Chapter 381 - An Unlucky Teenager
Chapter 381 – An Unlucky Teenager
Perhaps, its hunger was too overwhelming. After the starving wolf left the cage, it immediately charged towards the person in front of it. Its fang-filled jaws opened wide, glinting with a cold light. Even though the wild beast was so far away, it was as if the numerous, spectating martial artists who surrounded the elevated platform could smell the rancid stench coming from that wolf’s mouth. Taking another look at that starving wolf’s savage and repulsive appearance, it was enough to make one’s heart quiver and legs tremble.
The person to battle this starving wolf was a teenager who seemed to be fifteen or sixteen years old. His figure was slender, and his face was thin. His half-length hair was crudely tied behind his back, and his temperament was bitingly cold. His pair of pitch-black eyes flickered with a firm and unswerving shine. There were no weapons in his hands. He only utilized some peculiar footwork, and swiftly dodged the starving wolf’s attack.
However, the wolf’s speed was too fast!
Although the teenager rapidly sidestepped, he wasn’t able to completely get out of the way in time. This caused a lengthy, trailing scratch to be cut across the side of his face and his flank. Scarlet blood oozed out, dyeing one side of his face and body red. If his reaction hadn’t been quick enough, perhaps he would’ve already been blinded in one eye. His belly also would’ve been sliced open with his stomach and intestines spilling out.
With only this one exchange, a bloody scent covered the whole platform. This was clearly just a Meridian Condensing Realm fight, but for some reason, it gave others a type of feeling like it was a life and death battle. It was incredibly exciting.
Gu Zuo just so happened to see this scene, and couldn’t help saying: “Big brother, this teenager’s nature is quite intense.”
Tianheng said: “He has a strong willpower. He ought to be cultivated.”
When the pair was watching the martial artists of these realms fight, they definitely weren’t analyzing them as opponents. Instead, they were looking at whether these martial artists had any value in training.
The two of them were short-staffed…
Although it looked like that teenager was at a disadvantage, because his footwork was comparatively remarkable and the style of his martial disciplines was rather exquisite, the battle between human and wolf would last for much longer.
However, after a few glances, Gu Zuo suddenly glimpsed some familiar figures. He let out a soft gasp.
Tianheng took note of this, and quietly asked: “Ah Zuo, is something wrong?”
Gu Zuo quickly said: “Big brother, look at those people.”
Subsequently, Tianheng looked over.
The couple of people over there were the henchmen Gu Zuo saw in front of the main hall during the first checkpoint’s assessment. They wanted to teach a bitter lesson to the son of the original wife on behalf of the stepmother’s son. They also wanted to make the original wife’s son fail the Sect Offering Academy’s assessment.
While it looked normal for these people to show up here, their lines of sight had all fallen onto this raised platform. In their eyes, there were somewhat treacherous lights, too…
Gu Zuo suddenly felt that this world was truly small.
At first, he didn’t intend to meddle in other people’s affairs, but he didn’t expect these affairs to actually come to him.
Could it be that the teenager on this platform was the target they wanted to entrap? Furthermore, it did seem that this teenager’s age was around what they previously mentioned.
It was just that Gu Zuo didn’t know how these people intended to entrap the teenager right under the academy’s nose.
His heart was curious. Gu Zuo released his psychic power, and sent it to the sides of those people.
The henchmen were also in the middle of quietly talking, as if they were discussing the current situation. Since he could overhear them, Gu Zuo quickly realized what they had done.
As it turned out, the ravenous wild wolf that the teenager faced was actually their doing.
To be precise, they tried all sorts of ways to get in contact with the person in the academy who was responsible for the transportation of the assessment’s wild beasts. After paying a huge sum of resources, arrangements were made.
The matter wasn’t so complicated.
The wild beasts used for the assessments here were all starved. Their strengths were comparable to the Meridian Condensing Realm. However, no matter how great an understanding the handlers had of domesticating wild beasts, there was no way to guarantee that every wild beast would have exactly the same power levels. The handlers could only make approximations. Moreover, under the premise that no combat strength was lost, the same wild beast would only be used to test, at most, three people in a row. The first applicant would naturally have the worst experience. What that individual faced would be a wild beast whose hunger was at its fiercest and whose vigor was the most abundant. The following two applicants would do relatively better because the wild beast would’ve already used up some of its strength. In addition, after each battle, the brewing momentum of the wild beast would be interrupted, which prevented any “caged beast” battles from appearing.
Every platform had an attendant who specialized in observing the state of the wild beast and promptly replacing it when necessary. Similarly, in a battle between a Meridian Condensing Realm martial artist and a rank three wild beast, if a Meridian Condensing Realm grade one martial artist fought against a wild beast comparable to Meridian Condensing stage three, that applicant would be done for — Consequently, the attendants didn’t dare to do anything like this. However, within a small range, it was still possible to exert the most control, and raise the assessment’s difficulty to the highest level. Even if this was done, it wouldn’t violate the rules, nor evoke any punishments from the academy.
Such as this instance, for example. The attendant didn’t handle matters according to the normal sequence. Instead, it was carefully calculated that, when the teenager would go up on the platform, he would face a wild beast that was comparable to peak Meridian Condensing stage two. It was infinitesimally close to Meridian Condensing stage three. Moreover, because the teenager’s footwork was remarkable, the wild beast sent out was a wild wolf with equivalently fast speeds — And the teenager would be the wild wolf’s first opponent!
In this way, under the sharp claws of the wild wolf, the odds of the teenager passing the assessment would be much lower.
Gu Zuo blinked his eyes, and turned his head to speak with his big brother in a whispered hush.
Tianheng smiled: “It’s just that this kid’s luck is extremely bad. If he can still win, I will keep him under similar observation like that Pang Wei. If his moral conduct isn’t bad, he’ll receive the same treatment as Pang Wei, too.”
Gu Zuo considered this, and continued to watch that teenager battle with the starving wolf.
But in his heart, there was a faint feeling that this teenager wouldn’t be defeated so easily. Otherwise, wouldn’t it be too embarrassing for him to carry that ambitious and resolute expression? Normally, a person with this kind of look in their eyes wouldn’t have such bad luck…
Returning to the matters on the raised platform.
The scene was still quite intense as the teenager and starving wolf’s figures crossed paths again and again. In the beginning, every claw strike of that starving wolf was capable of leaving scratches on that teenager. Later on, the teenager continuously flashed across the platform, whittling away the wolf’s strength while preserving his own true qi as much as possible. This displayed a calm and stable mind… Gradually, the starving wolf’s movements slightly slowed, but the teenager didn’t rashly counterattack. Instead, he continued to roam about and observe for a long time. After noticing that the ominous glint in the starving wolf’s eyes had become somewhat dim, he brazenly took action and delivered punishing blows to the wolf!
In the end, the teenager attacked the wolf several times in a row, and caused it to dazedly retreat. At this moment, the teacher halted this platform’s battle, and gave the teenager a respectable evaluation.
Together with his previous tests of strength and comprehension, he achieved excellent results. Thus, he was smoothly enrolled, and became a student of a first-class residence in the Alpha Institute’s Meridian Condensing Realm district.
Once the teacher announced the outcome, Gu Zuo deliberately looked at the expressions of those henchmen who had been scheming in the dark. Sure enough, they looked unsightly. Between these words, it also wasn’t known how they were going to explain themselves to the second young master. They obviously weren’t willing, but with their meager capabilities, there was basically no way for them to even think about messing around within the Sect Offering Academy.
Soon after, the bunch of henchmen stormed away. It was unknown whether there would be any sinister plans in the future. As for that teenager on the raised platform, after he got down, he walked ahead with an unsteady gait, but his face bore a type of joy that couldn’t be restrained. When all was said and done, he was only sixteen years old… It was just that there was no one to accompany him by his side. When he was fighting with the starving wolf, he expended too much energy. After walking a few steps, he barely squeezed his way through the crowd. Then, his vision blurred, and he collapsed forward.
Gu Zuo extended a hand, and caught the teenager’s arm.
He was a bit exasperated.
Perhaps, it ought to be said that fate had brought them together, or something along those lines. This fellow had fallen right in front of him. It would’ve been embarrassing if he hadn’t reached out and given the teenager a helping hand.
However, he was in the presence of his beloved sweetheart. No matter how young this teenager was, Gu Zuo wouldn’t do anything to cause a misunderstanding like pulling the fainted teenager into an “embrace”.
Gu Zuo only grabbed the person and slowly raised him up, allowing him to get his feet back on the ground.
Contrary to what one might’ve expected, after Tianheng saw this scene, he couldn’t help finding it somewhat funny.
Gu Zuo was half a head shorter than the teenager, so this kind of action was indeed awkward. One couldn’t help but smile. Merely, that teenager was still disoriented. If Gu Zuo let go and allowed him to fall down, that wouldn’t have been appropriate.
Shortly thereafter, Tianheng gestured to a secret place.
In the blink of an eye, a streak of shadow leaped out, and promptly received the teenager in Gu Zuo’s arms, and placed him in a partial hold.
Gu Zuo’s face relaxed.
The shadow was a member of the shadow cat race who had been following the two the whole time. Although his stature wasn’t as lofty as other nonhuman races, he was very tall and thin. At this moment, he supported the teenager firmly and securely.
Tianheng asked the teacher on the side: “Will it be possible to send him to a student residence?”
Upon seeing this, that teacher naturally said: “Certainly. This child has already passed the tests. Please allow this Han to make a few inquiries first, and this one shall send him to his student residence.”
Tianheng’s complexion was unhurried. He gave a slight smile: “As the saying goes, help a man once, then help him to the end. Since he just happened to bump into me, I’ll simply deliver him to his residence. By chance, I also want to see what the student residences look like in the academy. Dare I ask that this matter is convenient for Teacher Han?”
Teacher Han naturally responded: “It’s no trouble at all. It’s just that there isn’t much to see over there.”
Just like that, it was settled.
Gu Zuo’s mood was very good.
Previously, when he went to classes in modern times, he was only a student at a junior high school. He had always been a day student, and his relationships with his fellow classmates were mediocre. Thus, he never had the chance to go to the dorm rooms in the school. At this time, he could take a peek at this otherworld’s version of student dormitories, and see what they looked like.
The member of the shadow cat race carried the teenager on his back, Teacher Han guided in front, and Gongyi Tianheng and Gu Zuo followed behind. The group of people quickly wound their way through those assessment platforms, and headed straight to the building complex in the rear.
This tract of land was the location of the student residences.
The student residences were divided into several ranks. In fact, it went from an outer circle to an inner circle, from several people crammed together to single-door courtyards, from relatively narrow and cramped to wide and spacious, from ordinary concentrations of ambient qi to high concentrations.
Gu Zuo looked over, and discovered that the Delta Institute was connected together by numerous rows of rooms. Each room could house four people — Whether it was possible to live smoothly and steadily depended on whether the roommates were reliable. Soon after, it was the Gamma Institute. It was similarly composed of rows of rooms, but the rooms were perhaps a bit bigger. Also, the number of people who could dorm in them was limited to just two. Even better was the Beta Institute. No longer did the students live in huge rows of rooms. Rather, there were small courtyards. Inside a courtyard were four rooms side by side, and each room housed one person. As for the Alpha Institute, it was amazing. Each of its large courtyards contained four small courtyards, and within every courtyard lived one student.
One would understand after thinking about it. Who wouldn’t prefer the Alpha Institute? Not only would one live comfortably, the ambient qi was four times greater than that of the Delta Institute. Moreover, there were spacious courtyards where a person could practice martial arts. One didn’t have to be surrounded by roommates when training, and things like privacy were well protected. When it came to cultivation, the degree of freedom was high!
However, in order to stimulate the competitive mentality of the students, the placements of the four classes of student residences weren’t permanent. Instead, there would be an evaluation once a month. Those who held onto their top spots in the rankings could keep their residences. If anyone wasn’t able to make progress after a long time, they would be kicked down to a residence of a lower class. And if anyone made huge improvements, they could replace those who were demoted, and enter an even better environment for cultivation.
As they walked, Teacher Han explained the system of the academy to the others in a soft voice. Gu Zuo heard everything, and inwardly nodded his head.
Every year, there were many outstanding students who were delivered into Ten Ultimates Sect to undergo the assessments to become Ten Ultimates Sect’s disciples. This academy still had very impressive means when it came to nurturing powerhouses.
Without realizing it, the group had already passed through many student residences, and was approaching the Alpha Institute.
Along the way, some students happened to be returning or leaving. All of these students discovered that the temperaments of the group were completely different from those who were checking into this place — In particular, when they saw Teacher Han, a few relatively intelligent people noticed some things.
After all, Teacher Han was one of the teachers who managed the academy’s internal affairs. What he was mainly responsible for were the Houtian Realm students. Naturally, in this school district, his reputation was rather high.
Even if the appearances of this group of visitors didn’t seem that much older than their own, Teacher Han received these guests with such reverence and respect. It was enough to prove that the identities and strengths of the other party were beyond their reach.
Soon, everyone arrived in front of an extremely large courtyard. Teacher Han reached out a hand to push open the courtyard’s gates. Then, he brought them inside.
What greeted them was a cross-shaped intersection that joined four smaller, branching roads. Each road connected to a courtyard door, and the surfaces of the roads were lined with fine and delicate stones. On both sides of the roads were flowers that gleamed like jasper and grass that shined like jade. It seemed refined and elegant.
Gu Zuo’s footsteps came to a halt.
Teacher Han walked straight to a courtyard close to the inside: “There are no differences between each of the courtyards here. Since this child is still disoriented, he can be sent to one of them directly.”
Gu Zuo nodded, and asked: “Have the rooms been put in order?”
Teacher Han smiled: “Every small courtyard in the Alpha Institute is equipped with several maidservants. Every day, they come to clean and tidy — We can’t have students spending all of their spare time doing chores while practicing martial arts, can we? What’s more, there are students checking in today, so they have made preparations long ago.”
With that said, Teacher Han led the group into that courtyard.
Gu Zuo spoke to Tianheng, who was behind him: “Big brother, this place’s environment really isn’t bad.”
Tianheng looked around.
Indeed. The interior of this small courtyard was furnished with a sophisticated taste. A type of comforting feeling permeated throughout the rooms. To be honest, this kind of courtyard was very good, and even the rooms were grand. It wasn’t any smaller than the residence that Tianheng arranged on the summit for himself and Gu Zuo.
Of course, those rooms were built by Tianheng as an imitation of his former villa, so he didn’t care about spaciousness. What he wanted was actually to evoke the accustomed intimacy and cherished memories of two people.
Back to the present. Inside a room was a large bed. It was enough that the shadow cat had carried the teenager here. Following this, under Tianheng’s gesture, the shadow cat placed the teenager directly onto the bed.
Gu Zuo thought about something: “Let’s cover him with a thin blanket.”
After all, the teenager had been sweating a lot and was quite exhausted. If he was randomly set down like this, no matter how healthy the teenager’s body was, he was only a Meridian Condensing Realm. It was impossible to guarantee that he wouldn’t get sick under internal and external pressures.
Tianheng ruffled Gu Zuo’s hair, and lightly sighed: “Ah Zuo is certainly considerate.”
Gu Zuo slowly processed this, and spoke as if demons and gods were at work: “There’s no one I would treat as attentively as I do with big brother.”
Tianheng seemed satisfied: “This elder brother understands that Ah Zuo is easy to get along with.”
Once he said this, he ruffled Gu Zuo’s hair again.
Gu Zuo’s mind was jumbled up, and he subconsciously rubbed against Tianheng’s palm.
Although this large, warm hand had already moved away, in Gu Zuo’s heart, he couldn’t help but feel extremely happy.
Later on, after they looked at this student residence, the group walked out of the courtyard.
Teacher Han candidly led them through a tour of several school districts. Finally, they made a detour, and prepared to return via their original route.
But just then, Gu Zuo saw a bunch of people aggressively moving towards the Alpha Institute.
— What was going on this time?
Teacher Han faintly furrowed his brows: “What kind of folks would act so rambunctiously around here?”
Speaking of which, such a situation wasn’t too uncommon. It was just that, because there was someone of high status present when this occurred, Teacher Han had no choice but to talk this way.
Gu Zuo paused, and said: “How about we take a look?”
It wasn’t that he had been flooded with curiosity again. Rather, it was because he remembered that the location of the courtyard where they had delivered that teenager was in this area. Although he couldn’t be sure that these people were searching for that teenager, there was a feeling in his heart. He still wanted to check things out.
Tianheng said: “As Ah Zuo wishes.”
That Teacher Han originally wanted to lead the pair out of here before finding an academy guard with excellent strength to settle this issue. He didn’t expect that these two actually wanted to join in the fun… With no other alternatives, he had to continue accompanying them.
Hence, several people walked back along the road, following the group in the distance.
The closer they got, the more they realized that the destination of those people really was the courtyard where that teenager had been settled down!
Only, because the bunch didn’t have a key, they couldn’t enter the teenager’s single-door courtyard. They could only congregate inside the wide open space of the large courtyard, and bang their fists on the door of the small courtyard.
“Eldest young master, come out right now!”
“Eldest young master, if you don’t come out, we’ll have to make our way inside!”
“The second young master is worried that the eldest young master isn’t familiar enough with this place. He sent us to come and serve the eldest young master. Please unlock the door quickly!”
“Eldest young master, the second young master has sent word for you!”
These shouts were messy and contradictory. Neither beginning nor end could be fitted together.
It was clear that this was only for the sake of calling the person outside.
Gu Zuo pulled Tianheng, and stopped Teacher Han’s steps. He asked them to stay with him at a certain distance from the small courtyard. He silently watched, and waited for the situation’s development.
They all heard these people’s unscrupulous calls, and witnessed these actions that could almost be described as boorish.
Gu Zuo was watching the small courtyard’s door.
He heard some movement inside.
Sure enough, in the next moment, that courtyard door was flung open. There was a straight-backed teenager who looked like a lone wolf. He seemed like a javelin as he stood behind the threshold: “Yu Ze ordered you guys to come here, so what the hell do you want to do?!”
Seeing that the teenager had appeared, the bunch of people settled down. After exchanging glances, the person who led them took a step forward.
In a loud voice, he said: “The second young master sent us to make an inquiry. The eldest young master is all alone. Is there anything you need? Do you have enough gold? Whatever the case, you two are brothers for life. If the eldest young master has a request, you only need to say the word, and he will promptly deliver it with a heart filled with brotherhood.
“The second young master also has something to say. He asks that the eldest young master will forgive his father for that short while of neglect. After all, as the head of the family, the father is busy with all kinds of matters, and it’s normal to forget occasionally. And now, for his son, the father expresses his apologies to the eldest young master!”
After listening to these words, the teenager’s cold features didn’t have the slightest fluctuation of emotions. But in his eyes, there was a trace of anguish that flashed like lightning — Very quickly, it also disappeared.
He closed his eyes, and stated coldly: “You guys can go back and tell that Yu Ze that there’s no need for him to be so meddlesome. I, Yu Cheng, have been without a father and mother since I was a child. I’m not a member of the Yu Family, and I’m definitely no brother of his. There’s no need to bother about this. If he really has even a sliver of a conscience, he won’t come looking for my bad luck in the future. I’ll be perfectly satisfied as long as we don’t ever meet again!”
When the remaining people heard this, some had furious looks flicker across their faces. Meanwhile, others appeared to be rejoicing at another’s misfortune.
That leader didn’t seem to find Yu Cheng’s way of speaking strange. However, he also wasn’t about to leave this place. On the contrary, he drew a step closer, and suddenly said: “Since the eldest young master isn’t willing to be a member of the Yu Family any longer, then the thing taken from the Yu Family ought to be returned its original owners —”
Yu Cheng’s brows furrowed: “When have I taken anything from the Yu Family?”
That person sneered: “The Jade Heart Pendant — Eldest young master, please take it out, and return it to the Yu Family!”
A wave of violent fury suddenly flashed across Yu Cheng’s face: “Yu Ze has the gall to find me for the Jade Heart Pendant? The Jade Heart Pendant was left behind by my mother, and it passed into my possession. What does it have to do with the Yu Family? What does it have to do with Yu Ze?! If Yu Ze dares to covet the Jade Heart Pendant, then he truly has no sense of shame!”
The person making demands swiftly said: “Since the madam was married to the family head, she became a member of the Yu Family. Naturally, everything she owned must be returned to the Yu Family. Indeed, the eldest young master was born from the madam, but since the eldest young master is no longer part of the Yu Family, you also aren’t considered the madam’s son. As such, everything bequeathed by the madam should be inherited by the madam’s stepson — The second young master.”
As soon as these words came out, no matter how much Yu Cheng told himself not to fight with these people, to endure it and to get revenge only after learning ultimate knowledge, at this moment, his complexion flushed red with anger and his lips trembled with rage.
These shameless people could actually speak such words!
Yu Cheng’s chest heaved violently.
That Yu Ze had the nerve to talk like this!
He was obviously planning to seize the Jade Heart Pendant!
In the back, Gu Zuo heard everything loud and clear.
He wouldn’t say that he was dumbstruck, but he truly was surprised.
He didn’t know how to describe this…
— It had to be said that, if nothing else, it was enough to make Yu Cheng feel inferior when mentioning the thick skin of this so-called Second Young Master Yu Ze.
T/N: I have been getting more questions lately about how long the slow-burn is going to last until they get together. For those who really want to know, you can check the drop-down spoiler.
Gu Zuo and Gongyi Tianheng’s relationship will take the next step in Volume 6 (the next volume). Not too far away now…
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