There were many students at the academy; the Hundred Halls had the highest number. The majority came from smaller sects or nothing at all, but that was only when compared to imperial lineages. Ultimately, they still had some resources and backers.
As for Yao Ting, three generations of her ancestors were all mortals. There were other students like her but this was quite rare.
Even those who started with nothing at least had cultivators in their family tree; a vagabond cultivator still counted. Thus, so they were at least taught or given pieces of advice beforehand.
Alas, those close to Yao Ting such as her parents or the elders in the village were true mortals. They were now people from two separate worlds. Even if Yao Ting had something on her mind such as being bullied, she couldn’t say anything to her family.
Therefore, being shown concern by Li Qiye made her feel much better. Even back in their first meeting, he had given her a sense of closeness just like a family member. During her lonely moment, his comforting words made it seem otherwise.
“I understand, Teacher.” Yao Ting felt much better and gently nodded: “I only wish to train hard at the academy so I can join Sacred Institution later.”
Yao Ting spoke from the heart. She came from a small village and though her teacher viewed her highly, she was starting from the bottom up. Plus, her talents weren’t enough for the academy to place her in Sacred Institution, so she needed to go to Hundred Halls first then wait for a promotion if her results were outstanding.
Just like that, she trained hard without caring about romance. Alas, life wasn’t that simple sometimes.
“I see, someone is targeting you.” Li Qiye said: “But don’t you worry, the academy has been standing strong for one era to another. As long as you are really a gold ingot, then you will eventually shine without rotting away. There are many teachers watching as well. Just become stronger and work hard then joining Sacred Institution is only a matter of time. The thing you need to do now is to focus on cultivation alone, nothing else.”
As a previous teacher here, he was aware of the situation. People and competition went hand-in-hand. So many students from the hall wanted to enter the institution, so one could imagine the fierce competition among them.
Yao Ting was a nobody so the other competitors would try to take her down. It was one thing if she was just an average student. Alas, her talents were quite exceptional so she had a good chance of entering Sacred Institution. Because of this, she became a thorn in others’ eyes.
“Thank you for your advice, Teacher.” Yao Ting could see the sun after the clouds; her hazy worries dispersed instantly.
Ultimately, the only thing that she could do given her circumstances was to work harder than her peers due to a lack of backers.
Li Qiye’s comment was a calming pill to her mind. If he could guarantee so, then she didn’t need to worry about foul plays from the students coming from the great powers.
“I repeat, just focus on cultivation, forget everything else. If someone keeps on pushing the issue, just let me know.”
“Thank you, Teacher.” She replied.
Li Qiye chuckled while looking at her. In his mind, he was recalling her ancestors once more. They didn’t wish for their descendants to join the cultivation world but she was here at the academy now. Perhaps this was the working of fate.
He was a reasonable person who knew how to be grateful. Out of consideration for her ancestors, he wanted to lend her a hand and hope that she would soar in the future on this path.
“Oh? Isn’t this our Hundred Halls’ good girl?” A girl suddenly spoke with a tinge of mockery in her voice.
Five girls came into the restaurant; all were students from the academy. They were around eighteen of age and grew up to be quite pretty. The leader was especially beautiful with a noble and charming aura. Her gestures were imposing by nature so she clearly came from a powerful place.
She walked towards Yao Ting with a sneer on her face. She looked at Yao Ting then at Li Qiye before implying: “What is our good girl sneaking here for? Having a secret date with your lover? You’re sneaking around like this because you don’t want Senior Yan and the others to know, right?”
Yao Ting turned red but she restrained herself: “Ye Qiaoxiang, watch your words!”
“Watch my words?” The girl smiled and said: “Then why are you sneaking here with him? What else but to do certain things you don’t want others to know.”
“Sister Ye, maybe she’s doing this with more than just one guy.” Another girl laughed and seized the opportunity to attack Yao Ting.
“Of course! This Yao girl is a slut. If Senior Yan finds out, he’ll be done with her.” One more chimed in.
The girls said their part with wanton disregard for Yao Ting. She became quite angry now - anyone else would have erupted already.
“Girl, your eyesight is quite bad too. Even if you want to sneak around, at least pick someone better. Look at him, just a commoner. Wait, don’t tell me, it’s a case of not being picky with food on an empty stomach, that’s why…” The girl named Ye Qiaoxiang said with disdain towards Li Qiye. 
“Scram before I get angry.” Li Qiye interrupted her before she could finish.
“Little animal, do you know who I am? Daring to speak like that before me? Don’t you see that your girl doesn’t even dare to fart in front of me? I am from Freesky, my lady is a Regional Princess there!” The girl’s expression became quite aggressive after being spoken to like this by Li Qiye in public.
“I told you to scram.” Li Qiye repeated and sent her flying with a slap.
This scared the hell out of the other girls. They stared at him, petrified, not expecting that someone was bold enough to actually hit Qiaoxiang and broke her teeth.
“You, you dare to hit our Sister? She’s from Freesky…” One of the girls calmed down and shrieked at him.
“Scram.” Li Qiye said without bothering to look at her.
They were scared by his aura and didn’t dare to say anything else. As regular students, they have never seen an aura like this before.
Thus, they hurriedly went to help Qiaoxiang up while overwhelmed with fear.
“Braa-t… just you wait, I’ll settle this. My last name will not be Ye if I let you stay at the academy later.” Qiaoxiang fiercely added while being helped by her friends.
Li Qiye only sipped his tea in response. After the group left, Yao Ting worriedly said: “She’s a disciple from Freesky Sect, but her lady is a princess there. The famous Freesky Young Lord is her Senior Brother.”
So it turned out that Qiaoxiang was a maid of the Skyhigh Regional Princess so she got into the sect as well, a swift rise due to her lucky circumstance.
Because her lady joined the academy, she also came along and wanted a promotion to Sacred Institution. Thus, Yao Ting was viewed as an annoyance due to the competition.
“And?” Li Qiye leisurely said.
Yao Ting calmed down and became embarrassed. The heated situation earlier made her forget about his current position.
Qiaoxiang’s backing was quite big but Li Qiye was a teacher so his backing was even greater. Yao Ting then said: “Thank you again, Teacher.”
This wasn’t enough to describe her gratitude but it was all she could come up with at this moment.
Normally, Qiaoxiang and her group would provoke her but she could handle this without a direct confrontation. After all, the opponents had the number advantage with a strong backing. In the even of a fight breaking out, it might not be favorable for her.