In the following few days, having tasted the sweet fruits of success, Gu Hongyi came by the creek practically everyday to receive Zhou Yuan's aid in mastering the Ethereal Form technique.
With Zhou Yuan's help, she progressed by leaps and bounds. In a short four days, the number of apertures she had unblocked rose from 10 to 25.
One must know that the later apertures would become harder and harder to sense. In a normal situation, Gu Hongyi would at best unblock 5 apertures in four days.
The rapid progress under Zhou Yuan's guidance slightly alarmed even Gu Hongyi herself. Hence, even someone as prideful as her was now a little more respectful when she saw Zhou Yuan during these few days.
However, Zhou Yuan did not pay much heed to her change in attitude. After all, the Genesis jade he wanted was already his...
The only thing that bothered him was that this tiny amount of Genesis jade was still nowhere near enough to rent out the high grade little Heaven tier Nine Dragons Canon.
A creek flowed within a mountain.
Zhou Yuan was seated on a rock, his eyes shut in cultivation, while Gu Hongyi was also present nearby.
Zhou Yuan suddenly opened his eyes as he slowly expelled a breath of white Qi from his mouth. At this moment, a peculiar undulation spread from his body.
One could only watch as half his body gradually turned incorporeal, giving off a faint feeling of transparency.
"You… you've mastered the first level?!" A shocked voice sounded from the side. Gu Hongyi had opened her eyes, and was now staring at Zhou Yuan in astonishment.
Etherealising half one's body was only achievable when one reached the first level of the Ethereal Form technique.
Zhou Yuan's expression did not change as he swept her a look and said, "You've already completed 25 apertures, is it that strange for me to reach the first level?"
Gu Hongyi froze momentarily, feeling a little foolish due to how shocked she was. When she thought about it, however, she felt that it was a very normal reaction. It was after all far too rare for someone to reach the first level in such a short span of time.
“Now that I’ve mastered the first level, any attack that lands on my body will have its power neutralized by nearly 30%.” A satisfied look filled his eyes as he looked at his etherealized hand.
Do not look down on this 30%, because it would often be enough to bring about a reversal in battle.
Of course, the neutralization effect was not absolute, and there existed certain special methods that could counter it. If not, the Ethereal Form technique would not be limited to a mere mid grade little Heaven Genesis technique, but instead be qualified to enter the ranks of even the true Heaven tier.
All in all, the Ethereal Form technique would greatly boost one's survivability on all fronts.
“You’re actually pretty low-key…” Gu Hongyi suddenly laughed as she looked at Zhou Yuan. "Although you appear to be a first layer Alpha-Origin, after spending these past few days with you, I've come to realise that you should have a place amongst the recently established outer mountains' top ten."
Nearly half a month had passed since the many disciples arrived at the Cangxuan Sect. The acclimatization period was basically over for everyone, causing them to naturally shift their attention to competing and comparing.
As such, after some estimation and general consensus, the outer mountain disciples came up with the so-called ten great outer mountain disciples. It had spread like wildfire during the past two days, making it one of the hottest topics in the outer mountains.
The one who stood at the top was to no one's surprise, Lu Feng.
While Gu Hongyi was second.
Amongst the ten great outer mountain disciples, seven were geniuses from the Shengzhou continent, while only three were from the other continents… and it just so happened that Qiao Xiu was number ten.
As for Zhou Yuan… no one had even mentioned him. He was after all a first layer Alpha-Origin, and there appeared to be just too huge of a gap between him and the third layer Alpha-Origin disciples.
However, Gu Hongyi was clearly not of the same opinion, hence her previous words.
From what she could see, Zhou Yuan was too good at concealing his strength. If he wanted to, he would surely have a place amongst the ten great outer mountain disciples.
Zhou Yuan mere chuckled when he heard this. "Is there any meaning to these rankings? It's not the peak selection ceremony will be decided based on it."
He was indeed not the slightest bit interested in it. After all, the higher one was ranked, the more humiliating it would be if one ended up being unable to match up in the peak selection ceremony.
Moreover, it was preposterous that Yaoyao had not even been included in the ten great outer mountain disciples, a fact that only made Zhou Yuan look down on its weight. He knew that if Yaoyao were to act, even Lu Feng would not be her match.
Gu Hongyi frowned slightly. "We're all youngsters, if we don’t have aspirations, we won’t have drive. How then will we aim for even greater heights? You’re the weird one, so young and yet so similar to an old man.”
Zhou Yuan could only helplessly roll his eyes. Can't I not be a part of your pointless rankings?
Just as Zhou Yuan was about to speak, he suddenly sensed something and lifted his head towards a certain direction where the sound of rushing wind could be heard.
A figure hurriedly flew over, his round, fat figure making it painfully apparently as to who it was.
It was naturally Shen Wanjin.
Shen Wanjin was currently dripping with sweat. The moment he caught sight of Zhou Yuan, he hastily shouted, "Little Yuan bro, Zhu Feng is heading here with several others! They don't look friendly at all."
"Zhu Feng?" Zhou Yuan's eyes narrowed slightly. It seemed that the two brothers had finally reached their limits.
He knew that it was impossible for Zhu Yue to silently sit by when Zhou Yuan had ‘snatched’ Gu Hongyi away.
"Is Zhu Yue amongst them?" Asked Zhou Yuan.
If Zhu Yue was coming too, Zhou Yuan would have to go bring Tuntun over. After all, a good man would not purposely suffer for no reason. No matter how arrogant he was , he would not directly face an inner mountain disciple like Zhu Yue when he was only at the first layer Alpha-Origin stage.
"Nope." Shen Wanjin shook his head.
Zhou Yuan let out a carefree laugh. If Zhu Yue's wasn't coming, a mere Zhu Feng would not be able to cause any trouble.
Shen Wanjin only grew even more worried at the sight of Zhou Yuan's carefree appearance. Though Zhu Feng was not part of the newly crowned ten great outer mountain disciples, he was still above average amongst the first class disciples, his strength far surpassing Han Shan's.
While they conversed, the sound of rushing wind had already approached the entrance to the mountain. Zhou Yuan soon saw a dozen figures fly over, landing a short distance from the creak.
The one leading the group was naturally Zhu Feng.
Zhu Feng stared at Zhou Yuan with hostility as he frostily said, "Zhou Yuan, I do not know what kind of honeyed words you used to scam junior sister Gu Hongyi, but I advise you to stop with your tricks, because you will not be able to bear the responsibility of affecting her training!"
Gu Hongyi's pretty face immediately turned ice-cold as she angrily said, "Zhu Feng, what does where I train have to do with you? You’d better get lost!"
Her bright eyes icily looked towards Zhu Feng and gang, causing them to stumble slightly in response.
However, Zhu Feng was not scared off by this, summoning his courage as he said, “Junior sister Hongyi, we’re doing this for your sake. You should not listen to this guy’s flowery words.”
Gu Hongyi's anger turned to laughter. "Flowery words? Do you fools know what level I've reached while practicing the Ethereal Form technique with him?"
"I've already unblocked 25 apertures. If I were to continue under Zhu Yue instead, I don't think I'll even reach 15, right?!"
Zhu Feng's expression changed slightly, while the other disciples looked towards Gu Hongyi in disbelief as they involuntarily cried out, "25? How can that be?!"
However, they knew that someone like Gu Hongyi would never lower herself to lie to them.
Could Zhou Yuan really be so capable?
Zhu Feng's expression fluctuated indeterminately. Soon after, he looked towards Zhou Yuan in contempt and said, "All of us know how talented junior sister Hongyi is, so it's not surprising for her to accomplish this in a few days."
"But I'm afraid you don't have the qualifications to take credit for her success."
His words were clear insinuating that Gu Hongyi's amazing talent was the only reason for her accomplishments, and had nothing to do with Zhou Yuan. Gu Hongyi's earlier words were merely her trying to defend him.
The others inwardly nodded upon hearing this, finding this the more acceptable explanation.
After all, they would rather believe in Gu Hongyi's astonishing talent than a mere first layer Alpha-Origin having such capability…
Gu Hongyi was so frustrated that she no longer knew what to say. The brains of these people were too good at coming up with bullshit.
Just as she was about to begin scolding again, Zhou Yuan stopped her with an outreached hand.
Zhou Yuan helplessly said, "It is useless for you to reason with them."
Gu Hongyi glared at Zhou Yuan. Why would she bother if not for him.
"When you encounter such people, there's no need to talk too much…"
Zhou Yuan grinned at Gu Hongyi as something seemed to slowly climb up in his eyes. "Didn't you say something about me earlier? I recall you saying I'm like an old man, right?"
"It’s just drive, I do have some too…”
His gaze turned towards Zhu Feng and the rest, his grin widening with a hint of blade like iciness.
"Aren't you guys here to stir up trouble…"
"Come then, you guys are just a bunch of trash anyways. Shall I take on all of you alone, or do you guys want to come at me together…"
"I leave the choice to you."
At the final word, Zhou Yuan's expression turned completely cold as ice, berserk Genesis Qi abruptly erupting from his body like a storm.
Behind him, a strange splendour appeared in Gu Hongyi's eyes as she gazed at the now overbearing young man who gave off an incomparably pressuring aura.
It was as if the current Zhou Yuan and the gentle young man who usually taught her were two completely different people.