In the air, all the runes started shining brightly, signaling the completion of the teleportation formation.
If you count the time, they only took a total of 2 breaths.
On the frontline, every teleportation formation is meticulously crafted by the formation specialists at The Holy Gates. Each of them requiring dozens of days to make, as well as the full attention of 7-8 cultivators.
Comparing the two, you almost feel like they’re not doing the same thing.
The runes lit up.
Both the ferryman and Gu Qing Shan disappeared in place.
Glazed ceiling, red brick walls.
All the structures here are towering and beautifully set like a natural painting
Bai Hua Palace, a place as beautiful as the Heavenly Palace itself.
Inside the palace itself was a giant screen made of green jade, a normal person standing up straight wouldn’t even reach 1/3rd of the screen’s height.
Gu Qing Shan and the ferryman appeared in front of that screen.
A palace maid holding an extremely long scroll walked towards them, lightly bowing to the ferryman. (1)
“This is the one attempting the Sword list today?” the maid asked.
“That’s right” the ferryman answered.
“There’s only one person today?” the maid asked again.
“All the others have unsavory sword will, they couldn’t possibly do anything even if they came here, only to dirty this place’s spirit essence” the ferryman answered.
“Alright, I’ve brought the person here, you take care of him” as the ferryman said that, he disappeared without a trace.
The maid seems to be used to this, turning to face Gu Qing Shan: “You’ve come to attempt the Sword list?”
“I have” Gu Qing Shan answered as he bowed respectfully.
The maid observed him a bit, seeing that his appearance is decent, his eyes are bright, as well as an acceptable attitude, her eyes appeared satisfied.
“Fine then” the maid took out an incense burner and lit an incense stick.
She handed the picture scroll in her hand to Gu Qing Shan, saying: “You go in there, if you can pass the test within one incense’s time, you’ll get the right to attempt the Sword list”
Gu Qing Shan was a bit surprised, asked again: “The ferryman had already tested me twice, but there’s still more?”
The maid: “There is”
“Ok then” Gu Qing Shan nodded.
He still hasn’t even seen the Sword list yet he’s already taking the 3rd test.
If it was any other prideful Sword Cultivator, they would’ve been annoyed already, possibly even complained a bit.
But Gu Qing Shan have a lot of patience for the sake of seeking reinforcement.
Not to mention, as a returner, he knows very well what Bai Hua Fairy’s personality is like.
Gu Qing Shan silently accepted the scroll, infusing spirit energy into it.
The scroll fell down onto the ground, but Gu Qing Shan is nowhere to be seen.
The maid picked up the scroll, putting it on a mahogany table and lightly muttered: “Quite patient as well”
In the scroll.
Gu Qing Shan was standing across from a scholar.
The scholar was polite, bowed to welcome Gu Qing Shan with perfect etiquette and said: “My family’s traditional Sword Style has been passed down through the ages, normal cultivators doesn’t stand a chance against it, yet I’ve always felt like it’s missing something, please take a look and help me find the problem”
“Please go ahead” Gu Qing Shan returned the gesture.
“Then I will begin, please be assured, I will keep the spirit energy flow at qi training stage 7, making it convenient for you to block” said the scholar
“Thank you very much” Gu Qing Shan replied.
The scholar smiled, then took out a sword.
As soon as he held the Longsword in his hand, his whole aura changed.
A frenzy scream can be heard from the scholar’s mouth.
“Kill kill kill kill kill! Millions of things in this world, nothing can’t be killed!”
The Longsword moved suddenly, merging with the scholar’s figure within the rain of sword strikes.
Both the scholar and his sword has become frenzied afterimages, raining attacks on Gu Qing Shan.
Gu Qing Shan grabbed the air, immediately holding the Sharp-grade sword from before in his hand.
The ferryman left too quickly that he didn’t even take back the sword.
——-or it could be he did it on purpose because he was pleased with him.
“Kai Shan 5th strike!”
Gu Qing Shan shouted, swung his sword up, then cleaving straight from above.
Kai Shan Style is slow and heavy, but the scholar’s sword strikes were as quick as illusions, enough to not be seen properly.
One fast, one slow, yet the two swords were able to clash.
The scholar’s sword was knocked flying, hit the wall and rolled down.
“How strange, why is it like this?” the scholar’s face didn’t show even a bit of disappointment, he even became a bit excited
Gu Qing Shan relaxes his sword, saying: “From my own experience using the sword, I think that there’s only ever a single strike in Sword arts”
The scholar was surprised: “Only one strike? Which strike?”
Gu Qing Shan answered: “The strike that will take the enemy’s life in that moment”
“The strike that will take the enemy’s life… in that moment”
The scholar slowly repeated what he said.
“That’s right, in the blink of an eye, your strikes are more numerous than mine, although you can cause your opponent to be confused that way, but you’ve also greatly increase your number of openings” Gu Qing Shan patiently explained.
This is the experience that Gu Qing Shan got from countless encounters with demons, from countless times facing the danger of death, using his own blood and tears as a price.
To save Gong Sun Zhi and Ning Yue Xi, to survive, he must do everything he can to show his talent with the sword.
Because Bai Hua Fairy’s eyes are the highest in the land.
As a Great Sword Saint, Gu Qing Shan’s eyes and wealth of experience is of course top-notch, even though there’s still a distance from a Sainted realm cultivator like Bai Hua Fairy, but he was an existence that got the closest to them.
At the moment, the System’s seal has become undone, Gu Qing Shan’s sword cultivation had returned to him, the only thing lacking is the many Sword Styles that still need Soul Points to be awakened.
This was a protection method by the System.
There are a few Sword Styles so powerful that even if he only attempts to think about them, with Gu Qing Shan’s current qi training realm soul vessel, he could be wounded beyond help.
His cultivation is too low to endure this kind of wound, so he can only choose to increase bit by bit using quality over quantity.
The scholar stood there for a moment, then once again swung his sword.
This time, his sword was much slower.
Each strike was still as quick as lightning, but at every moment, there’s only ever a single strike.
As the number of strikes decreased, the power of his strike increased.
Concise, simple, full-power.
The sword’s aura gradually became solemn, fierce yet unseen.
The scholar continued to be immersed in his Sword Style, muttering: “Wrong, wrong, so all that time I’ve been chasing speed and complexity, even the direction had been wrong”
Gu Qing Shan looked at him a bit, then once again swung his sword, clashing with the scholar 10 times.
The scholar shouted loudly, but retreated his sword.
He solemnly bowed and thanked him: “Just a few of your words had made me understood, you can consider yourself passed my test”
“Thank you” Gu Qing Shan also clasped his fist and returned the bow.
Outside the scroll, the maid seemed to have felt it, as she smiled lightly: “This Sword Style is called Lightning Vacuum Strike, yet the answer was to slow it down, what an extraordinary way of thinking”
Looking at the incense, she could tell it hasn’t even burned out 10% yet.
The maid was truly interested now.
She once again stared at the scroll.
Inside the picture scroll, the scholar nodded and fade away.
Another cultivator instead appeared in front of Gu Qing Shan.
This one was a monk, his hand holding a sword, his eyes showed confusion.
“My problem is a question of the sword’s heart” the monk stared blankly at the sword in his hand and said.
“Please” Gu Qing Shan replied.
“To use the sword as a killing weapon, even though those who are killed enter reincarnation, you still can’t eliminate the mourning and obsession left behind, yet you create more karma for the future”
“If that’s the case, why kill at all? And why use the sword?”
“This monk asks you, how would a swordsman deal with this?” the monk said.
What a problem indeed!
Gu Qing Shan’s face became serious.
This problem, if you’re roped into its logic, your Dao itself will break.
Even though the two of them are only standing here discussing things peacefully, the situation here is much more dangerous than killing demons on a battlefield.
If his will is wavered by the question, his Dao’s heart will be broken. (2)
A cultivator whose Dao has been broken will definitely be slowed down, or even stopped entirely, never able to take another step.
(1) Maid: Google “Chinese palace maids” for what she might be wearing, definitely not the kind of maids in pop culture.
(2) Dao’s heart: a literal translation, it could be understood as the motivation, will, determination and belief to keep going on the road of cultivation. It’s said that everyone has a reason to cultivate themselves, and those that keep the original reason pure is able to keep going further and further, while those who believe they’ve betrayed their original will won’t be able to go on. A person whose Dao’s heart is broken will doubt himself and what he does, thus unable to be decisive, unable to confidently pursue his path, and Dao literally means path.