167 The Imperial Examinations

    "Master, do you need a room to stay in?"

    After entering the city, Fang Yuan recalled his way and went to a hotel.

    The location of the hotel was a little remote and the sign of the hotel was a little old. However, it was very tidy on the inside and no speck of dust was found on any of the tables and chairs. The antique furniture also brought an ancient feeling to the whole atmosphere.

    Of course, the most important thing was that the price for a room here was rather cheap.

    As he entered, a humble lad welcomed him.

    "Hmm, is the room upstairs available?"

    "Yes, of course!"

    The lad was smiling brightly.

    Fang Yuan nodded his head and booked the room for 10 days. He paid a 3 days worth of rent as deposit. Meals were counted separately.

    "You can order whatever you want. If our kitchen doesn't provide, I will be more than happy to get it for you from elsewhere!"

    As Fang Yuan reached his room, the waiter told him.

    The waiter realised that even though Fang Yuan was dressed normally, his aura was a little different from others. Hence, guessed that Fang Yuan was rich and was travelling on his own, and could, therefore, get tips from him.

    "That will be unnecessary. What do you have in the kitchen?"

    "You're in luck! Our kitchen has just received two big pieces of beef and a piece of mutton. Chicken and duck are already prepared by our chefs. We also have the Green Lotus Rice, a type of spiritual rice. Anyone who eats this will have a lasting fragrance of the rice in their mouth. It is one of the popular dish ordered here."

    The waiter said everything at one go.

    "Hmm, I shall have a plate of beef, two plates of vegetables and a bowl of the Green Lotus Rice!"

    He didn't expect such a small hotel to be able to provide spiritual rice.

    After a while, the waiter carried a tray out. The sauce from the plate of beef smelled delicious. There was a plate of stir-fried vegetables and a plate of mushrooms with sliced meat. Then, there was a bowl of green rice which filled the air with the fragrance of a lotus. "Your dishes are all here!"


    Fang Yuan tipped the waiter and signalled the waiter to leave. He then started with the Green Lotus Rice.

    This spiritual rice was fragrant and soft, but it was not sticking to his teeth. The fragrance of the lotus filled his whole mouth. Even though the spiritual force this rice provided was not as much as the Flame Jade Rice, it was comparable to the Vermillion Jade Rice. Since this hotel was so small, this was already considered good.

    "Just that.....for a dream world, this feels so real!"

    Fang Yuan ate another piece of beef and he was thinking about something else. "I'm easily addicted to this dream world."

    After a long sigh, he thought about other stuff.

    "Now, Lady Wang would have known that something is wrong. It will be hard to guarantee that she will not take any action. I should head to the government office to register myself for the examinations first, just in case!"

    The government of the Da Qian empire was richer than the one in Xia Country.

    Legend has it that the founder of this empire was so magical and was able to suppress everyone. Even in today, many capable leaders were holding important appointments in the government of the empire. Hence, many of the factions and the rich households still abide by the rules set by the government.

    Previously, when Yang Fan had wanted to sign up for the examinations, he probably had the backing from the government officials to go against his family.

    However, Fang Yuan wanted to score well in the examinations only because he wanted to find out the method to break through this dream world.

    After coming to a conclusion, he left the hotel and went to the city.

    The government office was located in the heart of the city. Two stone beast statues were placed at the south entrance. Their heads looked like a tiger's or a lion's, and the eyes of the statues seemed to be glowing. The statues seemed to be alive.

    These beasts were called the 'Eye Beasts'. It was said that the eyes could differentiate between good and evil. Hence, the government loved to use these beasts to maintain order in the city.

    As Fang Yuan passed by the beasts, he felt something different.

    "Magical weapon?"

    From the eyes of the statues, he could feel a spiritual spell being cast in them and gave a sigh. The government of Da Qian was indeed spending a lot of effort on such stuff.

    "To register, I will have to submit my name, place of birth, appearance, family background and also to nominate another person for guarantee purposes in order to sit for the imperial examinations successfully.....Of course, I'm from the Yang family and there is an advantage for coming from a rich family. However, I will still have to pay for the examinations!"

    As he entered through a small door with other scholars, Fang Yuan gave a cold look. He was already familiar with the registration process but inside, he was complaining about it. "If the government collects fees for every imperial examination back in the olden days, I'm afraid everyone would complain about it..."

    When it was his turn, he filled up his surname, his signature and stamped his fingerprint. After making payments, he received a wooden board.

    On the board, basic information about him was written on it, including his facial descriptions. He was given two copies of it, and the wooden board was used as an entry proof to the examination hall.

    "I have heard that the rules set by the founder of the Da Qian Empire were unconventional and there are many complaints about these rules!"

    After he left the government office, Fang Yuan rubbed the wooden board and his face was expressionless.

    If this had happened in the olden days, where scholars were insulted with money, some of them would be very grief-stricken and would rather die.

    However, this world was different!

    Only with strength comes power. It would be strange to see a scholar overthrowing those people with the existence of powerful people like Wu Zongs and spiritual knights around.

    If not for the existence of cultivation in some scholars, the scholars probably would not have any power.

    "Sir, please stay where you are!"

    Just when Fang Yuan was about to leave, a scholar dressed in green came over. "I'm Xiao Mu. Are you also preparing for this imperial examinations?"

    "I'm Yang Fan!"

    Fang Yuan greeted him but felt that the expression Xiao Mu was giving was a little strange.

    Previously, Fang Yuan did not realise anything strange from him. Now, he could feel a slight dream elemental force from him, and it was in a form of a print.

    That print meant that he was under scrutiny from some dream master, and no outsiders could meddle with it.

    As Fang Yuan saw the print, he became a little fearful.

    "He has piqued the interest of a dream master...."

    Fang Yuan released a little of his magical energy and thought to himself. "His potential is great. He is more than capable to be a spiritual knight or an alchemy master, but he is just a few steps away from becoming a dream master. However, he does not seem like he is not looking for disciples, but rather, has an evil intent!"

    Spiritual knights can have spiritual servants. Similarly, a dream master can have servants, especially through the usage of this type spiritual prints.

    As Fang Yuan looked at Xiao Mu, Fang Yuan pitied him.

    Xiao Mu's face was pale. He had panda eyes and eye bags, and it seems like he had not been sleeping well.

    "So you are Brother Yang!"

    Xiao Mu greeted him and continued, "I admire your good looks and I want to be friends with you...."


    Fang Yuan chuckled and said, "My focus now is to score well for this examinations and I would prefer to study without any disturbance. If you still have the intentions to make friends, mind if I suggest to gather with a few other friends once the examinations are over!"

    "I'm sorry!"

    Xiao Mu blushed and bowed apologetically. He wanted to know where Fang Yuan stayed.

    However, Fang Yuan gave an unhappy expression and left.

    "Hey Brother Fang....wait for me!"

    Xiao Mu tried to catch up with him but was too physically weak to do so. After passing a street, he lost sight of Fang Yuan and gave a hopeless look.

    Suddenly, he appeared to be in pain and started to touch his own neck. He then went to a small alley and his breathing became heavier and heavier.


    His face became distorted and veins were now visible on his face. While panting, he exclaimed. "No.....Stop torturing me already.....That man! You felt it for yourself, that man! He will be able to satisfy your needs. Look for him, and leave me alone!"

    His eyes became bloodshot. The most mysterious thing was that a green-headed ghost face appeared on what used to be his clear neck, like a tattoo!


    "That guy is a big problem for me!"

    As Fang Yuan returned to the hotel, he recalled the weird feeling he had gotten from Xiao Mu and tensed up.

    If it was any other person, he would have beaten the person till he was unconscious and entered his dream to find out more. However, Xiao Mu had a dream master's print, and he might have the resistance against dream masters. Hence, if Fang Yuan recklessly entered Xiao Mu's dream, he might walk straight into a trap and be fighting against the dream master who was behind this.

    Only an idiot would look for trouble by making a new enemy.

    Plus, he was here for the imperial examinations, and not this.

    "This man is trouble and is going to be in the same examination room as me. Even if I can avoid him now, it will still be difficult for me to avoid him after the examination.....Alright, I shall entertain him after the examination!"

    Fang Yuan yawned and opened his book.

    The focus of the examinations was on real-world situations. Since he had 6 years of knowledge from Yang Fan and his own prior experience, he wasn't afraid of this examination.

    The only thing he had to take note of was the notes and research beyond the examples of Da Qian. For that, he would have to revise one more time.


    Time passed quickly and it was the day of the examinations.

    To be an official, one had to start off as a clerk first, and there were many levels for clerks. The highest level would be the supervisor, followed by an orderly, and lastly the service worker. There was a hierarchy to it.

    Once one scored well in the examinations, one could directly take up the role of a supervisor.If everything goes well, one would be promoted to become an official of the government. By then, one would have the backing of the government and would be considered the same level as the politicians. With this protection and backing, it was indeed good to be an official of the government. This was why many scholars had come for this imperial examinations.

    At the break of dawn, many scholars were already waiting outside the examination hall. Some were carrying lanterns and their writing materials. The richer ones had their servants by their side.

    Fang Yuan easily found Xiao Mu with his sharp eyes.

    Xiao Mu was in the middle of a crowd and was acting suspiciously. He kept looking around and seemed like he was looking for something.

    'What a greedy person!'

    Fang Yuan gave a cold laugh.

    At that moment, Xiao Mu saw Fang Yuan and gave a happy face. He wanted to come over and to talk to him.

    "Dong! Dong!"

    Suddenly, along with the sounding of the gong, the door to the examination hall was opened. Two rows of soldiers then came out in an orderly fashion. "It's time. All scholars please enter the hall! Prohibited items are not allowed in this hall. Whoever gets caught will be given 50 strokes of the cane and banished far away from the city!"


    The many scholars filled up the entire hall in just a short period of time.

    The seats were already allocated long ago, but these scholars still rushed into the hall as though they would lose out if they were the last to enter.

    Among the crowd, Xiao Mu was pushed forcefully by the crowd into the examination hall as he smiled helplessly at Fang Yuan.

    Fang Yuan thought to himself that whoever was friends with him would be unlucky for the rest of their life.

    "There will be a physical check. All reading materials or anything related to the content of the examination is not allowed!"

    At the entrance, there was a proper procedure for the physical check. However, the scholars were not checked by humans. Instead, the Eye Beasts were checking them like a demonic magic mirror. All scholars were instructed to pass by them and anyone who had evil intentions would be identified easily. Those identified would suffer all types of punishments, and it would be too late to regret.

    "This is just a county level examinations and yet spiritual knights are deployed here to overlook the examinations?"

    Fang Yuan became a little frightened.
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