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The coldest days had passed and spring arrived. The 3rd day of the 3rd month, the sun's empire national day was in less than a week.

The previous 1st year promotion was quite excited at the prospect of soon getting their minors and to witness the new ones integrating to the sect.

New missions were available for the qi condensation disciples of the sect: test and bring the new 10 years old children for 200 Ps. The missions that were left untaken were randomly assigned to the older qi condensation disciples.

Today, Han Lingyun was turning 11 and requested for a mission to Cemone. Because his hometown wasn't one of the most populous cities of the region, there wasn't any posted mission for it. Apparently last year, disciples of the sect had passed by as a side mission for additional Ps because they had already completed something else near Cemone.

In fact, Han Lingyun's request wasn't uncommon and many disciples often wanted to come back to their hometowns to scout for potential future disciples. His demand was naturally accepted but Han Lingyun would only receive half the reward because less children should be scouted from this smaller town compared to other recruitment points. He didn't care about that measly sum though.

This was also a short trip for his mindset, and to come back full circle.

 

Another disciple had to accompany him though, as the sect always required two disciples to complete the examinations together. A talkative 5th year disciple at the qi condensation realm named Fu Song was assigned to this mission with Han Lingyun.

A notice had circulated around the sect. All future 2nd years had to be at the sect the day after the new 1st year's admission, and the ranking competition would be held on the following day.

For the disciples turning into 2nd years, the ranking competitions would now only be held once every 3 months, so the significance of the results had increased. In addition, the rewards would be scaled up too. In general, 2nd years required twice as much resources than first years. So, it shouldn't have come as a surprise that the next rankings were said to offer 6 times the rewards from last month (times 2 for the passage to year 2, and times 3 for happening 3 times less often). Therefore, the stakes on that day were raised substantially.

 

Han Lingyun and Chang Xin had put an end to their mission scheme. It couldn't continue anyway as 4th years weren't offered missions at the mission halls anymore, so Chang Xin had to leave his post. Han Lingyun didn't plan on continuing that business with someone else for now and had already issued less and less missions in the last months. In total, he had still gained more than 85 000 Ps, which more or less amounted to a loss of income of 100-200 Ps for every disciple of his promotion.

However, with his huge expenses, Han Lingyun's balance was now at 35 000 Ps. He was still rich for his age, but his wealth wasn't unheard off. Well, no one would know anyway, except for an elder expressly looking at his sect points. Han Lingyun had to start thinking of his next enterprise to make Ps

 

On the eve of the sun's empire national day, Han Lingyun and Fu Song left from Cemone. Han Lingyun on his flying sword and Fu Song on a slower leaf like flying treasure. This was lent by the sect to transport more disciples just in case. Han Lingyun had added a white hood to his attire, as he preferred to not be recognized. Well now that he looked like a 15- or 16-year-old youth due to his height, it was questionable if he could be recognized without the hood in the first place.

They landed in front of the town hall where the same old town representative welcomed them this great care. To Han Lingyun, it was amusing being on the other side of the bench and witnessing the preparations for the national day. He didn't go check his home as he knew that it was now empty. He crossed his fingers that his family was doing well.

Han Lingyun and Fu Song entered the underground room and had to verify that the mirror to test for spirit roots was working. They were then treated to a sumptuous feast with some music. Han Lingyun couldn't help but compare this night with the Shu family meet but everything was too inferior.

 

The next day, Han Lingyun watched as all the 10-year-old of Cemone were massed together, he counted 510 of them.

The bearded representative stepped up on the platform overlooking the plaza and started his annual tirade with fervor.

"Today you are 512 children. Tomorrow the city of Cemone and its population of 38000 will have 512 more new young adults. The emperor expects you to work well for the empire and the city of Cemone will work to shape you into capable young adults! May the…

Han Lingyun laughed inside as the speech was identical to the one in his memories. He headed to the underground chamber with Fu Song to test the children one by one. He still heard the 10 years old shout marking the end of the speech. "THE SUN WILL ALWAYS RISE!"

The first child soon entered the chamber with a lost and hesitant expression.

Han Lingyun gave the instructions. "Hello, press your hands on the mirror."

The child pressed his hands on the smooth surface, he was gripped by a strong sense of coldness. First his hands, then spreading to his arms, his torso, and all his body… The mirror didn't show any reactions.

"Thank you, that will be all. The exit is over there. NEXT."

 

The long procession went on and on. Fu Song and Han Lingyun exchanged roles from time to time. They also had bets on the presence of a spirit root in the next 30 children. In the end, only 3 had a spirit root, all 3 happened to be girls. This was simply a coincidence.

The following day, the disciples warned the parents. None refused to stay and not leave for the sect though. 3 young girls waved goodbye and mounted on Fu Song's large leaf. There was a lot of space for the 3 and perhaps Han Lingyun's didn't reassure them much with his white hood that hid his face.

The two disciples didn't refrain from answering the many questions that the girls kept asking. It wasn't costing them anything to provide some basic cultivation knowledge and seeing the girl's amazement was amusing.

The pair dropped the girls at the bottom of the mountain were thousands of young candidates arrived from all the Liu region. They patiently waited with them until an elder's voice resonated through the valley.

"SILENCE!"

Han Lingyun and Fu Song discreetly left the area and headed back to the sect as the Elder commenced his speech.

The rejected candidates would be picked up by the school's sister sects for their own tests and trials, so Han Lingyun didn't have to bring anyone back to Cemone.

All these memories felt so far away to Lingyun, as if happened decades ago, when only one year had passed.

Han Lingyun didn't have a role to play at the examination, these were mostly done by elders, with the rest being disciples older than 16 that stayed at the school. The new second year disciples now had the afternoon to clean up all their residences at the 1st year's village and move to their new quarters.

 

The next morning, a man looking in his 50s was leading the newcomers to the plaza, to present the second years, and give other instructions. Captain Lacroix would be staying with Han Lingyun's promotion so the new 1st years had another captain.

"But first, here are the 681 second years!"

Ten rows of disciples arrived in new and pristine white, tight-fitting robes with black stripes on the sides, with two stripes on the left shoulder. Their measured steps had a profound regularity that screamed training. It was as if their steps were resonating with the first year's hearts.

Han Lingyun was on the front row, with the other disciples ranked in the top 10. He could feel the group's pride as they intoned the sect song and war cry. When hundreds of cultivators screamed a phrase, even a shameful and ridiculous phrase would sound impressive and overbearing. The 1st years had shivers as they listened to the roars that contained the heaviness of the departed.

Now came the time for major and minor matchings.

The shu family was in 15th due to Huang Xiying passing away, she was ranked 6th at the start of the year so all the ranks of the families underneath increased by one as a result.

The captain dutifully announced. "Rank 1, Jia Jingguo paired with Wei Muchen.

Rank 2, Chen Shan paired with Wang Yimo.

Rank 15, Ye Wenyan paired with Han Lingyun."

 

Han Lingyun stepped forward and met with a boy on the shorter side. 'Lan Ruoxi will be disappointed it isn't a girl.' He lampooned internally.

The newcomer examined him with curious eyes as well. Han Lingyun offered a hand. "Hello, I am Han Lingyun and I will be your major. I'm glad to meet you Ye Wenian. And welcome to the Shu family."

The boy shook Han Lingyun's hand. "H-hello, i-it's great to get acquainted. But doesn't the… the family name sound… a-a bit weird?"

The boy was evidently very uneasy under Han Lingyun's imposing presence.

Han Lingyun smiled inside at the comment, it felt quite familiar. "That's just a name, don't worry about it. A right, the family encompasses my major, my grand major and so on. You should be able to meet the older family members during the annual Shu family meet."

The two got to know each other and Han Lingyun provided valuable information for the martial art selection and the first few weeks at the sect. Ye Wenian came from a family of mortal martial artists that focused on the saber but he had a rather timid personality. However, this simplified his choice for his martial art and he had already made a decision in his mind. Of course, he also had a 4th ranked talent.

This year, the sect was lucky again as they had fished another 5th grade talent: the new rank 1 named Jia Jingguo.

This was of little concern to Han Lingyun though. All in all, Ye Wenian was a nice addition to the Shu family.

 

---End of Book 1: New life in a cultivation sect.---

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