Chapter 209: Thesis Troops

“What are you doing?”

Thirty minutes later. Lin Han held tightly to his blanket, glaring warily at Qin Ye who was resting his chin just by the side of his bed. There was a palpable fire burning in the depths of Qin Ye’s eyes. Lin Han barked in great astonishment, “I’m warning you, I’m stark naked right now. If you try anything funny, don’t blame me if I smack you right on the face!”

Bloody hell… I have no words… Qin Ye gnashed his teeth, “Do I look like I’m into those kinds of things to you?”

Lin Han nodded deeply, “Otherwise, why would you do such a thing to Student Ye…”

A hand grabbed Lin Han’s mouth before he could finish his statement, pinching it so hard that it forced his lips to protrude like a pig’s snout. Qin Ye muttered like a cold-blooded murderer, “Bring up that incident one more time and we’re through. Understand?”

Local Bully nodded vigorously under duress.

“Speaking of which… it’s almost eleven at night. Why can’t this wait till tomorrow? I was just about to go to sleep!” Words poured out of Lin Han’s lips like floodgates as soon as Qin Ye released his grip. Lin Han took a swig from a cup of water beside his bed as well.

What kind of a person are you? Isn’t this going a little bit overboard?! Or is this because you haven’t seen someone as devastatingly handsome as me?

Qin Ye sat down on the side of the bed and crossed his legs, “I’m embarking on a research project, and I’m working on a thesis right now. The aim is to get it published on Cultivators Weekly.”

Puuuuut!! Lin Han spat out a mouthful of water and stared at Qin Ye as though he had just seen a ghost.

Why… why did his silhouette suddenly grow that much wider, just like my father who’d bought me oranges at the railway station…

“I apologize if that nearly hit you… You… you’re embarking on a research project?!”

This is bloody unbelievable!

This is completely incongruous with your image, kiddo!

“Problem?” Qin Ye glanced at Lin Han. I assure you this - if you look at me again with another flabbergasted expression, I’ll get Arthis to hang herself out to dry right outside your door tomorrow morning!

Eh? Looks like such a threat is pretty effective after all…

Almost as though he could sense Qin Ye’s embodiment of the <angry face emoticon>, Lin Han coughed dryly and chose his words tactfully rather than engaging in forthright mockery, “Young man… please bear in mind that this is an instructor’s research project! Do you think it’s the same thing as the research projects that students do in college? Search, copy and paste? Wrong! Big wrong best wrong!”[1]

“... I’d feel like crying if I thought the direct translation of 大错特错 was ‘big wrong best wrong’ too…” Qin Ye felt his eyelids twitching uncontrollably. My horoscope augurs ill this year. Perhaps I shouldn’t have stepped into this room tonight after all…

Local Bully was oblivious to the heavy thoughts weighing down Qin Ye’s heart. In a fit of excitement, he flipped up his quilt cover and sat up from his bed.

One second later.

“Bloody hell!! How can you be sleeping naked?! Get lost! Get out of my sight this instant!!”

“... Yes… Right away… Hang on! What basis do you have screaming at the top of your voice after taking advantage of me?! This is my room to begin with!”

One minute later.

The duo sat on the bed and locked eyes with each other, both palpably teeming with fury. Lin Han snorted, “So you’re saying that you want me, the handsome and intelligent universal object of jealousy, to help you elevate your paper to new heights?”

“... Couldn’t you just dumb down on the adjectives a little bit? Such dilatory conduct will draw the ire of the readers! Besides, there’s no need for you to elevate the paper. I’m only extending you a helping hand because I take pity on the fact that you’re working harder than an ox and receiving less feed than a chicken, understand?”

“No go!”

Thus began the tussle of pride between two men.

Qin Ye rolled up his sleeves, while Local Bully immediately rolled back under his sheets, “Get lost! I’ve had it with papers in college! Why would I want to work on another paper as an instructor? Just tell me upfront if you’re trying to get me killed!”

Qin Ye’s eyes twitched uncontrollably, “I’m offering you the position of a co-author on the paper. There are teaching credits to be had - at least one hundred.”

Lin Han suddenly stopped squirming.

And a husky’s ear perked up from under the sheets.

Qin Ye coughed lightly, “Besides, the academy will support us with the best conditions and environment, for instance… by reducing our course load accordingly.”

Fwoosh! Lin Han immediately sat up with a somber expression. Unbeknownst to Qin Ye, Lin Han had already put on a pair of glasses without prescriptions, and he adjusted it in a scholarly fashion, “You’ve always been a person to downplay the most important things. These are factors for consideration that you should lay down right at the outset… So, about that… when do we begin?”

Qin Ye nearly chuckled in exasperation, “I’ve changed my mind. I think Su Feng might be more suitable for this role.”

With that, he stood up to leave. But before he could even more than half a meter, Local Bully and all of his 1.8 meters of his tall, lanky body lay on the bed like a catfish, desperately holding up his pants, “Brother… it’s not good to be burning bridges, is it? I humbly beseech you to append my lowly name under the title of the co-author.”

“Bloody hell… You’re just looking for a reason to skip classes, aren’t you?”

“This is a decision I’ve made for the honour and glory of the academy!”

“Then why don’t you do it yourself?”

Lin Han glared at Qin Ye begrudgingly - What do you mean by that?! Even if you’re going to beat somebody up, don’t slap their faces! With an IQ like mine… No! This is only a measly research project, so why would a genius like me need to be involved in the first place?

Qin Ye smiled and squatted down. Then, with a slight grin on his lips, he looked straight into Lin Han’s expectant eyes, “Call me daddy.”

“Daddy!” Lin Han called out with nary a shred of hesitation.

“Good boy.” Qin Ye scratched the husky’s head and stood up, “We’ll begin tomorrow morning. Gather a few students to help out as well… let’s say six students for now. We’ll meet at 9.00 a.m. at the top floor of the library.”

………………………………………………………..

The next morning, when Qin Ye arrived at the stipulated gathering point, everyone was already there waiting for him.

Wang Chenghao and Ye Xingchen were among the students led by Dog Lin, whose face was filled with an obsequious grin as he rubbed his hands in glee, “Then… shall we begin right away?”

The earlier, the better. Qin Ye led them straight into the room where the secret records were held, where he briefed them all on the crux of his thesis. Thirty minutes later, everyone dispersed to do what they were assigned to do, while he began to look through the case files once more.

His interactions with Arthis had broadened his horizons so much so that his perspective on certain cases were often far better than the current investigators. Therefore, even though the dockets contained records of cases that completely stumped the investigators, Qin Ye could see right through the crux of the issue. Naturally, he would have to personally peruse the case files to understand what he could and couldn’t use.

“It wouldn’t be surprising to be spending years on a research topic like this. A research paper completed in one month… might be a little lacking in rigour.” Qin Ye set down a docket and rubbed his chin as he pondered aloud, “This might not be important in other fields of disciplines, but in academia, rigour is considered everything.

Despite the oft cited adage, it was in human nature to judge a book by its covers. For instance, one would naturally trust an old doctor more than a young one. It was the same in academia - a research paper that was completed within a month… might even be torn apart before it could be published.

“Then… I’ve got to make sure that it’s exciting.”

He pulled out another docket, “The proof that I adduce must all be watertight and well-reasoned. The case files that I cite must not be lacking in their particulars, and it must be absolutely on point and relevant to my thesis. This is one of the steps that thoroughly tests the instructor’s discretion and eye for detail.”

Fortunately, there were a number of people to share this burden with him.

The records room was filled with the soft rustling of pages and the occasional shutter sound of phone cameras. Just like that, a day passed quickly.

The next day was the release date for Qin Ye and Lin Han’s course schedule. Both had had their classes reduced to two a week, exactly half of what they had before. Their research team practically holed out in the records room for the rest of their time.

Two days… three days… very soon, five days had passed.

They had already established their base of operations in Local Bully’s room, and there were now three people in all.

Qin Ye, Lin Han and Su Feng.

The three didn’t look too good. After all, anyone who wholeheartedly dedicated themselves to research would quickly lose their sense of time, and night would blend into the day. All three men had dark rings under their eyes, and stubbles that they didn’t even have the time to shave.

Qin Ye was typing away at his laptop, but his speed was anything but fast. Sometimes, he would even have to deliberate for a long time before writing a single sentence. Three laptops were placed side by side. The one on the left showed the information that they had snapped from the records room, while the one on the right displayed various model theses used by cultivation research institutes around the nation.

Clack… Qin Ye paused and furrowed his brows, “I still find the second premise rather lacking in some ways. I have my doubts about the case which we’ve cited. Perhaps we can come up with a better premise?”

“And it’s not just that. There are some discrepancies between the premise and the thesis statement which we’re trying to prove. That’s why I’d rejected the use of this premise earlier.” Su Feng ran his fingers through his hair. His hair was already so messy that it looked no different from a bird’s nest. He took a large gulp from his cup of coffee and added, “Don’t forget where I used to work - the SRC! Academic research needs to be erected on a foundation of rigour! This premise is quite likely to be rejected by the academics around!”

“Eh? I’ve heard that Local Bully used to live in a research lab?”

“That’s right. He was one of the research subjects. After all, it’s quite rare for someone’s IQ to be so primitive…”

“Bloody hell! I’m right here, poring through the research data we have, and you guys are just making up stories about me in front of my face?! There are at least twenty or thirty published books containing papers related to your thesis statement! And I’ve been going through these page by page!” Local Bully looked up from the screen of another laptop and gnashed his teeth, “Cut the crap! I was the one who decided on the premise, and it suits your perspective best! Can you even think of a better one?!”

This part of the paper focused on the diversity of Yin spirits through evolution. To prove something like that, evidence which was based solely off hearsay and secondary reports were absolutely unacceptable. It had to be precise with all of its particulars, including where, when, and the parties involved. Furthermore, the proof had to lie in a fully documented case based on true and verifiable events.

Instructors could never get away with being sloppy in their theses. If they did, their efforts would naturally attract a commensurately sloppy evaluation.

If he was unable to get his paper published in Cultivators Weekly in one month’s time, then quite apart from losing all odds with the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl, he might not even be able to get his next application for a research project approved!

He was only at the second premise in his thesis paper, and yet he was already stuck with a writer’s block.

The gap of discrepancy between the premise and the thesis statement was like a fishbone lodged in his throat, and he simply couldn’t bring himself to continue writing.

“I’m going to take an hour’s break!” With that, he stormed off to his bedroom, steaming with frustration. After shutting the door to his bedroom, he sighed deeply and flopped onto his bed.

“How far have you gone with it?” Arthis’ eyes were peeled to the screen as she casually took a triple kill, “I can still vividly remember the time when we were tasked to draft our ten-year work report. That was a tumultuous time that was a massive headache for me. I was even assigned ten secretaries for the work to be done.”

Qin Ye sighed wistfully, “Damn it all. I’d never expected an instructor’s thesis paper to be so difficult to draft.. It’s on a completely different level from the papers of regular college students!”

He sat up and vented, “Facts! Proof! Everything needs to be backed by something! I’ve got to consider whether every statement I’m making has been said by someone and whether I can quote them instead! Holy crap! It’s literally killing me!”

“Bear with it.” Arthis shut down her computer and responded somewhat unsympathetically, “You’ll have to write many more of such articles when you finally become King Yanluo. Even if you don’t personally author it, you’ll still have to edit its contents and provide direction to it. This is part and parcel of the path to becoming a high official of Hell… Let’s go, I’ll take on the form of a paper crane and provide you with a second opinion. These things… do sometimes make you feel like murdering a person.”


1. This was written by the author in english, a direct translation of 大错特错.

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