Chapter 28 Stage Cleared
Hogan obvious knew Dick’s personality, so he had not been keeping a close relationship with him. Laughing right away, he said, “Hehe, there’s really no way you can judge his talent with a single glance.”
Glancing sideways at Fang Xingjian, and seeing the tattered clothes and frost on his face, Dick knew immediately that Fang Xingjian did not hail from any kind of prestigious background, and that he ought to be a commoner. Then, he replied, “Oh? You think that his talent is good?” Dick, having been born of nobility, was looking down on the commoners with great talent the most, and he was also jealous of them. Thus, from the first glance, Fang Xingjian had already filled his heart with unhappiness.
Contrary to expectations, Hogan hailed from a poor and humble family. Therefore, seeing Fang Xingjian’s appearance and learning of his circumstances, in his heart, he secretly felt a sense of closeness to this examinee.
Hearing Dick’s reply, Hogan laughed, saying, “I feel that he’s not too bad. How about it, do you want to make a bet with me? He will get one of the top five rankings in the Prefectural Selection.”
“Top five?” Dick furrowed his brows. Robert had already completed his first transition. No matter what, Fang Xingjian would never be able to defeat him. In order to enter the top five, he would have to defeat either Kaunitz, Barbara, Boris, or Ferdinand.
For him to surpass the four of them? All of them are proud offspring of the heavens. They will become Kirst’s pillars in ten years. How can this poor chap of unknown origins surpass them? It’s impossible.” In a soft voice, Dick went on, “How much money do you want to bet?”
“How about one hundred gold?” Hogan nonchalantly laughed along.
After hearing his answer, Dick replied in shock, “One hundred gold?!” It was basically his earnings for an entire year!
However, after thinking about it for a few seconds and glancing a few more times at Fang Xingjian, he silently exclaimed in his heart, ‘Kaunitz and the others have been nurtured by their clans from the moment they were born. Whether teachers or martial arts guidance, medicinal cuisine or food, they haven’t ever lacked any of it. And completing their first job transition is a done deal for them. Their target has always been the second and third transitions.
‘If a poor chap manages to surpass such geniuses, so what if I lose one hundred gold?’
After thinking about this, he smiled. “Okay, Hogan, I will wait to collect the gold from you.”
On the other side, Fang Xingjian and the rest had already registered their names. Less than thirty seconds later, Kaunitz and the other three had also caught up, looking at Fang Xingjian as if they were looking at a monster.
Unexpectedly, they had not been able to catch up to Fang Xingjian from beginning to end.
Kaunitz in particular, kept looking at Fang Xingjian as though he had turned into a stranger. The way he was acting obviously attracted the other three’s attention.
Barbara’s countenance was slightly off as she glanced at Fang Xingjian before asking Kaunitz, “You know him?”
“Mmm.” Immediately, Kaunitz revealed information about Fang Xingjian. “A month ago, he wasn’t up to my level at all. How could he have surpassed me in terms of physical power now?”
“Are you saying that he’s a commoner without any special background?” asked Boris from Shadow Moon Academy.
Kaunitz disgruntledly replied, “This poor chap didn’t even have the money for food back then.”
“Without any special background to learn high level techniques, without money to buy medicinal aid or medicinal cuisine, and without the nourishment from ferocious beasts, the chance that his attributes would surpass yours is very little.” Boris continued, “Unless he has a specialization for a particular attribute.”
From beginning to end Ferdinand had stayed silent. He drew in several deep breaths to recover from his fatigue and said, “Maybe he’s specialized in long distance running?”
Hearing his words, the three others concurred, with a glint in their eyes. “That’s highly possible.”
Their deductions followed logic. One had to understand that the four of them had been painstakingly nurtured ever since they were young, and countless riches had already been spent on them. No one knew how much medicinal cuisine and ferocious beasts they had taken, or how many hours they had spent in assiduous training.
Those whose attributes might surpass theirs while at level 9 before their first transition could only be either the individuals from the renowned extraordinary factions or those from the royal family, as well as the students who were nurtured by the Empire’s core pillars.
Normally, that would be the case. If Fang Xingjian had not possessed the number one sword talent, even if he practiced for 24 hours a day, it would have been impossible for him to surpass any one of the four.
‘Hmph, consider yourself worthy this time, since you surpassed us in this test of physical prowess. It won’t be so easy the next round. Second place must be mine this time around.’ Barbara held a cold smile on her face as she looked at Fang Xingjian. She was the proudest and most self-confident out of the four of them. Thus, losing to Fang Xingjian had brought a feeling of unwillingness in her heart.
Kaunitz gazed at Fang Xingjian, thinking, ‘This fellow’s potential was better than what I had imagined.’ However, thinking of how he had defeated Fang Xingjian in every single spar for the past few months, he could not even consider Fang Xingjian being able to surpass him.
‘Hmm, why don’t I recruit him to my family soon? Based on the potential he showcased, he’s already many times stronger than many people from our clan. Father would surely consent to this arrangement.
‘After this, I can get him to practice the three basic sword techniques of The School of Sword Arts with me, and I will be able to obtain Sword Specialist sooner!’
As for Boris and Ferdinand, they were both extremely shocked that Fang Xingjian had surpassed them in the first round. However, since young they had been nurtured to become the elites of the elites, and had never lacked self-confidence. At least until now, in their eyes, the true opponents were the geniuses hailing from the three other academies.
After a while, more and more participants arrived at the academy’s entrance. Needless to say, however, that they were not able to attract Kaunitz and the other’s interest and attention.
Lambert and Ogden had managed to rush through in the last ten seconds, after which the gate to the academy had been closed by the staff.
One participant heaved and panted heavily, crawling outside the academy gates. His face was filled with despair as he glanced in the direction of the Royal Academy. Both his hands clutched tightly at the railings as he wailed, “Sir, please, please let me enter! I was only late by a few seconds! This is the last year I’m able to participate in the Prefectural Selection! Please let me enter!”
Another middle-aged guy coughed as he shouted, “Sir, I had the flu today, and I was unable to exhibit my full potential. Please give me another chance!”
“Sir, I beg you!”
“I beg you!”
Looking at the increasing number of students outside crying in agony, a bizarre expression appeared on the faces of the examinees, Fang Xingjian, Kaunitz, and the others.
All these failures were people who had participated over ten times, but had yet to pass. And among them, there were even people whose hair had already turned white. Their eyes were filled with hopelessness.
Eldest Martial Brother Ogden and Second Martial Brother Lambert locked gazes for a moment, feelings of thankfulness swimming in their eyes.
Just last year, they had been the same as all those outside the gate.
Hogan clapped his hands and said, “Alright, you don’t need to concern yourselves with the failures outside of our city gates. Come with me now and prepare for the second round.”
After this, the examinees who had passed the first test followed behind Hogan, walking towards the depths of Kirst’s Royal Academy.
Fang Xingjian estimated the number of people around him and noticed that there was a total of only around three hundred people who had passed the first round.