Zhou Xianlong was dumbfounded.
He wasn’t too well-versed in the matters within the academia.
Before he could even organize his thoughts, Xu Anguo continued, “I’ve heard that Old Man Yu’s working on this. But a work-in-progress is all it is so far. Yin spirits can’t be captured. They can’t physically contact or manipulate objects in the mortal realm, and they naturally can’t be contacted or manipulated by objects in the mortal realm either. If we can’t even touch it, how are we supposed to research it?”
He adjusted his posture and continued unhurriedly, “The SRC had previously attempted to cordon off an area, and watch and see how it would develop, much like what they did with the ‘Lost Tracks’ hunting zone back in Mount Tai City. But it’s far too inefficient that way, and it takes far too long to get the desired results. There was also a reasonably high risk that the research at several of these cordoned zones would have to be abandoned in order to preserve the natural ecology and habitat there. When that happens, it would become practically impossible to learn of the progress of the Yin spirit within these zones. You can take a closer study into the ‘Lost Tracks’ dossier if you wish.”
Zhou Xianlong’s eyes shifted slightly, “You mean…”
“What I’m trying to say, is that this research topic is far too great for a single instructor.” Xu Anguo gave the lowdown, “A single instructor has picked out the very same topic as a research fellow of the SRC. It might be an eye-opener for now, but is his knowledge extensive enough to support a series of lectures throughout the entire semester?”
“Old Zhou, if he doesn’t deliver what he promises, the panel of evaluators isn’t going to care less whether you’re a Judge-class cultivator or not.”
Xu Anguo clearly didn’t think much of Qin Ye’s opening lecture.
Zhou Xianlong didn’t say much. It was clear what Xu Anguo was getting at - You might be a Judge-class cultivator, but we’re not in the Special Investigations Department right now. Knowledge is everything in the academy. Even if you favour him, we won’t.
Xu Anguo was preparing him for what was to come.
Zhou Xianlong nodded slightly and turned back to the lectern. Incidentally, the introduction to the first part of his lecture had just appeared on the screen.
“Types of Yin Spirits.”
Nobody spoke a single word. All of the leaders of the academy watched Qin Ye with close scrutiny and perked up their ears with great intent.
They knew full well that these words might seem simple, but the content underlying the message was anything but!
Each of them were experts in their own rights, and they would be able to tell in less than twenty minutes whether Qin Ye was making things up as he went along. In other words, the truth about whether Qin Ye was a fraud would be unveiled in no time!
Qin Ye was already in the zone by now. He leaned his hands gently on the lectern and explained, “There isn’t a clear system of classification for Yin spirits right now. Therefore, I’ve used my own method of distinguishing them based on two sets of metrics for now. Number one: classification based on the level of their abilities. Number two: classification based on their type.”
“Pfft…” One of the men dressed in black suits snickered contemptuously yet discreetly enough that nobody heard him. He nudged his colleague seated beside him and whispered through his teeth, “He’s using two different metrics for classification… He’s an instructor that’s not even twenty years old. Some of the most illustrious among us haven’t even managed to come to terms with such a concept, and even Old Man Yu is having a hard time with it himself. Who does this kid think he is? How can you arbitrarily impose a metric of classification on the Yin spirits like that?”
The colleague beside him couldn’t be bothered to entertain him, and he whispered back somewhat dismissively, “Let’s hear it first. This topic… is truly monumental.”
Qin Ye didn’t hear their exchange. He wouldn’t have cared much even if he did either. This is considered a monumental topic in the mortal realm?
It’s not that I want to be judgmental, but everyone here is…
He continued, “The classification based on the level of their abilities is simple. Wandering spirits, vengeful apparitions, malevolent ghasts and dread wraiths correspond with Operative-class cultivators straight through to Judge-class cultivators. As for the Yin spirit that is above this, I call them the incarnate revenant.”
“Ahh--...” This time, the man in a black suit who couldn’t be bothered to entertain his colleague earlier leaned over and whispered back, “He’s even come up with a proper name for it. He makes it sound so legitimate. Does he really think he’s a guru of parapsychology? Something stronger than a Judge-class entity? He’s seen something like that?”
Qin Ye continued, “An incarnate revenant, as the name suggests…”
He suddenly paused.
Instantly, everyone followed his gaze and turned to look at the back entrance. Xu Anguo looked back curiously, but his gaze immediately changed from that of confusion to that of astonishment.
“Old Man Yu?” He called out with a low voice as he hurriedly extended his hand to him, “Haven’t you already left? Why did you come back?”
Old Man Yu walked in quietly. He was dressed in a white lab coat, and he was accompanied by an entourage of a dozen or so other men in white lab coats and several bodyguards. With a faint smile on his face, Old Man Yu shook Xu Anguo’s hand, “What’s the matter? Am I not welcome here?”
How’s that possible?
The row of leaders immediately stood up. This was none other than the guru of academia! Does a sect or a clan wish to invite him to their premises?
Not a chance!
“Old Man Yu, what brings you here?” The four men in black suits were all smiles as they watched Old Man Yu walk right into the hall like Moses parting the red sea, and take the seat of the Director of the Department of Academy Administration as though it were only natural. The displaced director relocated himself sensibly. He even felt somewhat honoured that Old Man Yu would take his seat.
“Alright.” Old Man Yu received a cup of tea from the assistant standing behind him and smiled radiantly, “This kid has a unique perspective of things. I’m somewhat interested. He’d mentioned that his lecture will be an eye-opener to me. I’m looking forward to it.”
Everyone took their seats again, leaving only the two who had just been softly discussing among themselves completely dumbfounded.
Old Man Yu… didn’t leave immediately because he was looking forward to this newbie’s lecture?
Are you shitting me?!
“Old Man Yu…” One of the men in black gulped as he muttered, “He… he’s chosen the same topic as you have…”
In other words, he was suggesting that Qin Ye was overestimating himself and flaunting his abilities in front of a true expert.
Xu Anguo glanced at the man in black and remained silent.
Old Man Yu chuckled softly, and then in the very next moment his voice turned cold and frigid, “There’s always something you can learn from others. Where has your sense of humility gone?”
“So what if he chose the same topic? Is that any basis for casting aspersions on his ability?”
“We won’t know whether he’s any good until we hear what he has to say. It’s not even ten minutes into the lecture, and the leaders of the First Academy of Cultivators haven’t made any comments about him, and yet you’re already flapping your lips over here?”
“We’ve made a fool of ourselves.” He turned to Xu Anguo, only to receive a suspicious look in return, “Say… Old Man Yu, you didn’t come all the way here just to lend this kid some moral support, did you?”
“How could that be the case?” Old Man Yu smiled genially.
“That’s good.” Xu Anguo heaved a sigh of relief. If this old man suddenly claps, or exclaims that it’s great or excellent, wouldn’t that be tantamount to cheating?! There are dozens of instructors waiting for their go after Qin Ye. Wouldn’t he be forcing me to toe the line of prejudging over here?
Old Man Yu nodded at Qin Ye, and Qin Ye nodded back meaningfully as well. Just as he was about to continue, he suddenly paused.
This was exactly how humans functioned - there would be times when an epiphany or a brainwave strikes a person out of nowhere.
Just like now.
Qin Ye had practically already memorized his script for the opening lecture. But Arthis’ dismissiveness towards the mortal realm’s understanding of parapsychology made him immensely curious just how bad the mortal realm truly was.
His lesson plan could be described as a long scroll, slowly unfurling and unraveling the mysteries of its contents. But right now, he was suddenly filled with the urge to probe further at the mortal realm’s understanding of things.
If he kept going in accordance with his plan for the next two hours, he might not even get to the meat of the content to be discussed. So, rather than proceeding at a snail’s pace, wouldn’t it be a better idea to… bring out something interesting to whet their appetite?
He therefore recalled to mind everything he had planned to say this lecture, cast them all aside, and cut straight to the chase.
“Everyone, I wasn’t the one who came up with the name incarnate revenant.”
Old Man Yu’s eyes gleamed brightly. Incarnate revenant… it’s that foreign word again. He had just arrived, and yet his curiosity was already piqued.
Was this a casual fabrication, or does he have some basis for this?
“‘Incarnate revenant’ is named after the concept of metaplasia, which refers to the transformation of a differentiated cell into another differentiated cell. In other words, it is an evolution or an incarnation of sorts. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this before, but it’s practically impossible to find an evil ghost that possesses abilities beyond that of an Infernal Judge!”
Whoosh… He tapped the LED screen and selected a few options, and a Cathay’s map with an overlay of supernatural activities immediately appeared on the screen.
Yellow, orange and red coloured circles of various sizes appeared over each province. He pointed to one randomly, “Yin spirits invariably start out as wandering spirits. Those who possess great grievances at the point of their death are most likely to become vengeful apparitions. Given the right circumstances, the wandering spirits with great grievances would quickly devour their own kind and transform into a vengeful apparition…”
He felt a shiver run down his spine before he could even finish speaking. The SRC observers had still been chatting and chuckling among themselves just a little while ago, and yet, upon hearing Qin Ye’s claims, they abruptly looked up in unison and stared intently at Qin Ye.
Even though he was conscious of the fact that he had already dropped the bait, Qin Ye pretended not to notice a thing and continued, “As soon as they gain spiritual awareness…”
“Hang on!” Just then, a voice suddenly called out from the SRC observers. All of the students looked back in astonishment.
One of the men from the SRC wearing a white lab coat stood up, locked eyes with Qin Ye and blurted, “What did you just say… How does a Yin spirit advance?”
“By devouring.” Qin Ye responded boldly and fearlessly. He had reviewed every single statement in his lesson plan with Arthis countless times. He could even cite a plethora of examples off the top of his head right now.
“Where’s the evidence?!” The man in a white lab coat bellowed, and his voice reverberated throughout the hall. It was only when Xu Anguo coughed dryly that the man returned to his senses.
Damn. It slipped my mind…
This is a lecture hall of the First Academy of Cultivators. And furthermore… furthermore, we’re not even supposed to be here in the first place! We’re only here to accompany Old Man Yu!
How could he speak up when Old Man Yu hadn’t even said a single thing?
Wasn’t this simply putting Instructor Qin in a spot? But… devouring?
Don’t Yin spirits feed on the negative emotions of human beings, including fright, fear, and so on? Or perhaps they’re born with great resentment in their hearts, and they feed off the bright moonlight to advance to the next level of Yin spirits?
We’ve proven this through experiments! You can’t fool us! These are the only ways in which a wandering spirit could undergo a qualitative transformation and become a vengeful apparition! Where did you even get the idea for devouring from?
As with any other academic, he was used to refuting imprecise formulations of hypotheses. After all, even the slightest bit of ambiguity in academia could invite great discussion. The man had earlier stood up due to a conditioned reflex.
What do I do now?
He gulped nervously, fervently suppressing the discomfort in his heart. He glanced at his colleagues, only to discover…
What the heck?! Why are you guys looking at me like that? Why are you guys egging me on to complete my question?
Not even you, boss of the SRC? How could you be giving me the look of encouragement right now?
Old Man Yu stared intently at the man who had shot to his feet. His eyes sent a clear, strong message - Finish the question!
Bloody hell… I can’t just stop halfway… The man in the white lab coat didn’t dare to make eye contact with any of the other leaders of the academy. He gritted his teeth and steeled his heart, “If Instructor Qin hasn’t conducted any experiments, or has no empirical evidence, this would be no different from misleading the young!”
Qin Ye looked at everyone as though he had just seen a ghost. He blinked with a vacant look in his eyes, “You guys… aren’t aware of it, are you?”
No… Arthis declared that all of you are nothing but trash. I, on the other hand, still bore some hope. Can’t you guys just buck up a little… don’t dash my dreams and hopes like that…
And this is just the first hook I’m dangling in front of you. You really have to hang in there!
Even Xu Anguo, Zhou Xianlong and the other Hellguard-class experts gazed back with a bright glint in their eyes with eager anticipation.
Then, everyone began to turn their gazes towards Zhou Xianlong. It was obvious what they meant - He’s your kid. You should ask.
Eh? That’s not a very friendly gaze. Are you querying why we’re not asking the question in our hearts?
I mean… we wouldn’t want to be embarrassed in front of everyone… This is a lecture for students, and it’s intended to be introductory in nature. What place do we have interjecting and asking questions? Matters between scholars are called… a discourse.
The veins on Zhou Xianlong’s temples throbbed uncontrollably as he coughed amidst the awkward silence, “S9527, could you please… explain in greater detail?”
Qin Ye swore a thousand times in his heart.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, and you guys are already giving me the look of incredulity. Are you sure you guys are here to evaluate my performance?
Why do I get the feeling that a newbie in Hell could already become a professor in the mortal realm?Previous Chapter Next Chapter