Chapter 1: Knight Examination (I)
Odin Town, containing 3,000 households, was located at the southern border of the Temple Alliance and counted itself as one of the biggest villages under the city of Haoyue.
As the morning sun was rising, its bright and warm touch carefully nurtured the earth, as if calling for everyone to wake up. At that time, at the center of Odin, in a relatively big two-story building of more than a thousand square meters, an examination was going on.
A vigorous, powerful, and somewhat rough voice, rang out. “Tell me, why do you want to become knights?”
“To defend humanity! To defend the kind hearted! To defend the Temple Alliance! To defend our families!” The voices that answered the question sounded young and were coordinated. Clearly, it was not the first time they had answered that question.
That two story building was the Knight Temple Hall of the Odin Town, abbreviated as Odin Hall. It’s the place where potential children are selected to undergo training to become knights.
Today, a little more than thirty children were attending the selection test to become the most basic knight, the Knight Squire. Only after they became a Knight Squire could they continue studying and cultivating there.
The master of the vigorous voice was a tall, burly, middle-aged, strongly built man. His name was Balza and he was the Chief Knight Teacher of Odin Hall. Reportedly, he was, in his prime, reputed to be very, very close to becoming a Genuine Knight.
Balza severely glared at the bunch of kids ranging from eight to ten years old, “Tell me, what are the standards of a knight?”
Once more, the answer was coordinated, “Modesty! Honesty! Compassion! Courage! Fairness! Sacrifice! Honor! Perseverance! Humility! Justice!”
Balza nodded, satisfied, “Good! All of you here have already been training for one year. Today, we will hold the examination. Knight Squires are classified from the 1st to 10th rank, corresponding to a spiritual energy between 10 and 100. Your task, today, will be to attain at least a spiritual energy of above 10 and thus become a Knight Squire of first rank. All those who successfully pass this exam will be able to remain here and train for three more years before participating in a final assessment to become an official knight. Only after you become an official knight, like me, can you be considered a genuine member of the Temple. Now, let’s begin! Jiang Hu!”
“Yes.” A youth with a big stature walked forward as he removed the wooden sword that was strapped to his back.
All these youths had the same equipment: a wooden sword that was a meter in length, with a width of ten centimeter and a thickness of six centimeters. The examination for becoming Knight Squire was simple: in front of Balza was something that looked like a big wooden block connected to a stone groove. Within that stone groove was a stone bead. By hitting the block of wood, the stone bead would vibrate and the amount of spiritual energy one has would be determined by how high the stone bead jumped. This could be considered an outdated method to evaluate one’s spiritual energy, but it was very precise when evaluating spiritual energies below 100.
Spiritual energy, in Shengmou Dalu was the main factor used in evaluating everyone’s ‘rank’ in their occupation. It didn’t matter if they were knights, magicians, or any other profession, the level of the spiritual energy being used was the main factor for assessing one’s strength. 10 was generally the average spiritual energy level for normal adult males.
“Aahh—!” Jiang Hu shouted loudly, with both hands grasping the wooden sword, as he fiercely swung it against the wooden block.
Bang! The stone bead moved up, then down.
Balza nodded, satisfied, and registered his name in a sheet of paper as he declared, “Jiang Hu, spiritual energy level: 13, you pass! Next one…”
The examination was quickly carried out and, in an instant, half of the people had already finished. Those who succeeded were about half of them.
When he called the name, Balza unconsciously lowered his head. Before him was a thin young boy’s figure.
The young boy looked a little malnourished, compared to the others. He was quite thin, but had a handsome face.
He had naturally supple eyebrows, big eyes, long eyelashes, a straight nose, white skin and thick lips. Even though he was only eight or nine years old, he was beautiful enough to make women jealous of him; especially because of his black hair combined with his pair of dark blue eyes. If he were to crossdress, he would become a nation-level beauty.
Long Haochen went up in front of Balza, but did not take out his wooden sword like the others. Instead, he placed his right hand on his chest and bowed, saluting Balza.
Balza’s originally serious look slightly softened. He nodded, and instructed, “Start!”
Drawing his sword, Long Haochen took a deep breath and suddenly swung it with all his might, hitting the wooden block.
With a puff sound, the stone bead bounced; but it obviously did not reach the tenth division.
Balza immediately frowns, “Spiritual energy level: 9. You don’t pass.”
From the speed of the slash from Long Haochen’s sword that he saw, he could see that Long Haochen truly did use all of his power and had gone all out; but, he still could not pass the examination to become Knight Squire.
Long Haochen’s pretty face became flushed and, while looking at Balza, he said pleadingly, “Instructor, I… I…”
Balza slightly sighed and said, “Go down.”
Long Haochen eagerly repeated, “Instructor, give me another chance. I will definitely pass!”
Balza scowled, saying, “But, that would be unfair to the others who didn’t pass.”
Long Haochen suddenly became silent, but the determination in his eyes persisted. Balza noticed the expression in his eyes and at the same moment, he couldn’t help staring blankly at Long Haochen. What is that? Perseverance? The Perseverance described in the Ten Standards of a Knight? The Ten Standards of a Knight are the ten essences of the knights. Even some Genuine Knights are unable to display some of these ten essences, but this kid before my eyes…
While Balza was lost in his thoughts, Long Haochen turned to face the other examinees and using a very sincere tone towards the ones who trained alongside with him for the past year, declared, “I beg of you, give me another chance.”
As he pleaded, he had, unexpectedly, knelt down.
Balza was flabbergasted. The youths were also flabbergasted. To these kids that were eight to ten years old, it was fundamentally impossible to understand why Long Hao Chen was so persistent.
Balza’s eyes widened, if it was another kid, he would have believed that the kid was greedy or cowardly, but that couldn’t be the case for Long Haochen.
Because, even though Long Haochen may seem thin and weak, during that past year’s training, amongst all of the kids, he was the most assiduous one. Not only did he perfectly accomplish the mandatory training everyday, he also came an hour earlier and left an hour later.
Balza was a Standard Knight of the 10th rank, but he had already been an instructor for ten years and Long Haochen was the most diligent student he had ever seen. That boy never needed to be supervised. Not only did he train hard every day, he was also good to everyone and helped his fellow trainees, whenever they asked him for help.
That was also why, when it was Long Haochen’s turn, Balza’s look became gentle. But the fact that Long Haochen didn’t pass the exam took him aback. If such a diligent child didn’t pass the examination, the only explanation would be a total lack of talent.