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A day as my teacher, a lifetime as my father.

Due to the culture of the Master Teacher Continent, he had a very firm view of what the relationship between a teacher and his students should be. This was especially so after the time he had spent with Zhao Ya and the others.

Even though they were not related by blood, they were already closer than kin.

Thinking about his students filled him with many different emotions, such as the worry for their safety, the sorrow of their parting, the delight at their achievements, the expectations for their future... These feelings filled his chest, and just like hard liquor, they were slowly maturing in his heart.

Even though he had the ingredients in place, creating and mastering a feasible cultivation technique was not something that could be done on the spur of a moment. So, instead of rushing right into it, he chose to broaden his understanding of the Firmament first.

He immersed himself in his studies for an unknown period of time, till a voice in the distance suddenly called out to him. "Young Master!"

Opening his eyes, he realized that Sun Qiang and the Xingmeng Sword Saints were already standing right in front of him.

Not only had they already reached godhood, they had managed to advance their cultivation to the same level as him, high-tier God.

Not only so, he could sense the sharpness of a sword from their very presence, creating an unfathomable aura around them.

"That swordsmanship..." Zhang Xuan frowned.

As someone who had created 'A Heart of Intertwined Threads', he was someone who had already found his own path in swordsmanship, creating a style that belonged to him and him alone. This was what sword practitioners termed as the level of transcendence.

He could tell with a glance that the Sword Intent that the three of them had practiced was vastly different from before.

For example, the swordsmanship that Sword Saint Xing had practiced previously tapped into the temporal laws of the world. It was built upon the fusion of swiftness and slowness, a little similar to Taiji.

However, after undergoing the swordsmanship training of the envoy from the Sky of Heavenly Sword, his Sword Intent felt more like a sealed fortress, embracing the concept of 'protect'.

While 'protect' might have appeared to carry a similar meaning to 'defense', they were two vastly different concepts.

Defense was about fending off all malicious intent that was coming at one, similar to what a tortoiseshell was to a tortoise. On the other hand, protect encompassed the idea of counterattack as well. It was about using any means to eliminate the danger.

"Is this the swordsmanship of the Sky of Heavenly Sword?" Zhang Xuan asked curiously.

"This is the swordsmanship imparted to us by an expert of the Sky of Heavenly Sword. You went through all sorts of hardships when you were younger, and we weren't able to give you the love and protection that a parent should offer to their child. So, we swore we won't let any more harm come to you, even at the expense of our lives," Sword Saint Meng said with a solemn nod.

Having to put her child through the turmoil of having his bloodline stripped would always remain an unhealable wound in the depths of her heart. She was determined to never let anything similar happen again.

It just so happened that the conceptualization of the Sky of Heavenly Sword's Sword Intent was aligned with her state of mind, thus allowing her swordsmanship to grow by leaps and bounds. In less than a day, not only did she manage to reach a new height in her mastery of swordsmanship, her cultivation had advanced greatly as well.

Zhang Xuan turned to look at his father, and even though the latter remained silent, his eyes were unwavering like his mother.

Last but not least, he turned to look at Sun Qiang, and the latter scratched his head awkwardly and explained, "Well, Young Master, you are my backing and my greatest source of support. It goes without saying that I must ensure your safety, right? Or else, how am I to brag and show off before others?"

Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan could not help but chuckle a little.

While the level of swordsmanship of those three was not on par with him, it was heartening to see that they finally had the ability to protect themselves.

Furthermore, he could tell that they were already on the verge of achieving a breakthrough to become Celestial Gods.

With a Celestial God tamed beast and four high-tier Gods, not to mention that there was also the enigmatic little yellow chick, they had finally accrued enough power for them to at least make a place for themselves in the Firmament.

"City Lord Wu, may I know if you have heard of the Spirit God?" Zhang Xuan asked.

While he was browsing through the books earlier, he could not help but notice that there were no records regarding the Spirit God. However, based on what he had heard from Du Qingyuan, there was no doubt whatsoever that Luo Ruoxin was in the Firmament.

Previously, due to his lack of strength, he had worried that asking too much could bring trouble to himself, so he had not dared inquire carelessly about this matter. However, now that they had all become high-tier Gods, they would be leaving Twilight City very soon. So, it was time for him to start gathering some news regarding Luo Ruoxin.

The fact that she was able to traverse through the dimension barrier of the Firmament meant that she was likely a God King at the very least. Considering the limited number of God Kings in the Firmament, it should not be too difficult for him to acquire some news on her.

While Mo Yuan might not know too much about the God Kings and God Monarchs of the world, as the head of Twilight City, Wu Fangqing was likely much more knowledgeable than him.

"Spirit God?" Wu Fangqing contemplated for a long while before shaking his head. "I'm afraid I have never heard of such a person. The Firmament is vast and boundless, and there are countless experts that roam the lands. Inevitably, there are a lot of people I haven't heard of. That being said, do you know what kind of unique abilities or battle techniques that the Spirit God you speak of specializes in? I think that would be a good place for you to start your investigation from."

There were simply too many aliases in the Firmament, and there were some people who went by multiple aliases as well. For example, most addressed God Monarch of the Sky of Drifting Specter as Demon Monarch Qiankun, but there were also those who addressed him as Demon Emperor Qiankun, and so on...

Even though the alias 'Spirit God' did not ring a bell with him, he should be able to deduce a thing or two based on what this Spirit God was capable of.

"Unique abilities... I guess it would be the use of rituals then. She's able to perform spatial teleportation through the use of rituals," Zhang Xuan replied.

When he met Luo Ruoxin on the Master Teacher Continent, most of the cultivation techniques and battle techniques that she displayed were those that were present on the Master Teacher Continent. As such, none of them could be considered her specialty.

However, if one spoke about the feats that she had achieved so far, her ability to descend or ascend from world to world through the use of rituals was indubitably an extremely powerful ability.

Through the books he had just read, he realized that not even Conferred God Kings were necessarily capable of such a feat.

"Spatial teleportation?" Wu Fangqing frowned a little. "The spatial teleportation you speak of should be referring to instantaneous movement through space, right? That's a feat that only God Monarchs are able to pull off. So, I don't think that I'm in a good position to talk too much about it... As for rituals, I'm not too sure for the other eight Skies, but I do know that our Sky of Drifting Specter is particularly proficient in that. Most of the Celestial Gods and God Kings in Royal City are able to summon the souls of the dead through the use of rituals..."

"The Sky of Drifting Specter specializes in rituals?" Zhang Xuan was surprised.

"Indeed. In every major city of the Sky of Drifting Specter, there is something that we call the 'Netherworld Pool'. Twilight City has one as well. It absorbs the Anima of Yearning coming from those living in the city to regather the souls of heroic spirits. The process is extremely slow, but it is definitely doable," Wu Fangqing said.

"Absorbing the Anima of Yearning to regather the souls of heroic spirits? What is the Anima of Yearning, and how are the souls of heroic spirits regathered?" Zhang Xuan was a little confused.

Perhaps because this concerned the secrets of the Sky of Drifting Specters, there were no records about this in the books that he had read.

On the other hand, knowing how esteemed the young man standing before him was, Wu Fangqing did not dare hide anything from him.

"To put it simply, the Anima of Yearning refers to one's desires and yearnings. For example, if a loved one passes away, it's normal for a person to want to somehow reverse it all. This desire gives rise to the Anima of Yearning, which can be absorbed and accumulated in the Netherworld Pool. Over time, it nourishes the fragmented souls within the Netherworld Pool and bestows upon them consciousness.

"However, this is an extremely lengthy process, easily taking centuries, millenniums, and even dozens of millenniums. Ordinary humans won't live long enough to see to the end of the process. Once they pass away, the Anima of Yearning fueling the regathering of the fragmented soul will come to a halt as there's no one else who remembers such a person anymore. As such, even if ordinary cultivators were placed inside the Netherworld Pool, it's impossible for them to be revived. However, it's a different case for the kin of God Kings.

"God Kings have a much longer lifespan, allowing them to provide a constant supply of the Anima of Yearning to the Netherworld Pool, so more often than not, the person that they yearn are able to return back to the world. At the same time, for those who have made a meritorious contribution to the Sky of Drifting Specter, they will enjoy the privilege of having their ancestral tablet put up on altars after their death. Over time, the Anima of Yearning of those who pay respects to them will build up, allowing them to return to the world."

"I see..." Zhang Xuan nodded in realization.

He did not expect the Sky of Drifting Specter to actually have such a side to it. Using the Anima of Yearning to reconstruct the souls of the dead... that was indeed a formidable feat.

Sword Saint Meng could not help but ask, "In other words, as long as a person who has died is remembered by the living, there's a good chance that they will be able to live an eternal life in the Netherworld Pool?"

"I guess you could say so." Wu Fangqing nodded.

As long as a person was remembered, they would constantly receive the Anima of Yearning, allowing them to remain alive in the Netherworld Pool. Of course, the amount of Anima of Yearning one received would also affect whether one was able to take form and regain consciousness.

"However, the key to it is that a ritual must be held for the possession of the deceased to be seeded in the Netherworld Pool. Otherwise, the Anima of Yearning will not help to regather that person's soul," Wu Fangqing explained.

"I see. Other than the Sky of Drifting Specter, do you know any other powers that specialize in rituals?" Zhang Xuan asked on.

"I can't think of anything else on the spot. If you wish to know more about this, it would help if you made a trip over to Royal City. The people over there are better connected, so you should be able to find out what you need over there more easily... Oh right, your business partner, Qi Ling-er, is someone from Royal City. She should have some connections over there that can help you acquire news on what you need," Wu Fangqing said.

"Oh? Alright, I understand. Thanks for your help," Zhang Xuan replied.

With his business at City Lord Manor done, he quickly returned to his residence and instructed Sun Qiang to send a message over to Qi Ling-er.

In less than fifteen minutes, a seductive lady was already standing at the entrance of the residence.

"Young Master Zhang!"

Qi Ling-er's attitude was particularly respectful.

Even though she had no idea which power Zhang Xuan was from, she knew very well that she would be courting death if that someone of her caliber dared oppose someone who possessed the bloodline of a God Monarch.

"I need you to help me look into something. Have you ever heard of the 'Spirit God' or 'Luo Ruoxin'?" Zhang Xuan asked.

Qi Ling-er pondered for a moment before shaking her head in response. "I don't think I've heard of those names before."

"Then, do you have any connections that can help me look into this matter?" Zhang Xuan asked.

"I can do that, but I'll have to return to Royal City first. Twilight City is simply too remote, so it's hard to find out anything here," Qi Ling-er replied.

"If that's the case, I'll have to trouble Miss Qi to follow us to Royal City. May I know if you have time for that?" Zhang Xuan asked.

Even the strongest individual in Twilight City, Wu Fangqing, was only a low-tier Celestial God. If Zhang Xuan wanted to advance to greater heights and learn more about the Firmament, he would have to head to a higher tier city.

However, the issue was that he did not have any connections in Royal City, which would make it terribly difficult for him to move around. Without a doubt, things would be much more convenient if he could tap into Qi Ling-er's connections.

"Hahaha! Since it's you who has made this request, Young Master Zhang, I am more than delighted to be of assistance to you." Qi Ling-er's eyes lit up in excitement as she hurriedly nodded in response.

She was just thinking of how she could get on good terms with this young man when this opportunity fell right into her lap. Her shrewd mind was already calculating the benefits she would stand to gain from strong ties with someone who possessed the bloodline of a God Monarch.

So, she put on a slightly hesitant look and remarked worriedly, "It's just that..."

"Feel free to tell me if you need anything. I don't expect you do this favor for me for free," Zhang Xuan replied.

He knew that Qi Ling-er was not a generous person. The only reason she had agreed to help him was because she expected to receive something in return.

"I'm relieved to hear those words from you. Well, it's actually not that big a matter, so let's discuss the matter further when we arrive at Royal City. Don't worry, I have no intention of forcing you to do something against your own will," Qi Ling-er said.

Very well." Zhang Xuan nodded.

If the other party was unwilling to speak, there was no need for him to force her into it.

"How far is Royal City away from here? How do we get there?" Sun Qiang asked.

"The Royal City of the Sky of Drifting Specter is millions of li away from here. If we ride a divine beast there, the chances are that we won't reach our destination even after tiring ourselves to death. A more feasible way is to use the Teleportation Formations, and it just so happens that there's one in Twilight City," Qi Ling-er said with a smile.

"Teleportation Formation?" Zhang Xuan frowned.

There was actually such a thing in Twilight City? Why had he not heard anyone talking about it then?

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