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"Of course!" Zhang Xuan nodded as he took a seat. He picked up a chess piece with his left hand and gestured to the chessboard with his right. "Please!"

Without saying a word, the Three Bearded Cultivator picked up a chess piece and placed it on the board.

With a faint smile on his lips, Zhang Xuan immersed his consciousness into the Library of Heaven's Path, where a book had just been materialized.

Written on the book was the description of the chessboard, as well the flaws of each and every position on the chessboard.

Each position on the chessboard had some flaws, some more than others. There was only one position that did not have any flaws.

It indeed works, Zhang Xuan thought in delight.

After learning the rules, he had compiled the knowledge that he knew together with the chessboard before him, and through that, he was able to uncover the flaws of each and every move in the game. As long as he followed the impeccable calculations of the Library of Heaven's Path, he should be able to achieve a decent outcome.

"That move... seems to be very steady."

Zhang Jia and Qi Ling-er anxiously looked at the move that Zhang Xuan made before heaving a sigh of relief each.

To be honest, they had already tossed aside all hope of winning after being asked for the rules a moment ago. All they hoped was that Zhang Xuan would not embarrass them too much.

Even though each player had only made a single move so far, they were very conventional moves that conformed to the usual starting formations. There were no hints that one of the players was actually a newbie yet.

Hu hu hu!

The first few moves consisted mainly of setting up one's formation on the board, so there was no need to think too deeply yet. Experience was more than enough to determine where one should move.

The Three Bearded Cultivator swiftly placed chess pieces down one after another, and Zhang Xuan followed suit. It was as if they were playing solely on instinct, barely needing any time to think.

Within five minutes, they had already made thirty moves each.


Upon catching a closer look at the circumstances on the chessboard, Zhang Jia and Qi Ling-er were a little taken aback.

Zhang Xuan's moves so far had been simple and conventional, similar to how an amateur player would play. There were no particularly complex ploys or traps to bait and catch the opponent. Yet, it was this simplistic playing that proved to be a huge pain in the ass to deal with.

Every single move he made seemed to be impeccably calculated to achieve the greatest gains and minimize losses, so the opponent's chess ended up being tightly sealed within his pieces, unable to struggle free at all.

As the person facing off with Zhang Xuan, the Three Bearded Cultivator was completely dumbfounded.

How can there be no openings at all?

Even though it had not been too long since the game had started, he could say with certainty that this was one of the most frustrating games he had ever played.

There were no terrific plans or incredible strategies at play at all. All that was happening was the other party calculating everything that was happening with precise accuracy and curbing every single move he was making.

If they were to compare it to a battlefield, where they were commanders leading their troops to battle, it would be that his formations and strategies had been completely seen through. No matter what he attempted to do, he would be blockaded in advance. Just like that, he and his troops were slowly being strangled to death...

And the worst part was that despite having seen through it all, he was completely helpless to do anything!

Cold sweat began dripping down his back.

He swiftly switched from one advanced playing style to the next, attempting to pull off all sorts of ingenious moves that he had encountered over the years. Against any other opponent, the abrupt change in playing styles would have surely thrown the other party off, leaving him befuddled.

Yet, the young man simply continued to put down his pieces one after another without any thought.

It was almost as if he was playing with a moving puppet instead of a living human!

Often, he would think that the young man's moves were poorly thought out and inconsequential in the game. Yet, three moves later, it would suddenly dawn on him just how ingeniously the young man had positioned his piece in order to corner him.

It felt as if he had a fishbone stuck in his throat. He could neither swallow nor spit it out, stifling him so.

This is impossible...

The old man began to knock his finger against the stone table impatiently.

He had absolute confidence in his chess skills. He was unmatched in Dusklight City, and even in Royal City, there were no more than a handful people who could put up a fight against him!

Even if those famed grandmasters were able to defeat him, most of them would take at least a hundred moves. He had only played forty moves against the young man so far, but he was already cornered so badly.

He had never imagined that a day would come where he would be rendered so helpless in a match.

But what left him even more despaired was that he could not even visualize a way in which he could win the match.

The opponent he was facing showed no openings. Every single move that he made only served to push him closer to the edge of the cliff, leaving him no chance at all.

Wiping away the sweat on his head, he continued making a few more moves.

Just like before, Zhang Xuan continued putting down pieces without much thought.

Soon, the moves of the Three Bearded Cultivator got slower and slower. He was taking more and more time to think his moves through.

This won't work…That won’t work either. ••

Holding the piece in his hand, he was starting to hesitate. He had no idea where he should put his pieces anymore.

"The Young Master's chess skills..."

Even though Zhang Jia was not too proficient in the game, it could also tell that something was amiss. It snuck a glance at Qi Ling-er, only to see the latter with her eyes bulging out.

It had thought that the Young Master would perform badly because he had only learned the rules a moment ago, but it seemed like it had underestimated the Young Master's capabilities.

Every move that he had made seemed to have been revised innumerable times, ensuring that there were completely no flaws that the opponent could exploit. Despite the Three Bearded Cultivator's high level of mastery in the game, he still ended up being placed in a vulnerable position.

"Did he really just learn the game a moment ago?" Qi Ling-er's eyelids fluttered up and down as she stared at the sight before her with a look of disbelief.

As a divine beast, Zhang Jia's ability to read the chess game was lacking. On the other hand, as someone who had come out of a prestigious clan, even though she was not too interested in chess, she was still rather familiar with it.

The Three Bearded Cultivator was sufficiently skilled to stand his ground even against the chess experts of the Qi Clan, but he was actually unable to do a thing about the young man before him at all...

To put it bluntly, the Three Bearded Cultivator was getting wrecked. It was obvious that he was not a match.

But... did Zhang Xuan not just learn the rules a moment ago?

Was it really possible for someone to be so formidable playing the game for the first time?

The chess piece in the Three Bearded Cultivator's hand never landed on the chessboard. He tossed it aside casually and shook his head bitterly. "I've lost..."

He had no choice but to admit defeat. All his paths had been sealed, and the young man had not left the slightest gap for him to exploit at all. He would only be humiliated further if he continued the game.

"Thank you for going easy on me. Actually, I have also just learned the game, so I haven't fully understood most of the rules yet," Zhang Xuan replied with a clasp of his fist.

To be honest, he had no idea what he was doing. He only followed the most perfect moves based on the Library of Heaven's Path, placing his chess pieces one after another based on that.

And before he knew it... his opponent had already admitted defeat!

Because he had won so easily, he could not help but think that the other party had actually gone easy on him.

"Going easy on you?" The Three Bearded Cultivator thought that Zhang Xuan was only saying those words out of humility. His face reddened, and he said, "Friend, you are really embarrassing me by saying those words. In truth, I already knew that I'd lost this match by the tenth move. What happened afterward was nothing more than a desperate struggle for survival. Given how tragically I've lost, you should just spare me those words. If someone of your caliber hasn't fully understood the rules yet, I really don't know what I should make of myself..."

If he had only lost by the difference of a piece or two, it would be understandable if Zhang Xuan had said that he had gone easy on him. However, it was clear that they were not even on the same level at all. It was as if he was a low-tier God facing a Conferred God King!

Even words of humility should be reasonable!

Anything beyond that would just be humblebragging...

You are too polite," Zhang Xuan replied awkwardly.

"Alright, since I have admitted my loss, you can feel free to speak of any request you have for me!" the Three Bearded Cultivator said with a wave of his hand.

"Elder, I wish to purchase the middle-tier God Essence Pills that you have. I hope that you can sell them to me," Zhang Xuan replied.

You only want to buy middle-tier God Essence Pills from me?" The Three Bearded Cultivator was slightly taken aback.

Considering how the young man had gone all the way there with an offspring of the Qi Clan, he had expected the young man to have an even more difficult request for him. Who could have thought that it would be something as simple as this?

While middle-tier God Essence Pills were not readily available on the market for ordinary cultivators, those who had some connections in Dusklight City would still be able to acquire them with ease. Most wealthy merchants and clans would have a sizeable stockpile of them.

Did this grandmaster chess player really challenge him for the sake of something as minor as this?

Zhang Xuan nodded in response.

"There's no need for you to buy them. I'll give you all thirty middle-tier God Essence Pills I have with me."

With a flick of his wrist, the Three Bearded Cultivator passed three bottles over without any hesitation.

"You are giving them to me? How can accept such a valuable present?" Zhang Xuan quickly waved his hands in rejection.

He had looked into the price of middle-tier God Essence Pills previously, and it seemed like they were a hundred times more valuable than low-tier God Essence Pills. Furthermore, it was a commodity that was not readily available on the market.

As such, he did not think that it was right for him to accept such a valuable gift so easily.

"I forged them myself, and they aren't as expensive as you think. If you really feel bad about that, why don't you have a few more games with me?" the Three Bearded Cultivator said.

"I would be more than willing to accompany you for a few more matches. It's just that... elder, didn't you mention earlier that you have sworn to only play three matches each day?" Zhang Xuan asked curiously.

"That's only because I have not met a worthy rival yet. Against a grandmaster of your caliber, even thirty matches won't be enough!" the Three Bearded Cultivator replied with a chuckle.

Zhang Xuan smiled as well.

It was nothing much for him to play a few more rounds with the old man in repayment of so many middle-tier God Essence Pills.

All he needed to do was follow the sequencing of the Library of Heaven's Path anyway. There was no need for him to use his head.

They quickly cleared the chessboard and started on another game.

Five minutes later, the Three Bearded Cultivator's face flushed red, and he exclaimed, "One more round!"

Four more minutes later: "One more!"

Three more minutes later: "Again..."

One more minute later: "Alright, I admit defeat..."

After losing so many rounds at once, the Three Bearded Cultivator was starting to doubt his own life.

He had thought that luck played a part in allowing the young man to play the pieces in the way he did before, but who could have known that no matter how he started the game and no matter what playing style he used, he would still end up bumping into a wall? There was completely no room for him to squeeze in a victory.

"There aren't too many people in the world who will be able to overcome that playing style of yours. You can easily participate in chess tournaments to earn rewards..." The Three Bearded Cultivator looked at Zhang Xuan with eyes gleaming with expectations.

"I have no plans of joining those at the moment!" Zhang Xuan replied.

In his mind, he was just an outsider in chess who relied on the Library of Heaven's Path to win. He did not think that he was qualified to join those sorts of tournaments yet.

"That's such a pity..." Seeing that the young man had no thoughts of developing in such a direction, the Three Bearded Cultivator shook his head regretfully.

Zhang Xuan quickly bade the Three Bearded Cultivator farewell, and the group headed back to the streets.

Qi Ling-er shot a glance over and asked, "Shall we find a quiet place to assimilate the God Essence Pills first?"

She could tell that the reason Zhang Xuan wanted the middle-tier God Essence Pills was to advance his cultivation, and since that was the case, the next thing he would want to do was find a quiet place to cultivate.

"There's no need for that," Zhang Xuan replied.

This response left Qi Ling-er bewildered.

What did that mean?

Did he have some other reason for gathering these pills instead of using them to advance his cultivation?

Just as she was perplexed as to what the young man was up to, she saw the latter taking out the thirty middle-tier pills that he had just received and popping them one by one into his mouth, almost as if eating candy.

Her eyebrows shot up in astonishment.

Middle-tier God Essence Pills were potent medicine even for Celestial Gods. Ordinary high-tier Gods would need at least a month of cultivation in order to 滅y assimilate the energy contained within. Yet, this fellow was eating the^ if they were candies".

Was he not afraid that his body would blow up and explode?

However, the swift growth in Zhang Xuan's aura answered her question.

High-tier God primary stage!

High-tier God intermediate stage!

High-tier God advanced stage!

High-tier God pinnacle!

In less than two breaths, he had already advanced three cultivation stages, leaving him one step away from becoming a Celestial God.

Qi Ling-er shuddered in frenzy.

As someone from a distinguished clan, she had seen plenty of geniuses and experts...

But for someone to eat pills so casually and make breakthroughs so easily... This was definitely the first time that she had seen something like that!

It was as if he was not human!

Was the bloodline of a God Monarch really so frightening?

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