Chapter 296 – Choosing Subjects and Missions
Hao Pingyang said, “Even if you’re uninterested, listening to their music is still quite a rare treat.”
“I’m definitely not going to let that opportunity slip by. If there’s the chance, it might actually turn out like what you said.” Li Qingshan licked his lips. The two men looked at one another and smiled.
Zhang Lanqing said, “You guys should stop. There’s still a child here. You’d better choose your subjects instead! Have you already decided on your cultivation method?”
Li Qingshan nodded. “Yep, I’m sticking with the Gui Water Method of Condensing Qi.”
“Good. Do you have any interests? Talismans, formations, alchemy, or forging artifacts, which one do you want to learn?”
“I want to gain an understanding of all of them. What would you recommend, brother Zhang?” Li Qingshan saw how there were over a dozen subjects related to alchemy on the list, and the professor for each subject was different. Just how was he supposed to choose?
Hao Pingyang said, “You found the right person for that question. Lanqing has basically taken all these subjects before. He’s known for his diligence and studiousness.”
Zhang Lanqing smiled modestly. “All I know is a little bit of everything. However, you should understand them all a little. They might not be very relevant, but dabbling around in other areas can benefit your cultivation too. Though, don’t become overly distracted. It’s best if you focus on a single subject, or two at most. If there are too many, it won’t turn out well.”
“If it’s possible, I do want to try them all, but I’m in no hurry either. Right now, I primarily want to learn alchemy, with formations or forging artifacts on the side.” Li Qingshan smiled. He still had a long path ahead of him, so he obviously had to make ample preparation.
Zhang Lanqing agreed. “Alchemy is indeed the best. Basically all the schools have subjects for alchemy, varying in depth and focus. Though, the best professors are still the ones from the school of Daoism and the school of Medicine. Do you have any foundation in alchemy, Qingshan?”
Li Qingshan answered honestly, “I’ve only made a cauldron full of Qi Condensing pills under someone’s guidance before, and the results were only average.”
Zhang Lanqing said, “Looks like it’s still best if you start with the basics. It’s perfect timing with how the entrance examination has just finished. They’ve opened up a lot of classes recently.”
Afterwards, Zhang Lanqing recommended a few subjects regarding alchemy to Li Qingshan, giving a detailed introduction to the aspects that they excelled at and their flaws. He even mentioned which professors were more impatient and taught extremely quickly, how it would be difficult to follow along if he was slow-witted, and which professors were much more patient, preferring to waste time and so on.
In the end, he decided on a subject taught by the school of Medicine. It was called “Rudimentary Alchemy”. There were classes every few days, and it would go on for a few months.
This was exactly what Li Qingshan wanted. He had just fallen out with the leader of the school of Daoism. If he wanted to study there, the slovenly daoist priest’s disciples would probably make trouble for him even if the daoist priest himself allowed it. All he wanted was to cultivate in peace in the academy and increase his cultivation, not clash with others.
Zhang Lanqing chose a few other subjects for understanding talismans, formations, and forging artifacts for Li Qingshan. They were all for learning the history and common knowledge of a few general techniques within the arts, which Li Qingshan could use to decide what he was interested in. Out of them, Hao Pingyang specially recommended an artifact forging subject by the school of Mohism. He said he wanted to show Li Qingshan around on the Divine Mechanism island when he came for class.
After choosing these core subjects, Li Qingshan discovered that he still had a lot of time on hand. He was welcomed to choose a few interesting subjects to fill up the space, such as going to the school of Music to listen to some performances and so on.
“Apart from these, is there anything else to take note of?”
Zhang Lanqing said, “Next is choosing missions.”
Hao Pingyang said, “When we went to kill the Zombie Daoist last time, that was a mission. When we returned, we received quite a lot of spiritual stones as a reward.”
As it turned out, the disciples themselves had to find ways to provide the basic necessities of living in the academy. Apart from a handful of outstanding disciples, they all had to find ways to procure cultivation pills by themselves. The process was not as simple as cultivating in a sect, but the academy would not order disciples around like sects either. Instead, it was similar to the Hawkwolf Guard, directly marking out the rewards for the missions. The willing could obtain spiritual stones and pills.
“I’m not lacking in spiritual stones or pills right now.” Li Qingshan had only used up a small fraction of the resources he had obtained underground. There was no need for him to waste time on this.
Zhang Lanqing shook his head. “These missions are closely linked to your cultivation. They’re not just for making spiritual stones.”
“What do you mean?”
“For example, the most common alchemy missions, which you can accept as long as you can refine Qi Condensing pills. The academy will prepare the materials for you, and all you need to do is turn in a specific number of Qi Gathering pills within a certain time frame to complete the mission.”
“I see.” Li Qingshan immediately understood. If he was good at alchemy, he could even earn some additional pills with these missions, but if he was bad at alchemy, he would basically be working for free. It might even end up costing him spiritual stones instead. As a new alchemist, there was quite a high chance that these missions would cost him.
But even if it came at a cost to him, he could still gain a large quantity of experience in alchemy within a short time frame. After all, just collecting these random spiritual herbs would take quite some time. He could not help but admire the people who came up with these missions. Their methods of exploitation were just too brilliant.
Zhang Lanqing said, “Another example would be our mission last time. It provided us with actual combat experience. There are even some missions that test your ability at using techniques. You should familiarise yourself with the academy first, and afterwards, you can take a look in the Missions hall on Contention island.”
The three of them chatted, and time passed extremely quickly. Before they knew it, the sun had already risen to the middle of the sky.
He Yishi did not say a single word the entire time. He just sat there, glancing at Li Qingshan from time to time. Who knew what he was thinking.
Suddenly, Li Qingshan stopped talking. He glanced at the bamboo forest outside the courtyard. Originally, he thought that Liu Chuanfeng had returned, but instead, he saw a handsome man in black clothes walking through the forest, making his way over to the courtyard.
Hao Pingyan grew serious. It was the primary disciple of another school. He was Hua Chengzan.
Why has he come here? Zhang Lanqing thought, but he suddenly remembered Li Qingshan’s identity as a Hawkwolf guard. Surely he hadn’t come here to speak out against Li Qingshan, right? Li Qingshan had joined the school of Novels after all. Despite becoming the primary disciple, it was still not a glorious piece of news.
He Yishi immediately smiled from ear to ear on his fazed face.
The three of them were afraid to slight this renowned figure of the academy. They bowed. “Greetings, senior brother.”
Hua Chengzan nodded back at them, basically returning the gesture. His gaze landed on Xiao An, who sat beside Li Qingshan. He was extremely well-informed, so he already knew about what happened on Anāsravāṃ island. If he had not heard it personally from Wang Pushi, he almost would not have believed it. Now that he saw she was at the sixth layer, he sighed emotionally inside. Anyone still bold enough to claim that they were a genius before her would be as shameless as they came.
He cut right to the chase and said, “You turned down prefect Liu’s offer?”
Li Qingshan said, “I did.”
Hua Chengzan sighed with a smile. “Well, what can you do now? Though, old Wang has told me to pass a message onto you.”
Hua Chengzan looked back and saw Liu Chuanfeng carrying a food box, descending from the air on his white crane. He said, “I’ll tell you later.”
Li Qingshan immediately understood. Clearly, the message had something to do with Liu Chuanfeng, and it was not positive either. However, he truly was an exceptional man to maintain such a demeanour even when he faced Liu Chuanfeng, someone who was despised by all.
“Qingshan, I’ve returned.” The white crane vanished as soon as it landed. Liu Chuanfeng halted, becoming slightly surprised when he saw so many people here. He saw Hua Chengzan standing there and bowed automatically. “So it’s commander Hua who has come. It truly is an honour for my humble abode. Please forgive me for failing to welcome you.”
The two of them were both at the tenth layer, while Liu Chuanfeng was even a school leader, but their statuses were on completely different levels.
The mohist trio, on the other hand, bowed politely. The school of Novels might have been despicable, but a tenth layer Qi Practitioner was not someone they could look down on.
Hua Chengzan returned the gesture with a bow. He did not show any disdain, nor did he put on any fake act of respect. He looked around. “With how peaceful this place is, even I’m tempted to move in here.”
Liu Chuanfeng said, “As long as the commander is willing. I welcome you to move in at any time. There are plenty of rooms.”
The two of them chatted slightly. Liu Chuanfeng said, “It’s quite late now, so get ready to eat. Today, I’ve asked the Hundred Flavours restaurant to put in a lot of work. They’ve made me a whole feast. Hold on, my senior brother is heading over right now. You’ve met him before, Qingshan.”
Hua Chengzan said, “Is it elder Sun? If that’s the case, I’d better sit in too.” He glanced at Li Qingshan. “You can also say it’s a celebration for your entry into the school of Novels, Qingshan.”
Li Qingshan smiled. Just as he had expected, Sun Fubai was also a disciple of the school of Novels. With how even Hua Chengzan called him elder Sun, it only proved that as long as there was nothing wrong with their conduct, they could all earn respect, even if they were disciples of the school of Novels.
Liu Chuanfeng casually invited the mohist trio to stay behind. He Yishi was rather interested. Not only would it be a free feast, but he could also familiarise himself with the primary disciple of the school of Legalism. An opportunity as great as this never presented itself.
However, Hao Pingyang declined. Their identities differed by far too much, so it would be quite uncomfortable to eat together. “We still have some matters to attend to, so we won’t disturb you any longer. Qingshan, if you have time, let’s go drinking. It’ll be on me.”
Li Qingshan paced over and caught up to them. He passed a Sea of Qi pill to Zhang Lanqing. “Thank you for your troubles, brother Zhang.”
Zhang Lanqing declined in a hurry. “How can I accept that?”
Hao Pingyang said, “If he’s giving it to you, then just accept it! Where’s mine?”
Li Qingshan said, “It’s not like you need to condense a sea of qi. It’ll be on me if we go drinking.”
“Haha, I’m kidding. If I said it’s on me, then it’s on me!”
Zhang Lanqing thanked him sincerely. Right now, what he needed the most were Sea of Qi pills. An additional Sea of Qi pill would increase his chances of condensing a sea of qi by thirty percent. It was basically giving him exactly what he needed at the right time.
He Yishi was filled with jealousy as he watched on. He was also at the fifth layer now, so he clearly wanted this Sea of Qi pill too. Unfortunately, Li Qingshan did not even glance at him.
After they left, Hua Chengzan asked, “Was the tall, skinny fellow from earlier He Yishi?”
Li Qingshan asked, “How did you know?”
“I’ll tell you later.” Hua Chengzan would never go out of his way to investigate this petty matter, but he did know that there was someone called He Yishi out of the mohist disciples Li Qingshan knew, and he was hostile to Li Qingshan. He could guess who He Yishi was from simply glancing at their demeanours.
Li Qingshan said, “Acting all mysterious.”
At this moment, a few women suddenly appeared out of nowhere in the courtyard. Every single one of them were first-class beauties, with delicate faces and wonderful curves. They took out the dishes from the food box and placed them on the table. The clothing they wore were very revealing too. They could catch glimpses of certain body parts too as they moved around.
“The arts of the school of Novels sure are useful.” Hua Chengzan smiled, carefully hiding the contempt in his eyes.