NETS - Chapter 140 – Gift of Appreciation
Enlightened Master Xuan-Yin still wore an expressionless face, but spoke softly, "Greetings, Senior Martial Sister Liu."
Enlightened Master Liu Xuan-Ling smiled and nodded, before turning around and making her way to the purple seats with Enlightened Master Xuan-Yin.
The eight Early Enlightened Masters waited until the four Mid Enlightened Masters were seated before taking their respective seats.
Seeing that all fourteen Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters had arrived, the palace attendant quietly excused himself.
A middle-aged Late Blood Condensation Realm scholar, who had been following behind Enlightened Master Xuan-Miao, came forward and said loudly, "The Disciple Acceptance Ceremony will now begin. Accepted disciples, come forward and offer your incense to the sect’s past ancestors!"
Lu Ping, along with all the disciples, came to the middle of Tian Ling Palace offering incense and kowtowing to the Zhen Ling Sect’s ancestors above the Core Forging Realm. They prayed that the ancestors would bless the Sect, allowing it to continue to flourish, and for its disciples to achieve success.
The whole ceremony was very solemn.
After praying to the ancestors, the middle-aged scholar said, "All disciples come forward and salute your teachers!"
Lu Ping saw the disciples who were called forward, go to their respective teachers and respectfully bow to their teacher.
Lu Ping stood dumbfounded. Even at this moment, he still didn’t know which Enlightened Master was his teacher. So, when he was called later, he wouldn’t know which Enlightened Master to salute to.
While Lu Ping was at a loss, the middle-aged scholar had already called his name, "Huang Li Island’s Lu Ping, a former disciple of Zhen Ling Side Hall’s Group 7. Come forward to salute your teacher! "
Lu Ping was flustered. He hesitated on whether he should explain the situation or not.
But if he did so, wouldn't it also suggest to the crowd that this unknown teacher of his had decided to accept him as a disciple without his consent?
If so, this would make his unknown teacher lose face in front of all the other Enlightened Masters. In that case, wouldn’t he be disliked by her and not leave a good first impression?
Lu Ping’s hesitation had caused him to freeze on the spot.
The middle-aged scholar hosting the ceremony was also surprised to see that there was such an ignorant disciple. He began to sympathize with this disciple, he spoke one more time, "Huang Li Island’s Lu Ping, come forward to salute your teacher!"
Lu Ping began to sweat. The other disciples were looking at each other in confusion.
Lu Ping was about to go forward to explain the situation, but suddenly, he noticed that only Enlightened Master Liu Xuan-Ling and Enlightened Master Xuan-Miao, were looking at him with a smile on their faces.
The other Enlightened Masters didn't know who Lu Ping was, and so they just looked at the group of accepted disciples.
The cogs in his mind quickly spun. Although he didn’t know who his teacher was, it was obvious that his teacher must know him, otherwise she wouldn’t have accepted him as her disciple.
However, except for Enlightened Master Liu Xuan-Ling and Enlightened Master Xuan-Miao, the other Enlightened Masters on the stage clearly didn’t know who Lu Ping was. This meant that his teacher could only be either Enlightened Master Liu Xuan-Ling or Enlightened Master Xuan-Miao.
The palace maiden who came to see him before, clearly told him that it was her mother who wanted to take Lu Ping as her student. So, his teacher would naturally be a female Enlightened Master.
Since Enlightened Master Xuan-Miao was male, this only left Enlightened Master Liu Xuan-Ling as an option.
The more Lu Ping thought about it, the more plausible he felt his conclusion was. Another clue also crossed his mind.
The palace girl that day was dressed in a palace gown, while today, Enlightened Master Liu Xuan-Ling today was also in a palace gown.
Lu Ping then recalled the appearance of the palace girl that day, and he noticed that she and Enlightened Master Liu Xuan-Ling had a lot of similarities.
Just as the middle-aged scholar was getting irritated and was about to call Lu Ping's name again, a young man in his twenties suddenly emerged from the group of disciples.
In full view of everyone, he came before Enlightened Master Liu Xuan-Ling, who seemingly had the highest status amongst the Enlightened Masters present, and performed a grand salute.
"Disciple Lu Ping, greets teacher. I wish teacher makes great progress in cultivation and has a long life!"
As soon as Lu Ping bent down to salute, his tense mood washed away. As he became calm again, cold sweat immediately wet his back.
All of the speculation he had was only inferred, he had no evidence to back up his conjecture after all. Hence, if he was wrong, not only would his real teacher lose face, Lu Ping might’ve also been punished for this!
A soft voice replied, immediately making Lu Ping feel amnesty, "No need to be polite, get up first!"
Lu Ping stood up and saw Enlightened Master Liu Xuan-Ling looking at him with a smile on her face. He hastily turned around and returned to the group of accepted disciples.
His speculation was right. Lu Ping secretly breathed a long sigh of relief.
He felt that he was too impulsive and had taken a big risk.
Although these thirty disciples were all accepted by a teacher, there were still differences among them.
Most of the disciples who have been accepted through tests, would only be taken as registered disciples under their teachers. Should they perform well in the future, they would naturally be promoted to the ranks of an official disciple.
On the other hand, disciples who were accepted either through their connections, or because they were favored by a teacher, would become official disciples right from the start, much to the envy of everyone else.
Thinking about it, this was very reasonable.
Zhen Ling Sect had nearly 10,000 Mid and Late Blood Condensation Realm cultivators, but less than 100 Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters.
If every Mid and Late Blood Condensation Realm cultivator was accepted by a Core Forging Realm Enlightened Master as official disciples, each Enlightened Master would have 100 official disciples.
Therefore, it was inevitable for the sect to incorporate a system of registered disciples and official disciples.
However, in Lu Ping’s case, as someone who didn’t even know who his teacher was a few moments ago, he naturally didn’t know whether he had been accepted as a registered disciple or an official disciple.
After all of the disciples had finished paying their respects, there was only one final program left of the ceremony. This was also what every cultivator watching the ceremony was most excited about – the gift of appreciation from the disciples to their teachers!
Sure enough, when the middle-aged scholar saw that all the disciples had saluted their teachers, he said, "The last agenda of the ceremony is for the disciples to offer their appreciation gift to their teachers!"
In fact, Zhen Ling Sect only held the ceremony in front of Tian Ling Palace and in front of the sect cultivators, with the intention of inspiring the disciples to be adventurous and enterprising.
After all, the appreciation gifts had to be carefully considered, especially when the disciples had to show their gifts in front of everyone. So naturally, no one would take it lightly.
But unknowingly, at some point, the process had become a little more complicated when the faces of the Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters were also dragged into the matter.
This time, the middle-aged scholar didn’t follow the list of names to call out the disciples anymore. Instead, the order was determined by the rankings of the Enlightened Masters present. "Enlightened Master Xuan-Sheng's disciple, Luo Zi-Heng, present your gift to your teacher!"
As Enlightened Master Xuan-Sheng had just called his own teacher, Enlightened Master Liu Xuan-Ling, as "teacher’s wife", Lu Ping was quite attentive towards Enlightened Master Xuan-Sheng.
A Fourth Layer Blood Condensation Realm cultivator, around Lu Ping's age, with a constant confused look on his face, came forward in front of Enlightened Master Xuan-Sheng.
He scratched his disheveled hair, and took out a Jade Crystal Box from the interspatial pouch at his waist and said, "This disciple is not capable of much, and has only found nine thousand-year spirit herbs from a cultivator's cave-dwelling in the buffer sea, which I present to the teacher!"
Enlightened Master Xuan-Sheng took the jade box, nodded his head and smiled, "It's already good enough to have nine thousand-years spirit herbs!"
That was true, nine thousand-years spirit herbs were indeed not a small amount. On Fei Ling Island, Lu Ping and the others often had to fight over a single thousand-year spirit herb, let alone nine of them.
Sure enough, many of the cultivators at the ceremony cheered.
Luo Zi-Heng heard the compliments from Enlightened Master Xuan-Sheng, and also the crowd's applause, and with a silly smile, stood beside Enlightened Master Xuan-Sheng's chair.
Lu Ping thought about the Beauty Everlasting Pellets he concocted. Those five cauldrons of pellets had cost him 25 thousand-year spirit herbs, which were enough to concoct a cauldron of Early Core Forging Realm cultivation medicinal pellets. Not to mention, the additional 150 plus 500-year spirit herbs he also had to use.
Although the pellets’ success rate was low and he had wasted a lot, they were still medicinal pellets after all.
In addition to his identity as an alchemist, his gift’s value was far higher than nine thousand-year spirit herbs, so he wouldn’t lose his teacher’s face with his appreciation gift.
The ceremony continued. The next disciple was a Fourth Layer Blood Condensation Realm disciple, whose appreciation gift was a bag of 50 mid-grade spirit stones.
Apparently, the spirit stones were a big burden for him, and it took him a lot of time and effort to earn this fortune.
However, the audience didn’t buy it, and despised this gift. In their opinion, giving spirit stones made the ceremony look like a business deal in a market. Therefore, many people booed him.
The disciple’s face turned pale and beads of cold sweat rolled down his forehead. But his teacher on the seat, Enlightened Master Xuan-Chang, accepted the gift with a smile, "Fifty mid-grade spirit stones are also a great effort. They are very good!"
The disciple heard Enlightened Master Xuan-Chang's words, and only then did he settle down. He thanked his teacher gratefully, and stood beside Enlightened Master Xuan-Chang’s chair.
Lu Ping looked on in amazement, no wonder cultivators paid so much attention to appreciation gifts.
First of all, the appreciation gift was directly related to the teacher's face. Secondly, no disciple would be able to withstand such embarrassment in front of everyone!
After that, the disciples came forward one by one to offer their gifts, of which there were various kinds.
There were mystic instruments, spirit materials, monster parts, charms, treasure maps, and other odd things, which broadened Lu Ping’s perspective.
Of course, there were also medicinal pellets.
But no matter what kind of appreciation gift the disciples gave, whether it was precious or not, whether the cultivators watching the ceremony were cheering or booing, the Enlightened Masters were all calm and light-hearted. They were all smiling and encouraging, none of them showed dissatisfaction.
In the blink of an eye, 34 of the 37 disciples had finished offering their gifts. Only four disciples, including Lu Ping, remained on the square.
Ten of the fourteen Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters on the stage had also finished accepting their disciples’ gifts, leaving only four Enlightened Masters in their seats.
Amongst them, were Enlightened Master Liu Xuan-Ling and Enlightened Master Xuan-Yin, who sat on the two purple seats in the center. There were also two Mid Enlightened Masters right next to them, Enlightened Master Xuan-Jing and Enlightened Master Xuan-Huai, who arrived in a golden bird and dark cloud respectively.
The Zhen Ling Sect cultivators, who were watching the ceremony, turned their attention to the remaining four disciples. They were obviously interested in the final four's appreciation gifts.
Editor: Immortal BloodRogue
Currently translated up to Chapter 160.