All along, Zhang Xuan had been introducing himself as Yang Xuan's disciple. He did not think there would be really such a figure since it was a name that he had come up with, but to think that there would actually be such a huge coincidence!

To think that there would actually be a master teacher named Yang Xuan in the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters… and he was even one of the three grand elders!

Just how lucky did he have to be to meet with such a coincidence?

It was no wonder Luo Chengxin panicked upon meeting and hearing the name 'Yang Xuan'! It was not that he had impersonated Yang Xuan well—there was really such a person in real life! That was why the other party was horrified and panicked.

Throughout his journey, as long as he reported 'Yang Xuan's' name, the Master Teacher Pavilion would immediately suppress all news concerning him. Most likely, they had seen that it involved one of the three grand elders of the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters and decided that it would be best for them to keep out of the matter!

So that's the reason…

He had thought that his disguise was so good that he managed to fool everyone into thinking that he had a powerful backer and that was why no one dared to lay their hands on his Heaven's Path Divine Art and Heaven's Path techniques… But it turned out that there was really a Yang Xuan in the world!

Everything had only gone smoothly for him because he had borrowed the other party's reputation to bolster his authority!

How can there be such a huge coincidence in the world? Zhang Xuan could hardly accept this fact all of a sudden.

He knew that it was only on a whim that he came up with his 'Yang Xuan' persona, and it was simply too much of a coincidence for the persona he had created to actually be a real person!

Could it be the Library of Heaven's Path? Zhang Xuan thought in alarm as he dived his consciousness into his mind.

He returned to the entrance of the Library of Heaven's Path and stared at the four words inscribed on the plaque above the massive gates. They emanated an aura of ancient history, reminiscent of an artifact that had lived through the eons, traversing from world to world. It was hard to describe the sensation that those words evoked, but the closest phrase that he could think of was the 'solemnity of age'.

Perhaps, this might be what they mean by the threads of destiny? There's a certain trajectory that the world gravitates toward under the will of the heavens. Even a decision made seemingly at a whim could have far greater implications than one can ever imagine, Zhang Xuan thought as his body tensed up.

He had no idea why he would feel like that, but his intuition was telling him that this matter was far more than a coincidence. Perhaps, the Library of Heaven's Path might have even influenced his subconscious mind to mouth out those two words.

He suddenly felt like the will of the heavens was omnipresent, and it was gradually guiding him along the road it wanted him to tread on.

The authority of the heavens is inviolable; the will of the heavens is absolute.

Zhang Xuan suddenly felt a shiver run through his body as a possibility came to his mind.

I might control the Library of Heaven's Path, but… what if the heavens want to destroy me one day? Will I be completely helpless then too?

"Zhang shi? Zhang shi? What's wrong?" Just as Zhang Xuan's thoughts were wandering, a voice suddenly sounded in his ear. Lifting his gaze, he saw Yun Lianhai looking at him with a worried expression.

Zhang Xuan quickly suppressed his apprehensions and fears and replied with a smile. "Ah, I'm fine!"

For someone of his state of mind, it was not too difficult for him to conceal his emotions from the eyes of others.

The Library of Heaven's Path was his greatest secret, and he could not allow anyone to learn of its existence.

"I was just surprised to hear that Feng Ziyi would have such a background…" Zhang Xuan scratched his head awkwardly.

"Indeed. I was almost as shocked as you when I first heard of the news."

The grand elders of the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters were deeply elusive figures, and each one of them was more secretive than the others.

Yun Lianhai nodded before leaning forward with a look of curiosity. "Right, Zhang shi. Someone as young and talented as you should also have a capable teacher, right? May I ask who your teacher is?"

The fact that the other party was not from the Zhang Clan and yet possess cultivation on par with the geniuses of the Zhang Clan was more than enough to tell that he had the backing of a strong teacher.

"This…" Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan's lips twitched.

If it had been in the past, he would have unhesitatingly replied, 'My teacher is Yang Xuan.'

However, with Yang Xuan's real direct disciple, Feng Ziyi, being in the Sanctum of Sages, it would only be a matter of time before his lie was exposed if he said such words!

Noting Zhang Xuan's silence, Yun Lianhai quickly waved his hand to shrug the matter off. "It's fine if it's inconvenient for you to answer my question. I know that there are some old hermits out there who dislike their students using their name to brag before others, so there's no need to worry."

He had only intended it to be a casual question. If the other party felt uncomfortable replying to that, he had no intention of pressing for a response.

After all, everyone had their own secrets, and it was not like they were close friends. It was understandable that the other party harbored some reservations about revealing his background to him.

Zhang Xuan clasped his fist. "Thank you for your understanding."

"It's nothing," Yun Lianhai replied with a smile.

The group chatted for a while longer before dispersing to do their own things.

Zhang Xuan calmed down his unnerved heart before sitting on the ground to reinforce his newfound strength.

It was meaningless for the current him to think about matters that were too far ahead—it was not as if he could make a difference in this moment anyway. The best thing he could do at the moment was quickly raise his strength in preparation of what was to come.

Ultimately, there was nothing to rely on but cold, hard strength.

In silence, the group swiftly advanced toward their destination.

During this period of time, Zhang Xuan had tried to sound Yuan Xiao out for some news regarding Yuan Tao, but as Yuan Xiao had not returned back to the Yuan Clan over the past year, he did not know too much about the genius who had recently returned to their clan.

In response to that, Zhang Xuan could only sigh deeply in disappointment.

It was five days later that the Seven-colored Divine Crane finally arrived at a meandering mountain range, which extended as far as the eye could see.

After the past few days of hard work, Zhang Xuan had managed to fully reinforce his cultivation. He was not able to make any breakthroughs without the relevant cultivation technique manuals and spirit stones on hand, but having adapted to his power, his fighting prowess still grew a fair amount.

If Jian Qinsheng were to challenge him with his strength lowered to a hundredth once more, there was a very good chance that Zhang Xuan would be able to kill him before he could even react to his move.

"The Dongxu Gourd is hidden over there." Luo Xuanqing gestured to the area beneath him as he instructed the Seven-colored Divine Crane to stop near a valley.

Turning their gazes downward, the crowd saw a long gorge that slithered through the vicinity like a gigantic anaconda. It was conspicuous from where they were currently situated, but had they been anywhere else, their sight would have definitely been impeded by the towering mountain cliffs all around, causing them to overlook this gorge.

A land that naturally harnesses wind and water, it's the type of terrain where spirit veins tend to form, Zhang Xuan noted internally.

With his knowledge as an 8-star pinnacle formation master, he could tell that the gorge beneath them was the 'center line' that connected the entire mountain range together, thus forming a natural deposit of spiritual energy.

But on second look, a frown emerged on his forehead. However, it seems like someone has altered the terrain in a manner that prevents it spirit mines from developing."

Places where spiritual energy tended to gather, such as the gorge beneath them, would usually result in the development of spirit mines over time. Zhang Xuan could not tell for sure whether it was due to someone's intentional action or some sort of natural fault, but the earth veins beneath had been completely destroyed. While they could still gather the surrounding spiritual energy, it had already become physically impossible for spirit mines to form.

While Zhang Xuan was still analyzing the situation contemplatively, Luo Xuanqing said, "Let's head down!"

Following which, the divine crane began descending, and before long, the group was standing at the entrance to the valley.

"This place is called the 'Valley of Earth Spirits'. Due to the rich spiritual energy harnessed within this area, there are many saint beasts who choose to reside in this area, and there's no lack of Saint 8-dan experts among their ranks. As such, we can't afford to fly straight in. Otherwise, if we catch the attention of any Saint 8-dan beasts, there's a good chance that we'll lose our lives here," Luo Xuanqing explained grimly.

Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan was astonished.

The Seven-colored Divine Crane was already the strongest saint beast that he had seen so far, but to think that there would be plenty of beasts that were stronger than it within the valley.

The Master Teacher Continent was far larger than he had thought, and there were countless experts hidden all over the world. It would be foolish of him to gauge it by what he had seen so far.

But thinking again, if not for the powerful saint beasts guarding the valley, it would be impossible for the Dongxu Gourd to remain undiscovered for such a long period of time.

"Try your best to rein in your aura when we enter later on; make sure not to leave any traces behind. Otherwise, we could very well meet with trouble even before arriving at our destination," Luo Xuanqing instructed solemnly.

He then moved on to instruct the divine crane to keep a lookout for them from afar and cover them should any unexpected situations happen before leading the way into the valley.

The remaining members of the group quickly followed suit.

Due to Zhang Xuan's cultivation being the lowest of the group, he was positioned at the center so that they could protect him should any unexpected situation arise.

The gorge was unnervingly calm. Stepping in, all they could hear was the moaning of the wind flitting through the gorge.

The spiritual energy within the gorge was indeed considerably more concentrated than the rest of the mountain range, but due to the deficiencies in the terrain, it was impossible to concentrate the spiritual energy at one point. Nevertheless, it was still a decent area to cultivate in.

Following closely behind Luo Xuanqing, Zhang Xuan warily assessed his surroundings with his Eye of Insight.

He could see surges of spiritual energy slowly flowing forward peacefully like a stream.

Is such an environment really sufficient to fuel the growth of the Dongxu Gourd?

The more Zhang Xuan studied his surroundings, the more perplexed he became.

He was not too sure what requirements the Dongxu Gourd needed to be in to mature well, but according to what Luo Xuanqing had said, it could only grow in the presence of a spirit vein. There was indeed a spirit vein flowing through the gorge, but the deficiency in the terrain had weakened it so much that he felt hesitant to call it a spirit vein anymore.

Perhaps noticing the doubtful look on Zhang Xuan's face, Luo Xuanqing sent a telepathic message over. "Actually, we are already in the midst of the formation that ancient expert set up."

"We are already in the midst of a formation?" Zhang Xuan was astonished.

Given that he had already mastered the 8-star Heaven's Path Formation Art, there was no way he could not have realized that they were standing in the midst of a formation… unless the formation had reached grade-9!

A grade-9 formation… Just how powerful was the ancient expert who had left behind the Dongxu Gourd?

"That's right. This formation serves to alter the flow of the spiritual energy in the surroundings, rendering it impossible for one to find the real spirit vein and locate the Dongxu Gourd. If not for this, the Dongxu Gourd would have long been harvested by someone else!" Luo Xuanqing explained. "It's also out of sheer luck that I managed to find this place…"

"Luck?" Zhang Xuan shook his head. "It would have been hard to discover this with luck alone!"

Even he was unable to notice any anomaly in the surroundings with his Eye of Insight activated. The notion that one would discover the possible presence of a Dongxu Gourd in the area based on sheer luck itself was improbable.

"Well… to be honest with you, I heard of this matter from my younger sister. Reading is a huge hobby of hers, and she loves to put clues together to make deductions about the various places," Luo Xuanqing remarked proudly. "Through a certain formation and a detailed map of the entire mountain range, she deduced that there's a high chance that there is a grade-9 Hidden Formation located in this region, and I took note of it back then… After which, I came to examine this area carefully, and as expected, there was indeed something amiss about this gorge!"

Several dozen millenniums was a very long duration, even with the long lifespan of cultivators. If it was possible to find this location on sheer luck, someone would have found the Dongxu Gourd long ago.

It was only with the help of his ridiculously talented younger sister that he was able to zone in on this gorge.

"Your younger sister was able to deduce all of this with just a formation and a map in hand?" Zhang Xuan was shocked.

As expected of his girlfriend!

Her eye of discernment and analytical prowess were indeed nowhere weaker than his.

Zhang Xuan hesitated for a moment before sending another telepathic message. "Right! Brother Luo, I have something that I am really curious about that I would like to ask you!"

"Feel free to speak," Luo Xuanqing said with a slight nod of his head.

"I was wondering, given how powerful the Luo Clan is, is there really a need for the little princess, the head of the Luo Clan, to be betrothed to the young prodigy of the Zhang Clan?" Zhang Xuan asked with a frown.

This was something that had been plaguing his mind over the past few days.

The purity of one's bloodline determined one's standing in the Sage Clans. Since Luo Ruoxin was the head of the Luo Clan, was there really a need to go to the point of forcing her to marry the young prodigy of the Zhang Clan?

Was that not equivalent to entrusting their entire clan to the hands of the Zhang Clan?

Luo Xuanqing's face darkened upon hearing those words, and he uttered with a dangerous edge to his voice, "Who told you to ask such a question?"

In an instant, Zhang Xuan felt a surge of cold air pressing up toward him as overwhelming killing intent pressed down on him.Spirit veins are similar to ley lines, somewhat similar to 'underground rivers' where spiritual energy tends to gather. Whereas spirit mines are places where spiritual energy crystallize to form spirit stones, presumably requiring the presence of certain conditions such as high temperature and high pressure, similar to how most other ores are formed.



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