Library of Heaven is Path
1282 I Won’t Be Learning Them Anymore
"This stone platform was left behind by the Old Sword Maestro as well, and only sword practitioners who have comprehended Sword Quintessence would be able to break the seal and pull me out! However, I'm not too sure about how it can be done either…" the sword replied awkwardly.
The Old Sword Maestro had passed away shortly after sealing it in the stone platform, and it had spent most of its time hibernating since then. All it knew was that in order to be freed from the stone platform, it would need to find a sword practitioner who had comprehended Sword Quintessence and the conceptualization of the '剑 (Sword)' character. As for how that sword practitioner could draw it out from the stone platform... Embarrassingly, it didn't know a thing at all.
"You aren't too sure how it can be done either?" Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan couldn't help heaving a deep sigh. "Alright, let me give it a try then."
The sword was a Saint high-tier artifact. It would be of great use to him, so he wouldn't turn down an opportunity to obtain it.
With a swift movement, Zhang Xuan appeared before the stone platform. He grabbed the sword and exerted all of his force.
However, it was as if the sword was nailed into the stone platform, not budging in the least.
Frowning, Zhang Xuan began examining the stone platform closely.
"It's an artifact created by a celestial designer! No wonder…"
With Zhang Xuan's current strength, he could pluck up even an entire mountain if he wanted to. Yet, for him to be completely helpless before a seemingly ordinary stone platform...
So, he decided to take a closer look, and he swiftly found that the entire stone platform was a celestial designer mechanism. Unless one were to use a special method to resolve both the seal and the celestial designer mechanism simultaneously, or else it would be impossible to release the sword.
"The sword said earlier that only those who had achieved Sword Quintessence would be able to draw it from the stone platform. Perhaps I need to utilize my Sword Intent while drawing the sword out for it to work…"
With this thought in mind, Zhang Xuan tightened his hands on the handle of the sword before closing his eyes. He quickly morphed his comprehension of Sword Quintessence into a surge of Sword Intent and slowly drove it through his body.
It was as if something had been activated. With a resounding buzz, a peculiar power abruptly burst forth from the stone platform. Following which, a powerful wave of Sword Intent rippled into the surroundings before swiftly forming a barrier around the area.
The first thing Zhang Xuan noticed was that his Spiritual Perception had been isolated by the barrier of Sword Intent, preventing him from sensing anything beyond the barrier. The converse was likely to be true as well—those outside were unlikely to be able to sense what was going on within the barrier too.
Frowning in uncertainty, Zhang Xuan was just about to release his grip of the sword to assess his current situation when he suddenly saw a few lingering Sword Intent in the area slowly gathering before his eyes, gradually forming the silhouette of an old man.
The old man had a slightly emaciated figure, but his very presence felt like an incredibly sharp sword which would slice through anything standing before it.
"Old Sword Maestro?" Zhang Xuan called out warily.
Even though the old man was an existence formed solely of just Sword Intent, Zhang Xuan could sense that the other party retained memories of his past. Even just as a congregation of Sword Intent, the other party still wielded might far beyond his means.
"I am Jian Zhen, the man whom others know as the Old Sword Maestro! Since you were able to awaken the will I have left behind, you must have successfully comprehended Sword Quintessence. With this, you are qualified to inherit my heritage…" the old man placed his hands behind his back and said.
One could vaguely see Sword Intent rippling within his black eyes, as if granting him the keenness to discern everything in the world.
"Kneel down and pay respects to me as your teacher, and I'll impart you the Three Swords of Lingxu and the method to undoing the seal on the stone platform!"
"Pay respects to you as my teacher?" An inconspicuous frown emerged on Zhang Xuan's forehead.
"To inherit my heritage and my wisdom, naturally, you have to acknowledge me as your teacher!" the Old Sword Maestro replied with a tone of unquestionable authority.
"My Three Swords of Lingxu—Sea Severing Sword, Ocean Cataclysm Sword, and Heaven Desecration Sword—are top-notch battle techniques. Even the experts of the Empire Alliance would kill for the opportunity to learn them! If my days hadn't been numbered, I wouldn't have left my heritage here for any outsider take it for their own!"
Typically speaking, when an expert wanted to pass down his heritage, he would first assess his student's nature, talent, and many other aspects before deciding on whether to impart to the latter his heritage. After all, there was no expert who wouldn't want to find an outstanding successor to further his legacy. However, by the time the Old Sword Maestro arrived in the Sword Lagoon, he was already on the verge of death, so he wasn't in the physical state to set too many trials. Thus, he could only leave behind the '剑 (Sword)' character and the stone platform to assess his successor.
Nevertheless, even if he couldn't make a wholesome assessment of his successor, he was determined to have his successor acknowledge him as his teacher before imparting to the latter his heritage.
It might appear to be an empty title on the surface, but to those of the Master Teacher Continent, the solemnity of their lineage was something they wouldn't compromise on.
"Since you have spent a long time to decipher the words I have left behind, I believe that you must have been moved by my heritage for some time now. Considering how you are able to comprehend Sword Quintessence at your young age, I believe that you should be able to accomplish great things in the future. After you acknowledge me as your teacher, not only will I teach you the Three Swords of Lingxu, I'll also impart to you the essence of my comprehension of swordsmanship. As long as you train diligently, you should have no trouble becoming a top-notch swordmaster in the Empire Alliance within three hundred years!" the Old Sword Maestro said proudly.
He had absolute trust in his own swordsmanship.
Since the young man went through all of the trouble to come here and study the '剑 (Sword)' character he had left behind, it would mean that the young man was interested in obtaining his heritage.
Naturally, as the senior and teacher here, he should put on an authoritative air deserving of his standing.
Otherwise, how could he win the trust and respect of his successor?
"Three hundred years just to become the top-notch swordmaster in the Empire Alliance? That's too long, I can't afford to wait till then!" With a conflicted look on his face, Zhang Xuan shook his head.
He had to become a 9-star master teacher before thirty in order to get rid of his Innate Fetal Poison before it blew up on him.
More importantly, he needed to wield strength on par with an 8-star pinnacle master teacher by the third month of the next year so that he could have the strength to free Luo Ruoxin from her engagement with the young prodigy of the Zhang Clan.
Three hundred years just to reach the peak in the Empire Alliance... That was simply too slow.
"You can't afford to wait till then? What do you mean?" the Old Sword Maestro narrowed his eyes in agitation.
It wasn't easy for him to find a suitable successor, and there was no way he was going to let this opportunity to pass down his heritage go. As a show of power, he released a powerful burst of Sword Intent into the surroundings, causing the air to moan from the pressure.
"Are you afraid that my sword art is too profound, and you are afraid that you won't be able to succeed? If that's the case, you don't have to worry so! The fact that you are able to comprehend the conceptualization behind my '剑 (Sword)' character shows that you aren't lacking in intelligence. I know that the Three Swords of Lingxu might be profound, but as long as you study it diligently, there's still at least 30% chance that you might succeed... But of course, the shorter the duration you take to comprehend the conceptualization behind my '剑 (Sword)' character, the higher your chances of success!"
The reason why the Old Sword Maestro had left behind the '剑 (Sword)' character was simple. He wanted to test the intelligence of his successor.
Without sufficient intelligence, even if he imparted to his successor the complete Three Swords of Lingxu, the latter would still be unable to grasp it.
Due to the lack of time, he was unable to construct the required mechanism to impose a time limit on the duration of comprehending the '剑 (Sword)' character. However...
"Judging from your young age, it shouldn't have been too long since you started comprehended my '剑 (Sword)' character, right?" the Old Sword Maestro asked. "I figure that it shouldn't have been ten years yet. If so, your chances of success would be at least 60%!"
"This…" Zhang Xuan scratched his head and he tried his hardest to remember how long he took. "I think I took around... a minute?"
He had barely glanced at the words on the stone wall before taking in the insights left behind by the predecessors. In total, he probably only took just six seconds or so...
Of course, it would be too shocking if he said that he had taken only six seconds, so he intentionally multiplied it by ten times to cushion the blow.
"A-a minute?" the Old Sword Maestro was taken aback. The Sword Intent he had diffused in the area also began trembling in resonation to his emotions, and it felt as if they would dissipate at any moment soon. "You said that you only took a minute to see through the conceptualization of the character I have left behind?"
"Indeed. It was just a single character, but it consists of 107 different Sword Intents and sword arts. If I'm not mistaken, the heritage should be a Sword Formation. That is the most convenient method to combine all of those differing Sword Intents and sword arts together." Zhang Xuan chuckled softly. "It actually isn't that difficult to deduce this much."
"You... in just a minute, you were able to see through how many sword arts there were in that character?" Unable to recover from his shock, the Old Sword Maestro exclaimed in disbelief.
A moment later, a thought came to his mind, and a deep frown containing a hint of displeasure furrowed itself in between his brows. "Lad, it seems like you have learned how to lie despite your young age... You said that you were able to see through the conceptualization behind the character I have left behind within a minute, so why don't I give you a test then? If you are really able to figure it out, I'll believe your words!"
He had concealed the Sword Intents and sword arts deeply within the '剑 (Sword)' character, such that even swordmasters of the same tier as him would be stunned upon coming into character with the character for the first time, unable to make sense of what it was. Yet, the young man actually said that he was able to figure it out within a minute... Most likely, he was either lying or he had simply made use of the wisdom of predecessors to figure it out.
"You wish to test me? Very well." Zhang Xuan replied nonchalantly.
"I'll execute a sword art right now, and you'll try to see how many Sword Intents and sword arts are infused into it."
After those words were spoken, Zhang Xuan suddenly felt a killing intent surging toward him.
An ocean of sword qi materialized before his eyes, as if he had been dragged into a wholly different world. Be it the constantly changing currents or the fleeting clouds, there was not a single glance within the world where one was unable to find any sword qi.
"How about it? Are you able to tell how many sword arts are in my move?" After doing all that, the Old Sword Maestro turned his gaze to Zhang Xuan.
"This…" Zhang Xuan shook his head. "I can't tell."
"Such an obvious question, and you can't tell anything at all. How do you expect me to believe your words then?" the Old Sword Maestro frowned in disapproval.
The Sword Intents and sword arts infused in the previous move he had executed were more apparent than those in the '剑 (Sword)' character he had left behind. Through this, the other party's claim that he had comprehended the '剑 (Sword)' character was pretty much overthrown.
Facing the Old Sword Maestro's doubt, Zhang Xuan didn't panic in the slightest. Instead, he chuckled softly and said, "I wasn't able to tell how many Sword Intents and sword arts are in that move, but I did manage to discern seventeen flaws in it!"
The reason why he was able to decipher the '剑 (Sword)' character was due to the compilation of the insights from countless preceding experts. Otherwise, if he were to do it himself, he would have taken several months at the very least... Given how fast the Old Sword Maestro's previous move came and go, even if he had comprehended Sword Quintessence, he was still unable to count the number of Sword Intents and sword arts in just a glance.
Besides... why should he go through the trouble of counting the number of Sword Intents and sword arts?
It would suffice for him to know the flaws.
"You found seventeen flaws in my move? Nonsense!" the Old Sword Maestro's face turned livid with rage.
Paying no heed to the Old Sword Maestro's wrath, Zhang Xuan began on a monologue, "The first flaw, even though the sword art you have executed is grand and imposing, it's needlessly intricate. If I'm not mistaken, it's designed as such so as to be utilized as a technique to trap others. However, considering the immense might that is devoted to the technique, to use it as a technique to trap and not kill is a huge waste of energy. In other words, the focus of the technique is wrong!"
"The second flaw, while infusing a Sword Intent targeted toward damaging Primordial Spirits would enhance the might of the sword art significantly, it also makes it more demanding on the user's soul energy and state of mind. Should the sword practitioner be unable to meet the basic requirement of the sword art, its execution could very well result in a backlash, which could make one vulnerable for a period of time, thus creating an opening for one's opponent to exploit…"
"The third flaw…"
"The fourth flaw…"
"The seventeenth flaw, the sword art is powerful but its might is unnecessarily scattered. If the might were to be devoted in a single move, it would have allowed the sword practitioner to overpower and slay his opponent in an instant. Yet, you had to divide the might among more than a dozen of transformations in the sword art, making it excessively complicated and even weakening it in the midst of doing so…"
Shaking his head in disappointment, Zhang Xuan raised his head to look at the Old Sword Maestro, "May I know there's anything you disagree with regarding my analysis?"
Initially, the Old Sword Maestro didn't think of anything much when the young man first spoke. However, the more he listened to the young man's words, the paler his face became. Eventually, by the time the young man listed the seventeenth flaw, his body was already trembling wildly.
As a swordmaster, he was still vaguely aware of the various problems there was in his sword arts... For the other party to be able to discern them with just a look, and even analyze them at a deeper level than him at that...
Just how in the world did he do it?
Gradually, the Old Sword Maestro's astonishment transformed into overwhelming joy, "With such intelligence and eye of discernment, you'll surely be able to master the Three Swords of Lingxu swiftly!"
His eyes glowed in excitement, and just as he was about to urge the young man into acknowledging him as his teacher once more so that he would be able to pass his heritage down, the young man suddenly sighed.
"For even a casual sword art you have executed to be plagued with flaws, your Three Swords of Lingxu is bound to be nothing much too... Forget it, you can leave your sword arts for yourself. I won't be learning them anymore!"
The Old Sword Maestro froze on the spot.