Chapter 76

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Chapter 76

Translated by: Fahmi

Edited by: M2t5, Zehamas

Lightning is naturally white, and sometimes possesses a purplish tinge, but never black. However today, a flash of black lightning flashed across the grass field outside of the college.

The candidates watched as the black horse bolted out of the band of colts with incomparable speed. It was a stunning scene, the other candidates were awkwardly trying to ride their horses, while the red-shirted girl stood outside the fence with a tear stained face.

They watched Ning Que ride the black horse; his body bent like a defoliated leaf. These examinees just couldn’t understand what Ning Que had done to this unruly black horse, to suddenly turn her obedient and show her amazing true strength.

The grass field of the college stretched quite far, but the area fenced off for the examination location was not that large. Before the red clothed girl had realised what had happened the test had already ended. The black mare had leapt ahead of the rest of the examinees with a ridiculous velocity and had reached its destination in nearly half the time it took the others. Everyone was astonished.

Ning Que jumped off the horse’s back and wiped away the sweat on his forehead. He patted the back of the black horse in satisfaction before slapping the horse’s’ butt, ordering her to leave.

The black horse was relieved, it was as if she could go back to her peaceful world after experiencing hell. She happily rubbed Ning Que’s shoulder before charging away from him. The horse didn’t even look back as it ran away faster than when it had ran in the test.

The candidates at the entrance of the pen gazed at Ning Que in silence, as if they were looking at a monster. They were tempted to ask how he managed to tame the black horse, but they couldn’t formulate any words, and just stood there, staring in awe as he passed them.

Ning Que felt the piercing gaze of the others on him. He frowned, and closed his eyes as he walked towards the location of the archery examination. If he managed to get the attention of the examinees and examiners he might be able to make up for his terrible academic results. He did not wish for this attention, but if he didn’t achieve outstanding results in these two subjects, he would never pass the testing.

He had extensively prepared for the past few years, spending his entire savings and even gave up his status in Chang An City. If he didn’t make it at the end and fail to get selected into the college, his past tolerance would turn into sorrow. Nonetheless, he wouldn’t accept this fate; he would create a sensation to pass the test.

Just as he had decided to leave the hall, a young lady blocked his path. The girl possessed deep eyebrows and bright eyes. She was quite splendid in her red robe fastened by a tight belt. Her body emitted a refreshing scent, while her face bore light traces of tears.

“How did you do that?” The red clothed girl asks, enraged. “Why did she refuse to follow my orders?”

Ning Que thinks deeply before replying straight faced, “Maybe my personality is better?”

“Personality?” The girl replied, dazed before rapidly following up with, “What do you mean?”

“I mean, maybe I have a better luck.”

Ning Que spread his hands, smiling innocently and then politely requested her to move aside. He then ran toward the archery hall.

The girl looked at him blankly. She was the daughter of the General, Yun Hui, and was pretty and open-hearted. She was so famous in Chang An City that nobody dared to give her a perfunctory reply. She only realised that Ning Que had left moments after he had escaped. She turned around and fiercely glared at his back. She stomped her foot, “Who is that?”

The candidates had researched him, and one of the candidates reached out and told her, “Someone looked at the names list and found his name was Ning Que. He was recommended by the military, but he doesn’t seem to have a special background, don’t pay him any mind Miss Si Tu.”

The girl in the red robe was displeased, “If he doesn’t have an unusual background how could he control that black horse?”

“Maybe, it does because of his good luck?” The young man replied awkwardly.

The other young man dressed in purple walked forward, furrowing his eyebrows as he gazed at Ning Que, “He might have gotten the military recommendation from a frontier fortress, which would explain his good riding skills. However I don’t agree that he doesn’t have a background. Out of the one hundred candidates, he was the only one to bring a personal maid. This embarrassed the crown prince. It’s obvious that he has lived a pampered life. It could be possible that he is a noble from Qing he City.”

What is so great about Qing He City? It isn’t even in the dominion of the first emperor.” Miss Si Tu became serious requesting, “Sister Wu Cai, could you check his origin and background? I wish to know how this happened.”

Not far away from the nobles from Chang An City, there were several candidates recommended by the military who were standing together. A retired captain in his early thirties shook his head as he told his companions, “He couldn’t have accomplished this with luck. If he received a military recommendation like we did, he must have served in the frontier armies. But he is so young, to have gained these skills…”

As if to prove the man’s hypothesis, a violent scream echoed throughout the examination hall. People panicked as the once tame black horse brutally stomped his hoof, kicking the man who mounted him heavily. The burly candidate fell awkwardly to the turf in shame.

Ning Que didn’t know of this conversation, but if he knew that the captain had praised his ability, he might also appraise himself, “I do have three secret weapons.”

His archery, riding and weapons skills were quite good. These skills are his best by far, sharpened by his time surviving in the jungle. He had the confidence to survive combat with a combatant of the Lower level of Dong Xuan. It was too simple for him to handle the archery examination.

These tests were different from the academic test, and didn’t compare his results to those of other candidates. Therefore, he showed his full strength, attempting to surpass as many others as possible. He held his bow and arrows one hundred steps away from the target. He seemed to not even consider the targets, just aiming and shooting with unfailing accuracy.

The rest of the candidates were sweating when confronted with the bows and targets.

This is what Ning Que wanted, He raised his bow and pulled the bowstring back to his nose, releasing the string. A loud smack resounded through the air, as the arrow accurately struck on the bulls-eye.

Ning Que had already drawn and knocked his arrow before his previous shot hit the target, and aimed for the bulls-eye. As expected, it hit again.

His marksmanship was slow and unremarkable. However he steadily shot arrow after arrow rhythmically, as if playing a comfortable melody.

He possessed a cold demeanor, standing in standard style, the tempo of his shots, and the extremely accurate marksmanship. As each arrow left his quiver, he attracted more and more attention. Candidates, examiners and even two commanders from the military watched as Ning Que drilled arrow after arrow into his targets..

In their view, the young man who held the bow had turned into a veteran warrior who wouldn’t even blink in the eyes of an raging opposing army.

The commander watched as Ning Que shot his last arrow and told his subordinates, “Investigate his past, tell me which general taught him his skills. If he doesn’t get admitted into the college, recruit him into the military immediately.”

After a while the commander touched his grey hair and and said in a low pitched voice, “Keep this a secret, his original force wouldn’t be willing to let him go if they knew of his skills. If we, the Yu Lin force would need to get him with stealth.”

At dusk, the six grand examinations had results had finally ended. The emperor and empress returned into their castle in Chang An City. The prince and officers were to stay behind and handle the remaining procedures and formalities. The results would be announced soon.

Hundreds of candidates stood silently on the large stonyfield, staring at the board standing on their tiptoes like hundreds of hungry gooses waiting to be fed.
A few of the examiners walked down the stairs and politely greeted the prince. After confirming with all the officers, the examiners stepped up to the wooden table and glued a large red paper to the board.

Instantly the candidates started to make a large commotion. Like hundreds of geese which had finally received their food, they couldn’t suppress their emotions and rushed towards the board.

Ning Que was pushed back by the crowd. Finally, he found his way to the board and squeezed into a spot in front of the board. He could finally look at his academic results.

At the bottom section of the paper he ound his name.

“Ning Que…. Grade D, Lowest.”

His results for the writing test were also of the worst level.

He rubbed his head angrily, mumbling, “This is unexpected. I wrote a lot of nonsense, but I did write so many words. Plus my calligraphy is good. Could it be that my grader was a female?”
[EN: No idea what this is supposed to mean, I hope it isn’t sexist]

The people behind him couldn’t stop themselves from laughing, and teased him, “I thought you were a genius from Nan Ji. But you are just an uncultivated wild man.”

The young woman who taunted him was the red robed girl. Maybe she had a personal grudge against him, but when the results had been released, she left her companions and squeezed in next to Ning Que, trying to figure out his results.

Ning Que was unaware that this girl was the daughter of the General Yun Hui, Miss Si Tu Yi Lan. Thus he stared at her dully before turning away, holding Miss Sang Sang and walked out of the crowd.

The red-robed girl turned to him in surprise and shouted, “Why aren’t you looking at the rest of the results.”

Ning Que didn’t even bother to turn back, calmly replying, “Distinction.”
[EN: No idea what distinction means, but that was what was provided to me.]

The girl and the people behind were astonished by his reply. How egotistical could he be? How could he know his results without looking at the board.

Miss Sang Sang raised her small face and looked at him, confused.

Ning Que gazed at her and explained with a smile, “The are far inferior than me when it comes to pretending to be cool.”