Chapter 362: Lin Feng’s Exam
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
Lin Feng has expected since long ago that people will come to his sect to play undercover agent. Still, it was only since the Sect-Opening Ceremony at Shazhou that the Celestial Sect of Wonders captured the attention of the entire world – and the momentum has snowballed to even greater heights at the time of the more recent Spiritual Conference of Huanghai.
The first time he took in disciples, people tried to send in moles. Even though it’s only one, but some people really tried very hard.
But for Lin Feng, when he came to the door without leaving his original sect, he saw right through it thanks to the System.
Although Lin Feng could not take him as an Immediate Disciple, but this person could be apprenticed to Xiao Yan or someone else, and so Lin Feng was happy to keep him here. Maybe later, he would be of use, leading to some unexpected gains.
What Lin Feng was really on alert against was someone who was first kicked out of his own sect and then ordered to come here, undercover – that would not be easy to detect.
But someone like this would definitely be unable to cultivate his old sect’s mantras, nor receive any benefits from the old sect. His individual loyalty would face serious tests, such that he was even very likely to defect to the Celestial Sect of Wonders instead.
After all, humans were motivated by profit and self-interest. If there was a sect that treats you well in addition having an exceptionally bright future itself, why would you stay loyal to your old master?
Lin Feng was confident – if you try hard enough, there’s no one you can’t poach…
Of course, those who sent him would definitely have many methods to control him as well. But to Lin Feng, that would mean much more additional room for maneuver – definitely not unsolvable.
“Actually right now is still okay. The next time we open the doors and recruit disciples – that would be the time for mass mole-planting.” Lin Feng gazed at one particular figure among the second-generation disciples and started laughing. “Little boy, who exactly sent you?”
“It’s okay that I don’t know now – I have lots of time to get to the bottom of you.”
With one step, Lin Feng exited the Void and was instantly standing on a branch of the Black Heavenly Treasure Tree. He was not intentionally radiating any aura of power, but every single person seated on the Treasure Tree leaf felt like they were gazing up at a vast, infinite field of stars.
The Immediate Disciples – Xiao Yan and the rest – were the first to bow. “We are honored to receive you, Master.”
The mass of teenagers only then came to their senses, bowing reverently towards Lin Feng along with the kids. “Honored to receive the august presence of the Grandmaster!”
“Rise,” Lin Feng’s expression was one of calm indifference. His purple robes billowing gracefully, he seemed to be one with the Black Heavenly Treasure Tree. Sitting down on the branch of the Treasure Tree, Lin Feng started his first lecture.
Lin Feng did not choose an overly profound or confounding mantra to explain, instead only selecting a small section from Zhu Yi’s Yi Zi’s Eight Trigrams Variorum.
He did not go through the mantra word by word for the disciples either; Lin Feng took a section from the book merely as an example to aid in their understanding.
In this lecture, Lin Feng will primarily be guiding them in studying the correct way and methodology to cultivate the mantra, to point out a clear strategic direction for them.
As for exactly how to interpret – that would be left to each person’s own intelligence.
Previously, this was how Lin Feng had taught Xiao Yan and the other Immediate Disciples. However, after all, these second-generation disciples could not be compared to them in terms of intelligence and talent, thus it was unavoidable that Lin Feng would have to go into more details.
But overall, Lin Feng’s pedagogical philosophy has always been to teach a man to fish rather than giving him the fish.
The fish was the end while fishing was the means. A fish could sate hunger for a day, but not solve the long-term problem of hunger. If you want to always have fish to eat, you have to learn the way to fish.
This, was the core of this lecture of his. After the end of the lecture, Lin Feng allowed them to ask questions, and then he would answer their doubts in cultivation. Those could be doubts in overarching direction, or specific problems in mantra cultivation.
This was originally a privilege reserved for Xiao Yan and the rest of the Immediate Disciples. Today, the second-generation disciples finally have an opportunity – naturally, they’ll try to make the most out of it.
To the questions they offered, Lin Feng provided answers one by one patiently, even questions raised by Xiao Huanzi and the other kids.
Upon hearing his words, the teenagers all felt like they have suddenly seen the light – but they were still only thinking about the question linearly. However, Xiao Yan and the other five observing Immediate Disciples were all deep in thought. A mere touch, leading to analogous inspiration.
Lin Feng’s answer to one specific question, falling on their ears, would cause divergent thinking that branched out to many other things.
After one lecture, it was Xiao Yan and co. that reaped the greatest benefits.
Zhu Yi sighed quietly, projecting his voice to his five seniors and juniors with Mana. “Only today, having heard Master’s lecture, I finally felt that before this, I have been leading people astray all the while.”
Staring at each other, Xiao Yan and rest forced out bitter smiles simultaneously. Misery was written all over Xiao Yan’s face. “And we still have to take on formal disciples later…I didn’t think much of it at first, but now…I’m really getting the jitters.”
Xiao Budian, Yue Hongyan and Yang Qing all nodded rapidly. Wang Lin’s brows screwed into a frown, “It means that we still have to work harder.”
Lin Feng was still oblivious that his lecture had actually first served to pummel the confidence of his Immediate Disciples for taking on disciples.
To be honest, in this lecture, even he himself realized some gains. Just like what he had told Xiao Yan, Xiao Budian and the others, to teach others the Tao, you have to understand it thoroughly yourself first.
The process of teaching disciples would be, for the master, yet another appreciation of the mantra.
Also, teaching those teenagers, still at Qi Cultivation stage, was yet different from teaching Xiao Yan and the others. Those teenagers, who were just beginning their cultivation, would often raise some seemingly out of the blue, absolutely unorthodox questions.
To answer those questions, a deeper understanding of his own Tao on the part of Lin Feng was required. Sometimes, he would even receive some inspiration thanks to those outlandish thoughts – some useful, some not, but a refreshing experience nonetheless.
Just like how sometimes, a simple line from an oblivious child could inspire an adult.
A million ways would, in the end, converge into the Tao. The greatest truths are the simplest – many truths were, actually, all interconnected.
After the end of this lecture, everyone was silent as they have their heads bowed, quietly thinking over every sentence, every single word that Lin Feng had uttered.
The more they think about it, the more thought-provoking those words feel. The more advanced their cultivation, the more they could understand the essence within. Meanwhile, they also have a stronger, more intimate feeling of Lin Feng at this moment – tall as the Heavens, vast as the Oceans. His reaches knowing no bounds, his true depth a mystery.
Lin Feng looked at those before his eyes calmly, an almost invisible smile on his face. He did not hurry them, but waited patiently.
After a long wait, Xiao Yan, Zhu Yi, Wang Lin, and Xiao Budian rose first. They remained silent, but bowed towards Lin Feng simultaneously.
An instant later, the gaze of Yue Hongyan and Yang Qing became clear and unclouded once more. Rising, they bowed deeply in Ling Feng’s direction.
Afterwards, the second-generation disciples as well as the sect kids were standing up one by one, all of them bowing reverently towards Lin Feng, their faces full of joy.
Smiling, Lin Feng waved his hand, signaling that they could stop. After the last person also snapped out of his thoughts, laughing, Lin Feng said, “Today, apart from the lecture, I also want to test all of you.”
He looked at Zhu Yi, giving him a lighthearted nod.
Zhu Yi bowed before turning to the audience and spoke resoundingly. “Today, any disciple that can pass the Grandmaster’s test shall be eligible for promotion. He or she shall be taken on by the six of us as an official disciple and receive our instruction.”
“Also, he or she would receive the right the enter the Tripitaka Block, in addition to various other rewards.”
The crowd began to become restless. Seeing that they could still remain orderly and generally calm, Zhu Yi nodded, satisfied, before continuing to speak. “Those that fail to pass do not need to be disheartened either. I will still instruct you in mantras and the Tao once a while, and there will still be chances to be promoted to Official Disciple afterwards. All you need to do is to study and cultivate diligently.”
“As for you guys, if you wish to find a Master, you can participate in the Grandmaster’s test as well. If you can pass, you shall have the opportunity to become our official disciples as well; even if you do not, if your performance is satisfactory, you can become official disciples as well. All on a voluntary basis, of course.” This was to Xiao Huanzi and the other kids.
Xiao Huanzi and the rest were, after all, still kids; even though they were also learning some Qi cultivation techniques under Kang Nanhua, Zhu Yi and Yue Hongyan, most were still only listening half-heartedly, with only a minority having looks of excitement and anticipation on their faces.
“One question.” At this moment, someone in the crowd suddenly asked. “Even if we pass the test, we can still only become the Elders’ official disciples? If the performance is outstanding, is it possible to become the Founder’s Immediate Disciple?”
Expressions of shock appeared on every single person’s face as they turned to look at the speaker. He was a scrawny, dark-skinned teenager, with an intractable appearance – Ying Luozha.
Xiao Budian and the others, looking at each other, chuckled. “This rascal…I like him.” Xiao Yan said, chortling.
Zhu Yi, shooting a look at Ying Luozha, did not speak, but turned to look at Lin Feng. “If you’re excellent enough, why not?” Lin Feng said even-temperedly.
Ying Luozha nodded, pleased, as his eyes shone with excitement.
What caught Lin Feng’s attention was that among the audience, apart from Ying Luozha, the eyes of Xu Yunsheng and Li Xingfei were glimmering as well. Even Liu Xiafeng, who was always lethargic and inattentive, appeared serious.
Talents were never lacking in self-confidence. The sight of Yue Hongyan and Yang Qing, who were inducted together with them, being high above them now and even possibly becoming their Master further filled these young potential talents with vigor and fighting spirit.
Lin Feng’s lips curved into a slight smile as he flicked his fingers lightly. A stream of purple clouds solidified in mid-air, transforming into a massive purple palace. The palace was right next to the branch of the Black Heavenly Treasure Tree, its gate facing the crowd.
“My test is simple. What is before you now is a maze; within it, there are branches and paths everywhere, but there is only one entrance and one exit,” Lin Feng said dispassionately. “I will give you one day. Those that can walk out of the maze shall be considered to have passed the test.”
Gazing at the huge purple palace before them, the teenagers all had blank looks for a moment. They have never thought that Lin Feng’s test would be, or at least appeared to be, so simple and trivial.
Even Xiao Yan and the others were somewhat surprised, but after they probed the maze of purple clouds carefully, all of them had looks of realizations on their faces. Xiao Yan and Xiao Budian even started to snigger, not without a healthy dose of schadenfreude.
Yang Qing sighed before reminding the audience sympathetically, “Get yourselves ready and alert. There are many things this maze will test; if you make even the slightest error, you might not make it out in your lifetime, let alone one day.”