Holy Institution: Chapter 13

Chapter 13: Process of adapting (3)

The fire elements congregated into a blaze, forcing the scattered water elements to retreat into the surroundings.

Despite the fact that Di Lin could clearly feel the flame and its heat, there was only a black mass in his mind at the spot belonging to the blaze. Nothing was there.

After an unknown period of time, his back suddenly cooled. The hand that had constantly been supporting him had withdrew.

Di Lin opened his eyes.

Hydin had already retrieved the flame.

Silver stars dotted the night sky, emitting a layer of thin, grey light that happened to fall onto their heads.

It was Di Lin’s first time feeling that the flickering light in Hydin’s eyes was no longer so bright that it horrified him.

“It looks like it was me who overestimated you,” Hydin used his advantage of being half a head taller to look down at him with arrogant disapproval.

The fingers Di Lin had left hanging at his side suddenly clenched. “Again, tomorrow!”

Hydin curled his lips. “Do I look like someone who is free every day?”

Di Lin’s lips pursed tightly.

“Perhaps,” Hydin’s face shifted closer to his ears. “Setting your heart on memorizing books was correct.”

Di Lin inclined his head.

The tip of their noses were almost touching, with only the distance of a piece of paper between them.

“I will obtain first place,” Di Lin enunciated every word.

The warm air from his breath blew against Hydin’s lips. Unable to restrain his emotions, Hydin wrinkled his brows and stepped back.

“I will measure up to your standards too,” Di Lin pinned his gaze on him. Although he knew that the other party wasn’t necessarily able to see his expression, he still put on a display of solemnity and resolution.

“My standards?” Hydin snorted lightly. Shortly after, he turned and walked out of the woods.

Di Lin stood at his spot for a while longer. The winds in the woods occasionally brushed against his back, helping the sweat on his body to gradually dissipate.

When he returned to his tent, Suo Suo was lying asleep on his stomach with his head turned towards the outside. A glistening strand of saliva trailed down the side of his chubby face.

Di Lin helplessly took out a handkerchief and helped him to wipe it off.

Suo Suo shifted and turned his head to the other side before continuing to sleep.

A hand suddenly reached over with a bowl of thick corn soup.

Di Lin turned to look along the arm and saw Ning Ya shooting him a slight smile. “The dinner I kept for you.”

Indeed, a slice of bread wouldn’t tide him over for long.

The moment Di Lin caught a whiff of the thick corn soup, he felt an intense sensation of hunger from his stomach. He took the bowl and smiled. “Thank you.”

Ning Ya squatted beside him. “Pity it’s cold.”

Di Lin took a sip of it and praised, “Even cold, it’s still delicious.”

“Really?” Ning Ya’s eyes swept across the thick corn soup.

Di Lin asked in surprise, “You didn’t drink it?” He immediately realized that Ning Ya must have saved the bowl of soup for him. Because the chef from the institution’s dining hall allocated meals according to the number of people. Di Lin gazed at the bowl and hesitated, wondering if he should give half a bowl to Ning Ya. After all, he had already drunk from this bowl of soup. If he gave it to him like this, it would clearly be an act extremely lacking in manners.

As if perceiving his hesitation, Ning Ya smiled. “I ate a whole steak and even till now, my stomach still feels unwell.”

Only then did Di Lin lower his head and continue slurping up the soup.

After finishing the soup, Ning Ya very naturally took the bowl back. By the time Di Lin regained his wits, Ning Ya had already walked quite a distance with the bowl.

Glancing at his silhouette, Di Lin felt an indescribable sense of discomfort in his heart. Ning Ya’s attitude towards him had already exceeded his scope of understanding.

He sat down outside the tent and quietly waited for Ning Ya to return. At the moment, this was his only way of returning Ning Ya’s courtesy.

The intermittent sound of footsteps slowly entered his ears.

Di Lin couldn’t help turning around.

Aridi happened to be bending his waist and stealthily walking over. Seeing him turn around, Aridi received a slight shock. His steps quickened and he squatted down beside Di Lin.

“What’s going on?” Di Lin watched him, puzzled.

It wasn’t early and the majority of the people had already gone to sleep, so Aridi’s cautious and solemn manner seemed particularly comical.

“I know where the test papers for the competition are placed,” Aridi said in a low voice. “The First Library.”

Di Lin frowned. “What about it?”

Aridi glared at him unhappily. “Don’t tell me you really think that we can take the first six spots just by memorizing like this?”

Di Lin replied, “Your greatest concern at this juncture should be yourself.”

Aridi arrived full of joy and expectations yet was shot down in such a way. Feeling extremely embarrassed in his heart, he washed his hands of the matter. “Do as you wish. Anyway, the one at stake is Suo Suo. To me, the unluckier Julan people are, the happier I am.” He saw Di Lin’s gaze turn frigid abruptly and couldn’t resist shrinking his shoulders back. Then, he bent his waist as he had just now and went back.

Having had his spirits dampened like that, Di Lin also turned and went into the tent to lie down.

In spite of his calm surroundings, his heart refused to quieten no matter what.

Hydin’s every word, statement, and expression constantly repeated themselves in vivid detail in his mind. He even used his imagination to compensate for the dark and gloomy lighting in the woods, picturing Hydin’s likely expression at that time.

Definitely arrogance, disdain, disappointment…

Di Lin stared blankly.

The prerequisite for disappointment was hope. Why would Hydin carry hopes for him alone?

Or, he had actually already told those words to Ning Ya and the rest. Since he wasn’t around, he helped him to fill in the gaps alone?

As he thought of Hydin, the competition also entered his train of thought.

Actually, although Aridi’s suggestion was bad, the meaning he had conveyed was not wrong. Although they worked hard at memorizing, their hopes to take the first six spots continued to remain empty. To his knowledge, among the students capable of entering the Holy Institution, there were many who were truly geniuses in every sense of the word, no matter if it was in terms of comprehension, sensitivity, or even memory. While they struggled to memorize content that they may not necessarily remember, others perhaps only needed a glimpse to learn it by heart.

He sat up, glanced at Suo Suo’s naïve sleeping face and breathed out a long sigh. Suo Suo’s situation in Julan wasn’t good. He had originally even hoped for Suo Suo to use his status as a graduate of the Holy Institution to improve his position. But looking at it now, it remained an arduous task fraught with layer upon layer of difficulties.

Maybe…

His pupils deepened.

Maybe Aridi’s suggestion wasn’t completely infeasible.

Di Lin made his way out of the tent with a distracted heart and his thoughts in turmoil.

There were very few moving figures in the empty plot of land.

He recalled Ning Ya, who had gone to wash the bowl, and walked to Ning Ya and Rui Meng’s tent, discretely using a finger to hook a tiny flap of the tent. He had wanted to confirm if Ning Ya had already returned but the scene before his eyes made him gobsmacked.

Not only was Ning Ya not present in the tent, even Rui Meng’s shadow couldn’t be seen.

Di Lin’s expression sunk, and he walked quickly to Aridi’s tent.

Aridi and Jeffery were lying down with their backs to each other.

As if sensing his gaze, Aridi flipped over and sat up. “You!”

“Where’s Ning Ya?”

Most of Aridi’s face was shrouded in the darkness. “How would I know?”

“He and Rui Meng aren’t around,” Di Lin said heavily. “If you don’t know where they are, then I can only ask Tutor to think of a way.”

Aridi saw that he wanted to turn and leave and fell into a panic, hurriedly saying, “I know, I know.”

Di Lin looked askance at him.

“I only told them that the answers are at the First Library. It was them who decided they wanted to go,” Aridi mumbled.

Di Lin flung back his head and strode off.

Aridi sat in the tent uneasily.

Only at this point did Jeffery rub his eyes and sit up. “What happened?”

Aridi snorted coldly.

If he really wanted to know what had happened, he should have sat up when Di Lin started speaking. Why did he need to wait for the person to leave before acting hypocritically? But Aridi didn’t have the time to expose his little tricks now. Di Lin’s attitude made him feel like he had done something extremely stupid. He had clearly done it with good intentions, but things had now been stirred up to the point where he seemed like the main culprit.

He spat and suddenly rushed out of the tent.

At night, the First Library was as gloomy and terrifying as the rumored demons’ lairs.

Di Lin ran to the entrance and halted before the main door, slowly adjusting his breathing.

The main door to the library was only half closed. Unexpectedly, Lucé wasn’t at his usual spot.

The aisle ahead that he had walked no less than a hundred times this month seemed to be an endless black hole. The moon’s rays didn’t go any further than a few ten centimeters beyond the French windows on both sides; the difference in the gray and black shades were obvious.

Di Lin took a deep breath. His palm touched his rapidly beating heart on his left chest as he slowly walked in.

His leather shoes lightly tapped against the floor, step by step.

It was Di Lin’s first time realizing that the sound of the library’s floor was that crisp.


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5 thoughts on “Holy Institution: Chapter 13

  1. Thank you for this translation. I just started reading it today so had the pleasure of binge reading a bit, but now am at a cliffhanger! I appreciate the good job you do translating and look forward to following this novel as it progresses.

    Liked by 1 person

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