Three years have passed since Ye Xiu took his first Alchemist Examination. Ye Xiu, Xiao San and Xiao Tu arrived back at the city a week after their outing in the Capital. Shang Yang had dropped her flirty attitude after Xiao San had talked to her about not being able to attract Ye Xiu that way.
With that, Shang Yang stopped being extremely aggressive towards Ye Xiu and decided to slowly earn his love. Ye Xiu had returned back to Lao Lan and Lao Xiu to tell them about what the Alchemist examination was like and the results of it. They had told him the benefits of the Alchemist Badge that he had received and how he would be able to abuse the system if he used it like they did.
The Alchemist Badge could be abused by cutting Qi off as the contribution points just as it was transferred. This way it won't actually deduct contribution points but still, send it to the person or Alchemist Association with the proper amount of points. Ye Xiu abused this method to gain more knowledge from the Alchemist Association.
Ye Xiu had entered an academy together with Shang Yang and Xiao Tu. They had entered at the same time so they could all be in the same year. The academy was one of the top 20 academies in the entire outer region. They had decided to go to the same academy when Shang Yang visited them at their houses when she came to their city.
The Academy was called Star Whale Academy and was the 12th strongest academy in the region.
The past three years were wonderful for the trio. They had each made huge gains in their cultivation and skills in their respective weapons. Ye Xiu had managed to break through into the 2nd Stage of the Qi Cleansing Realm whilst Xiao Tu managed to achieve the 3rd stage of the Qi Cleansing Realm. Surprisingly, it was Shang Yang who was able to keep up with Xiao Tu's cultivation speed but it was most likely because of the smaller age difference.
The three of them had broken the Qi barrier relatively easily because they already had an idea of what to expect for their trial. For Ye Xiu, he managed to break through by using his immense soul and mental strength. Xiao Tu he managed to break through by constantly barraging it with sheer willpower and all the qi he could gather at his disposal. Shang Yang had naturally broken through the Qi barrier due to her cultivation technique which allowed her an easier time for cultivating because of her body type.
Lao Lan, Lao Xiu and Shang Xian had the trio be tested for their body type and roots. The testing was done by two different elixirs they had concocted and a small stone talisman that Shang Xian had brought. The elixir was to help cleanse the body of impurities and poisons so that no outside sources could contaminate the results.
Xiao Tu had a body type called the Smith's Masterpiece,' his physique was fantastic for body cultivation techniques and he had a high affinity to fire and metal. It also meant that his talent for smithing was extremely high and that if he didn't choose to learn to Smith in the future, then that talent would be wasted. He also had 3 heavenly roots attuned to fire and metal.
Shang Yang had the body type named, 'The Vixen's Allure.' It was a body type which enhanced the body to a beautiful state and had extreme skill for illusions. She has 4 heavenly roots and they were attuned to water, fire and wood.
Ye Xiu had an unknown body type but he had 9 heavenly roots attuned to fire, metal and wood.
Shang Xian had brought Xiao Tu to find a master of Smithing so that he could at least help support Ye Xiu and Shang Yang in different ways. Xiao Tu wasn't the only person to be taken because Lao Lan had told Shang Xian about Ye Xiu's high affinity for metal as well. With this, the two were to find a master to teach them smithing.
They had only started to learn to smith for a single year so they were unable to take the Rank one Smithing Examination. They had come to the Star Whale Academy because their master for Smithing had been hired as a teacher here. The teacher was a well known Smith, and they were lucky enough that the man had accepted the both of them once he realised Ye Xiu's high metal and fire affinity, and Xiao Tu's physique instantly made him accept them both.
Ye Xiu had started his training with the whip because his body had started to mature. With that, he had begun his training for the whip styles that he had obtained from the Locket Dimension. He had managed to learn the first move of the 'Lonely Peak of Thirteen Dragons' which was called 'Solitary Stand.'
In a moment of enlightenment, Ye Xiu had managed to reach the stage of Minor completion in his auxiliary techniques such as 'Swallow Mirage steps', 'Basilisk's gaze', 'Tyrant's Physique' and 'Deer's Canter.' He wasn't able to reach the Major completion stage for any of the techniques because he just didn't have those moments of enlightenment. However, he was patient with it because he knew that things such as this came when you least expected it.
Besides that, he had started to be able to fight against his mother using his sword skills against her. He could fight her head-on and the outcome was even. Though if his mother did use Qi, he would've lost instantly due to the big disparity in their cultivation realm.
Xiao Tu didn't find a suitable movement style to go with his staff style. He decided to wait till the academy to look for a movement style or a teacher that would be able to help him with his staff arts. Since he had only focused on his staff and body, he had reached Major completion stages in his supportive body technique and he had reached major completion in the Defensive Turtle Staff.
With this, he was able to fight against Ye Xiu even though Ye Xu had movement arts to boost his speed. This was because the body-supporting technique that Xiao Tu had cultivated was for the muscle strength, this, in turn, improved his speed and power.
Shang Yang was the type of fighter that used the opponent's force against them. She used her bare fist against opponents and didn't worry about ruining her image. Her fighting style was learnt from her mother who was skilful in dance and force-borrowing. With this, her fights were extremely graceful unless she met long ranged fighters.
Shang Yang had taken the Rank 2 Alchemist examination together with Ye Xiu, which they both passed again with flying colours. With them passing at such a young age, many people sought for their services in pill making. Shang Xian had visited Lao Lan and Lao Xiu often for consultation. Ye Xiu and Shang Yang learnt from three teachers which helped prevent any flaws in their technique from appearing or any gaps in their knowledge.
They had started learning about Elixers in Alchemy. A liquid form of pills but had much more benefits compared to them. The difficulty to make Elixers, however, were several times higher than pills.
They had just enrolled to the Star Whale Academy and were about to take the examination for determining the ranking they would be in. The ranking system was to reward the people who did well in their cultivation or had managed to defeat a person. Ye Xiu stood out from his peers because of his young age but the academy had several prodigies as well so he wasn't given too much thought.
"Ye Xiu, do you think we'll be separated if we rank badly?" Xiao Tu asked worriedly.
"Probably but the system is mostly for showing the differences in cultivation and strength of an individual. This way the academy would be able to reward the more 'talented' students and to give them the motivation to work harder."
Shang Yang joined the conversation after buying some food for them from the outside stalls around the academy. "How do you think they'll rank us?"
"I think they'll rank us by just assessing the realm of cultivation of each person and then having a tournament and rank people based on that. It's not the most accurate ways of assessing a person's battle strength because some people wouldn't be able to showcase their strength because they match up against stronger people in the beginning."
"It's best not to do too well in the ranking examination to try not to catch the attention of other students at first. The majority of the people in the high ranking academies have connections with older students and teachers so it might not always be fair. I think we should just stay average for the first year before trying to stand out in the second year."
"We can try to find teachers who would be able to help with our respective fighting styles. Shang Yang and I don't have to worry about Alchemy because we were already prepared for the move over here. It sucks because we aren't allowed to visit our family for the duration of the time we are in the academy."
The cultivation assessment passed quickly and the tournament started. Ye Xiu decided to fight three rounds to see the average fighting ability of the students in the academy. If they were stronger than he expected, then he would put more effort into his training to make sure that he wouldn't fall behind all his peers.
Xiao Tu and Shang Yang had forfeited their third fight after winning their second fight to prevent standing out too much even though they defeated their two opponents easily without any injuries. Ye Xiu was fighting his second opponent and he was dissecting the opponent's movements.
The opponent was a girl who looked to be in her teens. She used a sword and was very agile in her movements. If Ye Xiu did not have his movement techniques then he would've fallen to her battle rhythm and lost the fight. She had been trying to aim for the weak spots on his body but he had always kept out of her sword's range.
The girl was slightly confused due to Ye Xiu's 'Mirage Swallow Steps'. His constant swaying made it hard for her to predict where exactly he would move next, and she wasn't fast enough with her strikes to be able to cover all his routes of escape. She began using a Qi Technique which she wasn't able to conceal.
Qi Techniques' activation can be concealed if you knew how to control your qi well enough to prevent the glowing from occurring in the first place. Since Ye Xiu had his observation technique on the entire time, he was able to spot the glow much easier compared to others who didn't have an observation technique. He quickly moved out of range before taking out his whip from his dimensional ring that his mother had given him.
The whip was an unadorned weapon but had the effect of being able to change it's length when Qi is infused into the whip. Brandishing his whip, he started to strike at the girl's feet. He was trying to catch her ankle so he could stop her from moving around so much. He had trained his body to the point that he was able to pull a weight of 30kg with his whip towards him so that it was in range for his sword attacks.
He was able to snag the girl's ankle with his whip, with a quick pulling motion, he dragged her towards him before attacking her with his fist. He was able to knock the girl out with a single hit which was surprising to him.
Seeing that the battle was over, Ye Xiu quickly left the arena to rest for a moment and to talk to Shang Yang and Xiao Tu about what they thought of the average fighting ability of the students here.