The Han family was one of the oldest and strongest families of the south-eastern continent. They had no shortage of resources and groomed many talents from a young age. The training these talents went through was brutal. Only the most exceptional and the most loyal would survive. Survivors would be carefully nurtured by the family and experience explosive growth.
Serving the Han family young master was the greatest honor for these survivors. This meant that the family head personally trusted them to serve and protect the most important member of the family. Not even the guards of the family head had such a strict selection process.
Previously, their young master was mostly focused on cultivation and didn't give them many orders. The situation started to change about two months ago. Their young master gave out big missions that involved many experts in quick succession. Although the results were terrible, those that participated didn't miss the sequence of events that lead to Zhao family cleansing. These missions weren't simple.
Unknowingly, expectations started to build up. Then came the summons to all of the young master's people. Over two thousand experts, the most loyal of the Han family, was to report to him inside Starfall Mountain.
When they arrived they heard about the re-education initiative. Their puzzlement turned into shock as the lecture went on.
The concept of Anomalies was hard to believe at first. The specificity of the examples they heard was baffling. Complete restructuring of the way they operated gave them an ominous feeling. Finally, the crisis protocols that the young master introduced made their blood run cold.
These protocols involved contingency plans against many different parties. Traitors, netherworld demons, outer factions, internal factions, other realms, hidden organizations, the list went on and on. Most of the plans involved some form of calamity that befell the Starfall Mountain Sect and the Han family.
What if the traitors could gain control of the grand array and wipe out the Han faction? What if the continent bands together and try to wipe out the Han family? What if a Han family member betrays the family and assassinates the higher-ups? What if another Breach happens? What if Breach appears in the middle of the sect? When to fight? When to run? Where to run? How to run?
On the spot, their young master made comprehensive simulations of many more nightmare scenarios. The conclusion that everyone arrived was extremely bleak. Destruction was inevitable in almost every scenario.
If anyone else had come up with these stories they would've beaten them to death long ago. However, this was the Han family's young master. The fact that he was talking about taking precautions to such an extent was both eye-opening and extremely concerning. The ominous feeling they already had grew even stronger.
Many of these scenarios also included Anomalies to some extent. At first, they couldn't understand the reason why the young master was paying so much attention to Anomalies. Only after listening to the crisis protocols they realized the gravity of the situation.
All of the experts gathered around Old Peng after the Q&A session. None of them were willing to wait. Old Peng, being the de facto organizer of the group, quickly implemented Han De's restructuring instructions and sent large amounts of experts to gather intelligence about the potential Anomalies. They lacked the numbers, but they couldn't just sit by any longer.
One large group went to the Misty Mountains. These mountains held thousands of sects. Many of them were small, only a few could be considered mid-sized. Misty Mountains themselves might look small in a continental map, but in reality, they were huge. One of the reasons why Han De was so against 'shaving off' the Misty Mountains was its size. When compared to Earth, this mountain formation was larger than the continent of Asia.
By and large, this operation was many times worse than finding a needle in a haystack. However, Han De's lackeys were determined to search mountain by mountain, sect by sect, village by village.
* * *
Han De woke up energized. Yesterday's lecture was a refreshing experience for the current him. He had reasonable confidence that over time, his 'Extremely Incompetent' lackeys would upgrade to 'Very Incompetent'.
Re-education of his lackeys also reminded Han De of the education standards of this world. Like ancient Earth, education here was a privilege. The cultivation idiot didn't have any knowledge of the mortal education standards, but Han De suspected literacy would be extremely low. Ning Bi was already incredibly lucky that her parents taught her how to read and write.
One could not cultivate if they couldn't read their cultivation method. There were probably some that got taught verbally, but unless they were heaven-defying talents there was no chance of them advancing.
In the cultivation world, nearly all education was handled by the sects. Unfortunately, a sect's first focus was power. They wouldn't teach anything unrelated to their cultivation methods. In some cases, they wouldn't even teach the related knowledge too. Cultivators were extremely selfish, they wouldn't easily share their experience. Knowledge was power. Literally.
Han De was raised in a modern society that valued education. He didn't care about the pettiness of the cultivation world. If Ning Bi could learn some general knowledge, his life would only be easier in the long run.
'It's also never a bad idea to gain favor points from Ning Bi!'
Han De started writing science education topics on a scroll. He only needed basic knowledge, just middle-school level was enough. What is fire, what is lightning, speed of sound, speed of light, gravity, magnetism, radioactivity, and so on.
'Should I convert Newton's laws into Han De's laws? That is in line with the arrogant young master persona, but it is a bit risky. Hmm, just calling it laws of motion is enough I guess.'
'Later I can move on to basic physics, chemistry, and biology. But… would they even be useful here?'
Han De was currently living in a magical supermassive world. The existence of spiritual energy messed things up. A lot.
'How do you even explain gravity in a supermassive world? How does it not collapse on itself? Is it hollow? If it is, does it even have a magnetic field? How could life evolve here otherwise?'
Han De always liked the concept of flat worlds and was disappointed that this world wasn't one of them. He always found supermassive worlds too sci-fi and genre-breaking. His own pet theory was a cultivator made Dyson-sphere that used the power of a star to power the unimaginably large formation inside it. The world outside was just matter that accumulated over billions of years. Too sci-fi!
'Never mind, let's keep things super basic…'
After a sigh, Han De kept writing science class topics that he remembered from his school days. He kept refining it over and over again and only after an hour he was satisfied. A bitter smile appeared on his face while looking at the list from start to finish.
'Even though I trimmed a lot it's still too much. This is basically a year-long private tutor work...'
Han De decisively chose to write everything down to a book and give it to Ning Bi instead. He would only do some basic demonstrations that would allow him to reinforce his Profound Teacher image.
'Let comprehension 8 figure it out.'
He spent the rest of the day writing and editing. By the end of it, he couldn't even be bothered with compiling it into a book and just stuffed everything into several scroll cases. Once Ning Bi was done with her quest he would give the scrolls to her at an appropriate time.
* * *
Iron Blood Sect founder had a habit of occasionally cultivating in a random cave. Before establishing his own sect in the Misty Mountains nearly a hundred years ago, he used to be a loose cultivator and frequently had to hide from his pursuers. Over time, he started enjoying the solitude and kept entering caves out of habit.
The white-haired man walked out of the cave. It took him more than a hundred years, but he had finally broken through to the mid-stage of the Nascent Soul realm. The Misty Mountains was big, but it also had many sects. With his advancement, his own Iron Blood Sect's place was now secure. No one would try to mess with them anymore! Once they had a 3rd Core Formation elder they would be unrivaled in their area!
Iron Blood founder slowly walked down the mountain. His cultivation was too low to notice the Treebeard and two Nascent Soul experts that were intently watching the Iron Blood Sect.
Nascent Soul realm experts were originally supposed to take one sect each and gather information about them while keeping a lookout for any Anomalies. Treebeard himself was supposed to watch five different sects since he was an Immortal Realm cultivator. Before entering the Misty Mountains their main group was already broken into subgroups, and those subgroups would eventually split up as they found targets.
Before they had a chance to split up they saw a boy in his mid-teens getting beaten up by another boy and his lackeys. Normally this absolutely common sight wouldn't catch their attention, but their vigilance was raised to absurd levels due to Han De's lecture. Before long, a similarly aged girl came out, said a few threatening words and dispersed the crowd. One of the Nascent Soul experts gasped.
"C-Could it be? Is she a childhood friend of the Anomaly?!"
Treebeard didn't say anything but his face was solemn. They kept watching. The girl carried the boy into a lonely wooden hut some distance away from the sect village. She selflessly tended to his wounds without saying a word. They could see the fire of determination inside the boy's eyes. Soon after the girl left, he picked up his spear and started practicing without minding his injuries. Experts watching from far, far away realized his simple-looking thrusts weren't actually simple. This was a profound technique!
"It really is as young master says. He is so weak but has a determined will. This Iron Blood Sect seems to practice fist methods, but this boy is practicing a profound spear technique. The girl fits the description of a supportive childhood friend."
Treebeard nodded. They weren't completely sure, but this boy fit the descriptions so well that it was eerie. They couldn't just observe and contain when needed. After carefully considering his next word, Treebeard spoke.
Two Nascent Soul cultivators looked at each other. One of them had to go with Treebeard and report the news to the young master. With heavy expressions, they started playing rock paper scissors.
* * *
Han De woke up to a spiritual sense that kept buzzing outside his room. He looked at the System clock to see that it was only 9:48 AM. His first reaction was to start cursing to the person for waking him up this early, but he came to his senses before he did anything rash. Anyone that dared to disturb him like this would only do so if the situation was urgent. Han De donned his Profound Expert A act and contacted the spiritual sense.
<Y-Young master, I deeply apologize for disturbing you, but a group returned and they say they have information on a potential Anomaly!>
Han De froze for a moment. He wasn't expecting a contact this soon. He calmed himself down and reminded himself that false positives would be numerous in the beginning. No one else could look at someone's status, there was only one System. Probably.
<You don't need to apologize. I instructed you to do this if there was an emergency. You have done well! Now, explain.>
Peng breathed a sigh of relief and explained the situation. Han De quickly met the group and debriefed the excited Nascent Soul expert and the silent Treebeard. The situation looked more promising than he first thought, so he decided to determine the validity of this MC himself. With Treebeard, he didn't need to worry about travel time. At most, it would take an hour. Having an Immortal Realm master around was really convenient.
* * *
Han De arrived at the same mountain peak overlooking the Iron Blood Sect.
'You know, I really thought these Misty Mountains would be a European alp style formation. They look like the Yellow Mountains of China instead. Maybe my expectations were wrong.'
Han De spotted the Iron Blood Sect. It was a few dozen buildings scattered on a mid-sized peak with tiny looking buildings around the base of it. Unfortunately, he wasn't a Nascent Soul expert yet and had to get closer to see anything. The System had a really short range for status checking too.
Thankfully with Treebeard, they could hide from the lower realm cultivators easily. The highest realm currently inside the sect was a Core Formation expert cultivating in seclusion. The potential MC was just an outer sect disciple that worked on menial tasks and slept in a rundown hut outside the sect. Conditions could hardly be more ideal.
As they got closer to the base of the mountain and the sect surrounding it, they saw the potential MC and the potential Childhood Friend A surrounded by an arrogant young master and his lackeys.
"Geng Shi, you really don't know immensity between heaven and ear-"
Han De quickly filtered the arrogant young master's voice. He really didn't want to hear any more of that bullshit. Especially from an amateur like this one. Just by looking at him he was able to spot numerous errors. Just awful.
He focused on the potential MC.
'Tattered robe. Defensive posture with an unyielding look in his eyes. Looks are above average, he probably would look dashing enough with some grooming and proper clothes. His posture with the spear isn't anything special, but it shouldn't be known by an amateur in his mid-teens. Either he has exceptional talent, or someone taught him. He doesn't seem to have an item on him, but he still might have a guiding grandpa/loli…'
'It really fits. The girl behind him looks concerned, but there seems to be deep confidence inside. Is there an unspoken trust between them? Maybe.'
Han De nodded to himself. A textbook generic MC was waiting for his scheduled beating so he could earn his inevitable bullshit power-up. Han De decided to watch for now. Once the potential MC got beaten to a pulp he could get near and do a status check.
'If the girl gets captured right now and this boy turns out to be an MC, I could offer him my help as a Mysterious Expert to get on the good side of him early on.'
Han De watched as the potential MC heroically struggled against his five opponents. He valiantly tried but he was no match to even one of them, let alone five. Surprisingly, the girl didn't get captured. The arrogant young master of this sect really did have some intentions, but he left her alone after she stared at him for a few seconds.
'Tsk. What an amateu- Wait, what am I even thinking?'
Han De was baffled by his own thought process. He thought maybe he had worked on his Arrogant Young Master act a little too much.
Just like yesterday, the girl carried the boy to his remote wooden hut and left after tending to his wounds. Although Han De didn't have any concealment techniques, the difference in cultivation was too huge and he could rely on his superior senses to get close to the potential MC without getting noticed. The guy was barely conscious anyway...
[Name: Geng Shi]
[Race: Human (100%)]
[Cultivation: Qi Condensation (3/13) (85.81%)]
[Roots: Metal (31%)]
[Potential Points (Total: 16)]
[Iron Blood (Mortal)]
[Power: Extremely Weak]
[Mastery: Beginner (2/4)]
[Stage: Qi Condensation (3/13)]
[Martial Arts Methods]
[Basic Spear (Mortal)]
[Power: Extremely Weak]
[Mastery: Beginner (2/5)]
[Indestructible Spear (Mortal)]
[Power: Extremely Weak]
[Mastery: Beginner (1/8)]
Cannot be accepted as a disciple.