Chapter 33 Disciple
Fang Xingjian threw a baffled glance at Hogan's back before he continued to analyze the second sword technique.
Not long after, another sword technique appeared in his Techniques Column, namely Hegemonic Qi Slash of Heavens and Earth.
The Nine-Headed Dragon Sword Technique earlier required one to twist the body to the extreme, along with a high flexibility attribute, thus working towards the development of the body's potential. He was not sure if this Hegemonic Qi Slash of Heavens and Earth was a technique of the Nurturing Path or of the Training Path. From beginning to end, it was just one slashing movement after another. The only differences between the stances were in the channeling of the strength, and in the angles and use of each slash. Looking at the numerous inscriptions on the murals gave one a headache.
There were over ten other examinees who were also learning this sword technique, in deep thought as they stared at the first mural. There were some who shook their heads, wondering if they could also pick another sword technique to learn, just as Fang Xingjian had done. But at the same time, they were also worried that the other set of sword technique would be even harder, and that they would have wasted the past one hour spent on the current set.
On the other hand, everything seemed to be smooth sailing for Fang Xingjian. He only need to take one or two looks at the diagrams and explanations to be able to understand them.
However, this time around he did not take as little time as before, but stopped for a very long time before each mural. He used his longsword to imitate the movements, as if he was focusing on grasping this set of sword technique.
However, to the others, his slow movements still seemed extremely fast. Before midnight, he had already gone through all the murals of the Hegemonic Qi Slash of Heavens and Earth.
Along with the previous events, his actions were still seen as deliberate attempts to mystify others.
Just ten minutes before the time was up, whilst everyone was still practising hard, aiming to queue up for the assessment only at the very last moment, Fang Xingjian took up his longsword and headed for the room next door where the examiners were.
Ogden was astonished. 'What is this fellow thinking? Is he crazy... Could it be that he has already mastered that set of sword technique?' Thinking about it, he shook his head. 'That's impossible. Even Kaunitz is only halfway through, how could he have already mastered it? Moreover, he wasted an hour before this.'
'Hmph, hmph. It must be that he has decided to give up, since the stress is too much to bear. Previously, Kaunitz was teaching him a lesson every single day, which led to him not daring to show his face in The School of Sword Arts. His will is very weak, so it's nothing strange for him to be calling it quits now.
'Such a good-for-nothing, putting his own talents to waste...'
Kaunitz also raised his head, looking at Fang Xingjian, bewildered. 'There is no way that his talent is better than mine... But why did he go over so early? What is he thinking?
'But if this is the case, the chances of him passing the Prefectural Selection would be very slim.'
An invigilator raised his eyebrows. However, since Fang Xingjian was not flouting the rules by leaving early, he only asked customarily, "Are you going to the next room to be assessed? Are you sure?"
"Positive," Fang Xingjian said, nodding.
Therefore, under everyone's gazes of bewilderment, doubt, despise and disdain, Fang Xingjian slowly made his way to where the seven examiners were.
In the room, the seven examiners were each seated on a chair. When they saw Fang Xingjian coming in, they all seemed very surprised.
Usually, in the third stage there would rarely be any examinees who would decide to come in earlier rather than queue up for their turn at the last possible moment.
A white-bearded examiner looked towards a member of staff at the side, mystified, and asked, "Is the time already up?"
The member of staff replied, "There's still another ten minutes."
The white-bearded old man looked towards Fang Xingjian with much interest, asking, "Chap, you still have another ten minutes. Why did you decide to come in? Why did you not spend the time outside? With ten minutes, you might even be able to learn an additional move."
The other examiners also looked at Fang Xingjian with curiosity. Only the main examiner, Huang Lin, had the corners of his lips curled up, revealing a mysterious smile.
Fang Xingjian replied, "Because I've already learnt it?"
"Learnt it?" the white-bearded old man asked in astonishment. "You said that you've learnt a set of sword technique on those walls within six hours?"
"Mmm." Fang Xingjian nodded and said, "Hegemonic Qi Slash of Heavens and Earth."
"How is that possible?" The white-bearded old man stood up in disbelief. "Do you know how long it would take an ordinary person to learn this set of sword technique? Half a year's time!"
"Even a person with the standard of a Knight would at least need a day to master this set of sword technique. And you're saying that you've learnt it within six hours?"
The other examiners also started chattering between themselves in an instant, throwing all sorts of looks filled with suspicion and hostility towards Fang Xingjian, as if they were thinking of shredding him into pieces in the next moment.
Fang Xingjian was neither humble nor arrogant as he replied, "You'll see for yourselves after you allow me to demonstrate this set of sword technique once."
The white-bearded old man let out a frustrated laugh, saying, "Alright, alright, go ahead and demonstrate it once for us."
Fang Xingjian drew out his longsword, slashing up-down in the direction of the old man, all the while exuding a dominating aura. As he was displaying this slash, he felt as if the bones and muscles all over his body were being run over by a truck, every one of his muscles muscles aching terribly.
It was obvious that this set of sword technique required one to accumulate power from the muscles, bones and even the internal organs all over one's body. It also had high requirements for one's physical attributes and the toughness of the body.
Displaying one slash after another, the next move Fang Xingjian presented was the continuous sixteen slashes. Each of his slashes brought sword wind, making the air currents sweep through the whole room, like a tempest.
With each slash, Fang Xingjian's muscles turned increasingly red and hot, and his sweat increasingly and continuously turned into steam. It made him feel as if he had just run a few hundred kilometers.
Slash, slash, slash, slash, slash!
With each of Fang Xingjian's slashes, the examiners became more and more astonished, looking at him as if he were a monster.
The white-bearded old man in particular. With each display of Fang Xingjian's slash, he stared with increasingly bigger eyes, until it looked as if his eyeballs were close to popping out. He pointed in disbelief at Fang Xingjian who had just finished his demonstration of the Hegemonic Qi Slash of Heavens and Earth and said, "You... you... you... really learned it?"
The other examiners also stared in disbelief, looking at Fang Xingjian as if he were abnormal.
Seeing Fang Xingjian nodding, one of the examiners suddenly asked, "That's can't be right. Have you learned this sword technique before?"
"Mmm, that's a possibility."
"It's not as if there haven't been any precedents of exam questions being leaked."
"That's right, we'll need to investigate this matter thoroughly. Otherwise, if this really was the case, we would become a laughingstock."
At that moment all of the examiners started chattering, and the gazes directed at Fang Xingjian turned into looks of scrutiny and doubt.
This was all quite normal. When faced with such matters, most examiners would probably request for thorough checks to be performed in order to ensure the authenticity.
Fang Xingjian had long expected this, but he was not afraid to be put through any checks. It was because he was well aware of the complete process of the selection. His background in The School of Sword Arts was very simple, and in the worst case scenario, he would just be asked to learn another sword technique. It would be very simple to comply.
While most of the examiners were making a fuzz, each scrambling to say their thoughts on the matter, Huang Lin, who had not spoken a word all this time, finally smiled and said, "Everyone, weren't you all very curious before about the reason why I had given this fellow a perfect score in the second stage?"
After all, Huang Lin was a Conferred Knight who had gone through the second job transition, and thus his words obviously carried a lot of weight among the examiners. Everyone fell silent upon hearing his words.
Huang Lin revealed a mysterious smile as he looked at Fang Xingjian and asked, "Your Grizzly Bear Sword Technique is probably not just at level 10, right? It's a pity that the Nurturing Path is focused on the body, improving the physique and strengthening one's potential. That's why I was the only one who noticed this."
"What? His Grizzly Bear Sword Technique has broken through level 10?"
"He is truly a genius?"
"If that really is the case, then he's a genius! No. A great genius!"
The examiners' gazes towards Fang Xingjian seemed to burn, as if they had gathered around to look at a treasure. As for the theory Huang Lin had suggested, they would not doubt a Conferred Knight's words.
Moreover, even if they did not perform a check on such matters, the truth would be revealed sooner or later either way, when Fang Xingjian eventually enrolled into the Knight Academy.
As for this matter, Fang Xingjian had been prepared long before having decided to reveal a part of his talent. After all, there was no way that a person who could reach the first level of a sword technique within a few hours' time would only be equipped with a level 10 Grizzly Bear Sword Technique.
Therefore, he said in a calm voice, "Level 15."
In that instance, he felt as if the gazes from the examiners around him were burning ten times more intensely than before.
Huang Lin coughed and calmly asked, "Do you already have a master? I'm referring to a master who would give you one-to-one direct guidance."