Library of Heaven is Path
Chapter 1166: Durians
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: StarveCleric
The eyes of the copper-masked figure lit up, and he unwittingly clenched his fists tightly by his side.
The crowd was also astonished to hear those words.
"That's right!" Zhang Jiuxiao said confidently as he tilted his head upward. At this moment, he felt as if he had really soared into the Nine Heavens.
He couldn't even begin to describe how deeply indignant he felt when he saw that Zhang Xuan was granted a seat when he, the number one genius of Qingyuan Empire, had to remain standing before others. Now that he finally had a chance to stand up and shine, he could hardly hold back his excitement.
"Zhang shi, I beseech you to help me remove the seal from the painting!" the copper-masked figure clasped his fist and said.
At this moment, he had put down the haughty attitude that he had maintained even before Wu shi and the others.
"Rest assured!" Zhang Jiuxiao said confidently as he made his way over to the painting. He whipped his brush before pausing for a brief moment. After which, he suddenly turned his head around and said, "Zhang shi, I might have to trouble you to help me grind some ink for me."
Zhang Xuan turned to glance at his sides to see whom Zhang Jiuxiao was talking to, but the latter's intent gaze on him seemed to suggest that he was the chosen one. Taken aback, he asked in bewilderment, "You are talking to me?"
"Indeed. I will have to focus my attention on resolving the seal, so I earnestly require your help for this matter. You wouldn't turn down my request, right?" Zhang Jiuxiao said with a faint smirk on his lips.
Back at the Heart Tempering Bridge, the other party had outdone him so utterly that he couldn't even keep his head up in public anymore. Not to mention, just a moment ago, he was forced into calling the other party 'Senior Uncle'.
This was a rare chance for him to strike back, so naturally, he was going to make full use of it. He was going to show the other party that a genius like him wouldn't be outmatched by just anyone.
"Very well then."
Zhang Xuan could easily see through Zhang Jiuxiao's intentions, but he still chose to agree to the matter with a nonchalant shrug.
In the first place, it wasn't any big deal to be grinding some ink for the other party. Besides, he was interested in the 8-star painting as well, and he was curious to see if Zhang Jiuxiao would really be able to break the seal or not.
Thus, he walked up to Zhang Jiuxiao, whipped out an inkstone from his storage ring, and began grinding some ink carefully.
"Un." Seeing the young man before him working obediently without daring to utter a single word of complaint, Zhang Jiuxiao felt indescribable exhilaration rushing through his veins.
Taking a momentary breather to calm himself down, he dabbed his brush into the ink before tapping it lightly on the painting.
Contrary to expectations, the ink on the brush didn't blot the painting. Instead, it floated in midair, covering the white clouds in the painting.
Under Zhang Jiuxiao's skillful movements, it took only a few instants for another layer of clouds identical to those on the painting to appear above it. After that was done, he scrutinized the clouds carefully, probably attempting to identify the location of the spirit infused amongst the clouds. Then, with a casual wave of his hand, he retracted the ink back into the inkstone before focusing his soul energy into the painting.
"Hm? His soul energy is exceptionally pure. He must have cultivated some kind of secret art relating to the soul…" Zhang Xuan noted.
While the other party's soul was nothing compared to him, it still stood out among other cultivators. Based on Zhang Xuan's analysis, it was likely due to the cultivation of some sort of secret art from the Zhang Clan.
For a clan with as powerful as the Zhang Clan, even its side family was not something that ordinary clans could hope to match. Be it the things that one could see there, or the secret arts that they had in their possession, they were truly nothing short of extraordinary.
With such thoughts in mind, Zhang Xuan discreetly stretched his hand towards the painting and touched it lightly.
A book immediately materialized in the Library of Heaven's Path.
Zhang Xuan was just about to take a look at it when he suddenly noticed Zhang Jiuxiao's face turning ghastly pale, and cold sweat was pouring down his face.
"What's wrong?" Zhang Xuan asked with a frown.
At this point, the crowd also seemed to have noticed that something had gone wrong.
They could sense that Zhang Jiuxiao's current state wasn't simply due to exhaustion.
Before the crowd could even ask about the matter, a tinge of red abruptly appeared on Zhang Jiuxiao's pale face, and in the next moment, he suddenly staggered back eight steps before spewing a mouthful of blood.
Worried, Guild Leader Mu immediately rushed up to him.
"I'm fine. I just didn't expect the spirit in the painting to retaliate so violently…" Zhang Jiuxiao shook his head, but halfway through his words, he suddenly realized that the room was bizarrely quiet.
He raised his head and saw Guild Leader Mu staring at him with a look of horror. Perplexed, he asked, "Teacher, what's wrong?"
Even if he had failed in undoing the seal, surely the other party didn't have to look at him with such an expression, right?
"Y-your head... There are durians growing out of your head!" Guild Leader Mu exclaimed in shock.
"Durians?" Zhang Jiuxiao was taken aback by those abrupt words.
"There is a tail on your bottom as well!" Another elder amidst the crowd exclaimed.
Zhang Jiuxiao quickly turned around to look at his bottom, and the sight he saw left his eyes narrowing into slits, and he nearly blacked out on the spot.
There was a crimson tail extending from his bottom, and it was extremely furry, reminiscent of green foxtail. At the same time, through his Spiritual Perception, he also noticed the large spiky lumps that bore a striking resemblance to durians were emerging from his head one after another, and it didn't take long for them to fill his entire head. To make things worse, they were showing signs of flowering...
"What's going on?" Zhang Jiuxiao's face paled in disbelief as he subconsciously took several steps back.
At this point, he was already on the verge of insanity.
All he had done was to attempt to break the seal on the painting, so why would such an issue suddenly happen to him?
"From the looks of it, it seems like a plant spirit has taken root within your Primordial Spirit. Fortunately, it seems to be an ordinary plant spirit, or else the growth of the plants would be much faster than this…" Seeing through the root of the problem, Guild Leader Ruan spoke up and explained.
As a 7-star pinnacle spirit awakener, she had heard of such a situation before. However, it was still rather shocking to see it in person.
"Plant spirit? What's going on?" Zhang Jiuxiao asked anxiously.
The situation was really driving him insane.
All he had wanted to do was to resolve the seal and bring some dignity back to himself, and yet, before he could achieve anything, such a thing ended up happening to him instead. Durians were actually growing out of his head, and there were already four of them now!
"It is probably the retaliation of the spirit in the painting. You tried to get rid of it, so it got even with you." Zhang Xuan shook his head in sympathy.
He had seen this situation of Hall Master Xing before as well. He had tried to mend the rift in the other party's Primordial Spirit through spirit enchanting it, but he failed to destroy the spirit in time... As a result, he ended up bearing fruits on his head and blooming flowers on his bottom.
For such a situation to occur with Zhang Jiuxiao at this moment, there was no doubt that it had something to do with the spirit within the painting. Most likely, the latter had attempted to get rid of the spirit, only to get done in himself instead.
"What do I do?" Zhang Jiuxiao's face paled in despair.
He was the number one genius of Qingyuan Empire, the idol of countless young women. How could he possibly walk around with durians on his head? He would become the laughingstock of the town!
"It's very simple, you just have to get rid of the spirit that has taken root within you." Zhang Xuan explained in composure.
He had panicked a little when he saw it happen to Hall Master Xing the previous time around, but the past experience had truly tempered his mind well. At this point, he no longer felt anything towards the matter anymore.
"Get rid of the spirit? How can I get rid of it?" Zhang Jiuxiao looked at Zhang Xuan anxiously, as if a desperate man clutching onto his final straw of hope.
"Simple. Bare open your soul to me, and I'll help you check for the spirit and destroy it." Zhang Xuan said.
Even someone as powerful as Hall Master Xing was unable to deal with the plant spirit by himself, let alone Zhang Jiuxiao. This was already the most effective and easiest way to get rid of the spirit.
"You want me to bare open my soul to you? That won't do…" Zhang Jiuxiao swiftly shook his head.
As an offspring of the Zhang Clan, he had many secrets concealed within him, especially within his soul. Given such, how could he possibly bare his soul to a random stranger?
One must know that baring one's soul was effectively no different from standing completely nude before another.
There was no way he could do that!
"That won't do? I guess that can't be helped then. Let me take a look at what the spirit within the painting is first, and I'll see if I can concoct some kind of medicine that could isolate and kill the spirit within you." Zhang Xuan said.
It was a little more troublesome, but as long as he could figure out what kind of spirit it was, he was confident that he would be able to concoct a corresponding poison to deal with it.
Back then, he had raised it as one of the potential solutions to Hall Master Xing as well, but it was a pity that the latter didn't agree to it.
"Alright. You should go on and take a look at the painting then!" Zhang Jiuxiao heaved a sigh of relief upon hearing that he didn't have to bare his soul before urging the other party forward.
"Un." Zhang Xuan nodded nonchalantly before turning his gaze towards the painting. His eyes were fixated on the painting, but his mind had already slipped into the Library of Heaven's Path to take a look at the newly compiled book.
After taking a quick look, a frown emerged on his forehead.
"Did you notice anything?" Noticing Zhang Xuan's expression, Wu shi asked in intrigue.
Instead of answering Wu shi's question, Zhang Xuan turned his gaze towards the copper-masked figure and asked, "Where did you obtain this painting from?"
"I have only invited all of you over to decipher the seal for me. I don't think that I'm obliged to tell you the background of the painting." the copper-masked figure replied curtly.
"You're right, you are indeed not obliged to tell me the background of the painting." Zhang Xuan placed his hands behind his back and replied.
"The Marshlands of the Northern Meadows is an extremely humid place. An 8-star painting it might be, but having spent two thousand years in a place like that, it is already permeated with an air of dampness. It's not apparent from a distance away, but it's quite easily discernible at close proximity."
"You…" Even with his face concealed, the shock of the copper-masked figure was palpable.
To be able to deduce the history of the painting just through the slightly damp aura around the painting, wasn't the other party's eye of discernment a little too formidable?
Before the copper-masked figure could recover from his state, Zhang Xuan had already continued, "The Marshlands of the Northern Meadows is a treacherous land, but many cultivators still flock there in hopes of stumbling upon treasure. It's not too surprising that you were able to find the work of the Sorrowless Old Man there. There's one thing that I have to concede that you are right about. It's indeed suspicious that the Sorrowless Old Man would suddenly conceal what he has drawn within the mountains thirty years after he has created the work... Judging from that in itself, it must have been quite a huge secret."
The eyelids of the copper-masked figure twitched slightly as he narrowed his eyes, "It doesn't seem like we are getting anywhere at this rate. If none of you are able to decipher the seal, I'll be taking my painting away with me then."
"Who says that none of us are able to decipher the seal?" Zhang Xuan spoke up.
"Since you don't want me to speak about the origin of the painting, I can't be bothered to waste my breath on it either. I'll talk about the painting itself then. The canvas for the painting is specially created by fusing the skin of the Emeraldhorn Fish and White Reindeer together, and the ink used is a compound between the Sapphire Stone and Goldensource Water. It's due to the usage of these precious materials that there isn't the slightest wear and tear on it despite spending two thousand years under damp condition. On the contrary, the artwork is getting more and more lifelike and touching as the years go by."
"Judging from the changes in the ink color, it seems like it has been three years since you unearthed the painting from the ground, and it should have been 2142 years since the painting is created. Judging by the timing, I stand to believe that it's the work of the Sorrowless Old Man back when he's around 270 years old. When he eventually added the clouds on the painting, he was already close to three hundred. In other words, the addition of the clouds could very well be the last thing he did before he went missing. As for whether he was killed or kidnapped, there is no way to say for sure now."
Everyone was astonished by the analysis.
By the side, Guild Leader Mu couldn't help but widen his eyes in shock.
Even he was unable to determine the history of the painting despite examining it for a long time earlier, and yet, the young man was actually able to detail the history of the painting with just a short glance. Wasn't his appraising capability a little too fearsome?
On the other hand, the durian-head Zhang Jiuxiao's body also staggered upon hearing those words. At this point, he really felt like bursting into tears.
Didn't the other party say that he was a 5-star appraiser?
On normal days, he wouldn't even spare a second glance to other 5-star appraisers, and yet, why did it feel that the other party was even more formidable than a 7-star appraiser like him?
"The Sorrowless Old Man had already reached Leaving Aperture realm prior to his disappearance. With his outstanding painting skills, his painting was still able to reach the level of Evoking Vividness even with the addition of those clouds, making it extremely exceptionally difficult the decipher the seal he has put up…"