On the second day of the examination, Liu Lanzhi appeared to check up on their progress.
"How is it going, Su Yang? How many new disciples do we have now?" she asked him in an excited tone.
"Two hundred and ten," he calmly responded.
"Eh…?" Liu Lanzhi looked at him with a blank expression for the next few moments.
"210 new disciples… only?" Liu Lanzhi looked at thousands of people gathered there. She cannot fathom how they only managed to receive 210 disciples when there were tens of thousands of participants there.
"That's right. And we will only accept 1,000 disciples maximum for now," he then added.
"But why so little? Wouldn't it be better for us to accept as many disciples as possible to increase our numbers?" she asked him with a puzzled face, as the more disciples a Sect has, the better their reputation.
"I know what you are thinking, but we do not need to fill our Sect with trash just to boost our reputation, as that would only damage the Sect as time passes. What we need right now is neither reputation nor numbers but a solid foundation that will last even for thousands of years. And in order to achieve that, we cannot allow just anyone to join us. However, once our foundation is solid enough, we can start to accept more disciples regardless of their talents."
"I-I see…" Liu Lanzhi looked at him with a surprised expression, and she asked, "You seem very experienced in these things, almost like you have done this before. Did you have a Sect of your own previously? That would explain your expertise."
"I wouldn't call it a Sect, but it's something like that," he said with a mysterious tone.
Liu Lanzhi then proceeded to watch the examination for the next few hours, as she was curious about his methods.
"What's that red pill?" she asked him after seeing its mysterious effects.
Because Su Yang did not brief her on the exams, she was completely oblivious to everything that was happening.
"Demon Heart Pill. It will find the person's worst fears or traumas they had experienced before and recreate them inside their head while making it many times more horrifying, almost like a realistic dream. In order to pass this trial, one must have a strong enough Dao Heart to overcome their worst fears, or the Demon Heart Pill will influence their mind and heart and dominate it."
"What about the third trial? I have been watching for a while now, but I cannot understand what the trial is about." Liu Lanzhi then asked.
"To put it simply, it's to test their talent in cultivation. The water in that bowl is also known as Heaven Consuming Water, and it has the ability to absorb any Profound Qi that it comes into contact with. Where I am from, it's commonly used to test a person's Profound Qi absorption rate. If the Heaven Consuming Water cannot fully absorb the blood containing Profound Qi that is mixed in it, then it means that the individual with that blood has a naturally high Profound Qi absorption rate, making them excellent Cultivators."
"Of course, there are many different grades for the Heaven Consuming Water, and the one I am using right now is the lowest grade."
"Such a profound substance… just where did you find something like this?" Liu Lanzhi asked him afterward.
Su Yang chuckled and said, "You can't find something like this here even if you searched the whole world, so I created it by myself."
"I am not even going to ask you how you made it…" Liu Lanzhi sighed.
"It's quite simple, actually. You just need some regular water and a few ingredients. The most important part is the technique. If you want to use the Heaven Consuming Water in the future, I can give you the recipe later. It's nothing of value, anyway."
"R-Really? Then I won't be humble!" She quickly accepted his generosity.
"By the way, what's the meaning behind the sparring?" she asked him sometime later. "Are you hoping that someone would actually defeat our disciples?"
However, Su Yang shook his head and said, "I am not hoping for anything. The only purpose the sparring serves is so I can analyze their abilities and give them cultivation techniques that best benefit their strength and weaknesses."
"What? Is that even possible? To pick the perfect technique for a disciple… that would usually require many months, even years of close observation. And you are telling me that you can do the same just by watching them fight for a few minutes?" Liu Lanzhi has never heard or seen anyone doing so much for new disciples before. Su Yang is surely the first to be so thorough and serious.
"Of course. Who do you think I am? If I cannot even do something so basic, I am not worthy to be called an Immortal," he said with a prideful smile.
By the third day of the exam, the Profound Blossom Sect had accepted 510 new disciples, but as each day passed, fewer people managed to pass the exam.
"Hmmm? That participant over there…" Liu Lanzhi suddenly pointed at one of the participants currently at the second exam and spoke, "I recognize him! He used to be an Inner Court disciple at the Sect before the incident!"
"Oh? Really?" Su Yang raised an eyebrow.
"I'm certain! Although I may not recognize every disciple, I have memorized the faces of most Inner Court disciples!"
"Then what are you thinking?" he asked her, his gaze filled with interest.
"As petty as I may sound right now, I had sworn to myself that I would not let those who abandoned the Sect on that day to step foot inside the Sect ever again! However, you are the one in charge of the exams right now, so I will let you have the final decision!" she responded with a deep frown.
Even a blind man that cannot see the unpleasant expression on her face right now can easily recognize her loathing for those who abandoned the Sect just by her tone alone.
"Very well. But let's see whether he can make it past the third exam first," said Su Yang.