Chapter 71: The Hall of Magic
Translator: Novel Saga Editor: - -
The sky turned dusky as the sun started to disappear into the horizon.
Shi Mu walked out of the blacksmith's shop with lively footsteps; he had nearly ten thousand silvers in his pocket.
He had earned this money with an easy job of hammering iron. Therefore, he was quite satisfied. He wasn't sure if he'd bump into such an opportunity again.
He took a turn from the foot of the mountain. A building covered with spires of grey tiles appeared in his line-of-sight; it was located in a medium-sized area.
There were numerous buildings in the mountain-valley. However, Shi Mu hadn't paid any attention to his surroundings when he was heading to the blacksmith's shop. Now, he saw a grey building as he strolled his vision around. A huge board hung above the front gate of the building; it was inscribed with - "The Hall of Magic".
Several disciples were gathered in front of the building's gate. These disciples were looking towards the hall in an inquisitive manner. However, nobody took a step to enter the hall.
This sparked-off Shi Mu's curiosity; he stopped.
Suddenly, a gust of wind rolled out of the hall. The vision of the surrounding people got blurred due to the swirling sand that surged with the wind; the crowd was pushed-back a few steps.
"Ah!" a shadow flashed-out with a loud scream; it was wrapped in the wind. It issued dull thumping sounds as it fell on the ground outside the main hall.
The strong wind didn't have any effect on Shi Mu since he was standing at a distance from the front gate.
Therefore, he could see everything clearly. He realized that the shadow was that of a youngster with dark skin; he seemed to be as old as Shi Mu. His body had been tightly tied-up by green vine canes; it seemed as if he was wrapped in a steamed rice dumpling - only his head and calves were visible.
The dark-skinned youngster had hit the ground heavily since he was forcibly flung-out of the hall. He groaned in pain as he rolled on the ground; his face was contorted in agony. He couldn't even get up from the ground.
Two youngsters rushed out of the crowd; they seemed to be acquaintances of the swarthy youth. However, they stopped and looked towards the gate of the hall; they were aghast. For a while, they didn't dare to put-out their hands to help the youngster who lay on the ground.
"How dare you come here to take the test with such talent? You have wasted my precious time," a hoarse voice could be heard from inside the hall; the tone revealed an impatient disposition.
The dark-skinned youth struggled as he lay on the ground. He finally got rid of the vines with the help of his two friends. Then, he looked towards the door of the hall with a flushed face.
"It's impossible! I asked a specialist to check me when I lived with my family. On the basis of what he discovered... I definitely possess a magician skill. I've even started to learn the foundation techniques." The youngster looked embarrassed. He argued since he couldn't accept those words.
"Humph! Don't compare other magicians with this Sect's. Everyone knows that the resources needed to train a magician are almost ten times more than the resources needed to cultivate a warrior of the same level. Did you think that this Sect would spend huge resources to train people like you...? ...People who have only one element's 'one degree' induction force? One must - at least - be able to make the 'induction water' shine-over 'three degrees' in order to become an official magician-practitioner," the voice sounded even more impatient.
The dark-skinned youngster felt humiliated by these words. Therefore, he departed with a dejected face.
"Those who want to test their magic skills must come inside with a clear mind. If someone comes in carelessly... then I won't just throw you out - I won't give such a simple punishment again. This old man doesn't have a lot of free time," the harsh voice resounded. This was followed by absolute silence in the hall.
The surrounding people looked at each other in dismay as they heard these words. Then, they started to discuss in low voices.
Shi Mu understood the entire matter as he listened to the people's discussion. The 'Hall of Magic' was a place that filtered true magicians from the huge aspiring crowd.
However, they didn't examine one's talent for free. One needed to pay three thousand silvers to enter the hall.
In addition, the examiner of this place had a strange temperament. The money paid as the entrance fee would get wasted if a person's test result didn't turn out to be satisfactory. Moreover, that person would be humiliated by the examiner.
The discussion continued for a while. Some people were eager to try. However, the swarthy youngster's experience had left them discouraged. Therefore, nobody dared to step into the hall.
Shi Mu also hesitated for a moment. But, the magician's status made his eyes twinkle with excitement. Moreover, he remembered that there were various kinds of missions for magicians - with excellent pay - in the Hall of Wealth. Therefore, he strengthened his heart and entered the hall with pockets that bulged with silver notes.
The surrounding people were taken aback as they saw this. They began to whisper and inquire about Shi Mu's status.
Shi Mu seemed to be indifferent to the situation and people's whispers. He entered the hall in a steady manner.
He crossed the front door of the hall, and came across a corridor which was several feet wide; it led to a serene main hall.
The main hall was spacious. However, it didn't have many decorations. A vast table made of red sandalwood had been laid-out on the left. A grey-robed old man sat behind the table. He seemed to be absorbed in reading a yellow scroll that he held in his hand.
A round-shaped stone platform had been placed on the right side of the hall. The platform was one feet above the ground. It was ten feet in dimensions; strange magical characters had been painted on its surface.
Multicolored crystal columns had been arranged around that platform; each of these column was as thick as a lip. The colors of these columns were different from each other. In addition, each of them was carved with nine check patterns. These checks divided the standard from bottom-to- top into nine grades. They looked extremely enigmatic.
Shi Mu was astonished as he saw the platform and the crystal columns.
The old man raised his head as he heard Shi Mu's footsteps.
The old man's stature was petite; he had grizzled hair and triangular eyes. His mouth was pointed, and his cheeks were like that of a monkey. He had an unkind appearance.
The old man turned his triangular eyes towards Shi Mu as he put-down the scroll. However, he didn't rise from his seat.
"For detection? Write down your name and status on the paper," the grey-robed man grunted and said with a desolate expression.
"My name is Shi Mu. I'm a new disciple. I joined this Sect two months back," Shi Mu cupped one hand in the other across his chest as he respectfully spoke-up.
The grey-robed man sized him up. He sneered, "Didn't you see what happened a moment ago? You still have the courage to test your magic skills? You harbor wishful thinking, don't you?"
Shi Mu's complexion changed as he heard these words. However, he remained silent.
"I've seen a lot of guys like you... who can't practice properly... but whose minds are full of impractical thoughts. The Hall of Magic is a place to test the magic skills of the disciples. But, this old man is unwilling to test worthless fellows like you. You might as well save your money and leave," the old man glared at Shi Mu as he spoke in a cold voice.
"Senior, this disciple has walked in mentally-prepared. Here are three thousand in silver notes. Please spare a little time to test my skills," Shi Mu took out three silver notes from his pocket. Then, he respectfully placed them on the red sandalwood table.
The old man was astonished. He narrowed his eyes to observe Shi Mu more closely. However, Shi Mu stood calmly with a firm expression on his face.
"Humph, you're quite courageous," A strange look crossed the old man's eyes. He gave a snort as he stood up from his chair.
"Come over here; stand on this stone platform." The old man walked-up to the platform and took-out a jade ruler from his bosom. The ruler was engraved with multicolored magical characters; these characters resembled the patterns carved on the stone platform.
Shi Mu was delighted. He hastily walked and stood on the platform.
The old man muttered something. Suddenly, a burst of green light emerged from his body and streamed into the jade ruler.
The characters engraved on the ruler lit-up as soon as the green light submerged into its body. A colorful ray of light exuded from the ruler as the old man waved his arm. Then, the ray of light got integrated with the stone platform.
Suddenly, the patterns carved on the round platform shone-up; they started to radiate various kinds of assorted rays. Then, a whirring sound reverberated in the hall.
Shi Mu's expressions changed as he saw this. Suddenly, his body was shrouded by the assorted rays exuded by the platform. A gust of warm air rushed forth from beneath his feet and streamed into his body. It wandered within his body at a lightning speed for a while. Then, it flowed back into the stone platform.
The bright patterns on the platform eventually became dim. However, a few changes were seen in the surrounding crystal columns.
Suddenly, a blue, a red and a black crystal column lit-up in unison.
In the three crystal columns - the first position from the bottom shone-up brightly before the ray started to rise upwards.
The blue crystal column shone with one standard check-pattern; the red column with two. However, the black column shone brightly with five check patterns.
The grey-robed old man was stunned as he saw this.