Chapter 23: The Class Divide

“Ambush you?” Jaeger laughed at Jeraldine’s accusation, “I sent the two of them out to check out if we had any peers nearby. Did they sneak up on you? Don’t worry, I’ll teach them a lesson.”

“No need for that, they’ve already paid for their mistake,” Jeraldine replied coldly.

Lu Yin walked over to Jeraldine’s side, casting a glance at Jaeger. The youth didn’t seem surprised to see him, “The Hidden Sage of Nanjing? I guess you must be from the greater universe as well, Miss Jeraldine wouldn’t want to work with you otherwise.”

“My name is Yatar,” Lu Yin said bluntly, “I come from the First Academy of the Pagoda Planet. My grandfather is the headmaster.”

Jeraldine felt her face twitch at the mention of those words. Those were the very words that had made her underestimate this asshole.

“What are you trying to say?” Jaeger asked distractedly.

Lu Yin displayed a hint of arrogance, “I have more money than you could dream of. Release my people, and I can pay you in a lot of resources.”

Jaeger let out a hearty laugh, “Pagoda Planet? Never heard of it. To be honest, I don’t really care who you are; all I’m looking for is an alliance.”

“An alliance?” Lu Yin asked in surprise.

“Yes,” Jaeger turned serious, “I discovered a mine of wind crystals nearby, but the place is occupied by a group of mutant beasts that are all Sentinels. I need assistance in dealing with them.”

“How much?” Jeraldine asked. 

Jaeger shook his head, “I’m not certain, but a conservative estimate would be a dozen cubic meters.”

Jeraldine’s eyes blazed in an instant. A dozen cubes of wind crystals was no small amount; most planets had only a few cubes’ worth in total. She wanted to agree immediately, but stopped herself and looked at Lu Yin.

“I have money, I don’t care,” Lu Yin dismissed, something that surprised Jaeger. The youth hadn’t thought there was any student who would reject this offer; a dozen cubes of wind crystals were worth over a hundred cubes of star crystals at the right exchange, enough for one to master an entire branch of battle techniques or even accelerate one’s path to becoming a Melder. Even Jeraldine looked longingly at Lu Yin, but he continued, “Having said that, no one turns away chances to make money even if they’re rich. We’ll come look for you in two days; in the meanwhile, you aren’t to touch any of my subordinates.”

Jaeger nodded, “Alright, please bring those two juniors of mine as well. It would be best if we have a larger group.”

Lu Yin agreed, and Jeraldine immediately disconnected the screen.

“Is this Jaeger the one which the other two mentioned is the same level as Terence?” Lu Yin asked. 

Jeraldine grunted in agreement, “I’ve heard of his name, he is one of the top three figures in Blue Mountain Academy, he may even be more powerful than Terence.”

“What is his family’s financial situation like?” Lu Yin asked. 

Jeraldine was puzzled by the question, “Financial situation? I have no idea.”

Lu Yin’s eyes twinkled. He didn’t care for the wind crystals right now. No matter the quantity, he wouldn’t be able to exchange them for star crystals until he could enter the Great Yu Empire. On the other hand, Jaeger probably had a few star crystals on hand.

……

Nanjing wasn’t very far from Yuxiang. When Lu Yin left for the town, even with Jeraldine carrying both students from Blue Mountain Academy, it only took him two hours to get there. Tens of thousands of cultivators were sitting around in the camp with their weapons seized, being watched by another group of cultivators all around. Poor Feng Hong was hanging from a tree nearby.

A powerful energy wave swept through the camp as the two reached the site, sending a violent vibration into the sky. Lu Yin realized the dual intent from that display; Jaeger was showing off his power, and at the same time trying to probe his own. However, such a display was actually useless, even posing the risk of ensuring the other party knew the exact extent of one’s power. Jaeger was quite powerful, slightly surpassing Terence, but this didn’t bother Lu Yin at all. To him, this was a dog with all bark and no bite; the only person who’d ever left him feeling threatened so far was that silver-haired man.

Jeraldine stepped forward, her own energy buzzing as it stopped Jaeger’s display. A crack suddenly appeared on the ground, splitting Lu Yin’s group off from the rest of the camp. The resulting commotion drew the eyes of Feng Hong and the other captains, shame written all over their faces. Lu Yin didn’t bother with them, his gaze focused on the man who was slowly floating into the sky.

Clap! Clap! Clap! “The reputation of the beauty of the First Military School isn’t for nothing. Your abilities truly are astounding,” Jaeger heaped praises upon her, eyes filled with unconcealable greed.

Jeraldine snorted, “Is this the way the Blue Mountain Academy treats their guests?”

“Ah, sorry for being brash,” Jaeger laughed, finally turning his gaze to Lu Yin. Contempt flashed across his eyes as he noticed that Lu Yin had only recently become a Sentinel; this was something not even worth noticing.

“My two esteemed comrades, isn’t it about time to let my juniors go?” Jaeger looked in Jeraldine’s direction as he asked, under the impression that she was the leader of the two. The two captured students wanted to say something, but their mouths were sealed. All they could do was try to signal with their eyes, informing their senior of Lu Yin’s might. However, he simply didn’t understand what they were trying to express.

“We’ll release them once we’re convinced of your sincerity,” Jeraldine said coldly.

Jaeger shrugged, “Alright then. Gather!”

Quite a few people walked out from all over the camp as he opened up a map, pointing to a mountain that was about a hundred kilometers away from Yuxiang, “The wind crystals are there, but they are surrounded by a flock of mutant birds. At least five are Sentinels, or what these natives call the Realm of Sky. The rest are Seekers, and we don’t have a good count for those.”

“What do you plan to do?” Jeraldine asked after glancing at Lu Yin.

Jaeger replied, “The five of us definitely can destroy the flock of birds, but that would take too much work. I have another plan; we can get the natives to lure the flock out. We can then blow up some of their explosives to take the beasts out; that would be the most efficient method.”

Lu Yin’s gaze immediately frosted over, while Jeraldine was taken aback as well, “That would kill the natives.”

“Who cares if the natives live or die?” Jaeger laughed, “The only thing that matters is to make things easier.”

“We can succeed even without risking their lives,” Lu Yin said softly.

An amused Jaeger looked over, “Brother Yatar, the lives of these natives aren’t worth our consideration. Once the trial has ended, their cultivators will be sent to battlefields all over the universe. Those with endowments might be fortunate enough to become slaves to some influential student, the prettier ones can become servants, and the rest will just be cannon fodder. Heh, they might just be grateful for the opportunity to die here!”

Lu Yin didn’t say anything to refute him. The Fate of Earth had been decided the moment evolution started; all the people of the planet were already under the surveillance of the Great Yu Empire and the Universe Youth Council; only a minority would be treated even remotely well.

“Alright, I’ve shown you my sincerity, can you release them now?” Jaeger turned back to Jeraldine.

She looked towards Lu Yin, who said plainly, “Wait, I have another question.”

A cold glint filled Jaeger’s eyes, “What is it?”

“You can be considered a top-level figure in Blue Mountain Academy, why are you sitting around instead of moving to finish the mission?”

Jaeger’s eyes filled with bewilderment and then bemusement as he looked between Lu Yin and Jeraldine, finally unable to suppress a laugh, “Right, I forget that people at your level don’t have all the information. Let me break it down for you over refreshments.”

Jaeger sat down and had his subordinates serve tea, with Lu Yin and Jeraldine both obliging as they took their own seats. He took a sip and said profoundly, “There are three classes of students in this trial. The first class consists of individuals like my juniors; they’re only entering to impress certain people; consider it gold plating. Survival alone is enough for them to have a bright future.

“The second class is people like us.”

“Like us?” Jeraldine was surprised. She had not imagined a top figure from Blue Mountain Academy like Jaeger would be in the same class as her. 

Jaeger nodded, “You, me, Terence… all of us are the same. Our aim is to have some sort of result in this trial, be it occupying territory and turning it blue, discovering rare ores, or the like. Say, has anyone asked you to join their mission team since you landed?”

Jeraldine shook her head with a solemn expression.

Jaeger laughed and continued, “Exactly, that’s because we aren’t good enough. Only Veron from your academy and Borise from mine qualify for that.”

“The strongest individual in the academy?” Jeraldine asked.

Jager nodded his head, continuing in his serious tone, “There is no fairness in the universe. These people knew the details of what was going on when we first got news of the trial. The strongest individuals in each academy also have wide networks that they can leverage for the completion of the mission. For example, Veron isn’t even in this region anymore.”

Jeraldine nodded with a pained look on her face, “I haven’t seen him since the trial started.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA