In the valley, a few elders respectfully stood in a straight line. Orderly standing behind them were eight hundred boys and girls. All those kids had now been nervously looking at Ji Hao, even holding their breaths.
The elder standing in the front had a wooden tray carried on his hands. A soft piece of leather was spread on the tray with a fist-sized glowing bead placed upon it. Within that crystal-like bead, a faint rotating cloud could be seen, with tiny spell symbols sparkling from time to time.
Ji Hao had asked Po to make this bead for him. This bead didn't have much power or effect, yet it was able to measure the inborn power of people's souls. These eight hundred children standing in front of Ji Hao right now were the one who had the most powerful souls among all the millions of kids in Yao Mountain territory.
"Earl Yao!" Seeing Ji Hao, the few elders hurriedly bowed and saluted to him, and the kids standing behind them all kneeled down.
"Hm!" Ji Hao raised his hand, releasing a gentle gust of wind, holding those kids up from the ground. He then gave a careful look at these children. These children were indeed born with powerful souls, their eyes had been shining, and one could find the light and passion of wisdom deep in their eyes.
Compared with the three-thousand kids under Shaosi and Yu Mu's guidance, these kids were not as strong physically, but they were smarter. Those three-thousand children had good body conditions, which would allow them to become Senior Magi through the traditional cultivating methods using by the humankind while these clever children with powerful souls were suited for studying the mysterious and profound magic of Dao which was created by Yu Yu Yu.
The magic of Dao taught by Yu Yu had more emphasis on primordial spirits than the physical body, and the ingeniousness of Yu Yu's study of Dao required great capabilities of comprehension to study. But terms like capability of comprehension were hard to evaluate. Therefore, Ji Hao conveniently selected these kids who were born with powerful souls out, as obviously, they would have better chances to possess great comprehension abilities.
"Since this year, you will select eight hundred children who have the most powerful souls from all children under the age of ten, and send them over here." Ji Hao pointed at the bead on the wooden tray and said in a deep voice, "You will be in charge of this."
The few elders unsettlingly glanced at Ji Hao. The elder who was carrying the wooden tray gnashed his teeth, then carefully asked, "Earl Yao, these children, what do you want to do with them?"
Not only these elders, but even these children' parents were also rather unsettled about this. These children selected by Ji Hao all had powerful souls, and among all kinds of magic, some particularly evil ones required human souls as an ingredient.
The elder had silently encouraged himself for quite a while before he asked the question, yet, once after he emboldened himself and threw out the question, his forehead was covered in cold sweat. Abruptly, his pair of legs went soft and his knees thudded heavily against the ground. He tremblingly kowtowed to Ji Hao while stumbling, "Earl Yao, I…I…"
Ji Hao felt like laughing about this while looking at these elders who were almost scared to death. Despite the existence of true scoundrels like Lie Mountain Xu, human beings in this era were mostly simple and straightforward like these elders.
"I'll take them as my disciples!" Ji Hao held the elder's arm with both hands, helped him stand back up, and said while looking at him smilingly, "I will teach them skills and 'magics' by myself. They will be my disciples, under my direct guidance, and I will be their Shifu."
Pointing at those children on the hill next to them, who had been excitedly looking over while yelling and shouting, Ji Hao smiled and said, "What those kids are learning are traditional skills and magic taught by the Magi Palace, emphasizing on the cultivation of physical bodies more than the souls. But for the magic I am going to teach, only smart kids can learn. Under my guidance, a kid with a powerful soul can make great achievements in the future; the more powerful the soul is, the greater the achievements can be. You don't think that I might create some evil magic with the souls of my people, do you?"
The few elders were all gaping for a second before suddenly being ravished with joy!
Those three-thousand selected children were taught by Shaosi and Yu Mu themselves, and the parents of these lucky children had already received overwhelmingly great envy from countless other clansmen. But these eight-hundred children, they were actually lucky enough to be able to be taken as disciples by himself!
Disciples of Ji Hao, Earl Yao himself, without a doubt these kids were given a chance to become Earl Yao's trusted helpers in the future.
Followed by a series of thuds, the few elders knelt again on the ground, delightedly kowtowing to Ji Hao. One of them even shouted out and following his voice, all the eight-hundred kids who seemed still to be a bit confused kneeled down as well, raised their hands to the head in making obeisance to Ji Hao.
Standing aside and watching all this, the assistant sent here by Emperor Shun to help Ji Hao couldn't help but click his tongue in shock. The three thousand children who had been learning traditional Magi Palace magic could become trusted army commanders under Ji Hao's lead, while these eight-hundred children, who would be educated with a secret kind of magic by Ji Hao himself, could definitely become his reliable helpers.
Although they would all be under Ji Hao's command, their purposes would be completely different.
'These children are truly fortunate.' The assistant praised silently.
"Alright, alright. Remember, in the early spring of every coming year, carefully select eight-hundred children among all children under the age of ten, and send them to me." Looking at the busy building site of Yao Mountain city, Ji Hao said confidently, "Over a million children will be born in our territory every year. The longer we live in here, the bigger the number will grow. You have to select carefully."
The few elders grinned excitedly while politely stepping out of the valley.
Ji Hao crooked his hands towards the eight-hundred children, letting them queue orderly into four straight lines, following behind himself.
Walking forwards for over ten miles along the valley, Ji Hao stopped in front of a cliff, which was covered in green moss. Po had opened up a small cave in here, and by now, he was sitting under an extra large wisteria outside the cave with Luo Shan and with legs crossed. He had been explaining a few complicated terms regarding absorbing natural powers and controlling the power flows in human meridians to Luo Shan.
Ji Hao walked over with the eight-hundred children. Seeing Ji Hao walk over, Po put down the book held in his hand, grinningly looked at him and said, "Ji Hao, aren't you busy today…So many children? What do you want to do?"
Po's eyes sparkled brightly. He had guessed what Ji Hao wanted to do, yet he never thought that Ji Hao would make this into such a big deal.
"Brother, from now on, they're all my disciples. Different from the other children, I'm planning to teach them our way of cultivation." Ji Hao solemnly bowed to Po and said, "Brother, please be our witness today, I am taking them as my disciples, but I want you, my brother, to grant them the basic cultivating method of our sect."
Po paused for quite a while, then suddenly leaped up from the ground, swiftly dashing a few laps around those kids brought by Ji Hao.
After a long while, Po mysteriously flicked his fingers, seeming to be doing some kind of calculation, then solemnly saluted towards the sky and mumbled a few words with a low voice. Next, a fierce gale abruptly rose from the ground, fluttering Po's clothes. Po laughed instantly out loud, then seriously nodded to Ji Hao, said, "This is good, very good. When our Shifu took you as a disciple, you were only an ordinary one among the humankind…Now you want to take all these children as your disciples and expand our sect, no one can say no to that."
Po then wielded his hand and a stream of light dazzled out. In the light, a silhouette of Yu Yu emerged.
Ji Hao stood in front of Yu Yu's silhouette and solemnly kowtowed to it himself. Then under Po's guidance, the eight-hundred children kneeled and kowtowed to Yu Yu, their grand-Shifu as well. After that, those children kowtowed to Ji Hao, their Shifu, and thus officially became Ji Hao's disciples.
Looking at these children standing orderly in front of him, Po couldn't help but laugh happily.
While laughing, Po was shaking his head towards Ji Hao. He only felt that among the many brothers and sisters of his, probably only Ji Hao could make such a big deal as taking whole eight hundred disciples all at once happen.
Cultivators mostly believed that it was destiny that tied people together, and no one had ever tried to widely open the gate and take disciples like Ji Hao just did!