It was a full three days before they had reached the Heaven Gate of the Righteous Heaven Clan.
The Heaven Gate was a flight of steps leading to the top of the mountains.
Jiang Le could count thousands of steps and he could not see anything beyond it. He was a little awe by the towering white marble pillars of the Heaven Gate.
No sooner had they caught sight of the Heaven Gate, a group of priests with swords had immediately appeared into their view in an alarming manner. But when they saw Qu Daoqing, they immediately lowered their guard and bowed respectfully with their hands to say, “Priest Qu, welcome back!”
All the priests were looking at the stirring beauty of Qingshuang, Xue Ji and Xia Ji and were stammering, “They are…”
Jiang Le thought, “Even priests can be moved by secular emotions. Then they must be equivalent or below the rank of the Emotion Level then.”
Qu Daoqing returned a hand bow to them and said politely, “They are guests. I will escort them personally to the great hall.”
Immediately, they lined out neatly in two columns to welcome Jiang Le and his group!
Jiang Le said to Qu Daoqing, “These priests, their swiftness movement skills are not weak and are ranked among the top tier of the martial fraternity. I can never imagine such a large group of such exponents in the martial fraternity. This small group here is enough to contend with a major martial clan in the martial fraternity. This place is full of crouching tigers and hidden dragons.”
Qu Daoqing smiled weakly, “Brother Jiang, you heap too much praises on us. Come, let’s us hurry to the grand hall first.”
Soon, they had reached the entrance of the grand hall.
The grand hall had a golden roof and the platform steps were made of white stones.
Their group had invited a number of awestruck stares that were directed at the beautiful Qingshuang the Verdant Scarlet Fairy before they had stepped into the grand hall.
When they had stepped into the grand hall, their presence had immediately stirred up plenty of attention from the crowd inside.
Jiang Le noticed that the grand hall was more crowded than he had anticipated.
Qu Daoqing was immediately greeted by a priest in similar attire as him, “Brother Priest Qu, they must be the external protégés that you have brought?”
Qu Daoqing bowed with his hands in return, “Indeed Brother Priest Wuji. You have found yours?”
Priest Wuji nodded and pointed at the three young men that were standing nearby, “Indeed. However they are mortals that I have found in a nearby village. Whether they have the celestial potential still remains to be seen. What about yours? I can see that you have found some really good candidates.”
Qu Daoqing smiled weakly, “Actually there is just one and is accompanying him on this trip. Moreover I am lucky to be directed by the Celestial Oracle.”
Priest Wuji looked in the direction of Jiang Le and said, “The Celestial Oracle? That means that they have the Silver Token and is the predestined one. This is going to be interesting.”
He bowed politely in the direction of Jiang Le and smiled to Qu Daoqing, “You are just in time. The acceptance ceremony is about to start soon. If you are late then you have to wait for another month.”
Jiang Le approached them and said, “What all this blabbering? I am Jiang Le. Is there anything that you can’t say in front of us? Or are the protégés of the Righteous Heaven Clan are all so haughty and regard themselves too highly?”
Priest Wuji smiled weakly and said, “Not at all.”
Qingshuang smiled politely and said, “Jiang Le, don’t be rude and be respectful to your seniors.”
Jiang Le shrugged his shoulders and replied, “I apologize.”
Priest Wuji immediately said, “Not at all.”
He bowed respectfully to Qingshuang and said, “Priest Wuji pays my respects to respected senior, we are glad that an eminent celestial practitioner such as you is here to visit us. May I have the honor to know your celestial name and clan of origin?”
Qingshuang replied coolly, “You may address me as the Verdant Scarlet Fairy, from the Eternal Virtue Sect.”
Priest Wuji bowed in acknowledgement and replied, “The Eternal Virtue Sect has a long history and is a reputable celestial clan.”
Xue Ji hummed coldly, “It sounds like fanciful words. We know that our celestial clan is a relative unknown nowadays and that the Righteous Heaven Clan is currently the leading celestial clan. Like all the other celestial clans, we are here to witness the glory of the Righteous Heaven Clan and to pay homage.”
Even though she was soft spoken, she had immediately attracted a number of amused looks. It was because there were also a number of other celestial clans that were presented in the grand hall. While it was true that many were here to pay their homage to the Righteous Heaven Clan as the leading celestial clan, many were also here due to grudging respect and were not entirely convinced.
Xue Ji turned to look at Priest Qu Daoqing and smiled, “Priest Qu, am I right?”
Priest Qu Daoqing was aware that there were quite a number of people that were looking at him for his reply and he knew that he had to be careful with his words. So he replied, “There is no small or big celestial clan. All of us belong to the celestial fraternity and should work toward the greater good. We should seek cultivation as our only goal and aspire to a greater state of divinity.”
When he had said that, there were a sense of shame and plenty of downcast eyes.
A man said aloud, “That’s right. We are all training to be celestial practitioners and striving to be celestials. The reason why we are here is because the Righteous Heaven Clan is willing to forgo sectarian divides and to forge a celestial future with everyone.”
“Well said. What is your name?” An old priest asked as he walked into the grand hall as he was accompanied by a group of ten priests.
Priest Qu Daoqing, Priest Wuji and the protégés of the Righteous Heaven Clan who were in the grand hall immediately bowed with their hands and greeted aloud, “Our respects to Grandmaster Reverend Priest Luo!”
The man who had just spoken began to stammer, “He is Reverend Priest Luo, the Grandmaster of the Righteous Heaven Clan?”
He quickly regained his composure and bowed with his hands, “I am Yang Jian, protégé of the Iron Pioneer Sect.”
Reverend Priest Luo stroked his long white beard as he smiled, “What a promising young man!”
Reverend Priest Luo smiled as he looked at Jiang Le. Obviously he had heard him even though it was a whisper. He smiled and said, “It seem that this batch of candidates are slightly different from the previous batches.”
Jiang Le could not tell if Reverend Priest Luo was mocking him or otherwise. Therefore he could only smile awkwardly.
Reverend Priest Luo began to scan the grand hall and said aloud, “I am Reverend Priest Luo, grandmaster of the Righteous Heaven Clan. Today we have the ten elders of the Righteous Heaven Clan here to select celestial protégés according to their calibers. The elders of the Metallic Halls, Halls of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Halls will only take in the candidates that have the silver tokens. The elders of the Chromium Halls, Halls of the Yellow, Red, Purple, Blue, White, Green and Black will take in the candidates that have the bronze tokens. Let the candidates with the silver and bronze tokens to come forward, those carrying the silver tokens to stand on the left and the bronze to stand on the right.”
Jiang Le walked to the left and soon found himself in the company of about thirty men and women and saw that there were about two hundred others that were standing on the right.
Reverend Priest Luo stroked his long beard and laughed aloud, “It seems that this time round we have quite a number of silver tokens candidates. Let the silver token candidates come forward and put your hand into the holy water of the urn. The holy water will then determine your latent celestial potential by its intensity and you will join the Gold, Silver and Bronze Halls accordingly.”
A man that was nearest to the urn mustered his courage and walked cautiously to the urn before saying aloud, “I will be the first then.”
Slowly in front of the others, he began to put his hand into the water of the urn. Almost immediately, a faint blue light began glow to from the holy water as the others watched in awe.
Reverend Priest Luo nodded and said, “You can proceed to join the Bronze Hall.”
The man looked disappointed and cursed softly, “This isn’t fair.”
The man behind him smiled and walked to the urn to put his hand into the urn. No sooner had he put his hand into the urn, it began to glow brightly.
Reverend Priest Luo said, “Proceed to the Gold Hall.”
Jiang Le saw that he was third in line so he took a step forward. He took a peek the water in the urn and saw that it was crystal clear. Just as he was about to put his hand into the water, a feminine voice that came from behind the curtains of the grand hall said musically. “Let him join the Divine Warrior Hall.”
Immediately there was a great commotion in the hall and even the Reverend Priest Luo was surprised as he looked at the curtains behind him!
Priest Qu Daoqing muttered, “The Divine Warrior Hall has never been known to accept any protégés. Not even a protégé of the Righteous Heaven Clan has ever been initiated into it and moreover it is hall of the Mistress of the Celestial Oracle…”
Xue Ji asked Priest Qu, “Oh really?”
Priest Qu Daoqing replied solemnly, “Not for the past five hundred years as far as I have known. Moreover the Celestial Oracle has rarely interfered in the affairs of the clan. This is the first time that I have seen her spoke directly as a matter of fact.”
Xue Ji replied, “This is strange indeed.”
Reverend Priest Luo regained his composure and bowed respectfully with his hands, “Since the Celestial Oracle has spoken, naturally we will oblige but may I know why?”
Quite a number of candidates began to mutter incessantly, “This is unfair. We deserve to know why. Why is he given a special treatment? Who is he?”
Jiang Le was beginning to feel a little awkward by the attention and he said loudly, “I don’t really bother by which halls that I am going.”
The voice of the Celestial Oracle said slowly, “Do you mind showing your silver token?”
Jiang Le was puzzled as he took out his silver token as he lifted it up, “You mean this thing?”
Immediately Reverend Priest Luo turned pale as he asked solemnly, “How did you get this silver token?”
Jiang Le growled unhappily because he did not want to recall his unhappy experiences.
He merely said, “Someone just gives it to me and insist that I make the trip here.”
Reverend Priest Luo seemed dissatisfied with the answer but he said, “Proceed to the Divine Warrior Hall.”
Immediately quite a few of the candidates began to mutter unhappily with the decision and said, “We don’t even see his potential yet and he is allowed to join the Divine Warrior Hall?”
The voice of the Celestial Oracle said, “You may put your hand into the sacred urn.”
Jiang Le did as he was told as he rubbed his hand before putting his hand into the urn.
Immediately the water in the urn began to boil and there was a brilliant light that flared blindingly in the hall!
Priest Qu Daoqing was stunned as he said startlingly, “Brother Jiang must be a one in a million. In all my years I have never seen a light that shone as brilliant!”
Even Jiang Le was startled by it as he quickly took out his hand from the burbling water, “This is my celestial potential?”
The voice of the Celestial Oracle said musically, “Since he has the silver token of the Heaveness, he deserves to be in the Divine Warrior Hall and I will be his protégé mistress from now on.”
Reverend Priest Luo looked at Jiang Le and stammered, “Indeed…indeed this is the silver token of the Heaveness.”
He turned and looked intently at Jiang Le and asked, “What is your name?”
Jiang Le smiled weakly and said, “My name is Jiang Le.”
Somehow he was shifting uncomfortably as he noticed that hundreds of hostile eyes were looking at him as they muttered and remembered his name by heart.
He thought, “Am I jumping from one hot pan to the other?”