Chapter 220: Foundational Exam
Leng Tianzheng smiled faintly and gave the stunned Beichen Peak Master a meaningful look. He said, "Junior Sister Chu is as well informed as always. This core disciple will be much more exciting than before, just keep watching and you will know what I mean. Whether Zhang Lie can obtain the first place is still an uncertainty."
Everyone did not understand what Leng Tianzheng meant. Could it be that a peak Superior Grade Earth Ranked Saber Technique would not be sufficient to obtain the first position in this exam?
"Xiu!" A black warship slowly flew over from the horizon and stopped at the drill grounds.
"Tianyue Peak's people have arrived. Tianyue Peak is indeed as strong as it was in the past. There are actually more than a hundred of their inner disciples taking part."
"Seems like the first place will be snatched by Tianyue Peak again."
"There is another warship flying over from that side! It's Beichen Peak's people."
"Jade Maiden Peak's people are arriving, too! There are so many female disciples!"
Soon, aside from Qingyun Peak's Xiao Chen and Liu Suifeng, the disciples of the other five peaks all rode a warship over and stood at the side, standing in five separate groups.
Of the five groups, Tianyue Peak's group had the most people. When the Tianyue Peak's inner disciples looked at the other peak's disciples, they had proud looks on their faces; they were cleared pleased with themselves. It was as though the core disciple positions were in the bag already.
Amidst the group, Zhang Lie had a calm expression. He swept his gaze across all the inner disciples taking part in the examination, observing the situation of all his competitors.
At one glance, Zhang Lie could tell that most of these people were early Superior Grade Martial Grand Masters, with some middle Superior Grade Martial Grand Masters. Only a small group of people were peak Superior Grade Martial Grade Masters.
The latter were the people worth his notice. However, under the situation of them having the same level of cultivation, the thing that would make the difference would be Martial Techniques and combat experience.
Zhang Lie already had rich combat experience before he went up the mountain. The number of people who had died at his hands near Yunyang City numbered close to a hundred.
Zhang Lie had participated in the frontline of the wars amongst the several big clans in the city. When comparing combat experience, he had a significant advantage over these Heavenly Saber Pavilion's inner disciples.
If they were comparing Martial Techniques, then his advantage would become even more obvious. The Lingyun Saber Technique was originally a peak Superior Grade Earth Ranked Saber Technique. However, because of its difficulty and the fact it is missing three moves, it was relegated to being an Inferior Grade Earth Ranked Saber Technique.
Now that Zhang Lie had practiced it to Great Perfection, and even comprehended the sixteenth move, compared to these people he had an overwhelming advantage.
Seems like there will not be any pressure on me. I will be able to obtain the position of first for sure, Zhang Lie thought to himself indifferently. Just at this moment, he felt a burning gaze. It was as sharp as a knife, piercing through the air, staring fiercely at him.
When Zhang Lie traced the source of the gaze, he saw an ordinary-looking cultivator. When he used his perception to check him out, he could not help but be astonished. How can a person with such an intense gaze be only an Inferior Grade Martial Grand Master?
Why is there an Inferior Grade Martial Grand Master appearing in the core disciple exam?, Zhang Lie thought doubtfully to himself. When he looked up again, he could no longer find the owner of that gaze. At the instant he was having his doubts, he had lost him.
Amidst that group, Mu Heng withdrew his gaze and smiled faintly. His aura was virtually non-existent, his squarish ordinary face did not stand out in the crowd. It seemed as though that gaze had not appeared at all. Zhang Lie looked around, trying to find the owner of that gaze.
That gaze came from the group of Beichen Peak's disciples. There are only twenty Beichen Peak's disciples participating in this core disciple exam.
Logically speaking, given Zhang Lie's memories, once he saw a face, he would be able to identify the person from among those twenty people.
However, the current situation was very strange. Zhang Lie looked at all twenty people, but he could not find that Inferior Grade Martial Grand Master Beichen Peak's disciple.
Could I have been hallucinating? After searching for a long time, Zhang Lie could not help but doubt himself; he was feeling some unrest.
"Junior Brother Zhang, are you alright?" A Senior from Tianyue Peak asked out of concern when he saw that Zhang Lie was distracted. "Don't cause yourself to fall into a confused state of mind before the battle."
Zhang Lie recovered his wits and thought to himself, I have indeed been overly concerned. Who cares about that gaze. There will be a time when we meet each other, I'll just be more careful.
"Thank you, Senior Brother. That's right, Senior Brother Wu Bing, you have participated in the core disciple exam before. Can you tell me about how the exam will be conducted?" Zhang Lie cupped his fist and gave thanks before changing the topic.
Although Zhang Lie had recently entered the ranks of Tianyue Peak's inner disciples, his talent and strength were not to be underestimated. His future was definitely unlimited.
When Wu Bing started the conversation, he had the intention to establish a friendship. When he heard Zhang Lie's questions, he quickly told him everything he knew.
"The core disciple exam is separated into foundational stage and arena battles. The foundational stage is different every year, so I do not know what the foundational stage will be testing on.
"As for the arena battles, it stays the same every year. The cultivators will fight each other until only the top fifty inner disciples are left. It is said that the Heavenly Saber Pavilion will reward those in the top ten positions.
"Finally, there will be a fight with the core disciples ranked in the last fifty. Everyone will choose one person to fight. The loser will lose the status of core disciple."
Zhang Lie nodded and said, "I see, I wonder what the foundational exam will be this year."
It was not known why, but the chief examiner sent by the Main Hall had not come down to the spacious drill grounds. After standing in the sun for a long time, some people were starting to get impatient.
"What's going on? Why is it not starting yet? The sun is starting to make me dizzy!"
"Haha, I am fine though. I cultivate a fire attributed Cultivation Technique. The longer I start under the sun, the more beneficial it is for me. However, waiting like this is boring. What exactly is going on? Anyone know?"
"Probably it's because everyone is not here yet. If that is the case, the chief examiner will not come."
"Who is so arrogant, putting on airs like this. He actually made so many people wait for him."
"Seems like Qingyun Peak's people are not here yet. I heard Qingyun Peak recently accepted a very powerful inner disciple. He was able to defeat Quick Saber Lin Feng in one move."
"Is that true? Lin Feng's strength is ranked pretty high amongst all the core disciples."
While everyone was speaking, a black dot appeared on the eastern horizon. The black dot slowly grew bigger, allowing everyone to see it clearly. They discovered it was a huge green bird.
Liu Suifeng was not very good at piloting the green bird. As Xiao Chen did not think this through in advance, he only found out they were flying in the wrong direction after they flew in the sky for a long time.
Liu Suifeng looked at the drill ground on the ground and wiped the sweat off his forehead. He smiled and said, "Brother Ye, I am sure it is right this time. Look at the expressions of the people on the ground. Their excited expressions prove it."
Xiao Chen extended out his Spiritual Sense and he could hear what they were saying clearly. He felt speechless as he said, "They are excited... excitedly cursing."
The green bird flapped its wings as it slowly landed on the flat drill ground. Xiao Chen and Liu Suifeng immediately jumped down. They were both pretty thick skinned; they ignored the gazes everyone was casting on them.
"Bang! Bang! Bang!"
Not long after Xiao Chen and Liu Suifeng arrived, three men in gray robes jumped off a distant tall platform. They created three shockwaves as they moved several hundred meters before landing firmly on the ground.
One of the three of them walked out. He was a middle-aged man with a rectangular () face. He was a Peak Superior Grade Martial Saint with a flourishing aura. The gleam in his eyes was withdrawn as he swept his gaze across the groups of people. Everyone could feel a faint pressure.
"I am your chief examiner. Like before, the core disciple exam this year will consist of the foundational stage and the arena battles," the middle-aged man said in a deep voice; his voice was very loud, and everyone could hear him clearly.
"Dang! Dang Dang!"
The chief examiner waved his hands and black rocks as tall as a person came flying out from the Spatial Rings of the two people beside him. Soon, a stone forest appeared before them. The grain of the rock was not visible and they gave off a peaceful, yet imposing atmosphere.
"The first stage will test your strength. You have to break apart one of these rocks with only one saber strike. Remember, you only have one chance. Failure will mean elimination," the chief examiner said expressionlessly to the crowd.
After that, the two deputy examiners started to issue numbers to everyone. They would take the exam in the order of their numbers.
Xiao Chen looked at the number he received-240. It was a number that was closer to the end, there were only about three hundred people taking part in the exam on the drill grounds.
After the numbers were all issued, a Tianyue Peak disciple who had the number 1 slowly walked into the stone forest. He looked at the black rock as tall as a person, but he was not overly concerned.
After a Martial Grand Master condensed a saber light and struck it with all his might, he should be able to shatter the rock into countless bit without using a Martial Technique. If he used a Martial Technique, his might would be even greater.
After he drew his saber from its scabbard, spots of red light gathered on the saber blade. This person cultivated a fire attributed Cultivation Technique. Fire attributed Cultivation Techniques were famed for being quick and violent. There should not be any problem here.
"Shatter for me!" This Tianyue Peak's disciple shouted and leaped into the air. The saber light descended from above, clearly full of momentum. However, when the saber light struck the black rock, it gave off a 'keng qiang' sound. There was not even a crack in the rock.
"Why is it like that?" When the saber light faded, the disciple could not see any marks on the black rock. His eyes were full of confusion.
The chief examiner stuck the air with his palm. The rock, which was as hard as iron, shattered explosively into countless pieces. He said indifferently, "Number 1... fail! Stand down!"
"No way! I cannot stand down! I am nineteen years old this year already! If I don't pass now, I will never get another opportunity! Please give me another chance! I did not use a Martial Technique; if I used a Martial Technique, it will definitely break!" the disciple pleaded anxiously with the chief examiner.
The chief examiner waved his hand and caused a shockwave. The disciple was thrown into the air by a huge force and landed heavily outside the drill grounds. "I said it very clearly, each person will only get one chance. Don't make me repeat myself again! Go tell the others!"
Suddenly, a black dart was shot out from the high platform above the drill grounds. The chief examiner caught the dart with his finger and retrieved the note on it. After a moment he said, "I just received an update to the rules. No one is allowed to use a Martial Technique in the first stage of the examination. If you break this rule, you will be disqualified as well."