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Season 4

Episode 50

(Inner Disciple admission test(1)

Aura had assessed several geniuses to that date, and had also recruited a lot of talented refiners into Drizzle Peak from the Eastern Region. But until now, there was no hope she could see.     

"Master Su!" Zen came looking for Aura in her room as soon as he got the message, but she wasn't there. He searched around for a while and finally caught up to her in the pavilion.     

The pensive look on her face gave place to a smile as she saw Zen. "Here you are."   

 "You looked troubled just now, Master Su." His piercing eyes fell on her face and to his penetrating gaze, it was obvious that her smile had a fixed quality to it.  

   Aura responded by an instant change of the subject. She stared at Zen and asked, "What have you been practicing lately? Your eyesight seems to have improved a lot since earlier on."  

She had reached the consummation of the nature level and therefore, could feel a special energy around Zen, hurtling and cutting in the air. Even her own protective life vitality felt slightly scratched by this energy. He must have learned some sharp 'intent' to create this effect.     

It was rather like some refiners at the Illuminating Soul Realm knocking people out with just a gaze.     

Zen might have learned a soul-attacking skill, Aura thought. Soul-attacking skills were similar to 'intent', but their theories were different. One needed to use one's soul to cast an attack for the former, but 'intent' was a realm in which refiners would continue emanating special energy all the time. Typically, the aura would have given people around them a sense of oppression.     

Zen could have restrained his sword intent. But his instinct was telling him not to. He had just learned it and to be frank, even if he wanted to, he wasn't very practised at controlling it until now. So he just let his sword intent spread around naturally for a while until it was steady.   

He gave a nod when he heard Aura's remark. "I picked up a sword intent on the Seven Star Sword Light Platform."    "A sword intent?" Aura asked, slightly taken aback. "I seem to remember that you prefer your fist."    

Aura was under the impression that the only weapon Zen owned was a flying knife. It was sharp but to be frank, it served better as a hidden weapon to blindside the enemy than as a proper weapon to confront the enemy.     

"I learned to use a sword recently. I've been practicing it." Zen smiled.     

For a moment, Aura was speechless. How was this man able to comprehend a sword intent in such a short amount of time? He was just a beginner in the field.    
 Aura had to admit Zen had done some remarkable and amazing things in the past. He had challenged the outer disciples of Vulture Peak and had even fought with Vale, who was an expert in the Illuminating Soul Realm. What was more extraordinary was the fact that back then, he had been only a half-step into the nature level. It was beyond dispute that Zen was an extraordinary genius.   

Sword intent was a different kettle of fish, it was vague, elusive and abstruse. Some swordsmen in the past had gone to extreme lengths in the search for their sword intent. They carried their swords with them wherever they went and stuck with it every second of their life. Even sleeping and eating couldn't part them from it. They did it for decades but most of them never even got a glimpse of the intent their entire lifetimes and went into their graves full of regret.     

But this vague power seemed to come almost effortlessly to Zen. How was that possible?    

 If there was one person who could climb to the very top and get into the Cloud Hall, Aura was counting on Zen as long as he survived his period of growing up.     
Still… it was already too late.    

 The crown prince was about to ascend the throne in less than a year. And the king's third and seventh sons, who had been lurking out there and waiting, were sure to launch a coup any time they were ready. They might even do it the moment the crown prince was seated on the throne.  

Zen had been making steady progress. But as a refiner at the second rank of the nature level, he wouldn't make much of a difference.  

  Aura realized that she was bemoaning fate. If only there were more time, things would be totally different. Just two or three more years and Zen could be the star disciple of Cloud Sect. Aura was certain of it.    

 Giving up was never an option for Aura. She had grown up in the royal court and the experience had made her mind sharper and wiser than most common men. Her decision to join Cloud Sect had seemed a bit rushed and naive when she had looked back on it, but she never regretted it. She was the kind of person who, after making a choice, stuck to it.   

  "You got to know the sword intent in such a short amount of time after practicing swordsmanship. That is very lucky..." For a moment Aura was at a loss for words. She had summoned Zen because she had intended to ask him to take part in the Inner Disciple Admission Test with the others. If he passed the test and became an inner disciple, then he could join the All Peaks Competition.  

 All Peaks Competition was held every three years. Aura had already made up her mind to make Zen have a go at it; not that she expected him to land in a good spot in the league table. He was only seventeen, a young boy with so much potential, yet not enough training. He would probably make it into the top spots at the next All Peaks Competition, but not now.     

There were so many talented young people in this day. Zen had a very good fortune but god had showed almost the same amount of favor to some other top talents. That was the reason Aura didn't expect too much of Zen.

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