Chapter 251 – Let Him Kneel
“Where is Teacher?” Wu Zhangkong asked once more as he subconsciously tousled Shen Yi’s hair.
Tears began to pour out of Shen Yi’s large, evergreen eyes. Dumbfounded, she threw herself into Wu Zhangkong’s arms.
“Senior brother!” she said, choking back sobs.
The pitiful sound of her weeping attracted curious glances of passersby.
Shen Yi’s white hair was extremely easy to recognize even without taking her fame within the academy into account.
“Isn’t that the White-haired Witch, senior sister Shen Yi? What is going on with her?”
“She never smiles and all the juniors are afraid of her. What’s she doing?”
“Who is that man? He’s so handsome!”
“Whoa. He seems sort of familiar. Who is he?”
As a stream of chatter reached Wu Zhangkong’s ears, he patted Shen Yi on the back and said, “Let’s go.”
Shen Yi raised her head sheepishly, her eyes still full to the brim with tears. “You’re still my senior brother, right?”
Wu Zhangkong forced himself to form a bitter smile.
“That isn’t up to me. Let’s go,” he said as he dragged her by the arm, taking large strides toward the inner city’s core.
“Teacher is in the inner court,” Shen Yi said softly as she wiped away her tears.
Inner court! Wu Zhangkong began to shake at the words. These words used to be an important part of his life! He had worked tirelessly for them, but as a result, he had also…
Forcefully taking a deep breath, Wu Zhangkong abruptly released Shen Yi’s hand and sprinted madly down the street.
He rapidly accelerated toward the eastern part of the inner city, air chilling in his wake because of his exertion.
Shen Yi hastened to catch up to him, dashing forth in pursuit.
Soon enough, a building surrounded by a tall, mossy-green wall came into view. The wall prevented anyone from seeing what lay beyond it and converged on a lavish archway. At the top of the archway, the words “Inner Court” were visible on a sign that hung from it.
There were no guards manning the gate to the inner court. In spite of this, Wu Zhangkong’s swift approach came to a sudden stop once he saw the sign that read “Inner Court”. It was there that every fiber of his being froze. It was as if those words possessed an infinite magical power.
This was, without a doubt, the legendary inner court of Shrek Academy. This was the place that enjoyed continent-wide fame, one which countless soul masters yearned to enter. This was the place that struck fear into the Federation.
Lush greenery covered all of the inner court. Only geniuses privileged enough to enter it would know that it resembled a park.
Guards were not needed here. The words on the sign were enough of a deterrent.
“Senior brother.” Shen Yi stopped by Wu Zhangkong’s side, having finally caught up to him.
“Don’t call me that. I’m no longer qualified to be your senior brother. If Teacher hears you, you’ll be punished.” Wu Zhangkong dropped to his knees as he spoke.
Like jade pillars and mountains of gold crashing to the ground, the normally arrogant and stern white-robed man with the blue sword had suddenly kneeled before the inner court sign.
Shen Yi’s heart trembled, but she did not comment on what just happened. Instead, she simply said, “Wait here, senior brother. I’ll go get Teacher.”
She sucked in a deep breath, then charged into the inner court as swift as the wind.
The turbulent emotions inside of Wu Zhangkong gradually settled down as he continued kneeling on the ground, and a sense of peace washed over him. A cool breeze swept by, carrying the refreshing scent of nature that could only be found in Shrek Academy.
The air of this place was humid and aromatic, perpetually bringing warmth and serenity to the people present.
Finally, I’m back. After thirteen years… today, I have returned.
As he kneeled, Wu Zhangkong felt that everything was currently as it should be.
Thirteen years ago, I was so impulsive and proud. Now I’m able to understand, but can I get back what was lost?
I’m sorry, Bing’er. I’m sorry, Teacher. It was all my fault.
Bing’er, just wait for me. I will preserve your name with my battle armor. We will be together forever.
As long as you desire it, I will not hesitate to sacrifice everything for you.
Time ticked by slowly, yet also quickly at the same time. When Shen Yi returned, Wu Zhangkong was already immersed in his own reminiscence.
She approached Wu Zhangkong, face pale, and her hesitant footsteps came to a stop a short distance away.
Moments later, she gathered up her courage and stepped in front of him.
“T-Teacher doesn’t want to see you.” Shen Yi’s voice wavered as the words left her mouth.
“Mn. Thank you,” Wu Zhangkong replied softly, his tranquil attitude undisturbed. He continued to kneel as he had been doing.
Hesitation showed in Shen Yi’s expression, but in the end, she spoke up. “Teacher said, ‘just let him kneel there.’”
Wu Zhangkong lifted his head, trembling as he stared at Shen Yi in astonishment.
He was trembling because he understood that his teacher’s fury was no reason to be terrified, but his teacher’s disregard certainly was! As long as his teacher was angry with him, he still had a chance.
“Thank you, Shen Yi.” Wu Zhangkong bit his lips, as he continued to kneel, his back straighter than before.
“Just keep kneeling for now, senior brother,” Shen Yi said. “You know what Teacher is like. He spouts harsh words, but his heart is soft. When I told him that you had returned, I could see a trace of joy in his face for a split second. He couldn’t hide it at all. He still cares deeply for you. After another round of persuasion, I’m sure he’ll forgive you.”
Wu Zhangkong shook his head gently. “I don’t deserve Teacher’s forgiveness, but for the sake of my disciples, I implore you.”
“Mn.” Shen Yi turned around and re-entered the inner court.
“The sun is going to rise soon. Why hasn’t Teacher Wu come back yet?” Xie Xie paced around the room anxiously. After Wu Zhangkong left, he called them once to tell them he was handling business and that they should return to their rooms to avoid disturbing Tang Wulin’s deep meditation.
Instead, the three stayed in Wu Zhangkong’s room and meditated while waiting for Tang Wulin to awaken.
They had opened the door just a crack to take a peek at Tang Wulin, but Gu Yue and Xu Xiaoyan faces turned crimson when they saw him soaking in the bathtub naked.
Gu Yue had immediately covered Xu Xiaoyan’s eyes with her hands, leaving her own eyes wide open to take in the sight.
A moment after that, Xie Xie took the high road and peeled them away from the doorway, depriving both of them of the eye-candy that was Tang Wulin.
With Tang Wulin stuck meditating and Wu Zhangkong gone, Xie Xie’s heart was in a frenzy.
Although he had resolved to stick with Tang Wulin, taking the entrance exam would still be the best outcome! They were currently thirteen years old, and in another three years, they would be sixteen. They would be too old to take the Shrek Academy entrance exam by then. This was their only shot at entering Shrek Academy, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
Gu Yue, the calmest of the three, sat cross-legged in a chair. She had been thinking about something ever since she saw Tang Wulin soaking in the bathtub.
“Let’s just wait,” Xu Xiaoyan said meekly. “Xie Xie, can you stop walking in circles? We’ve already made our choice. If we don’t end up taking the exam, we’ll just treat this trip as a holiday and nothing more. In any case, we’re on vacation right now. Once Captain wakes up, we can go sightseeing at Shrek Academy. At the very least, we can have him treat us to dinner. I bet his cheeks will be sore considering how stingy he is.”
She giggled at the thought.
Xie Xie made a strange expression because he knew it was true. Aside from the bare necessities, Tang Wulin hadn’t paid for anything else. All of his money went into his savings. He rarely went out to eat because the price to fill his stomach was simply too steep!
As the sky slowly began to brighten, Xie Xie’s impatience disappeared. He knew that it would be too late even if Tang Wulin awoke at that very moment. Time waited for no one!
Their inn was quite far from Shrek Academy, and the exam would start in one hour. Even if they left right then and there, they still wouldn’t make it in time.
If they missed it, they missed it. Although they would have some regrets, all of them had decided on this, valuing their comrades more than Shrek Academy.
Gu Yue’s eyes shot opened, her gaze directed at Xie Xie. “I’ll stop mocking you in the future.”
“Huh?” Her sudden statement had Xie Xie at a loss for words.