The only response old man Tianxiang received was another strike that soared through the skies and the sword glare instantly expelled the dark of the night.
The old man Tianxiang looked terrified, his arms shook fiercely, and the Xuan water behind him formed huge waves and churned wildly. This Xuan water was the earth’s Yin energy that he had collected for thousands of years, refined by his blood essence, and had long been connected with his mind.
He raised his hand and the Xuan water rushed toward that sword light violently!
Seeing that Qin Yanzhi’s sword did not perform any evasive or dodging moves, old man Tianxiang was inwardly triumphant—the Xuan water could contaminate all weapons of precious-level and below. He heard that the Daoyi sword was not a famous artifact, spiritual-level at the most. As long as it was stained with Xuan water, it would immediately be corroded.
At that time, hehehe…
He only assumed that Qin Yanzhi didn't know the pros and cons, so he urged Xuan water more urgently.
Seeing Xuan water flooding the sky, the sword light silvery-white, the two collided, and silvery-white was swallowed whole by the black. Xuan water reassembled and rushed towards the Daoyi sword that stopped not far away!
“Hahaha!” The old man Tianxiang couldn't help laughing, but suddenly, his laughter stopped abruptly. In his eyes, that sword light passed through Xuan water at some point and came straight towards him!
That attack seemed ordinary, but the old man Tianxiang felt that he couldn't avoid it no matter what defensive stance he took. When he wanted to retreat, he was shocked to find that the sword light had split into ten thousand glares, trapping him within the sword net!
Old man Tianxiang screamed as his body split apart instantly, falling to the ground piece by piece.
All the pieces of flesh and internal organs were black.
Jiang Xue walked out from the side, saw the mess, and said, “He really has a black heart and black lungs.”
Two people walked out from the shadows. One of them was the elder from the Penal Court of the Nine Heaven Academy. He smiled and said, “I’ve not even made a move and the Mountain Leader has already beheaded old man Tianxiang. All is well.”
Another burly middle-aged man also said, “Qin-zhenjun is truly worthy of being the top ranker of the Amethyst Abode stage. You have crossed the realm and killed a cultivator of the Heavenly Grotto stage.”
Qin Yanzhi retracted his sword and said, “His spiritual dais is already damaged and also suffered a sneak attack from before. He only has about 60% of strength left, which is nothing worth mentioning.”
Jiang Xue, “But you still crossed the realms. Even with 60% of strength left, it’s not comparable to the Amethyst Abode stage.”
Qin Yanzhi turned to him, “When you reach the Amethyst Abode stage, you’d rank the first too.”
Jiang Xue was startled and then smiled.
“I’m saved by Qin-zhenjun again today. Thank you very much.”
Qin Yanzhi, “No need to be polite.”
It turned out that Jiang Xue was Jing Yue in disguise.
He knocked Jiang Xue unconscious in the Pan Yang secret realm, disguised as the other party, and pretended to be entranced by old man Tianxing. While the old man Tianxiang was focused on performing the technique, he released Qin Yanzhi's sword attack hidden in the center of his eyebrows.
They expected that the old man Tianxiang must have a secret life-saving method. To prevent him from escaping, they used this unexpected sneak attack to consume that move first.
Thereafter, Qin Yanzhi, the elder from the Penal Court, and a Heavenly Grotto Zhenren from Lingfeng Clan hid in ambush nearby, waiting for an opportunity.
Jing Yue, “In any case, I still want to thank you.”
Qin Yanzhi, “What for? You are willing to be the bait. Of course I should protect you.”
Jing Yue blabbered, “Of course I’m thanking you for protecting me, thanking you for eliminating harm in the cultivation world…”
He was stunned before he finished speaking—Qin Yanzhi actually laughed!
It was the first time Jing Yue saw the other party laughing. At that moment, it seemed as if the cold moon had turned into the sun and the snow was beginning to melt.
He couldn't help but admired it with a few more glances. Under the moonlight and stars, the eyes of the two were full of each other.
At this moment, the elder of the Penal Court felt a stab in his eyes.
He coughed lightly and joked, “Killing people and stealing treasures, let me see the contents of the Qiankun pouch belonging to this old demon.”
Because the old man Tianxiang had the cultivation base of Heavenly Grotto, only the Zhenren of the Lingfeng Clan could break his restriction. After a while, the items in the Qiankun pouch fell out—spirit stones, magic weapons, spiritual materials, and two manuals.
Jing Yue picked it up and looked at it. One was the Soul Attracting Curse, and the other was the Spirit Devouring Art.
He glanced at it roughly. The Spirit Devouring Art described in detail how to sense spiritual roots, extricate spiritual roots, and extract spiritual roots, but there was no record on how to make up for the shortcomings of the hidden dangers contained in that technique. No wonder old man Tianxiang was at a loss. If not for today, even in a few decades, his spiritual dais would certainly collapse.
Just when he wanted to take a closer look, the back of his hand was covered by Qin Yanzhi. The other's tone was calm but irrefutable, “Don’t look.”
Jing Yue vaguely felt that the Spirit Devouring Art was his chance encounter, so he said, “Can the book be given to me? I’m a single spiritual root, and I promise I won’t practice this sorcery.”
Qin Yanzhi, “No.”
Jing Yue, “It is actually a good thing to supplement the spiritual roots but this method is wrong. I think this book is very valuable for research purposes.”
The elder of the Penal Court and the Zhenren from Lingfeng Clan didn’t speak but looked at them quietly. Qin Yanzhi’s attitude was tough. Although Jing Yue was young, he had a high status. Since he was interested in getting it, he would not give up easily. Would a fight break out between them?
Why were they feeling excited?
Qin Yanzhi used a little force and snatched the book from Jing Yue's hand.
Elder and Zhenren: Oh-hoh, are they fighting? (rubs palms)
However, Qin Yanzhi only put a restriction on the book. “There is the imprint of my spiritual sense on it. As long as someone practices this technique or tries to erase my spiritual sense, I will know it.”
The onlookers were at a loss, wondering what Qin-zhenjun meant. However, Jing Yue’s brainwaves were in sync and he said with a smile, “Thank you, Qin-zhenjun. Don’t worry, I’ll just look at it. I won’t practice it and will also keep it carefully.”
After that, he took the book back from Qin Yanzhi's hand naturally and stuffed it into his Qiankun pouch.
Qin Yanzhi, “Mm.”
Elder and Zhenren, “…”
Did they miss any plot?
Jing Yue continued, “The other corpses in the ruined temple are mostly disciples from nearby small forces or rogue cultivators. Let’s take them away and notify someone to claim it.”
Qin Yanzhi, “Okay.”
He didn't even look at the treasure in old man Tianxiang's Qiankun pouch but directly summoned a flying magic weapon and took Jing Yue away.
The elder of the Penal Court and the Zhenren from Lingfeng Clan looked at each other, rolled up their sleeves and squatted down, and evenly divided the loot on the ground without any hesitation or embarrassment at all.
At this time, in the Pan Yang Secret Realm, Jiang Xue woke up leisurely.
He sat up with his hands on his forehead, still feeling dizzy.
Alas, this was so embarrassing. Unexpectedly, he passed out during the battle against the ferocious beast. Fortunately, only heaven above and the earth below knew about it, so he must keep it a secret!
Now, he must hurry back to the clan!
Qin Yanzhi’s flying artifact was refined into the appearance of a sword box. At this time, he was sitting cross-legged and closed his eyes in meditation. Jing Yue held the Spirit Devouring Art opposite him to study. There was no interaction between the two, but neither felt embarrassed and felt a sense of comfort instead.
The more Jing Yue studied the more valuable he felt this technique was.
The so-called spiritual root was the human body’s innate and initial Qi of the five elements, the basis for the communication between heaven and earth to absorb spiritual qi. People only knew that it gathered at the center of the eyebrows in the spiritual dais, but it was abstract and invisible to the naked eye. Nowadays, even for a Tribulation Passage stalwart, it was impossible to identify the attributes of the spiritual root without the help of an appraising magic weapon.
But the Spirit Devouring Art’s origin was unknown. Not only did it record the secret method of detecting spiritual roots, but it also allowed practitioners to separate their own five element qi, remove impurities, and only retain the main spiritual root, while extracting from others and using it to nourish itself.
This technique was only effective for the living, adding a bit of cruelty to the evil.
However, Jing Yue felt that by putting aside the evil factor of the practice, as long as he learned the three steps of detecting spiritual roots, separating the five elements, and removing impurities, he could gradually improve the aptitude of his spiritual root. It was just that if the last brutal step was not taken, the effect would be much weaker. Perhaps even after thousands of years had passed, it would still not be possible to completely eliminate a miscellaneous root.
He was thinking hard when suddenly, the wooden sword he had been carrying with him had a weak reaction.
Jing Yue immediately linked his divine consciousness to the sword with a thought.
There was still nothingness in his field of vision, but gradually, Jing Yue saw a little dot of green, followed by ten, a hundred, ten million points, and finally joined together.
There were flowers, grass, vines, trees, and many seeds in the soil.
He saw a small thin sapling grow up slowly, grow taller, growing to obscure the sky, and grow into a giant tree.
One day, lightning fell and directly struck the giant tree. A spark ignited and the fire spread and grew bigger and bigger, engulfing the massive trunk. It wasn’t until the torrential rain poured that the fire was finally extinguished, but only the charred torso of the giant tree remained.
After thousands of years had passed, the place where the giant tree grew became a lake. Later, the lake gradually dried up. After several mountain changes, this dead tree took root in a valley and was baptized by the sun, moon, and stars every day.
Suddenly one day, a young leaf grew from the inanimate branch, and one day later, another leaf grew.
Just like this, after ten years, the dead wood welcomed spring again.
A shepherd boy riding an ox passed under the tree, looking up at the nesting birds on the treetop.
A burly man leaned against the tree trunk to rest tiredly and fell asleep until dark.
A scholar holding a book, shaking his head, and chanting under the green shade.
A girl carrying a basket plucked a delicate white flower from the tree in early spring.
An old man buried himself under the tree and turned into the soil to nourish this thousand-year-old tree.
This ancient tree had experienced withering and flourishing, and also seen the life and death of all things on earth.
One day, a Daoist passed by here, stopped for a long time under the tree, drew his sword, and cut off a branch of the ancient tree.
The Daoist brought the branch back to the school and carved it with rough stones every day.
Stone grounded the wood, and wood grounded the stone, over and over again.
After three years of cold winter, the flowers and trees in the school bloomed overnight.
On this day, the sword was forged.
At the same time, there was a strong consciousness in Jing Yue's mind, which touched him more than every sword he had known before.
He heard a tender voice saying—Ku Sheng is my name.
(TN: Ku 枯 = wither / dry, Sheng 盛 = full / flourish)
When Jing Yue slowly opened his eyes, he met Qin Yanzhi's probing gaze.
He stroked the wooden sword in his hand, felt the closeness of Ku Sheng, and said with a smile, “Qin-zhenjun, this sword is called Ku Sheng.”
Jing Yue held Ku Sheng in both hands and said, “Now that the sword consciousness is awakened, I should return it.”
Qin Yanzhi took the long sword silently, a shallow tenderness in his eyes as he looked at Ku Sheng.
Jing Yue never thought that such an expression would appear on Qin Yanzhi's face. He even had a ridiculous idea. It was as if Qin Yanzhi had bestowed all the tenderness and weakness of his life upon ten thousand swords in the world.
Qin Yanzhi, “Since you awakened Ku Sheng, it’d up to you to deal with it. But this sword’s element is wood, so it’s not the best choice for you.”
Jing Yue replied seriously. “I understand. I won’t let Ku Sheng down.”