A Sorcerer’s Journey - Chapter 3
Chapter 3: Weird Things Happened at the Governor's Residence
’’This place is much more extravagant than Zi Jue's,’’ Glenn murmured as he was pushed forward in the crowd.
He couldn't wait. He peeked into the hall eagerly and saw a loosely dressed man sitting in the middle of the sitting room. The man's face was exactly as the girl who adored Glenn had described. It was covered by a thin film of mist or something.
'Is this what a sorcerer looks like?' Glenn wondered.
On the desk in front of the sorcerer stood a transparent crystal ball, which was oozing out some soft light, and the light wrapped the hall in a mysterious aura. Adding to the mystery was the constant croaking sounds from a red-eyed frog, which was crouching next to the ball.
Seeing a sorcerer for the first time, Glenn was thrilled in delight, and his blood was pumping faster as he kept on staring.
’’It was her! The little girl at the Zi Jue Residence!’’ Glenn saw a chubby brown-haired girl standing still behind the sorcerer, and her lips were pouting as if to say she was not happy about all this.
’’She was the girl who threw Canine Olfactory Enhancement onto the ground at the Zi Jue Residence.’’ Glenn said it out loud.
’’The girl was the first pick. She has been chosen by the Sorcerer and she's the governor's daughter,’’ someone from the crowd echoed.
’’The governor must have bribed the Sorcerer,’’ another person said bluntly.
'She gave in and had come to learn sorcery in accordance with the will of her father, the governor. That's why she is unhappy,' Glenn thought in his mind.
There were two other people who were standing behind the Sorcerer. Like the governor's daughter, they had been tested as qualified to learn sorcery but were selected at the Sorcerer's previous stop. The two looked a lot like each other.
’’They must be a pair of siblings, or they may be related in some other way,’’ Glenn murmured.
The boy of the siblings was full of disdain as he was flinging overbearing looks at the other candidates who were waiting in long lines for the test, while the girl was a little bit timid as she was being closely watched by so many people.
’’Being selected from among thousands of candidates as students for sorcery-learning must feel good, not to mention the fact that all the rich noblemen and lords would be really nice to them. It's like being catapulted to fame,’’ Glenn guessed.
Indeed, ever since the siblings, Chris and Nina Hank, had emerged as would-be sorcerers from their poor hunting family, the local lords had been buttering them up with both sweet words and gifts. The downpour of praises made Chris feel that he was the chosen one.
’’Mental strength: six points. Failed! Next one.’’ The Sorcerer read the information that appeared on the crystal ball as the test-taker touched the crystal ball. That was the entirety of the qualification-testing process. The candidates put their hands on the crystal ball and information about their mental strength, one of the key indicators of qualification would emerge on the surface of it. The girl taking the test opened her eyes and stepped back, feeling embarrassed.
’’Another one failed...’’
’’How is it possible?’’
The throng of people sighed as they clamored for the girl to quickly get off.
A whole day had almost passed, and no one, except for the daughter of the governor, had passed the test. The rest of the crowd who hadn't taken the test would have gone home were it not for the one gold coin they had paid.
’’Mental strength: 5 points. Failed! Next one.’’
The next test-taker curled his lips and sneaked out of the way.
As Glenn was marching closer to the forefront of the waiting line, people who had failed the test continued to pile up. He was getting nervous by the minute, and the closer he stepped forward, the more stressful he became. At one point, he became so stressed that he wanted to give in.
It was the turn of the boy in front of Glenn to take the test. His name was Wade. He strode up to the crystal ball and put his left hand on it, with his eyes closed.
’’Mental strength: 9 points. F...’’ The word ’’failed’’ didn't finish. Wade had tucked a bag of stones into the Sorcerer's cloak.
After checking the stones, the Sorcerer said calmly:
’’Get behind me.’’
The boy was the son of the man who owned the Moon Restaurant, the biggest one in Bi Seer City. So, he had gotten a rich daddy.
’’Bribery?’’ Glenn was surprised, and a second later, he sighed. ’’I have nothing precious to offer the Sorcerer, and he wouldn't have any interest in a couple of gold coins. I am so doomed.’’
’’Thank you, Master!’’ Wade bent his body toward the sorcerer to show his gratitude.
The moment had come at last. Glenn held out his hand as the Sorcerer ordered. He then extended his trembling hand toward the crystal ball and finally touched it. Then, he closed his eyes for the moment to come. That was when weird things occurred.
Glenn felt that he was in a dream. The hall was shrouded by a huge upside-down transparent cauldron, and everyone in it stood rooted to the spot, and every movement they made was in a very slow motion.
Glenn, with his eyes still almost unopened, noticed a line of bowls on a desk at the corner, and the bodies of the bowls were imprinted with sophisticated whorls. In the bowls were cakes and fruits served for the candidates, who couldn't reach the cakes and fruits because they were moving like a snail.
At the time, a few jellyfish-like creatures were seen swimming around over the fruits. They had many tentacles with various colors, and they were all staring at Glenn after they detected his existence.
Glenn could feel that his body was shaking on seeing swimming jellyfish in the air.
He steadied himself seconds later and took a few steps forward to have a closer look at the peculiar creatures, but his effort to move frightened them. With a wave of their tentacles, they disappeared into the nearby wall as if they had melted into it.
Glenn was in shock, but he was in greater shock when he discovered about the candlestick. Among four other regular candlesticks on the desk, the one laid in the front suddenly turned into an enormous pig head and it was glowing. The pig head jerked in Glenn's direction and looked at him.
’’It is a normal candle. I saw it. I was admiring the exquisite patterns on it.’’ Glenn wondered.
The ghostly things gave Glenn the creeps. At the time, a howling sound took Glenn by surprise. Glenn turned and tracked the voice to a paper man coming out of a book.
’’I am a Xian1 now. Neither the Dragons nor the other universe monsters can stop me anymore. I am undefeatable.’’
’’It is Becoming a Xian through Cultivation, and I know that book!’’ Glenn caught sight of the book title while he was checking out the paper man.
The book was about how a man gained mastery of cultivation methods to become a Xian and how he did it by defeating all sorts of monsters existing in the universe.
’’No way. Isn't he the hero of the book? He looks exactly like him - the long robe, thick beard, and a neck as long as a giraffe.’’ Glenn was astonished.
’’Where am I? Who are you? Are you a Xian, too?’’ The paper man asked a series of questions impatiently.
’’I am not... not a Xian. I a...am here ’’ Glenn stuttered at the sight of a paper who talked.
Glenn didn't have the time to finish the sentence as the paper man, in his fury, pulled out the sword from the scabbard and prepared to charge at Glenn.
Although Glenn was still conscious enough to tell that the sword was made of paper, he was almost paralyzed physically by this brutal violent action and couldn't think of anything to fend the sword off.
At the moment, the book spine broke and widened gradually into a huge gap. It seemed that everyone in the hall would fall but they did not. They just hung in the air above the gap. It was as if there was an invisible floor that had kept them in the air, and there was a voice deep in the the gap repeating the paper man's words.
’’What is this?’’
’’What is this?’’
Then, like a bolt of lightning, a giant scarlet tongue spewed out from the deep gap and coiled around the paper man several rings and tied him up. Glenn noticed that the huge tongue was made up of a countless number of snakes, which were entangled together and each of the snakes were biting the paper man greedily.
The tongue then retracted back into the darkness of the gap with the paper man who was still stuck to it, as if it was a compressed spring returning to its original state.
’’Mental strength: 12 points, not bad. Get behind me,’’ the Sorcerer said with smile that was rarely seen.
’’What was that?’’ Glenn slipped.
’’What?’’ replied the Sorcerer.
’’Nothing. Thank you. Master!’’ Glenn suddenly recovered from his mental stupor and realized that he was in the middle of the test.
Glenn moved behind the Sorcerer and his mind was still pondering the unbelievable things that had happened a few seconds ago. But everything had returned to normal. The cauldron was gone, the gap was closed, and people were moving at ordinary speed.
The rest of the candidates were all talking about him - a boy who had passed the sorcerer test.
1: The Xian (also known as the Taoist gods) are a race of superhumanly powerful humanoid beings who have been worshipped by the Chinese and other East Asian cultures from 2000 BC into modern times. Essentially minor deities, often referred to as Immortals in other novels.