Hui Yue woke up in his new home and allowed himself a few minutes more resting. The bed at this small house was obviously stuffed with feathers, and the softness of the mattress was unlike anything Hui Yue had ever experienced before. The blankets were soft and knitted from the finest yarn, unlike the old sack that was both coarse and kept scratching his skin.
After a few more moments of rest, Hui Yue sighed deeply and forced himself to leave the warmth of his bed. Today was an important day, it was the first day of lessons, and Hui Yue was curious as to whether or not the teachers were better than Lan Feng at explaining, or whether or not the there had been found something new about the art of cultivating. After all, everything that Hui Yue relied on was more than four thousand years old.
Hui Yue quickly washed his face and dressed in yet another set of worn out clothes before he slowly made his way towards the closest canteen. Each mountaintop had a number of canteens located in between of the courtyards so that there was enough space for all students to eat at once. The canteens were always serving the same menus, but since there was more than one canteen, they were never filled with people.
It was early morning and Hui Yue did not expect anyone to be at the canteen already, however he was surprised when he noticed that there was already some groups of students eating their breakfast.
This was the first time that Hui Yue was eating alone as he had usually been picked up early morning by his friends and forced to eat with them, and as soon as the white-haired boy entered the canteen, the groups of students broke out into conversation.
Most of the students were openly staring at Hui Yue, and not hiding the fact that they started a conversation about him. These were commoner students who were excited about starting their first day at the Royal Academy and had been unable to sleep, or students who were used to waking up early due habit from their previous lives, Hui Yue was not the only one who felt as if this was a new beginning.
Hui Yue was used to being stared upon from his previous life, but the eyes which looked at him was no longer lovestruck girls but children who seemed to think he was some kind of a monster.
“I heard he duelled Wang Ju Long because he got mad when he was called girly,” one guy said, just loud enough for Hui Yue to hear, and all he could do was sigh as he heard the rest of the group reply with comments about his appearance, and that they had to be sure never to insult him.
Hui Yue quickly passed the group and noticed their expressions change into fear as his gaze swept across their table, however, as soon as he reached the next group of people even more gossip reached his ears, although this time it was of another caliber,
“It is the first time I’ve seen him in person,” one of the students said with reverence, and another pushed out his chest while proudly saying, “I’ve seen him before when he walked around with Gao Yan and his group. I heard that he beat Wang Ju Long, so he is definitely worthy of being in Gao Yan’s group,” this student said while looking at Hui Yue as if he was a hero of some sorts.
Hui Yue increased his speed to get past the other students as quickly as possible and ordered a standard breakfast before he sat down in one end of the canteen with no other students.
Hui Yue noticed that while he was eating his food, although he could no longer hear what the other students were saying, he still noticed the obvious glances that was sent his way.
‘Great,’ Hui Yue thought with a sigh, ‘I’m like a monkey in a zoo.’
Although Hui Yue was not expecting an answer Lan Feng was quick to jump in, ‘Get used to it,’ he said with a smug face, ‘for starters you look way too different from anyone else, and you will have to keep impressing them one time after another for us to be able to actually achieve our goals.’
‘Shut up,’ Hui Yue sneered at Lan Feng, his appearance had changed because of the soul contract with the damned bird, and the soul contract was currently a taboo subject for Hui Yue, ‘If you mention it once more,’ Hui Yue threatened, ‘then I refuse to eat any sweets and will live of chicken for the next three years.’
Lan Feng gasped shocked and quickly retreated back into the dantian cave. Sharing a body with Hui Yue also meant that Lan Feng felt every single thing that Hui Yue felt, he tasted every piece of food that Hui Yue tasted and he experienced the same physical challenges that Hui Yue had to go through.
Throughout the years, Lan Feng had developed a sweet tooth and enjoyed eating cakes and sweets as the Rong twins usually brought sweets every time they visited. The canteens at this academy also provided cakes, and Lan Feng had felt great happiness when he saw the unlimited amounts of cakes. If he was in control of their body, it was obvious that they would be gaining a noticeable amount of weight.
Hui Yue smirked happily as Lan Feng had retreated back to the cave, and picked up a cake to eat on the go, as he returned to his courtyard to pick up a few things that he would need for his first day at lectures before he quickly made his way towards the mountain tops where the school buildings were erected.
Hui Yue took out his student emblem and inserted a certain amount of qi into it. During the last couple of days, Hui Yue had noticed that this emblem had many hidden features, and one of them was a personally tailored schedule. Although the schedules were personalised, all first year students would have the same lessons at the first couple of weeks before they got split into groups based on either talents or interests.
The Royal Academy did not force the students to participate in the lectures, however the students who did not participate would usually end up unable to advance to the next year. Although no specific rank was necessary to advance, it was important that the student had shown some sort of progress throughout the year to be promoted with the rest of the class.
Hui Yue made it towards the first mountain containing the school buildings and started looking around. It was still a few hours until the lesson was supposed to start, so he decided to move through the different buildings, familiarizing himself with different locations and also determining which buildings would be useful and which would not.
The first building that came into view was the ‘Qi Theory Lessons’ building where the first lecture was supposed to be held, and although a few students were already gathering at the entrance and inside, Hui Yue saw no reason to wait for a few hours when he could explore instead.
The next building was the ‘Cultivation Methods’ which held no interest for Hui Yue, Although Lan Feng was incredibly annoying and cunning, he had still provided Hui Yue with an incredibly strong cultivation method, that he was certain this school could not replace. Instead he quickly moved further away.
The next building was ‘Martial Art Skill Hall’ and looking at this building definitely peaked Hui Yue’s curiosity. The hall was open to students all day and Hui Yue gently pushed the door open and looked inside.
The first thing that hit him was the stale air and dim light. Although the Skill Hall was a place that students frequently visited, all students showed the utmost respect while entering, and to protect the many scrolls inside, the door was always closed.
As soon as Hui Yue entered, and had closed the door behind him, light suddenly started to light up within the room. These were crystals similar to those he had in his courtyard, and the dim room was quickly lit up with a gentle light.
‘Do you really have to waste time here?’ Lan Feng complained as he looked around with disdain, ‘I’ve told you before that the Martial Art Skills you can gain from these places are really lacking in quality.’
Hui Yue, however, chose to completely ignore Lan Feng and looked at the many shelves within the room. Hui Yue picked up one of the scrolls and slowly opened it. The scrolls were similar to those he had been given by Rong Ming previously, and this particular scroll was about igniting a small flame on top of a candle by using qi to create strong enough friction. After a quick walk through he noticed the system in which the skills were displayed.
At the front of the room were all the student ranked martial art skills, in the middle was the disciple ranked and at the back was the practitioner ranked skills. Each of the ranks was then split into attack skills, defense skills and non-combat skills.
Hui Yue took his time and walked past the different shelves before he eventually picked up a few skills he decided to bring back with him. One of the skills was the low student ranked Fire Spark skill that he had seen at first.
The student emblem would automatically record which martial art skills a student had brought with them outside of the Skill Hall, which was why the hall could be open all the time without any elders having to watch over it. If a student tried to open the door without bringing their student emblem, they would find that no matter how much they pushed, the door would not bulge.
Inside the hall was another room, however that room was sealed shut, and Hui Yue was unable to enter. He had heard about the room from Rong Ming previously and all the stronger martial art skills that the academy owned were all placed within. The only way to enter was to be invited by a teacher after having done something that would show an outstanding cultivation, and even the Rong twins and Gao Yan had only entered once within the last five years.
After a final look around the hall, Hui Yue quickly exited the Skill Hall and noticed how his student emblem shone with a silvery light before once again returning to its usual appearance.
Hui Yue could not help but being deeply impressed by the student emblem as it looked very ordinary, however one new feature after another kept appearing, proving that it was really nothing like expected.
‘Stop gaping over a useless memory stone,’ Lan Feng complained from within the qi cave, ‘we don’t have much time left before the lesson starts, so hurry up and find the Medicinal Pill hall!’ Although Lan Feng had been feeling some pressure from the previous threat, he was not capable of keeping quiet for long, and he was very excited about the possibility of snatching some medicinal pills to help increase their rank without a long time being spent on refining essence into qi.
Hui Yue sighed. He knew that it was possible to once again scold Lan Feng, however he himself was quite curious about these medicinal pills. His father from this world had spent his days hunting low grade medicinal plants from the edge of the Magical Forest, and from everything he had heard, medicinal pills were capable of producing miracles.
That being said, Hui Yue had no actual knowledge about medicinal pills. He could guess that they were concocted by mixing medicinal plants, but how it was done was unknown, and he started to scan his surroundings for anything that could lead him towards the pill hall that Lan Feng had mentioned.
Finally, Hui Yue found a building which was easily the same size as the Martial Art Skill Hall, and over the entrance was the sign that said ‘Medicinal Pill Outlet’. Hui Yue felt his heartbeat increase and a silly grin spreading across his face. It was exciting to increase his knowledge about these magical pills, however his smile quickly froze as he reached the pill outlet’s door.
‘Will open after the first monthly pill distribution day of the new semester.’ A note said, and obviously the pill outlet was currently closed. The disappointment that Hui Yue felt was quickly enhanced by the disappointment Lan Feng felt, and both of them were suddenly rather annoyed.
‘When is the pill distribution day?’ Lan Feng mused while sighing, and Hui Yue just shrugged his shoulders, ‘who knows,’ he said, not in the mood to make trouble for the depressed phoenix, ‘maybe we will get told during the first lesson today,’ he said, and both of them were seriously hoping that that would be the case.
‘Is it possible for anyone to make medicinal pills?’ Hui Yue suddenly asked. It seemed that medicinal pills were incredibly popular, but at the same time quite the hassle to get, so it would be ideal if he learned how to create them. Unfortunately, right now he had no knowledge about how to concoct pills, and the medicinal plants that his father and the villagers had gathered in the Magical Forest seemed to have limited effects on their own.
‘Only alchemists can make pills, but since it has some requirements to become an alchemist they always end up as stuck up and arrogant people,’ Lan Feng snorted with clear annoyance in his voice, causing Hui Yue to smirk.
‘You didn’t qualify to become an alchemist?’ He asked, his voice slightly mocking as it required a lot to be even more arrogant than this feathered boy was.
‘Shut up,’ was all the answer Lan Feng gave before he pouted his lips and hid himself deep within the qi cave, ignoring any question that Hui Yue asked.
‘Come on,’ Hui Yue finally got annoyed after being ignored for most of the trip back to the Qi Theory Lessons building, ‘at least I have not tricked you into merging your soul with a lying bird.’ His voice was slightly judging, and the comment did cause Lan Feng to reemerge, a slightly guilty feeling appeared from within their shared soul.
‘To become an alchemist you need to have a dual elemental affinity, but not just any dual elemental affinity works,’ he started the explanation, ‘The first one of the affinities need is fire. Fire is needed to be able to refine the materials needed for the pills and to control the strength of the flames while concocting the pills. If you do not control fire you cannot control the flame precisely enough.’ Hui Yue nodded, this did indeed make sense.
‘The other element is wood. Wood is the element that grants the cultivator a detailed understanding of the plants of this world. It is the element that grants life and harvest, and from this life springs the power to create. Obviously there are some limits as to what you can create, but medicinal pills are definitely amongst them.’ Lan Feng paused slightly to allow the information to sink into Hui Yue’s mind before continuing.
‘Getting dual elemental affinity is in itself hard, but I managed to get it,’ Lan Feng said proudly,’ Unfortunately the elements that I control are Fire, I am pretty sure I told you before, and Earth. I can’t become an alchemist.’ At this point a slight dissapointment had appeared within Lan Feng’s voice, and Hui Yue noticed a bit of longing in their soul.
‘Since alchemists need to have succeeded in unlocking their middle dantian to discover their elemental affinity it makes it decreases the amount of alchemists even more. Within a city as big as this Riluo City I would bet that there are no more than one or two alchemists.’
Hui Yue sighed slightly and suddenly understood why medicinal pills were valued so highly. He had always thought that the hardest part had to be to find the medicinal plants, but now he learned that the profession itself was where the trouble laid. It would be great if he could become an alchemist, but it was something so far ahead that he did not have the luxury of dreaming about it, instead he needed to figure out a way to get his hands on these lucrative pills.
During the conversation Hui Yue and Lan Feng had once again reached the Qi Theory Lessons building. Previously some students had been waiting outside, but the doors were now open and groups of students were waiting inside of the hall while others were waiting outside the building. What all of the students had together was an appearance of both excitement and worry while they had gathered in groups and nervously awaited the teacher’s arrival.
Hui Yue sighed as he noticed some of the students which he had seen this morning, and his arrival once again sparked discussions about his earlier duel against Wang Ju Long, his appearance and assumed hate for being called feminine or even whether or not he was suitable to walk around with Gao Yan.
Hui Yue could do nothing but sigh, and he moved into the hall while ignoring the staring students around him. Usually a duel like this would never have had these reactions, however Wang Ju Long had been known as a genius since a young age, and the commoners had been told that he was unbeatable. To beat the unbeatable was indeed something that caused shock amongst the other students.
Inside the hall Hui Yue moved to one side where he leaned against one of the chilled walls and narrowed his eyes while observing the rest of the students. Although some of them gave off nervous expressions, others were clearly much more comfortable and while some were discussing with smiles on their faces, others were just observing much like Hui Yue himself. Some of the students seemed their age and their youthful faces were filled with childish innocence while others seemed more mature.
Suddenly Hui Yue fixed his eyes at the entrance, and at the same time all the conversation stilled as Wang Ju Long and his followers stepped through the door.
Wang Ju Long himself seemed as if no one apart from him existed, that all these commoners were so far below him that they were not even visible. The followers however all glared at the students, intimidating all of them and almost taunting them to continue their conversations.
Hui Yue narrowed his eyes as some of the followers seemed to be above ten years old while others were the same age as Hui Yue and Wang Ju Long. As soon as the latter saw Hui Yue his eyes were suddenly turned red and it was easy for anyone present to notice the hate that was contained within.
Wang Ju Long’s entourage quickly noticed Hui Yue, and although some of them had never seen Hui Yue before, they could easily guess that it was him.
All these children were obviously of noble heritage, and their haughtiness and arrogance far exceeded Lan Feng. Each and every one of the students were glaring daggers at Hui Yue, but so far none of them had the courage to do anything else.
The nobles were speaking together in a low voice and suddenly one of the older boys stepped forward.
‘tsk,’ Lan Feng snorted at the young man who stepped forward, ‘he is twelve years old and at the ninth star of the student level,’ he said as the person moved towards Hui Yue.
This boy was a lot larger than any of the other children. He had a large build and he had definitely started his growth with at least one and a half head taller than Hui Yue.
His name was Shan Ping and although he was twelve years old, he was supposed to be taught together with the first year students. His family was one of the older noble families who currently got by on their name alone, and they had supported the Wang family since long ago. Unfortunately the family had no assets and their cultivators had not gained an incredibly high cultivation, causing them to have very little influence at all, and they therefore gained almost no favour from the Wang family.
When the Shan family noticed that Wang Ju Long were to start at the Royal Academy they signed up their youngest son and each year that the class promotions they had kept him back, not allowing him to be promoted into another year so that he could follow Wang Ju Long as a pawn and hopefully carry favour that way. For now the boy was definitely much stronger than his peers. That was if Hui Yue looked at cultivation rank alone.
Shan Ping knew that Wang Ju Long was at the eight star student rank, and although he himself was only one star higher, he hoped that he had a bigger chance of winning. One star was after all quite a high amount of qi needed. Even if he failed he would be seen as a brave soldier who would sacrifice himself for the sake of his master, and his only order while being at the academy was to improve his relationship with Wang Ju Long.
However, what Shan Ping had forgotten to consider was that although Wang Ju Long was only at the eight star, he was considered the number one genius from the Wang family, and his actual strength was far above the ninth star.
The main thing that had increased Wang Ju Long’s strength was his pure qi. It was refined much better than that of his peers, and added with that, it had allowed him to practice the Qi Lightening martial art skill.
This was also the case for Hui Yue, but Hui Yue had even purer Qi and more than one high ranked martial art skill which had allowed him to tie with Wang Ju Long earlier. These two children were both much younger than Shan Ping and their strength were recorded as below his, however there were no questions as to which were the stronger.
Hui Yue had obviously noticed the hostility, and as soon as Lan Feng had told him about the older boys cultivation, and the glances he sent towards Wang Ju Long, clearly hoping to be praised made the white-haired boy sigh deeply. Hui Yue was not dumb and he clearly understood what was happening as he had seen group bullying before, however he had never tried being targeted.
Hui Yue straightened up his back and slowly activated Velocity Flow before awaiting Shen Ping making his first move. Fighting was prohibited outside the arenas, however defending was fine. Once again the student badges were capable of recording the actions, making it easy to determine the cause of a fight and punish accordingly.
Hui Yue did not have to wait for long before a qi-covered fist moved towards his head at what could be considered fast for his rank. This was clearly some kind of martial art skill, however it was a skill that had been picked up at the low ranked part of the Martial Art Skill Hall, resulting in being completely useless against Hui Yue.
The qi that was covering Shan Ping’s hand was not pearl white as Hui Yue’s, nor was it milky white as Wang Ju Lang’s, instead it was a light shade of grey, showing Hui Yue that the quality was far below his.
Hui Yue let out yet another sigh before he finally moved. His figure disappeared with a flick, leaving no mirror image behind this time. Instead he moved behind Shan Ping, and the students that were present all gasped in surprise upon seeing the execution of a high ranked martial art skill.
As soon as Hui Yue arrived behind Shan Ping he decisively activated his Raging Strike martial art skill and slammed the side of his hand against the other’s temple, causing Shan Ping to instantly collapse on the floor.
Hui Yue looked surprised at the unconscious Shen Ping. He had expected that the older boy would stumble back and leave him alone, however instead he was now laying lifeless on the ground and a small stream of blood trickled out from the corner of his mouth.
Everyone within the Qi Theory Lessons Hall was completely silent.