Library of Heaven is Path
1995 Zhang Xuan“s Explanation
The others in the room were flabbergasted.
Even though Auction Master Wang was not an appraiser and did not know too much about appraising, the fact that he had gone to the extent of sourcing this sculpture showed that he knew a fair bit about Calmheart Stone. Naturally, he could discern that the material that was before him was its polar opposite, Bloodsoaked Stone.
To think that he had ended up buying the complete opposite of what he intended to purchase... and to make matter worse, Elder He had even claimed that it was Calmheart Stone!
If he had not met this young man, it probably would not have been long before he was afflicted by the malicious intent lingering around the sculpture. Soon enough, he might have committed suicide just as the rabbit had done earlier!
A mixture of fear and rage surged into Auction Master Wang's head as he turned to the old man before him and bellowed, "What's going on here? Elder He, is this what my trust in you amounts to?"
Usually, he would not dare speak to Elder He in such a manner, but he was just moments away from sealing his fatd There was no way that he could remain calm under such circumstances!
"I..." Elder He's body trembled.
He did not know what to say. He squatted down to pick up fragments of the rock, but no matter how he examined them, they were all Bloodsoaked Stone. There was no trace of Calmheart Stone to be seen at all.
In an instant, he looked as if he had aged a decade.
After a long moment of silence, he finally turned to Zhang Xuan and asked, "May I know... how I should address you?"
"I am Zhang Xuan," Zhang Xuan replied.
"Brother Zhang, I was certain that what I saw in the sculpture earlier was Calmheart Stone," Elder He said, "so why would..."
He was no longer maintaining the haughty attitude from before, and the way he addressed Zhang Xuan had also turned into a more polite 'brother'.
He was certain that there was nothing wrong with his judgement, but somehow, things still turned out this way. Given that the other party actually knew of this in advance, he must have known where things had gone wrong.
His prejudice against the disciples of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion was not completely unjustified. Two inner disciples had gone there before Zhang Xuan to try their luck, but it turned out that they did not know anything about appraisal at all. Not only did they make a fool out of themselves, they even accidentally destroyed an invaluable artifact.
As a result of that, even he had been implicated.
For this reason, he really did not have a good opinion of disciples from the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion trying to act as appraisers.
When he saw how young Zhang Xuan was, he had immediately assumed that the latter was there to try his luck as well. Who could have known that he would stumble upon a true master?
In terms of eye of discernment, this young man seemed to be far ahead of him.
On the other hand, seeing that Elder He had finally put away his superior attitude, Zhang Xuan could not be bothered to keep up with his scornful attitude. He picked up one of the fragments on the ground and began explaining. "Calmheart Stone and Bloodsoaked Stone are like two sides of a coin. Despite their opposing natures, they are able to affect the psyche of others through the energy they emanate. I don't need to explain any more about this, right?"
The crowd nodded in agreement.
In the strictest terms, Calmheart Stone and Bloodsoaked Stone could be considered spirit stones. Ordinary spirit stones were filled with attributeless spiritual energy that provided energy for others to cultivate whereas these two stones were stored with special kinds of energy that would affect one's psyche.
"Elder He's appraisal was not completely off the mark. This sculpture is indeed an artifact from High Immortal Du He, and it was a piece that the latter personally made. In fact, even the layer of painting was done personally by him," Zhang Xuan explained.
"If it was left by him, then..." Elder He was perplexed.
Since that was the case, he should not have been wrong! Why did things turn out like that?
"Do you know who High Immortal Du He is?" Zhang Xuan asked.
"I have heard of him..." By the side, Yuan Qing spoke up. "High Immortal Du He was known to be a divine physician a hundred years ago. He had saved countless people in his lifetime, and as a result of that, there were many people who worshipped his idol. Praying to him is not just a gesture of respect to him—it's also viewed to be a prayer for safety. Why would someone as benevolent as High Immortal Du He create such an artifact to poison others?"
Given all the good deeds that High Immortal Du He had done, it was hard to believe that he would disguise a Bloodsoaked Stone as a Calmheart Stone in order to mislead others into disaster!
"Poison? You are misunderstanding something." Zhang Xuan shook his head. "The reason High Immortal Du He created this artifact wasn't to harm others but to save people!"
“Save people?" Zhang Xuan's words were only making the crowd get more and more confused.
“This artifact is indeed created out of a Bloodsoaked Stone, but you have neglected something. It's for a reason that High Immortal Du He put so much effort into painting the artifact. While it might seem to be for aesthetic purposes, he was, in actuality, inscribing a unique formation on the artifact with his ink in order to suppress the killing intent within, similar to what I did earlier. Not only so, he even imbued it with energy so that it would continuously emanate a calming aura," Zhang Xuan explained.
"Under normal circumstances, it would be impossible to see through the killing intent. That's also why Elder He misunderstood that it was Calmheart Stone."
Elder He nodded in agreement to those words. He was indeed unable to discern the presence of killing intent in the stone.
"And indeed, the killing intent sealed within the artifact wouldn't affect one typically. However, if you used a formation and attempt to draw out the energy within the stone, that would be a different story. Your actions would damage the ink formation that High Immortal Du He painted on the surface of the sculpture, and to make matters worse, you wouldn't even notice anything is wrong initially as the killing intent is sealed too deeply within. As you cultivate with the sculpture, it's inevitable that the killing intent would slowly seep into your body. Your rationality would gradually be eroded, causing you to descend into lunacy. Not only would you attempt to kill yourself, you might even bring harm upon your family and friends!"
Just imagining the possible consequences was enough to leave Auction Master Wang shuddering uncontrollably.
Before he knew it, his hair was already drenched with sweat.
This was also why appraisers were of the utmost importance in the world. An artifact, when used well, could be an invaluable treasure to a cultivator. However, if a cultivator failed to recognize the true nature of an artifact and used it recklessly, the consequences could be disastrous!
This was a perfect example of that!
"I don't dare claim that I have a deep understanding of High Immortal Du He, but my guess is that his purpose for creating this artifact was to save patients who have fallen into a coma!" Zhang Xuan explained.
"There's no better way than this to stimulate the consciousness of patients who have fallen into a coma and can't be woken up through any other methods. This sculpture would first release a calming aura to lower one's guard, allowing killing intent to discreetly creep into one's soul. The killing intent would agitate one's soul, causing one to swiftly awaken."
This reminded him of how Wei Ruyan had fallen into a coma back then because she was unable to withstand the prowess of the two unique constitutions that she was born with. In the end, he had needed to resort to other medicine before he succeeded.
If he had such an artifact with him back then, it should have worked as well.
A body would still be protected by its reflexive defense mechanisms even in an unconscious state. If one attempted to afflict a soul with killing intent directly, one's soul would automatically guard against it. At the same time, if the concentration of killing intent was too great, it was more likely to kill a patient before even awakening them.
Thus, High Immortal Du He had to come up with such a method.
It was because Zhang Xuan had a similar experience in the past that he felt that the other party had created this artifact for treatment purposes.
"This... I have studied High immortal Du He's life, and his young daughter once fell into a coma due to an incident, and no matter what he did, she just wouldn't wake up. The situation continued for half a year till he finally found a method to successfully rouse his daughter's consciousness. He never revealed the trick, so this matter became a huge mystery among the local physician community back then... Could this be the reason?" Elder He was stunned.
As an appraiser, he had studied the history of famous figures as it helped him in identifying artifacts. He had read about High Immortal Du He's affairs, so he knew about the incident back then regarding the other party's daughter.
It was only after hearing Zhang Xuan's words that he finally came to a realization.
"That should probably be the case. There's no such thing as a 'good' or an 'evil' artifact—it all depends on how the user utilizes it," Zhang Xuan replied with a nod.
"I see..." Elder He nodded in realization. He looked at the young man before him with a complicated expression on his face before sighing deeply. "I concede. I have lost to you. Auction Master Wang, allow me to compensate your loss!"
"Elder He, you are too courteous!" Auction Master Wang quickly replied.
Following which, Elder He turned to Zhang Xuan and bowed deeply in gratitude. "Brother Zhang, I am extremely grateful to you. Not only have you saved Auction Master Wang, you have indirectly saved me as well!"
While the young man did question his professionalism and put him down before Auction Master Wang, thinking back, it was such an action that had saved him. Otherwise, if something had really happened to Auction Master Wang in the midst of his cultivation, his career as an appraiser would have come to a screeching halt!
Zhang Xuan nodded politely in response to Elder He's words. "May I know if I'm qualified to complete the mission that was assigned to my sect now?"
"Of course, of course!" Elder He nodded. "This way please!"
Considering how the young man was able to see through something that had escaped his notice, there was no doubt that the young man's eye of discernment was indeed far sharper than his.
He might really be able to resolve the issue that had rendered him helpless all this while.
Following behind Elder He, Zhang Xuan walked out of the room.