Chapter 11 - Arriving at the County City, the Test Begins
Early the next morning, Ling Jiu and the other recruits were led to the Arcanist Directorate by Instructor Bai Yang as well as a company Arcanist.
The Arcanist Directorate was, principally, a government agency that oversaw all of the Arcanists in Lantian Base City. All Arcanists had to register with the directorate and receive oversight from the directorate.
Many arcanists had gathered in the square in front of the directorate building, and they were chatting with their peers from their respective companies.
Among them were independent Awakened Arcanists and the rejected ones from previous years.
Besides, the media was present too.
The new recruit training and assessment was a big event in Lantian Base City every year. The city would telecast the entire event live from start to finish. That showed the importance the government placed on the awakened Arcanist recruits.
The event began once the clock struck nine. It started with a customary opening ceremony, as well as speeches from the leaders, company, and Arcanist representatives. Right after all of that, the assessment program commenced.
The recruits hopped into cars, leaving Lantian Base City for the wilderness outside the city.
Ling Jiu was heading into the wilderness of this world for the first time. His eyes darted around as he could not hold back his curiosity.
On both sides of the pothole-filled road were bushes, trees, car wrecks, tires, bicycles, bones, and rubbish. It was a stark contrast to the neat environment of the base city.
Seeing all of this, Ling Jiu could imagine the images of the disaster that happened 30 years ago: Direbeasts were running on a rampage, while people were fleeing, abandoning their cars, public transport, and bicycles in a panic.
In the end, they abandoned their houses.
"It's a desolate world out here!"
"I can't believe that this is how it looks like outside the base city!"
"Is that a lake? It's big. I've never seen a lake as big as that! Also, the endless forest!"
As desolate as the wilderness was, there was also something that the base city sorely lacked: natural sceneries of lakes, forest, mountains, large trees, fields, and whatnot.
Ling Jiu lamented; compared with the humans in his past life, humans of this world lived in a compressed space, and the once-inhabited areas had turned desolate.
At the same time, the sky had also become bluer, the water clearer, and the air cleaner. The natural environment was so much better now than it was during his past life.
"A coin has two sides, and so does disaster. Who knows, perhaps the disaster was part of Earth's self-protective mechanism?"
Time ticked by rapidly as they looked at everything in awe. An hour later, the convoy arrived at the destination, Caijiapo County City.
"See this abandoned city in front of your eyes? This is Caijiapo County City, where you are going to undergo the test. The Direbeasts have taken over the city, turning it into a Direbeast haven!"
Director Yang of the Arcanist Directorate spoke through a loudspeaker. "Lantian Base City is committed to expanding the base city, and Caijiapo is an important target of expansion because of its ideal environment!
"So we have been actively getting rid of the Direbeasts in Caijiapo County City over the past few years and killed all the powerful Direbeasts. What's left is a massive number of Class 1 and Class 2 Direbeasts. That's why we have chosen this place as the test venue!
"Your mission is simple: enter Caijiapo County City, kill the remaining Direbeasts, and gouge out their hearts!
"Remember this: Safety first, and test second. Avoid going at it in teams for safety because that will affect your assessment!
"The test will last for three days!"
The county city was dilapidated, with feces and Direbeast carcasses filling the streets. Nature had reclaimed the city, as vegetation had covered shops and tall buildings. It looked almost like a lost city in a movie.
As Ling Jiu walked on a street that was overgrown with grass and bushes, he could not help but lament the changes that the county city had undergone in just 30 years.
While Ling Jiu was still deep in thought, a gust of powerful wind blew behind him. His heart skipped a beat as he quickly flipped two meters to the side, dodging the attack.
A beast scr.a.p.ed past him and landed on the ground in front of him.
It was a giant hound-type Direbeast that was two meters long. It had a mane with needle-like fur all over its body and four 10-centimeter-long fangs in its mouth.
"A Class 1 Direbeast, a Sabretooth Hound!"
Ling Jiu immediately recognized it.
Ling Jiu was confident that he could recognize every species of Direbeast ever recorded.
The Sabretooth Hound had evolved from a husky, but it differed from it in the sense that it was extremely vicious, aggressive, and fast. Its mouth had a crushing force more powerful than that of a lion.
The Sabretooth Hound roared as it stared viciously at Ling Jiu before it leaped into the air and made a move to bite Ling Jiu's throat.
Ling Jiu was dead sure that he would have to say goodbye to his head if the Direbeast got its mouth on his neck.
"Here you go!"
Ling Jiu raised his hand and grabbed a rock from the ground without having to actually touch it. The melon-sized rock felt like nothing in his hand as his movements were quick.
He hit the Sabretooth Hound in the mouth, breaking several teeth before he raised the rock again and hammered down on the hound's skull.
The Sabretooth Hound howled in pain as the force sent it flying backward.
"I'm not done with you yet!"
Ling Jiu stomped his foot on the ground and a vast number of earthen spikes jutted out of the ground into the Sabretooth Hound's body.
The hound quietened and was motionless. Afraid that it was feigning death, Ling Jiu smashed its head with a rock for good measure.
After that, he took out a knife and gouged out its heart, which he then put in a dimensional pocket.
It was said that the dimensional pocket was the pouch that the dimensional kangaroos used to carry their young. It had roughly a hundred cubic feet in space and was a handy storage space.
However, this gadget was expensive. Not every Arcanist could afford one. Ling Jiu had gotten this one as a loan from the company. He would have to return it after the test.
"Moving on to the next one!"