When they finally saw the gate of the realm that they were supposed to enter, the younger disciples couldn’t help but start to chatter. The older disciples just smiled and then steered the ship to a spot where they could land.
Traveling by this type of big ship was actually losing them quite a bit of time. It would take a good two weeks from the Jian Yi Sect to this realm when traveling this way. On the other hand, if they had just used their flying swords, they could have made it in a few days. But then, the younger disciples would be exhausted both physically, mentally, and spiritually. If they let them go in like that, the casualties would be higher.
Of course, that wasn’t what the Jian Yi Sect wanted. This was a chance to let the disciples grow, not a mission to get them killed. Losing some time was really the least of their worries here.
Needing so long to reach their goal had made the excitement of the young ones soar though. Now that they had finally made it to their destination, all of it broke out, causing this kind of stir.
For the duration of the trip, they had actually held it together remarkably well. The older disciples had let them do whatever they wanted on the ship, whether that was immersing themselves in their cultivation or just looking out and seeing more of the world. If they wanted to know something about the places out there, they could always ask as well, giving them an opportunity to learn more on this trip.
Most of them had decided to cultivate though, with only a few of the very curious ones actually standing outside at the railing in the same way that Hua Lin Yu had done. These were the disciples that were now the most composed because they had seen quite a few things already and this didn’t seem too out of the ordinary to them anymore as it did to the others. Still, they all were excited. After all, it was finally time for their mission.
The older disciples didn’t let them get off the junk immediately and instead made them stay back with a wave of the hand.
“Don’t just blindly rush out. In there, that might be a death sentence. The realm you’re supposed to enter was created by an Elder of the demonic faction. It is also a place that is open all year round, with anybody being able to enter. In light of that, it is absolutely possible that when we go in there, you will be confronted with disciples from the other side.”
At that, the younger disciples murmured again, exchanging some glances. While all of them were talents and most weren’t timid, this was still their first big mission. To be immediately confronted with demonic practitioners seemed like a really difficult task. Some weren’t sure if they were up to it and others couldn’t help but wonder what exactly the sect’s meaning was, giving this kind of task to them. Was there more to that?
The disciple that was currently leading the group smiled faintly. “There is one thing that you should keep in mind: Some of you might’ve heard horror stories about the demonic faction if you’ve grown up in a secular place. You will have heard how they kill people for no offense at all, harvesting the resources of their bodies, maybe torturing them while doing so.
“Most of that … is completely exaggerated. In fact, quite a few of the demonic sects have a code of conduct very similar to ours. For example, the Hei Dian Sect is like that which is coincidentally the sect this realm is related to.
“Of course, there are still some practices being used that would not be allowed at a righteous sect. Many aren’t as devious as you might think though and the reason they are outlawed in our sects is because of the high risk associated with them.
“As such, if you encounter demonic practitioners in there, don’t immediately attack. First, gauge the situation and make sure whether they are actually hostile toward you or not. If they are, then fight back with everything you’ve got. If they aren’t, then just ignore each other.”
“Watch your backs though!”
One of the other disciples couldn’t help but throw this sentence in, making the younger disciples unsure who to believe. If the demonic practitioners weren’t all that bad, then why would they have to watch their backs?
The disciple in front gave an annoyed look to the one that had spoken before addressing the younger disciples again. “Yes, you should indeed watch your backs. The most devious person might also be able to pretend not to be hostile at first. If they see that you’re young and that your cultivation level is not high, they will be more likely to do something like that and then attack you from the back to get rid of more people at once before delivering the final blow. Something like that is indeed possible. Thus, always stay cautious in there.
“Now, this was the bad news, but I also have a piece of good news: This realm is not like those of many other ancestors which are riddled with traps designed to kill any kind of intruder. Rather than that, this place is rather peaceful.
“It was likely created to be a secret retreat for that demonic sect’s ancestor that he would occasionally visit, nothing more. Over time though, and with an abundance of spiritual energy in there, some beasts have thrived, creating a bit of a threat which makes this the perfect place to train.
“If you encounter one of them, that is your chance to engage in a fight and test your skills. Make no mistake though, your main task is something else.” Saying so, he pulled out several pieces of paper from his spiritual bag and showed them to the younger disciples. “These are all lists of spiritual herbs. Your task will be to find these in the realm.
“This task shouldn’t be too difficult as this realm is especially famous for its abundance of spiritual herbs. In fact, this realm is often referred to as the demonic ancestor’s poisonous garden. There are many spiritual herbs, some of them ingredients for a lot of pills and potions that can be used by the alchemy disciples. But there are also a lot of poisonous plants, that aren’t of interest to us.
“Each of your groups will get a spiritual jade with the relevant information on the herbs that you need recorded. Please make sure that you harvest the right ones and don’t accidentally pick something poisonous. In each of your groups, there should be at least one disciple that is knowledgeable about alchemy.
“Also, the seniors that are going to go with you all have at least some background in alchemy as well. So if you really are in doubt, you can always check with them. Before that though, you should always try and fulfill the task yourselves. In the future, there won’t always be a senior around that you can rely on. Thus, it is always best to be able to do things on your own.
“Now, I believe that I’ve told you enough things to make this a worthwhile experience. Let’s split you up into groups while you’re still in the safety of the ship, and then go in one by one.”
He motioned for the older disciples to go ahead and call the names of the disciples that would go with them and then handed each of the group leaders several lists with ingredients, as well as the spiritual jade with the information on the herbs to distinguish them.
Then, the group finally stepped off the junk, went over to the gate that was erected on top of the cliff, and stepped through it.