212 Chapter 212
"You can do it, senior brother!"
The leader from the Black Scar tribe that was previously at odds with Yang Rong walked into the scanner tube. The other members from his clan looked at him with anticipation. Rong wasn't far behind as he also was the first one to get into another measuring device that was standing to the side.
The machines took some time to process the information and the two stepped out into the open. A 'Passed' in green letters appeared over each of the cylindrical treasures as the two went out. Each one of them wanted to laugh at their enemy when they failed but both passed at the same time.
"Please move, there are other people waiting to take the test."
One of the members from the sect had to move in as Yang Rong kept glaring at the person from the Black Scar tribe. Both of them made it in so they headed inside the city, they stopped right outside the entrance and they waited for more of their tribe members to appear.
"I bet more of my brothers will pass than yours!"
Yang Rong replied while crossing his arms over one another and glancing back into the gate corridor. He had made it through the first test but he was still worried about his tribe members.
"Brother Rong I made it through"
Cheng Yun strutted out right after Yang Rong which caused the person from the Black Scar tribe to frown. They weren't the only three that made it through, each side ended up with 10 people passing which halved their numbers.
"This isn't the only trial, we will see who remains till the end you trash!"
The two enemy tribes slung some profanities at each other before walking away. They all finally looked into the city, it was a lot different from their old fashioned village. The houses here were mostly made from stone and bricks which was the biggest difference. The villages used wood for their houses and straw for the roofs.
The people that passed the initial scanning test weren't left to their own devices on the inside. Everyone was guided to the city square that was quite spacious. When Yun and Rong arrived they spotted something that they recognized.
"Yes it is!"
It was a statue of the renowned Zhang Dong. He was standing gallantly in his tight robe while looking out into the distance. The statue was located in the middle of the city square and was in the middle of a large fountain. There were two other people standing next to him both on the sides while he was in the middle.
"I think that's the Senior's wife Elder Feng Liena."
"Yes and that man over there must be Huo Qiang, the three Elemental Lords!"
These three were considered the founding members of this sect. This came with some titles that they or the closest people to them thought of. Zhang Dong had garnered some titles like 'The Lord of Lightning.' Huo Qiang was the 'Tyrannical Inferno Fist' and Feng Liena was the 'Mistress of the Winds'.
Zhang Dong was sometimes also referred to as the 'Lightning Emperor' but that name was a bit problematic due to the Azure Emperor's existence. At most they could call him the 'Lightning King' otherwise they might offend people in that camp as they couldn't be two emperors in an empire.
The two youths looked around, there were many people here close to their age. They were standing or sitting while just waiting. The person who guided them here told them that they needed to stay here for now. They would be provided food but no shelter for the night.
"This is probably another test, we need to be resolute!"
They all nodded and sat down in their lotus positions. They would use this time to relax and wait. There were still many people waiting to get tested and it would probably take days until everyone was processed.
Everyone took their time to examine the surroundings they were in. This was the new Spirit Spring City that was built after the short war with the Dark Palm sect took place.
The buildings all looked sturdy and had an oriental feel to them. They mostly had hip roofs or xie shan roofs. The area they were waiting in had some parks with flowing water and small bridges outside the square. They could also see some larger pagoda-like structures in the distance sprinkled here and there. They were akin to modern-day skyscrapers and probably could house thousands of people in them.
This city was owned by the sect, but it wasn't populated by the sect members. They lived inside the sect compound that was further in. Even from here, they could see another wall that was twice as tall as the one outside the city. This was where the real sect resided and where they would be taking the trials.
Night came and everything became well lit. There were many soldiers patrolling the area that were mostly in Qi condensation but there were some others that were above it. These people had different uniforms, they were dark blue but not like the inner sect disciples.
"I think they are part of that 'police' unit."
One of the people from the Tatar Tribe spoke up, after the sect rebuilt the police force was reestablished. The only change being that it was now mostly populated by the people from the city. The top bras were made of outer sect disciples and the police chief was at least a core formation expert.
These people in those strange uniforms were all spread throughout the city. There was quite a bit of them out as they were worried that some of the trainees were going to cause some trouble. They were there to break up fights that might occur between the participants. One such fight was taking place right about now but it was swiftly resolved. The rowdy cultivators that couldn't follow the rules were promptly kicked out. This was enough to keep everyone else silent as they still wanted to make the cut.
It took another two days for all of the participants to get examined at the city gates. The moment everyone was at the square the fountain sculptures started rumbling. The eyes of the Sect Patriarch started glowing and his head started turning.
"Welcome potential brothers and sisters, we welcome you to this Trial!"
A beam of light shot out from the statue and produced a hologram of a beautiful woman. This wasn't one of the inferior holograms that the Zhang Clan made all those years ago. This one looked very lifelike. The person was a young woman in a violet robe and snow-like hair. Her characteristic hair color gave her away as most people knew that it was the fabled Zhang Xue.
"Is she really here?"
"H-how could this be?"
Everyone's mouth went agape after they saw the hologram projection of the beauty. She floated above and looked like a giant which made everyone realize that this wasn't probably her real body.
"Everyone here will have the chance of being accepted into our sect. The trials inside might be harsh on your body and soul, if you aren't willing to suffer through them you are free to leave."
Everyone nodded and was unwilling to go back now, there was far too much at stake. A sect that could create such a treasure must have been quite powerful and resourceful. Everyone felt invigorated as they continued to listen to the beauty.
"Good, listen well. Our sect members will escort you to the trial area, please follow their instructions at all costs…"
The introduction continued for a while as Zhang Xue listed out some rules. The participants were to listen to the seniors and do whatever they demanded of them. They could quit at any time, they just needed to voice it out and then they would be removed outside. There wouldn't just be your regular strength-based tests. There would be other various ways you'd be allowed to get in, even with a lower realm than on average.
"That is all, please follow the instructions."
The hologram fizzled out and turned into multiple colorful lights. Zhang Dong statue's eyes stopped glowing and they went back into looking into the distance.
"This is it, brothers, let us depart!"
Everyone shouted in unison. The participants here were all hopeful, they had made it through the initial screening so there shouldn't be any problems on the inside. At least that is what they all thought.
They soon arrived at the large gate that would take them into the sect grounds. It was made out of white jade and it was absolutely massive. There were some intricate carvings on it depicting strange monsters like dragons, phoenixes, and qilins. The moment they arrived those doors started to part. As they parted everyone noticed that there was a single person right in the middle.
He had similar snow-white hair as the beauty that they had seen in the square. He was quite handsome and was even standing on a large green crystal sword. He flew forward while everyone watched, his ability of flight gave away his cultivation level to the people here. Everyone did the natural thing and clasped their hands while greeting this senior.
"I welcome you to the sect, please follow me inside."
He did a quick turn and moved inside. He was standing like a grand pillar with his hands behind his back and a stoic expression on his face. The crowd of people didn't ask any questions and quickly moved inside. Even they knew who this man was and it would spell death if they offended him in any shape or form.
From the one million people remained about one fifth. The screening process was quite brutal on these participants. This was still far too many people, the sect could at most accept up to a hundred thousand. This was their first recruitment drive so they would be a bit more lenient with their first new batch.
"This is the United Element Sect! We do not accept people without talent that can't offer the sect anything in return. We expect you to work and work hard! These tests will prepare you for your future life as a disciple, if you show us your worth, you will be rewarded!"
Zhang Liu performed a little introduction speech, listing a couple of things that Zhang Xue might have left out. He then pointed the participants in a direction, what they saw there shocked them quite a bit.
Past the gate was another wide-open space, walls were closing off the view of most of the buildings and there were many people in sect robes standing. This wasn't the most interesting part though, there were many circular looking contraptions lined out. It didn't take them long to figure out what they were for as one activated.
"I-is that a teleportation gate?"
"My lord, this sect is really a grand sect!"
The people became abuzz with chatter. Teleportation technology was something that wasn't available to the regular clans spread throughout the land. Only powerful sects like the old Dark Palm sect were able to gather enough resources to build one. This cemented the United Elements sect's position in their hearts and made them crave their knowledge and strength even more.
"As you might have heard, combat trials aren't the only way of proving yourself. Alchemy, blacksmithing, healing, herb gathering, and many more. Each gate will take you to a different trial…"
Liu continued explaining, there were multiple trials and the participants had a limited time to pass them. They could abandon trials they were failing at and for instance, try pill creation instead of battling combat puppets. There were many ways of passing the tests and they needed to prove their worth by getting merit points.
"Each trial has a set number of merit points assigned to them if you manage to gather 100 points you will pass!"
The potential disciples looked at the teleportation gates that started activating one after another. Soon the blue light filled the entire area, the strange sound of those gates brought goosebumps of anticipation.
"The trial will commence now, I wish you luck, and may we see each other in the future!"
Zhang Liu nodded before taking off, the trial would have a time limit of a week and would probably bring down the number of participants to one-tenth of what it was before, maybe even lower.