Chapter 867: Attending the Ceremony

When Han Li saw these cultivators, he could tell that the old man with the radiant eyes was most likely Eccentric Jin. After all, he was the only one amongst them that was at mid-Nascent Soul stage, and near its peak nonetheless.

When the tangle-haired old man entered the hall, he swept his gaze past the other before focusing on Han Li with a trace of surprise betraying from his face. 

Wearing an odd expression, the tangle-haired old man slowly said, “So you must be Fellow Daoist Han! I’ve long heard of your grand reputation, but weren’t you supposed to be an early Nascent Soul cultivator? How could you advance an entire cultivation level so quickly?” 

Han Li stood up to salute him and said, “So you must be Brother Jin. I must’ve given you quite a surprise. I’ve only entered mid-Nascent Soul stage recently.” 

When Eccentric Jin heard him, his heart dropped. After a moment of silence, he wryly smiled and said, “As soon as I emerged from seclusion, I heard that Fellow Daoist Han possessed many inconceivable abilities. Although the rumors were somewhat exaggerated, they don’t appear too far off.”

Han Li smiled, but before he could say something else, Senior Martial Brother Cheng stood up and chuckled. He said with a cordial tone, “Fellow Daoist Jin, you’ve been staring at Han Li as soon as you’ve arrived. Why don’t you sit down and have a proper chat with us?”

Eccentric Jin laughed and wore a false grin, saying, “I hope Fellow Daoist Cheng doesn’t take offense; I had no interest in seeing you. I’ve only come because I was curious about the illustrious reputation of your Junior Martial Brother Han.”

“Is that so?” Senior Martial Brother Cheng asked with a beaming smile. “Now that you’ve seen Junior Martial Brother Han, I’m sure you aren’t disappointed.”

Eccentric Jin looked at Senior Martial Brother Cheng with a cold smile and laughed. “Of course I’m not disappointed. Rather, he even exceeded my expectations. With Fellow Daoist Han, the Drifting Cloud Sect will rise in prominence. However, I also heard that Brother Han wasn’t truly a disciple that had emerged from your sect. Rather, he originated from Yellow Maple Valley!”

“Even if Junior Martial Brother Han was once related to Yellow Maple Valley, why does that matter? He is now an elder of our Drifting Cloud Sect.” Senior Martial Brother Cheng calmly stated.

Eccentric Jin rolled his eyes when he heard this, but was interrupted by Old Man Feng before he could continue, “Fellow Daoists, let’s not be too focused on conversation. Our Hundred Possibilities Pavilion has acquired some spirit fruit with a pleasant scent. Please try them.” With that said, he clapped his hand and a group of young female disciples waiting outside walked inside with trays of oval scarlet spirit fruits.

When this happened, Eccentric Jin and Senior Martial Brother Cheng sat down, not daring to slight their host.

Once the female disciples finished laying out the fruit, Old Man Feng said, “These are Fire Pomegranates, a disciple of our sect had collected them from an unknown area. Their flesh is sweet and juicy. If an ordinary mortal were to consume them, they would experience an improvement in sight.” 

Han Li and the others have never seen such a fruit and they all began to taste them. As expected, they tasted quite sweet and contained quite a bit of worldly Qi in them. Han Li enjoyed them in particular and ate them in quick succession.

Old Man Ding glanced at the female Ancient Sword Sect cultivator before speaking with a smile, “This person must be Fellow Daoist Brightscent. I’ve heard your magic treasures were unordinary and was crafted from ten thousand year old Yellow Wood. I also heard you cultivate the top grade wood attribute cultivation art, the Hundredbloom Yangspring Arts. Would you happen to know why hasn’t Fellow Daoist Fire Dragon come?”

“That’s right, I am Brightscent. Senior Martial Brother Fire Dragon had heard news that someone was selling eggs for Fire Crystal Beasts at the Lavender Cloud Mountains and he left the sect several months prior. Although I’ve entered Nascent Soul stage about fifty years ago, I’ve very rarely met with others. Now that we’ve met, I hope you Fellow Daoists can provide me with guidance.” Although the woman didn’t appear remarkably beautiful, each and every one of her movements contained a gentle elegance and her body emitted a faint flowery fragrance. One couldn’t help but gain a good impression of her. 

When the woman finished talking, her gaze turned to Han Li with quite a bit of interest. Han Li unconsciously frowned for a moment in response.

With the fruits eaten, the three sects’ elders began to chat.

As Han Li’s two Senior Martial Brothers subtly contended with the others through their words, he sat quietly and only occasionally spoke. But due to Han Li’s thunderous reputation, the elders of the Ancient Sword Sect and Hundred Possibilities Pavilion were particularly mindful of Han Li’s actions, attempting to see if they concealed any hidden meaning.

Just as their chat continued, red light suddenly flashed from outside the hall, revealing a purple-robed middle-aged man. He had thick eyebrows, big eyes, and an imposing aura. At a glance, one could tell he was a man of authority. 

As soon as this person appeared at the hall’s entrance, Old Man Feng and Ding stood up. “Senior Martial Brother Pyre, the Fellow Daoists of the Drifting Cloud Sect and Ancient Sword Sect have arrived. Are the preparations for the ceremony complete?”

En,” The middle-aged man grunted and swept his gaze across everyone in the hall. “Everything has been arranged. Fellow Daoists, let’s go and attend the ceremony.” 

At that moment, the other cultivators in the hall all stood up and welcomed him. As he was the grand elder of the Hundred Possibilities Pavilion, they didn’t dare to slight him. 

“Brother Pyre, you’ve finally come,” Eccentric Jin called out to him with a friendly tone. “I’m not sure how much your Heavenfire Arts have improved. After this ceremony is over, we may as well swap some pointers.” 

Eccentric Pyre rolled his eyes at him and snorted. “Forget it. Although my Heavenfire Arts are quite powerful, it is still an entire level below your techniques. If you wish to gain some experience, you had best find someone else.”

At that moment, Senior Martial Brother Cheng introduced Han Li. Eccentric Pyre was greatly shocked by Han Li’s quick rise to mid-Nascent Soul stage and spoke to him with much courtesy. 

Soon after, Eccentric Pyre said nothing else and promptly invited the sect elders to attend the master recognition ceremony. As the others raised no objections, they walked out of the cave and arrived above the stone platform they had passed. At that moment, the nearby skies and mountains were completely empty apart from several hundred Foundation Establishment disciples standing in front of the huge pagoda, divided into their own separate groups. And at the very front of these Foundation Establishment disciples were a dozen Core Formation cultivators solemnly lined up side by side.

About thirty meters in front of the Core Formation cultivators was a cauldron with strange flame-like designs engraved all over it. It was about three meters wide, but short and shaped like a cube. But more strange of all was while there was nothing touching the cauldron, it was scarlet red and heated up the air thirty meters around it.

But all of this was of little notice to all the cultivators around it. All their eyes were focused on a young man three meters away from the cauldron.

The young man was kowtowing on a golden prayer mat as he chanted something. Because his head was lowered, it was difficult to see his face.

In the blink of an eye, Han Li and the other elders dropped down in front of the crowd of cultivators. The crowd became restless and the dozen Core Formation disciples immediately approached the elders and respectfully saluted them.

“We pay our respects to our Martial Uncles and Seniors.” After paying his respects, Old Man Fu [1] stepped forward and respectfully announced, “Junior Martial Brother Wang has already immersed himself in paying his respects for nearly two hours. Soon he will begin to open the cauldron and conduct the ceremony.” 

“Acknowledged. You may now go back.” Eccentric Pyre nodded and brought the other elders to the very front to observe the kowtowing young man.

Eccentric Jin examined the disciple and said, “Fellow Daoist Pyre, this is the disciple that reached Core Formation stage in less than a hundred years? His aptitude was already outstanding and now he is taking in the Yin Yang Pagoda as his bonded magic treasure. I suspect that in another three hundred years, your sect will gain another Nascent Soul cultivator.” 

Eccentric Pyre chuckled and said, “Forming a Nascent Soul is only a matter of luck. An exceptional aptitude doesn’t decide whether or not one can enter Nascent Soul stage. It merely increases their odds.”

Eccentric Jin simply smiled when he heard this. The others remained silent as well. 

The disciples behind them then noticed that their Martial Ancestor was present, bringing along many Nascent Soul cultivators as well. In the blink of an eye, the disciples of the platform suddenly held their breaths out of extremely carefulness and the platform became completely silent apart from the chanting of the kowtowing disciple.

Han Li listened to the words he chanted and discovered that they were merely common worshipping scripts, nothing out of the ordinary. It was unknown whether the sect elders were doing this to temper his will or if this was simply an odd sect tradition.

To these old Nascent Soul eccentrics, a year of cultivation wasn’t much time. Naturally, waiting only a few more minutes until the ceremony started was an instant to them. 

Just as Han Li thought the time for the ceremony was close by, the burning cauldron suddenly began to tremble and release a series of clear rings before brightly glowing with light. The temperature of the cauldron’s surrounding suddenly rose as a wave of red flame shot out all around it. 

Han Li and the other Nascent Soul cultivators were completely unaffected by the flames, emitting light around their bodies to block it, but the Foundation Establishment and Core Formation cultivators behind them had found the effort to be difficult. Their own barriers were unable to completely protect them against the scalding heat.

As for the young disciple that was kowtowing three meters away from the cauldron, he rigidly blocked the wave of flames with a fire-red barrier. He eventually took a deep breath and raised his head, looking at the huge cauldron through the flames.

The disciple had a delicate face and appeared to be a thin youth in his late twenties. Given the age he formed his golden core, it was no wonder why the Hundred Possibilities Pavilion elders were willing to bestow a treasure as formidable as the Yin Yang Pagoda over to him.

[1] A Core Formation cultivator from the Hundred Possibilities Pavilion who presided over the Sword Trial Assembly in the past. More recently, he led Drifting Cloud Sect Elders to the elders’ meeting ground.