Ascension of the Immortal Asura

Chapter 203: Direct Disciples

The sect was immediately thrown into an uproar over the Sect Leaders announcement. It seemed as if the rumors floating around the sect the last few weeks had some merit to them. All disciples sixteen years old and younger immediately rushed towards the Heavenly Lightning Palace, while many older disciples did as well.

Although they knew they would not be able to participate in whatever was taking place, the older disciples still wanted to see exactly what was going on. It wasn't often that such a summon was issued out, so whatever was happening was definitely important.

John followed the crowd and set off towards the Heavenly Lightning Palace as well, arriving there some time later. A large crowd of tens of thousands of disciples and Elders had already gathered, and the large plaza in front of the palace was packed densely.

John stepped off to one side, choosing to avoid standing in the dense crowd. He found a small tree off to the side of the massive courtyard, and sat underneath it. The shade from the tree canopy above washed over him, relieving him from the hot sun above. He lazily rested against the tree, waiting for the announcement of todays events.

The crowd continued to grow in size, until nearly every disciple and Elder of the sect was gathered. Although the crowd wasn't as large as during the entrance exams, it wasn't far off as well.

The crowd was boisterous, as thousands of heated discussions were taking place regarding today's events. Suddenly, an incredible power washed over the entire crowd, causing it to fall into an immediate silence. Everyone knew what this meant, and all eyes turned to look towards the top of the Heavenly Lightning Palace stairway.

Soon, several figures emerged from within the palace and stood at the top of the steps, peering down the stairway to the massive crowd below. The Sect Leader, Vice Sect Leader, and several other powerful Elders were present.

Sect Leader Thunderzen looked at the crowd for a moment before speaking up.

"This Heavenly Lightning Sect has lasted for tens of thousands of years. In all that time, we have stood guard over the nearby Qi storm, obtaining many benefits from it," Thunderzen spoke up.

As many assumed, today's matter truly was related to the Qi storm.

"Now, however, the Qi storm has grown weaker, and today, it will fade out of existence."

An uproar of discussions immediately broke out throughout the crowd, as such a thing was completely unexpected. The Qi storm, which had stood strong in perpetuity, was actually failing.

Sect Leader Thunderzen waved his hand, calling for silence. The crowd quickly died down, and he continued once again.

"With the Qi storm disappearing, the lands hidden by the storm will once again be revealed. However, there is a powerful formation that keeps us Elders at bay, and only allows those from the younger generation to enter.

The other Great Sects will no doubt send their youths in to explore the lands within, seeking out any treasures and powerful artifacts for them to use. While the lands within will most likely be rife with danger, we have no choice but to send you in as well, as we cannot allow those treasures to fall into their hands" Thunderzen stated.

The previously boisterous atmosphere became quite serious, as everyone could tell that based on the Sect Leaders words, there would be considerable danger within.

"However, we will provide a means of everyone ensuring their own safety, so do not fear for your lives," Thunderzen continued, causing some of the first years to breath out a sigh of relief.

Many of them had never experienced true life or death danger, and the thought sent a shiver down their spine. John looked towards the Sect Leader with an unassuming expression, as it was to be expected that danger existed inside.

"We have recently done some tests, and have concluded that the age formation surrounding the forbidden lands has been warped slightly. Although there is no exact date identified yet, it appears that the formation will only allow those just slightly over sixteen years old to enter. Since all our second years are well into the later half of sixteen, only first years will be allowed to enter the formation," Thunderzen continued.

The second years, as well as the older first years who were over this age all had looks of disappointment appear on their faces. They could tell that such an event was monumental, and they would be missing out on it.

While John didn't care too much, such a thing was to his liking. If second years were able to venture within, they would surely dominate all the good opportunities, as many of their cultivations were in the Core Formation realm.

"We will not force anyone inside against their will. Saying that, all the first years who are willing to venture forth for our Heavenly Lightning Sect, step forward."

After Sect Leader Thunderzen's last line, a throng of disciples hurriedly pushed forward through the crowd to the front of the giant plaza. Before long, around ninety perfect of the first years had stepped forward. John arrived towards the end of the pack, and all eyes turned to him as he joined the group.

After his fight with Russell, his status as the number one Core Disciple was undisputed. However, that was a month ago, and things had changed in that time.

"Haha, you're here. Good, with the sect rules not applying in the storm lands, we can fight as much as we want," a voice sounded out near John.

He knew who it was before he looked, and he soon spotted Russell standing there with a proud expression. A brief inspection revealed his cultivation to be firmly in the early Core Formation Realm.

"You broke through? Not bad. It seems as if our fight won't go my way anymore" John replied towards Russell. If they were to fight now, it was John who would most likely be on the defensive. However, with his Immortal Asura Transformation Art, John was confident in fighting someone like Russell on even ground, at least for a short while.

However, jumping major realms was much harder than jumping minor realms, and so John was unsure if such a thing was possible, even for him.

After saying some words to Russell, John felt a hand rest on his shoulder. He turned to look at the newcomer.

"Adam? You're actually joining?" John asked in surprise.

He had not expected Adam to join, and was not going to force him to join this like previous trials. However small, there was a real chance of death if one was not careful, and so he was not going to force Adam to do such a thing.

"I can't let you go out there alone can I? Besides, I'm looking forward to what kind of treasures exist in those lands," Adam replied with a prideful look, as if him joining the mission was incredibly heroic.

John said nothing, but was slightly happy inside....

'It seems like pushing Adam through all those trials has toughed him up a bit.'

"Now that those who wish to join have stepped forward," Thunderzen spoke up again, causing all eyes to turn to him.

Suddenly, thousands and thousands of spatial talismans appeared in the air high above the first years, and each quickly moved towards an individual. Before long, everyone found a spatial talisman hovering directly in front of them.

John's eyebrows raised as he stared at the Sect Leaders display. Although it wasn't sheer power, individually controlling thousands of items with pinpoint precision was quite a feat, and Thunderzen continued to showcase his awesome power time and time again.

John reached out and grabbed the talisman. His fingers traced the runes written on the surface, and he could feel an intense power emanating from within.

"If you run into trouble, crush the talisman you have been given. It should transport you right back here to this plaza," Thunderzen said to the crowd.

With such a lifeline, all the first years felt much more confident in entering the mysterious lands. If they ran into trouble, they could just leave with the talisman. While that would mean giving up all the opportunities within, saving their own lives was their top priority.

"Now that we're all set."

Suddenly, the plaza ground began to glow with brilliant lines and runes all over. John could feel a familiar power wash over him, and his vision went white for a moment as he felt his body sent through space. Before long, sunlight lit his face once more as he found himself standing in a large open field.

Directly before them, the Qi storm continued to churn, stretching for hundreds of miles in each direction. However, John could tell that it was much much weaker than when he was last here.

After inspecting the whirlpool, John looked around to see what was going on.

'It seems as if there was a spatial formation in the sect's courtyard, leading here.'

John looked around and spotted that the formation had only transported the first years that had stepped forward. There were also many Elders in the surrounding area, although John still couldn't spot Elder Ragur.

'He must still be in seclusion.'

Directly in front of the group of first years, the Sect Leader, Vice Sect Leader, and a few other powerful Elders stood. Close to their side, there were several other powerful Heaven Tribulation Elders, and before each of them stood a youth around the same age as the first years. However, the power each of the youths were emanating was immense, and John could easily tell that each was firmly in the Core Formation Realm.

There were three males, and two females in the group, each with a unique look and style.

"Do you know who they are?" John turned to Adam and asked.

While he wasn't sure if Adam would know, John knew that information was Adam's specialty. If any first year knew who they were, it would be Adam.

"I might," Adam replied. "I've only heard rumors, as none of them have made their appearance yet, but I believe those are all the Direct Disciples of the sect below sixteen years of age."

Understanding washed over John at Adam's explanation. While it was a while ago, he remembered Elder Ragur telling him about the structure of the sect. There were Outer Disciples, Inner Disciples, Core Disciples, and at the very top, Direct Disciples.

One could only become a Direct Disciple of a Heaven Tribulation Elder, and each Direct Disciple had status above all other disciples, even Core Disciples. Not only that, but their power would most likely also be the greatest of all same age disciples, as they were personally nourished by a Heaven Tribulation Elder.

"How come we never saw any of them in the entrance exam then?" John asked again. He recognized none of their faces.

"Again, it's all rumors, but apparently every one of these direct disciples have been personally raised by a Heaven Tribulation Elder from a young age, and so they have all been part of the sect for many years already," Adam replied.

"That makes sense I guess," John responded. He was unsure why the Direct Disciples had not mingled with the other first years, but after a moment's thought, he understood their reasoning.

As a Core Disciple, he barely interacted with Inner and Outer disciples, and so for Direct Disciples, he was lumped in with those groups as well. However, he wasn't concerned about it, as it had nothing to do with him at the moment.

"As you can tell, the storm behind us has weakened considerably, and based on our estimations, it will fully fail today," the Sect Leader spoke up once more.

All the disciples inspected the whirlpool, and although its power was still immense, it was a far cry of its full power. While many had not personally seen the whirlpool this close before, they had heard stories of its power. They could tell it was failing.

While inspecting the storm with the other disciples, John felt a shiver quickly crawl up his spine. He had only felt this type of feeling a few times in his life before, and each time danger followed soon after.

The first was when he entered the woods after robbing the spear in the Dreadel Kingdom, and the second was in the pocket realm. His instincts were telling him something, although he didn't know what.

He quickly turned his head in every direction, looking for the source of unease. As his head passed by the Heaven Tribulation Elder's, John spotted one of the Direct Disciples looking directly at him. The youth was a male, with long silver hair and a handsome face. He had a friendly expression on his face, and he smiled and waved in a warm manner towards John when he noticed John's gaze.

John waved back with a smile, but his instincts kicked into overdrive at the same time. He felt as if he was being stared at by a powerful beast, looking to devour him.

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