Library of Heaven is Path
1273 Heaven’s Path Sword Ar
Swords were just a type of weapon, but with many generations of cultivators immersing their entire lives to furthering the Way of Sword over the course of many years, it had already developed into a complex art with countless paths. Naturally, the method of cultivation for each path also differed vastly from one another.
It was precisely for this reason that heritage was extremely important.
There were simply too many different Sword Intent and sword arts within the Sword Lagoon that if one were to attempt to use them as an inspiration to further one's mastery in swordsmanship, putting aside the fact that the divergence in the fundamental principles of each path of swordsmanship would make it very unlikely for one to succeed, the odds were that one's cultivation would go berserk instead.
It was also for this reason why the Master Teacher Pavilion chose to limit the cultivators' access to cultivation technique manuals.
Reading just one or two different cultivation technique manuals was still fine, but if exposed to too many cultivation techniques, a cultivator's interpretation of cultivation would be muddled, preventing him from distinguishing which methods of cultivation were feasible for him and which weren't. Once in such a state, the cultivator would be extremely prone to making a wrong step in his cultivation, thus making it highly likely for his cultivation to go berserk.
This was also the reason why master teachers had to be selective with what they read.
The same principles applied to the Sword Lagoon as well. Those who came here to cultivate might be tempted by the powerful sword arts and Sword Intent all around them, but if they were to cultivate what they saw without careful selection, it could very well lead to the erosion of the foundation of the swordsmanship path they had built so far. In the long-term, not only would it be detrimental to one's growth, they might even lose their lives as well.
"Bring me over to take a look!" Understanding all of these, Zhang Xuan said.
"Yes!" the Dusk Cloud Sword began leading the way forward.
A journey of two hundred li was nothing to a Primordial Spirit realm cultivator. In just a few moments, they had already arrived at their destination.
Towering before them were a massive stone wall with the character '剑 (Sword)' inscribed on it. Written with majestic and powerful strokes, it felt as if the character would transform into a burst of sword qi and tear them apart at any moment.
"What powerful Sword Intent!" Zhang Xuan remarked in astonishment.
He couldn't clearly discern what level of calligraphy the character before him was at, but just by looking at it from afar, it gave him the impression of an unparalleled expert wielding a sword slashing at him furiously. It felt like no matter how he moved, he wouldn't be able to escape from that slash, as if the attack had been locked upon his soul.
"This is left behind by the Old Sword Maestro?" Zhang Xuan asked in astonishment.
"That's right!" the Dusk Cloud Sword replied.
"The Old Sword Maestro must have achieved an astounding level of mastery in the Way of Sword in his lifetime!" Zhang Xuan exclaimed in awe.
In his past year of cultivation, he had assimilated quite a number of books relating to sword art, and he had successfully advanced his comprehension of swordsmanship to a considerably high level as well.
All along, he thought that even if his comprehension of swordsmanship hadn't reached the peak yet, he still wouldn't lose out to anyone. But through this inscribed character, he could tell that the level of mastery in swordsmanship that the Old Sword Maestro had achieved was far higher than his.
The Old Sword Maestro had ground the very essence of the Way of Sword into his bones, such that even his body had been forged into a sword as well... Otherwise, it was impossible for a casual calligraphy to harness such astoundingly refined Sword Intent, leaving him feeling a sense of helplessness before it.
"These are the cultivators who have journeyed here in hopes of comprehending the secrets of the Old Sword Maestro's swordsmanship." the Dusk Cloud Sword as it gestured in a certain direction.
Turning his gaze over, Zhang Xuan realized that there was a huge crowd of several hundred cultivators gathered beneath the stone wall. Every single one of them was staring intently at the '剑 (Sword)' character as they emulated its strokes with their fingers. There was an unnaturally focused or even frenzied look in their eyes, almost as if they had gone mad.
"What you said is all wrong. My move has to be correct. Look!" a voice sounded.
From the direction where the voice sounded, a middle-aged man flicked his wrist in a beautiful arc, and a surge of sword qi burst forward. It slashed everything within several hundred meters of its path before gradually dissipating.
"This is Upper Sword Heart?" Zhang Xuan widened his eyes in astonishment.
Proficiency in swordsmanship could mainly be divided into two stages—Sword Intent and Sword Heart.
Most sword practitioners should be able to comprehend Sword Intent upon reaching Transcendent Mortal. Those who were slightly more talented might be able to comprehend Sword Heart, inducing the phenomenon 'Call of the Myriad Swords, Roar of the Dragon'.
Sword Heart, as the name suggested, referred to wielding one's heart like a sword, drawing out the true prowess of the Way of Sword through their will. Every single strike made by a sword practitioner who had achieved Sword Heart would be a sword art in itself. This state was also otherwise termed as Man-Sword Union... Only those who harbored spirit and heart in their sword would be able to reach this realm.
Sword Heart could be further divided into three tiers, namely Lower Sword Heart, Middle Sword Heart, and Upper Sword Heart.
For Saint cultivators, even just achieving Middle Sword Heart would already make them top-notch experts. Yet, the middle-aged man had actually comprehended Upper Sword Heart...
One must know that so far, Zhang Xuan had only comprehended Upper Sword Heart as well. In other words, in terms of proficiency in the Way of Sword, the middle-aged man was nowhere weaker than Zhang Xuan!
"That's not right. That crux of the move lies in overwhelming one's enemy, so the focus of it should be in the relentless barrage of sword qi. Your focusing all of your strength within a surge of sword qi is clearly erroneous. Look at mine…"
In his moment of shock, an old man beside the middle-aged man shook his head in stern disapproval before he whipped out a sword and flicked it.
In the blink of an eye, a cold and forbidding aura permeated an area of several dozen meters around the old man, and a storm of sword qi filled the surroundings. It felt like anyone who dared step into the area, no matter how powerful, would be trapped for life.
"He has comprehended Upper Sword Heart as well?" Zhang Xuan was startled once more.
It was already frightening to see that a cultivator had comprehended Upper Sword Heart, but to think that the old man would also be another such person as well. In fact, it seemed like the old man had a deeper and more profound understanding of the Way of Sword than the middle-aged man before.
"Wrong! The both of you are utterly wrong! It should be like this…"
A third man joined in the commotion, and he executed a powerful sword art which utilized sword qi like thin threads that weaved around the surroundings, forming something reminiscent to a mist.
Similarly, this third man has also comprehended Upper Sword Heart.
Completely dumbstruck, Zhang Xuan turned to look at the rest of the crowd. Every single one of them seemed to harness a cold and sharp aura within their bodies, as if they were the very embodiment of swords themselves.
"These several hundred men... have all comprehended Upper Sword Heart?" Zhang Xuan gulped down a mouthful of saliva.
In his long journey, he had never seen a single cultivator whose swordsmanship was on par or superior to his. Yet, in the blink of an eye, he found himself faced with several hundred of such cultivators. Really, as expected of the famed Sword Lagoon! It sure was a fearsome place.
"They are the itinerant cultivator, master teachers, and combat masters from the various different empires or even the Empire Alliance. Some of them have already spent more than nine hundred years here... And with nine hundred years of accumulation, the least they should do is to achieve Upper Sword Heart." the Dusk Cloud Sword replied.
"Nine hundred years?" Zhang Xuan was startled for a moment before slowly nodding.
It was already nearing a year since he had come over to this world, but in terms of the duration he had dedicated to learning swordsmanship, the total time probably wouldn't even add up to a single day yet!
There were plenty of experts in the Eight Conferred Empires, and with nine hundred years of hard work behind them, it wasn't too surprising that there would be so many individuals who commanded the same level of mastery in swordsmanship as him.
After all, it was not like he was some kind of unparalleled genius. Putting all aside, he couldn't even defeat his own clone!
"Wait. You mean that these men spent nine hundred years sitting in front of the stone wall, contemplating over swordsmanship?"
"This single character is already enough for them to study it for their entire life. As sword fanatics, they couldn't resist the allure of the intrigue contained in the character, and this only made them determined to decipher the secrets behind it. As a result, most of them end up never leaving the Sword Lagoon…"
"Hai!" Zhang Xuan sighed.
He suddenly remembered a book he had read in his previous life. In the story, there was an island that contained unparalleled secret manuals. Each year's Laba Festival, there would be a huge number of martial artists venturing to the island, only to never return... The situation was somewhat similar to what he was seeing at the moment.
There was no one restricting their movement, but obsessed with furthering their swordsmanship, they failed to realize that their entire life was flying past their eyes!
"Utter nonsense! It's apparent that my interpretation is correct!"
"Your direction has been wrong from the very start, so how could your interpretation possibly be right? My interpretation is the one that's correct!"
"All of you are wrong! Since none of you are willing to admit it, why don't we settle it with a fight?"
After a long round of argument, none of the trio was willing to concede to the other. Eventually, they drew their swords on one another and began on an intense fight.
"Actually, they have already gone berserk…" Zhang Xuan shook his head.
No matter how profound the '剑 (Sword)' character was, the fact that these people were no longer able to control themselves anymore, even clashing with one another over something as minor as that, meant that their rationality had already been eroded. They had already lost sense of self, and that was no different from going berserk.
Amidst Zhang Xuan's lamentation, the battle among the trio had finally concluded. Two of them were severely injured in the encounter, and the final victor walked out of the battle with a confused look on his eyes. He couldn't help but doubt if his comprehension of swordsmanship was wrong, or else how could the other two be almost as powerful as him.
The many years of devotion to nothing but swordsmanship had already eroded their rational judgement. Under such circumstances, no words could possibly sway them anymore. Sighing deeply, Zhang Xuan tore his gaze away from them to assess the massive character on the stone wall once more.
Inscribed using sword qi, the character harnessed the conception of the carver. Each stroke of the character was imbued a powerful yet unique aura, seemingly the manifestation of a sword art. The aura of these individual strokes harmonized with one another to grant an imposing yet unfathomable meaning to the formed character.
"It's no wonder why these people would abandon their all and devote all of their life to deciphering the character…" With just a look, Zhang Xuan could already feel a slight jolt in his mind urging him to cultivate according to the character.
Shaking his head, he slowly closed his eyes.
It was not that his mind wasn't resilient enough to withstand the allure of the profound sword arts contained within the character, but... the sword arts contained within the character were simply riddled with too many flaws. It was hard for him to even continue looking at it straight in the eye!
"What are these?" Exhaling deeply, Zhang Xuan tossed aside the miscellaneous thoughts in his mind and opened his eyes once more. In the next moment, he noticed that there were countless scribblings in the perimeter of the stone wall.
"These are the Sword Intent and sword arts that countless generations of sword practitioners have comprehended from the character. If you find yourself unable to grasp the meaning of '剑 (Sword)' on the wall, you can use them as references!" the Dusk Cloud Sword said.
"I see." Zhang Xuan nodded.
Taking a brief sweep, it seemed like there were at least a thousand of such insights scribbled all over the place.
"This does resemble the Saint Ascension Platform!" Zhang Xuan noted.
The road up to the Saint Ascension Platform was filled with insights as well. Every single individual felt that they were the person chosen by the heavens to comprehend the true meaning of Kong shi's writing, but in truth... their interpretation was riddled with flaws, a manifestation of their ignorance!
These insights scribbled around the stone wall were likely to be the same as well.
Sweeping his gaze across the area, many books swiftly materialized one after another in the Library of Heaven's Path.
These insights could be considered to be sword art manuals as well, allowing Zhang Xuan to collect them with a sweep of his eyes.
After collecting all of the insights, Zhang Xuan gathered the thousand of books together and muttered, "Compile!"
They swiftly merged together into a single book.
Casually flipping it open, Zhang Xuan's eyes lit up.
"It's a Heaven's Path Sword Art!"
He had done this set of actions on a whim, not really expecting to gain any gains out of it. Yet, who could have thought that the compilation of insights from the many generations of sword practitioners would actually form a perfect Heaven's Path Sword Art!
Zhang Xuan swiftly went through the compiled Heaven's Path Sword Art in his mind.
It must be said that the heritage which the Old Sword Maestro had left behind was truly profound. If he were to cultivate the compiled Heaven's Path Sword Art, his comprehension of the Way of Sword could be brought to another level.
Just as Zhang Xuan as about to close his eyes to cultivate, he suddenly felt the surrounding spiritual energy surging forward, gathering to an area just ahead of him. It didn't take long for the massive influx of spiritual energy to create something reminiscent of a whirlpool.
Quickly turning his gaze over, he saw that the crowd cultivating before the stone wall had also turned their heads over toward the commotion as well.
"Master…" Just as Zhang Xuan was about to head over to check what was going on, he suddenly saw the Dusk Cloud Sword trembling non-stop, as if it couldn't control its body anymore.
"What's wrong?" Zhang Xuan asked with a frown.
"Master, someone has grasped a higher realm in the Way of Sword... As a sword spirit, I can't help but be compelled to submit to him!"
"Grasped a higher realm of the Way of Sword?"
Taken aback, Zhang Xuan quickly scanned the area in front, and there, he saw a young man seated cross-legged on the ground. An incredibly sharp sword qi burst forth from his body, as if heralding the arrival of an unparalleled sword into the world.
"Is that Ma Minghai?" Upon taking a closer look at the young man, Zhang Xuan frowned.
It was no other than the genius of the Qianchong Empire who had challenged him over the Tianchen Brew back in the Master Teacher Pavilion, Ma Minghai!
"Why would he be here?" Zhang Xuan frowned.(100km)