Black clouds shrouded the sky, bringing with them the much-needed respite from the hot weather. Before too long, heavy rain covered the Azure Spring City.
The street vendors and travellers quickly took shelter, leaving the streets devoid of life. Soon the tea shops got filled with customers who wanted to enjoy the weather with a cup of hot tea and snacks. The wine shops experienced something similar except for the difference in the type of customers. Some people liked to get drunk in the rain.
Within one of the rooms of the Long Aristocratic Clan, one would see an entirely different scene play out. An array formation provided gentle warmth to the ten to eleven years old children, keeping a cosy atmosphere which drove much more children than to their sleep in the class than usual.
As the richest clan in the Azure Spring City, the Long clan boasted the largest number of expert cultivators and possessed a lot of businesses. The children were subjected to education and martial arts training from as early as four years old, making sure that even if they don't become cultivators, they at least become well-educated youths with good martial arts training. As a result, the Long clansmen were a cut above the general public.
"So according to the question, four circles with radius 1 cm are inscribed with their centre at each of the corners of a square of side 2 cm. The question asks you to find out the unbounded area.
"A simple question. We see from the diagram that four sectors bound the area inside the square….
The elder's lecture was quite earnest. However, the children were quite uninterested in the topic.
Most of them lacked interest in the subject.
Combine that with the sound of rain outside and the cosy atmosphere inside, and one could easily see why most of them were struggling to keep their eyes open. The elder's deep and soothing voice didn't help either.
Though it would've been a different story if the elder was explaining matters regarding cultivation and martial arts.
Irritated by the behaviour of his pupils, the teacher loudly smacked the table.
"Seems like all of you already know how to solve this problem and I'm just wasting my time here!
"Long Yang, tell me how would you solve this question?" The elder pointed at a child.
The boy called Long Yang was quietly sleeping on one of the corners. The elder's loud voice bought him to his senses.
"Mom I swear I didn't pee my pants! It's just water!"
The class burst into laughter as they heard it.
Realizing his mistake, the boy felt quite embarrassed. With a blushing face, he lowered his head.
"Long Fan since you are laughing at him, you must be knowing how to solve this question right? Stand up!"
The class immediately fell silent.
Standing up, Long Fan silently cursed at his bad luck.
"Sir, what was the question?"
"Hmph!" The elder snorted.
He asked a few more students, especially the ones he remembered dozing off. A few of them tried to say something, but after a stuttering start, they fell silent.
"Ridiculous! Is this the future generation of our clan? If you can't even solve these simple questions how are you supposed to survive in this world?
"All of you should start eating grass because even a cow has more intelligence than you lot!
Finally taking a deep breath, the elder reigned in his temper.
Shaking his head, he looked at one of the backbenches.
"Tianlong, answer the question!"
All the students who were standing up sighed in relief. The instructor will finally get his answer and they can sit.
A student who was relatively tall for his age stood up.
Unlike the rest of his classmates who had a fair complexion, his skin was tanned. Fine ashen white hair reached till his shoulder that danced like smoke every time the wind caressed them. His deep blue eyes shone like gemstones and attracted all those who looked at them.
However, those vertical slit pupils and the ice blue horns on his forehead indicated that the youth was not a human.
One would think that his looks and the racial difference would make him a subject of discrimination …it wasn't the case. On the contrary, he was quite well received due to his easy-going personality and intelligence.
With a voice full of confidence, he answered the elder "Sir, the sectors inside the square all come from similar circles. If we add these sectors, they would form a unit circle whose area is π square centimetre. So the unbounded area is 4 - π square cm … uhh which would be around 0.86 square cm I think"
The elder clapped his hands in approval.
"Nicely done! This is how you tackle a maths problem. Tianlong you may sit down!"
"Thank you, sir!"
The elder smiled and shifted his eyes towards the rest of the class. His smile immediately vanished.
"The key to becoming efficient in mathematics is practice, practice and even more practice. Look at Tianlong, he's also the same age as you, attends the same class as you, breaths the same air as you do, yet is able to answer the questions so fluidly.
"Why do you think it is so? It's because, unlike you lot, he actually studies!
His voice gradually became more and more serious.
"I know most of you find my class boring and would prefer to be lectured in cultivation and martial arts instead.
"But you don't know that mathematics and natural sciences as important as those combat arts!"
The class fell into silence. Each of them had their opinions regarding the matter.
"It's not I'll need to know the multiplication tables or geometry to fight!" one of the students mumbled to himself.
Even though her voice was low, the elder still heard it.
Breaking the chalk in his hand, the elder flicked the smaller piece towards her forehead.
The girl gave a cry of surprise as the chalk hit her. She silently rubbed her forehead and lowered her head.
Scoffing at the girl's remark, the elder swept his eyes over the class.
"There are many factors associated with victory and defeat in a fight between cultivators. Although a higher cultivation base provides an edge over the opponent, it doesn't guarantee one's victory!
"Factors like cultivation techniques, pills, armaments can enable someone with lower cultivation to defeat someone with higher cultivation! And none of these can be made possible without knowing mathematics and natural science!
Most students were shocked upon hearing such a thing, while some of the more knowledgeable one's nodded. They turned serious and carefully noted everything he said.
Feeling happy that everyone was paying attention, he cleared his throat and continued in a dignified voice.
"Not everyone among you would become a cultivator, even lesser among you would become alchemist and forger. But for those who do, these subjects are of paramount importance!
"One could even say these subjects, the others wouldn't be possible! So, unless you want to waste time learning these subjects again in the future, you better pay attention!"
All of the students nodded their head, thinking that from now on they'll focus more on these topics.
The elder's eyes softened after seeing the serious look on the children's faces.
Realizing he might've been too harsh with his words, he silently scolded himself.
"When I was a child, I dreamed of riding on clouds, an immortal sword in the back. The power to call upon wind and rain whenever and wherever I desired. I know many of you have similar visions regarding cultivators. However, the reality is not like what you think it is…
"The heavens are merciless and so are the ones who cultivate its laws. Sitting in the comfort of your home, you have no idea how cruel the world of cultivators can be…
"The life of fighting and killing isn't for everyone. Not everyone is suited for that lifestyle. If you decide to become an alchemist, inscriptionist or even a forger, you'll never have to worry about gathering resources!
"All material costs are paid by the customer and only the skill is demanded. So, not only are these professions highly respected, but they also pay handsomely!
As he finished speaking, he could see the eyes of most children glittering.
Satisfied with the result, he gave a dry cough and again recovered the stern expression on his face.
"Alright! Now that I have expressed my views on how much these subjects are important for these professions, some of you might be thinking 'But I'm not going to become an alchemist or an inscriptionist, so why should I care?'
"Well, you should care because whether you like it or not, you'll encounter a lot of things connected to basic alchemy, inscription etc. Without prior knowledge, you'll be put into many unfavourable situations. So from now on, all of you must pay attention to all the classes no matter how boring they seem, understand?"
"Yes sir!" all of them replied in unison.
The elder smiled at their response and continued to teach them from where they left off.