296 Chapter Ninety Six - He dislikes troublesome matters

The Headmaster of the Ascending Mountain Institute disliked troublesome matters.  By troublesome, that did not necessarily mean the necessary intricacies that came from running and developing an institute of learning the size of this one nor the little details of dealing with one's personal matters to ensure one's home remained standing and health remained vital.  The first and to some degree the second and third, could be delegated to trusted others so that it failed to become troublesome in the first place and without troublesome matters, he, the Headmaster, could do others things more pleasing or amusing to him.  Such as winning against Teacher Plutos a game of chess or attempting to entice Teacher Volun into finding him a Dragon egg that he might hatch and raise as a pet.

The Ascending Mountain Institute ran as well as the mortal clockwork device that he had obtained once from a lower realm while adventuring in his youth.  All he was required to do was to oil it from time to time and replace its cogs every few decades.  If he wished to upgrade it... well that was a little more complicated, but he found that he had the time to deal with such things as development at a pace comfortable to snails and slugs and things would fall into place so long as he nudged the butterfly to flap its wings at the correct moment, eventually anyway.  Some might claim he is like a puppet master holding loosely onto a thousand strings only pulling one here and there when the effort was required, otherwise wouldn't he be worn out all of the time or worse, unable to continue in position of power?

Anyway, back to troublesome things.

With his personality, he naturally would not go seeking for troublesome things, but that didn't mean that troublesome things would not come to seek him.  Corvus was one such troublesome thing that had appeared in the last year, but he was easily dealt with; he just needed to be occupied by something equally as troublesome and his natural instinct would be to bother his older brother rather than himself if it became too tiresome.  Actually, allowing Corvus to find his own apprentice had been a bit of a risk, but actually had worked out extremely well.  Corvus had become too preoccupied to become troublesome, thus the Headmaster was very happy.

Sun, who wailed as he was instructed to 'cool down' by running twice around the perimeter of the inner martial arts school by Teacher Corvus, could not agree less with the Headmaster's assessment.... had he known about it.

Now something else had come to trouble the Headmaster... actually two troublesome things.  Worse, one of these things turned out to be related to Teacher Corvus.  The Headmaster realised that he had relaxed too soon.

"From what you are saying," his amicable smile was not reflected in his rather weary eyes, "the little miss of your family had her innocence taken by Teacher Corvus and you require him to take responsibility?"

"That is correct," the woman before him replied in a perfunctory manner.

"This one always advised shidi to carefully choose one's subordinates," the man sitting to his other side said in an arrogant tone of voice. The Headmaster did not respond to his provocation, still considering his response to the woman.

She was tall, slender and like bamboo she was both strong and flexible of physique. Her nature came across cold like the most frigid north and she appeared more so due to her snow white skin and steel-blue hair. However, though she seemed unfriendly, she was not actually cruel and while she seemed rigid, she was not unjust. Her name was Siren and she was the Mistress of the Azure Heights Finishing School, one of the five most notable schools for cultivators and the only one which refused to allow any men through their gates. Their's was a school for women, to guide, strengthen and develop without distraction nor masculine comparison this minority group amongst immortals.

Naturally the Headmistress of such a school that stood proud and tall against the norms of society had to be an exceptional woman. Yet there was just one chink in her formidable aura; a female Healer named Nereid, Siren's adored little sister.

On the other hand, the man that had also entered his reception to trouble him, was known as Phichus and he just happened to be of the same martial family as the Headmaster. Only, where the Headmaster's shifu was the former Headmistress of the school, Phichus followed that woman's shixiong, the Headmaster's Martial uncle who did not receive the approval of the first Headmaster to run the school. This had to do with the principals of the first Headmaster, who wished for this school to be accessible to anyone with the talent and ability and the will to cultivate and learn. Phichus' Master stated he wished to 'purge the Institute' of 'undesirables', indicating that he wished to have weaker elements leave in order to focus on honing the best. In actuality, he wanted the school to kick out commoners and merchant offspring and only cater for the nobles.

As his Master disagreed, he could only leave disgruntled and form his own school near the Wind-Swept plains, close to the grand capital city of the Empire in West Xulaphrey, where he achieved his own objectives. Qilin First Academy of Excellence still could not outshine the Institute after all of these centuries however, but they refused to alter their creed. Phichus and himself had not been a part of this matter, but it did force them to become like oil and water before they'd ever met.

As for why Phichus was present at the Institute, that was obvious; he'd come to attempt to poach talent. Of course, it would not be just any talent, the persons would have to have a background on par to his students and have no more than two internal roots and none less than a minor root. If there was anything he could abide less than commoners, it was 'wastes' after all. Plus there were a plethora of other minor requirements, such as if they were beast tamers, they could not be partnered with anything inelegant or unsavoury, if they were martial artists, they needed to favour the sword or the halberd or similar, that sort of thing.

He usually chose this time of the year every three years or so, when the noble first years were usually at their most disgruntled point and where other nobles might be most irritated by the lack of class barriers within the school, having been once more spoiled at home during the winter break. Those feelings could have even strengthened with the competition; why had lowly commoners been chosen to form groups with over themselves? Of course many of the disgruntled would be lesser talents and Phichus still wouldn't deem them worthy of their so called plight, but they would not be aware of that.

A third reason, not the most crucial of points, but still a factor in his reasoning was that the Imperial City had a much more temperate climate than these cold mountains. Phichus disliked the cold, a side effect of his pure fire root, so he seldom came earlier than the end of winter when the unpleasantness had yet to become a memory, but the vivid chills no longer seeped deep into their bones.

The Headmaster disliked all of this scheming to claim his valuable students, however, he would also not stop it. After all, it was really troublesome to keep hold of disgruntled students who did not wish to stay.

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