Of the three sects controlling the sacred spirit veins, the most optimal choice for Han Li wasn’t the Drifting Cloud Sect but the Hundred Possibilities Sect that was well known for its tool refinement.
In addition to his original goals of finding a cultivation area, the Hundred Possibilities Sect disciples were particularly adept at refining all sorts of magic tools. Rumor has it that the sect even possessed refinement methods for peak grade magic treasures.
These treasures caused Han Li’s heart to stir. However, it was a pity that the sect recruited disciples in the same manner as the State of Yue’s Seven Sects used to: they prioritized recruitment from cultivation clans and only rarely accepted outsiders as disciples.
Furthermore, a union of the five most powerful cultivator clans within the sect had monopolized the sect’s allocated section of the Dreamcloud Mountain’s spirit veins in the west. Both of these factors had caused Han Li to relinquish any thoughts of joining this sect with slight regret.
As for the Ancient Sword Sect, as its name implies, it is extremely adept at sword controlling techniques. All of their magic tools and magic treasures were various types of differently sized swords. As for the sect protecting arts, the True Absolute Sword Arts, it was incredibly incisive and was widely known throughout the country.
The Ancient Sword Sect didn’t exclusively take in disciples from cultivator clans, it also took in young vagrant cultivators. However, the sect required one to be extremely suited to their sword arts. If one’s aptitude didn’t match the sect’s cultivation techniques, they weren’t taken in. This was why they had the fewest disciples of the three sects despite how often they were recruiting.
On the other hand, by relying on their domineering attacks, the disciples of the Ancient Sword Sect prevailed over opponents of similar cultivation, leading the sect to be the most powerful of the three. As a matter of course, they held the main spirit vein of Dreamcloud Mountain.
The final sect was the Drifting Cloud Sect. Instead of being renowned for its weapon refinement like the Hundred Possibilities Sect, the Drifting Cloud Sect was famed for its pill concoction.
The legendary Spirit Tempering Pill was something that only a few of the sect’s elders were capable of concocting. So despite the sect’s inferior strength in comparison to the other two, it managed to acquire the east portion of the mountain’s spirit vein. Additionally, the Drifting Cloud Sect recruited the most disciples and possessed the least demanding requirements.
On a whole, the sect only had two conditions for accepting disciples: Primarily, it required that that one possessed decent spiritual roots and a capacity to be nurtured. Lacking that, they were also more than willing to accept any disciples that had poor aptitudes so long as their cultivation had already reached a high enough layer.
After all, the Drifting Cloud Sect pursued a disorganized assortment of various disciplines outside of its renowned pill concoction technique. These fledgling disciplines required large quantities of low level cultivators in order to progress.
As for vagrant Qi Condensation cultivators with poor aptitudes, they clearly understood that they had no future prospects after joining the sect and would eternally be low grade disciples. Regardless, they joined with thoughts similar to Han Li’s; It was quite convenient to take shelter in the great power of the Drifting Cloud Sect. It was for this reason that vagrant cultivators flocked to the sect in large numbers.
With the lax acceptance policies and the enticement of the legendary Spirit Tempering Pill, the sect seemed to be the optimal choice for Han Li to infiltrate.
With some lingering uncertainty, Han Li made a few additional inquiries and learned that the sect would soon be taking in more disciples, immediately dispelling any of his reservations. Without revealing any of his plans, he immediately took off and parted with the two women after making a few preparations.
As recruitment day drew near, many Qi Condensation cultivators began to gather on the road. When Han Li saw this from the top of his mountain, he calmly joined them.
On his walk along the path, he unhurriedly walked for about two hours without reaching the end. This wasn’t because the mountain was large but because the stone roads were being affected by a few shallow illusion techniques. They probably wished to use this to grind down the number of cultivators that wished to enter the sect.
Given the lax entrance conditions of the Drifting Cloud Sect, they may as well cull the cultivators that were too impatient to walk along the path.
The several cultivators that walked in front of Han Li had discovered something amiss, and immediately gathered together and started whispering to each other. They seemed to have guessed what was going on and continued to walk forward without hesitation.
The group of cultivators seemed to be acquaintances. Despite having been ignored, Han Li continued on his way without paying them any heed.
After yet another hour walking along the stone path, they eventually reached some blue stairs. The group of cultivators happily quickened their pace as they climbed up the stairs. Still indifferent, Han Li calmy climbed the steps and examined the scene at the top.
There was a huge, pure white platform that was over four hundred meters wide, and the only other structure present was a small unremarkable pavilion on the other side. There were several tens of different groups of variously clothed cultivators around it, but no one dared to step inside the pavilion. As for Han Li and the group in front of him, they wordlessly joined groups already there and sat down among them.
Han Li inwardly sneered at the scene in front of him. While Qi Condensation vagrant cultivators were unable to see anything, Han Li was able to see through the illusion formation with his spiritual sense.
The small stone pavilion before them was actually a huge white jade tower. A sign hung from the tower had three large golden words, “Illusory Cloud Hall”. Three people stood underneath the huge sign and were looking down at the unknowing Qi Condensation cultivators below, talking amongst themselves as they gestured.
They relied solely on the spell formation for concealment and made no other effort to hide themselves.
Of the three, two were early Foundation Establishment cultivators while one was a mid Foundation Establishment cultivator. It seemed the three of them were in charge of receiving the newcomers.
Han Li wordlessly walked amongst the nearby crowd and sat down at the edge with his head down. Although he closed his eyes, his spiritual sense completely enveloped the three Foundation Establishment cultivators and he easily eavesdropped on their conversation.
A pale faced youth that appeared to be in his late twenties pointed down at the crowd and spoke with a tone of dissatisfaction, “Senior Martial Brother Qiu! Although the deadline hasn’t yet been reached, there aren’t many vagrant cultivators that have caught our eye. Most of the cultivators here wouldn’t even pass the qualifications, and are clearly only at the seventh layer of Qi Condensation. Do they think that the Drifting Cloud Sect takes everyone?”
“There is nothing we can do. Three years ago, our sect accepted a large batch of disciples because they were suitable. And because Senior Martial Uncle Jin was short on manpower, there was an exception made to accept two eighth layer Qi Condensation cultivators at the time. This produced a misconception that it is easier to enter our sect, which is why there are so many vagrant cultivators that have come to try their luck.” The man called Senior Martial Brother Qiu was a white-robed mid Foundation Establishment cultivator in his forties with a stern, squarish face and bright eyes.
A vigorous youth with a heroic air chuckled and added, “Of course, we aren’t going to be so lenient this time around. After all, the recently accepted low grade disciples have been on the shoddier side with regards to their spiritual roots and cultivation. It seems an elder took notice of this and has already warned the sect master. As such, we will follow the sect master's word to accept nothing but quality.”
The pale-faced youth glanced down at the vagrant cultivators and disdainfully said, “Accept nothing but quality! If that’s the case, then it would be fine if we choose ten disciples and have the rest of them leave.”
Senior Martial Brother Qiu glanced at the pale-faced youth and calmly said, “Junior Martial Brother Liu shouldn’t underestimate these vagrant cultivators. There may truly be a few unfounded geniuses among them. Junior Martial Brother Sun Huo was once a vagrant cultivator too, but he managed to reach Foundation Establishment with a mere five years of hard work. Although he was given a suitable cultivation technique and a Foundation Establishment Pill for his quickly acquired merits, this can also be considered part of his aptitude.”
When the pale-faced youth heard him, he quickly thought of something and dryly coughed. He then quickly smiled as if he felt some fear towards Senior Martial Brother Qiu and said, “Senior Martial Brother is correct. I’ve spoken wrongly!”
Senior Martial Brother Qiu was about to say more to the youth, but Han Li wasn’t interest, so he recalled his spiritual sense and began to meditate.
As of current, he had restrained his Qi to the point where other cultivators only perceived him to be a tenth layer Qi Condensation cultivator. He should have no trouble entering the sect!
About half a day later, there were many more cultivators in the crowd that had climbed up the stone steps. By the time the sun set, there were nearly a hundred Qi Condensation cultivators sitting on the stage. A majority of the cultivators there were youths, but there was also a middle-aged man with a particularly profound cultivation.
At that moment, an expanse of red light suddenly burst forth from the stone pavilion and it disappeared to reveal a hundred meter tall tower along with the three silhouettes standing above.
Senior Martial Brother Qiu swept his gaze across the crowd with a stern expression and calmly said, “We welcome all of you Fellow Daoists to our Drifting Cloud Sect. My Martial Brothers and I will be in charge of evaluating you disciples. I hope you Fellow Daoists will clearly listen to what I will say next. Don’t miss it.”