The schedule at Nine Heaven Academy consisted of two days of major courses and one day of minor courses, with one day off every ten days.
Jing Yue had attended the major course for two consecutive days, so today happened to be the turn to minor in Talisman.
Hmm… it was a lesson conducted by Wu Dao-zhenren.
Jing Yue bit the bullet and entered the classroom. As soon as he stepped in, he received complicated gazes from everyone and the atmosphere was filled with awkwardness.
Jing Yue had long been accustomed to envy, jealousy, admiration, and hatred, but he was not accustomed to this kind of sympathetic, yet hesitantly probing glances…
He settled down, pretending to be calm, found a place to sit down and let them continue staring.
After a while, Zheng Bai and Gu Xia came together, and when they saw him, they approached immediately. Zheng Bai said excitedly, “Laozu, I heard that Ji-ji molested…”
“Ahem, ahem,” Jing Yue interrupted roughly. “How are your magic classes? Also, don’t call me Laozu in the academy.”
Zheng Bai and Gu Xia looked at each other, and finally realized that the Laozu didn't want to mention it, so they changed the subject obligingly.
After talking about his encounters, Zheng Bai abruptly said, “A-jing, I heard that in your swordsmanship class, Qin-zhenjun’s teaching method is very… unusual?”
The original word he heard was actually ‘abnormal’.
Jing Yue, “Unusual indeed, but it was beneficial to me.”
Zheng Bai nodded thoughtfully and said, “I made some inquiries. This time, there are six disciples of Mauve Aurora Sect taking the talisman course with us. That An Wenxing and that disciple of Chao-zhenren, Kang Jin, are among them.”
Jing Yue, “It’s most probably because Mauve Aurora Sect and Green Bamboo Sanctuary are both located in the lower South region. After much exposure to it, they naturally have an affinity for talisman.”
Having said that, he subconsciously glanced in the direction of Mauve Aurora Sect’s disciples, but saw everyone staring at him with sparkling eyes, full of warfare.
Jing Yue, “…”
Why did he feel as if taking this elective course wasn’t going to be peaceful?
At this time, the bell rang to signal the start of class. A white-haired old man walked slowly, with a hip flask hung around his waist, and his nose was red due to drinking all year round.
Jing Yue lowered his eyes and looked at the ground.
But Wu Dao-zhenren didn't mention anything about yesterday, didn't even give Jing Yue a look, and talked about the talisman properly.
“Using Dao as the essence, cloth and writing materials, combine the essence of all items…”
Jing Yue secretly breathed a sigh of relief.
“To defeat the evil and hypocrisy, assist the true religion, gather all living beings, control life and death, maintain the tribulation… huff, huff…”
The students were dumbfounded—Wu Dao-zhenren fell asleep so innocently and unpretentiously…
It was silent in the classroom.
After a long while, a disciple said, “I heard that if Wu Dao-zhenren doesn’t drink the wine in the treasured gourd for a day, he’d be sleepy, no matter what the situation is. When he was still an inner gates disciple of Green Bamboo Sanctuary, during a big competition of the sect, a fellow disciple who was wary of his strength deliberately stole his gourd, and he actually fell asleep during the competition.”
Jing Yue, “…”
A group of students suddenly turned to Jing Yue. The latter forced a smile and said, “What should we do now?”
“Why don’t we just let him sleep?”
Hence, when Jing Yue returned in the evening, Meng Shan asked curiously, “What did Wu Dao-zhenren say today? Did he… complain to you?”
After all, Wu Dao-zhenren complained to anyone he met yesterday, and everyone in the academy knew that his wine had been stolen.
Jing Yue said wistfully, “He slept for the entire day.”
Wu Dao-zhenren didn’t wake up until the sun lowered on the horizon. At that time, the bell happened to ring. He merely said ‘class is over’, quickly took out the gourd and had a sip of today's newly brewed wine, and glanced at Jing Yue triumphantly.
Moreover, Jing Yue saw Qin Yanzhi on the way back to his dormitory, but quickly avoided him from far away. Jing Yue could put on a thick face about things that he felt justified in doing, but when it came to things that he hadn’t done right, he still couldn’t face it resolutely.
What's more, Qin Yanzhi had always been cold and aloof, and blue phoenix tore his clothes in public. As the owner, he really felt a sense of guilt for blaspheming a pure innocent young man.
Meng Shan, “That… that’s also pretty good, haha…”
Blue phoenix, which had been locked up for a whole day, was nearly bored out of its mind. As soon as it saw Jing Yue, it acted all coy and obedient, raising its wings in apology and promise.
Jing Yue couldn’t lock it up forever, so he said, “You must solve the trouble you’d caused. Find a way to apologize to Wu Dao-zhenren and Qin-zhenjun. If they are satisfied, then I won’t punish you.”
So blue phoenix was released and flew away sobbing bitterly.
Blue phoenix disappeared for two days. When Jing Yue came out of the sword pavilion that day, Qin Yanzhi stopped him.
“That chicken is yours, right?”
Jing Yue suddenly became vigilant but said nothing.
“I don’t understand why it keeps throwing bits of leftover cloth at my dormitory these past two days, and also being noisy outside at night.”
Jing Yue, “…”
“Uh, maybe because it tore Qin-zhenjun’s clothes the other day, it felt ashamed and wants to apologize?”
Qin Yanzhi was silent for a while. “It’s not necessary.”
Jing Yue, “… Oh.”
The next day was the elective course.
Wu Dao-zhenren cried out as soon as he saw Jing Yue, “Student Jing, your chicken gives this old one a pot of wine every day. This old one is grateful, but it’s also chattering outside the window before dawn. If not for this old one’s good concentration, I might suffer from Qi deviation already. What is the meaning of this?”
Jing Yue had a guilty conscience. “Maybe because it drank Wu Dao-zhenren’s wine the other day, it felt ashamed and wants to apologize?”
After a long while, Wu Dao-zhenren gritted out, “It’s not necessary.”
Jing Yue, “… Oh.”
In short, the lesson finally continued normally on this day.
Wu Dao-zhenren slowly explained some basic knowledge about talisman Dao, mostly common practices that could be found by buying the ‘Introduction to Talisman Dao’ with one spirit stone outside. Therefore, many students started showing impatience and some even felt sleepy.
Wu Dao-zhenren pretended not to notice that and continued talking for almost an hour before taking out some talisman paper slowly. “Today, what we want to refine is a type of daily-use talisman—the light-body talisman.”
As the name suggested, the light-body charm could reduce the user's body weight and increase the user's walking speed.
Only Golden Core cultivators and above had the ability to mount the swords. Before one reached that stage, traveling for great distances must be relied on spiritual beasts, spiritual birds, or magical flying instruments. If the distance was not too far away, many would choose the light-body charm.
This talisman was simply too ordinary, so someone immediately muttered, “Why a light-body talisman? I already know how to do this a long time ago.”
“Yeah, I thought I can learn something new.”
Wu Dao-zhenren did not say a word but performed a demonstration silently. Putting two fingers close together, he gathered the spiritual energy around him and drew a series of runes in mid-air, the lines fluid and the spiritual power balanced. With a point of the two fingers, the runes were imbued into the yellow talisman paper.
He put away the talisman and said, “Practice on your own for now. I’ll check on your progress after two hours.”
After that, he took a sip of wine and closed his eyes in meditation.
Everyone had no choice but to follow suit.
It was the first time for Jing Yue to refine the light body talisman. He replayed the movements of Wu Dao-zhenren just now in his mind. He only felt that every stroke and every turn flowed smoothly and were pleasing to the eye. The other party even used a finger instead of a pen and directly introduced spiritual energy into the talisman without using cinnabar, which went to show his proficiency in this art.
But for some reason, he couldn’t help thinking that some lines in the runes were slightly abrupt. He felt like it shouldn’t be this way—it should be more concise and direct.
A cultivator always believed in his intuition. He decided to give it a try.
So Jing Yue took out the paper, pen and cinnabar that were prepared earlier and sketched out a brand new light-body charm according to his thoughts.
Two hours passed by in the blink of an eye, and Wu Dao-zhenren took them out of the classroom to a lake on the top of the seventh peak of the academy.
“A light-body charm that is refined successfully can float above the water. You may try it out.”
The students looked at each other. An Wenxing of Mauve Aurora Sect straightened out his clothes and walked to the lake with his head upright. “Why don’t I start first?”
He took out the talisman, clamped it between his fingers, and muttered a spell in his mouth. The yellow talisman suddenly burst into flames and some ashes scattered in the wind and swept into the sky.
An Wenxing stepped forward, trod gently on the water, and paused. The somewhat serious expression on his face suddenly relaxed and his other foot stepped on it too.
The mirror-like water of the lake rippled round and round, but An Wenxing seemed to be walking on solid ground. He curled his lips and smiled, stepping forward and running like Lingbo Feiyan^.
(TN: Lingbo Feiyan 凌波飞燕 = a female character from Qin’s Moon)
Wu Dao-zhenren simply said expressionlessly, “Okay, that’s enough, save some energy. This talisman is effective for half an hour. You don’t want to run around for half an hour, right?”
Many students on the shore snickered, and An Wenxing returned to the shore in embarrassment, but still did not forget to give Zheng Bai a provocative look. The latter couldn’t help rolling his eyes. It was just a light-body talisman, who could fail?
However, reality proved that there were indeed some people who failed, although the number was small. After everyone else had finished testing, Jing Yue slowly walked to the lake.
To show off in front of others, he must be the last to appear!
…Not exactly. Jing Yue didn’t know the power of the talisman so he was a little nervous. This tension was not the fear of losing face after failure, but the anticipation of unknown results.
Jing Yue took a deep breath and chanted the spell to activate the talisman. The moment the talisman burst into flames, a gust of wind suddenly blew and set off a huge wave on the surface of the lake as high as half a foot. Everyone on the side of the lake squinted due to the strong gust.
At the same time, Jing Yue felt his body as light as a feather, as if his entire body had become one with the wind, and every strand of hair could experience the joy of the wind.
His field of vision was getting higher and higher, and in a blink of an eye, he flew more than ten feet off the ground.
Everyone was stunned. They had never heard that the light-body charm could be used in this manner.
They saw Jing Yue taking a small step, and in the next second, he already reached the center of the lake. The undulating lake water distorted his reflection. He took another step and he had already crossed the lake and reached the other side...
In fact, Jing Yue was also dumbfounded at this time.
He didn’t expect the improved effect of the light body charm to be so good!
In his previous life, he knew little about Talisman Dao and would never have such a talent. After thinking about it, it was probably because his Omnispirit body was very sensitive to aura, and most of the rune structure contained spiritual energy from heaven and earth, so he could sense even the most subtle anomalies just like a natural instinct.
On the other end of the shore, the listless Wu Dao-zhenren suddenly opened his eyes and looked at Jing Yue, his brain churning in different directions.
This type of light body charm was unheard of and one step could actually span ten feet. If combined with other techniques, one could even span 100 feet with every breath, which could be seen as a means to escape for low-level cultivators! If this charm was sold, it would definitely reap huge profits!
Therefore, after Jing Yue returned, he noticed the sharp glint in the vicissitude eyes of Wu Dao-zhenren, and felt an inexplicable chill.
Wu Dao-zhenren, “Is this really a light-body talisman?”
Jing Yue, “Yes, but I modified the runes.”
Wu Dao-zhenren smiled and looked at him expectantly while blinking.
Jing Yue finally understood what the other person meant, so he shook his head and said, “I’m sorry, Zhenren, I want to use it to make money, so I can’t reveal the method for the time being.”
He was very direct, leaving Wu Dao-zhenren speechless. The crowd of eavesdroppers around also looked disappointed.
“But… I can make some for all of you some other day.”
He had to disguise it with false patterns—Jing Yue thought silently.
Everyone also guessed that he would cover it up. After all, talismans sold on the market were all covered with false patterns, but getting one and examining it was still a method that could be attempted. Who knows if they could actually uncover the false pattern and discern the true rune? Even if they failed to find out the truth, they could still use it to escape. The cultivation world was riddled with danger after all!
As a result, the atmosphere was extremely harmonious, except for the faces of a few people from the Mauve Aurora Sect, who looked like they smelled something bad.
In the night, the moon and stars were sparse.
Qin Yanzhi sat on the futon with his eyes closed in meditation. Suddenly, he sensed someone outside. When he opened the door for a look, he saw the new patriarch of Frostcloud Sect leaning on a peach tree in the courtyard. Amid the night sky, he looked at the moon with a solemn expression.
When the other party heard the movement and turned his head, he was slightly startled, and a smile appeared in his eyes. “Qin-zhenjun, good evening.”
Qin Yanzhi, “Why are you here?”
After a long while, the other party coughed lightly. “I’m here to catch a chicken.”
Qin Yanzhi, “Mm.”
… The silence continued.
In the moonlight, Qin Yanzhi was dressed totally in white, and the contours of his face softened by the moonlight even gave the illusion of gentleness.
But Jing Yue was not in the mood to appreciate the view. He could not hold back any longer and said, “It’s windy at night. Qin-zhenjun should hurry back to the house.”
As soon as the voice fell, a blue young chicken flew from a distance. It held some new bits of cloth in its beak and also holding a wine flask taller than its body on its feet, body wobbling back and forth…
Qin Yanzhi quickly slammed the door shut.
Jing Yue, “…”
When blue phoenix saw Jing Yue, it immediately made a pitiful, droopy look.
Jing Yue found it both angry and funny. He must be out of his mind to let blue phoenix ask for forgiveness. It was almost like a second punishment to the victims, so he reluctantly said, “Ji-ji, Qin-zhenjun and Wu Dao-zhenren have forgiven you, so you don’t have to send wine and throw bits of cloth at them anymore.”
Blue phoenix’s eyes lit up and the flask smashed to the ground in pieces, the aroma of wine immediately permeating the courtyard.
“I’m so tired! Ji-ji worked so hard these two days! I went to Bliss City to peddle my talents so I can exchange for bits of cloth and a pot of wine, and sing for them night and day. They’d finally forgiven me!”
The corner of Jing Yue's eyes jumped wildly. He decided to skip this topic and said with a smile, “Peddle your talents? What can you do?”
Blue phoenix, “I, I, I can pretend to be lame. The cloth shop owner saw how pitiful I was. Even if I took a bit of cloth, he didn’t stop me!”
Jing Yue, “… So, that’s how you got the wine too?”
Blue phoenix, “Of course not! I can open walnuts for customers, peel melon seeds, and help the restaurant owner get business! The boss was happy and allowed me to take away a pot of wine. The guests like me so much that they let me drink…”
After saying that, it quickly covered its mouth with its wings, “I didn’t take a mouthful, I swear!”
Jing Yue, “… It must be hard on you.”
Blue phoenix immediately jerked its head high to the sky, looking all high and mighty.