Library of Heaven is Path
909 The Ninth Floor
Chapter 909: The Ninth Floor
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
"My cultivation isn't at Nascent Saint pinnacle?" The puppet was stunned for an instant before lowering its head to take a look at itself as it exerted its strength.
A powerful aura immediately burst into the air, forcing everyone back several steps.
"T-this is… Saint realm 1-dan? H-how did I… achieve a breakthrough?" The puppet was completely stunned.
It had been a puppet for more than four thousand years, and all along, its cultivation had been capped at Nascent Saint realm pinnacle. Not once had it ever thought that it could still further its cultivation.
"If I'm not mistaken, this must be the doing of Principal Zhang! In exchange for devouring the energy contained in your Earth Core Crystal, he helped you advance your cultivation," Zhao Bingxu said.
After the experience on the sixth level, they knew that their principal possessed the capability to do so.
Most likely, he must have felt embarrassed about devouring the energy harnessed within the Earth Core Crystal in the other party's body, so he helped to alter the other party's constitution slightly to allow its energy to flow smoother, thus enhancing its cultivation significantly.
"This…" Hearing School Head Zhao's explanation, the puppet was stunned.
Even though the Earth Core Heart was important to it, it wasn't the centerpiece of its existence. Giving it up in order to raise its cultivation to Saint realm, it could be said that it was the winner of this deal!
Just that… with its cultivation raised, it would be nigh impossible for the later generations to clear the trial. It was almost a certainty that they would be impeded on the eighth level, making it impossible for anyone to reach the ninth level.
It was an act of goodwill toward the puppet, but the challengers that came after him would probably be cursing him furiously as they fought the enhanced puppet.
Defeating a Nascent Saint pinnacle puppet was already nearly impossible. What Zhang Xuan had effectively done was create a deadlock on the eighth level, preventing anyone from advancing any further in the future.
At that moment, Wei Ranxue suddenly turned to the puppet and asked, "What is on the ninth level?"
"The ninth level… I have no idea either. I only know that no one has been there since the establishment of the Master Teacher Academy… Probably, the only one who knows is the founder of the academy, Founder Mu Kai!" The puppet shook his head in response.
The one guarding the eighth level was a Nascent Saint realm pinnacle puppet whereas the prerequisite for challenging the Mountain of Records was for one's cultivation to be beneath Half-Saint… In other words, one would have to challenge an opponent nearly three realms stronger than oneself in order to reach the ninth level! Even the incredibly talented Chrysalis realm pinnacle Principal Mo Liuzhen back then had been unable to accomplish this feat, needless to say the others!
In the ten thousand years since the founding of the Master Teacher Academy, that fellow was the only one to have achieved this feat.
Noticing everyone's worries, the puppet said, "No matter what, that fellow shouldn't be in any danger. The main purpose for the establishment of the Mountain of Records is to sieve out the talents of the Master Teacher Academy, so there is no way it will allow one who possesses the ability to reach the ninth level to die in there!"
"Un." The others nodded.
Indeed. A person who had cleared the previous eight stages could already be considered a top-notch genius even among the entire Master Teacher Pavilion, so how could a mishap of any sort be allowed to befall a talent like that in the final level?
As such, there was no need to worry about that matter!
But even putting aside their worries, they were still curious to know what their principal would encounter in the ninth level.
In that moment, they couldn't help but peer into the darkness of the stairway that led to the mysterious ninth level.
Rewinding time back to a day ago…
After clearing the eighth level, Zhang Xuan took a look at the puppet, which he had pinned onto the ceiling, and heaved a sigh of relief before heading forward.
Honestly speaking, it seemed like he had overestimated his strength.
In truth, he had already been struggling against the Nascent Saint puppet on the sixth level.
His strength exceeded 65,000,000 ding, granting him a might comparable to Nascent Saint intermediate stage cultivator, but the difference between a Transcendent Mortal and Saint didn't just lie in their strength. Those who had achieved Sainthood had already reached an entirely different level of existence, granting them superior reaction speed and reflexes as compared to others. Even with his greater strength, it would still be difficult for him to achieve victory.
In other words, despite his strength, Half-Saint pinnacle was the limit of his own ability. If he wished to defeat a Nascent Saint primary stage cultivator, he would have to depend on the Library of Heaven's Path.
As such, he offered guidance to the puppet of the sixth level in order to convince it to acknowledge him as its teacher, thus successfully clearing the level.
However, the puppet on the seventh level didn't trust him, so the same ploy didn't work against it. Unable to overpower the other party, he could only dismantle the other party bit by bit while dodging its attacks.
If he had been able to defeat the other party in a proper battle, he wouldn't have resorted to such a method.
To be forced to dismantle the puppet down to its very parts in order to defeat it… how embarrassing!
On the eighth level, he encountered the puppet Principal Mo Liuzhen had forged using his rib bones, and after exchanging a few blows, he was already severely wounded from the other party's pummeling, leaving him spewing large mouthfuls of blood.
He had thought that the eighth level would be his limit, but he suddenly noticed that the puppet was made out of Earth Core Crystal.
The Earth Core Crystal happened to be the artifact required for cultivating the Fourth Incandescence of the Quintuple Incandescence Golden Body, and he had been searching for it all this while but to no avail. Seeing it here, he nearly went frenzied with delight.
However, if he were to ask for it from the other party directly, there was no doubt that he would be rejected flatly. Left with no choice, he could only resort to some tricks up his sleeves…
Putting that aside, using the energy from the Earth Core Crystal, he managed to advance his Quintuple Incandescence Golden Body to the Fourth Incandescence, thus inducing a massive surge in his physical strength.
From its original 16,000,000 ding, it had doubled to 32,000,000 ding!
In other words, just in terms of physical strength, he was already on par with a Chrysalis realm advanced stage cultivator!
Factoring in the 29,000,000 ding from his zhenqi cultivation and 20,000,000 ding from his soul cultivation, his total might added up to a grand total of 81,000,000 ding!
With such strength, he could easily overpower even a Nascent Saint pinnacle cultivator! On top of that, Principal Mo Liuzhen's puppet wasn't prepared for his assault at all, so it was easily sent into the ceiling from the might of his fist and fainted.
(Nascent Saint primary stage 60,000,000 ding; intermediate stage 65,000,000 ding; advanced stage 70,000,000 ding; pinnacle 75,000,000 ding!)
Even though I defeated the puppet in the previous level, my true fighting prowess is still some distance away from matching a Nascent Saint pinnacle cultivator…
While Zhang Xuan had managed to send the puppet forged by Principal Mo Liuzhen flying with a single punch, he wasn't so arrogant as to believe that he wielded strength comparable to a Nascent Saint pinnacle cultivator.
The reason he was able to succeed was due to his understanding of the flaws in the other party's moves from the previous battle and the other party letting its guard down from its underestimating of him. Otherwise, in a proper battle against a Nascent Saint pinnacle cultivator, even with his superior strength, he wouldn't have been able to achieve a victory that easily.
That was also the reason why Zhang Xuan wanted to maintain a low profile. It could possibly become the key for him to overcoming dire situations like that battle.
As the saying goes, 'a tree that rises above the forest will only be torn down by the wind; an embankment taller than the shore will only be washed away by the waves.'
But it was a pity that every time he wished to maintain a low profile, everything would just go contrary to his wishes. This had left him deeply distressed.
Perhaps that was life! The outstanding were meant to live brilliant and short lives.
Considering how Zhang Xuan didn't even wield the fighting prowess to overcome a Nascent Saint pinnacle cultivator, he knew full well that he stood no chance at clearing the ninth level… Unless he perfected the Chrysalis realm Heaven's Path Divine Art and advanced his cultivation to Chrysalis realm pinnacle!
But there was no way he could find such cultivation technique manuals here…
Since I have already reached this point, I might as well head up to take a look! Sighing deeply, Zhang Xuan eventually decided to advance to the ninth level.
Having come to this point, it would be truly regretful if he stopped there without at least giving it a try.
At the very most, he would just have to admit defeat once he found himself in a hopeless situation.
Pushing open the entrance to the ninth level, an extremely vast room unfolded before his eyes.
An elder came into his sight.
Upon seeing the elder's appearance, Zhang Xuan frowned. Mu shi?
It was none other than Founder Mu Kai. He had just met the other party's soul during the inauguration ceremony, so there was no way he wouldn't recognize him.
No, that isn't it. This is a Saint realm puppet that Mu shi forged based on himself!
It wasn't very apparent, but Zhang shi was able to swiftly tell what was amiss about the elder before his eyes.
Naturally, the elder before him couldn't possibly be Founder Mu Kai in person, and considering that it possessed a corporeal body, it wasn't just his soul either. Rather, it was a puppet forged according to his appearance. However, the craftsmanship was so exquisite that Zhang Xuan had to take several glances before noticing it.
Watching as Zhang Xuan walked over, Mu shi's puppet said with a smile, "To be able to clear the previous levels with a cultivation of Chrysalis realm primary stage, you are a truly talented individual!"
"Paying respects to Mu shi!" Zhang Xuan clasped his fist and bowed.
Even though the other party was only a puppet, a sliver of Mu shi's will was infused into it, so its prowess wasn't one he could afford to underestimate.
"Un." Mu shi's puppet nodded with a slight smile. "I possess a cultivation of Saint realm 1-dan primary stage at the moment. As long as you can defeat me, you will have cleared the Mountain of Records and earned the rights to claim the reward from me!"
"Defeat you…" A look of difficulty surfaced on Zhang Xuan's face.
Honestly speaking, his chance of defeating the other party in a proper battle was near zero.
However, if he were to utilize his exceptional capability at tearing things apart to reduce the other party back down to its miscellaneous parts, he should still be able to defeat the other party.
Just that… considering the opponent was the founder of the Master Teacher Academy, it would be disrespectful for him to use such an unseemly mean against it.
If others were to think that the principal of the Master Teacher Academy had destructive tendencies due to this matter, what would become of his reputation?
"Don't worry. Feel free to use any means at your disposal, there is no need to stand on ceremony!" Seemingly noticing the worries Zhang Xuan harbored, Mu shi smiled. "To be honest, it is already improper for a Saint realm cultivator like me to duel against a Chrysalis realm primary stage cultivator like you!"
"Are you certain?" Zhang Xuan asked with a bizarre expression on his face. "Is it really fine for me to use any means at my disposal?"
"Of course!" Mu shi replied with a smile.
"Since that's the case, pardon me…"
Hearing that there were no restrictions on the means he could utilize, Zhang Xuan heaved a sigh of relief as the burden weighing down his heart vanished.
The Golden Origin Cauldron materialized before Zhang Xuan.
"Ding Ding, go and pummel that fellow for me!" Zhang Xuan commanded with a majestic wave of his hand.
"Don't worry, it's just a puppet of Old Mu. I will reduce it to cinders this very instant!" The Golden Origin Cauldron nodded as it began to rush forward.
As the Guardian Saint Artifact that the headquarters had given to the Master Teacher Academy at its founding, it had met Mu Kai back then, so it was able to recognize the latter easily.
Upon seeing the sight, Mu shi's lips twitched as he nearly fainted on the spot. Anxious, he hurriedly yelled, "Wait a moment!"
Gesturing for the Golden Origin Cauldron to stop, he turned to Mu shi with a doubtful look. "What's wrong?"
Didn't you say that I can use any means at my disposal? Why are you stopping me all of a sudden?
The face of Mu shi's puppet reddened as it said, "Cough cough. When I said that you can use any means at your disposal, I was referring to your abilities as an individual, such as your battle techniques and your supporting occupations, and not your Saint-tier artifacts… Otherwise, with the might of your Saint-tier artifact, even a Transcendent Mortal 1-dan or 2-dan cultivator would be able to easily clear the Mountain of Records, thus rendering the entire trial meaningless!"
It should have clarified its words further in order to avoid such an awkward situation.
The Mountain of Records was a trial to assess one's individual prowess. If one had such a formidable artifact in one's possession, one would be able to easily clear the entire trial even if one's strength was lacking.
If that was the case, what was the use of the trial?
"This… I see. Pardon me for my misunderstanding!" Zhang Xuan scratched his head as he returned the Golden Origin Cauldron to his storage ring.
With a flick of his wrist, he took out a Spirit pinnacle sword from his storage ring and pointed it at the other party.
"Will this do?"
Mu shi's puppet nodded with a smile. Just as it was about to speak, the sharp glint of a sword reminiscent of a shooting star abruptly flashed across its eyes.