Upon reaching 16 years of age—obligatory military service!
Enlisting in the army, mining, becoming a slave, or a guard…
Such a law sounded very inconceivable and completely exploited normal humans. If any country on Earth dared to pass such a law, they would have been overthrown a long time ago!
However, very unfortunately, this was Heaven's Vault Continent, a world where martial ability levels were unevenly distributed, and the strong were in power!
"16-year-olds must carry out obligatory military service… Is that so…"
Meng Lei's brows drew together into a deep frown. As someone with a sane mind, he naturally rejected such a law that was practically ridiculous. Obligatory military service? Don't even think about it!
"Captain Hudders, what should I do if I don't want to perform obligatory military service?"
"Military service is an obligation that every normal human must fulfill!" Hudders shook his head and went on. "Unless you're part of the nobility, the nobility's descendant, a Third-Grade and above Magician, or a Fourth-Grade and above Warrior!"
"These four types of people don't need to perform military service?"
Meng Lei's eyes lit up.
"In other words, as long as I become a Third-Grade Magician or a Fourth-Grade Warrior, I won't need to serve the military anymore?"
"Yes! But that's too difficult!"
Hudders shook his head lightly. He said, "I know nothing about magic cultivation, so I can't comment on that. However, I know very well myself that it is impossible to become a Fourth-Grade Warrior within a year!"
Meng Lei frowned lightly and asked, "Is it very difficult?"
"Difficult doesn't even cut it. It's practically impossible! The cultivation of Battle Aura is a process that trains the endurance of one's body and the accumulation of Battle Aura. Without the support of any external items or power, every grade requires a very long time to level up!"
Hudders laughed wryly and added, "When I was in the army back then, it was only after six years of hard training that I became a First-Grade Warrior. And it was only after another ten years of arduous cultivation that by a stroke of luck, I had a breakthrough to a Second-Grade Warrior!
"That adds up to 16 years in total, you know! Do you think that it's possible for you to cross four grades in a year?"
Meng Lei was astounded. "You spent 16 years and only became a Second-Grade Warrior?"
"Yes! A whole 16 years!"
Hudders nodded lightly and added, "Of course, that's also because I have very poor talent! Your talent in magic may be very good, so you shouldn't take that long!
"I've heard of geniuses who are exceptionally talented in magic that managed to become Master Magicians within a few years. Take, for example, the students of our Fire Dragon Kingdom's magic academies. They must reach a certain grade before they can graduate, and fourth-grade seems to be the lowest requirement!"
Magic? Do I have magic talent?
Meng Lei wasn't very confident about that. His ability to use the Fireball Technique had no relation to magic talent whatsoever. It was completely thanks to his cheating device!
"Captain Hudders, where can I learn magic?"
"At the magic academies, of course!"
Captain Hudders patted Meng Lei's shoulder and said, "There's one right in the kingdom's capital. It's the start of August now, so it'll soon be the magic academy's enrollment period. If you wish to learn magic, you can go there and give it a try!
"If you can really enter a magic academy and study there, your life will change completely. Even if you can't become a lofty aristocrat after you graduate, you can also become a noble Magician, and that's a thousand times better than your current situation!"
Meng Lei nodded silently. Due to the system's existence, he had the confidence to change his destiny. However, just having the system wasn't enough. He needed to go out of the mountains and get to truly know this world!
Going to the magic academy to study seemed like a pretty good option. Not only would he be able to come into contact with people and things that he couldn't right now, but he could also learn useful magic knowledge!
Broaden his horizons!
Learn and study magic!
The precondition to this was… Talent in magic!
"Looks like you've made your choice. That's great!"
Upon seeing Meng Lei's expression, Hudders felt very comforted. He said, "I'll take you to the capital one month later. However, you'll need 10 gold coins to take the magic assessment. You must get that ready by yourself!"
"10 gold coins? That's such a scam!"
The onslaught of the beast tide had a rather significant influence on Magical Beast Village. Meat supply was just one aspect of it. It had only been the next day when trade caravans rushed over to the village upon receiving the news!
They collected beast fur and hide in exchange for salt and alcohol.
The adults bargained and transacted with the trade caravans, while the children laughed and played around the trade caravans' horse carriages. It had been long since the usually quiet and peaceful Magical Beast Village last welcomed such a bustling and lively atmosphere!
Meng Lei also sold a few pieces of beast fur and hide in exchange for some salt. He also wished to get a jar of alcohol, but unfortunately, it was too expensive. Just a few pieces of fur and hide weren't enough for that!
The good news was that there were a lot of people and the atmosphere was bustling and lively, so they dropped quite a lot of physical body constitution light balls. After Meng Lei collected and assimilated them all, his Physical Body Constitution field increased by 5 points, which was an unexpected bonus!
The trade caravan finally left after staying for a day. Meng Lei had an early night after having dinner. The next day, he set off alone with some smoked jerky and entered the Magical Beast Forest!
This was what he had decided to do after a lot of careful consideration!
The Most Powerful Pickup System was an excellent upgrading tool, but light balls weren't going to come to him just by cooping himself up at home. He had to take the initiative to strike instead!
Moreover, he needed 10 gold coins for the magic assessment, but Meng Lei currently didn't even have a single cent on him!
He could just forget about the assessment, then!
No matter which aspect he was coming from, he mustn't just sit and wait for death to befall him!
Of course, if he had a choice, Meng Lei didn't want to risk his life and enter the Magical Beast Forest alone, either. However, he didn't have that choice. With the beast tide's visit, every household had ample food and clothes, so the guards had no need to go hunting for the time being.
Thus, Meng Lei could only go by himself!
As a villager living at the Magical Beast Forest's fringes, Meng Lei wasn't entirely ignorant about the Magical Beast Forest. He knew which places were safe and which places he must stay clear of.
There are a lot of Magical Beasts in the Magical Beast Forest, but there are basically only wild beasts in the outer boundary!
As long as I stay at and limit my range of activity to the outer boundary, there won't be any danger!
A forest appeared before his eyes after he exited the village.
A thick layer of fallen leaves was laid out beneath his feet, while ancient and strange trees, which gave off a damp and decaying stink, surrounded him.
It was quiet, deathly so!
Yet every once in a while, the roars of wild beasts, as though wailing coming from hell, would echo. It made one's scalp tingle, such that no one would dare to become numb to their surroundings and be careless!
"If you cannot accept being mediocre, then the only thing you can do is to risk your life and fight! The road to becoming strong starts now!"
Meng Lei took a deep breath. The look in his eyes became strong and determined. Then, without looking back even once, he dived into the Magical Beast Forest. The forest was full of thick and dense foliage, which blocked out most of the sunlight.
With the help of a few rays of sunlight, he could see long lines of walnut-sized ants; caterpillars with sharp spikes all over their bodies slowly wriggling on trees; earthworms as thick as a person's arm rolling under dry leaves, revealing their scarlet red bodies…
Meng Lei found everything in front of him very new and fascinating!
This was indeed an incredible world!
Suddenly, a crisp sound came from under his foot. Meng Lei lifted his foot and took a look. It turned out that he had accidentally stepped on and squished a palm-sized… white maggot!
"Ding! 1 White-Lined Maggot killed. 2 bronze coins gained!"
"You can gain money even with this!?"