Although Lu Ping and the rest had many encounters along the way, but whether it was their meeting with Xia Feng’s dean Baliyan or the matter of the City Master’s invitation, neither of these delayed them by much. The only drawback was that they were unable to sit inside that fine carriage, and had to walk all the way back, thus wasting a lot of time.
Lu Ping was running as fast as the wind. Su Tang, pushing Xi Fan, was also very swift. And at the far end was Mo Lin who was constantly crying ‘ouch ouch…’ as he ran. Although he was gasping and complaining during the entire journey, all around, he did manage to not fall behind the rest of the group.
The Zhai Feng institute resides under the feet of the Xia Feng mountains. The entire Xia Feng city is constructed in accordance with the Xia Feng mountains. Lu Ping and the rest, by the means of riding in the carriage and then walking on foot, had more or less covered about one-half of the entire Xia Feng city. After walking for four hours, when they finally arrived at the Zhai Feng institute, the entire institute was already bathing under the glow of the sunset.
Only a little more than twenty years have passed since the establishment of the Zhai Feng institute’s compound. There was certainly no backing of Zhai Feng institute, and it didn’t seem like Dean Godou had abundant financial resources either. The only attractive point about him was his identity as a man who had once belonged to the Black Tortoise institute.
From another perspective, it could be said that solely relying on this identity, Godou eventually managed to pool out money from somewhere and created the Zhai Feng institute. At first, the slogan of Zhai Feng that spoke about overtaking the Big Four managed to confuse a lot of people. Xia Feng region was, after all, a remote area, and it wasn’t difficult for people to fall behind a little in terms of knowledge. They weren’t very familiar with the Big Four, and neither did they have much of a concept about them. So when Godou put his words forward in the form of Zhai Feng’s slogan, many people genuinely believed him.
Now more than twenty years have passed by, and Godou has never once raised this subject again. The knowledge and awareness of Xia Feng region’s people has also increased at a lightning-fast rate during these twenty years. Now, while mentioning this subject, people would only treat it as a joke. In comparison to Zhai Feng, Xia Feng region’s public is more familiar with the Xia Feng institute.
If there happened to be a child in the family, then as soon as the child hits a suitable age, the entire family would try to have their child admitted in the institutes. If, through various tests, the child is discovered to have a potential for cultivation, then it can even be said that the entire family’s future has been ensured. Even if his/her realm after coming out of the institute happened to be ordinary, as long as he/she could reach the second or third Heavenly Layer, it would be enough to establish a superiority in many common affairs. For instance, an individual possessing the Second Heavenly Layer Strength’s soul is even quicker than a bull in terms of plowing fields! Though, this kind of comparison is not something that the institutes would appreciate.
As such, the masses of the Xia Feng region have quite a favorable impression of Xia Feng institute. However, the Xia Feng institute itself is having it quite rough during these recent years. Because Zhai Feng, this twenty-something year old recently made institute who is not even one-fourth of their institute, would always come up with an outstanding student that would push them down. Only such talented and brilliant students could cause an institute to be revered.
It’s obvious that they have much more students, much more teachers, and much more natural resources; yet not being able to produce excellent seedlings, What does this imply?
Baliyan can only rejoice that Zhai Feng and Xia Feng are situated in such a remote mountainous region where the population is sparse and there are only two institutes within the entire region. Looking at the adjacent region,the Zhi Ling region; It has Sparkling Heaven, Bipolar, Ningyuan, Green Song, and other kinds of big and small scale institutes adding up to a total of eighteen institutes, that all have fierce competition among each other. For this reason, the Zhi Ling region has established the ‘Soul List’. The list is made up of the names of students arranged precisely according to their rankings in the Combined Major Assessment. The Soul List only includes the top fifty students. With the eighteen institutes having countless students…. the intensity of the competition can very well be imagined. However, as a result, what this list really represents is the strength of the institutes themselves. Since this list is reliable, every big district has subsequently begun to follow it.
However, this is precisely the reason of worry for the side of Xia Feng institute. Over here in Xia Feng, how fortunate it is to not have such open and fierce competition among the two of its institutes; The results of the Combined Major Assessment only remains between the two institutes themselves. If the Assessment happened to truly occur in such an intensely competitive environment then what about Xia Feng having countless students? There won’t be a single one in the top fifty, or what about Zhai Feng not being even one-fifth of theirs? Even if two of Zhai Feng’s students are able to make their way up into the top fifties, then their worth would immediately outstrip Xia Feng’s.
For years, Xia Feng had been planning to participate in the Major Assessment of Zhi Ling region in order to increase their influence, but they were never able to come up with the students qualified for it. Participating like this would be the same as asking to be disgraced. This was also the reason that Baliyan had a twinkle in his eyes when he first saw Lu Ping, and was extremely desperate to coerce Lu Ping into entering his institute.
Xia Feng still didn’t have the means to take this step. However, Zhai Feng has Lu Ping, Su Tang, Xi Fan, and even that Advanced Learning student who has popped out from nowhere. If these four are allowed to take this step….
With the conclusion of the Major Assessment, Baliyan’s worry had only increased.
The collapse of the two towers has led the students of two entire grades to not have records of their achievements even at this moment. Although their second and fourth graders were able to stop Zhai Feng’s momentum, what did it matter? Momentum? Neither side had any momentum to begin with. Students able to attain the twelfth floor are already immensely satisfied with themselves. On the other hand, a feat such as entering top fifty in Zhi Ling’s Soul List can only be accomplished by someone who is capable of reaching the apex of the tower. And even this, only provides the qualifications to fight over the top fifty positions, nothing more.
In Baliayan’s opinion, there is only a single student that can accomplish this feat, and that student is precisely Lu Ping. And this was also the reason he had followed after Lu Ping so hurriedly in order to repair the relationship between them. Though, the conclusion was the same as bumping into an iceberg.
The latter didn’t seem to have too many misgivings with Baliyan, but also didn’t plan on providing Baliyan with an opportunity to get closer. Lu Ping was just a sixteen-year-old child, however, as far as this matter is concerned, he’d rendered Baliyan completely helpless.
After all this, Baliyan noticed that City Master Mansion’s scout.
This is a clear sign that the attention Lu Ping has caused to fall on himself was not just limited to the two institutes now. But then again, what can City Master’s Mansion actually do about it? Did they take notice of Lu Ping because of his strength, or was it because of the trifling matter of Lu Ping pushing Wei Tianqi…..
Baliyan had been continuously thinking all the way back to the Xia Feng institute. From hereon, he truly would not be able to rest easy.
Lu Ping; Within a single day, this name had already been deeply imprinted in the minds of numerous people.
The day of Major Assessment passed by.
Early Morning of the next day, Lu Ping woke up with the light of dawn. All of these incidents didn’t cause the slightest change inside him. For him, the methods of the institutes never did hold any importance. During these past three years, he had always been trying to break out of the confinement of the Intense Soul Lock.
Yesterday, within a single day, he’d heard this sound two times. For him, this ear-piercing sound produced by the chains was once extremely familiar. During his days in the Organization, whenever he was led by the neck to go through experiments, he could hear this sound extremely clearly, and along with this sound would follow, unending suffering. During this time, every person revolving and circling around him would only be expressionlessly watching and taking observations.
Pain, no pain.
It was as if they were operating some sort of switch. Day by day, year by year, they continued to operate on his body. He kept on persisting the pain. Numbly yet calmly, he kept on going. He didn’t know what else he could do; Since the beginning of his memory, he’d always been living this kind of life.
Before this; Where was he? What kind of life had he been living? He had no idea. He didn’t even know his age or ever heard his name. It was until the day he escaped. On that day, on the paper of records, he saw an entry: ‘Year 1847 Month 4 Day 24.’
He wasn’t even certain if this could be considered to be him or not. But he held onto it as the symbol of his life, and from thereafter, he started to have an age.
Afterwards, while carrying Su Tang inside that unbounded otherworldly ocean of ice, accompanied with extreme hardships, he wished for a path that will not require him to bear so many sufferings, a path on which he can continue to walk peacefully and smoothly.
Lu Ping. (Lu = path or road. Ping = level, average or in this case peace.)
This was the first time he’d truly looked forward to something.
Thereupon, he began to consider his wish as his name.