Chen Wentian and Long Yifei stepped out of the teleportation portal. They had arrived in the middle of a massive teleportation array that was at least four times bigger than any he had seen before. It had two concentric circles of pillars, the first one with eight and the second with twelve.
They had arrived, at the Virtuous Order of Chunzhen. The array was located inside a vast circular hall made of white marble. The ceiling was four or five stories tall, supported by white columns carved with reliefs of countless beautiful women.
Eight arched openings led to the outside which was like a scene from a dream. Flocks of powder-white doves fluttered across the sky. What trees that were visible were covered with cherry and peach blossoms. The lake that surrounded the hall was filled with cream-colored water lilies and a group of silvery swans that preened under the sun.
This was the Virtuous Order!
"Welcome, Sacred Daughter. Welcome, acolyte." Immortal Dawn Euphony Li Shishi’s voice drifted over.
Chen Wentian looked ahead. The other Spirit Lords of the order had disappeared. Only she was left, standing before a paved road that led off into the woods. Her demeanor had changed. They were no longer in the Eastern Sanmu Subcontinent where she was a guest. This was her domain.
"Come." She said gently, but firmly.
Chen Wentian and Long Yifei remained arm in arm and followed.
They walked along the winding path of alabaster until they arrived at a fork. The main path straightened out towards a gleaming white building in the distance. Two side paths diverged to either side.
Li Shishi stopped and spoke, "This is where we separate. Sacred Daughter, go down the middle. Acolyte, go down the right. I will not accompany either of you. Remember our rules. You’ll be able to see each other again soon enough."
With that, she walked off along the left path.
Chen Wentian turned to Long Yifei and gave her a small hug, "Yifei, are you nervous?"
She shook her head, "Excited."
"Good, I’m glad. Don’t forget. Be alert, take care of yourself, don’t get tricked by strangers."
She smiled, "I won’t, master."
"Heh, it’s acolyte now." He shook his head, "I still don’t like this title. Sounds lame."
"Sir acolyte, brave acolyte, noble acolyte, master acolyte…" She said teasingly.
He slapped her butt, "Actually just butt-slapping acolyte."
They shared a laugh. He had never seen her spirits so high. It was a revelation. She was really excited about being here!
"Alright, alright. We should get going." He said.
Chen Wentian gave Long Yifei another small hug. He watched her disappear down the main path before turning and walking the right path. This one cut through the trees, rising in elevation and curving back around until it was parallel with the main path.
A short distance later, he emerged onto a wide clearing and long amphitheater, again made of marble. The main path led to the sunken platform in the middle while the right and left paths led to the raised, tiered viewing area above.
There were already a large number of people gathered. Down in the amphitheater, there were over a hundred Sacred Daughters. He could just make out Long Yifei as she mingled with the others. On the other side, viewing the recruits for this school year, were a crowd abbotesses and prioresses. In addition to Li Shishi, there were nine more. Ten Spirit Kings gathered in one place; it would have been an astonishing sight in the Eastern Sanmu Subcontinent. But in the Martial Brilliance Continent, Spirit Kings were abundant as the doves in the sky.
Chen Wentian the group of men on his side. They were acolytes, the supporters of the Sacred Daughters below. They numbered around fifty, much fewer than the Sacred Daughters. Many Sacred Daughters that came from low backgrounds didn’t have acolytes. Some powerful and wealthy acolytes were known to have multiple Sacred Daughters but even they weren’t allowed to more than one per year.
He stood off to the side alone and examined those around him. There was a handful of Spirit Kings. The majority were Spirit Lords. There were even a few mortals at the Spirit Initiate Realm.
These were the most interesting as they showed no fear standing amidst so many immortals. Their demeanor and expressions were ones of cultured indifference as if they had seen it all before. Their backgrounds were no doubt impressive. Otherwise, mere mortals wouldn’t be able to call immortals their peers in anything.
He also noticed something else. The quality of each immortal in the Martial Brilliance Continent was noticeably better than the Eastern Sanmu Subcontinent. He Xinghan of the Beast God Sanctum was able to break through to the Spirit Lord Realm at the age of forty-eight. This was considered amazing in the subcontinent and a feat that was difficult to reproduce, even in the Eastern Sanmu Metropolis by the four Spirit King factions. Yet here, there were many Spirit Lords with a physical age in the low forties.
He couldn’t help but sigh as he remembered Immortal Gentle Lotus Gong Liyun’s warning. This continent of human power was a truly fearsome place. It was filled with dangers and unknown enemies at every turn.
He studied each acolyte. Some looked back at him, others ignored him. If they weren’t exceedingly handsome, they were powerful and confident. He felt as if he had suddenly returned to his past, his mortal life where every day was a struggle against greedy, selfish, and despicable men. Now, as an immortal, this eternal battle was once again going to resume.
He welcomed it. He was the master of the soul realm. He held one of, if not the most powerful and heavenly Dao in the cultivation world. With the Anatta Soul Nirvana Art, he needed no allies, he needed no friends, he only needed souls.
If anyone had ideas about Long Yifei, he would kill them and take their souls. If any of these acolytes tried to mess with him, he would kill them and take their souls. If people from the Virtuous Order betrayed him, he would kill them and take their souls. He was one soul against the world. He was walking along the path of destruction, fighting against the cycle of samsara, the laws that governed the world.
This had been his path of cultivation through the mortal realms. After a period of respite and leisure, this would be his path once again in the immortal realms.
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