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Translator: KurazyTolanzuraytor Editor: Lucas
Xiao Xun’s brows knitted, but similar to Duan Ling Tian and Su Li, he paid no attention to Duan Rong, as Duan Rong was at most a Branch Family disciple of the Duan Clan, and thus was far from being comparable to him in terms of status…
"I didn’t think that there would be so many female students." Tian Hu’s gaze descended upon the bustling group of female students that were gathered on the other side of the vast Martial Arts Practice Grounds. As for the male students, they were gathered near Duan Ling Tian’s group.
"Do you guys know what we’re gathered here for?" Duan Ling Tian asked.
"No, we followed the crowd over as well." Tian Hu shook his head. He and Su Li were obviously similar to Duan Ling Tian and had followed the others to arrive here.
Xiao Xun lightly smiled as he said, "We’re gathered here right now precisely for the reason of making it convenient for us to choose our departments. In a short moment, when nearly everyone has gathered, a teacher will come over. At that time, we’ll be faced with an important choice in our life."
The two departments within Paladin Academy treaded on two different paths. Moreover, the curriculums that Paladin Academy offered to the two departments were completely different as well.
"Talking about choosing departments, have you all decided your departments?" Tian Hu’s eyes shone as he asked Duan Ling Tian and the others.
Xiao Yu lightly smiled as he said, "Xiao Xun and I chose the Star Mastermind Department." Xiao Xun nodded, and his eyes flashed with a luster of wisdom.
"Then you two are different from me. I decided to choose the Star General Department." Tian Hu grinned.
"We can tell." Duan Ling Tian sized up Tian Hu with a glance before laughing.
"Really? You’re not just making a smartass remark, right? Then tell me, what department did Su Li choose?" Tian Hu asked.
"Isn’t it obvious? He’ll naturally be choosing the Star General Department like you," Duan Ling Tian said, in a matter-of-fact tone.
Su Li was like a sharp sword with a pressing spirit,; if such a person were on the battlefield, he would absolutely be a slaughtering machine and cause the enemy army to be terrified.
"Su Li, you’re not really choosing the Star General Department as well, right?" Tian Hu asked.
"What, got a problem?" Su Li’s gaze was like a sword as he stared at Tian Hu.
"What problem would I have? I’m just slightly surprised…" Tian Hu laughed embarrassedly. If it was said that the him who had just arrived at the Iron Blood Army’s Genius Camp that day was still able to compete with Su Li at that time, then the current him had already been left far behind by Su Li.
"Duan Ling Tian, how about you? You should probably be the same as Su Li and I and be choosing the Star General Department, right?" Tian Hu asked, and followed by his question, the gazes of Su Li, Xiao Yu, and Xiao Xun all descended upon Duan Ling Tian.
Under the gazes of the four people, Duan Ling Tian’s mouth only slowly spat out three words: "Star Mastermind Department!"
Star Mastermind Department?
They were all slightly surprised and felt that with Duan Ling Tian’s strength, it would really be a waste if he entered the Star Mastermind Department…
Duan Ling Tian only shook his head with a smile towards their surprised reaction.
In his previous lifetime, Duan Ling Tian was a formidable weapons specialist, so what he specialized in was no different from what the Star General Department taught. Thus, in this lifetime, if he were to once again choose the Star General Department, it would be pointless.
Therefore, he chose the Star Mastermind Department!
"The Paladin Academy teachers have arrived." Duan Ling Tian’s sharp gaze noticed the two middle-aged men that were walking over swiftly from afar.
At the same time, there were two young women that walked over to the group of female students. They were obviously teachers of Paladin Academy as well.
"Good day, everyone. I’m the teacher for the Paladin Academy’s Star General Department, Niu Mang." Among the two middle-aged men, the robustly-built bearded fellow’s voice was like explosive thunder, causing the earbuds of the students near him to hurt.
"This Niu Mang’s probably cultivated a martial skill similar to a lion’s roar." Duan Ling Tian was slightly surprised.
Among the offensive martial skills, there was an outlier subsection called sound martial skill. Generally, only a martial artist at or above the Nascent Soul Stage would be capable of displaying the true might of a sound martial skill, and during actual combat, an unexpected attack using a sound martial skill would be able to induce a split-second daze on the opponent. Sometimes, during combat, a split-second daze was more the enough to decide the outcome!
"Good day, everyone. I’m the Star Mastermind Department’s teacher, Sima Chang Feng." Compared to Niu Mang, the other middle-aged man was obviously more refined and extraordinary; he was dressed like a scholar, with a silk headdress and a feather fan in his hand, and had an extremely graceful bearing.
"Now, those students who chose the Star General Department, gather behind me. And those that chose the Star Mastermind Department, gather behind teacher Sima." Niu Mang spoke once more and went straight to the point.
Immediately, the group of male students started moving.
"See the three of you later." Tian Hu greeted Duan Ling Tian’s group of three and Su Li nodded to the three as well before the two of them left to gather behind Niu Mang.
As for Duan Ling Tian’s group of three, they glanced at each other before heading to gather behind Sima Chang Feng.
"So few people for the Star Mastermind Department?" Duan Ling Tian glanced at the Star General Department gathering, then he looked around himself and was slightly surprised.
The number of students entering Paladin Academy this year was 116. Among them, there were around 100 male students, and currently there were more than 80 males gathered for the Star General Department, whereas over at the Star Mastermind Department, there weren’t even 20 people.
Sima Chang Feng and Niu Mang were obviously not surprised by this result.
"Students that chose the Star Mastermind Department, follow me." Under the call of Sima Chang Feng, Duan Ling Tian’s group of three and the other Star Mastermind Department students followed behind.
As for the Star General Department students, they instead stayed on the spot.
"Even if you chose the Star Mastermind Department, you can’t escape death!" Duan Rong was amongst the group of Star General Department students, and his eyes stared off onto Duan Ling Tian’s disappearing figure with a strong killing intent…
Duan Ling Tian and the group of new students were taken into a spacious classroom by Sima Chang Feng.
"Sit." Sima Chang Feng walked up the podium and faintly nodded to the 18 people that entered the classroom.
Duan Ling Tian sat down as well.
Sima Chang Feng’s gaze swept past the group of youths before slowly saying, "From today onwards, I’m the teacher for the Star Mastermind Department for your year. I will teach you how to become a mastermind that’s up to standards!"
"Now, who among you can tell me what a mastermind is?" Sima Chang Feng’s calm gaze abruptly turned to become filled with wisdom as he spoke.
The instant Sima Chang Feng finished speaking, a student stood up and said, "A mastermind is someone who is hidden behind the scenes and possesses extraordinary wisdom. During peaceful times, he is able to govern the lands under him, whereas during times of war, he is able to map out a strategy and take control of everything, annihilating the enemy army with the smallest amount of effort!" The gazes of all the students present, including Duan Ling Tian’s, fell onto the youth.
"Too shameless! Isn’t this the introduction on the student handbook?"
Many students were speechless.
Sima Chang Feng pressed down his hands to signal for the students to sit back down before saying indifferently, "Exactly, just like the student handbook says. Possessing extraordinary wisdom and mapping out strategies is the core of the mastermind! In your coming days within the Star Mastermind Department, what I will teach you all is precisely how to become a mastermind that’s up to standards!"
"You all must remember that a mastermind can allow the general to be undefeated but similarly is also able to make a general be annihilated! Sometimes, a single decision of the mastermind can decide the fate of the general." As he spoke up to this point, Sima Chang Feng’s expression became serious.
Duan Ling Tian deeply agreed with what Sima Chang Feng said. If you think of the general as the limbs of a martial artist, which are used for executing martial skills and dodging attacks, then the mastermind would be the eyes of the martial artist, which are able to gain insight into everything. This is extremely important!
"Today, the first class I’ll give you all is precisely on how to deal with one of the types of circumstances on the battlefield." Sima Chang Feng’s gaze was filled with wisdom as he slowly asked, "If the enemy forces are stronger than mine, and the enemy knows of my situation, besides the most straightforward method of sneak attack, what strategy can be used to crumble the enemy forces?"
"If the enemy forces are stronger than mine, and the enemy knows of my situation?" Besides Duan Ling Tian, whose eyes flashed and seemed to be confident, the remaining students muttered to themselves and unceasingly pondered.
"Hmm?" Sima Chang Feng’s gaze descended onto Duan Ling Tian before long.
He had long since taken notice of this student, as a youth around the age of 18 stood out within a group of 20-year-old young men. Now that he noticed the youth’s demeanor, his heart jerked. "Could it be that he’s thought of a strategy so quickly?"
After a short moment, Sima Chang Feng’s gaze fell onto Duan Ling Tian as he asked, "Looking at your appearance, it seems like you’ve reached an conclusion. Have you thought of a strategy?"
For a moment, all of the students including, Xiao Yu and Xiao Xun, looked at Duan Ling Tian…
"He can think of a way?"
"It’s a joke, right? He looks like a little kid; what way could he possibly have?"
Some of the students glanced at Duan Ling Tian disapprovingly.
Duan Ling Tian’s brows knitted as he stood up and went straight to the point. "If I were to meet this type of situation, I would use the strategy of ‘crossing the sea while deceiving the heavens’ by intentionally and repeatedly using disguised methods to confuse and deceive the enemy, causing them to let their guard down before I abruptly attack to achieve victory."
If someone from the nation of Hua from his previous lifetime were to be present, they would instantly react and realize that what Duan Ling Tian spoke of now was precisely the first stratagem of the 36 stratagems, crossing the sea while deceiving the heavens! 
Sima Chang Feng’s pupils constricted. He actually never thought that this violet-clothed youth would be able to produce any good strategy, but the strategy that the violet-clothed youth spoke of now was in perfect harmony with his thoughts in some areas. This caused him the to be unable to stop himself from being shocked… "Is this really only a 18-year-old youth?"
"Crossing the sea while deceiving the heavens… Excellent! Excellent!" After hearing what Duan Ling Tian said, Xiao Xun carefully savored it for a moment. He was the first among the group of youths to react and couldn’t help himself from praising Duan Ling Tian.
"This…" Some of the students who looked down on Duan Ling Tian earlier were stunned. They had no choice but to admit that it was indeed an absolutely excellent strategy.
After all, if anyone were to repeatedly be deceived, they would surely let down their guard. This was human nature!
"Good, good… What a good strategy, crossing the sea while deceiving the heavens!" Sima Chang Feng laughed heartily before he looked at Duan Ling Tian and asked, "What’s your name?"
 note - It’s from a book called the 36 stratagems. This is a description I copied from wiki to save the time of anyone who doesn’t feel the need to understand the book in-depth, or alternatively you may google it and there are plenty of websites that explain the entire book for usage in business.
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