Library of Heaven is Path
932 The Selection Process
Chapter 932: The Selection Process
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
The saint beast was massive, more than a dozen meters long. It had a dark blue body, which contrasted with its fiery-red wings that harnessed blazing flames. Before the saint beast even arrived, the crowd on the training grounds could already feel an incredible heat emanating from it.
There were around a dozen men who stood on top of the saint beast, but as if they were rooted to the spot, their posture didn't budge in the slightest despite the movements of the saint beast.
"The heat can be vividly felt even from such a far distance away… how can anyone ride on that saint beast?"
Many master teachers were bewildered by the sight before them.
Even from where they stood, the heat already felt unbearable. If they were to really sit on the back of the saint beast, wouldn't they be reduced to dried meat in an instant?
"Furthermore… have you all noticed that there is no room on top of that saint beast?" someone amid the crowd exclaimed.
It was then that everyone realized that the saint beast's back didn't have the usual room that would be attached for transportation purposes, so that the passengers could be avoid the wind resulting from the flight and travel in comfort.
Without the room, it meant that one would have to stand without any support or protection from the flames on the saint beast's back. It might still be endurable for a short journey, but it would be nothing short of a torture for a long journey. Those who possessed weaker cultivation or minds would surely find themselves collapsing under the ordeal.
"This is a method used by the Combat Master Hall to temper their members. Even when travelling around, they are expected to continue their training," Wo Tianqiong muttered.
"Indeed. The Combat Master Hall is extremely strict on its members, pushing them to cultivate at every possible opportunity, not allowing them to show the slightest bit of laziness. To them, even journeying can be used as a form of cultivation," Shen Pingchao said.
After many years as the principals of Master Teacher Academies, they had come into contact with the Combat Master Hall on many occasions, thus granting them a glimpse into the habits and behavior of combat masters.
It was due to their persistence in training that the members of the Combat Master Hall were able to grow so strong.
"If I am not mistaken, that is the Saint realm 3-dan Inferno Phoenix Saint Beast, known to possess the bloodline of the Divine Phoenix. The temperature of the flames on its back is on par with that of earth flames, and if one can withstand the heat of the flames for a prolonged period of time, one's physical body will be enhanced significantly, and the purity of one's zhenqi will also be refined further," Wu Ran remarked.
It was not sufficient for the members of the Combat Master Hall to possess superior talent; more importantly, they had to be able to devote their everything to their training!
Looking at all of that, Zhang Xuan couldn't help but nod in agreement.
Talent did grant one a starting line ahead of the others, but if one was unwilling to put in the hard work, one would never be able to get to the end.
Taking him for example, even though the cultivation technique he practiced was the Heaven's Path Divine Art, granting him a great advantage over other cultivators, he never allowed himself to slack in his cultivation. Everything that he knew he had to do, he would accomplish with all of his effort, not allowing the slightest opportunity for a slip-up to occur.
Amid the commotion beneath, the aerial saint beast flapped its wings and gradually landed on the training ground.
Thirteen men dressed in master teacher robes leaped off the top of the aerial saint beast.
Their master teacher robes were tight-fitting, as opposed to the loose ones that master teachers usually wore, and inscribed on the emblems pinned on their chests was a sword instead. Looking at it from afar, one couldn't help but feel the chilling aura of a sharp sword.
The one who stood at the very center was a middle-aged man who seemed to be in his forties. He exuded an air of valiance, and the powerful aura he emanated revealed the immense strength he wielded.
He was a Saint 2-dan realm expert, but his presence felt far more overwhelming than ordinary cultivators of his cultivation, reminiscent of an unsheathed sharp blade.
His cultivation might have been beneath Wu Ran, but there was little doubt that Wu Ran be the one to ultimately lose in a real duel.
"Formidable!" Zhang Xuan remarked as he turned his gaze toward the other members of the representative party.
Suddenly, he caught sight of two familiar faces, and his eyes lit up.
They were Lu Cheng and Wu Xu, whom he had met in the valley back when he was attempting to pick the Scarlet Firefly Fruits. He had guessed that they were combat masters previously, and it seemed his deduction was spot-on.
The duo felt very different from two months ago. Their cultivation felt significantly stronger, and their zhenqi seemed to be much purer as well. Wu Xu had even successfully achieved a breakthrough from Chrysalis realm pinnacle to Half-Saint.
Even though it hadn't been long since Wu Xu had made the breakthrough, the energy he harnessed within his body felt vast like the ocean, as if it was undepletable.
It seems like my suggestion worked out for him, Zhang Xuan thought with a chuckle.
Wu Xu had been intending to use the Scarlet Firefly Fruit to attempt a breakthrough previously, but Zhang Xuan had chosen to not sell it to him. Instead, he had sold the other party his Earth Vein Spirit Essence.
Through making use of the easy absorbability of the spiritual energy harnessed within the Earth Vein Spirit Essence to fuel his zhenqi, he was able to build up the momentum required for a breakthrough and successfully reached Half-Saint.
"Zhang shi!" Just when he noticed the duo, the duo also noticed him and bowed respectfully.
Combat masters tended to be arrogant due to their superior fighting prowess, but they shared great respect for experts stronger than them as well.
Even though Zhang shi had only been at the Ethereal Treading realm, he had been able to subdue them easily. His fighting prowess had already way surpassed theirs, reaching a terrifying level. In face of such a genius, they dared not show the slightest disrespect to him.
The four principals stood up and introduced themselves.
"I am the principal of the Yunxu Master Teacher Academy, Wo Tianqiong (… the principal of the Luoqing Master Teacher Academy, Shen Pingchao; … the principal of the Qingzhu Master Teacher Academy, Wu Ran; … the principal of the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy, Zhang Xuan). Pleased to meet you, combat masters!"
The middle-aged man also hurriedly stepped forward and clasped his fist respectfully. "I am a Hundred Men Commander of the Combat Master Hall, Zhuo Qingfeng!"
Even though he was from the Combat Master Hall and possessed superior fighting prowess, the standing of the four principals was still above his, so he would still have to keep up with the formalities.
"So, it's Zhuo shi!" Wo Tianqiong chuckled. "I have long heard of you. A blade to level three rivers, a breath to sweep nine provinces! Once, you pursued the Five Bandits of Qingyuan with a single sword in hand for ten years straight; in all that time, they didn't dare return to their den. That grand feat of yours has won the respect of this old man!"
Hearing that the principal of the number one academy beneath Qingyuan Conferred Empire had heard of his name, Zhuo Qingfeng responded with a soft chuckle. "Principal Wo, you are too courteous. Those are just insignificant deeds!"
"There is no need to be humble. The fact that you were able to become a Hundred Men Commander of the Combat Master Hall is testimony to your strength." Wo Tianqiong stroked his beard with a smile.
Knowing that Wo Tianqiong was only trading pleasantries to soothe the situation, Zhuo Qingfeng replied with a polite smile before getting to the matter at hand. "I had a message delivered to Principal Wo some time ago, so I believe everyone present should be aware of the changes in the slots by now!"
"Yes, we have heard that the Combat Master Hall will be taking in a hundred combat masters in this selection," Shen Pingchao and the others replied.
Wo Tianqiong had informed them of the matter some time ago. This was good news, since it meant that more of their students would be able to join the Combat Master Hall.
"Indeed. However, I would first like to clarify that this doesn't mean that our selection criteria will be any less strict, but instead, it will be even harsher than before!" Zhao Qingfeng said with a nod.
"Harsher than before?" The few principals traded glances with one another, and Zhang Xuan stepped forward and asked, "May I know the format that the selection exercise will be in? How does the Combat Master Hall intend to conduct it?"
"The norm in the previous few selections was to conduct an elimination tournament, where the candidates would duel one another, and the remaining fifty would be brought into the Combat Master Hall," Zhuo Qingfeng said.
Wo Tianqiong and the others nodded.
While the rules regarding the Combat Master Selection might differ from time to time, the crux of it still usually revolved around an elimination tournament between the candidates in the form of duels, and the remaining candidates would be brought into the Combat Master Hall.
"Such a tournament format means that each candidate will have to fight several battles. Not only is it time-consuming, those who are injured in prior battles due to facing a stronger enemy will be unable to exert their full strength in the subsequent battles as well. As such, we have decided to try a different selection process this time around."
The previous elimination tournament format aimed to sieve out the strongest ten from a total of eighty candidates from the Four Great Master Teacher Academies in each grade. In other words, each person would have to fight a minimum of three battles.
Considering that the cultivation of every candidate was equal, every single battle would be tough, requiring each candidate to utilize their full strength in order to emerge victorious. By the time they finished the three rounds, most would already be a step into their grave.
In fact, there were occasions where a candidate who possessed the potential to enter the top ten was eliminated in the first round due to meeting an extraordinarily powerful opponent. Even on the off chance that the candidate won, they would still be eventually eliminated due to the severe injuries they had sustained early into the tournament.
This wasn't just a loss for the Four Great Master Teacher Academies but for the Combat Master Hall as well.
However, such had been the case for many years, so upon hearing that the selection format would be changed, Wo Tianqiong, Shen Pingchao, and Wu Ran couldn't help but glance at one another in bewilderment.
It was undeniable that an elimination tournament had its flaws, but it was also one of the few methods that most cultivators viewed to be fair and could accept the results. If the new selection format wasn't viewed to be as fair as an elimination tournament, the candidates might find it hard to accept their elimination, and that could pose many problems as well.
However, the trio didn't remain perplexed for too long.
"The new selection format is simpler and faster. Instead of an elimination tournament among the candidates, the members of our Combat Master Hall will be the ones to fight and assess the capability of the candidates. If a candidate is able to withstand three blows from one of our members of the same cultivation, they will have cleared the selection!" Zhuo Qingfeng explained.
"Three blows?" Hearing those words, Wo Tianqiong and the others frowned.
While this selection process did sound much simpler, in truth, the difficulty had been hiked up.
Others might have been unaware of the fearsome might that members of the Combat Master Hall possessed, but having served as the principals of their respective academies for many years, they knew very well that the prowess that each combat master wielded could be considered invincible among those of their cultivation realm. The candidates they had chosen and trained were strong, but in a real duel against a combat master, three blows… it was rather doubtful whether they would be able to withstand it or not.
Noting the frowns on the principals' faces, Zhuo Qingfeng assured, "Don't worry, I have already instructed them to standardize the force they use for each candidate, and I will also be keeping watching myself. There won't be any situation where a combat master goes easy or makes things difficult for a specific candidate!"
Hearing those words, Wo Tianqiong and the others replied with smiles, "We don't doubt the Combat Master Hall's integrity."
There was no reason for the Combat Master Hall to compromise the credibility of their own selection exercise, so there was no need to worry about that.
Waving his hand, Zhuo Qingfeng said calmly, "Since that's the case, let us start the selection right now so that we can end it as soon as possible!"
"Alright!" At the other party's urging, the principals hesitated for a brief moment before nodding in agreement.
After everything they had done to prepare their candidates for a battle against the other candidates, it turned out that the Combat Master Hall would be invigilating the selection themselves, catching them completely off-guard.
While this selection format was rather unorthodox, it wasn't without its advantages. It was impossible for their candidates to defeat the combat masters, but if it was just three blows, considering the strength of their own candidates, they should still be able to grit their teeth and persevere to the end.
"Xu Tai and Chen Zhu, you two will be assessing the Grade-1 candidates!" Zhuo Qingfeng instructed.
Two young men clasped their fists and stepped out from the group.
Both of them looked to be around seventeen or eighteen, and their cultivation was equivalent to the Grade-1 students, Consonant Spirit realm pinnacle. However, they commanded a threateningly sharp aura, which sent one's alarm bells ringing.
"Allow me to go first!" the young man on the left, Xu Tai, said to his companion on the right, Chen Zhu, before leaping onto the dueling platform. Surveying the Grade-1 candidates standing beneath the dueling platform, he announced, "Any Grade-1 candidate who is able to withstand three blows from me will be deemed to have cleared the selection examination!"
After saying those words, he flicked his wrist and wielded a sword. The cold glint reflected off the sword, inducing shivers in one's body.
At the same time, his aura also began to surge. Despite being only at Consonant Spirit realm, his aura seemed to create a huge pressure that penetrated straight into one's soul. It felt that even a Cosmos Bridge realm would be unable to rival him.
"I thought that Yunxu's candidates were plenty scary, but to think that the combat masters would be even more frightening! To be able to cultivate in the Consonant Spirit realm to such an extent… as expected of combat masters!"
"Indeed. Even with my Cosmos Bridge cultivation, I don't think that I would be able to defeat him…"
Feeling the powerful air shrouding Xu Tai, everyone's expression subconsciously tensed.