Black Iron Anvil Village is part of an immense oasis with land masses that created islands in the middle of it.
The islands were connected with various bridges that marked the entire landscape of the town.
Even as houses and shops spotted this town, there were still parts of the oasis that was not developed as the population had not reached a level where it was warranted.
Fauna as well as various species of air, land and water creatures filled the beautiful landscape, filling the entire scenery with sounds and sights.
It was miniscule in comparison to other communities in the main world. A world so huge, light took half a year to circumnavigate it. Many areas were still uninhabited and no one bothered to move there as the existing communities still had plenty of space left to grow.
At this moment in time, the air was still, it was silent and not a single living thing moved.
“NO TALENT” suddenly a sound broke through.
It was the Ki talent examiner who announced yet another time for the whole town to know that Xiaoxia had no Ki talent.
A chilling breeze swept pass the town hall, and everyone was shocked.
“Nooooooooooooooooooo!!!” Xiaoxia shouted and turned as he ran away from the ceremonial area.
He could not comprehend why he had no Ki talent.
“Xia Er!” both Daquan and Wanmei were the first to react and chased after him.
Soon there were whispers going through the crowd, everyone was as amazed, they had held Xiaoxia in high regards and even thought him a genius amongst geniuses based on his extraordinary feats.
Now it seems the heavens were not recognizing him, or perhaps it was jealous of his abilities.
However life still moved on and the ceremony had to proceed for the rest of the children present.
“Xia Er” Wanmei softly patted Xiaoxia’s head. They were back at the Chen clan residence. It had been a day since the ceremony and although his parents hope he could recover from it himself, but their concern got the better of them.
“Do not worry, you still have a bright future ahead of you”
“No mother, everything is ruined, how can I live in this world?”
“Xia Er” his father interrupted. He had been home since the previous day, worried for his son.
“A man does not need Ki talent to be a man, a real man faces all challenges and live on to pursue what his heart desires. You may fall down time and again, but perseverance in these times will polish you. The day will come when you will look at all this and laugh at them, for then nothing could ever bring you down again”
Xiaoxia looked at his father, he was amazed at the depth of these words. Usually his father was a little goofy and simple, but these words showed a new side to him.
“Yes Xia Er, do not be down, there are countless people till this day who have made significant contributions to society without Ki talent” his mother added.
“And you have no need to worry, take all the time you need to reflect on the path you have to take now. I will gather all the resources and contacts I can to help you in any way possible to realize this path” he father promised.
“But I do not know what to do” Xiaoxia replied. “I always wanted to have the strength to protect those I love”
“Oh Xia Er” Wanmei hugged her son. Daquan was moved and speechless as he hugged them both as well.
“Chief!!!” they suddenly heard a call.
“Yes, what is it?” Daquan replied.
“Lord Maling has arrived!” a towns guard appeared at the doorway to Xiaoxia’s room.
“Please show him to the clan hall!!” Daquan replied urgently.
So Daquan left Wanmei and Xiaoxia in the room as he headed to the clan hall.
Hardly any time had passed as Daquan along with the Lord were hurriedly walking towards Xiaoxia’s room.
Upon entering the room, there was happy countenance on Daquan’s face.
“Xia Er” he said.
“Meet Lord Maling, he has some information that will make your day” The person he introduced looked younger than him and was a little taller.
Xiaoxia felt Maling’s Ki Realm was superior to both his parents by a large gap, but this person didn’t feel like a Lord at all, it felt more like a rogue to him. His impressive aura did little to change Xiaoxia’s perception of him.
“Greetings young friend, you exploits have even reached my ears” Maling greeted Xiaoxia cheerfully.
“Ah, Lo…Lord Maling” Xiaoxia stammered as he return the greetings, cupping his hands and bowing while feeling a little guilty for belittling Maling in his thoughts.
Maling is a Bestowed Knight, a commoner given the Knight title and control over a region, only commoners who have went above and beyond the call of duty were bestowed Knights, and everyone in Black Iron Region knew him as a hero and Lord of Black Iron Spire. He had valiantly performed beyond his station in the past major conflict which more than a hundred years ago.
There are many other types of Knights in the Imperial guards and Military, but not all of them were Lords of Regions, albeit most of them have lands and castles. While there are others who only hold the title for notable contributions to the Empire.
Ling Han Wei was one of the other Knights, although not a bestowed Knight, he held the tile of “Captain of the 3rd Imperial Calvary” with more than 100 other Imperial Knights, with a total of 1 million troops under his command. The post had the equivalent of a General’s stipend.
Maling was also close to Ling Han Wei, and at times treated the Chen clan favorably, this was even before the Chen clan was decimated leaving behind Daquan as the sole survivor.
“I was made aware of your situation from reports received at Black Iron Spire” Maling went on to say, Black Iron Spire was the regional capital.
“It seems somehow the measuring device had ceased functioning” he further explained.
“Cease functioning?” Xiaoxia asked.
“Yes, the reason why I am here is because this is not the first time it has happened on the 1st colony before. Similar incidents have happened on many occasions over the eras.”
“M … Lord Maling” Xiaoxia had almost forgotten the honorifics before he spoke “How did it cease functioning?”
“Haha, young child, I do not pretend to know the details, only the makers can inform you on this. However you have to thank your lucky stars you were not last in line for the test. It was only because the device failed to measure anyone else’s Ki talent that the examiner became suspicious and tried it himself. Of course needless to say nothing happened”
“You mean he had no talent?” Xiaoxia was still confused, apparently his head was still refusing to believe the situation that happened earlier on.
“No silly child, it meant that the machine broke. Since he reported it in full details, the only explainable reason was that you broke it”
“But I didn’t do anything” this time Xiaoxia totally forgot Maling’s station and blurted out loudly. In a split second he realized his mistake “Sorry Lord Maling, I was rude!”
“Haha, no worries my young friend. It was not your fault, as far I know, your talent may have been too much for the device and it broke. I personally came to bring you to the colony’s capital, Crescent Lake” Maling announced.
“Too much for the device? But Lord Maling, how can this be” Wanmei who was keeping silent, decided to speak up and ask.
“It’s simple, this devices are really old, if the talent exceeds its capacity, then it will break. Of course it may have been a coincidence or even a faulty device” Maling said and continued, “The examiner has already request for another device, and we will be sending over a replacement as soon as one is available from test being done elsewhere”
Without pausing he added, “However, since we do not know the cause, I will not risk breaking another device”
“Lord Maling has informed me you will be under his care for the journey over there” Daquan informed his family.
“That I will be, we can’t afford to lose more precious devices can we?” Maling grinned and winked at Xiaoxia
Ki talent devices were in no ways easy or cheap to produce. Hu Yuan Empire only had about 300 thousand units needed to measure hundreds of millions of children.
The units used to measure the far reaches of the empire were lower grade ones, even then the cost of producing one was worth the ransom of a Gold class city.
The higher capability devices are restricted to the Examiner General’s branches situated in most Colony Capitals as well as Kingdom Capitals, they were deemed too precious to be transported around.
There was only 1 such device that was capable to measure Special class talents and it is kept under heavy guard and security in the Imperial treasury of the Empire.
Such was the case, as the cost of this device was more than a few kingdoms combined.
“Come Xiaoxia, lets us go”
“Yes Lord Maling”
“Just remember to close your mouth” Maling jested.
“Ah … nothing” Maling replied with a mocking look in his eyes.
As they arrive at the village spatial transportation device, Maling took out 2 stunning azure crystals, everyone who looked was amazed, as they were Ki crystals of very high value.
Most of them had only seen cheap crystals that were used to travel a few thousand leagues, but these were in another class of their own.
“Hmmm, Xiaoxia, I hope you are worth the effort to bring you to Crescent Lake” Maling looked at him with a doubting look in his eyes. No one can blame him as he had a quirk.
“Lord Maling, how come we are using these, don’t we normally use the dull grey ones for spatial transportation?” Xiaoxia asked.
“Well my young friend, Crescent Lake is on the other side of this world, to travel 500 thousand leagues would require more Ki as compared to travelling within Black Iron, those dull grey ones simple won’t do” Maling replied.
Xiaoxia had read up on Ki crystals and their various shades and colors, the highest quality he has seen so far were the neon green ones used to power the tesla furnace. It even required 20 of them and is said to be very costly.
“Now hold on to this” Maling handed over one of the azure crystals to Xiaoxia.
Xiaoxia nervously accepted the crystal and treated it with utmost care, it was 2 ranks above the neon green ones. In proper crystal rankings, each rank was 100 times the value of the previous rank. Which meant the azure crystal is 10,000 times more valuable than a neon green crystal.
“Okay as you enter the spatial transportation device, hold the crystal close to your chest, the transportation device will do the rest” Maling instructed. “Okay let’s go!”
Without replying Xiaoxia just nodded and followed Maling through the spatial device as he tightly held the crystal against his chest.