Chapter 629: The Heavy Metal Rock
Translated by Yan of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The person hosting the competition was another white-robed man from TongTian Palace. From the part of his jaw that was exposed, it seemed that he was an old man. As the competition advanced, he took his hat off.
The old man’s features were ordinary. Even though every part of his face seemed quite good-looking on its own, when they were all put together, they became extremely mediocre. He was the kind that definitely wouldn’t be noticed in a crowd. However, his eyes were very commanding and reflected light, and all of the people that he looked at averted their gazes without exception.
The first exam of the competition was testing a mage’s ability to control their soul force. In reality, it wasn’t this simple. Besides testing their ability to control, they would also be tested on their ability to endure.
“Please look at the stones in front of you. These stones are not typical stones. Something called ‘Heavy Metal’ is mixed inside of these rocks. The bigger the stone is, the more Heavy Metal is contained inside of it. Your goal is to use your soul force to pick up these rocks and to throw them accurately inside ten small holes,” the old man explained calmly.
As the name implied, Heavy Metal was a kind of extremely heavy metal. It had some resemblance to the principle behind the Gravity Room, back when You XiaoMo was at Dao Xin Academy. It also targeted the soul force, and what this trial would be testing was the mage’s ability to endure.
Throwing the stones into the ten small holes would be testing their ability to control. There were small holes and large holes, and each of the corresponding stones also varied in size.
However, the competition didn’t actually have a rule that said the competitors couldn’t pick up a stone even smaller than the hole. Or in other words, if you weren’t certain of it, you could pick up a smaller stone. But if you did that, your evaluation in the eyes of the examiners would probably greatly decrease.
The top three in the competition were determined by their performance in the two exams. The first exam compared who could accurately put in the corresponding stones to ten of the small holes. The ones who scored well would receive the opportunity to place in the top three, as long as no accidents occurred in the second exam.
The old man expressionlessly listed out the rules for everyone, before he continued, “Now I will announce the beginning of the competition.”
Since the time was pushed forward this year, there were less people participating than in the previous years. The palace was also fairly expansive, so there was more than enough space for over a hundred people to compete at the same time without making it seem too crowded.
You XiaoMo near the back of the middle section. He looked at the black stones resting in the grooves. There were both large and small rocks, each one corresponding to a hole, but there were more small rocks than large ones. Whether a mage could resist picking it up would depend on their willpower.
In addition, there was a sensor in each of the ten small holes. As long as the stone was thrown in, the sensor would be able to tell and would automatically close, so it would be impossible to take it out, because there was only once chance.
You XiaoMo had guessed that it would be like this. Therefore, he would have to be very cautious each time.
He used his soul force to test out the weight of a stone. He picked up a medium-sized one, and the moment he picked it up, he felt his soul grow heavy, as if three large bags of rice were pressing down on his shoulders. If the medium-sized one was this heavy, one could well imagine what the heaviest one would be like.
He originally wanted to test if he could pick up several stones at the same time, but it seemed like that would be extremely difficult and he would be biting off more than he could chew.
You XiaoMo first used his soul force to pick up the smallest rock. Its weight barely affected his soul, and he could almost ignore it completely. After that, he moved it right over the small hole. He couldn’t directly touch the hole, and moreover, he had to throw it from twenty centimeters above the small hole. This would require patience and accuracy.
You XiaoMo creatively shaped his soul force into a tube. After comparing and confirming that it wouldn’t fall outside of the hole, he released it, and the round stone dropped straight down before landing at the bottom of the small hole with a clatter.
Even though Tian Xin said that the second exam would be testing willpower and patience, You XiaoMo felt that the first exam had already included that.
After finishing testing the first stone, he started to test the second.
The second rock was three or four times heavier than the first. As he advanced, the weights would increase even faster at a speed that was very shocking. It would be more and more difficult as well, and even though the size of the holes increased, making it easier to throw it in, it became very hard to pick up the stone and move it over.
Before You XiaoMo picked up the eighth stone, he saw that the majority of people already had foreheads covered with sweat. Some of them looked ashen, their faces both ugly and distorted. They were fairly slow, and most of them were only at the fifth or sixth small hole.
After that, he paid attention to Jiu Ye and Qiao WuXing.
Their situation was obviously better. Even though their cultivation base was only at grade two, they had probably trained for this before, so there was only sweat on their faces. Their expressions were as calm and collected as ever.
As time passed, and the first exam was about to end, people started to give up. They picked up the smaller stones and threw them into the holes. Compared to failing, they clearly cared more about whether these ten small holes all had stones in them.
Therefore, these people’s speeds quickened.
You XiaoMo sucked in breath through his nose. He still had three holes left, and the weight of the eighth stone had already started to make him grit his teeth. After carefully throwing it into the hole, he rested for a short while before advancing to the ninth hole.
Nearing the end of the first exam, there already weren’t many people left in the arena, but all the ones left were powerful, without exception. The truly perseverate people knew that speed wasn’t the most important, and being impatient for results would only increase the rate of failure. This was obvious just by looking at other people.
The ninth stone was at least twice as heavy as the eighth. It already couldn’t be described as a strain; instead, it was a sort of pressure, so heavy that it made him feel as if his soul almost couldn’t breathe. It was just weight and more weight. This was also only the ninth stone. It was hard to imagine what the tenth would be like.
You XiaoMo drew in a deep breath and focused on centralizing his mind. This actually wasn’t much, and it was still within the boundaries of what he could bear.
Thinking back to when he was training inside the Gravity Room, he was being suppressed every single day to the point that he couldn’t take a single step forward. Nevertheless, hadn’t he still made it out? Right now, the thing that he lacked the least was patience.
There were only less than ten people left at the arena at this point, besides a few older students from XiaoYao Institution, including Jiu Ye and Qiao WuXing. They were one behind You XiaoMo, still on the eighth hole. He could tell that they were almost at their limits by looking at their foreheads, which were crumpled so tightly together that they could almost catch a mosquito with them. Having endured till now with their level of strength could already be considered pretty good.
You XiaoMo quickly threw a magic pill which could recover soul force into his mouth. This magic pill was actually a little extravagant, because the magic herbs required to refine this kind of magic pill were extremely uncommon, among which one was called Soul Restoration Herb. Even though the Soul Restoration Herb was only a level eight magic herb, it was almost extinct.
TongTian Palace didn’t have any restrictions on whether someone could eat a magic pill to recover their soul force, so the majority of people had all used a few tricks. If it weren’t for him being afraid of being found out, You XiaoMo would actually have preferred drinking spiritual water, which would restore his soul force quicker.
You XiaoMo took half an hour before finally throwing the ninth stone into the hole. After that, he tested out the tenth stone. The weight was no less than that of a mountain, and the sensation of a mountain weighing down on his soul was very unpleasant.
It wasn’t only him. The other people were also stuck at the tenth stone, and quite a few people looked miserable. Some were even already considering whether or not they should just settle for the second best thing and use the ninth hole’s stone to pad the tenth hole.
It had to be said that this was a good idea. If the majority of people were unable to finish, it wouldn’t be impossible to enter the top three using this strategy. In addition, there was still the second exam.
As if they saw a ray of hope, several people actually did this in the arena.
You XiaoMo didn’t do so. He still wanted to try and test it out. In any case, he didn’t have any psychological burdens on him, and there would be no effect on him even if he failed.
As for Jiu Ye and Qiao WuXing, Qiao WuXing’s cultivation base was a little worse than Jiu Ye’s. Even though they were both at grade two, Jiu Ye was already at the pinnacle. So after testing out his own limits, Qiao WuXing also firmly settled for the second best option. On the other hand, Jiu Ye persisted for a while longer, his grave appearance drawn taut, his veins bulging.
In the end, Qiao WuXing couldn’t resist saying to him, “Jiu Ye, if you want to see what your limits are, you can completely just wait until the competition is over and get some rocks from your shifi to test it out slowly at home. Don’t forget that there’s still the second exam after this. If you injure your soul here, it will affect the second exam.”
Indeed, testing out one’s limits was admittedly something worthy of praise, but you still had to know when to stop. Just like stretching, if one stretched too much, it would definitely affect the body. For the same reason, if it wasn’t appropriate, yet you insisted on doing something your body couldn’t accomplish, you would very likely hurt your soul.
It wasn’t as if this kind of thing hadn’t happened before in the past. In the end, those people ended up in awful conditions during the second exam, and they couldn’t even enter the top ten. Ever since that happened, some examinees had exercised quite a bit of restraint. Of course, there was also a possibility that their willpower wasn’t staunch enough, so they had easily been influenced.
However, You XiaoMo didn’t have any apprehensions about this.
There were also two very persistent people besides him. One had a grade four cultivation base, while the other had a grade five. There were both well known teachers at XiaoYao Institution, and the reason they hadn’t formally become XiaoYao Institution’s elders was because they wanted to enter TongTian Palace.
You XiaoMo withdrew his assessing gaze, and his eyes landed on the large stone on the ground. It was about the size of a soccer ball, but it was as heavy as a large mountain. He thought, after the competition ends, could I take a few back?
In a moment of carelessness, his mind wandered.