The final stage was held at a very large stag, and there were all sorts of scholars there. Many of them wore long robes and seemed full of mettle. There were both men and women, and they all waited for the final stage to begin.
"His Majesty has arrived!" a cry sounded out as Zhao Fu led a group people and walked out. Because the final stage of the Imperial Examination was quite formal, he wore his black and gold dragon inscription robe but did not wear his crown. Apart from some palace maids, there was also Li Si, Shang Yang, Meng Haoran, Shangguan Wan'Er, and Li Muqing.
There was also Wu Zetian, who was quite familiar with Imperial Examinations. After all, Imperial Examinations became popular during the Tang Dynasty, and Wu Zetian had personally created the Martial Examination system. She was capable of overseeing both the Civil and Martial Examinations.
As such, Zhao Fu had brought her here, because as a person of the modern world, Zhao Fu was not very familiar with such things. He knew that he did not have the ability, so he brought the right people with him to watch the Imperial Examinations.
"We greet His Majesty!" hearing that Zhao Fu had arrived, all of the participants simultaneously knelt and called out, their voices loud and bright.
Zhao Fu came to the throne and said in a mighty voice that was not too loud yet filled the surroundings, "All rise!"
The countless participants rose, and some people could not help but slightly look up to take a look at Zhao Fu. The scene was incredibly silent, and everyone was filled with awe and respect towards Zhao Fu.
Following this, the final stage began, and Zhao Fu and his various subordinates sat down and waited for the examination to conclude.
"Who do you have your eyes on?" Zhao Fu asked his subordinates as he glanced over the participants.
Meng Haoran, the President of the Rising Qin Academy, was the first to step out. He slightly smiled as he said, "Your Majesty, this subordinate is confident in all of the Academy's students!"
Those words were completely useless, meaning that he had his eyes on all of the Academy's students. Zhao Fu could only turn to the others.
Li Si was the next to step out. He bowed before saying, "Your Majesty, this subordinate has his eyes on three people: Pei Zishi, Cui Tong, and Xun Dong. I've tested the three of them before, and they are quite capable. They have unique philosophies on governance and will be able to help Great Qin greatly. It will be no problem for them to become Ministers."
This made Meng Haoran feel quite displeased, as none of those people were from the Academy. As such, he could not help but say, "Minister Li, is there no one you're impressed with from the Academy?"
Li Si could tell what Meng Haoran was trying to say, and he added, "Bei Wei, Lu Xunsi, and Ma Puzhong are all quite good!"
Hearing this, Meng Haoran smiled and nodded courteously at Li Si.
Hearing that these people were all men, Li Muqing and Shangguan Wan'Er inwardly sighed. Even though Zhao Fu viewed men and women as equal, it seemed that his subordinates viewed men higher than women. After all, most indigenous residents were quite traditional-minded and viewed men as superior.
Their goal was to change all of this, so Li Muqing stepped forwards and said, "Your Majesty, from how I see it, Yu Siya, Zhangsun Zhu, and Bei Rong are all quite good as well, and they are not inferior to any of those men. This is especially so for Yu Siya, who wrote the 'Snowy Creek' poem; these women are incredibly learned and are far superior to ordinary scholars!"
These words made naturally made Li Si and Meng Haoran feel quite displeased. Shang Yang inwardly chuckled but did not mind at all.
Following this, more people expressed their own opinions, and Zhao Fu started to tell that factions had started to form within Great Qin.
Wu Zetian looked at Zhao Fu flirtatiously, seeming like she was trying to steal his soul, but she did not express any opinions.
As they spent more and more time together, day and night, Wu Zetian became even more enchanting than before. She no longer called Zhao Fu directly by his name, either calling him Your Majesty or husband, and she gave her body and heart to him.
Facing Zhao Fu's gaze, Wu Zetian smiled and said, "Everyone, there's no need to bicker; we'll know once the results are out."
This was quite true - one's abilities were the things that determined everything. It was inevitable that there would be factions among those in power, and this was the case in ancient times and in modern times. This required good management, and everything was for the sake of power.
Time gradually passed, and soon, the Civil Examination concluded. The examination papers were all collected and given to the various Ministers to read, and the better ones were handed to the higher-ups.
Zhao Fu would also read some of them, as the examinations were based on governance and administration. Zhao Fu knew a bit about those things.
As for the Martial Examination, it was simpler and rougher, being conducted through fighting. Those who led others in battle were promoted from within the army, and they were chosen by Commanders and Generals like Bai Qi, Wang Jian, Wei Liao, Bai Xihan, Sun Hanxiang, etc.
The Martial Examination was to pick out those with high combat power, and this was best done through direct fighting. Because some special professions had special bonuses, everyone was told to change to the same profession for fairness sake; everyone could only rely on their own abilities.
Zhao Fu also went over to take a look. There were many stages on which two people fought each other. In order to avoid any casualties or heavy injuries, most of the weapons were made of wood. Because people could still use their Cultivation power, these wooden weapons were not inferior to real weapons, so they had also prepared many medics.
Watching these fights was naturally more interesting than watching the Civil Examination. However, there were far fewer women than men.
For the Civil Examination, 60% of the participants were men and 40% were women, but for the Martial Examination, 90% of the participants were men and only 10% were women.
In terms of fighting, women naturally had a disadvantage, and most ordinary women would not be able to face men's savage attacks.
However, the women who did dare to participate were extremely powerful and were not inferior to the men. Most of them were Outlanders or from Ancient Fallen Clans, as they were innately wilder and more powerful.
By the third day, after the various stages, they had chosen many talents. The top performer in the Civil Examination was Yu Siya, one of the women Li Muqing had endorsed.
The winner of the Martial Examination was someone from the Ice and Fire Cities called Liu Xiao. Using his control of ice and fire, he had been able to obtain first place with great difficulty. The battles in the Martial Examination had been quite intense, and those with high-grade bloodlines or high Cultivations had had an advantage.
Zhao Fu personally met with those who had performed well in the Imperial Examinations and set a banquet for them in order to celebrate their achievements.
Next was the matter of an Empress. The best choice was, of course, Nü Lü. She was a descendant of Nü Wa and was also a player. Moreover, she was gentle and mild, making her quite suitable.
Before, Tuoba Qing also would have been a good choice. However, because of her identity as someone from the Origin Race, there was nothing Zhao Fu could do about this. It was a pity that she had left, so she was not an option.