“Heh heh, I am indeed a Middle Tier Practitioner! If not, how could I have detected your Spiritual Pulse with just a glance?” Guan Lao Da smiled as he replied and naturally didn’t bring up his original intention to kill the youth.
“I had no idea that I could be considered a Practitioner.” Liu Ming murmured, as he came to some sort of understanding.
“Did you know that a Practitioner is one of the lowest levels of Spiritual Pulse wielders? With your age, if you are able to access your Spirit Sea, you may be able to find a sect and become a Spirit Apostle.” Guan Lao Da showed a strange expression as he said this.
“Apostle? Sect?” Liu Ming furrowed his eyebrows at these two unfamiliar terms.
Guan Lao Da chuckled, but just as he was about to explain, there was a disturbance in the distant grass patch. A skinny figure, carrying a big bag, walked toward them.
“Brother Gu, come over here, let me introduce you to Brother Yang. Without the guidance of a qualified Practitioner, he managed to train his Yuan Li on his own.” Guan Lao Da waved to Gu Lao San the moment he appeared and said this with a profound meaning.
TL: Brother Yang is Liu Ming’s fake name
“That’s great news” Gu Lao San said as he walked across, smiling at this luck.
“My greetings to Uncle Gu.” Liu Ming said without hesitation as he immediately stood up to give a small bow.
“Ah haha, little brother, you do not need to be so courteous. Big Brother Guan, I bought everything I needed. You know, anyone else would have taken at least half a day more.” Gu Lao San boasted as he tossed the bag to Guan Lao Da.
“Of course I know that, that is why I asked you to personally make the trip. Right, this is not the place to be chit chatting. Let us find somewhere less conspicuous” Guan Lao Da said while nodding his head.
Liu Ming and Gu Lao San had no objections. After packing up they walked away from the river.
While they were passing by a mound of freshly packed earth, Liu Ming casually glanced over it.
Normal people would not be able to notice anything out of the ordinary, but Liu Ming could smell the odor of fresh blood. Though it was weak, it was not able to escape the notice of one who had been through as many bloody struggles as he had.
Liu Ming felt his heart skip a beat, knowing that whatever was buried there definitely had something to do with the two other men. While they were by no means saints, beneath their guise of ‘friendliness’ was definitely some hidden agenda.
After an hour, the sky began to darken. Thus, the three of them took refuge in an abandoned shrine and started a fire to keep warm.
Gu Lao San gutted a rabbit he had killed during the journey and began roasting it over the open flame.
As the three men huddled around the fire, an irresistible smell soon wafted into the air…
“Those commonly referred to as Practitioners are Spiritual Pulse users who have successfully undergone their spirit awakening and have access to their Spirit Sea. Once a Spiritual Pulse user passes their fifteenth birthday, their Spiritual Pulse will begin to solidify. From then on they will no longer have any chances to access their Spirit Sea, therefore, there is a very strict age limit regarding the awakening process. Those who have their Spirit Sea opened will be able to convert Yuan Li to Fa Li which they can then use it to wield totems and perform spells. Those people are like gods to us. Sects are places where Spirit Apostles are trained, and normal people do not even know about these sects. Some extremely powerful sects even have the power to determine the fate of a country with just a mere word!” Guan Lao Da seemed to almost have forgotten about the rabbit roasting in front of him, revealing the existence of a secret and mystical world to Liu Ming.
“They can decide who is in charge of the government? The emperor has a personal army, how could he accept such a thing?” Liu Ming couldn’t help but ask as he took in a deep breath.
“Hehe, this is all determined by power. Us mere Practitioners cannot possibly compare to those Spirit Apostles. No matter how hard a Practitioner trains, when faced against an army the most he can do is kill a few people. In the end, the only option is death. As for Spirit Apostles and Spirit Masters, they wield the incomparably powerful forces of nature within their palms and have the ability to summon Demons and Familiars. Not to mention their ability to fly through the sky or burrow through the earth. Regardless of the number of troops, no matter how many armies are gathered, they will still not be enough to even tire them out. In any case, members of the imperial household and high ranking officials who have been marked by the sects can only resign themselves to their fate and simply wait to die.” Gu Lao San chuckled while explaining.
“However, if one wishes to become an apostle, one must first undergo an Opening Spirit Ceremony. Every awakening consumes an immense number of Spirit Ingredients that the sects have painstakingly procured over the course of many years. As such, apart from Spiritual Pulse apprentices the sect has personally raised, ordinary Practitioners who wish to join the sect must first fork over a horrifyingly large sum of resources. In addition, a sect in the Kingdom of Da Xuan is about to perform their Opening Spirit Ceremony very soon”
“So that’s how it is!” Liu Ming exclaimed as a glint flashed in his eyes, but he didn’t say anything more.
Gu Lao San saw this, and couldn’t leave it alone so he suddenly remarked in an enticing manner, “Young Brother, do you not wish to become part of a sect? Once you become a Spirit Apostle, not only will you attain unbelievable power, but your life force will increase tremendously as well. Enough for you to easily live to be two hundred years old.”
“In the first place, I am merely a commoner and only now have I learned that I have always had the capability to become a Practitioner. I could not possibly dream of such an impossible thing. Furthermore, I have never believed in having anything handed to me on a silver platter anyway.” The youth unexpectedly rejected Gu Lao San’s proposal.
This reaction left Gu Lao San momentarily lost for words.
Upon seeing his companion’s flustered reaction, Guan Lao Da glared at him fiercely. After sighing deeply, he faced the youth and said, “Young Brother you have probably noticed as well. Well, I won’t deceive you any more. Indeed, while the two of us had ulterior motives for rescuing you, this however is also an unbelievable opportunity for you. Once you pass it over, you will most likely regret it for the rest of your life. Would you just hear me out?”
“Since both uncles have said so, I will listen to what you have to say.” Liu Ming’s expression did not change as he agreed with hesitation.
“Well, here’s the deal. The two of us are simply henchman for the Bai Clan. This time we received the order to send the young master to take part in the Opening Spirit Ceremony hosted by the Barbarian Ghost Sect…” Guan Lao Da was no fool either and knew that Liu Ming already harbored some suspicions toward them. Thus, he no longer had any intention of hiding the impending crisis that was about to befall the two of them and completely spilled the beans in front of Liu Ming.
“There was no other choice and thus we wish to use you to replace the young master to take part in the Opening Spirit Ceremony. If you were to go, not only would the two of us escape this life-threatening predicament, this would also represent a great opportunity for you. This is the kind of opportunity that wouldn’t present itself no matter how much the other members of the Bai Clan begged for it. My guess is that the source of your troubles also isn’t as simple as just meeting a bunch of bandits, but once you become an Spirit Apostle of the sect, there is nothing in the world of mortals that you cannot solve.” Guan Lao Da said with a heavy heart.
There was a slight change in Liu Ming’s expression as he listened up to this point.
“This Opening Spirit Ceremony… should be very dangerous shouldn’t it? What would happen if I do not successfully complete it?”
“In order to achieve great power, one must also experience a certain degree of danger, but I am sure that it will be no problem for our Young Brother here. Even if you do not pass, that is a small matter and you simply have to stay with the sect for a few years and perform services.” Guan Lao Da replied easily with a straight face.
Liu Ming slightly furrowed his brows.
He knew that Guan Lao Da definitely wasn’t telling him the whole truth, but he also knew that it wouldn’t come out no matter how much he asked.
More importantly, he did feel somewhat interested in the Opening Spirit Ceremony itself.
After spending such a long time on Savage Island, Liu Ming had learned early on that as long as one wielded enough power—one would be free to do as one liked.
All the numerous desires he had buried deep in his heart for all this time clawed at him to become extremely strong in order to fulfill them.
In any case, if he disagreed, it seemed like the two Practitioners in front of him would not let him go so easily.
Furthermore, should he decide to be uncooperative after they had divulged such sensitive information, it would seem likely that only the word ‘Death’ would be enough for them to safely protect their secret.
After contemplating in his heart for a long time, Liu Ming finally came to a decision.
“Alright, I agree. However, let me just make it clear. This situation will definitely be extremely dangerous and after I help you this once, I will consider my debt for being rescued as having been paid in full. Furthermore, in order to bring me to the Barbarian Ghost Sect, I wish for the two of you uncles to promise me two things.”
“If you are willing to replace the young master and take part in the Opening Spirit Ceremony, no matter how many conditions you throw at us, we will agree to them all.” Gu Lao San proclaimed excitedly upon hearing Liu Ming’s words.
After some consideration, Guan Lao Da also nodded his head.
“Both uncles know that even though my body has Yuan Li, I have no knowledge of any of the Practitioner Techniques. Thus, I hope during the course of this journey, you guys will pass some skills onto me that will help me preserve my life. The other condition is that I wish to obtain this young master’s Practitioner Weapon. Being a young master, the Practitioner Weapon he used shouldn’t be too shabby and thus in the event I encounter any problems within the Barbarian Ghost Sect, I should still be able to deal with it to some degree.” Liu Ming laid out his demands without reservation.
“The first condition is a good one. Even if you had not mentioned it, it was a given that we would have done so anyway. As for the second condition… that Practitioner Weapon contains immense power and I fear that it may not be easy for a beginner, such as yourself, to wield.” Gu Lao San mentioned with some hesitation.
“Even still, I would like to at least give it a shot” Liu Ming replied, with no intention of backing down.
“Alright, we will give you the Practitioner Weapon.” Guan Lao Da grit his teeth and agreed to this demand.
Gu Lao San displayed some reluctance upon hearing his words but in the end, raised no objections.
“Right then, from now on I will do my best to accommodate the request. However, I still do not know what the previous young master was called. I will need to use his name from now on after all.” Liu Ming said as he nodded his head.
“Young master was named Bai Cong Tian. Here, younger brother, you should take his possessions.” Gu Lao San opened the massive bag behind his back with a slight movement of his hand and pulled out a small white parcel.
Liu Ming immediately opened the parcel upon receiving it and took a look inside.
Inside it were a number of clean clothes, along with a few small accessories, but most prominent of all the objects was a small bracelet.
The bronze bracelet was fashioned in an ancient style and had rows and rows of silver flower patterns imprinted on the front. It gave one the impression that it was abnormally heavy for its appearance.