The next few weeks were interesting, to say the least. More and more teachers were observing lessons which they were not a part of but was doing this to see if there were any students that had good potential for whatever the teacher wanted to teach them.
The teachers didn't bother trying to hide their presence from the students because they would eventually be able to figure out what was happening from gossip. Even the most clueless of freshmen in the academy had noticed the huge amount of teachers loitering around in their classes.
Gossip spread between the students before the senior students informed them of what was actually happening. With that, many students started to put more effort into their classes. Of course, the teachers weren't very pleased with some of them. Yes, some did have potential but only started to take things seriously when there was a benefit in for them.
Some teachers didn't mind this behaviour but it was still rude nonetheless. The teachers who had been in the academy for several years had gotten used to the sudden change of behaviour from the students so it was ignored in favour of good potential. They didn't mind because they would be able to whip them up into shape by giving them an extremely harsh schedule to keep.
The teachers mainly observed for a period of time to see the progress the students made in their training and cultivation. This would give them a decent baseline for them to compare the students on before picking a student or refraining from choosing at all. Most teachers had their eyes on the younger students.
The younger students had much more 'potential' than most of the older students but that wasn't always the case. Like Shi Die's benefactor had told him once, "The talent that you can see now is a lie, it all depends on you and how your choices affect your latent talent for the future."
Some students had already been chosen by the teachers in the academy and had been taken into seclusion. Their friends which wanted to meet them were not even allowed access to see them which attracted a lot of ire from the freshmen but their qualms and rage were easily squashed by the senior students who calmed them down with their knowledge of the situation.
Those who were taken by the teachers disappeared for several days before a few of them reappeared back in the academy. When they were asked about the training with the teacher, the only thing they could say was, "The training that they give you is insane." With that, those that thought that they could have a good time with a teacher were worried that they wouldn't be able to cope with the harsh training that they would be forced into if they were picked.
Despite knowing this, some students continued striving for the teacher's tutelage. They believed it was their only chance for them to get stronger in a shorter period of time and it didn't matter to them if they had to do harsh training.
A few teachers had approached Ye Xiu's group to ask them whether they wanted to be trained by them but were quickly rejected. They were able to ask their Smithing mentor whether they would be allowed to have the four of them train under him. Xing Liu Fan didn't mind because he would be spending most of his time teaching Ye Xiu and Xiao Tu anyway.
Shi Die asked for his help on body strengthening and other martial arts he could learn from him, Shang Yang was also strengthening her body so that she wouldn't get overpowered by stronger opponents when she tries to fight them. Her style does use the opponent's force behind them but it also relies on the fact that the people utilising the martial art are able to stop themselves from being overpowered in the first place.
Unlike other teachers, Xing Liu Fan was a very laid back person. Your first thought meeting him would be that he's a big, stern man who has no time for silliness but once you get to know him... You'd realise that he's a hilarious person who likes to mess around. Obviously, he knew when there were times to mess around and times for him to be serious and he was a reliable person in general.
He was patient in his teaching, unlike many others who were impatient when their students didn't understand even after numerous explanations. He explained that his patience was from his own teacher who had mentored him in the ways of Smithing. When he was younger, he wasn't able to understand most of the things explained to him even in the simplest of manners. His teacher was extremely patient with him and it helped him learn a lot more.
He decided that if he ever had any students in the future, he'd teach them the same way he was taught. Xiao Tu definitely appreciated that way of thinking very much. He knew that when it came to academics he was definitely not as bright as Ye Xiu. Ye Xiu's eidetic memory made it easy for him to absorb most of the information that was learnt quickly.
Even though Ye Xiu had an eidetic memory, his progress in the actual smithing skills was definitely not as fast as Xiao Tu. Xiao Tu breathed in the physical work of Smithing as if he was born for it. He mastered the skills and basics quickly as if he had done it for his entire life. Their teacher had told them it was due to his body physique. The physique gave him basically everything he needed to progress in Smithing.
Liu Fan did not let Xiao Tu progress too quickly though. He had him learn the knowledge to go with his skills because not knowing enough in Smithing could cause him to have a fatal accident if he did the wrong thing. This meant that his progress was just as fast as Ye Xiu and it was balanced out. If Xiao Tu had Ye Xiu's memory, he would've long progressed to become a Rank 2 Smith.
This limitation didn't bother Xiao Tu because he also enjoyed taking his time to learn more about things instead of rushing into things headstrong. Their teacher informed them if they had a body physique, the potential would slowly come out until they reached their sixteenth birthday. That was when cultivators progressed the most in their training.
He had told them the chances of a person having a body physique was like finding a needle on a mountain. Not a haystack but a mountain. It basically told them that the chances for a person to have a body physique were nearly null. With that, the three kept their mouths shut about their body physiques and told nobody else about them.
They were unsure if Shi Die had a body physique but they couldn't find out because they didn't have the necessary things to test it. Many teachers still approached the four to see if they could take them under their wing because the four were still allowed to go out in public view. Liu Fan didn't really mind letting them out in public because nobody really would expect him to take a student under his wing.
Shi Die was technically under Jin Yuan's wing but Jin Yuan didn't want to spend his entire time teaching Shi Die and only taught him things related to Spirit Cooking. Besides that, Shi Die never saw Jin Yuan around besides the times he went to the mess hall to get food for the group.
The group had started to look through the library for things to learn. Xiao Tu was way ahead of Shang Yang and Shi Die whilst Ye Xiu had started his training for his techniques long ago. Shang Yang had started to take a shine towards throwing daggers which she could use to stab and throw at people. It also fit her fighting style because she was able to take them out for combat with ease as she fought.
She started to train herself in throwing accuracy. She knew that it was possible to get flying knives but those were for people who were in the third realm of cultivation. It was also out of their price range. It didn't matter if they were alchemists or not, the price for weapons that could fly was astronomical due to the rarity and usefulness.
Her accuracy wasn't great but she was quickly improving. She could throw the knives at a fast enough speed that Ye Xiu could barely stop them in time with his whip. Shi Die could now catch the knives with ease especially after his reflex training in the gravity rooms.
Ye Xiu had been improving what he had already learnt and didn't have the time to learn much more until everything he started learning in the first place was finished. He had just started his reflex training in the gravity rooms with Shang Yang's dagger throwing. Shang Yang's accuracy was greatly reduced in the gravity room and also required her to throw with much greater strength.
Ye Xiu wished that his eidetic memory extended to muscle memory but he really doubted that he would've been lucky enough to get something like that when he was born. He found out that he was making more progress in his movement techniques when he was in the gravity room. With this finding, he reported it to his friends so that if they wanted to train in movement techniques in the future, it would be best to do it in a place with higher gravity.
Shi Die was working on the least new techniques out of everyone in the group. He was learning a new style from Liu Fan but besides that, he was working on a new body cultivation technique that he had found in the library. It focused on his pure strength and speed.
Xiao Tu also practised a similar body cultivation technique to Shi Die that he had found but it had him increase his flexibility in fighting as well. The training for his flexibility was painful and he wanted to get it over with even though he knew that it was going to be helpful for him.
He had picked up several quarterstaff styles that could fit his defensiveness and another few that could help in being more aggressive. He knew that being defensive wasn't going to always help him and he would need something to give him that fighting power in a duel.
He practised techniques mainly for attacking instead of defence because he felt that his defence would be supported by his body cultivation technique. He also felt that he would be dodging and blocking most of the attacks flying at his face anyway, so it didn't matter too much to him.
Since he had so much to learn, however, his progress was slower than most of his friends'. Due to this, he began to drop a few of the styles so that he could focus on a select few and mastering them before moving to another. This improved his training speed for the individual styles by a huge margin.
With all the improvements that the kids had gained, they had one or two ranking matches in the academy to see how the majority of the new students had fared in their training for the past few months. They were surprised that they were way above the majority but they had seen a few ranked matches of the higher ranked freshmen and they knew that they couldn't be complacent.
As the kids were in Liu Fan's courtyard training with him overseeing them, a man stepped out of his office. "I see that someone worthy has come." The man disappeared from view and could no longer be seen.
The man reappeared in front of Liu Fan's residence, looked at it for a few seconds before vanishing once more.