“Two things,” the Keeper rejoined. “Go on.”
He handed the box in his hands to the old man. “This is a power gem I’ve recently acquired. It emits a rather powerful radiation, and after some investigation I found that it’s internal power of compression is A-ranked. But this gem isn’t in any record. You are the wisest man on Skyfire Avenue. I was hoping you could offer some insight.”
The Keeper took the box in his hands and opened it without hesitation. A faint light pulsed from the box, shimmered, and then ceased completely.
The Keeper relieved the box of the gem and examined it closely. After a moment had passed, he frowned. “If you aren’t in a hurry I suggest you leave it here. I’ll examine it more closely. It’s nothing like I’ve seen before.”
“Sure,” Lan Jue responded without hesitation. After all, the Keeper didn’t simply sell books. He was also an accomplished scientists, and the stone had clearly piqued his interest.
“And the second matter,” the Keeper inquired, replacing the stone and setting the box absently upon the tea table.
Lan Jue began, “I remember you have a good relationship with the greatest schools of Three Alliances. Do you happen to be familiar with the National Eastern University?”
The Keeper shot him a glance. “What. Are you planning to get your doctorate? Don’t bother, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks – and they have nothing to teach you anyway! Hehehe.”
Lan Jue’ face scrunched in exasperation. This old guy, just a few Alpacas short of a herd.
“Well you’re not wrong, I’m old hat. I was hoping to enter the University as an instructor.”
“An instructor?” The Keeper blinked in astonishment and the smirk slipping from his face. He stared at Lan Jue in amazement. “You want to be a teacher? Did I hear that right? You aren’t going there to corrupt the youth of our nation, are you?”
Lan Jue forced a wry smile. “Keeper, is that honestly what you think of my character?”
“Oh not at all,” The Keeper replied, “It’s just that not long ago I saw something about a man stealing another man’s wife. Terrible business.”
“Eh…” Lan Jue’s face grew rigid. He’d certainly blocked Skyfire’s Satellite Network at the time. Had the Keeper been there?
“I’ve some connections,” The Keeper continued nonchalantly. “Getting you a job as an instructor wouldn’t be a problem. It’s just an old man like me who’s spent his life enlightening the inquisitive, I hope the teacher I recommend doesn’t end up being a poor influence.”
Lan Jue once more smirked towards the old man. “In fact I’m really not a good teacher. I’m actually going there to act as a bodyguard, so some official post with no real responsibility would be best.”
“Then what were you looking for,” the Keeper asked.
Lan Jue, in response, leaned close to whisper in to the old man’s ear.
When Lan Jue had finished speaking, it was as though the Keeper’s craggy face had deepened. “You’re serious?”
Lan Jue rejoined with serious countenance. “It’s an area I’m skilled in, and I can promise you I wont be a bad influence or shoddy instructor. Students who learned these skills certainly wouldn’t be at a disadvantage.”
The Keeper gave him a strange look. “Interesting,” he muttered. “Very interesting. Very well, then you go ahead and give it a shot. But be assured, if you hurt my relationship with the university, I won’t forgive you.”
“Be at ease. I know the implications.” Lan Jue dare not offend the man before him. He’d heard stories about the old man from the Wine Master. He had apparently perfected science to the point of a Discipline, becoming an Adept of science. Rarely did he deign to act, but when he did it was world-shaking. A mad scientist capable of firing positron explosions from his hands while suspended in mid-air, probably not the best idea to make him mad. The Wine Master had once told Lan Jue that Skyfire Avenue had only known two synthetic Tenth-Level Adepts. The Keeper was one of them. He was also considered Skyfire Avenue’s ultimate weapon. His power was considered synthetic because it was not derived from genetic Talent, but from intense learning and cultivation. His natural Talent didn’t exceed Sixth-Level.
The second Tenth-Level was naturally the Clairvoyant. On the surface the two looked incapable of holding their own in a fight. Only the inner council members knew the truth; they weren’t bad at fighting, just bad at skirmishes. When they fought they couldn’t help but rip the heavens and drown the earth…
“Remember young man, when the time comes to show your powers don’t hold back. Sometimes, the best way to avoid trouble is letting people know exactly what you’re capable of.”
Three days later, a letter of appointment from the National Eastern University arrived at Zeus’ Jewelry Shop.
“Boss, you’re really going to be a teacher?” Ke’er’s bright eyes watched Lan Jue closely.
Lan Jue nodded his head half-heartedly. “Uh-huh.”
Ke’er sighed wistfully. “Then you’ll definitely be the most handsome teacher there! It’s just… why?”
Lan Jue smirked. “I’ve got nothing to do in my spare time.”
“Blach!” Ke’er seemed to be choking on her own saliva. “I’ll send you, okay! Oh and by the way, the gourmet wanted me to remind you that the Bluefin Tuna will be ready to eat in two days.”
“Mmhm,” Lan Jue said, his eyes lighting up. It was certainly good news. “I’m going in to the back to rest for a while. I have to prepare to report for duty.”
“Do you need me to start packing some things?” Xiuxiu’s gentle voice inquired.
Lan Jue shook his head.
Returning to his room, Lan Jue extricated his interstellar communicator and input a number.
After a moment, a pleasant voice rang through the speaker. “What are you doing?”
Softly, Lan Jue answered. “At your request, I will be reporting to your school this afternoon. Do you need protection?”
The fair-sounding voice on the other end fell silent for a moment. “Keep in touch. This afternoon I’ll take you around the campus. After you’re more familiar with the place we’ll talk more.”
“Fine,” Lan Jue torpidly responded.
“Oh right, and what’s your name?” Zhou Qianlin asked.
Lan Jue truly didn’t understand why it was so easy to upset this girl. “Didn’t I tell you, that day?”
“Did you? I forgot. I tend not to bother with unimportant things or people.”
“My name’s Lan Jue,” he growled through the receiver.
Zhou Qianlin continued. “I was thinking, it would be better if we pretended we didn’t know each other in public. You can protect me from behind the scenes. How you do that is up to you, it shouldn’t be my job to tell you how.”
Lan Jue was confounded. “Why? What’s with the sudden change of heart?”
“Because,” she said, “If my classmates discovered I knew you, they’d be bound to question my taste.”
“By the way, I wanted to ask you a legal question,” Zhou Qianlin said. “You don’t get capital punishment for annoying someone to death, right?”
“Zhou Qianlin, do you happen to know what I’ll be teaching at your university,” Lan Jue said, the indignation eating away at him suddenly dissolving and replaced with a sly grin. Annoy me to death? Sh*t, you haven’t even seen what I can do.