Chapter 14: Shenyuan
The rest of the lesson went by at a snail’s pace as Teacher Li Yuan spent an extended amount of time to explain all the superior Qi Cultivation Methods that The Royal Academy provided. This information was mandatory for every teacher to teach new student as all the commoners had learned one of the standard Qi Cultivation Method within the Martial Art School.
The Royal Academy was obviously much more prestigious than the Martial Art Schools and they were capable of providing more detailed cultivation methods, however the commoners had never been taught about the differences in the methods before, as that was considered unnecessary information since the Martial Art Schools did not have multiple methods to choose between.
Hui Yue spent the time in deep thought, constantly contemplating the risks of selling a high ranked martial art skill. He tried to come up with other ways to earn money, but no matter what he came up with, none of the solutions would provide a significant income.
Hui Yue sighed deeply, unable to completely ignore the uncomfortable feeling he had whenever he thought of Deng Wu suddenly mastering a high ranked martial art skill and he decided to stop worrying about it for now. Instead he allowed his gaze to sweep across the other students.
Most of the commoners were paying attention to every word that Teacher Li Yuan said, while the nobles were busy doing other things. Some of them were chatting together with low voices while others were clearly mocking the commoners. A few were fiercely glaring at Hui Yue as they noticed his gaze, and once again Hui Yue looked at Wang Ju Long.
Wang Ju Long was another reason he had to be careful. Deng Wu was terrifying because of his knowledge; however, Hui Yue had heard that he was not an outstanding genius. The likelihood of him being able to activate the skills were incredibly limited.
Wang Ju Long on the other hand had a high quality of qi and at the same time he already processed enough skill for Hui Yue to be unable to beat him. If he had another high ranked skill, then it would be certain that Hui Yue could not win with the skills he had available for now.
Teacher Li Yuan finally finished his speech about Qi Cultivation Methods before he went on to the Academy rules about duelling.
Hui Yue had already heard all the rules from Rong Ming and Ma Kong before he engaged in the duel against Wang Ju Long, so he decided not to pay attention to the speech and instead found the low student ranked, non-combat martial art skill Fire Spark which he focused on completely.
Lan Feng was about to complain about the choice of Martial Art Skill once again, but he noticed a slight change within Hui Yue’s soul, a sense of expectation, as if he had noticed something hidden within this Skill roll, and the blue phoenix decided to stay quiet and wait instead.
Wang Ju Long narrowed his eyes as he noticed that the white-haired boy had started studying, and since he had sworn to defeat Hui Yue soon, he closed his eyes and started to meditate, slowly sucking in the essence from within the room and refining it into qi.
Everyone in the room noticed the movement of the essence and looked at the cultivating Wang Ju Long. The sight shocked most commoners as they had never expected anyone to be so bold as to clearly ignore their teacher who was still speaking and instead started to meditate.
However, when looking at Wang Ju Long, everyone would also look at Hui Yue as somehow to compare the two geniuses to each other, and when looking at this child, the students felt even more shocked upon noticing that he was not focusing on the teacher either. He was instead sitting still, reading what appeared to be a martial art skill.
The commoners felt amazed from deep within while looking at these two boys. They were all clearly the same age, however those two individuals felt as if they were in a completely different world from them. Their indifferent attitude and stoic expressions clearly allowed the rest to know what it meant to be a true genius.
Teacher Li Yuan could do nothing else than sighing gently while looking at those two children. Competition was a great thing, especially since it could push them to improve much quicker than if they had no one to compete against, however Teacher Li Yuan could not help but feel slightly helpless as both boys clearly ignored him, not paying attention to his lecture.
Instead he cleared his throat and continued his explanation of the rules of duelling, about the arenas that were open for everyone and about the student emblem that would record wins and losses.
When Teacher Li Yuan reached the part where he explained about the rewards of defeating an opponent, the chance of getting the higher ranked courtyards, and even the possibility of mountain top courtyards the students could no longer contain their excitement. Greed and expectation started to shine within their eyes, and the students were speaking with their sideman, discussing the possibilities about getting a mountain top courtyard.
Unfortunately, the excitement was quickly dimmed when Teacher Li Yuan continued the speech and published the two students who currently lived within those courtyards, Hui Yue and Wang Ju Long.
Although the mountain top courtyards were incredibly tempting, they were not so tempting as to give the students the illusion that they could defeat either of the two.
“However,” Teacher Li Yuan said, “there is another way to gain the rights to reside within a mountain top courtyard.” The comment caused the students to hold their breath, hoping to hear something that sounded much more possible.
“At the end of every semester will the Riluo City’s branch of the Royal Academy hold a tournament. The academy encourages all students to participate as anyone who participates are rewarded with an extra medicinal pill.”
Hui Yue slowly lifted his eyes from the scroll in his hands and looked at the teacher with curiosity. He had heard about the tournament before, but he had only heard that the mountain top courtyards were the prizes.
A pleased expression appeared on teacher Li Yuan’s face as he noticed how Hui Yue suddenly paid attention to him, and he quickly continued, “The higher the student is ranked the better the reward they will get. The rewards vary from the right to live within a mountain top courtyard, high grade medicinal pills or even permission to enter the high ranked martial art skill room within the skill hall!”
These additional prices were definitely of value for both Hui Yue and Wang Ju Long. Although they already lived within the mountain top Courtyards they could always use extra strong martial art skills. Hui Yue knew that he could rely on Lan Feng to provide martial art skills, however Hui Yue was also perfectly aware that Lan Feng did not have all the martial art skills created, so adding more to their collection could never hurt.
When looking at the rewards it was obviously the medicinal pills that were the most entrancing to Hui Yue. Especially the ones who were considered high grade. Currently Hui Yue was not aware how much money the martial art skills would sell for, nor was he aware how much medicinal pills would cost him, so he could not help but consider the possibility that even while selling the skills, he would still lack money to buy medicinal pills.
Teacher Li Yuan ended the lesson after the information about the Royal Academy Tournament, and just as the lesson ended the loud sound of a bell ringing could be heard all throughout the mountains, showing that the canteens were starting to serve lunch.
Some of the students instantly rushed out from the Qi Theory Lesson’s Hall and towards the canteens, while others gathered in groups and conversed about the subject that had been touched throughout their first lesson.
Teacher Li Yuan did not stayed within the classroom for a short while, seeing if any students had questions for him, but as none of them paid him any attention, he swiftly strode out the door.
Hui Yue stayed at his seat in the back of the room, observing one group of students leave after another. There were no more lessons this day, but Hui Yue still had some things he wished to get planned out.
He slowly rose from his seat and although he was one of the last students to leave the room, Wang Ju Long and his followers were still seated within. Wang Ju Long was in meditation, most likely refining the essence he had absorbed earlier, and the other noble children waited patiently for him to finish.
Hui Yue could not help but smile as he walked past them. Every single one of the children were glaring at him fiercely while reaching out their arms to protect Wang Ju Long as if they expected Hui Yue to suddenly attack him while the other was not paying attention.
As Hui Yue left the hall he did not walk towards the residential area where the canteens were placed, instead he moved further into the mountains that contained the different school buildings, causing a slight panic in his soul caused by Lan Feng.
‘No food?’ he asked, and sounded as if the world was ending causing Hui Yue to chuckle slightly.
‘Don’t worry,’ Hui Yue assured the blue feathered boy. “We will eat soon, but there is something we need to check up on first.’
Lan Feng felt puzzled. Although he and Hui Yue shared a soul, all they could feel was the other’s emotions. Whatever it was Hui Yue intended was completely hidden from the other. It was therefore with great curiosity that Lan Feng observed as Hui Yue moved towards the Library.
Hui Yue had to walk through three mountains to reach the library, and as he looked at the building he could not help but feel astonished. All the other academy buildings were built on top of the mountain sides, however this library was built from the mountain itself. Towers had been carved out from the mountain side while the inside had been turned into a giant hall connected with tunnels leading towards smaller rooms used for studying.
To enter the library, Hui Yue had to walk through two big stone gates and he felt goose bumps appear on his skin as he got closer to the building, the temperature was dropping as the mountain top covered the sun.
A small breeze of warm air exited the building and swept across Hui Yue, making him smile slightly as he hurried inside.
Although the library had taken the space of a whole mountain it was much less crowded than anywhere else, only a few elders were noticed here and there, spread out across the multiple bookshelves.
Hui Yue paused his steps while looking around, slightly uncertain as to where he could find the object he was searching for.
“Hello junior.” An aged voice sounded from the side, and Hui Yue quickly faced the elder who was walking towards him. The elder had a gentle smile upon his face, and gave of a feeling of serenity. The elder was wearing a grey robe that slithered across the ground without making a sound, causing Hui Yue to feel slight alert, however he quickly noticed that the elder was an ordinary librarian.
“Can I assist you with anything?” the elder said with his melodious voice that held the secrets of a long life, and in general gave Hui Yue a pleasant feeling about this man, however Hui Yue had also seen a flash of interest within the elder’s eyes, and he stayed alert as he politely greeted the elder.
“I am in need of a map of the continent, I was wondering if elder could help me find it?” Hui Yue asked with a slight smile on his face as he felt a sudden bubbling of excitement rising from within his soul.
The elder assumed that the smile was meant to be a politeness, however what Hui Yue felt was Lan Feng’s feelings that were overflowing.
Lan Feng was not completely dumb. The blue phoenix did lack social skills and morals, however his intellect was far above what Hui Yue had ever seen before, and the word ‘map’ instantly explained what it was that Hui Yue was intending.
Hui Yue followed the elder with great respect, and while nothing was noticeable on the outside, Hui Yue was smiling widely on the inside as he could feel the excitement and happiness bubbling in his soul, spreading towards every part of his body, this was one thing that meant a lot to Lan Feng.
The library was much bigger than first assumed. Although it was not located in different levels, the mountain hall was spread out across hundreds of metres where the only thing visible was bookshelves upon bookshelves.
The elder led Hui Yue all the way towards one of the walls. The mountain walls were filled with doors that lead to small rooms that had been carved further into the mountain itself. The room that the elder had brought Hui Yue to had not been opened in countless of years as a thick layer of dust was evident upon the door handle, and the elder needed to use his entire strength to pry it open.
A heavy bang sounded as the mechanisms finally started working, followed by a loud creaking noise that rung through the entire library. As soon as the door opened a stale air escaped the room and assaulted Hui Yue’s nostrils, making him wrinkle his nose slightly.
The elder clapped his hands and a dimmed light lit up within four crystals that were placed upon the walls, shining through the room. The room was considerably small, in the middle was a round table that took up the majority of the space. It was made from stone, carved out from the mountain itself, giving the entire room a rustic and slightly chilled feeling as no heat had entered in all the time the room had been sealed.
The walls were covered with stone shelves, and scroll upon scroll was placed upon. Hui Yue gently picked up one scroll and moved towards the round table in the middle. He observed the elder from the corner of his eye, wondering why he still stayed to observe him, however even if the elder noticed Hui Yue pay attention to maps, it was not possible for him to know why he needed these maps.
As soon as Hui Yue opened the first school the smell of soil appeared and the map started decomposing in his hands. Hui Yue could not help but wonder why the maps had been stored in a room like this, however it did nothing to help him find an answer, and instead he picked up a few more scrolls.
At first he took the smaller scrolls, however he quickly found out that those contained maps of cities throughout the Three Allied Countries and he then moved on to the larger maps. The search took a lot longer than what Hui Yue had expected as he needed to be incredibly careful with the old maps to keep them from disintegrating, but finally the map he needed had been found.
A big smile spread across his face as he moved the large map towards the stone table to observe the full view and gain more understanding of the new country he had lived within for ten years.
The elder had been watching him the entire time, and he narrowed his eyes when he noticed that Hui Yue had indeed looked for a map of the continent. Most students who looked for maps would come with an excuse like this, however they were truly searching for maps leading to treasures within Magical Beast territories.
A whistle escaped Hui Yue’s lips as his gaze swept across the map in front of him. Lan Feng had previously told him that the four divine beasts had created the continent and then split it evenly between them, and now he understood just how correct that sentence had been.
The continent itself was in an almost rectangular shape. A few places had gotten dents where the sea had swallowed up some of the land, or even created peninsulas throughout the many years the continent had existed, however it was obvious that the land had originally been split into four equal sizes as the middle of the continent had been split into four even countries by a cross shaped mountain range.
Hui Yue knew that they were currently in the Taiyang Kingdom, and located it quickly at the bottom left side of the map. Above Taiyang Kingdom was the elusive Shenyuan landscape located. The Siban Empire was the neighbour to Shenyuan, and beneath the Siban Empire and next to the Taiyang Kingdom was the Yueliang Province.
When looking at the map, the three allied countries were all drawn in astonishing detail. Mountains, cities, rivers and forests were mapped accurately, however in sharp contrast to the three detailed countries was Shenyuan. The map had only managed to map out the edges of the country, and even the seaside was not completely finished with the map and instead had straight lines. It was obvious that no one had any idea as to what was locked within that area of the continent.
‘This is odd,’ Lan Feng commented after observing the map for quite a while, ‘Taiyang Kingdom is placed upon the Azure Dragon’s Kingdom, but who would have thought that my home has turned into a cursed land.’
Hearing this made Hui Yue curious. It was four thousand years since Lan Feng had been sealed and banished from this world. It was obvious that a great fight had occurred but everything was shrouded in mystery, and now the mysteries were tied with Lan Feng in one way or another.
Hui Yue and Lan Feng both observed the map for a little longer while their desire to leave Riluo City and travel to Shenyuan struggled within, however, after a few more minutes Hui Yue finally managed to supress his desires and packed down the map before he moved towards the elder with a smile.
“Thank you for assisting me,” Hui Yue said politely and bowed slightly towards the elder before he turned around and moved towards the library entrance. Truthfully Hui Yue was curious about the many books within the library, and he was quite certain that some answers to his questions could be found within, however right now was not the time to focus on reading about the world history.
Firstly, it was obvious that Hui Yue needed to cultivate to at least the Master rank before it was possible for him to leave Riluo City. Secondly, Hui Yue was not comfortable having the elder observing his every move, and he decided to return another day.
The elder watched Hui Yue leave the library from within the warmth of the mountain hall. A curious expression had appeared within his eyes. As a librarian this elder spend every day reading books from within this library and could easily be considered the most intelligent person within Riluo City, however even he had been unable to understand the martial art skills he had seen Hui Yue use during the fight against Shen Ping.
The elder had watched the recording a few times, but he quickly gave up on seeing through the skill. Instead he started looking through all the noble families from within the Three Allied Countries, however so far he had only found one minor family with the surname of Hui. It was a noble family from within the Yueliang Province, and it was obvious that this Hue Yue was not from there. A sigh escaped the elder’s lips as he saw the white-haired boy disappear in the distance.
Hui Yue left the library mountain and as walked through the academy buildings he ran into Rong Ming and Rong Xing who exited the Martial Art Skill Hall, and their faces lit up in gentle smiles upon seeing Hui Yue who instantly moved towards them.
Hui Yue had promised Lan Feng that he would go get some food, and as the Rong twins had not eaten yet, the three of them moved together to a canteen where they could talk about their first day back at the academy.
Rong Ming laughed loudly upon hearing what happened with Shen Ping while Rong Xing just shook her head. The Rong twins started discussing which Martial Art Skill they were going to buy, and Hui Yue observed them with fondness in his heart, but at the same time a slight feeling of guilt.
Hui Yue were going to sell a high ranked Martial Art Skill within the Riluo City, and it was likely to cause trouble for the Rong family. They might spend an incredible amount of money on buying a useless skill, or they might end up worrying about their opponents who has gained a high ranked skill.
Although Hui Yue feels guilty towards the Rong twins, he is very well aware that he has no other option than to act this way. It is true that the Rong family has been treading Hui Yue favourably the last many years, however Hui Yue was still unsure about Lord Rong Liang’s reasons for behaving this kindly.
Even if the Rong family were positive towards Hui Yue, it was obvious that they would suddenly become alert if he was capable of pulling out strong martial art skills as they were aware that Hui Yue came from a poor village with no cultivators, and this left Hui Yue with the only option of selling the Martial Art Skills on the Black Market Auction while hoping that no one could activate them.
“What are your plans for the first day off from the Academy?” Rong Ming suddenly asked Hui Yue, and turned towards the white-haired boy who had been completely absorbed within his thoughts,
“Uh,” Hui Yue returned to the present and looked at Rong Ming before continuing, “I need to go to Riluo City to look for something,” he said slowly, hoping to avoid the subject as to what he needed to look for.
“We will be visiting father,” Rong Xing explained, “We can give you a lift.” Hui Yue nodded gratefully as it was definitely quicker than having to walk.
“What do you need to do?” Rong Xing continued curiously. She knew that Hui Yue was of poor origin and she could only come up with one reason as to why he would go to Riluo City the day after Pill Distribution Day.
Hui Yue smiled upon seeing the look of apprehension on Rong Xing’s face and quickly waved his hand, “Don’t worry,” he assured her, “I am going to do some investment that will allow me to gain more than one medicinal pill.”
Although Rong Xing had her doubts she was still a noble lady and she felt no reason to discuss anything that Hui Yue had already decided upon. It was his own medicinal pill after all.
The conversation quickly returned to a cheerful and uncaring manner before Hui Yue finally rose from his seat and moved towards his courtyard under the excuse of needing to cultivate. What he truly needed was to plan out the sale of the Martial Art Skill, so that he once again could feel enough inner peace to cultivate.
Lan Feng could sense the worry from within Hui Yue about their current idea, so he decided to explain which martial art skills he had planned on using.
‘I do have quite a few Master and Grand Master ranked Martial Art Skills. They might be the lowest ranked skills I have, however I do not think we should sell those,’ Lan Feng started, ‘They are low ranked compared to my other skills, but they do not have high requirement and all of them are really well made. If we sell those we will definitely be inviting trouble.’
Hui Yue frowned upon hearing this and nodded, ‘what do you have in mind?’ he asked instead as Lan Feng was the one who knew which skills he had at their disposal.
‘I suggest that when we go to Riluo City we spend the coins we get from the medicinal pill to buy a memory stone. If we have enough coins to buy two stones, then we buy two stones as I have two skills I am considering.’
Hui Yue nodded, currently neither he nor the blue phoenix knew exactly how much money they would be able to get from their medicinal pill, so it was best to assume that they could only purchase one memory stone as of now.
‘The skills I suggest are both middle King ranked. One is a Martial Art Skill while the other is a Spiritual Art Skill.’ Hui Yue was quiet upon hearing the high ranking, and Lan Feng could understand this worry. If by any chance there was someone who could actually activate this skill, then they would be in quite some trouble.
‘Although it is a high ranked skill, it is the one I have which is the hardest to use. These skills were created by an expert that wished to check his most powerful Qi attack and Spiritual attack after opening his higher dantian. They are both tailored to him as a person so it is the one who has quite some insane requirements from the cultivator,’ Lan Feng explained.
‘The Martial Art Skill is called Qi Burst and its purpose is to release the cultivator’s full qi force with one kick. To be able to activate this skill, a cultivator needs to have a purer qi than the expert who created the skill, and he also need to have the same amount of Qi as the cultivator has, if not more. Currently we only know of Lord Rong Liang and Bu Huang who might be able to use it. But even if they can, then it is a Qi attack, and they are quite useless compared to the attacks they can use after unlocking the higher dantian.’
Hui Yue nodded. This Martial Art Skill was actually not as dangerous as he had expected as it could only be used by real experts, and real experts rarely had to rely on Qi.
‘The Spiritual Art Skill is the exact same,’ Lan Feng continued, ‘it is tailor-made to the expert and it has even higher requirements. The cultivator needs to have the same elemental affinity as the expert which is affinity for water, and then they will release the entire spiritual power in the form of a tsunami.’
Suddenly a thought struck Hui Yue, ‘wait, if they cannot use the skills why would they buy them?’ he asked dumbfounded but Lan Feng snorted a reply,
‘They do not know if they can use it before they get the skill in their hands. A requirement such as purer qi than the creator is too vague to know just upon seeing the skill within the memory stone. Most families will definitely gamble on it, and if they have no cultivators who can use it now, there is no one who can say if they get any in the future.’
Hui Yue nodded slightly, it did seem possible. A slight calm appeared within his soul as it seemed as if Lan Feng had actually thought it through. The calm was a sign that Hui Yue once again could focus on his training and he instantly activated Qi Guard which he trained until his qi vortex was completely empty before he sat down and meditated, absorbing and refining essence at an incredible pace.