Yang Xin had proclaimed her interest in Nik in front of Xue Yin, and the Master Inscriptionist ended up blurting the fact to Nik. So, the current situation dictated that Nik knew about Yang Xin's attraction towards him. Still, Yang Xin acted no differently. Nik did note the slight twitch of her eyelids when Yang Xin saw Asami entering alongside Nik, but that was it. Her posture was still languid, and her eyes were half-closed. Though Yang Xin really wished to get rid of her eyebags that formed after years of overnight practices, she still had to devise a concoction for that.
With her head tilted left and her left cheek resting on her raised palms, Yang Xin spectacularly retracted the professional charm she was just beaming with and eyed Nik and Asami with scrutiny. Nik's gaze finally leaned down, unable to leave the large bust resting on the surface of the table from his field of view and even if he felt the gazes of the two observational women on him, signifying that the tilt of his eyes was already exposed, Nik decided to take the scene with full passion and only coughed softly after having his fill.
"Director Yang Xin, can I see the revised list of the task?"
Nik began, unwilling to entertain the further awkwardness due to the two silently staring at him. He wasn't in the wrong, Yang Xin was just that alluring. If she wasn't, he wouldn't have asked her out on a date right away. Still, he had yet to get a response.
Previously, Nik and Yang Xin had decided to change the relationship between the Holy Orchid Institute and the Alchemist Association if Nik entered into a contract that would allow the Alchemist Association to deploy Nik's expertise battling and adventuring at a reasonable level. Although Nik stood to no benefit, he had talents in his class that he wished a great future for. Many young students were forced to enter into prostitution, underground battles, black marketing, and other corrupt jobs due to circ.u.mstances. Nik had no way to alter the past, but what he could do was to take steps to ensure a brighter future for his students.
After all, if Nik's previous teachers did not wish his future well, that did not mean he had to do the same for his own students. Although, there was one particular apprentice who found her future within the acts of corruption itself Korra. Forced to battle in underground stadiums at a young age to sustain herself, Korra simply grew to love battling. She was a battle maniac, and Nik was thrilled that there were more people out there, in different worlds, who learned to grow and face their own circ.u.mstances with a wild smile.
The thought was refreshing.
Needless to say, the Alchemist Association was simply the first organization that took the initiative to approach Nik. If collaboration is a success, then he would use the reputation of this bond to pull in other Associations, too. Many Associations provided a way of living for spirit masters even at the lower end of the strength.
Yang Xin took a brief amount of time to take out a long parchment rolled into a scroll and presented to Nik with a smile. One of her eyes still remained covered through the thick locks of her lavender hair, but the other eye actually tilted down and returned Nik's previous stare in kind. Accepting the scroll without any change in expression, he slowly unfurled it while reading the contents alongside each pull of the scroll. Nik tilted his arm sideways so that Asami could also read the contents easily.
The first few panels of the scroll dictated terms in a precise manner, making Nik realize that if this wasn't the contract itself, then it must be a copy of it requiring the duo's proofreading. The contract turned out to be a little longer than Nik had expected. In the contract, it was clearly stated that in lights of Nik's current battle prowess, until he defeated Shen Mao, he would be treated as an asset of equivalent cultivation, and he would need to make routine trips into more than 4 resource points that provided the Alchemist Association with their resources.
Further, in the contract, it was stated that he had to bring back a standard amount of resources. The Alchemist Association has been in the City for more than a hundred years, and they had more than data necessary to find the amount that the resource points could produce. Of course, in case of an unforeseen circ.u.mstance, the Alchemist Association would issue a team of mortal investigators that would brave the danger and inspect the resource points.
Once all these were stated, finally, it was the time for the remunerations
For all of Nik's services, the Alchemist Association would conduct recruitment drives within the Holy Orchid Institute for students from the Apprentice Classes and below. Multiple subjects needed to be added to the syllabus of the kids, but all of this was optional. The kids who wish to enter the Alchemist Association would give their all, and those who don't want to join the Association and have different ambitions can be saved from additional book time.
But, to make the recruitment drive more comprehensive, Asami finally started to make some changes. For instance, there was a point that stated that the noble kids from the high and mid-level aristocracies can not enter the drive. This would, in turn, sour the relationship of the aristocracies with the two organizations, something which none of the parties would want. There were more points that allowed the intermediary, super, and genius classes to enter the recruitment drive, albeit at higher requirements.
In the end, Asami did not find any troubles with the clause that would allow the selected talents to train under the appointed Alchemist experts practically within the Holy Orchid Institute itself. This would be a three-month training period, and the students who show similar talents in practical art would have their future ensured by the Alchemist Association as one of their own and would even start to receive daily stipend until they graduate.
Needless to say, if the students do not show excellent performance at all the level of classes, that is, do not reach the bare minimum of 90% score in the theoretical exams, then they can kiss this sponsorship goodbye.
In the process of discussion, Yang and Asami had already gotten slightly familiar with each other, and finally, once they got through the contract, the trio leaned back on their chairs and exhaled deeply. Yes, Nik still had to have a discussion with the principal, but this condition was too good to be true, and Nik agreed to meet Yang Xin in the Saint Judge Hall tomorrow after the classes are finished.
Once the task was completed, the trio stood up. According to the contract, Nik would have to leave for the Star Dou Forest the day after tomorrow. The first resource point was, of course, the area covered in a strange mist. If Nik completed the task skillfully, then the relationship between two organizations would be formed, and he would be able to successfully build the first path of success for his students. How the students trod on this path, however, was entirely up to them.
Before leaving, Yang Xin spoke up, "Nik, I think I will take that offer A chat over a vat of wine after you return."
Nik raised his eyebrows in surprise before smiling and nodding, "Who said that I won't benefit from this contract? I'll hold you on your words, Director."
"Oh, one more thing," Yang Xin inquired, "Who won? You or Ye Zong?"
"Why don't we make this the topic of our conversation after I complete the task?"
Nik turned on his heels and walked out while Yang Xin smiled and nodded. The duo, of course, assured Ning Xin that none of them ate the thing he seemed to be forbidding and finally left the Alchemist Association. At this time, a messenger hurriedly passed Nik and Asami before whispering something to Ning Xin and handing the letter to Ning Xin.
'Huff, even if the page from the Temporal Spirit Demon Book is gone, I still have other ways to gain strength. I have no source of hoarding a prominent of the purple haze grass, so I will have to make sure to impress the higher-ups of the Alchemist Association.'
Nie Li thought internally while he walked along the pavement with Lu Piao's and Du Ze's company. Du Ze's mother was doing fine and Nie Li even helped him out with all his stipend to buy a few recovery medicines. Meanwhile, Lu Piao and Du Ze still remained under the assumption that Nie Li was saddened by Ye Ziyun's rejection. It was only a little reason. The real stinger to his butt was the disappearance of the page from his consciousness.
"Psst, look Nie Li, there she is."
Lu Piao whispered and elbowed Nie Li, attracting his attention towards the group of girls Xiao Xue, Xiao Ning'er, Ryu'er, and Ye Ziyun. The four stood in front of the stall with their plates pushed forward while the middle-aged female vendor smiled kindly and served another round of Chili Buns. Seeing Ziyun's face from afar, Nie Li felt slightly satisfied, but even the 300-year-old reincarnator failed to find out the existence of an elegant young man eyeing the group of females from the corner of his eyes while measuring the weight of the green-heart battle hammer placed in another stall.
'So these are Nik Faran's disciples. One of them is the City Lord's kid... Should I make a move? I want the Eight-Armed Devil's external spirit bone placed within the Snow Wind Family's treasury. Not to mention that yesterday's burst of power was definitely from Nik Faran's side. He surely has a legendary constitution, allowing him to utilize such power without a spirit ring.'
The young man was the actual Demon Lord that terrorized the City with his cruel acts of violence and corruption.
The more he thought about it, the tempted he felt.
'I already have more than enough strength to dominate the city even if Ye Mo arrives miraculously... it was only my kindness that let everyone live here peacefully...'
With his mind made, the Demon Lord placed the hammer down only for the vendor to inquire calmly, "Oh, sir, don't you like the quality of the hammer? I have even better quality"
Annoyed, Demon Lord waved the hammer at an inhumane speed and smashed the vendor's head for this fickle reason, attracting the attention of the citizens due to the sound of the man's head getting crushed and laughed loudly. Without waiting for others to react, a wave of spiritual energy flooded the surroundings and made Nie Li's eyes widen in fright.
The spiritual energy locked onto Ziyun and Nie Li could feel it!
He wished to scream, but the spiritual energy physically suppressed everyone. It was different from the suppression of Nik's gravity as Nik only focused on pressurizing the physique to make the girls grow strong.
With each step, Demon Lord's smile grew wide as he whispered in satisfaction, yet, the contents of whisper rumbled into deep roars the spread across more than half the entire city.
"Nik Faran, Ye Zong, I am taking you apprentice and daughter Ye Ziyun away. If you wish her well-being, then hand the Eight-Armed Devil's external bone and Nik Faran over to me."
He finally reached the terrified Ziyun as the three girls felt visibly frightened when the Demon Lord glance landed on them. Ryu'er was the same. Beast she might be, old she may be, but a kid she remained.
Grabbing the top of Ziyun's head, the Demon Lord smiled playfully before clutching her hair and taking off to the sky without any wings on his body. Only a single purple ring flashed beneath his foot.
Clasping her palm around the Demon Lord's head, Ziyun screamed loudly, her face twisted in pain as she dangled in the air.
Nie Li finally roared as he broke out of the trance the quickest.
Demon Lord's eyes flashed malevolently, "Belongs to m BUGHHHAAAA!"
A crisp punch landed on the youth's face while a crimson blade simultaneously cut his arm over Ziyun's head. The broadsword did not have any arm wielding it while another arm coiled around Ziyun's waist and brought her into a warm embrace.
The punch broke the jaw of the youth, and yet, as he regained his balance in the air, he looked at the dark-haired youth with violet eyes and smiled widely.
A series of rings erupted behind him.
One... three... seven... fourteen... nineteen...
Finally, as the sixty-first spirit ring of the deep crimson color unfurled and bloated the sky, the man looked at Nik and finally whispered darkly. His smile still etched on his face.
"Can't a man enjoy the plain ol' kidnapping? Now I'll have to eradicate the city because of your punch."
Nik looked at all the spirit rings and secretly gulped.
'Well...' he looked downwards and found Ziyun still crying with her face buried into his chest and trembling like a bunny. Using his gravity, he finally controlled Ziyun and made her descend even if she didn't want to and shouted towards his apprentice, "Take her back to Ye Zong!"
"Don't ignore me, prey!"
The Demon Lord snarled, and it this moment, Ye Zong finally arrived with a ragged breath as he looked at the sky and instantly paled at the sight of so many spirit rings.
"Oh, sorry," Nik smiled. He turned in the air and smacked his butt in front of Demon Lord before snickering, "Butt, catch me if you can!"
Nik laughed wildly. He had made quite some effort to lace his words with suggestions, and it worked.
The Demon Lord snarled and shot towards the Star Dou forest to chase Nik.
Meanwhile, Nik also called his fiercest general.
He really had no confidence in dealing with this person alone, and he wasn't prideful enough to not ask for assistance when truly needed.
This battle may get nasty.