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The wristwatch was a normal one, but after he pressed the surface several times it suddenly opened and revealed a compact device below. Presently, the device was radiating flashes of blue light.
“Verifying data.” The ice-cold voice of a man could be heard from the wristwatch. “Heavens Law student No. 2452, Xu Yangyi, sex: male. Rank One, please state your reason for communication.”
“This is Rank One, applying to submit assessment grades.” Xu Yangyi said straight-faced. “Mission location: Sanshui City. Mission objective: serial killer case. Degree of difficulty: no rank.”
“There’s still fifteen days and eight hours until the graduation. Before that, I want reconfirm a rule.” The pitch of the man’s voice didn’t waver whatsoever. “Heavens Law has never used the method of communication to examine a student’s grade. I believe I don’t have to remind you again of the importance of the graduation exam—as Yuyang City’s champion, Mr. Xu, you should be even more understanding of this than myself.”
“Second, the graduation examination grades will be announced on Nantong Province’s widescreen. If you misreport your grade perhaps you’ll gain momentary interest, however, upon returning to the academy to harvest the rewards… I believe it isn’t necessary for me say this, as well; Mr. Xu understands it, too. In case some Core Formation cultivators’ assistants or Foundation Establishment seniors discover that their person of interest has a deceitful nature, I’m afraid your path of cultivation will end here.”
Xu Yangyi grunted. Misreporting? In no way would he lay claim to achievements that he wasn’t responsible for.
“Good, then you may continue, Mr. Xu. Our conversation has already started recording. My work ID examination number is penned 9310. I am also initial-stage Qi Condensation. Please remember my number.”
The light tapping of a keyboard could be heard, and Xu Yangyi began speaking. “Grade: accomplished. Classification: serpent. Demon age: indeterminate.”
“The demon’s entire body is approximately around a hundred meters. It’s already been taken inside into the branch-issued spatial Dao-tool.”
The flowing sound of keyboard typing halted, and after several seconds, the cold, crisp voice of a man echoed out again, “Mr. Xu, I hope you haven’t forgotten my reminder just now.”
Xu Yangyi furrowed his brows.
“According to the records, the mass of a Qi Condensation demon doesn’t break over fifty meters. This is the cut-off point. Thank you.” The man’s voice seemed to sigh. “As Yuyang City’s champion, there’s no shortage of powerful eyes that have fallen upon you. Perhaps because you’ve been cooped up too much in the academy, you don’t understand the powers of the outside world all too well. However, I can remind you. The number of cultivators and rogue cultivators in China is approximately a million, while in every ‘cultivation cradle’—the number of graduated students of Heavens Law—is at most 300. You don’t need to be worried about your future prospects, Mr. Xu.”
While he had spoken rather tactfully, his words were rather penetrating. With Xu Yangyi’s performance as a champion, and granted that it wasn’t good that he didn’t complete his mission and would consequently be regarded as strange, Xu Yangyi wouldn’t necessarily have his value distorted when the time came for every major power to recruit.
At the same moment, inside a room with tens of computers in Nantong Province’s provincial government building, a tall, skinny middle-aged man around forty years old was combing back his glossy hair. He pushed down on his gold-rimmed glasses and drank a mouthful of coffee somewhat impatiently.
“Old Ying, you run into a problem?” His colleague of many years next to him looked at his appearance and laughed. “It's a tick of yours to drink coffee when you’re impatient. It’s been a couple decades, but you still haven’t changed.”
“It’s not something I can change.” Old Ying pressed the pause button for the recording and massaged his forehead. “Yuyang City is a major city administered by Nantong Province. A champion can basically be said to be a seeded player. In the past several days, Daomaster Cloudcrane’s Disciple Chen reminded us that Daomaster Cloudcrane’s enterprise, Golden Prosperity Pictures, in Yuyang City, needs an awesome Qi Condensation cultivator to calm the scene. Since Yuyang City is Nantong Province’s second major city, the demons have also forcibly taken space to survive; it’s not very peaceful. This champion…”
Old Ying swept his eyes over the screen and directly set down the recording, His lanky body learned against his chair, and he laughed grimly, “I was ready to recommend him to Daomaster Cloudcrane, and I even brought it to his attention pretty obviously, but he suddenly reported to me that the demon’s corpse was a hundred meters. An old Foundation Establishment monster? Isn’t this the age of satellites? Can a single mu produce thousands and thousands of bushels? What a joke.”
Old Ying’s colleague by his side listened to his spiel and laughed, “A hundred-meter-long demon corpse… That’s an old Foundation Establishment monster, right? In any case, you were only ranked 50 that year, Old Ying…”
“It’s nothing more than a pretty excuse.” Old Ying faintly pressed down on his glasses. “Only the top twenty grades in the graduation exam are worth a damn. What’s the difference between rankings twenty-one to a hundred? With his performance, he’s bound to end up within the entire province’s top twenty. He doesn’t have any need to misreport, but for his bullshit pride, he reported a hundred-meter-long corpse. Every year, you get to see this kind of high-strung hothead. After going through over a dozen years of Heavens Law’s hell training, they’ve taken a fall in virtues.”
“Let’s listen up first, alright.” His colleague was interested, as well. Virtue was incredibly important in cultivation and was often even more important than cultivation itself. There wasn’t any difference between Heavens Law graduation and a university graduation. It was merely on the graduation’s eve, “company recruiters” would become “cultivation powers”.
No one would recruit a person of questionable moral standing. Even if a Dao Master took a fancy to Xu Yangyi, how could they possibly entrust him with heavy responsibility?
Old Ying remained cool and collected, switching on the recording software once more. He said coldly, “Mr. Xu, you still have one more chance. I didn’t make a recording just now. Carefully… jog your memory again of the specifications of the demon’s corpse.”
The sound of dialogue rang out from the other side. It seemed that Xu Yangyi was consulting someone called Mao Ba’er. Once Mao Ba’er gave him a detailed answer, Xu Yangyi’s voice clearly rang out again. “Mhm, I figured I was clear enough.”
“Mr. Xu, please treasure your opportunity.” Old Ying furrowed his brows. He didn’t intend to switch off the recording this time. Was this a joke? He had already given a one-time opportunity. If not for his recommendation to a Core Formation master who stood at the apex, and also for the glory of his Nantong Province branch, was there the least bit need of him to give this kind of chance to a little cultivator that hadn’t even graduated?
“Mhm, in total, it’s a 142.03 meters long and four meters wide.”
“Pfft…” Old Ying’s colleague nearly spurted out in laughter, resisting the urge to smile with great difficulty. He shrugged his shoulders, looking at Old Ying’s ashen face. Making a devil-may-care gesture, he shook his head with a regretful look in his eyes soon after and mouthed, What are you still arguing with this person for?
Old Ying closed his eyes, and as he opened them, his voice carried an even icier touch. “I understand. I shall report it as is. Mr. Xu, is there anything else?”
Don’t scream, you mustn't. This kind of person would be inevitably eliminated on all accounts. Regardless of the fact that he was Yuyang City’s champion.
What qualifications did a person whose prospects were already culled off have to earn respect?
“Oh, there’s something else.” Xu Yangyi’s voice paused on the other end. “This was a berserker. The academy regulations state in the event of an unusual circumstance, bonus points may be added. I’ll have to trouble you to make note of it.”
In a blink, the employees at the other end of the wristwatch went silent.
Just as Old Ying’s colleague was about to cover his mouth to stem his laugher, he failed to laugh in that next instant. Old Ying looked at his computer in shock, believing he had heard incorrectly.
What... did he just say?
“You seemed to have said… a berserker?” Old Ying was suddenly jolted back into his wits by this answer. Once he discovered this, he was surprisingly so shocked that he actually asked! By his side, his colleague looked at him with a similar incredulous expression plastered all over his face.
“Okay, I’m hanging up.”
“Hold up a second!” These words completely pulled the duo back to attention. Old Ying gripped his microphone with his voice raised. “Mr. Xu, you must remember clearly! A berserker has to be reported to a specialized ‘different management office’! A berserker’s striking capabilities are over five times that of a normal demon! Moreover, they’re capable of surmounting two minor boundaries! It has be said as well that if it’s initial-stage Qi Condensation, it’ll become late-stage Qi Condensation! Furthermore, the probability of such an unusual circumstance appearing is astronomically rare! Only Heavens Law’s academy-affiliated Beijing Hospital and Shanghai Hospital have dissected an actual subject! You…”
Before his voice even fell, he was thoroughly floored, while his colleague nearly jumped!
That was because an image had been sent over to the computer. When Xu Yangyi had clashed like a fireball against the serpent’s bone-spiked head, Mao Ba’er had snagged a photo!
Beneath moonlight, the tremendous serpent had thrust its bones out in reverse. A fireball had caused the radiant moon to lose color! Even in the haziness, one could also see the skewed color of the demon’s pupil, and the horde of tiny snakes as thick as a man’s waist on the ground! This included… the tremendous serpent’s forty-plus meters of length outside of the ground!
An extraordinary situation… The reason being, a Qi Condensation demon has surpassed the body of a Foundation Establishment demon!
Bang… Bang… Old Ying had already stood up at some unknown point, his mouth slightly ajar. He pushed back on his glasses, again and again. It was unknown when, but the colleague at his side had stood up as well, his eyes swiftly popping out and fixed on the computer screen.
They recognized three things.
One, this photo didn’t have any traces of being tampered with...
Two, this serpent… even if it wasn’t a berserker, it was absolutely in some other abnormal state!
“This is… Solution Ninety… Life Sacrification…” Old Ying’s throat trembled violently like he had swallowed a date. “In the history of Heavens Law students that haven’t yet graduated that could learn… and use… this move during the graduation exam, all of them… are absolute heavenly blessed heroes…”
He himself knew… it wasn’t until ten years later after he’d graduated did he have the capability to use this move! Only then he dared to use this move!
“You… No, sir, are you certain that all of the aforementioned is true?” Finally, Old Ying stifled the shock of his heart and spoke.
He really wanted Xu Yangyi to deny it, since this kind of disparity, envy, and admiration had soured into an ocean within his heart. They were all humans, all cultivators, but did the difference have to be so great?!
And yet, he moreover wanted Xu Yangyi to admit it! This was because… if he could recommend such a management-level talent to a Core Formation master’s assistant, Nantong Province’s reputation in China’s cultivation world and scope of power would drift upwards by a small stage! Especially such an outstanding talent!
“Yeah, I’m still in the sickroom right now. I’ll arrive at Nantong Province’s capital in time. However, this berserker’s strength wasn’t that strong. It was just between the peak of the initial stage and middle stage.”
Between Old Ying and his colleague, the two of them didn’t know how to hang up the phone. In their hearts, they felt a sense of loss, excitement, and envy… All kind of feelings converged together into a boundless expanse.
What kind of good luck… did one one need to actually meet such an extraordinary circumstance during their graduation examination? What kind of strength did one… actually… actually need to be able to kill such a foe?
And to speak so matter-of-factly… The demon’s strength wasn’t that strong? Between the peak of the initial stage and middle stage… Could it be you don’t know that baseless boasting is the greatest fatality? The mere body of a tremendous serpent-demon would cause a majority of cultivators at the initial stage like Xu Yangyi to shrink back!
In all of China, over 80% of cultivators were at Qi Condensation! No! The world! Among them, 60% were at the initial stage! Would it kill you not to brag?!
“Report this immediately to the branch director!” Old Ying stood up like he had just awoken from a dream and suddenly stomped his foot in annoyance. “Fuck… I actually forgot to state my work number one more time!”
1. Mu is a chinese measurement for land. Unlike Jin, which can be translated into catty, a mu is defined as 1/15th of a hectare. Doesn’t sound very smooth to put it like that.
2. 魔都 - is an alternative spelling of Shanghai. I want to make a note of this since, you can translate this as “demon city” or “magic city”.
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