At the crack of dawn, the rooster crowed thrice.
Lin Shu woke up as per usual, practiced his meditations as per usual, took a cold bath in the jade tub as per usual, and sneezed like every time he had stepped out from the tub.
He felt like he was constantly pacing by the edge of a cliff.
When he was ready, he left his room to go to the dining hall.
It was a little early in the morning, and there were only some people seated sparsely around the dining hall. Glancing about, he spotted a large patch of red jumped at his eyes. It was the girls from the Phoenix Villa.
Ling Fengxiao was not among the crowd.
Lin Shu relaxed a little and went to get his meal, before finding a remote corner to sit.
The dining hall in the academy was almost a hundred times better than his old school’s cafeteria. The ingredients used in the dishes were infused with spiritual power. These days. Lin Shu felt that although his meridians were not improving by much, his physique had been improving significantly.
Just then, his eyebrows pinched together.
Lin Shu had always been a slow-eater, most probably due to the fact that he often fell into a daze and thought too much while eating.
He decided that he needed to get rid of this bad habit as soon as possible.
Because, in the time he took to finish half of his food, Ling Fengxiao arrived, and sat herself across him.
A bowl of lotus seed porridge, a cup of walnut cheese, and a plate of almond tofu was in front of the Big Miss.
Lin Shu’s meal was much simpler than hers.
His teachings taught him to follow a very strict diet.
Simplicity needed to be maintained. Colourful and flavourful food were but distractions, and had to be avoided.
Another rule he was taught was: Eat in silence, sleep in peace.
Ling Fengxiao seemed to be familiar with this saying. The two of them ate their own food quietly, and no words were exchanged.
A few moments later, another person sat down opposite him.
Xiao Lingyang gave Lin Shu a once over through narrowed eyes, and looked at Ling Fengxiao before he began to eat.
Lin Shu finished his meal nonchalantly.
Ling Fengxiao gracefully swallowed her last bit of walnut cheese, placed down her spoon and asked: “Where are you going?”
Lin Shu: “Medicine Garden.”
Xiao Lingyang quickly said: “You can’t go to the Medicine Garden, Duruo Zhen Ren will not let you enter. Don’t even think about it.”
Lin Shu felt that Xiao Lingyang was crying wolf.
He had nothing to say. “I’m going now.”
Ling Fengxiao hummed, and also stood up, clearly indicating that she was going to go with him.
Xiao Lingyang once more glared at him hostilely, and followed Ling Fengxiao.
In all of his 20 years of life, Lin Shu had never shared a table with anyone other than his master. Not to mention a companion who ate and left with him.
It was strange and a little unnerving.
At the door, a cold morning wind blew by, and he coughed a couple of times.
Ling Fengxiao quietly watched him cough, and after a while, lightly commented: “Your hair is not dry.”
Lin Shu: “I do not have spiritual power.”
His voice faded, and a pale red spiritual power rose up around him. Circling for a few seconds, his hair that had been still a little damp, dried immediately.
He had seen this kind of spiritual power from Ling Fengxiao before. The kind that almost caused a Dan furnace to explode in the Dan techniques class. It dried his hair much faster than other spiritual powers.
Xiao Lingyang ground his teeth.
Lin Shu: “… Many thanks.”
“You are a sick person. Learn to take better care of yourself.” Ling Fengxiao continued expressionlessly, “Take more notice in the future, lest it causes your death.”
Lin Shu: “Okay.”
The hair that could be dried with a little spiritual power in his previous life could only be half dried with a cloth towel in this life. He was thoroughly experiencing the life of the mortals.
Although he knew he needed to be careful with his body, there was no way he could take care of it as well as he wanted too. After all, hair dryers did not exist in this world.
Ling Fengxiao heard his agreement, and scoffed: “Fake.”
Lin Shu: “…”
Fortunately, the Big Miss did not harp on this issue. Instead, she changed the subject: “Recently, the spiritual power of the Dreamscape runes are unstable. This is caused by the Huandang Mountain. When the heavenly gates of the Huandang Mountain are open, the Floating Celestial Palace will also open within the following days. Do you want to go? “
Floating Celestial Palace?
It was a name recorded in various classics, and Mr Baixiao had explained it in detail, so Lin Shu knew of it.
At the peak of Huandang Mountain, stood the Floating Celestial Palace. No one knew precisely how long it had been there. It was only known that in the past few centuries, in some years when the snow was heavy and reached the mountain gates, the keepers of the Floating Celestial Palace would open the heavenly gates of the Huandang Mountain, allowing entry to young cultivators of the Immortal Road. Recent years, the palace opened their doors more often, almost once every four years.
On the Huandang Mountain, there was a dreamscape that could sharpen the mind and peerless spirits for cultivation. Within the palace, were countless rare texts and treasures, attracting masses of cultivators generations after generations.
However, these things were precious and of great importance. It was not easy to obtain them. Therefore, while the Floating Celestial Palace was said to be open to cultivators, in practice it could not be entered at will.
Every time the gate opened, only a hundred cultivators could enter provided they had a token.
The tokens were controlled by the royal court, of which 30 were given to the main sects, another 30 to the Shangling Academy, and another 30 were distributed sporadically to the other smaller sects in Nanxia.
The remaining ten were carried by the masters dispatched by the court, responsible for protecting the ninety young disciples in the palace.
Lin Shu wanted to go.
The treasures and texts were likely to be extremely helpful for his cultivation.
But why would Ling Fengxiao ask him this?
Just as he reached this thought, he heard Ling Fengxiao speak: “If you want to go, under the quota of the academy I will give you the Phoenix Villa’s token.”
Lin Shu: “!”
He was not surprised by the fact that Ling Fengxiao had brought up the token and quota like it was nothing, but rather … although the lady was not a forgiving person, she was really kind to him.
Instinctively, he rejected the offer: “No.”
Ling Fengxiao: “Hmm?”
Lin Shu: “Really it’s not necessary.”
The Big Miss nodded reluctantly: “Staying in the academy is smart too.”
Lin Shu felt suffocated.
The unexplainable kindness was more confusing than the unexplainable malice.
Thinking back to the behaviours of Ling Baochen and Xiao Lingyang, the Big Miss would not really want to keep him as a……?
The strong urge to satisfy his curiosity finally allowed him to overcome his linguistic difficulties, and he opened his mouth: “Why do you want to give it to me?”
Ling Fengxiao looked at him as if he grew a third head.
Lin Shu stared back incredulously.
After an awkward silence, Ling Feng said: “If you are an ordinary person, aren’t I embarrassing myself?”
Lin Shu: “?”
He was ordinary. How could he embarrass Ling Fengxiao?
Did the Big Miss have such strict requirements for her roommates, table mates, and her little brother?
——Hey table mate, your grades are too poor, and I do not like it. How about I sign you up for the Huandang Mountain Cram School?
Although the motives could be explained, this favour was really too great. Given Lin Shu’s identity, he could not afford to pay it back at all. Therefore, it was better not to accept it, and he might be able to enter the quota to get a token for the Huandang Mountain himself.
The thirty tokens in Shangling Academy were for the first thirty people in the True Martial Rank.
Whether he can enter the top 30 was the second issue. The most difficult obstacle he had to overcome was that if he wanted to be on the list, he must go to the Martial Arts Field. But due to system disruptions, his appearance on the field was swapped with a girl’s. Before Mr. Meng returns, he could only maintain the appearance of the girl in white.
Oh, according to what Ling Fengxiao had said, the culprit of the system disruption was the spiritual force fluctuations caused by the opening of the Huandang Mountain.
This world had way too many ill intentions towards him.
After Ling Fengxiao finished her “aren’t I embarrassing myself”, she said nothing else. Lin Shu could not organize his thoughts, and they walked the rest of the way in silence, broken only by Xiao Lingyang’s occasional kick to the stones in anger.
When he arrived at the Medicine Garden, there was a sign at the door: “Of the cyclical conquering elements, the spirit is weakened by fire. Disciples of Phoenix Villa may not enter.”
Evidently, Ling Fengxiao who had almost blown up a Dan furnace and set spirit grass on fire was a walking danger.
Ling Fengxiao turned: “I’m leaving.”
Xiao Lingyang: “Hurry up.”
Lin Shu: “Okay.”
Although this day started with Ling Fengxiao’s appearance, afterwards the day passed peacefully, and Lin Shu liked it very much.
He finished everything and returned to Jade Heaven.
And the moment he got back, his peace was broken.
The girl from the Phoenix Villa almost knocked his door down, and happily chattered for an hour while furnishing his room, hanging paintings on the wall, placing the pearl at the foot of his bed and the incense burner was in his bedroom, and draping wisteria along on the walls.
“The Big Miss specially instructed me to send this!” Ling Baochen opened an ice jade box. Inside was a large red bead. Within the bead, a fire seemed to be burning. The moment the box was opened, the hot air rolled out.
Ling Baochen said: “The essence of the five hundred year fire is a rare treasure, and there is no other like it in the world.”
Lin Shu immediately knew what the bead were for.
Ling Fengxiao was aware that his meridians were blocked. This was certainly not for him to practice cultivation with, so this was a heater.
Not only would he not have to take cold baths in the future, he could also dry his hair any time.
Lin Shu stared at the bead.
When Ling Fengxiao wanted to give himself a token, he did not think much about it.
But now, looking at this bead, he felt that Ling Fengxiao, maybe, really, was not merely helping a table mate with learning difficulties.