"And they succeeded, just like you said, Master Lin," Elder Gong nodded towards the entrance to his courtyard.
I placed the tea that I had been sipping back onto the saucer in front of me, just in time to see four dripping wet, gasping and worn out students stumble back into the courtyard.
The illusions that had been chasing behind them disappeared into mist the moment they stepped foot inside.
Strolling up to them, I waited for them to catch their breaths before dropping the prepared bottles of water before them.
All of them made grateful noises while trying to drown themselves in their drinks.
"I didn't think Ha Ha They would Throw each other at us" Brendan gasped.
Well yeah... Under normal circumstances they most likely won't. But the four of them were doing so well that I decided to bump up the difficulty a little at the end.
Though Brendan wasn't able to utilise the freezing aspect of water even till the end, he had learnt how to reshape the water into other forms to place traps along their route to slow their pursuers down.
When the ending point was in sight, they had predictably let down their guard.
Thus, when two of the monsters hefted one of their brethren and threw it in front of them over the traps, the students were understandably stupefied.
To be fair, I let the monster give out a roar to snap them out of it.
Chris tried to circulate a Fire Technique while Sylphy immediately used a block of air to try and smash it to the ground.
The tentacled Wendigo raised all of its arms and tentacles to resist against Sylphy's attack, holding up the block of air through its strength alone.
That gave them enough time for Chris to create a rope made of fire to tie its legs together. Although it wasn't as strong as the chain I had shown them before, it still managed to do its job of restraining and burning the target at the same time.
Right as they were thinking about running past it, another monster was thrown over their heads and landed right behind the first one.
A punch from its fist was enough to dispel the block of air that was holding down the first one, allowing it to rip the fire bindings off like paper.
And if having two of such monsters standing in front of them wasn't enough, a third soared through the air to land right behind them.
I honestly expected them to have a tough fight over there where they might show me some kind of struggle or maybe even just straight up fail there.
But Brendan hadn't been idle when the first monster landed in front of them.
Once more, by making use of the water veins, he had created a tunnel underneath the earth that led straight past the two illusions guarding the courtyard entrance.
When the tunnel was complete, he blasted out both ends of the hole and immediately got everyone to jump in. Kris had thrown up a flash of light to distract the monsters from following them, not like they could anyway with a hole that small.
Fortunately for them, the current was flowing in the direction of their destination. Unfortunately for them, it wasa long ride without space for breath once they got in there.
Brendan ended up having to shorten the tunnel or be at risk of drowning his entire class inside, all of them ending up just a few metres away from the end point.
The roars that echoed from behind them prompted all four of them to claw their way to the courtyard entrance, pulling and pushing each other across the finish line which led to their current state.
"Interesting run. I see you guys made quite a lot of improvements from just that trip alone." I praised them. "The water tunnel was an interesting one. I'll admit I thought Sylphy would be the one to get you guys out of that with her air throwing again. Still, an inventive use of the water veins to your advantage. Though I really have to recommend that you stop doing that."
Brendan looked up at me, "Eh? Why?Is it bad?"
"Because I have to fix it everytime you alter the flow of it. Do you not think there are no consequences to that? What will you do if my peach tree dies huh?" I snapped my fingers, filling up the hole that they made and reverting the water vein back to its original course.
At least he had the decency to give me an apologetic smile.
"For the task, I'd say you guys did quite well. If you continue this standard, the upcoming test shouldn't be a problem for any of you."
Sylphy bowed, "We shall depend on sire for your much needed guidance."
I nodded, "Umu, I think that's enough excitement for you guys as well. Spend the rest of the day reviewing what you've learnt, lest you forget."
The four of them gave acknowledging remarks before wishing me a good day.
Just as I was about to leave for my own courtyard to make more candies for Cai Hong, I spotted Brendan taking out a small vial and emptying its contents into his mouth.
From the smell that wafted out from the bottle and how he looked more energized, I identified it as a stamina potion. Quite a rare sight for a Practitioner to carry one around since they're more useful for warriors than us.
"Did you buy that from our Sect's Alchemy shop?" I asked, pointing at his empty bottle.
The young man looked down at the bottle, "Ah No, Master Lin. I made this myself. I learnt how to make some potions on my own."
Made it himself? Without any manuals or teachers? Even I needed to refer and learn from old scripts before I went on to discover new mixtures on my own. Could he be actually talented in alchemy?
Before I could question him further, a messenger boy came running into the courtyard.
"Master Lin! Sect Master Qing is seeking your presence!"
"Oh? Where is he?"
"He is already waiting in your courtyard, Master Lin!"
Well, it must be quite important if he had personally gone to my courtyard to seek me out. I waved the messenger boy off and immediately headed for my courtyard, entering it to see Sect Master Qing seated rather calmly at my pavilion with his own tea set laid out.
Godamnit, don't go to other people's courtyard and start having tea on your own. As much as I like tea, I don't carry a tea set around you know? What's with them and carrying their tea sets all around just so they can drink it whenever?
Ah wait Manami is the one that carries my tea set around so she can make tea for me whenever I er Guess I should retract that statement then.
Sect Master Qing stood up the moment he saw me, "Ah! Master Lin! Please sit, I've prepared tea for the both of us! There was something I needed to talk to you about!"
Well I sure hope so, you're obstructing my candy making time.
I took a seat and sipped at the tea.
Of course, it's not as good as Manami's but it's still good enough.
"You know about the country of Dong right?" Sect Master Qing started, seating himself after me.
I nodded, it was the place Diao Chan came from so of course I know.
"Last I heard they were going through a civil war are they not?" I remarked.
"That is correct, though that information is a little outdated. The civil war ended quite a while ago and someone else has already taken over."
"Someone else? Who?"
"That we do not know It seems to be a well kept secret but fact remains that the power vacuum has been filled."
I raised my eyebrow, "Alright Good for them. And that matters to us because?"
Sect Master Qing sighed, "That Well It's not entirely confirmed yet but, there are rumours that they are planning to invade us."
"They plan to cross the Death Mountains with their army? The trip alone will wipe out half their army, if not more."
He shook his head, "No, Master Lin. They're tunneling their way through the mountains."
I was just about to comment on the absurdity of such an endeavor when I felt one of the safety inscriptions I inscribed on my disciples get removed, followed closely by a second one.
I immediately tried to activate the tracking inscription connected to the removed inscriptions, pinpointing the location to Jin city's outskirts before those got removed as well.
The inscriptions that were removed had been inscribed on Kiyomi and Manami...