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Han Lingyun's time off at market road didn't affect his schedule much. He only missed his after noon's physical exercise but still had some time for his evening cultivating session. He wouldn't be advertising his relation with Elder Wen to his fellow disciples though, he preferred to remain relatively low key on that point.

 

The days passed by as the disciples settled in their new rhythm. On the second week, the classes had a new format. Every day, a new type of weapon would be presented and promoted to the disciples by instructors of their field. Han Lingyun definitely found those courses interesting, especially the psychological and mindset differences that best suited the various weapon users.

Among those weapons, sword users were a special case. A small group among them are commonly referred to as Sword cultivators. One doesn't just become a sword cultivator by using a sword. In fact, the sword is the most commonly used weapon for martial artists.

At lower levels, sword arts can enable a martial artist to defeat a foe with stronger cultivation. After learning how to wield qi, the sword is also an easy, efficient tool to channel attacks. And so, many martial arts are built for sword users. In a way, more cultivators use the sword simply because it's easier to access and the widespread use has democratized the techniques.

What makes a sword cultivator is his absolute dedication to his sword. The sword is no longer a tool but a companion. A companion cannot be randomly thrown away or forgotten. These martial artists focus solely on their sword art. There are pros and cons to this approach, which follows a somewhat less orthodox cultivation path. Sword cultivators are known to possess the greatest offensive power of their cultivation level. Also, as long as the sword cultivator achieves in building his sword philosophy or "sword heart", he should encounter less bottlenecks at cultivation hurdles than the typical cultivator. This romanticized and fantasized cultivation path always attracts newcomers.

On the downside, a sword cultivator is much less diversified and versatile than other cultivators. He generally fights in a straightforward manner and some would say that the sword becomes a prison, or a master with the cultivator being the slave. The mental barriers the sword cultivator imposes on himself to align to his philosophy are greatly restrictive. Those who don't like this part of the sword way shouldn't attempt to walk that path.

The other side of the coin are the many cultivators, enthralled by the glory of sword cultivators who try to imitate them but are stalling their progression by doing so.

Han Lingyun enjoyed to discover all these intricacies. Other weapons have similarly dedicated individuals but their communities just couldn't compare to the sword cultivators.

 

Another week past on. As the 3rd week since the disciple admission to the sect followed, the first 1st year to reach the viscera strengthening stage!

It was Wang Yimo, the 2nd rank disciple. She had remained quite low key for those few weeks, preferring to train by herself and only consulting some instructors.

Apparently, Wei Muchen took this as a setback and a loss of reputation. Luckily for him, he also reached the 2nd stage on the next day. Wei Muchen had a very different temperament compared to Wang Yimo. He was a vocal young lad who soon had his little group of followers. In general, this group, which called themselves 'the new fighters', was not well liked by other disciples. Some were already acting arrogant. But the slight tensions never escalated. 'The new fighters' definitely weren't strong enough to suppress the hundreds of disciples. And the others didn't wish to potentially make an enemy with someone with a great talent for petty reasons.

At the end of the 4th week, disciples of grade 4 talent also started to have their breakthroughs. Han Lingyun was amongst the first batch, along with 5 other disciples. Han Lingyun had become well acquainted with one of them during these last weeks: Yang Haoyu. They were both part of the same little group that often trained together, along with Shen Lin. Speaking of which, Shen Lin took 4 more days to reach 2nd stage and had to endure 4 days of teasing by his friends.

Han Lingyun's breakthrough was fairly uneventful. He just experienced new sensations when cultivating. He also felt as though a lock was opened in his mind and he could suddenly exercise more strength. Apart from that, a bit of stinking dark substance oozed from his pores. These were a portion of the impurities that accumulated in his body. Sadly, after he took a good bath, his house was still smelling horrible and it took 1 whole day of open doors and window for the odor to disappear.

The end of the month was rapidly approaching and with it came the duels for rankings and the end of the "acclimatization period" for 1st years. Tension started to rise.

This time, everybody had to attend teacher Xian's class at 1 in the afternoon. The combats were scheduled the next day so no one wanted to miss what teacher Xian had to say.

Teacher Xian took on a serious look. "Tomorrow is a big day for you all. It will be your 1st big test. Now before I go into the specifics of the duels, rankings and all that, let's talk about what's on the table. Tomorrow you will receive your White Tiger disciple badge, just like this one."

Teacher Xian raised a badge over his head. It looked like a little 10cm*5cm stone tablet, with some sort of formations on them. To Han Lingyun, this was basically the equivalent of an identity card and debit card combined.

"Now, this badge is very useful. First, when you someday leave the sect, it's the proof that you are one of us and that you have the White Tiger sect behind you. Second, this will enable you to buy resources and weapons in the sect by exchanging sect points.

So, let's take a step back and talk about sect points.

From now on, every day you come to class, you will receive 1 sect point, or 1P as people call it. What's the use of sect points? It is exactly like the money of your life before coming to the sect. If you wanted some candy, you would come to the shop selling it and hand them your money. Here it is the same with sect points except what you buy are cultivation resources like crystals and pills which could accelerate your cultivation, or special weapons. Later on, after reaching 2nd year, you will be able to buy martial arts and access to special training grounds and lots of useful stuff.

So, the disciples with more Ps and those that use them well, will overtake the rest.

There are 3 ways to gain Ps.

First, like I said before, coming to class for 1 P per day. Don't forget classes give you the best advices and their worth is far superior to that single daily P.

The second way is taking on missions at the mission hall. Those will give more Ps but will also take more time, or have an element of risk.

Third, after every new ranking competition, you will receive a certain number of Ps based on your rank. The payout is as follows."

A giant projection appeared in front of the disciples.

 

Rank 1: 500 Ps.

Rank 2: 400 Ps.

Rank 3-4: 350 Ps.

Rank 5-11: 300 Ps.

Rank 12-24: 250 Ps.

Rank 25-49: 200 Ps.

Rank 50-99: 150 Ps.

Rank 100-199: 100 Ps.

Rank 200-399: 50 Ps.

Rank 400-599: 25 Ps.

Rank 600-800 :10 Ps.

 

Han Lingyun mused. 'This distribution is quite brutal. A difference of 5 ranks makes 200 Ps of difference. And 50 times more crystals for the first and lasts! Half of all the disciples basically only get crumbs.'

Teacher Xian raised his voice. "Now, as you have noticed, the number of Ps distributed for each rank drops fairly quickly. Those at the top end of the rankings will gain access to more resources, so should progress faster. Don't wait. Fight for your rankings while the gap is bridgeable. We will go further into the rankings and duels tomorrow.

So, to come back to the sect points. You cannot exchange sect points directly between one another. This is a simple measure to avoid threats and scams because you don't know how to use your Ps which would be detrimental for the sect in general. So, suppose for example disciple A wants to sell his sword for disciple B at 50 Ps. How do they do it?

They go to the exchange hall where a grown-up will make the transaction and make sure that nobody gets ripped off or forced against his will. In practice, disciple A will sell his sword to the sect for 50 Ps. The sect places the sword on sale at 51Ps and disciple B will buy it for 51Ps. The 1P is the transaction cost, a negligible amount that the sect takes back, in order for the sect points to not lose value over time, but don't worry about that.

Going to the exchange hall only takes a minute and making the transaction a couple of seconds.

Even if it is not perfect, this system of sect points has worked well so far and has greatly reduced the malpractices that used to plague the sect.

I know, especially young kids tend to get very lazy on such things but I don't recommend you try to barter though because you can't be sure about what you get.

Now there is a special case to the rule of transactions, and it is a place in the sect called market road. Then again, this exception won't concern you until you reach qi condensation at least, so work hard little fellows, there is a lot to do!

Now I know that was a lot of information, but the main points I just explained will be written down and posted in front of the main buildings, like the mission hall, the exchange hall next to it and the school theatre. Everything will be explained again and some elders can always help you if you feel a bit lost.

Do you have any questions on sect badges and sect points?"

 

A female disciple stood up. "Excuse me Teacher, but what happens when we lose our sect badge?"

Teacher Xian smiled. "Good question. Don't lose it! But in case of an accident, the sect can always find it back for you because each badge is equipped with a tracking formation, thanks to our sect array masters. This is a necessary precaution to find missing disciples. However, if you happen to lose it more than once you receive a fine in sect points. Elders have other things to do than track missing badges."

 

All right, that's already a lot of new information for today. Remember it well, rest well, and I will see you lot tomorrow for the first ranking competition!"

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