"I could already tell while you were facing your lightning tribulation that your bloodline is even purer than mine, but I simply found it too hard to believe then that I wanted to test it for myself to confirm the matter. To think that it would really be true!" the First Elder replied.

He stared deeply into Zhang Jiuxiao's eyes, seemingly trying to peer deep into the latter's soul as he said, "I have looked into your background. Your Zhang Clan bloodline should have been so thin that it's nearly negligible, so how did it become so pure?"

This was a matter that had been bugging his mind all this while.

Such a thing had never happened in the history of the Zhang Clan.

"I…" Zhang Jiuxiao stopped for a brief moment as he swiftly went through the excuse that he had prepared in advance before saying, "To be honest, I'm not too sure either. It simply happened shortly after I achieved a breakthrough to the Grand Dominion realm. All of a sudden, my bloodline just grew purer and purer…"

While Zhang Jiuxiao was indeed an offspring of the Zhang Clan, he was simply too far off from the main family, so he hardly knew anything about the bloodline. In any case, his understanding of the topic was bound to be beneath that of the First Elder. Instead of wracking his brain in search of a flawless story, he might as well feign ignorance and let the First Elder fill up the gaps on his own.

That would be more believable than any story that he could cook up.

"Are you saying that your bloodline was hidden too deep in your body, so it could only be awakened after you cultivated to a certain level?" the First Elder asked contemplatively with a deep frown.

Such a situation was not too uncommon with unique constitutions. Most unique constitutions lay dormant within the cultivator's body, awakened only when the cultivator finally reached a certain level of strength. Otherwise, it would be nigh impossible to detect the presence of the unique constitution within his body.

Zhang Jiuxiao ruminated deeply on the First Elder's words before nodding slowly in agreement. "That… I'm not too sure how it works, but that does seem to be the case!"

"That's impossible!" The First Elder abruptly shook his head. "The Zhang Clan's bloodline harnesses the Time Quintessence, so there's no way it could possibly circumvent the detection of our artifacts!"

As a clan specializing in the interpretation of Time Quintessence, the First Elder was certain that their means of measuring the purity of a Zhang Clan offspring's bloodline were infallible. In a sense, this was similar to how a person looking at the night sky would never miss a comet streaking across the darkness.

Besides, due to the unique nature of the Zhang Clan's bloodline, the possibility of it being awakened reduced exponentially as one advanced past his twenties. Considering how Zhang Jiuxiao was already nearing his thirties, even if the Zhang Clan were to devote all of its resources into helping him, it would still take a grueling amount of time and effort in order to awaken it. So, how could Zhang Jiuxiao's bloodline possibly awaken within such a short span of time, not to mention, even achieving breakthroughs all the way to the Dimension Sundering realm?

"Besides, I can sense lingering traces of the Time Quintessence that should only have been in the Blood Reservoir infused in your bloodline. Clearly, you have been tempering your bloodline at the Blood Reservoir! An offspring of the side family like you shouldn't be qualified to enter the premises of the Blood Reservoir, and I haven't found any records approving your entry to the Blood Reservoir. So, tell me, Zhang Jiuxiao, how did you get into the Blood Reservoir?" the First Elder questioned in a sharp voice.

At the same time, the pressure that he exerted through his aura also grew significantly stronger, causing the air in the room to suddenly grow thinner.

Putting aside the fact that the Blood Reservoir only worked on offspring with sufficiently pure bloodlines, even offspring whose bloodlines had met the mark would have to absorb the Time Quintessence under the guidance of an elder, or else they would risk their cultivation going berserk.

It was in view of such dangers that access to the Blood Reservoir was limited to even the core members of the Zhang Clan. Yet, somehow, Zhang Jiuxiao had still managed to get in and even successfully tempered his bloodline!

"I…" Cold sweat began trickling down Zhang Jiuxiao's forehead as he fell silent.

It felt almost as if the First Elder's eyes were able to see right through all of his deception and falsehood. He knew that he could not give away his teacher's participation in this matter, but at this moment, he felt as if he had already been cornered.

"I have also looked into your performance after entering the Sanctum of Sages. Your cultivation did grow faster a little, but it was still within a normal range, not too different from the average genius of our Zhang Clan. The anomaly only started last night! You left your accommodation and disappeared for the entire night, and when you appeared once more, you suddenly started pushing for consecutive breakthroughs, reaching your current realm in the blink of an eye."

At this point, the First Elder looked at Zhang Jiuxiao with perfectly calm eyes as he spoke particularly unnerving words to the latter. "There are very few people in this world who are able to blatantly lie to my face, so I suggest you think carefully about how you should speak in order for me to believe you."

A shudder ran through Zhang Jiuxiao's back.

The discerning eyes of a high-ranked master teacher were not to be underestimated. The old man standing before him was a true 9-star master teacher, a person who stood at the very zenith of the Master Teacher Continent.

One had to weather countless storms and survive multiple catastrophes in order to reach that position of power, and it would have been nigh impossible for one to do so without learning how to read into the hearts of others.

Zhang Jiuxiao fell into deep panic as he realized the quandary that he was in. However, at the same time, he could not help but feel a little awe for his teacher. How did Teacher manage to do it?

His teacher had come a long way without revealing his identity as a Celestial Master Teacher to anyone. Through this, one could see how well he was able to reel in his thoughts and conceal himself.

On the other hand, when he attempted to hide his bloodline, all it took was half a day for him to be caught.

"I only want to hear the truth. You need not fear me; I don't mean any harm to you. However, I need to know what's going on within the Zhang Clan in order to ensure that no harm comes to it. I know that you have your own secrets that you have to keep, so the least I can promise you is that what you say to me today will not be heard by a third person, and I'll make no attempts to dig this matter up any further after this." Seeing that Zhang Jiuxiao's will was wavering, the First Elder pushed a little more.

"Alright then…" After a moment of hesitation, Zhang Jiuxiao finally caved in. He realized that there was no other way out of this, so he swiftly sorted out what he should and should not reveal before saying, "To tell you the truth, First Elder, the reason I have been able to come this far today is because I have found myself a good teacher!"

"Found yourself a good teacher?" The First Elder frowned.

"Indeed. My teacher is a highly talented man who is unmatched by any other that I have seen in this world. It might seem like I am exaggerating when I say this, but I believe that his capabilities would even match Kong shi's back then! It was he who taught me how to fight and purified my bloodline, allowing me to rise to the top. Without him, I would be naught but an ordinary man!"

As Zhang Jiuxiao began speaking, the pressure that had been weighing on his mind gradually dissipated as his words grew more and more impassioned, clearly reflecting the respect and awe that he had for his teacher.

"You believe that the capabilities of your teacher are comparable to Kong shi's?" Hearing those words, the First Elder could not help but shake his head.

There was no one in this world who could match Kong shi—there was no questioning this fact.

But from the earnest emotions tinged within Zhang Jiuxiao's words, the First Elder could see that the young man indeed believed that to be the case.

Nevertheless, this did make perfect sense. Without a good teacher, how could an ordinary side family member possibly be able to overpower even him when the two of them were fighting at the same cultivation level.

The First Elder pondered for a brief moment before saying, "I know of all of the 9-star master teachers on the Master Teacher Continent. May I know which friend of mine your teacher is?"

In his view, in order to bring about such a massive change in Zhang Jiuxiao, at the bare minimum, the teacher whom the latter had spoken of had to at least be a 9-star master teacher.

And there were only so many 9-star master teachers on the Master Teacher Continent. Even if he did not know Zhang Jiuxiao's teacher in person, he should have heard of that person's name at the very least. Just who in the world possessed such great ability to be able to achieve what even he would be unable to accomplish?

"I beg of the First Elder's pardon. My teacher is an extremely low-profile individual, and he doesn't wish for me to speak of his name to others. As his student, I am deeply reluctant to go against his will!" Zhang Jiuxiao clasped his fist.

He was not really lying when he said this.

Even if the conflict between his teacher and the Zhang Clan had not occurred, his teacher still would not have wanted to see his name being tossed around. After all, his teacher had always been a low-profile person, so such ostentatious actions would only draw his ire.

"Low-profile individual…" The First Elder swiftly went through all of the 9-star master teachers, and there were none that fit that requirement. He shook his head and said, "Since that's your teacher's will, it would be inappropriate of me to ask you to reveal his identity. Nevertheless, the fact that your teacher possesses the ability to purify your bloodline to this extent and bring about such tremendous growth in your cultivation is more than sufficient to show that he's a person of great capabilities, very possibly ranking amid the top of the Master Teacher Continent!"

Even he, despite being the First Elder of the Zhang Clan, did not possess the ability to induce such massive changes in a seemingly average talented individual. In fact, not even Yang shi would be capable of doing so!

But Zhang Jiuxiao's teacher had managed to do it, and that was more than enough proof of his capabilities!

The true experts lurked in the shadows. While Yang shi was reputed as the number one expert of the world, the First Elder knew that there were definitely other experts in the Master Teacher Continent who could stand on par with or even above him!

The Master Teacher Pavilion might have been the largest and most powerful organization on the Master Teacher Continent, but not even it had the ability or resources to keep track of every single expert on the continent!



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