Zhang Yu was born about ten years before the end of the Difficult Dao Era. He joined the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect as an outer court disciple and was allocated to the Cleansing Jade Peak to study Merit Laws.
Cleansing Jade Peak's instructor, Sectional Leader Zhou, had mistakenly identified Zhang Yu's Physique as the Water Ox Physique and picked the Beneficence Water Longevity Law for him to cultivate. It resulted in a stagnation of Zhang Yu's cultivation. He studied at the Cleansing Jade Peak for more than five years, two years longer than any other disciple there, and was one of the hardest working and diligent disciples, but his cultivation, nevertheless, had always been in the back.
Even so, Sectional Leader Zhou never tried to help him. He simply thought that Zhang Yu didn't have talent for cultivation and ignored him during dao instructions. He never questioned Zhang Yu's cultivation, and left him to live and die by himself.
When Li Qiye was appointed as the Cleansing Jade Peak's new instructor, Luo Fenghua challenged Li Qiye but was quickly beaten by him. Li Qiye then beat all 300 disciples with the Serpent Punishing Stick.
The beating was repeated for the next two days. Unlike the others, Zhang Yu never tried to escape and tried to face the beatings head on. Each time he fell to the ground, he desperately tried to stand up. This left Li Qiye with a not-so-shallow impression.
On the fourth day, Zhang Yu volunteered to be the first for beating, because in his opinion it was no matter in which order they were beaten or how they pleaded for mercy; Li Qiye will still beat them all ruthlessly for challenging his authority.
To test his resolve and mentality, Li Qiye beat Zhang Yu especially vicioius. Again and again, he struck Zhang Yu, and Zhang Yu, again and again, stood up just to be struck by Li Qiye, to the ground. Eventually, Zhang Yu was no longer able to stand up from the strikes.
Li Qiye then explained, that if he was really unhappy with their behaviour, he would have killed them all already. Xu Pei was the first person who realized that Li Qiye wasn't just beating them for challenging his authority. He attacked their weakest points to help them to see and fix their flaws and thus increase their strength.
Li Qiye inspected Zhang Yu's cultivation and find out that he was actually born with the Primordial Chaos Ox Physique, not the Water Ox Physique, and cultivated the wrong Merit Law all these years. If he continue, there will not be a half step of improvement. The only choice he have is to destroy his cultivation and start everything from the beginning. Zhang Yu was frightened by this, but eventually agreed and Li Shuangyan destroyed his cultivation and he started anew with the Jade Spiral Merit Law.
Around half a year later, Sectional Leader Zhou appeared on the Cleansing Jade Peak all of a sudden. Sectional Leader Zhou summoned all of the disciples to check their cultivation and heavily criticised and beaten all of them. He was especially harsh with Zhang Yu, who had destroyed his cultivation. Luo Fenghua and several other disciples managed to escape. They rushed to the Lonely Peak to ask Li Qiye for help.
Li Qiye defeated Sectional Leader Zhou, but Zhou summoned a law enforcement team that "coincidentally" patrolled nearby. This law enforcement team was formed from the Cao Xiong's supporters and was led by his disciples, Protector Hu and Leng Shizhi. They immediately framed Li Qiye in many crimes and used it as an excuse to attack him. Only then Luo Fenghua's group realized that it was a trap for Li Qiye.
Killing sectional leaders and a protector was a huge crime, punishable by death. Zhang Yu and other disciples tried to persuade Li Qiye to flee to escape from death, but he nonchalantly refused and said that it was a self-defense, not murder.
Soon after, Cao Xiong, Dong Shenglong, Gu Tieshou and other Elders received the news and rushed to the Cleansing Jade Peak. Cao Xiong and Dong Shenglong blamed Li Qiye in betraying the Sect and killing his fellow disciples and the law enforcement team. Zhang Yu and other disciples were frightened, but Li Qiye easily reversed the situation and forced Dong Shenglong to retreat.
Three months later Li Qiye started to rearrange the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect. Li Qiye chose the most talented Sect members and divided them into four groups. The third group were the Cleansing Jade Peak's disciples with Xu Pei as their leader. After being personally trained by Li Qiye for a long time they became the Sect's future pillar.
Zhang Yu has a strong body and a honest face.
Zhang Yu is stubborn with tenacious mentality. He had the toughness of an old ox and a spirit that would not let go. He was one of the hardest working and diligent disciples. Zhang Yu was the type without many words.
Zhang Yu cultivated for more than five years after joining the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect without much success. Eventually Li Qiye find out that he cultivated the wrong Merit Law all these years. Li Shuangyan destroyed Zhang Yu's cultivation and he started anew with the Jade Spiral Merit Law.
Sectional Leader Zhou had mistakenly identified Zhang Yu's Physique as the Water Ox Physique. Years later Li Qiye find out that he was actually born with the Primordial Chaos Ox Physique, not the Water Ox Physique.
- Jade Spiral Merit Law: It became his main Merit Law under Li Qiye's instruction.
- Beneficence Water Longevity Law (formerly): It was his former main Merit Law. He cultivated it for more than five years without much success until Li Qiye's intervention.