Exams starts in 5 days time… 😦
When Muyou and Yiqi returned back to the starting point of the event, the area was already swarming with students.
“Muyou! Yiqi! Over here!” Yue Hao was shouting from a corner as he waved his hands.
“What happened to you guys?” Muyou asked when he saw the sight of the other classmates. Almost everybody was in a rather poor shape, it was as if they had just came out of a battlefield.
“Nothing… Just some minor scuffles here and there.” Zi Long said. However, he was not in any better shape; his shirt had several tears and there were bruises and scratches on his face and body.
“Those don’t look like any minor scuffles. Did you all fight with the groups of robber-students?” Yiqi glanced at their injuries.
The other students hung their heads in shame when they heard Yiqi.
“We split up into groups of two to hunt for balls, but who would have known that other students would resort to violence to extort us of our balls. Of course we were no pushovers, we stood up to them and this is the end result… We are still too weak…” One of the students said helplessly.
“Let’s not talk about such sad stuff, Muyou and Yiqi how is your harvest?” Yue Hao tried to the change the topic as he sensed the atmosphere turning increasingly depressing.
“Oh, we had collected 104 balls!” Muyou said.
“104?! Holy shit, that is a lot! How did you guys managed to find so many balls!?” The students who heard Muyou’s answer gasped. 104 was an almost impossible number to reach, considering how there were only limited number of balls for the whole cohort.
“Well, most were… ahem donated… by other students.” Muyou rubbed his nose. “Well, we will go and exchange our balls for tokens first.”
Meanwhile at another corner, Pang Jing sat facing a group of students.
“Young master Pang, the task is completed. Almost all of the faction-less students have been targeted and warned by us during this hunt. After a few more days, these students will beg us to take them in.” A student respectfully delivered his report to Pang Jing.
“Good good… We are going to step up on the recruitment and overtake Xiao Lei’s faction.” Pang Jing nodded his head.
This event was not so simple and straightforward. The noble factions had already stepped up their plans to intimidate and recruit the students from the smaller sects and the sect-less students. These were the commoners and the nobles had no qualms using force to intimidate them.
Those robber-students were not just random small groups, but they were actually sent out by the nobles to intimidate all of the faction-less students. This would serve a lesson that without a strong backing, one could not survive in Panther Academy.
At another corner was Xiao Lei with his faction.
“What? There were 2 students who managed to overpower you all?! Only 2 of them and none of you can settle them?! Who are they?” Xiao Lei glared.
“We only know they are called Muyou and Yiqi… We do not know anything about them.” One of the student came forward reluctantly.
“Muyou and Yiqi… Interesting, those 2 guys who beat Hai Cheng up on the fourth floor… Find out more about them. Who are their backers? Are they in any factions? Are they hiding anything from their background? Did they conceal their clan or sect? I want these information in 3 days.” Xiao Lei rubbed his chin.
After exchanging the balls for tokens, Muyou and Yiqi went back to where their class was gathered. The sight of their classmates nursing each other’s wounds made Muyou and Yiqi felt pity for them. However, Muyou and Yiqi were glad that they had some backbones to stand up for themselves unlike Hai Cheng and She Gou who were typical cowards.
“By the way Muyou and Yiqi, are you two planning to join any faction?” Yue Hao asked.
“Faction again? Why does everyone keep throwing this word around during this event?” Muyou thought to himself.
“Not for now. Do you know a lot about the factions in our cohort?” Yiqi wanted to know more about the workings of their cohort.
“Ok, basically in our cohort of 300 students there are only 3 noble factions. The Pang Faction, Xiao Faction and Ouyang Faction. Each of these factions are headed by a young master from the main family of their clans. Pang Faction is headed by Pang Jing, the 2nd young master of the Pang main family. Xiao Faction is headed by Xiao Lei, the 3rd young master of the Xiao main family. Ouyang is headed by Ouyang Huo the 1st young master of the Ouyang main family. The Pang and Xiao clan held the title of a knight noble clan, their patriarchs were renowned generals. The Ouyang clan was the clan of a royal court minister.” Yue Hao explained.
“Unlike us, the noble clans will not sent the sons of the main family alone to Panther Academy. When their young masters reached the age of 13-15, they will gather the sons of the branch families, their staff and vassals and send them to Panther Academy to assist the young master. Even after graduation, they will serve the young master’s Panther Guard army unit. This is also why in each cohort, there are only a few noble clans. Technically, the other students like us will be roped in as vassals or subordinates of the noble students.”
“I see… Why don’t you all join their factions? If you join their factions, you will receive protection from them or achieve greatness in their army units” Muyou asked.
“Haiz… Do you think the noble students really want to recruit us?” Yue Hao sighed. “We are the lowest form of existence in their eyes. We come from a commoner family and does not belong to any sect. Ouyang Faction does not even want to recruit us, to Ouyang Huo we are insignificant existence. Pang Faction and Xiao Faction have the most aggressive recruitment. However, they want to recruit us not because they appreciate us, but because they want us to be their grunts. If we are to join, we will have to pay 1 panther token every week, 3/4 of our rewards from events will be collected by them and we will be the servants of the Faction. We will have no future in their Factions, later on when we are in their army unit we will be cannon fodder.”
That really sounded like a sad fate.
“So what are all of your plans?” Muyou looked at all of the dejected faces.
“We don’t know for now, that is why we want to also know what are Yiqi and your plans?” Yue Hao replied dejectedly. In fact, all of the class wanted to follow Muyou and Yiqi. They had witnessed Muyou and Yiqi’s strength, how they beat up a Wudang disciple and the students from Instructor Liu’s class. After interacting with Muyou and Yiqi for a month, the students also knew that if they followed Muyou and Yiqi, they would not be badly treated.
“We are not sure yet, give us a few days to think about this.” Muyou shook his head. In fact, Muyou and Yiqi knew what their classmates were thinking, but they needed time to process these information and decide on their next course of action.
4 days later.
“Young master Pang Jing, we have successfully recruited another 40 students, boosting our faction strength to a total of 110 members.” A student reported.
“Only 120? Why are the numbers so low? Did the Xiao faction manage to snatch all the other members? Or did the Ouyang faction made their move to snatch other students?” This result was lower than what he expected.
“We are not sure of the other 2 factions, but there is one weird thing. We are unable to recruit a single student from the commoner class.” The student replied.
“Hmmm… That is weird… Go find out more about this situation. Oh, and approach Muyou and Yiqi again, spare no effort to recruit them. I have a feeling they may be related to this situation.” Pang Jing frowned his eyebrows.
In another training courtyard, Xiao Lei was furious.
“What?! Our total strength is only 100? That is severely below my expectations! What is going on!?” Xiao Lei roared. “I want you all to go find out what the hell is going on! And make sure this time you all managed to recruit Muyou and Yiqi, if not do not come back and see me.”
“Yes young master Xiao Lei!” The students shouted as they immediately scurried away.
Meanwhile, in a room was Elder Lu and Elder Hao.
“Elder Lu, this time you have brought in another two trouble-makers…” Elder Hao sighed as he looked out of the window.
Elder Lu let out a laugh. “Why do you say so Elder Hao? Isn’t everything calm now.”
“Now… Yes, calm now… For now…” Elder Hao mumbled as he continued gazing at the training courtyards.