The disappearance of the folded space meant that the ancient domain had become nothing more than a part of history. Even though they were relieved that they had managed to survive the collapse, they still could not help but feel dismay regarding the loss of Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's heritage.
An unparalleled battle technique was right before them… and they missed it just like that.
"Even though I only managed to memorize a few lines, it's still a battle technique left behind by Ancient Sage Qiu Wu. If I can internalize it well, I should be able to raise my fighting prowess significantly," Yuan Xiao said.
"Why don't we do this? Let's regurgitate the content that we memorized, put it all together, and analyze it. This way, we can at least make the best out of what we know of the Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Fist?"
"I guess that's all we can do now!"
Bi Hongyin and the others quickly nodded in agreement.
A battle technique of the Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Fist's tier was extremely difficult to comprehend. Every single line carried a deep conception and great significance. Even though they had only managed to memorize a couple of lines, if they could just study it thoroughly, they should still be able to benefit greatly from it.
"Luo Xuanqing, you have the best memory of us all. Why don't you go first?"
"Un." Luo Xuanqing nodded. "The four lines that I have memorized are…"
As one of the top geniuses of the Luo Clan, he possessed superb memory. In just a short one to two minutes, he actually managed to memorize more than a hundred words.
Hearing that what they had memorized was the exact same as what Luo Xuanqing had said, Yuan Xiao and the others heaved a sigh of relief.
Just as they were about to start analyzing what those four lines meant, Yun Lianhai suddenly spoke up.
"I think I got the fifth line…"
Everyone quickly turned their gazes over with their bodies trembling in agitation. "You memorized the fifth line?"
"I think so." Yun Lianhai nodded as he quickly regurgitated the fifth line.
As a treasure hunter, possessing a good memory was of vital importance in order to be able to put clues together. As good as Luo Xuanqing's memory was, it was still slightly lacking compared to Yun Lianhai's.
"Amazing. Even though it's only five lines, it seems to have already opened up a new world to me," Luo Xuanqing remarked in awe as he ruminated over the words for a moment.
At this point, a thought suddenly flashed across his mind, and he turned to the silent Zhang Xuan. "Zhang shi, what about you? How many lines have you remembered?"
Zhang Xuan had been too preoccupied lamenting over the destruction of the folded space that he had not really heard what the others were saying. He felt that if he could have gotten the Myriad Anthive Queen to swallow the space, he would have been able to increase the space in the Myriad Anthive nest significantly.
He was slightly startled by the abrupt question before responding, "Oh, I managed to memorize everything."
"You m-memorized… everything?"
They were all Saint 7-dan and Half Saint 8-dan experts, possessing superior analytical abilities, but even so, they only managed to memorize five lines in total.
But he actually memorized everything?
"Indeed." Zhang Xuan nodded.
"Then… can you recite the content for us?" Luo Xuanqing asked in agitation.
"Sure. Actually, why don't I just write it down for you? This way, you can refer to it whenever you want to…"
With a tap of his finger, a surge of zhenqi shot forth from Zhang Xuan's fingers before abruptly bursting apart in the sky, forming a massive screen of light. Slowly, words began surfacing on the light screen.
It was the cultivation method for the Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Fist!
He just had to use the Library of Heaven's Path to collect the entire manual, so it did not even take him half a breath to memorize everything. All he had to do now was bring it out word for word, so it was no trouble at all.
Looking at the screen filled with words before them, everyone gulped as they shot glances of disbelief at Zhang Xuan.
To memorize so many words within just a minute or two… Just how in the world did he manage to do it?
At this moment, Yun Lianhai suddenly exclaimed, "Wait a moment, Zhang shi. There are a few words in your manual that are different from what I memorized."
Everyone turned their gazes over and saw Yun Lianhai pointing toward the third line. Indeed, there were three words in the third line that were different from what they had discussed and agreed on earlier.
Even though it was only a difference of three words, this alteration gave a completely different direction and conception to the battle technique.
Could it be that… even though that fellow did manage to memorize the entire manual, his memory on certain portions was flawed?
If that was the case, they should not practice this version of the Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Fist even if it formed a complete manual.
It was still fine if one failed to memorize a cultivation technique or battle technique—what was truly dangerous was if one had remembered it incorrectly. Even the slightest mistake in cultivation could possibly lead to one treading down the wrong path, possibly resulting in one's cultivation going berserk.
"Oh. After I was done memorizing the Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Fist, I had some time to examine it closely. I realized that the cultivation technique had quite a few problems, so I made some alterations to it. However, due to the limitations of my knowledge, I was only able to correct a couple of the flaws." Zhang Xuan sighed, and his head reddened in embarrassment.
If he had more Saint high-tier fist art manuals to refer to, he would have been able to correct more of the flaws. So far, of the 31 flaws, he had only managed to correct three of them, which was not even a tenth of the total. This was truly a huge failure on his part.
The crowd nearly spurted a mouthful of blood.
While we were struggling to memorize two to five lines of the manual, you managed to memorize everything and even alter it.
Their faces flushed red, and they felt as if they were about to explode from the sheer frustration bubbling within them.
Quick at setting up formations? Fine, we'll tolerate that!
Quick at deciphering poison? Alright, we'll accept that too!
Quick at helping others achieving a breakthrough? Fine, we'll take that grudgingly as well…
But to be able to memorize a manual that quickly and even have time to alter it… Don't you think that you are showing off a bit too much?
"Why don't you just give me a while first? If I can refer to the fist art manuals back at the Sanctum of Sages, I should be able to perfect it further, thus bringing its might up to a new height," Zhang Xuan said.
It would not be nice for him to pass down such a disgustingly flawed battle technique to others. It would be best if he could perfect it before imparting it to them.
Yuan Xiao pondered for a moment before replying. "It's fine. I'll just memorize the original version…"
"I think I'll go with the original version. Zhang shi, may I trouble you to pen down the battle technique prior to your alterations?" Bi Hongyin asked as well.
Even their old ancestors would dare not alter a battle technique from an expert of that caliber easily. Despite the extraordinary feats that Zhang Xuan had achieved so far, they were hesitant to put themselves on the line to cultivate a battle technique that he had altered.
"Alright then." Knowing what the crowd was worried about, Zhang Xuan did not insist on the matter. With a wave of his hand, he reverted the portions that he had altered to their original version.
Seeing that the content had been changed to its original state, the crowd hurriedly took out some paper and brushes to copy the content down.
It would be disastrous if they memorized the content incorrectly, so it would be much safer for them to copy everything down instead.
An hour later, they were finally done copying the manual.
"Zhang shi… earlier, Ancient Sage Qiu Wu said that he knows you. Have the both of you met one another before?" Luo Xuanqing asked curiously.
"I happened to stumble into one of his ancient domain once, and after clearing his tests, I obtained his Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Palm," Zhang Xuan said without going into detail or revealing the existence of the Qiu Wu Palace.
The crowd nodded in realization.
"Then… what about when Ancient Sage Qiu Wu talked about you seeing through the flaws in his cultivation?" Yuan Xiao asked.
"How could that possibly be true? The truth is that I happened to chance upon a book that detailed the flaws in the Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Palm, so I spoke about it casually before Ancient Sage Qiu Wu's will. Who would have thought that he would think so highly of me after the matter?" Zhang Xuan said.
Offering pointers to an Ancient Sage was simply too shocking a matter. Having something like that pinned to his reputation was not necessarily something good, especially considering how well-respected Ancient Sage Qiu Wu was.
In any case, he was determined to deny this matter to the end. As for whether the others would believe him or not, that was not his problem anymore.
Luo Xuanqing and the others felt that Zhang Xuan was not being completely honest to them, but his explanation was something that they could accept, so they decided to probe no further.
Even though Luo Xuanqing had failed to obtain the Dongxu Gourd this time around, he did manage to achieve a breakthrough in his cultivation. As for the others, they also managed to obtain the Heavenly Demon Great Sorrow Fist, so it was not a wasted trip for them either.
Shortly after walking out of the cavern, they were met with the Netherworld Azure Dragon Beast.
From it, they learned that Zhang Chun and the others had already regained consciousness two hours ago and left the area immediately.
Toward this matter, Luo Xuanqing could not help but feel a tinge of disappointment.
He had been hoping to try my newfound strength on that fellow so as to vent his many years of frustration, but who knew that the fellow would actually flee?
The Netherworld Azure Dragon Beast was not an aerial saint beast. While it was capable of moving at an incredible speed due to its superior cultivation, in terms of endurance, it still came nowhere near the Seven-colored Divine Crane. So, Zhang Xuan moved the Netherworld Azure Dragon Beast into the Myriad Anthive Nest before leaving the valley with the others on the back of the Seven-colored Divine Crane.
"Here are your formation flags!" Zhang Xuan walked up to Bi Hongyin and passed a huge stack of flags over.
He had borrowed them from the other party for the mission, and since the mission had come to an end, it was only right for him to return them.
Otherwise, how would he be any different from bandits?
"My understanding of formations is still deeply lacking, so you can keep the flags. I think you will be able to do much more with them," Bi Hongyin said with a wave of her hand.
In the view of others, she was not just a talented demonic tunist—she was also a proficient formation master, a true genius. However, after meeting the young man standing before her, she realized that her skills were still sorely lacking.
After witnessing what the young man was capable of, she was embarrassed to even tell others that she was a formation master.
"This won't do. How can I simply take your stuff like that?" Zhang Xuan quickly shook his hands.
Those were grade-8 formation flags, capable of setting up even grade-8 pinnacle formations. Even a single one of those was worth a huge fortune, let alone an entire bunch of them.
He did not want to owe a debt to others over material possessions.
Not to mention that the other party was a lady, and they were currently before his future brother-in-law. He had to make sure to conduct himself well!
"If you think it's too much as a gift, it'll do as long as you offer me some pointers when I'm ready to push for a breakthrough to Saint 8-dan. That way, I will be the one who has gotten a good deal instead," Bi Hongyin said.
Of course, it was not because she was too rich that she gave so many valuable formation flags away for free. She was intending to make use of this opportunity to win Zhang Xuan's goodwill so that she would be able to engage his help in the future, especially when she needed to push for a breakthrough to Saint 8-dan.
"This…" Zhang Xuan frowned.
He did not think that he would have much trouble helping Bi Hongyin achieve a breakthrough to Saint 8-dan, but the main problem was that how long would she take.
Beyond the third month of the next year, he probably would not have time to attend to such miscellaneous matters anymore.
With this thought in mind, he turned to Bi Hongyin and asked, "How long will you need before you are ready to push for a breakthrough to Saint 8-dan?"
"How long?" A confident smile emerged on Bi Hongyin's lips as she replied, "I'm currently at Saint 7-dan advanced stage, ready to achieve a breakthrough soon. As long as I cultivate diligently, I should be able to successfully make a breakthrough within three years. After reaching Saint 7-dan pinnacle, I will have to slowly reinforce my cultivation in order to build up a strong foundation for Saint 8-dan. I will require ten to twenty years for that."
"Three years and ten years? That is to say that you will need at least thirteen years before you can push for a breakthrough to Saint 8-dan?" Zhang Xuan asked.
"That's right." Bi Hongyin nodded. "My rate of cultivation can already be considered to be faster compared to the others in the Sanctum of Sages. You might not feel it that much at the moment, but every step forward beyond the Leaving Aperture realm gets increasingly arduous, and the time and effort one has to put in increases exponentially."
Zhang Xuan nodded in response to those words.
He could relate to that. Ever since he reached the Leaving Aperture realm, he could sense that the quantity of spiritual energy he needed to push for a breakthrough was much greater than before, and the time he took to achieve a breakthrough had increased from two hours to four hours. Really, the difficulty was so great that it left a numbing sensation on his scalp. If not for that, he would not have been so troubled by the matter.
Seeing the awful complexion on the young man's face, Bi Hongyin asked, "Zhang shi, is my rate of cultivation too fast or too slow?"
"This…" Zhang Xuan hesitated for a moment before replying. "Thirteen years is a little too long for me. I don't think I can wait till then… Why don't we do this instead? You should try to achieve a breakthrough to Saint 7-dan pinnacle on the spot and reinforce your cultivation, and when we finally reach the Sanctum of Sages, I'll help you push for a breakthrough to Saint 8-dan straight!"
"Achieve a breakthrough on the spot?" Bi Hongyin's face twitched upon hearing those words. "Zhang shi, you must be messing with me. If I really could really achieve a breakthrough as and when I like, I would have already done so."
"I'm not messing with you." Zhang Xuan chuckled. "It's just a breakthrough to Saint 7-dan pinnacle, no problem at all.
"Here, I'll impart a method to you. Twenty minutes, no, that's too long… Five minutes! I'll have you achieve a breakthrough within five minutes!"