The Battle Beast Hall
The next morning, when the sun was slowly rising higher into the sky, the whole of Grey City was already wide awake, as the noises revealed a hint of excitement.
Today was the first day of the year 9998, according to the Flame Dragon Calendar. Which also meant, that on this day the inhabitants of this continent celebrated the annual Flame Dragon Festival.
– Bili-Bong! –
The sound of firecrackers, mingled with the laughter of the playful children, were enhancing the festive atmosphere in the city.
In the Ye Castle, numerous servants streamed in and out of the corridors, as they were busy with the preparations for the upcoming ceremony. Some of them were cleaning the floor and windows, while others were decorating the main hall… Almost everyone in the castle was radiant with joyfulness.
At the same time, in the biggest courtyard of the Ye Castle, there stood several lines of teenagers and children, who were accompanied by their parents. In total, there were about a hundred people clustered here. Quite in discordance with the hustles and bustles outside, the people here were all silent, creating a solemn atmosphere. In the front rows, the children seemed to be the youngest and were about five years old. These young kids were eager to play around, however, their parents forbid them from making any noise.
“So many people this year…” Qinghan stood at the end of the left line, beside him was Qingyu, who had insisted on accompanying him. The crowd ahead of them were solely descendants of the Ye Family, who would all participate in the upcoming Awakening Ceremony.
For those who hadn’t summoned their battle beast yet, the Flame Dragon Festival was the most important day of their life. It would be the day their life changed, if they successfully summoned a beast.
Every descendant of the Ye Family would have three chances to take part in this Awakening Ceremony, at the age of five, ten and fifteen. If he or she had already resonated with the ancient power and had summoned a battle beast during any of these three chances, the awakening task would be finished. In other words, once the battle beast was summoned, the descendants would be banned from taking part in a second, or third, awakening ceremony.
A battle beast! It was really the blessed bestowment of the ancient ancestors for the Ye Family.
Once the battle beast was summoned into this world, it would have a powerful attack force and unique abilities. Ye Tianlong’s ‘bear of the earth’, for instance, would be as formidable as a cultivator in the Realm of the Emperor once it had reached maturity!
If you owned a high-ranked battle beast, you would automatically climb onto the hierarchical ladder of the Ye Family and even become a celebrity throughout the entire Flame Dragon Continent.
Fame, social status, money, beauty… All because of a battle beast!
– Ah! –
“I have to make it…” Qinghan whispered to himself, in order to give himself some self confidence.
All the people present were staring at the giant gate in front of them, on which three words were sculptured – Battle Beast Hall.
– Creak! –
The gate finally opened, revealing four elders, who stood squarely in front of the crowd.
“Your highness, four most respected elders of the Battle Beast Hall.”
Everyone bowed to the four elders, including Qinghan. As a third time participant, Qinghan was rather familiar with the procedure, as well as the four elders, who were in charge of the Awakening Ceremony.
“Forget the formalities, just come in and follow us!” One of the four elders said, whose beard was as grey as his hair. He seemed to be the leader of today’s event.
“Haha, you’re starting so early!”
A resonant sound arrived from far away and caught everyone’s attention mere moments before they were about to lift their feet across the threshold of the hall. They all jerked their head towards the direction where the sound came from. There, a man in a blue robe was flying in the air, clutching a little child in his arms.
“Flying in the air? He must be in the Realm of the Emperor!” Qinghan thought to himself. However, when the man in the air got closer, Qinghan’s lips curled up into a sneer.
“Your highness, leader of the City Major Mansion.”
The crowd bowed to the approaching man, including the three elders. Only the grey bearded elder didn’t bow, as he just nodded to the man with a smile. Qinghan and his sister unwillingly followed suit and also bowed to the approaching man.
The man was Qinghan’s eldest uncle, Ye Jian, who had risen to the status of leader of the City Major Mansion since Ye Tianlong had retired. The two families of Ye Jian and Ye Dao had been hostile towards each other for a long time. Not long ago, Ye Jian had fiercely objected to let Qinghan’s deceased mother be buried in the ancestral tomb. So it was no surprise that Qinghan didn’t like him… Let alone respect him.
“Haha, nice to meet you, Elder Tianqing. Today, my youngest son, Qingfeng, will participate in the ceremony. I just came here as his father to accompany him. So, please ignore me and do what you’re supposed to do.” Ye Jian replied, after he had arrived in front of the grey bearded elder.
Despite the casual and concise remarks, everyone was awed by his status as the leader of the City Major Mansion. Plus, he was one of the few cultivators of the Ye Family who could fly in the air, which served as another reason why people respected him so much.
Out of curiosity, Qinghan glanced sideways at his little cousin – who was actually an adorable child judging by his appearance, but the contempt and arrogance in his eyes really disgusted Qinghan. Sure enough! This cousin must be exactly the same as Qingxian, who was egoistic and inconsiderate!
Qinghan followed the crowd and entered the Battle Beast Hall. Three giant ancient altars were exposed in the middle of this spacious hall. Rows of seats were available in front of these three altars. Looking around, Qinghan dragged his sister to a corner in the left row and sat down.
The four elders, together with Ye Jian, took the front row. After everyone was seated, Elder Tianqing stood up and walked in front of the seated crowd and coughed a little bit to grab everyone’s attention.
“You’re all descendants of our Ye Family. I believe you’re all familiar with this Awakening Ceremony. Alright, I’ll just give you a short introduction. Later, the three elders will open the altar and start the ceremony. Listen, you’ll be divided into three groups, and each group will be allowed to enter into one of the three altars. We will give each candidate fifteen minutes to proceed the awakening procedure inside the altar. Remember! When you are in the altar to be awakened, your mind will enter a different space – a holy place, where all kinds of monsters, animals or even moving plants will be revealed. Don’t panic in the process; it is totally safe in that space. All you have to do is to use your specific method to summon these beasts, so that they’ll follow your mind and finally appear in our world. If that happens, your task will be finished.”
“There’s one more thing I need to warn you about – never, ever force the beast to follow you. You will probably be eaten, severely injured or even die. Oh, and watch out for the timing, you have to stop your attempt the moment fifteen minutes have passed. Now, for those whose names are called out, please walk into the altar. Group one: Ye Qingfeng, Ye Qingyun, Ye Xiaohu.”
Elder Tianqing had taken out a piece of paper, from which he read out the names. Ye Jian threw a grateful look at Elder Tianjing, when he heard that his son was arranged as the first in his group. At the same time, he shot an encouraging look at his son, Qingfeng.
“Let’s start!” Elder Tianqing ordered the other three elders, who soon stood each beside one of the three altars, while they held a crystal stick high up in the air.
All of a sudden, the crystal sticks gave out dazzling rays of holy beams, which bathed all the people present. Gradually, the three altars were all covered by a layer of halo. Looking from afar, the three altars very much resembled three oval-shaped large eggs. Amazingly, above the halo, there emerged waves of fluctuation, like ripples in the water.
As soon as the halos were formed around the altars, the radiance on the crystal sticks faded away. The faces of the three elders had turned rather pale and exhausted after this opening procedure, but they still managed to slowly retreat to their seats.
“Thank you for your hard work.” Ye Jian turned to the three elders and smiled.
“It’s our job.” The three elders waved their hands, and modestly replied. It would only take a couple of minutes for the three elders to recover, as their faces quickly regained their blush and energy.
“Leader, your son, Qingfeng seems to have an aura of potential around him, he’ll surely succeed in this ceremony.” One of the elders flattered.
“Yeah, I agree. And I believe this child will summon a high-ranked battle beast, at least above sixth-grade, most likely a seventh-grade like his brother, Qingkuang.” Another elder added.
“Hehe, thank you for all your encouraging remarks. Well, it all depends on himself.” Ye Jian replied, as he casted a glance in the direction of the altar his son had entered.
To everyone’s astonishment, the white halo surrounding the altar that Qingfeng had entered suddenly turned red. More strangely, the red halo further changed into orange, then yellow, green…finally, it stopped when it had turned purple.
“Congratulations, leader! Judging from the changing halo, it is highly possible that the youngest lord will summon a seventh-grade battle beast!”
“Oh, leader of the City Major Mansion, your sons are all geniuses…”
“Congratulations! The youngest lord has an unlimited future ahead of him…”
The crowd bursted out into an uproar, as flattering remarks flooded into Ye Jian’s ear like an endless stream. Even the usual silent Elder Tianqing smiled at Ye Jian and approvingly nodded his head. Obviously, Ye Jian was rejoiced with these responses.
The rank of a battle beast was divided into nine grades, with the ninth-grade as the highest, which was also named the holy-grade. Interestingly, the nine grades of the battle beasts were correspondent to the nine realms in cultivation in the Mars Prefecture, which were the Realm of the Warrior, the Realm of the Soldier, the Realm of the Elite, the Realm of the Commander, the Realm of the General, the Realm of the Marshal, the Realm of the Prince, the Realm of the Emperor and the Realm of the Saint.
As descendants of the Ye Family, they were no strangers to what the color of the halo meant. During the awakening process, the halo outside the altar would change accordingly. From low to high, the colors would be red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue, purple, black and gold.
Qinghan’s grandfather, Tianlong, had summoned an eighth-grade battle beast – the bear of the earth. Back when he was in the awakening ceremony, the halo on his altar had turned black, which signified that he had successfully summoned a beast only a single step weaker than the holy-grade. Qinghan’s father, Ye Dao, who had also experienced the black halo during his awakening process, had summoned an eighth-grade dralion. As for Ye Jian, as well as his eldest son, they had all successfully summoned a seventh-grade battle beast after their halo around the altar had turned purple.
In simpler words, high-ranked battle beasts were extremely rare in the Ye Family. Like the eighth-grade one, they only had two. Even for the seventh-grade beast, the number was limited. As for the ninth-grade or holy-grade battle beast, it had only occurred once in the entire history of the Ye Family. It was summoned by one of the predecessors. The color of the halo for this holy-grade beast, which had only been seen once, was shining gold.
In the middle of the crowd’s discussion, the halo of the other two altars also changed colors. After changing its color three or four times, the final color showed itself. One was yellow, while the other one was green.
Since there were no further changes going on at the other two altars, the crowd, once again fixed their eyes on Qingfeng’s altar. After all, the color of yellow and green didn’t represent much hope for awakening a high-ranked beast. They were more interested in the purple halo, which represented a serious possibility for a seventh-grade battle beast to be summoned.
The halo that covered Qingfeng’s altar violently trembled until the purple faded away and returned to white. In the halo, a shadow of a kid emerged. He was holding a weird-looking animal in his arms.
“Is that a seventh-grade spirit wolf?” One of the elders exclaimed.
“Wow, it’s definitely a spirit wolf. Another high-ranked battle beast for our family. Congratulations!”
“Good job, my son. A seventh-grade battle beast! I’ll reward you greatly for this. Haha…” Ye Jian bounced up from his seat and flew towards his son.
Most people got up from their seats and moved towards Qingfeng. Soon, Qingfeng was encircled by all kinds of people, some out of curiosity, but most of them were here to flatteringly kiss his ass. As a seventh-grade battle beast owner, Qingfeng would enjoy a high status in the Ye Family.
After a while, the crowd dispersed. Qingfeng, as well as other two candidates returned to their seats, with each of them holding a cub in their arms.
“The three of you, please bring your battle beast and register it here.” Elder Tianqing coughed again before he let out a passionless remark.
“Ye Qingfeng, seventh-grade spirit wolf; Ye Qingyun, third-grade shadow mouse; Ye Xiaohu, fourth-grade porcupine. Ok, next group: Ye Xiaoyan, Ye Xun’er, Ye Xiaomei…” The resounding voice of Elder Tianqing echoed throughout this grand hall.