Dan Xiaotian wasn't the only one who was bewildered by Zhang Xuan's proposal. Even Elder Yi was taken aback. With twitching lips, Elder Yi said, "Master Zhang, this is a very serious matter here. Pardon me, but I'll have to ask you not to mess around!"
Their lives were at stake, but the other party was still in the mood to make jokes. If he had known that this fellow was so unreliable, he never would have allowed the Third Young Master to save him and bring him back!
Looking at the expressions on their faces, Zhang Xuan could tell that they doubted his abilities. Thus, he placed his hands behind his back with the intention of displaying the disposition of a true expert, but his movements only ended up tugging on his wounds, causing his lips to twitch hideously as a result.
He had to wheeze a little before he managed to suppress the pain and proceed with his expert disguise. "You injured your meridians back when you were younger, causing your body to be unable to drive zhenqi. At the same time, your dantian was also damaged, so you are unable to store any energy. As a result, you are unable to cultivate at all. Is my analysis right?"
Dan Xiaotian nodded in response.
He had been six when that incident happened to the Dan Clan, shattering his dantian and meridians. He had been unable to recover his dantian and meridians since then, so even though he spent every single passing day practicing his swordsmanship, he was unable to infuse zhenqi into his swordsmanship. In other words, his moves carried only the form but not the true essence behind them.
He had consulted many physicians regarding his condition, but none of them had been able to cure him. In the end, he had given up and resigned himself to it.
"Then, do you know what the cause of the injury to your dantian and meridians is?" Zhang Xuan asked.
"Some kind of powerful zhenqi has slipped into my body, inflicting devastating damage all around. It's already a blessing that I'm still alive now," Dan Xiaotian replied.
This was the diagnosis given to him by most of the physicians that he had had met.
"Zhenqi?" Zhang Xuan shook his head. "If it was the result of another cultivator's zhenqi lingering in your body, considering how diligently you cultivate each day in hopes of improving your own condition, do you think that it's possible for you not to show the slightest improvement after so many years?"
That question left Dan Xiaotian stumped.
That was also what had left him bewildered too.
For ten years, he had met all kinds of famous physicians, and he had tried many different types of treatment, be it medicinal essence, pills, acupuncture, medicinal baths… None of them had worked. His body was like a tattered gunny sack. Any spiritual energy that he absorbed would eventually dissipate, making him unable to advance his cultivation.
Many famed physicians had told him that it was the result of hostile zhenqi lingering within his body, undoing all of his efforts. They had assured him that their treatment would work, but none of them had been effective.
With time, those physicians had eventually deemed him to be incurable and given up on him.
Dan Xiaotian pondered for a moment before asking Zhang Xuan, "If it's not the result of hostile lingering zhenqi in my body, what else could possibly be destroying my meridians and dantian and yet not cause my death?"
What was truly bizarre about his condition was that, aside from his inability to cultivate, it did not affect any other aspect of his life. Xue Qin claimed that he was unable to carry out the responsibilities of a husband, but that could not have been more incorrect. He knew better than anyone that he would wake up with a majestic pillar that rose high into the heavens every morning.
"It's a gu," Zhang Xuan stated. "Someone has planted a gu in you, which has resulted in all sorts of treatments being ineffective on you!"
"Gu?" Dan Xiaotian was stunned. "Are you saying that… there's a worm living in my body?"
"It isn't just living; it has been absorbing all of the energy you have cultivated over the years, so it has already become extremely powerful!" Zhang Xuan added.
Through the Library of Heaven's Path, he was able to locate the core of Dan Xiaotian's problem in an instant.
The reason his dantian and his meridians had been refusing to recover over the years despite his efforts was because someone had planted a gu in him. This gu would relentlessly devour all of the energy that he cultivated, and this was the source of his cultivation failing to inch forward at all over the past ten years.
"A living worm actually exists inside of me…"
Dan Xiaotian turned to look at Elder Yi with a deep frown, and the latter contemplated deeply for a brief moment before shaking his head.
What they had just heard was simply so unbelievable that they could hardly swallow it.
If there was really a gu in his body, and it had been in his body for the past ten years, how could the many physicians that they had consulted previously possibly be oblivious to it? And how could the young man tell?
"I can sense some reservations from you two, and I can understand why. However, I do have a way to prove the matter though." Zhang Xuan could tell from the expressions of those two that they did not believe what he was saying, but it was not a problem to him. "Do you have a silver needle or the like here?"
Elder Yi nodded. He walked into the room, and it did not take long for him to return with a box of silver needles. "Here you go!"
As the saying goes, 'those who are constantly plagued by afflictions eventually become doctors themselves'. They had tried out all sorts of remedies over the past ten years, such that most fundamental medicinal equipment could be found in their residence.
"Un. Have a good look. I'll catch it out right now!"
With a light chuckle, Zhang Xuan grabbed the silver needles and flicked them forward.
All of the needles fell onto the floor three meters away from him.
"Cough cough. I don't really have too much strength right now, so I need you to come closer to me," Zhang Xuan said awkwardly.
He was so used to flicking needles from a distance that he had forgotten that he was still unable to use his zhenqi, which severely limited what he could do.
While Dan Xiaotian felt that Zhang Xuan was not really a reliable person, after a moment of hesitation, he still made his way over.
Since the situation was already like that, he might as well go along with it. There was nothing to be lost.
Taking out a couple of silver needles once more, Zhang Xuan took a deep breath as he invoked the Library of Heaven's Path once more. After which, he pierced the silver needles according to the positions stated in Dan Xiaotian's book.
Another unexpected hiccup happened that caused Zhang Xuan's face to redden.
In his current weak state, he was actually unable to pierce the silver needle through Dan Xiaotian's skin.
While Dan Xiaotian was unable to cultivate anymore, his cultivation was still at Saint 6-dan. Furthermore, his constitution had been nourished by the mercury-like spiritual energy over the years, making his physical body even tougher than steel.
While Zhang Xuan was able to move his body around, he was still feeble from the damage that he had sustained. He could not even gather enough strength from his body to pierce through Dan Xiaotian's skin.
"Help me with this!" Zhang Xuan looked at Elder Yi and beckoned him over.
Elder Yi quickly walked over. With a tap of his finger, a surge of zhenqi flowed through the silver needle, and the silver needle straightened once more.
The tip went right into Dan Xiaotian's body.
Zhang Xuan was just about to control the silver needle when the silver needle suddenly flew out at an even faster speed, piercing right into the wall.
Dan Xiaotian and Elder Yi widened their eyes incredulously, especially the former.
As the person receiving the acupuncture, he knew that he did not exert any force, but the silver needles still flew out at such a swift speed. Could it be that there was really some other being existing in his body?
"You should have felt it. It was the gu in your body that pushed it out," Zhang Xuan explained.
To be honest, he did not have the means to kill the gu in his current state. Nevertheless, by bringing Dan Xiaotian's attention to the existence of the gu, he should be able to win the young man's trust. With sufficient time, he was confident that he would be able to resolve this problem once he recovered his strength.
"There really is a gu in my body?" Dan Xiaotian could not speak another word.
A moment ago, he had been confident that there was no way such a vile thing would be in his body, but what he had just witnessed had caused his confidence to waver.
Putting aside the fact that he had not exerted any force, even if he did, he did not have the ability to jolt the needle right into the wall.
"While the earlier needle did not harm the gu at all, it showed that we are aware of its current location. So, it's likely that the gu will move to another location before settling down. While it's moving, you will be able to drive your zhenqi, and your crippled left leg will recover for a brief period of time," Zhang Xuan said.
"However, this recovery is temporary. Once it settles down, everything will go back to as it was. The only way you can resolve this situation once and for all is to kill it!"
"Is that so?" Dan Xiaotian was still a little dazed by the happenings.
A few moments passed, and his eyes suddenly widened in disbelief.
Just as Zhang Xuan had said earlier, he could feel zhenqi flowing through his body once more. Not only so, feeling had returned to his numb left leg as well!
He tried taking a few steps, and his movements were no different from those of an ordinary person. There was not the slightest difficulty!
However, the feeling in his left leg only remained for ten breaths before turning as numb as a block of wood.
Knowing that there was nothing wrong with his diagnosis, Zhang Xuan said with a light chuckle, "You should be able to trust me now, right?"
"Disciple Dan Xiaotian pays respect to teacher!"
Knowing that this was an invaluable opportunity for him to break out of his current state, he immediately got onto the ground and bowed down.
Many renowned physicians had taken a look at his condition, but none of the treatments that they provided had made a difference to his condition at all. However, with just a glance from afar, Zhang Xuan was already able to identify the root of his problem and even demonstrate it to him. From this alone, it could be seen that the other party was a person of great capabilities, no matter how he might seem on the exterior.
After Dan Xiaotian carried out a formal greeting to acknowledge Zhang Xuan as his teacher, Zhang Xuan quickly walked forward to help him up.
To be honest, he had initially planned to steer clear from the affairs of the Azure as much as possible, focusing his efforts on finding Luo Ruoxin. However, Dan Xiaotian had saved him, so he wanted to return the favor.
Having acknowledged Zhang Xuan as his teacher, Dan Xiaotian looked at the young man before him expectantly and asked, "Teacher, may I know how I can get rid of the gu in my body?"
Just the thought of there being a worm crawling in his flesh and leeching off his body was more than enough to raise goosebumps on his arms. He had not been too affected by it in the past because he had not been aware of it, but at this rate, he would not even be able to sleep well at night as long as the gu remained.
"I am able to remove the gu in your body, but I am too weak at the moment. I'll have to recover from my injuries before I can do anything about it," Zhang Xuan replied.
If not for his severe wounds, just a blast of his Heaven's Path zhenqi would decimate whatever gu was crawling in Dan Xiaotian's body in a breath. However, in his current state, he could not even exert his zhenqi. As such, while he was able to identify where the gu was, he could not do a thing about it.
More importantly, the gu even gleefully pushed his silver needle out, as if taunting his weakness. This was really testing the limits of his patience.
"Recover from your injuries?" Dan Xiaotian echoed when he suddenly widened his eyes in realization. "Ah, I nearly forgot! I have a couple of valuable recovery medicine here, and I was planning to feed you some of them so that you could recover from your injuries. However, you've been in a coma for the past three days, and I didn't dare use them recklessly. Since you're already awake, allow me to bring those pills to you right now. Once the medicinal energy diffuses throughout your body, it shouldn't take too long for you to recover to your full strength!"
Most high-tier recovery medicine were incredibly potent, such that it required one to facilitate the assimilation of the medicinal energy using one's zhenqi. If one recklessly fed it to an unconscious patient, there was a good chance that the powerful medicinal energy would end up harming the patient.
As such, they had put off the matter till now.
A few moments later, Elder Yi walked into the room with a jade bottle in hand. He uncorked the jade bottle, and the fragrant scent of herbs immediately drifted across the room.
It was a grade-8 recovery pill.
Zhang Xuan took out a pill and swallowed it without any hesitation. However, a moment later, he sighed deeply and said, "I'm afraid that the medicine you have isn't of much use to me…"
Despite Zhang Xuan's current seemingly powerless state, his core was still a Dimension Shatterer realm cultivator. While grade-8 recovery pills could be considered invaluable panacea for curing all sorts of wounds for a Saint 6-dan cultivator, it did not even cause the slightest ripple in Zhang Xuan's body.
"It isn't of much use to you?"
Dan Xiaotian quickly instructed Elder Yi to bring over the best recovery medicine that they had, but none of it turned out to be of use to Zhang Xuan.
"Are there any large markets in this town where I can buy recovery pills or medicinal herbs?" Zhang Xuan asked with a deep frown.
"There is a market, but the medicinal herbs and pills sold aren't too advanced. The pills that we have here are already the best on the market…" Dan Xiaotian scratched his head.
Considering how those pills were completely useless to the young man before him, it would be meaningless to buy more of them.
"Is there any way to acquire higher tier pills?" Zhang Xuan asked.
As long as he did not recover from his injuries, he would be unable to cure Dan Xiaotian. At this rate, they were simply too vulnerable. Putting aside surviving the third day, it was questionable whether they would be able to get through the night!
Dan Xiaotian pondered for a moment before replying. "Most cultivators purchase high-tier pills through the Ethereal Token. As long as the trade is successful, the items will be swiftly delivered."
"Ethereal Token?" Hearing that familiar name, Zhang Xuan nodded. "Then, is there any way I can acquire an Ethereal Token?"