The day passed quickly. Apart from an announcement in the afternoon informing him to collect his teaching materials, it passed by uneventfully as well.
Despite the sparse number of people at the academy, the entire atmosphere was undoubtedly heating up with passion and vigor. The students he saw on the road were all huddled together, discussing the events of last night with great interest, be it the emergency drill or the night of forbidden passion. There was a large banner hanging over each location that students habitually gathered at, including the dormitories and the entrance to the cafeteria, which read “001 day to the opening lecture at the First Academy of Cultivators!”
Next to these banners were the profiles, pictures and particulars of the instructors of the various faculty instructors. Countless students gathered around, engaging with eager and expectant discussions, “Who do you think will take the first lecture tomorrow?” “I’ve heard that it’s Instructor Huang?” “I’m looking forward to it! I don’t know what they’re going to be talking about, but it would most certainly be a breath of fresh air from the old elders back home who are boring as well.” “Not only is it boring, the knowledge they’re seeking to impart is at least decades old to boot!”
The corridor of the sciences, the walls of the humanities, and the like… and even the entrance to the school had undergone a complete overhaul in their design, transforming into avenues tastefully designed with sculptures of vibrant and youthful scholars. The First Academy of Cultivators was starting to show signs of prosperity.
“Aren’t you going to go out for a walk?” Arthis propped her head on her hands as she gazed out of the window like a young teenage girl, “There are fresh bodies out there waiting for you… So why are you acting as though you’re no different from a dying old man? Almost like it’s your twilight years.”
Qin Ye put on a pair of black-framed spectacles and reviewed his lesson plan in detail. He responded without even lifting his head, “Don’t you understand? It’s like the idiom says - I’m using a long line to catch a big fish. I’ll let them worship me, and then fall in love with me, and then finally subjugate them with my superior knowledge and lofty sentiments.”
Before Arthis could even respond with her complaining groan, his phone suddenly rang. He adjusted his glasses, before picking up his phone and glancing at its screen like a youngster with an artistic flair. The notification on it read: “Faculty Head Zhou has invited you to join the ‘Faculty of Combat Instructors and Students Group’”.
Arthis glared contemptuously at Qin Ye - His personality has started to deteriorate and fall apart ever since his appointment as an instructor with the academy…
Qin Ye didn’t dare to dally with Boss Zhou’s invitation, and he promptly joined the group. Ever since he entered the First Academy of Cultivators, it felt as though his Momo app had been buzzing with great excitement. He had even joined several groups that he wouldn’t even have considered in the past. For instance, groups where the ultra-destructive husky Lin Han was part of was something he would most certainly have outrightly rejected in the past. Yet, he could almost be certain that the shadow of the Local Bully lurked in every single corner of these groups he had joined in recent days.
“Welcome, Instructor Qin!” “How do you do, instructor? We’re counting on you for the next two years!” “Instructor is pretty good looking~! Why didn’t you make public your Momo account?” “Well, I’ll be… Muscular Pretty Boy… Instructor’s username bears quite the connotation, doesn’t it…?”
He received a warm welcome as soon as he entered the group. Qin Ye smiled lightly. This was his sixth college experience, and teachers were never active in such groups unless they were issuing assignments or making administrative arrangements. The activity of professors was naturally even rarer than that. Such excitement within the group would generally die down after a day or two, and then the only person who would remain active would be the class committee.
He discreetly changed his ID to his registration number and surname, and then sent a meme to indicate his existence. Yet that simple action of his triggered a series of all sorts of memes in return which flooded the entire group chat in an instant.
Their response was unimaginably passionate! It was a meme war!
The battle horn had been sounded! Qin Ye’s eyes gleamed brightly. He was about to tap on his wealth of memes when he suddenly discovered that others had seized the opportunity and sent those memes ahead of him. The use of memes had already entered a completely new discipline of its own with its own sub-dimension of philosophy. Qin Ye’s lips twitched, and he muttered, “Childish.”
“The memes that you have aren’t as updated as the ones I have. Would you like me to send you a meme of Hairline Boy Wu?" Arthis peeked over his shoulder and quipped with some measure of interest.
“How old am I? And how old are they? Would someone of my age be fooling around with them? What is the world coming to?” Qin Ye snorted.
Arthis looked at the cursor that was hovering over the Momo app Qin Ye coughed lightly and shifted his cursor away. Then, he changed tacts and sent to the group a 1 RMB red packet. The battle of memes abruptly ended just like that. A series of notifications surfaced on the group, followed by messages of groaning and complaints.
“How is it even possible to receive 0.0001 RMB?!” “No… with over one hundred people dividing 1 RMB, how many decimal points would there be in what we receive?” “Oh great instructor, I urge you to soothe the souls of these restless spirits and confer upon each of us a glowing red packet.”
Qin Ye coldly glossed over their response. Nonsense. The group has almost two hundred people, give or take. Each glowing red packet contains 200 RMB. Add them all up, and I’ll practically be left with nothing of my monthly wage of 100,000 RMB. The best thing for me to do right now is to remain noble and aloof, and vanish from sight.
Just as he was about to shut his Momo app, a man with an ID of ‘Twinkling Stars’ sent to each user in the group a voice activated glowing red packet containing 200 RMB each. The password for these red packets was “Instructor Qin, are you taking the first session tomorrow?”
Qin Ye was just about to respond when the previously silent Head of Faculty Zhou suddenly interjected: “Who did you hear it from?”
As soon as he spoke, the entire group went silent. Qin Ye stared at Zhou Xianlong’s username as though he were the one who represented everything evil and sinister in the world - Haven’t the class schedules been issued to all instructors already?
Nevertheless, he sensibly deleted the “Yes” message he had typed into the chat field.
Twinkling Stars sent an embarrassed emoticon - “It’s spreading all over the department. <embarrassed emoticon>”
Qin Ye felt his temples throbbing - What the hell are you doing with that embarrassing emoticon? Even my eyes are hurting right now!
Zhou Xianlong remained as solemn as ever - “The class schedule will be announced at 7 p.m. tonight. Everything will go according to the schedule released then.”
Qin Ye furrowed his brows. He was just about to switch off Momo when a notification of a private message appeared on the screen.
“Want to understand the true meaning of life? Would you like to feel truly… alive? Yes/No.” -- Head of Faculty Zhou.
Eh? Not too shabby, eh? Has Death God Zhou finally learnt to be in touch with the common man? He’s even ready to enter the limitless world of connectivity! It would be best if he never came back!
Qin Ye’s eyes brightened and prepared to type in his response.
“Head of Faculty Zhou has deleted a message.”
Qin Ye: ……
“I was just reading a novel earlier, and I’d sent the wrong message. Come over to my office for a moment.” -- Head of Faculty Zhou.
That’s the Death God Zhou he was more familiar with.
With his lips pouted, Qin Ye walked for approximately ten minutes before finally arriving at the Zhou Xianlong’s office. However, there was already more than one person in the room.
Zhou Xianlong was there, together with the only other professor of the Faculty of Combat, Tao Ran.
Qin Ye had a vague understanding of who Tao Ran was. It had to be mentioned that he was a respectable figure. After all, the title of Professor of the Faculty of Combat wasn’t something that could be conferred upon just any unreputable person.
He couldn’t be considered famous. However, the sixty-five year old man had already begun to stand at the front lines of resistance against the netherworld ever since a tender age of twenty. He was transferred from the SRC to the Special Investigations Department, where he would then take on missions of various grades from S to D. He was awarded the special meritorious deed once, a first class meritorious deed three times, and a second class meritorious deed countless times. One could say that he was akin to a walking encyclopaedia on Yin spirits.
“Good day, Professor Tao.” Qin Ye nodded respectfully. It was only after encountering Yin spirits that one could fully appreciate just how peculiar and out of the world their variegated modus operandi could be. Professor Tao had over forty years of experience under his belt and lived to tell the tale. He’d even attained the cultivation level of an Anitya Hellguard to boot. His achievements were truly admirable.
The sixty-five years old Tao Ran was quite different from Zhou Xianlong, even though they were of about the same age. If Zhou Xianlong were described to be dignified and aloof like nobility, then Tao Ran would have to be described as an amiable old man, just like the grandfather next door. There were hardly even any traces that he was anything like a Hellguard-class cultivator at all. He revealed a radiant smile on his crease-wrinkled face and waved his hand at Qin Ye, “Little Qin, come over and have a seat. Have some tea as well. Old Zhou brewed this personally.”
Qin Ye sat down and took a sip from the teacup. Zhou Xianlong appeared to be murmuring to his own thoughts as he tapped his fingers on the table. Tao Ran didn’t speak any further either. He simply leaned back comfortably against his own seat, narrowing his eyes to a slit so much that he appeared to be sleeping.
“It’s like this.” One minute later, Zhou Xianlong sighed softly as he pushed a brown envelope over to Qin Ye, “You should’ve received a notice informing you that you’re taking the first class tomorrow, haven’t you?”
Qin Ye motioned to receive the brown envelope from Zhou Xianlong, only to discover that he hadn’t loosened his grip from it at all.
Qin Ye glanced at Zhou Xianlong with some measure of bewilderment, yet Zhou Xianlong remained completely expressionless. He tapped his finger gently on the brown envelope as he continued, “Each faculty has designated an instructor to give their faculty’s opening lecture, and this was done by choosing the instructor with the best grades. Your performance has undoubtedly been the best among all in the Faculty of Combat, whether based on the first part of the instructors’ evaluation, or whether based on your past performance in actual combat. The other instructors expected to give the opening lecture are Instructor Huang from the Faculty of Underworldly Craftsmen, Instructor Bai from the Faculty of Science and Research, Instructor Meng from the Faculty of Manufacturing, and Instructor Li from the Faculty of Theory.”
Tao Ran suddenly interjected with a smile, “The students don’t know the schedule just yet. It’s slated to be disseminated only at 7.00 p.m. this evening.”
Qin Ye was a little bit confused. He didn’t understand what they were trying to get at.
Almost as though he could understand Qin Ye’s bewilderment, Tao Ran continued, “The teaching system is built upon teaching credits. You need them; we need them as well. You derive your teaching credits from the students, while the professors derive their teaching credits from you instructors.”
“All instructors’ evaluations have a direct correlation with our teaching credits. In turn, our appraisal is directly linked to the allocation of resources and benefits. You’ll understand all these things once you attain the rank of an associate professor.”
Zhou Xianlong nodded slightly, and then changed the topic abruptly, “Little Qin, are you aware of how the overall teaching appraisal will be conducted?”
Qin Ye’s body shivered slightly from his inexplicable surprise.
No… Didn’t you use to address me as ‘kid’, or ‘S9527’? Did our interactions last night cause you to have some form of misunderstanding with me? It somehow feels as though you’re inexplicably warm to me today, huh?
Although Zhou Xianlong didn’t understand Qin Ye very well, he was keenly aware from Qin Ye’s microexpressions that there were terrible thoughts going through Qin Ye’s mind right now. He glared at Qin Ye, “If you could just channel all of that spare energy in your mind to the matters of cultivation, you could even become the world’s youngest Anitya Hellguard! Well… let’s put that aside for now. I’ll explain. The teaching appraisal is overseen by a joint evaluation team formed by members of both the SRC as well as the Special Investigations Department. After all, the teaching appraisal is indirectly linked to the nation’s largest vault of treasures. There is no way they would make light of such appraisal. Our academy’s assessment is merely incidental in this regard.”
Zhou Xianlong looked Qin Ye straight in the eye as he continued, “After returning from Mount Tai City, the first thing we did was to send the instructors’ particulars to the evaluation team, finalize our class schedule and send it to each instructor. The evaluation team’s preliminary assessment arrived earlier this morning. Old Tao and I have been discussing for a long time as to whether it’s necessary to shift the schedule around or not. After much discussion, we decided to defer the decision to you.”
Qin Ye glanced down at the brown envelope once more.
Zhou Xianlong sighed and finally released his grip over the brown envelope, “Take a look. And take it easy. They don’t understand instructors at all. The preliminary assessment is solely premised on the information collected, and it’s not too accurate. It’s only intended as a reference moving forward.”
Qin Ye silently received the brown envelope and loosened its tie string. For some strange reason, he had a bad hunch about its contents.
How could the SRC’s and Special Investigation Division’s joint assessment be inaccurate or merely intended for reference?
It feels as though this statement carries… some other implications.
Perhaps his preliminary assessment score isn’t too high.
Perhaps it could even be rather low.
Otherwise… Zhou Xianlong and Tao Ran wouldn’t be here, dropping hint after hint, preparing him for what is to come.
2. This was an incident where a student went to Hangzhou University Road to tap on a free haircut experience. After the incident, he was given a bill for more than 39,000 RMB (about 5,700 USD), which was discounted to 18,000 RMB (about 2,850 USD). He called the police and finally left after paying 2,500 RMB. The funny expressions he made during that incident went viral online, and he was thereby dubbed the Hairline Boy. His expressions were made into memes. You can see some of his pictures here - https://xw.qq.com/cmsid/20190802A0CKID00