Qin Ye took a deep breath and tightened his grip around the phone.
The First Academy of Cultivators’ list of outstanding instructors… Only outstanding instructors were eligible to run for the title of an associate professor. The other benefits and privileges were still a mystery right now, but even the discounts pertaining to spirit stone redemption alone were sufficiently attractive to him!
He had no intentions of staying for too long in the Special Investigations Department, and a period of eight years would already be pushing the limits. He was determined to seize the opportunity and climb the ranks as quickly as possible. This way, he would not only be able to better assess the depth of the Special Investigations Department’s strength, he would even be able to secure some privileges and benefits along the way. That said, this would only increase his visibility, and it was only a matter of time before the cat was finally out of the bag.
After all, how could an Emissary of Hell parade in front of Hellguard-class experts and Judge-class experts on a daily basis?
Did he think that the Special Investigations Department was blind?
Regardless, the list of outstanding instructors was the first thing he was determined to fight for.
He looked through his personal chat messages. There were dozens of them, including several friend requests and group chat invitations. The profile pictures were all attractive in various ways…
“Do you know just how demonic your achievements are?” Lin Han gritted his teeth, “This is a mission that the academy had expected their instructors to only complete in fifteen days time, and yet you’ve managed to demolish it in the span of a single night?! Are you trying to run us out of business? We’re here especially to consult you and seek your advice.”
Qin Ye gazed into the distance and swept his fringe to the side.
Oh foolish mortals…
How could you possibly understand the loneliness of being an Emissary of Hell with that meagre level of intelligence of yours…
“You can listen in when I speak with Professor Yu later. By the way, who is this old man anyway?”
“Old man?” Su Feng raised an eyebrow quizzically, “Heh heh… old man… Let me tell you something. This man is none other than one of the trailblazers who first posited that the balance between the mortal realm and the netherworld had gone out of balance, and pushed his case to the central government a dozen of times in a bid that the government would issue an appropriate policy response. He’s one of the three founding professors of the SRC! He’s been serving with the SRC since age twenty, and he’s seen it grow from its founding years to what it is today. You can even say that all of the future theses and findings of the First Academy of Cultivators’ must still receive his endorsement before they can be published!”
Qin Ye gasped and glanced at the old man’s back.
Bloody hell… I’d unknowingly been treading on thin ice…
Lin Han added, almost as though he were attempting to give Qin Ye an aneurysm, “As long as you receive his approval, nobody in the academia would dare say otherwise or pick a bone with you! Do you know what kind of support you’re potentially looking at? This is as big a break as it can ever get. Let me tell you something. The promotion of an instructor to associate professorship is based solely on teaching credits. But when it comes to the promotion of an associate professor to a full professor of a faculty, they look beyond mere teaching credits and consider whether the associate professor has a research topic of his own! And whether he’s got any results in that regard as well! Do you think it’s truly that easy to become a full professor of an entire faculty otherwise?”
Qin Ye’s eyes gleamed brightly. His mind had already begun to churn.
The SRC was different from the Special Investigations Department.
The Special Investigations Department was focused more on operations and combat force, while the SRC was more concerned with theoretical knowledge. As far as the First Academy of Cultivators was concerned… the focus was more akin to that of the SRC than it was to the Special Investigations Department.
After all, theories and hypotheses would all have to be first tested out by the First Academy of Cultivators before they could be published. Furthermore, all projects, assessments, papers and theses would be submitted to the SRC for their evaluation rather than to the Special Investigations Department.
In other words…
If I could be an obedient lapdog that pleased Old Man Yu… then… wouldn’t the process of rising through the ranks from an associate professor to a full professor become far smoother? Wouldn’t I be that much closer to securing all of the resources which I need for deployment in Hell?
His mind was instantly filled with all sorts of plans.
Just then, the picture frame shook again, jolting him back from his fantasies of resting in his laurels as a powerful CEO who had married a rich western woman.
“Pardon me. Could I trouble you to inform Old Man Yu that I’ve got to run to the washroom? It’s urgent.” He grabbed the picture frame and promptly shot away at top speed.
“Why the hell are you moving about so much? There are countless cultivators around right now. Are you courting death?!” Qin Ye exploded with rage as soon as he shut himself into a cubicle.
Su Dongxue’s spirit drifted out of the frame. But Qin Ye stuffed her back into the frame as quickly as she came out. She complained begrudgingly, “You murderer.”
Qin Ye rolled his eyes and breathed heavily through his gritted teeth, “Behave yourself if you don’t want to die.”
Su Dongxue responded softly, “Alright… then… my lord, could I trouble you with something?”
“That handsome brother earlier… will you betroth his soul to me in future?”
Qin Ye was stunned for three full seconds, before he finally realized that she was speaking of Lin Han.
“... I say… Do you even have eyes? A world class beauty has been standing before you all this while, yet your eyes deign to drift to the bodies of other men? Let me tell you something, he’s like an embroidery needle - nice to look at, but completely useless!”
Su Dongxue responded softly, “My lord, I’ve learnt through Song Jiafang’s eyes that modern day society no longer describes these things as embroidery needles. Rather, they say that it’s a one-inch wonder… By my observations, he’s no embroidery needle. In fact, he would be a pleasing fit. His body is practically perfect.”
Holy shit, what the hell do you mean by perfect fit?! When did you learn of such euphemisms? Why don’t I know of such lingo?!
Qin Ye: “... Very good… how would you describe something big then?”
Su Dongxue responded in an incredibly coquettish manner, just like a shy black cat, “Iron shaft, big willy.”
Qin Ye wrapped his Yin energy around the picture frame so that it completely obscured the rest of her voice. Then, he turned to Arthis with a somber expression on his face, “I think that we’ll have to strengthen our efforts in the spiritual civilization aspect of nation building. It’s not right that we just let any other Tom, Dick or Harry act as the Death Inquisitor… Well, time is of the essence. I wanted to ask your thoughts on what kind of content I should dangle before this old man to best capture his attention?”
Arthis scowled at him, “It would be best if the development of the spiritual civilization starts from you. After all, everything flows from the top. Truth be told, I’m sincerely concerned about the future morals and integrity of Hell… But coming back to the topic at hand, there are a multitude of options for you to choose from.”
She thought for a few seconds, and then explained in a deep voice, “Some of these Yin spirits might already be extinct in modern day society. You can try telling him about the nightmare spirit. The characteristics of nightmare spirits are fairly obvious. While it is incredibly rare to find one, these nightmare spirits can quickly become a Hellguard-class malevolent ghast within the span of a single year as long as they are left unchecked. Worse, three years is all it takes for them to become a fully-fledged incarnate revenant. These spirits were among the most-wanted list in Hell back then.”
She carefully explained the characteristics of the nightmare spirit, and how they manifest and appear. Qin Ye closed his eyes and absorbed everything like a sponge before repeating it back to Arthis. Then, he promptly left the washroom.
He got onto the car and rested for the next twenty minutes. The car quickly arrived at its destination.
When he opened his eyes again, he was already at the edge of the second concentric ring of roads around Mount Tai City. It was 4.40 a.m. Even a provincial capital city had begun to reveal traces of weariness.
The traffic was silent and sparse, and even the symbol of vitality of bright billboards and LED screens had all been switched off by now.
Old Man Yu got off the car first and led the way to a small, restricted neighbourhood. This neighbourhood was extraordinarily tightly guarded. Even though it was four in the morning, there were still several security guards actively patrolling the perimeter of the neighbourhood.
“This is one of the highest-end developments in Mount Tai City - the Aqua Blue Sky.” Qin Ye was seated in another car, and one of the men in white lab coats sharing this car with him explained with a smile on his face, “This is where we’re temporarily located. The fact that Old Man Yu’s bringing you here speaks volumes about how seriously he views today’s subject matter. Everything that has happened tonight will be detailed and recorded in SRC’s database.”
Qin Ye nodded and followed the group into the development. Su Feng and Lin Han followed behind furtively. Qin Ye could feel the picture frame shifting slightly, but he brutally repressed any traces of movement as soon as they started.
Woman, although you’re not pure enough to bear my child, how dare you think of other men while you’re still around me?
The restricted neighbourhood was fairly green. The streetlights looked new, and the paths were spacious - wide enough for cars to drive about within its premises. Old Man Yu quickly arrived in front of a small, detached building.
“You guys stay downstairs and watch us on the surveillance monitors. I’ll head upstairs to the recording room where I will be conducting the interview alone.”
“Yes.” Without further ado, Old Man Yu quickly made his way to the second floor.
The interior of the building was designed with an ancient cathayan flair. Qin Ye and Old Man Yu were the only ones who made their way up to the second floor, where they finally stopped in front of a massive landscape painting.
There were six chairs in front of him. Old Man Yu sat on the chair in the center, and pointed at the chair just beside him, “Please.”
As soon as he sat down, another man wearing a suit brought over two cups of tea. A single whiff of it instantly brought the fragrance of spring through his nostrils. It smelt just like rolling fields of verdant grass with glistening beads of morning dew resting on them. The amazing scent immediately dispelled some of the weariness plaguing Qin Ye.
“Amazing tea.” He couldn’t help but exclaim aloud. Simultaneously, he glanced at the man in a suit.
Old Man Yu was barely an Operative-class expert, and yet the person protecting him was a Hunter-class expert. To put things into perspective, Qin Ye hadn’t even seen a single Hunter-class expert from Mount Tai City ever since his arrival at this place. The existence of a Hunter-class expert around Old Man Yu simply spoke volumes about his stature and worth.
And this was what was ostensibly on the surface as well.
Old Man Yu took a sip of tea, shut his eyes and loosened up slightly before he murmured, “Only those who have been credited with the second-class meritorious deed are entitled to purchase the Cloudmist Peak Heart-Cleansing Tea. A gram of it costs 10,000 RMB - the same price as mother plant Da Hong Pao.This tea has the effect of facilitating the gathering of true energy, condensing one’s spirit, and dispelling fatigue. The benefits of this tea are obvious, albeit only useful for cultivators.”
One of the privileges of a person who has been awarded the second-class meritorious deed?
Qin Ye’s pupils constricted slightly. By extension, wouldn’t this mean that the higher one’s stature or merit, the closer he would be to the high-level treasures hidden in the depths of the treasuries of the SRC and the Special Investigations Department?
Qin Ye decided that he would become the best lapdog he could be there and then.
“All of our conversations here will be recorded. This topic is of paramount importance to me, so I would sincerely ask Mr Qin to spare no details.” Old Man Yu opened his eyes and stretched out his hand, “Yu Guohui. SRC’s honorary researcher, recipient of the national special meritorious deed, and one of the three fellows of the Yin spirit research division. Pleased to meet you.”
“Qin Ye. An insignificant Hunter-class agent.”
They shook hands for a brief moment. Then, Yu Guohui smiled faintly, “You’re hardly insignificant at all. Becoming a Hunter-class expert at the age of eighteen is something completely unprecedented in the history of Cathay… Alright, let’s not digress. Come, tell us what you’ve encountered down under in the pit?”
Qin Ye began to describe everything he encountered down under in great detail. In fact, he didn’t even hide the revelation of Su Dongxue’s spirit at the end of his encounter. The only embellishment he added was to say that her spirit immediately dissipated after its appearance.
They spoke for almost an hour. Yu Guohui would interject from time to time to clarify some details. His questions were seemingly simple and trivial, but they all hit the nail on the head.
Finally, they were done with the report. Yu Guohui rubbed his chin gently with his right hand. His eyes blazed with passion, and his chest rose and fell with every breath he took.
“Mr Yu…” Qin Ye scrutinized his every appearance as he probed further, “Has this been helpful?”
If it’s helpful, I can continue to reel you in, hook, line and sinker.
This is the perfect opportunity to secure a massive potential pillar of support. Why wouldn’t I seize it at all?
Yu Guohui snapped back to his senses from a state of stupor and slapped the armrest, “Why wouldn’t it be unhelpful? This has been far more than what I’d hoped for!”
“It’s true… there are indeed different kinds of Yin spirits as I’d posited! It’s just like how the study of anthropology helps us understand how the history of mankind across different lands have given rise to different races and types of people… our present study of Yin spirits would allow us to take a more proactive stance against Yin spirits in future!” He took a gulp of his tea excitedly, “Little Qin, do you have any thoughts about the matter of your own?”
Yu Guohui had merely asked this question casually. However, Qin Ye smiled faintly and responded, “I do.”