Library of Heaven is Path
782 Wretched Competition
Chapter 782: Wretched Competition
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
Just like any other weapon, if one's saber art was aligned with nature, one would be able to comprehend Saber Intent, and only after that would it be possible for one to comprehend Saber Heart.
This was similar to how, in swordsmanship, one had to first comprehend Sword Intent before they could comprehend Lower Sword Heart, Middle Sword Heart, and Higher Sword Heart.
Even as a genius of the Martial Arts School, specializing in the study of saber art, Bai Mian was only at Saber Intent pinnacle, a considerable distance away from comprehending Saber Heart.
Yet, the incredibly sharp aura his opponent exuded along with the Lightning Flash of Saber… The other party was actually utilizing a technique that only one who had comprehended Saber Intent could use!
How was that possible?
When he fought with the freshman earlier, he could clearly sense that the latter had only comprehended the bare basics of Saber Intent, a long distance away from matching him. Yet, with just that single saber art maneuver Zhang shi had imparted to him, his comprehension of the saber had actually advanced by so much?
Damn it… Bai Mian's body trembled in shock.
In the midst of a battle, however, he swiftly responded to the freshman's attack, raising his saber to defend against the move.
While he was shocked by the freshman's feat of comprehending Saber Heart in just a short moment, he still didn't think that he would lose.
After all, he had seen the technique Zhang shi had imparted to the freshman, and it was littered with hundreds of flaws. On top of that, it was incredibly slow. As long as he moved swiftly and curbed the other party with speed, he would still be able to overwhelm him and achieve an easy victory.
In that split moment when Bai Mian's enormous Nine-ringed Saber was about to meet the freshman's saber, the freshman's saber abruptly twisted in an elegant arc, bypassing Bai Mian's weapon to cut down on him.
It was as if Bai Mian's defense meant nothing to him at all.
This is… Distillation of the Profound, Surpassing Technique Through Ability? Bai Mian's body stiffened.
While he was studying the saber, a master teacher whom he deeply respected had once told him that upon reaching a certain level of mastery in the saber, one could reduce complex saber arts into simpler and more concise techniques.
But this simplification of the saber art didn't mean that it had become weaker. On the contrary, the lack of extraneous movements meant that there were fewer flaws that one could exploit against the technique, making it even more difficult to oppose.
Bai Mian had thought that such a realm existed in a world far beyond his, and he could possibly never encounter it in his entire life. But… he was seeing it from the freshman at this very moment!
The saber art which the freshmen was executing was not complex at all. It was just a simple slash without anything fancy to it, but it carried a might capable of slicing through anything.
Bai Mian felt as if his entirety had been overwhelmed by the might of the slash. Regardless of what technique he utilized, there was no way he could stand against the slash.
Flee! In that instant, fear took over Bai Mian's instincts. Not daring to take the slash face-on, he immediately retreated hurriedly.
Retracting one's saber art abruptly in the midst of its execution would lead to a backlash in one's zhenqi, but given that Bai Mian was an Ethereal Treading realm pinnacle expert utilizing the might of a Consonant Spirit realm primary stage expert at the moment, he could easily suppress it. Thus, despite the seeming distressed state he was in, he hadn't suffered much damage from this move.
Taking two steps back, Bai Mian was just about to raise his saber art to counterattack when the freshmen before him swung his saber furiously once more at him.
This time, the attack felt even sharper and more powerful than before.
The slash had harnessed the remaining force from the previous slash to amplify its might more than twofold. At that moment, it seemed as if a tempest had struck the dueling platform.
This is… Accretion of Saber Might? Bai Mian was on the verge of spurting blood.
He had thought that after the freshman had put his might into the first blow, his strength would surely decline considerably. Who knew that not only would that not be the case, he would even amplify his second slash significantly through accruing the might from the first!
Even the first slash was already beyond his capability, so how could he possibly withstand the might of two slashes at once?
Thus, he retreated once again.
Seeing Bai Mian retreating once again, the freshman felt a burst of confidence, and he launched his third slash decisively.
As if tributaries gathering into an ocean, the might of the three slashes converged with one another to produce an unopposable force.
The young man was only at Consonant Spirit realm primary stage, but through harnessing the capability of Saber Heart to converge the might of three slashes together, he could easily overwhelm a Consonant Spirit realm intermediate stage or even an advanced stage cultivator!
No, this won't do… If I allow him to continue building up strength, I'll surely lose without doubt! Realizing the crux of the problem, Bai Mian's face turned grim.
His initial thought had been to dodge the attack, and at the moment the other party's strength died down, he would be able to do as he pleased. But who could have known that the other party's saber art would only grow stronger with time, its might amplifying with each slash?
From the very first dodge he had made, he had already lost the initiative. If he were to continue avoiding the attacks, the odds would only continue stacking against him, and eventually, he would be overwhelmed.
It's do or die… Gritting his teeth, Bai Mian's strength surged frenziedly from his arm as he swung his saber to face the freshman's slash.
Spirit high-tier battle technique, River Severing Furious Saber!
This technique was said to have been created by a Saint realm expert. Out of vengeance for the grievances his lover had suffered, he drew his saber and slashed down furiously, dividing a river several ten thousand meters long in two permanently.
This was the strongest saber art he had after cultivating for so many years.
Even though he was lacking zhenqi to execute it perfectly after suppressing his cultivation to Consonant Spirit realm primary stage, through his deep understanding of saber arts, he still managed to pull it off.
Saber qi immediately gushed forth from his saber to collide with the freshman's ferocious slash.
With a deafening reverberation, the two sabers collided with one another. In an instant, Bai Mian's face reddened as the might from his River Severing Frenzied Saber was overwhelmed instantaneously. Following which, the amplified slash continued falling furiously toward him, seemingly about to rip his meridians apart.
This is bad… Bai Mian's face turned livid.
While the thought of being unable to withstand the slash had crossed his mind, he didn't think that it would be to such an extent. Despite his retaliation, the slash still continued flying toward him with unabated might.
In that desperate moment, Bai Mian roared furiously, and his cultivation, which he had suppressed initially, began rising rapidly.
Consonant Spirit realm intermediate stage!
Consonant Spirit realm advanced stage!
Consonant Spirit realm pinnacle!
Cosmos Bridge realm primary stage!
His cultivation had to rise by an entire realm before he was able to dispel the overwhelming saber qi before him.
Due to Bai Mian's forceful counterattack, the freshman was knocked back, and a mouthful of fresh blood spewed from his mouth.
Even though he had sustained some damage from the last attack, his eyes were glowing with excitement.
"You have lost!"
The other party had been forced to unseal his cultivation in order to withstand his blow, which meant that he had broken the rules, and thus, he had lost!
Upon hearing those words, Bai Mian's face turned as pale as a sheet of paper, and he muttered feebly, "I… I have lost…"
There was no other choice for him but to admit it. So many eyes had seen him being forced into a corner, unable to retaliate at all. This was his utter defeat!
It was just a moment ago that this freshman had been defeated by him in a single blow, but in the next moment, he was defeated by the latter instead… Despite being the person in question here, the situation before him felt so mystical that he could hardly believe what had just happened.
That Zhang shi had only imparted a single move to the freshman… and the latter had gained sufficient strength to defeat him? Just how in the world was that possible?
Bai Mian wasn't the only one who couldn't get to grips with the situation. All of the freshmen beneath also felt as if their eyeballs were going to pop out of their sockets.
They had witnessed the prowess of the freshman before and after he had learned Zhang shi's saber art… To allow the freshman to gain the power to defeat a genius of the Martial Arts School just by imparting a single move to him, this was just way too exaggerated!
Was their faction leader in truth a deity in disguise?
"Faction leader, I-I succeeded! I managed to defeat a Grade-4 student! I…"
Upon hearing Bai Mian's confirmation, the young man immediately leaped down from the dueling platform excitedly and rushed up to Zhang Xuan with clenched fists.
Having executed the saber art, he understood just how powerful the move which the faction leader had imparted to him was. As long as he studied it thoroughly and practiced diligently, his understanding of the saber would surely soar, allowing him to become a saber master!
As such, it was inevitable that he would be so excited.
However, before he could finish his words, Zhang shi abruptly slapped him on his head with a livid expression, as if a senior chastising a disappointing junior.
The freshman was stunned, not knowing what was going on.
Why was the faction leader angry? He had defeated his opponent!
"After that disappointing performance of yours, you are still in the mood to celebrate? Honestly, can you even call what you have just did saber art? In the very first move, if only you had utilized the full extent of your strength, your opponent couldn't have dodged at all. It was a duel you could have won in a single move, and yet you dragged it on for three moves. Don't you feel ashamed of yourself?"
The more Zhang Xuan spoke, the angrier and more disappointed he felt. If he could, he would truly have wanted to knock some sense into the fellow.
No matter what, the other party was a half 5-star master teacher. How could he be so slow on the uptake?
He had personally imparted a simplified version of the Heaven's Path Saber Art to the other party and even transferred a portion of his Saber Intent to him. And yet, that fellow still required three blows to defeat his opponent. That was a disgrace!
Win in a single move… Bai Mian nearly spurted blood upon hearing those words.
I am a Grade-4 student, a genius of the Martial Arts School… It's already incredible that you were able to grant a freshman the strength to defeat me within three blows just by imparting a saber art to him, and yet you are still disappointed by it…
"Yes…" Hearing the chastising from the faction leader, the young man could only hang his head in shame.
The faction leader was right. If he put his full strength into the very first blow, Bai Mian would have surrendered immediately. Things wouldn't have dragged on to the third blow, Bai Mian wouldn't have resorted to a desperate struggle, and he wouldn't have been injured either.
"Alright, at least you are repenting. However, take note of this in the future. No matter who your opponent is, you have to strike decisively. The slightest bit of hesitation could cost your life!" Seeing the other party's regretful expression, Zhang Xuan's rage finally alleviated slightly.
Sighing deeply, he waved his hands and turned to the dueling platform once more. "Which one of you is next?"
"I shall be your opponent!" Yuan Gang stepped forward.
Bai Mian's defeat had shocked him deeply as well. At this point, he knew better than to underestimate the young man standing before him.
"Alright." Zhang Xuan nodded. "Who was defeated by him earlier?"
"Faction leader, I lost as well!"
"You didn't lose as badly as I did. Allow me to do it!"
"The hell you lost badly, you only fell from the stage! Look at me, I was even slapped by him. I am in the most wretched state of all. Let me challenge him!"
"Look, I even spewed blood! Let me do it…"
Upon Zhang Xuan's call, a huge commotion broke out beneath the stage. All of those who had been injured previously immediately rushed up indignantly, howling in agitation.
They had witnessed how the freshman who had been defeated in a single blow earlier turning the tables on Bai Mian after Zhang shi's guidance. If they could learn a thing or two from Zhang shi as well, their fighting prowess might be able to soar like his.
With such a good opportunity lying before them, only a fool would give it up!
"To think a day would come that I would see such a sight before me…"
On the stage, Yuan Gang and Ying Qin's mouths twitched.
The freshmen had always gone out of their way to avoid any confrontations with their seniors—after all, the disparity in strength was as clear as day. Never had they seen any freshman volunteering to challenge the seniors so energetically before.
Moreover, it was one thing for them to fight over the opportunity, but screw their competition over who was in a more wretched state!
The more wretched one's state was, the weaker they were in the previous confrontation.
To still be vying for the opportunity after being defeated so tragically, what do you take us seniors for?
Aren't you all being too arrogant!
Watching as the crowd below argued over who was in a worse state, Ying Qin's face turned more and more livid. There were even a few of the freshmen who had regretful expressions on their faces, as if lamenting how they hadn't allowed Yuan Gang to get a few more punches on them.
Eventually, Ying Qin came to the limit of his tolerance, and he sent a telepathic message to Yuan Gang. "Make sure to subdue them decisively. You mustn't show them any mercy at all! It'll be a grave humiliation on us and the True Helios Faction if we lose again!"
In truth, Bai Mian's loss had already introduced some doubts into their minds. They realized that they had grossly underestimated Zhang shi's capability. However, the arrow was already nocked, and it was too late for them to back down.
No matter what, they had to win the next round. Otherwise, they just might end up becoming the gatekeepers of the Xuanxuan Faction.
"Don't worry, I'll give it my all!" Yuan Gang nodded grimly.
While the duo was speaking, Zhang Xuan was done picking out his next competitor as well. It was a young fellow whose face was bruised to the point that there was not the slightest uninjured area to be seen. His nose and teeth were slightly crooked, and a stream of blood flowed uncontrollably from the edge of his mouth.
I remember that fellow! But… I don't recall beating him up so heavily? Could it be that, just so he would appear more wretched than the others, he chose to beat himself up?
Upon seeing the appearance of the other party, Yuan Gang's eyelids began twitching uncontrollably, and he nearly keeled over.