Xiao Yan slowly walked on the small, tree-lined trail within the academy. He narrowed his eyes and did not really bother with the heated gazes shot from around him. Ever since he became the champion of the Qualifying Competition two days ago, these kinds of gazes accompanied Xiao Yan. Initially, he was a little frustrated. However, as more time passed, he could only numbly act as though he disregarded them. He had no choice regarding this. After all, their eyes were not under his control.
Today was already two days after the Qualifying Competition had concluded. During these two days, not only did Xiao Yan fully recover from the injuries he received during the competition but his strength had also completely stabilized at the six star Da Dou Shi level. His condition was such that he was basically always in peak condition. The Dou Qi was circulating unceasingly within his body like flood water, causing a comfortable feeling to seep out from all over his body.
According to the rules of the academy, the top fifty students of the Qualifying Competition must begin to prepare to enter the Inner Academy within seven days after the end of the Qualifying Competition. As for Xiao Yan and the others in the top five, they could choose a time to enter the academy’s ‘Book Collection Hall’ within these seven days. They had the qualification to rely on their luck to choose something that belonged to them as a reward.
Xiao Yan was also very interested in that mysterious ‘Book Collection Hall,’ which even Xun Er constantly kept in her mind. However, the top five people who could enter, according to the rules, had to enter at the same time. Yet, Bai Shan, Hu Jia, and Wu Hao, were still lying in the clinic. Based on what he heard from Lu Mu, the three of them could forget about walking without three to five days of rest. While Lu Mu said these words, the gaze which Lu Mu used to look at Xiao Yan was somewhat strange and filled with happiness. Clearly, he was thinking that it was fortunate that when he was fighting with Xiao Yan, this fellow did not become crazy and beat him up into that miserable state. As a person from the Alchemist Department, the hardship that Bai Shan and the two others had undergone these past two days was something that he had clearly witnessed with his own eyes.
“I wonder what exactly is in the ‘Book Collection Hall’. Hopefully, I can find something suitable for myself.” The warm sunlight passed through the gap between the tree branches, shining on Xiao Yan’s body as he muttered with hope.
“Elder Cousin Xiao Yan.”
While Xiao Yan’s footsteps were walking at a steady pace, a somewhat timid voice suddenly sounded from in front of him. Xiao Yan’s footsteps paused when he heard the voice. He opened his narrowed eyes and looked forward, only to see a group of lively and pretty young ladies. Among this group of young ladies, Xiao Mei was being clustered around like a moon surrounded by stars. Honestly speaking, with Xiao Mei’s appearance, she could be considered among the elite, even in this academy… The current her was somewhat ill at ease while she eyed Xiao Yan, who had walked over. This was a young man, who had used less than ten days to raise his reputation to the peak within this academy, where a countless number of talented individuals gathered.
“Wow, Xiao Mei, he really is your cousin? He is walking over, walking over…” Beside Xiao Mei, those young ladies eyed Xiao Yan, who was slowly walking over. A flush involuntarily and swiftly surfaced on their faces. They pulled Xiao Mei as they softly shouted somewhat excitedly.
The reputation that the current Xiao Yan possessed within Jia Nan Academy had basically surpassed Bai Shan’s in the past. Before, his act of fighting one against three had been relished by a countless number of students. As they repeatedly conversed of the event between one another, Xiao Yan’s position swiftly rose among many students. This, in addition to the fact that Xiao Yan’s face also belonged to the delicate and handsome class, despite not being extremely handsome, and that his face frequently contained a warm smile, resulted in many young ladies winking at him during these short two days. A man who had strength was filled with charm.
As Xiao Yan’s reputation rose within the academy, it also caused his original reputation of being extremely thorny, which had been passed around due to him having taken two years leave, to become synonymous with having a great amount of character.
Young people were like this. If it was a person whom they liked and respected, they would all try their best to ignore or remedy any shortcomings he had in the past and do their best to let him become the most perfect person in their hearts. The current Xiao Yan did not give any explanation but that bad reputation of him skipping classes for two years had been twisted into “being full of character…”
Xiao Yan slowly walked toward the somewhat uneasy Xiao Mei. He smiled and nodded toward her before stopping in front of her. He carelessly chatted a little with her while smiling. After which, he brushed past Xiao Mei.
Although Xiao Yan’s face was warm and had a smile, Xiao Mei still felt an unfamiliarity from within it. As she heard the envious voices of the young ladies around her, she felt the tip of her nose ache a little. Her pupils were filled with a gloominess. Originally, they could be very close. She did not need this kind of superficial greeting. Instead, she would rather he display anger toward her. That way, she would at the very least feel rejoiced. If there was anger, it meant that she was worth him being angry over. Yet, this calm manner of Xiao Yan’s caused her to feel an extreme pain in her heart. Hating a person was not being angry at her, but to completely ignore her. The current Xiao Yan appeared to have already reached this stage.
All of this was the result of a mistake in her attitude back when she was still a child!
As Xiao Yan brush passed her, Xiao Mei drew her nose and tried her best to not let the moist air agglomerate in her eyes. Although the regret in her heart tortured her until she could not wait to hug someone and have a good cry, she lifted her pretty face and forcefully smiled at the young ladies around her, who still had envious gazes. After which, she turned her body to leave.
“That’s right, can you leave with me? I want to tell you something.” Just as the dejected Xiao Mei was about to leave, a smiling voice suddenly rang out, causing her body to stiffen on the spot. She hurriedly turned around, only to find the warm faced Xiao Yan. After being startled, she hurriedly nodded. She did not say goodbye to the young ladies around her as she swiftly followed Xiao Yan under the envious gazes of those young ladies.
Strange gazes followed them the entire way as Xiao Yan led Xiao Mei slowly toward a quiet lake. He stood in front of the lake and was quiet for a moment before telling her about all the things that had happened to the Xiao clan in detail. No matter how one put it, Xiao Mei was a member of the Xiao clan. She had the right to know that the clan had moved. Moreover, Xiao Yan felt guilty regarding the matter of the clan moving. If it was not because of his conflict with the Misty Cloud Sect, the clan need not be implicated in this manner. Although this clan had not left him with a good impression since he was young, the clan was ultimately the blood and sweat of his father and the various ancestors of the Xiao clan. Now that his father was missing, he, Xiao Yan, must become the acting Clan Head of the Xiao clan. One would know about this from the moment the three elders decided to hand him the mysterious jade piece, which was a family heirloom that also possessed the ability to store a speck of the spirit belonging to the Clan Head. This was because the jade piece was the symbolic status of the Clan Head of the Xiao clan over the generations.
“The clan has moved?” Xiao Mei was also startled when she heard the news. Her eyebrows knit together slightly. She eyed Xiao Yan’s expression and the intelligent her blinked her eyes. She guessed, “This is because of the matter regarding the Misty Cloud Sect, right?”
“Yes.” Xiao Yan laughed bitterly before becoming slightly quiet. His tone had suddenly become much more cold, “I killed one of their elders and after that, our ties have been strained since. I will settle this matter properly with them when I return to the Jia Ma Empire in the future. During this period before I return, you should try to not return to the Jia Ma Empire as much as possible. If your movement is exposed, you and the clan may receive a destructive blow.”
Xiao Mei nodded obediently. The corner of her eyes glanced at Xiao Yan as she softly said, “Elder Cousin Xiao Yan, rest assured that no one in the Xiao clan will blame you for this matter. I’m afraid that even those Elders would feel extremely proud that you act like this. In so many years, there aren’t many people who dare or have the qualification to fight with people from the Misty Cloud Sect.”
Xiao Yan smiled when he heard this. He immediately nodded and said, “Hopefully. The Xiao clan is my father’s blood and sweat. I will do my best to protect it.”
“The current Elder Cousin Xiao Yan is able to do it. Back then…” Xiao Mei’s words suddenly came to a stop. Her pretty face became pale and her hand really wanted to pull at her own mouth. It was not easy to finally have some warm atmosphere, but she had to choose to bring up that matter.
“Yes, let the things back then stay in the past. We are no longer children and there is no use to keep remembering those things.” Xiao Yan’s gaze stopped on the sparkling surface of the lake. He turned his head and eyed Xiao Mei’s worried manner before saying, “No matter what happens, you are always my younger cousin… If you have some problems in the future, you can come and find me. Although I don’t have the strength to protect the clan’s fate in the Jia Ma Empire, I am able to ensure that the members of the Xiao clan will not be bullied within this Jia Nan Academy.”
Xiao Mei smoothed out a breath within her heart. These words of Xiao Yan’s caused an additional smile to appear on Xiao Mei’s face as she nodded.
“Alright, I also need to return. Remember, if there is a problem, come find me where Instructor Ruo Ling stays.” Xiao Yan smiled and patted Xiao Mei’s shoulders. He immediately turned around before walking to the outside of a small path.
Xiao Mei stood on the same spot and eyed the figure, which had become distant. She suddenly cracked a smile. This appeared to be an opportunity to break the deadlock between the two of them, right?
Five days after the Qualifying Competition was over, Xiao Yan went to see Instructor Ruo Ling, Xun Er and Xiao Yu were both present when he returned to Instructor Ruo Ling’s unique home. In front of them also stood a middle-aged man, who was wearing the academy’s Instructor robe.
“Ke ke, what is this about?” Xiao Yan smiled and asked as he walked into the living room. He turned his gaze toward Xun Er.
“Xiao Yan ge-ge, this is Instructor Ku Lu.” Xun Er smiled and stepped forward. She smoothly received Xiao Yan’s jacket and said gently, “Bai Shan, Hu Jia, and Wu Hao have already recovered. According to the rules, this afternoon is the time when we will enter the ‘Book Collection Hall’.”
Xiao Yan’s footsteps paused a little. He was a little surprised. Immediately, he smiled and nodded. It had finally arrived. He had highly anticipated this so-called mysterious ‘Book Collection Hall’. Now, he hoped that it would not disappoint him…