The head instructor gazed like a tiger watching its prey, as Li Yao ducked his body and scuttled little by little to the closed school gate. Li Yao let out a breath and checked his watch 7:29, just in the nick of time!
Just like all the other high schools in the federation, Crimson Nimbus has entered early into the yearly “Crazed University Entrance Exam Season”. An aura of murder permeated through the campus, similar to that of a battlefield. Right through the school gate entrance towered a gigantic hologram in the center. Upon it were several words:
“Time until the entrance exams: 99 days 18 hours 32 minutes and 57 seconds!”
The numbers on the hologram pulsed and changed every second. The change was small, but it brought the exam candidates a great deal of pressure.
On the two sides were several lines of slogans:
“As long as studying has not reached the point of death, one should beat studying to death!”
“Rising by a point means crushing a thousand people!”
“Crimson Nimbus Second dominates the federation. Vow to pierce through the examination or be exiled!”
“Gain admittance into the ‘Nine Elite Universities’. Become a cultivator. Step onto the apex of life!”
A fervent and passionate march resonated through the campus. Nearly a thousand students moved like a tide of water, rushing towards the sports field. Li Yao increased his footsteps as well, sneaking into the tide of people. As soon as they arrived at the field, the tide of people separated into three sections, changing into completely different groups.
The first group had about forty students. All carried a dignified appearance, with handsome features appearing chiseled by nature. These were the overbearing and arrogant heaven’s chosen. The school uniforms that covered their bodies were made from heaven’s silk, custom tailored, and refined by cultivators. They fluttered in the absence of wind,stirring from the rays of hidden treasures. All these contributed to give an uncommon martial appearance. These people were of the “Important Class” of students; each was an one-out-of-ten-thousand cultivation genius. They had the strength to shock seedlings of the ‘Nine Elite Universities.’
The second group of people were the most numerous numbering about seven to eight hundred students. The clothes they wore were also spun from heaven’s silk, but they weren’t custom tailored, nor did they undergo refinement from cultivators. They looked to be dull and mediocre, like the faces of a thousand people. They were the “Ascending Class” of students, mostly comprising of the children of Floating Spear City’s rich and elite families. In regards to their aptitude, their strength stemmed from using heaps of resources.
The third group had a hundred or so people. Their clothes were inferior school uniforms weaved from ordinary materials. The uniforms were loose and worn, large and baggy, giving a somewhat sloppy appearance. The owners of this uniforms also did not give off any special energy. This was the “Common Class” of students. Most were born as children of common worker class families. Within the private high school “Crimson Nimbus Second” they were an existence like a mishmash of fish.
Li Yao was quite familiar with the “Common Class” and found his position within the formation. Just when he was about to stand fixed, someone patted his shoulder. A voice sounding somewhat greasy rang out: “Little Devil, you only just got here? There’s probably going to be an important person coming to our school today!”
Li Yao did not need to look back to know that this was his best friend “Meng Jiang.” Raising his eyes, he looked at the main platform. Sure enough he discovered that there was the headmaster, vice-principal, and disciplinary director among the people on the stage. All of the high ranking people were present. This was indeed a special occasion never seen on a typical morning.
“Which important person could be so tremendous? Even Baldy Zhao has personally appeared to greet him!”
To be exact, Baldy Zhao was Crimson Nimbus Second’s Headmaster, Zhao Shude. He was the very serious and solemn core member of the Crimson Nimbus Guild. His Refinement stage was that of a high level cultivator. However rumor claim that when he was young, he suffered from an internal injury while cultivating in the “Fiend Beast Wasteland” to the north west. Year round, he remains behind closed doors training, rarely coming out personally to supervise school affairs.
“Its Peng Hai! Man it’s ‘Fiend Blade’ Peng Hai!” Meng Jiang’s excitement was maxed out. His voice was completely shaking.
This one name, had also caused Li Yao’s heartbeat to speed up its tempo in a flash.
Fiend Blade Peng Hai was Crimson Nimbus Second’s largest alumni legend in several hundred years.
He was born in the slums. Since childhood, he’d exhibited a dazzling gift for cultivation. When he was eleven, he was specially recruited by Crimson Nimbus Second. By twelve his “Spirit Actualization Quotient” reached 100% and he awakened to a spirit root of the highest quality, stepping onto the road of cultivation. At age thirteen, he was accepted to the “Nine Elite Universities’” “Grand Desolate War Institution”. By the time he graduated at age fifteen, he had already stepped into the 10th rank of the Refinement stage, becoming the Federation’s star of hope!
From after his time in the “Grand Desolate War Institution”, he rejected high salary offers from over a dozen Cultivator Sects, resolutely deciding to join the “Federation’s Army”. In the Fiend Beast Wasteland he fought against millions of fiend beasts in order to defend the federation’s youth and blood, creating a mountain of corpses and sea of blood from the fiend beasts, amassing the fierce and impressive name “Fiend Blade.” Finally on age 22, he became the federation’s youngest ever Cultivator to reach the Foundation stage!
After retiring from the army Peng Hai returned to his hometown. With an astronomical signup bonus as a condition, he joined the Crimson Nimbus Guild. In a short three years time he had already become the business manager of Crimson Nimbus Guild new “Crimson Nimbus Transporter Group” department, responsible for creating new transportation routes in dangerous areas where fiend beasts ran rampant. Aside from his outstanding salary, it is said he also possessed a large share of stocks in the “Crimson Nimbus Transporter Group,” receiving mountains of gold and silver yearly just from dividends!
“Did you hear the rumor? Peng Hai was just at the border of the ‘Silver White Beach.’ He bought an unequalled seaside villa, it’s said to be worth seventy to eighty million! Tabloid reporters say he often brings dozens of women back to his villa for open parties!” Meng Jiang drooled as he spoke, unable to conceal his jealous and envious thoughts.
From being a penniless kid in the slums to becoming a great faction’s upper level manager. Having a net worth over a hundred million, exotic cars and beauties, and a seaside mansion— this was simply the dream of all slum kids. Li Yao and Meng Jiang were also no exception.
They all thirsted to become the next Peng Hai!
Li Yao’s wrist-watch vibrated lightly, indicating that something was arriving at high-speeds through the air. He raised his eyes to look towards the eastern horizon. A black stream of lightning shot over, its speed was extremely fast. A second ago it was at the horizon. With a single Blink skill it was already silently floating in the sky over the field. It was a black flying shuttle!
The body of this flying shuttle was sleek and narrow like a stretched drop of water. Its length was nearly twice as long as that of common flying shuttles. Its exterior was crystal clear and no seams or rivets could be seen; it was of the highest quality. It was hard to tell from the exterior what kind of offensive magical devices this flying shuttle was equipped with. However, hidden under the radiance of its black glow was actually a dangerous air that caused the pulses of people to stop. It was a killing intent that seemed to reject being restricted to the confines of space and caused the thousand of high school students to simultaneously feel stifled.
“It’s the ‘Battle Shuttle Mystic Bird’! The federation’s most advanced military shuttle! Its battle strength may be greater than that of a peak Foundation stage Cultivator! When piloting the ‘Battle Shuttle Mystic Bird’, even the Fiend Beast Wasteland can be crossed unhindered, without restraint!” Li Yao called out wildly from within his heart.
As Li Yao was an artifact fanatic, it went without say that the “Battle Shuttle Mystic Bird” elicited great admiration, greater than that towards Peng Hai himself!
More importantly, he knew that the barest configuration of the Battle Shuttle Mystic Bird would reach a market price of nearly a hundred million. Even ordinarily rich and powerful families absolutely could not afford it.
A second passed. The pits of thousands of students’ stomachs loosened. They were able to resume their breaths. The Battle Shuttle Mystic Bird that was once in the air had already faded out of sight.
Left behind was only a pair of pupils, pitch black to the abyss. There was still a radiance within them. Now and then they would flit around, reminiscent of lightning, like a fiend blade.
Whomever his gaze reached was affected. Even Second’s Headmaster Zhao Shude and the usually fiendish Disciplinary Director were unable to bear it, shuffling faintly sideways. They did not dare to meet his gaze.
“Cultivators really are wealthy! They really are awe-inspiring! They really are domineering!” Li Yao mumbled, swallowing some saliva.
“Rumor has it that the school specifically invited Peng Hai back to coach the “Important Class” of students! Little devil, hey did you know that our Crimson Nimbus Second was a century famous school, but the examination scores for the past few years were not too remarkable. There were not many students who were accepted to the ‘Nine Elite Universities.’ As such, The Crimson Nimbus Guild’s reputation has not been so hot. So, this time they specifically invited Peng Hai to come back to do some specialized training in hopes of reversing this decline in fortune and once more give birth to glory!” Meng Jiang’s voice was permeated full of jealousy.
After all, only the “Important Class” of students were fortunate enough to enjoy being personally taught by Fiend Blade Peng Hai. There was no chance for them the “Common Class” of destitute youths.
Li Yao heard the news and he inwardly sighed a breath as well.
The “Nine Elite Universities” had the federation’s most profound inner knowledge, they were abundant in resources, and these nine institutions had the greatest number of high level experts. Out of the myriad of schools in the federation, this was the ultimate dream.
Ordinary universities did not necessarily place fostering cultivators as their primary objective. Even if a student had high natural talent, no matter how hard they tried, no matter what multitude of good fortune they encountered, the probability of becoming a cultivator did not exceed one in ten-thousand.
However, the Nine Elite Universities had the backing of numerous cultivator sects. They specialized in fostering cultivators as their objective. As long as one gains acceptance to the Nine Elite Universities, one would have a thirty percent chance of becoming a cultivator, stepping onto the apex of life!
Becoming a Master Artificer requires that one must first become a cultivator. And to become a cultivator, one must first pass the university entrance exam for the Nine Elite Universities. Li Yao always regarded this as his objective to strive for, but from beginning to end his innate talent was at a disadvantage, incapable of being redeemed. The distance to his dream appeared to grow further and further.
With these worries on his mind Li Yao’s enthusiasm somewhat waned, even causing him to not hear what was being said on stage. The time of a cultivator was valuable. Fiend Blade Peng Hai did not speak for too long and soon Headmaster Zhao Shude announced the end of the morning assembly.
Peng Hai was escorted by the arrogant heaven’s chosen youths of the Important Class and left. And so the Ascending and Common class of students also had their enthusiasm disperse as they walked in twos and threes towards the school building.
And with that, today’s studies have officially begun!