Chapter 1: Knight Examination (I)
The town of Odin contained 3000 households, was located at the southern border of the Temple Alliance and counted itself as one of the biggest villages under the city of Hao Yue.
The morning sun was rising, its bright and warm touch carefully nurturing the earth, as if calling for everyone to wake up. At this 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.
“Tell me, why do you want to become knights?” A vigorous, powerful voice, a hint of metallic, rang.
“To defend humanity, to defend the kind hearted, to defend the Temple Alliance, to defend our families.” The voices answering the question sounded young and were coordinated. Clearly, it was not the first time they had answer to this question.
This two story building was the Knight Temple Hall of the town of Odin, abbreviated as Odin Hall, the place where potential children are selected to undergo training to become knights.
Today, a little more than 30 children were attending the selection test to become the most basic squire. Only after they became a squire could they proceed to study and practice there.
The master of the vigorous sound is a tall, burly middle aged strongly built man. He was called Balza and was the chief knight teacher of Odin Hall. Reportedly, when he was in his prime, he was very, very close to becoming a Genuine Knight.
“Tell me, what are the standards of a knight?” Balza severely glared at the bunch of kids ranging from 8 to 10 years old.
Once more, the answer was coordinated, “Modesty, honesty, compassion, courage, fairness, sacrifice, honor, perseverance, love, and justice”.
Balza nodded, satisfied, “Good, all of you here have already practiced for one year, today we will hold the examination. Squires are classified from the first to tenth level, corresponding to a spiritual energy between ten and a hundred. Your task of today will be to attain at least a spiritual energy of above ten and thus becoming a first level squire. All those who successfully pass this exam will be able to remain here and practice for three more years and then participate in a final assessment to become an official knight. Only after you become, like me, an official knight, can you be considered as a genuine member of the Temple. Now let’s begin, Jiang Hu!”
“Yes.” A youth with a quite big stature walked forward, taking out the wooden sword strapped to his back.
All these youths had the same equipment: a wooden sword with a length of a meter, a width of a third of a meter and a thickness of two thirds of a meter. The examination for becoming squire was simple: in front of Balza was something that seemed like a big wooden block connected to a stone grove. Within that stone groove was a stone bead. Hitting the block of wood would make the stone bead vibrate and judging from the height in which the stone bead rebounded, the spiritual energy was determined. This could be considered an outdated method to evaluate the spiritual energy but it was very precise when evaluating spiritual energies below 100.
Spiritual energy, in Sheng Mou Da Lu was the main factor used in evaluating everyone’s ‘rank’ in their occupation, whether they are knights, magician, or any other profession, the level of the spiritual energy being used as the main factor for assessing their strength. The 10th level was generally the average spiritual energy level for normal adult males.
“Aahh——” Jiang Hu shouted loudly and with both hands grasping the wooden sword, he swung it fiercely onto the block of stone.
“*Bang*” The stone bean moved up and down.
Balza nodded, satisfied, and took from his hand the name register as he said, “Jiang Hu, spiritual energy 13th level, you pass. Next one…”
This examination was quickly carried on and in an instant, half of the people had already finished, the ones who succeeded being about half of them.
“Long Hao Chen.” As he calls this name, Balza unconsciously lowered his head. Before him is a thin young body’s figure.
This young boy looked a little malnourished compared to the others: he was quite thin but had a handsome face.
With naturally supple eyebrows, big eyes, long eyelashes, a straight nose, a white skin and thick lips, even though he was only 8 or 9 years old, he was beautiful enough to make women jealous of him, especially because of his black hair in combination with his pair of dark blue eyes. If he were to crossdress, he would become a national-level beauty.
Long Hao Cheng 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 softened slightly. He nodded, saying:
Drawing out his sword, Long Hao Cheng took a deep breath and suddenly swung it with full force and hit the block of stone.
With a puff sound, the stone bean bounced; but it obviously did not reach ten graduations.
Balza immediately frowns, “Spiritual energy level of nine, you don’t pass.”
From the speed of the slash from Long Hao Chen’s sword that he saw, he could see that Long Hao Cheng had really used all his power and gone all out, but, he could still not pass the examination to become squire.
Long Hao Chen’s pretty face became flushed and looking at Balza, he said pleadingly, “Instructor, I, I…”
Balza slightly sighed and said, “Go down.”
Long Hao Chen 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 Hao Chen suddenly became silent but the determination in his eyes persisted. Balza noticed the expression in his eyes and at the same moment, he could not help but stare blankly at Long Hao Cheng. 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 Hao Chen 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 unexpectedly kneels down.
Balza was flabbergasted. The youths were also flabbergasted. To these kids that were eight to nine 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 it couldn’t be the case for Long Hao. Because, even though Long Hao may seem thin and weak, during this 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 tied as a 10th ranked Standard Knight but he had already been an instructor for ten years and Long Hao Chen was the most diligent student he had ever seen. This boy never needed to be supervised and not only trained hard every day, but also was good to everyone and helped his fellow trainees whenever they asked him for help.
This is also why when arriving at Long Hao Chen’s turn, Balza’s look became gentle. But the fact that Long Hao Chen didn’t pass the exam took him aback. If such a diligent child didn’t pass the examination, the only explanation would be that he didn’t have any talent.
1. (TL Note: Sheng Mou Da Lu : The name of the mainland (recurrent thing to call something Da Lu the name of the place where the story takes place in Chinese novels), it literally means Magical Continent.