“Have you found some talented disciples in our sect again?” The middle-aged man called “Master Xie” threw Shi Mu a cold look and asked coldly. He had a graceful air about him, like a Confucian scholar. Shi Mu stood behind the grey-robed old man respectfully, not daring to raise his head.
The grey-robed old man did not dare to neglect the question and immediately told him that Shi Mu had passed the test of element-sensing by proving to have five marks in spatial-sensing, as well as two marks in fire-sensing and one mark in water-sensing.
“Oh, five marks in spatial-sensing?” The ‘Confucian scholar’ stroked his long beard, his eyes tightened as he pondered this. With some excitement, he looked at Shi Mu again, this time, more carefully.
Shi Mu got tense and lowered his head to avoid looking into the man’s eyes. But long-bearded man’s gaze seemed to be able to penetrate his body.
“What is your name?” After a while, the long-bearded man spoke again.
“My name is Shi Mu, Master Xie.” Shi Mu replied reverently.
“A sensing ability rated at five marks is quite rare, but it is a pity that we have never had an Adept with five marks in spatial-sensing in our sect. It may be a bit difficult to teach you... “ The man with long beard nodded slightly and fell into deep thought.
Shi Mu felt somewhat apprehensive as he heard such words.
“Well, I can give you two choices. One, you can get one more ration of resources as an ordinary Adept disciple, according to our sect’s regulation. Apart from this, you will get no preferential treatment.” After pondering for a while the long-bearded man said.
Shi Mu expression shifted, but he kept quiet and waited for the second choice.
“The other is, you must sign a magic contract, promising to stay forever in the Black Demon Sect, which means you will never live freely. Meanwhile, I will instruct you as your personal tutor. And our sect will supply you with several times more resources than ordinary Adepts. If you are talented enough in magic, I will consider making you my successor in the future.” The long-bearded man went on to say so.
The grey-robed old man was dumbstruck after hearing such a generous offer. He looked fervently at Shi Mu, waiting for his answer.
“I would like to choose the first one if the second one forbids me to leave our sect.” Shi Mu rapidly answered after a moment’s thought.
No matter how tempting the second offer seemed, Mu would not willingly choose to sacrifice his freedom and be bonded to the Black Demon Sect for the rest of his life. What is the use of having great power but lacking the freedom with which to employ it?
The long-beard man only blinked his eyes, not even changing his look. Nodding briefly, he lifted his hand towards the stone wall and a cloud of white gas emerged from the wall and formed into a round jade ornament as big as a hand flying towards Shi Mu.
“Drip one drop of your blood on it.” The long-beard man said.
Shi Mu hesitated for a moment when he heard his words, but he soon cut one of his fingers to drip one drop of blood on the jade ornament obediently. This done, the long-beard man pointed to the ornament and a beam of white light was shot from his finger immediately into it.
The jade ornament glared with white light, among which some faint blood could be seen flowing into it. Simultaneously some obscure characters moved up and down in the light.
The next moment, a beam of red light leaped from the center of the jade ornament and merged into the green stone wall.
On the bottom of the wall, there were more than a hundred light dots twinkling when a new one appeared.
After the span of a few breaths, the white light in the jade ornament faded and a light dot appeared on the surface of it, shining correspondingly with the new light dot on the wall. Presently two red characters emerged on the surface saying ”Shi Mu”.
On the other side of the jade ornament, there was a pattern of blood, combined with several magic words which looked like a lotus flower in blossom.
“This is the proof of your identity as an Adept of our sect. Keep it safe. For now you, an Adept Scholar, are formally accepted in our sect.” The long-bearded man took back his hand, turned to Shi Mu and said so.
“Yes, I will.” Shi Mu took hold of the jade ornament and answered respectfully.
The long-beard man nodded and then turned to the grey-robed old man. “Well, I’ll leave the rest to you. Take care of him.” After a few more words, he was ready to leave, a little exhausted. His entire body soon glowed with red light, and, after a moment, similar to the way he had first arrived, his figure disappeared into the star-shaped mark on the green stone wall.
The grey-robed old man hurried to answer him and did not stand to his feet until the middle-aged man had completely disappeared.
“Follow me.” He then looked at Shi Mu coldly and stepped towards a corner of the hall.
Shi Mu stopped studying the round jade ornament in his hand and walked quickly to follow him.
When the old man came to the front of a black wall in the hall, he patted the wall twice and gestured to unleash a beam of white light, which then fell onto the wall.
There was some dark light emerging from the wall and, after some clicking sounds, a door as tall as a person appeared on the black wall. However, there was some green light shining over the doorway, making a shield that blocked their path.
“Your jade ornament is your key to this door. Follow me but you should not touch anything without my permission after you have come in. If you dare to do something secretively, hehe, I’ll let you know the consequences later.” The grey-robed old man laughed grimly. He shook his body once and immediately he disappeared into the green light.
Shi Mu frowned and stepped up to the door, glancing at the jade ornament in his hand, he put it up against the green light shield, which responded by flickering once and separating to two sides.
Shi Mu hurried through the door and found a black path behind it. The grey-robed old man was already standing on the path, waving his hand to Shi Mu and then turned to move further down the path.
After ten minutes they arrived at a stone room of ordinary size. It looked rather plain. There were seven or eight wooden racks, all lined with equipment. Each shelf had several shelves holding many jade slips of different colors and sizes.
Each jade slip was enveloped in a small light shield, glowing with different colors.
“My name is Sun An, just call me Uncle Sun.” The grey-robed old man answered, this time with a more much amiable air. His voice was now a little more friendly than before. Perhaps it was because Shi Mu had been formally accepted as an Adept Scholar in the sect.