Ye Xiu was watching over Xiao Tu's forging of his two Qi weapons and it had been over half a day since he had started and it looked like he had no intention of stopping. He looked over to Liu Fan to see if he could stop Xiao Tu but he shook his head. "Leave him be, the construction of a weapon is best made in a singular session. It doesn't seem like he's done with even his first weapon so you can leave first. I'll keep watch over him."
Ye Xiu hesitated but Liu Fan was pushing him out of the door, "Go do what you have to do. I don't need to sleep for a while anyway." With that, Ye Xiu left Liu Fan's residence and went to look for Shang Yang and Shi Die. He had no idea what they had been doing the entire day but thought that they would most likely be at the Mess Hall, in Jin Yuan's private kitchen.
Thinking this, Ye Xiu made his way through the Academy grounds at a leisurely pace because he knew that the current time was close to when Jin Yuan would usually arrive to cook. As expected, Ye Xiu made it to Jin Yuan's private kitchen in time. Shang Yang and Shi Die greeted him as his arrival was made known but Shi Die made queries to where Xiao Tu was. When Ye Xiu explained what had happened, they nodded to show their understanding and talked about what they had managed to buy in the city.
"Shi Die and I managed to buy quite a few supplies for our next mission, I'm not quite sure whether we've bought everything that we might possibly need but I'll just check with you anyway." They didn't mind talking as Jin Yuan was cooking since he was looking just as frazzled as he was this morning.
Shi Die stood up to help Jin Yuan to prepare the ingredients once again when he managed to deduce what dish he was planning to make. With Shi Die's help, Jin Yuan let out an appreciative smile and finished the dishes before sinking down onto a chair nearby the kitchen counter.
"You look exhausted. Is the influx of students and staff actually that crazy? I haven't actually seen how many people have arrived at the Academy." Shang Yang whispered to Jin Yuan as he closed his eyes to rest them for a moment.
"Each Academy has probably brought around about sixty students and a dozen staff. You can imagine just how many people who we are cooking for from just those numbers. To be honest, I'm actually surprised that so many Academies aren't using their own staff to cook their food for them. Maybe it's only for their elite students and staff but it certainly feels like everyone is coming to the Mess Hall to get their food."
Ye Xiu voiced out something that he had been thinking about since he had seen Jin Yuan's exhausted appearance. "Why didn't the Vice-Principal or Sir hire more Spirit Cooks before the start of the year if he knew that so many people would be coming?"
Jin Yuan didn't open his eyes but was still talking. "It's hard to find a decent Spirit Cook in the city when most of them are already hired. The Academy's budget was probably strained from the construction it had to do. The Academy has a set budget for a year and they only take out extras during an emergency or if a catastrophe strikes the Academy."
Ye Xiu nodded but didn't speak. They thanked him for the meal and left him there to rest quietly by himself. They talked to each other and decided on where to go next. They went to the Arena grounds simply because they wanted to see if they could get a good spar in.
They were one of the stronger people that were in the Academy but those from different Academies didn't know that. The group was counting on that fact to find a match that they could fight since fighting each other had become boring after they knew each other's techniques too well.
When they had arrived at the training grounds, they were surprised to see that it was certainly more crowded than what they had been used to. They were doubly more surprised since they knew that few people would be in the Arena grounds at such a time but it seemed to them that the majority of the people that they could see were those from other Academies. Knowing that they could probably find a match to fight, they continued walking around to see if there were any willing to fight.
Shang Yang was talking with Shi Die as Ye Xiu looked for an opponent to fight, alas he was unlucky as most of the people that he had seen wouldn't have provided a challenge for him. He decided to just go back to their room when he felt somebody tapping on his shoulder. He turned around to see a face that he hadn't seen for a while. He opened his mouth before closing it once again without uttering a word.
The girl let out an exasperated sigh when she saw Ye Xiu's reaction. "Did you forget who I am again?" She placed her hands on her hips and spoke in an admonishing tone. "This is the second time you've forgotten my name! Think back and try to recall my name. If you don't manage to, I'll make sure to spank your buttocks when we spar!" The girl grinned at Ye Xiu as he put on a thoughtful expression.
He tapped his chin with his finger for several moments until he scratched the side of his head in embarrassment. "I've forgotten your name again." He started to laugh nervously as the girl looked at him for a few more seconds with a piercing gaze. She laughed sadistically as she thought of ways to hurt Ye Xiu.
"Since you've so kindly forgotten my name, I'll kindly remind you. My name is Jing Hua Fei. Please try not to forget it this time." She smiled as she started to pull him up onto an open arena that was free of people. "Tournament rules. Have one of your friends to referee the match since I know they're around. I saw them earlier so it should be fine if you drag one of them up here."
Ye Xiu shouted for Shi Die to come up onto the arena so that he could referee the match. Shi Die made it there quickly and had them begin the match.
Ye Xiu was much more cautious compared to when he was fighting two years ago. He had developed the habit of watching the enemy's behaviour before attacking. He knew that he hadn't seen Hua Fei anywhere in the Academy for the past two years which was surprising, to say the least, because she had potential to become a strong fighter when he had last met her in the Mess Hall.
She had changed, she had gotten stronger and she moved in a graceful yet agile manner. Ye Xiu never underestimated an enemy, no matter what they looked like they were all placed under Ye Xiu's scrutiny. He had developed a new observation technique that used the previous technique as the base of the ability. The technique now improved how fast he could see.
He had this technique purely because of the speed that Shi Die was now able to move at and even then he was barely able to see him with the technique. He knew that Shi Die's speed was definitely one that was rare because even San Guo had told them that he had only seen those of high cultivation move at that speed. San Guo had told them all that the majority of the staff in every Academy had their cultivation level suppressed because a cultivator never showed their true ability unless they were extremely powerful.
The only way for a person to see past their suppression is to have a powerful observation technique which Ye Xiu was slowly making his way towards.
He watched Hua Fei shoot Qi arrows at him which wasn't surprising since his father was able to do the same. Now that he knew that Hua Fei could potentially use Qi arrows to severely change how the fight went, he took out the katana that he had borrowed from Liu Fan. The katana was a Grade 1 Qi weapon, nothing of consequence but it was enough for Ye Xiu to use in a fight as a substitute to his own weapon that he would forge in the future.
He had no idea just how great Hua Fei's grasp on Qi arrows was because there were different levels of mastery and different techniques for making Qi arrows. This had him using a technique that he had learnt from San Guo after torturous training of being battered by Qi attacks from him. When it came to Qi expenditure, the technique was costly but with his Qi control, he was able to reduce the amount of Qi needed to the minimum.
The katana cut the Qi arrows in half and any that had special properties to them were blocked by the fortified katana and the technique that he had learnt. San Guo had never given him the actual name of the technique and only told him that to be considered a master of the technique is when he is able to block a strong attack with a single swipe of his fingers.
Hua Fei watched her Qi arrows getting destroyed or blocked by Ye Xiu and she frowned. Since he wasn't using his whip currently, she started to run towards Ye Xiu and attacked with her fists and feet. Each of her attacks was imbued with fire Qi and it was clearly seen as they were alight with flames.
Ye Xiu wasn't too worried about the flames as he blocked them with his bare hands. The benefits that he received from his bloodline included strong fire resistance. His body could resist heats that would roast a person alive and he was perfectly fine even after the attacks. When Hua Fei noticed her flame attacks failed, she switched to the other element that she could use. Using metal Qi to harden her attacks, Ye Xiu could feel the weight between each of her attacks yet once again he shrugged it off.
His body strength had increased to the point that unless you were a body cultivation prodigy, had a body physique for strength or a bloodline that would help increase their strength then they would have no chance against Ye Xiu. Hua Fei was obviously not happy with the way the battle was turning out since it seemed as if Ye Xiu was able to counter everything she had with just his bare body and his katana.
Sighing, she used the rest of her Qi reserves to constantly shoot arrows at Ye Xiu. Quite a few escaped his attention since he was unable to see them and directly hit him on his body. Puzzled by the attacks that hit him, he tried to see what was happening. Hua Fei smiled when she realised what kind of arrows Ye Xiu wasn't able to be seen and only shot a single type of Qi arrow at him. The Qi arrow's presence was completely concealed from Ye Xiu's observation technique, forcing him on the defensive.
Ye Xiu took out his two whips once he noticed what was happening and used it to try and deflect all the arrows. The tactic worked easily and Hua Fei was simply waiting for the single opportunity that she had to win. She had discretely shot several hidden arrows that were around Ye Xiu and were primed to explode at her command.
Each of the arrows had a corrosive effect when it exploded and she managed to make this through knowledge of the Medical Arts. Though she couldn't practice the Medical Arts, she could certainly use some aspects from a branch of the Medical Arts to her advantage. She exploded them just as Ye Xiu stopped his blocks and ran towards him. She shot several more arrows to the ground and exploded them once again.
Ye Xiu had nowhere to go since the entire arena ground was being corroded and he simply jumped towards Hua Fei using 'Basilisk's Gaze.' He poured in half of his remaining Qi reserves into the technique, boosting his speed to one similar to Shi Die's own speed and immediately activated 'Solitary Stand' and the activation time was nearly nil and he attacked her with the finishing move.
She defended herself with her own defensive technique but was broken through cleanly since she didn't have much Qi left. "Why does this always happen." She sighed and surrendered. "You win once again. Next time I'll beat you! I still don't get how you got so powerful. Your body wasn't this strong when I last fought you." She pouted and stroked his muscles on his chest.
Ye Xiu jumped back in surprise before running away blushing. Shi Die started laughing boisterously as he jumped off the arena to tell Shang Yang what had just happened.