Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
Edited by ONI_Ghost
Beta read by OEE
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“Alright, as the Principal said, you wait here for someone to come and guide you around.”
Or at least that was what Jiang Yao said before leaving him in the main plaza, kissing his forehead as a temporary goodbye and flying away. Luo Xiao was suddenly left all alone in the middle of an academy he knew next to nothing about.
Of course, he understood somewhat that Jiang Yao couldn’t just remain there and wait for that someone to come. Not to mention it would be beneath him even if Luo Xiao was his lover.
The plaza wasn’t empty. Around the enormous empty space were quite a few benches under the trees, with a number of students sitting there and talking in their little cliques. When Jiang Yao had flown in with Luo Xiao, quite a number of gazes landed on the two of them.
Luo Xiao didn’t know that flying was forbidden in the Academy. The fact that Jiang Yao could completely bypass that rule, just like he did by ignoring at least twenty others, when he brought in Luo Xiao was both commendable and scary. It spoke of his status, and to the majority of people in this world, status was the most important thing they had.
Luo Xiao was suddenly left alone in the middle of the plaza to wait for someone he didn’t know anything about, and with people staring at him with both interest and suspicion. He couldn’t find it in himself to walk over to someone to ask for advice or anything, so instead. he just stood there, holding his hands together as his eyes looked around.
Under their gazes, although most of their owners stopped looking and returned to whatever they had been doing, Luo Xiao felt nervous as if he was being judged and scrutinized without end. He himself didn’t dare to look at anyone directly, and simply looked at the surroundings, trying to understand more of this place.
“You’re… Luo Xiao, right?” Suddenly, a woman’s voice interrupted his thoughts, making him look to his left.
Next to him, a woman looking in her mid to late twenties had appeared without sound or any other indication whatsoever. Her outfit looked rather loose, hiding most of her body shape, and on her face, the only make-up present was a gentle tint of lipstick. A pair of glasses was visible on the bridge of her nose, a rather surprising characteristic considering she was a cultivator as their eyesight would be getting better with each increase in the cultivation stage.
“Yes, Miss,” Luo Xiao said as he made a quick bow towards the woman.
“Alright, Luo Xiao. Come with me to make some quick assessments in order to register you to the academy and give you the proper documents so you can get assigned to a room. Or would you rather choose your own living quarters?”
When she spoke, she had already turned around and led the way outside towards the west side of the plaza. Luo Xiao quickly ran to catch up to her while briefly thinking about his choice.
“Please assign me a room, I’m not sure I’ll be able to find one on my own…” he quickly made a reply as soon as he had caught up to her.
“Alright. I don’t have a lot of time available, so we will have to be quick with this. Come here,” the woman nodded, imprinting something on a jade slip and sending it flying. Once that was done, she turned to the right and headed towards a small, almost unnoticeable building hidden amongst the trees.
The woman took out another jade, pressing it against the sealed door. A brief flash of light appeared before the door opened on its own, letting the two of them inside.
Once the two entered, Luo Xiao was briefly at a loss for words. It wasn’t that the building was extremely luxurious or even a little bit comparable to Jiang Yao’s palace. What made him at a loss for words were the various instruments inside the building.
The building wasn’t very spacious, but the various intricate instruments filling it felt as they were endless. One didn’t know where to begin counting, or where to end, and it was only possible to estimate that at least a few hundred devices were put in this place.
“All right, where did we put the spare…” the woman muttered, frowning as she began looking around. Briefly, her gaze landed on the both confused and curious looking Luo Xiao, which made her smile slightly.
She was just like that when she began studying in the Academy herself. But that was a long time ago, and now, as one of the elders who worked here, she had to fulfill her job.
Nevertheless, she decided to explain. “The examinations done on students are done to test their aptitude. If they are soul cultivator, it would measure the quality of their soul, and for qi cultivators, it tests their natural sensitivity to the energy of the world. Anyone can enter regardless of talent as long as they meet the basic requirements, we just have to write it down on their personal cards, and for our own information.”
“Usually, that’s done in the Main Hall; however, since it’s just you, and you came in the middle of the school year, I will just use the spare instruments. Ah, there it is!” A small smile appeared on her face as she picked up a small instrument full of white crystals.
Just by looking at it, Luo Xiao could tell that there were Soul Testing stones arranged in an odd formation inside the instrument. Clearly, it was much more advanced than the single crystal Jiang Yao had used when he had tested his soul for the first time.
“Alright, I presume you know how to get your soul energy to move, since you’re already at the Sky Rank. Just insert a sliver of it in here,” the woman sighed as she placed the device on a small table in front of Luo Xiao.
Luo Xiao nodded slightly as he approached the device. Looking at its rather interesting interior, he couldn’t help but wonder how it worked, but now it wasn’t the time for that. He raised his hand and gently touched the outside surface, feeling its coolness before closing his eyes and nudging his soul energy to move.
The golden lake in his Soul Palace was quite peaceful, with the only activity being a thin, almost invisible thread that linked it with the crystal dragon egg in his storage pouch.
Luo Xiao moved his energy, making a strand of energy leave the golden lake. However, just as it was about to exit the Soul Palace, a gentle blue glow covered it, making him tremble.
That was the Deep Water Marble which the Sixth Prince, Jiang Guanyu had given him! Previously it hadn’t done anything, but now it was suddenly acting out, covering the soul energy with its gentle blue light.
It was there for merely a second, but once the blue light retreated back into the Deep Water Marble, the look of the golden soul energy had changed. Luo Xiao’s breath almost hitched in shock, even though his eyes were closed, and he looked like he was concentrating from the woman’s perspective.
It had lost a majority of its golden colour and luster. Instead of it being pure gold, the soul energy looked pale yellowish, with streaks of gold running through it like gentle sparkles. If one looked at it, they could instantly tell it wasn’t of as high quality as the original.
Luo Xiao felt shocked, unable to understand how that Deep Water Marble had managed to change his soul energy but there was no way to question the owner of the blue orb at the moment. Instead, he directed this new transformed soul energy to his hand so it could enter the instrument.
A second later he opened his eyes to a gentle yellow glow coming from the device. Unlike the bright golden light from the last time he had his soul tested, this was much dimmer, and only a small amount of the light was golden.
The woman looked at it for a while, fiddling with it for a bit before the light faded away, the soul energy dissipating with it. “A Heavenly Soul, that’s pretty good. What cultivation technique do you use?”
“The Divine Nebula Art.”
“Oh, one of the top ten soul cultivation techniques. Not bad! Shame you’re only a Heavenly Soul though, you won’t be able to use its full potential…” she said, nodding to herself, imprinting some information on a new jade slip.
Luo Xiao looked away awkwardly. If only she knew he was an Astral Soul in disguise… But he couldn’t say that. Plus, the Heavenly Soul was the second best, so it wasn’t that big of a loss.
“Alright, let’s go,” the woman spoke again, flicking her sleeve as she sent that new jade slip flying through the door. “I’m going to lead you to your new accommodations.”
Luo Xiao quickly followed behind her as the two left the small instrument-crowded room. “Thank you, Miss.”
“My name is Elder Rui Sheng, no need to call me Miss. In case you’re wondering, I’m in charge of the Admissions and the Discipline Halls,” Rui Sheng glanced momentarily at Luo Xiao before leading the way even further than the main plaza.
The two walked in silence for a few minutes until they were interrupted by a jade slip flying in. Rui Sheng caught it with her hand, looking at its message before another few objects came flying in.
Catching those as well, she looked at them momentarily before handing them over to Luo Xiao. “This white card is your Academy identity card. You can use it to take missions, to pay within the points system, and as an entrance and exit pass. The black card is your room key. The number on the back can be used as your address if you buy something from the Academy markets and it has to be delivered.”
“Thank you,” Luo Xiao clasped his hands to Rui Sheng as he took the two cards. “Uhm… Where do I head to find my room?”
Rui Sheng was already turning around and was about to leave as her job was done when Luo Xiao’s question caught her. “Oh, go that way,” she pointed to her left before quickly disappearing towards the inner regions of the Academy.
Luo Xiao nodded after a short delay before taking one more look at the white and black cards. He could feel a trace of energy from the white card whereas the black one was completely unresponsive. They had a different weight too, and the black one felt like it was made of stone unlike the white one.
He had no idea what the white one was made of, and probably there would be no way to find out anytime soon. So instead, he put both the cards inside the storage pouch, next to the egg and a few other miscellaneous items.
Following Rui Sheng’s instruction, he walked on the path which went even further away from the main plaza. On the way, other student groups walked past him, their destinations being in the opposite direction of his. He could feel their stares on his back as many turned around to get a second look at him.
It could have been his looks, or the robes made from that fabric, that attracted their gazes but Luo Xiao ignored them all. He felt that the moment he said or did something a large problem would suddenly appear.
It took him about fifteen minutes of walking to reach the destination he had been pointed to.
In front of him, a set of irregular small buildings stretched out. There were clearly a few more of these sets to the sides as it was probably a joint complex. Each of them had a small courtyard but it was clear they weren’t single person housings, and instead two or three people would live in one.
Glancing at the number on the back of his black card, Luo Xiao began looking around to find where he would be living at.