Chapter 198: Spiritual Sense

“What a powerful blade spirit, to have reached the level of a sword saint!” the white-robed elder murmured in surprise, glancing at the blade spirit which had revealed itself atop the Feilai Blade. “No wonder the mirrors of observation couldn’t detect its presence at all.

Before entering the portal to the hidden realm, Yun Ruoyan and the others had all had their possessions checked by the mirrors in Shui Yun and Mo Yun’s hands, which could detect all spiritual weapons of ninth-rank and below.

But the blade spirit had clearly reached the realm of a sword saint, a tenth-rank existence!

How did a little girl come to possess such a powerful spiritual weapon? The white-robed elder couldn’t help but wonder.

By his side, the black-robed man revealed a hint of his own curiosity. His long brows were slightly furrowed, and his eyes were focused fully on Yun Ruoyan’s face. Yan’er, what other surprises will you be able to bring me?

Naturally, that black-robed man was none other than the Slaughtering King, Li Mo. The white-robed elder next to him was first amongst the elders of Kongming Academy, possessing absolute command over the academy’s workings.

“Well? Aren’t you going to identify yourself?!” the Feilai Blade’s blade spirit yelled arrogantly at the white-robed elder. “In that case, I won’t go easy on you!” The blade spirit raised his elbows and directed his palms at the heavens, forming two diffuse glows of spiritual energy.

As the spiritual energy concentrated in his palms, the glow became stronger and stronger. Once it reached about the size of a human head, the blade spirit joined his two palms and combined both balls of light. The remarkable accumulation of spiritual power began distorting his surroundings as he thrust his palms forward, directing the spiritual energy through the air.

“How impressive!” Qiuqiu couldn’t help exclaiming. “I can’t believe a blade spirit would dare to challenge a sword saint!”

Qiuqiu felt as though it had really underestimated the blade spirit.

Yun Ruoyan was likewise astounded by the blade spirit’s sudden appearance and attack, and she thought back to what had happened the day she had somehow managed to subdue him. Her impression of the blade spirit was that he was a cantankerous, eccentric old man. Such eccentric personalities tended to be powerful in the extreme, but Yun Ruoyan hadn’t realized exactly how strong he was.

The white ball of spiritual energy flew all the way into the air, orders of magnitude brighter than the ropes of spiritual energy with which the white-robed elder had restrained the blade.

In front of the all-seeing mirror, the white-robed elder turned pale. The large ball of spiritual energy appeared as though it would break the constraints on the realm, pass through the mirror, and strike at him.

Naturally, the white-robed elder could cease operating the mirror and break off the link between the realm and the outside world, but his pride as an elder would not allow him to do so. He extended both his hands, prepared to receive the blow.

The frighteningly condensed spiritual energy struck the barrier between the all-seeing mirror and the secret realm. Rong Yueshan, closest to the spot of impact, was all but blinded by the surge of light. Like an ostrich, she buried her head in the sandy ground.

As everyone waited for the impending fallout…

...nothing happened? The spiritual energy seemed to disperse immediately upon hitting the barrier, as though it were nothing but a wisp of wind against a brick wall. Everyone, including the white-haired elder and Li Mo, was stupefied.

“Hmm! What’s the matter?” The blade spirit was equally confused as everyone else. He glanced at the barrier and announced, “It’s just a regular barrier, so why couldn’t I break it open? I’ll try once more.”

“Ha!” The blade spirit let out a cry as he again gathered an immense condensation of spiritual energy, even more brilliant and blinding than before. 

Because of his imposing aura, the onlookers got anxious once more. However, as the accumulated energy again struck the barrier and the white-robed elder again prepared to receive the blow…

...nothing happened.

“Damn, what’s the problem?!” The blade spirit became furious.

The white-robed elder glanced at the blade spirit, his lined features revealing a smile. “So this blade spirit was just a spiritual remnant…”

“Qiuqiu, what’s going on?”

“It seems like this blade spirit… is only a spiritual remnant?” Qiuqiu guessed as he scrutinized the crestfallen blade spirit carefully. “And from the looks of it, this muddleheaded old man doesn’t know about it either.”

“A spiritual remnant?” This was the first that Yun Ruoyan had heard of such a term. “What do you mean?”

Qiuqiu informed her that, once a cultivator reached the realm of a sword saint, that cultivator would form an inner core in their spiritual vortex. Yun Ruoyan had known that beasts possessed inner cores, but never that cultivators would also form them eventually.

Possessing an inner core would dramatically upgrade a cultivator’s mental energy, and this upgraded energy was known as ‘spiritual sense’. After a sword saint’s death, that spiritual sense could continue living on for millennia if it found a suitable vessel—a spiritual weapon, or a spiritual treasure of some sort—in the form of a spiritual remnant.

Yun Ruoyan and Qiuqiu had always assumed that the blade spirit had formed naturally with the Feilai Blade itself, but they hadn’t expected him to be the spiritual sense left over from a sword saint.

Such remnants could indeed perform physical attacks of their own, but their offensive power would be weakened at least thousandfold. Although this particular blade spirit could maintain his original appearance and scare others with a seemingly advanced cultivation, his offensive power would be far stronger paired with the blade than without.

“You insolent blade spirit! I’ll capture your vessel on the spot!” the white-haired elder announced through the barrier.

The voice seemed to come from mid-air. Although it wasn’t particularly loud, it left everyone present quite shocked.

“Qiuqiu, this voice is…”

“This voice is from the sword saint who was trying to restrain the blade, Mistress.”

“You dare!” The blade spirit pointed at the air in an imposing manner. “Do you know who I am? How dare a trivial cultivator like you make such a grandiose claim!”

“Oh? And who are you?” the white-robed elder asked. The spiritual remnant indeed seemed to possess some power, but it was only a remnant. The white-robed elder wasn’t afraid of his original identity, and was simply curious about who he had been.

“I’m…” The blade spirit raised his chest proudly, but then he stalled. “Who am I?” He hit his own head and mumbled to himself, somewhat anxiously, “Who am I? Why don’t I remember?”

When the white-robed elder saw the blade spirit scratching his head absent-mindedly, he urged, “If you’re unwilling to tell me, then don’t blame me for being heartless! An existence like you surely shouldn’t exist in this trial. I’ll restrain you temporarily and punish your master once the trial is over!”

“How could this be? I’ve slept for so long that I forgot my own identity!” the blade spirit mumbled. However, when he heard that the white-robed elder was trying to catch him, he immediately jumped back into the Feilai Blade.

“How embarrassing!” Qiuqiu remarked. “Make sure no one knows that we know him.”

The white-robed elder was just about to capture the Feilai Blade when Li Mo stopped him.

“Elder, please wait!”

“What’s the matter?”

“This spiritual weapon has already recognized that student as his master, so even if you retrieve it, Elder, you won’t be able to make use of it. In that case, why not leave it in the student’s hands? After all, this spiritual weapon possesses an incredible capacity for growth. With its master’s development, it’ll surely become far more powerful. In contrast, if we seal it away, it’ll become nothing but a lump of scrap metal.”

The white-robed elder thought momentarily before replying, “But it surely isn’t a good idea to let such a powerful spiritual weapon rest in the hands of a young child.”

It would dramatically increase any youth’s offensive power, but this unearned power would similarly cause such youths to become slack and lazy, neglecting their own cultivation. This was a problem endemic to the scions of the capital, as well as the reason why Kongming Academy had confiscated the youths’ spiritual weapons for this trial.

What the white-robed elder didn’t know was that Yun Ruoyan had a particularly impressive self-control. As long as she wasn’t endangered or in a critical situation, she would almost never bring out the Feilai Blade.

Li Mo was very clear about this, because even he hadn’t known about the existence of such a weapon despite knowing her intimately. Clearly, Yun Ruoyan had intended for this to remain a complete secret even to him.

“Elder, you could easily seal the weapon and prevent its owner from using it before becoming a ninth-rank blademaster,” Li Mo suggested.

The white-robed elder scrutinized Yun Ruoyan carefully through the bronze mirror. She was young, but her face appeared to be scarred. “You’re more familiar with the noble scions of the Chenyuan continent than I am. Do you know of this girl?”

Li Mo hadn’t intended on revealing her identity, but he couldn’t easily evade such a direct question. “This girl is Yun Ruoyan, the second daughter of the Yun family of the Li kingdom. Truthfully, Elder, she’s of particular interest to me.”

“Oh?” The white-robed elder glanced appraisingly at Li Mo. “I know you hate interacting with people, so to hear that you’ve taken an interest in her…”

“We’re betrothed.”

The white-robed elder was almost more shocked at this revelation than the presence of the blade spirit. Through the mirror, Yun Ruoyan looked absolutely ordinary. In comparison to Li Mo, who was like the glowing moon, Yun Ruoyan might as well have been a disfigured rock.

“What’s so special about her?”

“She’s saved my life multiple times. Most importantly, however, I believe that she won’t discard me no matter what.”

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