Chapter 406: Crucial Moment
"Hei, it actually is really that new student who took two years leave in one go..." Huo De was holding a casefile in his hand within the spacious room. There was a drawing in the casefile. Although the drawing was three years old with a face that still carried a little innocence, the overall outline was exactly the same as Xiao Yan's.
Hou De closed the casefile in his hand before a genuine smile appeared on his face. He patted Xiao Yan's shoulders and smiled before saying with a deeper meaning in his words, "Little fellow, you're definitely not simple. The casefile states that you were merely a four star Dou Zhe two years ago, but now... I'm afraid that you are at least of the Dou Shi class right?"
Upon hearing Hou De's words, those members of the Law Enforcement Unit were immediately startled. They threw their stunned gaze toward Xiao Yan. In two years, he directly advanced from a four star Dou Zhe to become a Dou Shi. This kind of speed was quite good.
Xiao Yan smiled, neither denying nor acknowledging.
"Are you planning to head directly to the academy now?" Huo De asked with a smile.
"Yes." Xiao Yan nodded.
"Carry this with you. Only then will you be permitted into the academy." Huo De took out an azure badge from his storage ring, and handed it over to Xiao Yan. After which, he appeared to have suddenly remembered something. He turned his head toward those members of the Law Enforcement Unit and smiled before he asked, "Oh that's right... coincidentally, tomorrow happens to be the inner academy qualifying competition, no?"
"Ah, yes that's right Section Leader Huo De." A member of the unit hurriedly replied.
"You are really lucky to be able to see such a grand event after just entering the academy. However, I recalled that there seemed to be your name in the inner academy qualifying competition last year. This is something that Instructor Ruo Ling had helped you put in against all odds. Unfortunately, you did not come at the end. This really infuriated Instructor Ruo Ling. Therefore, I think that she is unlikely to put in your name this year. After all, the qualifying competition this time around concerns whether she can be promoted to a Xuan class instructor...:" Huo De smilingly said.
"Uh..." Xiao Yan was startled when he heard this. As he recalled seeing the angry, green face of the gentlewoman back then, he laughed bitterly and said, "I really had something important and could not rush over at that time..."
"Hee hee, this does not concern me. If you want to explain, go and explain to her by yourself." Huo De smiled gloatingly. His gaze eyed the sky outside, which was gradually becoming dark. He voiced his thoughts, "The sky is already quite dark now. However, I see that you are hurrying to go to the inner academy, so I shall not hold you back. However, there is still an extremely large region of primeval forest outside the academy. There are many high ranking Magical Beasts there, with it being quite dangerous to pass through at night. I can let people drive the Griffin carrier to quickly bring you directly over to Jia Nan City. Is that okay?"
"In that case, thank you very much, Instructor Huo De." Xiao Yan rejoiced at hearing these words, and he quickly replied with gratitude. The map which Dou Ma gave him only covered the area of the 'Black-Corner Region'. Xiao Yan's head was shrouded by a mist as to which direction he should fly in after entering 'Peace Town'. It was naturally his current wish for someone that could lead him to his destination.
"Ke ke, it's fine."
Huo De smiled. The current him did not conform with the coldness he had displayed at the town's entrance at all. He waved his hand and called out two members of the Law Enforcement Unit, one male and the other female. After he gave instructions, he allowed the two to go out and make preparations.
"Xiao Yan, ah, I have to remind you once before you leave. Although you have not entered the academy, it is likely that you already have quite a number of potential opponents within Jia Nan Academy. Ke ke, I think you also know what the reason for this is... the kind of outstanding girl like Xun Er really has too great of an attractiveness toward those favored, talented, young men of the academy. She has come to the academy for over two years but her reputation has already caught up to that little witch who gives people a headache. Therefore, those love rivals of yours are not made of simple stuff. However, I advise you to know how to endure. That would be a little smarter..." Huo De moved closer to Xiao Yan and reminded him out of goodwill.
Xiao Yan laughed softly when he heard this. Although he had missed two years of life at the academy, he believed that his life and death grinding during these two years would definitely not be poorer than any teaching methods. During these two years' time, he had even fought fearlessly against Dou Huangs and even Dou Zongs. Would he be frightened of those people who were the same age as him at the academy?
"Thank you for your reminder, Instructor Huo De. Xiao Yan will remember this in his heart." Xiao Yan smiled at Huo De, and cupped his hands together. He heard the screeching sound of the Griffin outside. Without wasting a moment, Xiao Yan turned around and swiftly walked out of the room, and saw the huge Griffin, which was standing on the street, outside. At this moment, the man and woman on the Griffin were smiling at Xiao Yan as they said, "Junior Xiao Yan, please climb aboard. We will escort you to Jia Nan City."
"Thank you very much." Xiao Yan smiled. His feet gently pushed off the ground and his body agily leaped onto the back of the Griffin. His feet immediately appeared to stick to its back and did not make the slightest of movements.
Seeing Xiao Yan's totally still body, shock flashed across the faces of the two people on the Griffin's back. It should be known that the feathers of this Griffin caused a sort of strange moist air. Some people, who were riding it for the first time, could only sit on a specific man-made saddle in order to stabilize their body. Yet, Xiao Yan was able to completely rely on himself to let his body remain at equilibrium. This was something that was impossible for even the both of them to display so leisurely.
"What the Deputy Section Leader said is indeed correct. This Xiao Yan really does have some skill..." The two of them muttered in their hearts. They waved their hands at Huo De, who had walked out of the house, before emitting a whistle from their mouths. Immediately, the wings of the Griffin creeping on the ground was flapped. Its huge body began to rise into the air in a spiral.
As Xiao Yan eyed the small town, which was swiftly becoming smaller, he let out a breath of air. He lifted his eyes and gazed at the azure sky. An elegant and exquisite face of a young lady slowly surfaced in his mind. Her frown and laughter all caused the young man, who had lived two years of difficulty, to be that concerned.
"Xun Er, I can finally see you again..."
This flight continued for nearly the entire night. Of course, this also included the two to three hours rest midway. When dawn of the next day arrived, a thread of sunlight shot out from the edge of the land, expelling all the darkness between the land and sky.
At this moment, Xiao Yan, who had his eyes shut as he rested, opened them as though he suddenly sensed something. His gaze shot into the distance. There was an outline of a city occupying a large area, that left one speechless, slowly appearing within the faint mist.
"This is Jia Nan City huh..."
Although he was in the sky, he was still unable to see the entire city within his field of vision. From this, it could be seen just how large this city was.
"Ke ke, Junior Xiao Yan, we will stop this Griffin at the flying stop within the city. After that, you need to hurry to the academy on your own. It is our Law Enforcement group's rotation this week, therefore, we cannot leave the 'Peace Town' for too long." The young man from the Law Enforcement Unit smiled as he spoke to Xiao Yan.
"Thank you very much seniors." Xiao Yan nodded and smiled as he voiced his thanks.
"There is no need..." The young man waved his hand. A whistle was once again emitted from his mouth and the Griffin immediately let out a soft screech. It waved its wings and shot down toward the large city.
From the flying stop at the Jia Nan City, Xiao Yan raised his head and watched the Griffin, which had once again risen into the air. He slowly exhaled, turned around, and exited this empty space.
A spacious, open street paved with green stone appeared in his eyes as he walked out of the flying stop. The human flow on the street was turbulent, causing Xiao Yan to quietly become breathless. This kind of human traffic was something that even the capital of the Jia Ma Empire could not compare with. It was indeed worthy of being the cradle of the oldest academy in the continent. Just its name alone would attract a countless number of people to this place.
Xiao Yan did not stop on the street for too long. He followed the route that the Law Enforcement member earlier had pointed out and hurried over. After going around in circles within the city in this manner for half an hour, Xiao Yan could only helplessly stop. He eyed that street, which he was still unable to see the end of, and could not resist bitterly laughing, "Dammit. Why was this city constructed until it became so big?"
Xiao Yan sighed despondently. He once again lazily hurried on, slowing his footsteps as he walked toward the Jia Nan Academy, which was located in the middle of the city.
As he slowly walked on that spacious street, Xiao Yan sensed the usual city's atmosphere and sighed in relief within his heart. It was fortunate that this place was not in any way similar to the 'Black-Corner Region'...
He once again walked passed a street. In the distance, he appeared to be able to see the vague outline of that ancient academy...
"Stop that fellow!"
Xiao Yan had just made a turn, when a cry was suddenly emitted from a spot not far in front of him. A minor disturbance immediately rippled onto the street with a huge group of people forming a circle and judged as they watched the fight within it.
Xiao Yan's gaze drifted toward the circle of people, who were watching the show, but did not move any closer. His palm gently patted the large Heavy Xuan Ruler on his back, as his footsteps began to lead him around the crowd at an even pace.
Just as Xiao Yan was about to directly walk toward the academy in the distance, a cold angry laugh in the human crowd caused Xiao Yan to suddenly pause his footsteps.
"Ma Yan, don't waste your effort. You actually want to go after my younger cousin with that strength of yours?"
"Brat, if you don't want to do it nicely... attack. We don't need his life, but he must see red!" After that cold laughter sounded, another voice that appeared to be angry from embarrassment sounded. Immediately, there was the muffled sound of flesh coming into contact from within the human crowd.
Xiao Yan had his back facing the crowd. He was silent for a while as he heard the muffled sound that appeared from within the circle before he sighed gently and immediately turned around.
Within the crowd, a young man in blue clothes, who was around eighteen or nineteen, was violently exchanging blows with a few men around him, while his eyes were filled with fury. Seeing the Dou Qi that was seeping out of the young man's body, it appeared that he was at the Dou Shi class. However, the four young men surrounding and attacking him clearly had strengths that were no weaker than his. Therefore, the blue-clothed young man was at disadvantage. His face would occasionally suffer a blow, and traces of blood flowed out from the corner of his mouth.
Another wave of scuffles occurred. One of the young men coldly and viciously kicked at the blue-clothed young man's lower abdomen. The back of the latter's body immediately began to curl up. Despite the four young men seeing that he had no ability to retaliate, they did not show even the slightest sign of stopping. Four legs moved together. In a tricky and vicious manner, they violently kicked at the blue-clothed young man's body.
"Bang, bang, bang..."
The feet, which contained a ferocious force, were about the land on the blue-clothed young man's body, when a black shadow suddenly flashed past. After which, it collided firmly with the four feet. Four horrible shrieks were immediately emitted. The four of them hugged their thighs and rolled painfully on the ground.
After the black shadow pushed the four people back, it turned into a large, black ruler that was inserted into the hard ground. The blue-clothed young man hugged his lower abdomen, and stood up with great difficulty. His expression was somewhat pale as he cupped his hands toward the black-robed young man, who had his back facing him, "Mister, thank you very much."
"Xiao Ning, you have a lot less vigor compared to when I last saw you two years ago." The black-robed young man slowly turned around. He looked at the blue-clothed young man, whose face was stunned at seeing the former, while speaking with a faint smile.
Xiao Ning. This blue-clothed young man was actually Xiao Ning, who had some grudge with Xiao Yan at the Xiao clan back then!
"You... you are Xiao Yan?" Xiao Ning's face was completely full as he eyed that face which he had not seen for two years. He finally recovered a long while later, but still had difficulty believing the situation.
"I thought that you would not recognize me." Xiao Yan laughed. Although he had some grudges with this fellow, whom he did not really see eye to eye with when they were a younger, the current him was no longer that impulsive child he had been back then. Those things had naturally vanished long ago. Moreover, no matter what happened, the person in front of him had a thread of blood relation to him.
"How can I forget. Younger cousin Xiao Yan..."
Xiao Ning let out a bitter laughter. He eyed Xiao Yan in front of him, feeling a complicated emotion. Now that he had muddled about on the outside for two years, he was similarly no longer a child. Only in the outside world, which contained all sorts of people, did he feel that those experiences in the clan back then were the most precious memories within his heart. No matter how one put it, one's kin was ultimately a little closer to oneself.
"Older cousin Xiao Ning." Seeing the apologetic smile Xiao Ning gave him, Xiao Yan also smiled. He patted the latter's shoulders.
"These fellows?" Xiao Yan turned his gaze toward the four people rolling on the ground and asked.
"Isn't it still because of Xun Er? These fellows know about our relationship and keep trying all sorts of means to get news about Xun Er from me. It is really too troublesome. However, they don't dare to attack me at the academy. Today, when I came out to buy something, I coincidentally ended up being seen by these fellows." Xiao Ning was somewhat helpless. From the looks of it, it appeared that this was not the first time that this had happened.
Xiao Yan could only laugh bitterly when he heard this. It really was true that beauty was a source of trouble. It was likely that the girl had now truly lost the innocence she had back then?
"Hee hee, Xun Er is very outstanding. A woman undergoes many changes when she grows up. She is now even more beautiful. There have been an unknown number of people who had fallen for her during these two years. I think that you will also be shocked when you meet see her again." Xiao Ning said with a laugh.
"How much can a child change?" Xiao Yan shook his head and laughed softly. When he said such aged words, he forgot that he was also merely eighteen years old.
"If you say these words in the academy, others will gang up to fight you..." Xiao Ning rolled his eyes. His expression abruptly changed as he appeared to recall something. He then grabbed Xiao Yan and ran toward the entrance of the academy, "Dammit, I have actually forgotten. Today is the Inner Academy Qualifying Competition. Instructor Ruo Ling could not resist Xun Er's spoiled pestering and took the risk of being promoted to a Xuan class instructor by putting your name in. If you are absent like you were last year, Instructor Ruo Ling can forget about being promoted for the next three years."
"Uh? She still wrote my name?" Xiao Yan's face was completely stunned.
"Ah, however, even if you got here in time, I don't think it would be of much help. The Inner Academy Qualifying Competition is not an ordinary one. All of those who have the qualification to participate are among the top students in the academy. Without at least the strength of a seven star Dou Shi, one might likely be eliminated once he enters the competition ground." Xiao Ning's hurried running speed slowed as he sighed.
Xiao Yan was startled. He opened his mouth, but before he had the chance to speak, Xiao Ning continued, "Forget it, forget it. Being able to come is better than being absent. Even if you lose, Instructor Ruo Ling would only lose this chance of promotion. There is still a chance the next time around..."
Once he finished saying those words, Xiao Ning pulled Xiao Yan with great force and quickly ran toward the ancient academy.
As a major event of the Jia Nan Academy, the so-called Inner Academy Qualifying Competition was naturally the event that attracted the most attention. Moreover, the renowned people in the academy would appear within this qualifying competition. The male and female students who were viewed as the idols of others, as well as their source of their adoration, were undoubtedly a great source of attraction.
Therefore, the stadium used by the academy was squished in and filled with people, despite the academy having already prepared the largest one for the competition's use. Countless numbers of students from the Jia Nan Academy squeezed and bumped heads as they charged into the seats of the stadium. At one glance, it was like a sea of dense black heads (hair) and the noise shot to the clouds.
The spacious open ground was circular in shape. The area surrounding the open ground was a set of rock stairs, which repeatedly spread upward. That shape was like an arena. The sea of people seated surrounding the arena could clearly see the entire place.
At this moment, there were two human figures on the open ground. One man and one woman. The two flashed and exchanged blows. Ferocious Dou Qi ripples shrunk and burst from the points where their palms made contact, causing the surrounding people sitting in the viewing gallery to frequently emit shocked sighs. However, clearly over half the gazes in the viewing gallery were paused on the lovely figure wearing a pale-green dress, with her lovely body flashing and moving in a light and elegant manner.
The two human figures engaged in one risky exchange after another. The pale-green colored figure suddenly paused. Her hands glowed brightly. It carried a ray of light as it imprinted itself onto the chest of the young man. A powerful force directly shook the latter until he was pushed out of the battle arena.
"Senior, thanks for giving way!" The green-clothed young lady smiled after defeating the opponent with a single blow. She bowed toward that man, who was quite handsome, in such a manner that no one could find fault in her manners.
"Junior Xun Er is indeed worthy of being the student with the greatest potential this time around. I have lost." Although the handsome young man had lost, he was straightforward. With a smile, his gaze watched that green-clothed young lady, who was like a lotus, causing people to be relaxed and happy. He immediately withdrew in a free and easy manner.
"Xun Er wins this round!"
The green-clothed young lady turned around and leaped down from the competition stage only after she heard the cry that sounded from the Referees Platform.
"Xun Er, not bad!" After the green-clothed young lady descended from the stage, a lady from the viewing gallery waved at her.
"Instructor Ruo Ling." Xun Er ignored the heated gazes shooting at her from her surroundings, and ran into that specially arranged viewing gallery and shouted with a smile. She immediately turned her gaze toward a group of ladies, who were off to the side of the viewing platform, and smiled as she said, "Elder Cousin Xiao Yu."
"Little girl is becoming more and more powerful. You were actually even able to defeat that Mo Wen. Looks like you will definitely be able to enter the Inner Academy this year." A beautiful lady wearing a pale-purple academy uniform smiled as she walked over. When she walked, her pair of long, mellow legs wrapped in the trouser leggings immediately attracted some heated gazes, which were originally looking at Xun Er. Those alluring, long legs were really a killing weapon when it came to attracting men.
"Hopefully." Xun Er smiled. After she greeted the ladies behind Xiao Yu, she dragged Xiao Yu's hand, sat beside Instructor Ruo Ling and softly spoke with a smile.
"Elder Cousin Xiao Yu, that... has Xiao Yan ge-ge not arrived yet?" Xun Er softly asked as her eyes glanced at Instructor Ruo Ling off to the side who appeared to be relaxed. The brows of the latter, however, had some anxiety between them.
TL: ge-ge - elder brother or used to address an older male friend/relative (latter usually used affectionately by female)
"Yes." Xiao Yu also sighed softly when she heard this. She immediately tightened her fist as she softly reprimanded, "I also don't know exactly what that fellow has been doing. Back then, we agreed that he could only take one year's leave. Now, he has dragged it on for a full two years. Moreover, he is still absent this year..."
"He should get here very soon." Xun Er gently bit her lip as she replied.
"I also hope so... but today is the competition. If he is still absent, Instructor Ruo Ling..." Xiao Yu laughed bitterly.
While the two of them were quietly whispering privately, another three round of fighting had passed. A man flashed up onto the stage at the fourth round. The long lance in his hand landed on the ground with great force. The somewhat heated gaze of his swept toward the direction where Xun Er was at without any intention of covering it up.
"Xuan class - Third class Xue Beng against Huang class - second class... Xiao Yan!"
TL: Class as in classroom
As the voice from the referee seats fell, the noisy open ground suddenly became much quieter. A countless number of gaze were thrown toward the position where the Huang class - second class was at. During these two years, this name Xiao Yan, had already been firmly remembered by all the students and even the instructors of Jia Nan Academy. After all, this was the first time that they had met such a thorny student, which had directly taken two years leave since the founding of Jia Nan Academy.
Of course, a greater reason was that during the last Inner Academy Qualifying Competition, that was the only name which was absent. Therefore, now that they heard this name again, everyone's gaze were thrown toward where Xun Er's group was seated. Due to Xun Er's outstanding performance at the academy, she had many suitors. However, during these two years, there was still no one who could move her heart. The only form of address, which one could hear the most from her mouth, was that so called Xiao Yan ge-ge. This kind of extremely affectionate address naturally caused Xiao Yan, who had never shown himself, to become everyone's common enemy.
When faced with the countless number of gazes being shot over, some cold sweat involuntarily surfaced on Instructor Ruo Ling's smooth forehead. Her fist was also tightly clenched as her eyes swept around her, hoping that the figure, whom she had valued greatly two years ago would appear once again like a savior.
The open ground, which had become silent, also caused Xun Er and Xiao Yu to become anxious. They exchanged glances and saw some anxiety from within each other's eyes.
"Xiao Yan huh.. a coward who dares not even reveal himself and letting a girl receive such unnecessary criticism. This person, won't do." A white-dressed young man on the viewing platform, who was not bad looking, shook his head and said faintly, "He is not worthy of Xun Er..."
The white-clothed young man was shockingly the person who had met Xun Er at the foot of the mountain a few days before. He appeared to be called Bai Shan, one of the outstanding people among the younger students in Jia Nan Academy. His strength was not much weaker than Xun Er's.
"Chi, this is the man whom Xun Er always talks about incessantly? Is his zodiac sign a turtle? If one were to follow this kind of man, isn't it better to follow me? What is so good about those stinky men? They only think with the lower half of their bodies." On another very good location in the viewing gallery, a young lady wearing a red-colored dress had her hands crossed in front of her chest. Her back leaned against an iron pipe with her exchanting curves appearing extremely alluring against the background of the straight iron pipe. The current her could not help but curl her lips as she eyed the open ground where there was actually no one who came out to engage in a fight. There was a little disdain as she spoke with a cold smile.
"Little witch, sit properly. Acting so presumptuously in public, where is your decency?" A white-haired old man by the side of the red-clothed young lady could not help but blow his beard angrily when he saw that posture of hers and the independent special words of hers.
The red-clothed lady unceremoniously rolled her eyes at this old man, who clearly had quite a high position within Jia Nan Academy as she coldly snorted, "To think that you are still the Deputy Headmaster of the Outer Academy. If it was up to me, I would have long kicked that Xiao Yan out of the academy. Two years leave. Humph. How arrogant."
"There is no choice. That girl Xun Er insists on protecting that boy." The old man helplessly shook his head. He immediately voiced his thoughts: "However, if he is to still absent this year, then I really have no other choice. The rules of the Jia Nan Academy cannot be broken..."
"Don't tell me that you hope that Xiao Yan would be able to appear during the last few minutes?" The red-clothed young lady gave the old man an opaque glance as she said.
"I really do hope so..." The old man sighed. He slowly closed his eyes and waited for this farce to end.
After the silent atmosphere continued for two minutes, some private conversations finally began to appear.
"Ah, this bastard didn't keep his promises..." Xiao Yu sighed and softly cursed when she saw the disappointment-filled face of Instructor Ruo Ling, who sat next to her.
Xun Er lowered her head. She pulled Instructor Ruo Ling's sleeves and softly said, "Instructor, I'm sorry..."
"Ke ke, you need not blame yourself. This matter is not related to you." Instructor Ruo Ling patted Xun Er's hand and forcefully gave a comforting smile, "It's alright. At the very most, I will wait another three years..."
"Let's go." Instructor Ruo Ling stood up and said to Xiao Yu and Xun Er. Seeing her somewhat reddened eyes, it appeared that she was not as free and easy as she had pretended to be with her mouth.
A group of male and female of the same class similarly sighed with disappointment as they stood up, preparing to leave the stadium. However, they had just stood up when Xun Er's lovely body suddenly stiffened. Her pretty face was abruptly lifted as she muttered, "He is here..."
"Uh? What?" By her side, Xiao Yu and the others were startled, having not heard clearly.
Just as Xiao Yu's question fell, an ear-piercing sound of rushing wind suddenly appeared on the open ground, attracting everyone's gazes.
As the sound of rushing wind appeared, a black figure suddenly shot down from the sky and suddenly smashed into the open ground. The hard ground was directly shattered into powder, which soared up and shrouded a small area.
"Who is it?" Seeing the black shadow which had shot up, the young man carrying a lance, who was called Xue Beng, could not help but cry out coldly.
Xun Er's gaze stared intently at the area hidden in the dust. An excitement that she had difficulty hiding swarmed onto her face, "He is here!"
When they heard these words of Xun Er, the lovely bodies of Instructor Ruo Ling, as well as Xiao Yu and the rest quivered. Their gaze were immediately cast toward the area on the open ground.
Under a countless number of gazes, the soft sound of footsteps could be heard from within the dust. In the completely silent open ground, the sound of footsteps was like something stepping in people's heart, causing their hearts to beat faster.
"Boom, boom." The soft sound gradually became clearer. A black-robed young man carrying an enormous black ruler on his back faintly appeared from within the dust. A moment later, he finally appeared under everyone's gaze!
"Huang class - second class, Xiao Yan!"
The black-robed young man took a step forward and raised his head slightly. That faint voice of his was like thunder as it resonated in the ears of everyone present.