Chapter 1121: Elder Qi
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97

Zhuo Qingfeng did send a painting of Zhang Xuan to the Combat Master Hall along with his report back then. However, Hall Master Xing didn't think that he was someone whom he needed to take note of back then, so he didn't pay much heed to the matter. After taking a swift glance at it, he had left his subordinates to deal with it.

After all, a person of his position could not possibly be expected to deal with every miscellaneous matter that came his way. If that was really the case, he would have died from exhaustion by now!

However, thinking about how Sun Qiang and Zhang Xuan were of identical ages and were both geniuses, he could not help but pause for a moment.

Yes, the world was huge and had no lack of geniuses. However, those whose talents had reached such an astounding level were still hard-to-come-by. Surely it was too much of a coincidence for two to appear in Qingyuan City simultaneously, right?

"I'll go and take a look!" Nodding, Division Head Liao was about to head out when a frown abruptly surfaced on Hall Master Xing's forehead. Seemingly sensing something, he whipped out a Communication Jade Token.

Swiftly browsing through its content, Hall Master Xing's eyes lit up, and his eyes reddened in agitation.

"What happened?" Division Head Liao asked.

Hall Master Xing rarely allowed himself to show such intense emotions. Something major must have happened for him to react in such a manner!

"Elder Qi has returned!" Hall Master Xing said with clenched fists.

"Elder Qi? You mean the ex-head of the Physician Guild? Back then, he disappeared shortly after saving you, and I thought that he might have already passed away…" Division Head Liao was surprised by the news, too.

More than two decades ago, Hall Master Xing had been severely wounded by an Otherworldly Demon, and that had caused massive damage to his Primordial Spirit, causing him to lose consciousness for three whole years. If not for Elder Qi, he might have been dead by now!

When he finally regained consciousness, he had intended to repay the favor to the other party, only to find that the other party had suddenly disappeared from the face of the world. He had tried searching for the old physician, but for twenty years, there had been no news whatsoever.

Just as he was on the verge of resigning himself to the fact that Elder Qi really might have passed away… the other party suddenly returned!

"I thought so, too, but it seems like we were mistaken. We'll deal with the matter of the painting later on. For the time being, help me prepare some gifts. I want to pay a visit to him personally!" Hall Master Xing said in agitation.

At this point, there was nothing more important than the return of his benefactor!

The duo swiftly made some preparations before rushing out of the Combat Master Hall. Before long, they had arrived at the Physician Guild and successfully met with Elder Qi.

It seemed like twenty years had not made the old guild leader age in the slightest. If any, his aura seemed to have become even sharper than before.

"Congratulations to Elder Qi for successfully making a breakthrough to Half-Leaving Aperture realm!" Hall Master Xing clasped his fist in agitation.

In the past twenty years, it seemed like the old guild leader had advanced his cultivation considerably. This was a matter to celebrate.

"It seems like you have also made quite some advancement in your cultivation. Not bad, not bad!" Naturally, Elder Qi could also see through Hall Master Xing's cultivation easily as well, and he nodded in approval.

"I am truly grateful to Elder Qi for saving my life back then." Hall Master Xing clasped his fist before asking, "Elder Qi, why did you suddenly depart from Qingyuan City back then?"

Upon hearing Hall Master Xing bringing up the matter, Elder Qi sighed deeply. "There's a long story behind this matter. I did not leave the city voluntarily. Instead, someone poisoned me and sent assailants to end my life. Cornered, I could only flee to a Tier-1 Empire and lie low, or else I would have been a dead man by now!"

"Poisoned? End your life?" Hall Master Xing's face turned livid, and killing intent burst forth from him.

Elder Qi was an upright and respected figure in Qingyuan City. During his time in the Physician Guild, he had saved countless lives, so who in the world would dare make a move against him? Furthermore, right under the nose of the Combat Master Hall at that!

"Elder Qi, do you know who poisoned you?" Hall Master Xing asked with a chilling gleam in his gaze.

"I have a good idea who it is, but… the implications behind this matter are too great, so I need to verify the matter first. The reason I informed you of my return is because I need to discuss this matter with you. At the same time, I hope to seek refuge with the Combat Master Hall for the time being while I reinforce my cultivation and decide on my next course of action!" Elder Qi replied grimly

"Seek refuge? At our Combat Master Hall?" Hall Master Xing's eyes narrowed.

Even though Elder Qi did not specify a name, just the very fact that he had to seek refuge in the Combat Master Hall had already severely narrowed the scope.

Despite the fact that Elder Qi was the ex-head of the Physician Guild, as well as Half-Leaving Aperture realm expert, for him to need to seek refuge in the Combat Master Hall… The person who poisoned him was bound to be a person who wielded incredible power or influence.

"Very well. I will guarantee your safety!" Hall Master Xing nodded grimly.

The Combat Master Hall was symbolic of the greatest fighting prowess of the Qingyuan Conferred Empire. Putting aside the fact that he had already reached Leaving Aperture realm, even with his previous strength as a Half-Leaving Aperture realm, he could still easily deal with any ordinary Leaving Aperture realm cultivator!

More importantly, there were countless formations spread across the Ten Divisions of the Combat Master Hall. Anyone who dared barge in was simply courting death!

"I'll be thanking Hall Master Xing in advance then. I did not think that the day would come when I would be able to return back to Qingyuan City either. If not for my benefactor saving my life, I probably would have been stuck in that Tier-1 Empire for the rest of my life." Recalling his previous experiences, Elder Qi couldn't help but sigh deeply.

Hall Master Xing was astounded by Elder Qi's words. "For you to be unable to resolve the poison despite your deep mastery in the Way of Medicine… could the benefactor you spoke of possess greater medical skills than you?"

He knew full well how formidable Elder Qi's medical skills were. Even if he was not the number one physician of the Qingyuan Empire, he was definitely not far from that!

For the benefactor he spoke of to resolve a poison that even Elder Qi was unable to resolve… wasn't that benefactor a little too formidable?

"Compared to him, I'm nothing more like an ant before a divine dragon. I'm nowhere on par with him. Even though my benefactor's cultivation realm is a little low, his medical skills have reached a level far beyond my imagination." Upon speaking of his benefactor, admiration crept into Elder Qi's eyes.

In the field of the Way of Medicine, he had never truly admired or respected anyone, but that young man who had saved his life… He viewed the other party with the utmost reverence!

Hearing that Elder Qi was full of praise for that man, Hall Master Xing couldn't help but ask, "May I know who he is?"

"He goes by the name of Sun Qiang, but I have no idea where he came from and where he is at the moment," Elder Qi said with a hint of lamentation in his voice. He turned to Hall Master Xing and continued. "You have wider connections than me. If there's a chance, help me look out for this man. If I manage to meet him again, I must make sure to express my gratitude to him formally!"

Halfway through Elder Qi's words, Hall Master Xing's eyes had widened to the brim. Perplexed, Elder Qi asked, "What's wrong?"

"A master teacher just came to our Combat Master Hall earlier today, and he goes by the name of Sun Qiang as well. And, if I recall correctly… he claimed to be a physician at one point in time too! C-could it be that… they are both the same person?" Hall Master Xing asked.

Previously, when Sun Qiang offered to use poison to resolve his trauma, the other party had said that he was a physician.

Could there really be such a huge coincidence? Were they really the same person?

"His name is Sun Qiang, too? What does he look like?" Elder Qi asked in agitation.

If Zhang Xuan were there, he surely would have been able to recognize Elder Qi as the Eccentric Old Man whom he had saved back at Jingyuan City.

Back then, after his poison was resolved, he had managed to return to the Primordial Spirit realm in an instant. Over the past two months, by reinforcing his cultivation further, he had managed to achieve another breakthrough, reaching Half-Leaving Aperture realm.

The most important factor that determined whether one was able to advance from Primordial Spirit to Half-Leaving Aperture realm was the resilience of their soul. The twenty years of suffering that Elder Qi had undergone had instead become the impetus to his rapid breakthrough once his condition was resolved.

"He looks like a young man in his early twenties…" Hall Master Xing rattled off a description.

"That isn't right. The Sun Qiang I know of looks to be in his forties. However, there are many experts who are capable of altering their looks, so we can't judge it just based on his appearance in itself. It would be better if I can meet the other party personally. Alright, bring me over to take a look!" Hearing that his benefactor could very well be in the Combat Master Hall, Elder Qi could not hold back his agitation any longer.

"Alright!" Hall Master Xing nodded, and he swiftly brought Elder Qi back to the Combat Master Hall.

"The trial in the Inner Breath Division is actually just a simple assessment of the challenger's quantity of zhenqi. There is a powerful formation set up in the Trial of Inner Breath that can gauge the amount of zhenqi that one harnesses, and the greater the number is, the more zhenqi one wields. As long as you can achieve a score of ten or more, you will be qualified to enter the library to browse through the books you want!" Division Head Wei summarized the trial as they made their way over to the Inner Breath Division.

Zhang Xuan nodded in response.

While the both of them were speaking, they finally arrived at the Inner Breath Division.

It was a grand and splendid building, just like the Heart Division. There were huge crowds of combat masters walking in and out.

"Actually, with Sun shi's strength, there is no need for you to take the trial at all. I can just bring you into the library directly," Division Head Wei stated with a smile.

Given how the young man before him was able to dodge a collaborative offense from the three of them despite possessing just a cultivation of Saint 1-dan pinnacle, there was no doubt that he would be able to overcome the Trial of Inner Breath with ease.

"To be honest with you, I have been cultivating diligently over the past month, but I haven't had a chance to assess the current level of my strength yet. If it isn't too much hassle, I would like to take the Trial of Inner Breath to see how much I am lacking compared to the combat masters," Zhang Xuan replied.

Of course, Zhang Xuan had no doubt that he would be able to clear the Trial of Inner Breath with ease. However, this was a good opportunity not only to assess his own strength but that of the combat masters as well. With some understanding of the combat masters' standard level of strength, he would be able to prepare the members of the Xuanxuan Faction accordingly for the exchange later on.

Otherwise, without the slightest understanding of the combat masters' strength, they would be at a major disadvantage for the exchange.

On the way there, he had already sent information on the Vitreous Heart Tempering Sutra to Wang Ying and the others. He had simplified the secret art considerably, so even without him deciphering it for them, they would still be able to comprehend and cultivate it easily.


On the other hand, Division Head Wei shook his head after hearing Zhang Xuan's words. The ones who were lacking were their combat masters instead!

Of course, he did not tell him that. Instead, he continued leading Zhang Xuan forward, and before long, they were already standing before a passageway.

Unlike the Trial of Inner Demons, where there was scarcely a person to be seen at the entrance, the entrance of Trial of Inner Breaths was surrounded by combat masters.

There were quite a few of them whose cultivation had reached Saint 1-dan pinnacle as well, and they were intending to undergo the trial to gain access to their Saint 2-dan cultivation technique manuals.

Upon seeing that Division Head Wei had arrived, the crowd quickly opened up a path for him to walk through. At the same time, they could not help but direct perplexed gazes at Zhang Xuan.

For a Saint 1-dan fellow to be escorted here personally by their division head, just what was his identity?

Ignoring the perplexed gazes directed at him, Division Head Wei asked, "Who's in there?"

The passageway into the Trial of Inner Breaths was currently closed—a sign that someone was currently challenging the trial inside.

"Reporting to Division Head Wei, Shi Hao is inside!" reported one of the combat masters amid the crowd.

"Shi Hao?" Division Head Wei's eyes lit up. "That fellow is finally willing to challenge the trial and push for a breakthrough?"

Knowing that Zhang Xuan would be confused about what they were speaking of, he quickly explained, "Sun shi, Shi Hao has been the champion for an internal competition we hold annually in the Saint 1-dan tier for several consecutive years. Just by his strength alone, he has already surpassed the fighting prowess of ordinary Thousand Men Commanders. The zhenqi that he harnesses has also reached a frightening level, such that most Saint 2-dan combat masters would struggle to match him. He reached Saint 1-dan pinnacle twenty years ago, but in order to challenge his limits, he has been suppressing his cultivation all this while, reinforcing his cultivation again and again. However, if he has decided to drop by the Trial of Inner Breaths, he's probably ready to push for a breakthrough to Saint 2-dan now!"



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