Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
There was a flicker of doubt in everyone’s eyes. The pair of hands was as fair as jade, without a trace of corrosion, and Jia Rong seemed to have no fear. Could it be that Su Yuanqiao had wronged him?
Su Yuanqiao’s heart gave a jerk as he stared at the hands with wide eyes and a bad feeling suddenly surged in his heart. “How is this even possible? How could he have cured the toxin of the Hell Wind stone?” He focused his eyes and sent out his divine sense abruptly. “I want to examine your body thoroughly! Even if you could cure the toxin, there is no way your soul power could reach the level of an alchemist! I’m going to expose you, faker!”
Right at that moment, almost everyone sent their divine sense into Jia Rong’s body. He still had the same fearless look, and was staring coldly at Su Yuanqiao with a hint of mockery in his eyes, as if watching a clown putting on a show.
A moment later, Xu Han’s face grew stern as he said coldly, “Yuanqiao, now I need you to give us an explanation!”
Panicked, Su Yuanqiao said, “How is that possible! He was poisoned by the Hell Wind stone…I’m one hundred percent sure!” He frantically swept Jia Rong’s body back and forth with his divine sense, and his face grew more and more unsightly.
“HEY! Have you seen enough?”
Jia Rong suddenly cried out in a deep voice as a tremendous soul power exploded out of his mind, slamming hard into Su Yuanqiao’s divine sense. An invisible force instantly distorted the air. The sudden attack made Su Yuanqiao hastily withdraw his divine sense, but his opponent followed him into his mind, causing his soul to shake violently!
Su Yuanqiao coughed out a mouthful of his heart’s blood as his divine sense was injured. “You…How can your soul power be so strong!” he cried out in horror.
A cold and arrogant smile played about Jia Rong’s lips as he scoffed, “I’m a genuine alchemist, so my soul power is naturally stronger than those fakers.”
“You!” Su Yuanqiao felt a surge of anger in his heart, which made him cough out another mouthful of blood. “Fine…fine…fine…” 𝘪𝔫𝓃𝙧𝒆𝖆𝒹.𝒄o𝘮
After saying three ‘fine’ in a row, the gleam in his eyes suddenly faded away, and he looked weary and old for a moment, as if all his spirits had leaked out of him like the air in a balloon.
Xu Han was stunned, and then he breathed a long sigh as he said, “Yuanqiao, why do you have to torture yourself with this…”
There was an abstracted look on Su Yuanqiao’s face as he said in a trembling voice, “President, I…I…I’m already old and weak…I beg your leave to retire and return to my birthplace, so I can spend my remaining years in the countryside. Please approve my request, President.”
Everyone froze in shock as they realized that Su Yuanqiao’s divine sense had scattered under the extreme anger, and his soul power rapidly decreased to the level of an apprentice alchemist. Even Jia Rong was slightly surprised, but his heart was filled with unparalleled excitement and joy.
He had practiced the soul cultivating technique for only five days, and yet his soul power was already strong enough to seriously injure Su Yuanqiao. Even though Su Yuanqiao was just a first-tier alchemist, he had made a name for himself for a long time, and his soul power had been stable in the first tier.
‘Young Master Yun, who exactly are you?’ Jia Rong was now in complete surrender toward the enigmatic teenager. With such an amazing cultivating technique, he was even willing to be Yunxiao’s servant for fifty years, not to mention only fifty days!
Xu Han shook his head helplessly. Su Yuanqiao had lost his strength of a first-tier alchemist, and as he was old, it was impossible for him to recover it. Furthermore, if he were to stay in the Alchemists Association, he would have to always be on guard against the revenge from others, for he had offended many people during his prime. “Just go home and get well!” said the president. “Don’t worry, I’ll inform His Majesty about everything.”
Su Yuanqiao said in a trembling voice, “Thank you, Lord President!” Not daring to meet the glances of anyone, he hung his head low as he waddled away.
Xu Han breathed a long sigh again, then said in a clear loud voice, “Due to illness, Master Su has decided to retire and return to his birthplace. From now on, all the old scores between him and everyone else are written off. No one should disturb him for any reason!” When he had finished, he fixed his eyes on Jia Rong.
Jia Rong smiled faintly as he folded his arms over his chest and said, “I agree with the President.”
Only then did Xu Han feel relieved. The soul power Jia Rong revealed just now was already stable in the first tier, and his future achievements would only be greater. Everyone present knew it was he who had injured Su Yuanqiao’s mind. Otherwise, the old man would not have his cultivation base dropped due to anger. However, no one would want to offend an alchemist with a bright future at the moment for an old man whose career had reached a dead end.
The crowd greeted Jia Rong one after another, a gesture of currying favor. Meanwhile, he wore a kind smile as he returned the greetings one by one, although sneering in his heart. ‘If I hadn’t been helped by Young Master Yun, you people would be adding insult to my injury now!’
“Jia Rong, your progress surprised even me,” Xu Han said. “I didn’t expect your soul power to be so stable even though you’ve just been promoted not long ago. Help me bring Yunshang to receive her alchemist badge.”
Jia Rong received the order with a smile and then took Yunshang through all the formalities.
“Master Jia, I have a bold request,” said Yunshang, as a thought suddenly struck her in the mind.
“Oh?” Jia Rong smiled. “Tell me the request, Lord Yunshang!” As one of the five commanders of the State Guardians, Yunshang’s strength and authority were superior to his, so he was very polite to her.
“I have a student who cannot practice martial arts due to his physique,” Yunshang said. “But, he is very interested in alchemy, and has gained much knowledge in this field through self-learning. I wish to find him a good teacher. I wonder if Master Jia had ever thought of taking in a disciple?”
While frowning, Jia Rong said, “Take in a disciple? Lord Yunshang, you yourself are an alchemist, and your strength is not weaker than mine. So, why do you have to ask me?” Alchemists had very strict requirements when taking in disciples, and they never gave in even for the children of dignitaries. Unless the candidates were extremely talented, they would never take in any disciple.
“His identity is a little special,” Yunshang sighed. “As the commander of the State Guardians, it is not appropriate for me to become his teacher. To be honest with you, he is the eldest grandson of Duke Jingguo, the natural son of General Feilong.”
“I see,” Jia Rong said, enlightened, “I’ve heard that Duke Jingguo’s eldest grandson is a martial arts idiot, and because of that, he was the laughing stock in the capital a few years back. But Lord Yunshang, you should know that a martial arts idiot has a weak physical quality, and that makes it difficult for him to achieve any success in alchemy as well.”
Yunshang nodded and said, “Yes, I know that. But, this student does have something special about him. Even if he can’t become Lord Jia’s personal disciple, I hope you can give him some simple guidance, at least to let him become an apprentice alchemist, which is the only way for us to keep our promise to Duke Jingguo.”
Jia Rong’s eyes darkened as he said coldly, “In this case, I’ll meet this student. But, he has to go through a soul power test. If he reaches the minimum standard of an apprentice alchemist, I’ll take him as my personal disciple. It’s all for Lord Yunshang’s sake.”
Elated, Yunshang said, “Thank you, Lord Jia! I’ll remember your kindness!”
Jia Rong nodded slightly and said impatiently, “When you are free, bring him to a soul power test. I’ll take him as my disciple if he is qualified. But, if he doesn’t meet the minimum standards, he won’t have to see me.”
Looking at Jia Rong’s back as he left, Yunshang thought, ‘He’s the youngest alchemist and has a great future. By letting Yunxiao follow him is a way of me repaying the favor, and at the same time, will ease Duke Jingguo’s mind. I just wonder what’s the situation with that kid’s soul power…I hope he doesn’t disappoint me. That’s all I can do.”
Three days later, it was finally time for the academy’s annual assessment.
After the assessment was the annual two-month holiday. The students who passed would be promoted to intermediate class in the next semester, while those who failed would have to pack their things and leave the campus. Every year, a large number of students from powerful families were eliminated, while most of the poor students passed. After all once they failed, what awaited them was a fate of being completely reduced to mortals, so every one of them cultivated like madmen.
The assessment was held in the largest martial arts arena of the academy. It was one of the iconic buildings within the campus, and its construction was presided over by the former president of Tianshui’s Alchemists Association, Lord Yang Di himself. Built with several kinds of extremely rare ores, the arena covering an area of over a thousand meters squared looked magnificent.
Not far from the arena was the most striking structure in the campus—the giant statue of Gu Feiyang.
With one hand rested on the hilt of the sword, the statue looked out into the distance with a knowing smile at the corners of his mouth. It was forged by Gu Feiyang’s student, Yang Di, after he died fifteen years ago.
Yunxiao stood still in a corner, looking up at his own face. His thoughts seemed to have crossed the layers of the void and become one with his past life.
“Well, Yang Di is kind of thoughtful,” Yunxiao muttered to himself with a wry smile. He looked a little dispirited though.
Just then, two students walked past him as they gave him a look, then began to discuss with one another.
“I can’t believe you’ve condensed Primordial Qi and become a warrior after only a few months in seclusion!”
“Haha! It’s all for the assessment. You should know that warriors can go straight to the elite class in the intermediate grade.”
“Yeah, I know that! By the way, I’m screwed, because I’ve only opened two chakras. Do you think I’ll be eliminated?”
“Don’t worry! As long as you have opened one chakra, you can be promoted to the next grade. Look at that guy, the legendary young master of the Li Family, the typical loser! He’s the one who will be eliminated.”
“Are you sure the young master of the Li Family will be eliminated?”
“Of course! What do you think this place is? This is the Jialan Academy! Even His Majesty has to obey the rules if he’s here!”
“Damnit!” Yunxiao cursed, but he would naturally not argue with these lesser people. He walked quickly to the arena, where he found a large number of students gathered, many of whom were here to watch. They were pointing at the students who were about to be assessed and talking with one another.
“Young Master Yun, why are you so late?” Han Bai walked over to him.
Yunxiao frowned and asked, “Why are there so many people?”
Han Bai snorted coldly as he glanced at the onlookers. “They are here to watch us. As you know, our class has always been called the trash-stricken class, and these students from the poverty-stricken class are all here to witness how many of us would leave. More than a dozen people have given up this assessment and packed their things to go home.”
Yunxiao looked around him. Sure enough, there were a lot fewer people.
All those who could join their privileged class had great backgrounds in the empire. Even if they could not become warriors, they were still well provided for and had bright futures.
So, the students in their class, although few in the academy dared to provoke, were quite unlikable. Many people loved to see them make fools of themselves.
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