Chapter 172: Memorial Hall

Lin Han withdrew his hand in horror as he looked at the students, all of whom sensibly lowered their heads, signifying that they hadn’t noticed anything.

An awkward silence fell over the group of students. Even Su Feng frowned as he massaged his temples, not knowing what he could say to give his stupid teammate a way out of the conundrum.

“If not for the fact that you’re strong as an ox, I would have kicked you back to where you’d come from a long time ago!” Su Feng gritted his teeth as he muttered under his breath.

Just then, the academy bell rang, signifying that the period for self-study had officially begun, and it incidentally dispelled the awkward situation. Su Feng stood up with a light cough, nodded at Qin Ye, and then called out, “Form up!”

With a simple order, the Faculty of Combat students who were eagerly anticipating the first self-study class immediately arranged themselves in neat formations. Su Feng sorted through their ranks and arranged their positions. Soon, a square formation appeared in the middle of the gym.

Chk, chk, chk, chk! The flood lights came on with four soft clicks, and everything became bright.

The night breeze swept past silently, carrying with it soft traces of the directions given by the other instructors around. 

The entire setting and ambience was like a whip, spurring the instructors on and igniting the competitiveness within their hearts. Su Feng made his way forward to the front of the formation, glanced around and then began in a deep voice, “Good evening, students. Starting tonight, we shall be practicing our martial arts and fighting techniques on a daily basis. Just like what Instructor Lin mentioned earlier, it would be prudent if you minimized the use of your killing techniques before you become a Hellguard-class cultivator.”

“Going by the previous measure of cultivation levels, the Operative level is equivalent to that of Qi Mastery; the Hunter level is equivalent to that of Foundation Establishment; and the Hellguard rank is when one can truly be said to have stepped onto the path of cultivation proper. This is equivalent to the Golden Core stage of cultivation…”

As Su Feng went on, a number of students began to reveal a knowing smile on their faces. It was not uncommon to hear of people reading such novels in this current day and age.

Su Feng turned a blind eye to their response and continued, “Naturally, this is just a means of comparison. We’ve since a long time ago abandoned all references to the old cultivation nomenclature, and adopted the same titles and references that Hell uses. In any event, names are just names. What’s more important is the fact that while your cultivation level is still low, the use of killing techniques would invariably put an immense amount of strain on your body, and your recovery from such strains would naturally be slow. Basic Yin spirits are relatively weak. Therefore, it would be prudent to minimize the use of your killing techniques, and instead do battle by imbuing your body with a layer of true energy.”

“And if you’re to use your body to do battle, then martial arts and fighting techniques are an absolute must. I’m quite certain that most of you would have dabbled in some of this back where you’d come from. However, most sects, clans and alliances teach only the basics for their personal use. On the other hand, what we teach is true combat techniques. In other words, these are techniques designed to kill and incapacitate.”

A series of gasps could be heard as two hundred pairs of blazing eyes stared intently at Su Feng.

“Admittedly, this isn’t my area of expertise. The instructor from our faculty most adept at combat techniques is none other than Instructor Lin. Lin Han.” He nodded at Lin Han, and Lin Han cupped his hands respectfully. Then, he suddenly turned to Qin Ye with a vicious smile on his face.

Qin Ye immediately had a bad feeling about this.

This silly dog must be up to no good right now…

Lin Han cleared his throat, “Dear students, getting you to copy the moves I do can be a little bit boring. Therefore, I’ve invited a special guest, Instructor Qin, to explain it with me through a demonstration.”

Now I understand.

Qin Ye rolled his eyes elegantly. Are you still mad at me about what happened earlier at the television room? Why can’t you just be like other normal human beings and be a little more tolerant and understanding of those around you?

“Instructor Qin, please.” Lin Han smiled as he rubbed his palms together with glee, “We won’t even imbue our bodies with true energy. This will be a pure, unadulterated display of martial techniques. Don’t worry, we’ll stop once the victor is decided.”

How hard did I train my martial techniques back then? Wind, rain or shine, and throughout all four seasons of the year, I’d been training relentlessly for over a decade ever since I was five. Qin Ye’s younger than me. Surely he wouldn’t be a match for me!

After all, martial arts and combat techniques were a discipline that was built on arduous practice over time.

Qin Ye gritted his teeth as he walked towards Lin Han without any expression on his face, “I didn’t expect that from you… Are you bearing a grudge against me? Have a bone to pick with me?”

“Not at all, not at all.” Lin Han grinned from ear to ear, “This is only borne out of a desire to witness the extent of your true abilities. It’s your fault for going easy on me during the instructors’ sparring competition."

As soon as they heard that their instructors were going to spar, one of the students immediately whistled brightly in anticipation. On one side, it was Instructor Lin, who was popular among the students; while on the other side, it was Instructor Qin, the youngest Soul Hunter in history. The formation of students immediately scattered, giving them a wide berth of space to display their skills. “Go Instructor Lin!!” “Go Instructor Qin!” Their bright voices filled the entire gym.

Both instructors remained where they were, while Qin Ye lazily beckoned to him, “Three moves.”

“It’s my loss if you’re not on the ground within three moves.”

Qin Ye was ostensibly filled with confidence.

He would naturally be reticent to make such a bold declaration if they were to use their true energy. But in terms of actual combat techniques, someone of his vintage would most certainly have lived through a time when masters of combat thrived. He had seen his fair share of experts and killed his fair share of invaders as well. How could he possibly be afraid of a mere Lin Han?

“What a bold statement!” Lin Han cracked his neck. Both of them took their positions. Then, as soon as Su Feng declared that the spar had begun, Lin Han immediately shot straight towards Qin Ye like a bolt of lightning!

Fast!

It was so fast that even the air sounded like it was being torn asunder. The students standing around immediately gasped at Lin Han’s display of inhuman speed.

The bodily constitution of any person who had stepped onto the path of cultivation would naturally rise together with his cultivation. Yet, even then, Lin Han’s speed undoubtedly ranked among the top of his contemporaries.

Su Feng nodded assuredly - This bulldozer… probably only has something like that going for him…

Just a second later, a loud bang sent a cloud of dust and dirt scattering into the air. The students were still gasping at Lin Han’s incredible display of speed when they found themselves completely dumbstruck by the developments. They stared at Qin Ye, and then turned to look at the ground.

“What the hell…” Local Bully clutched reflexively at his neck, and golden stars dazzled his eyes as he scrambled to get back up onto his feet - Who am I? Where am I? Who hit me?

He had only noticed Qin Ye lifting his hands a split second ago. And the next thing he knew, he was on the ground.

“I may not be able to defeat you when it comes to a battle of true energy, but you’re certainly no match for me when it comes to a duel based solely on pure, unadulterated martial arts and combat techniques.” Qin Ye patted his camouflage uniform and put on the airs of an expert, “Are we still going?”

“Of course!” Lin Han charged straight towards Qin Ye again. This time, Su Feng, Li Runxue and Zhuo Qinfen widened their eyes in unison at the moment that Qin Ye and Lin Han clashed again. However, the only thing they noticed was Qin Ye’s body tremble slightly, and Lin han’s massive body collapsed to the ground with a loud crash.

Su Feng was completely stunned.

So were Li Runxue and Zhuo Qinfen.

“Did… you guys see what happened?” Seconds later, Su Feng turned around and asked Li Runxue.

“No…” Li Runxue stared at Qin Ye with complete disbelief. Even though Lin Han’s a fool… no, rather, although his social reflexes are a little bit retarded, he’s still the main attacking force in the Blaze Squad. And yet he can’t even fend off a single move on Qin Ye’s part?

Just… how strong is this man?

“He seems to be practising a lost martial art.” Zhuo Qinfen muttered softly, “I saw it slightly, but… I wouldn’t have been able to avoid it. Qin Ye’s speed is just too fast. Lin Han should have seen it coming, but his body probably wasn’t able to react in time. I’ve never seen such a fighting stance in all my years of sparring before.”

The students were all silent for some time. And then, they finally broke out into an uproarious applause.

“Awesome!” “Amazing! Instructor Qin is way too amazing!” “Instructor Lin is awesome too! His speed was insane!”

Qin Ye smiled and cupped his hands in gratitude towards the students who warmed his heart.

See what happens when you punish me that hard back during the sparring competition?!

This is karma…

“Are we still going?”

“Get lost!” The buff lord Lin Han scrambled back to his feet and stretched his muscles, “We’re done. Bloody hell… you’re an absolute monster!”

With that, Su Feng and Zhuo Qinfen began to teach the students a series of martial arts moves.

These were all part of the school’s curriculum, not the martial arts that were commonly seen during festive performances, but martial arts that were designed to kill and incapacitate. Each and every move was sharp as a blade and swift as an arrow, and the students gasped in awe as they watched the instructors demonstrate the moves to them.

“Alright. The demonstration ends here. Next, we’ll start with the foundational exercises. Three hundred elbow strikes. Begin!”

The instructors walked among the ranks of the students, correcting their movements and improving their stances. One hour later, Qin Ye left the ranks of the students with a sigh of relief, “To think that correcting others could actually be more tiring than practising on my own… that’s crazy…”

Just then, a person suddenly ran over.

It was a familiar figure.

Zhang Linhua of the student council. Qin Ye had almost forgotten about Zhang Linhua’s existence until he showed up today. Qin Ye queried with some measure of suspicion, “What are you doing here?”

“Godfather, I’ve managed to get into the academy, but I’m in the Faculty of Theory.” His response was so smooth that Lin Han who was just drinking water on the side immediately spurted out a mouthful of water. Zhang Linhua turned a blind eye to Lin Han’s response and bowed respectfully to all of the instructors around, “Good evening, instructors. Head of Faculty Zhou has just issued instructions for all students to practice on their own, and he has instead summoned all instructors to his office for a meeting.”

Something’s going on. Su Feng immediately issued instructions for the students to practice on their own and made his way to the office together with the other instructors.

Qin Ye intentionally trailed behind the group and walked alongside Zhang Linhua, “Little Zhang, do you know what’s going on?”

He didn’t have any hopes that Zhang Linhua would be apprised of these matters. Unexpectedly, Zhang Linhua nodded his head, “I do. We’ve been busy all morning precisely because of this thing. In fact, I didn’t think that the academy would bother the instructors with this, but right now it seems like it is the school’s intention to mobilize the entire academy.”

Qin Ye raised his eyebrows with great surprise, and then nodded knowingly.

That’s right. Zhang Linhua had always been serving with the college student council, and he had always been in charge of matters such as these. The academy had probably also considered the fact that he’d been with the student council, and that he’s got a well-established network around the City of Salvation when they approved his entry application and allowed him to take the entrance examination in the first place.

Zhang Linhua lowered his voice to a hush, “Have you seen the news lately?”

“I have. Are you saying…” Qin Ye furrowed his brows as an idea flickered across his mind. Qin Ye continued with some measure of disbelief, “The esteemed late Mr Gu Qing?”

“That’s exactly it!” Zhang Linhua whispered, “Do you know that it was a part of Mr Gu Qing’s will to have his ashes buried under his school. I’d heard rumours that during the war when the Nipponese carpet-bombed the City of Salvation, it was one of his teachers who had rescued him. Mr Gu Qing’s parents were both killed in that very bombing run. Since then, he began to treat that teacher as his adoptive parent, and even helped to look after his teacher’s biological children as they grew up!”

Qin Ye nodded thoughtfully, “And what has all of that got to do with us?”

“Godfather, the Insignia University’s branch campus… is located right next to his old school!”

“Do you know of the memorial hall at the back of the campus grounds? Some people call it a shrine as well. Back then, it wasn’t called a primary school, but a private school. Where that memorial hall stands is exactly where the late Mr Gu’s school used to be. It now adjoins the academy through the back entrance of the campus. That memorial hall is exactly where the late Mr Gu wishes to be buried.”

Qin Ye’s eyes gleamed brightly.

He remembered the memorial hall.

Qin Ye had heard of strange occurrences within the campus grounds when he’d first arrived in Insignia University some time ago. As it turned out, there was nothing wrong with the memorial hall, and the source of the supernatural incident was hidden right underneath the dorm rooms.

Therefore, Qin Ye had never actually entered the memorial hall proper.

That said… Gu Qing’s ashes were to be brought to this place in just a little while!

When a person dies, his soul would cling to his physical body, and it cannot travel far from it. If the physical body is destroyed, the soul would naturally linger on in the ashes!

In other words, this was the best opportunity yet if he wished to draw close to Gu Qing’s soul! He didn’t even need to test the waters to assess the depth of his competition around!

That said… I wonder how many extraterritorial emissaries are going to brazenly enter the First Academy of Cultivators together with the delivery of his ashes? 

After all, emissaries of the underworld cannot be seen by humans - not even by Zhou Xianlong!

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