Library of Heaven is Path
484 Kick 2 2in1
That was a grade-2 Illusion Formation! When he was within it, he found it hard to even discern reality from illusion. That was how fearsome it was... And yet, this fellow's random kick actually cleared away the formation?
Are you messing with me?
He had said that the juniors' claim that the other party had broken through the formation with a single kick was nonsense previously, but this time... he had witnessed it personally.
With a single kick, the Illusion Formation came to a halt...
The overwhelming incongruity between reality and expectations left him on the verge of going mad.
Possessing outstanding aptitude in formations, he had always been envied by his fellow classmates, and he managed to become a 1-star formation master at a very young age. After driving himself to the core for many years to toughen up his mental fortitude... he still ended up losing himself as soon as he stepped into a grade-2 Illusion Formation.
Yet, this fellow simply did a single kick... and the formation came to a halt!
Did reality have to be so harsh?
Did you collude with the formation to pull one over us?
While he was on the verge of a mental breakdown, the anxious voice of the green-robed junior beside him sounded, "Senior, do you think that it's calculated, or is he simply just randomly kicking around?"
"Randomly kicking around? Have you seen anyone successfully breaking out of a formation by randomly kicking around?" The senior's mouth twitched as his vision turned dark.
He had seen people randomly kicking around to incapacitate an opponent, he had also seen people randomly kicking around and causing damage to their meridians, but he had never ever heard of a person destroying a formation with just a single kick!
Formations were positioned to be aligned with the essence of the world. They were an unsubstantial existence, reminiscent to one's environment...
Have you seen anyone destroying their environment through a kick?
It was impossible for this kick to be of random nature. It was a purposeful, well thought-out, responsible, and decisive kick! It was a kick made after seeing through the facade, peering into the very essence, and determining the fundamental flaws!
Otherwise, how could a single kick break a formation?
"It was intentional? Then... how strong must his grasp of formations be?" The white-robed junior's lips went dry. "Even teacher would find it hard to do the same!"
Their teacher was a famous 4-star formation master even within the guild, but even he was incapable of breaking a formation so easily.
"I have no idea either. However, as long as he continues attempting the examination, we might be able to see through something!" the senior said, suppressing his shock.
There was a limit to his eye of discernment, and as such, he failed to understand how the other party broke the formation. However, if he were to continue analyzing the other party's action, he might be able to notice something.
Perhaps, he might even be able to learn a thing or two from the other party and in the future, when meeting these types of formation, he would be able to break them easily.
"Continues attempting the examination? You mean that he would challenge the third stage?"
"Given how easily he broke through a grade-2 Illusion Formation, he must be at least a 3-star formation master. Naturally, there's no reason for him to stop here..."
The trio hurriedly turned their gazes forward. Indeed, just like what they guessed, that exhausted-looking young man who seemed as though he would crumble at any moment continued advancing forward after clearing that Illusion Formation.
"At grade-3, a formation will require more than spiritual energy from the surroundings to drive it. Often, spirit stones will be placed at the formation core to power it. As such, the might of grade-3 formations is many times greater than that of grade-2, and with greater energy, there is more flexibility in the design as well. He won't be able to clear it as easily as he did before." the senior said gravely.
All formations, regardless of the type or design, required energy to drive it. It was just like how cows eat grass and humans eat rice to move. There was nothing that could move without energy fuelling it.
As grade-1 and grade-2 formations were of low tier, they could be driven just by the absorbing spiritual energy from the surroundings.
However, it was impossible for grade-3 formation to do the same.
Even though formations could absorb spiritual energy from the surroundings, a grade-3 formation would still require an accumulation of several months before it could be used once. Taking the Great Xuanyuan Formation for example, it had gathered an immense amount of energy over a thousand years but it was sapped dry just with a single usage.
As the Sea of Formations was the examination criteria for formation masters in Honghai City, there were innumerable people who were waiting to challenge it every year. They couldn't expect it to recharge itself just by absorbing spiritual energy from the surroundings. Thus, often, spirit stones would be placed at the formation core to drive it.
With energy from the spirit stones, the formations would be able to display much greater might than what they were normally capable of, thus making them harder to escape from.
This young man had managed to overcome grade-1 and grade-2 formations easily but in face of a grade-3 formation powered by spirit stones, he probably wouldn't be able to overcome it as easily as before.
In the short time which the trio spent chatting, the grade-3 formation was triggered and the young man suddenly disappeared amidst a white veil.
In an instant, the figure on the wall seemed to have fallen into a treacherous trap. Descending flower petals alongside sharp glints of aura filled the surroundings, creating an extremely bizarre sight.
"The descending flower petals and sharp spiritual energy... Could this be the [Qinghong Falling Petal Formation]?"
The senior's lips quivered and he nearly fell to the ground from shock.
"Qinghong Falling Petal Formation? What kind of formation is that?"
The two juniors turned to look at him.
They were only apprentices and they were here for the 1-star formation master examination. As such, they weren't well-versed in some of the higher tiered formations.
"I-it's a... Slaughter Formation!"
The senior's voice quivered.
The two juniors shuddered and they nearly bit their tongues from shock.
Of all the formations, Illusion Formation and Slaughter Formation were the most feared of all. Yet, this fellow managed to meet with the both of them. Wasn't his luck a little too bad?
Illusion Formations were already an exceedingly scary adversary—even their senior was almost unable to free himself from it—so one can imagine how frightening Slaughter Formations are. This fellow didn't take the jade token before taking the examination, he couldn't possibly die inside, right?
Suppressing his shock, the white-robed junior asked, "Is this Slaughter Formation... formidable?"
"The Qinghong Falling Petal Formation is a grade-3 pinnacle Slaughter Formation. It's said to be created by a man named Shen Qinghong 1500 years ago. The entire ground serves as a trap in itself, leaving one with nowhere to escape to. One will find himself dying tragically in the beautiful scenery... This formation has once killed a Transcendent Mortal 2-dan expert, and it's known as the strongest among grade-3 formations... Could anyone say it's not formidable?"
It was hard to tell whether the senior was nervous or scared but his voice was slightly hoarse.
"Killed a Transcendent Mortal 2-dan expert? This is already comparable to a grade-4 formation!"
The duo's eyes went wide in shock.
Grade-1 formations were capable of killing Tongxuan realm cultivators; grade-2 formations were capable of eliminating Zongshi realm cultivators; grade-3 formations were capable of subduing Zhizun realm, Half-Transcension, and even Prolonged Longevity cultivators.
And this Slaughter Formation actually managed to kill a Transcendent Mortal 2-dan! That was already comparable to the strength of some grade-4 formations... This formation wasn't to be trifled with!
Even though they were hearing it with their own ears, they still found it hard to believe.
The green-robed junior couldn't help but ask, "Then... Will he meet with any danger?"
"That'll be hard to say. It'll depend on his strength and his defensive measures. If he has nothing up his sleeves, only one conclusion remains for him... death!"
Shaking his head, the senior was about to continue speaking when he frowned, "Look, the formation is getting into action now!"
As he said those words, the sharp glints made of spiritual energy suddenly showed their ferocious side. As though arrows, they suddenly shot toward the young man from all directions.
The might of every single glint was fearsome. Even a Zhizun realm expert would be easily impaled by them.
"It depends on how he deals with the situation now. If I were in his position, I would try to dodge those glints before looking for a plausible escape route..."
Putting himself in the other party's shoes, the senior began to analyze how the other party could escape from this calamity. But at that moment, that ordinary 'leg' was lifted up once again.
Facing the rain of flower petals, he kicked.
"That... Isn't that courting death?"
Seeing that the fellow was still using the same move, the trio was frenzied.
There were no threats on his life in a Confinement Formation and Illusion Formation so his attempt to stop the formation with a kick could still be overlooked. However, this was a Slaughter Formation! Every single glint was a small dagger threatening to reap his life, there was no one who could possibly withstand their assault. And yet, he was kicking against them with his leg...
May I ask, what in the world are you thinking?
Frenzied, they were thinking that even if this fellow didn't die, his legs would also be sliced into innumerable pieces when the entire formation suddenly froze.
With a buzzing sound, the sharp glints in the air suddenly dissipated. The incomparably powerful formation, which would tear the young man apart at any moment, suddenly faded away as though snow melting in the presence of spring.
The young man's figure appeared before the crowd once more.
"He broke the formation?"
"H-he... succeeded again?"
The trio looked at one another and they could see the disbelief in their eyes. For a moment, it felt as though they were struck by a bolt of lightning.
"He broke the formation with a kick once again. What in the world is going on..."
The senior's body twitched. He felt a stifling sensation on his chest which made it hard for him to breathe.
He thought that the other party had simply acted too quickly for him to properly discern what had happened, and as long as he could see it again, he would surely be able to determine the technique the other party used to break the formation and learn a thing or two from him. But from the looks of it now... it seemed like he was overthinking it!
Breaking a formation with a kick... It was futile no matter how many times he saw such an eccentric move!
How was he supposed to learn that?
"It's not over yet, look... Am I mistaken or does it seem like he's going to challenge the fourth stage?" the green-robed junior asked.
Hearing those words, the other two immediately turned their gazes over. The young man who had just appeared in their sights shook his head, as though lamenting the formation's weakness, and started walking toward the fourth stage.
If he were to pass the fourth stage, it would mean that he would be qualified as a 4-star formation master...
A fellow who wasn't even twenty yet becoming a 4-star formation master?
Who was the one who said that he wouldn't even pass the first stage? Who was the one who looked down on him just now?
The trio felt their body stiffened, and they were on the verge of going mad.
While the trio was about to lose their sanity, outside the corridor where the Sea of Formations was located, four incense sticks were lit in an incense pot. The smoke danced in the air, creating a tranquil atmosphere.
"Guild Leader Zheng, what do you mean by that? You know that my three students are challenging the Sea of Formations today and yet you still allowed that fellow to enter. Is this a personal attack?"
In front of the incense pot, a white-bearded elder lashed out furiously.
4-star Formation Master Wang Haoxun, an elder of the Formation Master Guild.
He was the teacher of the 'senior' and 'juniors' in the corridor.
His three students were challenging the Sea of Formations today, this was something that had been decided upon one month ago. And yet, the guild leader simply came over and insisted on slotting someone in. He thought that the other party would be slotting his student, Xiaowu, in as that fellow seemed ready to take on the 3-star formation master examination already...
Yet, it turned out to be a young lad whom he had never even met before.
Even if he didn't meet the other party before, if the other party possessed true capability, he would have nothing to say. However, look at that casual and lazy attitude, the other party seemed like he would fall asleep at any moment...
Such a person was qualified to challenge the Sea of Formations as well?
If he were to succeed, it wouldn't be too long before the sun starts rising from the west!
"Elder Wang, there's no need to be so infuriated. It'll help your students if another person were to challenge the Sea of Formations as well!" Guild Leader Zheng shook his head.
"If he is able to pass, that will of course be something good. However, look at his attitude, do you think that he'll be able to pass? If he were to fail, won't he simply cause additional stress to my students? If they were to lose their composure, how are they supposed to take the examination?" Wang Haoxun harrumphed.
Challenging the Sea of Formation wasn't just about one's understanding of formations and skills, mental fortitude also played an extremely important role. Otherwise, if one were to meet with an Illusion Formation, one would lose one's composure swiftly and this could potentially result in failure.
If those who challenged the examination along with them were to produce good results, it could serve as an encouragement for his own students to do well. But on the contrary, if the results were poor, it might leave his students feeling apprehensive and this would prevent them from doing well.
"Don't worry. The reason why I slotted him into the examination is because I am confident in his ability. There's no need to worry..."
While consoling the other party, the fire on the first incense stick suddenly flickered and extinguished.
This incense stick was known as the [Incense of the Formation Sea]. It was forged alongside the Sea of Formations, and it would light itself as soon as someone challenged it.
It would take exactly two hours for each incense stick to burn all the way down. If the incense doesn't extinguish by itself during this period of time, it would mean that the challenger had failed to clear the stage and vice-versa.
If the fire on the incense stick were to extinguish, the formation inside would automatically shut down.
This was the reason why the senior said that even if one were to be trapped in the formation, there was nothing to worry about.
Thus, the Incense of the Formation Sea served both as a timer and a switch. The four incense sticks represented the four stages in the Sea of Formations respectively.
Since the fire on the first incense stick was extinguished, it meant that someone had cleared the first stage.
"How about it? He has successfully passed the first stage, what else do you have to say?" Upon seeing the sight, Guild Leader Zheng chuckled.
"Hmph, my students entered much earlier than him. Who knows, what if one of them is the one challenging the examination?" Wang Haoxun harrumphed.
Even though the extinguishing of the incense stick's fire meant that someone had successfully cleared the stage, there was no way of telling who it was.
It had only been around two minutes since that fellow who was on the verge of knocking out had only just entered so how could it be him? It must be his students.
"That... is possible as well!"
Taken aback, Guild Leader Zheng soon nodded his head in agreement.
Even though he had witnessed Zhang Xuan's astonishing speed in setting up formations, he had no idea about his ability in breaking formations so he didn't dare to jump into conclusions.
Even though the first stage was just a grade-1 formation, he knew that even he would be unable to clear it so swiftly. Thus, he also found it hard to accept that Zhang Xuan was the one who cleared the challenge.
"Since it's your student who cleared the stage, there's even less need for you to worry..."
Shaking his head, Guild Leader Zheng smiled. However, before he could finish his words, the fire on the second incense stick flickered and abruptly extinguished.
"The second stage has been cleared?"
It hadn't even been a minute since the first stage was cleared, and the second stage was already cleared?
How could anyone be that fast?
With a perplexed expression, Guild Leader Zheng asked, "This... is your student?"
"..." Wang Haoxun's face froze.
He knew the capability of his students very well. It would at least take ten to twenty minutes or even longer for them to clear a single stage.
To break out of a formation in less than a minute...
That was way too fast!
Just as they were overwhelmed with shock, they saw the fire of the third incense stick flicker and extinguish.
"The third stage has been cleared as well?"
Wang Haoxun nearly burst into tears.
No matter how great his expectations for his students were, he knew that this was an impossible feat for the three of them.
Of those three, one was intending to take on the 2-star formation master examination while the other two was challenging the 1-star examination. Since the one challenging the examination cleared even the third stage so swiftly, it could only mean that it was someone else.
"It's that fellow from before?"
With widened eyes, Wang Haoxun exchanged glances with Guild Leader Zheng and the two of them fell into a frenzy.
They weren't surprised by the other party's feat of clearing the third stage but that... he was simply too fast!
They could still accept it if the other party was able to clear the first and second stage easily. However, the formations in the third stage were driven by spirit stones, and even they would be slightly troubled to break out of them. To do it so quickly... how in the world did he accomplish it?
"Since he cleared the three stages so quickly... Do you think he'll pass the fourth one as well?"
Recovering from the shock, the group immediately turned their eyes onto the final incense stick.
This incense stick represented the fourth stage, as well as a grade-4 formation. If the other party succeeded in clearing the fourth stage as well, that would truly be fearsome.
A 4-star formation master who wasn't even twenty yet? More importantly, for him to break out of all those formation so swiftly, exactly how deep was his understanding of formations?
This was something they dared not imagine in the past.
Just as they were harboring such thoughts, the fire on the fourth incense stick suddenly flickered, and for a moment, it looked as though it would extinguish at any moment. However, in the end, it stabilized and was reignited again.
"It didn't extinguish... It seems like that fellow didn't pass the fourth stage. I guess it's to be expected. After all, grade-4 formations aren't that easy to overcome!"
Seeing the flame on the fourth incense stick, it was clear that the person inside had failed to clear the challenge. Thus, Wang Haoxun shook his head.
The speed at which that fellow had cleared the stages had frightened him. He thought that the other party might be able to clear a grade-4 formation easily as well. However, from the looks of it, the other party hadn't reached such a level yet.
But that was to be expected. After all, even he couldn't guarantee that he could break every single kind of grade-4 formation, needless to say, a young fellow who wasn't even twenty yet.
If he were to succeed, that would be truly a miracle.
"But in any case, it is already formidable for him to become a 3-star formation master in his first examination..."
Guild Leader Zheng was slightly disappointed.
From the speed and acuity at which that fellow set up the grade-2 Spirit Gathering Formation, he thought that the other party's comprehension of formations wasn't beneath him. But it seemed like there was still some disaparity between them after all.
Even so, given how he was able to reach 3-star at such a young age, as long as he were to work hard, it would just be a matter of time before he becomes a 4-star or even 5-star formation master.
"He didn't clear the fourth stage? Seems like... Zhang shi isn't omnipotent as well..."
Hall Master Sai stood behind the duo. After seeing that the fourth incense stick wasn't extinguished, he shook his head as well.
He thought that this fellow would cause a great chaos in the midst of challenging the Sea of Formations, just like how the other party did when he challenged the Harmonious Stream of Flowing Goblets. However, it seemed like he was just worrying excessively.
At his age, it was already extremely incredible for the other party to be a master teacher and a 5-star appraiser. If the other party were to be a 4-star formation master on top of that, he might have to start doubting the meaning of life already...
Heaving a sigh of relief, he was just about to go to the corridor to wait for the young man when the ground suddenly shook.
Hong long long!
The sound of a millstone being turned reverberated in the air as though an earthquake.
A grave expression immediately appeared on everyone's faces, and even Guild Leader Zheng's eyebrows were knitted together. The group started looking around warily.
Suddenly, the warmth in the room vanished and a bone-chilling breeze of air blew in.
At that moment, the flame on the fourth incense stick suddenly extinguished... And soon afterward, with a crisp sound, the pot cracked open.
"This... The guild's Eternal Spring Formation which is sustaining the Sea of Formations has been... broken?"
Upon realizing something, Guild Leader Zheng's vision darkened and he nearly spurted a mouthful of blood.
Given that there were innumerable formations in the Sea of Formations, naturally, a larger formation had to be set up to control and manage them.
And this formation happened to be the Eternal Spring Formation which regulated the interior conditions of the Formation Master Guild.
Since the warmth had suddenly disappeared from the air and the incense pot suddenly cracked... There could only be one possibility. That was that the formation... had been stopped. In other words, someone had broken it!
But that was a grade- 5 formation... Back then, the headquarters had sent specially sent an expert down here to set it up. Who could be possibly of achieving such a feat?
In an instant, a frenzied expression appeared on everyone's faces.
"Could it be... Zhang shi?"
With trembling bodies, a thought suddenly popped in Guild Leader Zheng and Hall Master Sai's minds.
The core of the formation was located in the depths of the Sea of Formations. At the current moment, that fellow, who was challenging the fourth stage of the Sea of Formations, was the closest to it... Other than him, they couldn't think of any other culprit.
"But if it was really him... How in the world did he manage to stop the formation?"
Guild Leader Zheng had a dazed expression on his face.
There were specific tricks to breaking a formation. What kind of trick did the other party use to be able to clear the stages so quickly, going to the extent as to be able to... break even a grade-5 formation?
Just as the group was overwhelmed with shock, a few figures walked out from the corridor. They were the three students who were supposed to challenge the Sea of Formations.
Given that the formation operating the corridor had been broken, there was no way for the examination go continue on. Thus, there was no point for them to remain there and so, they came out.
"What happened?" Wang Haoxun walked up and asked.
"That person who just entered... broke all of the formations..."
The senior shuddered as he spoke.
"Broke all of the formations? So fast?"
Guild Leader Zheng walked forward and asked, "How did he do it? Did he use Grandmaster Hong Bei's [Celestial Chasing Formation Breaking Art], Grandmaster Nan Yang's [Energy Seeking Formation Breaking Art], or the Five Element Formation Master Senior Sai Yang's [Force Accruing Formation Breaking Art]? Of all techniques I know, only these three can achieve such speed..."
"Ah... Guild leader!"
Seeing that the most authoritative person in the entire guild was questioning him personally, the senior was taken aback and his face paled. "Reporting to the guild leader, h-he didn't use any of the three techniques..."
"He didn't? Then what technique did he use? To the extent of my knowledge, these three are already the strongest and most formidable formation breaking techniques already
Guild Leader Zheng frowned.
Were there even stronger techniques that he was unaware of?
"What he used was..."
The senior's face distorted in frenzy and disbelief.
"... a kick!"