Chapter 50 – Rank Placement
At dawn, the temple was quiet and peaceful. To Lin Mu Yu, today marked the important first step into his new life. It was both his first day of work in the temple and also the day that would ultimately determine his rank within the temple.
*Knock knock knock*
The knocking awoke Lin Mu Yu from his meditation. Hurrying to open the door, he was surprised to see an elderly man at his door. Dressed in a snow-white robe, the old man greeted Lin Mu Yu with a gentle smile.
“Lin Zhi, today is your first test. Eat something quick and come with me!”
Lin Mu Yu did not ask for the elder’s name, knowing that his place in the temple was much lower than the elder. It was not until Ziling caught up with him that he whispered to Lin Mu Yu, “Why are you with the grandmaster?”
“Yeah!” Ziling pointed to the old man in front of them, “Of the twelve headmasters of the temple are two grandmasters. They represent the highest authority of the temple. This is one of the grandmasters, Grandmaster Lei Hong (Lightning Flood). How could you not know him?”
Lin Mu Yu looked at Ziling with a surprised expression.
Before he could say anything, Lei Hong interrupted his thought.
“Don’t talk, just follow me.” He did not turn around, but his deep voice was strangely fitting for his name.
Ziling made a face before whispering one last time, “Master Lei Hong is 71 years old this year, but he has the cultivation of Saint realm’s first stage. He is known as one of the two pillars of the Empire alongside Flame Cauldron Qu Chu, but his cultivation level is said to be above that of Qu Chu’s. It’s no wonder that he is one of the six White-Robed Imperial Guards!”
Lin Mu Yu nodded with much respect to the old man. Afterall, it was not an easy task to be placed on the same level as Qu Chu, so he must be more than meets the eye. His saint realm power only adds to his reputation.
Not long after, he followed Lei Hong down the hallway to the open palace hall. Looking up, he saw the large words “Refinement Hall” carved into the blue limestone ceiling. Obviously, this was the true training ground for the experts of the temple.
Lining the spacious main hall are dozens of small training rooms. Although the temple is at the center of the capital, its spaciousness is solid proof of the temple’s value in the empire.
There were already many people waiting in the training hall. Instructors and trainers stood gazing at Lin Mu Yu.
Lei Hong rose from the headmaster’s seat and announced, “Today we, the Temple, welcome another new member. His name is Lin Zhi, a new trainer. But since his trainer rank has not yet been determined, let us begin the examination now!”
“Trainer rank?” Lin Mu Yu whispered with surprise.
Ziling whispered back, “Like with instructors, trainers are differentiated by rank as well from iron star to gold star. As such, trainers and instructors of similar ranks will then be placed against one another. To advance in rank, you’ll have to keep beating your way up. By beating three iron star instructors, you’ll advance to bronze star, etc. The higher your trainer rank, the better your pay becomes. Of course, the amount of beating you’ll receive will similarly increase. I’m only an iron star trainer, so I can’t give much advice aside from this, if you know what I mean.”
Lin Mu Yu couldn’t help but chuckle in his heart. The meaning behind Ziling’s words couldn’t be more clear: Don’t overreach or else there will be suffering ahead if you are ranked as a silver or even gold star trainer. However, Lin Mu Yu had different thought of his own. In order to become stronger, he will have to face off against stronger opponents. Because of this, he definitely needed to become a gold star trainer!
“Alright then, let the examination begin!” Lei Hong waved the long sleeves of his robe and continued, “The examination for trainers is quite simple. You’ll have guard against the attacks of an instructor for one whole minute without retaliation. After three successful defenses against instructors of one rank, you’ll advance to the next rank. Let us start from iron star! Are you ready, Lin Zhi?”
Lin Mu Yu nodded, “I am ready, Headmaster!”.
As he spoke, he walked over to the middle of the hall and stood stalwartly like a towering mountain. Although he did not say anything further, an invisible yet imposing aura slowly enveloped Lin Mu Yu’s surrounding. Even headmaster Lei Hong casted a look of praise at him.
In the instructor crowd, the iron star instructors looked at one another as if none of them wanted to go first.
Finally, one voice emerged from the crowd, “Sir Wang Xing, why don’t you start us off?”
The rough and boorish-looking Wang Xing nodded, “Guess I’ll kick this off then!”
He charged off with a big stride towards Lin Mu Yu with his fist encased in a ball of fire. With his martial spirit out, it was apparent that this iron star instructor had the cultivation of about level 45, so he wasn’t anything to be feared.
Lin Mu Yu casted his hand before him and summoned the orange-colored gourd spirit. The appearance of his martial spirit brought about a wave of laughter among the instructors. Several bronze star instructors even had tears in their eyes as they guffawed. “He actually came to be a trainer with a mere rank 10 gourd spirit? Hahahaha. Is this kid just here to be a laughing stock like that dogtail flower Ziling?”
Lei Hong kept his brows furrowed and did not comment. Several other instructors also did not laugh at Lin Mu Yu. After all, true experts know to observe first and comment after.
Streams of flame-red energy pulsed around the outer ring of the gourd and formed Ebony Scales. Lin Mu Yu didn’t even bother using Dragon Rampart, because just Ebony Scales was enough to hold off the attacks for a minute.
Fire and embers splashed against the pitch black scales as the first attack was forcefully guarded by Lin Mu Yu. No, wait. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say it was shaken off.
Wang Xing feel faint as he took several steps back. His face was pale as ash. The opponent’s defensive power was far above his attack power. A ravaging surge power backfired onto his arm, numbing and paralyzing it for a short while.
Because he was still a member of the temple, Wang Xing couldn’t allow himself to endure this level of humiliation. Immediately, he lifted his left arm and casted a powerful punch.
The attack met with the same result as before, but this time Wang Xing was left with two numbed arms. Unable to pour strength into either arm, nor risk using his legs and becoming unable to stand, he clenched his teeth and grunted, “I admit defeat!”
Victory under a minute!
Lin Mu Yu bowed with a smile, “Thank you for the match!”
Unable to lift his hands to bow, Wang Xing nodded his head and left the ring.
Another iron star instructor came forth. He was slim like a monkey and his hands spread open into the form of claws. The threads of green energy enveloped his hands, telling of his specialization into fighting with claw arts. As if explaining the origin of his martial arts, a hawk martial spirit appeared on his forearm.
*Bang! Bang! Bang!*
Receiving multiple continuous attacks, the pitch black Ebony Scales resounded loudly. Lin Mu Yu continued pouring energy in his spirit ability to strengthen the thick scales. Since the iron star instructor was already weaker than Lin Mu Yu, with his blind and pure offense, he became increasingly weaker.
After one whole minute, his hands were already stained with his own blood. On the other hand, Lin Mu Yu looked as if nothing had happened at all.
The crowd of iron star instructors were all stunned silent. No one expected this unremarkable kid could defeat two iron star instructors in a row, but no one could have imagined both to be crushing victories! All of them gritted their teeth as they looked to see who else will go up to humiliate themselves.
Right then, Lei Hong suddenly lifted his hand and announced, “The third challenge won’t be necessary. Lin Zhi will directly advance to the bronze rank. Let us continue, which three bronze star instructors are willing to face off against him?”
Very quickly, a man in silver-colored armor walked out of the crowd. With a sword in his hand, he smiled, “Hey kid, not too shabby of a show. Allow me, Zhou Tu to experience your gourd’s defense!”
As he spoke, Zhou Tu encased his sword in layers of ice and frost. Wrapped around his arm was the shape of an ice snake spirit. To even have a martial spirit of this type, this world was definitely filled with all kinds of existence.
Lin Mu Yu took a deep breath and continued gathering his energy. This Zhou Tu was probably already at the third stage of Earth realm, about equally matched with himself, so he couldn’t afford to underestimate Zhou Tu.
The sword spiraled out of Zhou Tu’s hand with an imposing penetrating-force. There are definitely no weaklings in the temple, as evident from Zhou Tu’s attack!
Lin Mu Yu naturally didn’t dare to be careless. Immediately, he brought forth his Dragon Rampart to form two layers of defense.
The collision between the sword and the gourd wall sounded like a clash of metals. The double layer of Ebony Scales with Dragon Rampart raised the defense to a new level as expected. On the other side, a patch of energy shield appeared on Zhou Tu’s arm. Alas, he was at least level 50 or above. Taking several steps back, Zhou Tu steadied his mind but he was still shaken up inside.
In actuality, Lin Mu Yu’s defenses originally could not hold against Zhou Tu. However, his gourd spirit evolved 5 times and received an ability each time, and 2 of the 5 were defensive abilities from beast spirit thousand years in age. In this scenario, one plus one was far more than the sum of the two. Under the double protection of Ebony Scales and Dragon Rampart, Lin Mu Yu did not have to fear Zhou Tu’s attacks at all!
Right now, Zhou Tu wasn’t the only one surprised. Lin Mu Yu was astonished by the power of his double defensive abilities. If he had killed the fan dragon for Dragon Rampart earlier, he would have had a much easier time against people like Guan Yang and Ye Liang!
Zhou Tu tried again with another wave of attacks, but his sword left little more than mere scratches on the Ebony scales. After the minute finally passed, he bowed with a sad face, “Good fight, Lin Zhi. You win this one!”
“Thanks for the match.” Lin Mu Yu replied humbly.
At this moment, headmaster Lei Hong nodded with a smile as he watched from his seat. He couldn’t help but become more and more impressed with this young trainer before him.
Another two bronze star instructor failed to break through Lin Mu Yu’s defenses, bringing the group of trainers into an uproar. They cheered loudly for Lin Mu Yu, with Ziling being the most excited of them all. Lin Mu Yu finally showed the instructors that trainers weren’t just weakling and human sandbags.
“Lin Zhi, it’s time to challenge silver star instructors!” Lei Hong laughed, “Not bad, youngster!”
Master Ge Yang smiled as well, “The temple is in lack of trainers at the moment, and we don’t even have a gold star trainer at this time. There are only two silver star trainers now, so if you are able to win, this will be a great contribution to the future of the temple.”
Lin Mu Yu snickered on the inside. After all, who in their right mind would actually want to be a sandbag for someone else? That’s probably why there is a lack of gold star trainers in the first place. The amount of beating is probably why the dozens of trainers cries out with complaints.
“You can do it! Lin Zhi!” A trainer with a bruised face shouted out.
With his cheer, the other trainers followed along to cheer Lin Mu Yu on. Very quickly, the crowd erupted into an uproar of “Lin Zhi! Lin Zhi!”
Headmaster Lei Hong looked at the group of trainers and smiled, “It’s been quite a long time since the temple has been this lively, ha ha…”