Chapter 577: Can It Be Fixed?
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
Zhang Xuan pushed open the doors to enter the Illusory City.
Its interior was pitch-black, such that he couldn't even see his outstretched hand.
Taking two steps along the corridor, a sinister wind blew past, bringing an eerie voice to his ear.
The voice was drenched with resentment and adoration, sorrow and happiness. It struck right into one's soul, rendering the action of covering one's ears meaningless.
"Is this Soul Beguilement?"
Zhang Xuan frowned.
Mo Hunsheng had once used a similar technique against him back in the soul oracle tomb.
Such techniques allowed the voice to resound within one's soul-it would be useless even if one were to inhibit all six senses.
Lifting his gaze, Zhang Xuan saw countless savage eyes staring at him, threatening to leap out at him at any moment to tear him into shreds.
To face hair-standing sorrowful cries and the threat of impending attacks under such a dark environment...
This was indeed a test on one's temperament. If one's mental fortitude wasn't strong enough, one might just faint on the spot.
Just as Zhang Xuan was scanning the surroundings curiously, he suddenly felt a powerful surge of energy gushing out from a corner of the room. It flowed along with the whistling of the wind, heading straight for him.
His eyes immediately narrowed, and he leaped forward. But right after he dodged the attack, he felt another powerful surge of energy heading right for him.
Dodging it with a leap, before Zhang Xuan could land on the floor, he felt yet another attack coming from a different direction.
After dodging seven to eight of such attacks, a droplet of cold sweat dripped from Zhang Xuan's chin. He was starting to panic.
The attacks were becoming more and more frequent. If this went on, it would reach a point where Zhang Xuan would be unable to cope at all, and this might potentially end in severe injuries for him.
Could this test really be that difficult?
"No, something's wrong! I could feel the energy and disturbance in the air from the previous attacks, but I didn't hear any sound of collision between the wall and the surge of energy..."
After avoiding a few more attacks, a thought suddenly struck Zhang Xuan, leaving him stunned for a moment.
He could hear the sharp whistling of the wind due to the barrage of attacks raining down on him, but somehow, the sound of collision when the force struck the wall or ground was absent.
Even if Zhang Xuan dodged the attack, the force should have struck the wall or the ground, leaving behind a deep imprint or at least a mark of some kind... But there wasn't anything like that at all. Could the attacks be an illusion too?
"Eye of Insight!"
Thinking such, Zhang Xuan activated the Eye of Insight.
In an instant, the darkness veiling his vision lightened, allowing him to see the rough outline of the entire room.
The Eye of Insight allows one to peer into the essence of everything. While it was impossible for Zhang Xuan's Eye of Insight to peer through the entire Ghost Domain Illusory City given the powerful might of the artifact, it wasn't too much of a problem for him to just see through the facades contained within the interior of a single room.
And in an instant, he saw that the origin of the piercing wind sound that he heard previously was actually countless spirit beings lingering in the surroundings.
It was impossible to tell whether these spirit beings were originally human, spirit beasts, or simply artificial beings. While they were able to stir up an intense wind through their motion, it was completely harmless to one's physical body.
That was also the reason why the wall and floor remained undamaged.
But still, if Zhang Xuan didn't have the Eye of Insight, he would have never dared to face that powerful, frenzied surge of energy even if someone were to inflate his guts.
"Other competitors might have been helpless before these spirit beings, and it would just be a matter of time before they crumbled before the immense pressure on them. But this won't work on me!"
Upon understanding the origin behind the attacks, Zhang Xuan's lips curled up into a smile.
Unable to see or perceive these spirit beings, the other competitors would indeed be unable to deal with these spirit beings. It would just be a matter of time before the mounting pressure crushed their mental fortitude, snapping their thread of sanity.
But... as a soul oracle, if he were to allow mere spirit beings to get the better of him, it would indeed be embarrassing.
Zhang Xuan's glabella glowed, and a soul bearing semblance to his physical appearance emerged from his body.
Zhang Xuan clasped his hands together, and a glow of light flashed across the room. The spirit beings, as though having met their nemesis, quickly fled in fear.
The soul of soul oracles possessed extraordinary soul energy, and not to mention, the cultivation technique which Zhang Xuan practiced was the Heaven's Path Soul Art, granting his soul a mighty aura that ghosts dared not stand up against. It was already a huge benevolence, as well as a gesture of respect to Hong shi, that he didn't consume these spirit beings to nourish his soul.
After chasing away those trouble-making spirit beings, the room fell silent. Returning back to his body, Zhang Xuan stood up to start looking for the exit when a thought suddenly struck him, and a smile slowly surfaced on his face.
"Why do I even need to search around? As long as I determine the flaws behind this artifact, wouldn't I be able to find the exit easily?"
Given that Zhang Xuan was attacked by so many soul beings right after he entered the Ghost Domain Illusory City, who knew what else he might face later on?
It would be too much trouble to go through everything. Since he had the Library of Heaven's Path, he could simply find the flaws behind the Ghost Domain Illusory City and, just like with formations, pause its functioning.
In any case, pausing a formation wouldn't damage it. Its functions could be easily restored after he left, and it wouldn't affect the challengers after him.
With such a thought in mind, Zhang Xuan placed his hand on the floor, and a book materialized in the Library of Heaven's Path.
"Ghost Domain Illusory City, forged by 5-star Master teacher Fei Yuzi. It harnesses the concepts of Mystic Gates Hidden Jia and contains innumerable spirit beings. It can be used as a test to train one's temperament. Flaws: No.1, the stone pedestal at the center serving as the control center is easily noticeable..."
A detailed explanation on the Ghost Domain Illusory City could be seen on the book.
"The stone pedestal at the center is the control center?"
With the Eye of Insight active, Zhang Xuan proceeded forward and saw a stone pedestal with a height similar to his.
"Isn't this way too conspicuous?"
Seeing that something this important was actually placed so openly in the artifact, Zhang Xuan shook his head.
But soon, he came to a realization.
Often, the most dangerous of location tended to be the safest, and sometimes, placing it at the most conspicuous spot may make one overlook it due to their subconscious mind instinctively acknowledging the impossibility of it.
Besides, the cultivators that enter the Illusory City would have their hands full with dealing with the spirit beings. Even if they were to see the stone pedestal, they wouldn't have the spare energy to think of such things.
"Since this is the control center, will the Ghost Domain Illusory City come to a halt if I were to knock this pedestal aside?"
Too lazy to read on, Zhang Xuan closed the book, and with his Eye of Insight still active, he began assessing the stone pedestal.
He couldn't tell what the stone pedestal was made of, but it was exceptionally hard. Looking around it, Zhang Xuan wasn't able to find any mechanism around it.
He tried pushing the pedestal with his hands, but as though connected with the fortress, it didn't budge in the least.
"I don't believe that I can't move it. Heaven's Path Fist Art!"
Frowning, Zhang Xuan gathered all of his strength in his fists, and as though a released arrow, his fists shot toward the stone pedestal.
His fist struck the stone pedestal, but there was nothing except for a slight tremor. On the contrary, he felt a stinging pain on his fist.
"What a hard stone..."
Zhang Xuan was astonished.
His strength totaled up to 2,600,000 ding, and complemented with the Heaven's Path Fist Art, even a primary-tier Spirit weapon would be crushed instantly. And yet, not only did this ordinary-looking stone pedestal not budge in the least, his fist even grew red from the impact!
"The stone pedestal must be at least a Spirit intermediate-tier artifact, or perhaps... even higher than that!"
To be able to withstand his attack, this stone pedestal had to be an incredible artifact similar to the Illusory City!
"What should I do now?"
Zhang Xuan rubbed his glabella.
He had finally found a way to stop the Ghost Domain Illusory City, but due to his lacking cultivation, he wasn't able to do it. This felt extremely stifling to him.
"Wait. I might not be able to move it, but I can always draw on the help of others!"
After a moment of contemplation, Zhang Xuan's eyes suddenly lit up.
He was incapable of moving it with his current strength, but he could always draw on the strength of others, such as... his clone!
Back then, when he exchanged blows with that fellow, he was crushed completely.
The physical body of his clone was truly powerful beyond words.
Willing so, Zhang Xuan's clone appeared before him.
He had placed this fellow into his storage ring before heading over here, so summoning him hinged only on a single thought.
Given the shared consciousness between the duo, the clone instantaneously understood the plight Zhang Xuan was in. Thus, Zhang Xuan ordered directly, "Break this stone pedestal to stop the formation."
The clone tightened his fists and released a punch.
Heaven's Path Fist Art!
With a crisp sound, a crack appeared in the stone pedestal before him.
The crack swiftly crept across the entire pedestal, and 'huala!', it crumbled into rubble.
"You... Can't you hold back a little?" Zhang Xuan's eyes widened in rage.
Wasn't this stone pedestal so tough such that even his fist suffered great pain from the backlash of his attack? Why did it... suddenly break just like that?
Didn't it seem like his clone had used too much strength?
"Could it be that... clone's physical body is simply too powerful, such that it induced a suppression effect on the stone pedestal?"
After a moment of bewilderment, Zhang Xuan suddenly came to a realization, and he felt tears threatening to spill from his face.
Due to the Nine Hearts Lotus being a God artifact, even if his clone didn't use too much strength, he could still destroy the stone pedestal easily.
To make an analogy, it was just like putting a diamond against a dagger. While the dagger might be more efficient in a battle, in terms of ability to scratch glass, the diamond would be much more effective.
He was just like the dagger whereas his clone was the diamond. While the latter didn't use too much strength behind his attack, the stone pedestal still crumbled easily. Zhang Xuan only intended to move the stone pedestal, but in the end... he ended up destroying it instead.
Conflicted, Zhang Xuan was just considering what he should do next when the entire Ghost Domain Illusory City rumbled and started shaking violently.
With its core destroyed, the formation supporting the Illusory City was completely crippled. Thus, the gigantic infrastructure immediately started crumbling.
Returning his clone to his storage ring, he glanced upward, only to see huge lumps of rock raining down on him. Knowing that it was too late for him to escape, he could only raise his arms to protect his head from the falling rocks.
"Given how formidable Yang shi is, his student should have no trouble clearing the Ghost Domain Illusory City!"
Outside, on the round stage, Hong shi had been pacing back and forth worriedly ever since Zhang Xuan walked in.
Yang shi had sent his student here to temper him, not to have him eliminated in the first round.
But thinking deeper into the matter, given how powerful Yang shi was, how could his student be anything simple?
"The Ghost Domain Illusory City might be powerful, but I've already adjusted the difficulty such that at least 85% of the fifty-six challengers would be able to clear it... Zhang shi shouldn't be eliminated here! Now, the only problem is how long it will take for him to clear the challenge!"
There was another benefit to the Ghost Domain Illusory City-it could determine how powerful one's mental fortitude was. The faster one could escape from it, the stronger one's mental fortitude was.
Since there was no need to worry about Zhang shi's elimination, the main problem at hand would be how long he would take to clear the test.
"I would require seven minutes to clear the Illusory City. No matter how strong the mental fortitude of the participants is, they will need at least ten minutes to clear the challenge. Considering Zhang shi's age, it would be an incredible feat if he could clear the challenge in around thirteen minutes!"
Hong shi calculated internally. Seeing that there was still time, Hong shi was just about to find a place to sit down and wait when the ground beneath him suddenly shook violently.
He anxiously lifted his head to take a look, only to see the humongous Ghost Domain Illusory City rumbling loudly before collapsing inward. After which, a figure with both arms raised above his head, a silhouette reminiscent of a valiant warrior, appeared amidst the cloud of dust. On the 'warrior's' face was a sheepish smile.
The 'warrior' scratched his head apologetically and said, "Hong shi... It seems like I accidentally broke your Ghost Domain Illusory City... Can it be fixed?"
Library Of Heaven's Path Chapter 577
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