Chapter 42 - Promotional Examination!
Chapter 42 - Promotional Examination!
The Medicine Master’s Pavilion, which was located south of the Scented Cloud Mountain, was surrounded by the thick foliage of green trees. A small, winding trail, filled with limestones, lead to the main path on the Scented Cloud Mountain. Except for the times when a promotional examination was being held, the Medicine Master’s Pavilion was usually devoid of people.
Other than those participating in the promotional examination, most of the attendees were either their friends or those that wanted to participate in the examination but were not confident of their abilities and were therefore hoping to gain experience from observing the participants.
From afar, the Medicine Master’s Pavilion looked very similar to a person seated cross-legged in meditation, and there was even a huge pill furnace in front it. The underside of the furnace was hollow and a large hole was dug through the furnace for people to access the public arena of the pavilion.
There were 20 identical pill furnaces that were placed in the public arena, and in each of the furnaces, there was a bag that contained the ingredients required for medicine refinement.
At the crack of dawn, Bai Xiaochun had already arrived at the public arena because he had been worried that he might get lost again. However, upon reaching his destination, he realised that there were numerous people that had already arrived before him. All of them were quietly having their own discussions in groups of twos and threes, and a few others that were more reclusive were mediating while sitting cross-legged.
Bai Xiaochun was clearly not keen to just meaninglessly wait for the promotion examination to begin. He took a quick glance at the crowd and unexpectedly saw Xu Baocai who noticed him as well. He quickly cupped his fist in the other hand, greeting Bai Xiaochun, and the two of them made some small talk, most of which were news about sect disciples that Xu Baocai had found out recently.
“Senior Bai, have you heard? Chen Fei and two of his men encountered unknown enemies when they were away six months ago, and they were beaten up so badly by their enemies that they are still recovering from their injuries even now. For some unknown reasons, the three of them unexpectedly insisted on not revealing who were the culprits.” Xu Baocai said while he sized up Bai Xiaochun.
Bai Xiaochun chuckled and just when he was about to brag, the crowd suddenly got noisier. He had a gut feeling that he was being watched, so he quickly turned his head to the side and saw a lady on a narrow road approaching him in big strides.
That lady was wearing the long robes of the Outer Sect but they were unable to conceal the enchanting figure underneath. Her waist was as thin as a willow and the alluring curves outlined by her robe made her a beauty incomparable to others, especially her long, slender legs. As she drew nearer to Bai Xiaochun, the crowd was increasingly anxious while waiting.
The lady’s appearance was even more alluring than just that; she had a snow white skin, as delicate as glass. From head to toe, she was absolutely perfect, and her irresistable charm had caused all the disciples to fall head over heels for her.
The crowd was bewitched by the lady to the point Bai Xiaochun even heard the people around him swallowing their saliva when they looked at her, especially Xu Baocai. Seeing him like this, Bai Xiaochun held him in contempt.
“It’s Senior Sister Du Lingfei… One of the five great beauties from the South Bank... She is the goddess in my heart… Oh! She is looking at me now!” Xu Baocai licked his lips, his eyes revealing his infatuation for her. He spoke softly as he suddenly grew excited.
“She is looking at me!” Bai Xiaochun said to Xu Baocai with disdain.
As Du Lingfei approached them, she glared at Bai Xiaochun, her eyes evidently filled with anger. Even though she was convinced of Bai Xiaochun’s mastery in herbs and plants, she still had an unspeakable hatred for him as a person. Du Lingfei snorted softly and moved to the other side of the road.
Xu Baocai’s eyes remained locked on Du Lingfei, and in his muddled mind, he ignored Bai Xiaochun’s look of disdain. He was more obsessed about Du Lingfei than ever.
“Du Lingfei must also be here for the promotional examination….” Bai Xiaochun thought to himself as he glanced at the twenty pill furnaces on the public arena, settling his heart.
“It’s alright, I’m not competing with her for the first place anyway. This time around, it’s a promotional examination and anyone skilled enough can pass and be promoted.”
Not long after, Chen Zi’ang appeared too. When he noticed Bai Xiaochun, he hesitated for a moment before greeting him with a smile, whom also returned the greeting to Chen Zi’ang, and then sat cross-legged at a side to await for the start of the promotional examination.
Zhao Yiduo, the disciple Bai Xiaochun met at the Mission Exchange Pavilion, was also there at the public arena. Gradually, the crowd got bigger as more people arrived for the promotional examination.
Soon after, the main gate of the Medicine Master’s Pavilion creaked open and a white-haired elder walked out of the gate. He had a profound look in his eyes and the crowd fell silent the moment they saw him.
He appeared expressionless as he clasped both of his hands behind his back. He slowly walked toward the arena and sluggishly scanned the crowd before nodding his head and speaking in an unhurried manner.
“My surname is Xu, the host of this Spirit Child to Medicine Apprentice promotional examination.”
“There are two components to this examination, namely, the herbs and plants test and medicine refinement.” Elder Xu seemed to be reluctant to say more and shut his eyes, ignoring everyone else after his short speech.
At the beginning, there was nobody that went up the public arena. A short moment later, a young lad with an ordinary appearance came out of the crowd. He greeted Elder Xu from afar before heading straight to the arch that was shaped like a pill furnace.
Right when he neared the arch, there was a flash of light that shrouded him before quickly fading away. The pill furnace shook violently and five notes sounded.
“Those five notes means that the young lad has attained the fifth volume of herbs and plants mastery…” Xu Baocai, being a knowledgeable person, told Bai Xiaochun softly.
Bai Xiaochun was a little taken aback because before he arrived here, he was unaware that the promotional examination would be conducted this way. After he heard what Xu Baocai had said, he curiously measured the size of the pill furnace that was made of stone. He had a gut feeling that those pill furnaces were somewhat related to the stone steles in the Ten Thousand Medicine Pavilion.
“What should I do…. that bunch of Zhou Xinqi admirers are looking for me…” Bai Xiaochun was a little hesitant.
Participants went towards the arch in quick succession and all of them revealed the attainment of the fifth volume of herbs. However, when one of the participant approached it, only four notes were heard. Elder Xu florished his sleeves and told the disciple to immediately leave.
“Elder Xu, weren’t participants only required an attainment of the fourth volume of herbs to enter the promotional examination in the past?” the rejected discipline’s expression changed and anxiously asked.
“The rules have changed, only those who have attained the fifth volume may enter.”
“This…” The young disciple was stunned for a moment. He had a bitter look in his eyes as he bade farewell to Elder Xu. He quietly left as he dared not say more.
Everyone in the crowd focused their attention on the incident and many started whispering about it. Xu Baocai was also flabbergasted and he quickly took out a notebook to record the new rule. Bai Xiaochun took a peek at the notebook and realised that all the thickly dotted words in it were records of every major and minor news in the sect. Bai Xiaochun had some admiration for Xu Baocai when he saw how serious he was about it.
At this moment, Zhao Yiduo stood up and walked toward the arch. There was a loud echo and six notes sounded out. Elder Xu widened his eyes and nodded his head slightly. Zhao Yiduo cupped his hands together to bid Elder Xu farewell and left the arch.
Chen Zi’ang eyes brightly shone; he had always been on bad terms with Zhao Yiduo. At this instance, he scoffed and took big strides towards arch. After a rumble, six notes were heard as well.
Chen Zi’ang gave a ‘tit for tat’ look at Zhao Yiduo and went to sit cross-legged beside the pill furnace.
One after another, people in the crowd turned green with envy after learning that Chen Zi’ang and Zhao Yiduo had both attained mastery over the sixth volume of herbs. At the same time, Du Lingfei’s eyes lit up and walked towards the arch. After another rumble, echoes of six notes were heard as well. Onlookers in the crowd got even more envious.
“The trio of Chen Zi’ang, Zhao Yiduo and Du Lingfei from the Outer Sect are outstanding talents of our generation. Not only have they fully mastered the fifth volume of herbs and plants, they have also fully grasped the first volume of spirit beasts mastery. For this promotional examination, there is almost a seventy to eighty percent chance for them to become a Medicine Apprentices.”
“In the past, for participants who had appeared on the sixth stone stele for spirit beasts, so long as they did not perform too poorly in the medicine refinement, they would most likely succeed in their promotion.”
While the crowd was discussing, Bai Xiaochu clenched his teeth as he chose to ignore the bunch of Zhou Xinqi admirers. Right before he made his way toward the arch, suddenly, a silhouette appeared in the distance. Within a blink of an eye, it reached the public arena. The silhouette was that of a young lad who had very messy hair, but his eyes were bright and lively.
“I, Han Jianye, have kept myself in seclusion for seven years and I have finally acomplished mastery over herbs and plants. Now that I have come out of seclusion, not only do I intend to be promoted to a medicine apprentice, I intend to be the first medicine apprentice in this examination!” he said proudly. In a flash, he abruptly rushed straight toward the arch.
Elder Xu did not take notice of him and kept his eyes closed as usual, however, one by one, the people in the surrounding were astonished when they heard Han Jianye’s name.
“Who is Han Jianye? I have never heard of his name.”
“Based on his age, he should be an outer sect disciple from seven to eight years ago… his wish to become the first medicine apprentice is too difficult to achieve.”
When the crowd was still restless, Han Jianye walked towards the arch. He had a proud expression and was full of confidence as he stepped into the arch. At the instance he stepped into the arch, there was a sudden rumble and another set of notes echoed.
One, two…, five, six, seven… Before the crowd could even react, an eighth note echoed from the pill furnace.
Elder Xu’s eyes opened in a flash. When he looked at the young lad, he showed a smile, and in his eyes, there was a look of praise directed at Han Jianye.
“Fifth volume of herbs and plants, third volume of spirit beasts. Not bad!”
Han Jianye was elated. He cupped his fist to bid farewell to Elder Xu and turned his body to take a glance at Du Lingfei and the others. He was full of himself, and after flourishing his sleeves, he chose to seat cross-legged beside the most central pill furnace.
At this moment, one after another, everyone in the crowd inhaled deeply and exclaimed in surprise.
“Only when a person has fully mastered herbs and plants and has attained mastery of the third volume of spirit beasts will eight notes sound out!”
“Now it does not seem as impossible as when Han Jianye said he wanted to be the first medicine apprentice in this examination!”
Bai Xiaochun felt indifferent from what he saw, but he found it strange when he saw how surprised the crowd was.
“Isn’t it just the third volume of spirit beasts, why are these people making such a big fuss out of it?” Bai Xiaochun, being shocked, asked Xu Baocai. He recalled there were thousands of people that had attained mastery of the third volume of spirit beast stone steles, and even if it was the number ten stone steles, there were already hundreds of people that have surpassed it.
Xu Baocai rolled his eyes, deep down in his heart, he despised Bai Xiaochun but dared not to reveal it to him in person. Xu Baocai coughed dryly and began talking.
“Senior Bai, you don’t understand. It is difficult to attain mastery of the fifth volume of herbs and plants and to achieve the same for spirit beasts is even more difficult. If one achieved the sixth volume, people would be envious of that achievement; to have reached the eighth volume will naturally lead to people being surprised and awed. Do you think everyone is as exceptionally talented as Zhou Xinqi and that Little Turtle? Let’s not even talk about them; out of the thousands of disciples in Scented Cloud Mountain, there are less than fifty who have attained mastery of the fifth volume herbs and spirit beasts!”
“Of the fifty, all of them are dragons among men. If you take a look at those stone steles in the Ten Thousand Medicine Pavilion, even though there are many names on it, in reality, in that thousand-year-old name list, there are quite a few names of cultivators that are already Inner Sect disciples. What is left on the steles is the rank they attained during their youth!”
“In addition, for this kind of promotional examination, it only requires a person to produce the fifth note, but there is someone that joined the examination only after he was able to produce the eighth note. It is evident that he wants to be the number one medicine apprentice and earn five thousand contribution points.” Xu Baocai finished his sentence with a scornful tone that was belittling Bai Xiaochun. However, Bai Xiaochun was not concerned about it at all, instead, he looked elated at Xu Baocai and asked.
“Just now you mentioned that Zhou Xinqi and the Little Turtle are exceptional talents. Are they really that formidable?”
“Of course, especially the Little Turtle who really surprised people. He is the first in a thousand years to be ranked first on all ten stone steles. Senior Bai, please allow me to advise you to not bite off more than what you can chew.” Deep inside his heart, Xu Baocai despised Bai Xiaochun even more. Right after Xu Baocai finished speaking, Bai Xiaochun laughed. The more he looked at Xu Baocai, the more he felt that this Xu Baocai looked even more pleasing to the eyes. He patted Xu Baocai’s shoulders and walked away.
Xu Baocai stared blankly at Bai Xiaochun as he saw him walk towards the arch. He was only slightly flabbergasted because he recalled that Bai Xiaochun was a reputable figure in herbs and plants, and after defeating Du Lingfei, joining this promotional examination was reasonable.
A brief moment later, both of Xu Baocai’s eyes widened when he saw a brilliant ray of light, followed by thunderous sounds that reverberated throughout the surroundings when Bai Xiaochun entered the arch with big strides
One, two, three… six, seven, and eight!
The surroundings fell completely silent but the thunderous sound did not stop as it continued to sound the ninth note until… the tenth note!
At the second the tenth note was heard, Elder Xu’s eyes suddenly opened widely, revealing an unprecedented look; he locked his eyes onto Bai Xiaochun. Even Elder Xu himself was astonished by Bai Xiaochun’s talent.
Out of thousands of disciples on the Scented Cloud Mountain, there were not many that had attained fifth volume in both herbs and plants mastery and spirit beast mastery, and those disciples had joined the promotional examination long ago. For someone to have the patience to join the examination only after attaining mastery of the tenth volume of herbs and plants as well as spirit beasts, Elder Xu had not seen anyone do it before, not until today.
Even Zhou Xinqi joined the promotional examination when she reached the ninth stone stele.
Du Lingfei widened her eyes and stared blankly at Bai Xiaochun. She knew that Bai Xiaochun’s mastery in herbs and plants was better than hers, but she had never imagined Bai Xiaochun’s skills to be so superior to hers, to the point where he had complete mastery of herbs and plants and spirit beast to everyone’s shock.
There was a buzz in her head and she fell into a daze as images of the past floated in her mind. She recalled the time when she had a minor competition against Bai Xiaochun, she willingly suggested to compete in herbs and plants. Bai Xiaochun was prudent and asked of Du Lingfei’s ranking with an apprehensive look on his face. When he agreed to the competition, he had an anxious look on his face.
“BAI, XIAO, CHUN!” Du Lingfei furiously clenched her teeth. At this moment, she finally understood that during that time, Bai Xiaochun was probably laughing at her from the bottom of his heart.
Both Chen Zi’ang and Zhao Yiduo also took a deep breath, and when they turned their gaze toward Bai Xiaochun, they were stunned and stood there, expressionless.
As for Han Jianye who had went into seclusion for years, his body trembled and he menacingly glared at Bai Xiaochun. There was a huge buzz in his mind and he already classified Bai Xiaochun as the biggest enemy in his lifetime.
“The importance of this medicine apprentice promotional examination lies in medicine refinement. Even though Bai Xiaochun is strong, I don’t believe he can compete with me in medicine refinement! I have been in seclusion for seven years just to be the number one in this examination!”
Meanwhile, the observing outer sect disciples inhaled deeply. The cries of surprise and even alarm from the crowd were even louder than before, to the point where some even lost their voice.
“It’s actually… ten notes. Doesn’t that mean that he has already attained mastery of the fifth volume of spirit beasts in the Ten Thousand Medicine Pavilion? Among all the outer sect disciples in Scented Cloud Mountain, there are less than fifty that can achieve that!”
“This guy is too good at restraining himself. He actually joined the promotional examination only after he passed the tenth stone steles in the Ten Thousand Medicine Pavilion!”
2/4 guaranteed chapter of the week.
Translated by: Kah Keng
TLCed by: Nat Nat
Edited by: Arch, Crimsonguard