Inside the cart there was a strange smell, but this was to be expected as this was a ten person cart yet there were thirty children inside the cart. Even though a child’s body is small compared to an adult, the carriage was horribly overpacked. The Sect had picked up many children in the cart.
Han Li squeezed himself into corner of the carriage, and began to size up the other children.
Based on the the different type of clothing each child was wearing, they could be separated into 3 different categories.
The first category included only one person, who sat right in the middle of the carriage, surrounded by other children. All of them were wearing the same brightly colored clothes and clustered around him like escorts.
This child was called Wu Yan and was 13 years old, making him the eldest child in the carriage. Though his age was above the desired age for initiates, his cousin was married to a man with a great amount of power in the Seven Mysteries’ Inner Circle, and thus the issue was ignored. Furthermore, Wu Yan’s family was in charge of a martial arts dojo, and was quite well off because of it. Wu Yan himself had even learned some martial arts, and while he wasn’t too brilliant at it, he would be able to dominate someone as inexperienced as Han Li.
It was clear that Wu Yan had a wealthy upbringing and was well versed in martial arts. For that reason, he was called “Big Brother” by the majority of the children in the carriage.
The second category was currently crowded around Wu Yan. All sorts of children were a part of this category, whose families had opened up stores as their profession. Some had even worked in it or as craftsmen to make a living…among other things. But all of them had one thing in common: each and every one of them had grown up in the city and naturally learned how to be pragmatic. They would find the person who would be the most advantageous to them, in this case, Wu Yan. They crowded around and sucked up to him with names like “Master Wu” or “Big Brother Wu.” Wu Yan looked as if he was used to this type of treatment, and he enjoyed the attention greatly.
The third category was like Han Li, and had come from a remote and desolate place. They were the ones whose homes were located far away and whose families lived off of the land in destitution. This type of group was certainly the smallest in the cart, with only five or six of them. They were the ones that looked like they were afraid of being hit and thus were to scared to dare to speak in loud words as they merely watched the other children animatedly chatter and crack jokes loudly. And from time to time there would be loud bursts of noise, in stark contrast to these quiet boys.
The carriage quickly headed towards the west of Green Ox Fort. Along the way, they had seen many different things and picked up many more children, but finally on the fifth day reached Red Cloud Mountain where the Seven Mysteries Sect gates were located.
The child exited the carriage and were now on Red Cloud Mountain. When they took a look at the scenery, they all saw the five colors of the setting sun and were deeply fascinated. Mesmerized by the beautiful sight, the children only began to move again after realizing where they were and at the urging of Wang Hufa.
Red Cloud Mountain was previously named Setting Phoenix Mountain, a mountain where the five colors of the sunset would sprinkle onto the ground and transform it. It was only after people had first climbed the mountain and witnessed the miraculous view of the sunset glow that they renamed it Red Cloud Mountain. It was an obvious choice for the Seven Mysteries Sect to establish their territory there and then heavily restrict access to it.
Red Cloud Mountain was the second largest mountain within the country, with the largest one being the Hundred Plant Mountain. Both of these mountains were monstrously large, with their circumferences well over 10 li each. These mountains also included dozens of various sized mountain peaks. However, every single one of these mountains were turned into absolutely inaccessible strongholds. As a result, the Seven Mysteries Sect undeniably dominated the area. Red Cloud Mountain’s main peak, “Setting Sun Summit” was a sinister and tall place, which, from the base to the summit, had only one road leading to it. The Seven Mysteries Sect’s main hall was there, and along the road were 13 sentry posts which ensured that the mountain was an absolutely safe place, a place where one could sleep without worries.
Han Li was observing the surroundings as he walked forward when the group in front of him suddenly stopped and a voice rang out.
“Brother Wang, how is it you’ve only arrived now? You’re already late by 2 days.”
“Lord Yue, there were some delays on the road. My deepest apologies for the trouble.” Wang Hufa stood in front of the group respectfully. An embarrassed flush adorned his face as he greeted the elder.
“What number of trips have you made up the mountain so far?”
“This will be the 17th group.”
“I see.” Lord Yue Tang looked at Han Li and the others with an arrogant expression.
“Take them to the guest courtyards and let them rest well for the night. Tomorrow morning we still start to test for worthy disciples. If they don’t pass, then escort them off the mountain. Those who violate the rules of the mountain shall also be expelled.”
“As you wish, Lord Yue.”
Walking up the stone steps of the mountain, every child looked excited, but none dared to say anything. Although every child there was young and inexperienced, they all understood that this place was where their destiny would be decided.
While leading the group up the path, Wang Hufa greeted many different people. It was clear that he was well acquainted with many people in the Inner Sect.
Along the way, they met many different people. Some wore green satin, some were armed with swords and greatswords, some were training their fists, and some were carrying extremely large bags. The children could not even begin to guess what was in these bags, but by watching how the people were carrying them it was obvious they were training in some sort of martial skill.
Han Li was eventually brought up to the peak of the mountain where a small dirt house stood; this would be where Han Li would rest for the night. As Han Li slept that night, he had a dream that he was wearing embroidered clothing with a metal sword in his hand and knew martial arts to an exceptional degree. He had also dreamt that he beaten the son of the blacksmith soundly. This dream had been so impressive that even as he woke up the next day, he was still vividly imagining it.
When the morning came, Wang Hufa had brought no breakfast the children to eat breakfast and instead immediately brought them down the mountain to a bamboo infested slope. It was at this place where Lord Yue as well as a few other figures awaited them.