Book 1 Chapter 16 - Apricot Flower Blooms or Withers, He Isn’t There

“This is the academy’s uniform!”

The strong feeling of honor completely swept away the fatigue of these new students, many of them looking forward to wearing Green Luan Academy’s uniform for quite some time already.

Even though there weren’t any markings on the black cloak each person received, the pure black color, as well as the extremely soft and comfortable material left most of the students incredibly excited.

“This is made from the fur of northern sea otters. It doesn’t reflect any light in the darkness, and it has astonishing thermal and waterproofing properties. The most important thing is that there won’t be much noise when raindrops fall onto it or when we run quickly.” A ‘border barbarian’ new student recognized the cloak’s material, his expression changing slightly.

In the army, only elite soldiers at the town supervisor level had a chance of being provided with this type of cold and water-resistant cloak.

“Your eyesight isn’t bad.” The black-robed middle-aged lecturer gave a direct response. “These are cloaks made from the fur of northern sea otters, every single one worth fifty-two gold. Moreover, the production quantity is extremely limited, it isn’t circulated along the markets.”

While many of the new students became speechless at the value of the cloaks in their hands, the black robed middle-aged lecturer already continued, “As early as half a century ago, the academy’s seniors already proved the academy’s worth, which is why the empire has invested a large amount of resources into the three great academies to raise the chosen elites, which is in the nurturing of you all. However, there is no way the empire’s resources are limitless, hence the strict limitation on the number of accepted students the great academies take in each ear. From today forth, every single one of you needs to remember your own identities. You all are the hope of the empire, the empire’s sharp swords and sturdy shields.”

“I am Wang Yike, your first lesson’s lecturer.” The black-robed middle-aged lecturer turned around, continuing forward.

“You all need to be worthy of what has been invested.” This was the intent Lin Xi immediately received from this lecturer’s first lesson.

Soon afterwards, all of the new students understood why they were given this type of cloak.

The sky gradually darkened. When their weary footsteps left Summer Spirit Lake far behind them, a gust of frigid wind swept over from Heaven Ascension Mountain Range. The surrounding atmosphere directly changed from summer to deep winter.

All of the new students, including Lin Xi, put on their black cloaks. The spacious cloak resisted the cold winds blowing straight at them, also returning a bit of life back to these new students’ small faces.

The black-robed middle-aged lecturer stopped before a continuous expanse of dried yellow grassland.

“Today, we are going to camp here. Pay close attention to how I set up this military tent, I will only do it once. Then, all of you will repeat it once, those who fail will have half a point deducted.”

The first sentence he spoke made the new students whose soles and stomachs were already aching release a great breath of relief, but his following words immediately placed their minds on edge.

The small tents were also black, judging from their size, seemingly able to accomodate two or three people each. All of these academy professors and lecturers only brought one with them, clearly only using them as a demonstration. If nothing unexpected happened, they were most likely going to spend the night in the open.

Meng Bai wrinkled his nose, subconsciously tugging at his own cloak, the cold air made his nose a bit uncomfortable. This black cloak was most likely going to be used as a blanket tonight.

Right at this time, the black-haired male from the Self Defense Department suddenly said coldly, “Self Defense Department’s new students, gather here where I am.”

Lin Xi and Li Kaiyun exchanged a look, both of them heading towards the place where the black-haired man stood in confusion.

“He really is Madman Qin.” Someone immediately cursed out in a low voice from among the remaining professors.

Haha.” The grave and stern black-haired man instead laughed loudly, his laughter a bit haughty, as if this was his true nature. He turned around, facing the frigid winds, his black hair fluttering about wildly behind him. “Let’s go, Self Defense Department kids, we are continuing forward.”

Vice Principal Xia gave this black-haired man a look, revealing a faint smile, not saying anything.

“We still have to continue forward?” The minds of the Self Defense Department’s new students all became cold, only feeling their legs immediately becoming more sore. Meanwhile, most of the new students from other departments rejoiced. Only the blonde and skinny youngster from Yuhua Family muttered to himself, “Valor and loyalty, scars and difficulties, only these can produce the most dazzling glory.”

His words immediately drew the inward cursing of a group of Spiritual Sacrifice Department youngsters near him. “Is there something wrong with your head? If you don’t want any rest, then just follow those Self Defense Department people.”

“Can this be considered the start of cultivation?” Only Lin Xi, whose feet were aching unbearably, found this rather new and exciting.

“Lin Xi, take this.” Meng Bai suddenly ran over, quickly slipping a bag of goods to Lin Xi.

“What is it?” Lin Xi stared blankly. Before Meng Bai had time to reply, he was seen by the black-haired man and the middle-aged lecturer named Wang Yike.

The black-haired man gave Meng Bai and Wang Yike a look, and then chuckled. “Little fatty, is it food? Seems like you aren’t the type to go hungry… some people are in luck.”

Meng Bai was so scared his legs trembled. Right at this time, Wang Yike’s serious voice sounded. “The student understands to have rations ready at any time, moreover supporting his companions, half a point added.”

“...” Meng Bai was immediately stupefied.

Even though he didn’t know what the so-called ‘points’ were, anyone could tell that they were good things… yet he was actually so lucky. What always having rations ready? He was just a glutton, stashing away quite a few tasty things.

The black-haired male walked at the very front, dressed entirely in black, at his side was Xia Yanbing, the hem and sleeves of his robe embroidered in gold. Behind these two followed Lin Xi and a group of Self Defense Department new students.

Now, it was clear that Xia Yanbing was also a lecturer of the Self Defense Department.

“Only when one is full will one have strength, this is the most basic principle.”

“Once one remains hungry for a long time, not only will it affect one’s stamina, it will also affect one’s mind and reaction speed, even make one mysteriously make errors in judgment. From today on, you all must never forget this.”

While marching at a moderate pace, facing the chilly wind, the black-haired man warned these new Self Defense Department students.

Suddenly, he said something that made Lin Xi and the others fall headfirst. “Xia Yanbing, I’m a bit tired, why don’t you teach them some things.”

You’re actually tired, yet you are still making them hurry along, moreover even saying you’re tired out loud, this Professor Qin really was a bit… crazy.

“In situations of extreme exhaustion, chatting with your companions can help distract you a bit, allowing yourself to walk further. Similarly, in situations where your injuries are a bit more serious, maintaining your cool and talking to distract yourself can also increase your chances of survival a bit.” Xia Yanbing’s complexion was handsome and outstanding, forehead exposed, hair neatly bound behind him with a green cloth band. His bearing was also comparative easygoing, the pressure he gave Lin Xi and the others not as great as that black-haired man.

“I know many of you actually don’t know much about Green Luan Academy and our Self Defense Department, which is why starting from now, if you all have any questions, you can ask me first.”

Meanwhile, his following words immediately made all of the new Self Defense Department students, including Lin Xi and Li Kaiyun become excited.

Almost without any hesitation, Lin Xi took a deep breath, the first to speak out, asking a question he always wanted to ask, but never had a chance to. “Is Principal Zhang still here? Once we enter the academy, can we meet Principal Zhang?”

Xia Yanbing’s eyebrows suddenly jumped, the brows of the black-haired man who didn’t turn around also jumped.

“No one knows where Principal Zhang is right now.” Then, Xia Yanbing looked straight at Lin Xi, saying, “A certain early morning sixteen years ago, he left Green Luan Academy to wander the world.”

Apart from Lin Xi, this was also the first time the other new Self Defense Department students heard anything concrete about the legendary middle-aged uncle’s whereabouts. Everyone’s bodies shook slightly. 

“He isn’t in Green Luan Academy…” Lin Xi was full of disappointment, to the point where he became a bit speechless.

“Old friend, where are you? Apricot Blossom Village’s apricot flowers have already bloomed, yet you still haven’t returned to take a look?” What Lin Xi was completely unaware of was that right now, where the new students of the other departments were, the single-armed elder who was admired by the entire Yunqin Empire was sitting on a blanket, quietly watching as the black-robed middle-aged lecturer Wang Yike explained how to take apart and quickly reassemble that black military tent. His sight was aimed into the distance, but his mind was full of melancholy.

“He has already wandered for sixteen years, not even the academy knows where his current whereabouts are? Why doesn’t he come back to visit?” A round-faced youngster in Lin Xi’s group who was also full of veneration towards ‘Principal Zhang’ asked in a somewhat absent-minded manner.

“What a stupid question.” A tall and sturdy short haired ‘border barbarian’ who was also full of adoration towards ‘Principal Zhang’ said with irritation, “Someone important like him, who can fathom what he wishes to do? Perhaps during these years, he has always been involved in something world-shocking within Yunqin Empire, or maybe he has infiltrated deeply into the enemy’s territory, just that we had no idea.”

This extremely sturdy ‘border barbarian’ youngster’s words clearly carried blind adoration, as well as an attitude of trying to belittle the other students, but Xia Yanbing didn’t become upset when he heard this, instead nodding in a calm manner, saying, “This is indeed a foolish question. A figure like Principal Zhang, no matter what he does, he definitely has his reasons for doing so, we are completely incapable of guessing at what they are… next question.”

“What are academic points?” A timid-looking skinny youngster mustered his courage and asked.

Xia Yanbing nodded and said, “Our different departments all have many courses, many different trials. Completing a course, a trial, or even do some noteworthy things, and you will obtain points as a reward. As for how many points are rewarded, it will be determined through the level of difficulty and contribution. Once enough points are accumulated, then one can advance to the next phase’s courses, at the same time, these points can be exchanged for the academy’s material rewards, for example, the medicines needed for cultivation, armors and weapons needed for battle.”

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