Imperial Radiant City's reserves were fully enlisted. The White Tiger Duke was the Western Field Army's marshal, and they might face the Sun Moon Empire's great army at any moment. Nobody dared to slack off or mess around in this place. Therefore, Imperial Radiant City's two Reserve Legions were at their full strength of fifteen thousand men. They could send soldiers to the frontlines within four hours as long the frontlines needed them to.
Imperial Radiant City was also an important granary for the western corps. The city's walls were tough and thick, and its security was tight and strict. Everything was handled by the White Tiger Duke's most trusted subordinates.
These two Reserve Legions were collectively known as the Western Field Army, and were individually known as the Fourth Reserve Legion and the Sixth Reserve Legion.
Recently, these two armies had started recruiting new soldiers, because a batch of overage soldiers had retired from the army.
The Sun Moon Empire was a great threat, so the Star Luo Empire had cast a wide net for enlisting new blood. This was especially true for veterans who had been to war before, and the empire retained them by treating them extremely well.
But even so, humans had to grow old in the end. The bodies of normal humans would start to age more rapidly after they passed forty, and it became very hard for them to maintain the required condition in the army. A batch of veterans would inevitably retire every year from both the regular army and the reserves.
New soldiers would have to be recruited to replace those veterans who had retired. The Western Field Army's Sixth Reserve Legion was currently recruiting those new soldiers.
The Fourth Reserve had stopped recruiting just yesterday. Because the atmosphere at the borders were tense, many families from cities along the borders weren't willing to let their children enlist. If their children became soldiers, there was a chance that they would step onto the battlefield, and that meant they could be in danger! Therefore, the Fourth Reserve Legion's recruitment hadn't been that successful.
However, recruitment had its benefits. It was the best way for people mired in poverty to become rich by accomplishing meritorious deeds, and service in the army was the fastest shortcut to rising in social rank. Therefore, there were some youngsters who believed their bodies were sturdy enough, and were brave enough to come forward to join the army.
The Sixth Reserve Legion was stationed on the western side of Imperial Radiant City. The place where they were recruiting new soldiers faced Imperial Radiant City's gate, and everybody moving in or out of the city could clearly see the legion's booth.
At this moment, several veterans were hollering constantly at youngsters who were walking along the streets.
"The Sixth Reserve Legion is recruiting soldiers. You will be given generous compensation and salaries!. Four silver soul coins are given every month as a soldier's pay, and we will never lower that amount! You will get three meals a day, and two meals are guaranteed to contain meat! Uniforms and weapons will be assigned immediately after you pass an audit! Becoming a soldier is a glorious endeavor! You will be protecting the empire! You are welcome to join the Sixth Reserve Legion!"
These veterans' words were effective, to a certain extent. Many youngsters who were willing to enlist hailed from poor families, and a soldier's pay and food were what they hoped for most. Once they enlisted, they would be given a month's pay, and this amount was enough to change their family's life for quite some time.
A long queue stretched out in front of the recruitment booth. There were twenty-some young and fit men attempting to enlist in the army.
The recruitment booth's setup was simple. Two veterans sat behind a long desk, along with a middle-aged man who looked like an officer. However, everyone could tell from his uniform that his rank wasn't that high, even if he was an officer.
"Please show me your identification document," the officer said to the youth in front of him.
The youth hurriedly passed a small booklet over. In the Star Luo Empire, everyone had an identification document assigned by the military, and there were simple watermarks along with a seal unique to the city that each citizen was born in. Forging and replicating such documents was relatively complicated. Furthermore, the military could conduct investigations using these identification documents when absolutely necessary.
"Go over there. Find a stone weight that you can lift for us to see." The officer pointed to a pile of stone weights nearby.
There were about a dozen of them. The largest weight was about the size of a millstone, while the smallest one was at least twenty kilograms.
The recruitment assessment was very simple. New soldiers had their strength assessed, and they would have to go through boot camp. New soldiers who hadn't gone through at least one year of training weren't allowed onto the battlefield unless they displayed exceptional prowess.
"Yes!" Ge Dazhuang acknowledged loudly and hurriedly ran over to the pile of stone weights. He weighed several different weights before he found a relatively large one, flexed his arms, and lifted it.
"Up!" Ge Dazhuang exclaimed as he gradually lifted the weight into the air. His face was flushed, and it seemed like he was putting in a lot of effort, but he managed to lift the stone lock above his head in the end. This measurement was considered complete once the recruit raised a weight over his head.
"Yes, not bad! You're quite strong. You have passed, work hard in the future! The Sixth Reserve Legion is where talents are produced! If you are lucky enough to go to the frontlines, you might even get to accomplish glorious military feats!" The officer picked up a wooden card that read "Private" from the table and handed it to Ge Dazhuang as he finished speaking.
Ge Dazhuang hurriedly thanked the officer with a smile on his face. He could redeem a month's worth of soldier's pay from the quartermaster with this wooden card, before he would be assigned a uniform and a weapon.
Most of the youths who came afterwards passed the assessment. Only an excessively skinny youth couldn't even lift the lightest weight, and was turned away.
"Next!" The officer seemed a little sleepy as he leaned back in his chair and hollered lazily.
A tall and lanky youth walked in front of him and produced his identification document.
The officer could tell that this youth was quite smart and clever. He picked up this youth's documents and said, "Tang Dong, from Fourleaves City. Born into a farmer's family. How old are you?"
Tang Dong seemed a little inarticulate. He lowered his head and said, "Sir, I'm nineteen years old."
The officer was pleased to be addressed as "sir". He said to Tang Dong, "Go and lift a stone weight."
"Yes." Tang Dong walked to the pile of stone locks. He hesitated momentarily before he walked to the stone weight that was about as large as a millstone, weighing almost a hundred kilos.
Tang Dong gripped the stone weight with both hands and exerted the strength in his legs as he suddenly raised the weight into the air. He swayed a little before swinging the weight and raising it above his head.
"Eh!" The officer was taken aback.
Tang Dong placed the stone weight back down on the ground. His face seemed a little flushed, probably because of the strength that he had just displayed.
"Not bad, not bad. You don't seem very robust, but you are quite strong. Not even I can lift the largest weight!. You have a future! You have passed! Come, take this!" He retrieved a golden card from the small stack of them on the table, and passed it to Tang Dong.
This golden card had "Private First Class" engraved on its surface.
In the Star Luo Empire's army, privates had the lowest rank, followed by private first class. It was a clear and important gap between the lowest and the second-lowest rank.
Privates first class were treated a lot better than normal privates. They were assigned normal uniforms, and were equipped with simple leather armor and a spear. They were given six silver soul coins every month, while privates were only given four. Privates were only given cloth uniforms and a simple knife.
"Thank you, sir," Tang Dong replied gratefully, taking the golden card and proceeding to the barracks.
Tang Dong saw a sign with "Quartermaster" written on it stuck in the ground once he walked into the barracks, and there was also an arrow pointing in a certain direction.
Tang Dong paused in his tracks, and a disappointed look appeared on his face before he strode in the direction the arrow was pointing.
Tang Dong... "Tang" from the Tang Sect, and "Dong" from Wang Dong'er. Wasn't this seemingly honest and simple youth Huo Yuhao, who had just left the Clear Sky Sect and just paid his respects to his mother?
Yes, the Star Luo Empire's barracks were his destination. He had made this decision long ago in his heart, and he wanted to use his own abilities, just like the White Tiger Duke did all those years ago. He wanted to accumulate merit bit by bit, and reach a high rank. He wanted to use his own strength to prove that he was stronger than the White Tiger Duke. He wanted to stand in front of the White Tiger Duke righteously one day, and he wanted to use his own merit to reach a rank even higher than the White Tiger Duke's rank. He would reveal his identity when that happened, and he would use his own status within the Star Luo empire to clear his mother's name, and avenge her!
He didn't care about power and authority. However, he understood that no matter how strong he was individually, all he could do with his own strength was kill someone if he wanted to avenge his mother. That wasn't what he wanted. He wanted to use his own accomplishments for the empire to clear his mother's name and seek justice for her! He wanted his mother to feel rightfully proud because of him, so that she could rightfully be called the White Tiger Duke's wife!
Huo Yuhao wasn't willing to take any shortcuts. His reputation was starting to stand out in the Continent, and as long as he was willing to, it wasn't impossible for him to directly become a high-ranking officer in the Star Luo Empire's military. However, that wasn't what he wanted… he wanted to take the same path the White Tiger Duke did! The Star Luo Empire was his country, and even though this empire had never given him anything, this place was his ancestral home. He wanted to use his own merits to rise through the ranks.
After all, he was the Spirit Pagoda's honorary Pagoda Master, and also a lifetime member, and he enjoyed a substantial status in Shrek Academy and the Tang Sect. If he appeared in the Star Luo empire with his own identity, he could even affect the Douluo Continent's three native empires' overall situation, even if that sounded like a far-fetched notion.
Huo Yuhao's personal strength was nothing much to the three empires. However, the powers he represented were too strong. Therefore, when he went into closed-door cultivation, he decided that he would use an all-new identity to achieve what he wanted. And so, Tang Dong was born!
The quartermaster was a fatty, and Huo Yuhao could tell that he had quite a lot to eat every day. The man was a little shocked when he saw Huo Yuhao's "Private, First Class" card, but he still gave Huo Yuhao the equipment and compensation that a private first class should receive, and told Huo Yuhao to report to the military drill grounds on the left side of the army barracks.
The Star Luo Empire was wealthy, and one could tell that they were a class above the rest from the equipment they gave their soldiers. The leather armor was made from treated cowhide. Even though this leather armor could only protect one's torso, it was enough to give the soldier a sense of safety after donning it. The spear was about twelve feet long, and made from a very flexible white wood. The spear's steel tip was half a meter long, and it sparkled with chilly light, without a single inch of rust.
Soldiers were given two uniforms, which were made from decent canvas. The uniform was extremely tough, and even though wearing one wasn't very comfortable, the uniform was definitely durable, and resistant to wear and tear.