Chapter 182: Testing For the Gift of Fire
The calm voice of one of the students of the Crafting School called out. In front of him was a young man with a face filled with disappointment. His right hand was pressed on top of the 'testing apparatus' before the judgement was made. When it was announced that he failed, the applicant slinked away in dejection to allow the person behind him to replace him at the front. At the instructions of the student, the next person placed his right hand on top of the box.
This one was a late-stage Soul Apprentice. When he placed both hands onto the box, he accidentally unloaded all of his soulforce into the stone. Under the excited eyes of the applicant, the red stone imbedded in the box flashed several times before finally receding.
But before several seconds could even pass, the red stone gave no more indications of flashing any more. Even though that young man had used all of his soulforce, it did nothing for him.
The student observing him called out.
At the same time, three other observers called out one after another. The applicants for their respective tables then all left the tables with looks of dejection on their faces....
"This is ridiculous! Not a single one of the last hundred people passed!" Someone from the crowd cried out again and again.
"Yea! Is this examination even accurate? I could see the stone light up a few times for some, why didn't they pass?"
"Hah, idiot! The stone flashing only means that you've an affinity for the elemental fire, but having the light flash so weakly like all these guys only mean that you've not the talent for it! That means you've failed to meet the standards of the Crafting School!"
"Then how strong does the light have to be?"
"Who knows? No one has passed yet...."
Whilst everyone was bickering, a completely different judgement was suddenly made from one of the tables to the left.
"Passed! Medium talent!"
From the third table to the left, a red-faced young man was practically frozen still to where he stood. He had been so surprised by the judgement that he forgot to take away even his right hand, but it did nothing to hide the shining bright red stone in the box.
This was one the young man bickering with Li Jiannan some time before the examination started, Lu Renbing.
"I....I passed?!" Lu Renbing jerked his hand back disbelievingly. Still in a daze, he had to ask the student judging him to repeat the judgement.
The student in question smiled and nodded his head. "Correct. You've passed, but it's a little too early to be too happy. This is only a preliminary examination. Now, go and wait over there for now."
A second student came to guide Lu Renbing to an empty spot near the base of the mountain. And as they walked, the crowd of people watched him walk away with jealous looks.
"Who would've thought that kid would actually pass!"
"It can't be! Did you see how bright that stone was flashing? That was only 'medium talent'?! What kind of high standards does the Crafting School have!"
"You don't say! Did you think entering one of the top ten schools on this continent would be a walk in the park? The Crafting School looks relatively easy! I've heard that the Wind Lightning School had only ten people pass, and the first-ranking applicant there had to withstand an attack of elemental lightning from one of the students!"
"Pass! High talent!"
Everyone's head snapped to the fifth table from the right where the applicant who passed was a seemingly young villager boy from the middle of nowhere. Amazed, the boy stared at the dazzling stone in front of him and asked the student in bewilderment, "Woah....ah...ah really passed?
The student in front of him nodded his head, "Your talent for it is pretty good. Joining the school should be no problem, but entering the inner ranks is up to your talent for crafting. Please wait over there."
Once again, the entire group of applicants watched the simplistic-looking youth be walked on over to the area where all the successful applicants went with envious looks.
"Che! A country bumpkin that isn't even a soul cultivator, but he passed with high talent?!" Someone from the crowd grumbled in complaint.
"Are you kidding me?! You're saying I've no talent for elemental fire? I'm Li Jiannan, the strongest genius of Vernox City in the Range Peak Province! I'm a goddamn middle-stage Soul Warrior! Everyone within a thousand miles know my name, and you're telling me my talent isn't enough?!"
Just at that moment, the seventh table from the right had a exasperated cry ring out from it. Turning their heads towards the commotion, everyone could see a pitiful-looking young man yelling at the student. His hand-which was originally placed on the completely dim stone-was not pointing at the student in charge of judging him with a quiver to it from all his anger.
The student narrowed his eyes in response to the man, but his words were calm in his rebuke, "Vernox City? Never heard of it before. And never have I heard about your name either. The examination was clear for you to see. Please leave and don't hold up the line any longer!"
"Yo-you liar! How could I not have talent for the elemental fire?! I...I..." Li Jiannan's face was contorted with anger and his body shook spastically as if he wanted to argue, but when he was faced with the warning glance of Song Lin, Li Jiannan paused mid breath. His anger abated away, leaving him to only speak out in a defeated tone, "I invited an expert to give us an examination, he said that I had the talent for it...."
"This so-called 'expert' of yours, is he even more accurate than the examinations of our school?" The student in front of him spoke in disdain, "Your talent in cultivation is fine, but your affinity for the elemental fire is pitiful. Go back and continue your training, perhaps you'll find another affinity more suited to you. If you continue to argue with us here, then you'll have to excuse us if we force you to leave!"
The middle-stage Soul Sprite besides Li Jiannan hurried to whisper to him, "Young master, perhaps we should leave. It'll be trouble if we cause trouble with the Crafting School...."
He was a man that lived a completely different life than Li Jiannan. He was not ignorant, and he was not pampered throughout his entire life, so he knew that Song Lin's cursory glance had a well-hidden source of pressure in there. If they didn't leave, then they'd be 'guided' to the exit.
On the other side, when Lu Renbing, who had already passed, saw the still angrily cursing Li Jiannan being walked away, he had a very happy smile on his face.
"Next!" Spoke the very same student who dismissed Li Jiannan.
His expression was still the same as before.
And so the examination continued to go on in a swift but orderly manner. A continuous stream of disappointed people would often be seen turning around and walking away from the examination grounds.
Not very many people made it through.
Roughly a kilometer away in a forest to the right of the examination ground, there was the sound of a young but tender voice singing some sort of strange song.
"Lalalalala.... Xiao Baibai's wings are so white~
Xiao Rourou's body is so soft~
Xiao Baibai and Xiao Rourou are good friends~
Friends of Dai Dai~
Xiao Rourou hey~"
Hanging on top of a very tall tree, a pair of pink embroidered shoes swung forwards and backwards on one of the tree branches. Keeping with the rhythm of the 'song', the owner of these shoes were revealed to be a very young girl sitting on the tree branch. She looked like she was singing a song while looking at the examination grounds from the cracks of the foliage.
The song was clearly a composition she made herself.
This young but innocent looking girl looked to be fourteen or fifteen years old in age. She had a petite figure, and she wore lace clothing that suited her well. On her waist was a small bag embroidered with the pattern of a butterfly on it to hold her things.
Her face was like that of a small baby, giving any person that saw her have the urge to pinch her cheeks. She had a cherry-colored mouth and a lovably cute nose as well. Like a bright crystal, both of her eyes shined brilliantly, and her ears were equally short. A short bun was prepped up on the left side of her head so that the rest of her hair would rise up shortly towards the sky before drooping back down and shake side to side when her head was moved.
This young girl wore two pink mittens that were soft but furry from its materials, but her fingers were exposed halfway through to show off her white pigmented skin.
"Xiao Rourou hey, Xiao Rourou...hm? Where are you, Xiao Rourou?" Halfway through her song, a sudden thought struck the young girl. Looking left and right, she quirked her lips and asked, "Xiao Rourou's gone. Heehee, is it time for hide-and-seek? I know where you are then~"
Giggling, the girl leapt down from the ten-meter tall tree and landed gracefully on the ground. Skipping into the forests to her left, she continued to hum and chant her song to herself.
On the other side, Bai Yunfei was currently waiting in the line to the left. The wait was so long, Bai Yunfei felt as if he was waiting for the food lines from long time ago.
But there wasn't much of a choice. Far too many people were trying to get in, and he was one of the later ones to show up. Thus, he had to be in the back.
While he stood helpless where he was, a twenty-three year old young man could be seen talking to Bai Yunfei endlessly....