Library of Heaven is Path
1984 Elder Bai Ye’s Breakdown
Even though he was a core elder, his mastery of swordsmanship didn't stand out within the sect.
While he did feel a little stifled at being killed within a single move, it was still something he could accept.
But for Elder Bai Ye, one of the Three Grand Elders, to be killed by a random sword qi that leaked out of the battlefield... Just how powerful must the other party be?
No matter how dumb he might be, he knew that such a thing was impossible for an ordinary sword practitioner! Heck, not even the sect leader would be able to do it!
There was only one person in the world who could possibly achieve this feat...
And that was the man who had sent the entire Elder Council into an uproar over not too long ago... that genius who had comprehended the Gods' Sword Intent!
"That's very likely to be the case!" Elder Bai Ye nodded.
Previously, he had heard Bai Feng lavishing compliments on I Am Low Profile. While he knew that Bai Feng was not one to exaggerate, he felt that the latter might have overstated I Am Low Profile's strength by a little too much.
However, in the short encounter that he had with I Am Low Profile, he realized that those compliments were not excessive at all!
Despite the other party's seemingly ordinary swordsmanship, his maneuvers were precise and spot-on. Every single flaw that could be exploited were exploited, thus rendering whatever moves he could execute completely meaningless.
It was as if he had been stripped clean before the other party. There was nothing he could do that would possibly deceive the other party.
"No, something is not right. Did you mention earlier that he was killing the other core disciples? Does that mean that he's challenging everyone at once, similar to what he did back at the inner disciples' Ethereal Hall?" the old man narrowed his eyes in horror as a thought struck his mind.
"What are we idling around here for? We have to stop him!"
"It's already too late..." Elder Bai Ye shook his head and sighed deeply. "He has already killed all of the core disciples by now..."
"He has already killed all of them?"
The old man and Bai Feng were stunned by what they had just heard.
All in all, it was probably less than a minute since they had been forcefully ejected from the Ethereal Hall... and within this short period of time, dozens of core disciples had been killed?
"We should hurry up and inform Elder He and the others of the matter then! They are probably still unaware of this matter at the moment. They should be at the Sword Gazebo at the moment, so they should be able to confirm I Am Low Profile's location right away..." the old man was silent for a brief moment before he exclaimed in agitation.
"There's no need for that. I have a good idea of who that person is. Let's head over to find him right now!" Elder Bai Ye said as he rose to his feet. He looked at the old man once more and instructed, "Look for Elder He and report everything that had happened at the core disciples' Ethereal Hall earlier to him in detail. After which, I need you to request him to return to the Elder Council with the other elders. Meanwhile, Bai Feng and I will be looking for I Am Low Profile. Most likely, we should able to bring him over very quickly..."
After saying those words, he gestured for Bai Feng to follow him before quickly walking out of the residence.
Back at Zhang Xuan's residence...
Shortly after Bai Ruanqing was killed by He Jingxuan, she swiftly grabbed another Ethereal Token and returned back to the core disciples' Ethereal Hall.
"... Where is everyone?"
She was surprised by how empty the area around the dueling ring was.
It was just a moment ago that a crowd was gathered around this area, so why would all of them disappear in the short interval that she was gone?
While she was brooding over this matter, the person who had died together with her earlier, He Jingxuan, appeared not too far in the distance with a dazed look as well.
"What happened over here?" Bai Ruanqing asked in astonishment.
"I just received news that a person named I Am Very Handsome has made a move against all of the core disciples..." He Jingxuan replied with a dazed look in his eyes.
He was still pondering over the battle he had earlier with Bai Ruanqing when he received the news that a formidable opponent had challenged all of the core disciples. Thus, he immediately returned to the Ethereal Hall, intending to lend a hand...
But who could have thought everyone would actually be killed so quickly!
Wasn't the other party's swordsmanship a little too powerful?
"So, I Am Very Handsome killed everyone that was here?" Bai Ruanqing suddenly felt a little light-headed, and she nearly fainted to the ground.
Senior Uncle, are you trying to stage a revolt here?
It's like you didn't have enough fun dominating the inner disciples, so you came over to bully the core disciples as well... Are you intending to challenge the Elder Council next then?
"I'll head out to take a look..."
Bai Ruanqing rubbed her glabella in frustration as she backed out from the Ethereal Hall. Just as she finally returned back to the room, she saw Zhang Xuan rising to his feet, stretching his back lazily.
"Senior Uncle, did you, by any chance, kill all of the core disciples in the Ethereal Hall?"
"They were despicable people. They have lost the duel, yet they refused to pay up. Thus, I had all of them killed in order to teach them a lesson. It's not as if they could be harmed in the Ethereal Hall anyway," Zhang Xuan harrumphed coldly.
Bai Ruanqing was frenzied.
Was there really a need for you to go so far over something as minor as this?
"Right, I need you to check if they have paid you yet? Quickly transfer the money over to me if they have done so... Otherwise, I'll return to the Ethereal Hall later to purge them again later on!" Zhang Xuan waved his hand coldly.
There was so much frustration bottling up in Bai Ruanqing's chest that she could hardly breathe anymore.
Why would such a formidable expert stoop so low as to kill all of the core disciples over mere money?
Shaking her head, she took out a jade token and glanced at it before replying, "They have already paid me. The total sum is roughly 100,000 Sword Pavilion Coins!"
"100,000?" Zhang Xuan nodded in satisfaction. "It seems like the core disciples are quite wealthy after all!"
He had killed half of the core disciples, only to earn 200,000 Sword Pavilion Coins in total. On the other hand, just by defeating five core disciples, he was able to make a killing of 100,000 Sword Pavilion Coins... It seemed like the wealth disparity was really no joke!
Well, it seemed like he had just found himself a reliable avenue to resolve his monetary issues once and for all...
It didn't take long for Bai Ruanqing to transfer the money over, and Zhang Xuan couldn't help but celebrate a little gleefully on the inside over the mini fortune he had earned within a single day.
A while later, he raised his head and looked at Bai Ruanqing, "Your swordsmanship is still not too bad, but the sword toss you have learned from Dan Xiaotian is riddled with far too many problems. I'll correct it for you now. Later on, I need you to return to the dueling ring and earn more money back for me, understood?"
She was conflicted on whether she should feel happy that she should be delighted that her Senior Uncle would be teaching her personally or that she was being used as a tool to earn money... but eventually, her desire to learn advanced swordsmanship won over.
She quickly stood up and prepared herself to listen to her teacher's impartation when she suddenly heard several knocks coming from the main entrance of the residence. Following which, Cao Chengli's shout echoed loudly, "Who are you?"
"We are here to find Zhang Xuan!" a voice replied.
Upon hearing the voice, Bai Ruanqing immediately felt goosebumps rising all over her body. With quivering lips, she exclaimed, "Senior Uncle... it's my grandfather! He's here!"
"Your grandfather?" Zhang Xuan was stunned. "You are referring to Elder Bai Ye?"
Based on what he knew, Elder Bai Ye was one of the Three Grand Elders of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, a true expert of the continent.
Why would such an esteemed individual come knocking on his door?
Was the acting he had put on earlier not good enough to convince the other party not to take him in as his student? That should be the case, right?
After all, he had only been at the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion for a single day, and he had made sure to maintain a low profile all along. He didn't seem to have done anything really excessive yet. So, there didn't seem to be any reason why Elder Bai Ye would want to pay a visit to him!
"That's right!" Bai Ruanqing nodded.
"I reckon that the reason why he's here is because he still wishes to take me in as his student... Since that's the case, I'll need you to feign as if you are trying to teach me sword art later on. You'll criticize me for my weak mastery of swordsmanship and express your disappointment in me for having let down your grandfather's expectations..." Zhang Xuan said.
"This..." Bai Ruanqing was conflicted.
She had never been good at acting and deceiving others!
"It's settled then. Otherwise, don't expect me to teach you any swordsmanship anymore!" Zhang Xuan replied.
"Alright then..." Hearing those words, Bai Ruanqing had no choice but to agree to his request.
She would do anything as long as she could learn from her Senior Uncle. The latter's swordsmanship was simply that formidable!
She had only learned two sword arts so far—and they were only the two most basic moves—but it was already enough for her to fight the number one core disciple to a draw. If she were to just study a bit longer under him, even she would dare not imagine how powerful she could possibly become!
This was an opportunity that she couldn't give up on!
While they were still discussing the matter, Bai Feng stepped forward and flashed his token to Cao Chengli.
"Why? Do you think that you can enter by keeping mum and showing me a token?" Cao Chengli frowned in displeasure.
He was still angry at having his head smacked, so his attitude toward the two guests wasn't too nice either.
To shove a token right in my face when I'm asking you a question, do you think that this is a place for you to show off? Tsk! As if you are the only one who knows how to show off!
"I am an elder of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion. I'm here to pay a visit to your Young Master, Zhang Xuan!"
Seeing that the other party didn't recognize the Elder Token, Elder Bai Ye explained calmly.
Considering how Dan Xiaotian, Zhang Xuan, and the others had only entered the sect a day ago, it was understandable for them to have never seen such a high-tiered Elder Token.
"You are an elder of the sect?" Cao Chengli was still at the peak of his rage when those words scared his wits out of him. His face immediately paled as he bowed down respectfully, "Pardon me for my previous disrespect! P-please, this way..."
Cao Chengli was different from Sun Qiang. As a bandit, he had been through many life-and-death situations, so he was extremely wary about offending those who were stronger than him. Naturally, there was no way he would dare to cross an elder of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion!
If the other party were to make a move on him, he would be dead before he knew it!
Pulling his weight before such a figure? Forget it!
There were still many carnal pleasures in the mortal world waiting for him to explore! He had no intention of losing his life just yet!
Elder Bai Ye nodded as he raised his feet to enter the residence, but Cao Chengli suddenly rushed forward to stop him.
"My apologies, but the Young Master has a rule that those who walk into the residence aren't allowed to enter with their left leg or right leg alone. I beg your pardon for this!"
After which, he took the lead and hopped across the doorsill with both his feet.
Elder Bai Ye and Bai Feng glanced at one another in confusion.
What kind of eccentric rule wasthis?
"Geniuses usually have their own quirks. Since we're here to visit, I guess it would be good for us to abide by the other party's rules..." Bai Feng said.
Back then, the Ghost Sword Saint was known to have an extremely eccentric temper as well. Considering that Zhang Xuan had comprehended the Gods' Sword Intent, it was still understandable that his personality would be a little peculiar.
The two of them hopped into the residence too.
As soon as they stepped into the residence, they were just about to ask where Zhang Xuan was when they suddenly heard a harsh voice sounding from one of the rooms.
"How can you be so dumb? I have been explaining it to you to this for two hours now, but it seems like nothing has gotten into your head at all... How do you expect my grandfather to take you in as his student like that? You are really daydreaming!"
In the next moment, the door to the room opened, and a young lady stomped out furiously.
Following behind her was a young man with his head lowered in shame.
Elder Bai Ye and Bai Feng stared at each other silently...
The heck! What in the world are these two up to this time around?
"Grandfather and Grandpa Feng, why are the two of you here?"
While the two of them were still trying to figure out what kind of act those two were trying to put up here, Bai Ruanqing turned to them with a surprised expression on her face, as if she had only noticed their presence. She quickly walked up to them.
"We came here to..." Elder Bai Ye was just about to reveal the purpose behind his arrival when Bai Ruanqing abruptly interjected impatiently.
"Grandfather, it's good that you are here. This person over here is the person who sold me the medicine, Zhang Xuan.
I'm extremely grateful to him for having saved your life, but I must say that his swordsmanship is truly mediocre... I have already taught him for several hours now, but he hasn't even understood the most basic sword art yet!" Bai Ruanqing said as she glared at Zhang Xuan in disappointment, as if she couldn't believe that there could be such a useless disciple in the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion.
"I'll give you one last chance. Execute the sword art which I have just taught you to my grandfather. As you know, my grandfather is one of the Three Grand Elders of the sect. If you can just do well this once, you will be able to acknowledge him as your teacher!"
"Y-yes, Senior Bai!"
Zhang Xuan hesitantly lifted his sword and slashed down.
His movements were incredibly awkward, and they carried not the slightest hint of sword qi at all... It would be an insult to call even something like this a sword art.
Elder Bai Ye looked at Bai Feng once more with a conflicted look in his eyes.
Do we look like fools in their eyes? I don't even know if they are really trying to fool us or mock us... It doesn't even seem like they are putting any effort into their act at all!
I'm really starting to feel a little offended over here!
"Grandfather, look! His skills are really disappointing, and he doesn't have the slightest talent for swordsmanship at all. Such a dumb person isn't worthy of being your student at all! I do know that he's our benefactor, and this debt must be repaid somehow, but we shouldn't do it at the expense of your reputation either! Or else... why don't we just give him some money instead?"
Seeing that her grandfather and Grandpa Feng had gone completely silent, Bai Ruanqing thought that she had managed to fool them with her acting. Heaving a visible sigh of relief, she monotonously repeated the script which Zhang Xuan had forced her to remember a moment ago.
"Isn't worthy of being my student?"
Elder Bai Ye nearly choked on his saliva.
It was one thing if he didn't know a thing at all, but this was the young man who had severed his head with just a stray surge of sword qi... If there was anyone here who was unworthy, it would have to be him!
It was lucky that there was no crater here, or else he would have dived right like like an ostrich!
"I am deeply ashamed of my weakness, but I fear that I really don't have any talents in the Way of the Sword... I'm truly apologetic to have let Third Elder down..." Zhang Xuan lowered his head in shame.
In the depths of his eyes, one could see a hint of regret and low self-esteem, reminiscent of a person who had tried time and time again, only to be struck down by the cruelty of reality each and every single attempt.
His eyes were so expressive that it almost felt as if he was the protagonist of some kind of hot-blooded youth drama.
Seeing this, Elder Bai Ye and Bai Feng felt their chest getting even more stifled. They were convinced that they were going to bottle up some sort of severe internal injuries at this rate.
What the hell was this?
It turned out that this young man was not only a vastly talented sword practitioner, he was also a born actor!
With such talents, he was already set for his life!
Elder Bai Ye took several deep breaths to assuage the stifled sensation within him so as to ensure that his veins wouldn't suddenly rupture from high blood pressure before finally speaking up, "If you are lacking in your swordsmanship, it's indeed inappropriate for me to take you in as my student.
"However, it's not for show that the sword is known as the Conqueror of Weapons. There's nothing that can replace what it is capable of. If you do want to acknowledge me as your teacher, I can start teaching you from the basics. I trust that you'll soon reach Bai Ruanqing's level under my guidance..."
"This..." Zhang Xuan didn't think that the other party would still want to take him in as his student even after all the acting he had put on. Speechless, he hurriedly waved his hand and said, "I'm deeply honored, but I dare not accept your offer. Given my lack of aptitude, I am not confident that I'll be able to meet up to your expectations... I don't mind sullying my reputation, but I dare not besmirch Third Elder's name!"
"It's nothing much. I am indebted to you for saving my life, and it's only right for me to repay your favor... Or could it be that you are interested in other weaponry instead?"
It was not that Elder Bai Ye was toying with Zhang Xuan, but he wanted to force the latter to admit to his identity as I Am Low Profile. Otherwise, if the latter were to deny it to the bitter end, there was very little that he could do either. He could try resorting to force too, but it would carry the risk of possibly pushing this talented sword practitioner away from the sect.
On the other hand, Zhang Xuan's eyes lit up upon hearing Elder Bai Ye's words, "Indeed, I'm not too interested in swordsmanship... I don't mean to be rude, but my true passion actually lies in the Way of the Saber!"