Chapter 587: Dueling Round Begins
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
All along, regardless of what it was, he had always used the Library of Heaven's Path and Eye of Insight to interpret and understand profound topics. But this time, he had decided to test out his own intelligence by playing with the rules he interpreted from the words inscribed on the pillars.
He thought that he would at least be able to get six pieces down, yet... he found himself stuck on the second stone. Could he have really screwed up this time?
Was his intelligence really that poor?
Zhang Xuan was on the verge of tears.
He had proceeded smoothly in the past three tests, he didn't expect to fail here.
Hong shi's face was also twitching violently.
To be unable to put down the second stone... How was he supposed to clear up the mess this time? He couldn't possibly say that considerably Zhang shi's talent, he was an exception and could clear the test just by putting down a single stone?
If only he'd known this would happen, he would have surely allowed Zhang shi to go first!
In the end, such a matter happened. If Zhang shi were to bear a grudge against him over this matter, he would surely be screwed...
What the heck was this! For a 5-star master teacher, the host of the Master Teacher Tournament, to have his heart hanging over a mere preliminary selection, he couldn't help but feel intense indignation.
Gritting his teeth, Hong shi mustered his courage and announced, "Since Zhang shi was unable to put down the second stone, this means that... he has failed the test! Alright, since the preliminary selection is over, let's move on to the dueling round..."
But at that moment, the puppet opposite to Zhang Xuan suddenly pushed the chess board aside and stood up. A clear voice reverberated in the air.
"I have lost!"
"What does that mean?"
"Zhang shi... won against the puppet in a match of Celestial Chess? Not to mention, he even had the other party willingly admit his defeat?"
"Aren't the rules of the Celestial Chess difficult to comprehend? To actually understand the rules within an incense's time to defeat the puppet..."
Everyone was taken aback. The impossibility of the situation was driving them insane.
They thought the reason why Zhang shi was unable to put down his second stone was due to his lack of understanding of the rules. Never could they have imagined that the puppet would admit his defeat in the next moment...
This wasn't just at the level of 'understanding the rules' or not... Rather, Zhang shi had become an expert in the game, an existence that others could only look up to!
"Are you for real?"
Luo Xuan, Song Chao, and the others widened their eyes in disbelief.
They had undergone the test personally, and they knew how profound Celestial Chess was. Those who could put down more than six stones could be considered geniuses among geniuses. And yet, the person before them actually defeated the puppet utterly in his second move...
Was he still a human?
Contrary to everyone's shock, Hong shi felt immense relief instead.
It seemed like every time he was going to announce Zhang shi's loss, the other party would make a huge turnaround...
In that instant, he felt as though he was being toyed with.
If this were to go on, on top of going bankrupt, he would have to worry about his heart malfunctioning due to the excessive shock...
While everyone was dumbfounded, shocked, gritting their teeth, convulsing, kicking, rolling... The person in question, Zhang Xuan, was also bewildered.
He used neither the Library of Heaven's Path nor the Eye of Insight this time, and he was relying solely on his own intelligence to clear this test. As such, he was lacking in confidence.
This was precisely the reason why his heart stopped when he found himself unable to put down the second stone and panicked.
But... Never in his dreams could he have imagined that not only would he clear the test, the puppet would even admit defeat on his own accord...
Just as he was about to say something, the old man before him bowed, and a voice echoed in his mind. "Even though you only made a single move, you sealed all possible paths of advancement and retreat. I'm unable to counter your move at all. Finally, Celestial Chess... has a successor!"
After which, a surge of information suddenly dived into his head.
With this surge of information, countless plausible chess formations and set ups became assimilated as part of his knowledge.
Zhang Xuan widened his eyes in shock.
'To be able to allow a puppet to conduct Soul Impartation, how powerful must the person who created the puppet be?' Zhang Xuan thought with a grim expression. But before he could take a look at his newfound knowledge, the puppet before him suddenly fell motionless, as though it had lost all strength. Following which, countless cracks starting creeping across its body.
"This is bad!"
Zhang Xuan widened his eyes in alarm. He quickly rushed forward to stop the impending destruction.
In the information that was transferred to him, he learned of the meaning behind the existence of the puppet-to pass down the heritage of Celestial Chess. Now that it had accomplished its raison d'tre, the lingering will left within the puppet vanished, resulting in its inability to continue functioning. Naturally, the puppet started to fall apart.
Even if you are going to fall apart, at least do it after I'm done with my test, when no one is around! To fall apart at such a time... How am I supposed to face Hong shi?
Placing his arm on the old man, Zhang Xuan infused his zhenqi into him in hopes of forcefully keeping in intact. Yet, contrary to his expectations, the zhenqi he infused collided with the other party's zhenqi.
Boom! The puppet immediately exploded into dust.
And the chessboard and gazebo also seemed to have lost its source of power, and they collapsed, turning into ruins.
Zhang Xuan was frenzied.
I only did that out of goodwill so as to sustain the puppet for a moment longer... How could I've known that such a thing would occur?
But actually, thinking deeper into it, Zhang Xuan also realized his error. The puppet was sustained by a lingering will, and most likely, this lingering will was infused into it through the means of a soul oracle. Otherwise, it shouldn't be possible for a lifeless puppet to be capable of Soul Impartation...
And his Heaven's Path zhenqi happened to be the nemesis of soul oracles. What should have been a simple collapse turned into an explosion instead with the interference of his zhenqi...
Turning his gaze to the crowd, Zhang Xuan saw everyone staring at him with widened eyes, as though looking at a monster.
"Did you see that? Even the Celestial Chess wasn't spared!"
"I told you that it would be destroyed right? And to think that you didn't believe me..."
"How could Zhang shi explode the puppet even after it has admitted defeat? This is too much!"
"You're right. But if he didn't do so, how could he maintain his reputation as the God of Destruction?"
Everyone whispered with hushed voices.
They thought that perhaps Celestial Chess would be an exception, but in the end, just like the artifacts in the previous three tests, it was destroyed as well! It seemed as though regardless of how valuable an artifact, it only had one fate upon meeting Zhang shi... Utter destruction!
It doesn't matter how sturdy or resilient you are...
Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan spurted blood.
I really didn't do it intentionally, I was really trying to save him...
I didn't do any of these voluntarily, it was all just coincidence!
"He destroyed something yet again?"
Pavilion Master Kang and the others stared at one another. At this point, there was only one thought in their mind-relief. They couldn't help but feel relieved that they didn't use any valuable artifact in the selection round back then... Otherwise, their Master Teacher Pavilion would probably be bankrupt by now.
"My Celestial Chess..."
Hong shi's lips trembled in agitation.
Only he knew how long it took for him to accrue sufficient wealth to obtain the Ghost Domain Illusory City and the Celestial Chess... and yet, in a single tournament, they were all destroyed by Zhang shi. In just a single day, he was reduced to a poor bloke.
He felt as though a knife was lodged deeply into his chest, leaving his heart bleeding profusely.
Even so, he did see what happened to the puppet clearly.
The puppet was crumbling even before Zhang shi approached it, and Zhang shi was indeed moving to secure it... It was just that his help only made things worse, and an explosion was induced.
But while he knew of this, there was no doubt that the reason behind the crumbling of the puppet was still due to Zhang shi...
If only he'd known this would happen, he wouldn't have bothered with a preliminary round. He would have just gone ahead with duels in an elimination format instead!
It took a while before Hong shi was able to calm down. Exhaling deeply, he forcefully suppressed his indignation.
All he could do now was ask for some compensation from Pavilion Master Mo, and hope that the latter would offer something in exchange for the loss he had incurred... He didn't know how else he could console himself at this point.
Hong shi glanced at the crowd and asked, "Given that the puppet has admitted defeat, it means that Zhang shi has fully comprehended the rules behind the Celestial Chess. Does anyone have any objections against this ruling?"
"No!" Everyone shook their heads.
While the fellow standing before the ruins of the Celestial Chess was indeed a God of Destruction, they had to admit that the other party did possess capability that an average person could hardly imagine.
"Since Zhang shi has completed his challenge, this signifies the end of the preliminary selection. Since it's no longer early, let's waste no time and proceed straight onto the dueling round!" Hong shi announced.
Since the four tests of the preliminary selection was over, it was time to move on to the dueling round.
"The rules for the dueling round are simple. The duels will be in pairs, and the sequence and matching will be decided by picking lots. The duel need not be a fight, it can also be based on the various core aspects of a master teacher, such as Soul Depth, knowledge impartation, understanding of cultivation, flaws identification, so on and so forth!
"The winner moves on to the next round whereas the loser is eliminated. This will go on until the top ten is out!"
Hong shi glanced at the participants and said, "Is there anything you wish to clarify?"
The participants hurriedly shook their heads.
This was the usual format of the dueling round in the Master Teacher Tournament, and the rules were simple as well.
"Alright, we'll start with picking lots. There are 27 people currently, and 16 people will move on to the next round. In other words... there will be five people who will move on to the next round straight without competing," Hong shi said.
There is a fixed rule to dueling rounds stating that no matter how many participants there are initially, after the first round, it should be in a power of two, meaning 2, 4, 8, 16, 32... so on and so forth. This was to ensure greater fairness in the subsequent rounds, especially as the fights became more intense later on.
Only through this sequencing could it be guaranteed that only two people would be competing for the champion spot eventually.
"Alright, let's begin picking lots!"
After introducing the rules, Hong shi waved his hand, and a master teacher walked up with a box prepared beforehand. The remaining twenty-seven participants came up one by one to pick a number.
Zhang Xuan was the same as well.
After a quick look, he shook his head.
It seemed his luck wasn't too good; he hadn't managed to draw the five empty slots that allowed for automatic advancement to the next round.
"I managed to draw the empty slot!"
Just as Zhang Xuan was lamenting his misfortune, he saw Ruohuan gongzi looking at him excitedly. Taking a look at the other party's lot, he saw 'A1, empty' written on it.
On the other hand, written on Zhang Xuan's lot was 'D2'.
Seeing that everyone was done drawing the lots, Hong shi said, "The dueling round will be divided into four main sectors, namely A, B, C, and D, and each sector will be further divided into 1, 2, 3, and 4. Those who draw the same lots will be matched against one another, and those who have the word 'empty' written on their lot will progress straight on to the top sixteen!
"Based on the ranking of the respective powers in the previous tournament, the participant with the higher ranking will have the privilege to choose the content of the duel. Of course, his opponent will have the right to object to the chosen dueling format as well, but the right to object will be limited to once per duel! After that right has been used once, he would have no choice but to accept the next proposed dueling format."
This was similar to the rules employed in previous rules, so there was no need to elaborate on it.
"Alright, the first round will start now. Since A1 is empty, may the two participants who drew A2 proceed on to the stage in the A sector!"
Hong shi waved his hand, and the final area of fog veiling the stage dissipated, revealing four stages. They were labeled A, B, C, and D respectively.
Two young men holding onto the lot which they had just picked walked toward the stage labeled A.
Library Of Heaven's Path Chapter 587
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