Everyone was silent.
Even the instructors who had just finished rendering their opening lectures began to worry about their own performance.
When Qin Ye’s score of 90 teaching credits first surfaced, several people had the exact same thoughts that Huang Chengyang did - We’re not as good as you when it comes to purging evil ghosts, but matters of education… given your age, we still have an edge over you.
If you can score 90 credits, this must mean that the scoring system this semester must be on the lenient side of things. Perhaps they might be concerned about the face of their own instructors, so this time, everyone would be scoring 90 and above. The benchmark ought to be around 90 credits.
Yet the release of the results for the other instructors told them otherwise.
No additional points were awarded on account of preserving the face of their instructors. They were awarded whatever the leaders thought they deserved. With that, Qin Ye’s 90 credits suddenly seemed completely unattainable!
“If he keeps this up, he can practically secure the title of an outstanding instructor without having to participate in any forums or the like! This kid… what kind of a god is he?! Is he an incarnation of a guru of knowledge?!” An instructor who had also rendered his opening lecture this morning stuffed his phone back into his pocket with great exasperation, and he began to rethink his strategy for the rest of the semester.
Qin Ye switched off his Momo app as though deep in thought.
These two old fogeys… are truly devious.
These rules might seem benign on the surface, but they also put everyone practically in a prisoner’s dilemma - a faculty could either work separately or together for their common good.
The workplace was like a battlefield, and everyone was working hard to seize teaching credits to their name to the exclusion of others.
And yet, just as everyone was getting into the groove of working hard for their own benefits, the devious ghost masquerading as the vice-principal threw a curve ball at them - certainly, but you can also consider working on a research topic and reap the rewards of the same together.
To vie for one’s own credits, or to join forces and work for the common good… I’ve got to say that, more than anything, I’m looking forward to the day that these two old fogeys would fly into the sunset on the wings of the crane… and arrive in Hell…
“As an Emissary of Hell, please accept my deepest gratitude…” Qin Ye pretended to wipe off two non-existent tears underneath his eyes, before promptly slipping back into his own room.
“Where’s my stomach?” Arthis looked over with an ashen expression as soon as Qin Ye entered his room. Ming Shiyin was also awake, and a line of text immediately printed on its surface, “Little pup, where have you been all day? Haven’t you ever considered the feeling of these old folks living in an empty nest?!”
What do you mean old folks living in an empty nest?!
Qin Ye fervently suppressed the urge to defenestrate Ming Shiyin as he smiled jovially and placated, “I’ll go collect it for you tonight.”
“There’s sweet and sour baby ribs this evening.” Arthis still had a dour and grave expression on her face, “Sweet and sour baby ribs are my favourite food.”
She paused for a moment and then added, “I saw it on the menu earlier.”
In other words, she was implying that she wasn’t trying to pick on Qin Ye.
Bloody hell, how do I even respond to that… Qin Ye groaned softly as he hammered the couch, “Tonight! I’ll make it up to you by getting you three portions of sweet and sour baby ribs tonight! If you don’t want me to jump off the building, don’t ever talk to me about something so shameful like collecting your stomach again!”
You’re going to drive me mad one day!
His reaction was so unexpectedly strong that even Arthis covered her lips with her hands. Then, before she could even respond any further, Qin Ye added, “The treasury is open tonight! Should I redeem some Yin spirit stones right away?”
“I guess it’s high time for a trip down under in any event. I wonder how Yin Construction is doing right now.” Arthis nodded, “Let’s get the Yin spirit stones first. The population size of Hell right now isn’t too shabby, and there are some special buildings, such as the soul induction platform, that we can already start working on, just to err on the side of caution.”
“After all, quantity isn’t everything. Quality is.”
Qin Ye sighed and was just about to turn to leave when Arthis immediately called out, “Hang on.”
A small packet flew straight into Qin Ye’s hands as Arthis explained, “When you bring my stomach back, do me a favour and have that cleaned as well.”
Qin Ye could feel his eyelids twitching uncontrollably, and a bad premonition arose in his heart as he shuddered, “Couldn’t you give me some clues on what this is?”
Arthis rolled her eyes, “Why are you being so nosy? These are my lungs. The smog has been rather bad lately, and my breathing hasn’t been as smooth as I would like. It’s probably best if we get it cleaned out as well.”
Heh heh heh… Qin Ye chuckled in destitution as he chucked the small packet under the bed. You’re truly living an unrestrained, carefree life, aren’t you…
He did his level best to calm himself down as he praised his heart for being strong enough to withstand the barrage of Arthis’ onslaught. Then, he pulled out the loot from his previous battles.
He had previously obtained 20,000 merit points from his achievements in purging the hunting zones in the City of Salvation.
Then, there was still Cao Youdao’s rosary of human skulls, as well as the tape recorder and cassette tape that he had obtained from the nursing home when he first crossed paths with the SRC.
According to the rules of the exchange, each Hunter-class Yin artifact was worth 30,000 merit points… In other words, he was essentially holding onto 110,000 merit points! Given the redemption rate, he would be entitled to redeem a whopping 11,000 Yin spirit stones!
There’s something about finally cashing in and making good money after raising these precious daughters of mine for so long…
He pulled out three wooden boxes with talismans affixed to them and gently placed a Yin artifact within each box. Then, with a travel bag over his shoulder, and promptly made his way towards the basketball courts after having his dinner. Yet, before he even entered the compound, he immediately noticed that everything had changed.
Someone had at some point in time tied innumerable red strings to the entrance of the compound, and countless copper coins dangled neatly on each string. According to the legends, copper coins that had changed hands ten thousand times would gain an affinity with the Yang, thereby warding off all Yin spirits in the vicinity. This also explained why Yin spirits never accept the currency of the mortal realm after death.
The First Academy of Cultivators was a brand new cultivation district in Cathay. That, coupled with the fact that they even drew something like that across the main entrance of a compound, only went to show just how important the academy was.
After all, these were artifacts that had been accumulated over the thousands of years of Cathay’s existence.
Qin Ye drew a deep breath and stepped into the compound.
As soon as he opened the door, his pupils immediately shrank. The entire gym had been completely altered at some point. The first thing he noticed when he entered was a single, long corridor.
And it wasn’t a corridor that was constructed with the same design as modern day skyscrapers. Rather… it looked completely ancient and dated, replete with the old Cathayan sliding doors.
The pale wood flooring was flanked by maroon sliding doors that were tightly shut on both sides. Faint light peeked through the arabesque fretwork. An ancient palace lamp hung overhead, while dim and dark candelabra sat stoically on the sides of the corridor. If Qin Ye didn’t know any better, he would have thought that he had stepped into an ancient mansion altogether.
It was quiet.
But, for some strange reason, entering this corridor gave him goosebumps. It felt almost as though a pair of eyes belonging to an incomparably powerful entity were staring at him from thousands of miles away.
Someone was watching him… and this person was an existence even more terrifying than Zhou Xianlong!
Nevertheless, Qin Ye kept calm and maintained a cool expression on his face. This was absolutely normal. After all, it was impossible to expect such a treasury to be completely unguarded. If there was no gatekeeper at the entrance, then… it must necessarily mean that the gatekeeper was somewhere around here.
He wasn’t aware that there were mats placed on the ground just behind the sliding doors.
In fact, a series of bamboo blinds draped down just behind the sliding doors to the left of Qin Ye. A row of withered old monks dressed in red and gold threaded robes sat behind the entire corridor of sliding doors like stone sculptures. Each of them was gently tapping on a temple block. Their movements were incredibly neat and tidy, and yet what was most astonishing about them was the fact that their skin glowed with a pale golden luster. They were separated only by a thin layer of the sliding doors, and yet Qin Ye was unable to hear the echoes of the temple blocks at all!
Gilded pots containing floating lotus flowers were placed in the corner of the long room. Apart from that, the only other thing in the room were a number of candelabras designed in the image of Buddhas.
There were similarly a dozen or so old taoists seated in the very same fashion on the right side of the hallway, with their hair neatly tied up in a knot and dressed in a long flowing eight trigrams robe embroidered with cranes and clouds. They carried a long sword on their backs and toted a buddhist whisk in their hands. Each of them looked so transcendent that they could easily pass off as an incarnation of the Three Pure Ones.
If Qin Ye could only go closer to them, he would quickly discover that… none of them were breathing at all.
Yet it was apparent from the faint movements of their eyelids that each of these monks and taoists were alive.
The unassuming corridor stood right between the two rows of transcendent-like beings. Qin Ye walked down the hallway curiously. He didn’t notice this, but as he went further, the light peeking through the arabesque fretwork doors flickered more and more, while his shadow grew fainter and fainter. Then, finally, when he was just slightly over ten meters away from the end of the corridor, his shadow was so faint that it was practically on the brink of disappearing altogether. Simultaneously, wisps of Yin energy began to emerge from his seven apertures.
He could already see the end in sight. A long, flowing white cloth hung at the end of the path, concealing the existence of a counter behind it. But just then, the monks and taoists on both sides abruptly opened their eyes all at the same time!
Pa-pa-pa-pa! All of the candles in the room extinguished themselves immediately, while an eerie nethergale promptly swept through the corridor and caused all of the bamboo blinds to flutter about violently.
“Amitabha.” On the left side, the monk seated right in the center of the lot raised his hand, revealing a string of one hundred and eight prayer beads underneath his golden-threaded robes. Then, a split-second later, it exploded!
“What evil…” He slowly got to his feet, “...dares to sneak into the Great Dipper Vault?”
On the right side, all of the buddhist whisks in the arms of the taoists also suddenly began to dance with the incoming nethergale. A split-second later, the whisks instantly exploded, filling the room with white silk. The old taoist seated in the center of the room abruptly opened his eyes, only to reveal that his pupils were ostensibly scarlet in colour.
“What powerful Yin energy…” He looked around with great shock, “No… it’s the quality… the quality of Yin energy is far greater than all other Yin spirits we’ve dealt with before! It’s as though… Yanluo incarnated!”
Simultaneously, the shard of King Yanluo’s Seal hidden at Qin Ye’s chest shuddered slightly, and the strange phenomenon experienced by the monks and the taoists instantly vanished.
“It’s gone?” The monks were startled, and they turned to look at the young figure plodding on in the central hallway.
There’s a shadow.
“Affinity for Hell?” The old monk was somewhat baffled. Yet, after a long time, he nodded his head and closed his eyes to meditate once again.
Qin Ye was completely oblivious to the strange phenomenon that had just occurred, much less the fact that he had been on the brink of losing his life just moments ago. Shrugging slightly, he plodded on until he reached the end of the corridor. By his estimations, this would previously have been the heart of the basketball courts. He gently drew the draping white curtain.
A young, scholarly man sat behind the curtain.
He was dressed in ancient garments, and he had a pale disposition. Apart from that, his appearances were unremarkable.
There was a row of shelves behind him marked with labels from A through D. An immortal crane shaped candlestick beside him was alight with a soft flame, and yet the illumination it provided was akin to modern electric lamps.
Qin Ye could sense an erudite atmosphere of profundity in the room. He bowed respectfully and glanced at the book in the man’s hands.
Bloody hell… Battle Through the Heavens…
Is this why even your eyebrows look sharp as a sword? Your talent just doesn’t cohere with the begrudging look on your face!
The young man finally noticed Qin Ye, and he glanced over, “Someone’s finally here…”
Qin Ye’s eyes quivered slightly. The young man had no shadow. Furthermore… all of his hands and feet were bound by chains!
“Are you a man or a ghost?”
“Neither.” The young man smiled faintly, “There’s always the possibility that I’ll undergo Yin spiritization in the very next second… so, as soon as you discover something amiss, you should run.”
Qin Ye was taken aback. Then, he furrowed his brows with some uncertainty as he probed further, “A homologous Yin spirit?”
The young man turned around. He was reading a book earlier, and Qin Ye had naturally only seen his side profile. As soon as he turned around, Qin Ye discovered… that the other half of the man’s face was constructed completely out of Yin energy! Even his pupils were completely scarlet in colour!
Qin Ye gasped in horror and backed away abruptly as he reflexively adopted a defensive stance. His arm hovered over his waist. As long as the man made any sudden movements, the demonhead saber would immediately materialize and appear.
A homologous Yin spirit… Arthis had mentioned that this was one of the most bizarre existences among all Yin spirits aparts from the three A-listers!
It was also known by several other names.
Psychography, saucer divination, the painted skin... Here was an existence that was born an anomaly and a homologous Yin spirit in death. This was an extremely rare and bizarre existence, and yet it was actually residing within the First Academy of Cultivators!