author: Yi Shi Si Zhou (一十四洲）
editor: sleepingjay, milaryn
The Young Miss was very flashy, extravagant, and liberal with money. The land and house deeds had all already been prepared and completed. The entire village settled down peacefully in Ning’an and soon returned to their normal lives.
“Although Young Miss is a little fearsome, she is definitely a good person,” Li Yamao sighed in admiration. “If we have a chance in the future, we definitely have to use our lives to repay the new lease on life that Young Miss gave us.”
Li Jimao chimed in, “Who would say no to that?”
Crossing his arms, Lin Shu stood in front of the door. He didn’t know why this pair of brothers would come to his room to say these things.
Li Jimao turned his head to look at Lin Shu. “Lin-xiong, are you also a cultivator?”
Lin Shu: “No.”
“Then… That spell?”
“Just a doodle.”
Li Yamao: “Whoa, you had me convinced.”
Li Jimao said, “Yamao and I both plan on signing up for the Shangling Examination. I wonder whether Lin-xiong has any pointers for us?”
Lin Shu: “I am also going to sign up.”
Li Jimao: “Then the three of us can take this chance to team up. If Yamao and I have a little bit of natural talent, and if we stumble blindly onto good fortune, we could end up becoming cultivators from then on!”
Li Yamao wore a look of distress on his face. “I heard that even though anyone can participate in the Shangling Examination, it is very difficult as it tests some principles of cultivation. Jimao and I only know a few terms and that’s it. How could we possibly understand? We can only try our luck.”
“Principlesk2026;k2026;” Lin Shu looked at the grain lines on the table and said, “I know them.”
The pair of brothers were euphoric. “Lin-xiongdi, can you teach us?”
“But you have to help me ask around for some information”
Lin Shu pondered for a moment and slowly said, “About the Shangling Examinationk2026;k2026; Any details will suffice.”
The two brothers set off immediately.
Lin Shu remained in the room and looked out the window at the blue sky and white clouds, thinking of just one phrase in his heart.
I want to go to school.
Earlier, when Ling Baoqing had told him those kinds of words like, “Education is for all, regardless of one’s background,” and the Shangling Academy’s “Shangling Examination,” he had carved it into his heart. But he never thought that the world would actually be as Ling Baoqing had said, and as long as one had innate talent, they would definitely not be overlooked.
Because of the announcement that the Shangling Examination was a mere two months away , notices were posted all over the walls of the city—to the point that no one was without one in hand.
If he wanted to walk the path of a cultivator, he must first build-up his physique.
And to build up his constitution, although he didn’t specifically know what to do, he was certain there were only two paths he could take.
The first path was to obtain a rare treasure. The second path was to obtain a peerless martial art with mysterious effects.
The world of ordinary mortals had neither.
Even the material of that “Ling Fengxiao cylinder” was special and impervious to sword and spear, so if he wanted to open it, he could only rely on cultivation.
If he wanted to leave the world of ordinary mortals, the only method he could choose at the moment was to pass the Shangling Examination and enter the Shangling Academy.
Innate talent? He had none.
He hoped there would be another way.
After about half a day had passed, Li Jimao and Li Yamao returned.
They passed through the streets and ducked down alleyways, and brought Lin Shu to a bookseller in the city.
“Lin-xiong, quick, look!”
He only saw a densely packed shelf that held many books arranged in order.
The first book he laid eyes on was a volume called ‘From Beginner to Foundation-Building.’
After that was ‘The Shangling Examination’s Top Scorer Teaches You How to Prepare.’
The next book was ‘Lost Anecdotes of the Academy: the Gratitude and Grudges, Love and Enmity Between the Confucian School and the Cultivation School.’
“The owner says that if we study hard and memorize these books, we’ll definitely be able to gain admittance to the Academy.”
Lin Shu: “……”
For a moment, it seemed as if he had returned to his original world, carrying the admission ticket to the college entrance exam and selecting reference materials in the small bookstore next to his school.
He carefully examined them before finally drawing out a book entitled ‘Bai Xiaosheng’s Detailed Commentary on the Shangling Academy.’
Reading a book whose text was arranged in vertical columns wasn’t difficult for him, as he had studied secret tomes with the same format before.
—Located in Shuzhou, the Shangling Academy was the best academy in Southern Xia. Every year on the sixth month, the Shangling Examination was held throughout the whole territory of Southern Xia. Around one thousand people could gain entrance into the Academy by passing this exam.
However, the Shangling Academy was not just purely devoted to the practice and study of cultivation. That is, cultivation was only one part of the Academy.
The entire academy was divided into three parts: Cultivation, Confucian, and Skills, known as the Cultivation School, Confucian School, and Skill School, respectively.
When Bai Xiaosheng got to this part, he mentioned an anecdote. Originally, the Academy was divided into many different parts—Daoist, Martial, Confucian, Pill refining, Weapons, Musical instruments……there were too many factions to count.
Later on, those that studied the Dao, after having accumulated an entire body’s worth of spiritual power with no means of giving vent to it, ran off to study martial arts. For those who studied martial arts, after they had mastered boxing and kung fu, they realized that the strength of man was limited and ran off to study Daoism to supplement their martial arts. In the end, the members of the two schools became extremely muddled and could hardly be distinguished from each other, so they simply merged and became the Cultivation School. As for the other schools such as pill forging, weapons, music, planchette writing, and stargazing, they had too few people—Every single person with a bit of innate talent went to the Cultivation School seeking martial skills and long life, while every single person with a bit of ambition went to the Confucian School and learned how to save the world and its people. The number of disciples at the other schools thus dwindled until they only had at most two to three people. In the end, they merged for a lack of a better option and were barely able to preserve their dignity—though the situation still remained utterly bleak for them.
Lin Shu suddenly felt that he could still save himself.
Since there were other schools apart from the Cultivation School, then he could just pick a path, such as refining pills or creating spiritual arrays. In the remaining two months, he could cram like crazy and memorize pill-making methods or array designs. Perhaps he really could pass the Shangling Examination and enter the Academy.
Bai Xiaosheng also mentioned in the book that after enrolling, the Academy would still hold assessment exams every six months. Fail two assessments in a row and it ended with expulsion. When that time came, he could frantically cram and memorize, recalling that good old “Finals Week” feeling. Perhaps he would not be expelled.
Yet this idea was completely overthrown when he turned the page and began reading the specific steps of the Shangling Examination.
The author has something to say:
This might (just) be a campus story.
A campus story, you say…
Hey everybody! It’s Lanlan. I apologize for the lack of updates this week. A lot of things have been happening in my personal life (some good and a few bad), so I have not been able to get to my computer or even focus as much to translate. Please forgive me if there is only one update this week. The week after that will probably also be a one-update week, but I should be able to resume more frequent updates after that. Again, apologies for the sporadic updates, but expect at least a week or two more of this and then I will hopefully be free to get things rolling again. Thanks for staying with me and reading this story! ❤️❤️❤️