Chapter 601 - Number One Sword Art of the Flameyellow Continent
"I will be going to the Hexapath Sword Insight Rock now. Li Tianming, follow me," Feiling said as she rose.
"Understood." Tianming also gradually stood up.
Like a gust of wind, she approached him. Fang Qingli and Xuanyuan Dao followed quickly behind, ensuring that they were always within three meters of her, as if they were her personal bodyguards.
"You don't have to be wary of him. Had he wanted to kill me, I wouldn't have been able to make it here," Feiling said.
Fang Qingli lowered her head and said, "Your Eminence, care is paramo—"
"Enough!" Feiling snapped.
They ignored Tianming, but still didn't leave the two alone. There was no way for him to initiate a private conversation with her at all, so all he could do was follow behind. Once she left Soulburn Hall, tens of Samsara stage elites of the Xuanyuan house formed three lines of defense around her.
It seems that our trip to Archaion will be a dangerous one. We aren't able to catch a break at all. Do the powers of the other eight divine realms want to kill her to prevent her from reaching godhood and bringing Archaion to prominence again? Tianming thought with a cold expression.
Both Ling'er and I are in for a hard time. We must endure. If I can really stand tall in Archaion one day as the strongest disciple of the sect, I might be able to gain some negotiating power as well. Ling'er's life is also my life. Anyone that tries to kill her will be killed by me! One day, nobody on this whole continent will be able to control any aspect of our lives.
They were walking on an icy path beneath Xuanyuan Lake. A few hundred guards were manning the entrance and Feiling was led by the ten plus most powerful ones down the path, with Tianming following behind.
"Sect Master, can you indulge one question of mine?" Tianming asked.
"If the Hexapath Sword Insight Rock is a legacy of the Hexapath Sword God, why’s it here in the Archaion Sect instead of in the Hexapath Sword Sect?"
"We took it."
"Took?" Tianming was once more startled by the Archaion Sect's strength.
"Yes. They are dreaming of taking it back even now."
"Amazing...." It was definitely not easy to take something so precious. However, that probably meant relations between the sects were horrible.
"Not many people know this, but the Tai'e House of Jian in the Hexapath Sect descended from the same clan as the Draconis House of Jian. However, they broke off and eventually gave rise to the Hexapath Sword God. Being of the same line of descent, it isn't a big deal for us to cultivate his sword art," Jian Wuyi said.
"I see." Tianming had no idea about the Archaion Sect's actual might. But one thing was for certain: the divine realms' numbered names weren't reflective of their actual strength ranking. "Is the one trying to kill Her Eminence powerful?"
"I told you not to ask too many questions," Jian Wuyi said, shooting him a glare.
"I don't understand why Her Eminence wants to bring you to the stone. You’re just a young disciple with nothing to your name. Historically, few have managed to understand the Hexapath Sword God's sword intent. Even I only managed to break through the fourth level of the Sword Formation to learn the Four Seasons Sword Art."
"What is the Sword Formation?"
"It is a top-grade heavenly pattern formation made by the sword god himself. Only those with exceedingly high comprehension of the sword can pass through and obtain his legacy."
"Heavenly pattern formation?" Tianming smiled. "Sect Master, there might be a good reason why Her Eminence is bringing me there."
"You're that confident, eh? Do you know what the true essence of the sword god is? If someone like you can pass the first level of Sword Formation in a few years, it'll be a miracle." Jian Wuyi looked at Tianming with disapproval, as if he thought him an overconfident fledgling.
The Hexapath Sword Palace was located at the bottom of the lake, accessible only through the crystalline path. Feiling and the other elites squeezed inside the palace, followed closely by Tianming.
He was greeted by a huge, empty expanse. Looking around, he saw a stone placed in the middle of the grand hall. It looked rather plain and seemed no different from a normal rock taken from a riverbank, but it was undoubtedly the legacy of the Hexapath Sword God.
"Legend says that the Hexapath Sword God sat on that stone when he conceived the number one sword art on the Flameyellow Continent," Jian Wuyi said, not for Tianming's benefit but rather out of respect for the legendary figure.
"What sword art?"
"You're someone from Archaion. How could you not know what sword art is the strongest on the Flameyellow Continent?"
"Sect Master, if I weren't born in a rural area, I would've been at the Samsara stage by now," Tianming said with a smile.
"I see." Jian Wuyi was a little displeased by Tianming's overestimation of his capability, but continued, "It’s the sword art that’s believed by all sword wielders of the Flameyellow Continent to be the strongest. The Hexapath Sword God used it to sweep his foes clean, completely unmatched. It's called the Hexapath Samsara Sword."
"How amazing. Those who lived in the same era as him must’ve been overshadowed."
"Overshadowed is a severe understatement." Jian Wuyi's eyes were full of worship. He seemed rather proud that his lineage was related to the Hexapath Sword God, someone who was even stronger than the first god of the Archaic House of Xuanyuan.
"Has anyone managed to learn that sword art?"
"Are you joking? Nobody since the sword god himself has managed to master it, though most people simply didn't even get a chance to obtain it."
"The Hexapath Samsara Sword is embedded within this stone. One needs to first go through six levels of the Sword Formation to obtain it. So far, even the strongest swordsmen in both the Archaion Sect and Hexapath Sword Sect have only managed to pass through five levels and obtain the Fivepeak Sword."
"Interesting...." Tianming turned to his black left arm. Sky Plunderer Clan, huh?
"Li Tianming, come here," Feiling said, standing beside the stone. The elites surrounded her from a distance. Only Xuanyuan Dao and Fang Qingli were in the inner circle.
"Understood." Tianming and Jian Wuyi entered the inner circle. Tianming stood four meters away from her, unable to get any closer without earning a glare from Fang Qingli. They really see her life as far more important than their own.
Feiling pointed at the stone and said, "Try and pass through the Sword Formation to obtain a sword art."
"Understood. I’m grateful, Your Eminence." He met her gaze. Though it was just an instant, he knew what she intended. She knew about his arm as well as its origins, after all.
Taking a deep breath, he took a step forward and stood before the normal-seeming rock. He knew that the elites behind him weren't paying attention to him. There had been far too many who believed their own comprehension to be far superior to others that had attempted to use the Sword Insight Rock, but the heavenly pattern formation the sword god had personally crafted was far beyond them. Perhaps not even the strongest of patternscribes would be able to break the formation without any understanding of sword intent, as was proven when a top-grade patternscribe couldn't even break through the first formation.
"Quick. Don't waste Her Eminence's time," Fang Qingli said.
"Yes!" The whole time, Tianming had uttered nothing but affirmatives. He wasn't the main character today. The rest had come to accompany Feiling in her own attempt to comprehend the sword. If he didn't get anything from it, Jian Wuyi would swiftly take him away and he would never have a chance like this ever again.
A formation? Tianming stretched his left hand out and touched the stone. It's not just a normal rock!
The stone was not as it appeared on the surface. It was, in fact, formed from layers of heavenly pattern formations made using an incomprehensibly complex technique. Despite knowing something about patternscribing himself, he felt like he was sinking into an ocean of heavenly patterns the moment his left hand touched the first Sword Formation. It was so dense that it was hard to navigate, all of it woven together using a complicated technique to form an ocean-like formation.
Normal people need to comprehend the sword intent hidden within this ocean. They first have to feel the Hexapath Sword God's passion and drive for the way of the sword.
The concept of the sword was, in itself, a kind of heavenly will. Tianming's Imperial Will was shaped like the Grand-Orient sword, after all. He vaguely sensed the sword intent of 'breaking through the ocean with a single sword strike' within this ocean. Only those with unparalleled talent and comprehension would be able to break through the formations with the sword god's guidance to obtain the sword arts within. The process of breaking through the formations was in itself a training session. Being able to achieve it meant obtaining a basic mastery of the technique.
There was a technique granted upon breaking through each layer. For instance, there was the Four Seasons Sword Art at the fourth, the Fivepeak Sword at the fifth, and the Hexapath Samsara Sword at the sixth, the most powerful sword art of all. Tianming could feel in the ocean of the first formation that it would be insurmountably difficult for a sky saint to rely on talent alone to clear the formations.
Talent in the sword is only one part of breaking through the formations. The larger part is the benefits one's received, and I stand a far greater chance than most elites and geniuses in that regard.
It would already be an occasion worth celebrating if a disciple of the Archaion Sect were able to break through one formation. That was the reason the others merely looked at Tianming with listless expressions, not expecting anything no matter how much Feiling had praised him. It was only common sense.
However, common sense rarely applied to Tianming.