A wooden door was slowly pushed open. A thread of sunlight passed through the gap and spread out, finally forming a narrow and long line of light on the ground.
As the wooden door was completely pushed open, the line of light swiftly expanded. Immediately, a few human shadows, which were pulled by the sunlight until their length was no longer proportional also entered. The leader, an old man, swept over the spacious small pavilion home smiled and said, “Xiao Yan, this will be the residence of the four of you in the future.”
“Four of us?”
Hearing this, Hu Jia, who was following behind, could not help but be startled. She immediately said in a stunned voice, “Elder Su, don’t tell me that you want Xun Er and I, two girls, to stay with these two big men?”
“Ke ke, Hu Jia girl, this pavilion home is fairly large and there are quite a number of rooms. It is not like we are asking you to sleep in the same bed. What are you so anxious of?” Elder Su smiled and shook his head. His gaze moved over the four of them as he continued, “That’s right. You all have another group member right?”
“Uh…” Xiao Yan was a little sluggish when he heard Elder Su’s question. He shrugged his shoulders, not quite knowing how to answer.
“He ran… he saw the powerful strength of the ‘Black Demon Group,’ thus he abandoned us and fled.” Hu Jia spread her hands and laughed coldly. She did not have the same concerns that Xiao Yan had. Her words did not leave any face for Bai Shan. Clearly, the actions of Bai Shan in abandoning his companions and fleeing by himself caused her to hold him in great contempt.
“Ran away? What a short-sighted person.” Elder Su was also startled. He immediately shook his head and spoke with a faint smile.
“In the future, the four of you will belong to the Inner Academy. I will remind you that unless your strength is extremely strong, it is not easy to muddle along within the Inner Academy all alone. Due to what the environment encourages, all the older students in the Inner Academy are divided into factions and territories. I think that you will understand these things soon.” Elder Su voiced his thoughts.
“The Inner Academy actually has such things? Why don’t you all put a stop to it?” Hu Jia’s knit her eyebrows together and asked.
“Ke ke, why should we put a stop to it? This kind of competition is what our Inner Academy needs and wants. If you don’t want to be bullied, you need to work hard to raise your strength. Otherwise, everything is out of discussion… the strong are respected. This will forever be the tune of this world. We do not want to let the Inner Academy become an Ivory Tower where everyone is carefree. This is because such an environment would not produce truly strong people.” Elder Su faintly replied.
Hu Jia could only curl her lips when she heard Elder Su’s explanation. Xiao Yan and Wu Hao nodded their heads in approval. They had undergone true temperament, and clearly understood just what kind of environment could create a truly strong person.
“Hence, by letting you stay together, we actually want you to form a group. In the Hunting Competition, you should all have understood just what kind of fighting strength a group can create, no?” Elder Su smilingly said, “From today on, I hope that the four of you can face all your difficulties together and become a group that does not abandon each other. If all of you are able to do this, your life in the Inner Academy will be much more relaxed. No matter the case, a person’s strength cannot be compared to a group’s strength right?”
“I am fine with it. I have no objections to Xiao Yan’s strength.” Wu Hao hesitated for a moment before nodding slightly and speaking with a faint voice.
Xun Er laughed gently. She would naturally not object to being together with Xiao Yan.
“Ah, alright. Although I don’t want to admit it, following this fellow does indeed make me feel safer.” Hu Jia spread her hands, nodded helplessly and gave voice to her reply.
“All of you are relying on me…”
Xiao Yan could not help but laugh bitterly when he saw their actions. Although the expression on his face was like this, there was a strange feeling within his heart. He was all alone during the nearly three years of training. Perhaps it was as his character dictated but he had gotten used to facing his struggles alone. However, seeing the manner in which Wu Hao and the other two handed over command of their group, it was undoubtedly a form and showing of trust and acceptance. This kind of feeling was something that Xiao Yan never had when he trained alone in the past.
“Ke ke, it is naturally for the best if all of you can act in this matter.” Elder Su nodded with satisfaction when he saw that the four people had come together to form a group without any hesitation. He waved his hand and said, “Alright. It is already quite late. You should tidy up your own rooms and rest for the night. From tomorrow on, you can all go and take a look around the Inner Academy as you please. I think that this place will not disappoint you.”
“Is there really no training curriculum or classes?” Hu Jia hurriedly asked when she heard this.
“The Inner Academy doesn’t need such a thing. As long as you have sufficient ‘Fire Energy,’ you are permitted to enter the ‘Blazing Sky Qi Refining Tower.’ Training in that place is more effective than any training curriculum. Oh, that’s right. I have nearly forgotten. Each week the academy will collectively organize students to enter the ‘Blazing Sky Qi Refining Tower’ once. If you want to talk about training curriculum, that can be considered as such…”
Elder Su laughed softly and said, “Additionally, the Inner Academy also has a ‘Dou Technique House,’ ‘Qi Method Hall,’ and other such places. If you want to obtain any Dou Techniques or Qi Method, you can go over there and take a look. Of course, this is on the precondition that you have sufficient ‘Fire Energy’ to exchange for them. Compared to the Outer Academy, there is actually much more freedom in the Inner Academy.”
“If you feel that you don’t have sufficient ‘Fire Energy’ and that your hands are itchy, you can go to the Fighting Arena to earn ‘Fire Energy.’ Of course, the precondition is that you must possess sufficient strength. Otherwise, you will lose until you have nothing left.”
Xiao Yan and the three others nodded their heads to express that they understood.
“If you don’t have any other questions, go and rest. If you have any problems, you can come and find me.” Elder Su waved his hands at the four of them, turned around, and walked out. He finally disappeared from the sight of Xiao Yan’s group.
As he watched Elder Su leave, Xiao Yan clapped his hands and smiled to Xun Er and the other two, “Let’s tidy up the rooms. This place may perhaps be our long term home in the near future.”
“Yes.” Xun Er and the other two smiled and nodded. They immediately split up, each going to search for their own room.
The silver moon hung high in the sky as night fell. The faint moonlight scattered from the sky, covering the enormous basin within.
Xiao Yan was seated cross-legged on the bed within a quiet room. His hands had formed the training seal. Following his cyclic breathing, threads of energy, visible to the naked eye, began to swim out of the air. Finally, they moved along with the breathing and entered unceasingly into Xiao Yan’s body.
Next to Xiao Yan, a seven colored small snake was floating mid air. Its small body was moving with a strange rhythm and as it moved, the space around it began to fluctuate. An energy that was over ten times stronger than Xiao Yan’s own was that pushed into the small snake’s body. What was strange was that despite the huge energy and the small body of the snake, there was no movement. It was as if a few stones had been thrown into a bottomless abyss; leaving no ripples.
The training continued for about an hour. Only then did the drifting energy gradually recede. Xiao Yan’s eyelashes moved slightly. A moment later, he opened his eyes, and exhaled coarse air that had been restrained in his chest.
“I have finally recovered. The consumption from the ‘Angry Buddha Lotus Flame’ is really too large… However, the nearly one week of fighting in the forest did have quite a lot of benefits for me.” Xiao Yan softly muttered. At this moment, his originally pale face had once again recovered its sleek redness. His pair of pupils appeared to be covered by a layer of faint, warm jade, appearing extremely strange.
Not long after Xiao Yan’s training ended, the ‘Seven-Colored Heaven Swallowing Python’ also finished one night of training. It extended its snake tongue and hissed at Xiao Yan. Seeing this, the latter helplessly shook his head. He could only take out a bottle of ‘Amethyst Lion Birth Essence’ and flicked a couple of drops into its mouth. After which it shook its tail in a carefree manner, and went back into Xiao Yan’s sleeves.
“This gluttonous little fellow…” Xiao Yan’s hand rubbed the ‘Heaven Swallowing Python’ that twined around his arm. He bitterly laughed. He was just about to speak when the dark black ring on his finger suddenly trembled. Yao Lao’s old illusionary figure immediately began to slowly float out.
“Teacher? How is it? Did you search for the ‘Fallen Heart Flame?’” Xiao Yan braced his spirit when he saw Yao Lao appear and hurriedly asked in a soft voice.
“This, I didn’t…”
Yao Lao smiled. His gaze swept all around him. Seeing Xiao Yan’s disappointed expression, he laughed softly, “However, it is not that I did not acquire anything. After you entered the Inner Academy, I faintly sensed a little unusual aura. However, this Inner Academy is the core of Jia Nan Academy with many strong people. Therefore, I also didn’t really dare to probe too thoroughly.”
“Unusual aura?” Xiao Yan was slightly startled. He said in surprise, “Is this related to the ‘Heavenly Flame?’”
“That should be correct… within this Inner Academy, there might really be the thing that you need.” Yao Lao mused for a moment before nodding. He said, “According to my probing, the place that is releasing the unusual aura seems to be on the northern side of the Inner Academy. If you have time tomorrow, go and take a look around that side. We might be able to find some clues.”
Xiao Yan hurriedly nodded when he heard this. It was good as long as they had a clue. He was most afraid of ending up with not the slightest news related to the ‘Heavenly Flame’ after putting in all his effort to enter this Inner Academy with great difficulty.
“There are many things within this Inner Academy that you need to rely on yourself for. If I were to act, I’m afraid that others might discover…” Yao Lao sighed.
“Ah. Ke ke. Didn’t teacher say that I relied too heavily on you far too much in the past. The current environment now does not pose any harm to me.” Xiao Yan replied with a smile on his face.
“It is naturally good that you can think in this manner… You need not worry about that mysterious ‘Hall of Souls’ chasing you here, within the Inner Academy. Therefore, you can be at ease and raise your strength here.” Yao Lao nodded in a gratified manner as he spoke.
Xiao Yan’s heart sunk a little when the mysterious ‘Hall of Souls’ was mentioned. This strange faction was something that even a strong person like Yao Lao feared this much. It was really difficult to imagine just how frightening its strength actually was.
“Ah. Teacher, you can rest assured.”
Only after seeing Xiao Yan nod his head did Yao Lao’s body shake. It once again turned into a shadow that disappeared into the ring.
“Looks like I can only hurry up and look for the second type of ‘Heavenly Flame.’ After which, I should help teacher refine a body that can accommodate his spirit. Otherwise, that ‘Hall of Souls’ would ultimately be a poisonous snake that is hidden within the darkness, making it very hard to defend.” Xiao Yan’s finger slowly knocked on the back of his hand as he eyed Yao Lao disappearing. A long while later, he exhaled a long breath and mused within his own heart.