Chapter 33 – Strength Trial
The Seven Profound Martial House had a total of twenty stone pillars for the Strength Trial. After the exam begins, the candidates would divide into twenty teams as to reduce the congestion in the square.
The twenty stone pillars were set up in in front of the doors of separate entrances to the Seven Profound Martial House. At the top of each stone pillar was a shining light which was the mark of every candidate’s destiny. Whether they would pass this gate or whether they would be tossed aside would all be decided by this one number.
A roughly thirty or forty year old woman stepped in front of the crowd and stood on a platform that had been set up. “Hello everyone. I am one of the supervisors for the Strength Trial. I would like to announce that the Seven Profound Martial House’s examination has altogether three parts. For those who manage to qualify through the end, they will be given a official assessment based upon their age, talent, and result. The top ten will obtain an award, and the number one will be rewarded with a Crimson Gold Dragon Marrow Pill!”
A Crimson Gold Dragon Marrow Pill! The entire crowd gasped in surprise; even the juniors of the aristocratic families were flabbergasted. Those among them with lower strength were filled with regret. Their faces revealed sorry and depressed expressions as they were destined to never achieve first place. Those that were stronger straightened their backs. Their eyes shone with hope and they twitched around as if they were itching for a fight. They had assumed that this Crimson Gold Dragon Marrow Pill was prepared especially for them.
Lin Ming had read through a medicinal manual before and had a rough sense understanding regarding the properties of the Crimson Gold Dragon Marrow Pill. This pill was about the size of a grape and was created by mixing a Crimson Gold Dragon’s marrow with several species of rare and precious herbs. It would then be boiled and distilled into a pill that would be able to improve the physique, enhance cultivation, and even help break through bottlenecks.
The Crimson Gold Dragon was not a real dragon, it was a descendant that only shared some blood. Nevertheless, creatures that were related to dragons were not weak. Even Houtian experts would not be a match!
Sky Fortune Kingdom did not have many Houtian experts to begin with, and they also didn’t have anyone that was capable of refining such a precious pill. Therefore Sky Fortune Kingdom was unable to produce the Crimson Gold Dragon Marrow Pill.
Without a doubt this medicine originated from the Seven Profound Valleys. Every year the Seven Profound Valleys would screen talents, and medicines were provided from the main school to attract talented youths to participate.
Perhaps to the Seven Profound Valleys, the Crimson Gold Dragon Marrow Pill was not particularly precious, but to those of Sky Fortune Kingdom, it was absolutely a valuable treasure that could not be purchased by money. Even a large aristocratic family would be terribly jealous of anyone who possessed such a treasure.
The beautiful supervisor did not seem excited or unhappy as she continued, “The second, third and fourth placed will receive a Golden Snake Scarlet Pill, and fifth to tenth will receive ten Soul Gathering Pellets!”
The Golden Snake Scarlet Pill was refined from the gallbladder of a hundred year old Golden Scarlet Snake. This kind of gallbladder was named because of its gold-red appearance. It was inferior to the Crimson Gold Dragon Marrow Pill, but it was also a rare and precious medicine which most people would never see.
But the fourth through tenth place only received ten Soul Gathering Pellets which were much less rare. Each pellet had a value of 200 gold taels, and ten of them would be equal to 2000 gold taels. But the two medicines given to those that ranked higher were at least 10,000 gold taels. In fact, even if one could pay several times over, they would still not be able to buy one.
The rich rewards made the talented candidates incomparably excited; they were impatient to go on stage and show off their skills. Looking at this eager crowd was a group of young men and women wearing silk clothing. They laughed contemptuously. In the group was a handsome youth wearing a jade belt and smiling.
The youth’s entourage smiled and flattered him, “These people really overreach. This Crimson Gold Dragon Marrow Pill is already in young master’s pocket, winning is already a foregone conclusion. Do they also think to try and compete? Truly they do not know their place.”
The youth faintly smiled and waved his folding fan. He didn’t respond. He was a talent of the Yue Lu City’s Wang family. He had a fourth grade talent, early Third Stage of Body Transformation cultivation, and had once taken the number one spot in Yue Lu City’s elite competition. Yue Lu City was a big city, thus this number one spot held some weight.
On the platform the woman continued, “We will now begin the first round of the entrance exam. Please participate in the exam with your full strength. The light beam on the stone column will signal the strength of your attack. An inch represents 100 jins of strength. As long as you pass 1000 jins then you will pass this round! Each candidate will have three attempts. So long as you qualify once then you will pass. Everyone, we will now have a demonstration. Lin Sen, step forwards.”
As the beautiful lady finished speaking, a man walked up on stage. He was tall and gaunt, almost appearing emaciated, with a pale, cold face and harsh eyes.
He wore a black suit and on his back was a three foot long knife. Even though it was broad daylight, when he stepped on stage, the temperature of the crowd plummeted several degrees.
“Is that Ling Sen?”
“Someone from the Heavenly Abode of the Seven Profound Martial House!”
This Ling Sen was obviously famous, but Lin Ming did not know of him. He turned and asked Lin Xiaodong, “Who is this Ling Sen?”
Lin Xiaodong might not be diligent when it came to practicing his martial arts, but he was extremely gossipy and curious about all matters, thus he knew about matters such as these. He said, “Ling Sen is one of the senior apprentices of the Heavenly Abode which is the fiercest department in the Seven Profound Martial House. He is twenty years old and is a fourth grade talent. His cultivation is at the peak of the Fourth Stage, and he just entered the Heavenly Abode last year. On his own initiative he requested to be sent to the warfront for one year, where he slaughtered countless people. Right now his combat ability is difficult to estimate, but people say that he will soon enter the Fifth Stage of Body Transformation.
Twenty years old and Fifth Stage of Body Transformation? Lin Ming was slightly startled. Generally, martial artists were considered extraordinary if they reached the Fifth Stage, the Bone Forging stage, by the time they were thirty. This Ling Sen was also overflowing with killing intent, it seemed he had killed many people in the battlefield. Compared to those with the same level of cultivation, this man was truly a master.
Ling Sen loathed demonstrations like this. However it was a tradition that the apprentices of the Heavenly Abode would show off for the candidates. This was for the sake of letting them know that there was always someone out there who was better, and they should never stop striving to reach the top.
Lin Sen Casually stood before the pillar and without even preparing, he casually waved his right hand. A ‘Boom!’ sound was heard, and the stone pillar fiercely shook. The light beam jumped high, stabilized, and finally stabilized at four feet and nine inches.
In the field everyone was full of praise and astonishment. If Ling Sen had used his full strength, he might even surpass 5000 jins!
Seeing this result, Lin Ming’s eyes widened. This Ling Sen’s strength was almost double his own!
Lin Xiaodong said, “It’s not anything surprising. He is one of the top talents in Sky Fortune City’s younger generation. It would only be weird if he didn’t have a result like this.”
Lin Ming said, “One of the younger generation? Could Qin Xingxuan defeat him?”
Lin Xiaodong shrugged. “I don’t know Qin Xingxuan’s strength, but Qin Xingxuan is well rounded and studies all subjects. Ling Sen only focuses his training on fighting and killing, really he is a man who specializes in life or death battles. I don’t think Qin Xingxuan could possibly win if their lives were on the line, but don’t forget that Qin Xingxuan is only fifteen years old while Ling Sen is twenty.”
Hearing this, Lin Ming nodded slightly.
Body Transformation had a total of six stages. The further you were, the more the gap between the stages increased. The strength of one in the Pulse Condensation stage could reach 8000 jins. Lin Ming was very far away from this state.
“Exam, begin!” At this moment on stage, the beautiful middle aged lady sent out the order to start the Strength Trial.
The young candidates were all very eager, each was itching to get up and test their strength. However when they actually tested their strength on the stone pillar, there were many who failed.
“900 jins, 850 jins, 850 jins, three times failed. Next!”
“950 jins, 900 jins, 900 jins, three times failed. Next!”
Many of the candidates had barely reached the Second Stage of Body Transformation. If they were in peak condition, then they might be able to hit 1000 jins. However they could not be at peak condition for every attempt. In addition, they also suffered from nerves and were unable to show their highest level of strength. These people were naturally eliminated.
“1000 jins, qualified!” Someone in Lin Ming’s light passed, and that man shouted happily as he danced around in excitement. The truth was that this man also understood, although he passed and barely qualified, he would most likely be eliminated during the second round. Even so, it was an honor for him to have passed the first round of the Seven Profound Martial House’s entrance exam at sixteen years of age.
“1300 jins, qualified!”
“950 jins, failed!”
When a result came out, those that failed would dejectedly leave in low spirits. The ones who succeeded were giddy. And among them were those that showed indifference. To these talents, passing this trial was a given.
A this moment, there was a commotion in front. Lin Ming looked ahead and saw that a youth wearing blue linen clothes was standing in front of the stone pillar, and was gathering his strength.
Lin Ming was curious about who this man was. He heard some people discussing, “That is Sun Ping from East Water City. He is at the Third Stage of Body Transformation. His strength is fierce!
As the discussion was occurring, Sun Ping shot forwards. He hit the stone column with a ‘peng’, and the light beam began to tremble as it shot upwards. It stopped at two feet and three inches.
This was the first person who had passed 2000 jins. The crowd burst into exclamation.