Chapter 116: Entering the Examination Area
The Red Peak Range had already become like a huge ceramic bowl.
Enveloping this giant mountainous range was a light barrier composed of three thousand four hundred and twenty edges that covered the sky, just like a giant, transparent cover. It encompassed the entire Red Peak Range inside.
To the west of the barrier, a massive, tall tower had already been constructed.
It looked just like a tall golden tower, and in front of the high tower was a massive plaza.
Two rows of soldiers wearing golden armor stood majestically on either side of the steps leading up to the high tower. Upon closer inspection, everyone of them was an Origin Qi Scholar.
At the top of the high tower was a large balcony. Inside sat the major figures of the Three-Mountain Range.
These people included the leader of the Flying Immortal Palace, Long Ziqing; the leader of Northface City, Yue Weixiong; the leader of the Flowing Cloud City, Nan Qiwei; as well as a host of other important officials. The Yu Clan of Wei River, the Liu Clan of North Forest, or the Qian Clan of Three Spears, as well as some other noble clans were also present. Of course, the local bigshots from the Su Clan and the Lin Clan, etc. were also present.
Regardless of whether they were high-ranking officials or from noble clans, they were all circling around a single person at this moment.
This was a middle-aged man with three black whiskers on his square, sharply-chiseled face. The first impression that he gave people was one of frankness and straightforwardness.
His name was Zhao Yu, one of the envoys from the Hidden Dragon Institute. He was the main examiner for this year’s Hidden Dragon Institute’s recruitment in the Three-Mountains Region, and he was one of the Hidden Dragon’s Institutes eighteen Golden Girders.
Those designated as a Golden Girder were akin to stone pillars.
If he was a cornerstone of the Hidden Dragon Institute, he would also be a cornerstone of Long Sang Country. Although he didn’t have an official rank, his status was respected. Even more so, he possessed great strength. To be able to become one of the Hidden Dragon Institute’s Golden Girders meant that he had a cultivation base in the fourth realm, the Light-Shaking Realm.
In fact, only this kind of an individual could keep the public stage under control.
Every year, during the Hidden Dragon Institute’s recruitment session, every great sect and noble family wanted their own seedlings to succeed in the examination and obtain this opportunity. Naturally, they would use any means possible to attempt to curry favor, including bribes.
If they had sent someone average, they probably wouldn’t be able to keep the venue under control and wouldn’t be able to withstand this kind of zeal.
Only people in the Light-Shaking Realm could give pause to these nobility. They would need to consider what kind of price was necessary to bribe such a person. Could they afford to pay it, and was it worth it?
Standing on the high tower, Zhao Yu solemnly gazed off into this distance. He was born with a dark face, so no matter what he always looked very serious.
The exam candidates from all kinds of places had gathered on the plaza below the high tower.
The exam candidates from Northface City had it slightly better. They had an advantage in terms of location and only needed to wake up on that morning. However, the exam candidates from other cities had arrived numerous days in advance. Some lived in the inns in the city, while some other groups simply set up beds on the ground and spent their nights on the plaza.
Even if was the height of midsummer, everyone had cultivated before and was not afraid of enduring such small hardships.
The clock on the high tower was stil keeping time.
Not much more time remained.
More and more exam candidates began gathering on the plaza. Very quickly, they broke through ten thousand. There were also receptionists who would check people in and introduce them, and everyone was making their own preparations.
The Three-Mountains Region had a total of fifteen cities. The number of students taken from each city was unequal, but they totaled a hundred. However, the number of people that were present exceeded ten thousand. It really was a one in a hundred chance of getting in.
Although Su Chen, Lin Jingxuan, etc. were all been considered seedlings, the individuals attending the examination were not just limited to people like them.
Large numbers of other exam candidates were also participating, all pursuing their own dreams without a second thought and relying on this battle to fight for their own fates in the future.
Just the Su Clan had submitted four names for attendance – Su Chen, Su Qian, Su Tong, and another person.
Yes, Su Qian had also come.
Even though he had lost to Su Chen, that did not mean that he had lost his right to participate in this competition. However, everyone knew that someone who couldn’t even earn the top spot in their clan was merely attending as a formality even if they came.
But conversely, even if it was just a formality, they were unwilling to give up, and would definitely come!
As time went on, the people slowly began to appear.
A young exam official wearing a white robe moved closer to Zhao Yu and said, “Guru, it’s about time, should we……”
Zhao Yu looked at the clock and said, “Let’s extend the time a bit. There might be those who are arriving late.”
The exam official understood Zhao Yu’s temperament. He knew that Zhao Yu only looked like he was hard to convince, but in reality his heart was quite soft. Indeed, this time his kindness was once again manifested, and he pushed back the start of the examination a bit.
Although the Hidden Dragon Institute’s recruitment was an extremely great matter and seen as important by everyone, amusingly there would always be people who were late despite its importance.
Zhao Yu graciously had intentionally given these people another opportunity.
Perhaps they would not be able to avoid a fate of failure and elimination in the end, but at least they would not have regrets.
A few stragglers came rushing onto the plaza one after the other.
“Wait for me!” A fatty yelled loudly from afar as he ran over.
Everyone glanced at him in their periphery.
The fatty was drenched in sweat and gasping for breath. He finally arrived at the plaza, wiped away his sweat and asked, “It hasn’t started yet, has it?”
A fellow exam candidate looked at him and said, “The time has already come, but count yourself lucky. The person overseeing the exam seems to have delayed the starting time of the exam.”
“Thank goodness!” The fatty let out a sigh.
“Don’t be too relieved yet. Do you see the table over there? Hurry over and report your own name and origin. Let them search you and leave behind anything that is not within regulations. Then, come back with a jade tablet, otherwise you won’t be allowed to enter the examination grounds. Remember, once you obtain the jade tablet, you cannot leave the plaza again, and you cannot interact with anyone who is not an exam candidate, otherwise they will think you are cheating!”
The fatty seemed like he awoke from a dream. He hurriedly ran over and returned in an instant. He held a jade tablet in his hands.
He returned to that exam candidate’s side and said, “I got it. Thanks for reminding me just then. Oh, right, I am called Wang Doushan. I come from the Flowing Cloud City.”
“Wang Doushan1? An interesting name,” the exam candidate laughed. He replied, “My name is Su Chen, from Northface City.”
“Is that interesting? I also have a sister named Wang Douhua 2,” Wang Doushan chuckled.
This guy’s conversation ability was truly too bad. Su Chen could only laugh a bit.
After they spoke, the people on the tower finally spoke.
A white-clothed examiner stood out and began to speak. He didn’t appear to use any sound-transmitting tools; his voice naturally reached everyone’s ears.
“Everyone here should know the rules, right? The jade tablet is your key for entering and leaving the exam grounds and also your score booklet. Obtaining points is very easy. Killing a low-tier Vicious Beast is worth one point, mid-tier are worth three. If you defeat other exam candidates you can obtain points from their jade tablets, totaling one-third of the total points that they have. If the target doesn’t have at least three points, they will at least lose one point. You can only steal from the same exam candidate three times, once every day. The exam will last for three days.”
“Every region is evaluated independently. The victors with the highest number of points will be selected to go on in the next round of selection.”
“If the exam candidate’s jade tablet reaches zero points or they voluntarily shatter it, they will be transported out of the exam grounds, but they will also lose the right to enter the Hidden Dragon Institute.”
“Finally, although the Institute has used many different methods to protect you, danger still exists. Every year during these kinds of exams, there are always injuries and even deaths; this is unavoidable. The human race requires courageous warriors. Those without courage are destined to have no right to become powerful Origin Qi Scholars. Thus, are you all ready?”
He was met with a swath of silence.
“Very good. Let’s move out!” The white-clothed exam official waved his hand.
As the exam candidate motioned his hands, the plaza below him began to shine. Streak after streak of light began to shine through the cracks in the floorboards, sketching out a complicated pattern. Finally, it formed an exceptionally large Origin Energy Formation.
It turned out that this plaza was a giant Origin Energy Formation, similar to the one in the Red Peak Range.
As the formation was activated, the figures of the exam candidates began to blur. Finally, they disappeared, along with the plaza itself.
Replacing it was two giant screens of light that draped down over it.
One screen showed the layout and terrain of the Red Peak Range as well as the conditions of the various exam candidates. It was like live theater.
The other was densely packed with the names of the exam candidates. Every person’s name was followed by the number three, representing three points that they were given from the very beginning. This was a leaderboard screen.
The number behind one name became a four, and that person became the first name on the leaderboard on the screen.
Not long after entering, someone had already earned points.