Pathos of Heavens.
As much as it was a cultivation technique, it was a battle technique as well.
It was a conceptualization that he had come up with through his epiphany, so it was not too difficult for him to materialize it into a battle technique.
Sentimental humans were born from the indifferent heavens. The heavens would have long withered if they had feelings.
As a conceptualization arose in Zhang Xuan's head, Kong shi's flawless swordsmanship began to take on another form right before his eyes.
Where Kong shi's sword passed, a gray streak would be left in its wake. These gray streaks gradually interweaved with one another to form something reminiscent of a net.
This was the power that had limited his movements, placing him at a disadvantageous position throughout the battle.
Heavens' Order. Even though these gray streaks are scattered chaotically, they still observe a certain kind of pattern and law. It's almost like weaving together a heavens' net. It isn't tight, but once it bites, it will never let go, Zhang Xuan analyzed with a nonchalant expression on his face.
He did not have too deep an understanding of Heavens' Order previously, and it was through his conceptualization that he was able to see through the laws behind Kong shi's swordsmanship.
Resonance, that was the crux of Kong shi's swordsmanship. It was also a property that all beings in the world possessed, an intrinsic law of nature.
As long as two objects were moving in at the resonant frequency to one another, even the toughest object in the world could easily be destroyed.
To be honest, Zhang Xuan had no idea whether the Heavens' Order Swordsmanship was flawless. However, through forcing his opponent to obey his law, he was able to slowly bring his opponent to the same frequency as him and finally defeat him.
To use a crass metaphor from his previous life, it was similar to how 'an idiot would drag you down to their level and beat you with experience'!
Zhang Xuan came to a realization. The Heavens' Order Swordsmanship is able to weave together an illusory net that compels the opponent to obey its rules. If I use swordsmanship that can unravel his rules, I'll be able to overcome him...
With a light chuckle, he channeled his Gods' Sword Intent into the Tongshang Sword and swiftly formed a massive net that was similar yet dissimilar to Kong shi's net.
A heart of intertwined threads, filled with thousands and thousands of knots!
A poem suddenly surfaced in Zhang Xuan's mind.
Just like that, the very first sword art of Pathos of Heavens had been created.
With a flick of Zhang Xuan's Tongshang Sword, Kong shi's swordsmanship suddenly seemed to freeze in place. The intricate net that he had been weaving earlier overlapped with the one that Zhang Xuan had created, causing it to intersect messily with one another. As a result, he was unable to quickly struggle free.
With the messing up of the order that he had created, Kong shi lost control over his surroundings. He was no longer able to influence Zhang Xuan with his rules.
With this, Zhang Xuan had finally been freed.
He immediately stepped forward to launch a follow-up attack so as to crush Kong shi's will, but the next moment, the latter took a step back and retreated from the sphere of battle.
"The fact that you were able to find the flaws in my swordsmanship and destroy my order within such a short period of time shows that you are a deeply talented and intelligent individual. You are qualified to become a god." Kong shi chuckled as he stroked his beard.
"We haven't finished our battle yet." Zhang Xuan looked at Kong shi with eyes narrowed with doubt.
Despite having comprehended such a powerful sword art, Kong shi was still able to retreat so easily without sustaining the slightest injury. This showed that he had not used his full strength. If the battle went on, there was no guarantee that he would have emerged victorious.
Since that was the case, why did Kong shi back out of the battle?
Victory and defeat are inconsequential here. My only goal here is to test the eligible challengers on behalf of the gods. You were able to overcome the Heart Oblivion Formation within a tenth of the time and comprehend seven Gods' Intents alone. On top of that, you were able to see through the opening in my swordsmanship and create a new sword art to deal with it on the spot. Your talents are truly unrivaled," Kong shi remarked calmly.
"Test? Challengers?" Zhang Xuan was confused by what was going on.
Was Kong shi not trying to kill him so that he could obtain his Library of Heaven's Path?
Why was he acting in such a manner?
It was as if the will before him was completely different from the person whom he had met previously!
Perplexed, Zhang Xuan was just about to voice the doubts in his heart when Kong shi suddenly said, "If I'm not mistaken, you have inherited the Heavens' Imperfections, right?"
Those words immediately placed Zhang Xuan on guard.
He had been wondering if the will before him was really a different person from before when the latter suddenly spoke of the Heavens' Imperfections. It seemed like he was finally revealing his true self.
"Just as I thought... The Hall of Gods has always held the strong in high esteem, so successful challengers are allowed to leave their will behind to test the next challenger. You should leave your will here so that you can test the challengers of the next generation," Kong shi said with a smile.
As he said those words, his silhouette began to flicker.
Zhang Xuan had seen this situation many times before. Ultimately, a will was just a transient existence in this world. After accomplishing its mission, it would dissipate.
While he was on the Master Teacher Continent, every time he tried to ask Kong shi about the Innate Fetal Poison, the latter would simply dissipate all of a sudden.
"As for the Aura of Divinity, the palace will naturally bestow it upon you once you leave the premises..."
Then, with a silent pop, Kong shi's will dissipated into the surroundings.
Seeing this, Zhang Xuan frowned doubtfully. Could it be that there's really a real Kong shi and fake Kong shi?
The Kong shi whom he had just met earlier was similar to all those he had met back on the Master Teacher Continent. There was a hint of benevolence in the depths of his eyes, and it felt like he was someone who would shelter the world from all storms. This was vastly different from that one who had saved him from the Hall of Gods!
Could it be that the will that had just dissipated came from the real Kong shi?
Forget it! Whether that Kong shi is a good person or a bad person, if I can really obtain the Aura of Divinity and successfully become a god, nothing will be a problem anymore!
He left his will on the third floor before heading down the stone staircase.
The fact that the palace allowed him to leave his will there meant that he had already gained its approval. When he returned to the entrance that he had entered from, the gates had already appeared once more. He saw his clone standing beyond the doorsill, waiting patiently for his return.
Heaving a sigh of relief, Zhang Xuan walked over to his clone's side before turning around to take another look at the gigantic palace right before his eyes.
The palace was still standing above the cradle of wind currents. All of a sudden, a golden flow shot out from the cradle and rose in between the two pillars of the palace.
This golden flow emanated a brilliant glow. It exerted a heavy pressure right upon one's soul.
Is this the Aura of Divinity?
It seemed like Kong shi had not lied to him.
This golden flow felt as heavy as the mercury-like spiritual energy when he first encountered it back on the Master Teacher Continent. He had a feeling that his meridians would rupture if he absorbed it recklessly.
Most likely, this was the power that only real gods were worthy of harnessing.
In other words, if he absorbed the Aura of Divinity before him, there was a good chance that he could reach the realm of the gods. That would put him on a level that no one on the Forsaken Continent could match!
With eyes glowing with excitement, he leaped into the air as he quickly headed toward the golden flow.
But before he could reach his destination, a burst of sword qi abruptly sliced through his pathway. It severed the space, creating a dimension rift between Zhang Xuan and the golden flow.
Astonished, Zhang Xuan hurriedly halted his movements.
"You have my deepest thanks. I knew that you would be able to do it, and you sure didn't disappoint..."
Following that, a mirror suddenly appeared in midair. A hand crept out from the surface of the mirror and grabbed the golden flow between its fingers.
Then, the entire golden flow was absorbed into a jade bottle and vanished.
Following which, the figure turned around—it was none other than Kong shi!
Zhang Xuan tightened his fists in anger.
"You aren't Kong shi. Who in the world are you?" Zhang Xuan asked with narrowed eyes.
He had thought it was weird how the other party had never appeared even though there were so many ideal opportunities for him to strike. It turned out that he had been hiding in the void all along, waiting for the moment that he obtained the Aura of Divinity to snatch it from him!
However... when Zhang Xuan first arrived in the area, he had made sure to examine his surroundings carefully, and he did not notice any folded space or the like. Just where in the world did the other party appear from, and how did he manage to traverse space to get there?
More importantly, if the will that he had encountered in the palace was real, it was likely that the person standing before him was a fake!
That would explain why the other party was unaware of the details regarding Xuanjiang City's Teleportation Portal, as well as why the will that he had encountered in the palace seemed to be unsure about the existence of the Heavens' Imperfections.
"Who else can I be if not Kong shi?" The face of the person in the air warped in anger. "I am him. I have always been him!"
Amid his furious rage, he thrust his palm downward.
The air currents had always been chaotic in the area. That palm strike caused more and more dimension rifts to appear all around, leaving Zhang Xuan not daring to advance any further.
He has indeed gotten much stronger! Zhang Xuan narrowed his eyes.
The fact that the other party was able to shatter space so easily showed that he was much stronger compared to the time he was facing his clone.
Nevertheless, there was no hint of Heavens' Order in his palm strike, and the battle technique that he used did not harness the essence of the world. That meant that he was not using a Heaven's Path battle technique.
Furthermore, as powerful as his attack was, it was not to the extent where it was able to influence the laws around him.
There's no doubt about it—he's indeed a fake...
Since Kong shi possessed a fragment of the heavens as well, he was naturally able to use Heaven's Path battle techniques.
He had wondered about that previously, too, but he had not been too certain as he had never seen anyone aside from him using Heaven's Path battle techniques. As such, he had mistaken the other party's attacks to have reached the level of Heaven's Path battle techniques previously.
However, after witnessing what Kong shi's will was capable of, it was apparent that the attacks of the person before him were lacking.
This only pointed to a single possibility...
Even though he refused to admit to it, the person standing before him was indeed a fake!
"Return the Aura of Divinity to me!"
Zhang Xuan knew that this was not a good time for his mind to be wandering. As he brandished the Tongshang Sword, he beckoned his clone to move alongside him. With a barrage of swift slashes, he formed a net of sword qi around the fake Kong shi.
A Heart of Intertwined Threads!
He executed the sword art that he had just comprehended without any hesitation.
He knew that he was facing a difficult opponent, such that the Gods' Sword Intent that he had comprehended would not be much use in the battle. Thus, he used the strongest move he knew of from the very start of the battle.
"Amazing swordsmanship... However, I won't be fighting with you today. Once I become a god myself, your library will become mine. No one in this world will be able to stop me!" Kong shi burst into laughter as he leaped back into the mirror and vanished from view.
"Sh*t!" Zhang Xuan's face turned livid.
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