The Jian Province located in the north of the State of Yue was ranked second amongst the thirteen provinces. Its land is comprised of many hills and its population is sparse. It also bordered the State of Yuan Wu.
The Tai Yue Mountain Range was located at the western part of the province and spanned over several thousands of li. In addition, all sorts of beasts and birds of prey existed in great numbers within the desolate mountain forest. On occasion, even woodcutters and hunters would start rumors of having seen Immortals and monsters, further shrouding the location in mystery.
Naturally, no common man would have thought that for several thousand years, the center of this mountain range had been the home of one of the Seven Great Cultivator Sects, the Yellow Maple Valley!
From the view above, it appeared no different from other mountain ranges; the ridges were steep and the forest was lush. However, it was completely an illusion as it was actually covered in a wondrously large, sect-wide formation. Underneath the formation were countless towers and grand halls that had been built long ago. There were even cultivators busily about, flying at low altitudes on top of leaf-shaped pedal magic tools.
Yellow Maple Valley’s current Sect Master Zhong Lingdao was already a hundred years old. However, he still had the middle-aged appearance of having three long strands of facial hair, comprising of a mustache and beard. He was a late stage Foundation Establishment cultivator with a calm, natural disposition and was skilled at organization. Within the sect, his prestige was high. The sect elders and his fellow apprentice brothers held much confidence in him.
However, this always calm, fully confident Sect Master Zhong was currently tensing his brow as he sat in the main hall’s head seat. He somewhat helplessly watched an intense dispute in front of him between a middle-aged man and an old man. In the great hall, there were more than ten other cultivators at both sides, each with a different expression. These were the stewards of Yellow Maple Valley.
“Elder Martial Brother Murong! It is obvious that several months ago, we had already distributed all of the Foundation Establishment Pills. However, my grandnephew’s reservation was actually cancelled and given to a rogue cultivator. This is outrageous!” The old man shouted with fury toward the direction of the middle-aged scholar.
This was truly astonishing. This old man was undoubtedly much older than the middle-aged person, but he still addressed him as Elder Martial Brother!
“Junior Martial Brother Ye, this was not an accident! For the first time in several hundred years, someone had entered the sect through the use of a Writ of Immortal Ascension. How could we ignore this? We must give this person a Foundation Establishment Pill!” The middle-aged scholar calmly said with his expression unchanged.
“However, this person is simply not a person from a cultivator clan and is merely a rogue cultivator. Do we still have to give him a Foundation Establishment Pill under those circumstances? As I see it, simply letting him enter the sect is enough. With that much, he would regard that as a great fortune!” The old man disputed while flushed with anger.
“Junior Martial Brother Ye, these words should not be uttered! How do you know that his ancestors were not from a cultivator clan? Perhaps his clan simply declined and then he became a rogue cultivator! Moreover, who can guarantee their own clan will not weaken with age! Perhaps one day Junior Martial Brother Ye’s Ye Clan will also decline. When the moment comes where one of the Ye Clan’s future generation brings the Writ of Immortal Ascension, will our Yellow Maple Valley not give them a Foundation Establishment Pill and only have them enter the sect? If Junior Martial Brother dares to swear this poisonous oath in front of all is us, I, Mu Rongshan, will turn around and leave alone the matter of the Foundation Establishment Pill.”
The middle-aged man’s composed and confident words turned the old man’s face white then green, leaving him speechless.
How could the old man possibly dare to swear such a troublesome oath! Even if he were to swear it, only he would would stand aside and leave the matter. Who knew whether others would step in?
“However, why must my grandnephew’s pill be given away? Are the others’ out of the question?” The old man asked, unreconciled.
“You must ask why this Junior Martial Brother’s grandnephew is far too lacking! When tested, his rank was actually near last.” The middle-aged man shook his head with the appearance of regret.
Seeing the person across from him act in this manner, the roots of the old man’s teeth ached with hatred! However, for the benefit of his grandnephew, he couldn’t do anything to him. With great resolve, he continued, “My grandnephew’s ranking is truly a bit poor, but he is not last in the ranking of those that have not yet taken the Foundation Establishment Pill! Are there not still two others?”
“Junior Martial Brother is correct, There are two others that were tested and ranked lower than your grandnephew. However those two’s circumstances are truly unusual! They simply have grievances toward Junior Martial Brother’s grandnephew!” The middle-aged man said with a voice of great pity.
“What is unusual? If you don’t give me a convincing reason, I will not swallow the tone of your voice!” The old man was nervous and let out fierce words.
“Such a willful display! What is there not to swallow? Those two people are truly unusual. Skipping over these two, Junior Martial Brother’s apprentice was chosen. I had also agreed to this. As for the grounds, Junior Martial Brother need not ask; I can give you an explanation.”
Zhong Lingdao, having seen the old man unexpectedly say such words, lowered his face and berated him.
Seeing Zhong Lingdao speak in such a way, the old man’s heart trembled with fear! He only knew that during the test, that there should have been two behind his grandnephew. As for who, he truly did not know. This left him truly indignant and dissatisfied! Could it be there was truly some sort of exception that caused even the strict and impartial Sect Master to side with them?
Zhong Lingdao waved his hand, gesturing the middle-aged scholar to return to his original seat. He then sighed and said, “Junior Martial Brother Ye, I fear that this time I truly must wrong your grandnephew! Of those two people, one is Martial Aunt Hong Fu’s sole descendant from the secular world. That is why although the young girl originally did not meet the test standards, I had chosen her to enter the list of those who will receive the Foundation Establishment Pill. Surely Junior Martial Disciple doesn’t want to take away this person’s Foundation Establishment Pill?
When the old man heard the name Hong Fu, he was startled. His complexion immediately undergone a great change and was filled with fear and trepidation.
“Since it is Martial Aunt Hong Fu’s descendant, it is only natural to take care of her. How could this Little Brother disrespect his elders in this way! This Little Brother is convinced of this person’s arrangement and concedes.” The old man spoke with his face somewhat pale.
Having seen the old man’s expression as such, Great Sect Master Zhong was not at all surprised. After all, she was the sole female descendant of the Yellow Maple Valley’s Core Formation expert, Martial Aunt Hong Fu, whose temper was known to all. If he truly deprived the young girl’s qualifications to Foundation Establishment, the old man wouldn’t just be out of luck, perhaps even this Sect Master would have no good days ahead of him!
“And the other one?” The old man was still unresigned. Although he knew this remaining person was certain to have sufficient justification, he was still asked with a mind grasping for a fluke.
“As for the remaining one, his body has a strange wind attribute spiritual root. Is this enough justification?” Zhong Lingdao unhurriedly answered as he twirled his long beard with his fingers.
When the old man heard this, he remained silent. Yellow Maple Valley’s sect rules had an article that stated: Heavenly roots and unusual spiritual roots took precedence in Foundation Establishment. There was nothing he could complain about.
However, although his grandnephew was not his grandson by blood, ever since he entered the sect, he dearly looked at his growth since the very first days. He was even more intimate toward him than his very own grandsons. How could he have the heart to tell him that his qualifications for Foundation Establishment had been revoked!
“Then my grandnephew is truly without hope? It should be known that if he were to wait another ten years, he would miss the optimal period to reach Foundation Establishment and would lose his chance to enter Foundation Establishment in this lifetime!” The old man’s words were somewhat bleak, stirring up a burst of whispers among those seated.
“Junior Martial Brother Ye, there is actually a way!” A somewhat gloomy, long-faced old man with a hawk nose stood and consoled the old man surnamed Ye.
“What? Senior Martial Brother Wu has a method?” When old man Ye heard this, his spirit shook. Within the sect, this Senior Brother Wu was well known for being resourceful. Perhaps he truly had a method!
The old man surnamed Wu slightly smiled and didn’t immediately respond. Instead he turned to Zhong Lingdao and saluted to him, asking him with a clear voice, “May I ask Sect Master, what were the properties of the spiritual roots of the person who brought the Writ of Immortal Ascension? Have you tested him yet? What was his aptitude?”
“It seemed to be not particularly good! Junior Martial Brother Wang, you personally tested him. Why don’t you tell us!” Zhong Lingdao asked someone from the left side of the row.
“Yes, Elder Martial Brother, Sect Master!” A middle-aged wearing light green clothes stood and indifferently said, “This person’s age is not old. He is eighteen or nineteen years of age. He has reached early ninth layer in a wood attribute foundation cultivation technique. His spiritual roots are the four attributes except for metal. They could be classified as false spiritual roots. From judging as a whole, this person’s aptitudes are at the bottom. However, he has come across fortuitous encounters and diligently trained, otherwise how else could he reach his current state? If he were to have no other strokes of luck, in this lifetime, he would at most train to his foundation cultivation technique until the eleventh or twelfth layer, unable to enter Foundation Establishment. Even if he were to take a Foundation Establishment Pill, his odds of entering Foundation Establishment are only one percent…”
“Good!” The old man surnamed Wu waited until Junior Brother Wang said this before loudly interrupting.
“What is good?” The old man surnamed Ye could not help but ask.
The others looked at the old man surnamed Wu with doubtful gazes. Only Zhong Lingdao wrinkled his brow, he already had a bit of a guess in his mind.
“May I ask Sect Master, if the person that came took the initiative to renounce the Foundation Establishment Pill, would it be regarded as going against our promise!?” The old man surnamed Wu asked.
“Of course. However, no one is allowed to use threats or force to accomplish this matter. Otherwise, our Yellow Maple Valley’s reputation will be ruined!” Sect Master Zhong softly and solemnly said.
“Hehe! Sect Master, please feel at ease! This is only natural!” The old man surnamed Wu faintly smiled and then turned his head toward the old man surnamed Ye, saying, “Junior Martial Brother Ye, you don’t mind spending a few items to purchase his Foundation Establishment Pill, right? It should be known with such lowly aptitude, the rate of success to enter Foundation Establishment is pitifully small. This should be a great opportunity. He can to renounce the Establishment Foundation Pill to obtain something far more practical!” The old man named Wu said with a fully confident appearance.