Library of Heaven is Path
1279 Movements From All Fronts
The sight before him was simply too scary.
Even 'he' had to rely on the Library of Heaven's Path to overcome the Chaotic Palace Beguilement Formation, and yet, just the power surging from the stream was enough to leave the formation on the verge of collapsing. Most likely, whatever that was hidden beneath the stream had already exceeded his ability to deal with.
In Zhang Xuan's moment of shock, a powerful Sword Intent suddenly burst into the sky, tearing right through the Chaotic Palace Beguilement Formation and soaring up into the sky, reminiscent of pillar of blinding light that connected the heavens with the earth.
Along with the appearance of the ray of light, Zhang Xuan felt the Sword Intent within him being completely suppressed, preventing him from utilizing it at all.
Following which, the earth began shaking intensely, and a scarlet stone platform slowly rose from a crack in the stream. There was a sword plunged into the stone platform.
Even from afar, one could already feel an unbelievably sharp sword qi harnessed within the sword, and it felt as if it was threatening to slice them into thin shreds.
"That is... a Saint high-tier artifact?" Zhang Xuan's face warped in astonishment as he clenched his fists tightly.
A powerful aura which could burst a hole even through the Chaotic Palace Beguilement Formation, along with that indomitable Sword Intent—there could only be one possibility...
The weapon before him had far surpassed the level of ordinary Saint intermediate-tier artifacts, reaching the level of Saint high-tier!
Only a weapon of that caliber could wield the strength to overwhelm even a grade-8 formation and instill a feeling of helplessness in him.
"That must be the personal sword of the Old Sword Maestro!" While Zhang Xuan still pondering over the matter, another identical 'Zhang Xuan' appeared with a grim look on his face.
Naturally, the one who had subdued Ji Lingzhen with ease earlier was the clone, and the one who had just appeared was the real Zhang Xuan.
Previously, when the real Zhang Xuan realized that he wouldn't be a match for Ji Lingzhen, he swiftly concealed himself within the mist and made use of the opportunity to swap places with his clone.
And his clone really didn't let him down, crushing Ji Lingzhen with ease... Just that, he didn't think that Ji Lingzhen would still have another card up his sleeves!
Considering how the sword was lying in the middle of the Sword Lagoon, the chances were that it was the personal sword which the Old Sword Maestro had left behind.
Could it be that Ji Lingzhen had successfully tamed the sword?
If that was the case, they would really be in a dire position.
"Like I have told you, only when you have truly comprehended Sword Quintessence will you be qualified to make me submit to you and obtain that old man's heritage... Why are you waking me at this moment? Do my words sound like a joke to you?" A crisp voice reminiscent of a bell sounded from the sword.
There was a special quality to the voice that allowed it to echo even within one's soul.
Saint high-tier artifacts had the ability to slay Primordial Spirit and erode one's mental fortitude. If one were to get careless around them, one's state of mind could very well be shaken by them.
"Elder, the reason why I pleaded for you to appear is to request your help in dealing with my enemy... I hope that you can help me kill that, that…" Ji Lingzhen turned around to point at Zhang Xuan, but the sight that he saw left his face freezing in shock instead.
He was sure that there was only one 'Zhang Xuan' earlier, so how did he split into two all of a sudden?
The sword embedded in the stone platform also swiftly understood what was going on, and in the next moment, Zhang Xuan suddenly felt a wave of Sword Intent locking in place and assessing him from head to toe. He tried resisting it, but he found that he was unable to move at all. Realizing that he was completely helpless against that sword, cold sweat began dripping down his back.
"Y-yes!" It took a while before Ji Lingzhen recovered from his shock, and he hurriedly nodded in response.
"The items you have tributed to me over the years did help me regain consciousness. In view of your efforts, I'll grant you this favor and kill a person for you. However, you are still lacking in your mastery of swordsmanship for me to submit to you. We'll only talk about that after you have comprehended Sword Quintessence."
After saying those words, the sword on the stone platform trembled slightly, and a powerful wave of Sword Intent abruptly caved in on the two Zhang Xuans. It felt like as long as the sword were to will it, the both of them would be killed easily.
"Thank you, elder!" Seeing that the sword was willing to stand up on his behalf, Ji Lingzhen heaved a huge sigh of relief. He directed a savage look at the two young men, and the deep hatred in his eyes was apparent.
If not for those two fellows, he could have used the tributing of the Sword of Faint Whispers and Sword of Faint Warble to win the goodwill of the sword, and with that, he might just be able to convince the latter to hand him the heritage.
But now... he could only expend the goodwill with the sword for a favor to kill that bastard. Just like this, this ideal opportunity for a breakthrough was blown!
Just as Ji Lingzhen thought that the sword was going to make a move, the sword's doubtful voice suddenly sounded, "Which one of those two do you want me to kill?"
"Which one of those two?" Ji Lingzhen frowned upon hearing that question.
In truth, he was also deeply perplexed over this matter. Shouldn't there be only one of Master Teacher Zhang Xuan? Why would there suddenly be two of them? Could they be twins? But even twins wouldn't have such identical appearances, dispositions, and even souls!
"I am the real one, he's the fake!"
"I am the real one, he's the fake!"
The two Zhang Xuans simultaneously pointed to one another, glaring at the other indignantly.
Seeing how even the movements of those two fellows were identical, as if a mirror, Ji Lingzhen fell into a daze.
While such a farce was occurring within the formation, a huge commotion had broken out amidst the crowd outside.
All of the sword practitioners had halted their cultivation to look at the burst of Sword Intent in the air, and their bodies trembled uncontrollably in agitation.
"That must be from the Old Sword Maestro's personal sword! Does it mean that... the heritage is about to surface?"
"I have waited so many years just for this day! Let's go over to take a look!"
"I must snatch over the heritage no matter who obtains it, otherwise my centuries of hard work would have gone to vain…"
"I shall slay anyone who stands in my way of obtaining the heritage!"
Everyone's eyes had reddened upon seeing this sight. Some were out of agitation, some were out of envy, some were out of greed, and some were out of all three.
Many of them had camped here for several centuries now, and it was not without reason why they would devote such a huge portion of their lifespan in the Sword Lagoon. Of course, a part of the reason was to advance their comprehension of swordsmanship, but more than that, they were biding their time for the day that the heritage of the Old Sword Maestro rose from the dirt!
Otherwise, even if they could refine their mastery of swordsmanship in the Sword Lagoon, they would have never wasted several centuries of their life here...
The Old Sword Maestro had stood at the very peak of Qianchong Empire. Countless opponents had challenged him, and some were even experts from the Empire Alliance, but he remained undefeated until his death. If they could obtain his heritage, they would be able to overcome their current bottleneck and reach far greater heights!
"It must the young man who has just entered. Let's head over to take a look!"
Someone amidst the crowd exclaimed, and the crowd hurriedly rushed toward the area behind the stone wall.
Previously, a young man had easily defeated Ma Minghai, who had comprehended the Half-Quintessence, and barely ten minutes after he walked into the formation, a huge pillar of Sword Intent suddenly rose from within. For such a situation to occur, it could only mean that the young man had managed to free the Old Sword Maestro's personal sword from its seal!
The emergence of the Old Sword Maestro's heritage was an opportunity of a lifetime. The young man might have displayed astounding might earlier, but just this much wouldn't deter them from fighting over the heritage.
Very soon, they arrived before the formation.
The structure of the Chaotic Palace Beguilement Formation had already been destroyed by the burst of Sword Intent from the sword earlier, putting it in a precarious situation, on the verge of shattering at any moment.
It might have been difficult for them to overcome the formation in the past, but in its current state, it wouldn't be able to hinder their passageway anymore.
"Everyone, let's calm down and discuss a plan first. We have all witnessed that fellow's strength, and it's apparent that he's no ordinary cultivator. One on one, none of us will be an opponent for him. Thus, I propose that we collaborate with one another to subdue him first!" an old man halted the crowd and said.
"He's right. We'll only stand a chance against that fellow if we were to unite with one another!" a voice of agreement swiftly sounded from the crowd.
"But how do we determine the allocation of the heritage after that?" asked another member of the crowd.
"We have known each other for quite some time now, so we have some understanding of what each of us is capable of. So, I say that we collaborate with one another to obtain the heritage first, and after that, we can study the heritage together!" the old man suggested.
"Sounds good to me!"
Voices of consent swiftly rippled through the crowd.
The Old Sword Maestro's heritage was bound to be incredibly profound. If they were sufficiently talented to figure it by themselves, they wouldn't have ended up sitting before the stone wall for centuries yet still be unable to take the final step forward.
Besides, they also knew that if any one of them were to attempt to claim the heritage for himself, that person would never make it out of here alive. Assuming that that person really did manage to escape from their encirclement, his friends and family would also swiftly meet with the vengeance of those gathered here.
"Good. Let's proceed ahead then!"
Having successfully come to a consensus, the crowd began marching into the formation.
At the same time, on the island, many young men were standing opposite to one another with wary looks in their eyes.
"Sun Gan, we can be considered as old acquaintances with one another, so you should know that even if you are able to snatch away my jade token, you will end up sustaining severe injuries yourself as well. By then, you would be easily eliminated by other candidates too. Since that's the case, why don't we team up to eliminate the others instead?" one of the young men proposed.
Standing opposite to the young man was the person whom Ma Minghai recognized as 'Brother Sun'. Brother Sun contemplated for a moment before replying with an amiable smile, "Brother Hu is right. If we were to clash with one another, the victor will surely be severely wounded at the end of the battle. It's simply not worthwhile. In any case, we only have to eliminate 10 more candidates, so it would be wiser for us to team up and eliminate other candidates. There's really no need to fight this tough battle."
"Very well. Let's make a Master Teacher Vow then. We shall work with one another to eliminate others, and we are not to turn on one another until the end of the secondary selection." Brother Hu said.
A Master Teacher Vow was more of an informal promise, and it wasn't binding. Nevertheless, in view of their standing, it was unlikely that they would stoop so low as to renege on their words.
"Very well..." Brother Sun nodded, but halfway through his words, there was suddenly an abrupt disturbance in the spiritual energy in the surroundings.
Following which, a pillar of Sword Intent burst into the sky.
"A treasure has surfaced…"
The eyes of the young men gathered in the area narrowed their eyes.
They were all top-notch geniuses in their own regions, and every single one of them was deeply knowledgeable. The Sword Intent was powerful, but it carried no hostility at all. As such, it was unlikely to be the emanated by a cultivator. Since that was the case, it was likely to be the occurrence of a phenomenon as a result of the emergence of a treasure.
"I heard that Qianchong Empire has a Sword Lagoon, and hidden within it is an exceptionally powerful Saint artifact. There was once an expert who attempted to venture into the depths of the Sword Lagoon to uncover the secret behind it, only to be chased away by the Qianchong Empire Master Teacher Pavilion under the pretext that this was a heritage left behind for the populace of Qianchong Empire, so it should only be acquired by them... All along, I thought that it was only a legend, but this... Could the island we are on really be the Sword Lagoon?" Brother Hu exclaimed with fists tightly clenched in agitation.
All of them had heard of Qianchong Empire's Sword Lagoon, but they didn't think that the secondary selection would actually be held there. More importantly, the powerful Sword Intent that was radiating from that blinding pillar of light was a clear sign that the treasure that had surfaced possessed extraordinary strength!
Whether the legend was true or not, as long as they could obtain that treasure, their strength would surely increase by leaps and bounds. With a superior Saint-tier artifact in hand, they would be able to make a name for themselves even in a place as competitive as the Sanctum of Sages!
"Let's head over to take a look!" With irrepressible excitement on his face, Brother Hu proposed.
"Let's not hurry into making a move first. Considering the scale of the phenomenon, everyone on the island should have noticed the emergence of the treasure by now. Given so, there's bound to be a tough fight over it. Since that's the case, why don't we make an agreement to team up first? Otherwise... with our strength, we won't have much of an advantage over others, especially against that Zhang Xuan!" Brother Sun quickly halted the crowd and said.
"Zhang Xuan? The rules of the secondary selection prohibit the usage of puppets and weapons. That lad is just powerful for his own cultivation realm. As long as we don't suppress our cultivation, we'll surely be able to thrash him with ease!" Brother Hu replied casually, clearly not thinking of Zhang Xuan as a threat.
There was an unbreachable gap between the strength of Primordial Spirit realm cultivators and Leaving Aperture realm cultivators—this was common knowledge known to all cultivators. As long as he fought with his full strength, he should be able to subdue Zhang Xuan easily!
"The rule which Zhao shi has set is that artifacts are not to be used in any manner that contributes to the elimination of a candidate. If he were to just use his puppets to keep us at bay, preventing up from getting to the treasure, that wouldn't be against the rules!" Brother Sun replied.
"This…" Brother Hu was taken aback.
Thinking about it once more, Zhao Xingmo did say that artifacts weren't allowed in the elimination of other candidates... As long as Zhang Xuan didn't attempt to break their jade tokens with his puppets, whatever actions he made with his puppets wouldn't be considered as an infringement of the rules.
"What do you suggest then?" Brother Hu hesitated for a moment before asking.
With just the strength of the few of them, they wouldn't be a match for those puppets even if they were to team up with one another.
"Simple... As soon as we meet Zhang Xuan, we should just charge forward and subdue him before he can release his puppets. With our combined strength, we should stand a pretty good chance at success!" Brother Sun said as a glint flashed across his eyes.