Chapter 211: First Submission (2)

“Press on.” With that, Zhou Xianlong and Tao Ran took their leave.

“Press on!” Lin Han slapped his face and wiped his hands, “Come, let’s carry on. I’d feel like I’m letting the academy down if I fail to meet their expectations.”

“It’s fine. Go take a nap first. You’ve been up all night. If you keep at it, you might just die right in front of your laptop.”

“Yeah, this isn’t that urgent. Get a good rest first, and we’ll talk later. Otherwise, you’ll almost certainly face a mental block.”

By the time they woke up again, it was already 6.00 p.m.

As soon as they were done washing up, Wang Chenghao entered with a tin container in hand. He had been the one taking care of their food and drinks over the last few days, over and above his duties in poring through the data in the records room. The trio thanked him, before turning back to the sea of information that they were sailing right through.

Qin Ye looked at his fingers. The document was already filled with words, and what needed to be covered was largely covered by now. There were at most three to four hundred more words before the first draft of the thesis was complete.

As he progressed through the thesis, his thoughts became more and more streamlined, and the writing process naturally became smoother and smoother. The number of words that he managed to write each day also increased accordingly.

The latest edition of Cultivators Weekly had just arrived last night. They analyzed the trends to date, and concluded that the final page of Cultivators Weekly generally was not occupied solely by a single research paper. More often than not, it shared the space with the promotion of new products, artifacts and weapons, each occupying approximately half of the total amount of space allocated. The research papers generally didn’t exceed 3,000 words either, because it would have to provide space for some commentary below.

But if it were an important paper with far-reaching consequences, these would occupy the entire page. That said, this was generally rare, occurring approximately only once every quarter. Furthermore, most of these important papers would have been jointly published through the collaboration of several journals.

They knew full well that they were newbies in the cultivation academia. They knew full well that they were far too inexperienced compared with the leading authors in these fields. But given the honour that accompanied such publications in Cultivators Weekly, why would they shrink back right now?

After investing so much into their research, they naturally wanted to see what level of results they would achieve.

At the very least… they knew that their thesis statement would send earth-shattering ripples across the cultivation world as soon as it was verified!

This was what their efforts were all about!

Today, nobody left the room. Everyone gathered by Qin Ye’s side, silently watching him as he drafted up the remainder of the paper.

Time passed by quickly, and it was soon twelve noon. And Qin Ye finished up the segment addressing his last premise right as the clock struck twelve.

Nobody said anything. Lin Han and Su Feng continued to watch and wait for the next half an hour, until Qin Ye finally concluded his paper, “The aforementioned premises substantiates my hypothesis that Yin spirits are by no means simply mutating. Just as much as humans are evolving, so are Yin spirits… I warmly invite comments from the learned scholars of the cultivation academia.” As soon as he finished up this line, all three men let out a sigh of satisfaction and slumped back into their seats as though completely paralyzed.

“Awesome!!” Several moments later, Local Bully cried out with joy and abruptly shot to his feet like a mad dog, “Come! Let’s go for a barbeque! My treat!”

“It’s finally done…” Su Feng didn’t respond directly. Instead, he simply stared soullessly into the ceiling above, “It had taken half a month. And this was only the first draft to boot… These 300 credits are truly hard-earned…”

Qin Ye stared vacantly at his computer screen. His body felt completely drained of energy, and yet what was lost appeared to be replaced by a sense of fullness.

“How is it?” Lin Han fervently suppressed the overflowing excitement in his heart as he placed his arms around the shoulders of the other two instructors, “Do you think we can get it published?”

“I hate to say this, but the examples raised by Qin-Dog are exactly on point! One shot, one kill! They support the premises we’ve set out in the paper perfectly! There isn’t much else to say but awesome!”

“I concur.” Su Feng adjusted his glasses and licked his dry, cracking lips. He took another swig of his coffee, and then gave Qin Ye a huge thumbs up, “You’re truly formidable. To think that you were able to handpick these examples from thousands of cases on end when nobody else could find or suss out suitable ones! You’ve saved us huge amounts of time!”

Qin Ye massaged his temples and revealed a sincere, joyous smile, “You guys did a lot too.”

“It’s not the same.” Su Feng’s chest began to rise and fall with increasing magnitudes, “It’s easy to construct ideas and think of the right premises, but the true difficulty lies in substantiating the premises with proper, incontrovertible proof.”

“Every good academic paper out there is backed by months, if not years of research and information gathering, before finally condensing all of that information into several thousand words. I’d been prepared to spend the next half a semester slogging away at the research paper when I first agreed to it, yet who would have expected…” He gazed deeply at Qin Ye, “The substantiating proof that you’ve picked out is so apt that I bet even Professor Tao wouldn’t be able to find a single loophole in it!”

That’s only natural.

Qin Ye smiled faintly. Arthis’ vast experience naturally meant that she surpassed every single academic out there in the mortal realm. They weren’t fighting on equal playing fields. He was standing on the shoulder of a giant. But, that said, this didn’t mean that he was plagiarizing everything from the old Hell. After all, Hell might not hold the same perspective on the matter as he did.

Different environments and different cultures naturally gave rise to different Yin spirits. How would the Yin spirits of modern day society continue to evolve?

Qin Ye had started off by modelling his paper after others. Yet, as time went on, and as inspiration abounded, he began to internalize and modernize his theory of evolution of Yin spirits, giving a deeper perspective to his paper. This was by no means mere copying.

He absolutely deserved his title as the first author of the paper.

“Barbeque? You guys go ahead.” After deliberating for a moment, Qin Ye picked up his laptop and stood up, “I’ll tweak it for a little bit more, and I’ll keep you informed before I submit it for review.”

Then, he promptly returned to his own dorm room before the duo could ask any more.

“You’re done?” Arthis asked without even looking at Qin Ye.

“Thanks.” Qin Ye went straight to the bathroom and got ready to take a shower. It was only after they were finally done with the paper did he realize to his horror he was almost rancid. He thanked Arthis casually on the way into the bathroom.

“There’s no need for thanks.” Arthis responded placidly, “You’re the future King Yanluo, and these are all part and parcel of the literature that should belong to your kingdom and domain in any event. So what reason is there to thank me for it? Aren’t you going to submit it right away?”

The sound of flowing waters interrupted her questions. Half an hour later, Qin Ye stepped out from the shower and lazily wiped his hair, “I’m not submitting it just yet.”

Arthis stopped typing on her keyboard, “Then, what are you planning to do? It’s not that I’m looking down on you, but given the breadth of your horizons right now, it’s already amazing that you can generate a piece of work like that.”

“But as it stands right now, I still can’t be sure that it will be published on Cultivators Weekly!” Qin Ye hung up his towel with a bright gleam in his eyes, “It can still be improved on! If I’m cheating with my access to resources, then I’ll just go all out!”

“Earlier, it was impractical to let him vet through every single paragraph I’d written. But now that I’m done with the first draft…”

He smiled wickedly, and Arthis immediately understood, “Gu Qing?”

Qin Ye nodded.

Research papers didn’t just require a novel thesis statement substantiated by incontrovertible proof. He was almost certain that the paper as it stood would be rejected several times by Tao Ran over multiple reviews. And he naturally shouldn’t be pestering Tao Ran to review and revise his work on a daily basis.

But he couldn’t delay any longer. He needed a buffer of approximately three weeks’ time from his submissions, to publication, and then to the time required for invitations to come pouring in. If he missed this window of opportunity, then the Obsidian Heaven’s Eye Bowl would be lost to him forever. To make matters worse, his Southsea Huanghuali golden trade route would have to wait till September. One was an esteemed general which he could entrust Hell’s forces to, while the other meant that Hell’s reconstruction efforts would finally take off. Qin Ye didn’t want to miss out on this prime opportunity!

Delays beget changes. Hell was in its infancy right now, and Qin Ye absolutely had to grasp every opportunity to make it stronger in the shortest possible time.

He relaxed his thoughts, took a deep breath, and then began to murmur to himself.

Nuanced language, the flow of logic, and the use of academic terms were all simple but effective factors to add depth and cogency to his paper. These were all essentials. What they had just done with the first draft was akin to grooming a tree until it flourished with verdant leaves. It would now be entirely up to the expert to nourish the tree to the next level such that it would blossom with flowers and stand out among the forest of trees.

He swiftly locked the door and hung up his ‘do not disturb’ sign. Then, he activated his shard of King Yanluo’s Seal and entered Hell once more.

Gu Qing was easy to locate. Everyone in Hell was practically under Gu Qing’s charge right now. Thus, as soon as he asked for Gu Qing, a Yin spirit immediately brought him over.

“Lord Qin, you’re just in time.” Gu Qing was full of smiles, “I’ve recently completed a ground survey of Hell, and I’ve finally come up with a sketch map for our development works. Do you want to take a look…”

“Leave it aside for now.” Qin Ye led Gu Qing straight into the annex hall, sat down, and pulled out the draft thesis paper which he had earlier printed out, “I’d like you to take a look at this and see if there are any parts which can be edited and improved.”

Gu Qing scrutinized its contents for the next twenty minutes, before finally pausing and sighing, “Is this very urgent?”

“Quite.” Qin Ye responded affirmatively, “I’ve got to submit this to the editorial department before 1 June, so that they will have fifteen days to review it. Once that is done… with such a groundbreaking research paper that will send waves throughout the mortal realm, coupled by the fact that this would be the academy’s first publication on Cultivations Weekly, I’m almost certain that the academy would send us out with their blessings.”

Gu Qing nodded, “The City of Salvation… Leaving that place is something so difficult that it practically borders on an impossibility. It would seem that this is your best bet right now.”

Qin Ye took a deep breath, “There will be a large overseas auction in East Cathay Sea at the end of June. Everyone attending would most certainly be important figures. As long as I can get this thesis published, I would be given the opportunity to travel to the coastal cities. Whether Eastsea or Pearlriver, that’s where my hopes to attend the auction in East Cathay Sea will take off! I’ll do my best to select any exchange programmes or forums in that area. And once we establish the Southsea Huanghuali trade route…”

He turned his gaze to the swaying red leaves that filled every corner of Hell which dwarfed the handful of machines around. He grinned with excitement, “My Hell… will finally be able to soar in the skies.”

“Of course.” Gu Qing understood the urgency of the matter, “Then I’ll be straightforward as well. Lord Qin, this research paper isn’t watertight enough.”

Qin Ye didn’t mind. He nodded, “There’s no harm in being blunt with me. To be honest, I don’t just want this paper to be published in Cultivators Weekly. I want them to dedicate a full page to its publication! The higher the quality of paper that is submitted, the more confident I would be of that!”

After all, it is only when the quality of paper is of a certain level that he would be able to attract the invitations of every large institution around, and he would consequently be able to pick and choose which forum or exchange to attend. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to ascertain whether the invitations would flow from Eastsea or Pearlriver at all.

And if he didn’t get any invitations from those localities, then it wouldn’t help him one bit that he could leave the City of Salvation. Would he thicken his skin and insist on attending the academic forums in the coastal regions?

Even if he were willing, the academy might not agree. The First Academy of Cultivators would never lower its head and beg for opportunities.

Gu Qing mulled over the use of language, “So here’s the thing. I wouldn’t be able to comment on the specific arguments and substantiating examples that you’ve cited. What I can comment on is the general direction and flow of the piece. Off the cuff, I can tell that the logical flow reads rather unnaturally at certain parts. There are some parts that seem rather ambiguous as well. It’s not that the arguments and substantiation aren’t rigorous enough, but the paper seems to give an impression that it lacks rigour.”

“And rigour is one of the most important things which scholarly articles are built upon. It’s also the best compliment to a paper. The imprecision appears in several statements made, the transition between paragraphs, and the use of technical terms. There are some issues with paragraphing and sequencing as well, but that’s a minor problem. That said, many small mounds can make a mountain. Put differently…”

He considered for a moment, “There’s nothing wrong about the whole thing, but it just doesn’t leave a good impression. Do you understand what I mean?”

Qin Ye nodded.

It was like a painting that had each and every element fantastically drawn, and yet the entire composite image still turned out somewhat unnatural and incohesive.

In other words, the ‘links’ weren't strong enough, and fissures were ostensibly appearing all over the paper. Anyone who had employed the ubiquitous technique of ctrl+c + ctrl+v would know exactly what these cracks were all about…

“How should we make changes, then?”

“It won’t be too troublesome to resolve these issues, but the tweaking and fine-tuning works might take some time…” Gu Qing paused for a moment of consideration, and then added affirmatively, “Five days.”

“Over the next five days, we’ll discuss it together and propel it to the highest standards we can.”

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