Chapter 124: Shui Zhongdie
“Hah! Little Butterfly, you lose again!” Tang Mi called teasingly towards the young woman from beside her car.
The violet-haired girl sniffed dismissively. “Only because I don’t have a death wish. You know what they say; those with great courage usually have something very wrong with their head.” She shook her own, causing her shimmering hair to flow like water as she walked towards the school entrance. Her car started and slowly made it’s way in to the distance on autopilot.
Tang Mi chuckled anew. She bounded to her friend’s side, opening her mouth to speak further, but then saw Lan Jue making for the campus entrance. Her eyes brightened, and she waved emphatically. “Professor Lan!”
Lan Jue stopped, and nodded politely to her.
She left ‘Little Butterfly’s’ side to quickly make her way to the etiquette instructor. “Hey Professor. You’ve got class today, right? I’ll definitely be there this afternoon to listen. What sort of things are we going to be learning about jewelry? Power gems?”
Lan Jue smiled at her enthusiasm. “Of course not. We’ll only be discussing jewelry used to accessorize. I’m pretty sure the school has another class specifically dedicated to power gems. I’m just an electives teacher, how could I teach such things?”
“I don’t believe that for a second,” Tang Mi stated categorically. “As far as I’ve seen you’re practically an encyclopedia.”
Butterfly saw her friend stop suddenly, and race off to speak with the young man. Her curiosity was understandably piqued. There were no two closer friends in the school, and Butterfly knew all about Tang Mi – and her famous temper. Yet here she was speaking to the man. Who was he? A teacher? Lan-something? How did she not know of him?
As she considered the scene, she swept her eyes over the professor.
As ever, Lan Jue had arrived for class in a suit. However, in contrast to his last arrival, this suit was considerably more sedate. It was a grey two-piece, with a simple shirt inside. The material of the suit was fine, and was covered in a checkered pattern composed of light-blue thread.
Butterfly eventually arrived at Tang Mi’s side. “Hey, aren’t you going to introduce me to your boyfriend?”
Tang Mi only shot her an exasperated look. “Professor Lan, this is my classmate. We study in the same group. Her name is Shui Zhongdie. I call her Butterfly.”
Lan Jue gave Shui Zhongdie a gentlemanly nod. “Hello,” he greeted, “I’m Professor Lan. I’m an electives teacher here. You have a very interesting name.”
Curiosity was clear in the young girl’s eyes. “An electives teacher? What do you teach?”
“Mostly how to live a more cultured life. The class is Etiquette 101.”
“Etiquette? Well, that sounds interesting.” Shui Zhongdie shot him a pretty smile.
Many of the students coming and going from the campus entrance stopped to watch as two of the school’s famed beauties stood speaking with him. For many of the young men, their envious eyes glared daggers at the handsome teacher.
“You two should go ahead and get to class. If you’re interested come listen in on my lecture this afternoon.” It was evident Lan Jue didn’t want to spend too much time out in the open speaking to the two young women. In truth, he was still preoccupied with memories of his ride here, that trembling figure clutching him tightly from the back of his bicycle.
“You should come along with me to the class,” Tang Mi said to her friend.
Shui Zhongdie emphatically nodded her head. “Sure! I’ll go with you this afternoon and give it a listen.”
Lan Jue bade the two girls farewell an left for the campus. Shui Zhongdie stood by Tang Mi’s side and watched him go. “You’re acting weird, is this professor really that good?”
Tang Mi’s reply was almost a whisper. “Actually he’s really interesting. He’s really a man of high quality. Only…”
“Only what,” Shui Zhongdie urged.
“Only he’s not that strong in combat.” Tang Mi quietly elaborated. “A few days ago that savage goddess dragged him off to the offices for some reason, without a fight. If only he were stronger, then he’d be absolutely perfect.”
The purple-haired girl tittered. “Tang Mi, are we developing a little crush? Not an easy thing for a guy to catch your attention. I guess he’s handsome. By the way, after a few days Gobi Entertainment’s going to have a press conference for Poseidon’s new album. There’s supposed to be a concert after. Are you going?”
“Of course! I already have someone out buying tickets for me. Ten VIP tickets no less. And you can be my entourage.”
“Woo! Long live Tang Mi! I love you!”
By the time Lan Jue arrived at the office, Jin Yan and Jin Tao were already waiting for him.
“Professor Lan,” Jin Yan offered in her customary greeting. Jin Tao stood beside her, a zealous light in his eyes. To Lan Jue’s surprise, the young man’s trademark mohican was gone. Now at that was left was a buzz-cut head of black hair. Infinitely better put together than before.
“In a little while I’ll be leaving Jin Tao in your care.” Her words her soft, deliberate. A sense of worried pervaded where yesterday there was none. Her response yesterday had been one of impulse, excited at the prospect of an opportunity for her brother. But later, once she’d calmed and thought about Lan Jue’s warnings, how could she not be a little anxious?
Lan Jue offered her a comforting smile. “You don’t need to worry, Professor Jin. No matter the result, I’ll take good care of him. I’ll make sure he stays out of danger.”
Jin Yan let out a small sigh of relief. “Alright then. Where are you planning to take him for his studies? Will we be able to come and see him?”
“Sis, I’m an adult. There’s no need for you to come look in on me.” Jin Tao stood at his sister’s side, sounding impatient.
Lan Jue shot him a glance, and instantly the young man fell in to a complacent silence.
“Everything has it’s conquerer,” Jin Yan said, looking at her younger brother, “And it looks like you are Jin Tao’s, Professor Lan.”
Lan Jue offered her a smile. “At first, for a short time it’s best if you don’t come to visit him. He’ll need to direct all his effort and attention to training. After a month should be fine to come by. By then I’m confident you’ll see a significant change in Jin Tao. He’ll be studying with me in Skyfire Avenue – he wont be leaving the planet.”
“Alright. Thank you very much.” Once more she offered her heartfelt thanks to the man who was to train her brother. But here, she stopped suddenly as though she’d just thought of something. She looked at him with confusion. “Professor, did you… did you say Skyfire Avenue?”
Lan Jue only smiled. It was clear to him the young woman was still apprehensive about the arrangement. Revealing where her younger brother would be was likely to have a positive effect.
The pretty woman chewed her red lip, looking at Lan Jue with a strange mixture of feelings on her face. “You live on the Avenue?”
He didn’t reply. He didn’t need to.
Jin Yan took a breath. When she spoke again, her voice was resolute. “Well Professor, he’s all yours.”
Lan Jue turned to his young pupil. “Come attend my class this afternoon. Afterwards you’ll be leaving with me. Have you already put together everything you want to bring with you?”
“Everything’s ready.” Jin Tao remained as stoic and determined as moments before. He, after all, had no notion of Skyfire Avenue or what awaited him there.
“By the way,” Jin Yan said, smiling towards Lan Jue, “we got the information from the head off yesterday. We’ll be leaving in a couple days for our cooperation training on Taihua. I’ve already helped you sign your name.”
In fact he’d already forgotten about it. Since stirring from his languid stupor there had been much on his proverbial plate. He’d already taken a month off after his first class, so skipping out on this was out of the question. But, at least Professor Yan was helpful.
“Thank you very much for that,” he replied. “We’ll be leaving from the school on that day right?”
Jin Yan nodded. “That’s right! We should have somewhere around forty teachers leaving together, including all of the electives teachers. Even the mecha instructors. We’re leaving early in the morning, eight o’clock at the big gates.”
The afternoon came quickly. He made for his class, and as he pushed open the door to enter his heart skipped a beat. His class held even more students than the last time, the majority of them young women.
Jin Tao and Tang Xiao were also in attendance, seated squarely in the front row. However it was the three pretty faces at their side that surprised him. Beside Tang Xiao was the first, his vivacious sister Tang Mi. Beside her, Zhou Qianlin. The next seat down was home to the purple-haired girl he’d met earlier that day, Shui Zhongdie.
A host of earnest glances floated behind them as the young male students shuffled to get closer seats. Though it may have been a blow to his estimation of his class, clearly the amount of students present and the arrival of these three girls were inexorably tied.
Hua Li was spotted, once again in the corner he’d chosen from the last time. He’d elected to remove his hat, but the face mask remained in place to keep his identity secret.
Director Wu was not among the listeners, but Jin Yan was as promised. Beside her, in place of the director, was the dance teacher Wang Hongyuan. His beady eyes watched Lan Jue with interest.
With all the people gathered, the place was certainly bustling. Lan Jue swept his eyes over the gathering.
“Hey Professor!” Tang Mi waved at him, and Lan Jue smiled pleasantly back at her.
In the next instant, his and Qianlin’s eyes met. It was only for a moment, not too long for fear the other students would notice. Afterwards Lan Jue felt the spirit-caller gem grow warm.
I didn’t have any classes in the afternoon. Tang Mi dragged me here.
Lan Jue smirked, just enough for her to notice. Her cheeks reddened. The brief pang of embarrassment she felt could be seen in her eyes.
Compared to Zhou Qianlin next to her, Shui Zhongdie’s expression was dauntless. Her eyes were the same color as her long hair, a royal purple that was gorgeous to behold. Of course Lan Jue knew well that no normal person was born with eyes like those. It must have had to do with her discipline.
The three great beauties of the school sat dead center, and it was as though a great ray of light was shinning down upon them. Many of the students who’d come this time were attending for the first time, so the class was appreciably more chaotic than normal. This was compounded by the lack of Director Wu’s intimidating presence. It was certainly a test of Lan Jue’s competency. And there in the back, with his shining eyes, Wang Hongyun watched and hoped he would fail.