Here's the Second release! :)
The main path led to two different paths in the deepest region after the layer of fog. One passage would lead to the door of outer mountain of the sect and the other would lead to the door of inner mountain of the sect.
The discipleship ceremony was held in the outer mountain. All the disciples that had just joined were considered outer disciples. The requirement for entering the inner mountain was to have a certain achievement and contribution towards the sect, and the disciple must be at least a level five Vein Opening cultivator. And if an inner disciple had accumulated sufficient contributions and reached level eight Vein Opening, he would be promoted as a deacon who would help with the affairs related to the sect.
When a deacon had reached the quota for contributions and had made a breakthrough to Harmonious Spirit realm, he would then be promoted as an elder of the sect.
There was a higher status than the elders and it was called the Four Devils of Sinister Sparrow Sect.
Most of the sects consisted of this fundamental hierarchy. The only difference between a righteous sect and evil sect was the way they counted the contribution.
For example in the righteous sect, in a month's time, if the disciples weren't late for his class and didn't cause trouble in the sect, he would be able to gain one point for contribution.
As for the evil sect, the disciples would be able to gain one contribution point if he had defeated at least three seniors or juniors given a month's time.
The righteous sect emphasized on modest and morality whereas the evil sect emphasized on competition.
The door to Outer Mountain wasn't open yet but the people who came for the ceremony had already gathered outside. For those experts who had come to enjoy the ceremony had entered Inner Mountain to rest. They were given a warm reception by the inner disciples in person.
Ning Fan lacked the interest towards the positions of Sinister Sparrow Sect. The Dark Yin Qi was the only thing that interested him the most and as for Lan Mei, he was only partially interested in her.
The door to Outer Mountain wasn't open for a long time and the elders who would supervise them had yet to appear, as if they were testing their patience. In the path of cultivation, there is bound to be boredom and loneliness. If they lacked the patience, they wouldn't be able to succeed in the path of cultivation.
It was a long wait. Ning Fan sat down crossing his legs. He wouldn't just stand there and waste his time. Even without dans, he could circulate his own magical powers to raise the soul of immortal vein. The speed of soul advancement was near to zero depending on his own magical power, but it was still better than doing nothing.
Unexpectedly, the first round of the test was the examination of patience. Initially, he thought that he just needed to move a few rounds in the sect to complete the procedure of being a disciple and it wouldn't take long. Judging from the current scenario, the ceremony would take a lot longer than he expected to finish.
He was supposed to help Lan Mei treat her illness tonight but it seemed this had to be postponed for another day. To Ning Fan, this deed was very essential. So, he had to cure her illness no matter what but not tonight.
Some of them also followed Ning Fan and sat crossing their legs on the ground and circulated their magical power to unlock their immortal vein. They were the people who appreciated and valued cultivation. But majority of them were still waiting while their faces started to look impatient.
After three days of waiting outside the door. The other Vein Opening cultivators felt very hungry for they hadn't eaten anything during their stay here and they didn't fast before like Ning Fan.
There were some who couldn't take it and just left. The earliest that left were mostly the younger generations of some ordinary but wealthy families. They couldn't take the suffering because they thought cultivation should be relaxing, enjoying and happy. They wouldn't have thought that it would be this torturous. Naturally, they felt disappointed and left.
Another three days passed. In these six days, none of them had taken any water or rice. Their bodies had grown weaker until it was unbearable. And then some of them left.
Another three days were gone. The remaining ones outside the door was just the third of the total participants. There were roughly two hundred of them.
Except Ning Fan, most of their faces did not look pleasant.
A few elders silently observed the people outside the door via spirit sense, they then nodded.
"There is actually approximately two hundred people who pass the first examination this year, which is good as compared to last year that only had a hundred of them. The elimination of Heaven Separation Sect has given us quite a huge advantage." An elder in yellow robe smiled.
"En, it seems we will receive many elite new disciples this time. Especially that one who sat at the corner, the one who is in white clothes and black cloak, he has sat there for nine days without moving. He had a very steady and firm focus which is most suitable in the cultivation of evil because hastiness in evil cultivation will only lead to being possessed or enchanted. Thus, the most important thing was the firmness of the mind."
An elder in black robe gently stroke his beard and praised Ning Fan.
These elders were merely Harmonious Spirit cultivators thus they couldn't discern Ning Fan's cultivation grade, or else they would be shocked.
Among the elders was a youth in black robe. He looked at Ning Fan with unnatural gaze.
"Young master of Seven Apricot - Ning Fan. You have come…"
This youth in black robe was the disciple of Yan Bai, otherwise known as one of the Four Devils 'Black Tribute'. He was the youth named Yan Zhuiyun who was chased out of Mo Clan.
Currently, he had become an elder after finishing his quest. However, Ning Fan was still a frightening person that had been imprinted in his heart.
What the elders would normally do was 'snatching talent,' which meant they would pick the qualified and talented new disciple as their subordinate. Clearly, these few Harmonious Spirit elders had fixed their eyes on Ning Fan. The most possible scenario was these old men would really start snatching him once the examinations were over.
Yan Zhuiyun chuckled silently. He never thought of wanting Ning Fan to become his subordinate because that youth's too scary. He was afraid that there were no elders here that was on par with him.
"This group of old men are dreaming irrationally. I assume their eyes will drop out after the examinations."
After the filtering process of nine days, a few deacons of level eight Vein Opening opened the door when the sun went down.
There were certain grumble in their hearts for being left here to suffer the hunger and cold for nine days straight. However, after realizing the scary cultivation grade of the deacons, they decided to keep their mouths shut. They stood up respectfully and patted their buttocks to dust off the dirt. They shook their heads while they found out about the condition of their immortal veins.
One of them only raised one in tenth of an immortal vein in these nine days. In other words, his cultivation speed only allowed him to raise the spirit of one immortal vein.
To Ning Fan who had raised thirty immortal veins, it was really as slow as a tortoise.
"After entering the sect, I will use the herbs given by them to concoct some dans. But I can only concoct 'Burning Spirit Dan,' which is far more inferior compared to Raising Spirit Dan. But, it is not possible to concoct Raising Spirit Dan due to lacking of necessary herbs. I will also suffer some kind of pain after consuming Burning Spirit Dan but it seems I don't have other choices."
While Ning Fan was muttering to himself, the rest of them had entered the Outer Mountain led by the few deacons. Ning Fan quickly joined in the group with an emotionless face.
The first examination was over. But, there would be a second examination tomorrow. All of them only had one night to rest.
Every thatched cottage was occupied with ten people. Ning Fan was alone sitting on the ground, continuing to raise the spirit of the immortal veins. The other nine in the same cottage with him had left for dinner in the dining area.
When all of them had left, Ning Fan suddenly stood up. The hair tie that was a gold ranked Spirit Equipment glittered with green light as he casted body concealing art.
Ning Fan didn't feel tired after nine days of meditating. So he would take the opportunity when the others were not around to find out about the whereabouts of the Dark Yin Qi.
The name of Dark Yin Qi itself indicated its function. It could only be formed from the coldest place. Ning Fan cautiously casted his spirit sense to find a place which is the coldest but no place of such was found.
Though there were some cold area except the chilling fog that didn't dissipate throughout the year, it was still far away from the extent of extreme cold.
If it wasn't in Outer Mountain, could it be in the Inner Mountain?
Ning Fan passed through many buildings and headed to the direction of Inner Mountain. He ignored the guards that were patrolling in the night.
With the gold ranked Spirit Equipment, not even Gold Core experts could detect him. No one could see him outside in the Outer Mountain. He continued until he saw a yellow jade door as large as three hundred meters.
The area inside the yellow jade door was the Inner Mountain. As he was standing outside the door, some kind of movement was stirred up from the Yin Yang Locket in his dantian.
"What is the thing here has attracted the Yin Yang Locket?"
Ning Fan's gaze was solemn. He then stepped into the doorway. Suddenly, a layer of grey light glittered, and at the same time, produced a piercing sparrow sound that resounded throughout the entire Sinister Sparrow Sect. Ning Fan's body concealing art couldn't get past the formation.
His facial expression changed. He didn't expect that there was such strange formation in the Inner Mountain. He couldn't see such formation by his current cultivation grade.
It wasn't because of the rank of this spirit equipment was too high. The formation was too natural in the aspect that it had completely integrated with heaven and earth, which also told him why he couldn't see such formation existed before him. The eye of the formation wouldn't be extremely difficult to find. So the only way for him to destroy this formation was to attack it forcefully.
He tried to think about the reason for destroying this formation and found none because he didn't nurse any vengeance or feud against Sinister Sparrow Sect.
"It seems like I can't enter the Inner Mountain for the time being. I still don't know whether Dark Yin Qi is in there. Never mind, I will find out about it next time."
Not far away from the door, the experts of the sect rushed over to see who had trespassed into Inner Mountain. Ning Fan knew he couldn't stay long, so he had stepped into icy rainbow and was gone.
In the middle of the night outside the cottage, sound of some insects chirping could be heard. Ning Fan was sitting crossed legs in the cottage while a few youths were attracted in their gossip.
"Did you hear about it? Someone tried to trespass into Inner Mountain in the evening. It has alerted many experts and elders, including a Harmonious Spirit elder. But the trespasser wasn't caught."
"I have no idea who is this super audacious man. He actually dared to trespass the Inner Mountain. I heard that that person fled towards our accommodation area. Hey, Ning Fan, have you seen the face of the Harmonious Spirit elder?"
"No." Ning Fan replied in a plain tone.
"Humph! What kind of tone is that?" The youth who asked obviously wasn't pleased with Ning Fan's unapproachable tone. He knitted his eyebrows and decided not to care about him anymore.
"As a matter of fact, we are going into 'Demon Sinister Forest' for our second examination tomorrow. I heard that we are required to stay in the forest for up to a month."
"What, Demons Sinister Forest? The place where Sinister Sparrow Sect dump the corpse of their enemies? Some say there are a lot of powerful dark and sinister ghosts there. Even a level ten Vein Opening expert will die going into that forest."
"Don't worry about it. The highest cultivation grade among us is level four Vein Opening and the lowest is zero. I don't think Sinister Sparrow Sect will ask us to go so deep into that forest."
"At the time, the sect will give us a contribution task that requires us to either kill the ghosts or harvest some herbs but I'm not sure what's the point behind all this is."
They were engaged in their discussion. Ning Fan's eyes twitched as the words fell into his ears.
'Demon Sinister Forest… a place where ghosts linger. It must be a very dark and cold place but I still can't confirm that Dark Yin Qi will be there. I have to search it whether it is there or not."
All name of skills will not be capitalized as they are considered common nouns, but they will be italicized. Some terms are subject to change when better suggestions are selected.