Chapter 249 – Dignity and the Future
It only took moments from when the golden mark first appeared for Tang Wulin’s entire body to be covered in a network of golden streaks. It gave him an air of resplendence.
Once the golden lines appeared, his breathing calmed down. He seemed to be adapting to the scorching pain.
The golden lines pulsed intermittently, spreading a peculiar energy which enveloped his body. It wasn’t soul power, but something far more special.
Wu Zhangkong narrowed his eyes at the sight. He used only his senses to silently investigate.
His blood essence is so powerful!
It was inconceivable for someone’s blood to course so vigorously.
Golden scales emerged on Tang Wulin’s right arm, stopping just shy of turning into the dragon claw. In contrast with their usual appearance, however, the current scales were far more brilliant and jagged. A golden radiance shone through them in a dazzling display.
Tang Wulin’s frame trembled gently when the water began to bubble, seemingly boiling him alive.
The golden pattern covering his body became more distinct as it began emitting a rumbling noise. Streams of golden air left through his nose and mouth, with each breath serving to further refine his body.
His bloodline really is getting refined.
Wu Zhangkong nodded to himself. He could now be certain this endeavor would prove beneficial for Tang Wulin and that he could bear it.
Three days later.
“Zhangkong, why are you staying in a place like this? Why not pick a place closer to the academy?” Shen Yi frowned as she inspected his ordinary room.
Wu Zhangkong calmly replied, “It’s enough as long as I can rest here. What difference does it make if I stay somewhere else? Besides, I don’t like how noisy it is near the academy. ”
He had already contacted Shen Yi before departing for Shrek City.
The Skysea Alliance had a little more than one hundred quotas for Shrek’s entrance exam each time, and it was only after racking his brains and making many compromises that President Yu Zhen had been able to acquire four of them.
Naturally, these four quotas were for the outer court exam. Considering their standing in the Alliance, the Eastsea Academy had no way of procuring any of the prized inner court exam slots.
Shen Yi had been caught off guard by Wu Zhangkong’s sudden call, but she rejoiced when she heard he wanted to bring his disciples to take the exam. Her joy sprung once from the news of his return, and twice at the thought of his promising disciples.
They had left a deep impression on her three years earlier, during the Skysea Alliance Tournament. Their captain had a keen awareness of the situation and was decisive enough to sacrifice himself for the sake of his teammate. In her eyes, Tang Wulin stood out among the others. Following closely, however, was Gu Yue. When Tang Wulin was gravely injured, she chose to give up some of her own life force to heal him. She had wanted to take Gu Yue for herself right then and there!
Gu Yue’s control over the elements was truly shocking!
Three years later, Wu Zhangkong was finally bringing those children to Shrek Academy. Shen Yi looked forward to seeing how much they had matured under his guidance.
“The exams are tomorrow. Are your students ready?” Shen Yi changed the subject as she sat down in a chair.
Wu Zhangkong’s forehead wrinkled. “I asked you to come because I have a favor to request of you. The others are ready, but I have one student who has entered deep meditation and still hasn’t awakened. So, is there a way to delay the exam?”
Shen Yi went silent, her brows drawn together as she considered. “I’m afraid it’s impossible. You know how strict the academy’s rules are. Besides, we have so many applicants of which only one hundred will pass, and there are many rounds of examination. We can’t change the exam time just for your students. It wouldn’t do to make them all wait for one person’s sake. It’s a tough situation. Which student are you talking about?”
Wu Zhangkong said, “The captain, Tang Wulin.”
Shen Yi’s heart skipped at the sound of that name. She recalled the scene of him rushing forward in the face of a soul fusion skill, using his own body to shield his teammate.
Deep meditation was a rare opportunity that brought many benefits for soul masters. If disturbed, a backlash would likely occur.
“Zhangkong, you know how hard it’d be. Virtually impossible. Don’t you know how inflexible teachers are?” Shen Yi said helplessly.
Wu Zhangkong nodded. “Alright then. I’ll have my other students take the exam first.”
Present in the room together with Wu Zhangkong and Shen Yi were Gu Yue, Xu Xiaoyan, and Xie Xie. Wu Zhangkong had already told them about Tang Wulin’s state of deep meditation.
Hearing that Tang Wulin couldn’t take the exam, Xie Xie immediately said, “Teacher Wu, that’s out of the question! Wulin has been looking forward to taking this exam for years, and this is our only chance! He would regret missing it for the rest of his life.”
Wu Zhangkong frowned. Even after three days of bathing in the medicinal water, Tang Wulin’s bloodline refinement had yet to finish. Disturbing him was out of the question, so the most they could do was wait patiently. But time waited for no one.
Xu Xiaoyan said, “Yeah! Teacher Wu, how can we accept Captain not participating?”
For soul masters, it was practically a once-in-a-lifetime chance to enter Shrek Academy. If Tang Wulin missed it, then regret would haunt him forever.
Calm returned to Wu Zhangkong’s expression. Shen Yi sighed and said, “There’s no point in thinking about it any further. Nothing can be done. Unless he wakes up before the exam starts, he’ll have to miss it. I’m sorry I can’t help you.”
Having been silent the entire time, Gu Yue suddenly walked to stand before Wu Zhangkong and Shen Yi. “Hello, Teacher Shen. May I ask if it’s possible to take the exam as a substitute? Is there a way for me to renounce my exam qualifications so Wulin can take the exam? He’s stronger than I am, so he could surely pass the exam if I’m able to.”
Shen Yi was taken aback. This girl that she regarded so highly actually made such a daring proposition, leaving her unsure whether to laugh or cry. “Little girl, you’re overthinking it. Just what kind of place do you think Shrek Academy is? If normal academies don’t allow for substitutions, why would Shrek? It’s true that you’re strong and have a high chance of being admitted, perhaps even into the inner court, but you shouldn’t be so naive.”
Gu Yue shook her head. “If Wulin can’t go, I won’t go either. If he can’t join Shrek, I also refuse to join.”
Her voice was steady, and her eyes blazed with resolve. Shen Yi was astonished that Gu Yue possessed such deep devotion despite her young age. She had met many people like her in Shrek Academy. As long as they decided on something, they would never falter. In fact, Wu Zhangkong was also this type of person!
Like teacher, like student.
“Zhangkong, your students are excellent. You shouldn’t let one person hold them back,” Shen Yi said.
Dead silence permeated the air as the clock ticked on. Seconds felt like years until Wu Zhangkong finally raised a hand to pat Gu Yue’s shoulder. “Take your mind off of this issue. Just go back and rest. I will handle it.”
Gu Yue stared at him in shock. His words left no room for debate; they carried the same type of unwavering determination hers did.
“Thank you, Teacher.”
Gu Yue left first. Xie Xie wanted to speak out but held his words back when Wu Zhangkong raised a hand.
After leaving the room, uncertainty flickered in Xie Xie’s eyes. Xu Xiaoyan said quietly, “What did you want to say just now?”
A moment of silence later, Xie Xie asked, “Tell me, Xiaoyan, our friends or Shrek Academy, which do you consider more important?”
Xu Xiaoyan laughed. “You don’t need to ask me that. As far as I’m concerned, Captain is the most important. My chances of passing were low anyway.”
Xie Xie chuckled and hung an arm around her shoulder. “Comrades truly think alike! If Wulin can’t take the exam, then I won’t either!” As the words left his lips, his heart seemed to be relieved of a great burden and his entire being relaxed.
Staring at the door, Wu Zhangkong’s breathing grew rapid. “Let’s go then.”
Shen Yi asked, “Where are we going?”
Wu Zhangkong replied, “Back to the academy.”
A tremble ran down Shen Yi’s spine. “You’re going back to the academy? You…”
Wu Zhangkong said indifferently, “The children all understand, so how could I not? If I can trade my dignity for their future, that’s a small price to pay. I will go back with you and apologize.”
The bathtub’s water had long since become clear, leaving behind only a golden mist to shroud Tang Wulin.