult for one to gauge the depth of his cultivation.
 The Nine Swords of Dugu are depicted to be nine independent sword stance to counter a wide range of martial arts. It's known to be formless and flexible, containing only several basic moves that can be put together to construct endless variations, making it impossible for the opponent to predict and counter the swordplay.