Chapter 15 Knight
In the morning, before the sky had fully brightened, many students from The School of Sword Arts had already rushed to the training grounds, yawning.
It was four and a half months before the Prefectural Selection, and most of the students from The School of Sword Arts had planned to register. There were a few of them, like Ogden, who had participated in the selections many times but had ultimately failed. This group of students worked even harder than usual in practice, only heading to sleep late at night.
This was also because the Nurturing martial arts were not harmful to the body, and after adjusting to the intensity of workout, one could practice them daily for long stretches of time.
Not long after, Kyle also came out from his room, coughing a few times. Everyone started their practice under his guidance.
Just as he had mentioned earlier, Teacher Kyle seemed to have become busier recently, and the time he spent giving guidance became shorter and shorter each day. However, his energy seemed to increase by the day, like a rusty sword regaining its glamor.
About an hour later, the morning practice ended, and everyone headed for the canteen. All the food in The School of Sword Arts' canteen was prepared by a kitchen helper hired by Kyle.
Breakfast was two pieces of black-colored bread, each the size of a fist. Lunch was a piece of pork the size of an infant's palm, a bowl of vegetables, and a piece of bread. The two meals cost 4 coppers overall.
Most commoners only ate breakfast and lunch, skipping dinner.
Fang Xingjian also headed for the canteen. At the side, there were a few students who took out dry rations they had prepared themselves. These students could not afford to have breakfast in The School of Sword Arts. Fang Xingjian could not bear the cost either, but it was even more difficult for him to cook for himself or to go out for food. The former wasted time and the latter was too expensive.
After collecting two pieces of black bread from the kitchen helper, Fang Xingjian started chewing on them. The black bread was mixed with wheat skin and sprout, crushed together in the process when wheat was ground into flour. The texture was very poor and coarse, and the taste even had a hint of sourness.
Although the food was coarse, it was filling, nutritious, and easily digestible. It was the type of food that commoners ate the most.
Fang Xingjian finished his bread in two or three bites, but his stomach had yet to be filled. People who trained as much as they did required a larger amount of food.
If they would have been able to enjoy meat, vegetables, and fruits on a daily basis, the results of their training would have greatly improved.
But in reality, they had no money...
Fang Xingjian looked around him and saw that most of the students had gobbled down their share of bread, but still seemed unsatisfied.
Students would generally start training from the age of seven or eight. Most of their time would be spent on training. Thus, not only were they unable to contribute to the family's income, they also became huge burdens.
This was why all the students treasured their food.
As for those descending from families of aristocrats or Knights, not only could they go ahead with their practice without any worries, they could also get the guidance of renowned teachers. In addition, they could obtain a large amount of nutrients from their good food, which allowed their physiques to far surpass those of ordinary students.
"If only I could get a bit more..." Fang Xingjian thought to himself.
At that moment, Vivian walked to Fang Xingjian, holding out half a piece of black bread. She said, "Martial Brother Fang, this is too much for me to finish. You can have it."
Gulping down his saliva, Fang Xingjian eventually shook his head and said, "No need."
"It's fine." Vivian smiled, and it was as if a beam of warm sunlight had shone on Fang Xingjian's chest. She pushed the bread into Fang Xingjian's hand and said, "You can have it."
Fang Xingjian knew that since he needed to become stronger and needed to take revenge within five years, he could not let go of even the tiniest opportunity to grow stronger. He looked at the piece of bread in his hand and hesitated for a short moment before his hunger got the better of his pride, and he quickly gobbled it down.
At the same time, Fang Xingjian mumbled, "This afternoon, I will guide you in your Eagle Sword Technique."
Vivian's eyes lit up. "Thank... Thank you, Martial Brother!"
Fang Xingjian did not say much, only thinking to himself, 'While I spend every night under the bridge, food alone is costing me almost all of my money. It's time to think of a way to earn money.'
However, while he was still thinking about how he could earn money, he heard noises coming from the training grounds.
A golden-haired youngster was standing before Teacher Kyle. The youth had straight brows and bright eyes, and his golden hair shone with a dazzling glow underneath the sunlight. Both his handsome face and his exquisite clothing made him seem like Prince Charming to all the female students. The silver-plated sword at his waist was also a cause of envy among the commoner students.
However, compared to the dazzling golden-haired youth, what was even more striking was the sturdy man standing beside him, talking with Kyle. Just like Fang Xingjian, the man had black hair, black eyes, and yellow skin. It was obvious that he was one of the westerners in this world, and not a native of the Empire.
Even so, westerners were not really considered rare in the Empire. Compared to his appearance, the blue suit he was dressed in drew more attention.
"Is that Knight attire?" a student whispered.
Knight attire was made of materials from three extremely strong ferocious beasts, namely the Dragon Bird, the Fire Unicorn, and the Sturgeon Unicorn. Each piece of Knight attire was meticulously produced by the country's armory. Only those who were able to pass the Empire's Prefectural Selection and become Knights would be able to obtain the Knight attire.
Also, each set was equipped with the ability to fend off fiery arrows, being light as a feather and impenetrable at the same time. They were even said to be a treasured defensive item of the highest quality, many of them becoming the heirlooms of many families, despite the fact that anyone who was not a Knight would be sentenced to death if they wore one.
It was all because of the identity represented by the ones wearing these suits - the Knights. Every year, there would only be ten privileged individuals from the Prefectural Selection across different prefectures, carefully chosen from thousands of participants.
Looking at the Knight before them, or rather at the Knight attire, flames of envy lit up in the eyes of many of the students.
Second Martial Brother Lambert clenched his fist and thought to himself, "This time around, I must definitely pass the Prefectural Selection and become a Knight."
"Kni-ght." Eldest Martial Brother Ogden clenched his teeth, feeling more determined than ever. "I must definitely become a Knight. As long as I become a Knight, I will be exempt from military taxes and be granted land. With these, big brother would not have to stay single, and our parents would not have to sell off our youngest sister..."
Becoming a Knight made one exempt from paying military taxes, and also granted one land from the country's funds. One would be able to fully focus on their training from then on, no longer distracted by daily miscellaneous affairs. The best thing was that only the Royal Knight Association would be able to conduct a trial for Knights who had broken the law. Ordinary officials did not have the right to put them on trial.
Looking at the Knight before him, what Fang Xingjian thought of was not the superiority of his identity, but 'Has this fellow already completed his first job transition?'
Warriors in Demonic City used magic prints to complete job transitions, unlike the people in this world. Fang Xingjian had asked around long ago about how they performed job transitions.
Similarly, they would reach bottlenecks at levels 9, 19 and 29, and they would no longer be able to gain any experience through reading, learning, training, and killing monsters.
At that time, only when they entered a secret realm could they break through the bottleneck and undergo the job transition.