Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
Edited by ONI_Ghost
Beta read by OEE
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Minutes later, Jiang Yao led the way outside the palace with Luo Xiao following closely. It was the first time since the two had entered Cloudsoar City that Luo Xiao got to see the busy outside world again.
Truly, busy was the best way to describe it. If the palace was like a quiet and calm oasis in the middle of the city, the city itself was like a busy marketplace. Thankfully, a carriage had been arranged to wait for the two of them next to the palace doors so neither of them would have to deal with other people intercepting them.
Once inside the carriage, hidden from prying eyes, Jiang Yao’s expression lit up from its previous coldness, glancing at the still blushing Luo Xiao next to him before he looked away.
If one didn’t know him well they would think he was just pretending to be happy in order to gain something. But Jiang Yao truly was happy; he had just gotten a kiss he hadn’t initiated himself!
That meant he was winning Luo Xiao over, and there was no way he wouldn’t be happy over something like that!
Jiang Yao almost chuckled to himself thinking about that kiss though he withheld it as he would have all the time to think about it later. Now there were more important things to do, such as…
“Xiaoxiao, have you heard before about the Cloudsoar Royal Academy?”
“Hmm?” The slightly dazed Luo Xiao lifted his head, looking at Jiang Yao in a moment of silence. “No… Where I grew up, in my village, we didn’t even know the Demon Empire existed.”
“Alright. Then I’ll tell you basics of how the Royal Academy works,” Jiang Yao nodded to himself, almost smirking, thinking about how very few things Luo Xiao actually knew about the world, even if he was learning a lot every day.
“There are five years in the Academy. You are assigned or promoted to a year depending on your cultivation rank; they are the Sky, Star, Moon, Heaven, and Emperor. The majority of the classes are voluntary, and there are courses such as herbology, pill making, history, strategy and war, fighting classes, and who knows what else. There’s also all sorts of other peculiar classes you can take.
“Overall, it’s only managed by the royal family of Cloudsoar City, which means anyone can enter; be they demons, humans, beasts, and even spirits.”
Luo Xiao’s eyes opened wide as the spirits were mentioned. From all the books he had read while he had lived in the village of Jinwei, he knew that spirits were ethereal and gifted from birth, even if it took them thousands of years to form. They were also incredibly hard to kill as they could even reform naturally if there was enough energy around.
Luo Xiao’s eyes brightened at the idea of meeting such a creature, looking at Jiang Yao with more attention, and trying to soak up all the information the other would give him as they travelled.
“Yes, spirits. There should be a few amongst the different classes. Back to the Academy’s rules, you have to attend one mandatory lecture on cultivation every week, the rest is self-study. There is a system for points and rewards where you do tasks assigned by the Academy, and based on your performance they award you points. Those points you can then spend to use more specialised facilities in order to cultivate faster.
“Be careful though, there will be people who will challenge you. Be it for points, misunderstandings, or even life and death matches. You should be careful when accepting these challenges. Some will bully you, others could scam you. Even if it’s a royal academy, there’s all sorts of people there.”
Luo Xiao nodded, quickly understanding that Jiang Yao was giving him yet another warning. He hadn’t forgotten that his soul still belonged to Jiang Yao for the sole reason of getting the help he needed to take revenge on the dangerous Fourth Prince.
He had to be careful even if the Academy was a generally safe place.
The next fifteen or so minutes of the ride were spent with Luo Xiao asking random questions about the Academy, such as what was there, if he could leave, and others. On the question of leaving Jiang Yao sternly looked at him before making Luo Xiao promise that he wouldn’t leave the Academy grounds without notifying him first.
It was around then that the carriage finally stopped in front of a pair of wide and greatly ornamented wooden doors.
“Is this the Academy?” Luo Xiao muttered while the two of them got off the carriage.
The enormous gate was closed, and two cultivators stood in front of it, clearly being its guards.
“Obviously, it’s behind the gate. Now, follow me,” Jiang Yao’s expression once more became cold, hiding his inner emotions as he headed towards the gate.
As soon as the duo got close one of the guards moved to stop them. However, there was no time for him to do anything as Jiang Yao straight up grabbed Luo Xiao and directly flew over the cultivators and the gate, completely bypassing them!
“We have to notify the Principal!” as soon as the two men freed themselves from their stupor, they looked at each other, with one of them speaking.
The other narrowed his eyes, thinking for a moment about how the two looked before remembering a detail that only now he registered; their clothes looked awfully close to the fabrics of Royal Cloth!
“It’s most likely one of the direct lineage Princes,” he spoke, putting his hand over the other man’s shoulder, stopping him from moving further. “The message won’t arrive faster than them anyway, let it be.”
“Mhm,” he murmured, at which both exchanged one more long glance before returning to their posts.
Meanwhile, Luo Xiao couldn’t help but hold his eyes wide open as Jiang Yao directly flew with him over the grounds of the Academy.
The place was enormous alright. But what surprised him more than its size, was that the majority of the outer grounds looked almost like the city itself, with various houses for living, and little shops whose vendors lived on the grounds of the Academy. Of course, all of these vendors were employed by the Academy, and to purchase things from them one needed the points that the Academy would give them. Normal money wouldn’t work.
Further in, another area, that seemed like the actual school grounds were situated. A few large arenas could be found there, where a few people were clearly fighting as sparks from abilities flew high in the air. Next to them was an enormous plaza, where a few other students were meeting and talking.
Even further in were what could be described as buildings that housed enormous halls. Two of them had no roofs, and the others were closed off. As the weather was nice on this day, a few small groups of students could be seen sitting in the open halls, listening to someone giving a lecture.
Being so high and flying by at such high speed, Luo Xiao had no chance to hear even a word of what the people were saying, though it was clear that Jiang Yao was headed for a building even further away from the gates.
In fact, not the entire grounds, on which the Royal Academy was built, could be freely accessed by the students. Around two-thirds of it was reserved for the specialised areas, and the places where the mentors resided.
And there, in one of the buildings closer to the student area, was the building where the Principal of the Cloudsoar Royal Academy resided.
Compared to Jiang Yao’s palace, it was a rather small place, with modest decorations, and a simple design. The traces of age were clearly visible on it too; it didn’t look brand new like many of the other buildings around it, which meant it had been there for a much longer time than the rest of the Academy.
Luo Xiao quickly noticed that little detail as Jiang Yao landed silently on the ground and put him down as well. However, there was no time to comment on it, as he had to follow Jiang Yao inside the building.
There were no guards anywhere; this was the Cloudsoar Royal Academy, who would go around and break its rules when the Royal Demon Family stood behind it?
Naturally, as Jiang Yao was part of the said royal demon family, there was no way any of the rules could stop him as minutes later the door to the Principal’s office was quite literally, slammed open.
“Who dares?!” Despite the shock of the door being slammed open able to startle anyone, an extremely quick flash of light flew towards the two of them, so quick that Luo Xiao couldn’t follow it with his eyes.
“Principal Fan Lingxin, is this how you greet one of your superiors?” Naturally, Jiang Yao was completely unscathed as his hand crushed the white light, which turned out to be an icicle.
The man named Fan Lingxin looked rather young. He was probably somewhere between his twenties or thirties when it came to his apparent age, but Luo Xiao knew not to judge age by appearance. Fan Lingxin proved that by very quickly returning to a calm state as he sat back down in his seat, looking at Jiang Yao and Luo Xiao with his black eyes.
“What have you come here for?”
“To put Xiaoxiao in the Academy.” Jiang Yao’s reply was pretty direct as he pushed Luo Xiao in front of him.
Fan Lingxin raised his eyebrows as he looked at Luo Xiao with a cold gaze. He could see nothing special about this youth, and his cultivation was only at Low Sky Rank. He could see that Luo Xiao was a soul cultivator though; naturally, without a soul-testing stone he wouldn’t be able to check what sort of soul he had.
“It’s the middle of the year, and no students are to be accepted, Your Highness,” Fan Lingxin shook his head in response.
However, Jiang Yao’s cold smile made a shiver run down his spine. “I’m pretty sure you can arrange it. Xiaoxiao will attend the Cloudsoar Royal Academy, and I will not take a no for an answer.”
Fan Lingxin locked gazes with Jiang Yao, yet couldn’t keep it up for long before he looked away, sweat started appearing on his forehead. “The other students are already way ahead of this youth. You realize how much that can hurt him?”
“Obviously, I can protect him.”
“Still a no. Please wait until next year, Your Highness. I can’t break the rules for one kid. If I do, I will have to break the rules for them all.”
Jiang Yao’s smile instantly disappeared, and a cold, almost murderous, air took its place as he looked at Fan Lingxin. “As the Seventh Prince of the Demon Empire, I order the Principal of the Cloudsoar Royal Academy to enlist Luo Xiao as a student. Do you still dare to disobey?”
The moment that murderous air appeared, Fan Lingxin’s breath hitched, large beads of sweat dripping down his neck. There was no way he could resist an order from a direct lineage prince, even if he could deny a request.
“… This subject obeys. I’ll send a jade slip for someone to handle the necessary things, you can leave him at the main plaza.” Finally, he agreed, bowing his head.
That action of his caused the dark cold air to instantly disappear.
“That works for me. Alright, Xiaoxiao, let’s go.” Jiang Yao smiled, turned around, and lead the way outside, holding hands with Luo Xiao.
As soon as Fan Lingxin saw that Jiang Yao was gone, he closed his eyes and massaged his temples. What a scary man, he thought, a shiver running down his back once more as he thought about that cold gaze of Jiang Yao’s.
There was no way he could disobey that.