Library of Heaven is Path
933 Zhu Jian Makes a Move
Chapter 933: Zhu Jian Makes a Move
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
Consonant Spirit realm, this was the realm where a cultivator would first come into contact with matters relating to the soul, as well as the first hurdle that one would face on the long journey to becoming a true expert. Typically speaking, no matter how much a cultivator reinforced their cultivation, there was still a limit to the strength one could wield at Consonant Spirit realm. Yet, the aura of the combat master on the dueling platform felt heavy like a towering mountain, far surpassing the conventional boundaries of a normal Consonant Spirit realm cultivator.
"Allow me to go first!"
Amongst the crowd beneath, a masculine voice suddenly sounded, and a young man leaped onto the stage.
"It's Zhao Zhongchuan of Yunxu! In the internal selections, he was ranked sixth!"
"To be ranked sixth strongest in Yunxu, there is no doubt that he will be able to clear the selection!"
"Indeed. This will also be a good opportunity for us to see the prowess of that Combat Master Xu so that we can prepare ourselves in advance!"
"Un. It is a huge disadvantage to go first, given that one doesn't have concrete information on the opponent's prowess yet. However, given Zhao Zhongchuan's strength, it shouldn't be difficult for him to withstand three blows!"
Upon seeing the young man, hushed whispers immediately spread beneath the stage.
Many of the Grade-1 candidates were staring at the dueling platform intently, unwilling to miss a single second of the battle.
Previously, Zhao Zhongchuan had displayed astounding prowess in the power display, and even among all eighty candidates from the four Master Teacher Academies, he would easily rank within the top fifteen.
In other words, even in the usual elimination tournament format, he would have been able to clear the Combat Master Selection.
With such a powerful candidate going up first, the other candidates would be able to assess the full extent of the prowess that Xu Tai wielded so that they could possibly take precautions for their turn.
Upon seeing Zhao Zhongchuan, Xu Tai flicked his sword slightly and asked nonchalantly, "Where is your weapon?"
Despite his overwhelming strength, he didn't show the slightest complacency or underestimate his opponent.
"It's here!" Flicking his wrist, Zhao Zhongchuan wielded a saber, and flicking it lightly, a powerful gust of wind whipped up in the surroundings.
Knowing that his opponent was stronger than him, Zhao Zhongchuan immediately dashed forward to grasp the initiative so as to control the tide of battle. At the same time, he flung his saber furiously, and saber qi shot forth furiously from his blade, filling the area several dozen meters ahead of him completely with saber qi.
Wo Tianqiong had been slightly worried when he saw Zhao Zhongchuan volunteering to head up first. However, upon seeing this sight, he heaved a sigh of relief.
This was the strongest technique that Zhao Zhongchuan had in his arsenal. Under its relentless attacks, even a Cosmos Bridge realm would have to back down for the time being or risk being fatally wounded.
Knowing that the crux of the duel lay not in defeating his opponent but withstanding three blows, Zhao Zhongchuan didn't bother taking the risk to try out his opponent first, deciding instead to use his strongest move so as to suppress his opponent right from the start. From this, it could be seen that he wasn't an inflexible person.
"Not too bad, but still too slow!"
In face of the endless saber qi, Xu Tai didn't panic in the slightest. Instead, with a light chuckle, he suddenly made a swift maneuver, which made his figure disappear entirely from the spot. A moment later, he abruptly reappeared before Zhao Zhongchuan and did a light jab with his sword.
Feeling a massive might gushing toward him furiously, sealing the movements of his saber, Zhao Zhongchuan was forced to retreat several steps, and a stifled sensation welled up in his chest from the abrupt termination of his battle technique.
Seeing that the other party had managed to overcome his strongest technique with just a single jab, Zhao Zhongchuan was alarmed. He immediately tried to retreat to a safe location to regain his footing in the battle, but a cold glint flashed across his eyes, and all of a sudden, a bone-chilling sword was pressed right against his neck.
With his sword pointed directly toward Zhao Zhongchuan's neck, Xu Tai said impassively, "You have lost."
"I… have lost?" Zhao Zhongchuan's face turned pale.
The other party had managed to corner him with just two moves, leaving him devoid of an opportunity to retaliate at all. If this had been a life-and-death duel, his head would have already rolled.
"Zhao Zhongchuan has lost?"
"If he could only withstand two moves, doesn't that mean that… there is no hope for us?"
The faces of the crowd below turned grim.
Zhao Zhongchuan was an existence who could be ranked in the top fifteen among the Grade-1 candidates, and yet, he had fallen within two moves. So, wouldn't that mean that the others stood less of a chance?
"It seems like… the difficulty has indeed been heightened!" Wo Tianqiong clenched his fists tightly upon seeing this sight.
He had thought that with the revised rules, it would be easier for all of the candidates to clear the selection. After all, it was only three moves! However, it seemed like he had underestimated the difficulty of the matter.
Combat masters were simply too much stronger than the other cultivators of the same cultivation realm, to the point that it was despair-inducing.
"How are we supposed to fight against that?" Zhu Jian muttered despondently.
Zhao Zhongchuan was far superior to him in terms of zhenqi purity and complexity of moves, and yet, the other party had still been unable to withstand three moves from the combat master. If he were to go up, he had no doubt that he would be utterly defeated.
It seemed like… his dream of becoming a combat master was going to come to a halt.
"Let me give it a try!"
At that moment, another young man leaped onto the dueling platform.
Zhu Jian recognized the young man. The latter was one of the top students from the Luoqing Master Teacher Academy, having placed third in their internal selections. He had also participated in the power display earlier, and his pair of golden and silver rings were capable of performing consecutive lethal attacks.
With Zhu Jian's current strength, even two of him combined wouldn't be a match for the young man.
Ding ding ding!
While Zhu Jian was still deep in thought, the duel on the platform began.
This time, Xu Tai was the one to take the first move. With a flick of his sword, he charged toward the young man with furious momentum.
It was as if Xu Tai's movements were precisely measured with a ruler; there weren't any excessive motions in his movements at all. In the first move, he accurately breached the defense of the double rings his opponent had put up. In the second, he managed to get into close quarters with his opponent, and in the third, his sword accurately pierced into his opponent's chest. It wasn't too deep, but fresh blood still flowed profusely from the wound.
"I admit defeat!" The face of the young man from Luoqing paled.
Had the other party not gone easy on him and exerted just a bit more strength, he would have been a lifeless corpse by now.
He had thought that he would have been able to stand his ground with his strength, but to think that… he hadn't been able to withstand three moves either.
As the young man walked down the dueling platform, the atmosphere among the crowd suddenly grew extremely heavy. Everyone looked at one another with an awful complexion.
It was one thing for Zhao Zhongchuan to have lost—he was only ranked fifteen among all of the candidates—but the young man from Luoqing could definitely get into the top ten with his strength. Yet, to think that even he would be unable to withstand three moves. The difficulty of the test had far exceeded their expectations!
Previously, there had been a few who were still harboring hopes that, as long as they were to grit their teeth and endure the three moves, they would be able to clear the test. But from the looks of it, such thoughts had been too naive.
Another candidate leaped onto the dueling platform.
This candidate was skilled in defensive and evasive maneuvers, and as soon as the battle begun, he began skirting around the dueling platform, hoping to drag the battle beyond three moves. However, Xu Tai was far swifter than the candidate had expected.
With just two moves, Xu Tai had already cornered him and knocked him off the dueling platform with severe wounds.
This fellow sure is a difficult opponent to deal with. He has no particularly major flaws that one can easily exploit against him, Zhang Xuan noted with a grim expression.
As expected of a combat master! Xu Tai's speed, strength, and defense were nearly impeccable. Had Zhang Xuan faced him as a Consonant Spirit realm cultivator as well, he would have had to take at least a single move in order to defeat the other party!
Considering how Zhang Xuan could easily rival opponents with cultivation far beyond his, it was indeed rare for him to require one whole move in order to subdue an opponent of the same cultivation realm.
Of course, if he were to use the Eye of Insight or the Library of Heaven's Path, he should have been able to destroy the other party in half a move.
Soon, more and more candidates went up to the dueling platform, but each and every one of them were defeated. It was not until the tenth candidate that a person finally managed to withstand three blows with great difficulty.
That candidate was ranked first within Qingzhu's internal selection, and he was known to be invincible among the Grade-1 students. Yet, a person of his caliber had barely managed to clear the selection.
The combat master on the dueling platform, Xu Tai, was indeed a little, no, far too powerful.
"Is there anyone else?"
It didn't take long for the selection to come to a standstill. There were still many candidates who hadn't gone up yet, but after witnessing the fearsome prowess that Xu Tai possessed, they dared not stand up.
"Candidates from Yunxu, Luoqing, and Qingzhu have stood up and faced me, but I don't seem to have faced any from Hongyuan yet. Is there anyone from Hongyuan who wishes to give a try? Or could it be that you don't even have the courage to do so? If that's the case, why even bother coming for this Combat Master Selection?" Xu Tai sneered as he turned his sight toward the candidates from Hongyuan's side.
The candidates from the other three academies had already tried their luck, and it was only the candidates from Hongyuan who had remained motionless, none going up to challenge him at all.
"This…" Hearing Xu Tai's words, the faces of the Grade-1 candidates from Hongyuan flushed crimson in embarrassment.
They knew full well where they stood. They wouldn't be a match for even Zhao Zhongchuan and the others, so they would only be making a fool out of themselves even if they were to head up.
"Forget it, I will go. What else can happen other than defeat?" Seeing that no one was willing to make a move, Zhu Jian clenched his jaws and volunteered himself.
In any case, the worst that could happen was a loss. Given that the other party had specifically named Hongyuan, if they continued to cower with lowered heads, they would only become sinners who had brought shame to the academy.
They might be weak, but they mustn't become cowards!
Stepping forward, Zhu Jian leaped onto the stage.
"Not bad, it seems like you still have some guts." Xu Tai chuckled softly. "Take out your weapon!"
"Weapon? There is no need for that. I shall face you with my bare hands," Zhu Jian replied with a shake of his head.
His loss was already sealed, so there would be no difference whether he used a weapon or not. Since that was the case, he might as well save a bit of strength.
"You aren't going to use a weapon? I will just say this in advance, I won't go easy on you just because you are unarmed!" Seeing that his opponent wasn't intending to use a weapon, Xu Tai shook his head, but it seemed like he had no intention of casting aside his sword due to it.
Instead, he flicked his wrist, and a piercing shrill echoed in the air.
Innumerable sword qi slashed through the air, headed toward Zhu Jian.
Xu Tai didn't go easy on Zhu Jian just because the latter was unarmed. Just as he'd done with the other candidates, he went at the latter at his full strength right from the start.
The sword qi harnessed a bone-chilling aura, which left Zhu Jian's goosebumps standing on end before it could even approach, and his face paled in fright.
He had witnessed the other party's swordsmanship several times in the previous battles, and he knew that even if he were to dodge this attack, the other party would swiftly follow up with another strike that would leave him cornered. Sighing deeply, he was just about to surrender and admit defeat when he suddenly recalled Principal Zhang's teachings.
Since the worst thing that can happen is loss, why should I admit defeat? Perhaps, if I try a bit harder, I might just get lucky and clear the test…
As soon as such a thought surfaced in his head, the various insights that Principal Zhang had just explained to him suddenly gushed into his mind like a torrent.
The other party's sword is pure and earnest, seemingly having come right from his heart. According to what Principal Zhang said, in order to unravel such swordsmanship, I will have to examine him closely to assess the purpose and intent behind his swordsmanship, as well as the maximum might he can exert through it.
I have already seen the maximum might of the other party's swordsmanship earlier, and the purpose and intent are clear, too—he intends to overwhelm me with his sword qi so as to limit my movements. If I counterattack, I will be falling into his trap instead.
From the classifications that Principal Zhang listed earlier, the aim of his swordsmanship is to force me to expose an opening, which he can then exploit against me. If I wish to unravel his swordsmanship… I will have to force him force him to err before me!
These thoughts swiftly flowed into Zhu Jian's mind. It might seem complicated, but everything came to him in just an instant.
When Principal Zhang first explained those concepts, it had felt extremely abstract to him. However, utilizing them in a battle now, he suddenly realized that everything the other party had said was truly the utmost essence of combat.
With these realizations, the other party's profound swordsmanship, which he had been unable to comprehend earlier, suddenly seemed as if it was nothing special at all. Everything was apparent to him, be it the direction of the other party's attack or his possible future maneuvers. It was as if all of its secrets had been laid bare to him.
Principal Zhang said that the best way to deal with such a move is…
Gritting his teeth, Zhu Jian faced the other party's swordsmanship without dodging at all. Instead, he squeezed his body together while directing his forefinger forward abruptly.
Zhu Jian felt as if his finger had managed to strike something, and in a moment of fluster, he hurriedly took a step back before taking a closer look at what had happened.
It was only then that he realized that Xu Tai, whom he was fighting with, was lying on the ground with his eyes rolled back, spurting large mouthfuls of blood on the ground.
Seeing the fellow, whom so many experts before had been unable to defeat, lying on the ground after just a casual finger jab from him, Zhu Jian was dumbfounded.
At this point, there was only one thought in his mind…
Is this a sham accident to scam me of my wealth?