Hui Yue narrowed his eyes as he observed the young man who was running towards them, yelling Rong Ming’s name, however his tense muscles quickly softened as he noticed the biggest smile he had ever seen was plastered upon the youth’s face. It was obvious that there was no hostility between the two.
“Hey Gao Yan,” Rong Ming said happily as the shouting youngster reached them, and Hui Yue used the opportunity to hide slightly behind Rong Xing, observing the boy. According to the information given earlier, Gao Yan was as talented as Rong Ming and Rong Xing, however he was born from an incredibly poor family, and the only reason his talent had been discovered was due to one of the Martial Art Schools that Lord Rong Liang had opened all over Riluo City.
At first Gao Yan had only seen Rong Ming, as the two of them were good friends, but he quickly noticed the white-haired boy hiding behind Rong Xing. Gao Yan opened his mouth, and was about to say something, when he was interrupted by a dramatic voice,
“He is a boy, you commoner,” it said, and although the voice was slightly arrogant, the way he said commoner was more caring that unfavourable.
Hui Yue looked at the newcomer and noticed that this was indeed a beautiful young man. He was the same age as the others, but he seemed slightly more mature. He was the tallest of the group, and his body was lean with strong muscles playing underneath the white skin.
His long hair was black as charcoal and his eyes were like two beautiful obsidian gemstones. Within those eyes were small stars of happiness dancing around, mischievously observing the world around him with a certain arrogance. His body was clothed in simple black clothes, but although the robe was simple, it was obviously of the best quality. This man was a young master.
The young master slowly strode towards the group and handed a flower to Rong Xing, before he fell onto one knee “Oh Lady of my heart, the long summer has left me thirsting for the sight of you, as a poor man thirsts for water within the scorching desert. The only thing that kept me going was my hope of seeing your beautiful face which grants me the energy to keep living my lowly life as a slave of your heart.”
Hui Yue was staring at the newcomer with open mouth. The words that had been said were so outrageous that Hui Yue were incapable of finding anyone who could take this man serious. The most amazing thing was how serious this youngster had looked while declaring his never ending love to Rong Xing.
Coupled with Hui Yue’s shock was Lan Feng’s laughter. The phoenix was laughing uncontrollably as even he had never seen such a dramatic person before.
‘This is great,’ He cried while looking at the youngster in front, ‘We need to stay here, the people are amazing.’ Hui Yue was about to say that they were not here for entertainment but for the sake of increasing their cultivation, but he quickly shut up as he noticed the youngster turn towards Hui Yue with glistening eyes.
“My name is Deng Wu,” he said with a slight bow, “why don’t you call me big brother? You should spend some time with me,” he continued while winking at the younger Hui Yue. Rong Xing reacted quickly to the wink and her arms defensively drew Hui Yue into a protective embrace while glaring towards the flirting Deng Wu,
“Didn’t you just say that he’s a boy? You actually swing that way?” Gao Yan asked puzzled while looking at Deng Wu as if he was uncertain about his own feelings towards the handsome youngster’s sudden change in interests.
“My heart belongs to Rong Xing and only Rong Xing,” Deng Wu said with great pride, “but who would I be if I did not appreciate beauty and wish to conquer it?”
Rong Xing opened her mouth and was about to retort, but her expression quickly changed from indignation to happiness as yet another young man was walking towards them all, waving a hand lazily.
Hui Yue was not dumb, and he quickly guessed that the youngster was Ma Kong. His hair was fairly short compared to the others, and it was a fiery red. His eyes were hazel brown and calm, reminding Hui Yue of a sturdy tree that would stand strong through any storm.
“What a cute kid,” Ma Kong said while arriving at the group and patted Hui Yue’s head as if he was some sort of a pet, before he greeted everyone else present.
Hui Yue looked at every one present. He already trusted Rong Xing and Rong Ming. Both had proved to genuinely care about him through the past years, and it seemed that their friends were quite reliable as well.
The three additions to the group were incredibly different, but at the same time complimented each other. Ma Kong was the calm anchor of the group, most likely the one who could think of practical points together with Rong Xing. Gao Yan was the energetic and talented person who would instantly act without considering the consequences, he was in a way much like Rong Ming, and then Deng Wu was the overly dramatic and playful person. However, Hui Yue could feel that within those laughing obsidian eyes was an intelligence that should not be underestimated.
“I think it is time for an introduction of our new beauty,” Deng Wu said after everyone had grouped up, and looked at Hui Yue once again. Rong Ming could not help but smile slightly while shaking his head.
“His name is Hui Yue. He is a friend of our family, and we have known him for five years now. He only came to this academy because of us, so we will be looking after him in the future,” he introduced calmly, without explaining anything specific. Both Deng Wu and Ma Kong noticed that some details were ignored, but neither of them asked any questions and Gao Yan didn’t seem to really care about a person’s background.
“Well then younger brother Hui Yue,” Deng Wu said with his drawling voice, “My courtyard is numbered 3007, if you ever need help you are more than welcome to visit me. Especially at night time,” he finished off with a grin, but Rong Xing once again shot a fierce glare towards the black clothed youth and hissed at him,
“If you touch Xiao Yue di-di then I will never forgive you and personally ensure that you can never touch another person again,” she said with a frozen glare while cuddling the younger boy in her arms, as if she was cuddling a small animal. The look caused the boys to raise an eyebrow or show other expressions of surprise as the usually quiet Rong Xing was expressing herself so clearly.
“I see,” Deng Wu said with a theatrical voice and shook his head with distress, “my dear beautiful Yue Er, I will not be able to let our forbidden romance flourish. The wife has forbidden me to do so, and who am I to upset my wife?” Hui Yue couldn’t help but grinning slightly, and the others also grinned at the usual display of love from Deng Wu towards Rong Xing.
“Oh my,” an arrogant voice suddenly sounded out behind them, “look who we got here. You have still not realised that nobility is not allowed to lower themselves to play with commoners?”
Hui Yue narrowed his eyes while looking at the speaker. The man was pretty but not overly beautiful. He seemed to be above average when it came to his cultivation, but his mouth was curled into an arrogant smirk and his eyes were filled with hatred as he looked at Gao Yan and Ma Kong. It was obvious that he did not accept new nobility nor commoners. Behind him was a group of ten youngsters of different ages, however some of them seemed to be closer to twenty than the fifteen years of age that Rong Ming and his group had.
After he had been looking at the two with disdain, his eyes swept across Rong Xing and the young Hui Yue who was currently being held by the hand of the older girl. A lewd light suddenly shone within his eyes.
“Young miss,” he said with a gentler voice while walking towards Hui Yue, “do not spend your time together with these people. They will only corrupt your beauty. Instead, come with me. I am Wang Jingshen from one of the Great Hundred Names. I can ensure that you get a comfortable stay here at the academy.” The young man who called himself Wang Jingshen licked his lips hungrily while reaching out his hand, trying to grab Hui Yue by the arm.
“Hahahaha,” Gao Yan started laughing, and even the four others were grinning slightly, causing Wang Jingshen to furrow his brows and growl at the laughing boy,
“what are you laughing at you trash?” his eyes were narrowed and a sneer had appeared on his face as he felt disgraced by the mocking laughter,
“It’s nothing, really,” Gao Yan answered while removing a tear from his eye, “It’s just, your lordship, you are a noble person from the Great Hundred Names, yet you cannot see that younger brother Hui Yue is a boy. How can you not notice this? Or perhaps you did notice, but takes fancy in young beautiful boys?” Gao Yan’s words were definitely taunting, however he was keeping every etiquette required when a commoner was conversing with a noble.
Every word had for some reason caused Rong Ming’s face to redden slightly, and Rong Xing had to cover her small mouth with a hand to disguise her giggles.
Wang Jingshen’s face was constantly switching between beet red and ashen pale as he could say nothing. Instead he glared fiercely at Hui Yue, as if it was his fault that Wang Jingshen had lost face. Eventually he turned around and gestured for his followers to leave, which they all did after sneering at Hui Yue and the others.
“Don’t worry about them,” Ma Kong said with a smile, while placing a gentle hand on Hui Yue’s shoulder. “He might be very loud, but in the end he can’t do anything against you as long as you are with us. True his family is one of the Great Hundred Names, but so is Deng Wu’s, and don’t forget the Rong twins here. Not to mention me. Although my family received nobility quite recently, we do have the power to back up our rank. And never underestimate Gao Yan and his connections within Riluo City.”
Hui Yue nodded gratefully after hearing the red-haired youth, but inside he was curious. The Ma family did not seem as simple as he had expected at first. Not to mention Gao Yan’s connections.
‘Seems like your instincts are improving,’ Lan Feng commented satisfied, ‘we need to look into the different power struggles within Riluo City. We already belong to the Rong Family Faction, so it would be ignorant to think that this has nothing to do with us. We need to be prepared for the future.’
Hui Yue completely agreed with the blue phoenix. It was important for the two of them to know what powers were on each side, and if there were any actual struggles for power, or if it was just smaller families complaining to each other. Hui Yue’s eyes grew determined as he decided to sit down and have a talk with the others later on so that he could get to actually understand the situation.
“Go in there,” Rong Xing said gently while pushing Hui Yue into a closed room at the Academy office building. Within the closed room was an elderly man who was sitting behind a desk. Behind him was shelves upon shelves filled with thick and dusty books.
Upon entering the room Hui Yue had to take a deep breath. This person was without a doubt the strongest person within the academy as a first-star King ranked expert. Hui Yue quickly guessed that he was the Academy Chief.
Fortunately enough, the Academy Chief had no interest in inspecting Hui Yue, instead his whole attention was focused on the book in front of him. Looking at the book, Hui Yue noticed that each page was incredibly thick. The pages were filled with numbers, and next to the numbers were small marks that Hui Yue could not see what was meant for.
The elderly man never lifted his eyes from the book, instead he raised his finger and made a beckoning gesture, causing the student emblem to instantly respond and fly from Hui Yue’s hand towards the book.
It placed itself on one of the small unknown marks within that Hui Yue had seen earlier, and to Hui Yue it looked incredibly random. The elder however furrowed his brows and started grumbling. He poked the emblem a few times, but it did not change position, nor did it even move an inch. In the end the elderly man threw a glance towards Hui Yue before he stood up and turned around.
He grabbed yet another book from one of the shelves behind, and once again beckoned the student emblem to move onto the next book. It quickly settled on a specific position, and the elder eventually sighed before sitting down.
“You will be living at courtyard 1009,” the elderly man said with an annoyed voice, and as he mentioned the number, the emblem lit up with a stunning light.
“Your emblem will work as a key. Bind it with your qi so that no one steals it. If you lose it, even if it has been stolen, we won’t give you a new one. There is a place you can retrieve your bound key if it is stolen though, but ask the other students about that.” Finally, the elderly man focused his gaze upon the book once again and started mumbling something unrecognizable, making Hui Yue understand that it was now time to leave.
Outside Rong Ming, Rong Xing, Gao Yan, Deng Wu and Ma Kong were all waiting for him patiently while conversing about their summer vacations. They all focused their attention upon the white-haired boy as soon as they saw him exit the Academy Office Building.
“So, which courtyard did you get?” Gao Yan asked quickly, clearly cutting in before Rong Ming, and all of them looked quite curious.
Hui Yue frowned for a bit, not understanding why it mattered, before he answered, “Courtyard 1009 apparently.”
The answer caused some surprise to become evident on the faces of all five youngsters, and Hui Yue could not help but getting slight confused,
“Is there anything wrong with that place?” he asked, as he remembered the elder’s grumbling when he saw the room.
“Nothing wrong no,” Rong Xing explained, “Each mountain top has its own numbers. The first mountain, all their numbers starts with zero, the next starts with one and the following with two and so on. The courtyards on the mountain tops are numbered 1-10, so your courtyard is on the top of the second mountain top from here. Everyone wants the top courtyards since they have much thicker essence energy to refine into better quality qi than the rest of the courtyards. Usually only a few geniuses are given the right to live there from the start, and then five is given as a reward in the Academy Tournaments.”
“We all live at the top on mount three, but we had to work to get the right to live there,” Gao Yan said, “you need to be careful now. Don’t let anyone know that you have gotten one of the top places.” He continued.
“Why?” Hui Yue asked curiously,
“If you have a top courtyard you need to be accepting any challenge from a cultivator within the same rank as yourself. If you lose you have to switch home with the winner. A lot of the nine-star students will definitely challenge you.” Gao Yan explained, “the Rong Twins got their rooms for their talents, and so did I, but Deng Wu and Ma Kong both had to challenge the previous owners to get their room next to ours.”
‘This is good,’ Fan Leng’s voice sounded within Hui Yue’s heart, ‘you definitely need some combat training, but you are too weak to take on magical beasts. Playing with the student-ranked cultivators should be great help. It might even help speed up your cultivation.’
The five young people quickly brought Hui Yue towards his new home, and on the way Gao Yan was busy telling Hui Yue about all the duels he had won in the arena, including explaining each and every one of his martial art skills.
The bridges were all well build and around ten metres wide. Students were constantly moving to and from the residential area, and it was obvious that this place was the home for thousands of people.
They quickly passed the first mountain, and although it looked enormous, Hui Yue could not understand just how big those mountains were before they entered the second mountain where he was supposed to live for the next many years.
Roads where carved into the mountain side, and one courtyard after another was placed next to the road with tall walls, allowing the students some privacy. Each courtyard had a small garden to allow the students to cultivate outside without having to be disturbed by others.
The road continued on and on, and as Hui Yue moved further up the mountain he felt just how thick the essence energies were around his body. Finally, they were almost at the top, and Hui Yue felt how the essence energy was entering his body by itself and was starting to rush through his meridians, being refined by impulse.
At first he was worried whether or not the quality was sufficient, but he quickly relaxed as he noticed the controlling qi within his qi cave had taken over and kept refining the essence until it had the same pearly lustre as the qi personally refined by Hui Yue.
‘Oh my,’ Lan Feng’s voice sounded pleasant as they reached the mountain top, ‘It seems like you have your first challenger.’
Right in front of them was Wang Jingshen and the same group of people he had been with earlier. They were standing outside of the small courtyard that was numbered 1009, and a sly grin was plastered upon their faces.
“This is my younger brother Wang Ju Long.” Wang Jingshen introduced while moving to the side, allowing a young boy to be visible behind him. He looked like a miniature version of Wang Jingshen, but his eyes were even more arrogant than his older brother, “He is a new student just as you yourself. He is one of the greatest geniuses in our family, and he was excited when he noticed that he would get a neighbour on this mountain top, so why don’t the two of you exchange pointers?” Wang Jingshen asked with a malicious grin spreading on his face, causing all his followers to grin like monkeys.
‘He is an eight-star student ranked expert,’ Lan Feng said calmly within Hui Yue’s heart, ‘You should definitely fight him. You need some practice. The worst that can happen is that he beats you, but don’t worry, I will make sure that you won’t get crippled.’
Hui Yue could not help but snort at the friendly help that Lan Feng offered him, however he was not a person who enjoyed bullying, and he would have accepted the challenge either way to prove this to the Wang family. At the same time, he was incredibly curious about just how well his Velocity Flow skill was working together with his current understanding of the Qi Guard.
A big smile appeared on Hui Yue’s face as he walked forward, offering his hand to Wang Ju Long as a greeting. The appearance of Hui Yue could convince anyone that he was as pure and kind as a fairy.
“Young Lord Wang, it would be my greatest honour to exchange pointers with you,” he said with glistening eyes and sugar-coated words.