Ling Fengxiao was true to her word, and accompanied him through his classes the entire day. Even when Lin Shu went to the library to organize the books, the noble Big Miss was by his side, lending a hand.
Lin Shu felt that Ling Fengxiao must have had too much time on her hands, and thus decided to accompany him to keep herself amused.
However, this person did not have much to say. At most, she would occasionally glance at him, yet it was not uncomfortable.
From this perspective, the Big Miss was probably bored, and was treating him like a pet hamster to pass time. He only had to continue living his life quietly.
Of course, sometimes, Ling Fengxiao still had to interfere in his life.
“How many jade souls do you get daily from coming here to tidy the books?” The Big Miss asked apathetically as she watched him run between the bookcases.
Lin Shu: “Three.”
Ling Fengxiao was silent.
Lin Shu could understand.
Three mere jade souls were but pebbles to a wealthy person.
The silence stretched on a little longer, before the Big Miss frowned with a faint look of distaste: “Reject it.”
Lin Shu: “No I can’t.”
Ling Fengxiao questioned: “Do you have a different purpose of taking up this commission?”
No, I just need to do some work, and buy my sword.
Lin Shu replied: “No.”
The Big Miss’ frown deepened: “Then why are you doing this?”
“I…” Lin Shu thought for a moment, and murmured, “…am relatively poor.”
Ling Fengxiao asked: “How much do you earn a day from the Medicine Garden?”
Lin Shu: “Five.”
Ling Fengxiao: “…”
Lin Shu thought that the Big Miss was possibly surprised by his poverty.
No one’s jade souls fell from the sky, but the gap from person to person was huge after all. The Big Miss was able to take up high level commissions at will, easily killing a few Thousand-Year demons, and immediately earning tens of thousands of jade souls. Compared to him, with his power, he could only plant some herbs, organize some books, and watch his jade souls inch up slowly.
Oh, having made it to the top 30 of the True Martial Rank, he had a reward of three thousand jade souls. Together with the five thousand jade souls that Ling Fengxiao had given to him before, and the recent commission rewards that he had saved, in total he had around eight thousand one hundred jade souls to his name. If he gave up the medicine for his meridians, it was not far from his goal of obtaining the sword. A sudden burst of motivation surged through him.
Ling Fengxiao cocked her head: “Do you need jade souls?”
Lin Shu nodded: “Yes.”
“Cancel this commission immediately, and the Medicine Garden one too,” the Big Miss decidedly spoke. “Go to the Treasure Hall right now, and take whatever you want.”
The hamster raised by this young miss must be the luckiest hamster under the skies of this world.
However, he could not cancel these two commissions.
Although the jade souls given were meager, they were still the best he could get in this system.
For some unfathomable reason, the Big Miss was exceedingly nice to him, but there was no guarantee that she would not suddenly lose interest in him one day and question why she was treating him so well. At that point of time, he would still have to rely on himself to work and earn jade souls.
Humans, must have the awareness to save up for a rainy day.
In giving up a commission, he would not be able to accept the same one again.
He rubbed his nose, and said, “I like growing plants and arranging books.”
Ling Fengxiao looked mildly stunned, “Huh?”
Lin Shu picked up a book, intending to put it back in its original place. However, he was a little vertically challenged, and had to tip on his toes to barely reach it.
Ling Fengxiao took the book out of his hand and casually put the book where it should be. Then spoke: “Hopeless.”
Lin Shu: “Yes.”
He was a salty fish with no ambition.
Ling Fengxiao: “Then don’t cancel it.”
Lin Shu: “Okay.”
The sky was dark by the time he was done. Leaving Misty Heaven, the rain had lessened to a soon to stop drizzle. The blur silhouette of moonlight glowed faintly from behind the dark clouds on the horizon.
Ling Fengxiao had seemed a bit tired the entire day. Seeing that the rain was small, she did not bother opening her own umbrella, but instead ducked under Lin Shu’s.
Lin Shu’s body had yet to be fully developed. In fact, he was considered small in size, shorter and weaker than Ling Fengxiao. It was a little difficult to keep the umbrella high. After being hit twice, Ling Fengxiao took the umbrella from his hands. From using Lin Shu’s umbrella, to holding the umbrella for Lin Shu. It was a strange situation indeed.
The trip became much smoother.
Lin Shu thought to himself, it was actually not that difficult to get along with the Big Miss.
After returning to the bamboo valley, Ling Fengxiao was busied with checking through Xiao Lingyang’s homework. Ling Baoqing and Ling Baochen, who had heard that the young lady did not have much on her hands today, came to ask Ling Fengxiao for advice on sword styles.
Thus, the Big Miss leaned lazily on the chaise lounge, listening to Xiao Lingyang’s dictation while watching the girls and their swords.
Xiao Lingyang’s attitude was very good, and he did not stir up anything with Lin Shu, merely giving him a few more glances.
This person was not acting normal. Lin Shu became alert.
He looked around.
In the atrium, the ones who were practicing martial arts were practicing peacefully, the ones memorizing their books had their noses buried deep between the pages, even the two siblings of the Yue family were tirelessly lifting bars.
Yue Ruoyun spoke: “Father sent a letter – flowers may rebloom, but a person’s youth can never return. He wishes for us to diligently study literature and martial arts in the academy, and not be lazy.”
Yue Ruohe said: “That sentence is not right. A person’s youth indeed never returns, but flowers wither. How can they bloom more than once?”
Yue Ruoyun rolled her eyes: “You are seriously unreasonable. There are flowers on trees. When the flowers wither this year, next year they will grow and bloom again. Trees can be filled with flowers every year, but a person can never stay young forever.”
Yue Ruohe countered: “There’s a problem with this too. A young flowering tree can be compared with a youth, but you can’t compare an old flowering tree to a young person. Where’s the logic in that?”
Yue Ruoyun shot back: “Your argument is really groundless. An old tree is blooming, is but a metaphor. Any tree with healthy branches and leaves, and can still flower and bear fruits, no matter it’s age, can’t be called an old tree. It is a big tree.”
Yue Ruohe did not give up: “According to what you said, the age of the tree is classified into small and big and old trees. Isn’t it just like people who could no longer return to the prime of life? So I say, the phrase “flowers may rebloom” is really uninteresting. Get me a brush and paper, I will have a good debate with Father today.”
The entire conversation happened whilst both were still lifting bars. Lin Shu almost broke into an applause for them.
Having lost her argument, Yue Ruoyun stormed off angrily to find writing materials, leaving her bars alone for the moment.
After finishing his homework, Lin Shu quietly watched the girls’ sword practice.
The Phoenix Style was a style by itself. The girls all learn the Phoenix Style, but the specific techniques of practicing with the swords are different. Ling Baoqing practiced “Lingyun Nine Formations”, Ling Baochen practiced “Jade Pool”, while Ling Baojing practiced the “Eleven Swords of the Missing Moons”.
And the Big Miss knew them all.
Currently, Ling Fengxiao was looking at Ling Baochen’s sword technique, and was teaching her the essential points. Suddenly her gaze sharpened, and swept through the inky bamboo forest in front, coldly demanding: “Who’s there?”
Everyone collectively held their breath.
In the bamboo forest, there was not a single movement.
Ling Fengxiao abruptly raised her hand.
A few green bamboo leaves swiftly shot out, whooshing through the silence. In the distance about five feet away, a slight rustle was heard. A short moment later, it sounded again.
Ling Fengxiao took out her illuminating pearl, and told Lin Shu and Xiao Lingyang to follow closely. The girls who knew martial arts rapidly dispersed, dashing into the bamboo forest, headed towards those two places.
On the ground where the sounds had come from, were two palmed sized, dark, bird-like things.
Its neck was sliced by bamboo leaves, and its head resembled a crow’s. Featherless, its beak was a pointed hook, and its wings were like a bat’s. It was extremely ugly and hard to describe.
In short, it radiated a sense of unknown malice.
“Again!” Ling Baoqing sighed exasperatedly.
Ling Fengxiao picked up the jade talisman, and with a dark look in her eyes, she spoke, “I’m going to find Mr. Meng.”
Lin Shu asked: “What is this?”
“Shao,” Ling Baoqing said, “Dirty things from Beixia, I’m afraid that the runes protecting the mountain were affected by the stability of the dreamscape when it was damaged a few days ago, allowing them to fly in. Luckily, the Big Miss discovered them! Phew!”
Xiao Lingyang’s face was a little white.
“Not necessarily,” Ling Baochen said, “Some ten days ago, Folding Bamboo and Xiao Shao battled, although the second half was hidden by an enchantment, but a good first half was recorded by the disciples with memory beads, and was spread everywhere. I suspect that Beixia was able to find out outside. The two of them fought with such skills, it was beyond the level of the dreamscape. From the looks of it their skills are just short of the Big Miss’…… it’s not impossible that Beixia’s attention was attracted.”
How did Folding Bamboo and Xiao Shao get entangled into this?
“Lin Shu,” Ling Baochen turned sharply and said to him: “Do you know why despite the fact that we are from different institutions, we are gathered within the academy? Why we have to alter our image in the dreamscape to battle?”
This was indeed an interesting question. The disciples of various schools can obviously grow up in their own respective institutions. However, they all insist on coming to the academy to study. Mr. Meng’s explanation of the Martial Arts Courtyard was to prevent disciples from battling in reality and causing unnecessary injuries, but from Ling Baochen’s tone, it seemed like there was another hidden meaning.
Lin Shu could only respond: “I don’t know.”
Bao Chen said: “You grew up in a ghost town, naturally you don’t know the tragedy that happened 20 years ago… In a year, many promising disciples of the big schools were murdered one after another, even the Confucian Institution and the Immortal Daoist Institution did not manage to avoid the blows. It was said that everyone was in danger at the time, and after a long investigation, it was revealed to Beixia’s style! They used this underhand method as a means to curb the strength of our Immortal Dao. After this matter was investigated, the masters of our nation were lauded at a royal banquet and given promotions, after which they established the Shangling Academy, and started the recruitment of talents in the world, both to cultivate and to protect — our academy has an the unbreakable protection rune and so many elders of the Immortal Dao, and this has never happened before.”
To the side, Ling Baoqing added: “Beixia still occasionally sends these monsters to scrutinize us from time to time, and now they’re at it again. They are seriously unreasonable! Is the academy a place they think they can come and go as they’d like?”
It turned out that Immortal Road was not a very peaceful place, and there were strong enemies watching.
If the cultivators who have reached a high level serve in the royal court, they can exert immense power. And as the enemy of Nanxia, if Beixia were to nip the problem in the bud by killing young potentials, there could not be a better situation for them.
Thus, Nanxia set up the academy to protect young fledgling disciples, and then constructed the dreamscape martial arts courtyard. Everyone used altered appearances and pseudonyms to challenge and learn from each other, masking everyone’s true strength. That fight between Folding Bamboo and Xiao Shao was fought well. They fought well in the dreamscape, their martial arts was good, but who would know who these two people really are in reality?
Lin Shu thought that this protection mechanism was wonderful.
As he was thinking about it, Ling Fengxiao opened her eyes, and said, “Mr. Meng says, start an investigation immediately. Currently, it is unclear how many demons there are on our Shangling Mountain, and he wants us to protect ourselves.”
Ling Baoqing took the initiative: “We will escort His Highness back to Hexu Heaven.”
Ling Fengxiao nodded: “Okay.”
Xiao Lingyang looked at Ling Fengxiao, and hesitantly opened his mouth, but no words came out. After a moment, he moved to talk: “Can you handle it?”
“Me?” Ling Feng Xiao smiled, “they would not dare to go against me. Go back to Hexu Heaven, and follow the nation’s master well.”
The girls drew their swords, and ushered Xiao Lingyang back.
Ling Fengxiao turned to Lin Shu: “I will send you back to your room.”
After Lin Shu returned to his room, this person insisted on ensuring that Lin Shu went to sleep before leaving.
She went as far as to be standing in front of his bedroom, politely asking: “Can I come in?”
Lin Shu said yes.
The Big Miss raised an eyebrow, and asked again: ”But if I entered your bedroom, isn’t it too abrupt?
——This looked like a man asking to enter girl’s bedroom.
Lin Shu said it was not abrupt.
Ling Fengxiao stepped in, and helped him to close the window, and pressed down the corners of the blanket.
“Shaos aren’t the only demons of Beixia. Something might happen to the academy soon. I will need to see to this in Jade Heaven, and won’t be sleeping tonight.” Ling Fengxiao took out the essence of the fire and put it by his pillow, tone gentle: “Are you afraid? If you’re afraid, I’ll stay here.”
Lin Shu: “I’m fine.”
Although he did not know what kind of demons there were, for such an ordinary person like him, he would probably not be targeted.
But those who lie down were always softer and weaker than those who were standing. His voice sounded a little muffled, and even Lin Shu himself was shocked by this weak sound.
The Big Miss on the other hand completely lost her fierceness. Although her voice was monotonous, it was very gentle.
“Don’t be afraid,” she softly said, “I’m here.”
Lin Shu buried himself under the quilt. Under the moonlight, he watched saw Ling Fengxiao lightly blow out the candle, and felt unexpectedly safe.