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Oblivious to the fact that Wang Ying had already seen through him, at this very moment, Zhang Xuan was hiding amidst tall bushes, looking ahead of him discreetly.

Humans.

Several of them, all in their youths.

He had heard some commotion coming from this distance earlier, so he instructed Wang Ying and hide well before rushing over anxiously.

There were both men and women amidst the group, and they were carrying a bag each as they trudged deeper into the valley. They appeared to be searching for something.

The oldest individual in the group of seven appeared to be around seventeen-years-old, but his cultivation felt firm and steady. Just like him, the other party had reached the level of the gods too!

What caught Zhang Xuan's notice was that despite the difficult terrain in the valley, these youths seemed to be perfectly adapted to it. They were able to navigate their way around without too much trouble.

Looking at the crimson sun setting in the west, the white-robed young man leading the group turned his head and around and instructed with a smile, "It's getting dark, so let's take a rest here. After we find it tomorrow and accomplish our mission, we'll be heading back right away, alright?"

"Alright!"

Hearing that they could take a rest, the remaining youths looked visibly relieved, They quickly placed their heavy bags down before swiftly getting to work.

Some of them sprinkled special medicinal powder around the area to deter insects and beasts from entering the area, some of them began scouting the area for potential water sources, some of them took out their rations and began cooking...

It was clear that they were an organized and disciplined team. Every single member had their own roles, and they were familiar with it as well.

I need to find a way to leave together with them... Zhang Xuan fell into deep thought.

He had no idea which darned mountain range in the Firmament he was at, but there was nearly no spiritual energy around at all. Putting aside cultivating, even finding food was an issue here!

It was one thing if he had been alone. He could have just decided on a single direction and walk on straight till he got out of the mountain range. However, with his parents and direct disciples behind him, he dared not to move recklessly.

So, he spent the last few days scouting the area, and he realized that despite the scarce concentration of spiritual energy here, there were still quite a few powerful divine beasts in the area.

It would be difficult for him to deal with the divine beasts, especially if a pack of them appeared at once. That made him realize that it would be too dangerous for them to go out venturing the area together since he wouldn't be able to ensure their safety.

Of course, it wouldn't do for them to remain on this mountain range either. But at the very least, he would have to ascertain a feasible path first.


As such, he had been scouting the area to see if there were any human settlements around the area. It wasn't easy for him to find such a large group of people here, so naturally, he couldn't let this opportunity slip past his fingers.

The only problem was that these youths weren't weak either. If he were to approach them carelessly, they might just view him as a bad person and make a move on him. Considering how he hadn't recovered from his injuries yet and he had been weakened from having only wild grass over the past half a month, he wasn't sure whether he would be a match for them.

Besides...

Activating his Eye of Insight, Zhang Xuan gazed deeply in a certain direction and shook his head slowly.

The Eye of Insight had proved to a reliable asset over the past half a month. It was the key that allowed him to detect danger beforehand and move around freely in the valley.

As for the Library of Heaven's Path, it had gone quiet for half a month ever since he arrived at the Firmament, and he recovered it only today. Most likely, it had been in the process of snatching some power from the heavens of the Firmament so that he could use it.

Through the Eye of Insight, Zhang Xuan realized that these youths hadn't come here alone. A powerful expert was following them at a distance of several hundred meters away.

Most likely, this expert was here to ensure their safety.

Otherwise, how deranged must a person be to think that it was a good idea to send a bunch of youths into a mountain range devoid of spiritual energy?

With such an expert protecting the youths, it would be infeasible for him to force them to talk through force. He had to find a way to win their trust so that he could leave the valley together with them. If that wasn't possible, it would be a great help if he could learn the location of the closest town from them too.

It seems like there's only one way then...

After thinking for a long while, an idea finally popped into Zhang Xuan's mind.

He quickly altered his appearance before walking out of the bushes quietly.

The disguise amulet which Luo Ruoxin gave him was not only effective here, it seemed to be considerably powerful too. Even with his current level of cultivation, he would still be unable to see through his own disguise even with the Eye of Insight.

He changed his appearance to an amiable gentleman in his early thirties, emanating an aura of warmth. As for his cultivation, it appeared to be unfathomable in the eyes of others!

At the very least, he was confident that those youths in front of him wouldn't be able to see through his disguise.

Done with his preparations, Zhang Xuan revealed his presence and said, "Who are the ones who have intruded on my territory and disturbed my peace?"

"Who is it?"

The youths were in the midst of cooking and resting when they were surprised by those abrupt words. Flustered, they quickly picked up their weapons before turning to the source of the voice.

There, they saw a man in his thirties standing atop a boulder. His robe fluttered gracefully in the face of the strong winds, leaving one with the impression that he was a deity that had descended to this world.

There was a slightly cold look in the man's eyes, hinting at his displeasure.

"What an actor…"

One of the ladies harrumphed coldly as she took a step forward, but before she could do anything, the white-robed young man suddenly raised his hand and stopped her.

"Elder, we are students from the Twilight Academy. We are here to carry out a mission entrusted to us, and I beg your pardon if we have disturbed your rest."

"Twilight Academy?" Zhang Xuan made sure to jot that name down in his mind.

Maintaining a nonchalant expression on his face, he said, "Is that so? It sure is a coincidence. I have brought my students here for a mission too."

"Ah!" Hearing those words, the white-robed young man heaved a sigh of relief. A moment later, he asked with a doubtful glint in his eyes, "May I know which academy are you from?"

Since the other party was a teacher, it was unlikely that he was someone without principles and morals. It should be unlikely for him to make a move on them for no reason.

"They are just a few slow-witted fellows that I met on my journey. I brought them here to take a look around."

Fearing that he would give himself away, Zhang Xuan was extremely vague with his words.

On the other hand, the white-robed young man took it as a sign that the other party was unwilling to share his personal details, so he clasped his fist and said, "Elder, since you were here first, we'll find another place to rest so as to not disturb you then!"

He was a little fearful of the man standing before him because he found that he was actually unable to see through the latter's cultivation.

It was only normal for him to be afraid of a powerful expert who had suddenly appeared in the midst of a remote mountain.

"There's no need for that. You mentioned that you are from the Twilight Academy, right? I happen to be acquainted with your principal, and there are a few matters which I would like to ask you."

It wasn't easy for Zhang Xuan to find these people, so how could he let them get away so easily?

"Oh? Elder, you are acquainted with our principal?"

The white-robed young man narrowed his eyes in surprise.

Their principal had already reached the level of a Superior God, making him one of the most powerful individuals in Twilight City. Yet, the person standing before them was actually acquainted with him? Didn't that mean that the other party had also reached the same level as well?

That would explain why he was unable to see through the other party. If the other party really intended to make a move on them, it was likely that they wouldn't even be able to hold on for a single breath before being killed.

On the other hand, after discreetly raising his standing again and again throughout the conversation, Zhang Xuan was finally going to get to asking where the Twilight Academy was located at when the voice of a middle-aged man echoed in the air, "Our principal has been in seclusion for a very long time. I am acquainted with all of his current friends, and I don't think he has any other friends either. May I know how I should address you?"

Following that, a middle-aged man in his forties flew forth from the woods and stopped right in front of the white- robed young man.

He was no other than the expert who had been discreetly following the youths to protect them.

"Teacher! What are you doing here?"

The youths were visibly taken aback by the sudden appearance of this man. Clearly, they were unaware that this middle-aged man had been following them all along.

"As your form teacher, how could I possibly allow you to head out for your first mission without taking any safety precautions?" the middle-aged man replied with a bitter smile before turning his sights to Zhang Xuan once more.

He had been a teacher in the Twilight Academy for twenty years now, and he had met almost all of the friends of the principals so far. He didn't recall the principal having a friend that was as young as the person standing before him.

Despite looking to be in his early thirties, he found that he was actually unable to see through the cultivation of the person standing before him. This left him a little taken aback.

In terms of strength, it was likely that the other party wouldn't pale in comparison even against their principal.

"I noticed that your Taiyang Acupoint was throbbing whereas your Sibai Acupoint was a little dark while you were using your movement technique earlier. This shows that you have been cultivating two cultivation techniques at once. It's true that those two cultivation techniques complement your movement technique, allowing you to move at incredible speeds, but due to the complexity, you ended up making an error in your cultivation, resulting in your failure to harmonize the two cultivation techniques together. As a result of that, you are constantly facing the issue of your divine energy refluxing..." Zhang Xuan remarked calmly.

"If I'm not mistaken, you must be Mo Yuan laoshi from the Twilight Academy, am I right?"

"H-how did you know that?" the middle-aged man widened his eyes in shock.

He wasn't shocked by the fact that the other party knew his name. He was considerably famous in the Twilight Academy, so it didn’t come as a surprise that others would have heard of him." What that had shocked him was how the other party was aware of the problems he faced in his cultivation. That was definitely something that couldn't be uncovered that easily.

The fact that the other party was able to see through him so easily showed that he had an incredible eye of discernment.

"That's not all. I noticed that you are having trouble trying to channel your energy to your Huihai Acupoint, resulting in your inability to overcome your bottleneck. If you cultivate for an extended period of time, blood will start seeping out of your mouth and nose, and you will feel a stifled feeling in your chest."

"This..." Mo Yuan's body trembled in disbelief.

It was understandable that a true expert would be able to discern the slight disharmony between his cultivation techniques and movement technique, but what that came afterward was a secret regarding his cultivation! For the other party to know about that as well...

There were usually two possibilities for such a situation. Either the person was extremely familiar with him, or else...

It could only mean to say that the other party was far stronger than him, perhaps surpassing the principal even!

Only an expert of this caliber would be able to see through the problems in his cultivation techniques and movement technique, as well as the issues he had been facing in his cultivation!

This lent credence to the other party's claim that he was acquainted with their principal.

After all, there was no reason why an expert of such caliber would have to resort to claiming that he was acquainted with their principal.

"I can tell that you are very diligent in your cultivation, but it's a pity that you have erred in your decisions. The Netherworld Sea Formula is highly demanding on one's soul, but your soul clearly hasn't reached the required level to practice this technique. You should be relieved that you haven't suffered a backlash so far despite adamantly forcing your way through!" Zhang Xuan chastised Mo Yuan.

While the middle-aged man was making his way here using his movement technique, Zhang Xuan was able to use the Library of Heaven's Path on him to compile a book on him.

According to what he had heard from Kong shi's clone, as he ascended through the worlds, the backlash he suffered from using the Library of Heaven's Path would only get worse and worse. As such, he felt that he should avoid using it wherever possible.

However, in order for him to gather the information he needed to leave this area, he knew that he had no choice but to resort to it.

Most cultivators were extremely secretive about the flaws in their cultivation, guarding it as a tight secret in the depths of their hearts. As such, pointing them out directly was usually an effective move to unnerve them.

Furthermore, his disguise amulet allowed him to appear unfathomable in the face of other cultivators. Given so, it wasn't too difficult for him to beguile the other party.

"Thank you for your pointers!" Mo Yuan's head was already drenched with cold sweat by now.

If he had been harboring any doubts beforehand, right now, such thoughts had already vanished from his mind.

Just like what the other party had said, he had forcefully cultivated the Netherworld Sea Formula despite his soul not meeting the prerequisites, resulting in him accumulating damage over time. Right now, it had already become a trauma in his body, and it was extremely unlikely for him to recover from it anymore.

"Elder, may I know how I should address you?" Mo Yuan lowered his posture a little to express his respect as he asked earnestly.

"I am..." Zhang Xuan tilted his chin up loftily as he responded.

"Yang Xuan!"

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