”Everyone has gathered. We will now begin the aptitude test. Children, please come forward. ”

Obeying Nikos instructions, the children gathered in front of him while all the other adults, except for Samantha went a bit farther away.

”Do any of you already know how the test is done? ” Samantha asked. It seemed she participated in doing the test.

A young, pale, frail-looking boy answered ”First, our sensitivity towards Qi is tested. Then, our compatibility with the elements is tested. Finally, our comprehension is tested. The results of the three tests determine how many options we will have when it comes the time to choose our path in cultivation. ”

”Very good, Diego. ” Said Samantha. ”I see your mother taught you well. Remember to listen to her and not become a peeping tom like your father. ”

Diegos face soured as is he had just eaten a basket full of lemons.

”Can someone else speak about the First Great Cultivation Stage and the importance of these tests? ”

No one answered this time. Who would want to become another victim like Diego did?!

Luckily, Niko understood their situation and answered in their stead.

”The First Great Cultivation Stage is divided in three realms. Body Enhancing Realm, where one elevates their bodies to the peak performance, in preparation to interact with Qi. Qi Interaction Realm, where one starts to teach their body to utilize Qi. And finally, Qi Gathering Realm, where one starts to gather and store Qi in their bodies. ”

A small girl with curly, long blond hair raised her hand and asked ”Why do we have to pass through Body Enhancing Realm and Qi Interaction Realm? Don the ghosts and ghost foxes already start at the Qi Gathering Realm? ”

Niko nodded in praise. ”An excellent question. ”

He then proceeded to explain.

”Different from humans, beings like demons, beasts, ghosts, abominations, angels and other higher species are already born with a strudy body and with their meridians mostly unobstructed. Of couse if a human is born from Immortals, they will also have a much stronger body. ”

Niko explained while flexing his ghost muscles.

”If your meridians are obstructed and you force yourself to use Qi, its more likely than not that youll suffer from Qi deviation. Qi deviation is no joke. If you suffer a Qi deviation, not exploding could be considered a blessing from the Heavens. You are free to try but please do it in a easy to clean place. Cleaning a Qu deviation accident once in my life is more than enough. ”

Said Samantha with a disgusted expression.

”Body Enhancing Realm is to guarantee that your body can support the burden of unblocking the meridians. Qi Interaction Realm is to understand how Qi works, learn basic Qi control, and unobstruct the meridians. Any other questions? ” Asked Niko.

The children all shaked their heads in a negative sign. Samantha then assumed.

”Then well with the first test, Qi sensitivity. First you must sit in a circle, 7 meters from me. I will then, at random intervals, send my Qi towards you. As soon as you feel something passing through you, open your eyes. This will be repeated a number of times. The more times you correctly feel my Qi and open your eyes, the higher your score. Don try to cheat, if you open your eyes without my Qi wave, your score will be lowered! Now go! Choose a spot to sit. ”

The children hurriedly formed a circle around Elder Samantha and sat in the ground in the lotus position and closed their eyes.

”Ok, we
e going to start. Remember to only open your eyes when my Qi is passing through you. Fuhihihuhi. ”

Elder Samanthas disgusting laugh tempted the children to open their eyes, but they controlled themselves. It was a good thing, because Elder Samanthas grin was terrifying.

Elder Samantha was an old woman. Different from most female cultivators, she didn use her cultivation to keep her young looks. Trait that was much more common among widowed cultivators that deeply loved their late partners, and would never take another partner, like her.

She had light blonde, long, curly hair that reached her lower back. She had many wrinkles in her face, but even so, one could see she was a stunning beauty in her youth. She always wore black robes and used a black wooden cane on her right hand.

Guihu Luixing was obviously also seated in the big circle around Elder Samantha. He was currently sweating.

The test should have started more than five minutes ago. However he didn open his eyes once! This means he still didn feel any Qi passing through him.

His mind started to make up reasons like maybe he didn understand the test, or maybe there was some problem and the test couldn be started yet, or maybe theres something wrong with him.

If he had low sensitivity towards Qi, the road ahead of him would be one much more difficult to walk.

If Guihu Luixing opened his eyes, however, he would see that all the other children were in similar or even worse situation.

The most impacient ones already opened their eyes, only to realize their mistake when they sae Elder Samanthas grin.

Thats right. Elder Samantha strikes again! She was toying and torturing the test takers psychologically, and she was having a blast!

All the other adults observing the test could only smile awkwardly and shake their heads. Elder Samanthas method was brutal, but very efficient. Not inly it tested their sensitivity, but also their mental fortitude and their ability to follow orders.

Finally, after the seventh child couldn hold on. Elder Samantha released a wave of Qi.

Immediately many children opened their eyes in relief, including Guihu Luixing. However some children didn , some because of lack of sensitivity, and others because they were so nervous they simply couldn feel it.

After the wave passed, all the children closed their eyes again. Now they had to wait for the next wave.

After two minutes, the children felt something brushing against their skin.

Guihu Luixing was about to open his eyes when he noticed it wasn Qi. It was just wind. But there shouldn be any wind here…

Thats right. It was a trap!

Many children opened their eyes an saw Elder Samantha unable to hold it in any longer.

”Fuhihihyahyahyahya. ”

When they heard her signature disgusting laughter they knew they just got got.

Elder Samantha made wind pass through them to make them think it was Qi!

The children that opened their eyes could only complain in their minds as they closed their eyes again.

After some time, Elder Samantha once again released a Qi wave. This time however it was more subtle than before. Even so, more children opened their eyes correctly than the first time. They had already calmed down.

And so the test continued. Waves of Qi in random intervals, each wave more subtle than the previous, with traps in between them. Out of the nearly 70 children, only 5 managed to get a perfect score. Besides Guihu Luixing, Meiling and Diego, there was also a girl and a boy that was really tall for his age.

”Alright, this round of tortu-… Ahem, this round of test is over. Next, we will test your element compatibility. ”

Said Niko, much to the test takers relief.

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