Chapter 4: The Heavens Ridge Villa
Lu Qingyun was following a carriage that was heading to the Heavens Ridge Villa and along the way he saw many forests and lakes. He could scarcely believe that he was actually in a city. New Empyrean City was huge.
As for the carriage that he was following, the owner was an aristocracy young master. Earlier he had happened to stop it and asked for directions.
The young master was accompanied by his butler and a dozen guards, all of them were at the master practitioner levels. As for this young master himself, he was an enlighten celestial and a third realm expert. His butler was even more formidable than him and was a fourth realm expert and an immortal celestial.
When Lu Qingyun had asked for directions to the Heavens Ridge Villa, the young master who was called Tang Bufan had asked him curiously the reason for going there.
Lu Qingyun had replied that he was going there to be initiated as a protégé.
Tang Bufan had laughed coldly and said to him, “I’m going there to enrol as well. You can follow my carriage.”
As he lifted down the curtain, he remarked coldly to Tang Bo his butler. “I have thought that this handsome man is a somebody from a prominent clan but he is actually a trash cultivator that is trying his luck. What bad luck…”
When Lu Qingyun had heard him, he did not mind at all. It was because he was really a low level cultivator while this young master was a third realm expert. He knew that his talent in cultivation was limited and he did not mind even if he was not accepted into the Heavens Ridge Villa.
He was just curious why he found himself asking for direction to the Heavens Ridge Villa. Perhaps it was a desire to meet this Celestial Meixue again?
Days later, the lofty citadels of the Heavens Ridge Villa had come into view.
Lu Qingyun was somehow excited but he was also a little anxious. It was because along the way, he saw hundreds of dejected faces and those were the people that were rejected by the Heavens Ridge Villa.
“The testing is too tough…” Many of the dejected folks were overheard saying.
Quite a number of them were even on the master practitioner level.
Normally, master practitioners were those already on the Second Realm and they had proven that they had the potential to be a future Third Realm Expert.
The numbers of Third Realm Experts were actually quite uncommon in the Nine Celestial Fraternity. Even Lu Qingyun had no idea when he would be able to attain to that realm.
That was why Tang Bufan had looked at him with disdainful eyes. He actually had the right because he was already a Third Realm Expert.
The gates of the Heavens Ridge Villa were imposing and broad. As Lu Qingyun walked to the gates, there were hundreds of people that were queuing to join the clan as protégés.
A bored protégé of the Heavens Ridge Villa was pointing to the queue as he muttered with disinterest, “This way if you want to register…” He had already seen his share of thousands of hopefuls and the dejected.
At the top of the gates were the imposing walls and there were dozens of beautiful protégés of the Heavens Ridge Villa who were chucking and looking at the crowd.
Even Lu Qingyun had found it difficult to miss them as he muttered, “It seems that there are many outstanding beauties in this sect…”
Tang Bufan had got off his carriage and he had said politely to one of the protégés that were stationed near the queue, “I’ve got a letter of recommendation from my Martial Uncle to join the Heavens Ridge Villa as a protégé.”
When the disinterested protégé saw that Tang Bufan had a letter of recommendation and that he was accompanied by a number of celestial experts, he was suddenly smiling at him and saying. “Alas, you must be someone who is distinguished. Please follow me to the other gate.”
Tang Bufan was laughing jovially as he purposely winked at Lu Qingyun who was behind him, “It is actually nothing. I hope that I will be receiving more care from senior protégé instead.”
The same protégé was laughing jovially as he said, “The same goes to you as well…”
Soon Tang Bufan had disappeared from view as he was taken elsewhere.
As for Lu Qingyun, he had quietly queued for the next three hours while waiting for his turn.
From the people that were queuing, he had learnt that the first trial was actually an aptitude test. The majority of them were at the practitioner level. Whether they were qualified or not, there was a telling stone that could gauge their future potential.
This telling stone was able to gauge if they had the potential to reach the Enlighten Celestial Level in the future.
The majority of them were actually unable to reach the Enlighten Celestial Level, more so if they were unable to join a reputable sect. That was the main reason why there was a long queue to join the Heavens Ridge Villa.
Lu Qingyun happened to visit the Heavens Ridge Villa where the recruitment would be opened for two weeks every year.
As he entered the testing ground, he was quite disturbed to see that there were many who had already failed the testing stone and they were shaking their heads in disappointment.
When it was his turn, he was led to a hall with several elders and one of the elders said calmly to him. “Now gently put your hand on the testing stone. The calmer you are, the better the result.”
This was actually a sound advice that this elder was giving. It was because if anyone was frustrated, it would show as chaotic fluctuations in the testing ground and affected the reading. As everyone knows, the purpose of cultivation was to maintain an absolute calmness during cultivation in order to elevate one’s state of divinity.
Lu Qingyun did as he was instructed by placing his hand on the telling stone while thinking, “My old master says if I work hard, I have the potential to become an immortal celestial in the future. That is already a realm higher than the requirement. I should be able to pass…”
No sooner had Lu Qingyun placed his hand on the telling stone, the elder took a glance and said indifferently. “No reaction. You’ve failed. You can go now.”
Lu Qingyun: …
He protested weakly, “This isn’t possible right? How could I have failed?”
The elder had encountered many troublesome hopefuls like Lu Qingyun. Therefore when his well-meaning words were ignored, the elder had raised his palm to strike at Lu Qingyun!
Lu Qingyun saw the attack coming and he quickly raised his palm to meet the palm strike of the elder. Although he was a nimble fighter but his martial strength was lacking. Therefore he was sent flying all the way to the entrance!
The elder was secretly startled. It was because he was a Third Realm Expert while this young fellow was only at the First Realm. Moreover he did not give any warning when he had attacked.
The other elders were all looking curiously at Lu Qingyun for they too, had seen his nimble reaction.
Lu Qingyun could feel his blood reversing. He quickly mustered his vital energies as he coughed out a bout of bad blood, “Lucky…” Had the bad blood remained in his organs, it would lead to serious internal injuries and even affect his future cultivation.
He actually did not mind not being a protégé of the Heavens Ridge Villa and was only trying to test his extraordinary luck. Therefore he got up calmly as he dusted off his robe to leave…
But all of a sudden, the same elder had called to him. “Wait! You seem to have left something behind.”
Lu Qingyun took a look at the ground and saw that it was the black token that Celestial Meixue had given to him.
“Where did you get this token?” The elder asked with a solemn tone while the other elders were muttering among themselves.
“This?” Lu Qingyun picked up the black token as he said, “Right. I was given this black token by a Celestial Meixue from your sect and it was she that had told me that this token will be able to get me in as a protégé.”
The elder said solemnly, “There is no Celestial Meixue in the entire Heavens Ridge Villa!”
Lu Qingyun smiled bitterly. Why was that he was not surprised when he had heard that again? He knew by now that this Celestial Meixue had fooled him into coming here. Since he had got a Golden Roc Flame from her and that he had lost nothing so far, he did not really put that to his heart. Maybe she was just trying to have some fun in her long and bored life.
He replied with a weak smile, “In that case, junior shall take my leave.”
The elder continued to say solemnly, “However this black token indeed belongs to our sect. Will you be so kind as to return this black token to us?”
Lu Qingyun did not put much of an attachment to this token so he tossed it to the elder, “Here!”
The elder caught hold of it and said in a much more relax voice, “If you don’t mind waiting here for a while, I will be back shortly.”
When he had said that, the elder was gone.
Lu Qingyun did not even have the time to say no when he noticed that the other elders had closed the gates of the hall.
Now he was smiling bitterly as he stared at the dozens of elders and protégés that were inside the hall. He was actually thinking, “Don’t tell me that I am set upon by that Celestial Meixue?”
His brilliant mind had immediately worked on the details of the entrapment. First, the Celestial Meixue must have stolen something from the Heavens Ridge Villa and that included the black token. The most important aspect of her plan was that she would need a distraction or a scapegoat. That was why she had given him the Golden Roc Flame to earn his trust and to trick him into coming here.
There was even a possibility that the Golden Roc was a guardian beast of the Heavens Ridge Villa. Now that he had the Golden Roc Flame within his spiritual sea and it was not hard for a celestial expert to tell, it would be extremely hard for him to prove his innocence.
He was truly in a fine fix!
“My old master was right after all”, he was muttering in his heart…
He was left standing in the middle of the hall and none of the elders bothered to speak to him. There were plenty of staring though.
After two hours of miserable waiting, the elder had suddenly returned and he was suddenly smiling at him. “Young fellow, I’m so sorry to keep you from waiting. There is no need for you to take further tests for you are now a protégé of the Heavens Ridge Villa. Come with me.”
When he had said that, not only was Lu Qingyun surprise by it but so did the others.
“What is going on?” The protégés of the Heavens Ridge Villa was muttering among one another.
Lu Qingyun felt a little bad that he had accused Celestial Meixue a little too early as he silently offered his apologies to her, “Hopefully she can accept my silent apologies. If she is able to hear me of course…”
As he followed the elder, he was asking. “Actually I know that my aptitude in cultivation is bad. Is it really alright for me to join the sect?”
The elder looked at him with a mysterious smile, “It doesn’t matter.”
“It doesn’t matter?” This leaves him a little perplexed. Then he smiled weakly to the elder, “Actually I can be a cook or a sweeper. I don’t mind hardship as long as I can have three meals a day and a roof over my head…”
The elder roared with laughter, “Then that is really most excellence…”
Lu Qingyun had an uneasy feeling over this so he quickly asked, “Actually I will like to change my mind and won’t be joining anymore.”
The elder stared at him sternly, “It is death punishment for betraying your own sect.”
He protested, “I believe that I haven’t joined the sect yet.”
The elder stared coldly at him, “Did you not hear what I had announced earlier? That you are already a protégé of the Heavens Ridge Villa.”
Lu Qingyun could not outfight him so he could only nod weakly, “Alright then. I am only asking. Please don’t be mad.”
Then he tried to distract him, “So where are we going now?”
The elder smiled coldly, “To the Iron Tower.”
Lu Qingyun murmured, “Hm, the Iron Tower. It sounds like a highly fortified place…”
The elder gave a nod, “Sometimes we want to keep people in rather than out.”
Lu Qingyun: …