(Elder Gong POV)
I knew Master Lin was a heaven sent genius from a very early stage, our entire Sect had celebrated his talent when it became evident. It was because of him that our Sect finally managed to break out of our fifth ranking and straight into the top of the list.
There were definitely a few of us who were envious of his talents, but the fact that he never flaunted his position and skills around helped keep those kinds of people few in number. It was a better idea to get in his good graces so we could all learn and make use of his knowledge after all.
At least, that's what we thought we could do.
Sect Master Long had seen his talent very early during Master Lin's student days and had issued a Sect decree that we were to protect him as much as possible. Anyone who possessed a speck of ill will towards him will be severely punished.
Though some of us had protested such a favoritism at the start, the Sect Master had turned out to be right in the end when Master Lin showcased his unrivalled abilities.
His talent was just simply God-like. Blessed with a perfect memory and an incredible learning capacity and speed, there was virtually nothing he could not do.
People like us were unable to replicate it and could only watch as he soared higher and higher.
Sure, he helped us in comprehending all the secrets of Cultivation while he was an Elite Practitioner, but the fact that he can complete what takes us a decade to do in less than a year was still insurmountable.
The Practitioners within our Sect managed to improve their proficiency steadily but none of us were able to soar like Master Lin did.
When he was granted the position of Master and participated in the annual Sect Showcase Festival, that was when our Sect rose to the undisputed top.
And now, after mostly keeping himself within his own courtyard to train for the past two years, he finally came out to accept new disciples this year.
We had been a little disappointed that he had taken a seemingly talentless girl under his wing instead of any of the talents, but we had brushed it off as Master Lin looking for a servant.
But things changed when he returned from his little trip and his disciples showcased their talents during the Festival.
He had claimed to receive an incredibly fortunate encounter in the form of a divine spirit while fulfilling the Sect Request at the fox village, enabling him to soar even higher and grant the servant girl an incredibly profound talent.
Apparently the two of them had gone through an extremely gruelling trial in an astral world where time did not exist, fighting thousands of battles and defeating hundreds of experts.
He had also claimed to have picked up his second disciple from there, a fox youkai who had been the guardian of the village but had fallen prey to the spirit's machinations.
A nine-tailed fox youkai was an extreme rarity. It is no exaggeration to say that a normal person might have a better chance at finding a Phoenix Ember than meeting a nine-tailed fox youkai.
A few of us had travelled to the fox village to look for said spirit but none of them had found the village, much less the divine spirit. Apparently without a fox youkai as a guide, uninvited guests would not be able to enter the village on their own.
Though the small girl with multi-coloured hair and the bob-haired one had yet to show any incredible talents thus far, we had no doubts that they will turn into powerhouses in their own right under Master Lin's guidance.
I had expected that to be extremely far into the future though.
At that point in time, I had thought that I was still above Master Lin in terms of teaching proficiency. Sure his disciples were strong, as evidenced by their stellar performance during the Sect Showcase Festival, but I at least knew more about teaching students than he did, right?
But that day when Master Lin's disciples came to me for their first class was the day I realised how insignificant I was.
When Master Lin had approached me to request that I assist in teaching his disciples for a few lessons, I had foolishly believed that he had approached me because of my experience and knowledge.
For their first class, I had suggested a little sparring session for the students to get to know each other. Nothing was better than knowing where you and your peers' strengths and weaknesses lie so you can aid in each other's growth after all.
Butch, the most cool-headed of my students, was unexpectedly the first one to step up.
He was one of my top students, having spent some time with Master Lin as his room mate allowed him to learn more things than others.
If all goes well for him, he should be taking the advancement test to be an Elite Practitioner by the end of this year.
But even with his talent, that fox youkai still defeated him easily.
Not entirely unexpected.
These two were able to defeat Elite Practitioners at their level after all.
What surprised me was Butch confessing to that fox youkai so earnestly.
But she had just turned up her nose at him and rejected him without a second thought.
"Ara ara~ You can't possibly think I'm not taken already can you? Fufufu~ This big sis has already found her destined mate so I'll have to turn you down."
Butch retracted his hand and bowed even lower, "May I at least know who has taken your heart?"
"Ufufufu~ You may not. Lest the others" She glanced towards the other students' direction. "Bring trouble for my mate."
I felt the silent threat behind her words.
Butch had raised his head, "I understand, please allow me to at least be acquainted with you at least."
"Ara ara? How gentlemanly. That is fine with this big sister."
With that little drama over, I tried to resume the class once more, gathering them together to do an analysis on the spar.
But unfortunately, I had no idea what that fox youkai did to bypass Butch's supposedly impenetrable defense.
"Ara ara? You don't know? How interesting" The fox youkai laughed, tilting her head upwards at me.
The girl with golden hair had crossed her arms then, "Are you not aware of the applications of Space and Astral quarks?"
I blinked at her, "I do. But what do those two quarks have that allows her tail to stretch so far and fast while also piercing through his defenses like paper?"
"Muuu? Old man don't know? Papa taught Cai Hong" The little girl commented while sucking on her finger.
"Fufufu~ The Space quarks are used to extend my tail while imbuing them with Astral quarks lets it bypass defenses that are only skin deep," The fox explained with obvious disdain in her voice.
My eyes narrowed, "But But there aren't any Cultivation Techniques that allows anyone to do such a thing Unless"
"Ara ara? You catch on quite fast. Yes, they're Original Techniques."
My jaw dropped, "Master Lin has you girls crafting Original Techniques?!"
"Yes, Master has instructed us on how to do so," the golden haired one added.
Do they even know how proficient one needs to be before they can craft their own Original Techniques?!
One has to have a complete understanding of the Elemental Quark they are trying to create a Technique from!
Just because you know that fire is hot does not mean you could create an Original Technique so easily! There's much more to fire than just heat which would take decades of study to understand!
There's a reason why old Cultivation Techniques are so widely used as it paves the way for Practitioners to understand the circulated element more easily!
I only knew of two Elders who have crafted their own Techniques and both of them were well beyond two hundred years old!
And right now, these girls are telling me that under Master Lin's guidance, they are already able to create their own Techniques under a year of study?!
I gulped, "Is Is Master Lin also crafting his own Techniques?"
"Hmm? Of course!" The golden haired one affirmed indignantly. "Master had already created quite a number already you know?"
"Ah I see, I see In that case umm Could both of you teach what the intricacies are for the elements you are familiar with today?" I chanced.
"Ara? Shouldn't the Elder be teaching us?"
"Oh ermm This is to test whether you truly know your elements as you say you do. See this as a way for me to understand your abilities and how far Master Lin has taught you."
The golden haired girl narrowed her eyes at me, "Hmm Very well then. As you know, my speciality is Lightning"
I learnt a lot in that lesson.
It seems that Master Lin has me beat at everything after all...
I might even need to bow my head to his disciples at this rate
"Anyway, since I'm already teaching" The golden haired girl paused, fishing out a thick leather bound book from within her robes. "I might as well also teach you guys about our Lord and Saviour."