Chapter 1769: The Final 0.01!
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
Since it had been shown that the trial posed no danger, there was no need for them to waste any more time. Their priority at the moment should be to clear the trial as quickly as possible and find the Great Codex of Spring and Autumn.
The others nodded in agreement, and the group of five began making their way toward the walkway together.
Walking up to the walkway, Zhang Xuan suddenly felt a warm flow of energy embracing him. Following which, the sight before him was swallowed up by a flash of light, turning everything completely white.
By the time his sense of sight returned, he was standing before a lofty mountain.
Or to be more precise, it was a mountain formed of countless books piled up on top of one another.
The mountain pierced right through a dense layer of clouds, obscuring the mountain peak from view. At the same time, there was not a clear path in sight that seemed to lead one to the peak.
Other than the enormous mountain of books, the other thing that caught Zhang Xuan’s attention was the line of characters flickering in and out of existence in the air.
“Reach the top and clear the trial. Surrender, and you shall be gifted a reward based on your progress.” Kong shi’s voice sounded quietly in the area.
“I see!” Zhang Xuan mumbled under his breath as he took a deep breath.
Even though everything before him appeared to be incredibly lifelike, judging from what had happened to Zhao Ya and Wei Ruyan earlier, it was likely that they were in an illusion.
In other words, his physical body was still in the walkway; it was only his consciousness that had been transported to this humongous mountain of books.
Focusing his attention, Zhang Xuan began driving his zhenqi through his body before leaping up.
Contrary to his expectations, instead of soaring into the air, he plummeted back to the ground.
It seems like I won’t be able to rely on flight to get to the top. Then again, it would be too easy if I could simply fly to the top, Zhang Xuan thought.
Zhang Xuan took a look at the mountain of books once more, only to see that there was no paved path that he could walk on. Staring at the steep incline ahead of him, he reached out in an attempt to climb his way up, but to his surprise, he found an immense pressure crushing him.
As if struck by lightning, he found his entire body turning numb. At the same time, his hand was injured by thorns of some sort, and it was bleeding profusely.
“This…” Looking at his injuries, Zhang Xuan’s face turned livid.
He had been thinking that it would be relatively simple for him to climb his way up even though there was no paved path for him to walk on. Who could have known that there would be such an obstacle as well?
It was as if a Sempiternal realm consummation expert was continuously assaulting him! Under such circumstances, how could he possibly get to the mountain peak?
Zhang Xuan circled around the mountain and tried climbing from various different points, but it was the same outcome every single time. Barely after climbing half a meter up, he was pushed back down by a crushing pressure. Bewildered, he paused contemplatively on the spot.
“Is the crux of the trial not climbing up forcefully?”
If he was not supposed to climb up, how could he get to the peak?
No wonder Zhao Ya and Wei Ruyan had ended up failing the trial. It was indeed not as easy as he had thought.
“Since it’s a mountain of book, I should study and find out what they are first. Perhaps, they might contain some clues in them…”
Zhang Xuan turned his sights toward the books, and with a thought, hundreds of books were immediately collected into the Library of Heaven’s Path. With a tap of his finger, invaluable knowledge gushed into his mind.
These books covered a diverse range of topics, be it cultivation techniques, battle techniques, culture, geography, astronomy, divination… It seemed as if the mountain of books before him encompassed the knowledge of all of the occupations on the Master Teacher Continent.
Barely after assimilating the knowledge into his mind, Zhang Xuan suddenly noticed several steps appearing on the mountain of books, and he was stunned.
He had walked around the area for quite a while earlier, and he was certain that he had not seen the steps there previously. Why would they appear after he had browsed through hundreds of books?
Could it be that… he could pave a way to the top through reading the books there?
“Let me give it a try!”
With such a thought in mind, Zhang Xuan immediately swept his gaze across the mountain of books.
Countless books materialized in the Library of Heaven’s Path. In less than five minutes, Zhang Xuan had already collected tens of thousands of books.
With a light tap of his finger, knowledge surged furiously into his head. Barely a moment after he digested the knowledge, the mountain before him suddenly tremored, and another flight of stairs warped into appearance. They gradually stretched toward the top of the mountain peak.
“It’s indeed the case…”
Realizing that the crux of the trial was actually to read, a glint flashed across Zhang Xuan’s eyes.
Had it been any other cultivator, even if he could use his Spiritual Perception to read multiple books at once, his consciousness would probably be muddled as a result of the sudden influx of knowledge into his head. However, that was not the case for Zhang Xuan.
All it took was a glance for Zhang Xuan to collect the books and one touch for him to imprint the wisdom harnessed within them into his memories.
The current Zhang Xuan was like a supercomputer. While other cultivators were struggling to memorize and comprehend the content of the books lying amid the massive mountain of books, all he had to do was conduct a simple copy and paste.
Walking onto the stairs, Zhang Xuan continued collecting more books around him, and knowledge flowed ceaselessly into his mind.
As the number of books that he had read stacked up, the flight of stairs gradually rose higher and higher. He slowly walked up the stairs step by step.
With time, he soon realized that an additional step would appear for every hundred books that he read.
To be honest, Zhang Xuan was probably the only one who could read in such a manner. If anyone else attempted to read and assimilate the content of the books like him… even an Ancient Sage would have already been driven mad by that point!
Walking on, Zhang Xuan soon found himself completely shrouded in the clouds. All he could see was the flight of stairs. It was as if the entire vast world had vanished, leaving behind his lonesome silhouette.
“I have already read so many books, but I haven’t reached the mountain peak yet… Any other cultivator who attempted to read so many books would probably have suffered a mental breakdown by now!” Zhang Xuan muttered in complaint.
Based on his deduction, it was likely that the flow of time in here was different from the external world.
Even with the cheat code known as the Library of Heaven’s Path, it had still taken him nearly half a day to get so far. Had it been anyone else, they would have taken several centuries or even a millennium in order to get that far!
To spend several centuries reading books and doing nothing else… the monotony was surely enough to erode anyone’s sanity, including that of an Ancient Sage!
Reaching this point, Zhang Xuan realized that the rate at which newer steps were being conjured had slowed down. It had roughly been a hundred books to a step previously, but the ratio had changed to a thousand books to a step now.
The trial was already tough enough as it was. To have the difficulty suddenly raised tenfold partway through would probably deal a crushing blow to any cultivator who had managed to get that far.
Of course, this change in difficulty did not make much of a difference to Zhang Xuan. To him, it was only a difference of reaching the peak faster or slower.
Carrying on, Zhang Xuan continued reading for another half a day. By the time the day came to an end, the trial had already reached the point where he had to read over ten thousand books in order to conjure a single step.
Zhang Xuan knew that he was nearing the end, so he gritted his teeth and persisted.
Sure enough, the mountain peak eventually came into sight.
“A path through a mountain of books with perseverance as the key… It seems like Kong shi’s trial is one on mental resilience and diligence,” Zhang Xuan remarked as he heaved a sigh of relief. “Knowledge is the key to greatness. The more one reads, the higher one will climb.”
As much as this was a trial, it was also advice that Kong shi was leaving to the future generations.
He wanted to tell his successor that what would lead to the peak of cultivation was not just talent but knowledge and culture!
Only a knowledgeable person would be able to attain a deeper understanding of cultivation and the world. Only a cultured person would have a mind vast enough to accept changes. These were the keys that were required for one to climb to greater heights.
The seventy-two Sages, for example, were highly talented individuals who were personally groomed by Kong shi, having been imparted with the most powerful of cultivation techniques and battle techniques right from the start. In terms of starting points, there was no question that they were far ahead of Kong shi.
Yet, despite being granted such favorable conditions, none of them came close to matching Kong shi’s accomplishments or strength.
There was only one possibility for this. In terms of knowledge, they were far beneath Kong shi. It was the scope of their mind that had limited their advancement.
Back when Kong shi established the system of Lower, Middle, and Upper Nine Paths, it might seem as if it had contributed little to his personal development. Yet, it was such challenges that had opened his eyes to the world, allowing him to accept new changes and adapt accordingly. Such were the soft skills that a cultivator needed to rise to greater heights.
As such thoughts flowed through Zhang Xuan’s mind, all of a sudden, a sound reminiscent of an egg cracking apart or a seedling breaking out of the soil echoed in his head.
“My Soul Depth has exceeded 29.99?”
Zhang Xuan clenched his fist tightly as a brilliant light shone from his eyes.