Chapter 226 – Teng ZiXin
Translated by Tracy
The master of that alluring figure was a stunning young woman whose beauty could give Ning Jing-daoshi a run for her money.
Her stance was one of confidence with her head held high and chest puffed out, exposing her immaculate face for everybody to see – it’s just that her gaze was cold and exuded an unapproachable aura. They say that an individual’s personality can be deduced from the way they walk; she’d be the perfect example of this.
The woman wore a light purple veiled dress that almost touched the ground, the wide sleeves were adorned with circling embroidery. A soft cotton belt wrapped around her waist that looked slim enough to snap with a touch. Sweeping down her shoulders and back were fine strands of glossed silk, further enhancing her powder-less yet delicate-skinned visage and giving off an impeccable air of nobility.
The lady was not in the least bit fazed by the attention of almost everybody in the room, rather calmly making her way through the crowd with light and elegant steps. Her enchanting stance did nothing to combat her cold aura, however, causing many people to simply lose themselves in admiring her image as if time itself had stopped.
Gao Yang had always been taken aback by the young woman’s beauty no matter how many times they meet. He took a deep breath to compose himself before explaining: “She is the Teng family’s Teng ZiXin, the twenty year old sister of Teng ZiYe. She is a mid-level five mage already; the same level as her brother, in fact, and a rare genius that comes around once every thousand years or so. Reached level four at the age of sixteen, but reached level five earlier than her brother. The only reason she didn’t enroll in Dao Xin Academy then was because she went travelling with her level ten shifu.”
You XiaoMo gulped. Looks like sky’s the limit when it came to talent; he had thought that these geniuses would’ve been at most around level four, but what does he know? There’s a level five in the mix with them, and not even twenty yet to boot. Before he could continue on that depressing train of thought, You XiaoMo felt a chilling gaze on his back and turned around to see the young man who had entered last.
It was none other than Chai Jun, the person who had come to cause trouble not a day prior. Seeing his curious gaze, Chai Jun’s face of hostility twisted into a sinister smirk, followed by a throat-slitting gesture.
You XiaoMo noticed that his right hand was completely fine after being broken by Ling Xiao yesterday. Mulling over it a bit though, it made sense that as a big family in Yan City the Chais would have many powerful mages at their disposal. Getting a pill that healed hand wounds was probably very simple. He ignored Chai Jun, turning away at the gesture.
Gao Yang had evidently also noticed the youth, muttering with a scowl, “You’ve met Chai Jun already – he doesn’t have much talent, but his twin brother Chai Zheng is a level five student at Dao Xin Academy. They’re both people who take ‘eye for an eye’ a bit too seriously, make sure you be careful around them.”
You XiaoMo nodded. “Okay, thank you Gao-dage.”
“No problem, you’re going to be my underclassman in a few days, looking out for you is my duty,” Gao Yang chuckled.
The group split up as they entered the big hall, walking towards to their own quarters. The other disciples of their respective families had all been waiting in the hall for quite a while and, upon their arrival, immediately approached and surrounded the new additions to the room with a hubbub of activity.
You XiaoMo withdrew his gaze; today sure was an eye opener. Had it not been for Gao Yang, he’d never have known about the sheer amount of talent in Yan City, and all high-levelled at that. A flare of giddy anticipation lit up within You XiaoMo at the prospect of studying at Dao Xin Academy.
“You look very excited, Momo,” Ling Xiao murmured next to his ear.
“Of course,” You XiaoMo answered without hesitation, rubbing his hands together. “Are you not excited?”
“I’m excited whenever you’re around,” came the grinning reply.
You XiaoMo shot the perpetrator a scowl, blushing. Why was it that Ling Xiao became so much cheesier after establishing their relationship?
He remained blissfully ignorant of the judgmental gazes from several people he had judged before.
An eighteen year old level four mage? BaiLi XiaoYu has some competition coming his way. Despite his rather obvious lack of background, he was a student of Dao Xin Academy all the same; in other words, competition. Besides, not every one of the academy’s recruitment conventions see the appearance of talent outside of the four big families.
Looking over at the two figures, Tong YueXu happened to catch the sight of a flushed You XiaoMo sputtering at something Ling Xiao had said. A youth who blushed unabashedly, huh. Needless to say, his first impression of this You XiaoMo character was not bad. He couldn’t help but turn to his companions, musing: “Is that the You XiaoMo you were talking about? You were right; I’m looking forward to whatever he has to offer.”
Taking in Tong YueXu’s positive reactions, the disciples of the Tong family sent each other hesitant looks. If they were completely honest, though, this was very much expected from a warm, gentle person like Tong YueXu.
BaiLi XiaoYu, who was standing nearby, peeked at You XiaoMo likewise. The pair of sharp eyes darting around brought an amused smile to many in the crowds. Anyone originally planning to put down You XiaoMo and praise BaiLi XiaoYu unanimously decided to halt that endeavour at the sight of his enthusiasm. Despite this, BaiLi XiaoYu brought up the elephant in the room by himself.
“Hey, who do you reckon is stronger, him or me?” he pondered, turning back to his clan members. Young people always tend to get a little competitive, especially as he had finally come across someone who was the same age and level as him.
A clan member stepped out, stating without a shred of doubt: “Of course XiaoYu would be stronger. You may be a low level four, but victory lies within sturdy foundations.”
“How do you know he’s not a mid or high level four?” questioned BaiLi XiaoYu.
The reassurer paused; how should he know? It was all bullshit he had come up with on the spot. BaiLi XiaoYu stared at him with ire.
“I knew it, you were just trying to humor me,” he huffed. “He’s a mid level four, isn’t he? There’s no need to explain yourself, I promise I won’t blame you for letting me know the harsh truth. Promise!”
The clan member contemplated committing ritual suicide as he sweated profusely. All the other spectators, quietly giggled to themselves at his expense; sucking up to XiaoYu like that, he totally had it coming.
They were, however, all incorrect. You XiaoMo was in fact neither a high or low level four, and least of all mid level. He was at the very peak of his level and would’ve progressed to level five ages ago had he not encountered the bottleneck.
On the other side, the rare genius Teng ZiXin had no interest whatsoever in You XiaoMo, keeping her calm composure in leading the other family disciples through the crowds and across the hall.
As for Chai Jun, he had lost all shreds of his dignity after the events yesterday, especially after getting scolded by the elders for bringing shame to their family name. He could only plot his revenge in silence.
With the few important figures present in the hall, basically all of the participants of this exam were in attendance. The mage of the Mage Association who was in charge of this particular exam emerged not long after. A particularly spirited member with a head full of white hair stepped forward, announcing with a clear voice: “I am the person in charge of today’s exam, you may call me Guan Yong. I am currently a level eight mage. I hereby declare the exam underway and invite all those taking part to come to the front.” Waves of disciples had already made their way to the front as he spoke the last word.
You XiaoMo felt a little anxious, suddenly remembering an important question he had for Ling Xiao. “Hey, Ling Xiao, do you think I should hold back a bit this time or give it my all?” he murmured.
“That’s up to you. But I’d think that a person deemed as having more potential by the academy would get more bias from them and be granted more privileges, hm?”
You XiaoMo was about to reply when he was cut short by Gao Yang, who had suddenly turned back to speak to him. “The exam’s about to start, Fellow You, what are you doing?”
With a start, You XiaoMo realised that most people had already left and hastily bid Ling Xiao goodbye before rushing over. Thankfully, he wasn’t the last one; that honor was reserved for the few even more nervous than him, tripping over their own feet and drawing the crowd’s attention.
There were a lot of people in the big hall, but the majority was there simply to support someone taking the exam and some for shits and giggles. Thus, there was less than a hundred people who had emerged from the crowds in total, and less than ten of those were true talents. Watching over the row of examinees, Guan Yong’s gaze lingered on Teng ZiXin for a second before finally making its way to You XiaoMo, who had shuffled in slowly.
Standing next to Teng ZiXin, You XiaoMo admittedly paled in comparison slightly. Teng ZiXin had already reached low level five by the time she turned eighteen, and so Guan Yong was almost subconsciously comparing You XiaoMo with her. To be honest, Guan Yong couldn’t really be blamed for this because Teng ZiXin was simply that outstanding; the appearance of any new talent would immediately be compared to Teng ZiXin.
师傅 shī fù (lit. master/teacher). You know, like Master Shifu from Kung Fu Panda; you must have heard the term before.
大哥 dà gē (lit. big brother). This term literally means eldest brother on a sibling/familial (as in cousins) level, but can be used for someone you respect or in this case, an upperclassman as well. It’s not romantic.