"You know Little Su and Little Ling?"
Sun Qiang frowned.
"I've... met them once!"
Hearing him address 4-star master teachers in such a manner, the corner of Jin Conghai's lips twitched.
Those two were powerful figures in the Myriad Kingdom Alliance, and yet, in this plump man's mouth, they seemed as though insignificant small fries...
His head spun frenziedly.
"Since you know them, then it won't be a problem to tell you then!"
Sun Qiang's expression finally alleviated slightly upon seeing the fear on the other party's face, and he revealed, "The old master, Yang Xuan, is a master teacher. As for his rank... he has never revealed it before, so I don't know either. However, Su shi has once hinted that his capability has definitely reached the level of a... 6-star master teacher!"
"A 6-star... master teacher?"
'Gongzi', Jin Conghai, Gu Mu, and the others leaped in shock.
Even the most formidable master teacher in the Myriad Kingdom Alliance, the head of the Master Teacher Pavilion, Pavilion Master Kang, was only at 4-star pinnacle. He was still a far way off from reaching 5-star, needless to say, 6-star.
In the ranking system of a master teacher, the higher the rank, the greater the difference between each ranking.
Even though there was only a difference of two ranks between 6-star and 4-star pinnacle, there was actually a huge disparity in their cultivation. Even if all of the experts of the Myriad Kingdom Alliance were to band together, they wouldn't be able to match up to an expert of this class.
To think that the old master the other party was speaking about was such a formidable existence...
It was no wonder why this plump man, despite being only at Dingli realm, could act so fearlessly before them.
With such a huge backing, putting aside Zhizun realm pinnacle cultivators and Transcendent Mortal experts... Even the powerful Fleeting Cloud Sect wouldn't dare offend him!
On the other hand, Grand Elder Wei Yuqing's body shuddered, and he nearly fainted from shock.
He had never seen the old master that Sun Qiang was speaking of, but he had seen the young master... it was the incomparably talented Beast Tamer Zhang!
To that genius, taming a beast was as though a walk in the park, and even the incredibly difficult Ten Beasts Cage was no more than a slight workout for him!
All along, he had thought that Beast Tamer Zhang might be the direct disciple of some high-ranked beast tamer. He never could have imagined that Beast Tamer Zhang's teacher would be a 6-star master teacher!
It was no wonder why he was so formidable despite his young age.
'I must hurry back to inform the hall master of the matter!' Grand Elder Wei Yuqing thought.
"That's right! However, the one who wishes to meet Hall Master Gu this time is Young Master Zhang Xuan. Make some preparations and bring more poison along. At the very least, you won't panic when the time comes!"
Seeing the fear in everyone's eyes, Sun Qiang nodded his head in satisfaction.
Who was Yang shi?
As the butler of a master teacher whose ranking potentially exceeded 6-star, even if he didn't possess sufficient strength, he mustn't lose out in his disposition. If he were to be frightened by these small fries, how could he still proudly claim to be the old master's butler?
Upon learning that 'senior granduncle' was a 6-star master teacher, bits and pieces of Gu Mu's interaction with the other party gradually surfaced in his mind.
Solving his affliction, helping him tame the Lava Beast, expelling the Contract Gu from the Great Herb King's body...
All of his feats were anything but ordinary.
At that moment, he realized that... this fellow might not necessarily be bragging.
That senior granduncle 'Yang shi' might truly be a person of such great means.
"Gongzi, is what he said true?"
Jin Conghai communicated telepathically with 'gongzi'.
Gongzi might be young and his cultivation could not compare up to him, but he was extraordinarily sharp when it came to discerning people.
"His tone is confident, and there isn't the slightest hint of a lie in his words. That Yang shi probably isn't an ordinary figure!" Gongzi replied calmly.
"Actually, it's not difficult to determine whether his words are true or not. Based on his words, his young master is probably at Xuanyuan Royal City. If I recall correctly, we have to pass by there to reach Tianwu Royal City so we can go over to take a look. If the old master he speaks of is truly a 6-star master teacher, then befriending him would surely be beneficial."
Gongzi continued, "If that's not the case, you can handle the matter as you please!"
"Yes!" Jin Conghai hurriedly nodded.
That plump man had spoken so confidently that even he was unable to gauge whether the other party's words were true or not.
If this plump man was truly the subordinate of a 6-star master teacher, offending him could potentially be calamitous. Getting on bad terms with an expert of that caliber spelled certain doom.
In any case, since they were heading for Xuanyuan Royal City anyway, they could take a look. Through assessing the young master the other party spoke of, they might be able to determine the authenticity of the other party's words.
Upon coming to a decision, the duo decided to speak no more.
As all of Gu Mu's possessions were kept in his storage ring, there was nothing for him to prepare. Soon, he was ready to set off.
Thus, leaving the Poison Hall, the group headed in the direction of Xuanyuan Royal City.
In the chamber, Zhang Xuan finally opened his eyes.
"Such a pity..."
Lamentation surfaced on Zhang Xuan's face.
Ever since Sun Qiang left, Zhang Xuan had been immersing himself into his cultivation. Today was already the third day since then.
On the first day, his physical strength reached 30,000 ding.
In the next two days, he expended a total of five droplets of spirit beast blood essence, but his strength had only reached 35,000 ding before reaching a bottleneck.
"There's nothing wrong with my cultivation method, it's the spirit beast blood essence that has become ineffective!"
Exhaling deeply, Zhang Xuan shook his head.
The Heaven's Path Golden Body 2-dan was a formula to enhance one's physical body through absorbing spirit beast blood essence. As a cultivation technique compiled by the Library of Heaven's Path, it was impossible for there to be any problems with it. At the same time, Zhang Xuan could sense that he hadn't reached the cap of his cultivation yet.
The problem was that... the spirit beast blood essence had lost its effectiveness.
All Zhang Xuan could find in Xuanyuan Kingdom's Beast Hall was the blood essence of grade-1 spirit beasts. An item of that rank was useful and powerful when one's cultivation was still weak. However, after reaching the strength comparable to a Zhizun realm advanced stage, the effects of the blood essence had become minimal.
Using an analogy, when there is a huge difference in the height of two connected ponds, there would be a rapid flow of water from the higher pond to the lower pond. But when their heights finally become equal, the flow of water to the lower pond would stop.
This grade-1 spirit beast blood essence was only sufficient for Zhang Xuan to reach Zhizun realm advanced stage. At this level, the height between both ponds would be already equal. No matter how much more grade-1 spirit beast blood essence Zhang Xuan absorbed, it would be difficult for his strength to progress.
Immersing his consciousness into the state of his body, Zhang Xuan saw that the blood droplets flowing through his body were round and satiated. They were dense as though mercury, and every single droplet had immense strength packed within it. They were in no way inferior to the grade-1 spirit beast blood essence that Zhang Xuan consumed before.
Even though Zhang Xuan's cultivation had not progress by much in the past two days of cultivation, his efforts were not completely futile. He managed to reinforce his cultivation and adapt to his newfound strength. At the very least, he wouldn't lose control of his strength as he did back then in Master Lu Chen's house.
"I still have seven droplets left. I'll give three of them to Yuan Tao and find a way to further awaken his Emperor's Bloodline. As for the last four, I'll give them to the Howling Firmament Beast!"
Since there was no point in keeping the spirit beast blood essence droplets, he might as well just give them away.
Yuan Tao possessed the Emperor's Bloodline, and the spirit beast blood essence was a treasure that could be used to awaken one's unique constitution.
As for the Steelfang Howling Firmament Beast, since Zhang Xuan had yet to make a breakthrough in his zhenqi cultivation, he was still unable to trigger a Bloodline Evolution in it. However, through channeling the energy contained within the spirit beast blood essence properly, raising its cultivation by one or two small realms could still be easily done.
With the knowledge from the books contained within Xuanluo Mountain Range and Xuanyuan Kingdom Beast Hall, coupled with the Eye of Insight, even without utilizing the Library of Heaven's Path, Zhang Xuan was still capable of such a feat.
In fact, putting aside Zhang Xuan's unique abilities as a master teacher, just in terms of the capabilities of a beast tamer, he was superior to typical 3-star beast tamers.
Having made up his mind, Zhang Xuan immediately got to action. Summoning Yuan Tao and the Howling Firmament Beast over, he distributed the remaining seven droplets of spirit beast blood essence and explained the method to using them clearly.
After dealing with that matter, he saw Hall Master Xie Jiuchen walking over with a delighted expression.
"Beast Tamer Zhang, I've managed to gather all of the books that you require!"
In exchange for taming the Nightmare Beast, Zhang Xuan demanded compensation in the form of cultivation technique manuals. After three days of hard work, the Beast Hall finally managed to gather a thousand manuals of Half-Zhizun and Zhizun realm cultivation techniques each.
As Hall Master Xie Jiuchen spoke, he flicked his wrist and two huge bookshelves appeared before Zhang Xuan. An entire collection consisting of two thousand books were placed in them.
Fearing that Zhang Xuan would be unsatisfied, the Beast Hall had used all of its connections and paid a heavy price to gather all of these books from the distinguished clans. As such, most of the cultivation techniques within the pile were actually rather decent.
Even though they were only copies, just the ability to gather so many valuable manuals in a short span of three days bore testimony to the immense influence the Beast Hall wielded.
"You have my gratitude, Hall Master Xie!"
After a brief glance, Zhang Xuan could instantly tell that the Beast Hall must have paid a heavy price for it. Grateful for the favor, Zhang Xuan asked, "How is the taming of the Nightmare Beast coming along?"
"That fellow's injuries are starting to recover, and it's no longer as resistant to us as it was... It's all thanks to Beast Tamer Zhang's help!"
Hall Master Xie Jiuchen nodded with a bright smile on his face.
Even though the Nightmare Beast was reluctant to submit to the Beast Hall, it had already signed a contract to Zhang Xuan, and Zhang Xuan's words were law to it. Resigning to fate, its attitude toward the Beast Hall improved significantly.
As time passed, even if the Beast Hall was unable to tame it completely, as long as they were able to build a good relationship with it, it shouldn't be a problem for them to rely on its help during times of crisis.
Seeing that everything was going well, Zhang Xuan nodded in satisfaction.
"Beast Tamer Zhang, you should continue on with whatever you're busy with. I'll take my leave now!"
Given that Zhang Xuan had requested for these cultivation techniques, it was likely he was planning to cultivate or research them. Thus, deciding not to be a nuisance, Hall Master Xie Jiuchen left.
As soon as the other party was gone, Zhang Xuan immediately slid his fingers through the secret manuals to duplicate them in the Library of Heaven's Path.
With a hushed exclamation, two secret manuals appeared in Zhang Xuan's mind.
They were the Half-Zhizun and Zhizun realm Heaven's Path Divine Art manuals.
Chuckling softly, Zhang Xuan began browsing through them.
It didn't take him long to complete the two books.
"Time to try cultivating it!"
Choosing not to waste his time, Zhang Xuan sat down cross-legged, and with a flick of his wrist, a spirit stone appeared in his palms and he started cultivating.
He had obtained ten spirit stones from the Lin Ruotian's storage ring, and five from winning the championship of the Beast Taming Competition.
In other words, there was a total of fifteen spirit stones in Zhang Xuan's hands at the moment. Back when Liang Qingming and Lin Long were smashed to meat paste by the Book of Heaven's Path, Zhang Xuan was unable to find their storage rings.
Even though there weren't many of them, he calculated that it should be sufficient to raise his cultivation considerably.
The spirit stones that were sapped dry were reduced to powder. At the same time, an immense amount of spiritual energy surged into Zhang Xuan's meridians, causing his cultivation to steadily grow stronger.
Around ten minutes or so later, his body jolted and his cultivation broke through Zongshi realm pinnacle to reach Half-Zhizun.
Jiang Shu, Mo Tianxue, and the others had cultivated their entire lives, only to be kept out of this level. If they were to know that this fellow had only spent a dozen minutes to accomplish his feat, they would probably die from excessive vomiting of blood.
Half-Zhizun meant that that one already had half a foot into Zhizun realm, and one's level of existence was already undergoing a metamorphosis.
Even so, Zhang Xuan didn't stop there. He continued absorbing spiritual energy from the spirit stones greedily.
An hour later, Zhang Xuan's body jolted, and he had successfully reached Zhizun realm.
Cultivating from Zongshi realm pinnacle to Zhizun realm didn't even take him an hour.
As expected of the Heaven's Path Divine Art. With sufficient spiritual energy, cultivating was no different from eating or drinking. The concept of bottlenecks didn't exist in Zhang Xuan's training.
Having achieved a breakthrough in his cultivation, Zhang Xuan immersed himself in the sensation of having an immense amount of zhenqi flowing through his body.
At this moment, just his zhenqi strength itself amounted up to 10,000 ding. He had truly stepped into the top ranks of the Fighter realm.
Two hours later.
Coming to a stop in his cultivation, Zhang Xuan sighed.
Along with the rise in his cultivation, the demand for the quality and quantity of spirit stones was rising exponentially.
In the past, five spirit stones were more than sufficient for him to reach Zongshi realm pinnacle. However, at this moment, fifteen spirit stones were only barely enough for him to reach Zhizun realm. It wasn't even sufficient for him to reinforce his cultivation as a Zhizun realm primary stage cultivator.
The main reason why Zhang Xuan's spirit stone expenditure was so exaggerated was due to the absurd purity of his Heaven's Path zhenqi, which in turn resulted in an absurdly high demand in the quality of spiritual energy that he absorbed.
If it was any other Zhizun realm expert, a single low-tier spirit stone would be sufficient to raise their cultivation significantly. However, Zhang Xuan found himself unable to absorb most of the impure spiritual energy contained within the spirit stone.
About eighty to ninety percent of it went to waste.
Even so, the gains were great. Despite still being in Zhizun realm primary stage, his zhenqi strength had risen by another 5000 ding to reach 15,000 ding. With such strength, he could easily crush any Zhizun realm primary stage expert.
"Along with my physical strength of 35,000 ding, I'll be able to defeat even Zhizun realm pinnacle expert. Coupled with the prowess of the Eye of Insight and Library of Heaven's Path, I'll be a match for even a Half-Transcension expert!"
Zhang Xuan's eyes gleamed in confidence.
Adding both his zhenqi strength and physical strength together, his overall might summed up to an astonishing 50,000 ding. This made him significantly stronger than the 40,000 ding of strength that a typical Zhizun realm pinnacle cultivator possessed.
Pairing that with his Heaven's Path battle techniques and the various abilities of a master teacher, it would be possible for him to defeat even a Half-Transcension expert.
In the fourth day upon reaching Xuanyuan Kingdom Beast Hall, as well as the seventh day that Lu Chong fell into coma, Zhang Xuan, from a Zongshi realm cultivator, finally gained the strength surpassing a Zhizun realm pinnacle expert!
In other words...
He finally possessed sufficient strength to avenge his student!
"Lu Chong, look at me... I shall avenge you!"
Zhang Xuan's eyes narrowed as he muttered hoarsely.
Since he had already achieved sufficient strength, it was time for him to make a move.
But before that, he had to gain some understanding of the overall strength of Xuanyuan Kingdom first.
Thus, walking out of the chamber, Zhang Xuan walked to another room, knocked on the door, and entered.
"How is it?"
Without wasting any words on pleasantries, Zhang Xuan immediately got straight to the point.
Before his seclusion, on top of instructing Sun Qiang to look for Gu Mu and Hall Master Xie Jiuchen to gather the secret manuals, he had also arranged for Mo Yu to head to Xuanyuan Kingdom to look into Ding Mu's affairs.
If Zhang Xuan wanted to kill the Xuanyuan Kingdom's crown prince, he mustn't allow the Beast Hall to hear of it. Otherwise, if word were to leak out and that fellow were to choose to hide in some remote corner in the world, given how large the alliance was, it would be impossible for Zhang Xuan to find him.
Thus, he decided to entrust this job to Mo Yu.
The other party probably had already looked into his affairs, and it wasn't too hard to dig up news of his students. It would be extremely easy for Zhao Ya and the others to be noticed and captured if he were to send them instead.
Besides, Mo Yu was a 1-star master teacher, and given her standing, it would be relatively easier for her to gather intelligence.
"I've gathered some news..."
A slight frown crept onto Mo Yu's forehead as she replied, "As soon as Ding Mu returned to Xuanyuan Kingdom, he immediately sought refuge in the Master Teacher Pavilion. Ever since then, he hasn't stepped out from there!"
"Master Teacher Pavilion?"
Zhang Xuan's eyebrows shot up.
Things always seemed to go in the worst direction.
If one wanted to go against the Conferred Kingdom, the greatest obstacle wasn't the country itself but its Master Teacher Pavilion.
The Master Teacher Pavilion had a responsibility to maintain peace and stability in its region, so it rarely allowed anyone to wreak havoc in its territory. Otherwise, given how many experts there were in the Myriad Kingdom Alliance, they could easily travel to a weaker kingdom and proclaim themselves as emperors.
With such instability, the kingdom system would fall apart eventually.
While killing the crown prince might result in chaos, it wasn't as destabilizing as killing an emperor. Given Zhang Xuan's standing as a master teacher, the other party would probably just overlook the matter. However, from the looks of it, he seemed to have been underestimating the severity of the matter.
"It's said that the head of the Master Teacher Pavilion, Luo Qianhong, is indebted to the royal family, and he's a close friend of Ding Mu as well. As such, he intends to stand up to mediate the conflict!" Mo Yu revealed the news that she had just heard.
The other party had intentionally put word out, so it wasn't difficult for Mo Yu to hear of it.
Zhang Xuan's eyes narrowed and dense killing intent poured out of him, "As long as he hands over Ding Mu, I'll allow him to mediate whatever he likes!"
If he were to accept it, then what about Lu Chong?
You must be dreaming!
"Zhang Xuan, there's another matter..."
Seeing the other party's expression, Mo Yu knew that he was determined to kill Ding Mu. A hint of worry flashed across her eyes.
"Hmm?" Zhang Xuan turned around to look at Mo Yu.
"The Xuanyuan Kingdom's emperor, Ding Chong, has announced that he will pass down the throne to Ding Mu!" Mo Yu said.
"Pass down the throne?" Zhang Xuan's forehead furrowed.
If Ding Mu remained as a crown prince, even though killing him might bring some trouble, it wasn't beyond his means to resolve it.
However, once he inherits the throne and becomes the emperor, killing him would rattle the foundation of the kingdom. The other Conferred Kingdoms might strike at this good opportunity.
If so, there would be war, and the population would suffer. Given such, the Master Teacher Pavilion would surely step in to stop Zhang Xuan.
"Seems like he's well-prepared!"
As long as Ding Mu was successfully inaugurated as the new emperor, it would be difficult for Zhang Xuan to strike.
It seemed like that fellow was truly frightened by the sight of Liang Qingming being crushed by the Book of Heaven's Path.
However... So what if he became the emperor?
So what if the Master Teacher Pavilion was going to stop him?
Since the other party injured Lu Chong, he should be ready to face his wrath!
If the kingdom tries to stop him, he will eradicate the kingdom. If the Master Teacher Pavilion tries to stop him, he will eradicate the Master Teacher Pavilion!
At most, he would just have to find some way to form more golden pages. Even if he had to become everyone's enemy, he was determined to avenge his student!
Coming to a decision, Zhang Xuan asked, "When is his inauguration ceremony?"
The inauguration of an emperor was not a minor affair. The royal family, nobles, envoys from the surrounding Conferred Kingdoms... there were many people to be invited. Given the huge amount of preparatory work required, it should take some time.
It had only been seven days since that fellow's escape. Even if the announcement of him inaugurating as the emperor was made as soon as he returned, there should still be some time before the inauguration ceremony.
"It is... today!"
Mo Yu smiled bitterly.
As the princess of a country, as well as a potential emperor candidate groomed by Mo Tianxue, she was well-aware of the various formalities required for an inauguration ceremony.
The other party should have taken two days at minimum to travel from Tianwu Kingdom back to Xuanyuan Kingdom. In other words... in just five days, the other party managed to complete all of the formalities. They sure were efficient.
Before the inauguration was held, Ding Mu would continue to hide in the Master Teacher Pavilion. And when he's finally inaugurated as the new emperor, it will become even harder to kill him...
Even Mo Yu couldn't have expected that Zhang Xuan would force the crown prince of a Conferred Kingdom up the wall.
Flinging his sleeves, Zhang Xuan stood up and walked out.
"What are you going to do? It can't be that... you intend to barge into the inauguration ceremony?"
Mo Yu's face paled.
"Indeed!" Zhang Xuan nodded.
"But your current strength... Didn't you say that you'll only head over after reaching Zhizun realm pinnacle? You're being too reckless like that..." Mo Yu hurriedly persuaded.
"Zhizun realm pinnacle?"
Without turning back, Zhang Xuan's aura suddenly burst out. In an instant, it was like a flood dragon was rising to the heavens, or a tiger stepping out of the forest, leaving one feeling helpless and insignificant.
"... I've already reached it!" 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far