Inside the small courtyard, a small red clay furnace was propped up on burning pine branches, within it new unstrained green ant wine.
Vice Principal Xia had a thin blanket over his body, sitting on a yellow bamboo chair that had been worn to the point where it had a glossy jade-like surface. On a small table next to him were small cowhide scrolls.
In life, those who one could call true intimate friends were very few to begin with. This was especially true when one reached his age, the amount that remained would be even fewer.
His close friends had already half withered and fallen. They didn’t have much celebration in this life, always separated… this was a reality that couldn’t be helped. Right now, he was drinking alone, which was why it seemed especially somber and lonesome.
However, fortunately, he still had many things worth recalling, as well as many people he still had to take care of. That was why he wasn’t idle at all, instead calm and peaceful.
A light gazhi noise sounded, the small courtyard’s renovated bamboo doors pushed open. A brass frame bespectacled Xiao Mingxuan walked into the small courtyard. He raised his hand, and then with a flick of his finger, a small scroll landed on the thin blanket covering Vice Principal Xia’s knees. Then, he first brought out a bamboo chair from within on his own, then poured himself a cup of wine, blowing while sipping on it.
When he unfolded the small scroll Xiao Mingxuan tossed over, a look of gratification appeared on Vice Principal Xia’s face. He glanced at Xiao Mingxuan, his expression as if his expectations had been somewhat exceeded, then, with a sigh of admiration, he said, “This brat really is determined.”
“I now finally understand why Old Zhang said you are more suited to managing this academy than Old Meng.” Xiao Mingxuan nodded. “Data, analysis, and logic, I am better at these than you, but judging people, this is something you are better at than me.”
“Exceptional aptitude, formidable when facing enemies, these aren’t very important, even Honorable Cang Yue is capable of this. However, the key lies in that even after receiving the bitter training of both Xu Shengmo and Tong Wei, this type of torment, he is absorbing everything like sweet dew, when faced with humiliation, he could still have a calm heart… this brat, really is a bit determined.” After a nod, Xiao Mingxuan removed the spectacles from the bridge of his nose, but he still couldn’t help but release a rare sentence of praise.
Vice Principal Xia revealed a faint smile. “However, he still has a bit of childishness… Xu Shengmo is definitely quite furious.”
“It’s best if he can wake up a bit from this anger. No matter how formidable one can become, just what degree can they reach? That person down south, the old fellas in Imperial City, which one of them are formidable characters?” Xiao Mingxuan muttered in disdain. “What Old Zhang said was correct, we are all fish in a great river. No matter how strong the fish are, if they want to change the great river, then that is stupidity. When the fireflies in Four Seasons Plains beat their wings, no one will know just what kind of winds will be produced ten thousand li out.”
Vice Principal Xia laughed. He also poured out a cup of wine, starting to slowly drink it.
Even though this Heaven’s Core small courtyard looked secluded and lonely, this academy, this empire, this world, the things that happened day after day were like a flowing stream, gathering towards this small academy.
Xiao Mingxuan immersed himself in the analysis of data, not tending to too many private emotions. However, towards those individuals he was fond of himself, the ones he favored, watching them grow… Vice Principal Xia felt just like he was watching his own children.
Lin Xi’s daily performance would always be delivered into this small courtyard each day.
That was why even if Vice Principal Xia didn’t leave this small courtyard, he still knew that Qin Xiyue and Gao Yanan had a disagreement over Lin Xi on the mountain path, also knowing about Lin Xi and Liu Ziyu’s one month agreement.
Then, Lin Xi defeated ‘Yellow Antelope’ in the training valley, and then defeated ‘Spirit Vulture’, afterwards entering the ‘Blade and Spear’ stone temple.
After that, Lin Xi defeated ‘Golden Sunflower’ once more, furthermore also defeating ‘Redbud’.
The days passed one after another. Vice Principal Xia remained in this peaceful small courtyard, watching as Lin Xi’s achievements continuously grew.
Ever since the day he defeated Spirit Vulture, Lin Xi didn’t even lose once in the training valley, moreover withdrawing with five emblems every single time. Now, Lin Xi already had nine successive five emblem withdrawals, and according to what Li Wu said, Lin Xi truly broke the time record in the Direct Spear Strikes Trial.
Even though his daily performance in the ‘Blade and Spear’ stone temple wasn’t as astonishing as when he was in the Direct Spear Strikes stone temple, still more than forty steps remaining from the rear gate of the stone temple, Vice Principal Xia and Xiao Mingxuan naturally concluded that this was because of Xu Shengmo’s extra special training, leaving his body unbearably fatigued.
In summary, Lin Xi’s performance still greatly exceeded both his and Xiao Mingxuan’s expectations.
When those who one viewed like their own children performed even better than what they expected, this was obviously something worth being happy over, worth drinking a cup over.
Xiao Mingxuan and Vice Principal Xia, the two of them didn’t even mention Liu Ziyu. It was because according to Lin Xi’s performance, his arrangement with Liu Ziyu was already something that completely lacked suspense.
“Yan Shaoqing’s group, their carriage, there are still two days before it arrives, right?” After tearing a piece of smoked jerky that was being roasted on the side and chewing on it, Vice Principal Xia poured a cup of wine, looking at Xiao Mingxuan while asking.
Xiao Mingxuan shook his head. He gave the smoked meat that had both an alluring color and fragrance a look, and then looked at his own chubby body with a worried expression, in the end with a bit of annoyance, he only poured himself a cup of wine, saying, “There are still three days. They encountered a mudslide along the way, clearing up the road took up a day.”
Vice Principal Xia nodded. He looked at Xiao Mingxuan in a simple and direct manner, speaking four words, “What do you think?”
“Zhan Taimang’s and my assessment are the same, it definitely won’t be any inferior to those old fellas in the imperial city. Great Mang’s state treasuries have already been used considerably, some sealed grain depots already being opened as well, the numbers great. This can only mean one thing, which is to prepare provisions for the troops defending the borders.” Xiao Mingxuan’s fat finger lightly tapped the edge of the wine cup, his round face a bit annoyed as he said, “Thunder Academy even has quite a few people entering Heaven Ascension Mountain Range to train themselves, which is why the emperor has completely become anxious, losing patience. With Zhan Taimang’s aggressive stance, the emperor will definitely have some more excuses. When the time comes, if we want to have an advantage in negotiations with the emperor, I fear that we will have to have the upper hand on Thunder Academy first. Otherwise, with the emperor’s current attitude, our Green Luan Academy can naturally refuse, but Yunqin won’t be able to withstand the price.”
“There are three more days… if Lin Xi is given a fourth day of time, he should be able to attack at ‘Blade and Spear’ trial’s record.”
Vice Principal Xia’s voice sunk, and then he turned around to Xiao Mingxuan, saying, “I will make some arrangements. After four days, let’s see what the best of Thunder Academy’s new students are like. Help me keep an eye on western border’s army, Honorable Cang Yue will most likely become restless as well.”
“Sure.” Xiao Mingxuan lowered the wine glass in his hands. He was just about to get up, but he suddenly slapped himself fiercely as if giving himself punishment, his entire left cheek becoming red from the strike. “There were too many matters recently, my memory is no longer as good as before, almost forgetting one of the most important matters… A trusted individual from inside Tangcang Imperial Palace has sent out news, wishing to use Gu Xinyin to exchange for Nan Gongmo.”
When he said this, his voice was even shaking a bit, blaming himself a bit for not immediately mentioning this.
Vice Principal Xia’s breathing also stopped slightly, but a rare gloomy frost immediately covered his face. He shook his head. “This price isn’t enough.”
“This price isn’t enough.” His mind also seemed to have been shaken quite a bit. After repeating this line, he looked at Xiao Mingxuan, and with a sunken voice, said, “Tangcang’s people definitely think that because we are aware of the unbearable suffering Gu Xinyin has experienced over these years, we will definitely immediately exchange for his return. However, it is precisely because we know they used many methods to torment him, wishing to learn many secrets from his mouth… precisely because of the many years of suffering he has endured, that this price is far from enough.”
Xiao Mingxuan remained silent for a long time. Then, he said, “What if they change their mind?”
“Since they couldn’t learn anything from Gu Xinyin’s mouth, Gu Xinyin isn’t very useful to them. Moreover, they wish to learn some secrets from Nan Gongmo. That is why you should only tell them that I want Gu Xinyin to be able to speak and jump, properly come back alive, similarly, I will also properly return Nan Gongmo to them, but this price is still not enough.” Vice Principal Xia took a deep breath, and then he looked at Xiao Mingxuan, saying, “Even if Gu Xinyin hears that we refused this proposal this time, he will understand that this is the price for these past few years that we were seeking him.”
Xiao Mingxuan nodded, no longer saying anything else. He turned around, walking out of this small courtyard.
“Who is this Silver Fox? He is so formidable, why did he suddenly come out of nowhere?”
“It’s rumored that the charge of Spirit Vulture on this ranking was ended precisely under his hands. Also, that Golden Sunflower’s successive record was also ended under his hands.”
The area around the rankings signboard outside the training valley was full of activity.
It was because all of the new students discovered that during the past few days, there was suddenly a ‘Silver Fox’ who appeared, moreover this Silver Fox’s climb was extremely astonishing, actually another five emblem withdrawal achievement added each day. After nine days, he already withdrew with nine successive five emblem withdrawals.
“When we calculate the time, this Silver Fox began his successive victories when ninety jin heaven’s choice and Brother Liu made their agreement. Say, do you think this Silver Fox is that Self Defense Department’s ninety jin heaven’s choice?” A tall and sturdy looking Medicine Department golden spoon youngster said loudly here, full of ridicule.
This Medicine Department golden spoon youngster was named Ge Yinglang, precisely one of the people who spoke out on that mountain path, berated Lin Xi.
“My ass! If even someone like him can win so many times in succession, then the sun really will rise from the west. If that happens, I’ll eat this signboard!” An arrogant and haughty Self Defense Department youngster released a loud snort. It was precisely Mu Shanzi.
Ge Yinglang couldn’t help but roar with laughter. Even though Mu Shanzi said ‘my ass’ to him, his tone rather crude, Mu Shanzi’s stance also rather aggressive, not something he was normally used to, now that these two’s viewpoints were similar, the two naturally found each other more and more pleasing to the eye
“Wen Xuanyu came out…”
The area in front of the signboard immediately became quiet. Mu Shanzi’s brows furrowed, seeing a pale-faced, entire body soaked Wen Xuanyu slowly walk out from the valley.
While ignoring everyone else’s gazes, Wen Xuanyu, this youngster who was internally arrogant to the extreme, after giving the signboard a look, slowly and silently left.
“Could it be that it really is him… Silver Fox?” Wen Xuanyu clenched his fists, and then loosened them. The students in front of the signboard only felt that he might be too much of a recluse and too arrogant, none of them thinking that right now, he actually only had this thought in his head.
1. Great Mang Dynasty’s emperor