Three figures could be seen sitting inside a carriage through the window. The carriage was heading to the capital, it was stopped at the capital's gates where guards checked over the carriage before passing them on.
"Ye Xiu, are you ready for the Alchemist Association examination? You've been preparing for 3 years now and I think you can do it!" Another childish voice rang out inside the carriage.
"I've been practising extremely hard for this with Lao Lan and Lao Xiu mentoring me. They believe I can pass the exam without any problems so I should be fine. Believing in myself is the first step to success after all."
"You'll do fine, I'm sad that I can't come to watch your examination though. I only came because I have a meeting for City Lords in the capital this week. Hopefully, it won't take too long and I'll be able to see you during or after the examination." Xiao San commented.
"Thanks for the encouragement. I'll try my best."
Ye Xiu is now 7 years old and he's about to go take the examination for Alchemist Rankings. He has learnt a huge amount of stuff from his parents and mentors. His skills in his weapons had improved tremendously after years of training. He still hadn't begun training for the whip because he felt like that his arm's reach wasn't appropriate yet.
He had reached the 5th stage of Body Refining for a few months and was busy stabilising his foundation because he had broken through a bit too quickly. The Body Refining realms were for reinforcing the body and removing impurities from the body. The 5th stage of Body Refining was for strengthening the lungs.
Xiao Tu had also reached the 5th stage of Body Refining and similar to Ye Xiu, he was also busy stabilising his foundation for the past few months. Xiao Tu was close to reaching the 6th stage of Body Refining and it was possible for him to break through at any time he felt like it.
The carriage made it to the residence the trio were going to stay at. It wasn't anything grand like the residence of Mei Ling's family but it was of moderate size. It was a standard traditional, Chinese Villa with a courtyard and multiple rooms with no second floor.
A modestly sized training ground could be seen next to the residence's garden. The garden was well-groomed and have a variety of flowers growing in neat orderly lines.
The trio entered the residence to get some shut-eye because of how late it was when they had finally arrived at the capital.
Morning came and the trio left the residence to get some food. There was nothing to cook with inside the residence so they decided to go and eat some speciality dishes of the capital. After eating their fill, Xiao San brought the two children to the Alchemist Association Building located in the middle of the capital. It was one of the biggest buildings in the entire capital because of how rich the Alchemists were.
The Alchemist Association Branch in the capital had enough manpower and strength to overthrow the current capital's powerhouses. It was only due to the fact that the Alchemist Association had an oath to not meddle with any country and to remain neutral. Otherwise, the full power of every country would be brought down upon them.
Xian San led them to the person overseeing the front desk who promptly asked, "Are you here for the 1st rank Alchemist Examination? If so please register by placing your Qi on the desk and we'll get you to the waiting room."
Xiao San pushed Ye Xiu over to the desk and placed his hand on it. Several lines glowed from the desk before fading after a few seconds. "You're now registered so follow me to the waiting room before the examination begins. No others may enter the waiting room but spectators may view the examination from the viewing room."
"Goodbye Ye Xiu, I'll be going to my meeting now. I'll leave Xiao Tu here to watch your performance so he can tell me all about it. I won't be worried about anybody trying to kidnap you here in the Alchemist Association Building. Nobody wants to offend them after all." He patted Ye Xiu's head before striding out of the building.
Xiao Tu went a separate direction to Ye Xiu as he was led to the viewing room and the latter to the waiting room. Ye Xiu sat down on one of the chairs that could be found in the waiting room. He saw people of all sizes and ages just waiting there. He saw nobody as young as him however so he knew that the Alchemist Examination was probably harder than what his mentors had told him.
He spotted a girl who looked young enough to be Xiao Tu's age. Ye Xiu wasn't too sure because the cultivation world had strange things in it. The girl spotted him glancing at her and began walking over to him.
"Hey, you look young as well. Are you here to take the Alchemist Examination? Of course you are, there's no way you'd be in the waiting room otherwise right?" The girl didn't even leave room for him to reply.
"How old are you? You look the youngest out of everyone here. Are you from the Capital? Or elsewhere? I'm from outside of the country."
"Slow down and let me speak for a moment, Yes, I'm here to take the Alchemist Examination. I'm from a city in this country which is named Iron Will City. I'm currently 7 years old and you look to be the second youngest person to be taking the examination here as well. My name is Tian Ye Xiu and I'm an aspiring Alchemist."
"That's great! My name is Mo Shang Yang. I'm from outside the country, I'm here to take the examination because I was passing through the capital this month so it was more convenient for me to take it now than later. My father's one of the best Alchemists I know, so it's my dream to surpass him and take over the family business! I'm 9 years old and I hope I can be recorded into the list of notable Alchemists."
A voice interrupted the silence after Shang Yang introduced herself. "All participants in the examination, please make your way to the door on the right side of the room. We'll begin preparations for the examination now."
The room that all the participants had entered was a vast one, filled with tall stone pillars supporting the roof that could be seen. A stern elderly man could be seen waiting at the front of the room on a stage.
"I'll begin the explanation for the Alchemist Examination for those who have not taken it before. The examination will be conducted in 3 stages. The first phase will be testing the participants on their knowledge of Alchemy. This tests your basic knowledge of combinations and preparations for Grade one Pills. The second phase will test your pill formation skills and the third phase of the exam will only be known to those who pass the second phase. The third phase changes every time an examination is held."
"This explanation is finished so please go back to the waiting room. The examination has been prepared there and we will begin once everyone has reached a table."
Everybody quickly moved back to the waiting room where the anxiety everybody held could be felt in the atmosphere. Ye Xiu himself was nervous for the examination but he had figured out that he had eidetic memory after his first year with Lao Xiu and Lao Lan teaching him about Alchemy so he was fine for the theoretical phase of the exam.
"You have an hour and a half to finish as much as you can. Whoever finishes early may leave and enter the room you were in previously to wait for the second phase to begin. You may begin." A gong was struck and all the promising candidates began looking at the paper frantically.
Ye Xiu barely glanced at the questions before answering them. Eidetic memory truly was useful when coming to examinations such as these. Even though he could remember all the information the amount of writing with his brush he had to do was insane. There were over 150 different questions which require detailed answers. His wrist was probably going to be aching after this.
'I've got to finish this quickly so I can allow my arms to rest. I'll need my arms for the Pill formation phase and I hope that the third phase won't be anything hard.'
Ye Xiu finished the examination in 50 minutes but his calligraphy wasn't as polished as it usually was. He headed towards the room they were in before and noticed that it was filled with tables and apparatus needed for Alchemy. The elderly man from before walked up to him and gave him instructions, "Please take a seat at one of the desks, do not try to begin pill formation otherwise you'll be disqualified from the examination and you'll have to retake it when the next opportunity arises."
Ye Xiu inspected the apparatus that he was given to make sure that nothing was sabotaged or otherwise. He made sure everything was in perfect condition so that it wouldn't influence his pill's final grade and quality. After examining all his apparatus he sat back down on the chair and waited for the first phase to be finished.
The next person to enter the room was a middle-aged man who promptly sat down on one of the desks behind Ye Xiu. Slowly more participants trickled in and not many people had failed the first phase because it was just writing speed and memorisation skills.
Shang Yang ran over to Ye Xiu and asked him, "I saw you complete the first phase really quickly! You must be so amazing! Quite a lot of people failed in the middle of the exam and you didn't notice! You must've been really focused on finishing those questions to not notice them leaving. The examination is marked as you finish the questions through some Qi technique, my father told me about it. He uses it to check his disciple's work when he assigns it to them."
"I bet the second phase will be interesting! I know that my father believes that I can pass the exam with ease but I still feel nervous!" Shang Yang commented suddenly.
"That's true for me as well. My mentors believe me to be able to pass the examination with flying colours but I still feel uneasy coming into this now. I personally know my own skills should be able to pass the Rank 1 Alchemist examination but it is that feeling of butterflies in my stomach which makes me worry." Ye Xiu replied to her comment
"You'll be fine. If I can pass it I bet you can! I don't think your mentors would send you into an examination like this unprepared! Alchemists only send apprentices to these examinations once they are certain of them passing it on the first try because they want their reputation to be kept."
"Thanks for calming me down. I think we should be quiet now since the old man is about to speak."
The Elderly man stood on stage waiting for everyone body to settle down. "The Second Phase shall begin!"