Chapter 204: Fourth Elder
It was with shaking hands that Bai Yunfei accepted the red scroll from the man. He knew that he was considered a disciple right now, meaning that Kou Changkong would see him as an actual disciple to teach. Even moreso, even if he didn't pass the test in three months, Kou Changkong wouldn't take him lightly either.
Huangfu Nan handed a scroll to Ye Zhiqiu to take. "You as well. Focus on your training and you'll be taught by me again in the future!"
Seeing that both persons had taken their scrolls, Kou Changkong turned to Song Lin and Li Tichui still waiting at the sides. "Song Lin, Tiechui, take thee two back to their rooms and urge them to train. If they have any questions, you'd do well to answer them to the best of your abilities!"
Bai Yunfei and the three other disciples left first, leaving Kou Changkong and the other two elders standing in the cave.
Fishing out the 'key' from the gates, Kou Changkong closed the giant gates shut. The red light was immediately cut away from the area, turning the lighting back to normal.
Huangfu Nan himself was still staring at the direction in which Bai Yunfei left from with a faint smile. "What a unique youngster that Bai is...."
Nodding in agreement, Kou Changkong spoke, "Indeed. He has an unbelievable amount of potential. He wasn't able to reach four kilometers in the second examinations, but to withstand nine waves is a tremendous achievement. Junior Jiang Fan himself was able to withstand ten waves before creating the low-grade heaven-tier 'Redlotus Bloodsword'. I wonder where he is now.
"Though, the fact that Bai Yunfei was able to withstand nine waves is truly inconceivable as well."
"Those soulbound armaments of his were things he already had before. I presume that red spear of his was given to him by Ge Heyun of the Fate School?" Huangfu Nan conjectured. "To try and improve four soul armaments at once and making two of them a soulbound armament, how daring. With the power being divided like so, I'm surprised he managed to make even one soulbound armament. This young fellow....should we say he's greedy, or should we say he's courageous?
"There is yet another topic that confuses me greatly. How in the world did he survive until the ninth wave? With his current strength, I believed he would've lasted until the fifth wave at most." Huangfu Nan questioned, "Why don't we ask the...."
"There's no need for that. It won't tell us such a thing so easily." Finally breaking out from his silence, the first elder interrupted Huangfu Nan. "It has been slumbering for several years now; even now, it's probably asleep. I believe it best if we don't disturb it."
"Ah, I was only just talking to myself. Curiosity, that's all it is." Huangfu Nan gave a sage nod of the head to the first elder. "Its 'test' has always been far more accurate than the 'examination' we give. Does this mean to say that Yunfei's strength is on par with Song Lin?"
Kou Changkong laughed in response, "Whatever the case, we shall find out in a moment. I await whatever pleasant surprise Yunfei will give us from here on out...."
Having bidding farewell to Ye Zhiqiu and Li Tiechui, Bai Yunfei followed Song Lin back to the Western Point.
Song Lin continued to glance at Bai Yunfei with confusion every so often as they traveled. Even now, the startling sight he saw was fresh on his mind.
Some time passed before Bai Yunfei was no longer able to keep his silence, "Senior, with how much you're looking at me, the other students might misunderstand something...."
"Oh...." Slightly embarrassed by Bai Yunfei's banter, Song Lin shook his head and smiled. "I hope you don't mind too much, I was only just curious....I never thought that you'd be this strong. Perhaps there was a problem with the crafting examination that day. Or perhaps you were hiding your strength?"
"Of course not." Bai Yunfei denied. "I tried my best and still wasn't able to reach four kilometers. The events that happened today was nothing more but luck...."
Song Lin's lips quirked upwards as if he found the answer to be strange. "Luck? Do you think that luck would be enough to get you to the ninth wave? Do you know what wave I was able to make it to?"
"Er...how many?" Bai Yunfei asked.
"....." Bai Yunfei had no response to that.
"Haaa....now you know this is so unexpected to me. That was the very first time I saw any of the three elders so surprised. You must realize that when the fourth elder made it to the tenth wave, he was considered a genius that the Crafting School had never seen in several hundred years. You were only one wave less than him."
Having his curiosity piqued by this topic, Bai Yunfei just had to ask, "Fourth elder? I've seen the first, second, and third elders before, but why haven't we seen the fourth elder yet? The Western Point is under his management and has even the disciples staying there, so why hasn't he taken on any disciples yet?"
"The fourth elder came quite late to the Crafting School. In fact, he and I came comparatively at the same time!" Song Lin answered. "He had talent that I could never hope to catch up to however. When he was young, he was taken in by the previous master. By the age of forty, he was already a Soul Exalt, hence how he became an elder for the Crafting School. But because of the master's command, he went out to travel the continent and rarely comes home. Since he's always out, he can't possibly take in any disciples."
"Oh, I see....then what might be the name of the fourth elder?"
"The fourth elder's name is Jiang Fan. He's the current heir to the house of Jiang of Stonegrove City in the Northern Cliff Province. When he joined the Crafting School, he had to pass on his inheritance to someone else in his household to focus on his training."
"Jiang Fan!" Despite the mental cry of shock in his head, Bai Yunfei's face remained steadfast. So the one that had helped him way back in Stonegrove City had actually been the fourth elder of the Crafting School!
"There's trouble then if this is true! He must've thought I was a student of the Crafting School and saved me. This means he must've seen me use the Fire-tipped Spear and the Flameblade Bracer and thought them both to be soulbound armaments. I might be a student of the Crafting School now, but....there's a difference in timing. If he finds out about this, how am I going to explain things?" Bai Yunfei's mind raced furiously.
Right as one problem was solved, another one came up equally fast, what a pain!
"Forget it, I'll think about a solution when I've the time. Now if only the fourth elder were to come back every three to five years or something..." Bai Yunfei shook his head as if to clear away the troublesome thoughts in his head.
"What's on your mind, junior?" Song Lin asked curiously when he saw Bai Yunfei shake his head.
"Eh? Oh, it's nothing..." Deflecting the question, Bai Yunfei asked, "Senior, If I might ask, who is this previous 'master' you said earlier? Is that the master of master? Why haven't we seen them either?"
"The previous headmaster, elder Zi Jin, retreated into isolation a long while back and is no longer in charge of the school. For that reason, none has seem him. The first elder was one of the few ones students from the previous generation that didn't go into seclusion, so he holds the spot of the first elder so as to manage it while the grandmaster is away. Otherwise, he too would've secluded himself as well. The entire Northern Point of the Crafting School is the area where all of the grandmasters retreat into."
"I see...." Bai Yunfei realized. In his mind, he thought, "That has to be true. A grand school like the Crafting School can't possibly have only these few elders. The elders that remain here are in charge of overseeing the school then." From what Song Lin said, there were multiple masters from the previous generation. This too must be one of the inside information that were common between all of the ten major schools on the continent.
"No wonder the Northern Point is a forbidden zone then! It's a gathering zone of 'monsters'! I wonder just how strong these previous masters are?" Bai Yunfei thought.
Another question popped up into Bai Yunfei's mind, "Senior, what strength are the elders and master currently at?"
"Late-stage Soul King!" Song Lin spoke with pride. "They are Soul Kings! The second and third elders might not be geniuses, but there are many late-stage Soul Exalts that can spend decades without a single inch of improvement! Many Soul Exalts can spend their entire lives without hope that they'd ever reach the Soul King stage in fact. Master himself was sixty years old when he became a Soul King; I also heard that the entire empire had a gigantic commotion when he became one too.....
"It only took master twenty years to go from an early-stage Soul King to a late-stage Soul King, that feat alone is something many soul cultivators would be hard-pressed to replicate. But ever since he inherited the title of headmaster of the Crafting School, he rarely shows his strength, so not many know of his strength now....
"The first elder is also a late-stage Soul King."
"Are the second and third elders also the disciples of the previous headmaster?" Bai Yunfei asked. The very notion of 'Soul King' was lost on him, but he was still surprised nonetheless. He just had to learn even more about the details of the Crafting School.
"No, the two elders were students of another master from the same generation of the previous headmaster. The previous headmaster Zi Jin had only three disciples. The first is our current headmaster, and the fourth elder Jiang Fan is the third disciple."
"Eh? Then who is the second disciple?" Confused by the lack of description of the second, Bai Yunfei asked for clarification.
But the very mention of a 'second disciple' unexpectedly brought forth a vile look of hatred on Song Lin's face. "Don't call him the second disciple! He is by no means worthy of such a title!" He spat out.