Chapter 189: Heading Up the Mountain
The faint voice of this youth carried over the rest of audience and caught their immediate attention. Among that audience, Song Lin, Lian Lingmin, Bai Yunfei, and Mo Xiaoxuan were one of the few that heard him.
"Late-stage Soul Sprite!"
Bai Yunfei thought to himself in surprise while the others repeated his sentiments out loud and began to discuss with one another.
"Wow! Another Soul Sprite, he's the same as you, brother Bai! And the elements he showed off looks kinda special..." Zhong Xuhao remarked with wide-open eyes as he looked at Ye Zhiqiu in admiration.
"He has the affinity for both fire and wood..." Mo Xiaoxuan spoke.
Bai Yunfei nodded his head, "Yes, that's right. He's both a late-stage Soul Sprite and a soul cultivator with both those affinities."
"Fire and wood! How can there be such a young person who could become a late-stage Soul Sprite with two affinities? I... I feel so inferior. Wood gives rise to fire, and if he has good control over both, the elemental fire he uses will definitely see a huge increase in strength. Even if he joins the Crafting School or the Fire School, a genius like this would be wanted by everyone. Out of all of us here, looks like he's the best of us..." Mo Xiaoxuan sighed. Meeting the people he did today had really melted away the pride he felt in being called a 'genius' during the past ten years of his life.
Even the student that was overseeing the examination for Ye Zhiqiu looked at him in admiration. "One with two affinities is either a reckless idiot or a determined genius. This guy is definitely the latter... this bi-annual event for students of any school always seems to gather plenty of geniuses, but the Crafting School really does seem like a gathering ground for the more special ones..."
From far away, Fei Nian start at the back of Ye Zhiqiu's figure and let out a dejected sigh, "And yet another Soul Sprite has come to enter the Crafting School..."
"An outstanding talent for cultivation isn't a representative of strength for our Crafting School. Even for those who are stuck at the late-stage Soul Warrior stage, many of these outstanding geniuses lose to them when the time comes to create their own personalized soul armament..." Song Lin looked away to ask Lian Lingming a question, "Lingmin, how goes the female students this time, are there any good ones?"
"None. The amount of female applicants each year is already small enough, and the ones that do pass are practically zero. No female has yet to appear with a talent of 'high' yet. I wonder if we'll even have anyone else that'll stand out after this." Lian Lingming shook her head before smiling, "But still, that's not really a problem. The fact that there's five female juniors with decent talent should be enough for master to be satisfied. Not having any exemplary ones come up this year shouldn't be that bad."
A look was spared at the area where all the passed applicants were gathered, by now, there were nearly two hundred of them. Sighing, Song Lin said, "I wonder if there'll be any students the headmaster or elders will accept as their successors. There weren't many core students from our previous generation, so our generation right now is especially important to them. The Crafting School has been silent for twenty years without losing our edge, but we aren't as powerful as before either. We can't let our school lose any more face!"
Lian Lingmin laughed, "Haha, I can already tell that there's some more outstanding figures in this next generation already. There's two people with the best talent for fire, and several people with 'high' talent in it. There's also that wood and fire affinity soul cultivator Ye Zhiqiu, and that Bai Yunfei. Even junior Fei Nian wasn't a match for Bai Yunfei!"
Going scarlet in the face, Fei Nian immediately opened his mouth to say, "Hmph! I was just careless, that's all! If we fight again in the future..."
"Haha, alright, I won't say anything more about it. You should head up the mountain and prepare for the examinations, Fei Nian. Escort the ones that passed up the mountain as soon as the first round is over." Song Lin immediately interrupted Fei Nian's 'explanation' with a wave of his hand and a laugh.
"Oh, yes! Right away, senior..."
Half an hour later, the first round of examinations concluded.
The ones that were still lined up for the examination were all people who were calm and prepared, so the acceptance rate in the final half hour had been a lot higher. Practically another hundred people passed for a final number of over three hundred people.
Compared to the beginning when there were thousands of people here, it was a rather pitiful amount.
Under the lead of Song Lin, the ones who had passed the first round were guided up Mount Crimson.
A seemingly endless spiral staircase wove around a forest and up beyond the fog ahead of everyone. Bai Yunfei and his group stood at the very back of the group with Zhong Xuhao occasionally looking around and whispering to somebody. Right beside them was a newcomer to the group, Ye Zhiqiu.
It went without saying that Zhong Xuhao's perky and optimistic nature was very popular to the group. Combined with his young age, it was hard for anyone to believe he had any nefarious intentions. After a series of energetic talks, even the easy-going Ye Zhiqiu had been recruited to join their 'group.'
Zhang Sanxian came by to talk to Bai Yunfei when the group had reached the halfway mark of their journey, and with Zhong Xuhao's quick words, a decent relationship was established with 'senior Sanxian.' Soon enough, everyone was talking and smiling as if they were in a carefree environment.
Of course, this journey was carefree and easy for them since they weren't weak at all. Out of the three hundred people here, there weren't many soul cultivators. A good majority of them were just commoners who had nothing but hope to join the Crafting School. Some of them were even males that weren't even ten yet. For them, walking up a series of stairs for half an hour was painfully hard.
After passing the first examination, who would give up here? With grit teeth and pursed lips, the commoners of the group gathered up the rest of their strength to follow from behind. Some of the more durable applicants had even lended a hand to those struggling-an act that Bai Yunfei felt was very admirable.
Two hours later, the stairway finally came to an end. Bai Yunfei's eyes could see a giant clearing with a hallway that simply could not be described with words. Climbing the final steps, the group all ended up standing in a giant plaza.
Author note: *Sweatdrop* In truth, I don't really know how to explain this. If this description doesn't really work for you readers, please imagine one on your own. Whatever the case, it'll have to do...
After giving everyone some time to catch their breath, Song Lin walked up to the front of the group. All of the idle chatter was immediately shushed as he swept his eyes across the area, looking at the commoners in the back. Eyes filled with praise, he smiled, "Not bad. Not bad at all. In some time from now, someone will come and take you all to the Northern Point for the second examination. This is a special test only our Crafting School does. Being a Soul Cultivator serves no use here. The test does not rely on cultivation. If you fail here, do not be disappointed. You are all people with decent affinity for the elemental fire. Joining another school would not be an achievement any less than ours..."
It was at that moment a dark-skinned young man with a serious look on his face come toward the group. Nodding his head, he asked, "Senior, may I bring them over now?"
Song Lin nodded his head. "Yes, if junior Xiao could please do the honors then."
Standing in front of everyone, the newcomer loudly said, "I am the second student of the headmaster of the Crafting School, Xiao Nanren. Follow me to the Northern Point, but take note that the Northern Point is ordinarily a place where all students are forbidden from entering. If you move elsewhere without our say so, you will be cast out from the examinations immediately!"