“Venerate Seraphim, if there’s anything else that you need, feel free to ring the bell located in your room. An attendant would be deployed over to your location the moment you ring it.” After Principal Erudito finished assessing the black-haired teenager, he spent some time conversing with Lady Seph and got some logistic matters out of the way. Only after everything was settled, did he prepare to leave the cabin with the Vice-Principal in tow.
Shin, who was unable to even place a drop of water onto the scholar’s body, was lying flat on the mud floor outside, exhausted both mentally and physically. Some of the orphans were keeping watch over him, ensuring that he didn’t do anything silly after his traumatic loss. Emma especially. She knew how much Shin wished to convert to the combatant path, and how much it meant for him to become stronger. He had even changed his entire training regiment that even the Spartans of old would find excessive. Yet, there was no way that he could become strong enough given the limited time frame that he had.
Imperius Academy gathered students that were already specialised in their fields and had been training their entire lives just for that one course. Compared to the few weeks that Shin had, those students were far more superior when it came to battles.
“One more thing before I leave… Venerate Seraphim, although I don’t know what the circumstances surrounding your disciple are, I suggest that you persuade him to continue on the auxiliary course. If he were to enter the combatant course in his current state, the other students would be sure to chew him up alive.” Principal Erudito stopped at the door and offered one final suggestion to the blonde beauty who was calmly seated on the couch.
“…” Instead of replying the scholar, all Lady Seph did was sip her tea, as if unaffected by his proposal. Shrugging his shoulders, Principal Erudito flashed a wry smile before exiting the cabin. There, the Principal could see the black-haired teen, lying right where he left him. Attended by a few of his friends, he was sprawled out on the floor like a starfish.
‘What a shame… A talented healer had lost his way just like that…’ The aged man sighed despondently. The Himmel Empire and Terre Continent, in general, was in a severe deficit of capable healers. Thus, seeing how the youngest healer in history wished to leave his path for a more violent one, Principal Erudito felt that it was a pity.
“Principal!!!” Just as he was about to climb down the mountain and head back to his office, a resolute shout called out for the scholar.
“Four months!!! Give me four more months!!!” Somehow managing to sit up, Shin cried out. “The academic year starts in five months, give me a little more time to train!!! I will prove to you that I will be capable of handling the combat course!!!”
“…” The bronze-faced man watched the young man that he had just defeated. His entire body was trembling, and the mana exhaustion must have made him delirious. In his current state, even a child would be able to beat Shin to the ground. Yet, in his eyes, the scholar could sense a burning hot passion that would never waver from its path.
“I don’t understand… If you enter the auxiliary course, you would definitely snatch the valedictorian, and once you graduate, top administrations would bend over backwards to try to recruit you. When that happens, money, fame, power… Anything that you want, you will have. Why must you force yourself to go down a route that could lead to nowhere?” Principal Erudito questioned the youth.
Shin was already at Rank 17, and it was highly likely that he could form his Spirit Core within the next year or two, which was one of the graduation requirements for final years at the academy. Furthermore, many in the auxiliary course were training to be healers, but Shin was already one. Truth to be told, even if Shin went out in the open right now, he would be heavily sought after, just for the fact that he’s the youngest healer in history. However, instead of on capitalising on his gifts, he was insistent on diverting his successful path for another.
“Principal… Do you think I’m strong?” Instead of replying the scholar’s question, Shin replied with another query.
Taken aback by Shin’s sudden retort, the Principal frowned. By his standards, Shin was not a powerful Spirit User. Perhaps he might be able to defeat some of the weaker combat-focused Spirit Apostles on a good day, but otherwise, he was below the Academy’s average. To not deter his mindset, the Principal came up with a simple answer: “Strength comes in many forms. Even an auxiliary healer is powerful in his own right.”
“But even the best healer can’t revive the dead or turn back time!!!” Shin hollered out. His gorgeous azure eyes had turned crimson as his jaw convulsed erratically.
‘Revive the dead? Ah… I see…’ Hearing the youth’s words, Principal Erudito finally came to a revelation. “You… Lost someone?”
It was a tale spoken thousand times before and a tale that would be repeated millions of times in the future. Where there is life, there will be death. It was the immutable law of nature. To force the youngest healer in history to switch paths this early on, the person that Shin had lost must have been a monumental figure in his heart.
“I must become stronger… Stronger so that I would never lose anyone dear to me ever again!!! I also have some debts to settle… When everything is through, I will chase Yggdrasil!!!” Shin declared his dreams for the future for the world to hear.
“Chasing Yggdrasil huh… You honestly believe in that ancient myth?” The tale of the Eternal Burning Tree was legendary in the cultivation world. After all, who didn’t want to believe that in the Immortal Realm above, there existed a well of souls that all humans returned to?
“…” Taking the scholar’s mocking words head-on, Shin simply remained quiet. He wasn’t here to start an ideology sparring session. What he wanted was a chance to prove himself.
“Haha, those eyes of yours are quite something!!! I can see a little bit of why Lady Seph treasures you so much!!! Fine, four months it is!!! If you can’t meet my standards by then, you will continue on with the auxiliary course!” Bellowing out in laughter, Principal Erudito agreed to Shin’s terms and calmly walked down the mountain range.
Once they were out of the orphans sights, Hirda, who had been furrowing her brows ever since they left, finally broke her silence. “Hey, Erudito… Why did you agree to Venerate Seraphim’s disciple’s terms?”
Being the Principal of the acclaimed Imperius Academy, a school where only the best of the best were admitted, Erudito had to be impartial when it came to the application process. Shin, although excellent as a healer, was barely fit for the combat course and once placed there, he would undoubtedly become the dunce of the cohort. Even if he trained his hardest for four months straight, there was no possible way that Shin could bridge the gap against students who had years of practice in the same field.
“Hirda… Have you ever lost someone you cared about in a war or battle before?” Instead of replying to the Vice-Principal’s question, Erudito gazed back in the direction of the inn, his eyes not focusing on anything in particular.
“Of course… Anyone who treads the cultivation path runs the risk of losing people they care about. That’s just part and parcel of life.”
“Then you should understand how he feels right now. Despair. Fear. Hatred. These are just some of the emotions that are running through his mind. For a boy his age, he needs to release the stress that he accumulated so giving him this goal might be a good thing. When the four months is up, hopefully, he would have calmed down a little.” Explaining his logic to his partner, Principal Erudito let out a huge sigh.
“For now, let’s focus on our own business. Have you placed down measures to prevent the students from coming into Tsucai Mountain?”
The Thaishu mountain range that was at the backyard of the Academy was generally off limits for all students. However, there were some instances where the students would either break the rules for a secret rendezvous, or they would seek permission to cultivate in peace on the agrestal mountains.
“That has been taken care off, but are we really going to allow Venerate Seraphim to stay on the mountain indefinitely?” Hirda worriedly asked. Closing down an entire mountain just to ensure that Lady Seph’s arrival remains a secret wasn’t a sustainable plan. Eventually, the students and faculty alike would begin to wonder what the Principal was hiding.
“Not to worry. Judging from the letters that she had asked me to deliver, Venerate Seraphim doesn’t seem to be too keen on staying here for long.”
“Why would that be?”
“Take a guess!” Now that they were all alone, the Principal’s mischievous side had come out.
“Urggh, if you’re not willing to tell me, then forget it!”
“Haha, fine! I’ll stop teasing you.” Bring his face closer, Erudito placed his index finger on his mouth as he whispered out in a soft voice. “She had sent letters to Property Mogul Garbert and the Minister of Housing at the same time.”
“What?!” Hirda jerked as she dropped her jaw.
Property Mogul Garbert owns the Capital’s biggest property company, and he himself owns at least three percent of all the free land in this densely populated area. The amount of gold in his vault, when melted down, could fill an entire lake, making him one of the wealthiest individuals in not just in the Himmel Empire, but the whole continent.
As for the Minister of Housing, she manages the population and controls the market price of all houses. Being part of the government, she disliked how business magnates like Garbert would buy out entire plot of lands when it could be used to develop new houses for the growing population.
Just the fact that Lady Seph had the authority to send a letter to both these high ranking personnel was enough to stun the brunette woman. In the Capital, being a Spirit Emperor was useless if one didn’t have influence. For instance, both Erudito and Hirda were academics that had cultivated into the Spirit Emperor realm. However, the biggest name that they could hope to meet was the Minister of Education. If they wanted to meet with any other bigwigs, they had to go through numerous intermediaries and even then, there was no guarantee of an audience.
“Bringing those two together… Does she wish to buy out half of the Capital?” Hirda joked.
“Haha, for the sake of your mental health, I’ll omit the rest of the names.” Principal Erudito smiled in reply to his partner’s reaction. “So I’m guessing she’s looking for a mansion to settle down in. After all, her disciple would be staying in the Capital for at least six years.”
“To go so far for a mere child… What happened in the years that she was gone?” Hirda mindlessly worded out. Lady Seph was infamous for not accepting proteges and only acted for the sake of her research. Yet, after decades away from the Capital, it was as if her personality had entirely flipped.
“Not to mention, she still has bad blood with the Imperial Courts. The case regarding the Primordial Beast is still fresh, even to my ears. I’m sure she still resents the government in the way that they handled the issue. After all, she left her post of the Imperial Physician because of that case…” Hirda thought out loud.
“Hirda, it’s not in our place to question Venerate Seraphim’s decisions. All we need to do is assist her in whatever ways we can.”
“Yeah, yeah…” Rolling her eyes, the Vice-Principal walked ahead of the bronze-faced scholar.
‘Hah… I chided her, but honestly, I feel the same way…’ Principal Erudito gave out a dismal sigh as the image of the black-haired youth came to his mind. ‘Shin, huh… I hope that you can prove your worth as HER disciple…’