Jiang Le was led to a lofty peak and the golden roofs of a palace could be seen.
A young maiden who was the attendant merely said to him, “This is the Divine Warrior Hall. The Celestial Oracle is inside.”
Jiang Le asked with an amused smile, “Why didn’t the Celestial Oracle see me earlier when we are in the testing hall? And now we have to walk all the way here to see her?”
The young maiden who was walking with her head lowered all this while began to lift her eyes to look at Jiang Le, “You are merely trying to provoke a reaction from me. Am I right?”
Jiang Le laughed softly, “Maiden, you are indeed intelligent. What is your name? I am…”
The young maiden interrupted softly, “Jiang Le. Even though you are a newcomer, everyone knows your name. You are infamous now. I am merely a lowly servant in the clan and not a protégé. Even though I am merely sixteen but eventually I will grow old unlike you. The Celestial Oracle as far as I have known have never ventured outside the Divine Warrior Hall and no one has ever seen her. Maybe for you, you are the exception. When you have heard her earlier, is merely her divine whisper that she has cast from the Divine Warrior Hall. There will be many strange and wondrous things in the future that you will be witnessing and this will be one of the things that you will soon grow accustomed to it.”
Jiang Le was slightly taken by this young maiden as she gave him a soft admonishment. He found himself more amused than anger by her as he smiled to her, “What is your name?”
The young maiden turned around and lowered her head once again. As she walked away, she whispered, “Yan Ling’Er.”
Jiang Le repeated her name as he climbed the steps to the lofty peak, “Yan Ling’Er. What an interesting maiden. Jiang Le, Jiang Le, you are not a man now. You should not have any romantic notions anymore.”
Soon he had reached the gates of the Divine Warrior Hall and was awed by the towering pillars and the airy atmosphere. From here, he could see hundreds of peaks and other buildings of the Righteous Heaven Clan. No doubt, he was at the highest peak.
Soon he was asking himself a question, “If the Revered Priest Luo is the clan leader then what the hierarchy rank of the Celestial Oracle is? Why is that even the Reverend Priest Luo seems to be deferent to her?”
As he walked the empty hall of the Divine Warrior Hall, he could hear his steps. This place was so huge and there were many corridors. He soon became confuse where he should go…
Just as he was pondering where to go, a musical voice echoed enchantingly. “Walk to the right. This is the Pondering Courtyard. I am there.”
Jiang Le did as he was told and he soon found himself in a beautiful garden with many streams flowing through it. There were flowers and trees of many kinds, mostly red, pink and scarlet. It seemed that the person tendering to this garden had paid a great deal of attention to it.
In the middle of the garden was a pavilion with many brightly hued curtains and Jiang Le could see a shadowy figure beyond.
He thought, “So this is the Celestial Oracle?”
He quickly bowed with his hands respectfully as he said, “Jiang Le pays my respects to the Celestial Oracle…”
“…protégé mistress,” he quickly corrected himself.
The shadowy figure seemed to nod as she said enchantingly, “You have a fine divine sword with you. What’s more at such a young celestial age, you have actually divine harmonized with it. Divine swords are highly coveted in the Celestial Fraternity. Be sure that you do not lose it.”
Jiang Le smiled weakly as he replied, “I will remember this.”
The Celestial Oracle added, “It seems that someone has imparted the Dragon Force to you.”
Jiang Le was startled as he asked, “You know?”
The Celestial Oracle replied, “I have merely sense the desolate force that is within you. It will take plenty of discipline to control the desolate force of the Dragon Force or else it will be easy for you to fall into the entropy side. It may be too dangerous for you to display at your present level.”
She continued, “Now tell me, why do you want to be a celestial practitioner? What make you think you deserve to be in the Divine Warrior Hall?”
Jiang Le gritted his teeth and said, “I don’t know!”
That was the truth. He really did not know!
He lifted his sorrowful eyes and said, “However I do know that I want to be stronger. I have to defeat him and avenge myself!”
The Celestial Oracle asked, “Who is he?”
Jiang Le clenched his fists as he replied, “He calls himself the Desolate Old Man!”
The Celestial Oracle probed further, “Why do you hate him so much?”
Jiang Le began to tremble as he lost his composure, “He…he has made me into an impotent man!”
The Celestial Oracle said gently, “Therefore you want to be celestial practitioner so that you can avenge yourself?”
Jiang Le nodded and his eyes were upset as he recalled his defeat, “Indeed! If I can find him again, I will fight him to the death!”
The Celestial Oracle said gently and her enchanting voice was mesmerizing, “What if I were to ask you to forget your vendetta and to aspire fully onto the celestial path?”
Jiang Le replied bluntly, “Then I will leave because it is impossible for me to do so.”
The Celestial Oracle seemed to lower her head for a while to ponder before she said gently, “You are honest. More honest than most of the righteous celestial practitioners that are here. If you wish to do so, then shall it be. But never forget that you are a celestial practitioner. Do not stray to the dark side.”
Jiang Le nodded awkwardly for he was expecting a reproach but he got none from her.
The Celestial Oracle asked gently as she seemed to look into the heavens, “So what do you know of the Righteous Heaven Clan?”
Jiang Le smiled weakly, “Actually, not very much except that it is the leading celestial clan in the celestial fraternity. It seems like a dream that I am here today.”
The Celestial Oracle said gently, “The Righteous Heaven Clan has been around for around eight hundred years. Not the oldest but a relatively newcomer to the celestial fraternity. The founder of the Righteous Heaven Clan is the Heaveness and your silver token is from her. Did she say anything to you?”
Jiang Le was perplexed as he listened to the Celestial Oracle awkwardly before he answered, “Actually I did not see her personally. I was actually unconscious at that time. I was told that she had saved me from the Desolate Old Man and that she had left a silver tablet behind for me.”
The Celestial Oracle nodded lightly before she said, “I am the direct protégé disciple of the Heaveness. And now you are my direct protégé disciple. Next time when you have seen the Heaveness, you must address her respectfully as your grand protégé mistress. Since my protégé mistress has directed you to me then I am obligated to guide you.”
Jiang Le was listening as she worded it matter of fact.
The Celestial Oracle seemed to take out two bamboo slips as she casted it out of the curtain. The two bamboo slips began to spin slowly in front of Jiang Le who caught the two bamboo slips in his hands as the she said gently, “Study these two martial arts on your own. I will check on your progress in three month time. On no account must you step into this garden and bother me. Your protégé mistress does not like to be disturbed and will like to be quiet. You are free to explore the other halls and chambers as you seem fit. But you must not allow anyone to trespass into the Divine Warrior Hall. Once a week, you shall check the Messenger Hall for my messages to the clan and delivered it to Yan Ling’Er. Is that understood?”
Jiang Le smiled awkwardly as he thought, “What a lousy protégé mistress that I have just got? I have not even seen her face and now she is dismissing me already to self-study?”
But he quickly bowed respectfully, “I have acknowledged protégé mistress’ will.”
The Celestial Oracle suddenly threw a small object out of the curtain and as Jiang Le caught it, he saw that it was a white jade ring.
She said enchantingly, “This is the White Lofty Pristine Ring. It is capable of storing a thousand small objects. All you need is to wear the ring and envisioned the spatial space that is within. You will be able to put and take your things at will inside. Last and not all, there will be a clan celebration for everyone initiation tonight. Go and bide your clan and friends goodbye for after today, you won’t be able to see any of them for quite some time.”
Jiang Le examined the ring and he was in awe of the ring capabilities as he thought, “Really? A ring that can store a thousand objects? Is this a joke or what? I have never heard of such a thing at all.”
Just as he was about to examine the ring further, he had caught the name of one of the bamboo slip that read the Perfect Swordplay. Immediately his curiosity was invoked and he quickly opened the bamboo slip to read the first line, “The Perfect Swordplay; the epitome of perfectly attack, defense, speed and movement…”
His eyes began to glow as he examined the bamboo and he was suddenly excited, “This sword manual is just the impossible! In the martial fraternity, it is the secret epitome level in swordplay and it can cause the entire martial fraternity to be in bloody turmoil.”
He took a quick look again and recited in his heart, “The perfect attack is a multitude of readings that incorporates both defense and speed. The withdrawal stroke is a triple blend of speed, defense and movement…the flying stance, the weakening feint, the fairy defense…”
He cursed softly in his heart, “If I have known these stances earlier, maybe I would not be best by that insolent Desolate Old Man…”
He took a look at the second bamboo slip and the title was the ‘The Absolute Heart Intricate Verses’. With trembling fingers, he opened the bamboo slip and read it silently, “The Absolute Heart Intricate; Absolute Attack, Absolute Defense, Absolute Spirit, Absolute Speed, Absolute Reflex. The masterful essence of the conditioning the spirits to do the impossible…”
His new protégé mistress had just handed him two of the most secret epitome arts that the martial fraternity would all be coveting and just one of the bamboo slip could easily propel anyone to be a super exponent in a short while!
Just as he was about to thank his protégé mistress, he saw that she was no longer behind the curtains.
He sighed softly as he began to walk away; his hands were trembling as he held onto the two bamboo slips. Finally he could see a glimmer of hope in defeating the Desolate Old Man!