Zhou Xianlong eagerly received the soul sphere, drew a deep breath and scrutinized every corner of it without batting an eyelid as it spun slowly in his hands. Seconds later, he raised his head and looked at the crowd that was waiting for his response with bated breaths as he finally declared, “It works.”
Shaa… The Director of the Internal Affairs Department immediately shot to his feet and stared at the soul sphere in disbelief.
Shaa… Professor Yu shot to his feet too, and he promptly raised his trembling hands to adjust his glasses. The soul sphere wasn’t immediately useful to the Special Investigations Department, but it was an object of immense weight and ramifications to the SRC! And in due course, there would naturally be knock-on benefits for the Special Investigations Department.
Sha, sha, sha… All of the other school leaders shot to their feet simultaneously. If not for the fact that this was a lecture hall, they might very well have made their way over to the soul sphere by now.
Riiiiiiiiing… Just then, the bell which signified the end of the lesson resounded throughout the lecture hall and interrupted everyone’s train of thoughts. Students A to Z immediately shot the various leaders behind the lecture hall a disdainful look.
Lecture is over…
Damn it, is that really the end of the lesson?
How can the opening lecture end just like that?!
I haven’t even heard today! We were just approaching the climax… and then that’s it? Lecture is over? This won’t do… we must join forces to boycott their egregious behaviour in subsequent lectures! It’s been far too disruptive to the students!
They ruminated on their newfound yet piecemeal knowledge from this lecture as they continued to cast begrudging looks at the panel of old men behind the lecture hall. It’s all thanks to this “group of observers” that we don’t even have one cohesive concept to take back from this message. Are you trying to get us killed on the battlefield in future?
Meanwhile, the evaluation team reacted just like the students, staring at the soul sphere in Zhou Xianlong’s hands with abject shock. Some of them even shut their eyes and tapped their fingers gently on the desk in front of them as their thoughts lingered on the fresh concepts that Qin Ye had proffered to them today over the course of two hours that was over in a heartbeat.
That’s right, two hours passed in the blink of an eye.
Before their arrival today, the panel of evaluators had been bracing themselves to sit through two long, arduous hours of lectures. After all, it was easy to assess the standards of an instructor after simply twenty minutes of his lecture. Sitting through the remainder of the lecture… was simply a byproduct of extending them some measure of courtesy.
But now, each of them sincerely felt that the last two hours had passed by too quickly… it had truly been fleeting! Qin Ye hadn’t even been able to get into much detail… and they would have to wait three whole days for his next lecture. What are the characteristics of an incarnate revenant? How exactly did he determine that the other cities in Cathay had begun to show signs of the intersection of realms and the appearance of a nest of ten thousand captive ghosts?
“This kid…” Ma Shanglong, the Director of the Internal Affairs Department, sighed, “The new is constantly replacing the old. This lecture… has truly been an eye-opener.”
“His lecture will definitely become one of the mainstays in the academy in future.” Zhu Youde chuckled, “But… is this truly the time to be discussing these matters?”
Apart from Zhou Xianlong and Xu Anguo, everyone else among the panel of evaluators had a grave and solemn expression on their faces.
This was a lecture hall.
This was the very first opening lecture of the First Academy of Cultivators.
And they were all part of the panel of evaluators.
It was time for them to render their interim assessment while things were still fresh on their minds. Thereafter, they would be allowed some time to deliberate and discuss his performance before finalizing the score in due course.
How was one supposed to score his performance?!
This had been a lecture intended for students, and yet the panel of evaluators ended up being the ones posing him questions time and again. Even Zhou Xianlong, Xu Anguo and some others were huddled together in an impassioned group discussion right now. Rather than describe this as a lecture for students, perhaps it might be more accurate to say that… they were the ones who had benefited most from it.
About that… rendering a score in this regard might pose some challenges…
“What do you think?” Long Qin, the Director of the Human Resources Department, asked the four men in black on the side.
You’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you?
The four men in black, especially the one who had earlier been casting aspersions on Qin Ye’s abilities, felt as though a rock had been lodged in their throats. It was incredibly stifling.
Was he truly not qualified to come up with fresh terms of references?
Did he not have sufficient content to support this lecture and the lectures to come?
Granted, he hadn’t been able to deliver a complete insight or theory; and granted, his message had done nothing more than to connect a few data points available to him. However… even a fool could tell that Instructor Qin had a wealth of information to offer the students! To think that I’d even thrown shade on him earlier… I must’ve been a fool… how naive of me…
“Guys?” Zhou Ruping, the Director of the Department of Academy Administration, raised his eyebrows quizzically. The SRC was renowned for their expertise in academia - so why were they suddenly completely silent?
“Cough… ah, yes…” The four men exchanged awkward glances and were just about to speak when three soft claps suddenly rang out just beside them.
Clap, clap, clap…
The students were still present in the lecture hall. This was the first time after years of lectures and classes that they actually felt inspired and excited after the class. All of them turned to look over in surprise when they heard the unexpected applause.
They didn’t know who the revered fellow of the SRC, Professor Yu, was. They only saw that a white-beareded, white-haired old man was smiling faintly and applauding Qin Ye’s efforts. The applause naturally spread - from one person, to a handful, to dozens, to a hundred, until finally… the entire student body was applauding!
Clap clap clap… The sound was crisp and filled with undertones of passion and inspiration. Qin Ye bowed gently, “Thank you. I’m delighted to have your approval.”
Local Bully and a few others gnashed their teeth as they clapped along in a contrived manner. Su Feng glanced at Local Bully, “Don’t you feel stressed about your lecture this afternoon?”
“Of course… but do I have a choice?”
The applause continued for over ten seconds. Professor Yu led the applause, and his entourage of assistants from the SRC followed suit. They were the ones who led the first wave of applause, and the rest of the leaders of the academy had no choice but to follow suit. They had to extend the SRC that measure of face, respect and courtesy at the very least… the SRC were the ones preparing the teaching materials after all…
“Good. Excellent.” Professor Yu drew a deep breath and looked at Qin Ye. His eyes were filled with a confluence of burning delight and excitement, “Before arriving today, I’d expected a pretty decent lecture, but not to the extent that it would exceed my wealth of knowledge. But right now…”
Xu Anguo, Zhou Ruping, Ma Shanglong, Zhu Youde and the rest of the panel of evaluators instantly turned to stare at Professor Yu with widened eyes, almost as though they had just seen a ghost - You old fogey… are you trying to…
Notwithstanding the fact that Xu Anguo was staring so intently at Professor Yu that his eyeballs looked like they were on the brink of falling out of its sockets, Professor Yu simply turned a blind eye to all of this as he continued to applaud gently, “I’d never expected to be sitting in for a lecture that was not only meant for the students, but for us as well!”
Xu Anguo clearly had a bad hunch of what was to come - This old man isn’t sticking to the script… Is he trying to subvert the rules? Can anybody tell me how I’m supposed to seal the lips of one of the esteemed fellows of the SRC? Pretty please…
“Principal Xu.” Professor Yu turned around with an amiable smile as soon as Xu Anguo began to speak, “I guarantee that this research topic will be submitted to the Association of Parapsychology within half a year. As soon as it gets the necessary approvals... how many Yin spirits do you think we’ll be able to capture?”
“Yes, your hunch is spot on. The implications of Instructor Qin’s topic is massive. It proffers a systematization of the types of Yin spirits and their abilities. His perspectives and insights are fresh and novel. I wonder how many cultivators would be blessed by these insights of his as soon as they’re proven true? In light of these, I give this lecture nine points.”
Ahhhhh… You were just waiting for this moment, weren’t you? And you actually did it!
Didn’t you just give me your word that you weren’t here to lend him any support?!
Do you not even care about your face right now?!
Xu Anguo could feel his eyelids twitching uncontrollably. Admittedly, Qin Ye’s performance at this opening lecture had been incredible. However--
Whenever the word “however” appears, it would usually qualify an otherwise good situation.
This is the First Academy of Cultivators! There are still several other instructors who are giving their opening lectures at the very same time! And there are still four instructors from the Faculty of Combat who are waiting for their turn after Instructor Qin! How could you just pop up out of nowhere and bestow nine points on Instructor Qin?! I want to give him a high score as well, but haven’t you considered the feelings of others?!
It was obvious that this didn’t fall within Professor Yu’s considerations. Others? “Others” had never lent him any assistance with the problems he faced within academia. “Others” had never helped him with the problems he’d faced with the hunting zone back at Mount Tai City… His heart was practically dead to “others”...
The two old men glared at each other, and tensions ran high. The threatening glint in Old Man Yu’s eyes were apparent - What’s the matter? Doesn’t my word carry any weight anymore? Do you guys not want any more teaching materials next semester?
Xu Anguo - … It’s meaningless when you put it that way… Why don’t we have a nice sit down over a cup of tea, some snacks, and even a nice foot massage as we deliberate over the situation?
Old Man Yu - The students from the Faculty of Science and Research and the Faculty of Theory have to attend a compulsory internship at the SRC, don’t they? Do you really want us to refuse them? Besides, there’s no retracting what I’ve said, so are you going to still score him an eight in an attempt to prove that you’re a better judge of a person than I am? That’s fine, go ahead. While you’re at it, I’ll pass you a pen as well, and you can draft up the syllabus and teaching materials on your own!
Xu Anguo - ……
Everyone, including the students, looked at Principal Xu. Xu Anguo swept his gaze past Su Feng, Local Bully, Li Runxue and Zhuo Qinfen with a tragic tune playing in his heart…
Ummm… I wonder if these kids would put in a request to change faculties?
Probably not… anyhow, I can probably just pass the buck to Zhou Xianlong to deal with them! Perfect!
“Nine points!” After contemplating for several seconds, Xu Anguo succumbed to the forces of evil. Incidentally, Old Man Yu had “evil” written all over his face and clothes…
Old Man Yu was delighted. He sat down victoriously with a chuckle, picked up his teacup and took a sip. Then, he cast Qin Ye a surreptitious yet knowing look - You’ve got nothing to worry about as long as I’m in charge.
Qin Ye glanced back - Copy that.
With Xu Anguo’s display of concession and approbation, Zhou Ruping followed suit and raised her hand as well, “Nine points suggested.”
Zhu Youde gave the Blaze Squad a look of commiseration and shrugged his shoulders as he, too, declared with a loud voice, “Nine points.”
“Nine points.” “Ditto.” “ Instructor Qin’s lecture is filled with novel ideas and rich insights, and his pedagogy perfectly integrates theoretical and practical knowledge. I suggest nine points as well.”
All ten members of the panel of evaluators suggested nine points!
In other words, Qin Ye had managed to obtain the unprecedented high-score of 90 points in the very first opening lecture of the semester! And it was pursuant to a live scoring no less!
Just like that, the first lecture of the day was dismissed amidst a buzz of chatter and discussions, and Local Bully rejected Qin Ye’s invitation to lunch in protest of what had just transpired. After lunch, Qin Ye returned to his own dorm room, where he promptly logged onto the website of the First Academy of Cultivators for his very first time.
This website had been designed and built by Li Tao using his wealth of experience with the Auspicious Omens website. He was deeply aware of the fact that the pilot project that the academy was could very soon be seen in every part of the country, and this website was merely his idea of planning ahead. That said, as there were less than two hundred instructors right now, the website was simple and plain. Nevertheless, it had everything it needed.
Everything to do with his teaching credits, ranging from his past performance, his critique, as well as the tally of his score to date were set out in detail on the website, accessible only by him when he logged into his own account.
“What are you checking?” Arthis asked casually as she continued to indulge in her video games.
“My score.” Qin Ye entered his password quickly, and then shut his eyes in relief, “What do I do, Arti? I feel like my self-confidence is swelling so much that I’m bursting at my seams…”
“Triple kill!” In the wake of a spectacular triple kill, she responded without even lifting her eyes off the screen, “Looks like your opening lecture went well. Like I said, the mortal realm’s achievements in parapsychology can’t even compare with a ragtag team of researchers in a small county of the old Hell. I truly wonder how they’ve been doing their research over the last thousands of years… Oh… but it’s still pretty good that they’re able to extract and harvest the solar and lunar essences.”
Currently tabulating the instructors’ scores… Qin Ye glanced over at Arthis’ screen, “It’s because I performed well at the lecture too… What rank are you now? That looks like a rather intense game? Holy crap! That Q flash combo, and blue essence?!”
“399 points away from the grandmaster tier.” Arthis continued to immerse herself in the game, “Don’t disturb me. My goal is to breach the challenger tier tonight. Speaking of which, I can make quite a decent sum by streaming my gameplay online, right? I’ll be able to lessen your financial burdens as well… Say, do you think I should go to Douyu or Panda TV?”
Qin Ye felt like he was about to explode with exasperation!
It was alright for a female challenger tier player to be streaming her gameplay, but there’s no way it would be fine for a silicone doll to appear on air like that!
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