Chapter 835: Cornering
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97

Dressed in master teacher robes, the three elders had snowy hair and beards, and they emanated powerful auras.

"7-star master teachers…"

Glancing at the brilliant emblems pinned at their chests, Zhang Xuan's eyebrows shot up.

These elders were actually 7-star master teachers! This meant that their strength had already surpassed even the strongest expert in Hongyuan Empire.

"I have kept all of you waiting…" one of the elders said with a smile upon reaching the front.

His voice wasn't loud, but it resounded clearly within the ears of the listeners. In an instant, the commotion died down.

"It's only right for us to wait for elders!"

"It's my honor to listen to elders' lecture!"

The crowd below clasped their fists in response.

Most of those who stood before the cliff face were Half-Saint and Nascent Saint experts, which translated to 6-star low-tier and 6-star high-tier master teachers. This meant in terms of standing, they paled far in comparison to three elders in front. Under such circumstances where they didn't know the names of those before them, it was only right for them to address the other party as elders.

"We are all fellow cultivators, so there is no need to stand on ceremony. Allow me to introduce myself first. I am Wu Ran, and I have been managing most of the affairs of the Saint Ascension Circle in recent years. I am a master teacher from Qingzhu Empire, and you can call me Wu shi!" the elder said as he stroked his beard.

"Wu Ran? Could you be the incumbent leader of the Saint Ascension Circle?"

"You've heard of him?"

"Of course! Wu shi not only possesses a deep comprehension of Kong shi's Insight to Saint Ascension, he is also the principal of Qingzhu Academy?"

"Qingzhu Academy? You mean… the Master Teacher Academy located at Qingzhu Tier-1 Empire?"

"That's right! Qingzhu is one of the four empires out of the 46 Tier-1 Empires under Qingyuan Conferred Empire to have a Master Teacher Academy… While Qingzhu Master Teacher Academy is only ranked third of the four, above only Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy, nevertheless, the fact that he could become its principal reflects the immense capability and profound knowledge that he possesses!"

"Seriously? It's truly a huge honor to listen to the lecture of such an incredible person!"

Shock rippled through the crowd when they heard Wu Ran's name.

While the Saint Ascension Circle would conduct lectures there on a daily basis, most of the time, it was conducted by ordinary members. Thus, many of the cultivators of the peak were surprised to see the leader of the circle, a 7-star master teacher and the principal of a Master Teacher Academy, conducting the lecture himself.

It was truly a huge honor to have the other party decipher Kong shi's teachings for them personally.

"To my left is Wang Liao, Wang shi, and Sun Jing, Sun shi. If you have any doubts, feel free to direct them to us. We will try to answer them to the best of our ability!" Wu shi said with a smile.

"Wang Liao? I've heard of that name before! He once wrote a paper, Kong shi's Path to Enlightenment, which made a huge uproar in the neighboring Tier-1 Empires. It's said that the paper brought enlightenment to over three hundred cultivators, thus allowing them to overcome their bottlenecks. He is one of the Ten Great Master Teachers of Qingzhu Empire!"

"I have heard of Sun Jing as well. He is one of the Ten Great Master Teachers to Qingzhu Empire, too. The book that he wrote, Nascent Saint Breakthrough Formula, is one of the most sought-after manuals in the region. I had to pay a huge number of high-tier spirit stones to purchase it… To think that I would meet the author in person here!"

Hearing the names Wu shi introduced, a huge wave of commotion broke out once again.

The two elders behind him weren't nameless figures either; on the contrary, they enjoyed widespread fame.

Just that… considering that Qingzhu Empire was extremely far from there, such that it would half a month's journey even on a saint beast, why would those esteemed men suddenly go there?

"Since it seems like everyone knows of us, I will just get straight down to business. I will start from lecturing everyone about the origin of Kong shi's insight!"

After introducing himself, Wu shi surveyed the surroundings with a meaningful gaze before beginning his lecture.

"As everyone knows, the era which Kong shi lived in was the period of time when the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe held the dominant position in the continent. Back then, mankind lived every single day in fear, not knowing when they might be killed. Living in such tumultuous times, even though Kong shi became a Celestial Saint, an existence recognized by the heavens, he still worried for mankind and contributed to its welfare… As such, if you were to ruminate over the insight closely, even though it carries a tinge of joy from his advancement to Saint realm, at the same time, complex emotions coming from his worry for mankind and the world can be felt from it as well!"

Worry for mankind and the world? Zhang Xuan widened his eyes, unable to believe what he had just heard.

Kong shi had left behind this insight just to remind the later generations to always rely on their own judgement, and to never fully trust the wisdom of their predecessors. How in the world did the other party sense such deep emotions from it?

Your imagination sure is vivid!

But giving the matter some thoughts, that was indeed the job of academics such as them. They strove to uncover the deeper intentions behind the words of the predecessors so that others could better appreciate them. However, they had a tendency to go too far and overthink even the most minor of details so as to flaunt their knowledge, such that if the author were to come alive once more and see their evaluation of his work, he would also be completely flabbergasted!

And from the looks of it, it seemed Wu shi was such an academic as well!

"… Try reading this writing once more with such emotions, and you will be able to comprehend Kong shi's state of mind then!" Wu shi continued.

"Just like this sentence, 'Stale rice and cold water, a bent arm as a pillow, but joy lies not in those but in itself.' This is a reflection of the agony mankind suffered under the oppression of the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe. It can be interpreted that despite the suffering Kong shi endured, he felt utmost joy from working for the welfare of mankind…"

After listening for a while longer, Zhang Xuan's eyelids began twitching uncontrollably.

It was not that the other party was exactly wrong, but they had elevated Kong shi to a height beyond reach in their hearts, to the point where they view him with rose-colored goggles, failing to see the man himself. This would only lead their interpretation further and further away from the truth.

However, the other party couldn't be entirely blamed for this either. Kong shi was simply far too much of a venerated figure among the master teachers, and his infallibility had become a deeply-ingrained notion in the minds of many. As such, there was a tendency to evaluate everything that he had left behind in a higher and nobler perspective, and anything other than that would be viewed as challenging Kong shi's authority and disrespecting one's teacher.

However, Zhang Xuan was different. As the saying goes, 'the onlooker gets the clearest glimpse of the situation'. Having come from a different world, he didn't possess as deep of an impression of Kong shi as most in this world, who had been taught to admire and respect Kong shi from a young age.

On top of that, as one who possessed the Library of Heaven's Path, he had learned never to place blind faith in the words of others too.

Hong long!

But in that moment, a Nascent Saint cultivator standing just slightly in front of him seemed to have a sudden surge of inspiration, and with a jolt through his body, he abruptly achieved a breakthrough.

That sight left Zhang Xuan completely stunned.

He had just been thinking that the lecture was completely nonsense and would surely be ineffective a moment ago when someone really achieved a breakthrough.

A thought suddenly emerged in Zhang Xuan's mind.

Could this be… faith?

Perhaps, even Wu shi himself might have been aware that his interpretation had deviated from Kong shi's original intention, but he still chose to shape his lecture in such a manner in order to play on the deep respect that master teachers had for Kong shi. Through empowering this faith, it could strengthen one's resolution, turning it into a driving force for one to achieve a breakthrough.

The difference between a Saint and a Nascent Saint lay not only in their cultivation but their state of mind as well!

This explained why despite the far-fetched theories that the Saint Ascension Circle proposed, it still enjoyed widespread popularity among the populace.

Stroking his beard in satisfaction, Wu shi continued, "Not bad, someone has already achieved a breakthrough… Moving on, I believe one of the lines that might have many of you stumped is this, 'Composure frees worries, and agitation induces disturbance. If one can devote oneself to the calm, a breakthrough is possible even in the state of stagnancy…' Its meaning is simple. As long as one maintains a composed state of mind, even without sufficient zhenqi, one can still achieve a breakthrough."

"This…" Zhang Xuan couldn't help but burst into a soft chuckle.

This happened to be one of the nine flaws reflected in the Library of Heaven's Path.

Maintaining a composed state of mind was indeed important, but one still had to possess sufficient zhenqi to achieve a breakthrough. There was a limit to what sheer willpower could do.

Nevertheless, it was indeed true that a calm mind could give rise to a state of accomplishment through inaction, inducing the growth of one's zhenqi and ultimately allowing for a breakthrough.

While there was a flaw in the sentence, it was probably Kong shi's way of telling the later generations that they shouldn't be overly obsessed with their zhenqi cultivation. Tempering the mind was also of utmost importance. Yet, the other party managed to shape it into a secret art to achieving a breakthrough somehow…

It was no wonder no one had noticed the nine flaws and corrected them over all these years.

It wasn't that the master teachers were too foolish, but they had placed Kong shi on far too high a pedestal, and this had led to the twisting of the intentions behind his words.

"The friend over there, may I ask if there is anything wrong with my explanation for you to have burst into a chuckle?"

Shaking his head, Zhang Xuan was about to walk away when he suddenly heard those words.

Raising his gaze, he saw Wu shi staring at him with a deep frown.

While everyone else was listening to the interpretation of Kong shi's insight intently, that fellow was chuckling silently in the corner. This was extremely disrespectful to both him and Kong shi.

As a 7-star master teacher, he could overlook the insult that the young man was showing to him, but he couldn't sit idly when someone was clearly scorning Kong shi's teachings, especially in sacred grounds like this.

On the other hand, Zhang Xuan also didn't expect his gesture to be noticed by the other party. Embarrassed, he clasped his fist and bowed. "Hearing your lecture, I suddenly had an epiphany which resulted in my light chuckle. I ask for your understanding if I have been disrespectful!"

Even if the other party was wrong, it had nothing much to do with him. Knowing that it would only cause a huge uproar if he were to stand up at this moment, he decided to apologize and end the matter there.

"Epiphany? Hahaha, can a Perfect Harmonization realm lad like you understand the content of Wu shi's lecture?"

"Kong shi's insight is directed toward Nascent Saint realm experts. Epiphany my head, do you even understand a single word of it?"

"Since you had an epiphany, why don't you achieve a breakthrough for us all to see?"

Hearing Zhang Xuan's words, the crowd in the area burst into laughter.

As Nascent Saint realm experts, they didn't dare claim that they understood Kong shi's wisdom. Yet, a Perfect Harmonization realm expert like him had claimed that he'd had an epiphany… How conceited!

How could a person have such thick skin?

Wu shi also frowned upon hearing those words. "Oh? If you've had an epiphany, may I invite you to share it with us? This is a good opportunity for us to learn from one another!"

"This… I shall not embarrass myself up there…" Zhang Xuan hurriedly waved his hands to turn down the offer humbly.

"Are you trying to say that I am embarrassing myself here?" Wu shi's face darkened.

"That's not what I meant though…"

Not expecting the other party to misinterpret his words, Zhang Xuan was stunned. He hurriedly explained, "What I am saying is that with my shallow level of comprehension, my epiphany will only be laughed at, so it isn't worth a mention…"

"If you are saying that the epiphany you had after listening to my lecture will only be laughed at, does that mean that my lecture is hilarious and not worth a mention too?" Wu shi harrumphed.

"You are misunderstanding my words. I am saying that my comprehension of the subject is still shallow, so…" Zhang Xuan shook his head.

"If you can have an epiphany despite your shallow comprehension of the subject and chuckle at it, does that mean that the content of my lecture is shallow as well?" Wu shi snapped.



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