Library of Heaven is Path
536 First... From the Bottom? 3in1
This was his first time fighting against a demonic tunist. Even though the other party's Soul Depth was beneath his, it was equaled out by his low cultivation. Thus, he had no choice but to retaliate with all of his might. As such, he didn't have any spare energy to pay attention to his surroundings.
As such, Zhang Xuan couldn't have expected that the ghastly pale face belonged to Elder Wu. He thought that someone was trying to assault him.
Thus, executing the Heaven's Path Spear Art with all his might, the spear in his hands turned into a bright ray of light and flew toward the other party.
On the opposite side, Elder Wu had just heaved a sigh of relief, and before he could react, he saw a spear whipping straight toward him. His eyes narrowed but it was already too late to dodge. As such, he was struck in the chest and was sent flying out.
He was smacked into the wall, forming a "大" character on it.
"What the heck?!"
No one could have expected that there would be such a twist at the end of the test. Their eyes popped out from their sockets, and their faces grew so scarlet that it seemed as though blood would seep out of it if one were to pinch it.
That was Elder Wu, the only demonic tunist in the whole of Myriad Kingdom City, a Transcendent Mortal 4-dan pinnacle expert who was widely feared by others. Yet, he was struck by a spear and crashed into a wall...
Did it need to be so exaggerated?
"Elder Wu, why did you... suddenly run up to me? I didn't do this on purpose..."
Hearing the shocked gasps from the crowd, Zhang Xuan finally recognized the other party. With a reddened face, he spoke sheepishly.
Wasn't this a test of Soul Depth? Why did you suddenly run up to me then? I thought that you were up to no good...
Coughing up two large mouthfuls of blood, Elder Wu finally recovered from his condition and struggled down from the wall.
What the heck was this?
The pavilion master told him that he just had to serve as the examiner for this test. He thought that it would be easy, so he immediately agreed to it. Who knew that this would almost cause his death?
The other party's strikes on the formation plate were aimed at the weaknesses of the Demonic Tune of Psychosis. If he didn't retaliate, his soul would surely be severely damaged. Left with no other option, he could only slowly advance to heighten the might of his offense...
In the end, the demonic tune that even the pavilion master feared seem to be completely ineffective on the other party... The other party didn't even seem to notice the increasing intensity of the tune!
The freaking hell!
To be able to be impervious to a demonic tune... What kind of monster did Su Fan and Ling Yuheng bring here?
The great frustration he was suffering from was making him doubt the purpose of life in itself.
"Forget it, I don't blame you..."
Even so, he knew that a clash between music could easily spiral out of control. The other party didn't intend this either. Thus, after recuperating for a short moment, Elder Wu waved his hands nonchalantly.
Even though he felt indignant, as an elder, he couldn't possibly pick a bone with a 2-star master teacher!
Besides... Given how he was reduced to such a state even when he wasn't picking a bone, if he were to really try to exact vengeance... It would be hard to tell whether he could return alive!
Since that was the case... He might as well drop the matter.
"Check the formation plate!"
Fetching the formation plate from the wall, he passed it over to the invigilating master teacher.
Grabbing the formation plate, he began counting the strokes on it and announced, "A total of 431 strokes. Every single stroke is of equal depth and width!"
"431 strokes? Isn't that result the same as Ruohuan gongzi?"
"That seems to be so... He managed to leave behind so many marks with a spear?"
"I thought that he was just randomly knocking the spear on the formation plate, to think that he managed to inscribe so many strokes. That's impressive!"
"Since the both of them have the same number of strokes... who will be the second place? Or will it be shared between the two of them?"
Hearing the results, the crowd flew into an uproar.
They'd thought that given how Zhang Xuan seemed to be randomly striking on the formation plate without any clear order, the strokes on the formation plate would surely be chaotic and messy, or perhaps, he might not have even left a single stroke behind at all. Yet, never could they have expected that the latter would share the same result as Ruohuan gongzi!"
Since the both of them had the same result... How would the ranking be decided?
Were they going to be placed second together?
"He also... carved 431 strokes?" Not expecting Zhang Xuan to achieve such results, Ruohuan gongzi's complexion darkened.
With a carving knife in hand, he toiled through so much hardship before he could inscribe so many strokes. On the other hand, the other party was equipped with a spear and his movements were completely erratic, not to mention, he was knocking on the plate to retaliate against Elder Wu. Yet, the other party still achieved a result equivalent to his? Was this for real?
"Looks like we've been underestimating him. That fellow isn't as simple as he looks!"
Ruohuan gongzi's eyebrows shot up.
When he heard that the other party was only a 2-star master teacher, honestly speaking, he didn't even view the other party as an opponent. But from the looks of it now, it was the gravest mistake he could make.
To use a spear to inscribe on a formation plate from several meters away... He could never have imagined this to be possible.
In fact, even with seeing it with his own eyes, he still found it incredulous.
"However... Do you think that achieving a draw with me will be that easy?" Ruohuan gongzi's lips curled up to form a cold sneer.
So what if the other party managed to inscribe the same number of strokes as him? He still had a trump card in hand! A countryside bumpkin like the other party could never hope to match up to him!
Feng Mosheng was also awed.
Despite using a carving knife, he only carved one more stroke than the other party. As expected of someone heavily recommended by the elders. Fearsome indeed!
He thought that he was the dark horse for this selection round, but compared to the other party, he felt like he could only be considered as a dark donkey.
Amidst the crowd's discussion, six formation plates were placed side by side on a table. Each of them was filled with inscriptions, reflecting their prior work and accomplishment.
"Pavilion master, please evaluate the formation plates!"
The invigilating master teacher clasped his fist and bowed to Pavilion Master Kang.
"Un!" Nodding his head, Pavilion Master Kang, Elder Su, and a few other elders stepped forward and browsed through the formation plates.
"The calculation before is accurate. Allow me to announce the results for the first round then."
Scanning through the crowd, Pavilion Master Kang said, "Feng Mosheng, with 432 strokes, is in first place. Jun Ruohuan and Zhang Xuan, with 431 strokes each, are tied in second place. Fu Xiaochen, with 427 strokes, is in fourth place. Luo Xi, with 411 strokes, is in fifth place. Du Hu, with 407 strokes, is in sixth place!"
"I didn't expect Feng shi to really be in first place!"
"That Zhang shi is formidable as well. Probably no one thought that he could achieve a tie with Ruohuan gongzi!"
"Indeed. I thought that his reputation supersedes his capability, but to think that it would be the opposite instead!"
Innumerous discussions broke out below.
Everyone thought that Ruohuan gongzi and Fu Xiaochen would be standing at the top of the candidates. No one expected that two dark horses - Feng Mosheng and Zhang Xuan - would appear all of the sudden.
"Alright, the first round is over. Let's proceed on to the second round..."
After declaring the results, Pavilion Master Kang was just about to proceed into the next round when a voice interrupted him.
"Pavilion master, I think that there's a problem with my result!"
Everyone turned to the stage, only to see Ruohuan gongzi stepped forward with a faint smile on his face.
"Oh?" Pavilion Master Kang turned to look at him.
"For the first round, Elder Wu said that we'll be judged on the progress in our inscription and the exquisiteness of our strokes!" Ruohuan gongzi said. "May I double check if that's true?"
"I did say those words!" Elder Wu nodded his head.
After resting for a moment, he had already recovered significantly. Just that, his face was still pale, and his spirit seemed to be a little withered.
"That's exactly what I mean. You all have checked the number of strokes... but you all forgot to check the exquisiteness of it!" Ruohuan gongzi chuckled lightly.
"Exquisiteness of the strokes?"
Everyone was taken aback. Even Pavilion Master Kang couldn't help but frown.
How in the world do we check that?
Are we supposed to judge by how thin the candidates' strokes are? But that's a problem of the carving knife already, one's Soul Depth had nothing to do with it!
"Simple, I've carved more than just marks on the formation plate... Please take a look!"
Walking up to the formation plate, Ruohuan gongzi whipped out his carving knife and added several dozen more strokes.
These strokes were very simple-they were mainly just connecting some of the isolated lines together. However, just by connecting these lines together, the messy strokes on the formation plate changed into something very different.
A crisp chirp sounded, and a giant peony suddenly appeared before everyone's eyes. Shrouded in spiritual energy, it slowly bloomed beautifully.
"It is... a painting!"
"Under that kind of condition, Ruohuan gongzi actually managed to carve a fifth level painting on the formation plate!"
"That explains why he's so confident despite the number of his strokes being lower than that of Feng shi!"
"A fifth level painting... That's a work that only a 3-star painter could produce! I've long heard that one of Ruohuan gongzi's supporting occupation is a painter... From the looks of it, that's indeed the case!"
Everyone was astonished. Even Pavilion Master Kang didn't expect this turn of events.
To be able to grant the flower spirit and create a fifth level painting when one's mind was under the assault of the Demonic Tune of Psychosis... Ruohuan gongzi's mental fortitude had reached an astonishing level!
It was no wonder why he was so confident!
Carving strokes on the formation plate was extremely elementary. Creating a painting under that condition... that was true capability.
Under normal circumstances, it would already be difficult to create a fifth level painting in three minutes. Not to mention, the other party had done it under the influence of the Demonic Tune of Psychosis... His talent, capability, and mental fortitude were truly frightening.
Pavilion Master Kang's eyes lit up as he nodded his head in satisfaction.
As painter wasn't one of his supporting occupations, he failed to see through the trick hidden in the formation plate. Even so, he understood the difficulty in creating a fifth level painting under that condition.
Ruohuan gongzi was his direct disciple. Seeing the other party's outstanding performance had filled him with pride and relief.
"The reason why I have less strokes isn't because I was unable to inscribe anymore but that... to carve out a painting, I couldn't leave behind any more strokes than that. I hope that pavilion master can reconsider the judgement!"
Ruohuan gongzi spoke confidently.
"Un!" Pavilion Master Kang nodded his head. His gaze swept across the elders. "What do you all think?"
"Even though he has carved a single stroke less... he has managed to create a painting. Clearly, Ruohuan gongzi's accomplishment is much greater here!"
"To be able to create a fifth level painting under the influence of the Demonic Tune of Psychosis, his mental fortitude is indeed impressive!"
"I also feel that Ruohuan gongzi should be in first place!"
Soon, most elders concurred that Jun Ruohuan should be in the first place.
No one questioned the decision, and even Feng Mosheng expressed his approval of the decision.
Even though he had carved more strokes, it was clear that the other party's work was much more exquisite than his. Every single stroke the other party made had a purpose, whereas in comparison, his strokes were made randomly just for the purpose of clearing the test.
Seeing that no one had any objections, Pavilion Master Kang announced, "Good. Since no one has any objection, I'll announce the revised results. Ruohuan is in first place, Feng Mosheng in second, Zhang shi third, Fu Xiaochen fourth, Luo Xi fifth, and Du Hu sixth!"
"Ruohuan gongzi is indeed impressive. As expected of the most popular contender for the champion spot!"
"He managed to get the first place in the first round easily. However, we'll have to wait to see whether he can maintain his lead!"
Everyone nodded their heads in agreement.
Seeing that he had received the first place, Ruohuan gongzi chuckled delightfully. Turning to Zhang Xuan, his eyebrow shot up and he said, "Zhang shi, it seems like we aren't tied in the second place anymore!"
You sure caused a huge ruckus just now, but so what? In the end, you still lost to me!
Not expecting the other party to gloat even after getting the first place, Zhang Xuan shook his head helplessly. He turned his gaze to Pavilion Master Kang and said, "That... as long as one's strokes are more exquisite, one's results will be better, right?"
"Yes!" Pavilion Master Kang was taken aback for a moment, but he soon nodded his head.
"That is good!"
Following which, Zhang Xuan turned to his formation plate on the table, and with a darkened expression, he bellowed, "What are you sleeping around for? Hurry up and get to work!"
A crisp sound of Spirit Euphoria sounded in the air, and the formation plate which he had just inscribed whirred into action. Spiritual energy was frenziedly drawn from the surroundings, creating a massive vortex.
"Spirit euphoria... This is a... sentient grade-4 Spirit Gathering Formation Plate?"
Elder Wu narrowed his eyes.
As a 4-star formation master, he possessed a deep understanding of formations. As such, he knew how difficult it was to carve a formation plate.
Even with his current strength, carving a grade-4 Spirit Gathering Formation would require at least a week.
Yet, the other party, just by stabbing for three minutes with a spear, managed to inscribe one successfully... And what made it even shocking was that it was a Sentient Formation Plate!
Th-this... was way too shocking!
On top of that, it is common understanding that a grade-3 blank formation plate could only harness a grade-3 formation. Yet, the other party managed to inscribe a grade-4 formation... How deep could his comprehension of formation have reached?
At the very least, Elder Wu knew that he was no match for the other party.
What was even more fearsome was that... the other party did it while facing off with him.
While blood was spurting out of his mouth, the other party was busy making a grade-4 Sentient Formation Plate...
Elder Wu felt so stifled that he could explode at any moment now.
"The inscribing of a formation plate is an extremely complex process. Every single stroke had to be carefully planned, and not a single mistake would be tolerated. To do so with a spear..."
"In comparison, Ruohuan gongzi's fifth level painting is nothing at all!"
"Indeed, there's a huge disparity between the two..."
Seeing the gathering of spiritual energy, everyone in the room fell silent. Their eyes widened as though they had seen a ghost.
On the other hand, Ruohuan gongzi trembled so violently that he was about to go insane.
He thought that he was already formidable to have created a painting. Yet, never in his dreams did he expect this fellow to inscribe a grade-4 formation!
A grade-4 formation was already extremely difficult to inscribe even without the Demonic Tune of Psychosis. Yet, this young fellow did it while leaving Elder Wu spurting blood...
That was too unbelievable!
More importantly... the formation plate was even sentient!
Even though both his painting and the formation possessed spirit, the difference in the significance of the feats was like heaven and earth.
Ruohuan gongzi thought that he would surely be ranked first this time. He didn't expect to be overthrown in the blink of an eye, and even stomped several times upon...
Tears threatened to stream down his face.
If only he knew earlier, he wouldn't have acted so smugly and say that he couldn't be tied with the other party in the second place. In the end... he was the one who ended up being in the second place instead...
This face slap...!
Just as he was feeling stifled, the other party's voice sounded, "Can my formation be considered as exquisite?"
"Cough cough, it does!"
Pavilion Master Kang's face reddened.
It was embarrassing how the other party had inscribed a formation and he didn't even notice it.
More importantly... To have to change his judgement twice in a single round, what kind of monsters were involved in this selection round?
"In the first test, Zhang shi, being in first place, shall be awarded 6 points. Ruohuan, in second place, will be awarded 5 points, so on and so forth..."
Knowing that it would only become more embarrassing if he were to delay any longer, he hurriedly announced the results. Seeing that there was no one objecting to them, he heaved a sigh of relief and continued, "Alright, let's go on to the second test- the test of cultivation!
"In order to become a master teacher, one's cultivation realm is of utmost importance. While a master teacher's strength is mostly derived by their ability to discern and exploit the flaws of their enemies, their own cultivation mustn't be neglected.
"But of course, one's cultivation is closely related to the resources they have access to and the guidance of their teachers. As all of you come from different backgrounds, it's natural that you all will have different cultivation realm. As such, a normal battle will be unfair!"
Everyone nodded their heads.
Taking Ruohuan gongzi for example, he came from the Jun Clan, the dominant clan of the Four Great Clans. On top of that, his teacher was Pavilion Master Kang. From the very start, he was already entitled to the best conditions possible. Not to mention, he was also older than most of the participants present, so it was only natural for him to be stronger than the others.
On the other hand, people like Luo Xi and Du Hu came from backward kingdoms so the resources they had for cultivation couldn't compare up to the rest. On top of that, they were also younger than the other candidates. It would be unfair to gauge them by having them battle one another.
"Thus, I've discussed with the other elders and we decided to have Elder Bai fight you with his cultivation suppressed to your respective levels. The more blows you can withstand in the fight against him, the stronger you will be deemed to be. Not only will this assess your comprehension of your current cultivation realm, it will also test your reflexes and decision-making skills in times of danger. This makes the test even more comprehensive," Pavilion Master Kang said.
"Fight with Elder Bai, who has suppressed his cultivation?"
"Those who have joined the selection round are of differing cultivation levels. The test would be biased if we have them fight against one another. Fu shi has already reached Transcendent Mortal 3-dan pinnacle whereas Zhang shi is only at Transcendent Mortal 1-dan pinnacle. Even without having the two face one another, the result of the battle is clear."
"Indeed. Having Elder Bai suppress his cultivation, and gauging the respective candidates by the number of blows they can last against the latter will indeed make the test fairer..."
"As a 4-star master teacher, Elder Bai's comprehension of battle techniques is far superior to them. Even if he were to suppress his cultivation to be of equal level to them, it would be impossible for them to emerge victorious. By gauging the results based on the number of blows the candidates can withstand from Elder Bai, the candidates can avoid getting injured while accurately discerning their level of strength among their peers. That's a good idea!"
"Un! Other than Pavilion Master Kang, nearly no one is able to defeat Elder Bai. On top of that, he's impartial. I have no qualms with the rules!"
Hearing the rules of the second round, everyone nodded their heads in agreement.
The six participating master teachers of the selection round had differing cultivation levels, and thus, it would be impossible to have them spar with one another without compromising on fairness. Thus, having an elder suppress his cultivation to face off with them would become the ideal way to test the candidates.
The suppression of cultivation would make the test more impartial as the duo would be of equal cultivation. On the other hand, the number of blows that the candidate could withstand was the best way to gauge the candidate's strength.
This could be considered as the most impartial method possible already.
Seeing the crowd agree to it, Pavilion Master Kang nodded his head in agreement. Turning to the elder seated not too far away, he said, "I'll be troubling you then!"
"Don't worry about it!" The elder stood up and walked up the stage.
Elder Bai, Bai Heng!
"Don't worry. After suppressing my cultivation, I'll fight with all my might. I won't go easy on anyone, so you need not worry about the fairness of the test. How many blows you can withstand will depend on your capability, and I, Bai Heng, swear on my dignity as a master teacher that I won't side with anyone!"
Walking up, Elder Bai looked at the candidates seriously.
Ruohuan gongzi and Fu Xiaochen hurriedly said, "We have trust in Elder Bai's impartiality!"
Elder Bai was a reputable elder in the Master Teacher Pavilion. Possessing a cultivation of Transcendent Mortal 4-dan pinnacle, his true fighting prowess was second only to Pavilion Master Kang. On top of that, he had an upright personality, and he had even used his dignity as a master teacher to guarantee his impartiality on this matter. Since that was the case, it was impossible for him to go easy on anyone.
"Since there are no objections, you all should make preparations that you all deem fit. You're permitted to use weapons, or if you prefer, bare fists are fine too. In any case, use the battle techniques you are the most adept in to fight with Elder Bai. However... for the sake of fairness and secrecy, the fight will be conducted in a sealed chamber. The number of blows will be reflected by a unique formation on the wall, so it'll be impossible to falsify the results. Also, the details of the fight will be kept a secret as well, so you need not worry!" Pavilion Master Kang said.
After hearing the arrangements, the other master teachers nodded their heads.
Every master teacher had their own ultimate technique that they didn't want anyone to know of. If they were to display it before a crowd, there was high possibility that the information might leak out. If so, their trump card would be known by their enemies and thus be rendered useless.
Conducting the test in a sealed chamber could solve this issue.
"I'll go in and wait for you all!"
Waving his hands casually, Elder Bai walked into a small room by the side of the hall.
"Alright, who wants to go first?"
Seeing that Elder Bai was ready, Pavilion Master Kang turned to look at the six candidates before him.
"I'll go first!"
Fu Xiaochen stepped forward.
He was a potential contender for the champion seat, but in the first round, he was only in the fourth place. This made him extremely frustrated.
In terms of Soul Depth, he might not be able to compare up to Feng Mosheng and Ruohuan gongzi, but in terms of strength, he was confident that he was second to none!
"Un, be careful!" Pavilion Master Kang nodded in satisfaction.
"Pavilion master, thank you for your advice!"
Fu Xiaochen walked into the room.
The moment he stepped into the room, the white wall beside the door immediately glowed and a number appeared.
The number changed continuously, and it didn't take long for it to reach '10'.
"It has begun!"
"Even though Elder Bai has suppressed his cultivation, to be able to survive ten blows from him, Fu shi is quite incredible!"
"Need that be said? Fu shi is Elder Hai's student! He has already reached an incredible mastery in the Thousand Seas Punch. Even with Elder Bai's astounding fighting prowess, it'll take him at least fifteen blows to defeat Fu shi!"
"Indeed. The Thousand Seas Punch launches blows relentlessly at one's enemies as though the ceaseless waves of the sea, it is truly a formidable battle technique..."
"I wonder how many blows he can withstand."
Seeing the numbers on the wall, everyone could tell that the fight had already begun, and both sides had already traded ten blows. They couldn't help but clench their fists out of anxiety.
Elder Bai's fighting prowess was formidable. Even if he had suppressed his cultivation, surviving ten blows from him was already something one could brag about!
After all, even if an expert suppressed his cultivation to the same level as a rookie, his comprehension of fighting in itself was not something that a rookie could compare up to. How could the rookie possibly achieve victory under such circumstances?
Amidst the shock gazes of the crowd, the leaping numbers finally came to a halt.
Following which, the tightly shut doors opened and Fu Xiaochen walked out. Even though his clothes were slightly unkempt, his eyes glowed in excitement.
Only when experiencing it oneself would one understand how powerful Elder Bai was. Even though the latter had already suppressed his cultivation, Fu shi still wasn't a match at all.
If not for him dumping out all of his trump cards, it would have been difficult for him to even last twenty blows.
With 31 blows, Fu Xiaochen was confident that he could at least get the first two places.
Ruohuan gongzi looked at the young man who had just left the chamber and his expression turned grim.
He wasn't confident that he could survive so many blows from Elder Bai, and this put heavy pressure on him.
"Ruohuan gongzi, let me see how well you fare!"
Fu Xiaochen walked up to Ruohuan gongzi and said with curled up lips.
Taking in a deep breath, Jun Ruohuan gritted his teeth and walked into the chamber.
Soon, numbers started to appear on the white wall.
"How many blows do you think Ruohuan gongzi can withstand?"
"I can't really tell. His fighting prowess is at the same level as Fu shi. Since the latter is able to survive 31 blows, his result should be around that level as well!"
"Let's just hope so!"
Seeing the number increasing continuously, everyone's face slowly grew graver.
Jun Ruohuan and Fu Xiaochen, as idols for many of the younger generation, were the two most popular contenders for the champion seat. Everyone was curious to know whose fighting prowess was greater.
"I think Fu Xiaochen should fare better than Jun Ruohuan!" Pavilion Master Kang suddenly said.
"Oh?" Elder Su turned his attention over.
"Xiaochen has a calm disposition which makes him adept in defense. On the other hand, Ruohuan, due to his prideful nature, only becomes more and more aggressive in the face of danger. Such attacks might work on others but against Elder Bai... it will prove to be a fatal flaw instead!" Pavilion Master Kang analyzed.
"You're right!" Su shi and Ling shi nodded their heads in agreement.
It wasn't by chance that Jun Ruohuan was known as the head of the Four Gentlemen. It was through his fists that he slowly beat that reputation out for himself.
And it was precisely because of his strength that built onto his pride.
Prideful people tended to be weaker in their defense. Usually, this wouldn't make much of a difference when facing off with those of similar cultivation realm, but against the experienced Elder Bai, Jun Ruohuan's flaws would be exploited and amplified many folds.
While the duo was speaking, the light on the wall slowly faded, revealing two digits to the crowd
Just as Pavilion Master Kang guessed, Ruohuan gongzi's result was indeed beneath that of Fu Xiaochen. At thirty blows, he happened to lose to the latter by just a single blow.
"Just a single blow?"
"Do you think that Ruohuan gongzi might have some trump card just like in the first round? Even though he has lost out to Fu shi by a single blow, is it possible that he has won instead?"
"How is that possible! This is a real spar; every blow has to be created by one's own strength. A blow less means a blow less, there's no making up for it!"
Seeing that it was thirty blows, there were some who felt that Ruohuan gongzi might be able to make a turnaround like he did previously. But giving it some thought, it was indeed impossible to do so.
After all, sparring was different from carving a formation plate. Every blow counted, there was no making up for it with anything.
During the discussions, the door to the chamber opened and Ruohuan gongzi walked out with a bitter smile.
He also didn't expect to lose to Fu Xiaochen by a single blow.
Even so, there was nothing he could do. Even though Elder Bai had suppressed his cultivation, his offense was relentless as though the ceaseless waves. He had given it his all, but thirty blows were already his limit.
Even though he lost, he had no regrets.
"Allow me to go next!"
Upon seeing Ruohuan gongzi exit, Feng Mosheng took in a deep breath and walked into the chamber.
A bright light shone, and numbers appeared on the white wall. Not too long later, Feng Mosheng walked out with a pale face. The number was fixed at 28.
Seeing his result, Fu Xiaochen and Ruohuan gongzi heaved a long sigh of relief. Then, their gazes turned to Zhang Xuan.
After the three of them were done with the examination, the only one most likely to turn the situation around was this fellow.
Even though they didn't know how the other party's fighting prowess was, given how he was able to leave Elder Wu in a wretched state through music itself, he was unlikely to be weak.
But what that left them disappointed was that Zhang Xuan didn't seem to be in a rush to enter the chamber at all. Luo Xi and Du Hu went ahead of him, and what was surprising was that Du Hu, who had fared the worst in the previous round, actually managed to withstand twenty-eight blows as well, thus achieving a result equaling Feng Mosheng.
On the other hand, Luo Xi, due to her physical weakness as a female, only managed to withstand twenty-four blows.
"It's Zhang shi's turn..."
"Indeed. I wonder if he can become the dark horse just like how he did in the first round!"
"I find that very unlikely. After all, as a Transcendent Mortal 1-dan pinnacle, his battle experience is likely to be very lacking. He'll be at a huge disadvantage facing off with Elder Bai!"
Seeing Zhang Xuan walk into the chamber, the crowd whispered amongst themselves.
In truth, the method of conducting the test wasn't as fair as it sounded. It was much easier for a Transcendent Mortal 4-dan expert to subdue a Transcendent Mortal 1-dan cultivator as compared to a Transcendent Mortal 3-dan cultivator even if he were to suppress his cultivation to their respective level. This was due to the difference in their battle experience.
Take for example, while a professor might be able to do a university student's homework and a grade schooler's homework, it was clear that a grade schooler's homework would be much easier for him than a university student's homework.
Zhang shi's cultivation was the lowest among all the candidates. It would surely be much easier for Elder Bai to deal with him than the other candidates.
"How many blows do you think he can withstand?"
Pavilion Master Kang turned to look at Su shi.
Su shi hesitated for a moment before saying, "This... I'm not too sure. However, given Elder Bai's skills, even if he were to suppress his cultivation to Transcendent Mortal 1-dan pinnacle, he would still be able to kill a Transcendent Mortal 2-dan intermediate stage cultivator easily. I'm afraid Zhang shi probably won't be able to last for too long!"
He carried deep trust in Zhang Xuan, but Elder Bai wasn't someone ordinary either.
His grasp of cultivation and battle techniques had reached an incredibly profound level. Even Su shi would find it hard to match up to the other party, let alone Zhang shi!
"Indeed. Even though Zhang shi had managed to progress three cultivation realms in the past twenty days, his cultivation should still be unstable and his grasp over his strength should be lacking. My guess is that he'll lose within ten blows!" Pavilion Master Kang analyzed.
Su shi had said previously that Zhang shi had progressed from Zongshi realm twenty days ago to Transcendent Mortal 1-dan pinnacle. Achieving breakthroughs so quickly, even if he was a Celestial Master Teacher, it was inevitable for his cultivation to be slightly shaky.
His estimate of ten blows was already a positive one.
"I also think so, but... Zhang shi has never been a person who could be dictated by common logic. It's hard to tell what will happen next..." Ling shi interjected.
While he agreed with Pavilion Master Kang's analysis-under normal circumstances, it would be impossible for Zhang shi to withstand even ten blows... he also knew that Zhang shi was a person who often broke expectations. As long as the result wasn't out, it would be hard to fathom a guess.
"Look, it's starting!"
They weren't the only ones who were anxious. Everyone in the hall was looking intently at the white wall beside the door, and soon, a number appeared on it... 1!
"Ah? Why isn't it increasing anymore?"
After seeing the number '1', everyone thought that it would continue increasing to a point before stopping altogether. But to their astonishment, the number seemed to be printed firmly there, not moving at all.
"Could it be that... the formation is malfunctioning?"
"That's impossible! The formation was set up my Elder Wu personally. Besides, it was fine when the other candidates were using it. How could it possibly spoil all of a sudden?"
"Then... why is that number not moving at all?"
"Could it be that..."
At that moment, everyone thought of the same possibility and disbelief filled their faces.
"He lost... in a single move?"
Ruohuan gongzi's eyes lit up, and he clenched his fists tightly together in agitation.
Even the austere Fu Xiaochen showed a rare expression of delight.
The duo had been worried that this black horse would overthrow their records just like he did previously. No one expected him to lose in a single blow.
But that was to be expected. How could a Transcendent Mortal 1-dan lad possibly be able to withstand Elder Bai's ferocious assault?
They had thought that this fellow might be their greatest obstacle to winning the selection round, but from the looks of it now, they were just overthinking things-the other party wasn't even a threat at all!
"Isn't this result too poor... With such strength, he still hopes to participate in the Master Teacher Tournament?"
"Even though strength isn't the determining criteria, it is still of significant importance. Even Beauty Luo Xi is able to withstand twenty-four blows. To lose in a single blow... Isn't that way too fast?!"
"Indeed. So what if he has a powerful Soul Depth? Without sufficient strength, he would still be eliminated swiftly in the tournament!"
Upon understanding the situation, everyone began gossiping.
In the first round, this fellow had astonished everyone with his unparalleled talents. Even Elder Wu nearly lost his sanity because of him. So, they thought that even if his result in the second round couldn't compare up to his first, he would still be able to fare decently. They never thought that... the other party would do so poorly!
Losing in a single blow!
Even a normal cultivator should have been able to withstand at least several blows!
"This..." Pavilion Master Kang, Su shi, and Ling shi stared at one another blankly.
They had deduced that Zhang shi wouldn't be able to even withstand ten blows, but... to lose in a single blow, what the heck was this?
"Zhang shi sure likes to do the unexpected. I sure didn't expect this conclusion..."
Su shi flashed a bitter smile as he spoke.
This Zhang Xuan was always doing things that surpassed the imaginations of others. Just taking this as example, they had thought of all kinds of possibility, but one thing they didn't expect to see was for the latter to lose in a single blow.
"Alright, since the results are out, allow me to announce them!"
Shaking his head, Pavilion Master Kang scanned the surroundings and said, "Fu Xiaochen, with a record of 31 blows, is in the first place. Ruohuan gongzi, withstanding a total of 30 blows, is in the second place. Feng Mosheng and Du Hu, with a total of 28 blows, are tied at third. Luo Xi, with a total of twenty-four blows, is in the fifth place. Last but not least, Zhang shi... withstanding just a total of one blow, is in the..."
In the midst of announcing the results for the second round, 'jiya!', the door suddenly opened.
Turning his gaze over, Pavilion Master Kang suddenly saw something that left his eyes widened in shock, and he couldn't help but exclaim, "What the hell?!"