"Elder Liu, this person here is Elder Feng Qian from our sect. Elder Feng, this young man here is Elder Liu. He'll be representing our sect for the Azure Bridge." Pavilion Master Kui quickly introduced the two to one another.

"Elder Liu Yang!" Elder Feng Qian greeted Zhang Xuan, but a slight frown could be seen on his forehead.

He had thought that the young man beside the pavilion master was just a disciple, but who would have thought that he was their candidate for the Azure Bridge?

That decision meant that this young man was the top cultivator among those younger than a hundred.

But this young man was only in his early twenties!

When had the Sevenstar Pavilion become such a weak organization?

"Since Elder Liu was chosen as the candidate for the Azure Bridge, I believe that you possess extraordinary abilities. It happens that I have some confusions about my cultivation that I would like to consult you on," Elder Feng said with clasped fists.

Pavilion Master Kui Xiao could tell what Elder Feng was trying to do, but he did not interject.

As long as Zhang Xuan survived the Azure Bridge, he was bound to become the next head of the Sevenstar Pavilion. On the other hand, Elder Feng was the closest aide of the pavilion master, tasked with the responsibility of carrying out missions in the shadows. For a smooth succession to occur, Zhang Xuan would need to acquire Elder Feng's approval.

Thus, this was a good opportunity for Elder Liu to win Elder Feng over to his side and build authority within the sect.

If he could not even win the support of Elder Feng, it would be difficult for him to acquire the support of the entire sect. If so, his seat as the pavilion master would not be stable.

"Feel free to speak," Zhang Xuan said with a nod.

"I have cultivated the Sevenstar Palm to 3-dan thus far, but I found that I was unable to advance its mastery any further. May I ask if you have any good suggestions, Elder Liu?" Elder Feng asked.

The Sevenstar Palm was one of the strongest battle techniques of the Sevenstar Pavilion, and many of the elders had cultivated it before.

Before Zhang Xuan could respond, Pavilion Master Kui Xiao interjected. "Isn't the question you have asked far too general?"

It was understandable that Elder Feng would want to test Zhang Xuan's right to become the next pavilion master, but at the very least, the question should be more detailed!

There must have been several hundred reasons for one to be unable to cultivate beyond 3-dan Sevenstar Palm, and Elder Feng did not even bother to specify his own physical condition. How was anyone supposed to answer this question?

Not even Pavilion Master Kui Xiao himself would be capable of answering such a question.

"It's fine, Pavilion Master Kui." Zhang Xuan raised his hand with a smile. Following which, he turned to Elder Feng and said, "If I'm not mistaken, you suffered severe internal injuries that nearly led to your death eighty-one years ago, right?"


"That's right." Elder Feng nodded as he shot a glance at Pavilion Master Kui Xiao.

Eighty-one years ago, he had been chased by his sworn enemies and nearly lost his life. It was Pavilion Master Kui Xiao who had saved him, which had led to him pledging his loyalty to the man. Throughout the years, he had willingly served the Sevenstar Pavilion from the shadows, resolving all possible threats that the sect faced.

This matter was one of the confidential secrets of the sect, but who would have thought that Pavilion Master Kui Xiao would trust the young man so much as to tell him this as well?

"I didn't tell him that." Pavilion Master Kui Xiao's eyebrows shot up in astonishment as well upon hearing Zhang Xuan's words.

This fellow did not even know who you are before meeting you earlier! I also have no idea how he knows about the matter eighty-one years ago!

Pavilion Master Kui Xiao was just about to ask Zhang Xuan how he knew about that matter when the latter continued speaking. "There was no need for anyone to tell me that. It's obvious with just a glance. Back then, through the use of many precious treasures and medicinal herbs, you managed to recover your cultivation.

"However, the fact is that the injuries you sustained then have left a heavy trauma on your body. When your zhenqi flows through your Zhenhai and Jiangyong Acupoints, you feel a numbing sensation jolting through your body, but these two points happen to be crucial for the cultivation of the Sevenstar Palm. Given the blockage of your acupoints and the numbing sensation that hinders your movements, it's a given that you would be unable to cultivate the 4-dan Sevenstar Fist!"

"How did you..." Elder Feng widened his eyes in disbelief.

Those were his greatest secrets, and he had never mentioned it before Pavilion Master Kui Xiao before. Yet, this young man was able to point them out accurately. Was the young man really able to see through him?

"Not only so, your left arm has been getting more and more stiff throughout the years, such that it isn't obeying your control anymore, right?" Zhang Xuan asked.

Elder Feng's expression darkened.

The young man was absolutely correct.

He had no idea why, but his left hand had started to suffer sudden bouts of twitching in the last two years before turning incredibly stiff. He had tried all kinds of means to resolve this issue, but it was not working at all. He had even consulted many famous physicians, but none of them were able to see through his affliction. How did this young man know about it?

"The cultivation technique that you started cultivating with is the Emerald Ripple Art. It was created by a predecessor when he was suddenly inspired by the currents flowing through the Emerald Ripple Sea. However, after suffering severe injuries eighty-one years ago, you felt that this cultivation technique wasn't strong enough for you, and it just so happened that your zhenqi had been completely depleted. Thus, you forcefully changed your cultivation technique to the Grand Solar Art.

"The might of your blows did grow stronger, but your meridians, which have been nourished by the water attribute of the Emerald Ripple Art, were suddenly exposed to the fire attribute of the Grand Solar Art. This is equivalent to casting a bright sun over lush fields without providing it with sufficient water. What do you think would happen?" Zhang Xuan explained with a slight smile.

Realizing where he had gone wrong, Elder Feng narrowed his eyes in astonishment. "The fields would dry up and crack, thus becoming infertile..."

"The infertility of the lands is the least of your worries. As time goes by, it'll turn into a land of death where no life can thrive!" Zhang Xuan said.

"Land of death where no life can thrive? Surely it isn't as serious as that." Pavilion Master Kui Xiao frowned.

He did know about Elder Feng changing his cultivation technique. In fact, the Grand Solar Art had come from him.

Back then, he had tried to convince the latter out of it as he was well aware of the risks of abruptly changing one's cultivation technique, but the latter's mind had been made up. The latter had been willing to go to any lengths as long as he could have his vengeance.

Eventually, he had given in and bestowed the latter with the Grand Solar Art. He had paid close attention to Elder Feng's physical condition while the latter cultivated, and things did go wrong on several occasions. However, using his prowess as a Semi-Divinity and many valuable medicinal herbs, he had made sure to nourish the latter's body properly to resolve the traumas.

He had thought that the problem had been resolved, but who could have known that they had not resolved the root of the problem at all?

"There's a limit to what a human body is able to tolerate." Zhang Xuan placed his hands behind his back as he spoke.

The severe injuries he sustained back then destroyed his vitals, and under such circumstances, he should have been carefully nourishing his body to slowly recover his strength. Yet, he chose to forcefully change his cultivation technique. It's really a blessing that he didn't die on the spot! Even I can hardly imagine the amount of treasures you wasted in order to nourish him!

"I'll be perfectly honest with you here. The stiffening of your arms is just the initial symptoms. Within two years, the stiffness will spread to your legs, and your spine will begin to distort, making it difficult for you to walk. If you fail to resolve it within five years, your progressively weakening meridians will eventually collapse under your own strength, causing your cultivation to dissipate."

Elder Feng frowned. "Is what you said... true?"

It was true that the young man had managed to see through the stiffness in his left arm, but that did not mean that he would unconditionally believe everything that the young man said.

After all, this was too shocking!

Other than the occasional problems his left arm caused him, he did not feel like his condition was too severe. As such, it was hard for him to believe that his cultivation would dissipate within five years.

"If you don't trust me, we can conduct a quick test," Zhang Xuan said as he flicked his finger lightly.

This was a simple move without any sword qi or zhenqi imbued into it. The finger felt as a light tap on Elder Feng's shoulder, but the latter's entire body immediately jolted. As if someone had petrified him on the spot, his entire body stiffened. Perspiration rained down his cheeks as he instinctively took a step back to retreat.

However, before he could even back away, Zhang Xuan's finger had struck forward once more to tap the center of his chest.

This single tap produced a slight jolt in Elder Feng's body, causing him to experience a tearing pain in his meridians.

Pu!

A mouthful of blood spurted from his lips. The sheer pain caused his wrinkles to sag a little, making it seem as if he had aged a decade in an instant.

Zhang Xuan retracted his finger and asked, "How are you feeling?"

"I... I could feel that my meridians are on the verge of shattering..." Elder Feng gasped frantically for air as he replied with eyes widened in fright. He looked at the young man before him for a moment before quickly clasping his fist. "Elder Liu, I beseech you to point a way out for me. If you save me, I'll pledge my loyalty to you and serve you as the next pavilion master with my utmost dedication!"

The fact that the young man was able to peer through his problems and even determine the reasons behind his afflictions showed that the young man was indeed a person of great capabilities. He would have no qualms serving a man like that.

"The solution is very simple. You just have to cultivate your Emerald Ripple Art once more," Zhang Xuan said with a light chuckle.

"Cultivate the Emerald Ripple Art once more? How... how is that possible?"

The one who had spoken this time around was not Elder Feng but Pavilion Master Kui Xiao. He found Zhang Xuan's words incomprehensible.

Putting aside the fragile state of Elder Feng's meridians, if the latter cultivated the Emerald Ripple Art right now, there was a good chance that it might cause a conflict with the Grand Solar Art. The slightest carelessness could cause his cultivation to go berserk or even result in his death!

"Of course, I don't mean the Emerald Ripple Art that you have practiced before. What you'll be practicing is the one that I have modified," Zhang Xuan said.

He flicked out a jade token and quickly placed his finger on it lightly. A sliver of his consciousness slipped into the jade token and imprinted the modified Emerald Ripple Art on it. Following which, he passed the jade token to Elder Feng.

Accepting the jade token, Elder Feng took a look at the contents of the jade token, and unwittingly, his zhenqi actually began to flow in accordance to the circulation pathway written on it. A moment later, he spurted out three mouthfuls of black blood.

In an instant, his body feel much lighter and more relaxed than before. The bottlenecks that had limited him before had loosened, and his arm was not as stiff.

"So fast..." Elder Feng clenched his fists tightly as he looked at the young man in front of him with a mixture of respect and horror in his eyes.

He knew his own physical condition well. Just by cultivating the cultivation technique that the other party had given him for a moment, his condition had improved significantly. He knew that as long as he cultivated strictly in accordance to it, he would be able to make a full recovery very soon!

A problem that had troubled him for eighty-one years and had consumed innumerable treasures from the sect had actually been resolved with just a quick glance from the young man.

Such a thing was really unthinkable!

Elder Feng was not the only one who was surprised by the situation. Pavilion Master Kui Xiao was equally dumbstruck as well.

He had been worried that Liu Yang would be too young to win the support of the sect, but given his capability, it seemed like his worries were needless.

The young man's talents didn't just stop at his ability to learn battle techniques swiftly. The young man's grasp of the Way of the Medicine had also reached an unthinkable level, such that he could think of no one who could compete with him.

"Alright. As long as you follow that cultivation technique properly, you should be able to recover from your affliction within half a year. In fact, you might even be able to raise your cultivation to new heights," Zhang Xuan said with a wave of his hand.

This matter was a walk in the park for him, so he did not mind offering the other party his assistance.

Elder Feng had been using a battle technique all this time in order to induce the movement of the boat, so he had been able to compile a book regarding him in the Library of Heaven's Path to see through all the afflictions affecting him. With all the secret manuals that he had browsed through recently, it was not too hard for him to come up with an appropriate solution.

"Thank you, Elder Liu!" Elder Feng bowed deeply.

Zhang Xuan knew that he had already won Elder Feng over, so there was no need to harp on about the matter. Thus, he pointed to the area ahead and asked, "The formation and seal right ahead were left by you, right?"

While the three of them were chatting, the boat had already traveled yet another two hundred li forward. They had arrived in a region where the ocean surface looked no different from that of a mirror.

"This area is known as the Sea of Little Mirror. The formation and seal I have left behind are indeed hidden here," Elder Feng said with a nod of his head.

There were unique ores in the Sea of Little Mirror that lured a certain lifeform to gather in huge clusters within the region, thus creating a reflective surface on the surface of the ocean.

The formation and seal that he had set up were so discreet that not even Semi-Divinity realm experts would be able to notice them easily. How did the young man notice them?

Just as Elder Feng was pondering over this question, the young man suddenly continued speaking. "The Double Ripples Water Formation is indeed able to camouflage itself in water, making it hard for anyone to notice it. Its might is also one to behold. However, it's still a little too weak to trap a Semi-Divinity realm beast. More importantly... the opponent is a lifeform whose native habitat is the water. It will be extremely sensitive to the flow of water currents. As soon as the opponent notices the presence of the formation, it will be able to make use of the ripples to propel it away."

You are able to see through my formation?" Elder Feng was stunned.

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