The duo opened their eyes wearily at the first light of dawn.
Swamped with lethargy, Qin Ye switched on his computer and noticed that it was already 8.00 a.m. He sighed and played a soft tune from his laptop, and Arthis immediately exclaimed, “Are you chasing drama serials as well?”
“... No, I’m just expressing my current emotions right now…” Qin Ye typed the keywords despondently on his keyboard and began to scroll through the search results.
The firewall preventing access to the internet was still active within the City of Salvation. However, technology was amazing, and the government was able to grant access to certain games, movie streaming sites, and even some knowledge-based forums. However, all access to sites containing videos and posts relating to the supernatural remained completely blocked. Furthermore, those with IP addresses originating from the City of Salvation were not allowed to post anything on the forums.
“A decent automated logging machine costs 30,000 RMB. That’s not too expensive. A construction boom crane costs approximately 140,000 RMB. That’s still somewhat acceptable. The one that is truly expensive are excavators. The good ones cost well over 300,000 RMB, and even the lousy ones cost in excess of 100,000 RMB.” Approximately ten minutes into his search, Qin Ye leaned back on his chair with a wistful sigh, “And this is just the cost of the equipment… There’s still the standard costs for design drawings from architectural firms pursuant to section four article twelve. Under these rules, the design fees for a building would cost somewhere in the region of 100,000 RMB to 200,000 RMB. The costs for designing an ancient-styled high-rise building might be even higher than that.”
The duo glanced at each other. There was a single thread of thought in their minds right now - Where are we going to get the money from?
Arthis broached a suggestion, “Why don’t… we ask your financial bankroller and borrow a few million from him?”
“Borrow?!” Qin Ye snorted coldly as he retorted with righteous indignation, “Do you think that’s a good idea? Have I lived so long for nothing? Do you think I have to resort to borrowing such a meagre sum of money from a kid?”
Arthis blinked her eyes with confusion. This wasn’t the Emissary of Hell she knew.
Something told her that there was more to it than meets the eye.
Qin Ye coughed lightly, “... There’s no need to borrow… Let’s kill Brother Wang… and I can inherit his fortune. There are many vacant seats in Hell’s Gate right now, isn’t there? I could let him take one of those seats in exchange.”
Arthis gazed deeply into Qin Ye’s eyes, “Your heart is truly black… But truth be told, even I think that such a suggestion isn’t too bad… You desperately need Death Inquisitors right now. It’s far too tiring for you to be taking on this burden alone. Entrusting the task to someone you know through and through is a good idea… That’s right, we’ll ask him to write a will to designate you as the sole beneficiary of his estate first…”
You could say that Qin Ye was so poor that he simply had no bottom line in this regard.
Hell was only five square kilometers large right now. When the time comes for the next great expansion, he would once again have to incur a massive capital outlay! This sum was at least going to be in the millions to boot!
And this was just the initial investment. There were other things to consider, such as construction materials. Ancient buildings were largely constructed from wood, bricks and glazed ceramics. The price of acquiring these materials were simply going to be astronomical!
All things considered, the full construction works to be undertaken within the five square kilometers of Hell right now were going to cost him at least tens of millions!
Just then, his cell phone suddenly rang.
He hadn’t brought his cell phone with him to Hell. Thus, as soon as he switched on his phone, a notification prompt from the Momo app immediately appeared - You have twenty new messages and seven missed calls.
It had to be either Lin Han or Su Feng.
“Hello?” He quickly dialed Lin Han’s number. As soon as his call got through, he immediately heard Lin Han’s anxious voice call out to him, “Where are you now? Everyone has already assembled at the gathering point. You’re the only one missing. Are you trying to lose points even before the semester begins proper?”
Qin Ye was somewhat baffled, “What’s going on?”
Lin Han grew silent for a moment, before he finally responded softly, “Old man, did you forget? Today is the day we assemble and head towards Mount Tai City for the two-month instructors’ training. Everyone’s already gathered at the assembly point. You’re the only one still missing. Oh, that’s right. Chief Zhou is the one leading the trip today…”
Before Lin Han could even finish speaking, Qin Ye hung up the phone, grabbed a bunch of clothes and stuffed them into a suitcase, and then hurriedly made a beeline towards Insignia University.
On his way out, a paper crane flew out from under the bed and dove into his belt. Arthis’ voice rang out, “Take me along.”
“You can do that?”
“What do you mean by that? I’m a former Judge in charge of the Province of the Great Heavens! Do you think I deserve to rule over an entire province if I can’t even affix my soul to an inanimate object?”
Everything was reminiscent of a student that was late for school. By the time he had arrived at Insignia University, two large buses were already parked in front of the main entrance. Zhou Xianlong glared at Qin Ye with an ashen face, raised his hand towards Qin Ye and revealed an exquisite-looking watch to him, “Take a look for yourself.”
Qin Ye coughed dryly, glanced at the watch and responded apprehensively, “... Longines?”
Zhou Xianlong’s temples were throbbing. Is it really going to be alright… Are we really going to entrust our students to these people? Our students won’t become retards, would they…?
“8 a.m.!” Zhou Xianlong had previously been advised by Li Tao to act in moderation. But, for some reason, he found himself unable to calm down whenever he dealt with Qin Ye. Repressing the burning rage in his heart, he barked, “We’d sent several reminders last night that the assembly time today was 7.30 a.m. sharp! We’d even mentioned this several times at the faculty meeting earlier! You’re disorganized and ill-disciplined! Instructor Qin, are you thinking of forgoing all of your teaching credits this year?!”
“Old Man Zhou.” Li Tao peeked out of the bus with a smile on his face, “Forget it. Instructor Qin is still young. Let’s board the buses first. It’s winter now, and it’s cold outside.”
Zhou Xianlong looked like he still had words to say. But deferring to Li Tao, he gave Qin Ye another glare before boarding the bus.
Qin Ye threw his suitcase into the undercarriage and boarded the bus as well. As soon as he boarded, Lin Han immediately waved at him. Qin Ye took his seat beside Lin Han. Lin Han quipped mischievously, “He railed at you, didn’t he? Where’d you slip off to last night? I couldn’t even find you at the hotel.”
“You’ll find me when you die.” Qin Ye rolled his eyes at him. He wore a down jacket today, and he promptly pulled down his hat, “Don’t talk to me. I’m sleepy.”
He remained silent for the entire length of the journey. Then, approximately three hours later, three large words finally appeared on the horizon - Mount Tai City.
Mount Tai City was also a provincial capital city, and its toll booths were a far cry from what the toll booths outside the City of Salvation looked like. Mount Tai City’s toll booths spanned approximately one hundred meters across in width, and the flow of traffic both to and from the city was considerably heavy. Lush green trees lined both sides of the road with shade. Seven toll booths gobbled up vehicles in a rhythmic fashion. These toll booths were designed with an ancient flair. A string of lanterns swayed gently in the wind, just underneath a gilded roof. It boasted of splendor and exuded an extraordinary air about it.
Qin Ye opened his eyes at just the right time.
In fact, all of the instructors opened their eyes at the exact same time, almost in a rehearsed fashion, and they glanced meaningfully at the provincial capital’s toll booths.
Ordinary humans could only see the magnificent toll booths in front of them. But they could see something beyond that.
For instance… Yin energy.
“There’s unbelievably little of it.” Qin Ye propped up his head as he murmured to himself.
Chatterboxes like Lin Han hated it when the people who sat beside them on a bus slept the entire journey away. As soon as Qin Ye opened his mouth, words immediately poured out of his lips as though the floodgates had been opened, “Of course. It’s more common to see supernatural outbreaks in cities and counties. Provincial capitals like these would root out any potential causes of supernatural incidents as soon as they appear. It’s rare to even find hunting zones in these places. And if there are any… then they would be Hunter-class hunting zones. After all, provincial capitals like these hold some clout in the region. As long as something happened within Mount Tai City, the entire Insignia Province would be on tenterhooks.”
“Instructors.” Just then, Li Tao stood up and smiled, “Mount Tai City is the provincial capital of Insignia Province, and it has a rich history that spans over a thousand years. Principal Xu and I will be heading back to the First Academy of Cultivators as soon as we hand you over to their care. But first, there are some things we need to talk about.”
His smile faded away as he scanned the entire busload of people. Then, he continued with a somber expression, “I hope everyone will take the following message we have for you seriously.”
He held up a finger, “Firstly, you are here to learn, and not to slay demons and ghosts. The affairs of Mount Tai City aren’t of any concern to you at all. Mount Tai City is the core of Insignia Province, and there are an abundance of Hunter-class experts and even some Hellguard-class experts around. Acting on your own volition and interfering with the affairs of Mount Tai City would be tantamount to an arrogation of authority.”
“Secondly…” His expressions grew deep and abstruse, “The First Academy of Cultivators is also a school. And since it’s a school, there naturally are teaching credits. Teaching credits will directly affect the privileges accorded to each instructor, and they will be aggregated and evaluated every semester. Please cherish each and every opportunity you have to earn teaching credits.”
He smiled faintly, “Such as now, for instance.”
“Two months, or sixty-one days in all. Let’s just call it sixty days. You will be awarded one credit for every day you undergo training at the main campus grounds. We will tally up your teaching credits at the end of the two months here. Sixty credits is the passing mark. Once the necessary account has been taken for your teaching credits, you will be graded from A through to D. A-grade requires a full score of one hundred credits. A D-grade score of sixty points is the passing mark.”
Qin Ye raised his eyebrows slightly, but said nothing and continued listening.
Li Tao didn’t give any of the instructors any time for response. He quickly continued, “Thirdly, you are not allowed to announce your identity. A breach of this rule shall be treated as an act of disclosing an official secret.”
“Fourthly, Mount Tai City has a school research team that is currently working on a project in collaboration with the SRC. Any interruption of your own volition will be considered an interference. If you wish to be placed in solitary confinement, you may give it a shot. Therefore, please do not strongarm the innocent or the unaffiliated.”
“Alright, that’s the four main things. When you return from your studies, the academy will organise the first batch of classroom observation to assess the results of the instructors’ training.” He paused for a moment and smiled faintly, “Fellow farmers, teaching credits are incredibly important. Please… don’t ever go below the score of sixty teaching credits…”
Li Tao sat down and ignored the buzz when the busload of instructors exploded into discussions. Qin Ye furrowed his brows, and several trains of thoughts began to spin in his mind.
This old man… his words are laden with hidden implications.
He could understand it if the main goal which was set by the school was for them to spend all sixty days cultivating and learning in peace. After all, cultivators were unrestrained beings, and the lack of any inhibitions meant that some might well get into trouble within the early days of the instructors’ training. But, even if they were to adhere to the rules, they would only be awarded sixty teaching credits.
And the maximum score of their training programme was one hundred credits.
So where were the last forty credits going to come from?
They weren’t allowed to meddle with the local politics, so were they supposed to compete with the local teachers in pedagogy instead?
“There must be a loophole in the words spoken earlier. No… this is a test of the primary quality that all cultivators should possess…” Qin Ye shrunk into his down jacket and whispered softly to himself, “Even if the First Academy of Cultivators is a school, it’s still a special school nonetheless. Cultivators are the first line of defence against the forces of the netherworld. It wouldn’t do if instructors possessed mere pedagogy without courage and valor.”
“And there are several S-class experts within this group of people alone. I’m quite certain that Zhou Xianlong wouldn’t allow all of them to be transformed into a group of meek instructors and teachers. Since that’s the case…”
A paper crane sneakily flew out from Qin Ye’s jacket and whispered into Qin Ye’s ears, “He’s asking you guys to vie for the points.”
Arthis continued, “Since time immemorial, the mention of cultivators has practically been inseparable from the forces of the netherworld. Cultivators were formerly known as Qi practitioners, and they were often said to be the vanguard of the heavens. There are thousands upon thousands of opportunities waiting to be grasped in the world. Those who don’t actively search for it and vie for it are bound to lead a life of mediocrity.”
“It seems that the mortal realm hasn’t forgotten the roots of cultivation after all. The academy hasn’t been built on the wrong foundation. I’m starting to take interest in these two principals… how long is it until they die?”
Qin Ye whispered, “I don’t know… but I, too, wish them an early death and an early trip to Hell…”
Ever since their discovery of the empty seats in Hell, Arthis and Qin Ye had begun to look at talented people in all the wrong ways.
Eh? There’s a talent.
Not too bad…
Then let me sincerely wish upon you a quick and painless death, and a great career ahead of you in the netherworld!
Qin Ye shook his head and swept away the strange image in his mind as he muttered under his breath, “In other words… doesn’t the assessment of instructors officially start now?”
“Naturally.” Arthis stated placidly, “And the first hurdle is a test of your ability to seize opportunities.”
“My guess is that the First Academy of Cultivators has never minded cultivators who exploit loopholes in the rules and regulations. The ones they mind are those idiots who attempt to exploit loopholes but get caught. Worse still, the cultivators who only know to follow rules wouldn’t even know how they perish to the endless waves of Yin spirits when they eventually do. Open your eyes, spread your ears, and scrutinize the minutest of details around. This is the true nature of the elites that they are looking for.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter