Qin Ye went to bed after resolving some of the more administrative matters.
His alarm roused him from his slumber the next morning, at 5.30 a.m. sharp. After washing up, he changed into his uniform and made his way downstairs.
There were already five instructors present right below the dormitories. They were all dressed in the same camouflage uniforms with the emblem of the Special Investigations Department worn proudly on their chests. This was none other than the academy’s uniform. When they saw Qin Ye coming down, a middle-aged man who was twirling two steel balls in his hand smiled faintly, “Instructor Qin sure is up early. Were you too excited to sleep?”
Before Qin Ye could respond, another white-haired old man immediately chipped in, “It should be, eh? Instructor Qin is only at the age where he should have just matriculated in college. And yet he has already been tasked to teach others. I, too, wouldn’t have been able to sleep well if I were him.”
“A little.” Qin Ye smiled as he warmed his hands with his thermos cup. It was only the end of February right now, and the early morning air was still rather chilly, “You guessed as much. I’ve never taught anybody before. Even though we’ve been through a period of training for instructors, preparing for classes still gives me butterflies in my stomach.”
As they continued to banter with each other, five SUVs promptly pulled up to ferry the instructors of each faculty to the entrance of the academy.
Dawn hadn’t broken yet, and yet the roadside stalls at the entrance of Insignia University had already been set up. The fragrant scent of freshly steamed hot buns, dough fritters, soy milk and porridge declared that the city was soon about to awaken from its slumber. As the alluring scent of food wafted gently through the air, Qin Ye took in a deep breath of fresh… exhaust fumes.
The entrance had already been set up. The banner which read “The First Academy of Cultivators cordially welcomes its first batch of freshmen” looked somewhat out of place in a season that wouldn’t otherwise have been the season for college matriculation. Two rows of long tables and benches were set up by the wide road just adjacent to the school. Each of the tables were two meters long, one meter high, and covered in striking red fabric. Each table was also labeled with the names of each faculty.
Qin Ye sat down on the corresponding table which had the label for the Faculty of Combat. After chatting with the others for a little while more and having their breakfast, everyone leisurely switched on their Momo app and began chatting within.
“The thought of welcoming freshmen today makes me somewhat nervous.” -- Muscular Pretty Boy.
It was 7.00 a.m.
Therefore, nobody paid any attention to him.
Qin Ye thought for a moment, and then sent a 10 RMB red packet to the group. 
Rows of notification messages appeared immediately.
“Woman on a Swing has claimed your red packet.”
“Roly Poly has claimed your red packet.”
“The Blade that Cuts the World has claimed your red packet.”
“Vast Ocean Smile has claimed your red packet.”
“White Dog Laughing at the West Wind has claimed your red packet.”
Holy crap! What’s going on?!
I haven’t even managed to grab a share of it for myself!
“Tsk tsk, it’s just 10 RMB. I’d even set a special alarm to alert me to red packets. I’m going to go back to my beauty sleep.” -- Woman on a Swing.
“S9527, you’re not doing right by me. I’d crawled out of the warmth of my bed to such a chilly day just so that I could get my hands on eighty cents?” -- Roly Poly.
“I knew I shouldn’t have woken up when I saw the name of the sender.” -- Vast Ocean Smile.
Qin Ye gritted his teeth and sent another group message - “Shouldn’t you guys be doing something to help me alleviate this helplessness I’m experiencing right now?”
Unfortunately, he received no response once again.
It was almost as though the earlier buzz of excitement hadn’t existed before altogether. The entire group was as quiet as a graveyard.
Very well… The group had gone silent almost as abruptly as it had first responded with a rousing response to the red packet alert. Five minutes later, Qin Ye sent a 1 RMB red packet with a sneer on his face.
One second later, almost exactly like earlier, dozens of notification messages immediately appeared on his chat, followed quickly by a steady stream of curses and swearing.
“Bloody hell! Three cents?! Three cents?!! Come here! I’m going to fight you to the death!!” “One cent… a consolation...” “How inauspicious to be dealing with this early in the morning! Can’t you send something better like a fifty?!”
A few seconds later, the curses and swearing dwindled and faded away. Qin Ye looked at his phone patiently. Ten minutes later, he elegantly tapped the button to send yet another red packet.
It was still 1 RMB.
Whoosh… A third wave of similar notification messages appeared followed once again by a series of complaints. “Bloody hell!! I knew it! Why did I even bother lifting my phone?! Why didn’t I mute it to begin with?!” “It’s become a conditioned reflex to me. I can’t help but look at my phone as soon as I hear the red packet alert!” “My hand reached out for my phone involuntarily… Am I a hopeless addict?”
Woe to the world.
Qin Ye set down his phone with complete satisfaction.
Here I am, braving the elements to welcome our freshmen. I can look past it if you guys don’t commiserate with me, but how dare you rub salt in my wound and provoke me with your sleep?!
I refuse to believe I can’t cure each of your addiction and conditioned reflexes to these red packets!
As for the most comforting 100 RMB red packet… that was something that Qin Ye had never considered before.
Just then, several silhouettes showed up at the main entrance to the school.
The instructors who were all on their Momo app immediately put away their phones, lifted their heads and sat up straight. These were their first batch of freshmen that were especially recruited from all over the nation!
As they drew closer, the instructors’ eyes suddenly lit up brightly.
It was a young lady.
And a beautiful young lady at that.
She was approximately eighteen years old. The air of youthfulness diffusing from her couldn’t possibly be feigned. Her radiance was like a budding flower that was glistening with the morning dew. Her snow-white skin was covered lightly with a vibrant, pink shawl. She sported shoulder-length hair, and appeared to be in the region of 1.67 meter tall. She dragged two large, black suitcases with her, but they appeared to be light as a feather.
She made her way towards the academy unhurriedly. But as soon as she saw the five registration tables, her eyes immediately lit up, and she trotted forward towards the Faculty of Combat.
Qin Ye licked his lips gently. He obviously shouldn’t be excited by this, but he couldn’t help it. In fact… it would be more accurate to say that his heart was practically leaping out of his chest.
A completely fresh life experience was just opening up to him.
He had never thought there would be a day when he would be speaking to an audience from a lectern. The prospects of a brand new life experience filled him with eager anticipation. He maintained the faint smile on his face as he watched the young lady draw closer and closer to him.
She wore a down jacket with cherry blossoms design, plain and ordinary jeans, and simple walking shoes. She walked up to Qin Ye and then set her suitcases down gently with unexpectedly loud thuds on the ground. Then, she cupped her hands towards Qin Ye and solemnly introduced herself, “Disciple of the Heaven Sweeping Sect, registration number A-0079, greets senior S9527.”
Sigh, it’s none of our business… The rest of the instructors sighed ruefully and continued looking at the entrance to the academy expectantly.
“You know me?” Qin Ye looked at the beautiful lady standing before him. Her eyes were blue, as clear as the boundless skies.
Noticing his gaze, the young lady nodded her head and responded somewhat shyly, “I’m mixed, but I possess more Cathayan genes than anything else. It’s only the colour of my eyes that are different… The First Academy of Cultivators has already sent to us a full list of its instructors’ particulars approximately one month ago, setting out all of your qualifications and achievements alike, in order to help us decide which faculty to choose. I’d chosen the Faculty of Combat of my own volition. Please take care of me in the future.”
Her voice was beautiful.
It was as though slender fingers were striking the piano in tempo and playing a harmonious, melodious tune.
Ah… I smell the scent of love in the air… Qin Ye coughed dryly and gently handed a form towards her, “There aren’t many people who have signed up with the Faculty of Combat. We’ve got just over forty people. Please fill up the form.”
The young lady took out a pen and began filling out the form. Her handwriting was just as attractive as her.
Name: Mo Qingyu
Affiliation: Central Prefecture, Heaven Sweeping Sect
After filling out her particulars, she handed the form back to Qin Ye. He was just about to receive it when he discovered that she was still holding on tightly to the form.
“Instructor Qin… is that all there is to the registration process?” Mo Qingyu appeared to have some words she wanted to say.
“That’s all. You may board and wait on the bus. There’s still about thirty minutes before the buses start running.” Qin Ye smiled. He had previously thought that he would be a little bit more nervous than this. But strangely enough, the nervousness that he had expected was nowhere to be seen even as he interacted with his very first student.
Mo Qingyu gently bit her lips and muttered softly, “Instructor, I don’t see anyone else around. If you’ve got some time now, could I ask you a few questions?”
Qin Ye nodded, and Mo Qingyu continued, “Instructor, will our schedule at the First Academy of Cultivators be very packed? Does the Faculty of Combat participate in a lot of actual combat? Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for a day like this? The sect always tells me that my skills are insufficient, and they only allow me to practice with sealed Yin spirits. I’ve never been exposed to a real supernatural incident all my life!”
“Instructor, do people really die during supernatural incidents? My master tells me never to underestimate the slightest of things - even the most unassuming of mirrors. Is this true? Will the academy teach us how to identify Yin spirits? When will we first come into contact with these topics?”
She spoke incredibly quickly. A faint smile suddenly crept up the corner of Qin Ye’s lips. Rather than anxiety or nervousness, Qin Ye was looking forward to facing his students more than anything else!
He wasn’t the only one who was experiencing a brand new phase of life.
They were like grand dragons returning to the vast oceans, while the others were nothing more like fledgling eagles being released from its cage. He was essentially about to pass on his knowledge, experience and know-how to eagles that were ready to soar into the sky. Such a feeling… was truly incredible.
It was like soft-centered candy. The gooey center of the candy was the sweetest part of it all, and yet it was also fleeting, leaving nothing more than a lingering sensation on one’s mouth.
It was excellent.
“Don’t worry, we’ll teach you all of these things in due course. The Faculty of Combat is the faculty that will be given the most opportunities to experience actual combat. Congratulations for choosing the right faculty.” Qin Ye answered her questions succinctly, and then added, “What’s that in your suitcases? Do you need any help?”
“No thank you. It only contains a corpse that has been refined. It’s not too heavy.” Mo Qingyu’s expressions were vibrant and filled with joy, almost as though she were a fledgling eagle that had just seen the blue skies for the very first time. She bowed deeply, “Thank you, Instructor Qin! I look forward to your guidance and teaching! I-I will be sure to pay close attention!”
As soon as she finished speaking, she deftly lifted her suitcases and shyly slipped off into the bus.
Qin Ye’s hair was tossed about loosely in the wind. The scent of love in the air… appears to have been mixed with the stench of some stinky socks… Is this an illusion…
He quickly dispelled the thoughts on his mind and regulated his emotions. Even though he appeared completely calm and natural earlier, his heart had undoubtedly still been leaping all over the place. He glanced around and noticed that several other students had already arrived by now, and the other instructors were addressing their queries just like how he had earlier done. That said, only someone with senses as keen as Qin Ye could astutely tell that the breaths of the other instructors were also somewhat rapid and anxious.
The air was filled with anticipation and excitement, and anxiety and fullness. The budding instructors and freshmen of the First Academy of Cultivators were interacting harmoniously at the entrance of the academy.
Thirty minutes later, another young man stood right in front of the Faculty of Combat.
He wore a red sweater and wore a Gucci baseball cap. He carried only a backpack, and didn’t have any suitcase with him. He looked to be approximately 1.83 meters tall. Most importantly…
At the very least… he’s more handsome than I am…
His appearances were akin to the archetypical handsome guys with thick eyebrows and double eyelids. He carried himself with an air of slight unruliness about him, yet his movements were prim and proper.
He cupped his hands promptly and reported in a sonorous voice, “A-0178, Ye Xingchen, greets Instructor Qin!”
His face was a little flushed, and his breathing was very fast. The spring air was still chilly and cold, and his breaths could clearly be seen. Qin Ye smiled and handed him a form, “Don’t be nervous. Come, fill up the form. We’ll be seeing each other a lot over the next two years.”
“I know!” Ye Xingchen lifted his head and revealed the burning gaze in his eyes, “I really didn’t expect Instructor Qin to be of about the same age as me! I simply couldn’t believe it when I saw the particulars of the academy’s instructors!”
He continued with his self-introductions like a rapidly firing machine gun, “An eighteen year old Soul Hunter senior… My father immediately made me pick the Faculty of Combat as soon as he saw this! I didn’t believe it at first, but after I troubled my father to look into it a little bit more, we learned that you were involved in the City of Salvation that very night… Regardless, I’m truly overjoyed to have picked your faculty!”
“I sincerely believe that you’ll have much to teach me! Instructor Qin, I’m counting on you for the next two years!!”
With that, he gave Qin Ye a full ninety-degrees bow.
1. A red packet is based on the chinese tradition of a hongbao, where elders in the family give monetary gifts in a red envelope to family and friends, especially during festive seasons such as the lunar new year. This concept has been ported into some chat systems, including WeChat. You can read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WeChat_red_envelope