Chapter 157: Comprehending the Dao

The so-called Saber Forest was a place amid the bamboo forest behind the academy, but there was no actual forest there. Only an expanse of broken bamboo could be seen. The bamboo had all been cut, leaving the bases where, for some reason, new bamboo sprouts weren’t growing.

When Xiang Shaoyun saw the Saber Forest, his eyes opened wide in astonishment. There were over 1,000 chopped off stalks of bamboo. The cuts were completely identical, as if all the bamboo had been chopped off by one single cut. This sight looked more like a miracle.

"A single slash to cut so many bamboo; this is how this place came to be known as the Saber Forest," Luo Yongcheng said. He had been similarly shocked when he had first seen the Saber Forest.

"Do you know who did this?" Xiang Shaoyun asked.

Luo Yongcheng shook his head. "We have no idea."

"Not even you guys know?" Xiang Shaoyun was surprised to hear that.

Luo Yongcheng replied, "No. Back then, an important person had arrived at our Green Bamboo Academy to ask for some Green Bamboo Liquor. He then stayed here for a bit. At first, we did not think much of it, assuming that he was only staying here for a bit because he liked the environment. What we did not expect was that one day, he suddenly released a heaven-defying slash, alarming everyone in the academy at the time. By the time we arrived, this place had already been turned into what you see now." He paused slightly and continued, "He then left, leaving behind this Saber Forest as a way to thank our academy for the liquor."

"Just like that?" Xiang Shaoyun asked in disbelief.

"Yes. That was when we found out he was in fact a hidden expert. We did not dare to ask for advice from the Cloud Margin City regarding this matter, worried that they would occupy this Saber Forest for themselves, or even outright destroy it," Luo Yongcheng said. He further added, "After many years of investigation, we finally found out that he is most likely one of the 10 emperors of Cloud Margin City, the Saber Emperor."

"Saber Emperor? This was left by an Emperor Realm cultivator?" Xiang Shaoyun grew even more excited.

"Alright, I will clear the disciples from this place for a bit to give you some space. We will talk further when you manage to gain some comprehension from the saber intent here," Luo Yongcheng said before moving ahead to disperse the disciples from the area.

Xiang Shaoyun stayed behind alone, taking in everything around him. He started roaming around in the Saber Forest, caressing every single bamboo where it had been cut. When he felt how clean the cut was, the shock in his heart grew.

He found cutting a dozen or a few dozen stalks of bamboo with one slash believable. But what he saw here was over 1,000 stalks of bamboo with completely identical cuts. That, he found hard to believe. It was also worth noting that all the bamboo had lost all its vitality after that one slash, as if it was all completely dead.

One ought to know that generally, even after cutting a bamboo, so long as the roots remained, the bamboo would be able to slowly regrow. But the over 1,000 bamboo stalks here were completely dead, and there was no indication that they would regrow.

After roaming around for a bit, Xiang Shaoyun sat down cross-legged, calmed his mind, and started sensing the environment around him. Due to his background, he knew a lot of things many people didn't. Thus, he was aware that to comprehend something left behind by a person, one had to first immerse oneself in the environment that person had been in so as to better capture that fleeting sensation.

The meditation lasted seven days and seven nights. He sat there without eating and drinking, baring himself to the elements, fully immersed with the world around him. Unfortunately, he still didn't get anything from his meditation session. He couldn't capture the sensation he was looking for at all. Tonight, he finally stood up as he could no longer keep himself calm.

"Dear saber intent, what do I need to do to find you?" Xiang Shaoyun mumbled gloomily.

He walked around aimlessly and arrived at the edge of the Saber Forest. Outside the Saber Forest, the normal bamboo could be seen gently swaying to the wind.

"Hu—"

Suddenly, a gust of wind swept past, sending a bamboo leaf brushing past his face. Abruptly, Xiang Shaoyun felt a sharp pain. He hissed in shock, and when he touched his face, he found that it was bleeding.

"The bamboo leaf...is capable of harming me?" It left Xiang Shaoyun speechless.

As he mumbled, his gaze landed on the bamboo leaves that were fluttering about in the air. Suddenly, the Nether Soul Domain in his mind activated, and an astonishing scene appeared in his mind.

In the scene, an indistinct figure could be seen seated cross-legged in the bamboo forest. Noiselessly, he swung his saber, sending a saber energy gliding across the air. With a "whoosh", an expanse of bamboo was felled.

Xiang Shaoyun stood there blankly, the scene replaying in his mind repeatedly, slowly bringing him into a unique mental state. That slash was so very natural and so very smooth. It looked like a completely casual slash, yet it contained an extraordinary power within. With one slash, over 1,000 stalks of bamboo were felled.

How had that person accomplished it?

Xiang Shaoyun kept watching the repeating scene in his mind, trying to figure out the essence behind the slash. But at the same time, he had a feeling that he still lacked something to actually comprehend the essence. It was at this moment that he recalled how the bamboo leaf had cut his face. The leaf seemed completely harmless, yet it was a fact that it had caused him to bleed.

How?

Xiang Shaoyun pondered incessantly, his body sat down cross-legged without him realizing it, and the Overlord Skyslaying Saber appeared on his knees. Once again, he sank into deep meditation, one even deeper than the one before.

Even when ants crawled up his body, he did not seem to realize it, nor when the birds had landed on his head. He had completely blended into the world around him. This was the most optimal state one could be in when comprehending the dao.

In a flash, half a month passed. He was covered in dead leaves and bird feces, as if he were a statue. On this day, the Overlord Skyslaying Saber on his knees suddenly started shuddering. Strands of purple and gold energy started emanating out of the saber, the impact jolting the dead leaves off his body as wind started billowing around him. Out of nowhere, Xiang Shaoyun gripped his saber and gently swung it.

Swish!

A saber energy shot out before vanishing immediately. The saber returned to its previous position, and everything returned to how it was before, as if nothing had happened at all.

Hu! Hu!

The wind brushed past noiselessly; the bamboo swayed gently.

Pa! Pa!

Next, an expanse of bamboo in front of Xiang Shaoyun collapsed. Luo Yongcheng just happened to be in the vicinity at this time. When he heard that sound, his heartbeat sped up, and he inwardly cried out in alarm, H-he couldn't have comprehended it for real, right?

Without a second thought, he rushed to where Xiang Shaoyun was.

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