Liu Ming was sitting cross-legged in the stone house, when he suddenly heard the envoy’s voice.
“Everyone come out, the Opening Spirit Ceremony will be held today. I will bring all of you to Spirit Convergence Stage where the ceremony will proceed.”
Though the voice was not loud, it resounded around the stone house, allowing Liu Ming to hear each word perfectly.
With a deep sigh, Liu Ming got off the stone bed, pushed opened the door and proceeded to walk out.
What greeted his eyes were countless young men and women who were crowding and rushing like a pack of angry bees along the small pathway. At the end of the path, through the cracks of the forest, two barely discernable ash-colored stages sat quietly on the grasslands.
The man from Liu Ming’s envoy, ‘Senior Zhang’ was wearing black and the woman wearing a white cloak, ‘Senior Xun’, were each standing on two gray clouds floating above the platforms.
Fang Xiong and the ten or so Outer Sect members were standing near the platforms, making a respectful pose with both hands clasped together. A very different face from the overbearing ones they wore earlier in front of Liu Ming and the rest.
When the young men and women saw this scene, they subconsciously fell into a respectful manner. They slowed their steps as they entered the platform in an orderly manner.
After the final person stepped onto the platform, the man in black swept his gaze downward. Finding that everyone was on the platform, he nodded his head and fetched out a round plate. Then he made a one-handed technique and started chanting.
As he completed his chant, the disk immediately let out a faint light!
With a “pu” sound, countless spirit markings on the surface of the platform lit up at once. Another layer of white light—similar to the one from earlier—appeared, enveloping the entire platform in its glow.
Following which, the demon statues surrounding the stage shuddered in unison as they opened their mouths to let a thick black fog spew forth.
As the black fog surged forward and spread out, it transformed into a black cloud that gobbled up the entire platform along with the light he created.
“Mmmmmmmm” The two platforms slowly started to rise into the air before gently flying toward a huge mountain in the distance.
Liu Ming stood near one of the statues and looked at the spirit light that glittered across the surface, his gaze dull as if he were deep in thought.
Not far from him, shockingly, Mu Ming Zhu and Gao Chong were discussing something in hushed tones.
It had only been ten days since they last met, yet this couple had become even more intimate.
While at the center of the stage, Lei Zhen proudly stood. Coincidentally, he was surrounded by a crowd of about thirty members from various influential families.
At other spots on the platform, groups of seven to ten people crowded around certain individuals.
These past few days, many young men and women had spontaneously formed many small groups.
It looked like quite a few people had realized that their chances at the Spiritual Opening Ceremony were not too optimistic. Thus they placed all their hope on others who had chances to become Spirit Apostles. This way even if they became an Outer Sect member of the Barbarian Ghost Sect, they would still have someone to rely on.
As to why these people from influential families did this, it was likely due to prior instructions from their clan elders. Furthermore, some of them had probably even been given a list of targets to attach themselves to.
Else they would not have formed groups so quickly.
Surprisingly, there were also about five or six young men and women around Gao Chong and Mu Ming Zhu. Compared to ten days before, the tall young man looked much more confident.
Looks like quite a few people looked favorably upon this Loose Practitioner’s future prospects.
Ever since Mu Ming Zhu and Gao Chong had come aboard the platform, they did not seem to have any intentions of calling out to Liu Ming, who was a ‘companion’ they had initially arrived with.
Even more so, Liu Ming would not be the one to initiate a conversation with others. He was more like a lone wolf who would only watch from the side, detached from the others.
Because the platform was completely wrapped in black clouds, Liu Ming and the others were unable to see what was happening outside. It was quite a while later before the platform slightly shuddered and the man’s voice once again sounded out from within the light.
“We have reached the Spirit Convergence Stage, all of you can get off now.”
Just as his voice faded away, the black clouds rumbled as they started to disperse. At the same time the light of his also disappeared after one final flash.
Liu Mu lifted his head and swept his gaze about the now visible surroundings. As the new view entered his eyes, he could not help but gasp.
To everyone’s astonishment, they were currently in a huge circular plaza. Just outside the plaza was a ring shaped viewing tower. The tower was filled to the brim with about four to five thousand people. The sounds from this restless crowds could be heard even from a distance away.
Out of these people, only a small portion were true Spirit Apostles, the rest were just tag-along Outer Sect Disciples of the Barbarian Ghost Sect. These tag-alongs were akin to servants of the Spirit Apostles.
On closer inspection, there seemed to be an obviously higher level in the ring-shaped viewing tower. At this level, seven or eight figures shrouded in different colored lights were faintly discernible.
They stood shoulder to shoulder as they discussed something in hushed tones.
At the center of the plaza, there were over a hundred Barbarian Ghost Sect Outer Sect Disciples dressed in green gowns. Each one held a pen in hand as they drew thick, twisting silver lines on the ground.
In the air above them, seven or eight Spirit Apostles flew back and forth on clouds, inspecting the work.
These spirit lines crisscrossed and squirmed about. Viewed from above, a huge silver picture was gradually forming and could vaguely be seen.
Within the picture, countless thick silver lines weaved together and overlapped with one another, roughly forming into many queer silver-colored words. Anyone who stared too long at these words would start to feel dizzy and nauseous.
Liu Ming only glanced a few times at some of the weird characters in the picture before withdrawing his gaze, not daring to stare any further.
As they were urged on, the group of young men and women walked down the platform one by one and stood in bewilderment just outside of the silver picture.
At this moment, a rumbling sound suddenly thundered from the heavens, and a third black cloud descended from the skies.
After the black clouds dispersed, a group of young men and women clothed in the garbs of Outer Sect Disciples orderly stepped away from the platform.
These young men and women were different than Liu Ming and the others from influential families. They were all eerily calm and were surrounded by a faint cold aura. As they walked down the stage, they noiselessly arranged themselves in an orderly manner.
The descendants from influential families next to Liu Ming were stunned.
At this point, everyone realized that these people were the Spiritual Pulse Apprentices under the tutelage of the Barbarian Ghost Sect.
If one out of every hundred person from the influential families could become a Spirit Apostle, then out of the carefully nurtured Spiritual Pulse Apprentices, every one in ten would be able to successfully open their Spiritual Sea.
A Spiritual Pulse Apprentice’s chances of success were about ten times higher than those in influential clans.
It was no wonder that the sect took advantage of the wealth of the rich Practitioner Clans and paid little to no heed to their awakenings.
Liu Ming’s pupils shrunk as he watched the young men and women opposite him.
The icy calmness each Spiritual Pulse Apprentice possessed was incomparable to any regular Practitioner youth. It was likely that they had gone through special training and were no stranger to violence and blood.
At this time, the silver picture at the center of the plaza was finally completed. The Outer Sect Disciples who had completed their task immediately withdrew from the plaza.
Yet the few Spirit Apostles from the Barbarian Ghost Sect remained. Together, they took out about a hundred fist-sized clear crystals and placed the crystals in succession on various pre-determined points marked by grooves.
After the Spirit Apostles had finished their work, they once again did a final check from above.
At this time, from the highest section of the viewing tower, a glowing red figure suddenly laughed and then opened his mouth.
“Fellow disciples, I’ve heard that this batch of Spiritual Pulse Disciples are quite decent. Among them there are even a few who could be outstanding. I’ve even heard that one of them managed to cause an argument between Junior Chu and Junior Lin. Is this true?”
“Sect Leader, I hope that you will be impartial and bring justice to this matter! That disciple was first found by me, yet Chu Senior ignored the rules and coerced the disciple into his group.” A slender figure within the light angrily exclaimed as she heard his words.
The identity of the glowing red figure who had first spoke was unexpectedly the Sect Leader of the Ghost Barbarian Sect.
“Junior Lin, those words are not right. There are only so many good seedlings within this batch of disciples, not even enough to split one for each group. Since your Dancing Ghost group has already set their sights on one of the good seedlings, please leave the child, Jia Lan, to our Evil Spirit group.” Nearby, another tall figure bathed in a greenish glow chuckled as he bantered, not a single trace of anger in his voice.
“Humph, our Barbarian Ghost Sect is divided into eight factions, our faction is the most appropriate for women to train their techniques. Stealing Jia Lan is not only an insult to her beauty and talent but also detrimental to the growth of the sect.” Junior Lin bluntly retorted, furthermore, she brought the sect’s interests into the argument.
“Junior Lin need not worry about that. I will let Junior Bin take Jia Lan as a disciple and guide her along. Hehe, Junior Bin’s technique is also suitable for a woman to practice. It will absolutely not affect this child’s potential.” Chu Senior chuckled as he replied.
“Forget it, stop fighting. This matter will wait until the disciple has opened her Spiritual Sea. Even possessing an astonishing soul will be useless if the Spiritual Sea is not opened.” The Sect Leader interjected with a wave of his hand.
Hearing the Sect Leader utter these words, Junior Chu and Junior Lin did not continue to argue. They could only utter a “tch” as they lapsed back into silence.
“Right, Junior Gui , your Nine Infant Faction should also decide on a disciple. If you delay any further, you’ll be left empty handed again.” The Sect Leader turned his head as he reminded a certain individual who was clothed in an ash-colored light.
“Many thanks to Sect Leader for his reminder. Though there are quite a few disciples within the Spiritual Pulse Apprentices who possess a special soul this time, our group is unable contest for them. I guess we’ll just have to pick a few from the influential families’ disciples.” The ash-colored figure slightly bowed as he replied.
Astonishingly, this voice belonged to the scholar that had originally appeared in the Green Jade Forest.
“Descendants of the influential families? Could there possibly be any good seedlings in this batch, I wonder which few Gui Senior has his eye on. Do share with the few of us too.” Junior Chu asked while seemingly interested, a surprised expression on his face.
“I have no choice but to select from the aristocratic family group. How can there truly be any good seedlings there?” Senior Disciple Gui indifferently replied.
“Hehe, Gui Senior has always been known as the ‘Demon Calculator’, we don’t quite believe those words. Exactly which few does Gui Senior have his eyes on, could you be afraid that the rest of us would contest for them if you revealed them?” Junior Lin laughed before asking.