947 Soul Talent 4
Donari felt as though his world had shattered as he stared at the sphere Dyon's hand rested on, as though he was hoping the number would change.
When Dyon had fallen into his coma, he was only just barely a step away from 16 years old. After he awoke, only a year and a few months had passed. Then, he entered his trial where he spent 12 years and an extra few months. After his four-month break with his wives, he was still only 29 years old!
By this point, all eyes were on Dyon. Before, they had looked down on him for being a mere 1st stage essence gatherer. But, if a 29 year old capable of stepping into such a stage wasn't worthy of being a core disciple of a branch sect, then who was?!
Even Elder Nova began to look at Dyon oddly. Of all the people here, he likely had the best idea of Dyon's true strength. That was because when he quickly destroyed the soul contract, he had seen Dyon's eyes easily tracking his movements. He was already prepared for Dyon's age to cause him to be disqualified… Who would know that he was the most qualified person here!?
After seeing this, many people started coming up with excuses. Maybe Dyon had ruined his foundation by stepping into the essence gathering stage too early? Many of the greater geniuses, like Donari and his elder brother, and even the commoner genius, waited until they reached the 10th meridian formation stage, some even waited until the 11th, before progressing. If Dyon stepped forward earlier, that could be an explanation!
However, those from Unseen Peak didn't dare to think this… This was because they had witnessed Dyon beat Donari as easily as flipped his hand… Whether it was because of his body cultivation or not, the fact of the matter was that he had the power to do so at such a young age! Even if he stepped forward early, what did it matter?! Body cultivation increased your life span too!
With Dyon's results, many couldn't wait for the talent assessment. They needed to see if Dyon had the meridian grade talent to back up his age, or if he really did step forward early. That test would explain everything!
By the end, the over 5000 participants had been shaved down to about 3500. It was now time for the second round to begin.
After those not of proper age was weeded out, in order to organize groups, a talent measurement took place. However, the added twist this year was that there would also be a measure of one's "Title".
Under normal circumstances, one would need a special formation unique to the Epistemic Tower in order to verify someone's "title". However, there was another more crude way to do so outside of the tower and that was to test someone's Presence. Or, more accurately, the potential of one's Presence.
By releasing you Presence in full, a special martial art branch crystal is able to gauge its potential for growth into the future. Obviously, someone who completes the Viscount trials and has no chance of completing the Earl trials, would have the upper limit potential of fostering a Viscount level Presence. So on, and so forth.
Obviously, the flaw here was that if someone chose to release only a portion of their Presence, the crystal would then only be capable of measuring the potential of that percentage of your Presence, and thus underestimate you. However, this wasn't something people worried about. After all, who, during an assessment, would purposefully lower their own results?
That aside, the portion of this second round that truly scared people was the test of the soul. Someone's future could be completely ruined simply by having soul cultivation abilities a bit above average. Sometimes, those of the commoner class chose to not participate in these assessments at all just to avoid the possibility.
What many knew, but didn't dare to voice, was the fact that there were often members of outstanding families who had great soul talent. However, they had the capital to by talent testing crystals for themselves. So, when they gave birth to a child with such capabilities, they would purposefully injure their child's soul, thereby ruining their soul talent, but also saving their lives…
Many had already forgotten why this taboo on soul talent existed, and even fewer understood why even children weren't spared by such cruelty… However, this was the reality of their quadrant…
This assessment was far quicker. The vast majority of those who went up had 8th grade meridians and no title at all. However, this was to be expected. Usually, only the best of the best would survive the trials of the tower anyway, which was why it was so sad that that 253-year-old lost the right to participate.
At this moment, a lanky young woman stepped up. Her eyes continuously darted around as she went through her first two tests. However, no one thought much of it. After all, all commoners who made it to this point were nervous beyond belief. Unlike their noble counter-parts, they had no idea what their soul talent was!
Everyone had a soft spot for commoners who had such courage… To know that you were very likely risking your life, but doing so anyway to fight for a better future for yourself… Who wouldn't sympathize with a story like that?
So, every time a nervous commoner stepped up, the arena would fall into silence, as though everyone was secretly rooting for him or her.
The young lady went through her first two tests.
"5th grade meridians!" The eyes of the elder lit up. Such talent was simply amazing. No wonder she made it so far despite not having any resources. "Marquis potential!"
The family of the young lady was ecstatic when they heard this, but they forced themselves to keep calm, nervously holding onto each other's hands as their young family miss nervously walked to the final crystal.
Her hand shook violently, unable to bring herself to touch it. Her breathing was ragged, but she clenched her teeth in the end. She didn't want to spend the rest of her life in poverty. With her talent, she could slowly work her way up, maybe even become a core disciple one day!
"I can do this…" She mumbled to herself. She lost count of how many meals she had missed in her lifetime, scrounging up all of her own resources for cultivation, not wanting to burden her family. 220 years she spent, struggling to the point where she finally stepped into the 7th essence gathering stage. This was her time, she'd be able to fight for a better future, not only for herself, but also her family… Her mother… Her father… her little brother…
Finally, she clamped her hand downward, steeling her resolve.
The elder calmly looked downward, staring into the depths of the crystal. However… His calm expression slowly turned cold in the next moments even as the candidate's face paled…
"Mid second stage innate soul. Take her away." A cold voice rang out.
"NO!" A family in the stands cried outward, unable to accept this news. It had to be a dream, they must have heard wrong.
Tears streamed down the candidate's face, however, unlike those taken away for being too old, she didn't struggle… It seemed that she didn't even notice the metal cuffs strapped to her wrists and legs… Like she didn't even realize this would be the last time she saw the light of day…
At this moment, anyone within several hundred meters of Dyon felt an uncontrollable fear overwhelm them.
Dyon's eyes reddened even as veins pulsing with golden blood charged through his body. He was pissed.