Chapter 50 - Welcome Party!
Shi Mu and the others were carried by the black-robed men through the forest. Eventually, they reached a valley at the foot of a mountain. From where they were standing, the mountain looked like a massive sheer cliff, shooting straight up from the ground.
They were given an open view of various types of buildings, in the valley, causing the candidates to feel amazed. Among the buildings magnificent towers, over ten meters high, as well as simple stone bunkhouses that were not more than a few meters tall. But to whichever type they belonged, all stood in perfect order, with the taller ones nearer to the mountain. Among them, people in all sorts of clothes were coming and going, giving the place the feel of a prosperous town.
The black-robed men set Shi Mu and the others on a square of blue stone in the middle of the valley before they left without saying anything. The young candidates were left standing there helplessly, gazing at each other in confusion. What was embarrassing was that a cluster of onlookers, both young and old, kept motioning at them and talking about them as well as casting unfriendly glances now and then, as though they were gazing at some goods to be appraised.
"All of you, leave! Just mind your own business. Haven't you seen new candidates before?" A casual voice came from the back of the onlookers. Immediately the people began to make way for a giant bear-like man, who was wearing nothing on his upper body, whose body looked tough like steel. He strode over with a large silver mace in hand, every step making a crunching noise on the floor as if he may crush it at any time.
The surrounding onlookers soon divided into groups as the giant man came, immediately greeting him with the utmost respect.
"Ah,it's elder brother Zhou! We are honored that you took this task!"
"Brother Zhou, please leave some talented candidates to us, the Li Fire Association!"
"We won't let you Li Fire Association guys bully us so much again! Last time you took two bloodline warriors from the young candidates! We, the Iron-Stone Gang, won't give you the chance this time!"
"Ha, whatever you two think, we, the Senior Spirit Sect, will take candidates talented in conjuring. Or, would you like to try and take them from us?"
Hearing their words, the giant man changed to a cold smile and replied. "You'd better abandon these ideas. I have received messages from my sect that the candidates are not natives of the Yan Fire Kingdom but are from the Heavenly Qi Country, and were brought back by Uncle Zhao."
"What? They are from the Heavenly Qi Country? So that's why their faces are so strange!"
"So it's Uncle Zhao who did this, they must have been candidates of the Black Tortoise Sect. Our sect must have grabbed them for revenge. The tortoise guys grabbed our candidates last time!"
"If so, better save the reception and move on directly to teaching them the rules of our sect. We are not wimps like those tortoises!"
After hearing the news, the onlookers started walking away, deep in discussion with one another. Without coming to a consensus, the groups of people soon left the square.
Shi mu knit his brows as he saw this.
The giant man's eyes looked over the candidates before he began to speak in a cold voice. "Well, now that all the annoyances are gone, let me welcome you to our Sect. First of all, no matter if you are from the Country of Heavenly Qi or from the Yan Fire Country, willing or forced, you are now disciples of the Black Demon Sect the moment you arrived at this Black Demon Mountain.
Because the seven great sects of the three kingdoms have barbarian tribes as our common foe, we have all signed a series of agreements. These little clashes won't cause real hostilities. Therefore, throughout all these years, from the highest ranked elder to the newest acolyte, we have many different members from many different countries.
Well, that's the main point, but here's a little tip for you: No matter what connections you have with other sects, you are now irrevocably disciples of the Black Demon Sect. Be good boys and girls, and don't ever try to betray or do harm to our sect, or you will either have your martial base disabled or be condemned to death, not to mention doing the same to your entire family." After saying so, the bear-like man threw his mace on the ground, and, with a loud crashing noise, several blue bricks were broken instantly.
"Most honorable senior, are you responsible for us candidates ?" At last, someone could not help but ask out.
"Don't be stupid, there isn't any housekeeper for you. I'm Wild Zhou, an ordinary disciple who is only here to guide newcomers. I took this task from the Temple of Merits and Virtues in our sect. From here on out,unless I give you permission to speak, no more questions. Next time I will crush the nose of any who speaks on their own before I decide to answer or not.
From now on just listen to me. If any of you has a grudge with me, just stand out. In our sect only the strong can be respected, strength means leadership." The giant man smiled grimly.
His words startled most of the candidates, but Shi Mu only narrowed his eyes. He had heard about the jungle rule of the Black Demon Sect, only, he had underestimated its cruelty.
Now, even though some of the young candidates found it hard to accept the burly man's words, no one dared to stand out.
Seeing that his words were effective, Wild Zhou showed a delighted look and went on with his threat.
"Good to see you guys behave well. Now, I will tell you about the dos and don'ts of our sect. Be grateful, children, I'm much sweeter than most guys in our sect.
You'll pay much to hear this instruction if you were not having me today! Listen carefully! Our sect is a branch of the Heavenly Demon Sect which occupies a central place on the continent,and we worship the Black Fire Demon of the Three Great Demons.
And we are different from other sects in that we don't divide disciples into the more favored and the less favored ones, according to their talents. We disciples just have one path to learning higher arts or gaining higher position - defeat others with your strength, perform more brilliantly and contribute more than others. In other words,our sect encourages competition between disciples, overtly and covertly.
The masters won't mind as long as you don't overdo it. Well, if you can gain the protection of Xiantian masters, who would like to teach you personally, that would be a different story entirely. But even these disciples will also compete with their peers to gain more resources and support. Furthermore, there is a match every season and a competition every year in our sect.
The outstanding ones will move up in rank as well as be rewarded with rare pills or arts. But the losers will be punished heavily: either downgraded or deprived of resources, some will even have to do manual work like cleaning and cooking. All in all, if you are strong enough, it's possible for you to challenge the Thirteen Mountain Hosts directly one day."