Every person present was able to see that although the results were recorded as a draw, Hui Yue had been having the upper hand as they had ended. Not only was he able to both avoid and block Wang Ju Long’s most potent attack, he had also managed to break two ribs of the opponent, while he himself only had received a numb shoulder.
Even though no unrelated students had been present at the arena for the fight, it was quickly known throughout the whole academy that the two geniuses from the new year had fought each other, and although it had ended in a draw, Hui Yue would be mentioned as the actual winner.
This was definitely due to Gao Yan and his commoners spreading the word and causing the duel to be well known. Although he was unable to directly take revenge upon the Wang family, he did not shy away from abusing his friends to get vengeance in another way. Nobles cared too much about face, so making them lose face was strangely satisfying.
The first couple of days were free from classes as the students were supposed to get used to their new surroundings, and Hui Yue spent the time to sit down with the group of people he now belonged to. Hui Yue decided that it was now time for him to behave a bit more mature. Although he had been hiding his real personality for quite some time, he could not keep hiding forever.
“I need some help,” Hui Yue said with a serious voice as he looked at the five seniors that were sitting in his new home.
“I am not a noble person, which I am sure you have already guessed,” he started, “so I am not used to all these internal battles. I understand that the Rong family and the Wang family doesn’t like each other, but what is actually going on?”
At first the house was silent while the older kids looked at Hui Yue with complicated expressions. None of them felt as if the subject was something they should talk about with such a young child, however he had asked for the knowledge himself and he was looking at them with eyes that was completely clear and showed a knowledge that did not suit his age.
“The Wang family used to be the ones to control Riluo City,” Deng Wu finally said, and then looked at the others, “we might as well tell him what is going on. I think we should not underestimate him. I have a feeling that he is hiding a monster within those innocent blue eyes,” he said while looking straight at Hui Yue, and his words caused the latter to feel his veins freeze over.
The way he had chosen to phrase the sentence clearly showed Hui Yue that Deng Wu knew. Deng Wu knew about Lan Feng, or at least had a very good idea about him. Although Hui Yue could feel how his body was frozen from the shock and even Lan Feng was keeping quiet, he knew that Deng Wu was observing him, so Hui Yue forced himself to stay calm and not allow any of the emotional turmoil from within to surface on his eyes that stayed as clear and calm as a cloudless summer sky.
Deng Wu was impressed by the display of control that Hui Yue showed, and he smiled happily, “The Wang family has a long history, and they were put in charge of Riluo City right after the Black Age. Unfortunately, they were quite bad at managing the economy and eventually they went bankrupt having to stand down. They went from being the leading power to becoming a secondary power of the city and they have a hard time accepting it.”
“After regaining their economy they are trying to get back the position as the City Lord, but Lord Rong Liang and his family has always done a great job, so it is not as easy as they might have been hoping for,” Ma Kong took over, “the nobles has been split into two factions. One is the Great Hundred Names families and their followers, and the others are Lord Rong Liang and his followers.”
Hui Yue threw a quick glance towards Deng Wu upon hearing this. The young man got more and more mysterious, and Hui Yue was unable to trust him the same way he did the others.
He decided to not touch the subject any longer, and try to pry some information out of the other’s later on.
“But Hui Yue di-di,” Rong Xing finally asked, and it was obvious that she had wanted to ask something for quite a long time, “how did you get such strong martial art skills?” the subject obviously interested everyone present and they looked at Hui Yue with big eyes, hoping that there was some incredible story behind it.
Hui Yue was aware that this question would be asked, and he had spent some time planning a reasonable explanation together with Lan Feng.
“I was helping my dad with looking for medicinal herbs and got lost. On the way I found a pretty blue gemstone, and when I touched it some white fog shot into my head and suddenly I knew about the skills and how to practice them, but after the fog disappeared, the stone turned to dust,” Hui Yue explained according to the story that Lan Feng had fabricated.
“I never really mentioned it to anyone before because I don’t understand what happened, I have no idea what that blue gemstone was, and now it is gone.” Hui Yue shook his head apologetic, and the looks at the other youngsters turned tender,
“That is some amazing luck,” Gao Yan said after quite some time, “you must have lived at a rather unique location.”
“I lived within the Magical Forest, but I promised never to disclose the exact location to anyone,” Hui Yue answered with a serious voice, and the others nodded solemnly.
Living within the Magical Forest was supposed to be impossible, and although few villages were known to survive they were very remote and shrouded in mystery.
Only the strongest cultivators would be able to survive growing up within the Magical Forest. A sudden feeling of respect suddenly appeared in the other’s eyes.
Although nothing that Hui Yue had said was a lie, it was far from the terrifying impressions that the other young people had of him growing up within the wilderness, fighting magical beasts from the cradle and stumbling upon treasure and medicinal herbs on the way.
Only the Rong twins were aware of the truth, but neither of them could think of any other possibility than Hui Yue really being incredibly lucky while walking through the thin parts of the Magical Forest and stumbling upon such powerful relics.
Hui Yue was not aware how his explanation rose interest within Deng Wu’s heart. Although Hui Yue had a saint ranked divine beast locked within, he was not strong enough to have captured this beast himself, therefore Deng Wu theorised that Hui Yue had come across a treasure throve left behind by an ultimate expert from the Dark Age.
Deng Wu definitely wanted the location as more treasures were likely to still be hidden there, just waiting for someone to come and pick them up. However, it seemed that not only Deng Wu was thinking like this, as both Ma Kong and Gao Yan’s eyes were glittering with an unspoken desire.
“Younger brother Hui Yue,” Ma Kong said while urging slightly, “do you remember the location where you picked up this blue gemstone?” Gao Yan nodded in reply, trying to show Hui Yue that it was okay to answer these big brothers of his. While Ma Kong and Deng Wu were curious about the place so that they could pick up supreme martial art skills for themselves, Gao Yan saw a way to earn some money for his family.
However, Hui Yue shook his head with a depressed expression upon his face, “I am really sorry,” he said, “but I did not leave the village that often and everything looked the same outside. It was pretty deep within the forest, I think, and there was a cave next to a lake. I found the stone just outside the cave, but I was too scared to enter, since it might have been the home of some strong magical beast.”
The other’s nodded with regret. They should have known that it was not that easy to get the location of a treasure left behind by a supreme expert. However, every single one of them imprinted the information within their hearts, and promised themselves to disclose this information to their family leaders so that all the families could send out some of their cultivators to look for the cave. Strong Martial Art Skills or old relics could change the fate of any strong noble family.
Hui Yue breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing the different reactions. Lan Feng had told him earlier that the prospects of a treasure would definitely steer their interest away from him, and he seemed to be right. Ma Kong suddenly had to go and borrow a book at the library while Rong Xing and Rong Ming remembered an issue they needed to discuss with the teacher and finally Gao Yan needed to go visit some of his followers to hear what had happened with the rumours he had been spreading about Wang Ju Long’s and Hui Yue’s fight.
The only one who stayed behind was Deng Wu who still stood leaning against the courtyard wall with a lazy expression on his face and a small smile adorned his face.
Hui Yue’s ice-blue eyes were locked into Deng Wu’s obsidian-black eyes, neither of them saying a word, patiently waiting for every sound to disappear, ensuring that there were no hidden listeners.
Deng Wu flicked his hand and a small figure suddenly appeared within his palm. The figure was crafted from a big azure scale of unknown origin, and it was cut into the shape of a laughing mask. The shadows were playing upon it, making it seem as if the mouth was moving, and a slight light showed within the eyes. Deng Wu observed it for a moment, before it disappeared with yet another flick of his hand.
A comfortable smile spread across his face as he observed Hui Yue.
‘That item had a familiar feel to it,’ Lan Feng said with a wondering voice, ‘but I can’t remember where I felt it before.’ Hui Yue sighed, the feathered soul inside of him was not very useful in situations like these. As a matter of fact, he had caused Hui Yue so much worry already, that if his hair had not turned white from the Soul Contract, it would definitely have turned white from worrying.
“Seen enough?” Hui Yue asked tentatively, all his muscles tensed up and Velocity Flow activated in case he needed to escape.
Deng Wu was already aware that he would have no way of catching Hui Yue if he used his movement skill, and for now he had no intention of scaring the younger boy away, so he kept calm and answered gently,
“Don’t worry, I don’t plan on telling anyone about your secret,” he said leisurely and Hui Yue narrowed his eyes a little.
“Which secret are you talking about?” he asked. Although Deng Wu knew about Lan Feng, it was questionable whether or not he knew about Hui Yue had been brought here from another plane through reincarnation.
Deng Wu was not dumb, he instantly knew that Hui Yue was trying to get him to explain his knowledge, and currently he would not benefit from holding anything back, so he shrugged his shoulders,
“When you found that blue stone containing martial art skills you also stumbled across the soul of a saint ranked divine beast.” This was mainly Deng Wu’s theory, and from the information Hui Yue had given it would be the most fitting explanation.
“What do you plan on doing about it?” Hui Yue asked with tensed muscles and his whole body alert, his qi was rushing through his meridians in certain specified patterns, increasing Velocity Flow and focusing all the strength within his feet, allowing him to escape as soon as he heard the answer, however, Deng Wu surprised him when he once again shrugged his shoulders,
“I don’t plan on doing anything about it for now,” he said calmly, “the only way to get the divine spirit is to kill you and dig it out of your body, but that would make Rong Xing sad, so I will just keep it a secret for now.” Hui Yue gaped at Deng Wu. Keeping it a secret for the sake of Rong Xing’s happiness seemed rather odd, but the black teen seemed incredibly serious.
“Well, be careful no one else notices,” Deng Wu warned as he turned and was about to leave the courtyard, “I can guarantee that no other cultivators will be able to ignore the temptation of a divine beast soul.” With that he left and disappeared into the dark evening, leaving Hui Yue with a furrowed brow and a lot of questions.
‘Lan Feng,’ he asked, ‘how come they say that it is possible for them to dig out your soul after I die? You said earlier that if I die then you die as well.’ Lan Feng slowly allowed his soul to float out of Hui Yue’s body and sat down on the courtyard ground.
‘Well, usually a cultivator and a beast soul wouldn’t make a soul contract,’ he stated while observing the surroundings, not showing any intention of continuing the conversation, but although he was dismissive, Hui Yue could feel an eagerness hidden within almost yelling for Hui Yue to ask why.
‘Why?’ Hui Yue asked with a sigh. He could clearly feel that Lan Feng was hiding something. Secrets were impossible to keep considering that they were sharing a body now and their souls were connected. But he could also feel that Lan Feng wished to tell Hui Yue about it, but would not do so, unless asked.
‘Well,’ Lan Feng said slowly, ‘a soul contract makes us even and combines our souls together, but when a cultivator manages to consume a magical beast soul or a divine beast soul they be considered their masters. Usually they would be using the beast’s power one way or another’ Hui Yue glared at Lan Feng after hearing this,
‘Does that mean that I gave up being your master and instead turned into your student?’ he asked with a disbelieving face,
‘Yeah, pretty much,’ Lan Feng answered with a smug grin on his face, giving Hui Yue an incredible urge to punch the transparent feathered boy in the face,
‘You tricked me?!’ he yelled with his eyes spilled open and an annoyed feeling within. First Lan Feng murdered him, then he tricked him. How was it possible to ever believe him after this?
‘You would definitely have done the same if you were in my position,’ Lan Feng said calmly as the soul contract could only be cancelled when both of them had achieved their goals, and his smug behaviour caused Hui Yue to shoot one murderous glare after another towards the damned bird,
‘Now calm down,’ Lan Feng finally said, ‘It isn’t bad. If you had decided to dominate my soul, I would definitely not have been helpful at all and only followed your orders. Would that have been useful for you?’ Hui Yue shot yet another glare at the feathered boy before grumbling a reply, ‘well you would obviously be as mad as me, if you had been the one who was tricked!’ he said before moving inside the house and slammed the door after him, rushing towards his bedroom and sat down on the bed to cultivate.
Running away from Lan Feng was impossible as the two were connected, and after a short while Lan Feng once again sat on the ground looking at Hui Yue with a smug grin, feeling very pleased with finally having let Hui Yue know how ingenious his previous trickery was.
‘You better give me a real good attack style martial art skill to make up for this,’ Hui Yue sneered with his eyes closed while cultivating. The smug grin on Lan Feng’s face was so clear that Hui Yue could feel it within the very core of his own soul.
The following day Lan Feng promised to give Hui Yue the strongest attack skill he had when Qi Guard was perfected, and although Lan Feng had tricked Hui Yue before, Hui Yue was aware that there was no possibility of tricking him anymore as their souls were now combined. That being said, he did swear that he would somehow get revenge later on, ensuring that this smug and annoying bird would wish he had never tricked Hui Yue in the first place.
Hui Yue spent his days of relaxation to pick up gossip from around the city. The Ma family had gained its rank of nobility from being the richest family within the city. They were the owners of a variety of shops, but the majority of their wealth came from a black market auction house where they would sell anything from stolen goods to high quality items gained from within the Magical Forest or families who tried to sell their treasures to gain money.
Ma Kong was the youngest son, and although his older brother was supposed to be the heir, both brothers had a great relationship, giving Ma Kong much more power than what younger brothers usually had.
The information about Gao Yan was not as outstanding as Ma Kong, however the power that he controlled was not weak either. Gao Yan came from the poorer part of Riluo City and had from a young age gone to the Martial Art Schools that Lord Rong Liang had opened.
Gao Yan had a big dream about bringing his family out of poverty and into nobility, which at first had made the other commoners laugh at him, however after his talent had been noticed and he had become friends with the Rong twins, the other commoners started hoping that they too had a possibility of changing their future.
The majority of all students that had studied at the Martial Art Schools were following any orders given by Gao Yan.
Not all the students from the Martial Art Schools had high enough cultivation to join the Royal Academy, and those who did not qualify had started working as normal citizens within the city, but even so, they still followed Gao Yan, giving him an incredible information network that was spread everywhere across the city.
Some were working as maids within the noble houses, others were working as carpenters or farmers, but one thing was for certain, all the information they gathered went straight to Gao Yan.
Deng Wu was known throughout the Academy as a player who enjoyed to fool around. He was rarely seen as a serious person, but he was liked by pretty much everyone who saw him. Deng Wu was highly valued by the Deng family, which caused Hui Yue to feel that he had even more secrets than what he had first assumed. If Deng Wu had an incredible cultivation then it would make sense as to why the family valued him so highly, however the cultivation he had shown at the Academy was just above average. It was obvious that this cunning personality was someone that Hui Yue could not afford to underestimate.
Rong Ming was considered the centre of this small group of people. He was the next City Lord and he tried his best to live up to this responsibility. He had an incredibly good reputation at the Royal Academy as he would not allow any bullying nor would he approve of the nobles looking down on the commoners, however this had caused some of the nobles to oppose the young lord and resulted in a group of young nobles who would use their powers within the school to go against Rong Ming.
Rong Xing was the practical person. She would keep track of all the information given by Gao Yan and consider which parts were important and which weren’t, she was the reason that Deng Wu had decided to stick with this group rather than the other nobles, and she knew how to utilize all the pawns at her disposal. To Hui Yue, Rong Xing seemed to be the most powerful individual within their group – as long as he did not consider Deng Wu.
The group of noble children who opposed Rong Ming was led by Deng Lau who was a cousin of Deng Wu. Although the two were in opposing groups and that they would clash quite often, Deng Lau never once insulted Deng Wu.
Fortunately enough, Riluo City was considered a quiet city. Although different factions were gathering within, none of them had shown any signs of rebelling against the current City Lord, and even though the children had a few clashes, they were after all just clashes between students at the Royal Academy which was to be expected.
Hui Yue released a deep sigh of relief the last night before the classes were about to start. It had required all his skills in acting to get the information he had needed, but he was finally satisfied with the result. Looking out at the starry night Hui Yue couldn’t help but thinking about how much his life had changed, but this new life was much more exciting than anything he had ever experienced before.
‘Let’s find the location of the medicinal pills tomorrow,’ Lan Feng said with a cheeky grin on his face, ‘we need to start speeding up your cultivation or I won’t get my revenge as my opponent will die from old age.’
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