The lecture hall was instantly quietened by the sudden words of the youth in embroidered clothes. All the youths that looked towards the former silently withdrew their gazes, because the status of the one who had spoken was not ordinary at all.
The youth in embroidered clothes name was Xu Lin. His father was a senior official of the Great Zhou Empire’s western province. Of course, Xu Lin’s status was naturally far lower than the prince of the Great Zhou Empire, Zhou Yuan. However, everyone knew that Xu Lin had the backing of the little prince of Qi Manor, Qi Yue.
Zhou Yuan lightly tapped his fingers on the desk as he looked at Xu Lin, before indifferently withdrawing his gaze. When it came to currying favor with Qi Yue, this fellow was truly unscrupulous.
“Since this Xu Lin fawns over Qi Yue so much… it is likely that his father has also thrown his lot in with king Qi’s camp…”
Zhou Yuan’s eyes seemed to become somewhat deeper. He had once heard his father mention that this king Qi was backed by the Great Wu Empire Therefore, he had constantly stirred up trouble behind the scenes over the years. It was obvious that he intended to disrupt the peace of Great Zhou.
Moreover, because Zhou Qing was afraid of giving Great Wu an excuse to deal with the Great Zhou Empire, he could not openly take action against king Qi, However, there was naturally a battle going on between the two parties behind the scenes.
It was due to this relationship that there were similarly sparks between Qi Yue and Zhou Yuan in the Great Zhou Institute.
Xu Lin’s mocking smile grew even wider when he saw that Zhou Yuan did not retort. Just as Xu Lin was about to speak again, the lecturer suddenly glared at him in a stern manner, causing him to have no choice but to shut his mouth.
After all, it would be a huge loss for him if he was expelled from the Great Zhou Institute.
As the two parties became silent, the atmosphere in the lecture hall was gradually restored. The lecturer continued to elaborate on the three Genesis Runes until two incense sticks of time later, when the bell started to ring.
“Alright, I’ll have to stop here today. We will continue tomorrow.” The lecturer kept his belongings and walked out of the lecture hall.
As the lecturer left, the tense atmosphere in the hall immediately became relaxed. The many youths congregated together as lively laughter and noise erupted.
Zhou Yuan absent-mindedly tidied his desk in preparation to leave.
While he was tidying up, he suddenly heard a gentle voice. Zhou Yuan raised his head, and saw a girl smiling at him in front of his desk.
This girl wore the uniform of the Great Zhou Institute. Although it was a little large on her, the contours of her well developed curves could still be seen. That simple pair of pants truly made those long and slender legs stand out.
Her fair skin, raised nose, shapely eyebrows and almond-like eyes were all evidence that she was a beauty in the making. In particular, the tear-shaped birthmark at the corner of her eye gave her a sort of unique charm.
Her rosy little lips were currently slightly pursed. Although she wore no costly jewelry and looked rather plain, she had a strong look paired with a long pony-tail that bounced with vitality.
Merely standing there drew the coverted gazes of numerous boys in the lecture hall.
Zhou Yuan looked at the pretty girl as a smile emerged on his scholarly face. “Oh, it’s Youwei.”
The girl’s family name was Su, and her name was Youwei.
Su Youwei’s pretty face reddened a little as she met Zhou Yuan’s gaze. Subsequently, she looked away and her gaze fell upon Zhou Yuan’s messy desk as she knelt down and said, “Your highness, I had better help you tidy up.”
Zhou Yuan chuckled and did not reject. After all, the relationship between the two of them was indeed not ordinary.
Hence, the girl started to busy herself with Zhou Yuan’s study desk, helping him neatly tidy up everything. This drew the gazes of numerous boys in the study hall. Their eyes seemed to be about to burn holes through Zhou Yuan, and the envy within them was practically bursting out.
“Has your grandfather recovered from his illness?” As Zhou Yuan watched the busy girl, he propped up his chin with his hand and asked.
Su Youwei slightly lifted her pretty face when she heard Zhou Yuan’s words as her fair hand pulled back a stray strand of hair that had fallen in front of her eyes. Soon after, a smile emerged on her face.
“He has made a full recovery. Grandfather says he wants to invite your highness over if you have time, but our house is just a little too unsightly, I’m afraid…”
Zhou Yuan smiled and said, “Alright, I’ll go during our next vacation period.”
Su Youwei gently bit the red lips of her little mouth when she heard Zhou Yuan reply without the slightest hesitation. A glimmer of water seemed to flash in her eyes as she looked towards him, before she hastily lowered her head, afraid that he would see it.
She still remembered the day she met Zhou Yuan a year ago.
It was perhaps the most despairing day of her life, but was also the same day that she started to welcome hope once again.
On that day, the grandfather whom she had relied on since young had fallen deathly ill, causing her already broken family to completely fall apart. She had no choice but to brave the torrential rain with her grandfather on her tiny back in search of help. Because they lacked money, she could only kneel before each clinic, crying as she implored for their aid, hoping that a doctor would be able to save her grandfather.
The her from back then had been drenched in mud, a sight that was miserable to the extreme.
In the end, every single clinic’s door remained coldly closed. Under the pouring rain, she felt the entire sky darken as her heart grew cold as ice.
Just as her desperation was about to reach a numbing level, she sensed someone walk to her side and place an umbrella in her hand, before walking forward and barbarically kicking open the tightly shut doors of the clinic in front of her unfocused gaze.
At that time, a cold voice seem to have rang out.
“Open up and save this person!”
The one who had kicked open the doors of the clinic was naturally Zhou Yuan. Back then, Su Youwei could only blankly gaze upon his back. In the past, the ones she had most hated were those children from wealthy families, yet, at that very moment, she knew that she would never forget the back of the boy who had kicked open those large doors...
It was from that very day that she came to be acquainted with Zhou Yuan. Later on, she discovered his identity; the royal highness of the Great Zhou Empire.
Later on, Zhou Yuan had by chance discovered her talent for cultivation. Hence, he had recommended her into the Great Zhou Institute. It was then that she started to undergo a magnificent transformation...
The very first month after she entered the Great Zhou Institute, she successfully opened the first meridian channel, becoming the fastest channel opener ever since the Great Zhou Institute's establishment. Henceforth, she also became the so-called genius that everyone in the Great Zhou Institute spoke of.
This sudden change from being an existence no one took notice of to the center of attention felt rather unnatural for Su Youwei. Moreover, there were times when people would find the relationship between her and Zhou Yuan unsightly, and secretly say that Zhou Yuan had only helped her because he had taken fancy to her looks.
However, Su Youwei merely smiled in response. Only she clearly knew what a dirty and malnourished little girl she had been when she first met Zhou Yuan...
“Hey, how high are you going to stack my books?” Zhou Yuan helplessly looked at Su Youwei. The latter was obviously a little out of it at the moment. She had stacked the books on his table into a giant pyramid that reached the heavens.
“Ah?” Su Youwei returned to reality and saw her masterpiece. Her little face immediately turned beet-red as she hurriedly unstacked the books. “Sorry your highness, I will redo it!”
This appearance of hers was clearly even more adorable, causing the gazes that were looking at Zhou Yuan to instantly turn much fiercer. If not for Zhou Yuan status as a prince, it was likely that they would have long rushed out to save their goddess.
Upon sensing their gazes, Zhou Yuan could only shake his head as he whispered, “Now that you’ve become so pretty, I no longer dare to order you about.”
Su Youwei softly laughed when she heard this and said, “Then I’ll have to smear some dirt on my face in future to make myself a little uglier.”
Zhou Yuan could only roll his eyes in response.
“Oh, that’s right…” Zhou Yuan pointed at the table as he continued, “How many meridian channels have you opened so far?”
Su Youwei was slightly taken aback. She glanced at Zhou Yuan, before very cautiously replying, “I’ve already opened the third meridian channel.”
She knew that Zhou Yuan seemed to be unable to open his channels and cultivate for some unknown reason. Thus, she would not voluntarily bring up the topic of opening channels when the two were together, and never flaunted her progress. She was afraid that this sensitive topic would upset Zhou Yuan.
“The third already. At this rate, all eight channels will be fully opened in one or two years.” Zhou Yuan sighed in admiration. Su Youwei’s talent in cultivation was obviously extremely outstanding. In less than a year, she had already accomplished what others had worked years to achieve.
This made him exceptionally pleased. Looks like he had unintentionally picked up a treasure.
“There’s only two more months to this year's newcomer exam, so work hard, try to unblock your fourth meridian channel, and aim for the top ten. I spent a great deal of effort to secure a slot for you. As long as you are ranked amongst the top then, you will be able to receive personal guidance from the institute head and the other instructors. This will be extremely beneficial for you.” said Zhou Yuan.
Su Youwei’s tiny hand suddenly stiffened as she was tidying up the table. She lowered her head and did not dare to look at Zhou Yuan.
“What is it?” Zhou Yuan was rather puzzled when he sensed this change in her.
Su Youwei’s was practically burying her head in her chest as she replied in a tiny voice, “I, I no longer have the participation token.”
Zhou Yuan was stunned. Soon after, his eyebrows tightly furrowed as he inquired, “What happened?”
His tone was not stern, but it caused Su Youwei’s heart to beat a little faster. Her pearly white teeth bit into her red lips, and she did not speak for a long time. Instead, a girl who was rather close to Su Youwei interjected from the side, “Who else but Xu Lin. A few days ago, he was spreading bad rumours about you in the institute, causing Youwei to argued with him and demand an apology. That fellow said that he would apologize if Youwei beat him in a match, but if she lost, she would have to give him her entry token for the newcomer exam.”
Zhou Yuan’s brows were tightly furrowed. “That Xu Lin has only opened two meridian channels. He should not have been able to beat Youwei, right?”
The girl frowned and said, “Youwei only opened her third channel recently, while Xu Lin was also extremely shameless. He had the advantage of a Genesis weapon, and eventually managed to beat Youwei by some fluke.”
Zhou Yuan’s expression was rather ugly. He stared at Su Youwei’s lowered head and scolded, “Why did you not tell me earlier?”
Su Youwei’s fair hands were clasped together as she softly said, “It’s me who is useless, I don’t want to cause more trouble for your highness.”
Zhou Yuan felt a little sorry when he saw this appearance of hers. The stubbornness of this lass would really give one a headache at times. Therefore, his cold gaze shifted towards the smilingly watching Xu Lin inside the lecture hall.
“Setting a trap to bully a girl. Your methods are truly great huh?” Zhou Yuan sneered. This fellow clearly had his eye on the newcomer exam entry token in Su Youwei’s hands. Thus, he had intentionally goaded her into using it as a wager.
Xu Lin lazily replied, “I don’t know what your highness is talking about. There are many people who saw me use my own strength to win. I will no return it even if your highness personally asks.”
Zhou Yuan coldly said, “Do you dare to wager it on another fight?”
Xu Lin chuckled. “Not interested.”
His previous victory had been mere luck. Moreover, Su Youwei had already opened her third meridian channel, and he would definitely not be her match.
Zhou Yuan icily smiled as his eyes swept towards Xu Lin. “I don’t intend for you to fight Youwei. I’m saying that you and I will fight!”
As he spoke, he fished out a glowing jade pendant and placed it on the study desk. “If you win, this Genesis Gathering Jade will be yours.”
A series of gasps immediately erupted in the hall as numerous gazes looked at the jade pendant with longing. This Genesis Gathering Jade was very advantageous for cultivation. If worn long enough, it would be able to increase the rate of opening one’s eight meridian channels. A rather pricey and precious item indeed.
“Your highness!” Su Youwei was greatly alarmed.
It was not due to the Genesis Gathering Jade, but because Zhou Yuan wanted to personally deal with Xu Lin. Zhou Yuan had not opened even a single meridian channel, how could he possibly be a match for Xu Lin who had opened two?
Zhou Yuan waved his hand at Su Youwei to stop. He toyed with the jade pendant as he smiled at Xu Lin in a mocking manner.
“Do you have the courage to fight now?”
Xu Lin’s eyes were burning with desire as he stared at the Genesis Gathering Jade and licked his lips. He then coldly chuckled at Zhou Yuan and said, “Since your highness insists on gifting this Genesis Gathering Jade to me, it will be rude to refuse.”
“However, as the saying goes, fists and feet have no eyes. Please do not blame me if your
highness is injured.”
Although Zhou Yuan’s actions baffled Xu Lin, he did not believe that a person like him, who had opened two meridian channels, would be unable to defeat someone who had not even opened a single channel!
Zhou Yuan declined to comment and said, “I hope that you are as skilled as you say.”
Xu Lin laughed loudly, believing that Zhou Yuan was merely being sharp-tongued. With a swing of Xu Lin’s sleeves, he walked out of the hall as laughter tinged with amusement and ridicule continued to resound from outside.
“Alright, I will wait for your highness at the practice grounds. I really want to see how your highness will win back the newcomer exam participation token!”