Chapter 108: Hidden Gifts

“I’m Wair. Remember my name, Xia Luo, I will come find you in the Academy,” the cyborg suddenly howled. He could not accept that he had been threatened to the point that he didn’t have the courage to retaliate.

Xia Luo smiled and stepped into the light beam, with Schutz taking a deep breath and closing his eyes before walking in. This time, he was brought in by someone else. When he walked out of Astral-10, he had to have achieved the glory to hold his head up high.

Up above, Dorren Yushan and the rest were pleasantly surprised to find Schutz’s name appearing on the screen. Xia Luo’s name appearing as well left countless others jealous of the Great Yu Empire.

“Hahahaha, Schutz had passed, worthy of being the top expert of the Great Yu Empire’s youth generation,” Dorren Yushan was ecstatic. Huo Qingshan and the rest nodded. It looked like Schutz had improved significantly if he could break through the Innerverse elites guarding the examination.

“Who is that Xia Luo?” Rocky Auna asked curiously, prompting a shake of everyone’s heads and an order from Dorren to look into it.

“What? Top secret?” the Crown Prince asked in amazement a moment later, saying solemnly, “Even I don’t have the authority to check; we can only ask His Imperial Majesty when we return. But enough of that—our Empire was the biggest winner in this examination! A total of four students accepted, this is worthy of a national celebration!”

“Don’t be too happy yet, the three powers of the Innerverse have not succeeded in their endeavors and they will definitely not be happy with us sending four people through,” Jue Lang warned.

Huo Qingshan’s gaze turned cold, “So what? The Great Yu has its own military power; we don’t fear war!”

The mood on the distant Zenyu Star was just as Dorren Yushan had predicted. Everyone sank into euphoria, and The Undying Yushan’s order to waive taxes for the year only elevated the atmosphere.

There was only one person fuming; Bazeer. Lu Yin’s success meant he couldn’t cause trouble in the short term; he had heard there was far more to Astral-10 than meets the eye. Perhaps this person could really be a threat in the future. Thinking of Ghostfire’s miserable state, an unbearably ugly expression overcame his face and he slammed his hand into the floor.

Within Zenyu Star’s palace, The Undying Yushan looked at the screen before him with a permanent smile. There was a stunning young woman on the screen with a quiet expression and serene gaze, “Your Imperial Majesty, you should not let anyone enter Astral-10.”

The Emperor sipped his tea, “The gap between the Outerverse and Innerverse is too great, and we must think of a way to bridge it.”

“It is not possible to reduce this gap. You’ve entered the Innerverse before and should know how terrifying it is. Do you think that sending some imps into Astral-10 will be able to bridge this gap? They will only realize how insignificant they are,” the girl remained apathetic.

The Undying Yushan stared at his daughter, “Little Fifth, you are too arrogant. The workings of the universe follow some laws, as do toppling of the heavens. One moment strong, and the next weak, no one knows when it will happen, and the skies will change. Your father is old and cannot protect the Empire, while you are unwilling to return as well. This is the only way we can fight; the future might be on the shoulders of these youths.”

Wendy Yushan’s gaze remained cold, or perhaps she truly did not care, “As you wish. The Great Yu Empire is just one speck of dust in the universe. If you must hold on so tightly, I have no choice either. But I must warn you that the Astral Combat Academy is not a stairway to heaven. They will clearly see how small they are and how laughable their ambitions.”

The Emperor watched as the screen winked out and sighed. He clearly knew the cruelty of the Innerverse, but a frog in a well would never know how big the sky was. Its desire to swallow that sky might be laughable, but one had to respect that grit.

……

As the rain continued to patter constantly on the limestone platform, Lu Yin looked at the two newcomers with astonishment. Xia Luo? Schutz? The former smiled back with no signs of surprise, while the latter instead looked around at those present. There were a total of eleven people here, six Sentinels and five Melders. Minus Xia Luo and himself, only three other Melders had passed the examination. Of them, Schutz fixed his gaze on Darkvoid, who gave off an incredible sense of danger.

Not far away, Silver smiled at Xia Luo just as he looked over. They exchanged glances and Silver maintained his smile, but Xia Luo’s lukewarm gaze morphed into something sharper. Coincidentally, a new figure arrived between the two.

Lu Yin looked over and his eyes narrowed as he noticed the black and white hair of the Daynight Clan. Everyone else turned towards him as well; the Daynight Clan was well-known among the cultivators of the Innerverse, and the black-and-white hair was easy to recognize as well. The man had a haughty look and scanned his surroundings, gaze lingering slightly on Michelle with his breath taken away.

At this point, a voice rang through the void, “The examination has ended. Congratulations to the twelve of you who passed.”

The voice died down, and one more name appeared on one of the screens on the Sentinels’ path in the heavens. Under Zhao Yilong’s name was Hui Daynight.

Lu Yin turned his gaze to the emptiness in the skies; the voice seemed to have come from all directions. All he noticed was the dark green curtain of rain that connected the skies to the earth, with the occasional puff of mist.

“Congratulations to all that have entered the Tenth Astral Academy. We have specially prepared five gifts and hidden them in the rain. Finders, keepers.”

Everyone’s eyes brightened; gifts from Astral-10 would not be simple. Lu Yin looked towards the rain and wondered what those words meant. Gifts hidden in the rain?

Twelve individuals, each with their own thoughts, looked into the distance in the pouring rain. There were no signs of any gifts whatsoever, but Michelle walked to one corner of the limestone platform and silently looked eastwards. Xia Luo did the same, as did Hui Daynight. He might have been a Sentinel, but no one would view him as one. All twelve eventually chose their own directions and stared at the rain, trying to sense something.

Lu Yin allowed the rain to splash on his palm. It was nothing but normal in his perception, but the Academy seemingly wanted them to understand something from it. His mind drew a complete blank when faced with this natural phenomenon.

Not long after, star energy ebbed and flowed around him from Michelle and a few others, as though they had discovered something. Lu Yin frowned and glanced at Lulu, whose eyes were gleaming with some understanding. He then looked at Xia Luo, the youth’s ever-gentle gaze concealing all thought. He breathed in deeply; he could not carry on like this, or he would fall behind.

Lu Yin’s gaze grew steady as he thought over it. He hadn’t wanted to use the Cosmic Art in case someone recognized it, but he had no choice. This was only their first task, and he didn’t want to fall behind with every step. Six stars started to circle around him, the result of many days of training. At this point, he believed he could give Gerbach a run for his money.

A pair of wizened eyes opened within the curtain of rain, peering through a great distance to watch Lu Yin with surprise, “Someone from the Outerverse got a hold of this technique? Interesting, very interesting.”

Gadgets were cut off from the moment everyone entered the world of rain, and the new students did not have an idea of how time flowed in Astral-10 compared to the rest of the world. Three days quickly passed; for Lu Yin, they were three days of constantly staring at the rain. Even with the Cosmic Art, he could not see a thing. The rain helped him cleanse any impurities in his star energy, but the only thing outside of that was vague images flashing within bursts of star energy nearby.

Soon, he saw all sorts of strange phenomena within those images. The sound of raindrops cleared his mind, turning those sights into what felt like an experience of stepping onto the road of cultivation. As he immersed himself in that feeling, Michelle opened her eyes and her star energy erupted to sweep the rain aside. A burst of air rushed forth and tore open a tiny crack in the curtain; her eyes brightened and she stepped out into the rain to grab a chip of some sort.

The others looked at Michelle in astonishment, while Lu Yin watched her star energy and then his own. He quickly realized what the problem was: her energy had taken physical form to disperse the rainwater, while his own was incorporeal. He simply could not push the rain apart. The gifts were right in front of their eyes and not hidden. Whoever could see them first would obtain them. This was a test of their star energy. Lu Yin breathed deeply and adjusted the star energy within his body, feeling the raindrops again. He had to turn his star energy into something substantial before he could tear the curtain open. It sounded simple but was a difficult challenge.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Choco

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA