On the Yuanzhi Continent, experts and masters were as common as the clouds and as numerous as droplets of rain, and all of these experts and masters had one common name… totem master!
Once a person became a powerful totem master, that person would naturally pass down his or her special secret skill to their descendants. If their descendants were skilled in running and handling a business, they would prosper like a rolling snowball to become a flourishing ‘totem aristocracy’.
The continent’s most powerful and wealthy totem aristocracy was undoubtedly the Rheinhardt Clan, also known as the ‘First Totem Millennium’.
And Jiang Nan’s master, Count West, was a member of the Rheinhardt Clan.
Of course, he was only an insignificant outer member, and his farm was located thousands of kilometers away from *Rhein headquarters.
(*TL: raws cut it from Rheinhardt to Rhein)
Jiang Nan had already eventually understood all of these above matters, but as he and Tom went towards the threshing floor, Tom still babbled on and repeated it anyway.
After listening a while, Jiang Nan got a bit impatient and shrugged his shoulders, then looked at the dark clouds in the sky: “Good, tonight’s moonlight should be pretty nice. What do you think?”
“Alright, alright, I’ll just say it bluntly then!”
Tom understood Jiang Nan’s meaning, and chortling in embarrassment, he said: “Our opportunity of changing our identity as a slaves means having a relationship with Rhein headquarters!”
“Yesterday night, a big fish called Overseer ‘Ceci’ (吉吉) arrived from Rhein headquarters! Do you know what he came to do?”
Tom could barely contain his excitement and started dancing, “Overseer Ceci said that Rhein headquarters wanted a large force of strong youth. He ordered the Count to prepare two thousand of his strongest and most robust male slaves and have them assemble before noon today. We’re going to the threshing floor so that Overseer Ceci can look over us and choose.”
After saying this, Tom sunk into a wonderful, imaginary fantasy, “Hehe, once we’re chosen by Overseer Ceci, then our identity as slaves will be automatically removed, and we’ll become common residents of the Rheinhardt Clan!”
“Rodi, we’re two of the most youthful and strong slaves. We’ll definitely be chosen by Overseer Ceci!”
To the carefree Tom whose parents had already died and was the seventh generation of a family of slaves, this truly was a splendid piece of news.
But Jiang Nan was speechless, and his expression had only dulled. After hesitating for quite a while, he asked: “Only youthful and healthy slaves have the qualifications?”
Tom also grew silent, “En.”
If only young and health slaves were eligible, then what about Auntie Alisa?
Could he truly just discard his aunt, leaving by himself to become an exalted, free person? Like this, Auntie would only have death awaiting her!
Jiang Nan halted his steps.
Tom realized what Jiang Nan was thinking and consoled him: “Rodi, you can first become a common person and earn money, and then redeem Alisa from her identity as a slave!”
“Tom, you understand Auntie Alisa’s condition, I’m afraid… before I earn enough money, she’ll have already died!”
Jiang Nan abruptly turned around, “I’m going to go back and feed the pigs. Mister Tom, I wish you good luck!”
“Hey, you’re not going to participate in the selection at the threshing floor?”
Jiang Nan’s steps were firm, and he barely even hesitated.
But at this point in time, the threshing floor was nearly right before their eyes. A brawny black man had seen Tom and Rodi, and seeing their youthful and strong bodies, he waved them over, “Aiyaya, you two slaves really aren’t bad. Come over and let me take a look!”
This two meter tall, muscled black man who wore a golden silk robe and round cap… was actually an effeminate man!
A slave overseer swiftly went over to urge Jiang Nan, “Rodi, why is a pig guy like you hesitating? This man is Overseer Ceci from Rhein headquarters. Hurry, hurry up and go!”
Jiang Nan sighed. As a slave, he didn’t have choice of refusing him.
Fine, I’ll just act as though I’m sick and purposely not get selected so I can stay behind and take care of Auntie!
Thinking of this, Jiang Nan held back his breath then softly poked at his third and fourth rib…
Immediately, his expression grew flushed, as if he had caught sickness and had a fever.
To a medical professor, faking sickness was truly too easy.
Unexpectedly, when Overseer Ceci drew nearer to take a look, the Jiang Nan whom he had originally thought to be healthy and strong actually seemed quite sickly, and he couldn’t help but stare at him. Then, he turn to take a look at Tom, saying: “Aiyaya, you strong and healthy slave, what is your name~?”
“Don’t you know? My name is Tom!”
Jiang Nan stood within the group of slaves and didn’t feel like listening to the conversation between the two, and thus absentmindedly studied the circumstances surrounding his situation.
Just by taking a few glances, he suddenly discovered that the atmosphere was a bit fishy!
In the past, the threshing floor only had around two or three hundred slave workers, so the amount of slave overseers that were present to maintain order also weren’t many. Even though today was a big day where all the slaves would be assembled, it was already enough to have all the 280 overseers present. But today… besides the slave overseers, in the vicinity of the threshing floor, there were even two or three thousand soldiers surrounding the area!
Heavy black armor, fiery red cloaks, and matching long bows and daggers, several thousand soldiers stood ramrod straight around the threshing floor without even the smallest noise!
What an elite force!
And behind the troops, there was still twelve gigantic pillars that were seemingly as thick as cisterns, twelve meters tall, and covered with a red cloth.
“Do you know what these pillars are for?”
When he heard this phrase, Jiang Nan knew that Tom had returned so he didn’t turn his head as he asked, “Don’t tell me you know?”
“Hehe, Overseer Ceci already told me. These pillars are called ‘totem pillars’, and are especially made to test one’s ‘innate totem talent’!”
“To test one’s innate totem talent?”
“Exactly. They’re able to detect whether you are eligible to become a great totem master.”
Jiang Nan finally turned his head around, and looked at Tom suspiciously, “They need totem pillars just to select men for a strong labor force?”
Tom was just about to explain, when Overseer Ceci saw that the slaves had pretty much already assembled, and raised his hand in a graceful gesture to indicate that they gather before him.
“Aiyaya, you young and strong fellows, come here, come here! Someone has something to tell you!”
Immediately, goose bumps prickled all over Jiang Nan’s body, and taking a look, beside Tom who was extremely eager to get rid of his identity as a slave, the other slaves were also subtly scratching their arms.
Overseer Ceci began to talk as if addressing children: “The reason someone has come here, is because of two issues~! First, to select two thousand strong slaves to go to Rhein headquarters in Celestial Flower City to become the common residents there… It’s easy~ All of you will carry fifty kilograms of rice and run three laps around the threshing floor. The first two thousand to complete the three laps will be chosen!”
“As for the second matter… Teehee, this person has come to pick out some strong men to enter Rhein headquarters’ directly subordinate army!”
Join the army?!
The threshing floor had lapsed into absolute silence.
If the word ‘common residents’ excited the slaves to the point of trembling, then joining the army… would get them stirred up to the point that they would go insane!
On the Yuanzhi Continent, the status and treatment of soldiers were the top of the top among all occupations. Even if it was just the most ordinary military cook, he would be paid twelve silver coins per month! In other words, as long as one was a soldier for half a year, it would be sufficient to buy the strongest male slave in the market!
“Yi? How come none of you are talking anymore?”
Overseer Ceci all at once clapped his hands in front of his chest, “Ah, I understand~! All of you are so excited that you can’t even say one word, right?!”
No longer did anyone think that Overseer Ceci effeminacy was disgusting. On the contrary, all of the slaves thought that he had a f***ing heavenly voice!
“But, don’t get too happy just yet! The Rheinhardt Clan’s army isn’t a place that just anyone can enter. Those who wish to join… must possess ‘innate totem talent’!”
Sweeping a glance over those twelve totem pillars, Jiang Nan had already guessed what their purpose was.
As expected, Overseer Ceci swung his bottom around and went near the totem pillars. Patting the pillars, he said: “See these twelve pillars? They’re here to check whether you have ‘innate totem talent’ or not. Remember, after running, you are to come directly here to the totem pillar area. As long as the totem pillar shows that you have innate totem talent, then you have the opportunity to become a noble totem master… Aiya, congratulations~ You would become grand soldiers~!”
At this moment, the troops’ general stood out and shouted: “Right now, listen to my orders! Every slave heft up a sack of rice and start running! After you’ve finished running, go straight to the totem pillars and assemble there to start checking your innate talent!”
Tom, who had long since prepared, answered with a loud shout, and gathering his strength, he picked up fifty kilograms worth of rice and began dashing towards the very front like a madman, “Don’t you guys know? I’m definitely going to be number one!”
Other slaves stared blankly, then immediately reacted. One rushing past Li Xuan urgently shouted at him: “Younger brother, what are you spacing out for?! If you want to become a common resident and join the army, run!”
“To no longer be a slave, run!”
Amidst the fanatical charging of several thousand slaves, Jiang Nan seemed noticeably weird. He was taking his time as he heaved a fifty kilogram sack of rice and ran alongside fifty-some year old slaves in the very last group.
In reality, Jiang Nan’s physical condition was even stronger than Tom’s by a few levels, and if he truly wanted to get first place, almost nobody would be able to outrun him. But he couldn’t run and get first place, much less become a common person thousands of miles away from here!
Or else, who would take care of Auntie Alisa who cared for him and him for her?!
It took about eight or nine hundred meters to run a circle around the threshing floor, and for those who ran quickly, they could reach the finish line in twenty-some minutes.
Tom really was number one, and was exhausted to the point that he was gasping for air. But, he still forced himself to control his breaths and stick out his chest, yelling loudly: “Lord Officer, do you know? My name is Tom!”
“Very good, resident Tom. This is proof that you’ve broken away from your identity as a slave!”
At once, the officer handed a small badge to Tom, then tore off the red cloth on one of the totem pillars, shouting: “Resident Tom, I now command you! Put your back to the pillar, close your eyes, and sense the environment around you. The totem pillar will determine the circumstances surrounding your innate talent!”
So this was the method of determining one’s innate totem talent?
Jiang Nan who still had two laps left to go looked curiously over, and only saw Tom with his back to the totem pillar and his hands tightly clasped, constantly mouthing his prayers, “Don’t you know? Don’t you know, don’t you know that I’m so very excited right now?”
Boom, boom, boom!
The ground reverberated with ripples of booming sounds, and immediately after, a humongous, circular dark cloud appeared atop the totem pillar. On top of the dark cloud was a clearly jagged, palm-sized rock.
What did this mean? Tom looked nervously towards the officer…
The officer laughed, “With a rock-like physique, you can communicate naturally with stones, and have the potential to summon rocks as your ‘faith totem’! Mr. Tom, you are no longer just a common resident, and have the opportunity to become a noble rock totem master of the Rheinhardt Clan, a guard directly subordinate to headquarters! Congratulations!”
Tom lifted his head, and with his face streaming with tears, he broken-heartedly cried out, “Father, Grandfather, Great-grandfather, Great-great-grandfather… Do you guys know? Tom is no longer a slave anymore! Tom is a grand soldier!”
With a bitter laugh, Jiang Nan ran even slower in gloomy silence.