Seeing the other party's depressed expression, Luo Qiqi asked, "In other words, you can't decipher it, right?"
"If I said that I could decipher it… would you allow me to continue?" Wu Zhen asked.
Everyone swiftly shook their heads.
Xing Yuan gritted his teeth and said, "If you dare to continue deciphering it, do you believe that I won't kill you right now?"
You must be joking! Even though I am really interested in opening the pathway to the true underground chamber, I still don't want to die yet.
Putting everything aside, after only three attempts at deciphering the stone tablet, his face was already swollen due to those needles. If this were to continue, he would probably die before the tablet was deciphered.
"Then what should we do?"
Since they weren't able to decipher the mechanism, they couldn't possibly just wait here for their entire lives!
"Let me give it a try!"
Seeing the look of frustration on everyone's faces, Zhang Xuan stepped forward.
When he touched the stone tablet previously, a book had already been compiled in the Library of Heaven's Path on it. It wasn't that he was interested in seeing Wu Zhen make a fool of himself, but that the complex mechanisms contained within the stone tablet were simply too fascinating that he found himself absorbed into it. By the time he had come to, Xing Yuan's face was already filled with silver needles.
Seeing him step forth, Wu Zhen frowned and asked, "Are you… well-versed in the ways of a celestial designer as well?"
Given how formidable this fellow was in pill forging and formations, he couldn't possibly be an expert in mechanisms as well!
While celestial designers weren't as prestigious as formation masters and apothecaries, it didn't impede the ingenuity of their craft. Their work was extremely complex and difficult to master. Even the slightest deviation in the details could cause a vast difference in the results
And in this occupation, he could be considered as a rare genius already. Even so, despite his years of study, he had only reached 5-star. Considering how even he was unable to solve it, a fellow who was younger than him… It couldn't be that the other party was more capable than him?
But that was impossible!
Zhang Xuan chuckled. "I dabble."
Wu Zhen shook his head. "If you only dabble, it will surely be impossible for you to decipher it. You witnessed the situation just now; even the slightest mistake will trigger the silver needle mechanism. There was no poison on the needles previously, so we were still able to get by, but what if the needles from now on are coated with lethal poison? If that happens, none of us will get out of here!"
"So, if you don't have absolute confidence in your ability to decipher it, it'll be best not to give it a try. I fear that we might all die here…"
Seeing Wu Zhen obstructing his path, Zhang Xuan shook his head.
"Absolute confidence? Aren't you the same too?"
Despite not being completely sure, didn't you try three times? Still able to get by… Why don't you ask Xing Yuan whether he agrees with your words!
Let's see, he would surely pummel you to the ground if you were to utter such words before him.
"Humph, how could I be the same? I'm from a family of celestial designers, and I created my own automated mechanism when I was three. By seventeen, I was already a 4-star celestial designer, and after I entered Hongyuan Academy, I became the student of the only 6-star pinnacle celestial designer within the empire…"
Flinging his sleeves, Wu Zhen raised his head proudly. "Even though I've failed three times, that doesn't mean that I'm unconfident. Even though this is a booby-trapped mechanism from a 6-star celestial designer, as long as I attempt it a few more times, I'm certain that I can decipher it…
"But if you really insist on going ahead, there's little I can do to stop you either. How about this, why don't I ask you two basic questions, and if you can answer them, it will mean that you do possess some basic knowledge regarding celestial designers, and that you aren't just fooling about!"
Wu Zhen turned to look at him.
"Hmm?" Zhang Xuan came to a halt.
"Who is the most famous celestial designer in the past ten thousand years of Hongyuan Empire?" Wu Zhen asked.
"This…" Zhang Xuan scratched his head in confusion.
He had barely read any books on celestial designers, so how could he possibly know who the most famous celestial designer in Hongyuan Empire was?
Besides, he didn't even know the name of the incumbent emperor of Hongyuan Empire was nor the name of the Master Teacher Academy's principal, so how could he know anything about that?
"You don't even know this?"
Seeing the embarrassed look on the other party, Wu Zhen frowned. "Since that's the case, I don't think you know who is the one who created the concept of a booby-trapped mechanism then?"
"I don't."
Zhang Xuan shook his head. "I'm just going to decipher the stone tablets, what do the questions you asked have to do with it?"
"Of course, it has everything to do with it!"
Hearing Zhang Xuan's words, Wu Zhen's eyes flashed in disappointment. "This is the most basic knowledge that every celestial designer knows, and the fact that you don't know it means that you don't know a thing about the occupation. How are you supposed to find the core and decipher the mechanism like that? I don't deny that you do possess a unique interpretation of pill forging and formation, but mechanism is something very much different from that. One cannot solve it with confidence alone…
"Why don't I tell you about the origin and fundamental theories regarding mechanisms so that you can understand the complexity of the subject? By then, you can consider once more if you really intend to continue on…"
The more Wu Zhen spoke, the more Zhang Xuan felt that calluses would start growing on his ears. Bored of the other party, he stepped toward to the stone tablet, flicked his wrist, and took out the Glacier Rain Sword.
"What are you doing? This is a mechanism! Using a sword against it will only draw more aggression onto ourselves…"
Just as Wu Zhen was rambling on, he saw the other party draw a sword, and he nearly fainted from anger.
Are you kidding me?
Due to the small parts of the mechanism, there was very little room for any error. That was the reason why I had to search the stone tablet so thoroughly for the core before using the Thousand Umbrella Thorn to pierce it precisely. And yet, you actually took out a sword? Are you for real?
Just as he was thinking that the other party was just causing needless trouble, the young man before him seemed to have heard his words of advice and put his sword away.
"That's more like it…"
Just as Wu Zhen was thinking that fellow was still acceptable given how receptive he was to advise, the other party flicked his wrist and whipped out a huge hammer.
The hammer was even larger than the ones used by blacksmiths to forge weapons; it was on par with those used by workers on construction sites. On top of that, its material was also sub-par. It was hard to understand why a master teacher like Zhang Xuan would have such a weapon on him.
"What are you going to do…"
Wu Zhen was so shocked that he was even starting to stutter, but seemingly paying him no heed, the young man before him raised his metal hammer and smashed it against the stone tablet.
"The heck!"
Wu Zhen's sight darkened, and a stifled sensation welled up in his chest. In that instant, he felt an urge to spew blood.
Even when using the Thousand Utility Thorn, he nearly ended up being killed by the onslaught of needles. Yet, you actually used a metal hammer to strike it… Even if you're seeking death, that's not the way to do it!
Wu Zhen opened his Thousand Utility Umbrella in a panic and hid behind it as though a quail, not daring to move at all. Following which, a sound reminiscent to a grandfather clock reverberated in the room, sending goosebumps up the skin of others.
Kacha! Kacha!
A series of crisp clicks sounded, as though an egg being peeled of its shell… and everything fell silent.
Just as Wu Zhen was doubtful why there were no needles shooting over this time, he suddenly heard the nonchalant voice of the young man from the stone tablet.
"Alright, the passageway has opened!"
He carefully emerged from the back of his Thousand Utility Umbrella, and upon taking a glance, he suddenly froze.
"This… this…"
His eyes widened as though he had seen a ghost.
The stone tablet before him had disappeared entirely from view, and in its place was a huge stone door and a series of stone steps, leading downward, toward the bottom of the stream not too far away.
"It's open?"
Not just him, Luo Qiqi and Xing Yuan were stunned as well.
A famed 5-star celestial designer of the academy had gone through so much trouble and triggered the trap multiple times, only to fail miserably… and yet, this fellow simply smacked it hard with a metal hammer and it was immediately deciphered.
Wasn't there something very wrong about this?
Was Wu Zhen the 5-star celestial designer, or was Zhang shi?
After a moment of shock, Luo Qiqi said, "The true underground chamber lies beneath the stream. It's no wonder we can't find the source of the ventilation despite the smooth air currents here!"
When she first discovered that the air in this room was fresh, she tried looking for the source of ventilation, but to her surprise, she couldn't find it at all. However, with the revelation of the underground passageway, she finally came to a realization—the secret lay beneath the stream.
The fresh air in the underground chamber originated from the stream!
Princess Yu Fei-er nodded. "Since we managed to find the underground chamber, let's hurry down and check if this place is related to Grandmaster Wu Yangzi!"
Even though she detested Zhang Xuan, she had to admit that the other party did possess extraordinary capability.
There were simply too many things that had happened for her to deny it.
"The underground chamber may have opened, but I think we shouldn't go in yet," Zhang Xuan said.
"Why?" Princess Yu Fei-er turned her sight to him.
Given that there was such an elaborate mechanism hiding an underground chamber, the answers they sought were probably inside. Since what they were looking for were right before them, why shouldn't they enter?"
"All in all, we have seen a total of two stone tablets on both sides of the bridge; one is marked with Yearning Abode Lodge while the other Burying Sorrow Lodge. I think that there's another pathway hidden in the other stone tablet, so we should make a decision before entering," Zhang Xuan explained.
Since an underground passageway was found in one of the two stone tablets, perhaps the same could be said for the other as well.
"That's right!"
The group nodded.
Blinded by their excitement in uncovering the stone tablet, they neglected this point. Thinking of it, it was indeed highly possible that another passageway hid behind the other stone tablet.
If that was really the case, then Zhang Xuan's conjecture would be spot-on—two names, two choices.
"Un. What we should do now is decipher the other stone tablet before making a decision…" Seeing that everyone had realized what he was talking about, Zhang Xuan nodded in agreement. Just as he was about to speak, he suddenly felt his hand being relieved of the weight in it—someone had taken the metal hammer from his hand.
Following which, an impassive voice spoke. "I'll decipher the stone tablet over there…"
By the time Zhang Xuan lifted his gaze, Wu Zhen was already at the other side of the bridge. Lifting the metal hammer up, he smashed it powerfully on the stone tablet.
That fellow was too desperate to prove himself.
Despite being a 5-star celestial designer, he failed to decipher the mechanism behind the stone tablet despite three attempts. Yet, an amateur actually opened it with a smash of a metal hammer. The embarrassment and frustration he felt was understandable.
However, there stood another stone tablet for him to redeem himself and prove his own capability. How could he possibly just give up this opportunity to showcase his ability to the other party? Thus, he snatched the hammer and rushed over immediately.
Recalling the direction, trajectory, and might of the other party's hammer strike, he bellowed loudly and smashed the hammer down onto the stone tablet.
Not expecting the other party to move so quickly, Zhang Xuan was taken aback. Before he could finish his words, the sound of heavy grinding sounded from the stone tablet at the opposite side of the river.
Following which, a whole rain of thin needles came flying forth.
Puhe! Puhe! Puhe!
Unprepared, Wu Zhen didn't even manage to open the Thousand Utility Umbrella before the rain of needles blurred his vision. In an instant, he turned into a cactus.
"… careful," Zhang Xuan uttered, as he stared at the sight before him.



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