Arthis nearly cried out in surprise as soon as they stepped back into Local Bully’s dorm room.
‘Cluttered’ didn’t even begin to describe the state of chaos in the room.
There were bowls of instant noodles scattered all over the place. Ash trays were piled up everywhere, while pages filled with scribbles and writing were strewn everywhere. And this was not to mention the stacks of books all over the floor. “The Possibility of Diversity of Yin Spirits”, “Do Yin Spirits Retain the Customs and Habits of Their Past Lives?” and “How to Find a Different Yin Spirit?”
These books were obviously new. They had ostensibly been purchased within the last few days. There were over thirty such books lying around all over the place, and yet the most surprising thing about this was the fact that they had all clearly been flipped through and read before. Some of the open books even had pages that were folded or dog-eared for ease of reference later on. There was a strong scholarly atmosphere in the room.
“You’re doing it for real?” Arthis whispered.
“Of! Course!” Qin Ye gritted his teeth and replied softly, “I’m the only instructor in the academy who has embarked on a research project, and all of the professors have their eyes on me right now! Furthermore, the First Academy of Cultivators is quite different from other academic colleges around the country. I’ve looked through the papers that have been published in recent times, and each and every statement made in these papers are backed by facts and proven by well-documented cases! Bloody hell… it’s a bloody vicious cycle!”
“Are you already hallucinating?” Su Feng looked up from his laptop and took another sip of the strong, black coffee beside him. His eyes were somewhat bloodshot, “Have you already learned to talk to air? Well, get your ass over here right now if you’re still alive! I’m telling you, us two co-authors are pulling just about as much weight as the first author right now.”
“You can’t go on like this.” Arthis whispered as soon as the tapping sounds of the laptop’s keyboard started once more, “Let them get some rest. Productivity is only at its peak when you balance work and rest… How many days have you guys been up? I recall that you haven’t been back to your own room since two days ago, have you?”
Qin Ye rubbed his swollen brows and sighed, “We’ve slept a grand total of about twelve or thirteen hours over the last three nights. Academic papers are so deceiving. It’s only when you begin working on it that you truly realize how vast the ocean of knowledge actually is…”
He spoke in a loud voice, “Su Feng, Lin Han, go get some rest. I’ll hold the fort for now, and I’ll call you later.”
With that, he drove the other two straight to bed. Within a minute, the sound of soft snoring reverberated throughout Lin Han’s room.
Qin Ye sat down in front of Su Feng’s laptop, only to discover that he was chatting with Tao Ran. Their discussion was profound, ranging from the first discovery of supernatural incidents to the widespread outbreak of supernatural incidents across the country. They even discussed how many cases were similar to the “Lost Tracks” hunting zone of Mount Tai City, and other examples. He flipped through the discussions, only to discover that it was so extensive that it spanned pages on end.
So, even the professor is helping us out… He looked at the piles of books beside the bed. Needless to say, these had all been purchased by Tao Ran himself.
Responsibility was an interesting thing. Sometimes, it would be completely elusive from a person’s life, and yet sometimes, it would fall onto a person with such overbearing might that one couldn’t help but resist it.
Perhaps Qin Ye’s initial motivation for embarking on this research project had arisen solely out of his desire to inaugurate his Southsea Huanghuali golden trade route and to obtain the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl. But now, after putting in so much hard work, he truly desired to see the fruits of his efforts to the very end and have his paper published on the feature page of Cultivators Weekly.
Thud thud… There were knocks on the door. Wang Chenghao walked in and noticed the instructors resting, so he handed a folder to Qin Ye and whispered, “Brother Qin, this contains the information that you’ve asked us to look for. It pertains to the supernatural incidents from Yan Capital and Eastsea that aren’t quite the norm. I’ve sorted them out accordingly.”
Qin Ye glanced at it and then waved his hand, “Do it well, and this will reflect well on your resumes. Even if this paper doesn’t work out well, you won’t be blamed for it.”
“What are you saying?” Wang Chenghao chuckled, “You’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into this research paper. It will definitely get published!”
“I’ll ride on the luck of your blessings.”
With that, Wang Chenghao left. Qin Ye opened the group’s shared folder and opened the draft thesis paper that had approximately one thousand words so far for Arthis’ review.
Nobody said a word. Arthis ruminated on each and every statement that was made in the paper, occasionally knocking off a superfluous punctuation mark or two. Qin Ye had gone through these thousand or so words so many times he could practically recite them from memory by now.
Several minutes later, Arthis looked up and nodded, “Although I’m not quite sure how you guys have gone about writing this paper of yours… I can say that you guys are on the right track.”
“Every statement made is directly on point, and the first premise is explained and proven well. It’s clearly organized, and the arguments aren’t in the slightest bit ambiguous. If you can maintain these standards, the end product would be something that would even have been published in the old Hell.”
Qin Ye picked up a pen and tapped on the screen, “The first premise is only an appetizer. The important thing is whether we can ride the wave and present a coherent train of thought below. Take a look at the next premise we have…”
He switched screens, opened another folder, and clicked on a video that was titled ‘Premise 2’, “This is the second premise that we’ve prepared, and this is where we’ve had our divergent views. The only thing we can agree on is that the premise isn’t quite suitable. Do let us know if you can think of something more suitable than…”
“Ahh… Oh! Yamete… Itai itai sugoi~! Sugoi~!”
A rather discordant sound filled the room in an instant. In his stupor, Lin Han turned around in bed and murmured, “Is that Sakuraiya-sensei…”
Both Qin Ye and the paper crane stared at Lin Han as though they had just seen a ghost, and then turned back to the screen where a man and a woman were mashing their bodies together.
Screw your Premise 2! Screw the research data you’ve prepared!
“Ahh… men…” Three seconds later, Arthis snorted contemptuously, “Is that all you men have in your heads?”
“Does this look like it’s mine?! Do you think it’s a file I’ve saved?!” Qin Ye gnashed his teeth and swore under his breath, “And! What do you mean by that?! There’s still Tenkai, Tsubasa, Ohashi, Mimiya, Momoya, Erika, Akira, Hana, Nishino, Yuzuki, Tina, Hishizaki, Jessica, Murakami, Lisa, Amamiya, Kotone and more!”
And then he scowled at the duo who were currently deep in slumber, “On the other hand, they’ve only got a measly Sakuraiya. That’s just weak...”
“Oh? Where did you store them?” Arthis asked curiously, “How come I’ve never discovered them before?”
“Haha, with just your intelligence? E-drive, Premise 2 folder, will open your eyes to a whole new world…”
There was an abrupt silence.
The kind that all humans feared the most.
Seconds later, Qin Ye coughed dryly, “Well then, read on, read on. Remember to like, comment and subscribe. Everything else isn’t too important…”
Arthis gave Qin Ye one final scowl before flapping her wings and taking off, “You’re in the right direction. Come back to me when you’re facing another mental block. I don’t claim for much, but I dare say that the cases I’ve approved of can never be picked apart by these lowly cultivators of the mortal realm.”
“Do it well. Even if you don’t get the results you desire, you won’t regret putting in your utmost effort.”
The sudden outpouring of praise and encouragement caught Qin Ye somewhat off guard. He scoffed, sat down in front of the laptop, and began to trudge through the path of progress once more.
8 May, the seventh day - 1,200 words.
11 May, the tenth day - 1,700 words.
14 May, the thirteenth day - 2,400 words.
15 May, the fourteenth day - 2,700 words.
Another week passed in a flash. With Arthis now providing feedback and review, the pace of their progress had evidently increased substantially as well. Corroboration was one of the most important aspects of any thesis papers. How do you prove that your premises and arguments are correct? There was a stark difference from the first onset of their divergent views to Qin Ye’s executive decision to proceed on his own ideas. His ideas were so sharp and precise that they even shook Lin Han and Su Feng to the core.
The examples and cases he had referred to were perfect for the situation! None of them could find a better one. The ones he chose were the best and the most suitable ones!
They stared at Qin Ye with a venomous gaze. They had a wealth of experience with the SRC under their belts, yet they still couldn’t believe what they were seeing with their very eyes!
The number of historical cases were as vast as the oceans. Some of the cases were even from ancient times and seemingly unobtrusive in their correlations. But everything appeared to fit snugly like pieces to a puzzle when applied to the research paper that Qin Ye was drafting. It was as though they were a match made in heaven.
The assistance of an Infernal Judge of Hell had caused their progress to soar on wings. Then, on saturday, at 7.00 a.m., the three men yawned wearily, and were just about to lay down to rest when knocks were suddenly heard from their door.
Tao Ran and Zhou Xianlong promptly waltzed into their room with paper bags in their hands. Before the three could stand up, Zhou Xianlong made a pressing gesture with his hand, “Sit. There’s no need to stand on ceremony.”
The trio were completely drained, so they nodded and remained seated on the ground. Zhou Xianlong looked around the room and then sighed with great emotion, “When I first saw your application form, I actually thought that you were just messing around… Old Tao, give it to them.”
There were three cups of warm soy milk, a few fritters, and a few steamed buns.
These were rather commonplace breakfast items, yet it clearly warmed their hearts. Their stomachs rumbled and gurgled in the next moment.
It was strange. They were evidently not hungry at all, and yet the sight of food made them feel as though they hadn’t eaten for an entire lifetime.
“Good people…” Lin Han munched on his fritter as he mumbled. His expressions were incredibly rich.
On the other hand, Qin Ye’s mind went to a completely different place - If you’re such a good person, why don’t you come down and join me right now? I wish you all an early death and passing… I’ll be sure to get the best palanquin ready for your souls…
Zhou Xianlong ignored him and continued, “Perhaps you might still be unaware of the ramifications of your actions right now. The first bird to venture into the woods might get shot by a gun, but it might similarly attract the attention of everyone around as well.”
“This is potentially the first paper to be published under the name of the First Academy of Cultivators. The attention on you right now is practically beyond your imaginations. Our academy’s publication on Cultivators Weekly necessarily means that everyone will be scrutinizing its contents and reasoning. In other words, you represent the voice of the First Academy of Cultivators to the rest of the nation right now. Therefore, a good paper just wouldn’t cut it. The paper will have to be exceptional.”
“The rest of the nation is glaring at us with great jealousy, wondering what basis the First Academy of Cultivators has to deserve its own city. What right do we have to enjoy the support of governmental policies? What basis is there for those who graduate from the First Academy of Cultivators to be parachuted into high places in other organizations? And right now, this paper is essentially a declaration of the basis for these privileges.”
The trio drank their soybean milk and nodded their heads vigorously.
Despite the fact that Qin Ye was well past the age to be motivated by such speeches, he could still feel his heart skip a beat.
Perhaps motivation and passion weren’t limited by age after all. All it required was a confluence of the right time, the right place, and the right emotions.
Tao Ran picked up where Zhou Xianlong left off, “I’ll be the gatekeeper for your research paper. If it’s not up to par, I won’t let you submit it for publication. This includes a paper that would be barely good enough to be published on Cultivators Weekly. That said, don’t feel too burdened by this. Treat it as a learning experience. Work hard at it, and let us know what else you might need. We’ll do our best to support you in the ways we can. Oh, that’s right…”
He looked at his watch, “We’re here today to tell you that the Yin spirit research hall has just been fully constructed. Some of the Yin spirits that are considered more special than others have also been captured by soul spheres and transported to this location. This is all thanks to your contributions during your opening lecture. The research hall will be opened in one month’s time. But you’ve been granted authorization to use this place before its opening. No one will interrupt you during this period of time.”
“Besides that,” Zhou Xianlong added, “If your papers can be published in Cultivators Weekly, all participating instructors will be rewarded handsomely. The first author shall be awarded 500 teaching credits! All co-authors shall be awarded 300 teaching credits! And all students will be granted 50 student credits!”
It was an incredibly generous reward!
It was practically the highest possible number of points they could be awarded with according to Li Tao’s explanations at the commencement of the semester.
The three men felt their hearts skip a beat, but they appeared unfazed as they nodded lightly.
The fact that they had attained the cultivation they did necessarily meant that they possessed a strong heart. They had undertaken the great responsibility of tackling the very first research paper to be published by the First Academy of Cultivators. As men with their pride, it was now their duty to see it through to the very end.Previous Chapter Next Chapter