The force in the hall did not show the slightest hint of mercy. If Zhang Jiuxiao remained rooted to the spot, he could very well lose his life.

Knowing that there was no time to be lost, Zhang Jiuxiao took a deep breath and quickly retreated.

Peng!

He found his back pressed against the door. Only at that instant did he realize that the door behind him had been closed and sealed with multiple layers of formations. Even with his strength as a Dimension Sundering realm cultivator, he was still unable to inflict the slightest bit of damage to it.

"Darn it!" Knowing that it was too late for him to dodge, Zhang Jiuxiao flicked his wrist and retaliated with a palm strike of his own.

Boom!

His palm collided with the assailant's.

Kacha!

Zhang Jiuxiao immediately felt a crushing pressure on his chest that pushed out all of the oxygen in his lungs. The injuries that had barely recovered from the earlier lightning tribulation tore open once more, and a searing pain engulfed Zhang Jiuxiao's body.

"Dimension Sundering realm primary stage?"

However, this exchange of blows did give Zhang Jiuxiao an idea of the strength of the assailant—the other party was at Dimension Sundering realm primary stage as well.

"Humph!"

Since they were of the same cultivation realm, there was nothing for him to fear. With a forceful push against the ground, Zhang Jiuxiao leaped upward as he directed a barrage of palm strikes in the direction of the assailant.

Hula!

It took just an instant for raging air currents to fill the room completely, as if a brewing tornado. Powerful bursts of might were shot forth here and there, inducing ceaseless sonic booms.

Even though Zhang Jiuxiao had barely reached Dimension Sundering realm primary stage, the simulation that he had gone through in the Blood Reservoir had allowed him to fully grasp his strength up to Phantasmal Space realm pinnacle. He had also tried to simulate a breakthrough several times then, and this had given him some experience in driving the power of Dimension Sundering. As such, his movements were still considerably fluid, devoid of the usual stiffness that a cultivator unaccustomed to their strength would have.

Boom boom boom!

Zhang Jiuxiao's counterattack was swift, but his assailant was even faster. The latter successfully fended off all of his palm strikes without sustaining the slightest bit of damage.

Nevertheless, while he was in the air, he was able to catch a good sight of the person who had assaulted him.

The other party was dressed in a rather loose-fitting robe, making it hard to gauge his exact physique. At the same time, he was wearing a mask, which blocked even Spiritual Perception from looking beneath it. All in all, that individual felt like a particularly enigmatic figure.

"Who are you? Why are you in the First Elder's residence?" Zhang Jiuxiao asked with narrowed eyes.


Hu!

Instead of answering his question, the assailant raised his palm and sent another palm strike over.

The other party's movements were rather gentle, thus making it appear as if his palm strike did not harness much force. However, the goosebumps that rose on Zhang Jiuxiao's arms in response to the palm strike told a very different story.

Knowing that the assailant would not give himself away that easily, Zhang Jiuxiao could not be bothered to ask anymore. Raising his hands, he charged forward to face his opponent directly.

While his talent might have been lacking in comparison to Zhang Xuan, no matter what, he had still been a famed genius back in the days when he was still in the Qingyuan Empire. Naturally, his aptitude for combat was decent.

Furthermore, the current him had already undergone one-to-one lessons with Zhang Xuan, and that had brought his proficiency in combat to a whole new level.

In the blink of an eye, he had already exchanged eight blows with the masked assailant. While there seemed to be many times where Zhang Jiuxiao was in peril, he was always able to slip out in the crucial juncture, thus averting the danger in the end.

Even though the battle was difficult for Zhang Jiuxiao, the masked man was not faring too well either. Zhang Jiuxiao had just made a breakthrough and was still injured, but no matter what, he had still received Zhang Xuan's individual tutelage.

It would be no exaggeration to say that Zhang Jiuxiao's current combat skills were ranked among the top in the Master Teacher Continent, even if they still came nowhere to Zhang Xuan's. As such, in just a few blows, the masked assailant was already struggling to keep up.

"Heh!" Knowing that he was getting cornered, the masked assailant suddenly sneered coldly.

Following which, a powerful aura burst forth from his body, and his silhouette suddenly blurred like a specter. The next instant, he was already standing before Zhang Jiuxiao with his palm thrusting forth at an incredible speed.

Peng!

Unprepared for this, Zhang Jiuxiao was sent flying by that palm strike, and he crashed into the wall behind him.

"Bloodline ability! You are from the Zhang Clan?" Zhang Jiuxiao exclaimed in shock.

He was certain that the ability that the masked assailant had just used was the unique ability of the Zhang Clan's bloodline!

"Humph!"

However, there was still no response from the masked assailant. Instead, the latter flitted forward again, and the surrounding time seemed to have slowed down in contrast to his movements. Before Zhang Jiuxiao could realize it, he had already been struck squarely once more, and a mouthful of blood escaped through his lips.

The Zhang Clan's bloodline allowed one to struggle free from the restraints of time and move at a speed faster than the limits of a human. To the eye of an outsider, it would appear as if Zhang Jiuxiao had slowed instead and was unable to keep up with the masked assailant.

This won't do. At this rate, I'll really be beaten to death by that fellow!

After sustaining a few more punches, Zhang Jiuxiao felt his body swiftly creeping toward its limits. He knew that he would not survive a few more punches, and his eyes reddened in agitation.

He had come here to meet the First Elder, but instead of finding the First Elder, he had found himself faced with a masked assailant. Every single move that the latter executed was deadly, aimed right at his vitals, and if this continued, he really might lose his life!

I can't afford to hold back anymore.

Knowing that this was no time for him to be holding back his strength, Zhang Jiuxiao took in a deep breath and closed his eyes.

He began driving his bloodline, and in an instant, everything before him suddenly seemed to have started playing in slow motion.

This was the ability of the Zhang Clan's bloodline!

He had been unable to use it in the past, but as his bloodline became purer, he found himself being able to activate the ability with just a simple thought.

As the surroundings slowed down, the movements of the charging masked man immediately came into sight. Everything that he had not been able to perceive previously appeared before him with the utmost clarity.

"Humph!" Zhang Jiuxiao raised his foot and sent a powerful kick over to the other party.

Peng peng peng peng!

Leg, palm, fist, finger… all sorts of attacks rained down on the masked assailant like a storm. The masked assailant never thought that Zhang Jiuxiao would be able to move even faster than him, and before he could even react, he had already been struck numerous times.

His body was forcefully pushed back, and with a spurt of blood, his back slammed heavily into the wall.

"Die!" Knowing that there was a time limit to how long he could keep his unique bloodline activated for, Zhang Jiuxiao had absolutely no intention of holding back.

If he showed mercy to the assailant now, he could very well lose his life once the duration of his unique bloodline went into cooldown.

He was not so kind as to give his life up for a stranger who wanted his life!

Peng peng peng peng!

A barrage of attacks fell on the masked assailant, completely overwhelming the latter, leaving him no room to counterattack at all. But just as Zhang Jiuxiao was about to launch the decisive move, a huge surge of power suddenly burst forth from the assailant before him, knocking him away.

Following which, Zhang Jiuxiao felt an unbelievably strong power holding his body in place, rendering him completely unable to move.

"W-what? How can you be so powerful?" Zhang Jiuxiao narrowed his eyes in horror.

He had already reached Dimension Sundering realm primary stage, but even so, the power emanating from the masked assailant was still able to render him completely helpless. This meant to say that the person was at least at Saint 9-dan… or perhaps even higher than that!

A person wielding such strength could be considered one of the strongest figures in the clan, but it was incomprehensible why such a powerful person would go to the extent of masking himself and attempting to assassinate him!

"Enough, let's stop here." The masked assailant's deep voice reverberated across the room.

Following which, the masked assailant's aura continued to surge, and in just the blink of an eye, it had already reached a level that Zhang Jiuxiao had never before dared fathom.

"This voice…" At that moment, what had caught Zhang Jiuxiao's attention was not the overwhelming strength of the masked assailant but the familiarity of his voice.

He raised his head, only to see the masked assailant taking off his mask, revealing a very familiar face.

"First Elder, you…" Zhang Jiuxiao was stunned.

How could the vicious assailant whose every move had been aimed at his vitals, determined to drag him down into the depths of hell, be the First Elder?

"Your bloodline is purer than even mine… Tell me, Zhang Jiuxiao, how did you do it?" the First Elder asked in a calm, inquisitive voice, devoid of any malice or hostility.

"You were… testing me out earlier?" Zhang Jiuxiao widened his eyes in astonishment as cold sweat trickled down his back.

It was just a moment ago that his teacher had reminded him to maintain a low profile, but he had already given himself away!

It seemed like he really had much more to learn from his teacher.

His teacher had been able to keep his identity as the Celestial Master Teacher under wraps from the rest of the world for such a long period of time, but he could not even keep his bloodline concealed for more than a day. Indeed, when it came to being humble and low profile, he still had a long way to go!

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