Library of Heaven is Path
2070 The Meeting of Kong shi and Zhang Xuan
A gale echoed in Zhang Xuan's ears as he watched his surroundings swiftly disappearing behind him.
What incredible speed...
Zhang Xuan narrowed his eyes in astonishment.
The person who had saved him was actually able to travel at several times his speed despite bringing him along.
Even the strongest Semi-Divinity realm cultivator shouldn't have been able to move this quickly... Is he a god?
The Semi-Divinity realm warrior of the Hall of Gods whom he had forced to explode back in the Ocean of Exiled Stars could probably be considered the strongest of all, but even he was nothing compared to the person who had just saved him!
While Zhang Xuan's mind was still wandering around the place, the other party said, "I haven't reached the level of a god yet. The reason I'm able to move so quickly is due to the Evanescent Boots."
Zhang Xuan lowered his head to take a look, and he noticed that the other party was equipped with a pair of striking golden boots. These boots were emanating a unique power that allowed him to cover dozens of li with every step, making it seem almost as if he was teleporting from one spot to another.
"That should be the Guardian Artifact of the Evanescent Immortal Sect... Could you possibly be..." Zhang Xuan's body stiffened up as a person surfaced in his mind.
"We'll talk about it later. The Azure Bridge has already begun retracting. If we don't hurry up, we could lose our lives here," the other party said with a light chuckle as he continued flitting forward with a slightly grim look in his eyes.
"The Azure Bridge has already begun retracting?" Zhang Xuan was appalled.
He lowered his head and noticed that the Azure Bridge was indeed slowly retracting to the Hall of Gods. With a confused look, he asked, "I thought that the Azure Bridge lasts for an entire day, so why would it suddenly retract before the time is up?"
All in all, Zhang Xuan had only spent fourteen hours getting to the Hall of Gods, and he had spent less than an hour inside. Why would the Azure Bridge suddenly begin retracting at that moment?
Could it be that the descent and retraction of the Azure Bridge could be arbitrarily decided by the chief of the Hall of Gods?
"A day has already passed," the other party replied bitterly. "There's a difference in the flow of time between the Hall of Gods and the Forsaken Continent by 1:10. You didn't notice it?"
"Difference in the flow of time?" Zhang Xuan was shocked.
He had come under the attack of ten Semi-Divinities as soon as he entered the Hall of Gods, such that there was no time for him to think too deeply into the matter. After that, he had been taken to the altar, and a ritual had been conducted on him.
As he thought back, there was indeed some difference in the flow of time in the Hall of Gods and the Forsaken Continent.
A ratio of 1:10 …
"It's said that the flow of time of the Firmament is a tenth of that of the Forsaken Continent. The same goes for the Hall of Gods," the other party replied.
"I see..." Zhang Xuan nodded slowly.
By a 1:10 ratio, the one hour he had spent in there would equate to roughly ten hours. Going by this calculation, it had indeed been a day since the Azure Bridge descended, so it was only expected for it to retract.
Seeing that Zhang Xuan understood, the other party smiled lightly before stepped on the ground forcefully. "Alright, enough talking for the time being. Use your zhenqi to protect your body. I'll be conducting Spatial Traverse."
In an instant, his speed reached a new peak, causing the space around him to become warped.
Even space was torn down as a result of the movement. Naturally, Zhang Xuan was under a huge amount of pressure as well. It felt like everything was collapsing in on him, squeezing him tight and leaving him breathless.
If not for the zhenqi barrier that Zhang Xuan had reinforced around him, his body might have been squashed to a pile of minced meat.
All of a sudden, the pressure vanished. Panting deeply, Zhang Xuan took a closer look around him and found that he was no longer on the Azure Bridge. Instead, what appeared before him was a massive palace floating amid the clouds.
Zhang Xuan straightened his body as he asked, "Where are we?"
He could tell that even though he was still in the Azure, he was not on the Forsaken Continent anymore. It felt like he had leaped from the Forsaken Continent into a folded space.
"This is the headquarters of the Ethereal Hall!" the other party replied with a smile as he turned around to face Zhang Xuan.
Only then did Zhang Xuan get a good glimpse of the other party's appearance. The other party looked the exact same as the person who was worshipped in all of the Master Teacher Pavilions. He had a tall physique with a flowing beard. Between his brows, one could see a hint of benevolence and compassion for the world.
"Junior Zhang Xuan pays respects to Kong shi." Zhang Xuan bowed deeply.
He had already guessed who the other party was, but only after seeing the other party's appearance and disposition in person was he finally able to confirm the matter.
The person standing before him was none other than the World's Teacher who had created the Master Teacher Pavilion and united mankind against the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe, Kong shi!
He had encountered the other party's soul fragments several times, but this was his first time meeting the man in person.
The other party was more amiable than he had expected. His presence felt like a warm breeze during the onset of spring.
"Rise," Kong shi said with a smile as he reached out to help Zhang Xuan up. "Is the Master Teacher Pavilion still doing fine?"
"Yes, the Master Teacher Pavilion is still following your teachings. They have worked hard to protect mankind over the years," Zhang Xuan said before recounting the happenings of the Master Teacher Pavilion after Kong shi's departure.
"I see." Kong shi stroked his beard slowly. "Mankind will have to remain united in order to survive against the other races and leave its mark on the world. The reason I created the Master Teacher Pavilion was for all men to become powerful, and it seems like my efforts weren't in vain."
It was difficult for all men to be powerful, but through the selfless impartation of knowledge of the Master Teacher Pavilion, mankind would continue to build on the knowledge of their predecessors and advance to greater heights.
"Indeed. The enmity between the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe and mankind is also slowly being repaired. Even though it's impossible to sever the chains of hatred right away, I believe that, with time, all scars will eventually fade," Zhang Xuan said as he explained the current situation with the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe as well.
Kong shi smiled a little as he looked at Zhang Xuan and asked, "You have been to Starchaser Island, right? Did you notice that the indigenous population living there are very similar to the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe?"
Yes, I did notice it." Zhang Xuan nodded in response. "Do you know the story behind it?"
Kong shi nodded. "In truth, the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe and the indigenous population of Starchaser Island come from the same origin. They are gods who have been exiled!"
"Gods who have been exiled?" Zhang Xuan frowned. "Hold on a moment. I heard from Elder Han Jianqiu that those living on Starchaser Island are the indigenous population of the Forsaken Continent. Is that not true?"
Aside from Starchaser Palace, the cultivators of the Six Sects proclaimed themselves as gods who had been exiled whereas those living on Starchaser Island were the indigenous population. Why was Kong shi saying the opposite?
Hearing Zhang Xuan's response, Kong shi smiled a little and said, "The other five sects are just trying to give themselves a better name. If they are truly the exiled gods, isn't it odd that only Starchaser Palace has an altar to hold rituals to connect with the Firmament?"
That question stumped Zhang Xuan.
He had never thought about it like that. Kong shi's argument was perfectly logical.
Kong shi shook his head before continuing. "A better background and reputation go a long way to developing a power. As time passes, what is false eventually becomes viewed as the truth and vice-versa. Who can differentiate between statements that can hardly be verified anymore?"
Zhang Xuan fell silent.
It was similar to how kings would proclaim themselves as beings chosen by the gods and embed all kinds of legends to their rule, making it seem as if they were the true son of Heaven. Legitimacy could be a powerful tool indeed if people believed in it.
It seemed like the same had happened to the Forsaken Continent as well.
Those of the other five sects proclaimed themselves as the exiled gods, and as time passed, people began to believe these falsehoods.
In the end, they even labeled the true exiled gods as the indigenous population.
"But if they are gods, why would they carry such overwhelming killing intent within them?" Zhang Xuan asked doubtfully.
In truth, it did not matter to him who the true exiled gods were. After all, he was not taking any sides, and he viewed himself as a mere passerby in the Azure.
"It probably has something to do with the Firmament... That's beyond the scope of my knowledge." Kong shi shook his head.
"I see." Zhang Xuan nodded slowly before raising his head to look at Kong shi once more. "I still have some questions that I hope you can clarify for me."
"Speak your mind."
"Kong shi, you have been in the Azure for several thousand years now. Are you unable to break free of the dimension barrier and ascend to the Firmament?"
This was what had confounded Zhang Xuan deeply.
There was no doubt about Kong shi's talents and capabilities.
Even he, in less than a month since his arrival, was able to reach a level where he was just a single step away from reaching the Semi-Divinity realm. Given so, how could the World's Teacher possibly remain bound there for several thousand years?
"Reaching the Firmament isn't as easy as you think. Furthermore, when I entered the Hall of Gods alone and clashed with the gods back then, while I did manage to acquire a '神（God)' character, I ended up sustaining significant injuries as well. I had to go into a coma in order to recover, and it was only recently that I managed to regain my consciousness."
Kong shi halted his words there with a conflicted look on his face. It seemed like he was unwilling to speak about the past anymore.
"If it's not convenient for you to speak, I won't inquire any more about that," Zhang Xuan said. "However, there is one matter that I would like to seek clarification from you about. You gave me a token that allowed me to purchase any cultivation resources from the Ethereal Hall for free a while ago. However, why is it that I encountered an attack from the Hall of Gods each time I used it?"
This was the matter that made Zhang Xuan deeply doubtful about Kong shi.
If he could not clarify this issue, he would never be able to fully trust Kong shi.
"Regarding that, I'll have to apologize to you. It's an unforgivable oversight on my part," Kong shi said apologetically. "In the years that I was in a coma, the influence of the Hall of Gods managed to seep into the Ethereal Hall, and many of my subordinates have secretly pledged loyalty to the Hall of Gods. The one whom I entrusted to forge the token was a deeply trusted confidant of mine, but it turns out that he was in collusion with the Hall of Gods all this time! I sentenced that confidant to death after learning of this matter.
"Over the past few days, I was busy trying to track down and apprehend the spies of the Hall of Gods, which was also why I was unable to meet you at the Heaven Anchoring Boulder prior to the descent of the Azure Bridge. Otherwise, you wouldn't have fallen into the trap of the Hall of Gods!"
Zhang Xuan contemplated for a moment before nodding slightly.
He could not find any logical loopholes in Kong shi's story, and the latter appeared deeply earnest.
"Since you are currently the head of four sects, you should have heard about how I have borrowed the Guardian Artifacts of the Evanescent Immortal Sect and Blackmirror Citadel, right?" Kong shi asked.
Zhang Xuan nodded in response.
"I have my own plans for borrowing those artifacts. I'm hoping to use them to free the Forsaken Continent from the rule of the Hall of Gods. I heard that you have clashed with the Hall of Gods on several occasions, so I believe you are aware of their strength. I knew that I would need more trump cards up my sleeves. While the Guardian Artifacts of the Six Sects haven't reached the Semi-Divinity realm yet, they harness the thoughts and wills of countless experts from the past several thousand years, granting them astounding prowess," Kong shi explained.
If that was really true, it would have been a huge misunderstanding from his part.
"Now that I have clarified all of the questions you have, there are some important things that I have to tell you." Kong shi looked at Zhang Xuan grimly as he spoke.
With a wave of his hand, he swiftly activated an Isolation Formation to sever the space around them from the real world before he spoke further. "Do you know that you are already nearing the end of your life?"