"Out of the way!"
The people on the bustling streets of Xinyuan City immediately parted when they heard that loud bellow. Everyone's gaze was then trained on the middle-aged man sitting inside a conspicuous carriage.
Dozens upon dozens of warriors wearing elaborate suits of armor lined up on both sides of the road, acting as a human barricade to prevent any passerby from blocking the way.
"Who is that?"
"Isn't that General Qin?"
"Who did you say it was?"
"It's General Qin!"
Those in the know did not dare speak any further when that name was mentioned. All of them chose to remain silent as they watched the carriage move past them in respect and also in fear.
In the whole Mengxiang Province, there were only five people who had been given the title 'General'. Of the five, the first General was said to have already reached the peak of the Second Realm. This person was none other than General Qin of the Royal Palace. No one would probably not know the legend he created in the previous wars.
"Why is the Royal family's first General here?"
Discussions rang out in the crowd, everyone was wondering why the great General had come to their small city. It should be known that there were more than a hundred cities under the Mengxiang Province, comprising small and large cities. The Xinyuan City is only one of the many small cities in the East Prefecture of the Mengxiang Province.
The crowd followed behind the carriage of General Qin out of curiosity. The guards did not restrict them from doing so. Those who did not even know what was happening were dragged by their friends amidst their confusion. When the carriage stopped, they found themselves at the training grounds located at the heart of the city. Many people gathered here just to see the legendary General Qin.
"People of Xinyuan City!" A deep voice boomed out across the training grounds, commanding everyone to listen. "I am General Qin of the Royal Palace. Under the orders of His Majesty, we will be selecting outstanding youths to be trained in the Royal Academy. The examination will be held tomorrow. Regardless of your background, if you think that you have what it takes, come here tomorrow morning. The Royal guards would be in-charge of the registration until this evening."
General Qin's statement caused an uproar in the entire city. The various clans in the city immediately went up to register the promising youths they had nurtured in these few years. Even the small families not affiliated to any clans signed up their youths to try their luck.
A chance to study at the Royal Academy, who would be willing to pass up on that?
But while everyone was agitated about the examination that would be held the next day, in a secluded corner, a frail-looking little girl stared silently at the bustling grounds, clutching a piece of paper in her hand.
"Grandpa, I will find you even if I had to conquer the whole heavens." The little girl swore in her heart.
Looking at the people around her — youths signing up together with their families, friends wishing each other luck— Sheng Wenruo felt a stabbing pain in her heart. Unknowingly, tears brimmed in her eyes and her vision blurred.
If her grandfather was here, how good would that be? But there was nothing she could do. Her grandfather left her with nothing but a letter and a piece of stone. The moment she woke up, he had vanished without a trace.
Smoothing out the piece of paper in her hand, Sheng Wenruo read her grandfather's letter again and again:
'Wen, my dearest granddaughter, I hope you forgive Grandpa. I don't really want to leave you alone, okay? I love you. You are Grandpa's favorite granddaughter. But I have to go. They have already found me. If you stay with me, you will be in danger. I can't let anything happen to you. I don't want anything to happen to you. I don't want to leave you, but I have to. In the future, you will understand.
Did you remember that piece of stone I gave you before? Go to the Qin Clan of the Yueyan City and hand that stone to Qin Han. He is a friend of mine. He will help you.
Sheng Wenruo, remember that Grandpa loves you no matter what. There are just some things that I can't tell you right now, but you will know when the time is right. Don't forget what I thought you before: Nothing beats knowledge. Learn whenever and wherever you can. It will be much harder for you, but I believe that my dearest granddaughter is dauntless.
- Love, your Grandpa Zhen'
Based on her grandfather's letter, Sheng Wenruo inferred that she needed to find someone named 'Qin Han' from the Qin Clan of Yueyan City. But the problem is, she had not left Xinyuan City before! And even if she had a complete map of Mengxiang Province in her possession, she would probably not be able to get there. She didn't even have that much money left on her to cover for her lodgings and food.
Sheng Wenruo had just turned 12 this year. Just imagine what a child at that age would experience when she was let out in this cruel world to fend for herself. But since her grandfather believed in her, she would do her best to survive.
Carefully folding her grandfather's letter and hiding it in the secret pocket of her robe, Sheng Wenruo's gaze became resolute as a plan formed in her mind.
She had to pass the examination to enter the Royal Academy!
That is the only way for her to leave this place.
But was it really that easy?