AST 325 The Heavenly Palace Library, Basic Sword Techniques II
After discovering the usefulness of Nature Energy, Qing Shui was filled with hope and confidence in its future. After all, it was one of the most special and powerful “Deity Qi” in Heaven and Earth.
Qing Shui continued to practise a few rounds of Tai Chi in the square before slowly leaving for the mountain peak of Lingxiao Treasure Hall. He decided to take a look around the Heavenly Palace Library at the tallest peak of Lingxiao Treasure Hall, which had the tightest security in Heavenly Palace Mountain.
Yesterday’s match made Qing Shui’s name known to everyone in Heavenly Palace. Although the majority had not seen Qing Shui, they knew he was a powerful practitioner of martial arts, someone with foresight, was decisive, merciless and kept his word. Many were curious who was the most outstanding young disciple from Starmoon Hall who rose up like a comet. His performance yesterday posed a major threat to the Chief Disciples of other halls.
Many started to worry and others with the desire to stir up trouble focused their attention on Qing Shui; he could be the biggest dark horse ever to appear in the Heavenly Palace Disciple Competition next year.
Compared to the other halls, Starmoon Hall was the happiest. It was especially exciting to finally remove the hat that was pinned on for such a long time. Now, many would come to Starmoon in hopes of seeing the man called Qing Shui.
However, Qing Shui would usually appear outdoors only during morning training, hence there were few who managed to spot him. Only people from Starmoon Hall would be able to see him since they knew his habits and that he could only be seen in the morning on the square.
Very quickly Qing Shui arrived at Lingxiao Treasure Hall. Everytime Qing Shui saw the four words, there would be a mysterious force in him, probably influenced by the feeling of the subconscious in his heart. Passing through the main hall of Lingxiao Treasure Hall and walking across the square, Qing Shui thought, it was his first time leaving Starmoon Hall after so such a long time in Heavenly Palace.
The square in Lingxiao Treasure Hall was bigger than that of Starmoon Hall, especially the biggest battle stage in the middle of the square. It measured fifty metres in length, and was bolstered as high as five metres, by hundreds of enormous special stone pillars.
Although the square was crowded, with many colorfully dressed women forming a charming scene with their lithe and grace, Qing Shui weaved through the crowd with unchanging speed.
As Qing Shui passed through a few mountain rocks and followed a mountain path that was not wide but meandering and undulating, there was not a sight of anyone else because this was an important restricted area of Heavenly Palace.
Other than specific times, most people were barred from entry. After walking for some distance, Qing Shui spotted a small pavilion on the side of the road where two old men were drinking tea and playing chess.
One look and Qing Shui knew the two old men were definitely at the level of Heavenly Palace Supreme Elder. The aged air like that of eminent monks, the absence of desire that reeked especially strongly, and most importantly, Qing Shui was still unable to detect their cultivation.
The old man facing Qing Shui glanced up at him absentmindedly, and continued with his tea as though nothing happened, the white chess piece in his right hand placed down without any break in rhythm.
That instant of eye contact between Qing Shui and the old man gave the former a strange sensation, as though he was stark naked standing before him. The look was calm and benevolent, but the aged atmosphere around him gave Qing Shui the jitters.
Just how many old weirdos were there in Heavenly Palace? Every one of them existed like monsters; how many of them existed in aristocratic families or sects like Greencloud Continent, and for what reasons and treatment did they remain in the Heavenly Palace, in those aristocratic families?
Qing Shui went past smoothly. He knew the old man had noticed him, and that look definitely meant that the man had discovered his Heavenly Palace’s Token, but Qing Shui detected an intensity from his look, something he could not decipher.
“Old Hu, how’s the lad that just went past?” The white haired, beardless old man who spotted Qing Shui just now asked casually.
“Don’t you already have an answer?” A similarly white haired elderly with a long, snowy beard laughed while keeping his head down. .
“A sharp lad. Although his potential is ‘deeply buried’, flames would burst up into the heavens when it finally explodes. Wonder if he will bring luck or misfortune to Heavenly Palace,” The first old man started with a laugh, and with a drop of a white chess piece, it blocked the attack of the man he called Old Hu.
“Haha, I could feel that within the body of that lad. There is already a Nature Energy that is purest across the heavens and earth, thus we don’t need to worry. Moreover, this lad gives off the impression that his future would not be smooth sailing, but definitely unobstructed; we only need to know if our days in Heavenly Palace would improve because of his existence.”
Qing Shui had already stepped on a sloping stone step, slowly moving up. That moment, it felt like he was stepping into a certain height; the state and miraculous feeling once again created a subtle change in his originally gentle inner state of “Immovable Mountains”.
He then felt a little wispy, a little out-of-this-world. It was a state within his heart, as though his soul was cleansed in that instant. Qing Shui turned around and found that he had walked most of the stone steps, and felt unbelievable.
Qing Shui did not take the miraculous feeling to heart. After arriving at the mountain peak, Qing Shui realized there was almost no one here, and no one examining, only a big stone tower in the distance. It was only two storeys high, and the grey, simple words “Li-bra-ry” on it were clear but not eye-catching.
At the entrance, there were another two old men. This time, Qing Shui took out the token that had “藏” carved on it before entering. The stone tower consisted of only two floors, and one went straight into the second storey after entering the first. The interior was spacious and looked vastly different from its exterior.
Only after entering, Qing Shui discovered that the stone tower was built underground. It was a basement in disguise, but the method of construction followed that of a building. He then noticed shadows moving; a few people were present, and the majority of them elderly.
After confirming his identity once more, Qing Shui went down. The Library was filled with books, though not all were about martial arts. The stronger one’s sect was, the more complex the library, with almost every type of book. It was the smaller sects and aristocratic families’ libraries that were filled almost with secret martial art manuals.
The Library had a total of nine storeys, the bottom three were not open to the public, and even the Sect Leaders were not allowed for the Supreme Elders had set a prohibition order for no one to enter.
The three levels of martial arts were all techniques from the nine halls in Heavenly Palace, while the first three floors were open to some disciples from all halls for three consecutive days. Entry to the 3rd to 6th levels would require the Library Token.
Qing Shui looked at the manuals in the first three levels as there were only martial arts manuals there, and most of them were Xiantian Yellow to Profound Grade techniques. He realized the majority of those techniques were attacks and Qi cultivation techniques.
<Hundred Battles Blade> Xiantian Yellow Grade technique, <Mountain Hacking Technique>, <Solitary Qi>, <Bronze Fist>, <Basic Sword Techniques>… “Mm, Basic Sword Techniques?” Qing Shui noticed a familiar technique and felt excited, and he couldn’t stop himself from taking a look.
Flipping to a page, Qing Shui knew. <Basic Sword Techniques – Intermediate> was written on it. Qing Shui understood after seeing that. This cultivation was a level higher than the Basic Sword Technique he obtained earlier. It wrote of the reconciliation between Basic Sword Technique and Sword Force. The only thing Qing Shui did not expect was that such a simple reconciliation would actually become a Xiantian battling technique.
Even if it was the weakest Xiantian’s battling technique, Qing Shui found it unbelievable. In the mainland, the Basic Sword Technique had only been used as a starter for cultivation, a rubbish technique and the most basic battling technique. To make it sound even more pitiful, it was just a frame and not to be used against opponents.
Even now, Qing Shui knew that this reconciled battling technique was still seen by the majority as a low level battling technique. Moreover, this was the weakest technique in the Heavenly Palace, hence no one would be interested just by looking at the name of the technique.
Looking at the rich inner secrets of the sects that were handed down for tens of thousand of years, the XIantian techniques were the weakest, and Qing Shui had seen that almost all of them were Xiantian techniques. This did not mean that Heavenly Palace did not have techniques lower than Xiantian, though higher levels skills made up the bulk of what had been collected through these years.
To anyone, a higher level technique does not necessarily mean that it was better. Unless one was able to master it, the higher level and more compatible it was, the better it would be. However, if one did not understand nor was he able to master it, a high level technique would be a waste. Thus, though the Library was open to all Heavenly Palace disciples, not all would be able to master the skills available.
There were a few people in the Library, though most of them were young people. Many of them walked past here to get to the lower floors, and Qing Shui guessed, like him, they must have gotten their seniors’ tokens.
Books from the Library were not allowed to be brought out, and were only allowed to be read in here. One can copy notes from the books, but no one was allowed to pass them down to people outside the Heavenly Palace.
Qing Shui silently read through the <Basic Sword Techniques – Intermediate>, which consisted of only a few pages. He realized that it was easy for him to understand. These combinations were the most direct and concise methods of killing, and only people like Qing Shui, who achieved the Obscure Realm by practising the Basic Sword Techniques hundreds of times, would discover the advantages of the marvelous and direct combinations.
For instance, the combination of Stabbing and Pointing. Pointing, Qing Shui had his own Pointing method, but he only truly understood after reading the <Basic Sword Techniques – Intermediate> – what was the most straightforward, quickest, what did perfect mean, what did it mean for one to surpass nature by using his skills. Simple perfection and a most direct method were usually the most effective.
Only maniacs like Qing Shui who had trained their Basic Sword Techniques till the Obscure Realm would experience the profoundness within; others would only be imitating the form and be oblivious to the essence of the Basic Sword Technique. Just like the stone tablets, only Qing Shui, and those who learnt the Nine Animals Mimicry, could quickly experience the inner state.
This was not to say that others would not experience it, but the time required would be greatly increased. Even time might not help, as perceptivity, insights and awareness were needed.
Perhaps because Qing Shui had practised the Basic Sword Techniques till the highest mastery and proficiency, he was able to quickly grasp the pages of tens of combinations and ingenious techniques. The only lacking component was the practical training.
Qing Shui read it through once more and engraved it in his mind. After finding out that level 1 was main and martial arts techniques, he moved on and went down. The 2nd and 3rd were the same, with only slight increases in the levels of techniques, and increase in number of Xiantian Profound Grade techniques.
It was a pity Qing Shui was not interested in those, and as he prepared to go down after scanning through once, he saw that people below were coming up one after another, and many of them were young people and middle-aged ones.
“Time’s up, come again tomorrow!” An old man on the 3rd level smiled at Qing Shui.
Qing Shui was shocked. It couldn’t be true. He only came up for a short time and only read through a <Basic Sword Techniques – Intermediate>. He still smiled warm-heartedly at the old man and went upwards.
As the Library was built underground, the interior was filled with hanging Light Stones, and one would never know the time of the day!
Exiting the tower, Qing Shui saw that the sky had darkened, and realized that he had actually spent the day completing the <Basic Sword Techniques – Intermediate>. He laughed and left; it was a good thing after all.