Chapter 4 – Selection.
The next day, a message was sent to all who were taking the test for the Battle Arts programme. They were to immediately make their way and gather at the Hall of Rights building.
From what Heroe had told Kaz, the Hall of Rights was where all the major functions of the Battle sector would be held and apparently it was really huge.
At the moment the two friends Kaz and Heroe were walking on the stone paved road, chatting leisurely.
“Big bro, there’s no need for you to be so down. Unless the teachers are blind, there’s no way they would fail to select you.” said Heroe with confidence.
Kaz forced a smile as he sighed. This little brother of his hadn’t stopped talking since last night, it seemed like he wanted to erase the worry in Kaz’s heart but instead only ended up making him unable to remove the fact that he had to display his abilities in front of many distinguished people from his mind.
The parting words from his father repeated themselves in his mind,
“Don’t let down the name of Tar!”
If he didn’t meet the expectations of those that respected his family’s name then in the end he would be running the Tar name through the mud.
Heroe put his arm around Kaz whispering,
“Even if we don’t put on the best performance, these people have to give our families face. So just rest easy, everything will be fine.”
Listening to these words, Kaz couldn’t help but frown. This was the one side of Heroe that he absolutely could not stand. He was born into a powerful royal family thus his potential was definitely abnormal, however his absurd laziness and complete disregard for learning drag him down.
“Let’s stop talking about this.” said Kaz as he shrugged Heroes arm off.
The two thus continued walking in awkward silence, both of them feeling wronged.
“I was only trying to help.” thought Heroe.
It didn’t take long for the Hall to appear in their sights, and just as Heroe had described, it was indeed large. It resembled an oval dome and had five entrances all of which led to different areas.
This time all of the prospects were being directed towards the third gate which was the smallest area of the five. Despite this though, the number of prospects who came to take the test didn’t even fill a quarter of the total space. This wasn’t because the dome was just too huge but rather the numbers of people taking the test were just too few.
After all when all was said and done, the Eclipse academy didn’t specialise in battle arts but instead focused on inscription arts. This meant that the best talents went to the Night Dragon Academy but even then it was still good enough to rank in the top five thus they only accepted the cream of the crop and when today was done, probably half of the roughly two hundred youths gathered in the Hall would be gone.
An Elder stood on a wide platform in the middle of the hall. He wore a dark red robe that had the image of a flame on his sleeves. He had the appearance of a middle aged man but the grey hair and wispy white beard told a different tale.
“It looks like we have quite the many seeds this year. Good, Good! When your name is called come to the platform with your identification form, the other representatives of the different factions should be arriving shortly. I’ll announce the rules when they do.”
Just as the Elder finished speaking, one by one the spectators seats started filling out with various people wearing different coloured clothes. Those wearing the same uniform sat closely together steering clear of the others.
Soon, half of the seats were full. The Elders were in the front row, with other spectators who came to view the new students sitting behind him in order of their power, a hierarchy of sorts.
When all were seated, the previous Elder walked back onto the stage.
“Now that everyone is present I’ll start by introducing the top five factions, the rest will make themselves known to you later.” The last part was said with a bit of contempt, clearly this Elder belonged to one of the top factions.
“First, the strongest and noblest of all factions the Absolute Burning Plane. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the current head of this faction, the great Fire Sage Gasul.”
Gasps and looks of shock could be seen and heard from the youths around Kaz. Even the Elders in the audience seemed to react with expressions of reverence at the mention of the Fire Sage.
“Next we have the Scorpion Ice Spring that has produced four soul-compression stage Elders and is definitely the best for people of the water attribute.”
The reaction although less than that of the Absolute Burning Plane was still great among those in the spectator’s seats.
This was to be expected as even a clan like the Divine Tiger Clan had at most fifteen soul- compression practitioners.
“Then we have the Emerald Earth Fortress, Three Leaf Towers and Dark Moon Temple.”
The youths taking the test trembled in anticipation. They knew that if any of the five factions picked them then they would definitely advance faster.
“I, Bol will be the judge of your talent and will rank you accordingly. If any of you make it into the top three then you can pick whatever faction you please. However, choose wisely even if it is allowed for you to join factions that don’t specialise in your attribute I urge you not to, as this will definitely be bad for you in the future.”
All the youths paid close attention to every word spoken by Elder Bol. Not only would he be the judge but, from his clothing and the way he spoke it was evident that Bol was an Elder of the Absolute Burning Plane, getting his favour would be vastly beneficial to them.
“The rules are simple, come to the platform when your name is called, shout out your name, attribute and current level of cultivation. Then you will be asked to display the most elementary technique of your attribute, using this I will judge your potential. However don’t dare try to cheat, even if you hail from Heaven itself you will still be met with punishment.”
Bol then walked of to the side and a pretty female youth dressed in yellow robes came forward.
“Disciple Jien of the Three Leaf Towers will be calling out your names, please listen carefully... Arfil Kane, step forward.”
A boy half a head shorter than Kaz walked out of the crowd of youths and onto the stage. His eyes seemed intelligent and his head was held high as he proudly walked onto the platform.
He bowed before Jien and shouted out,
“I am Arfil Kane, please look after me in the future!” This phrase caused snickers and low laughs to erupt from the audience.
“This Kane hasn’t even proved his worthy to be accepted and yet he already thinks he’s passed. What an arrogant fellow!” jeered an angry fellow in the audience.
Arfil ignored all of this as he continued,
“My attribute is that of water and I am currently at the 12th level.”
The crowd went silent but before they could properly react, Arfil stretched out his hand and a large spherical water ball the size of three huge basins appeared, hovering above the palm of his hand.
The representative Teacher of the Scorpion Ice Spring jumped to his feet as he stared at how leisurely Arfil handled the water ball.
“You there, go bring one of the Elders here.” whispered Teacher Ref, excitement plastered on his face.
His faction was the strongest and best for those of the water attribute and as such it was already a forgone conclusion who Arfil would be joining. However, to make sure nothing unexpected happened he needed an Elder’s reputation.
Kaz watched the gobsmacked youths around him, even Heroe was astonished and he could not help but roll his eyes.
“If these people met Silver what would their reaction be?” a sad laugh rang out in his heart.