Translator: Flying Lines
An hour later, a swishing sound of sharp objects cutting through air was heard, and then three flying sword landed before the great hall of Shiao's family. On those swords were standing three young men of more than 20 years old with cold faces.
"Is the Master of Shiao's family here? We come here under orders. Bring the candidates to us fast."
They were cold and arrogant, and their eyes swept the crowd occasionally as if they were high above the others.
Shiao Wenting led his family members out in a hurry to greet the three guests. "Three Immortals, you have come a long way here. Please do me the favor to rest in the great hall and have a cup of tea." His face was modest and his voice humble.
The drastic difference made Shiao Chen secretly clenched his hands and sworn to be a powerful Immortal one day to make his parents proud.
"No need. Once we have all the candidates for the Test of Entering Divine Gate, we'll leave." One of the three young men who appeared to be in charge replied in cold voice, frowning.
"Yes! Yes!" Shiao Wenting nodded hastily, daring not to meddle any more.
"Go!" The three young men muttered some incantations and suddenly pointed their hands to the flying swords under their feet, which at once grew big enough for dozens of people to ride on.
"Come up and stand in sequence. Don't be afraid."
The teenage boys of Shiao's clan were all held in awe by the three Immortals who were able to travel on flying swords and make them grow bigger with spells, so they obediently did what they were told to do.
After all the boys were up on the swords, the three young men immediately steered the flying swords and flew away without the courtesy to say goodbye. In a blink of eyes, no trace of them could be found.
Watching him leaving, Shiao Chen's father was unable to suppress the injuries any longer. His face turned deathly pale in an instant, still he managed to hobble across the hall and left.
"Patriarch, why did you agree to permit Shiao Chen to attend the Test? Even though he is a member of our family, he will never be one of us. We have offended him and his father. If he gets lucky and pass the test, none of us can sleep tight at night." Shiao Wenbin complained.
Shiao Wenting laughed. "Wenbin, don't worry. Shiao Chen is not in good health. I even bet he will die young. How can the Immortals pick such a weak boy? You can rest assured."
In his heart, the only boy who would succeed was his own son, Shiao Lin, who had taken a valuable treasure just in case.
Above the cloud, three gigantic swords were flying. The wind blew straight at the faces of the people who were standing on them. It was so strong that nearly no one was able to open their eyes.
Shiao Chen was on the last sword. He clenched his hands into fists, trying his best not to look frightened.
The young man steering the sword laid his eyes on Shiao Chen, a bit of surprise mixed with a bit of admiration.
The wind abruptly got stronger, and its direction suggested they were descending in a fast speed. A moment later, a cold voice said, "We are here. Get down."
Until then did all the teenage boys of Shiao's family open their eyes and find them in an unknown place.
Shiao Chen followed others down the flying sword and examined the surroundings. It was a verdant valley of several thousand meters long, a fairy land full of green trees, exotic flowers and rare herbs, even the air smelled faint fragrant.
Dozens of teenage boys and girls had arrived before them, except they all stared at them with a bit of hostility.
"Line up in pairs. The Test is about to begin." Before the boys and girls was a stone table, and before the table was sitting a stout old man, about 50 years old. The three young men who escorted Shiao Chen and the others saluted him in a respectful manner and retreated to his side.
Shiao Lin, as the oldest son of his family, had received instructions from his father, so he bowed to the old man and led his brothers queue up quickly.
"All right. Now come to me one at a time to take the Test." The old man opened his eyes, darting penetrating glances at them as if he could see them through. Most of the teenagers lowered their heads, afraid to confront his eyes.
"Let's start with Mei's."
Hardly had the sound fade away, a 16 or 17-year old boy, strong and with bright piercing eyes, promptly stepped forward from the far left group. Anxiously, he bowed before he put his hands in the old man's.
In a moment, the old man opened his eyes and announced emotionlessly, "No spiritual root. Go to the left."
The young boy obeyed and walked to the empty land on the left downheartedly, as if all his energy had been drained off by these words.
A young girl came to the old man gingerly and put her hands in his.
"No spiritual root. Go to the left."
The Test went on in a very fast speed, and half of the candidates had been tested by the old man, but no one was ever qualified.
The old man slightly furrowed his brows, and a touch of impatience crept on his face.
This time was a young girl of 16 years old with snow-white skin and black hair to her waist, as stunning as a fairy exiled to the mortal world.
"Ji Yuewu from Ji's clan! I did not expect her today."
"It is said she taught herself to gather nimbus when she was 10. She must possess a spiritual root."
"Anyone with a spiritual root has the ability to become an Immortal. How lucky she is!"
Shiao Chen listened to these whispers and concluded that the Test seemed to concern only the spiritual root, not the physical fitness at all. He secretly felt relieved a bit. He would have no chance if the Test was all about physical fitness, but the fact that more than 30 boys and girls had failed made him worried. What on earth was a spiritual root, which seemed so rare?
"Spiritual root of wooden attribute! Excellent talent! Great! Great! Great!" The old man opened his eyes, beaming with great joy and surprise.
Shiao Chen was interrupted from his thinking. He raised his head and happened to see that Ji Yuewu withdrew her hands, so calmly as if she was not surprised at all.
"You go to the right. I'll take you to see our Chief Master after this." The old man's spirit was lightened, which softened his voice when he opened his mouth.
Ji Yuewu slightly nodded and walked to the right with her head lifted high in the admiring eyes of others, like a real fairy descending to the man's world.
"Next!" The old man was encouraged and his voice sounded more vigorous than before.
It took another 15 minutes to finish the tests of the rest candidates except Shiao's. A boy and a girl passed the Test besides Ji Yuewu, but their spiritual roots were not as good as hers judging from the normal reaction of the old man. Even so, they still attracted admiration from those who failed.
The first candidate from Shiao's clan was no other than Shiao Lin, who was the oldest son of the Patriarch. He straightened his clothes, bowed to the old man and held out his hands with great anticipation.
The old man did not even look, and he just closed his eyes after he held Shiao Lin's hands. Soon he shook his head. "No spiritual root. Fail."
Shiao Lin's face turned pale and then regained a little bit red after he remembered his father had given him a secret gift.
"Immortal, my father asked me to bring you a gift when I left home. Please do me a favor for the sake of it." Before the old man could reject, he took a brocade bag from inside of his robe with great care.
A sneer played on the old man's lips. He was a cultivator high above the mortal world. What kind of gift could a mortal family give to catch his eyes? Still he opened the bag and saw a black stony thing.
"Iron Essence!" The old man's eyes brightened. He held it in his hands and carefully examined it for a while. His joy increased. This Iron Essence was so pure, enough for him to refine a spiritual weapon when he advanced to the late phase of the Foundation Establishment.
"Hm! I'll take it, and I'll accept you as a nominal disciple for its sake. If you do well, you'll have the opportunities to become a formal disciple." The old man narrowed his eyes and put the Iron Essence in his storage bag before others could notice.
"A nominal disciple?" Shaio Lin found it hard to believe.
"You have a problem with that?" The old man lowered his voice and asked.
"No, no. How dare I? Master, please allow me to kowtow to you!" Shiao Lin kneeled on the ground and bowed.
"Em! Now go to the right." The old man nodded his head unsatisfactorily.
"Aye." The admiring eyes from the others instantly swept away Shiao Lin's discontent of being a nominal disciple, and he swaggered to the right.
Soon, everyone from Shiao's clan had taken the Test except Shiao Chen, but no one was found to have the spiritual root.
"It has been 300 years. Not a single candidate from Shiao's clan ever has a spiritual root. It's nothing like a great family lasted from the ancient times. I shall suggest to the Chief Master to disqualify them." The old man muttered in secret, and then raised his voice impatiently.
Shiao Chen was the last candidate. He went forward with great hope. The anticipating eyes and the humiliation his father suffered to win him this opportunity made him determined and eager.
A moment later, the old man opened his eyes and shot a cold glance at him. "No spiritual root. Not qualified!"
Every word thundered in his ears and made him even paler. Darkness came over his eyes when he thought of his father. His head was spinning, and he nearly fell on the ground under the gloating stars of others. All he could think of was how to tell his father that he failed!
To fight for his candidacy, his father had broken his vows and suffered a lot, but in the end he failed!
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