The moment they met, Wei Zikun pointed out to Li Tianming, “Mu Wan should have prepared you for the situation that no supernal mentor is willing to accept you, right? Just keep that in mind.”
“Got it.” Li Tianming was a simple man, if the mentors had no interest in him, then he had no intention to stick around there. He wasn’t going to respect people who wouldn’t respect him.
“Follow me.” Wei Zikun was a man of few words. It was said that he came from the Wei family that resided inside the sanctum, and was one of the elites of his generation from young. As a hall overseer that wasn’t yet forty, his name was famous in the capital.
“Overseer, may I ask a question?” Li Tianming followed behind him.
“I heard that the chancellor of the Institute is your elder brother?” Li Tianming asked.
“That’s right, any problems with that?” Wei Zikun turned back to glance at him.
“Of course not,” Li Tianming answered, a smile on his face.
The chancellor was a man about fifty years old named Wei Tianxiong, and he was one of the leading figures in the entire nation. It was common belief that Wei Tianxiong was the master of the Flameyellow Scions Institute, and had the institute in his control. That was what Li Tianming thought as well, till he learnt that the Sanctum Potentate was the true ruler of this place.
The Potentate had the surname Wei as well, suggesting that he, Wei Tianxiong and Wei Zikun were of the same family. Since that was the case, it meant their family were the leading faction in the entire institute, perhaps even the true rulers. The only thing Li Tianming couldn’t confirm was the relationship between his grandfather, the Potentate, and Wei Tianxiong.
As they spoke, Wei Zikun brought him across the entire institute. Along the way, many disciples threw envious looks at him, knowing that today was the day Li Tianming was supposed to enter the sanctum.
But how would they know that Li Tianming was about to face eighteen supernal mentors who had no intention of accepting him? If Li Tianming were to become the first ever prime disciple that no mentors accepted, then he would still have to return and cultivate in the institute, where he would be an even greater joke. The result was predictable, since the entrapment three years ago had made him out to be a scumbag who drugged others, an impression that was just too hard to change.
Around fifteen minutes later, after crossing layer after layer of security, they finally reached the gates to the sanctum.
Li Tianming’s first step inside told him that this was no doubt the place that controlled the lifeline of the institute. The security in this region was far stricter, and even the walls here were thicker than the ones surrounding the institute.
Those who resided in the sanctum were either the utmost geniuses of the nation or the renowned supernal mentors.
“We shall head over to the Hall of Ancestry first.” The Hall of Ancestry was where the supernal mentors took in their new disciples, and every time a student entered the sanctum, he or she would make their first stop at the hall.
“Li Tianming, do you know who else stays within the sanctum other than the supernal mentors?” asked Wei Zikun.
“The smartest disciples in the Institute.”
“And on top of the supernal mentors?”
“Uh, the four heavenly guardians, then the vice-Potentate and the potentate himself?” Li Tianming said.
“Correct. The potentate has the highest position in the entire institute, but it is quite impossible for you to meet him in person. Therefore the four guardians are effectively the ones controlling the sanctum. Remember to always pay your respects to them.” Wei Zikun reminded him. He didn't want to see Li Tianming provoke one of the guardians by accident.
“The four guardians are the Guardian of Combat, Guardian of Legions, Guardian of Sanctions, and the Guardian of Ancestry. The Guardian of Ancestry runs the Hall of Ancestry, and he will be the one overseeing the process later. Every single disciple that enters the sanctum will go through his eyes first,” Wei Zikun explained.
“Yes I understand. But I have a small question.”
“Since you are one of the hall overseers, may I ask if your position is higher than that of the guardians?”
“Of course not. An overseer has about as much power as a regular supernal mentor, perhaps a little more.” Wei Zikun wasn’t offended by being compared with the guardians. For Li Tianming to ask that question, it only suggested his lack of background. Anyone from a powerful family in Ignispolis could tell him that the four guardians were just below the potentate and the vice-potentate.
For Li Tianming, this information shed light to how much power Heaven’s Sanctum had. He always thought that the sanctum was part of the institute, but in fact, it was the other way round.
The Guardian of Ancestry was in charge of the disciples and their conduct. Every single disciple here was an elite that he himself had approved of.
It wasn’t long before they arrived at the Hall of Ancestry. The building was covered in black, and it gave off a foreboding aura that could scare any new disciples.
“It’s about time the supernal mentors arrive. Just follow me. There’s no need to be nervous.” Wei Zikun instructed him one last time before stepping in. Li Tianming followed him closely, noting that they had not run into a single person since they entered the sanctum. It was true that only the very few true elites stayed here.
Once they entered the hall, Li Tianming was greeted by some of the most powerful cultivators in the nation. A total of eighteen supernal mentors awaited him, together with the Guardian of Ancestry. They were scrutinizing him, just like how they would scrutinize every other disciple who stepped foot here.
The hall was lit brightly with candles, illustrating the many figures that were within the hall. Yet no one talked, and the atmosphere was so stifling that Li Tianming could feel himself almost suffocating from the pressure.
“Guardian of Ancestry, supernal mentors, I have brought the prime disciple from the Hall of Phoenix, Li Tianming.” Wei Zikun’s announcement finally broke the silence.
“Disciple Li Tianming greets the guardian and the supernal mentors.” He had heard that Heaven’s Sanctum’s was a solemn place, so Li Tianming respectfully addressed his greetings. His voice was calm, and one couldn’t hear any nervousness in his voice.
“Thank you overseer.” A hoarse voice came from the end of the hall. By the sounds of it, the speaker must be a formidable old man.
“Prime Disciple Li Tianming, raise your head. Let the mentors and I take a look at you.”
“Yes, guardian.” Li Tianming’s head had been lowered the moment he entered, and he only looked up when he was instructed to. It wasn’t because he was scared, but it would be rude of him if he started peeking the moment he entered.
Directly in front of Li Tianming, a hulking elder sat in what looked like a throne at the end of the hall. His hair was white, but the pinkish glow on his face resembled that of a vigorous young man in his thirties. Despite his age, he was still giving off a terrifying aura.
Nine mentors were seated by his left and the other nine his right. The supernal mentors were slightly younger than the guardian himself, but they all ranged from the age of forty to sixty too. They too gave off the aura of warriors, pairs of eyes staring intensely at Li Tianming. Some of them had youngsters standing behind them, their own disciples who had joined in to take a look at that ‘famous’ Li Tianming.
Li Tianming had never entered the sanctum before today, which meant that he didn't recognise them. But obviously, they were all geniuses that could easily outshine those in the institute, and those who were the same age as Li Tianming were minimally fifth level Spiritsource. The youngsters too looked at Li Tianming with interest, though none of them would dare to speak a word without the seniors’ permissions.
“The prime disciple is here, and I assume that the mentors should have heard of him. It was said that he had been a disciple in the institute four years ago, and everyone seated here should have an idea of his talent. Whoever’s interested in taking him, just go ahead.” The Guardian of Ancestry leaned back on his chair and signaled the supernal mentors to proceed.
The eighteen of them were looking at Li Tianming. They were all cautious people, thus all of them had chosen to watch how things went first. This was unlike past years when they had to fight for the prime disciple.
Li Tianming had seen portraits of the supernal mentors in the name list, so he could recognize the mentors. He could figure out who was Zhao Tianchen, who was Liu Xueyao, and who was Feng Wuguang. The possible candidates that Mu Wan mentioned were there too, but none of them had spoken up.
Things were getting very awkward in the hall, and surely any who heard of this would consider it a joke. Li Tianming was no doubt the most special prime disciple they had ever encountered, and none of the supernal mentors spoke up for a few minutes.
“How about this, Li Tianming. Show the mentors your lifebound beast,” the guardian instructed.
“Yes.” Li Tianming dipped his head.
He had expected things to be difficult today, but this level of awkwardness was... unexpected. The mentors couldn’t accept the level of cultivation he had at his age. He must be the first prime disciple in the sanctum’s history who couldn’t even clear the basic requirement here.
As the little chick appeared on Li Tianming’s shoulder, some of the mentors even let slip a laugh or two. That included Liu Xueyao, whom Mu Wan had a strong dislike for. She was Mu Qingqing’s mentor, and their temperaments were highly similar. She wore a white long dress, and if it wasn’t for her stony expression, she would have been more charming.
“What a joke. There really is a need to fix the rules for the ranking test, I was ready to accept Xiaoxiao as my disciple,” she whispered to the other supernal mentor, Zhao Tianchen, who was seated beside her.
“And look at who we get now.” Zhao Tianchen sighed. He was a handsome middle-aged man, his long hair tied into a bun giving him a scholarly look.
“Haha.” The supernal mentors glanced at each other, their looks of disinterest obvious from their eyes.
“Twenty years old and he is at most at third level Spiritsource.”
“If Lin Xiaoxiao was here, she might even reach Unity by the time she’s twenty.”
“Hmm, the flaws in the ranking test had given us a clown instead of a true prodigy. ”
“Why should we accept someone who provoked the Lightning Manor and has no background at all?”
The supernal mentors were clueless as to what to do too. How could they have expected the prime disciple to be so problematic?