Chapter 18: Preliminary Round
The airship began to reduce its elevation at dawn, as it was reaching its destination.
A ray of sunlight shined on Qian Ye. He had woken up a long time ago. Gently jumped out of the cab, he went to the side of the window and looked outside.
In front of his eyesight were the tilted ground and the trembling steel city covering the horizon as if it would have collapsed at any given time.
The most eye-catching view was a lofty tower located in the center of the city. The whole tower was covered in bright silver as its peak was spewing out white steam, making it look even taller and more mysterious as if its peak could have reached the clouds, over four thousand meters sky high! . The tower’s base was huge, covering three or four town squares.
It was the first time that Qian Ye had saw the heart of mankind’s city, the Eternal Agitation Tower. It was built with the cheapest Blackstone and cheapest steel but this tower was a miraculous machine running day and night providing energy for the entire city.
The airship slowly entered southwest of the city. An airship base slowly appeared with different styles of ships that were boarding. Some of them were small, with the bowsprit decorated with exquisite and complex coats of arms.
Of course, there were a lot of airships waiting for their entry permission to be approved. Therefore, many of them must line up and floated in circles in the sky waiting for its turn. From the driver’s complaints, Qian Ye figured out that in addition to passengers and goods, today, this giant airship was also carrying some Noble Family’s private airship and Royal coat of arms. Each of them nominated a monstrous power and was a symbol of wealth.
Xiang Yang was one of the permanent positions of the Imperial Army recruitment. Every year it would attract tens of thousands of young people coming from all directions of the universe. This year was particularly crowded. Many of them were Noble children because the recruitment team added into their list two monsters: Broken Winged Angel and Crimson Scorpion.
Military Merit was extremely valued at the Qin’s Empire. It was a shortcut for the Noble Families to let their children serve in the army. Moreover, for them, the Special Force Unit and high reputation were synonymous.
Moreover, the Broken Winged Angel and the Crimson Scorpion were two of the five permanently strongest armies of every year’s ranking list. Only those of such reputations could have attracted the Noble Families from thousands of miles away in bringing their children to this assessment.
Thanks to the fact that this airship was a military airship, it made a relatively high position to enter the base. Not until landing did Qian Ye realized the exciting atmosphere of this grand occasion.
The airship base wasn’t the only crowded place. Every corner of the street was packed with colorful flows of youths. Most of them were about twenty, confident, energetic and full of hope for the future. Outside of the base, numerous modes of transportations were lining up like an extensive dragon.
Shi Yan had started the heavy truck roaring out from the military base. Even amongst the various types of vehicles, the truck was still a big guy. Xiang Yang was the third military city of the Empire. Besides half the city’s neighborhood was the non-military control area, the rest of the city, from the ground road to the airway, were all set up as military dedicated stations.
Qian Ye’s eyes were chasing after the views from the window while they were driving on one of the roads in the military area. Unlike the training camp’s structure which were mainly about practicality and simplicity, both sides of the city’s architectural styles were of luxuries, but sturdy and imposing at the same time.
The battalions were at the end of the road. At the arch, Qian Ye could see a long line of people waiting for the registration from far away.
Shi Yan’s voice was so loud that it was almost like yelling at the registering officer from the crowd, “I want to go directly to the audit area!”
After showing the proof of his identity, he brought Qian Ye directly to the general headquarters. Shi Yan then helped him with the registration formalities. In the end, he handed Qian Ye a wooden tag with his name Lin Qian Ye engraved on it.
Looking at the ‘Lin’ word on his name tag, Qian Ye’s heart had an indescribable feeling. For the first time in this life, he felt like having some place that he belonged to. This word ‘Lin’ was not only imprinted on the nameplate but also branded on his heart.
Then, Qian Ye followed a soldier into a camp since Shi Yan couldn’t follow him to the assessment area.
Not until reaching inside of the camp did Qian Ye realize that this battalion was much bigger than it had looked from the outside of the arch.
Thousands of young people who had qualified for the basic screening inspection qualities were arranged into different barracks according to the number on their name tag. Tomorrow would be the day of the official assessment. They only had one day today to get rested and readied to bring their best into tomorrow.
Many youths were traveling by car or even through the airship agency that most of the civilians had used for public transportations. They were all powered by Blackstone steam engine, which their common features were in being noisy and bumpy. The long journey would have made them tired and even cause great damage to their physical strengths, therefore, would have affected their performance.
The Empire had always been fair in the military assessment. The children from the Noble Families rarely got favored.
This was also the basic foundations of the Empire. Otherwise, it would have turned into a disaster if a ‘useless dandy’ had joined the battlefield. Those Dark Races wouldn’t care if someone was a noble or not.
The Empire recruiting assessment had a total of three examinations: Force Cultivation, fighting skill, and firearms respectively.
After having dinner, the candidates came back to their units and went to bed. Qian Ye had been accustomed to obeying orders, and immediately fell asleep after the lights were turned off. However, the other candidates were too excited and nervous to sleep. Therefore, the two that came from the same city, quietly chatted through the night.
Qian Ye didn’t know for how long he had slept, he suddenly woke up and felt his heart trembling. He didn’t move at all, but in fact, all of his muscles were tightened up, ready at any time for a violent kill. His eyes were squinting, quietly watching the surroundings.
At this time, Qian Ye found that the small window by the door had appeared a middle-aged man. Nobody knew when he had got into the room, he was now watching everyone in the room expressionlessly!
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Except for Qian Ye, no one in the room had noticed the man! There was a candidate who had swept his eyes to the window, but it didn’t seem like he had figured it out at all.
That middle-aged man suddenly looked at Qian Ye, then turned away.
Not until he had disappeared did Qian Ye recover from the horror, and he could not fall back to sleep afterwards.
After leaving Qian Ye’s dorm, this middle-aged man immediately went into another one. When he finished examining all the dorms, the thick name list on his hands was almost full of cross marks by the names of the candidates, only a few names were marked with a number, from 1 to 9.
And Qian Ye’s name was marked with an asterisk. On that list, there were only fourteen names that had that mark.
Qian Ye did not know that he had inadvertently passed the first challenge.
The next morning, a thorny bell had awakened all the candidates from their sleep. Qian Ye with the rest of the candidates rushed out of the barracks, lined up in the court where they were divided into three groups and joined the exam rotationally.
Qian Ye’s group would take the firearms examination first.
The firearms provided to the candidates were just a general type of force gun, the power was reduced significantly, and the amount of force consumed also decreased. Even a First Level soldiers could have only fired up to six, seven shots. Only in this way, could they complete all the examination tasks. If it were a regular type, even the lowest level of firearms, even Qian Ye who had surpassed his generation in the condensation of Force would have had difficulties in completing all the shooting tasks.
Having finished checking the force gun, Qian Ye and the nine other candidates quickly got in position in front of the shooting lines separately aiming at ten targets over a hundred meters distance. All ten targets had pictures of Human-faced spiders on it.
As familiarizing with the weapons and waiting for the signal, a youth on the left of Qian Ye glanced at him, suddenly scratched his crotch and whistled, “Boy, know how to play with gun?”
He winked his eyes. This double meaning question was an obvious provocation.
Qian Ye looked at him, and calmly said, “Nope, but I had crushed a few before, wanna try?”
The youth suddenly burst out with laughs, “I’m so scared! Kid, do you know who I am, how dare you talk to me like that?”
“Your points won’t increase no matter who you are, will it?” Qian Ye asked calmly.
The youth’s face turned red and angrily said, “What an arrogant boy! Don’t talk in such an obscure way, We, the nobles won’t play those dirty tricks! Of course, I’ll win fairly and beautifully!
“Win against me? You must be kidding.” Qian Ye still kept the same calm expression that could have enraged people easily.
That young man’s face sank immediately, “Wanna bet?”
Qian Ye frowned his eyebrows and said, “What is it? I am not interested in small bets!”
The youth pulled off his necklace, showed it in front of Qian Ye. The necklace made of silver decorated with a thumb-sized hawk medal.
The youngster said, “This will be my bet! If I lose, it’ll be yours!”
Qian Ye reached out his hand, curiously inspected the medal and asked, “How do I use this?” His tone was like talking about something that was already his.
The youngster sneered angrily, “You sure you’ll win?”
Qian Ye nodded, “Of course.” Then asked the same question again, “How do I use this?”
The lad clenched his teeth angrily, “This is my pledge! You can request a favour from my family. As long as it’s something I can do, no matter what the requirements, I’ll do it for you!”
The other candidates were also attracted to their dispute. They looked over and noticed the hawk medal. Some people apparently recognized the sign and immediately changed their facial expressions.
“He’s from the Wei Family!” Someone whispered.
Hearing the whispers around him, the lad was immediately cheered up. He raised his chin like a little arrogant cock.
However, Qian Ye didn’t show any expected expressions. He just made a tiny surprised sound then looked at the youth with obvious doubt in his eyes. The look clearly meant ‘you little teddy, what kind of authority can you have?’
The youth felt annoyed again. He shouted, “Wanna bet or not?”
Qian Ye finally nodded, “Yep.”
The youth didn’t say anything else but picked up the Original Force gun, quietly waiting for the examination to begin.
It was time. After the whistle, all ten candidates had put their guns into position, and seriously focused on their targets.
Most of the Original Force guns didn’t have high accuracy. It wasn’t very difficult to hit the target 100 meters away, but to hit the bull’s eye was extremely challenging. The bull’s eye area cost 100, but its size was as big as a fingernail. Outside of the bull’s eye would have cost 80. It was the same scoring system for the various types of shooting.
Not long after the whistle, there was gunfire reports then appeared a thin red light that reached the target. The metal target vibrated, the upper part of a human height target was shot out a small hole. This shot contained great power but was inaccurate, and barely hit the target.
“20!” One examiner shouted out the results loudly while another recorded it.
Eight shots sounded one by one, all eight had hit the target, but the highest one was only 50. In a blink of an eye, only the youth and Qian Ye hadn’t fire their shots.
The youth had been aiming for a long time, and Qian Ye had been watching him closely. Under his eyes, the youth felt that his patience kept draining out. The moment that he pulled the trigger, his heart immediately throbbed. Not good!
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 It was originally a thousand
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