Chapter 27: Be a Teacher?
“Your request… I accept.”
Upon hearing this sentence Zhou Qianlin’s eyes lit up, her lips curling in to a smile. “Don’t be reluctant. I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t think you could do it.”
From the other end of the communicator came a sound like grinding teeth.
“I’m not reluctant!”
“Excellent,” Zhou Qianlin said, not seeking to provoke him further.
Lan Jue choked down the impulse to smash the communicator in his hand. He took a deep breath, exhaled through his mouth and continued. “When do you need me, and what will I be doing?”
“I have excellent bodyguards at home,” she responded. “You just need to watch over me while at school during the semester. When school’s in recess, so are you.”
Hearing this Lan Jue let out a sigh of relief. Luckily it wouldn’t all the time, and he’d have some time to himself.
“What’s my cover while protecting you? Shall I enter in to school as well, be a classmate?” Lan Jue inquired.
The communicator was silent for a moment. “Uncle, have some dignity. At your age could you be my classmate?”
“U-uncle…” Lan Jue’s face contorted, and when he could endure it no longer replied indignantly, “I’m that old?!” He wasn’t even twenty seven. The average life expectancy in the Eastern Alliance was a hundred and twenty, he absolutely was still a young man. What’s more there were certainly post-graduate students who would graduate at his age!
Zhou Qianlin covered her mouth, muffling her laughter, a task she found difficult. “So old. Don’t be a student, it’d be too easy for your identity to be revealed.”
“I’M TWENTY SEVEN!”
“Way over the hill.”
Crunch, came the sound of a breaking communicator over the wire.
“Hahaha!” Zhou Qianlin rolled atop her bed laughing uncontrollably, reveling in the sweet sensation of revenge.
Beep beep beep! The communicator rang anew.
Zhou Qianlin hastened to regain her composure, her stomach hurting, and answered.
“Zhou Qianlin! I’m warning you, if you insult me like that again I’ll –“
“You’ll what?” she spat.
Lan Jue fell silent. Anyone else, and he’d have a slew of choice things to fire back, but from her he had nothing to say…
“A good man doesn’t fight with a woman. I owe you, and I’ll pay my debt. After these two years, we’ll have nothing more to do with each other. Speak, what’s my cover?” Lan Jue tried valiantly to keep his voice under control, for he knew that if he didn’t it would only make Zhou Qianlin more pleased. He would not give her the satisfaction!
“Enter as an instructor, you’re about the right age. How you do that is up to you. You can do that, can’t you? Mr. Zeus?”
She hung up without giving him a chance to respond.
“Instructor?” Him, a teacher? How could he be a teacher?
Although the NEU didn’t produce the most famous Mecha-Pilots, it was a proper piloting university and nothing scoff at. To enter as an instructor, Lan Jue felt, would pose no problem for him. He was a God-Ranked pilot, the highest rank attainable in the Three Alliances – more than sufficient for a teacher.
Stop! He couldn’t let this impetuous girl get everything she wanted. He had promised to comply, but how he did it was never outlined. A teacher, right? But not a mecha instructor!
Lan Jue had a stroke of genius, gradually crafting his idea. He couldn’t stop his mouth from curling in to a mischievous grin, his sour mood swept away.
His right hand suddenly grew hot, and Lan Jue lifted it to look upon the golden bracelet on his wrist. It emitted a gentle golden light, and as the light expanded it revealed the image of an old man.
He was an elderly man, big and tall, his face a landscape of craggy features. His true age was difficult to decipher, but he was possessed of two very clear blue eyes, deep and shining as though they reflected the universe itself. He wore a magnificent white robe, embroidered in silver and encrusted with gemstones. A pointed cap rested upon his head, and a large shimmering ruby on the ring finger of his right hand.
“Honorable members of the Skyfire Avenue Council, please make your way to the Skyfire Museum in one hour. If you have a scheduling conflict, please alert us as soon as possible.”
As the voice faded, so too did the image.
The urgency of the Skyfire Council meeting made Lan Jue uncomfortable.
There were a total of one hundred and sixty eight shops on Skyfire Avenue, each with their own management. But the Council itself had only eighteen members.
The Council met bi-monthly for regular meetings to manage the Avenue’s internal affairs. It was only when something serious cropped up that they would hold an emergency meeting.
It was also the first time since Lan Jue arrived in the Avenue that such a meeting was convened.
Skyfire Avenue wasn’t simply a noble’s street. It was also a place of Adepts. When entering the Avenue to be a shopkeeper, you also had to possess at least a Seventh-Level Talent, passing a series of tests. Further the eighteen members of the Council were the strongest among the Adepts present. Though the organization was freeform, the members were some of the most celebrated and illustrious Talents in the Three Alliances.
Were it not for the combined strength of these members Skyfire Avenue never would have survived as long as it had, with it’s freedom intact.
Lan Jue rose quickly, donning a three-piece blue suit and slipping a ring on his little finger1 before stepping out.
In the dim light of the room’s lamp, the ring seemed to leave behind it a green afterimage that shimmered with a life of it’s own.
The ring itself had a peculiar look, forged of a silvery metal. The top half was curious, one side wide and the other side narrow. It created a trapezoid, set with fragments of diamond and sapphire like leopard print. In it’s center was set a triangular green gemstone. The ethereal light, full of vitality, originated from there.
Before he stepped out Lan Jue turned the ring inward, hiding the gemstone in his palm.
The ring itself had a name: Thor’s Promise.
1.) In China, wearing a ring on your little finger represents independence.