Library of Heaven is Path
1993 Wuhai Marke
"Since you have become my student, you have to heed my instructions from now on," Zhang Xuan said solemnly. "Also, you mustn't impart the cultivation technique I have just taught you to anyone else, and this includes Elder Bai Ye. Are you able to do that?"
"Yes, I can!" Bai Ruanqing nodded anxiously.
The fact that a golden page had formed meant that Bai Ruanqing was sincerely thankful to him and was unlikely to leak his secrets, so he was not too worried.
The concept of lineage was important in the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion as well. A student was expected to follow their teacher's words, and the debt of nurturing was something that must never be forgotten.
"Good. I'll need to head out for a while. You should remain here to reinforce your cultivation," Zhang Xuan said.
Following which, he opened the door and left the room.
He had managed to acquire the Superior Immortal Pills required for him to advance his cultivation, so what he had to do now was find more True Immortal realm cultivation technique manuals to perfect his Heaven's Path Divine Art.
The current destination that he had in mind was the Wuhai Market as he thought that it might be possible for the books that he required to be on sale there.
Of course, these books were likely to be pricey, but he did not need to buy the books, just collect them into the Library of Heaven's Path.
He had looked at the map beforehand, so he knew that the Wuhai Market was located nearby. Even without riding on an aerial beast, it only took him an hour of leisurely strolling in order to reach his destination.
As expected of a market in a first-tier city, the Wuhai Market was bustling with huge crowds. It was already teeming with people even before making his way in.
The first floor was filled with normal vendors, selling stuff like medicinal herbs, precious ores, weapons, and the like. After taking a swift look around, Zhang Xuan shook his head in disappointment.
There were simply too many counterfeit products. Even without using the Library of Heaven's Path, he could see through them easily.
Furthermore, most of them were below Pseudo Immortal-tier, so they were of no use to him at all.
Zhang Xuan walked up to a vendor and passed a Sword Pavilion Coin over. "May I know if there are any places here that sell cultivation technique manuals?"
"The cultivation technique manuals are usually sold at auction," the vendor hurriedly replied, accepting the coin in delight. A single Sword Pavilion Coin was enough for him to live comfortably for a month!
"The cultivation technique manuals don't have to be particularly profound. Ordinary ones would do as well," Zhang Xuan added.
The cultivation technique manuals that needed to be auctioned were bound to be invaluable.
But to him, whether a cultivation technique was high-tier or rare did not matter at all. What he needed was quantity, not quality!
Of course, there was no doubt that higher quality cultivation techniques had fewer flaws, which meant that they could more easily perfect his Heaven's Path Divine Art. However, the issue with that was that their numbers were too limited, so it was simply not worth the time sourcing for them, and their prices were scarily exorbitant.
"Ordinary cultivation techniques too? Well, there are plenty of those over there at the Boundless Knowledge Pavilion. With just a single Sword Pavilion Coin, you can read all the books you want in there. However, the cultivation technique manuals there are quite ordinary, such that even I won't cultivate them. Most of us go there to read those kinds of books instead," the vendor replied with a knowing smile.
Considering how the person before him could casually tip him a single Sword Pavilion Coin, it was likely that he was an inner disciple or even a core disciple!
If so, his expectations on cultivation techniques were bound to be very high. Considering how the cultivation technique manuals in the Boundless Knowledge Pavilion could not even catch the eye of a fake medicine peddler like him, there was no way that the other party would be interested in them.
Most likely, the 'cultivation techniques' that this young man spoke of were referring to something else.
Zhang Xuan was perplexed by the mysterious smile the vendor was directing toward him, but he still waved his hand and said, "Take me over to take a look!"
"Alright!" The vendor chuckled a little as he quickly led the way.
Soon, as they arrived before a bookstore, the vendor gestured and said, "We have arrived!"
Zhang Xuan took a brief glance inside, and there were indeed many different books on display. Cultivation technique manuals, battle technique manuals, old newspapers and magazines, notebooks and diaries...
Of course, there was also those stuff that the vendor was referring to, which made Zhang Xuan immediately comprehend the meaning behind the vendor's earlier licentious smile. The covers of those books were particularly eye-catching, such that they seemed to leap out at those passing the bookstore.
Zhang Xuan passed a single Sword Pavilion Coin over and walked in.
He quickly swept through the contents on the shelves, and it did not take him long to collect all the cultivation technique manuals.
A moment later, he shook his head bitterly.
There was a huge number of cultivation technique manuals, but they were all of Pseudo Immortal realm and below. There was not a single True Immortal realm cultivation technique manual, so of course, those books did nothing to resolve the flaws in his Heaven’s Path Divine Art.
Thus, Zhang Xuan left with bookstore with a gloomy look on his face.
"How was it? Those cultivation techniques are horrible, aren't they?" the vendor, who had yet to leave, asked. "If you want higher-tier cultivation techniques, there's indeed one way to acquire them."
"Not too long ago, the Wuhai Market Auction acquired a treasure. They brought many appraisers in, but none of them were able to ascertain what it was. If someone is able to accurately appraise exactly what the treasure is, they will be specially authorized to enter the auction's treasury and choose any cultivation technique manual they wish," the vendor said in a hushed voice.
"A treasure?" Zhang Xuan was stunned.
That reminded him of the mission that he had taken on before coming over to Wuhai City. If he had known that there was actually such an opportunity involved, he would have come way earlier!
Nevertheless, it was still better to clarify the matter lest he was disappointed like he had been before. So, he asked, "It sounds like the auction has an impressive collection of cultivation technique manuals. Do you know if they have any True Immortal realm cultivation technique manuals?"
"Of course! The Wuhai Market Auction has five hundred years of history, and the strongest expert they employ to guard the treasures are already at the Half-High Immortal realm. They are bound to have plenty of True Immortal realm cultivation technique manuals!" the vendor exclaimed vehemently.
Then, he looked around him before lowering his voice slightly. "There are often auctions where cultivation technique manuals are sold, and based on my guesses, I think that the Wuhai Market Auction has secretly been making copies of them..."
The auction house did not have the right to make copies of the cultivation technique manuals that their clients were selling, so the Wuhai Market Auction had to be doing this behind their clients' back.
However, under the rules of the auction, the items that were sold during the auction would have to be placed under the custody of the auction house prior to the auctioning, so there was no way the client would know or verify whether a copy had been made.
According to what the vendor was saying, it seemed like making copies of cultivation technique manuals had already become one of the implicit rules within the auction house. It was just that no one was willing to point it out.
Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan heaved a sigh of relief.
No matter what, it was good news that the auction house had True Immortal realm cultivation technique manuals. It was truly good luck that they had taken on the appraisal mission.
After confirming the location of the auction house, Zhang Xuan bade the vendor farewell before quickly making his way over.
"Do you have an invitation letter?"
At the entrance of the auction hall, Zhang Xuan was halted by a guard.
"I am a disciple from the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, and I have taken on the mission of the Wuhai Market to appraise its artifact," Zhang Xuan said as he took out his Mission Token.
The guard took a look at the Mission Token before bowing deeply. "Welcome. This way, please."
The Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion was one of the Six Sects, and Wuhai City happened to be under its jurisdiction. On top of that, it was a known fact that the sect only took in top-notch geniuses as their disciples.
Naturally, the guard would dare not be discourteous to Zhang Xuan.
Under the guard's lead, Zhang Xuan entered a room. Within the room, there was an old man standing before an artifact, examining it closely.
"Elder He, this young man over here is a disciple of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion. He has come here to take on the appraisal mission," the guard reported to the old man.
"Let him wait there for a moment."
Without even turning around, Elder He continued examining the artifact before him with an agitated look on his face.
With a slight frown, Zhang Xuan assessed the old man who was addressed as Elder He carefully. The latter appeared to be in his sixties, and the aura that he emanated felt heavy and powerful. He was a High Immortal realm expert.
The artifact before him was a sculpture of roughly a chi tall. It was painted with beautifully contrasting colors that accentuated its aesthetics. Just accounting for the painting skills, it was definitely the work of someone who was as competent as a 9-star painter of the Master Teacher Continent.
Zhang Xuan could not really recognize what it was, but he could feel a fleeting aura from it that felt serene and calming.
"Wonderful! Wonderful!" Elder He could not help but exclaim in delight.
Not too far away, a smile slowly formed on a middle-aged man's lips as he saw Elder He's reaction. With a respectful tone, he asked, "Elder He, may if I know if it's authentic?"
"Based on my appraisal, this sculpture was indeed left behind by High Immortal Du He. He used the Calmheart Stone to carve this sculpture, so if one uses it at the core of a formation, it could be used to bring serenity to one's mind, so one need not worry about facing inner demons during one's cultivation," Elder He said with a smile.
You have my deepest thanks, Elder He!" Hearing that the sculpture was indeed authentic, the middle-aged man delightfully raised his hand, and a subordinate quickly walked up and passed a bag of jingling Ethereal Coins over.
"Auction Master Wang, you are too courteous!" Elder He said.
"No, no, it's only right for me to offer this to you. I have troubled you to appraise for me, Elder He, so this is just a small sum that represents my appreciation for your help," the middle-aged man addressed as Auction Master Wang quickly replied.
Following which, he walked up to the sculpture and carefully stored it in a cushioned container, intending to move it somewhere else.
Seeing this, Zhang Xuan could not help but shake his head. However, he chose not to say a word.
At the same time, after finishing his appraisal, Elder He turned around and saw that it was a young man behind him. In that instant, a slight frown could be seen between his brows. "Are you the disciple from the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion who took on the mission?"
Zhang Xuan nodded. "May I know what treasure you wish for me to appraise?"
He could not be bothered to waste his breath on things that did not involve him. Right now, he just wanted to quickly finish his appraisal so that he could access his books.
"No need to hurry," Elder He said as he took a seat in a nearby chair. He lifted his teacup and took a sip before turning to look at Zhang Xuan with a hint of disdain in his eyes. "Disciples of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion are formidable in their swordsmanship, there is no denying that. However, their appraisal skills seem to be sorely lacking. Two of your peers came not too long ago, but they couldn't discern anything at all, so I kicked them out. Are you here to give it a try, too? If you don't have any capability, I advise you say so now so that we don't waste each other's time. It would be troublesome for me and humiliating for you if we had to do this the hard way."
Those words cast a slight shadow over Zhang Xuan's eyes.
It was clear that the other party was making light of him!
"I know that my words might not sound nice, but I'm sure that there's some truth to my words. I have heard much about how talented the disciples of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion are, but I'm afraid that your expertise stops at swordsmanship. I'll have to humbly ask you not to insult us appraisers!" Elder He shook his head.
He waved his hand and said, "Yuan Qing, take these two Sword Pavilion Coins, give them to that young man over there, and invite him to leave. I don't need anyone causing any undue trouble here!"
Yes!" The guard who had brought Zhang Xuan in took two Sword Pavilion Coins from Elder He's hands and passed them over to Zhang Xuan. "Here!"
Paying no heed to the guard's actions at all, Zhang Xuan looked at Elder He deeply and scoffed, "Causing undue trouble?"
He did not want to get involved in unnecessary matters, but this fellow just had to stretch his face over for him to slap. Did the other party's cheek feel itchy or something?
He walked over to the middle-aged man, who was in the midst of packing the sculpture, and said, "Friend, I advise you not to take this item with you just yet."
"Oh?" Auction Master Wang stopped his actions and turned to look at Zhang Xuan with a perplexed frown.
He had heard the conversation between the two of them, and while Elder He did not fear offending the disciples of the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, he was not so audacious.
"I'd just like to give you a word of warning. The item in your hands isn't an artifact from High Immortal Du He at all, nor is it a sculpture made out of Calmheart Stone. If you use it as the core of a formation, it won't take long for your cultivation to go berserk!" Zhang Xuan remarked calmly.
"What do you mean by that? I just appraised the artifact, and it was certainly left behind by High Immortal Du He. Do you have any questions about the results of my appraisal?" Elder He's face darkened.
He had been appraising for over a hundred years, and he had hardly made any mistakes to date. Yet, a twenty-year-old man dared challenge his judgement? Naive!
"Questions about the results of your appraisal?" Zhang Xuan shook his head with a pitiable smile on his face. "No, I just have two words for it—utter bullsh*t. If Auction Master Wang really listens to your words here, he will surely lose his life within three days!"