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Having resolved the issue plaguing her mind, the tension immediately released from her shoulders. She took another look at the young man before her, and she suddenly realized that there was a huge change in the strength and disposition of the other party.

"Low-tier Celestial God... pinnacle? You've made a breakthrough?"

Qi Ling-er felt a little lightheaded.

"I stumbled upon a fortuitous encounter," Zhang Xuan replied calmly.

Qi Ling-er clutched her stifled chest as she felt her breathing becoming a little erratic.

It was as if the young man was someone sent down by the heavens to traumatize her!

If I recall correctly, you were only a low-tier God when we met a few days ago, right?

Just how many days has it been, and you are already a Celestial God!

That's three whole cultivation realms!

Is the bloodline of a God Monarch really that formidable, such that it allows one to overcome all cultivation bottlenecks with ease?

And what makes things worse is that fellow's attitude!

It's one thing if he managed to raise his cultivation with ease, but he makes it sound as if it's no big deal at all, feeling no sense of accomplishment whatsoever...

Do you know how difficult it is for others to become a Celestial God?

However, this made Qi Ling-er even more certain of Zhang Xuan's identity.

Other than someone who possessed the bloodline of a God Monarch, who else would have been able to pull off something as dastardly as this?

The Qi Clan was one of the top clans in Drifting Specter Royal City, and this gave them the privilege to reside on one of the floating mountains in the sky. Qi Ling-er rented an aerial divine beast, and the two of them were soon on their way toward the floating mountain.

It was at this moment that Zhang Xuan took a close look at Qi Ling-er's cultivation—high-tier God.

While her cultivation was lower than his, as an inheritor of the bloodline of a Conferred God King, it would be wise not to underestimate her strength.

"As members of the same clan, your fates are intertwined with one another. Ideally, wouldn't you all usually work together to surpass the other powers instead?" Zhang Xuan asked doubtfully as he recalled what Qi Ling-er had mentioned previously.

"There weren't many arguments within the clan before as the resources that a Conferred God King was entitled to were nearly unlimited. So, there were no conflicts in the interests among fellow clan members, and it was easier for everyone to get along with one another."

Then, with a deep sigh of lamentation, she said, "But forty years ago, when the spiritual energy in the atmosphere receded, the cultivation resources we are entitled to suddenly plummeted. It's inevitable that conflicts arose as a result of that. Twenty years ago, an accident occurred, and Qi Xun-er's father ended up dying from that. Due to that, she harbors great hatred toward my lineage, swearing to never let any of us off..."

"I see." Zhang Xuan nodded.

When resources became scarce, even blood brothers would turn on one another!

That was simply human nature.

"In the past, our lineage was one of the more powerful ones, so she didn't dare do anything to us. However, as her older brother rose through the ranks, the standing of our lineage gradually fell..."

Thinking about all the suffering that she had gone through over the years, Qi Ling-er could only shake her head bitterly.

If she had remained with the Qi Clan, she would have long become a Celestial God by now. It was due to the scarce resources that she had in Twilight City that she was stuck as a high-tier God.

"Tell me more about Qi Xun-er's older brother," Zhang Xuan said.

A person who was deemed to have the potential to become a God King was bound to have something more than just a powerful physical body. It was extremely likely that he possessed something far beyond what ordinary cultivators had.

"Her older brother is Qi Yue, and his bloodline is much purer than most of the clan members. On top of that, he is able to grasp any cultivation technique and battle technique swiftly, allowing him to rapidly improve. Currently, he is ranked seventh on the Board of Potential God Kings!" Qi Ling-er replied.

Even though they were in opposing factions, she was still pretty awed by Qi Yue's talent and strength.

"Board of Potential God Kings?"

"Yes. It's a formal ranking system within Drifting Specter Royal City that evaluates the possibility of a person becoming a God King. Most of those on the board fail to make the final step forward eventually, but nevertheless, the very fact that their names were once on the board is testament to the great strength that they possess," Qi Ling-er replied.

"If Qi Yue is in seventh place, doesn't that mean that there are six people who are even more talented than him?" Zhang Xuan was slightly astounded.

As a Conferred God King Clan, the Qi Clan was indubitably one of the strongest powers in Drifting Specter Royal City.

It was a little perplexing to see that their most talented member—not to mention that Qi Ling-er had even said that there had only been four others like him in the history of the Qi Clan—was only ranked in the seventh place.

"Ah, you are thinking too simply!"

Qi Ling-er understood where Zhang Xuan was coming from, so she quickly explained the significance of the ranking.

"Celestial Gods have a lifespan of one thousand years, and most of those who are ranked in the top ten have lived for at least five hundred years. Qi Yue is only in his late thirties, but he has already managed to squeeze into the seventh place of the ranking. This means that he could very well climb to first place within the next fifty or hundred years!"

Zhang Xuan widened his eyes in realization.

Youth, in itself, was a sign of potential. One had much more time than the others to achieve something that others had not yet done.

Just by considering the disparity in age, Qi Yue was indeed much more likely to become a God King compared to the others on the Board of Potential God Kings.

After flying for a while longer, Qi Ling-er turned to Zhang Xuan and asked, "Young Master Zhang, have you forged the pills that will help me to endure the energy within the Lucid Lunar Lake yet?"

They were about to arrive at the Qi Clan, but so far, she had not seen Zhang Xuan forging any pills. She could not help but worry that the young man had not prepared what she needed yet.

If so, it would be best for them to delay the matter a little.

Once they were at the Qi Clan, Qi Xun-er would not allow them to take a breather or make preparations at all.

"It'll be difficult for me to prepare anything effective without seeing the Lucid Lunar Lake in person. Otherwise, the medicinal effectiveness of the pills will be severely discounted," Zhang Xuan replied casually.

"Alright then..."

Seeing how confident Zhang Xuan was, Qi Ling-er decided to trust him.

Before long, the floating mountain shrouded by clouds was already right ahead of them.

Different from most mountain ranges, it felt as if someone had flipped the mountain upside down using overwhelming might. The bottom was sharp and pointed whereas the top was as flat as a mirror. A resplendent and massive manor sat on top of it, and countless celestial cranes flew around the mountain.

It really felt like a place where deities lived.

As expected of one of the top clans of Drifting Specter Royal City, it was really on a whole other level!

"Is there a formation around the mountain?" Zhang Xuan asked doubtfully as he assessed the mountain with his Eye of Insight.

He could clearly sense the presence of a formation shrouding the floating mountain, but for some reason, he was unable to see it with his Eye of Insight.

His Eye of Insight had become much stronger after he became a Celestial God, yet this formation was still able to escape his sight. This only meant that the formation was extremely powerful, most likely the doing of the Qi Clan's Conferred God King.

"There's a formation around the mountain, but you need not worry. It has the effect of discerning a person's bloodline, and as long as a visitor is around a clan member, the formation will automatically open up a passageway," Qi Ling-er replied.

Just as Qi Ling-er said, the aerial divine beast did not trigger the formation while flying toward the floating mountain. Soon, they were already standing before a set of humongous gates.

"Big Sister Ling-er, you're back!"

The two young men guarding the humongous gates recognized Qi Ling-er and rushed up to her with excited smiles on their faces.

"I'm here to meet the clan head!" Qi Ling-er informed them with a solemn look on her face.

"This way please."

Knowing that Qi Ling-er was there for official business based on her appearance, one of the young men glanced at Zhang Xuan before leading the way into the manor.

As soon as Zhang Xuan entered the manor, he felt rich spiritual energy surging into his body through his skin, leaving him with an urge to sit down and cultivate on the spot.

As expected of a power with a Conferred God King!

The spiritual energy in Royal City came nowhere close in comparison to this.

Zhang Xuan was confident that he would be able to become a middle-tier Celestial God quickly even without any high- tier God Essence Pills if he cultivated there.

Following the young man, they soon arrived before an empty grand hall.

They waited for a few minutes before two figures walked into the hall.

One of them was a middle-aged man in his early thirties. He walked all the way to the center seat in the room.

The other person was a young lady who was around the same age as Qi Ling-er. She was dressed in tight clothes that shaped out her curvaceous figure. She took her position behind the middle-aged man.

"Clan head!"

Qi Ling-er clasped her fist and greeted the middle-aged man.

Zhang Xuan knew that it was not his place to speak, so he decided to stand quietly by the side and simply watch the proceedings.

"Un," the middle-aged man replied with a slight nod.

He gazed at Qi Ling-er, assessing her, for a moment before he began speaking. "Even though Twilight City is located at a remote and backward location in the Sky of Drifting Specter, it is of great strategic importance to us. I remember telling you to stay there and gather intelligence, and you were not to return till I gave you permission to do so. Why did you return of your own accord without informing us? If not for Xun-er telling me about it, I would still have been kept in the dark!"

His voice was not loud, but it carried a lot of power. The atmosphere suddenly grew so heavy that it felt difficult to breathe.

God King! Zhang Xuan thought.

Even though the other party had not displayed his cultivation, he found that he was unable to perceive the depths of the other party's strength. Furthermore, his very presence seemed to meld harmoniously with the surroundings, such that it felt like nature would punish anyone who dared defy him.

Zhang Xuan quietly reined in his cultivation and watched quietly by the side, not showing any hint of standing up at all.

He had come out of curiosity for the Lucid Lunar Lake. He had no intentions of getting into a conflict with a God King from the Qi Clan.

As a result of that, the middle-aged man did not find anything amiss about Zhang Xuan. He thought that Zhang Xuan was just a subordinate that Qi Ling-er was bringing about with her, so he did not pay much heed to him.

"Clan head, I..."

The immense pressure coming from the middle-aged man left Qi Ling-er a little nervous. She was about to speak up and explain herself when the clan head suddenly interjected once more. "I'll only give you a single chance to explain yourself. If you can't give me a satisfactory explanation, I'll have to deal with you according to the clan rules!"

"I understand..." Qi Ling-er took a deep breath before she started speaking. "I stumbled upon a fortuitous encounter a while back, which resulted in my body undergoing transformational changes. So, I came back to request an opportunity to cultivate in the Lucid Lunar Lake once more."

"Don't you think your reason is a little too forced?" Before the middle-aged man could even speak up, the young lady beside him had already sneered coldly. "A person's talent is determined as their birth. Are you telling me that you are so naive as to think that it's possible for your talent to improve over time?"

Under the rules of the Qi Clan, the members of the core family had the right to enter the Lucid Lunar Lake three times, and Qi Ling-er had only used it once thus far. Thus, she had the discretion to apply for the opportunity to enter it once more.

However, it was a known fact within the Qi Clan that Qi Ling-er did not perform well the first time around, so what was the point of her entering it a second time?

If it was possible for a person to improve their talent, the Qi Clan would have been filled with geniuses.

"I also find it unbelievable as well, but I believe that the clan head should be able to tell whether I am lying or not," Qi Ling-er replied calmly.

"I can sense some changes in your aura, but I find it hard to believe what you are saying." The middle-aged man shook his head. "I am not very satisfied with the reason you have given me..."

"If you doubt my words, you can always test it out," Qi Ling-er quickly added.

"Test? How do you expect us to test your talent?" the young lady sneered.

It was possible to test a person's fighting prowess and cultivation, but how could something as abstract as 'talent' possibly be tested?

"Clan head, you can impart an identical battle technique to both Sister Xun-er and me and give us an hour to learn it. After that, we'll suppress our cultivation to the same level and compete with one another. The person who is able to comprehend it to a higher level is bound to be more talented than the other. Xun-er, you should have no issue with that, right?" Qi Ling-er proposed with a smile.

As someone who was able to consolidate her power and rule over a black market for many years without facing any problems, she was no pushover at all. Qi Xun-er's tipoff had left her in a difficult and awkward position, so she was determined to return the favor.

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