After saying all that, Lin Shu collected the two kits and decided to find a suitable time to return them to Ling Fengxiao.
He took off his headdress, changed into a robe, and began to meditate.
A couple of hours later, he stirred conscious, mind stilled. He was a little dazed for a moment, and his ears rang vaguely.
In his past life, every year in July, Lin Shu would follow his master to live in the mountains up in the north for a month. According to his master, that was the old site of his sect.
Several dilapidated halls and rooms were scattered about. Mr. Meng had said that he was a disciple of a reputed sect. Lin Shu thought as well. Looking around, one could imagine a time when the sect was prosperous, and must have had a large group of disciples.
A railway was built at the foot of the mountain. In the dead of the night, the sound of the steam engine whistling drifted through the fog, reaching every corner of the halls before entering his ears. Back then, he loved listening to that distant sound.
Lin Shu shook himself out of that memory. The whistling was but a fantasy now. Currently, he was in the Shangling Academy. The world he was from was gone.
He did not know if there were any connections between this and that world. But, with or without, it did not matter much to him.
Lin Shu scanned the classic furnishings in the room, and got out of bed again. He pulled up the bamboo curtain that he had previously let down.
A gust of wind blew, and the sea of bamboo swayed, as if it was from another world.
A lamp was still lit in the central atrium. Ling Fengxiao actually had not left yet.
The last he saw, this person was reading a letter while drinking tea, but now she was wiping down her sword, slowly and methodically, as if something was on her mind.
Just then, Ling Fengxiao seemed to sense his gaze, and turned her head to look in his direction.
Lin Shu had awoken from his meditation a short while ago, and his mind was still in a sluggish state. For a moment, he failed to respond, and stared at Ling Fengxiao for three whole seconds.
He watched as the corner of Ling Fengxiao’s mouth curled into a smile, as if she had said something.
Judging by the shape of her mouth, it seemed to be – “Sleep. Early.”
Lin Shu blankly dropped the curtain.
——In this situation, should he say, “Thank you Your Leadership for showing concern for this little disciple’s life?”
Ling Fengxiao was not one who would show concern. This person must be still thinking about last night’s sleeping competition.
Lin Shu got into bed and leaned against the headboard, reading tomorrow’s textbooks.
<Study of Nanxia Landscape>, <Book of Xia>, <Purple Star Astrology>.
They were more or less geography, history and metaphysics.
He flipped through <Purple Star Astrology> over and over for a long time, confusion apparent in his eyes, and sighed.
Lin Shu was certain that he was going to fail this subject at the end.
Sounds of conversation could be heard from the atrium. It came from the Yue siblings, who stopped to say greet Ling Fengxiao on their way back to their rooms.
A short while later, Ling Fengxiao retired to her own room, and after closing her door, everything went silent.
Lin Shu put the book back at the foot of the bed, and gave in to sleep.
He had a dreamless night.
It was foreseeable that every day in the academy would be spent in this way, and the routine was very comforting.
The first class on the second day was the Study of Nanxia Landscape. As Lin Shu had to take care of the herbs in the Medicine Garden, much like the Dan Technique class, he was a little late, and the hall was almost full by the time he entered, with only a few seats found at the back available.
He chose a seat in a corner and opened his book, waiting for the class to begin.
However, for some reason, he had an unexplainable feeling that the people in front would always turn back to look at him, and then start whispering among themselves.
It must be a hallucination.
Lin Shu continued reading.
-Until he heard a snicker.
By the time Lin Shu looked up. Xiao Lingyang had already made his way near him, a hostile glare in his eyes.
Lin Shu: “…”
His neck throbbed with phantom pain.
But at this moment, he saw the faint tension in Xiao Lingyang’s face – there were still some light marks on his right cheek.
This person perhaps did not practice cultivation. Although he was strangled by his neck yesterday, Lin Shu did not feel that his Qi was blocked anywhere. The marks on his neck also quickly disappeared after applying some medicine – but Ling Fengxiao was really a dedicated cultivator. That slap was merciless, and he guessed that Xiao Lingyang must have suffered a lot.
At least now, all he did was sneer, not starting anything anymore.
After confirming that he was not going to be bothered, Lin Shu lowered his head and continued reading his book.
Xiao Lingyang sat down beside him.
Lin Shu decided that from then on, no matter what, he had to finish his duties in the Medicine Garden quickly and go to his classrooms early.
Yesterday he was late, and had to sit with Ling Fengxiao. Today, he was seated next to Xiao Lingyang. There was no knowing which strange person or thing he would have to suffer through if he was late again tomorrow.
Perhaps it was because his presence was weak, but Xiao Lingyang paid him no mind. After sitting down, he began to play with his Nine Linked Rings. It was not until the lecturer, Mr. Yizhou arrived, did he reluctantly put it down and pretended to listen to the class. However, not long after, he took it out and started playing again.
Lin Shu watched his actions, and decided that this class was probably not chosen by him, but rather, was one of the classes that Ling Fengxiao had his miscellaneous lessons replaced with. Thus, he had absolutely no interest in it.
Mr. Yizhou explained that the Nanxia Kingdom was divided into Shu, Jing, Min, Jiao, Yue, Qian, Xu and Yi eight provinces. Each province had counties, prefectures and townships. WIthin the different provinces lay many hidden sects, their names known far and wide. They would often come out to slay demons and aid the innocent. Whenever the government required help, they would resort to seeking the sects for assistance. The disciples of the sects walked the world, and the royal court welcomed them with open arms. The sects paid a yearly “Divine Tax” to the imperial family, and in return there are many positions within the court specially created for cultivators. The revered title of National Advisor was only held by the Head of the Sects. As such, the relationship between the imperial family and the path of cultivation was crucial, where one could not exist without the other.
Lin Shu heard Xiao Lingyang snicker again.
In view of the “Your Highness” that Ling Fengxiao shouted before, Lin Shu felt that this laugh held meaning.
It was even more baffling that His Royal Highness was Ling Fengxiao ’s younger brother.
Lin Shu had never been keen on being involved in complicated things. Thus, he decided to stay away from them.
After the brief summary, Mr. Yizhou started explaining in depth about the Shu Province, where the academy was located.
Lin Shu listened quietly, and gradually expanded his knowledge of this world. After the two hours, he gained quite a lot.
At the end of the lecture, Xiao Lingyang was gone from the hall in the blink of an eye.
Lin Shu: “…”
This Royal Highness did not seem very capable. It was no wonder Ling Fengxiao was so strict with him.
He gathered his things leisurely, and left.
To his dismay, as soon as he had stepped out of the hall and reached the ivory bridge connected to a different hall, he ran into the scene of Xiao Lingyang being blocked by Feng Lingxiao on the bridge.
Lin Shu did not want to make conversation.
His frequency of encountering the Big Miss was too high lately.
He watched Ling Fengxiao holding the <Study of Nanxia Landscape>, leaning on a bridge post, hooded eyes hidden behind her lashes, scarily calm.
Xiao Lingyang was stuttering an answer of some sort.
——Lin Shu knew that not only did he not pay attention to the class, he also spent over two hours trying to solve the Nine Linked Rings.
He did not manage to solve it.
Lin Shu walked forward silently, sensing that Ling Fengxiao was going to blow up again.
Sure enough, a few steps away, Ling Fengxiao closed the book, and said coldly: “Find me at Jade Heaven in the evenings every day from tomorrow onwards.”
Xiao Lingyang was humiliated and angered. He snatched the book back, and fiercely asked: “Who allowed you to control what I do?”
“You think I want to babysit you?” Ling Fengxiao sneered. “If not for Mother, I couldn’t have cared less if you died.”
“Okay, go ahead.” Xiao Lingyang said darkly, “I’ll let you control me well, and when the day comes where I become the emperor like you all so badly want, the first thing I will do is to marry you off to Beixia!”
In his heart, Lin Shu thought: This was a ruthless man, just one who was afraid of being beaten again.
Unexpectedly, Ling Fengxiao did not flare up, but instead laughed: “Sure.”
“I will be waiting in Beixia. If Your Majesty does not manage to become a worthy emperor , I will wreak havoc in Beixia and make you …… the emperor of a fallen kingdom!”
Her voice was laced with warning, making people feel certain that she would be able to carry out her threats.
Lin Shu pretended not to have heard anything, and passed by silently.
As he walked, multiple thoughts flitted through his mind. That Ling Fengxiao had such a disobedient younger brother, must be really cumbersome. And it was extremely unfortunate that Xiao Lingyang had such an elder sister.
Ling Fengxiao had to go the extra mile, Xiao Lingyang had to tolerate the suffering. He only hoped that the Big Miss would not kill him for accidentally eavesdropping.
At this, he saw Ling Fengxiao turn to him.
“Lin Shu,” The beauty in the stunning red robes beckoned slightly, and said lazily: “Don’t go. Come over.”
Out of the pan, and into the fire.
Lin Shu walked over, wondering what Ling Fengxiao was up to now.
Xiao Lingyang did not care about him, and continued arguing with Ling Fengxiao: “That’s traitorous!”
“Is it?” Ling Fengxiao smirked. “We’re preparing for war, but Your Highness wishes to have a political marriage with Beixia. Doesn’t that count as a traitorous act too? Knowing that I was engaged, yet still sending me to Beixia, ignoring all forms of custom and courtesy. That’s traitorous too, isn’t it?”
Up until the mention of the engagement, Ling Fengxiao held the upper hand. At the mention of the engagement, Xiao Lingyang had a new card. The previous gloomy and resentful look on his face was swept away, replaced with a look of smugness: “Who doesn’t know that your fiance is that dead bastard? With your temperament, no one would dare to ask for your hand in marriage? In future, I refuse to bestow a marriage upon you, and you’ll have to live out the rest of your life as a widow! “
Ling Fengxiao seemed to laugh, “Oh?”
After that, she ignored Xiao Lingyang, but turned back to Lin Shu, asking lightly: “Is your injury better?”
Compared to the tone of speech used when she was talking with Xiao Lingyang, one could say that her current one was warm and friendly.
Xiao Lingyang looked as if he had seen a ghost.
Lin Shu was feeling mildly suffocated, and said “It’s alright now.”
Ling Fengxiao: “Where is your next class?”
Lin Shu: “Chengyuan Temple.”
“Hmm.” Ling Feng Xiao tilted her head: “Let’s go.”
Lin Shu: “?”
Something felt a little wrong.
But someone else seemed to think that something was horribly wrong.
Xiao Lingyang was dumbfounded.
Ling Fengxiao huffed at him: “Are you not going?”
Xiao Lingyang asked: “Aren’t your classes on the other side?”
Ling Fengxiao expressionlessly gestured to Lin Shu: “I’m sending shidi.”
“You … You hit me because of this person yesterday too!” Xiao Lingyang’s mouth twitched a few times, and his features scrunched. “I didn’t really mean it when I said I will never bestow a marriage on you again! Don’t you dare think of raising a …… what’s that thing? “