Volume 1, Chapter 15 – Heavenly Sect’s Contention at the Clear Sky Peak (Part 6)
That night, in front of numerous disciples, a severely injured Wang Lie and a written challenge was delivered together to the Vast Ocean Sect’s disciples. Even as the written challenge was only read to the first line, Zhang Yan’s challenge prompted many disciples to curse him aloud, raging and criticizing his wild arrogance!
How could a novice disciple from the Blue Ocean Sect dare to challenge the other sect’s entire group of disciples? He was really reckless and blind! However, after the written challenge’s contents had been fully announced, the curses turned into an uproar.
Because the last declaration was that Zhang Yan wanted to challenge the Vast Origin Sect’s disciples to decipher the Star Steles’ inscriptions!
The Star Steles’ inscriptions were very well known as the most difficult text to interpret!
Star Steles were originally given to the Daoist Convention’s host. For each time the event was held, there would be a supreme Daoist that came out and appraised the most outstanding disciples from the various sects, of which were then publicly chosen. It was to let everyone know that the disciple was really worthy to be recognized. The chosen disciple’s teacher would also come out and support the disciple with Daoist charms, shielding him with a protection spell to make sure that the chosen disciples wouldn’t encounter danger and backlash when they went forward.
But to directly decipher the Star Steles’ inscriptions and disregard the risk from interpreting its text? There had never been such a bold person since ancient times!
However, contrary to the various sects’ disciples’ reactions, the Vast Origin Sect’s five major disciples treated Zhang Yan’s challenge with unprecedented cautiousness. They thought that this was not Zhang Yan’s personal decision. They believed that it was the Blue Ocean Sect pulling its strings behind the scenes.
This misunderstanding made them not underestimate Zhang Yan. They didn’t believe that Zhang Yan was only a small pawn in this chess game. It seemed that he was the Blue Ocean Sect’s true trump card. The unknown trivial novice disciple, Zhang Yan’s position, suddenly soared to an unprecedented height in their eyes.
Shen Jingyue looked at the written challenge in his hand several times. He finally laughed in a grim voice, “I never thought the Blue Ocean Sect could make this clever of a move. They didn’t even leave any loopholes that could involve the Great Southern Sect in this letter!”
The head disciple, Wen Jun, calmly stroke his long beard and spoke in a deep voice, “Previously, the vanguard disciples who came forward were all from our Vast Origin Sect. They naturally won’t take the initiative to provoke the Great Southern Sect. However, with this development, our Vast Origin Sect has absolutely no way out anymore. The Blue Ocean Sect has realized that we want to quickly end the battle in a quick and decisive manner. They finally forced us to accept this challenge!”
As long as this challenge was spread out, the Vast Origin Sect was doomed to be unable to back down.
As for the Great Southern Sect, their intention was still the same. They would only use the Vast Origin Sect as a vanguard, as they didn’t want to easily reveal their true faces and frontally face the Blue Ocean Sect. They will not jump out this time.
“If we don’t accept this challenge, all our previous efforts would only be for naught.” Shen Jingyue threw the letter of challenge to the side as his mouth let out a bitter, self-ridiculing smile, “A disciple wants to fight the whole Vast Origin Sect’s disciples… how bold and ridiculous… interpreting the Star Steles’ inscriptions was never about depending on many people working together to decipher the inscriptions. This Zhang Yan must be using this chance to gain fame!”
Wen Jun shook his head, “Since the Blue Ocean Sect dares to send Zhang Yan, it’s very likely that this person should be like Junior Brother’s thought before, that he really has the ability. This… perhaps winning against him will not be easy.”
At this time, the third disciple who sat on the side, Zhang Zhen, suddenly stood up. He cupped his hands and said, “Two Senior Brothers, even if I’m not that good, let me try and test him!”
Shen Jingyue was astonished. He glanced at Zhang Zhen before he slowly replied, “I know that although Junior Brother Zhang is slightly inferior to Junior Brother Mo in deciphering the text, it would not be much of a difference since you can be considered as a rare genius. However, the Star Steles has hidden dangers within. It can’t be compared to common text. With your current strength and abilities, I don’t want you to undertake such a risk. Junior Brother, you cannot go!”
Zhang Zhen insisted, “I’m only a son of one of the Zhang Family’s concubines. Since I entered the sect, you two Senior Brothers have been taking care of me until now. I often thought that I could never repay your kindness. Junior Brother Mo can go up and guard our sect’s honor and gain reputation, but I’m his senior… how can I explain this to him later?”
Shen Jingyue tried tactfully to prevent him with a few more words. However, no matter what he said, the usually honest and simple Zhang Zhen was unwilling to step back. Shen Jingyue couldn’t help but helplessly agree to his plea.
Zhang Zhen finally showed his naïve smile, “Senior brothers, be at ease. I have observed and learned about the Star Steles’ inscriptions in the previous convention. I should be able to deduce half of the Steles’ inscriptions without any problems. If later, we find out that Zhang Yan is really formidable, it would not be too late to quickly withdraw then.”
Wen Jun pondered for a long while before he gave permission and nodded, “If so, I will go with you!”
“No, you cannot!” Shen Jingyue abruptly interrupted, as he dissuaded hastily, “Brother, you stay and send out orders from here, let me accompany brother Zhang there!” Wen Jun was the head disciple of the Vast Origin’s Lower Courts and was the benchmark of its disciples, so he cannot easily step forward and enter the fight. Once he lost, the reputation loss would affect the entire sect’s honor.
Wen Jun sighed, “Brother, how can I not understand about this matter clearly? If the Great Southern Sect mistakenly thinks that the Vast Origin Sect hasn’t done their best, they will trample our sect. Honor and disgrace are only a small thing compared to our sect’s survival.”
Shen Jingyue listened to his words and greatly trembled. He was silent for a while before finally standing up, dignifiedly sending his respect to Wen Jun, as he then solemnly replied, “Senior Brother, your warnings has reminded me of my own negligence!”
Wen Jun hurriedly helped him up, “We are the only disciples from the same generation, you don’t need to do this!”
“Things have turned out to be like this. So, Junior Brother Zhang will go first, as I will come forward for the second. And Senior Brother, you will step forward after the both of us fail!” Shen Jingyue felt that this arrangement was the most appropriate in this situation. He will not let the Great Southern Sect feel that the Vast Origin Sect didn’t give its full efforts in this event.
Finally, after he felt relieved about this arrangement, he turned to Zhang Zhen and reminded him, “Junior brother Zhang, you cannot let yourself be too obsessed with the results!”
Zhang Zhen’s round face let out a smile, “Rest assured Senior brother, I know my own role.” He was aware that his ability in the Eclipse text’s interpretation was not high, so his role was only to exhaust Zhang Yan’s mind and mental state. He was only an advance vanguard to open the path for Shen Jingyue to come forward.
However, 28 outer disciples at the Clear Sky Peak also heard the news about Zhang Yan’s challenge to the Vast Origin Sect’s disciples. Although they had different opinions, their reactions were far less intense compared to the Vast Origin Sect’s disciples. It was because Zhang Yan was only a novice disciple and because he challenged them personally. Whether Zhang Yan would lose or win, they had nothing to do with it, so they naturally were happy to watch the play.
But the surprisingly consistent thing was that no one favored and felt optimistic about Zhang Yan’s chances.
Deducing the Star Steles’ inscriptions generally would require the Steles to be taken from the peak. However, since the challenge would not harm their interest in one bit, it could also be used to press the now aggressive Vast Origin Sect’s moves. In light of this, Zheng Xun was also happy to open the gates and assign several people to move the six Star Steles from the peak and temporarily pile up 6 soil platforms on the ground – assuming 30 meters in height. They would then place the six Star Steles in line, so all disciples from the various sects could clearly see it.
The shocking news quickly spread out, immediately causing a stir in the entire Cangwu Mountain.
It was not only attracting the attention of the various sects’ disciples but also attracting various cultivators who were not eligible to participate in the convention. They wanted to see the outrageously bold person who personally sent the challenge to a sect’s entire group of disciples. In less than 2 days, more than 1,000 cultivators gathered at Clear Sky Peak.
For a short while, many disciples were inquiring about Zhang Yan. In a short time, both officials and visitors knew about him.
After the third day, many people hurriedly walked to Clear Sky Peak and headed straight to the six arrays of Star Steles. Under the fierce and intense sunlight, the steles reflected a mysterious black light. Because the stele was very ancient, its edges and corners were almost corroded. However, its ancientness alone gave off a mysterious ancient and divine aura. Numerous eclipse texts were engraved on the stele – approximately 10,000 characters each from top to bottom. Just looking at it made many people immediately feel dizzy and confused.
On the center of the stage, there were several papers, a meditation mat, ink pens, and ink of which were neatly arranged and distributed by Ai Zhongwen in the center. Surrounding it were 5 other spots in a circular formation. It was very clear for all onlookers with one glance that it was intended to show who the main actor was.
Under the watchful eyes of thousands of people, Zhang Yan’s expression was very composed. He ignored all eyes of disdains, ridicules, despises, denouncements, and many other complex eyes’ expressions. He calmly walked all the way onto the platform in a refined and elegant demeanor. His attitude had made many people admire him.
No one knew that at this moment, Zhang Yan’s mind was not focused on the upcoming fights that he was about to face. He was thinking about the after-effect of his own actions. After today, his fame would shoot up high above the sky. As long as there was no accident, the three supreme masters from the three lower court’s schools would surely consider taking him as an outer disciple.
Once he had become an outer disciple, the gate to his cultivation life, as well as the gate to his Great Dao journey, would be half-opened. He would be one step closer to tread on his own road to immortality.
When he thought about it, his eyes revealed a firm, resolute look.
“Is this the honorable Junior Brother Zhang Yan? Myself is Shen Jingyue, I’m pleased to know the name of Fellow Brother since long ago.”
Shen Jingyue slightly stepped forward and greeted Zhang Yan on the platform, as he then cupped his hands to greet Zhang Yan. Shen Jingyue’s complexion may perhaps look faint and plain, but he secretly observed Zhang Yan’s expression, only to find his elegant and composed demeanor. It was very obvious that his calm complexion showed that his mind was resolute and focused on this showdown.
Zhang Yan returned back the courtesy with the same respect, “Doesn’t dare, Zhang Yan is only a trivial disciple here.” Even though Shen Jingyue came from the Vast Origin Sect, of which was only a small sect, he was an outer disciple or even an inner disciple. Under the watchful public eye, he must at least return the same gesture to show his courtesy.
Shen Jingyue didn’t care about Zhang Yan’s manner, showing neither approval nor disapproval. He smiled indifferently, “Brother Zhang, this time you will first face my Junior Brother Zhang Zhen. But, before we compare notes, do you have time to listen to my suggestion?”
“Fellow Brother, please speak!”
Shen Jingyue took a step forward, his eyes were shining as he looked straight at Zhang Yan. He spoke softly, “Brother Zhang, this time, if you win this fight, we won’t trouble you anymore. But if I win, how about you enroll into our Vast Origin Sect?”
“What?” Zhang Yan was greatly shocked. He thought that Shen Jingyue would persuade him to withdraw from the fight or even threaten him with force. He absolutely didn’t expect that the other party would suddenly throw out this unexpected topic.
Shen Jingyue calmly analyzed Zhang Yan’s face. Seeing that there was no repugnance on his face, he suddenly made a judgment and immediately continued, “Brother Zhang, you are only a novice disciple. My father is one of the Vast Origin Sect’s Upper Court’s Elder. If you are willing to join our sect, I promise you that you will be provided with appropriate Dao Law Manuals as well as all compounded drugs that you will need to open your immortal meridians. I will also ask my father to accept you as his direct disciple. How about it?”
Seeing how sincere Shen Jingyue was with his offers, coupled with the rich and benefiting conditions he gave him, it was impossible that Zhang Yan’s heart would not be moved.
Although the Vast Origin Sect was only a small sect now, it however, was still considered as a big sect in the Great Eastern Continent. Besides, the competition in a small sect would not be so intense like that of a big sect, because it only had a few disciples.
In fact, because it only had a few disciples, the personal relation between each Vast Origin Sect’s disciples was very warm. They usually understood each other deeply and very harmoniously.
However, Zhang Yan actually had other concerns.
First, although Shen Jingyue solemnly vowed a promise, promising many benefits, who would have known that it was his plan to shake his resolution? Therefore, he couldn’t really believe it!
The second matter was that he was not very optimistic about the Vast Origin Sect’s future. Although that sect seemed to have a great relationship with the Great Southern Sect, but in fact, only the Vast Origin Sect took the initiative to send the challenge to the Blue Ocean Sect. The Great Southern Sect’s disciples actually didn’t say anything. It was very obvious that the Vast Origin Sect was not an independent sect, of which could be abandoned at any time. Such a sect would provide him no security at all.
The third matter was that the Blue Ocean Sect was one of the great sects on the Great Eastern Continent, proving that it could provide great deterrence from the Zhou Family. But, if he changed allegiance and became a Vast Origin Sect’s disciple, it wouldn’t have the same deterrent effect.
Therefore he, regardless whether Shen Jingyue’s sincerity was true or false, couldn’t take any risk to accept his offer. So without any hesitation, he expressed his rejection.
Shen Jingyue sighed loudly. It was very obvious that he was regretting Zhang Yan’s choice.
Everything he said to Zhang Yan was really coming from his heart. Because he could see that Zheng Xun and the other outer disciples were really unable to beat the child prodigy, Mo Yuan. Those elite disciples were only sitting idly in the Temple’s Hall. After he arrived at this place, he could hear and was aware that Zhang Yan was only a novice disciple who desperately raised his head to gain recognition, as he clearly had no strong supporter behind his back.
He could see Zhang Yan’s boldness and ability, coupled with his outstanding character, it made him immediately admire him. He wanted to attract him to join his sect, of which was in dire need of new and talented blood. He didn’t even care about his sect’s face and honor as he openly invited him in public.
However, his intention had ruthlessly fallen into the cold water. Zhang Yan actually did not have a liking for the Vast Origin Sect. He just insisted to follow his own steps instead.
Therefore, Zhang Yan took a step back as he then cupped both of his hand and solemnly spoke, “If so, more talk would be useless now. Senior Brother Shen, please let Brother Zhang Zhen step on the stage, as you and I will then have a showdown later. The winner and the loser shall be decided on this stage today!”