"Good day potential Heaven Sect members," I greeted while strolling into the Grand Courtyard. "I am Master Lin and I shall be the first test for your entry into Heaven Sect and your path to be a Practitioner."
Murmurs immediately exploded throughout the courtyard though I paid no attention to its contents, my mind busy with thinking of what to say.
"Know that the path ahead is not an easy one, but if you persevere and never falter, you will obtain what you seek."
I crossed my arms, "I will not lie, some of you may not pass today, some of you may find that you are not suited on the path of the Practitioner. To those I can only offer my condolences and wish you the best in your future endeavors. But to those who will become a Heaven Sect Practitioner, I hope you will never forget the path you took to be amongst us. A Practitioner is more than just someone who cultivates Elemental Quarks."
I spread my arms in a welcoming gesture, "What you learn here is up to you, we of the Heaven Sect can only guide you in your studies. It is my sincerest hope that I will see all of you as members of Heaven Sect!"
I took a moment to look around again, seeing some people with eyes of determination while others seem rather disinterested, probably confident of their abilities, I suppose.
Heh, I somehow managed to make up that speech on the spot, don't doubt my ability to bullshit my way out of dangerous situations back on those two accursed Planes!
Relaxing my posture, I began circulating my Elemental Quark, directing them towards the centre of my Cultivation Point. Damn, how I missed this feeling!
You truly never know what is precious until you lose it, at least all the knowledge I gained from those higher Planes can be used to easily improve myself now.
"Now, without further ado, here is your first test! Receive my Elemental Pressure!"
I roared as I let out the blast of quarks I had been storing, enveloping the entire Courtyard.
(Lian Li POV)
The person whom I thought was a curious disciple stepped out and introduced himself as some 'Master Lin'. Since I wasn't really familiar with Sect rankings and whatnot, I didn't know how important he was.
Almost immediately, I heard the people around me whisper frantically when he said his name.
"Master Lin?! You mean THAT Master Lin?!"
"Damn! Who else can it be?! The genius who was promoted to Master at the age of twenty!"
"Don't tell me it's that guy who was rumored to have achieved Advanced tier in all four common elements before eighteen?!"
"Damn, we're both unlucky and lucky for him to be here huh?"
"Tell me about it! I never dreamt that I'll meet him in person but if he's going to be the first examiner, I'm doomed!"
It seems like this Master Lin is quite a big shot, not that I care anyway. Unless he can give me the power I wanted, he'll just be another nobody in my eyes.
"Here is your first test! Receive my Elemental Pressure!"
The words barely echoed off the walls of the courtyard before a sense of dread overwhelmed me.
My whole body suddenly felt extremely heavy as something pressed me downwards with force.
That pressure enveloped my entire body, seeping its way under my skin and straight into my soul. I gasped as breathing suddenly became harder, my vision blurred and the edges began to darken.
I clawed at my throat as I desperately tried to suck in air, my lungs seemingly refusing to obey.
Fear began clawing its way into my heart, it's claws sinking deeper and deeper into my core.
The fear of death.
I hadn't feared death before.
When the monsters destroyed my village I wanted to die with my parents.
When the scum son raped me, I wanted the monsters to kill me after I was sullied.
When I was alone within the slums, death was like a neighbour you greeted every day with a nod and smile. Even when I was assaulted by those men, I felt more panic than dread.
I looked up, trying to see how that man was exuding such pressure.
The moment my eyes met his, everything around me instantly darkened to blackness.
It was like staring into the abyss while free falling into it. I reached out my hand but I couldn't even see the tips of my fingers.
Then I felt the eyes on me, the bone-chilling gaze staring deeply into me like it could see the darkest depths of my soul.
The pressure constricted around my throat as I fell deeper and deeper into the darkness, I could hear my heart hammering in my chest and my mind desperately screaming at me to run.
My body refused to budge an inch while my heartbeat sounded louder and louder, shutting out every other sound.
All of a sudden, there was a 'pop' sound and the world regained its colour again.
I found myself standing at where I had been, my own hands wrapped tightly around my throat.
The crowd that had initially stood tall and proud now lay in crumpled heaps on the ground. Some of them completely still, others twitching slightly with their eyes rolled back and foam coming out from their mouths.
Master Lin stood unmoving at where he was originally, his face impassive while staring straight at me. I immediately dropped my hands to my sides, suddenly conscious of myself.
He narrowed his eyes slightly, that action making me hold my breath, worried that I had somehow disappointed him.
He frowned before turning his back on the courtyard, walking back towards the way he came.
I only remembered to breathe again when his figure disappeared from sight.
That was power.
No, he was absolute power.
How foolish I had been. I was nothing but a frog in a well. The Heaven Sect being my stepping stone to my path of revenge? Laughable.
I was probably nothing but a footnote in his eyes.
I sank to my knees, joining the rest of the crowd on the ground.
What the hell?
Why did half of the Courtyard collapse? Why is that guy even spasming on the ground? Is he having a seizure?
No no no, more people are collapsing as well, what the hell is going on?
All I did was condense my Pure quark as much as I could before sending it out in a wave that contained a little of my killing intent. It's a little trick I managed to pick up from the dragons in Cloud Plane.
I would often be used by that psycho to lure out young dragons for that lunatic to kill and harvest their parts. The dragons would think I'm easy prey and use this method to stun me into a paralysed state.
But after I've been constantly subjected to it, I learnt how they did it and even managed to become a little resistant to it.
I thought if I used it here the most they would feel would be a little fear. The 'talented' ones should be able to shrug of this intimidation with a little effort.
I'm not a dragon after all, so the fear effect should be lessened. Why does it actually look amplified here instead?
I only wanted to see which of them could actually withstand the pressure so I could easily seek out the more talented ones, but who knew this would happen...
I quickly dispersed the pressure, but it seems like everyone in the Courtyard had already collapsed.
No wait, that cloaked figure is still standing!
That figure dropped their arms to their sides, which seemed to be holding something around their neck just now. I narrowed my eyes at them, wondering if they were wearing a necklace or maybe hiding some artifact in their hands.
If they were using an artifact to negate my pressure, it would reflect nothing on their innate ability. Were they planning on cheating their way into Heaven Sect?
I was thinking of confronting the cloaked figure but I remembered the whole Courtyard is now unconscious because of me.
I frowned, wondering how the hell am I supposed to fix this mess.
This is beyond embarrassing for me… If I confront that cloak figure now and it turns out my hunch was wrong, I would probably lose all credibility and my face in this Sect.
Well… At least what's left of it after what I just did.
I better think of an excuse for this or I can say bye bye to my easy life.
Better play it safe...
I turned around to return back to the other Elders and Masters, hopefully someone there can fix this screw up.
I was surprised that I returned to the sound of clapping.
What? Why are they applauding me? Aren't they angry about the screw up?
"Magnificent, Master Lin!" Sect Master Long laughed heartily. "Only you could come up with this way to test their resolve and innate Cultivation Points at the same time! Marvelous!"
Huh? What the hell is this guy talking about?
What resolve? What innate Cultivation Point? Didn't I just make them all piss themselves?
One of the Elders nodded while stroking his beard, "Indeed, when your Pure Elemental Quark spread through the Courtyard, their Cultivation Points reacted quite splendidly. We can already easily tell who has the potential to become Practitioners just from that, negating the need for the next few tests."
"I've never seen such a mastery over Pure quarks before, as expected of our Sect's Master Lin."
"The ones who managed to stay awake for even a second shows great innate potential as well, they must have great mental strength to withstand that pressure."
"Hahaha! That means there are a lot of talents this year!"
"Yes, this test that Master Lin devised has saved us a lot of time and is much more accurate."
"The hooded one is interesting as well, we should keep an eye on them."
"Umu, as expected of Master Lin, truly the blessing of Heavens."
I just stood there with a strained smile while hearing their praises.
Sect Master Long clapped his hands together to silence the commotion, "Very good! Since there's no need to carry out the preliminary tests anymore, have the potential members move to the final test area while the others are escorted out."
"Yes, Sect Master."
The Elders and Masters moved to carry out as instructed, while I still stood rooted to the spot.
What the hell?