Book 2 Chapter 30 - Radiance Within the Heart

The moment the news of her brother dying in battle five years ago came, Ai Qilan already set the resolution to become a priest of the empire, to uphold the virtues of courage and justice, someone who had traveled through the empire’s most desolate and dangerous lands. Right now, she found it hard to suppress the powerful emotions within herself for quite some time.

She slightly raised her head towards the ordinary looking elder, but felt as if he could grasp her entire fate in his hands.

“What is a Watchman?” She asked.

“Our Green Luan Academy has many special existences.” Luo Houyuan looked at Ai Qilan. He knew that his words just now were too sudden for this young lady from Xiangshui Province, but he still believed in his own judgment. It was because this was a student who not only obtained the recommendation qualification through her brother’s glory, but also through her own conviction, a countryside young lady who relied on herself to travel a thousand two hundred li and arrive at Summer Spirit Lake.

The reason why he appeared before Ai Qilan wasn’t because Ai Qilan just happened to run into Lin Xi here, but rather because of all the carriages that stopped at Spirit Summer Lake, not a single one of them belonged to this young lady with a dismal background.

“True bravery comes only from the perseverance of the heart.”

Towards the writing carved into the roof of the stone temple, she already carried out an interpretation through her own way.

That was why the expression with which he looked at Ai Qilan was extremely gentle and patient. “For example, in the outside world, people call those like myself Academy Protectors… every few years, our academy will produce one or two Windstalkers, one or two Braveslayers, one or two Noblehawks… even Dark Priests.”

“To put it more simply, there is no lack of geniuses among the elites gathered from all over the empire each year. Some, after undergoing further tempering, will become some special top level existences, for examples, Windstalkers are the most powerful assassins. Since Principal Zhang coined this title, our academy Windstalkers’ most powerful record is a completely unscathed withdrawal after the assassination of Tangcang Country Imperial City’s garrison marshal, the rank of Tangcang Country’s garrison marshal equivalent to one of our Yunqin Empire eight sectors’ heads. As for Braveslayers, you can think of them as the most powerful war generals, able to take the head of a general from within a magnificent army, the most stunning, most intimidating generals. These people don’t necessarily have incredible talent in martial skill, but they are natural sword masters, destined to be able to control flying swords in the future.”

“As for Watchmen…” After a slight pause, he continued to explain to Ai Qilan in a gentle manner, “They are precisely those who roam about outside the academy, in charge of protecting Windstalkers and Braveslayers, these types of individuals. Because the assassinations targeted at Windstalkers and Braveslayers, the assassination attempts targeted at these people are destined to be extremely powerful and dangerous. That is why in order to be useful, Watchmen usually need to hide their identities, observe from the darkness so that the enemy, even our own Windstalkers, Braveslayers, and other special existences do not know of our existence… that is why once one chooses this identity, most of the time, they will usually never be able to enjoy the glory Windstalkers, Braveslayers, and these other dazzling existences will obtain. In reality, the overwhelming majority of people in the academy don’t even know that our academy has these Watchmen.”

“Then Noblehawks, Dark Priests, what kind of existences are these?” Ai Qilan’s body stopped its shaking. She looked towards Luo Houyuan and said, “Teacher, what are you? What kind of existence are the academy’s protectors?”

“Trust me, you are not suited for any of these.” Luo Houyuan looked at Ai Qilan, as if his eyes could see through her heart behind the silver thread covered mask, knowing that she had already made her choice. He explained in a rather gratified manner, “Noblehawks are the best at concealment, able to laugh extremely happily even when their hearts are leaking blood, able to cut down friends of over ten years. Dark Priest is a title that few people in the academy have acknowledged, but most of the academy, even Yunqin Empire doesn’t acknowledge them, to the extent where they even wish to eliminate them. These are people who have deal with those that have enough proof against them to be executed, yet because of Yunqin Empire’s laws, they cannot be dealt with, seen by the empire as having committed treason and heresy to begin with. They are the most ruthless executioners, at the same time, the true virtuous individuals who proclaim justice in the darkness. Regardless of which one of those two it is… your heart is not cold and resolute enough. Even if you wanted to become one who walked through the darkness, you would have to first be a proper bystander, be a proper Watchman, or else with your current eyesight and nature, you yourself might fall into darkness first. As for me… because I have experienced too much, weary of far too many matters, I only wish to take this academy as a home to peacefully spend my later years. If anyone stirs up trouble in my home, only then will I take action.”

When she heard Luo Houyuan’s words, it was as if a completely different world was opened up in Ai Qilans heart. Dark Priests… those who committed treason, this type of unimaginable wording dealt her a mental blow a hundred times greater than Lin Xi crossing more than a hundred steps. Her vest was already completely drenched in cold sweat, but her arms and legs became even colder than the cold sweat.

“Teacher, since your respected self has already grown weary of outside matters, why are you choosing me to become a Watchman?” However, the expression in her eyes instead calmed down.

Luo Houyuan laughed. “It is because the Windstalkers and the Braveslayers that the academy chooses… they are the people who truly represent the academy, represent Principal Zhang’s will. Only if they don’t fall, can our academy not fall.”

“Are you willing to become a Watchman? Even though I have already seen through your intentions, I must remind you that true strength comes from within. I have faith in turning you into a true watchman, but you must understand… from the moment you become a true watchman, most of the time, you can only watch from the dark, to the extent where others can’t even know of your existence. Meanwhile, when you are about to appear, that is when true danger appears, so you might have to give up your life. Honor, splendor, wealth, and rank, even the glory our academy’s students pursue, leaving their names in our empire’s annals of history, all of this will have nothing to do with you.” Luo Houyuan’s smile slowly disappeared. He looked at Ai Qilan, saying with an incredibly serious tone.

Ai Qilan nodded. “I am willing.”

“Did you want me to protect him? Does he have a chance to become a Braveslayer?” After nodding, Ai Qilan looked in the direction Lin Xi departed into with a complicated expression, asking this.

“The ones you protect are all of these types of people, not necessarily him alone. However, as for him, Braveslayer… perhaps it is not limited to this.” A hint of indescribable implication also flashed past the elder’s eyes.

“Not limited to this?” Ai Qilan was shocked by the elder’s words once more.  The one known as Green Luan Academy history’s worst heaven’s choice, the one called a liar by herself by the yellow perimeter wall, was actually favored so greatly… actually shouldering this type of mission?

The setting sun descended, darkness starting to surround the training valley, envelope all of Green Luan Academy. However, Ai Qilan’s heart was still radiant.

Yunqin Empire… or perhaps precisely the true Green Luan Academy, from here on out, lost a loyal priest, a spreader of faith and righteousness through the most dangerous and vile lands, but it obtained a radiant Watchman with a heart of justice.

Self Defense Freshman Dormitory’s dining room was still piled high with food just like before, but compared to normal, it was much quieter.

Ever since the classes begun, Lin Xi who didn’t have a high cultivation aptitude, and was instead ‘trash’, ranked towards the bottom, had already become someone who not only Qiu Lu, but rather a larger half of Self Defense Department students more or less looked down upon. Some of them even felt annoyed, thinking ‘what a mediocre person, how could he have the right to become one of Green Luan Academy’s few heaven’s choice’.

Moreover, Lin Xi was an ordinary bumpkin from Deerwood Town. For most of these students who were destined to begin their official careers after leaving Green Luan Academy, standing next to those who were destined to become dazzling was much better than those who were destined to fall to dust. However, someone who seemed to be falling to dust instead returned to their view in a rather bold manner. Even with Qiu Lu’s strength, he actually didn’t even have the strength to retaliate, the blade that hacked down on his nose completely crushing all of their criticisms. Even now, many people were still quietly thinking… could it be that his ‘trash’ appearance was nothing more than his humbleness and low-profile nature?

Heavy footsteps sounded by the entrance. A somewhat hobbling Lin Xi appeared at the dining room entrance, everyone’s eyes subconsciously concentrating on his body.

Lin Xi who was given another vicious beating in the stone temple seemed to be in an extremely sorry state, his face covered in bruises. This was especially the case after he used his special ability, even though his body recovered from an instance of physical injuries, his will still endured a second round of misery… after undergoing two instances of tempering, especially the first time where he pushed himself to the limit, the pain was enough to directly knock one unconscious. That was why these two instances of torment made him look especially mentally weary, his complexion also abnormally pale. Even so, with the appearance of his figure, it instead turned into confusion and fear in many people's eyes.

The first time they saw him like this, almost everyone thought that he was beaten into that state. However now, everyone instead immediately began to think, just what kind of cultivation did he undergo to end up like this?

Lin Xi didn’t look at those other students with the strange looks, the way he conducted himself was extremely simple: those who normally didn’t like him, he would naturally not bother paying them any attention either. He only looked towards Tang Ke, Li Kaiyun, Bian Linghan, and Hua Jiyue who were sitting together, waiting for him. He chuckled, and then when he sat down by their sides, saying, “So? I didn’t lose face for you all, right?”

“Just hurry up and eat already, mister heaven’s choice student!” Hua Jiyue immediately pushed a plate of roasted meat before him in annoyance when she saw him acting cockily.

Li Kaiyun looked at Lin Xi, but his expression instead revealed a bit of true shame. “Lin Xi, having a friend like you, in the future, what should I do to become good?”

Lin Xi just grabbed a piece of roasted meat, his eyes that looked at Li Kaiyun immediately becoming a bit blank. “Your words seem to be a bit profound, I don’t think I really understand…”

“As your friend, sitting here together today, seeing the eyes with which they look at you, it really is a refreshing and carefree feeling.” Li Kaiyun, the bumpkin who had no idea he was already favored by ‘Madman Qin’, looked at Lin Xi, his eyes flickering with strange brilliance. “Today, from your body, I have indeed seen glory. As your friend, I’ve also basked in your glory, as a heaven’s choice candidate the academy’s professors have selected, you are even more hardworking than me… in the future, if I achieve nothing, wouldn’t I instead be letting you all down?”

Cough, cough…” Lin Xi almost choked. He patted his chest, and then couldn’t help but pat this good friend who carried the most sincere convictions within, saying with a bitter smile while coughing, “Kaiyun, aren’t you thinking a bit too far out…”

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