Chapter 373: Send Off

Qin Ye lay on his bed, completely motionless.

The sun was already setting, but he didn’t want to move, nor did he want to return to Hell. Just today, he wanted to be selfish.

It had been a short year at the First Academy of Cultivators, yet it was sufficient to leave him with plenty of cherished memories. He was savoring the feeling of living proper, and not merely surviving and getting by.

It was soon 6.00 p.m. With the early dusk in spring, the campus grounds were soon illuminated with electric lights.

It was quiet and peaceful. Unfortunately, he knew that as soon as he stepped out of this ivory tower he was in, he would never again experience the unique atmosphere in this place ever again.

Just then, someone suddenly burst through his door. A student rushed into his room, crying out at the top of his voice, “Instructor Qin! Something’s happened!!”

“What’s going on?” Qin Ye responded calmly.

“A student has passed out!” Qin Ye had seen this student before. He knew that he was from the Faculty of Combat, but he couldn’t recall his name in the heat of the moment. The student continued rattling on like an anxious machine gun, “I don’t know what happened, but his pulse has stopped as well! I couldn’t locate any of the other instructors around either!”

“Take me to him.” Qin Ye immediately leapt to his feet. At the very least, he still considered himself as an instructor of the First Academy of Cultivators right now.

The student led him straight towards the cafeteria. The closer they drew to the cafeteria, the more Qin Ye furrowed his brows.

Something’s wrong…

It should be mealtime right now. Although there’s another cafeteria in the academy, it’s highly unlikely that every single person has assembled there. So… why is everything pitch black in here?

Yin spirits? But, how is that possible?

He kicked down the cafeteria door hurriedly, only to be greeted by the sudden illumination of light within. A split second later, his jaws dropped slightly, and he glanced about his surroundings with great astonishment.

“Instructor Qin has arrived!” Tao Ran stood right in the center of the cafeteria, smiling broadly as he walked over and gave Qin Ye a bear hug, “Come, Instructor Qin, take your seat!”

“You guys…” Qin Ye continued to stare at his surroundings with great surprise. The tables in the cafeteria were covered with sumptuous dishes and even beer, something that was usually prohibited in the Academy. Every single student of the Faculty of Combat was present, while Lin Han, Su Feng and the other instructors were also smiling faintly at him. He raised his hands and waved bashfully at everyone.

Zhou Xianlong was also present and he, too, was smiling faintly at Qin Ye. Even the two gods of the academy, Xu Anguo and Li Tao, were present today. A banner hung right across the wall - “Send Off Party for Instructor Qin, Outstanding Instructor of the First Academy of Cultivators”.

“Come, come, come, don’t be shy.” Lin Han dragged him over to the main table and sat him down, “Were you not even going to say goodbye to us? If Professor Tao hadn’t informed us about your departure, we wouldn’t even have known about it. Do you even consider us your brother-in-arms?”

“You’re unreliable, you know?” Su Feng glared at him with contempt, “It’s not as though your departure marks the end of our relationship as we know it. Whatever happened to the number one genius instructor of the First Academy of Cultivators? Don’t you think it’s far too arrogant to simply depart without saying your goodbyes to us?”

Qin Ye was practically beside himself right now!

What’s going on?

Why is there a send off party for me?

I’ve seen this in movies and television shows, but I’ve never expected something like this to happen to me. It’s… not as though I’ve invested a lot in building relationships this year… nor have I attended many socials… so why is everyone here right now?

This was evidently a rare moment that couldn’t be explained by his wealth of life experiences.

His mind buzzed with a mental block, because he could feel something burning in the depths of his chest. A sourness spread from his heart, stinging his nose slightly and causing the rims of his eyes to redden. He was so swamped by this unfamiliar emotion that even his mind threatened to stop working completely.

The female ghost back in Wang Chenghao’s home had a tragic story to tell, and yet he had simply watched on with a cold expression in his eyes, and dealt with her summarily according to the laws of the underworld.

Similarly, he had been completely ruthless and unfeeling even when he dealt with the Li Jiankang matricide incident.

Come to think of it… is it simply because… those incidents didn’t involve me personally?

Qin Ye felt like he was drifting on clouds as he sat down on the main seat. In fact, he was so overwhelmed right now that he found himself at a complete loss for words. Fortunately, Lin Han sensibly raised his glass and proposed a toast, “Come! To our dear Instructor Qin! The genius of the First Academy of Cultivators! A Soul Hunter in his teens! And he’s going to return to his--... No! He will ascend to a higher post!”

“Thank you for your service, Instructor Qin!!” The students stood up in unison. Some faces were more familiar than others, but every single one of them had a sincere smile plastered across their faces. Without waiting for Qin Ye’s response, they immediately downed the cup of beer in their hands.

“Thank you, Instructor Qin.” The process was clearly well rehearsed. As soon as the students were done with their words of thanks, Tao Ran, Zhou Xianlong, Li Tao and Xu Anguo immediately stood up in unison. Qin Ye subconsciously motioned to stand up as well, only to be pressed back down to his seat by Lin Han, “No need. Tonight, you’re the boss. There’s no need to get up on your feet.”

Qin Ye suddenly realized that Local Bully was rather unreasonable.

Unreasonably handsome indeed…

“Thank you for all you’ve done for the First Academy of Cultivators.” Tao Ran spoke on behalf of the faculty staff, “Without you, there wouldn’t be the First Academy of Cultivators as we know it today.”

“Without your thesis, the First Academy of Cultivators couldn’t possibly have made a name for itself within such a short span of time.”

“Therefore, thank you. Thank you for sacrificing your precious cultivation time to nurture this garden instead. You’re one of the best gardeners around. Rest assured, the academy’s wall of honor will most certainly have a place for your name!”

Gulp. With that, the faculty staff also downed their glasses at one go.

Why are the rims of my eyes feeling so hot?

Qin Ye had never thought that a day would come when he would actually feel moved and touched.

After all, he had seen more than his fair share of departures and goodbyes. In fact, he thought that his heart had already turned to stone when he had said his goodbyes to Zhang Baoguo back then. Since then, he had always acted in accordance with his will, whether laugh or curse, or speak his mind. Thus, how could he have expected a day when he would actually be caught off guard and be rendered completely speechless?

Arthis would definitely make fun of me if she saw me right now…

He subconsciously downed the glass in front of him in response. Tao Ran smiled, “Students, instructors and faculty staff, let’s begin! We feast, so that we have the strength and energy to send Instructor Qin off on his way!”

At once, the entire cafeteria broke out into a clamor.

Qin Ye sat at the table where all of the instructors and faculty staff were located. Everyone spent the next ten minutes eating, before Xu Anguo picked up his cup and proposed a toast, “We’ll make an exception today, so long as it doesn’t affect classes tomorrow. Come, Little Qin, have a drink with this old man over here.”

Qin Ye had already collected himself by now, and he revealed a bittersweet smile on his face as he picked up his glass, “I can’t hold my liquor well. Pardon me, principal.”

He couldn’t afford to get drunk no matter what. This was an ironclad rule that he had set for himself.

“I respect your decision.” Xu Anguo responded chirpily, before finishing his cup in a single breath. Then, he continued, “That said, I’d never expected to have to send an instructor away so soon.”

“Instructor Qin is an exception. He needs to get his body back in proper working condition.” Li Tao chipped in, “But, Instructor Qin, your departure doesn’t mean that you’re leaving the First Academy of Cultivators. The place of your assignment will become the First Academy of Cultivator’s hunting grounds next time. You’ll forever be a part of the First Academy of Cultivators! Would anyone oppose that?!”

“Rest assured, that will be the case.” Qin Ye reveled in the experience of being fawned upon like a cherished junior. He sponged up their concern for him and relished every moment of it.

“Speaking of which, a year has passed in the blink of an eye…” Tao Ran sighed and glanced out of the window, “Little Qin, you might not know this, but you’re the one that I’ve had highest hopes for.”

“You’re calm and collected, unlike a particular instructor over here.” Tao Ran glared at Lin Han, only to receive an idiotic smile in return. Unfazed by it, he continued, “I was counting on you to take over as a professor when I’m gone. Your cultivation is strong, you’re experienced in combat, and you’re dedicated to your students. And your youth means that your future is practically limitless. Unlike me… the hopes of breaking through to becoming a Judge is slowly but surely waning away. What a pity…”

Tao Ran’s voice was laced with regret. Qin Ye finally responded, “Is Professor Tao also leaving?”

“Who wouldn’t?” Li Tao held up his cup, and sighed with great emotion, “We’re but a template for future academies to come. Once we have proven ourselves and become an established presence, we would be scattering to various parts of Cathay to spread the seeds of the First Academy of Cultivators. You, too, are one of our first seedlings to be nurtured and groomed in this regard. That said, fated as we might be to go out separate ways, we continue to be united in spirit and soul.”

He gently raised his glass, “Take heart, because our camaraderie lives on in our hearts. Decades later, when we all reunite in front of the wall of honor of the First Academy of Cultivators, we’d relive these stories in our tales to our children. What a joy that would be.”

“We burn like a fire and scatter like the stars.” Xu Anguo’s eyes gleamed with some measure of regret and impulsiveness, “Little Qin, who knows what the future might hold? Perhaps the First Academy of Cultivators would open a branch campus right outside your doorstep. When that time comes, wouldn’t you proudly show your friends and relatives to the wall of honour and tell them that your name is etched in its full glory forever?”

The man of few words was suddenly speaking with great impulsiveness, and the atmosphere grew even warmer than it had ever been before.

“But we’ll leave the matters of the future to another day. Come, Old Qin, let’s go one round?” Lin Han picked up his cup and clinked it against Qin Ye’s before downing it completely. Then, he patted him hard on the arm, “I can’t let you leave just like that. I’ve not beat you a single time before!”

Qin Ye chuckled, “You’ll have your chance next time.”

Lin Han leaned over and responded softly, “Do you know something, I couldn’t stand you when I first saw your face.”

“How could there possibly be someone who cultivates faster than me? And he even looks pretty decent to boot? You’re practically an archnemesis of mine!”

“And who could’ve thought that I wouldn’t even be able to beat you up once before you leave the academy?” He straightened his back and sighed softly, before raising his cup once more, “Fine. Next time, we’ll beat each other up!”

As time went on, Qin Ye indulged himself in his company and drank several more cups of beer. That said, the fiery feeling in his heart was finally beginning to subside - That’s right… goodbyes are only part and parcel of life.

What’s most important is the cherished memories that remain forever etched in one’s heart.

He couldn’t recall what his colleagues were bantering about. All he needed to do this indulgent night was to smile heartily at the friends around. There was no need to speak either, because words weren’t able to express his feelings right now. The only thing he knew for certain was that the atmosphere was warm, and that he wanted to take in every moment of this rare experience and cherish it for the rest of his life.

“Instructor Qin!” Just then, a voice called out. He turned around, only to realize Ye Xingchen was holding his cup and standing face to face with Qin Ye with a flushed face. He choked up slightly, “Thank you for your guidance this year! I’ll always remember you!”

What’s this kid talking about… It’s not like I’m going to die tomorrow.

That said, Qin Ye discovered that he was a little lost for words tonight, and he simply patted Ye Xingchen’s shoulders with a curt response, “Study hard, and don’t you die in the hands of Yin spirits.”

“Rest assured!!” Ye Xingchen downed his cup in a single breath, “You must make a visit to our clan one day! I’ll personally take you around to the mountaintops around! We’ve got several famous mountains and ancient temples in the region! Until then, please take care of yourself! And feel free to call me if you need anything!”

“I will.” Qin Ye smiled and made the ‘ok’ gesture with his hands. It was only then that Ye Xingchen left reluctantly. But as soon as he did, another female student promptly walked over with a red face and a cup in her hand.

Her eyes were incredibly red, and she bowed deeply to Qin Ye, “Instructor Qin, thank you very much!”

She was a familiar student.

Before Qin Ye could speak, the female student bit hard on her lips and muttered, “When school first began… I didn’t know a single thing, yet you continued to be patient with me. And… and you’d even taken a rookie like me under your wing and showed me how to write a thesis proper… and you’d even included my name in the credits. I appreciate all the help you’ve given to me, and I-I won’t let you down! Even though you won’t be physically around the academy anymore, I’ll still continue to study harder than ever before!”

With that, she downed her cup of alcohol in hand.

“Cough, cough, cough!” She obviously wasn’t used to drinking, and she choked and sputtered from the strength of the alcohol. That said, her flushed face looked no different from a pristine gerbera, rosy and bright.

And they weren’t the only ones who came forward.

The rest of the students soon followed suit, scrambling to get ahead of each other as they lined up to have an audience with Qin Ye. There were those who could hold their liquor, and those who couldn’t. Boisterous or shy, every single one of them had heartfelt words to speak to Qin Ye.

“Instructor Qin, I wish you great success in your place of assignment.” “Instructor Qin, please keep in contact! Please don’t mute our chat group!” “I-instructor Qin… could I add your personal Momo account…?” “Instructor Qin, safe journeys!” “Instructor Qin, do you know something, I’ve always been rather fond of you! Can you… please wait for me?”

Just like that, two hours zipped by in an instant, and Li Tao finally stood up, “Students, instructors and faculty staff, I believe everyone has had the opportunity to send their blessings to Instructor Qin in this send off party. I’m sure he appreciates these gestures of ours. We’ve still got classes tomorrow, so let’s call it a night. Instructor Qin, come, let’s make a move first.”

“Alright.” Qin Ye agreed.

A group of them left through the main door of the cafeteria. When nobody was looking, Qin Ye turned back and stole a fleeting glance at the cafeteria which was still abuzz with activity.

Farewell, First Academy of Cultivators.

The relationships forged here are going to be etched in my heart forever… The experience here… has been incredibly satisfying.

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