Freezing in her chair, Songmei sat there like a child who had been told that the sky wasn actually blue because it was a reflection of the ocean. And, because Songmei had more than half a brain cell, she could also conclude that the other four people sitting at the table were elders of the sect.
Why were they here? Aren these types of people like… important and busy?
Letting out a stream of stammers that sounded more like a verbal keysmash rather than spoken language, Songmei took a few deep breaths to calm down. ”Wh… Why are you all here? I-Im honored but… but why? And nice to meet you, of course. ”
Songmei was struggling. There was an invisible pressure in the room and… a lot of people. Songmei wasn used to talking to a lot of people, or people older than her, and this was both. Suppressing her shaking though, Songmei tried her best to keep an amiable smile as Tu Weiping gave some more information.
”So, as you know, the week of testing has come to an end. ” Tu Weiping began, shrugging his shoulders with a relaxed tone, ”And, since we live today instead of the past where itd take the association a couple of months to gather all the results and then make a list with rankings, the list has already been released to us sects. ”
”Therefore, because Starlight Lake is the number one sect in the northern continent, we get first pick out of the best talent, ” Tu Weiping explained with a twinkle in his eye. Songmei however, couldn help but feel that… wasn this literally the inequitable system of society that she had learned in school? Systemic inequality or something?? Hello social justice warriors? Cancel them! Well… its probably hard to cancel people who can blow up mountains in one hit…
Still a little speechless and once again… in disbelief, Songmei wiped her sweaty palms against her legs. ”You all should have a lot of people to go scout then, right? ”
Songmeis question eliciting a nod and ”Yes ” from everyone, Tu Weiping stroked his short-cut beard before shooing away the four elders in an exasperated tone, ”Go, go occupy yourselves, I don know, don just sit there and act as human nodding machines. What do some of you younger elders do these days? Go play that brick-laying video game! I want to talk to Lin Songmei alone. ”
”… Well lay a brick castle around your property in the game Sect Leader. ”
”Weiping youll pay for this. ”
”Ahh… Those sect elders are going to murder me… Im going to get teamed up on. My economys going to be ruined! ”
With the door closed, the sect leader Tu Weiping kicked his legs up, resting them on another chair while facing Songmei.
”Well, there are a few people we need to scout. Not too many every year. We only scout direct disciples, people who will study right under elders. This year we
e trying to scout, I think… 6? More than most years, many years there isn even a single person. Though, I feel like most will probably go to other sects. Weve been getting robbed these past few years. ”
Thanking Yan Mingqing in her head for giving her a rough rundown of these types of things, Mingqings brother had been scouted after all, Songmei nodded along as Tu Weiping continued his explanation. ”Well, theres only one other person I need to go scout in person. For the other four, we sent a group of elders to go talk to them. ”
Not even giving Songmei a chance to reply, Tu Weiping put down his feet, spinning in his chair before leaping to his feet, ”ANYWAY! What Im here for! We want you to join our sect! ”
Is this a scam?
Songmeis thoughts were dominated by those words as she looked at her potential future sect leaders slideshow. It had a bunch of rainbow flashing bits, and just pulling up the title screen, there was a 5 second transition where the slide bounced onto the screen.
This middle-aged attractive Tu Weiping guy… was he like the leader of some scam circle…?
Moving onto the second slide, after a 10 second transition where the projected slide had to spiral onto the screen like a star, Tu Weiping jumped into his explanation, his tone and face changing to a much more official look, ”As the formal sect leader of the Starlight Lake Sect, we offer you a position as a direct disciple of the sect. ”
”This entails a multitude of benefits, I would go into them right now but I have a feeling you wouldn really understand it. So, to keep it brief, youll have first priority for support, amazing resources to aid your cultivation, and also you don have to take the sect entrance test.What will you be doing during the entrance test period then if you accept, you ask? ”
Songmei did not in fact have this question in her head, but Tu Weiping continued on, answering his own rhetorical question.
Songmei also knew that Tu Weiping had definitely rehearsed this slideshow before, there were fancy hand motions, dramatic button clicks, clear signs that he was trying to not move while presenting. The whole school presentation vibe was all there.
”So, you shouldve received some official documentation from the association about the score you got, right? Its a bunch of confusing stuff, yeah… I barely even understand it now. ” Tu Weiping confessed.
Beginning to have a multitude of questions pop up in her head like pesky mushrooms, Songmei began to ask herself if this guy knew what he was doing, How was this guy the sect leader?
She knew he was probably legit because the head lady wouldve checked and there was the official seal, id card and everything laid out on the table, but this really felt like a scam…
Changing the slide with the use of another 10 second long transition, Weiping detailed the entry process should Songmei accept the offer.
”Youll go through our interview process, not to decide whether you get in or not. Thats a simple yes or no. But itll help us decide which elder would be best to support you. We, as a sect that cares highly about staying ahead, treat direct disciples a little like adoption. I know this is kinda ironic considering we
e in an orphanage right now, but we try to match you with an elder that will not only guide you along your cultivation, but also be like a parent, uncle, grandparent, or older sibling to you. ”
Songmei stayed quiet and maintained her poker face, but in her mind, she was impressed. On the slides that suffered from the transitions—Songmei swore could practically hear the slideshow screaming in agony—there was a detailed list of benefits, accommodations, along with what to expect should she accept.
Listening along, the slideshow continued on for another 15 minutes, Songmei had listened and paid attention, but even though the content was gripping and could change her life, by the end she wanted to collapse on the ground.
On EVERY slide!!
Told that the head lady had a way to contact the sect once she made her decision, Songmei walked out of the conference room with a little information booklet while also being a little lightheaded. There was so much information… and her future could depend on her choices.
No, her future kinda did entirely depend on what choice she made.
Maybe asking the head lady for some advice would be good…
Walking past a circle of couches, Songmei saw that the elders that had been shooed away were… actually playing a game about bricklaying…
A bolt of lightning, an idea.
Songmei leaned down over the couch, nudging the shoulder of the youngest looking elder. ”Please… please fix the sect leaders slides… ”
”… Every slide… ”
”Not again, well get on it. I offer you my sincerest apologies for sitting through that… ”
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