Chapter 7 – Joining the faction.
Time moved quickly and in another thirty minutes the test was completed. Of the two hundred prospects that made their way here only seventy eight of them had managed to pass, those who failed would either have to try again next year or find another academy that was still accepting students.
Elder Bol with a face full of smiles walked to the middle of the platform and announced the top three prospects,
“ This year’s top three talents are, Kaz Tar Aldarion in first, Arfil Kane in second and in third Hera Illan. Now, step forward and choose the faction you will call home for the remainder of your stay here.”
Kaz was the first to step forward and under the hot gaze of Elder Bol, he couldn’t help but cough twice.
“I would be honoured to be a part of the Absolute Burning Plane.” said Kaz as he deeply bowed towards Bol, cupping his hands in respect.
The representatives of the other factions sighed as they watched this expected scene.
Bol let out a laugh as he nodded in satisfaction. “Good choice! Good choice!” he repeated.
Kaz also laughed but inside he was rolling his eyes,
“More like only choice.”
“Next Arfil, state your choice.” shouted Bol in a less friendly manner.
“Junior wishes to join the Scorpion Ice Spring.”
As he finished saying these words, a newly arrived Elder laughed heartily. This Elder was the one the representative had sent for to make sure that Arfil joined their faction.
“Junior is fortunate. I’ve been meaning to take on a disciple, what do you say to following me?” said the Elder as he stroked his long bushy beard.
The audience including the disciples of the Scorpion Ice Spring all exclaimed in shock, envy and jealousy in their voice.
“Elder Umran, a soul-compression master is taking on a disciple!”
Even Bol was slightly shocked but after taking one more look at Kaz, a smug expression laced his face.
“One is a true lion and the other is just a cat hidden in the shadows roaring powerfully. Given enough time my lion will locate your tiny kitty and devour him.” thought Bol.
“Junior vows to eternally follow Master.” shouted Arfil as he knelt on the ground.
“Good, Very good. From today, we are Master and Disciple.” smiled Elder Umran.
“Ok! Hera Illan, step forward and make your choice.” commanded Bol.
The beautiful red haired young lady stepped up and in a shy, gentle voice spoke out,
Hera struggled to finish her incomprehensible sentence however as soon as she did, an old woman directly jumped onto the platform and hugged her.
“Don’t worry, aunty will take you back to the garden. The longer you stay here, the more these filthy people will defile your pure countenance.”
Bol glared at the old woman,
“Hmph! Such an old woman dares to call herself aunty!? You’re old enough to have given birth to seven of her and you still have such thick skin.”
The old woman smiled sweetly as she turned towards Bol,
“Speak one more word and see if I don’t castrate you. Just because you have that Fire Sage behind your faction doesn’t mean you have the qualifications to talk to me.”
Bol felt a cold chill run down his spine, he suddenly gulped down some saliva and hesitantly took a step back.
Although the Absolute Burning Plane was undoubtedly the strongest and highest ranked faction in the Eclipse Academy, there were still some other factions whose ranking did not express their true power.
The Eternal Sun Garden was an example of such a faction. The faction ranking used the number of disciples and experts in a particular faction to judge their ranking however, when it came to the Eternal Sun Garden this way of judging was completely wrong.
Currently it was ranked seventh but this was only because it had the fewest members. The reason for their small number of disciples was because in order to join, one needed to have the nature attribute. This attribute was extremely rare and only appeared in people with good and kind hearted souls, thus it was impossible for the Eternal Sun Garden to steadily grow larger like other factions.
The leader of the Garden was an old woman whose cultivation was said to be only slightly lower than the Fire Sage and the other two Elders were also powerful soul-compression experts but because of their only fifty members compared to the hundreds of other factions, their ranking slipped to seventh when in actuality their strength was far above that.
The old female Elder waved her hand and ignored Bol. She then grabbed hold of Hera’s hand and whisked her away at a speed that the naked eye could no longer follow.
Bol looked around and cleared his throat in embarrassment,
“The stage is now open to all factions. According to rank, step up and select your new disciples.”
Bol then turned to Kaz and before he could react, Kaz found himself outside the Hall.
Elder Bol waited for Kaz to calm down and then patted him on the back,
“Let’s go, I’ll take you to register at the main house.”
Kaz softly sighed as he finally accepted that what was happening was no mistake. He had his doubts but after coming this far, there was no way that Elder Bol would be foolish enough to poorly assess his talent. So then why? Why did he still feel like this wasn’t anything special?
This was the first time people had acknowledged him for his martial talent and yet he felt nothing, there was no excitement, no pride, no happiness, there was no feeling at all.
“Ah, little brother. Do you mind telling senior about that fire energy?” asked Bol slightly ashamed.
In truth, asking such things was demeaning for someone with the high status of Elder but for something like what Kaz displayed, Bol was prepared to throw all such ideals out the window.
Kaz opened his mouth to say something but no words came out. What was he to say? He himself didn’t fully understand how he was able to do the things he did, it just came naturally like breathing or eating.
Seeing the expression on Kaz’s face Bol immediately thought of something,
“Forget what I just asked. Such things must be your clans greatest secrets, this Senior has made a mistake.”
However before Kaz could reply Bol had another question pop into his mind,
“Eh! If I’m not mistaken, isn’t it the Northern Branch that specialises in fire and not the Southern Branch?”
This time Kaz just remained silent hoping that this old Elder would come to his own conclusion once again.
“Oh! Never mind, never mind. Family is family, I’m sure any clan would nurture a great talent like little brother once they realised how special you are.” This Elder really didn’t disappoint and thankfully he didn’t know too much about the relations between the Branches of the Divine Tiger Clan.
“Family is Family!” These words repeated themselves in Kaz’s heart.
“It is better to be strangers than to be a member of a clan like ours.” mused Kaz as he followed behind Bol.
Bol on the other hand kept asking questions and answering them himself.
“The ability to attract elemental power must mean the soul is fiery and noble right?”
“No...wait, this can’t be connected to souls but rather the method of cultivation! Little brother what base technique do you cultivate?”
Not giving Kaz a chance to answer he suddenly slapped himself on the forehead,
“No..this can’t be right. The base technique doesn’t hold such power, maybe it has something to do with little brother’s birth? Did you happen to be born on the day the planets aligned and the planes intersected!?”
Kaz smiled wryly hoping this old man would just stop, his various theories were starting to give him a headache.
“Wait...such a grand occurrence like the planes intersecting hasn’t happened for a thousand years, this is also not the reason. Could it be little brother is an adopted son and your true father is an elemental titan?” wondered Bol.
Kaz almost tripped as he heard those words,
“Me an illegitimate child? Bastard, truly shameless!” cursed Kaz. He didn’t dare shout out these words but inside the rage and anger grew to the point that he could almost spit out blood.
Elder Bol suddenly noticed Kaz’s threatening gaze stabbing him from behind,
“Hehe..little brother. It looks like this Senior has been talking too much, I didn’t even notice that we had arrived already.”