Chapter 74: The Exam Begins
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
In the Western Nine Prefectures, there were seven more commanderies besides Yunwu Commandery and Square Commandery.
Before dark, the warriors from the seven other commanderies were brought in and led to the drill ground of Western Campus. Each made their own camps away from the others.
The seven other commanderies were like Yunwu Commandery in that they were inferior commanderies. Some only had about 10 young warriors, while others had a few hundreds.
The number of young warriors joining the examinations naturally demonstrated the power of each commandery.
“In the entire Western Nine Prefectures, only Square Commandery is a medium level commandery, which is also the most powerful. Almost half of the young warriors here are from Square Commandery,” Liu Chengfeng said.
Zhang Ruochen looked around at the young warriors in the drill ground of Western Campus and estimated there were about 1,500 warriors or so. All of them were martial artists of the Black Realm.
Each person in the drill ground was a prodigy in their commandery. No one was a weakling.
Zhang Ruochen asked, “Why are there only warriors from the Western Nine Prefectures? Why don’t we see warriors from the South, East, or North Nine Prefectures?”
Liu Chengfeng laughed. “The Martial Market Bank has four campuses. The South, North, East, and Western Campus all examine their students individually. We, the warriors of the Western Nine Prefectures, can only enter Western Campus and become external students of this campus.”
“After your cultivation has reached the Earth Realm and you’ve become an internal student, you can then engage with the internal students of the other three campuses.”
Zhang Ruochen nodded and stopped asking. Instead, he sat cross-legged on the floor and began Practicing.
He fixed his gaze on the characters for “Drill Ground of Western Campus” carved onto a rock from a distance, feeling the aura of Sword Comprehension emitting from the carving. He used it to guide his meditation to understand the Realm of Heart Integrated into Sword.
Tonight, all the warriors from the Nine Prefectures would have to spend the night on drill ground of Western Campus.
Most warriors were sitting cross-legged on the floor, absorbing the Spiritual Qi. They were adjusting themselves in preparation for the examination tomorrow.
The next day, when the sky had only just brightened, three ear-splitting chimes rang through the School of the Martial Market.
Those who were practicing or sleeping were all shocked awake by the chimes.
They only saw a seven feet tall stage in the middle of the drill grounds, where 10 warriors of very powerful cultivation were standing. One of the elders wore a golden robe, while the other nine were in silver robes.
The nine warriors clad in silver robes were those who went to the nine prefectures to lead the examinees to the school. All of them were elders of the School of the Martial Market.
Liu Chenfeng spoke quietly. “The Martial Market Bank has a strict hierarchical system. People of different ranking wear different clothing. Only the elders of the Martial Market Bank can wear silver robes. As for the golden robed elder… only Headmaster of Western Campus can wear it.”
Headmaster of Western Campus was the golden robed elder of the Martial Market Bank.
As for Elder Xie, Elder Situ, and Liu Chengfeng’s father, they were all silver robed elders of the Martial Market Bank.
Zhang Ruochen asked, “If we enter the School of the Martial Market, what color are our robes?”
“Plain white robes.” Liu Chengfeng smiled.
Headmaster of Western Campus stood on the seven feet tall stage. The robe he was wearing began to emit a golden light as bright as the sun. Many of the warriors could not open their eyes.
It was clear that his golden robe was not a simple piece of clothing.
Headmaster of Western Campus looked over the entire drill ground, giving off an immense sense of power. “There are altogether 1,537 warriors in Western Nine Prefecture taking the exam this year. The exam is divided into two rounds, ‘Hunting Savage Beasts’ and ‘Breaking Through the Wu Tower’. The 120 will be admitted as external students of the School of the Martial Market in the end. Elder Situ will now announce the specific exam rules.”
He left after making his speech.
Liu Chengfeng let out a breath and smiled. “Thank God, the exam is the same as the past years.”
Liu Chengfeng had prepared beforehand and was very confident in this exam.
Even though Liu Chengfeng was the son of a silver robed elder, he must still pass the exam to join the School of the Martial Market.
Of course, given his identity, he would be privy to many internal workings of the exam and was able to prepare beforehand. This gave him a better chance than the other warriors.
“1,537 examinees and only accepting 120 students. That’s not even 10%. Given my cultivation, I probably won’t make it.” A warrior of the Initial Stage of the Black Realm gasped. He had already lost hope to pass the exam this year.
On the stage, Elder Situ bowed to Headmaster of Western Campus. He took a step forward and faced the young warriors below. “The examination for the School of the Martial Market has always been fair and just. We only accept talented prodigies. Even if your cultivation is slightly below average, you’ll have a chance to pass the examination as long as you’re sufficiently talented.”
Those warriors, who had already lost hope, regained their fighting spirits upon hearing these words and gazed towards Elder Situ.
Elder Situ continued, “In half an hour, you’ll enter Omen Ridge. You’ll only be entering the outside boundaries in a specially marked zone. All savage beasts level three or above have already been removed from this zone.
“The first round of the Market School exam is hunting savage beasts. Initial Stage warriors of the Black Realm who can hunt down five low-class second level beasts will pass the first round.
“Mid-level Black Realm warriors will need to hunt down 10 low-class second level savage beasts to get a pass.
“Warriors of the Advanced Stage of the Black Realm, 20 low-class second level savage beasts.
“Dawn State warriors of the Black Realm, 40 low-class second level savage beasts.
“If there are Medium State warriors of the Black Realm, then you’ll have to hunt 80 low-class second level savage beasts to pass the first round of the exam.
“One medium-class second level savage beast equals five low-class second level savage beasts; one superior-class second level beast equals 25 low-class second level beasts.”
Elder Situ stood above and announced the rules. Below him, the young warriors were all discussing among themselves.
One woman in the Initial Stage of the Black Realm smiled. “We only need to hunt five low-class second level beasts to pass the first round? That’s too easy!”
Another warrior gave a cold laugh. “You’re underestimating them! The savage beasts of Omen Ridge have long lived in harsh conditions. Not only do they have to fight human warriors, they also have to fight with other beasts for food. They’re much more powerful than savage beasts elsewhere and at least twice as strong. Each low-class second level beast has the same power as an Initial Stage Black Realm warrior. It’ll be very difficult to kill even one, much less five.”
Zhang Ruochen nodded and said, “Not only are there low-class second level savage beasts in Omen Ridge, there are also mid- and superior-class second level beasts. If we run into any superior-class beasts, it’s unlikely that we’ll survive.”
Superior-class second level savage beasts were even more powerful than warriors who have reached the Completion of the Black Realm. Even if it was Zhang Ruochen who ran into one, it was most likely a death sentence.
Everyone turned pale.
Liu Chengfeng smiled. “Don’t worry, everyone. The zone marked by the School is massive. Unless you’re unlucky, you’ll probably not run into one.”
An Initial Stage Black Realm warrior said with frustration, “If I meet even one medium-class second level beast, it’s all be over for me.”
The admission exam for the School of the Martial Market was cruel. Not only did one have to avoid strong beasts, he or she will also have to watch out for other warriors in case of sabotage.
Elder Situ continued to announce the rules. “Before entering Omen Ridge, each person will be given a Kylin Ball. If you meet a life-threatening situation, break the Kylin Ball and the rescue personnel from the School will arrive as soon as possible. Of course, once you break the Kylin Ball, it means you’ve forfeited the exam.”
“The exam will be three days long. Anyone who hasn’t killed the required number of beasts will be disqualified after the third day.”
“Now I declare the exam has officially started.”
Everyone was handed a fist-sized Kylin Ball. It was said that the ball contained Kylin Smoke. Once the ball was broken, the smoke would rush out of the ball and rise thousands of meters into the air.
At this moment, Elder Xie, along with 10 external students of the School of the Martial Market, approached the 66 examinees from Yunwu Commandery.
Yunwu Commandery originally had 68 examinees. Chen Libing was killed and Jiang Heng was wounded heavily and sent back to the commandery. Now only 66 examinees remained.
Elder Situ said, “The 10 standing before you are external students of the School of the Martial Market. They’re also your brothers and sisters in training. They’ll lead you to separate entrances to enter Omen Ridge.
“You can now choose to enter Omen Ridge alone or you can team up.”
Entering either as individuals or a group had its pros and cons.
Entering as a group of two meant that when danger struck, you had someone to help you out. However, at the same time, you had to keep an eye on your teammate to make sure he or she would not backstab you.
Therefore, one must choose someone he or she trusted to form a group.
But everyone came from different places and many had never met each other before. Therefore no one knew who to trust.
“I choose to enter Omen Ridge alone!” a Mid Stage warrior of the Black Realm said.
Clearly, he did not trust anyone.
Following that, the warriors of Yunwu Commandery all made their choices. Most of them decided to enter Omen Ridge alone. Only 22 people chose to form groups. Among them were Zhang Ruochen and Zi Qian.
Under the leadership of the 10 students, the 66 warriors from Yunwu Commandery walked towards Omen Ridge.
Prince Huo Xing stared at the departing Yunwu Commandery warriors. He sneered. “Everyone, listen up. After entering Omen Ridge, kill every warrior from Yunwu Commandery you meet without hesitation. For each person you kill, I’ll reward you with a second-class pill. If you can kill the Ninth Prince, I will reward you with a Genuine Martial Arms grade weapon.”
Hearing Prince Huo Xing’s words, the warriors from Square Commandery all smiled coldly.
If they were able to kill all the warriors from Yunwu Commandery, it would probably enrage the Yunwu Commander. It was amusing just thinking about it.