Long Tianming walked to the front, swept an eye over the crowd, and lightly smiled. “Just now, Qin Yue and Ye Xuan both displayed their talents, the zither and calligraphy, respectively. Since two are required for Go, then there is no point. I shall make a fool of myself and show my painting skills!”
Long Tianming lifted a brush and dipped it into the ink as his eyes turned to the blank page before him.
Earlier, Long Tianming had been smiling and content. But suddenly, an expression that was a deep as water and towering as a mountain burst forth across his face, accompanied by a frighteningly overbearing aura. The audience at the foot of the stage couldn’t help gasping for breath.
Long Tianming was like a treasured sword that had been unsheathed. It seemed as if he was trying to force the audience to submit to him through aura alone. The brush in his hand descended and coiled like snakes and dragons, leaving inky black patterns across the page. Slowly, but surely, a ferocious beast took form on the paper; it was a Celestial Blood Saint Dragon, landing with wings unfurled.
From the dragon’s bones, scales, to wings, every part was composed of vigorous strokes.
The Celestial Blood Saint Dragon appeared as if it was ready to leap out from the paper. Chilling rays of light emitted from its eyes, as though it was the overseer of all life.
This painting contained boundless intent and an overbearing quality. The crowd of students felt captivated and stifled simply by beholding that Celestial Blood Saint Dragon. It was clear that Qin Yue’s zither and Ye Xuan’s calligraphy were both far too inferior to this painting that contained supreme overbearing aura.
Comparing Qin Yue and Ye Xuan’s understanding towards Dao to Long Tianming’s understanding was like comparing a firefly to the luminous moon. They stood worlds apart.
“I have made a fool of myself.” Long Tianming halted his brush and put it aside. The powerful aura that had been emanating from him instantly retracted.
“Senior Brother Long Tianming’s painting is truly imposing, and filled with the Dao of the King. We can only exclaim in admiration!”
Ye Xuan stood up and heaped on his own flattery. “Senior Brother Long Tianming’s Celestial Blood Saint Dragon reigns the land, far more prideful than any outstanding hero. From this painting, one can see Senior Brother Long Tianming’s broad mind!”
Nie Li sneered at the flattery from people like Ye Xuan. The Dao intent in Long Tianming’s painting was at most “overbearing”; it was still far from the level of “Dao of the King”. This painting also had nothing to do with the broad mind that Ye Xuan had been praising about. You could only say that Long Tianming had strong and wild ambitions.
It was true; Long Tianming was indeed someone with wild and deep ambitions. Furthermore, his talent was extraordinary. He’d be a troublesome enemy to run into.
Long Tianming looked at Mingyue Wushuang and Yan Yang as he lightly smiled. “Among the four arts, only Go is left. Would the two of you be willing to reveal a little of your Go skills?”
Two people are required for Go and the outcome of such a match could be easily determined. If one person’s Dao intent was stronger and suppressed the other person’s, then it’d make the loser rather difficult to exhibit their skills and embarrassed. Long Tianming was trying to pit Mingyue Wushuang and Yan Yang against each other.
One of them was the Holy Son of the Skyblaze Sect, while the other one was the Holy Maiden of the Heavenly Note Sect. If the two of them competed, what would the outcome be? The members of the crowd couldn’t help having expectations of the match.
Yan Yang lightly said, “I’m fine with it.”
Although he was well aware of Long Tianming’s schemes, Yan Yang wasn’t bothered by them; therefore, he didn’t reject the idea. Yan Yang definitely wouldn’t back off from a fight with anyone.
Mingyue Wushuang couldn’t help smiling. “I’ve made a fool of myself. I rarely play Go, so I’m not very proficient in it. Therefore, my Dao intent on it isn’t comparable to Junior Brother Yan Yang’s. I’d rather not compete with Junior Brother Yan Yang to avoid making a joke out of myself. I’ll show my zither skills instead!”
The crowd couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed at Mingyue Wushuang’s calm words. They didn’t dare jump to conclusions that Mingyue Wushuang was too scared to compete against Yan Yang. Even if the crowd couldn’t watch a Go battle between the two experts, they knew that Mingyue Wushuang’s zither was still something worth getting excited over.
Long Tianming’s brows slightly twitched. It looked like Mingyue Wushuang had cowered at the challenge and backed out. Indeed, whether it was Mingyue Wushuang or himself, neither had many thoughts about challenging Yan Yang. He was just too strong!
Mingyue Wushuang walked towards the front. However, she didn’t sit when she reached the zither; instead, she only extended a slender jade finger and lightly strummed a string.
A clear and melodious pitch flowed like a clear spring, slowly spreading throughout the entire chamber. The note lingered, unending.
Instantly, the audience relaxed, as if they were sitting in a paradise. The ethereal sound relaxed their hearts and filled their faces with infatuated expressions. Even though Yan Yang and Long Tianming weren’t affected as much as the others, their hearts also did calm at the sound of the zither.
The sound of her zither brought tranquility to the hearts of all.
The listeners sank into the deep and mysterious profound intent that filled the zither’s note, and found themselves entirely unable to extricate themselves from it.
Only after a long time had passed did the note cease. However, the aftertaste still remained in everyone’s hearts.
This single note from the zither was much more profound than Long Tianming’s painting. It was that emotionally moving force that mesmerised the crowd.
Long Tianming gingerly cupped his hands with a bitter smile. “I never thought that Senior Sister Mingyue had succeeded in the Zither Note of Heavenly Peace. It’s truly extraordinary! Long Tianming admits defeat!”
Even though Long Tianming had vocally admitted defeat, there was still an underlying message in his words. He had mentioned that Mingyue Wushuang had played the Heavenly Peace; he was admitting that he’d been defeated by the technique, not by Mingyue Wushuang herself.
Mingyue Wushuang wasn’t bothered by his words as she smiled. She had played that note to calm the competitive intentions within everyone’s hearts. She had no intention of gaining a superior position.
“That was indeed the Heavenly Peace. Junior Brother Long Tianming certainly have a good eyesight! Now that I have finished my piece, please, let us move on to the next performer.” Mingyue Wushuang finished her words, then calmly descended the stage with graceful steps.
Only then did the audience awaken abruptly from their captivation. They looked at Mingyue Wushuang with exceptionally calm hearts. Although it was only a single zither note, its effect on their hearts had far surpassed the effect of Long Tianming’s painting.
Long Tianming’s painting suppressed others with power; Mingyue Wushuang’s zither note was like celestial music that imparted a profound comprehension.
Even now, the disciples continued to reflect on that zither note.
Mingyue Wushuang’s mood of tranquility had been transferred to everyone else.
She was truly worthy of the name “Holy Maiden of the Heavenly Note Sect”. Her attainments on the zither had already reached an extraordinary realm.
Nie Li watched Mingyue Wushuang’s back, while being absorbed in his own thoughts. Regardless of who was stronger between Long Tianming or Mingyue Wushuang, at least it was clear that Mingyue Wushuang’s mental strength had far surpassed Long Tianming’s. There was probably only one person who could win against Mingyue Wushuang in terms of attainments on mentality.
That person would be his Master, Ying Yueru!
Next was Yan Yang’s turn. He slowly walked towards the front.
The crowd couldn’t help staring at him as they tried to guess which of the four arts he would perform.
“It’s regrettable that Senior Sister Mingyue was unwilling to compete with me in Go. Therefore, I can only give a casual performance!” Yan Yang said as he smiled and walked up to the Go board. He picked up a black Go piece and turned his attention to the board.
The moment he picked up the Go piece, a strange thing occurred. Although Yan Yang was clearly standing on the stage, it felt as though he’d disappeared. No one could detect his presence.
At the same time, the Go board beneath his scrutiny turned vast and boundless, as though it became another world.
It was as though mountains and rivers had appeared on the Go board. No life forms could be seen on these geological structures as Yan Yang slowly raised his Go piece and set it down.
The moment the piece landed, streams of life burst forth in the form of flowers and plants upon the mountain slopes and within the rivers. That overflowing and vigorous energy affected everyone’s hearts.
The changes in this small world utterly shocked the viewers. They felt that the plants and flowers that flourished within that small realm were filled with the overflowing vitality of heaven and earth.
That Go piece contained Yan Yang’s boundless Dao intent. It landed on the Tian Yuan position1 of the Go board.
For a long time, everyone remained immersed in that small world.
After placing down the first Go piece, Yan Yang retracted his hand, stood still, and lightly smiled. “Since there’s no one to play against, I will place just this piece!”
Yan Yang kept a calm attitude as he slowly descended the stage.
Nie Li looked at Yan Yang in astonishment. He never thought that Yan Yang’s insight towards the Dao would’ve reached such a level. Long Tianming’s comprehension could only be called “overbearing”. But Yan Yang comprehended the genuine Dao of the King. It’s no wonder that in his previous life, Yan Yang had led the Skyblaze Sect into a flourishing era.
Between Yan Yang, Mingyue Wushuang and Long Tianming, Yan Yang was obviously much stronger than the other two.
However, none of the three could influence the other two; they were incapable of affecting the others’ auras. This proved that even though Yan Yang stood above the other two, it wasn’t a total domination.
Only after Yan Yang exited the stage did the audience wake up from the shock. They were still in a stupor from the things they had just witnessed.
Qin Yue lightly smiled. “The three Senior Brothers and Sister have opened our eyes to a new world. In my opinion, winning and losing doesn’t matter. What’s important is that these three Senior Brothers and Sister could impart a completely new comprehension towards the Martial Dao. Today is worth months of bitter cultivation. This trip truly has not been in vain!”
The disciples of the three major sects fully agreed to what Qin Yue had just said. Winning and losing weren’t important; their eyes had indeed become opened to a new world as they remained immersed in the three concepts displayed.
The three of them would always be the focus of attention within this side chamber. Aside from gaining some comprehension, all the disciples felt a deep sense of inferiority to them. Their own concepts were simply far too below the three of theirs. Trying to reach the level of those three was simply too hard.
Qin Yue smiled as she swept her eyes over the crowd. “Is there anyone else who wants to show us their skills?”
Everyone exchanged looks. Those three had just finish displaying their skills. Who would still dare to go up? If anyone else went up, they’d just be displaying their pitiful skills after an expert!