Ye Futian was upset. The others were just jealous.
Was Hua Jieyu smiling at him? Did they already know each other?
It was impossible. How could this legendary loser have gotten the chance to know the real legend of the academy? It must have been that his performance on the written test had made her a bit curious about him. People tried to justify why Hua Jieyu knew none of them, yet she knew Ye Futian.
"Yep, that must be true. Ye Futian will fail tomorrow anyway. What happened today is just another part of his daydream."
The crowd was dismissed. Ye Futian and Yu Sheng walked towards the stands, where Ye Baichuan was waiting for them. When he saw the boys, he laughed. "Good job boy. You really are my blood."
"Good job? Who was gloating about having an excellent son minutes ago to everyone? Where are those big words now?" Feng Ruhai was also laughing. "You are impressive; congratulations."
"Sure, so is Qingxue. She made it to the List of Brilliance," Ye Baichuan said.
"Come here son, I have to ask you something." Ye Baichuan walked away, his son following him. Ye Baichuan stopped and showed a sly smile to Ye Futian. "Tell me, are you being mean to Qingxue because you are going after someone better? Be honest with me."
Ye Futian felt so awkward. It seemed that the smile Hua Jieyu had given him had also caused some silly misunderstanding for his father.
"This is really complicated. Leave me alone; I will deal with it." Ye Futian shrugged his shoulders.
Ye Baichuan gazed at his eyes and said, "Okay, you take care of this; it's none of my business anymore. Now that you have aced the written test, what about tomorrow?"
Ye Futian looked serious, and showed a curious face to Ye Baichuan. "In our family ancestry, were there any great Mandate Sorcerers with cultivation specialized in Freedom Meditation?"
"Of course. I take it you have awakened already?" Ye Baichuan immediately realized what had happened.
"Yes," Ye Futian nodded.
"Good!" Ye Baichuan suddenly slapped his son on the shoulder. He was so excited that his palm made a cracking sound when it hit Ye Futian's head. He retracted his palm when he saw the painful expression on his son's face.
"What are you doing, Dad?" Ye Futian stared at his father. "So, if we have great family ancestors, why am I the only one who awakened with that special talent?"
"That's definitely because of my efforts."
Ye Baichuan was taking this for granted. Ye Futian frowned. His father must have been even more shameless than he was at his age.
"I'll tell your godfather the good news. He will be so happy for you, son. Maybe he will come and watch tomorrow by himself," Ye Baichuan said. Ye Futian's eyes suddenly lit up with hope. Ever since he was a child, his godfather had told him that one day he would be awakened, and it had finally happened. He could not wait to see the happiness on his godfather's face.
As the two were talking, Feng Ruhai also began to speak with his daughter. He asked, "When did Ye Futian meet Hua Jieyu? Has he been mean to you since then?"
Apparently both fathers believed that Ye Futian had betrayed Feng Qingxue for another beautiful girl. Feng Qingxue realized the misunderstanding and shook her head to deny it.
"Then what's going on? Tell me the truth." Feng Ruhai wanted to know what was going on.
Feng Qingxue hesitated for a second, then slowly told her father the whole story.
"That is stupid." Feng Ruhai seemed angry about what she had said. "That's not how you deal with relationships. You have known Futian for years. You guys have been arguing and joking forever. There should be nothing that you cannot just sit down and talk about. How rude of you to let someone step in between that! It was not a rejection of pursuit, it was a farewell. Not to mention that this boy has always loved to joke. There is a clear difference between asking you to cultivate and asking you out on a date. As for Yu Sheng, how could he not be angry enough to be unfriendly to you in public? You even hung out with Murong Qiu after all this happened. Have you ever stopped to think about Futian? How is he supposed to deal with the aftermath of your inappropriateness?"
"Nothing is going on between Murong Qiu and me. We only went hunting together because of his cousin, Murong Qing. I needed some extra help from someone powerful." Feng Qingxue began to defend herself stubbornly. "I know he likes to make jokes, but come on dad; we are both grown-ups. He definitely crossed the line with a joke like that. I believe what Murong Qing said about keeping some distance makes sense."
"I know that nothing is going on between Murong Qiu and you, but hanging out with another guy after turning down Futian? That is humiliating. Can't you understand that?" Feng Ruhai sounded more serious as he stared at his daughter. "You have known each other since birth, and your Uncle Ye is my best friend. We respect your choices in handling the relationship between yourselves, but you have embarrassed me."
Feng Qingxue tried to be strong and keep herself from crying because she seldom saw her father being strict like this. She felt uncomfortable. She looked at her father and said, "I hope what I did is not getting in between you and Uncle Ye. We are both grown-ups, and we will never regret our choices."
"Come on, girl." Feng Ruhai shook his head. "Don't you realize that all you did was mask your feelings? You rejected him in such a terrible way because you think that you are way out of his league. You believe that you are mature enough to make these decisions, but a pure friendship without interest and calculation is the most beautiful thing in this world. You would not regret it if Futian kept being laid back as he has always been, but what about today? He just became the new star of this academy. Please tell me you don't regret your actions even a little bit now."
She reluctantly acknowledged to herself that she did regret what she had done, especially after seeing the new Ye Futian, but she remained silent.
"I have seen Futian grow up over the years. He looks lazy and casual, but deep inside, a tiger is waking up," Feng Ruhai continued, "He has been bearing the insults from others for three years at this academy. Can you think of anyone else with as much tolerance as he has? He is not just some normal guy that you'd never regret missing, trust me."
After his speech, Feng Ruhai shook his head and left, leaving Feng Qingxue dumbfounded.
A tigerwaking up inside. Her eyes turned to a figure in the distance. Soon she turned back and went to the dorm.
Ye Futian also said goodbye to his father. He looked towards the arena and found that Qin Yi was staring at him from far away.
He pointed his forefinger towards the sky and smiled at Qin Yi with a strong sense of confidence. This gesture conveyed a simple message: Just wait.
Qin Yi eyed him, then walked away. She was also disturbed by what he had done. She had never imagined that this guy could ace the written Fall Quarter Exam. She had a faint feeling that another miracle would happen tomorrow. Suddenly, she realized that she had a weird sense of hope and expectation.
The crowd was finally gone, and the arena became quiet. However, tomorrow this place would be even more busy. The Fall Quarter Exam had always been the annual focus of the city. After the lists had been announced, the crowd waiting outside the academy soon heard about what Ye Futian had done. It was absolutely fantastic for someone to win over Hua Jieyu and Yang Xiu on the written test. Those who knew this infamous boy before felt even more thrilled by this miracle.
During lunch, the restaurants of Qingzhou were full of customers. Inside a fancy restaurant next to Qingzhou Academy, a group was hatching a plan.
Murong Qiu, student of Qingzhou Academy, now sat in a private room. Beside him were the elders of the Murong family. They were led by the current head of this big family, Murong Yunshan, Murong Qiu's father.
"The Fall Quarter Exam today reminded me of our past, decades ago. Brother, we were both big shots in the academy, do you remember?" Murong Yunshan looked at the middle-aged man sitting opposite him, feeling a sense of nostalgia.
"How could I ever forget that you were the champion and I was in second place for so many years," the middle-aged man laughed.
"I can't believe you remember. It's been decades. Sometimes I still want to go back to being careless youth, but it's impossible now. I have been glued to mundane business, and the passion I once had is gone. Your life looks way easier than mine, I must say." Murong Yunshan laughed.
"Are you serious? You are the head of an influential family. Why are you so modest when you have so much power? Me? I just hang around in the academy and teach my students some spells to kill time. That's all." The middle-aged man shook his head. Actually, he did not just hang around. He was Shi Zhong, the director of the Earth Element Hall, which was one of seven branches in the College of Sorcery. He was one of the academy's true masters.
"Modest?" Murong Yunshan kept laughing, "Okay, let me be honest. I do have some business that I need your help with."
Shi Zhong got down to business. "Just lay it out."
"I am sure you know the situation of our family. Competition is fierce for the leader position. My son has so many of his own cousins and brothers competing against him that he cannot afford to lose the test tomorrow. He may not have performed well today, but I have to help him prepare better for tomorrow. You know that his talents and power are among the top," he continued, "He is already seventeen, and he is taking the exam after reaching the highest Awakening Plane, the Unmaker. Rumors and criticism will surround the family if he does not ace the test tomorrow."
Shi Zhong did not seem affected by what he said. He knew that Murong Yunshan was making the plea for his son's sake.
"You know that those who are in this exam have mostly been stuck under the seventh Awakening Plane. Just make sure Murong Qiu performs well enough in the debate tomorrow to beat the others. If he does, I might have some solid reasoning to persuade the panel to name him the champion."
"Hua Jieyu is too proud to attend the debate. If she does, she will do so well that she will be the champion and end the rumors anyway. If she does not show up, my son will have his best shot tomorrow. Then it is you who will decide his future." Murong Yunshan then tried to bribe him, saying, "If you need anything in the future for cultivation, and I mean anything, just tell me; I'll take care."
"Of course; your business is my business." Shi Zhong definitely understood what was going on.
"After Qiu enters your Hall, he's going to need a lot of help from my brother. Cheers! To our friendship!" Murong Yunshan took his cup and drank. A conspiracy was forming harmoniously inside this room.