After Han Li and Old Man Ye finished their business, Han Li was brought to the main hall on a flying magic tool toward the main hall to reply to Yellow Maple Valley’s Sect Master Zhong Lingdao.
Not long after, Han Li stood in front of the immense stone palace hall that was several tens of meters tall and was curiously sizing up several Yellow Maple Valley disciples who were standing guard at the gate. These people’s magic power was far more profound than Han Li’s. At the very least they had reached the tenth layer or higher of their foundation cultivation technique. Han Li could not help but be inwardly surprised toward this sect’s cultivators’ strength and impressive appearance.
Just a moment ago, when he and Old Man Ye arrived at this place, Old Man Ye had him first stay outside the hall. He was to wait for Sect Master Zhong’s summons before going in by himself. This caused Han Li to awkwardly wait outside the palace hall, making him break into a string of silent curses.
After a long while, a white-clothed middle-aged man came outside and directly arrived in front of Han Li. He coldly said, “Follow me in. Sect Master summons you.”
Then, without waiting for a response from Han Li, he returned, paying heed only to himself. Han Li inwardly smiled bitterly. It seemed a ninth layer Qi Condensation cultivator such as himself, simply could not be put into the person’s eyes. He didn’t want want to say more than a single phrase to him!
Although he was discontent toward this person’s arrogance, Han Li clearly understood his own importance here and obediently followed after him, entering the main hall.
After passing through three large gates guarded by disciples, Han Li then saw Yellow Maple Valley’s Sect Master Zhong Lingdao, a middle-aged man with a long three-strand beard.
On the two sides of the large hall sat more than ten people, each differently clothed. When Han Li entered, after he sized up Han Li a moment and saw that his appearance was common and uninteresting, he shifted his vision away, uninterested. In addition, that Old Man Ye and that Junior Martial Brother Wang were also sitting within.
“This young fellow is called Han Li?” Sect Leader Zhong serenely asked.
“That is right. Disciple Han Li meets Sect Master!” Han Li appeared to very sincerely step forward and formally salute him.
“There is no need to be overly polite! Since Young Friend carries the Writ of Immortal Ascension, this Sect Master will certainly respect the rules established by our exalted predecessors and have young friend enter the sect.” Zhong Lingdao amiably smiled like a blowing spring wind and lightly brushed his sleeve.
Just as Han Li was about to lower his body, he felt a soft incorporeal power around his thigh softly supporting him and rendering incapable of continuing to formally pay his respects. This had startled him, and he felt some reverence toward the Sect Master.
“Not only will Young Friend enter the sect, but he will also obtain the qualifications to take the Foundation Establishment Pill. I heard Junior Martial Brother Ye said that Young Friend renounced his Foundation Establishment Pill and gave it to someone else. Is this true?” Sect Master Zhong did not speak much rubbish and directly spoke of the purpose of his summon to the palace hall.
“That is right, Sect Master! Disciple feels his aptitude is lacking, and taking the Foundation Establishment Pill is truly too extravagant. Instead, I gave this precious item to a Senior Martial Brother who needed it more!”
After Han Li uttered these words, he felt his heart faintly ache. This was because of the Foundation Establishment Pill! This wasn’t some kind of ordinary medicine pill that he could eat between meals!
If one were to release a Foundation Establishment Pill into the world of cultivation, it would be a wonder if it hadn’t stirred up the winds of a bloody rain! Although he could rely on his mysterious small bottle, he had no confidence that he could perfectly refine a spiritual pill like the Foundation Establishment Pill! These particular words he had just said were not from the heart.
Han Li was very reluctant to part with it. However, his appearance was completely obedient and deferential, greatly satisfying the majority of those in the palace hall.
“Good! Young Friend Han, this Sect Master is greatly gratified by your decision. However, Young Friend should not hesitate to be at ease. This Sect Master will not let Young Friend perform this sacrifice in vain!” After this was said, Zhong Lingdao turned his head and looked toward Old Man Ye.
“Junior Martial Brother Ye! Young Friend Han releases his Foundation Establishment Pill for the use of your grandnephew. However, Junior Martial Brother must compensate Young Friend for his loss. You must satisfy him!” Zhong Lingdao solemnly said.
“Hehe! Sect Master, please feel at ease. I will definitely satisfy Martial Nephew Han!” The old man saw matters unfold as he imagined, smoothly reaching an agreement. He couldn’t help but burst with joy, repeatedly agreeing in response.
Having seen the old man appear this way, Zhong Lingdao fiddled with his long beard and faintly smiled. This difficult problem had unexpectedly been effortlessly resolved and satisfied both sides. This made the Great Sect Master let out a sigh of relief.
“The matter of the Foundation Establishment Pill has been resolved, and from this day onward, Young Friend Han will be a disciple of this sect. Junior Martial Brother Wang, arrange Martial Nephew Han’s residence and briefly explain the valley’s sect rules. First, have him see a Cultivation Guidance Disciple. If there is remarkable progress, then there may be another promotion!” Zhong Lingdao commanded Junior Martial Brother Wang with words in a way dripping water would not reveal.
“I will follow your orders, Sect Master!” Junior Martial Brother Wang stood and accepted his commands.
Thus, this Martial Uncle Wang immediately brought Han Li out of the palace hall and started to explain a few of Yellow Maple Valley’s various rules and tell him a few bits of general knowledge. Han Li attentively listened and more or less understood formed an initial understanding of Yellow Maple Valley.
Yellow Maple Valley had about ten thousand disciples in total. Of these disciples, at ninety percent were at the Qi Condensation stage. There were only a few hundred Foundation Establishment stage disciples. Those people were the central power of Yellow Maple Valley.
Above them were great Core Formation stage experts. There were only a few several. They were fundamentally in seclusion year-round and were no longer interested with the affairs of the valley. Unless it was a major event involving the life or death of Yellow Maple Valley, Sect Master Zhong would ordinarily not see these people’s faces.
As for the sole Nascent Soul expert in the valley, he was the Martial Uncle Ancestor of Sect Master Zhong and his subordinates. It was said that he was already over nine hundred years old. Not only was his magic power unfathomably deep and his Daoist techniques thoroughly profound, his Nascent Soul could exit his body and mentally journey thousands of Li away. He was a true Immortal on this earth. However, this elder had long left the valley and was no longer within the State of Yue. He had already left to travel to other various countries. Who knows when he would return to the valley?
As the Qi Condensation disciples were quite numerous in the valley, it was impossible for all of them to consume the Foundation Establishment Pill! Only the most outstanding disciples with the best aptitudes would be able to have this privilege.
Therefore, every ten years, the valley’s disciples who were younger than thirty would engage in a series of selections . The competition’s fierceness was not at all inferior to the external Great Immortal Ascension Assembly. On the whole, only true cultivation geniuses who practiced their foundation cultivation technique to the eleventh or even twelfth layer could distinguish themselves and obtain the qualifications for a Foundation Establishment Pill.
Of the several hundred best disciples who passed the strict selection, only twenty to thirty would enter Foundation Establishment after taking the Foundation Establishment Pill. The rest would at best advance their magic power a step and reach the peak of their foundation cultivation technique but never pass it.
Naturally, the disciples in the valley were divided into three levels of hierarchy.
The lowest were the disciples who had not yet taken a Foundation Establishment Pill. These people were the most numerous within the valley, and their magic power were the most shallow. These people ordinarily undertook lowly tasks and cultivated for the least amount of time. However, although they may be the lowest ranked in the valley, they had quite a grand name, “Honored Disciples”.
(TL: the ?? “Honored” in honored disciples also means attendant.)
With slightly higher positions were those who had taken the Foundation Establishment Pill, but were unable to enter the Foundation Establishment stage. These disciple’s foundation cultivation technique had basically reached their peak. Their magic power was far greater than those Honored Disciples. They were even able to use a few simple mid-grade cultivation techniques. As a result, they assumed the duty of leading and administering these numerous Honored Disciples. They were commonly called “Consul Disciples”.
Those with the highest positions were the disciples who had entered Foundation Establishment. They were the favorites of the Heavens and were regarded as true Immortal cultivators; true experts who had stepped foot on the path of Immortal cultivation.
After these people succeeded in entering Foundation Establishment, they were permitted to find a region with abundant Spiritual Qi and create an Immortal’s cave to cultivate alone. They need not undertake any lowly tasks and only concentrate on cultivating. In addition, every year they would be granted all sorts of uncommon materials and a large amount of spirit stones to support and expedite their cultivation. Their sole duty was to aid the sect when it encountered great enemies . To disobey this order was unacceptable.
Apart from the disciples of Yellow Maple Valley, there were the true powers that controlled the sect from within, the many stewards.
These stewards were those disciples who, after entering Foundation Establishment, cultivated for an amount of time and were aware that they were unable to enter Core Formation. They voluntarily renounced their continued cultivation and were willing to enter the inner valley’s specialized administration, performing various duties. Old Man Ye and those tens of people within the main hall were all these kinds of stewards.
Actually, Sect Master Zhong Lingdao was a high level steward. However, he took charge of the entire sect’s overall planning and was the steward of all the stewards.
True decisions regarding the life or death of the sect were decided by those reclusive Core Formation experts. Their mere existence allowed Yellow Maple Valley to be viewed upon as one of the towering Seven Great Immortal Sects, and made it so that evil spirits dared not to cause harm to the sect. Otherwise, Yellow Maple Valley of the Seven Great Immortal Sects would have already been long exterminated countless times from those demons with profound magic power.
Naturally, the information mentioned above did not come from this Martial Uncle Wang but was secretly inferred by Han Li from inquiries and Martial Uncle Wang’s words.
This allowed Han Li to have a clear understanding of his status and environment. This would later be of no small assistance to him when interacting with fellow sect disciples.