Chapter 1745 – Stone Forest Dimension
Gongxi Qing and the others were utterly dumbstruck by what they were seeing.
That was their old ancestor, an Ancient Sage expert! It was just a moment earlier that he had declared that he would redress their grievances, but as soon as he learned that the culprit was Zhang Xuan, he turned tail and fled without any hesitation!
What the freaking hell was that?
Was the other party not just a mere Aureate Body realm consummation cultivator?
Why did it seem like their old ancestor… feared the other party?
While Gongxi Qing and the others were feeling stifled at being left in the lurch by their old ancestor, the old ancestor was on the verge of spurting blood as well.
He was actually the same Ancient Sage who had been injured by the Infernal Blacksaber back at the entrance of the Hall of Great Accomplishment!
Of course, given the tremendous strength he wielded as an Ancient Sage cultivator, there was no way that he would fear a mere Aureate Body realm cultivator. However, the young man had an Ancient Sage saber in his possession, which changed the very nature of things. Furthermore, he could feel that Zhang Hongtian was hidden somewhere around the area, discreetly protecting the young man from the dark.
If he was really caught between an Ancient Sage cultivator and Ancient Sage saber in his wounded state, he could end up losing his life!
Ancient Sages were extraordinarily resilient creatures. However, if one successfully slew an Ancient Sage, one would find that the body of an Ancient Sage was filled with treasures from head to toe.
He had thought that the reason why Zhang Xuan was able to enter the Hall of Great Accomplishment was because he had studied the Zhang Clan’s Celestial Amulet of Legacy thoroughly, to the point that he was able to decipher its seal and overcome it even without the amulet in hand. The possibility that Zhang Xuan would have been able to enter the Hall of Lull as well had never crossed his mind.
Who would have thought that even after fleeing there, he still ended up encountering the other party?
“The rest are in the midst of preparing for that matter, so I can’t bother them at the moment. However, once they are done with that, we’ll surely get back at them!” The old ancestor harrumphed.
It went without saying that the powerful Hundred Schools of Philosophers did not just have him as their only Ancient Sage. However, it just so happened that the others had more important matters to attend to, so he was the only one free enough to take care of the younger generation.
He had thought that with him standing up for the younger generation, neither the Master Teacher Pavilion nor the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe would dare cross their path. Yet, contrary to his expectations, he ended up being severely wounded as soon as he made an appearance…
The more he thought about it, the more miserable he felt.
However, as one who had survived to become an Ancient Sage, there were hardly any challenges that he had never encountered before. He would just have to tolerate it for the time being. Once the others were free, it would be time for him to exact his vengeance!
With the Infernal Blacksaber in his grasp, Zhang Xuan walked out of the Hall of Lull.
He knew that his actions in the Hall of Lull would surely draw an Ancient Sage from the Hundred Schools of Philosophers over, so he had taken out the Infernal Blacksaber in advance to counter any assault.
It was impossible for an Ancient Sage to kill him while keeping his location hidden. As soon as the other party revealed his location, the Infernal Blacksaber and golden page would swiftly rush forth to reap the other party’s life. Thus, there was nothing to fear.
Walking out of the seal, Zhang Xuan saw the nine youths standing completely unharmed before him. Infernos of rage were burning in their eyes, but they did not attempt to make any moves against him.
“Oh, you’ve recovered,” Zhang Xuan remarked nonchalantly as he cast a sweeping gaze across the surroundings.
While it was possible for them to recover from their fractured limbs using the Grand Intermittence Pill, they would still have to rest for at least a couple of days before they could make a full recovery. Considering how their injuries had completely vanished within ten minutes of being thrown out, it was very likely to be the doing of an Ancient Sage.
However, even after scanning the surroundings, he could not find anything at all. At the same time, the Infernal Blacksaber also reported that there were no Ancient Sages around.
Knowing that the trembling nine youths did not even pose a threat to him, Zhang Xuan shot them a piercing glare, which caused them to drop to their knees, before walking back down the road that he had come from.
It did not take long before he returned to the poison dimension. Without the koi fish around, poisonous creatures had swiftly swarmed around the pond. It seemed like it would not be long before the tiny ‘safe haven’ in the poison dimension was devoured by poison.
After passing through the exit, Zhang Xuan found himself standing in the midst of a world filled with boulders of all sizes.
It was as if he had stepped into the midst of a bald mountain range, filled with nothing but massive rocks. His visuals were instantaneously assaulted by the overwhelming onslaught of monotonous gray; there was not the slightest greenery in sight.
From the looks of it, it seemed like he was standing in the center of a stone forest.
The area was not as dry as the desert dimension, and it was not as rich in spiritual energy as the forest dimension either. If he had to use a single word to describe the current dimension that he was in, it would be ‘bizarre’. The boulders around him had extremely bizarre shapes, and just taking a swift glance at the surroundings was enough to leave his eyes spinning.
“It seems like these boulders are depicting a certain kind of move.” Zhang Xuan leaped onto one of the taller boulders and pondered with a frown.
Looking at the general shape of the stone forest, he found that it resembled multiple experts executing their secret arts all at once.
“I’ll know it once I give it a try!”
He swiftly found a cluster of boulders and began studying them. Emulating the shapes of the boulders, he felt his zhenqi flowing in a unique trajectory, and the next moment, his palm shot forward lightly.
A sonic boom reverberated in the air, and a small dimension rift was torn apart at the tip of his palm.
“It’s indeed a battle technique! Furthermore, the prowess it wields is incredible!” Zhang Xuan narrowed his eyes in astonishment.
So far, he had only casually emulated the movements; he had not even tried to practice it seriously! Could it be that… the boulders formed multiple sets of incredibly powerful secret arts?
If that was the case… where should one start cultivating from? Was there a sequence to it?
If he studied it randomly, would it cause any unintended side effects?
“Forget it! I should look for the exit first!” Zhang Xuan soon made up his mind.
If he found the exit, he would be able to find the corresponding Subordinate Hall. Ultimately, the outer dimensions were only trials that Kong shi had posed to those who ventured into this dimension. The true treasures lay within the Temple of Confucius.
This time around, Zhang Xuan chose to spin the Infernal Blacksaber before swiftly flitting in the direction that it had pointed out.
An hour later, he finally found some signs of human activity. Following the trail, he soon stumbled upon a group of master teachers. They were standing in a clearing in the stone forest, and they were arguing vehemently with one another.
“The sequence of my movements is right! You won’t face any problems as long as you cultivate in accordance to my moves!”
“Rubbish! My sequence is the only one that is correct. Look, those two movements of yours don’t even connect to one another. It’s apparent that you’ve gotten it all wrong!”
“You dimwits! I have already cultivated in this sequence, and I can feel my mastery of my technique deepening significantly. If you really think that you are right, why don’t we have a spar and see whose sequence is superior?”
“Indeed! What’s the point of arguing so much? Let our strength do the talking!”
In the midst of their arguments, the master teachers really ended up coming to blows with one another. A furious gale whipped up in the surroundings and shockwaves from colliding blows rippled destructively into the surroundings.
However, they did make sure to construct an isolation barrier around them to avoid damaging the boulders around to the best of their abilities.
“Just like the group of sword practitioners I encountered at the Sword Lagoon, these fellows are unknowingly losing their sanity…” Zhang Xuan shook his head lamentably.
He had encountered such a situation back in the Qianchong Empire. The sword practitioners there had come to blows as soon as they had a disagreement with one another, which was atypical of sword practitioners. He did not think that he would see the same sight here as well.
The battle ended as quickly as it started. Before long, a man stood victorious over the others.
“See, the sequence that I have followed is the most powerful of all. This should be enough to show that I’m right. Alright, hurry up and start making your offerings!” The victorious master teacher nodded in contentment.
“Alright, we’ll follow your sequence then!”
The others reluctantly nodded in agreement.
“Making your offerings?”
On the other hand, Zhang Xuan was confused as to what was going on.
The more he looked at the situation, the more bewildering he found it.
Master teachers were supposed not to be superstitious. Why were they talking about making their offerings?
Hiding by the corner, Zhang Xuan continued watching the movements of the master teachers in bewilderment.
The victorious master teacher took out a couple of valuable artifacts and placed them before the boulder, as if making an offering to it. Not too long later, the artifacts began to burn up, and a golden glow shone from the boulder.
Following which, a silhouette suddenly surfaced on the boulder and began moving around, seemingly demonstrating some sort of battle technique.
“The secret art that the master teachers were practicing earlier is just the form, so is this the zhenqi circulation pathway that goes along with the movements?” Zhang Xuan wondered.
The silhouette moving on the boulder was currently demonstrating a kind of internal breathing technique that seemed to go along with the movements that the master teachers had executed earlier, but there were still some imperfections between the two.
“How is this still not right? The sequence I deduced doesn’t link up with the internal breathing technique… Pu!”
The triumphant master teacher followed the movements of the silhouette on the boulder, but a moment later, his face paled, and a mouthful of blood spurted from his lips.
If the movements were at odds with the internal breathing, there was a high chance that one’s cultivation might go berserk. He had been extremely confident with the sequence that he had deduced, but who would have thought that it was still wrong?
“Let’s continue studying the movements. We can’t afford to make a mistake anymore, or else we’ll be trapped here for good!” The triumphant master teacher shook his head helplessly.
He was just about to continue examining the boulders around the area when a young man suddenly flew over and said, “Hello, I have arrived in this dimension just a moment ago. If I may ask… what are you all doing?”
I’m not really sure if I have explained this before, but anyways…
For those who are curious about ‘form’ and ‘zhenqi circulation pathway’, they are intended to go together in pairs. This is a common theme in Wuxia novels.
Think of it this way, the form is the movement of the attack that we see (for example, a punch or a kick) whereas the zhenqi circulation pathway provides the energy behind the movement.
Without the zhenqi circulation pathway, you could still execute the battle techniques by copying the movements, but you won’t be able to harness the true destructive prowess behind it.