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Several dozens of unfathomably powerful warriors rose atop flying beasts, patrolling the Cloud Steps from up above. They were instructors of the Yun Xiao Academy, who were responsible for supervising the progression of the trial, as well as for running further tests on more controversial disciples.
After all, some disciples had extremely skewed talents; if an extreme situation occurred where a disciple had both black and white segments on their badge, then further testing would be required to ascertain which class they should be assigned to.
Qi Ying saw a familiar figure among those instructors.
‘Madam Butterfly? So she’s a Yun Xiao Academy instructor…’
Qi Ying was certainly not a fan of Madam Butterfly. Coincidentally, she was looking down just as he was looking up, and their eyes met, upon which he immediately turned to face another direction. He didn’t want to look at her any longer.
The sight of the haughty expression that seemed to be perpetually etched onto her face, always managed to set his blood boiling.
Among the nearby spectators, a considerable proportion of them were Yun Xiao Academy disciples. They were all quite interested to see their underclassmen taking on the Cloud Steps Trial. Qi Ying cast his gaze around, but couldn’t find the person that he was looking for. Instead, he discovered that Qi Shun and Yan Beigui were in the crowd, amid a group of Yun Xiao Academy disciples. Both of them wore eye-catching black and golden robes, separating them from everyone around them.
All of the academy disciples wore five primary colors. Even though the styles were all different, the discrepancy between white, red, green, purple, and black was quite apparent.
‘So, disciples from different classes have to wear different clothes.’
Qi Ying’s brows furrowed slightly as he thought to himself.
That was like writing your aptitude on your face; wasn’t it a little too clear-cut? He could see that all of the disciples in white clothes wore dejected expressions, and some of them were walking briskly with their backs hunched, as if they didn’t even dare to look at anyone else.
Overall, among the Yun Xiao Academy disciples present—of which there were over a thousand—the majority of them wore red and white. There were significantly less of them in green, and barely any in purple or black.
At that moment, a voice sounded from the spell formations on the plaza, “The Cloud Steps Trial commences now!”
All of the disciples who were waiting in front of the Cloud Steps immediately rushed forward!
Qi Ying led his group of ten, and all of them quickly rushed toward the massive staircase.
Qi Ying could sense that the environment on the Cloud Steps was different from that on the plaza. The trial had begun as soon as he had set foot on the first step.
“Our cultivation bases have been sealed!”
“I can’t use any True Energy!”
“I can’t use my Spiritual Energy either!”
The people on the Cloud Steps quickly came to the realization, that their True Energy and Spiritual Energy seemed to have been restricted.
Aside from that, everyone could also sense that another type of special forcefield was acting upon them.
A falcon-riding instructor flew through the air overhead and announced, “The first section is comprised of the first three thousand steps. It is designed to test your basal properties. In other words, it will test your performance after you are stripped of your cultivation base! The level of ease at which you scale those steps will be determined by your basal properties. After scaling the first three thousand steps, a color will appear in the first segment of your jade badges.”
Qi Ying quickly scaled the steps one after another.
It was only climbing stairs, so theoretically, it should not have been a difficult task for Energy Martial Stage and Spirit Martial Stage warriors, even with their cultivation bases sealed away. However, it was an extremely difficult task for those with mediocre aptitude!
Qi Ying strode alongside the other nine people from the Celestial River County.
Among such a large group of disciples, the ten of them were but a mere drop in the ocean.
Just as the ten of them were ascending up the steps, a figure suddenly flashed past them, and was practically flying up the staircase.
Tian Shou exclaimed with wide eyes, “That guy is so fast! Even walking at this pace is not easy for me, how can he run like that?”
At that moment, a disciple who was jogging up the steps aimed a disdainful glance at Tian Shou. “Heh, don’t you recognize our young master?”
“Who is he?”
“He is the young master of our Zhao family!”
The disciple seemed to be very proud as he made that proclamation, before picking up more speed and leaving them behind.
“F*ck! Even a servant is looking down on me!” Tian Shou clenched his fists with a furious expression.
He was a young army official back in the Celestial River County, and no one dared to treat him with such disdain, especially not some family servant!
An Shaoping sighed, “Don’t be angry, Brother Tian. Even the servants from the seven major families are comparable in status to the leaders of our four major families. Hence, it’s inevitable that our base properties are inferior to his. That Young Master Zhao most likely has purple or even black aptitude, and even that servant is probably at the red or green level. We can’t compete with them.”
Sun Changyu was panting a little as he chimed in, “That’s true. My footsteps feel really heavy, and I can barely walk, let alone run…”
However, Feng Hemu was not in the same boat. “I feel like I can still run.”
He quickened his pace as he spoke, and began to take large strides as he scaled the steps. After taking about a dozen or so of those large experimental steps, he began to jog.
Everyone else was a little stunned, and one of them said, “Phew… It looks like Brother Feng has at least red level aptitude in his basal properties! Those of us who can’t even jog are probably only at the white level…”
Everyone wore dejected expressions, but it was only to be expected.
The more exceptional one’s basal properties were, the less they would be affected by the forcefield, which would allow them to progress up the steps more quickly.
In contrast with everyone’s resigned acceptance, Qi Ying’s expression was a little indignant.
He could clearly sense that his entire body was basically unaffected by the forcefield, thus indicating that his aptitude was at the purple or even black level.
However, there was one part of his body that was weighing him down like a lead ball.
It was his left hand!
The bottom half of his left arm felt so heavy from the effects of the forcefield, that Qi Ying’s left shoulder was starting to ache. If he wanted to accelerate and run up the steps, then he would most likely sustain a shoulder injury. It was as if he were carrying a bucket of water while climbing a mountain.
‘I wonder if this will affect the result of my trial…’
An ominous feeling was already emerging in Qi Ying’s heart. However, he couldn’t do anything aside from continuing to scale the steps in a slow and steady manner.
Three thousand steps weren’t all that many, and it took him less than half an hour to complete the quota. After Qi Ying’s group of nine finished climbing the three thousand steps, they arrived at a relatively large platform.
“Haha! You’re finally here!” Feng Hemu seemed to have been waiting for quite a while, and he showed everyone the badge in his hand, “Looks like my basal properties ain’t bad! I got red!”
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