Chapter 37: Etiquette Teacher

“Zhou Qianlin, do you happen to know what I’ll be teaching at your university?” Lan Jue’s question confused Zhou Qianlin. Wasn’t he going to be a mecha instructor?

Lan Jue unfolded the acceptance letter in his hand, and read from it’s contents. “We are happy to accept Mister Lan Jue as an associate professor of National Eastern University, hereby responsible for the ad-hoc curriculum of… Etiquette.” The communicator clicked off, his words still hanging in the air. Expected a mecha teacher, eh? How quaint.

Zhou Qianlin stared at the quiet communicator in her hand, her once proud demeanor now dumbfounded. “Etiquette? Since when did the University have this course? What is he even going to teach?”

Lan Jue saw the communicator strapped to his wrist hum, but all it accomplished was to make him laugh and shake his head. Since when did these mood swings become so common, he thought. Probably because she looks so much like Hera.

His memory conjured up that charming face, so like Hera’s, and he couldn’t help but feel a pang in his chest. And yet, at the same time he was looking forward to taking his post in the University.

He knew very well she wasn’t Hera, but in the deep recesses of his heart he still anticipated seeing her. At the very least, seeing her will remind him of his time with Hera.

Looking at the map, the University didn’t appear too far from Skyfire Avenue, but it would be quite a distance on foot.

Tomorrow I report to school. Think, when was the last time I enrolled in any classes? Ten years or more now. I was in my teens, and I was a pretty well-known problem child!

A smirk spread unbidden across his face. His memories were precious, recalling his wild and carefree youth like it was yesterday. And tomorrow he’d enter in to university again, but as a different person. The student had become the teacher. But what sort of teacher would he be?

The depression that had had accompanied Qianlin’s request had dispersed, what with the happenings of the last few days. He was adjusting to the rigors of life, or perhaps, it was the beginning of a new chapter. It was the desire of every man to shed the veil of sadness.

He pressed a few digits in the to the communicator on his wrist, and soon a lethargic voice arose on the other end.

“Eyy, A-Jue, what’s happening! Did you find Hera?”

A crooked smile split Lan Jue’s face. “The greater the desire, the greater the disappointment.”

The voice on the other end seemed to awaken. “It sounds like someone cheated you.”

The muscles of Lan Jue’s face jerked. “And it sounds like you’re gloating.”

“I’m not, really!” Chu Cheng’s voice solemnly swore from the receiver.

Lan Jue smirked. “Fine. I’ll deal with my own business. Give me an address, I have something for you.”

“What’s that,” Chu Cheng asked curiously.

“Some Harlequin Silver. You know the kind of person I am.”

“You know you don’t have to repay me,” Chu Cheng responded in agitation.

“Unacceptable,” Lan Jue stated categorically. “If I take too long to repay a debt I wont be able to. Besides, I don’t want to cause you any trouble. Although the silver isn’t as significant as the refined technetium to you, you might be able to use it to trade for a batch.”

Chu Cheng’s voice rejoined. “A-Jue, you really need to get out. It’s no good being shut in all the time.”

Lan Jue acquiesced. “I know. I’m trying, I even found a job.”

“A job? You coming out of retirement, back to being the Mercenary King?” Chu Cheng’s excitement was apparent. “That’s excellent! We’ve got a few missions that need tending to, all S-Ranked. They’re yours if you want ‘em. Price is no object. I remember your rules, you only need to ask. Whatever gem you need you’ll get, I’ll have the whole family out looking.”

During his time as a mercenary, Lan Jue never accepted money. He preferred to be remunerated in the form of power gems. It was the take from those days that allowed him to corner the gem market in Skyfire Avenue.

Lan Jue chuckled. “I said I was looking for a job, not that I was going back to merc work. I’m going to be a teacher!”

ζ

“Te.. teacher…” Chu Cheng’s mouth dropped open, and the cigarette that had lazily burned in his mouth tumbled to the floor instantly burning the shag carpet.

“Mmhm, a teacher. An Etiquette teacher, actually. Come on, give me an address.”

As if in a trance Chu Cheng muttered the address, and even when Lan Jue’s communicator went silent, he still didn’t know how to react.

Teacher? He’d said teacher, right? He wants to be… a teacher? Why did he sound so relaxed?

After a few moments of blind confusion Chu Cheng gradually came back to his senses. A wry smile spread across his face by degrees.

It appears A-Jue was finally letting go of what had happened the last few years, he thought. At least he’s getting out and letting go of his pain. It doesn’t matter what he’s out doing, so long as he’s doing something. And with his abilities, he’s sure to make an excellent teacher.

But what did he say he wanted to teach? I suddenly can’t remember…

“Chuuuu Cheeeeeng!” A wild voice suddenly rang out, full of bile.

“ You DARE smoke in my house again?! AGH! MY CARPET! You abhorrent little punk, do you have any idea how rare this carpet is?! Your father just bought it at auction. Don’t go running you awful degenerate, time for a whooping!”

“My fault mom. Pretend I don’t exist!”

ζ

National Eastern University.

It was one of the top ten schools in the Eastern Alliance, situated right here on Skyfire, in the city itself. It was particularly known for it’s mecha program, and though it wasn’t a military institution it’s piloting curriculum was known through the Alliances. Not only that, it was first among the Alliances in alloy research and application.

The school itself was enormous, constituting a tenth of the Western part of the city. At it’s back was the Western mountain, which itself had been incorporated in to the university. It provided the mecha students with a place to train.

Rays of early-morning light splayed across the campus, setting the morning dew to twinkling and bringing with it a vividly fresh scent. A figure slowly approached from the distance.

He was tall, clad in a three-piece azure blue suit. He wore a white shirt, pink neck tie, and a pink handkerchief folded in his breast pocket. And he came rolling in on a two-wheeled bicycle.

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