Release that Witch Chapter 1047
A noise came from the crowd.
The army had always recruited soldiers from the official residents, and the qualification requirement had steadily become increasingly tighter. The last open recruitment to all the residents was carried out during the fight for the throne. Why did Roland suddenly do it again?
Even the new immigrant Good had heard from his uncle about the favorable treatment given towards those in the army.
If he could get enrolled into the First Army, he wouldn't have to worry about his livelihood anymore—not only were food and clothing supplied by the army, his family could also get the benefit of a sum of pension if he were to, unfortunately, pass away. And the food served to the soldiers consisted of not only oatmeal and pancakes, but other rare food like fillet, jerky, and butter would be served without limitation! Except for the disadvantage that one might lose their lives in the line of duty, it could actually count as a perfect job.
No, it is a perfect job!
If I could get so much, isn't it already worth more than the value of my life?
During his exile from the Kingdom of Wolfheart to Graycastle, Good had witnessed far too much suffering and adversity: whole groups of people fell dead on the roadside just like animals; crows danced on the bodies happily, enjoying their rich meals... Sometimes, a human life wasn't even worth as much as the grass growing by the roadside.
Besides, even the Church of Hermes, which had once conquered the greater half of the Kingdom of Wolfheart, was defeated by the King of Graycastle. If he could join this powerful and mysterious army, it might be safer than being a squire under a knight.
It was also not a bad choice to join the Second Army. Although the overall conditions might be a little poorer than that in the First Army, and he might be dispatched to another city, at least it was much safer, since he had not heard of the Second Army being involved in any major battles.
In other words, if he could join an army, no matter which one it was, it would become the best path forward for an immigrant like him.
Good and Sanko were both excited. They looked at Bucky and said, "Uncle!"
Bucky hesitated. He pondered over it for a while and said with a bitter smile, "I think I'd better not go... In order to hire me, I guess the foreman must have had to go to a fair amount of extra effort. I shouldn't break my agreement with him."
"Today is only for signing up our names. It doesn't mean we'll pass." Sanko tried to persuade Baji, "You can decide when the result comes out."
"Perhaps then I won't have enough willpower to refuse." Bucky shook his head. "Go ahead. I'll wait for good news from you in the square."
Sanko wanted to say more, yet was held back by the shoulder by Good. "Let's join in the queue."
Sanko looked back and finally nodded. "Let's go to apply first."
A lot of the applicants could neither read nor write, which made the situation a bit chaotic. Those who finished signing up were taken to another location by the black-uniformed guards, to be separated from the crowd. After hearing the news, more and more city residents came to sign up. The swarming applicants almost flooded the corner of the square. The organizer finally had to close the passage to the registry and announce that the recruitment would continue the next day. Even then, it took a long time for the crowd to disperse. Many remained around the tent as they wanted to see how the test would be carried out.
Good could not help but feel lucky for arriving early for the registration.
On the other side of the registration desk, a few more candidates came into the tent under the guidance of the guards.
Good noticed that even though the tent was almost 100 steps long and wide, which was big enough to take in almost all the applicants, not more than 10 applicants were allowed to step in at one time. It meant that the test might be much more complicated and difficult than he had imagined.
Sure enough, not long after, shrill cries came out of the tent. Hearing that, the facial expression of the applicants waiting outside of the tent turned solemn.
"This..." Sanko shrank his neck and said, "This isn't a test to see how many beatings we can endure, is it?"
"If they were being beaten, the cries should be repeated at regular intervals," Good said in a low voice. "Since these cries are random and sporadic, I guess they were only frightened."
"Is, is it? You seem to be familiar with this..."
"That's because I'm experienced at both beating and being beaten." Good sighed slightly. "I've only heard of it from others."
After a while, the sound of someone vomiting could be heard.
The crowd's faces turned ghastly pale.
"What is this test about?"
"Um..." Good went into silence. "It would be a miracle if I knew what it's about."
When the first batch of testees was finally brought out, Good was startled. "Only one of the 10 is left inside, which means the failure rate is 90%? Besides, why do they all look so weak, as if they can't even stand still? Judging from their figures, they should be physically strong."
Yet there was no time left for him to wonder why it was like that.
A guard called out his name, "Good!"
"Yes!" Good clenched his fists and strode inside the tent.
The space inside wasn't too big, and it seemed to have been divided into several areas using curtains. According to their sequence of walking in, the line of testees sat in order in front of a man in a military uniform. The stools they sat on were a little strange, as if they were designed to make people uncomfortable, because people had to stand on tiptoes in order to sit on it. To Good's relief, Sanko was in the same batch as him.
"I'm in charge of this test," the man in uniform said. "You don't need to know my name because most of you will soon be weeded out. Even if you're lucky enough to pass this test, it's merely the first step. In order to join the army, you still have much more to learn."
"Is this a recruitment for the Second Army... or for a reserve which is newer than the Second Army?" Good thought to himself. "Whatever it is, as long as the payment is enough to offer Rachel and me a better life, I'm going to try it."
"Here are the rules," the guy in uniform said. "All of you put your feet on the footboard and keep that posture for five minutes. No matter what you see, you're to stay on the stool. Of course, if your feet touch the ground, it also means you fail the test. Now prepare to start."
The testees looked at one another. "So simple?"
The officer sneered. Without replying, he pulled aside the curtains around them.
Suddenly a streak of bizarre white light overwhelmed Good.
When he came back to himself, he found that he was floating high in the middle of the sky.
Shrill cries sounded again, and at the same time some toneless thuds were heard. It aroused a burst of panic. Subconsciously, Good wanted to struggle with his limbs, in the vain attempt to escape from being smashed into pieces, but the slight touch of shivering under his butt immediately brought him back to reality.
He was still sitting on the stool!
But what followed was even more terrible.
He did not keep floating for much longer. Soon the surrounding clouds began to rise, which meant he was falling—the sensation that the rapid fall brought to him was beyond description. Good felt his heart almost rise to his throat. His brain warned him of extreme danger, yet his reason told him that under his butt was an invisible stool! Under these two contradicting thoughts, Rachel's face appeared in his head eventually...
The white light disappeared, and what appeared in his field of view was the tent again.
"Not bad." The officer clapped his hands. "You've passed the first test, and your performance was much better than the previous batch. Anyway, there are still several tests awaiting you. I hope you can stick to the end."
Is this only... the first test?
Good swallowed his own saliva. He found that his hands were trembling heavily and his back was icy cold. It was like he just got out of a pool of water.
That fall was not the end. Afterward, through his view, he saw himself climbing a few more times, and he even skimmed over steep cliffs along mountain ridges. He felt that he might crash onto the rocks at any time!
"Simple?" Good remembered the sneer on the officer's face when he entered the tent... "No, God must have blessed me for me to still be sitting on the stool at that moment!"
Good tilted his head and looked both sides—half of the stools were empty and Sanko was nowhere to be found.