THE MARTIAL KING
(Selecting a refining method (1)
To the noble clan disciples, one hundred points might not be much, but to most of the common disciples, it was a lot.
What annoyed all the disciples equally was how many refinement methods there were in the Heavenly Library, whether high or low-level refinement methods, which made it hard to choose. Some disciples managed to accumulate a hundred points, but that would only buy the Barbaric Fist.
The book was inexpensive, selling for only a dozen gold in the Imperial Capital, so, paying a hundred points was a waste of points.
There was an art to pick a refinement method at the Heavenly Library.
All outer disciples were granted access to the Heavenly Library once to select a refinement method.
Under guidance from the masters, they headed for the Heavenly Library.
The deeper into the Cloud Sect that someone went, the more they experienced its vastness. After passing mountain forests, lakes and magnificent buildings of various shapes, they finally came to the gates of a great hall.
The hall had a purple haze covering it. With careful observation, streaks of purple light could be seen emitting from it.
As Zen stared at the bright glow, his eyes hurt. It was a peculiar feeling, similar, but much weaker, to that of the cyan dragon figure in his mind.
"Pupils, don't look directly into the light," reminded one of the masters warmly.
"Through your eyes, it can damage your soul."
Hearing this, the outer disciples immediately looked away from the light.
As important as a man's soul was, a common saying used to describe damage came about of 'soul injury'.
Someone with even a minor soul injury would feel the effects, like dizziness and weakness for several days while more serious soul injury might leave a person paralyzed or cause brain damage severe enough to make him an idiot for several years.
"What is the light, Master?" asked one of the outer disciples.
"It is known as the intent," explained the master.
"Intent is what everything in the world has that gives them existence. The human has intent, as does heaven, the sword as well as the saber," pointed out the master. Then he pointed to the purple light, adding, "At one time, our Cloud Sect killed a Vengeful Beast* and buried it here. The purple aura is its intent."
(*TN: the Vengeful Beast is a species of a headless creature that battles against heaven.)
With the explanation the master gave, Zen learned something else.
'If that's the case, then maybe it is 'the dragon intent' giving the cyan dragon its intense energy?' Zen thought.
There was no way Zen would ever forget how it felt as the dragon intent was tearing his soul. 'But then? What is the intent? And, how does it happen?' he wondered, mystified by the new knowledge.
Zen decided to keep his question to himself for now.
Deep in thought, Zen almost ran into the disciple in front of him when everyone came to a stop in front of the platform of the Heavenly Library.
"Keep in mind, that this is your only opportunity to choose a refinement method free of cost. Also, kindly remember, the deeper into the Heavenly Library you go, the higher the refinement method levels are. But! At the same time, the stronger the Vengeful Beast intent will become. At that point, even if your eyes are closed, its intent will burn your soul!" warned one of the masters. "Accordingly, you should proceed as far as you can, but, don't exert yourself. Okay, now, go on in."
The master had barely finished giving instructions, and the outer disciples were scattering as they entered the Heavenly Library.
Among the many disciples, Zen climbed the stairs and entered a magnificent hall.
Standing in the middle of the great hall, Zen saw a towering word cast in black iron. It was a number, one.
"The refinement techniques offered out here in the outermost part of the Heavenly Library are all worthless rubbish!"
several of the noble clansmen called out as they continued walking and passed the entranceway bearing the large number one.
Lining the shelves in this hall were books of various tier one refinement methods.
'Considering that each shelf houses about ten thousand different tier-one refinement methods, and there are twenty shelves, then that means there are two hundred thousand tier-one different refinement methods in this hall?' Zen thought.
Tier-one refinement methods were widespread throughout the empire. In spite of the vulgar manner the noble disciples stated about them, they were right; these methods were not worth much.
Only a few disciples lingered here, most of them went further into the library.
Zen didn't hesitate to follow the crowd heading deeper into the Heavenly Library. He noticed that instead of following, Nory remained in the hall of the tier-one refinement techniques.
Walking about one hundred feet further, the crowd came to the next hall. In the middle of the entrance was a large number two.
Needless to say, this was the hall of the tier-two refinement methods.
Here, the aura of the Vengeful Beast's purple intent was stronger than in the first hall which made some of the outer disciples turn back because they felt ill. It was the strength of someone's soul that determined how well they resisted the intent of the Vengeful Beast.
The vast majority of those disciples had never honed their souls. Naturally, some people were born with stronger souls, while others were not. It was like any genetic differences and had nothing to do with their strength.
Several outer disciples didn't want to give up, even though they already felt very ill. So, they stood still, closed their eyes and tried hard to withstand the intent of the Vengeful Beast.
However, it didn't take long for the color to drain from their faces, and a wave of dizziness came over them. Finally, with no other choice, they left the hall. Making a bad situation worse, one disciple fainted in the room and needed to be carried back.
Most of those remaining acknowledged their limitations and remained at the hall of tier-two refinement methods. If those disciples continued to go deeper, their souls were likely to be damaged.
Therefore, they stopped there and began searching for the refinement that worked for them.
Very few people continued deeper.
One of those who did was Zen.
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