Library of Heaven is Path
1164 Evocative Vividness
Chapter 1164: Evocative Vividness
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
Dressed in a light green robe, Zhang Jiuxiao had a look deeply reminiscent of a scholar. Pinned on his chest was not the emblem of a master teacher but that of an appraiser, and the seven stars gleaming on the emblem signified the outstanding skills he had in the field.
The one that came along with him was an elder who appeared to be in his sixties. The aura that he emanated revealed his Saint 4-dan cultivation, and there was a 7-star appraiser emblem on his chest as well.
That fellow… is an appraiser as well? Zhang Xuan was taken aback.
Having witnessed Zhang Jiuxiao conducting calligraphy in the air, he knew that the latter possessed exceptional proficiency in painting. He had not expected the latter to be a 7-star appraiser as well.
As expected of the number one genius of the Qingyuan Empire, he was indeed no simple figure.
Upon seeing the elder, Wu shi quickly walked up to him and greeted with a smile, "Guild Leader Mu, it has been long since we last met!"
"Wu Rufeng, were you not going to pay me a visit if I didn't send you the invitation to the Appraisal Convention? Have you long forgotten about the many years of friendship between us?" The elder patted Wu shi's shoulders and berated him jokingly.
"Of course not! I was already planning to pay you a visit but then you sent me the invitation," Wu shi replied with a smile.
Hearing the conversation between the two, Zhang Xuan noted internally, This elder seems to be the head of the Appraiser Hall.
Considering the 7-star appraiser emblem and how Wu shi addressed the other party, it was not too difficult to figure out the other party's identity.
While he was assessing the guild leader before him, Zhang Xuan suddenly felt a gaze falling on him. Raising his head, he saw Zhang Jiuxiao staring at him with a slight hint of enmity in his eyes.
To be honest, the hostility the other party emanated was so vague that it would have been nearly indiscernible for anyone else, but with his Soul Depth of 25.1, which was comparable to an 8-star master teacher, it was still rather easy for him to perceive it.
He is hostile toward me? Why? I don't think I have offended him before. Zhang Xuan was perplexed.
The both of them had only met once back on the Heart Tempering Bridge, and he had even cheered the other party on with a 'You can do it!' It was one thing for the other party not to reciprocate his goodwill, but to carry enmity against him on top of that… what the heck was the other party up to?
Just as Zhang Xuan was lamenting how difficult it was to be a good person nowadays, the young man walked up to him and clasped his fist. "I am Zhang Jiuxiao, how may I address you?"
"I am Zhang Xuan."
"Zhang Xuan? Are you the newly appointed principal of the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy? I have heard much of your talent!" Upon hearing the name, Zhang Jiuxiao came to a realization. "It's no wonder you possess such exceptional mental fortitude, being able to cross the Heart Tempering Bridge with ease. It's indeed impossible to govern an entire academy without an exceptional state of mind."
He had been wondering whom the 6-star master teacher who had broken his record was, and upon learning of the other party's identity, he felt as if the burden in his heart had been lifted.
He had heard bits and pieces of Zhang Xuan's affairs, and the latter was indeed worthy of being considered a prodigy among geniuses.
However, the other party was still only a 6-star master teacher, no matter how talented he was. Against him, a true 7-star master teacher, the other party was clearly still far from a match.
"It's due to the appreciation of the teachers and students in the academy that I accepted the position of the principal in the first place. To be honest with you, I am intending to resign soon," Zhang Xuan replied humbly.
Since the old principal of the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy, Zhang Yinqiu, had returned, he had been wanting to step down, just that the others had been unwilling to accept his resignation.
"Resign? Well, I guess that's to be expected. Despite your talent, your young age still limits your experience. It wouldn't reflect too well on the academy to have a master teacher as young as you as its principal." Zhang Jiuxiao nodded in agreement.
Not expecting his words of humility to be taken for real, Zhang Xuan shook his head with a helpless smile.
It was the norm in such social settings to keep up pleasantries. More than manners, it was a sign of politeness and respect for the other party. He could tell that Zhang Jiuxiao was trying to put him down, and while he would not go to the extent of getting into a squabble with the other party over something as inconsequential as this, he was not interested in putting up with it either. Thus, he chose to take his leave instead.
However, before he could do so, the other party continued speaking. "Since Wu shi has brought you to this Appraisal Convention, it must mean that he has a high opinion of you. Is Zhang shi an appraiser as well?"
Out of politeness, Zhang Xuan replied, "Yes, I have learned a little bit of appraising in my spare time."
"May I know what your current rank in it is?" Zhang Jiuxiao asked curiously.
"I am currently a 5-star appraiser," replied Zhang Xuan nonchalantly.
The previous Appraiser Hall that he had been to was in Honghai City of the Myriad Kingdom Alliance. Over there, the highest emblem he could receive was only 5-star, so he had been stuck with it until now.
"5-star? I see. Given your current age, it's actually not too bad. At the very least, it does show that you have some talent in the field. As long as you work diligently on it, it might be possible for you to overtake me in the future!" Zhang Jiuxiao nodded.
"To tell you the truth, 5-star appraisers are actually unqualified to attend the Appraisal Convention, but it seems like Wu shi has specially brought you here to expand your horizons."
"Seems so," Zhang Xuan replied casually.
"Un." Zhang Jiuxiao nodded before continuing. "The Appraisal Convention this time around is far grander than the previous few. The Appraiser Hall has invited many leading figures in their own occupation this time around, so it's very likely that a few valuable treasures might appear later on. Since it's fate that we have met, and the both of us have the same surname, 'Zhang', why don't you follow behind me later on, and I'll show you around? If there's anything you don't recognize or know of, you can ask me. We are all master teachers, and as your senior in the field of appraising, it's only right for me to offer you a few pointers here. Hopefully, my words will be of some help to you in pushing for a breakthrough to 6-star."
"I'll be counting on you then," Zhang Xuan replied.
It did not seem like the other party had any bad intentions in mind, so Zhang Xuan did not think that there was any need to create unnecessary acrimony between them.
"There's no need to stand on ceremony. While I am a master teacher as well, I have devoted quite a bit of my time to studying appraising, and I do have a some reputation of my own in the Qingyuan Empire Appraisal Hall as well," Zhang Jiuxiao replied calmly, but the slight hint of pride in his tone was unconcealable.
He had been feeling rather traumatized by the other party after the affairs at the Heart Tempering Bridge, so he could not help but feel exceptionally refreshed after returning the favor.
"Un." Zhang Xuan nodded.
He was just about to speak when Wu shi and Guild Leader Mu suddenly both turned their sights over, and the latter spoke with a smile on his face. "I was too busy speaking earlier that I forgot to introduce him to you both. As all of you are master teachers, I believe that I need not specially introduce him. Zhang Jiuxiao over here has studied appraising under me for three years, and within this short period of time, he has already achieved 7-star proficiency in the occupation. His talent in this field is truly fearsome, an outstanding youth indeed."
Wu shi nodded upon hearing those words before saying, "Guild Leader Mu, this young man over here is my friend, Zhang Xuan. Don't underestimate him just because of his young age; he's truly an exceptional genius. He was previously intending to look for you to take the appraiser examination, but since we coincidentally met one another here, I thought that it would be good to introduce him to you."
"Your friend? I thought that he is your junior?" Guild Leader Mu was taken aback.
Wu shi was almost eight hundred this year, so he had automatically assumed that the twenty-year-old lad whom he had brought with him to the Appraisal Convention would be a new student that he had accepted recently or a close junior. Who would have thought that the other party was his friend instead?
The fact that Wu shi chose to address the young man as his peer showed how high an evaluation he had of the other party's capability.
"Principal Zhang is a man of great talent. It's already a great honor for me to have him as my friend, so how could he possibly be my junior?" Wu shi quickly waved his hand to deny the claim.
The young man before him was a Celestial Master Teacher and a Celestial Saint. To be honest, he already felt as if he was being a little conceited to address the other party as his friend, so he nearly died of a heart attack when Guild Leader Mu asked if the other party was his student.
"Oh?" Noting that his old friend was not say those words out of humility, Guild Leader Mu could not help but take another good look at Zhang Xuan, and the casual attitude he took before slowly turned into graveness. "A friend of Wu shi is a friend of mine too. Principal Zhang, feel free to look for me if you ever require any help concerning appraising."
Having known Wu shi for many years, Guild Leader Mu knew that the other party was an austere man who viewed formalities with grave importance. The fact that he was willing to address a person as young as Principal Zhang with such deep respect showed that the latter was no ordinary figure.
Zhang Xuan clasped his fist and replied, "Guild Leader Mu, you are being too polite!"
"There's no need to stand on ceremony with me. Wu shi and I have been close friends for many years!" Guild Leader Mu said with a smile. He turned to Zhang Jiuxiao and said, "Jiuxiao, I know that the both of you are around the same age, but since Principal Zhang is a friend of mine, you will have to address him as Senior Uncle. Alright, hurry up and greet him."
Zhang Jiuxiao nearly vomited blood. He reluctantly voiced those two words from his mouth. "Senior… Uncle…"
It was just a moment ago that he had said that he would show the other party around the Appraisal Convention to teach the other party a thing or two. His face turned so red that it looked as if he would burst into flames at any moment.
"Un." Guild Leader Mu nodded. "Wu shi and Brother Zhang, it seems like most of the guests have arrived. Allow me to bring you two to your seats."
"Alright." Wu shi nodded.
Thus, the group began making their way into the hall.
The hall spanned roughly thirty meters from one end to the other, and there was a long rectangular table stationed at the very center. Both ends of the tables were already surrounded with all kinds of finely-dressed gentlemen and ladies, and most of them seemed to be roughly around the age of Guild Leader Mu.
Zhang Xuan spotted two familiar figures amid the crowd—Guild Leader Ruan of the Spirit Awakener Guild and Guild Leader Wei of the Terpsichore Guild.
Guild Leader Mu first brought Wu shi and Zhang Xuan to their seats before heading to the principal seat of the rectangular table and gestured to them. "Alright, please take a seat. "
"Un." Zhang Xuan and Wu shi sat down side by side.
Zhang Jiuxiao also walked up to one of the seats as well, but Guild Leader Mu frowned at that moment and said, "Jiuxiao, you shall stand behind me."
"Yes!" Zhang Jiuxiao's face twitched slightly, but he quickly nodded and took his place behind Guild Leader Mu.
He was initially thinking that with his standing as a 7-star appraiser, he would at least be able to vie back some dignity from the other party, but who would have thought that before he could really do anything, he would already be suppressed to the point where he could hardly raise his head before the other party?
After settling everyone into their seats, Guild Leader Mu looked at the person sitting on the other end and said, "Since everyone is here, my friend over there, can you take out your artifact now?"
That person was wearing a copper mask, making it impossible to distinguish his facial features. Nevertheless, from his skin, one could roughly tell that his external appearance should be one of a middle-aged man in his late forties.
"Everyone present here is a reputable figure of Qingyuan City, and I see that even Vice Pavilion Master Wu is here today, so naturally, I have no qualms regarding your credibility. However, I think that there is still a need for me to put the ugly words at the forefront and make my stand clear. I only wish for my artifact to be appraised so as to decipher the secret hidden within it. Regardless of what is discovered in the process, I wish to make it very clear that I have no intentions of selling my artifact to anyone else. However, be assured that I will handsomely reward those who help me in deciphering it," the copper-masked figure said.
His voice was slightly scratchy, a sign indicating that he had intentionally altered his voice so that no one would be able to recognize him.
"Rest assured, the friends that I have invited to the Appraisal Convention this time around are trustworthy individuals!" Guild Leader Mu nodded.
The copper-masked figure nodded. "Un, I trust Guild Leader Mu's judgement."
He flicked his wrist, and a scroll appeared in his hands. He unfurled it carefully, and a beautiful scene opened up before everyone's eyes. A lush mountain peak filled with the cries of birds and beasts alike was paired with a tranquil flowing river; it was a calming sight.
The crowd found themselves unable to distinguish whether the sight before them was true or not. It was as if a mountain was truly erected not too far from where they were, and they could even vaguely feel a warm, humid breeze on their faces.
"This is… Evocative Vividness, the work of an 8-star painter!"
Upon seeing the painting, an elder rose to his feet in agitation. His eyes reddened, and his body trembled uncontrollably. Putting together the fact that he was wearing the robe of a painter and the seven gleaming stars on his painter emblem, it was likely that he was the head of the Painter Guild whom Wu shi had spoken of previously.
"Evocative Vividness?" Zhang Xuan asked in confusion.
"Evocative Vividness is the ability of an 8-star painter. Those who have achieved this realm are able to produce paintings that are extremely lifelike, making it extremely difficult to discern it from reality. A painting that has achieved such a level is capable of absorbing spiritual energy in order to sustain the spirit within and even cultivate. With sufficient time, it might even be able to leap out of the painting and exist as an independent lifeform!" Wu shi explained with a suppressed voice.
"So formidable?" Zhang Xuan was astonished.
He discreetly activated his Eye of Insight in order to assess the painting before his eyes closely.