As expected, the sixth obelisk was much more difficult than its predecessor. The four great geniuses weren’t too surprised to see Jiang Chen still in the running either. They had already considered him as their equal. However, the sight of Ji San beside him raised some contemptuous eyebrows. In their mind, he was not qualified to challenge the sixth obelisk. But when they considered the fact that Ji San was only in the third quartile of the rankings, they understood where he was coming from. He didn't have that much time left. This was worth the gamble. His time would be extended by another six months if he somehow managed to pass.
“Brother Ji, cast away useless thoughts. Focus on what is ahead of you,” Jiang Chen advised.
The contents of the sixth obelisk seemed rather easy at first glance. It was a calligraphy piece that contained no more than 200 words. However, each and every word seemed to contain some sort of profound intent. To complicate things, when linked together, the profoundness of the intent multiplied exponentially. Candidates had to sense the intent within the calligraphy, immerse themselves in it, and then completely understand the profound intent of the martial arts within.
Even though the obelisks were designed to hand out different challenges, each subsequent obelisk was legitimately much more difficult than the one before. Calligraphy was already a profound art by nature, but integrating a profound martial art intent within was certainly a twist. Jiang Chen took a closer look when he noticed each word seemingly coming to life. They seemed to twist and frolic among each other, like graceful celestial beings. Every word had its own unique charm.
Martial art calligraphy have been around since the ancient times. The elegant pursuit remains popular to this day, but those who reached the peak solely through martial arts learned from calligraphy are few and far between. I wonder who authored this particular piece. It’s truly exquisite and uncommon. Jiang Chen took an even closer look and frowned slightly. These words weren’t written with a mere brush. This is sword intent that took the form of a brush. That’s the only way to explain the sharpness within these words.
He had seen many martial art calligraphy pieces in his previous life, but very few were comparable to the sharpness imbued within this example. The test is a lot trickier than it seems. I might not be able to comprehend the true meaning of the martial dao if I simply study the intent within the calligraphy. One must immerse oneself in the calligraphy with the mindset of a swordmaster. Only then can one comprehend the sword intent within.
Jiang Chen came to that conclusion after studying it for a while. He was the only one with enough knowledge and experience to notice the underlying problem with simple examination. The other four great geniuses had been sitting down before the sixth obelisk for some time now. They had begun to immerse themselves into the meaning behind the calligraphy, but they couldn’t make head nor tails of it.
Even the most outstanding genius among the young lords was at his wit’s end. But as time passed, they discovered the subtle sword intent buried within the calligraphy. When they changed their perspective to view the words as a sword technique, they finally found a lead, which then let them progress faster. However, they internally scoffed at the idea that Jiang Chen and Ji San would be perceptive enough to sense the sword dao within.
Unbeknownst to them, Jiang Chen had already utilized his vast knowledge to pinpoint the sword dao within the calligraphy. On the other hand, Ji San was fond of calligraphy. He’d already looked at it from all kinds of perspectives, but continuously failed. However, he wasn’t the kind to be trapped in a fixed mindset. After a few hours of fruitlessly pursuing theories, his instincts told him that it was time to switch it up. His heritage memories, slowly rousing after his bloodline reinvigoration, stirred restlessly. Even when not fully shaped, they had already sharpened his insight and intuition.
An epiphany struck when he noticed the sharpness within each word. The calligraphy is bold and decisive, very like a dragon. It is also extremely sharp. It would be more appropriate to call it a carving than a brushstroke. Wait… maybe it wasn’t written with a brush, but carved from a weapon? Ji San was quick to explore that train of thought, and it didn’t take long for him to find the connection to sword dao. He was overjoyed when it really turned out to be a sword technique after putting his conjecture to the test. Calligraphy was merely a front to misguide them!
Hahaha! I was right! Ji San was jumping for joy inside. His discovery had excited him greatly. He couldn’t resist glancing over at Jiang Chen. Coincidentally, Jiang Chen was also glancing at him with an expression that seemed full of wisdom. Ji San was a little surprised when their eyes met. It seems that Brother Jiang has already figured out the secret within the sixth obelisk. Tsk tsk. His insight is simply astounding. Although, my insight and intuition would never be this sharp if he hadn’t given me the true dragon’s blood, His admiration for Jiang Chen grew yet again. The sword technique was ever-changing and also rich with sword intent. Every word contained an extremely profound sword move.
The calligraphy had roughly two hundred words, meaning that there were also roughly two hundred sword moves. Each and every move was unique and creative, showing an exquisite sword dance when all the moves were performed in a sequential manner. The switching of pace and sword intent seemed awfully crude at first glance, but after some scrutiny, one would realize that it was actually a brilliant execution of sword dao. Jiang Chen was extremely impressed by its depth. No wonder the time limit is one month for the sixth obelisk test. Mastering such a complex sword technique is no easy feat.
With his innate talent, he would never be able to comprehend this sword technique if he wasn’t equipped with memories from his previous life. Even comprehending a third of the sword technique would be a gargantuan task for that him. New Star Ranking geniuses probably won’t even comprehend half of the sword technique in a month. Genius Ranking geniuses might be able to comprehend more than that, but two thirds is probably the limit for those who qualified for the Ranking of Young Lords challenge.
The sixth obelisk challenge was unbelievably difficult. So much so that the four great geniuses themselves were now in a race against time. They didn’t have time to spare on worrying about others. As for Jiang Chen, his memories from his past life gave him an incontrovertible advantage in comprehending martial dao. The words arranged themselves in front of him like an exquisite painting. A vivid image of a celestial being was performing a sword dance within his mind as the words linked together, one by one.
The singular sword dao describes a sword intent that flows smoothly like water, which is a characteristic shared by this sword technique. However, this sword technique also incorporates huge changes of sword intent between each move. An amateur of sword dao would never be able to wield it. Just like a mountain road was filled with unforeseen ups and downs, one could never predict what would happen in the next sword move.
The ebbs and crests in the sword intent were beyond normal imagination. It didn’t just stay unpredictable, instead sometimes returning well within the confines of reason before once again skipping beyond rational practice in sword intent. This sword technique is truly extraordinary. An enemy facing this would wish for a quick death. Jiang Chen’s admiration grew as he comprehended more of its mysteries.
Before Jiang Chen and Ji San arrived beneath the sixth obelisk, the four great geniuses had already been studying it for a some time. Thanks to his heaven defying speed, Jiang Chen caught up to their progress in just three days. On the tenth day, he was already at the final parts of the test.
On Jiang Chen’s fifteenth day, Li Jiancheng was the first to stand up. He’d fully comprehended the technique. It was the fifteenth day for Jiang Chen, but the twenty sixth for Li Jiancheng. Still, one had to commend him for his superior insight.
The second to finish was Zhou Yan. He had comprehended the sword technique at almost the same time as Li Jiancheng, and successfully moved on to the next stage. They expected Shui Rutian, who was from Emperor Petalpluck’s faction, to come third. But never in their minds did they expect Jiang Chen to finish an hour after them. A mixed expression crossed Li Jiancheng’s face when he saw the obelisk turn cyan after Jiang Chen stood up. Zhou Yan was also flabbergasted when he saw Jiang Chen take his leave from the obelisk. It had taken them twenty six days to fully comprehend the sword technique, but young lord Zhen had finished at the same time as them, even though he started more than ten days later than them! Just how monstrous was his comprehension of martial dao?
“Senior brother Zhen, have you… seen this technique before...?” Zhou Yan couldn’t resist asking.
Jiang Chen smiled in response. “I’ve not seen the exact technique, but I’ve crossed paths with a few other techniques that were also assimilated into calligraphy. People called them calligraphy pieces, but they were actually sword techniques. I already realized that this wasn’t just a simple calligraphy piece from the beginning, and concluded that it was a sword technique after noticing the sharpness within the words. It was simply the sword technique itself that completely astounded me.”
Zhou Yan’s mouth was agape. The only emotion he could feel right now was admiration and speechlessness. It had taken him four days to pivot from the calligraphy mindset into a sword technique mindset, but young lord Zhen had never caught in the wrong mindset in the first place! His comprehension level, observation strength, and knowledge was enough to put him to shame, even though he was a true disciple from Sacred Peafowl Mountain! Even Li Jiancheng, typically an opinionated and self-centered person, could only look at Jiang Chen with a complicated expression.