Chapter 221: Beichen Peak's Mu Heng
When the news spread, the drill grounds broke out into chaos. Everyone already knew that this black rock was not ordinary. It was multiple times harder than ordinary rocks, it was not a simple task at all.
Everyone was already feeling nervous and they found it incredulous when they heard that Martial Techniques were not allowed. It was not only the inner disciples that felt it was incredulous, even the two deputy examiners beside the chief examiner had expressions of shock on their face.
They were very clear about the origins of the black rock. Even if they wanted to split the rock in half, they would have to use a quarter of their strength.
The chief examiner had an unsightly expression as he said in a deep voice, "Silence! We will continue the examination. If you keep making noises, I will use my own methods to ensure silence."
Although there were still people who were dissatisfied, no one dared to voice their dissent under the might of the chief examiner. The examinee with the number 2 walked out with a grave expression.
This person was slightly smarter. After he walked around the black rock, he asked the chief examiner, "Can I touch this rock?"
The chief examiner nodded. "You can, but you cannot use your Essence to cheat. Furthermore, you can't take too long."
This person quickly touched the surface of the rock, he was clearly very cautious. After a while, he withdrew his hand and slowly drew his saber.
He made his move decisively in one breath with no hesitation at all. With a 'shua' sound, the blade broke apart the top of the rock and sliced downward with a 'zi zi' sound.
This person revealed an expression of joy as he increased the amount of force. "Ka ka!" Just as the blade was only a quarter away from reaching the bottom, it got stuck.
No matter how much force this person used, the blade refused to keep going down. It was now thoroughly stuck.
The chief examiner sent out a palm strike through the air again. There was a sonic boom and the human-sized rock shattered into fragments.
When the person's saber loosened, he did not expect it and he tumbled back for a few steps before he stabilized himself.
"Number 2... fail! Number 3, carry on!" The chief examiner spoke unhurriedly despite that person's dissatisfied expression.
He was indeed quite unfortunate. He was just a little off from splitting the black rock in half. Even so, a little off still too short; he did not succeed in the end.
Xiao Chen looked at the number 2 examinee leaving dejectedly. His expression turned serious as well. Why is this exam so strict? That person was a Superior Grade Martial Grand Master.
If one was unable to use Martial Techniques, then most of the people here were likely to obtain similar results. They would be eliminated in the first stage.
Xiao Chen cast his gaze on the high platform. There was an old man that sat in the middle. He seemed senile but his aura was surging. From such a distance, he could feel the strong and drawn-out aura of life.
This person was the First Elder of the Heavenly Saber Pavilion Elders' Assembly-Jiang Chi. He was the person with the highest position in the entire Heavenly Saber Pavilion. The dart from earlier was thrown out by him. Xiao Chen's gaze was filled with doubts. What is this old man thinking?
The first stage is already so difficult, is he trying to eliminate everyone?
"What is the first elder thinking? Why did he increase the difficulty by so much?" The Wanren Peak's Peak Master felt suspicious as he spoke on the other side of the high platform.
"At this rate, whether we can even select ten core disciples will be a problem."
"What exactly happened? Senior Brother Leng, your relationship with the First Elder is the best. Do you have any inside news?"
This core disciple exam was indeed rather strange. Even the Peak Masters did not know beforehand that such a change would occur.
Leng Tianzheng frowned at the First Elder Jiang Chi on the high platform and gave him a glance. He muttered to himself in a low voice, "Could it be because of that? Seems like I have to make some advance preparations after the exam ends."
When the Jade Maiden Peak's Peak Master, Chu Xiangyun, saw Leng Tianzheng muttering to himself, she said, "Senior Brother Leng, do you really have some inside news? Do share it with us."
Leng Tianzheng smiled embarrassedly and shook his head. "Don't overthink this. What kind of inside information could I possibly have? Just keep watching."
Everyone clearly did not believe him but since Leng Tianzheng was not willing to speak, they could not force the issue. Everyone here had the same status, they could definitely not force each other to do anything.
Liu Ruyue's pretty face was also filled with suspicions, she was not sure what had happened. She looked into the distance and watched Xiao Chen, who was on the drill grounds. She muttered to herself, "Hopefully nothing will happen."
The scorching sun was high in the sky. Occasionally, there would be hammering sounds coming from the drill grounds. The first stage had been going on for a period of time already. However, the number of people who had passed so far were just ten.
Furthermore, these ten people were all peak Superior Grade Martial Grand Masters. Their foundations were very solid and they were able to cleave the black rock in half with one breath.
"Number 100, Tianyu Peak, Zhang Lie!" the chief examiner read out in a loud voice.
"It's Zhang Lie, Zhang Lie is going to come out. I have heard of his name for quite a while now. He has been progressing very fast in Tianyue Peak."
"I heard he is the son of the Clan Head of the Zhang Clan. That clan is Yunyang City's top clan. He has a good background and high talent. All he has to do is to put in effort and he would definitely become strong."
"He is already strong, Tianyue Peak organizes a competition every month. The ordinary inner disciples in Tianyue Peak are already no longer a match for him."
"He is able to obtain the title of number one amongst the inner disciples of the strongest peak in the Heavenly Saber Pavilion. It is almost certain that he would obtain the first position in this exam.
"Haha, it's a little early to speak such words. Wait until he clears the first stage first. If he cannot clear this stage, he would not even be able to obtain the status of a core disciple."
The moment Zhang Lie stepped out, he immediately attracted everyone's attention. The ordinary inner disciples on the spectator stands all started chatting amongst themselves.
In the distant spectator stands, there was a group of Heavenly Saber Pavilion disciples with three gold lines on their collars. They also paid attention to the drill rounds.
These core disciples were the core disciples who were ranked in the last fifty. After Zhang Lie and the rest cleared the first two stages, they would have to choose an opponent from them and fight. Their status as core disciples was on the line.
"Zhang Lie... I hope I do not get him as my opponent." A Beichen Peak's core disciple said with a face full of worry as he looked at Zhang Lie.
Another core disciple chimed in as well, "It would be great if he failed at the foundational stage. That way, all of us would not have to worry."
The faces of the fifty core disciples were more or less filled with worry. After all, they had enjoyed the privileged treatment as a core disciple. If they were to drop back to being an ordinary inner disciple, they would find it difficult to accept the difference in treatment.
There was only one person with a calm expression. His eyes were closed as his hands held a saber, hugging it in his embrace.
He completely ignored the sounds of his surroundings, it was as though it had nothing to do with him. He was incomparably tranquil and calm.
Zhang Lie slowly walked to a black rock. His aura was completely withdrawn, completely contained without any released. His gaze was very calm. After a while, his aura suddenly became sharp.
A gleam appeared in his eyes, it was as though a sharp saber was drawn out of its scabbard, revealing its sharp edge.
The black rock in front of Zhang Lie suddenly exploded apart and turned into countless fragments that flew through the air.
Zhang Lie waved his hand, casually sending out a wind from his palm. A intense wind blew in front of him. The fragments flying at him immediately fell to the ground.
"What's going on? How did the rock shatter?" The other participants in the core disciple exam were all incredibly astonished. They did not see Zhang Lie make a move.
Xiao Chen's eyes were filled with shock as well. What's going on? He was very sure that Zhang Lie did not draw his saber at all. However, the resilient rock had shattered.
Suddenly, these two words appeared in Xiao Chen's mind. This was definitely one of the states of the saber. Furthermore, Zhang Lie had comprehended his saber intent to Small Perfection.
"Congratulations, Senior Brother Leng. You accepted another outstanding disciple. He is able to comprehend his own saber Intent at such a young age. His future is unlimited."
"Tianyue Peak is full of talents. How enviable! Small Perfection Saber Intent... the Heavenly Saber Pavilion has not had a genius like this for the past few hundred years."
A gentle smile appeared on Leng Tianzheng's face as he replied to the other Peak Masters. However, he was bewildered. He knew about Zhang Lie comprehending saber intent.
However, Leng Tianzheng originally thought he would keep it as a trump card. He did not expect him to use it at the very start. Why? Given Zhang Lie's character, he should not be this brash.
Back on the drill grounds, Zhang Lie suddenly turned his head around. There was a bright gleam in his eyes. He had finally found the sharp gaze from earlier. An ordinary squarish face was imprinted into his eyes.
Mu Heng slowly revealed a stunned expression. After a while, he smiled at Zhang Lie before withdrawing his gaze, turning back into an unremarkable passerby.
Zhang Lie burned Mu Heng's image into his mind as he thought to himself. I finally found you. I did not reveal my trump card in vain. The pressure you applied on me, I can apply on you as well.
It was not difficult for Zhang Lie to split the black resilient rack in half without the use of such a Martial Technique. However, before he went forward, he thought of that incredibly sharp gaze.
Although he told himself that he had to forget this gaze, that there was nothing remarkable about this gaze in order to console himself, this gaze had already had a mark in his heart.
If he did not resolve this perfectly, there would be a chance that his heart demon might emerge and spoil things when he was fighting. Thus, Zhang Lie chose to expose his trump card. He had predicted Mu Heng would unintentionally reveal his gaze.
The development of the situation was as Zhang Lie had expected.
"Number 100, Zhang Lie, Pass! Next!"
The exam continued to proceed and the number of people who failed increased. The number of people who failed at the first stage in his exam far surpassed that of any previous exams. Everyone was surprised at these turn of events.
By the time they called out number 200, the number of people who could successfully split the rock only numbered sixty. The rate of elimination was very high, leaving people dumbfounded.
"Number 220, Beichen Peak, Mu Heng!" The chief examiner continued to read out.
Mu Heng parted the crowd and slowly walked to the front. He was like an unremarkable blade of grass, no one paid any attention to him initially. Only when he walked to the front, did everyone's gaze focus on him.