Central continent's sect system was different from southern border's clan system.
In clans, blood ties sustained the hierarchy, and clansmen were the target for nurturing. But in sects, masters and disciples replaced the bloodline system. In sects, they recruited disciples and as long as one had good talent and character, they would be accepted.
Precisely so, Fang Zheng was absorbed into Immortal Crane Sect as one of its member.
In Immortal Crane Sect, from low to high, they were classified as, outer disciple, inner disciple, elite disciple, legacy disciple, sect elder, sect leader, and the supreme elder.
Three year small examination, was to choose inner disciples. Eight year middle examination was to choose elite disciples. As for the fifteen year large examination, it allows one to ascend to a legacy disciple.
Above the legacy disciple, it would be the sect elders.
The sect elders in Immortal Crane Sect had at least rank four cultivation. The sect leader would have rank five cultivation, and the supreme elders were rank six Gu Immortals, there was even rank seven among them!
Central continent was the strongest region compared to north, south, east, and west. Immortal Crane Sect was the top ten sect in central continent, it was even stronger than Shang clan.
The disciple selection did not involve place of birth, or any regional priorities. Thus, in Immortal Crane Sect, there were no C grade aptitudes.
B grade was the most commonly seen, but there were many A grades as well.
Fang Zheng was a genius with A grade aptitude no doubt. But in Immortal Crane Sect, in such a super-level force, there were many geniuses just like him.
"Fang Zheng, you were born smart and were willing to undertake hardships, now that you have rank four cultivation, you are already qualified to be a sect elder. But you have only entered the sect for a short time, you need to complete many sect missions to prove your loyalty. I hope you can continue to work hard, become victorious in the large examination, and become a legacy disciple." Immortal Crane Sect leader sat on his grand seat as he looked down at Fang Zheng, who was kneeling below the stairs.
"Yes, I will remember leader's teachings." Fang Zheng replied.
"Now, I have a sect mission to hand to you and a few elite disciples. Go back and read through the details, go." The sect leader said as a bookworm flew out.
Fang Zheng received it and took his leave.
Once he returned, he laid down on the bed and fell asleep.
Controlling Gu worms required a lot of concentration, he expended a lot of his mental energy in doing so, at times he had to multitask and do multiple things at once.
In the battle with Sun Yuan Hua, Fang Zheng used all his trump cards and truly expended all his means.
He was too tired, forcefully meeting the sect leader to finish the initiation for advancing to an elite disciple. His head was still hurting, like a hammer was hitting him, while his shoulders were so sore that they could barely support his neck. He was drowsy and felt light-headed.
Fang Zheng slept for two days and two nights, until a series of knocking woke him up.
Once he pushed the door open, he saw a group of elite disciples.
These disciples comprised both male and female, they were mostly rank three but there were a few with rank four cultivation.
Different from clans, which did not require loyalty to be tested, sects needed to do so.
The higher the hierarchy, the fewer the number of elite disciples, legacy disciples, and elders. Many cultivated to rank four, but were eliminated during the examinations. Thus resulted in many disciples and elders having the same rank four cultivation.
But regardless of their cultivation, the elders definitely had higher battle strength than disciples. That is because they were chosen strictly through examinations, and were the most talented among thousands.
"Fang Zheng, we have the same mission. On this trip, I hope we can take care of each other."
"Fang Zheng, I saw your battle with Sun Yuan Hua, it was very exciting!"
"I hope we can spar along the way…"
These people were very amiable. That is because they knew Fang Zheng controlled an ironbeak flying crane group that was ten thousand in number. Although he could not control them perfectly, such strength was still respectable.
"You are too polite, my fellow sect brothers. I am ashamed, these few days, I had been sleeping, I have not seen the mission details yet." Fang Zheng cupped his fists, admitting.
"I see, in that case, I will tell you directly, our mission this time is extremely important! Fang Zheng, a few months ago, a shocking event happened at Tian Ti mountain, do you know about it?" An elite disciple asked.
"Tian Ti mountain?" Fang Zheng nodded: "This matter was huge, I know about it. On Tian Ti mountain, Fairy Bai Hu's inheritance appeared. Fairy Bai Hu is a famous person in the righteous path, a rank six Gu Immortal, and owns the Hu Immortal blessed land. Once this inheritance appeared, many Gu Immortals came out. As long as one inherits this inheritance, they would gain her blessed land. Right now, Tian Ti mountain is heavily surrounded by many Gu Immortals."
"Fang Zheng, I'll tell you directly, our mission this time is to go to Tian Ti mountain and try to obtain this inheritance. The lord Gu Immortal of our Immortal Crane Sect has already come to an agreement with the lords of the other sects, in order to maintain peace, they will not strike, but instead, choose some elite disciples in their sect to compete in a fair manner."
Fang Zheng heard this, and his eyes widened, showing intense desire: "Are you serious?"
This was the inheritance of a Gu Immortal!
"Of course, if we are truly fated and become her inheritor, we would definitely shoot to success. In the future, we have a great chance of breaking through to Gu Immortal realm. But other than our Immortal Crane Sect, there is also Heavenly Lotus Sect, Spirit Butterfly Valley, Ancient Soul Sect, Heaven's Envy Sect and the other central continent's top ten sects. Thus, during this trip, we have to cooperate and stay united!"
"Of course!" Fang Zheng immediately replied.
Huo Tan mountain in southern border is a dormant volcano.
It is about three kilometers tall, and the peak of the mountain is flat with a hole that is flowing with magma within. Thick smoke rose from the funnel occasionally like a chimney.
The greatest resource on this mountain were charcoal stones, almost seen everywhere.
This type of charcoal stone burnt for a long time and emitted little heat, and did not give out smoke, it was most commonly used in Shang clan city, fifth inner city.
It had been numerous days since Fang Yuan and Bai Ning Bing stepped into Huo Tan mountain.
They had set off from Shang Liang mountain, to reach San Cha mountain, Huo Tan mountain was a necessary stop.
Stepping on the charcoal stones, one would feel the heat from below, as the air was dry and without moisture. Looking far, all one could see was dark red charcoal stones.
There were trees on this mountain too.
But these trees were short and thin, their branches were like needles and did not block sunlight.
Thus, on Huo Tan mountain, one could have a wider vision than compared to being on other mountains.
Fang Yuan and Bai Ning Bing travelled on the mountain, if birds flew in the sky and looked down, they would see two tiny ants crawling slowly.
The truth is, they were being observed.
"Hehe, they are finally here."
"Huo Tan mountain is a necessary location along the path, they will definitely pass by here if they want to go to San Cha mountain.
At an insignificant corner, two demonic Gu Masters were hiding.
They were two bald men, the older one was called Jiao Huang, while the middle-aged man was called Meng Tu, they were a famous assassination duo among the demonic Gu Masters.
"As long as we kill these two, Shang clan would have ten thousand primeval stones as reward, and we will also get a yellow pair token. How can we let go of such a good deal?" Meng Tu licked his lips excitedly.
"But they are both rank four Gu Masters, we are only rank three peak stage. This is a good deal, but the risks are higher! I'm not sure if it was a mistake to accept this…" Jiao Huang was older and wiser, showing worry on his face.
"Elder brother Jiao Tu, don't be frightened by their cultivation. So what if they are rank four, they are only rank four initial stage. Most of the Gu worms in their hands are still rank three. Moreover, it is not like we have not killed a rank four Gu Master before, remember that Xiao Fu Lu who was killed by us?" Meng Tu encouraged.
Once he mentioned Xiao Fu Lu, Jiao Huang frowned, as he said nervously: "Didn't I mention it many times, don't talk about Xiao Fu Lu. He is the grandson of Xiao clan's supreme elder, we offended a Gu Immortal when we killed him. Keep this matter in your stomach and never mention it again."
"Hmph, so what if he is a Gu Immortal? Haven't we lived free and safe all these years?" Meng Tu pouted indifferently: "Gu Immortals are not omnipotent, not to mention these two newly advanced rank four Gu Masters. Brother, don't forget that we've spent several days preparing that trap for them. Hehehe!"
Speaking of that trap, Jiao Huang's expression relaxed.
He muttered: "As long as they fall into the trap and engage in a fierce battle, their primeval essence will be depleted and we will have a chance to act!"
"Exactly." Meng Tu said, as his eyes suddenly glowed, saying softly but excitedly: "Quickly look, they fell for the trap!"
Fang Yuan and Bai Ning Bing stopped walking.
The nearby ground started shaking violently. Rock shrapnels fell down the cliff from both sides.
On the ground, the soil was moved away as lava crocodiles crawled out from the ground.
"It is a lava crocodile group, there is a thousand beast king!" Bai Ning Bing concentrated, looking at the leader of the group.
This lava crocodile king was huge, the size of three elephants.
Its body is covered with deep red scales, and four thick legs supported its huge body. A crocodile tail giving off a metallic glow was over ten meters long. On its back, there were two lumps, like two small volcanoes. As it breathed, two traces of black smoke rose from the volcanoes, thick and thin rhythmically.
As the lava crocodile king crawled out of the ground, it stared at Fang and Bai, but most of its attention was on Fang Yuan.
Fang Yuan and Bai Ning Bing were rank four initial stage Gu Masters, but he had rank four middle stage primeval essence.
The lava crocodile king had sharp senses, it immediately sensed that Fang Yuan's aura was scarier.
It opened its mouth, and over a thousand lava crocodiles encircled Fang and Bai.
Facing such a dangerous situation, Fang Yuan laughed: "It is but a few crocodiles, Bai Ning Bing, cooperate with me and kill this lava crocodile king!"
"Okay." Bai Ning Bing replied plainly, but battle intent surged in her eyes.
Back then, when they first left Qing Mao mountain, they had also encountered a lava crocodile king, and stayed away from it.
But now, they were different, having rank four cultivation, even if this lava crocodile king was a thousand beast king, it could not stop their path!