A gong resounded throughout the area signaling that it was 7 am. The sun was slowly rising and some spirit beasts howled out along with the loud gong sound. From two beds two people rose up to attention, they were two youths just in their underwear.
The two looked at each other with quivering eyes. They had been unable to sleep during the night as it was finally happening. The time to begin their new life as United Element Sect's trial disciples.
The loud sound that sounded like a huge gong was there to help the youths wake up in the morning. They still had an hour to get ready so there was supposedly enough time. The two rolled out of their beds and landed on the floor and shook themselves awake.
"Brother Rong… it's finally time!"
"Yes brother Yun, we will finally become elite cultivators!"
The two had sparkles in their eyes. They were already seeing themselves flying on large swords just like the one their senior brother Zhang Liu had. They quickly put on their gray robes and made sure that their emblems were in place. The robes had the name of the sect written down in a larger circle on their backs.
To the side of it, there was a smaller circle with a drawing of a dragon which indicated the academy they were from. There were five of them and these two belonged to the Primal Dragon academy. Each one had about ten thousand disciples in it, which made things a bit hectic.
After inspecting their clothes they charged out of their dorm room to go outside. They weren't the only people going out as the moment they left their room they could see many people in the halls. Due to the sheer number of them, they even had to wait before they could squeeze out through one of the exit doors.
"Next time we should go out of the window…"
Cheng Yun commented after he saw some other disciples using that method instead. Everyone was rushing to the first assembly. This would be their first lesson as new disciples and no one wanted to be late. Even though it was only a couple minutes after 7 am the young people swarmed the meeting place.
There were far too many people to teach in small classrooms here. Zhang Dong decided to go with the open-air option and place a large stage in one area of the academy ground. The teacher would do his lectures there with the aid of some large screens and a sound system. The disciples would have to either stand or sit while listening.
This was a free lecture, everyone was able to participate here at no cost. If the youths wanted more help from a senior member they would have to use their merit points. This wasn't limited to the teachers, even disciples could teach other disciples while trading merit points. There were just some basic lessons that everyone had to get through.
The two youths from the Tatar tribe arrived with everyone else and they were somewhere in the middle of the crowd. There was enough space for everyone to stand and not have to be shoulder to shoulder. The two looked around and Yang Rong gave Cheng Yun a nudge with his elbow to get his attention.
"What is it, brother?"
"There look, isn't that the senior sister that was second?"
Cheng Yun narrowed his eyes and looked in the direction that Yang Rong was pointing at. There she was, an icy beauty with jade-like skin and long black hair. The two didn't see her that well as everyone was bowing as the sect leader was doing his speech.
"Such beauty... "
The two just continued to stare. The girls in their village weren't ugly or anything but compared to this young woman they were like frogs. They were smitten by Zhang Xue's hologram already but after seeing a real jade beauty from close up they were even more excited.
"She has to be my Daoist partner, I have decided!"
Yang Rong drooled slightly before mustering up some courage to walk forward. Cheng Yun was flabbergasted by his brother's attitude. How could he just approach such a beauty, did this man know no fear?
He saw him in a new light and just watched as he strutted over with big strides. There was a small problem though, before he could approach her someone moved to block his path. Cheng Yun noticed something, the beauty seemed to be standing alone but that wasn't really the case. She was surrounded by many other people that were forming a shield and keeping everyone away.
Cheng Yun continued watching and just saw his brother shouting at one of the youths that blocked his way. In no time two more appeared to block his approach, Yang Rong seemed resolute as he tried forcing his way through. To his surprise, the group of people were all above his realm and easily pushed him back.
Fighting was forbidden by the sect and this was probably the only reason why the group of bodyguards didn't give Yang Rong a good thrashing. After a few well-chosen words he returned to where Cheng Yun was standing. The youth just chuckled while Yang Rong's whole face scrunched up.
"Did you make her your Daoist partner, brother Rong?"
Cheng Yun sniggered while some other people did the same. The young woman was an eye-pleaser so quite a bit of the other disciples saw the whole exchange.
"What do you mean! This is just a small setback, this Yang Rong will never give up!"
The young man smacked his chest with a lot of force before announcing his convictions. The other people who heard this didn't know if they should cheer or laugh. The woman he was after looked like a lot of trouble. She was clearly some young missy from a stronger clan, the youth that was from a low tribe had no chance with someone like that.
At least that was what the smirking onlookers were thinking, the young tribe member was pumped up. Love was never easy, he just needed to impress the lady enough to catch her attention and then her adoration!
While the people were looking at the silly encounter another loud gong echoed through the whole area. Everyone looked to the stage and they soon saw a person walking out. The man was wearing a blue robe which indicated that he was an inner sect elder.
The person was really big, at least two meters tall with arms thick as tree trunks. He was even wider than the youth that was third place and could give the Huo Patriarch a run for biggest macho. The trial disciples stopped chatting and looked with wide-open eyes as they waited for the first lesson to start.
The large man moved to the front but he didn't speak. Soon another person walked forward, it was a woman. In comparison to the large strong-looking man, this woman was quite curvaceous and alluring. Yang Rong was even reevaluating if he should go for this older sister instead of the other one he just swore his love towards.
"My name is Zhang Peng and this is Sister Ai, you will refer to us as Elder Peng and Elder Ai from now on."
After the two took the center stage they started talking. They welcomed the disciples and gave a little talk about how much of an honor it is to be in this sect. They didn't take long to finally get to the point, which was body refinement.
"I see that your bodies are unrefined and weak, we will be focusing on that for the first few months. All of you will be picking one of the basic body refining techniques from the library and practicing it. Only with a strong body, you may start cultivating Qi once more!"
The man continued to talk while walking around the stage. Finally, the lovely lady had time to chime in. She walked forward causing the younger men in the area to gulp hard.
"This is one of the rules of this sect, we are all practicing dual cultivation. Only people that can both cultivate their body and spirit will be allowed in as a true disciple."
The youths gasped and started murmuring amongst each other. This was something unprecedented, most sects didn't operate like this. You'd find them focusing on one or the other. Only elite individuals could hope to advance in both Qi cultivation and body refining. They were now worried that they wouldn't make it as training in both was considered spreading yourself too thin. Their worries would be soon dispelled by this female teacher.
"Are you doubting yourself or are you doubting the sect?"
She asked while smirking.
"Dual cultivation in normal circumstances is very difficult but only when the techniques you are practicing are of low quality. Don't worry my juniors, the sect will provide the right resources for you, I assure you that if you practice diligently you will achieve progress!"
The woman smiled while the trial disciples eyes shone. They didn't think that these people were lying to them. They knew that if they got a really good technique and maybe some resources that anything was possible. They had all made it through the rigorous trials so they were in good spirits. This library that the seniors mentioned also piqued their interest.
"You will be given your first body refining manual and Qi refining manual free of charge. You will need to spend merit points for improved tomes and new techniques ...."
The large man and woman continued to talk. They gave the kids some advice on spending their merit points and which manuals were the best ones for newbies like them. They also explained that the school year was divided into two semesters and there would be a test each semester.
There would be mandatory lessons and some basic techniques that everyone would need to learn. They would be then tested by teachers and they would be graded on their mastery and progress in the future.
For now, they needed to go to the library to pick their body refining technique. There were some people that already had somebody refining techniques of their own. They were assured by the teachers that the sects manuals were superior to their own techniques.
The lecture took some time and more teachers came over to introduce themselves. Most of them were wearing gray robes and not the blue ones that the first two had. The blue-robed elders were the heads of their own departments while the gray robes were the assistants. They also would give pointers if you spent merit points on the lessons. The gray-robed teachers were cheaper and some even gave lessons for free.
The assembly ended and everyone was allowed to go to the library. The youths had already visited most of the places they were allowed in during the first few days. There were a couple like the large cafeteria that served them basic spirit rice for free. If they wanted something more nutritious they needed to use up merit points.
There was a gym where the disciples could lift weights and train their muscles. It had other facilities that you also could spend merit points on. One of those was the gravity room, that increased the gravity and was good for full-body exercises. There were various other specialized chambers that aided in growth as well.
The most popular one was the library though. It was closed before this announcement but now the trial disciples would be allowed to visit the first floor. In it, they would be able to pick out their first technique which would be used to refine their body. This along with a basic Qi refining manual would form the basis of their cultivation for the coming months and maybe even years.
Thanks to the in-depth tests that every one of the disciples went through. The sect knew which techniques would fit each individual and would limit the choices accordingly. This would lower the chances of the youths picking an unfitting manual and in term ruin their future prospects. The time of learning had finally arrived and everyone was eager to start.
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