“Uh… Okay. Since Junior will hear about it later, I might as well tell you about them right now.” After a slight hesitation, Li Zong didn’t decline.
“Our sect has a Small Competition every year and a Large Competition every three years. The Small Competition is for each individual faction and, basically is a check of the faction’s disciples’ spell mastery and progress in the training of their Cultivation Methods. The rewards are usually given by the older generation in the faction, who are in charge of the competition. Although the rewards aren’t high, these small competitions has a friendly air to it. It’s completely different for the Large Competition that’s held every three years. All Spirit Apostles in the sect are required to attend this competition, and the top hundred disciples of this competition will be accepted as Core Disciples. In addition, their names will be imprinted on the Sect’s Lunar monument for all disciples to see. More importantly, these Core Disciples will receive the Sect’s special treatment during the next three years. The higher their placement, the more rewards they will get. Of course, the Large Competition also determine how many resources a faction will get in the sect based on how many Core Disciples came from their factions. Thus, even the Spirit Masters pay extreme attention to the competition. To my knowledge, the Nine Infant Faction has always been at the bottom of the Large Competition for the past dozen years. Thus, the resources that the Nine Infant Faction receives is the least amongst all the factions. Because of this, the Nine Infant Faction has an extremely hard cycle of never performing well. In addition, although there are Spirit Masters hosting the competition, they are sometimes incapable of stopping a fight before it’s too late and thus, deaths in that competition are extremely common. In fact, these Large Competitions are also called “Blood Challenges”.” Li Zong said all that in a complete breath as Liu Ming started nodding like a chicken.
“Okay. I think I understand the Small and Large Competitions. However, what’s the Life and Death Trial about? I heard that name from someone before.” Liu Ming asked again.
“The Life and Death Trial involves not only our Barbarian Ghost Sect. In fact, the other four Sects of the Da Xuan Country host this Trial with our Barbarian Ghost Sect. It determines the rankings of the Sect and is bloody beyond our imaginations. Deaths and injuries in the Large Competition are quite few compared to the fact that less than half of the disciples that go the Life and Death Trial comes back alive. In the past few hundred years, our Barbarian Ghost Sect has not been performing well in these Life and Death Trials and thus we are often in last place.” Li Zong said with a sigh.
“If the Life and Death Trial is so dangerous, then how does the sect pick the disciples that go to it? A normal disciple would be extremely wary of such a trial.” Hearing that, Liu Ming sucked in a breath of cold air.
“Hehe. Even though this Life and Death Trial is extremely dangerous, as long as one can return alive, there are many benefits beyond your imagination. From what I know, a majority of the older generation of each faction had experienced the Life and Death Trial. Thus, even if normal disciples wanted to join the trial, they would still be rejected. The ones that are allowed to join the Life and Death Trial are the top ten Core Disciples in the Lunar Monument. In addition, as long as one gets one of the top ten spots, the entire sect would give him or her the best possible training and treatment so that he or she can help the sect gain better footing in the Da Xuan Country.” Li Zong replied without thought.
“Oh I see. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.” After Li Zong finished, Liu Ming was silent for a while before he whole-heartedly thanked Li Zong.
“Haha. It’s nothing, you really aren’t like others in the sect. Oh right, when you ask for your Sect Chore later, if you want a better chore you can tell them my name and then secretly give the one in charge something good. With that, you should be able to get a good chore.” Li Zong laughed as he winked.
Liu Ming also smiled and thanked Li Zong again before joining the long line.
There were many people entering and exiting the Duty hall and thus the line went by quite fast. Soon, it was Liu Ming’s turn.
Before Liu Ming was a bald, middle aged man wearing Enforcer clothing.
However, Liu Ming did not have any Spirit Stones to bribe the Enforcer with, and thus did not offer up Li Zong’s name. Instead, Liu Ming obediently gave his nameplate to the Enforcer and said:
“I am a new disciple and here to receive my Sect Chore.”
“Oh, you’re a new junior. Let me see what chores are still available.” The bald Enforcer seemed to be extremely friendly and after receiving Liu Ming’s nameplate, he quickly started flipping through a thick book beside him.
“The available chores that are suitable for new disciples are chopping down wood on Sky Bamboo Mountain and farming in the South Spirit Valley. Which one would you like to choose junior?” After a few seconds, the Enforcer looked up again and asked Liu Ming.
“What? Chopping down wood and farming?” Liu Ming thought that he heard wrong.
According to Liu Ming’s previous understandings, these Sect Chores were probably along the lines of standing guard somewhere or patroling a particular mountain and not what he had just heard.
“I know junior has some questions, but they should be answered after you start the chore.” The bald Enforcer seemed to be accustomed to reactions like Liu Ming’s and spoke with a hint of mystery.
“Then… I’ll choose to farm.” Even though Liu Ming was still confused, he could only suppress his confusion and choose one of the tasks.
At the very least, Liu Ming had once farmed half an acre of mixed oats while on Savage Island.
“The farming chore must be completed within three days or else the chore will be counted as incomplete.” Hearing his answer, the bald Enforcer held up Liu Ming’s name plate and pressed it down onto a certain page in the book beside him.
After taking back the nameplate, Liu Ming left while still confused. Suddenly, he realized that he did not know where the South Spirit Valley was.
Right as he was about to ask the Enforcer, he saw that there was another disciple talking to the Enforcer and the line had become extremely long.
When his gaze turned, Liu Ming suddenly saw that Li Zong was still around the main entrance of the hall and had yet to leave. Instantly, Liu Ming walked over.
“Bai Junior, what chore did you get? Hopefully it’s not taking care of Spirit Beasts. That’s one of the most troublesome chores!” Seeing Liu Ming walk over, Li Zong actively greeted him.
“Li Senior. It’s great that you haven’t left yet. My chore isn’t taking care of Spirit Beasts but farming. However, I don’t know where South Spirit Valley, where I will be farming, is located.”
“Farming! Hm, it’s not a good chore but also not a bad one. South Spirit Valley? Here, I have a self-made map of the sect and since I have no use of it now.. Here you go.” After pondering for a slight while, Li Zong took out a beast skin map and threw it towards Liu Ming.
“Thank you senior. I won’t be too courteous. Oh right, Li senior, why do we have to farm? With the Pills of Fastening, does our sect really need food?” After receiving the map, Liu Ming smiled and asked with some confusion.
“Haha. When I first joined the sect, I also had the exact same questions as you. Relax. When you get there, you will understand why there’s a farming chore. You might even receive some good things.” Hearing this, Liu Zong laughed and did not answer Liu Ming’s question.
Seeing Li Zong’s avoidance, Liu Ming knew that Li Zong wasn’t going to answer his question. After thanking Li Zong again, he walked out of the hall.
Right after Liu Ming came outside, he cast the Soaring Sky Technique to generate a small grey cloud and flew off.
Following the instructions on the map, Liu Ming flew past a couple of mountains and finally landed in a decently sized valley.
A short distance from where Liu Ming landed was a square field that split into, about a hundred acre large, smaller fields.
Within the field, there were numerous people that were wearing the clothing of inner disciples and using light silver hoes as if they were normal farmers tending to their farms.
While Liu Ming was watching the scene absentmindedly, a cough suddenly sounded from behind him.
The cough wasn’t loud but the sudden appearance of it caused Liu Ming to jump in surprise and quickly turn his head.
Behind Liu Ming was a dark-skinned elder that had somehow appeared behind Liu Ming. The elder’s body was slightly bent as he was holding a burnt yellow smoke pipe and emotionlessly appraising Liu Ming.
“A new disciple of the sect?”
“Yes, elder is?”
Even though the elder didn’t look like much, he gave Liu Ming a sense of pressure to the point where Liu Ming answered without any thought.
“Hmph, how could those Duty Hall people send me a new disciple like you? What do they think this place is? Whatever, take this and take charge of a piece of land like those over there. In three days, you must hoe over the entire piece of land in three days such that each inch of the land has been hoed half a feet and not have a single piece of weed in it. If you cannot finish it, leave immediately and don’t ever let me see you again.” The old farmer coldly said. After touching his waist, he was suddenly holding a hoe that was about as high as a person and threw it before Liu Ming.
This scene made Liu Ming stunned.
“What are you looking at? Get to work. That was a Storage Glyph that cannot be used until you are at the Spirit Master level.” The old man said one more sentence impatiently and turned around without waiting for a response. After taking a few steps, a black cloud appeared below his feet and carried him towards a forest beside the farmland.
“Storage Glyph”. At this moment, Liu Ming would not be Liu Ming if he did not realize that the old farmer was a Spirit Master. After muttering a few words he bent down to pick up the silver hoe and quickly walked towards an empty field.
The acre of field might not seem that big, but it was completely filled with weeds that were almost a feet tall.
After stretching a little, Liu Ming raised the hoe above his head with both hands and chopped into the ground.