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“His soul power should've exceeded Rank 50 by now. You have to realize that he's been studying in the outer courtyard this whole time, and that he doesn't have the advantage of twin martial souls like w.a.n.g Dong does. At his current rate of progression, he'll definitely breach Rank 60 within the next two years. Among Shrek's Seven Monsters, even Nannan and Xiao Xiao might not be as fast as him.”
Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “I'm slower too.”
Xu Sans.h.i.+ quickly snapped back, “You're a freak, how could you be the same as the others? You shouldn't talk about yourself like that. Even though I don't think that Dai Huabin is stronger than you, his potential and talent are possibly superior to senior Dai Yueheng's. You should watch out in case he tries to stir up trouble with you tomorrow, as it's related to a major turning point in your life.”
Huo Yuhao laughed and said, “Third senior brother, you sound like you're trying to say that I'll definitely find the person that I like tomorrow."
Xu Sans.h.i.+ laughed along with him and said, “You'll find her as long as you're not a stupid fool.”
Even though Huo Yuhao was feeling a little distressed again, he could still clearly feel Xu Sans.h.i.+'s concern.
“Come, let's have a few more drinks. It's rare for the academy to give us wine, and pretty good wine at that. This brew is probably at least ten years old, and has been oxidized beforehand. These two barrels are quite expensive! Look at Bei Bei, that useless fella.”
Bei Bei was currently chatting with He Caitou on the other side. They were both sitting right next to a barrel of wine as if they were guarding it, and Bei Bei was downing wine very quickly—he'd finish his gla.s.s in two or three mouthfuls before refilling it and continuing. He Caitou was quite large, but even he wasn't drinking as fast as Bei Bei.
Xu Sans.h.i.+'s frowned slightly and said, “Bei Bei has been quite depressed these past two years.”
Huo Yuhao nodded his head slightly; of course he knew what Xu Sans.h.i.+ was trying to say.
Xu Sans.h.i.+ heaved a sigh and said, “It's so difficult to find a single person in this wide, vast world of ours. Even though we all know that something has probably happened to Xiao Ya, he refuses to believe it. I've already seen him drinking by himself late into the night several times. He looks tough on the surface, but his heart is actually extremely fragile; Xiao Ya is just too important to him.”
Huo Yuhao gradually clenched his fists. He lowered his voice and said, “Teacher Xiao Ya will be alright.”
Xu Sans.h.i.+ nodded and said, “We'll all pray for her.”
They walked up to Bei Bei and He Caitou after they'd finished speaking. Bei Bei's eyes were already covered with layer of haziness, and he smiled when he saw Huo Yuhao. He patted Huo Yuhao lightly on the shoulder and then finished the cup of wine he was holding with a single gulp. “Yuhao, you have to remember my words: Treasure the people around you.
“You will only truly feel the impact of their loss in your bones when you've actually lost them. I won't drink anymore; I don't want you to see my fragile side. I'm leaving!” He waved to the three of them once he'd finished and then turned to walk away, staggering from side to side as he did so.
Huo Yuhao wanted to chase after him, but Xu Sans.h.i.+ held him back and said, “Don't. Nothing that we say to him will be as good as letting him have some alone time. All that we can say has been said; he doesn't want to get drunk and collapse before us, which means that he's trying to protect his last ounce of dignity.”
Xu Sans.h.i.+ had known Bei Bei longer than everyone else present, thus he was undoubtedly the one that understood him best.
Huo Yuhao turned back around; he truly didn't wish to see his eldest senior brother like this. As the circles around his eyes began to turn red, he thought, Is this love? If the girl that I like were to suddenly leave my side one day, would I become like him?
Bei Bei's loneliness affected everyone's mood in the end, and the Singles Night ended like that. Huo Yuhao didn't stay with his senior brothers, as his dorm on Sea G.o.d's Island had been a.s.signed to someone else. As such, he could only stay in the Sea G.o.d's Pavilion for now.
He sauntered towards the Sea G.o.d's Pavilion. However, when he saw the towering Golden Tree, tears began to involuntarily trickle down his cheeks. He wasn't just feeling sad for Bei Bei—coming back here made him think about Elder Mu, who'd pa.s.sed away.
He knelt on the ground in the direction of the Sea G.o.d's Pavilion, and kowtowed towards the tall ancient tree three times in a row.
“I'm home, teacher. I miss you so much.” Huo Yuhao didn't even manage to finish his sentence before beginning to sob uncontrollably.
This place was his real home; only here could he feel completely relaxed. Two and a half years had gone by, and he'd finally been able to see the Sea G.o.d's Island once more. He was finally able to see the Sea G.o.d's Pavilion and Golden Tree again.
Huo Yuhao cried for a good fifteen minutes, as if he was releasing all the pent-up emotions that he'd acc.u.mulated over the past two and a half years.
Elder Mu was gone, Electrolux's divine sense had dissipated into nothingness, Teacher Xiao Ya was missing, and Ma Xiaotao had vanished. These were all people he was extremely close to.
He had been extraordinarily tough on himself back in the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. He'd rarely slept properly; most nights had been spent drawing blueprints or cultivating.
More than two years had gone by since he left. Huo Yuhao had grown up, and was now much more mature. But no matter what, he was still only seventeen years old. Most people at his age were still in their adolescence, and their mentalities were still immature such that they still had to rely on their parents. And yet, Huo Yuhao had been carrying so much more on his shoulders all by himself.
Elder Xuan quietly stood a ways away from Huo Yuhao, raising the wine bottle in his hands from time to time to take a sip. However, he didn't step forward to console Huo Yuhao, as an emotional catharsis such as this wasn't exactly a bad thing for him. Instead, this was a chance for Huo Yuhao to finally release his pent-up emotions.
Elder Mu, Elder Mu… you took in two exceptional disciples during your final years!
Elder Xuan's eyes were full of gratification.
In the Sea G.o.d's Pavilion not far from him, a pair of clear yet icy-blue eyes were staring at Huo Yuhao, who was still bawling on the ground. This person wanted to dash out and comfort Huo Yuhao, but the two people beside this person held them back.
“Do you want to waste all of your past efforts?”
“Control yourself. Crying isn't a bad thing for him. Men shed tears too, but they don't come easily. I think that there's too much pressure on his shoulders.”
“But, he's in so much pain, and his cries are so sorrowful. I…”
“Stop looking. Your tears are coming out too. Everything will be alright tomorrow. Look, Elder Xuan is here. He'll be fine. He's a powerful Soul King after all, will crying really do him any harm?”
Huo Yuhao cried until even he felt a bit dizzy and disoriented. He didn't know when he returned to the Sea G.o.d's Pavilion, and couldn't remember how he'd entered his room. He simply collapsed onto his bed and fell asleep the moment that he entered the room.
Pale golden rays cascaded in through the walls of Huo Yuhao's room. They became specks of golden light that descended onto his body; it was as if they were warmly and gently caressing and comforting him.
Huo Yuhao was still in dreamland, but he began to feel warm. His tightly knit eyebrows gradually relaxed, and he began to sleep even more soundly.
When he woke up from his deep sleep, his entire body felt languid and relaxed, and he felt an unspeakable amount of comfort and contentment. His fatigue had completely disappeared, which was in stark contrast to his lethargic sleep back at the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy.
“I'm home.” He lay back down on the bed and closed his eyes. The corner of his mouth curled into a faint smile—the feeling of being home was just too good.
He hugged his blanket that was filled with the smell of sunlight and turned on his side, seeming to feel even more comfortable. Sunlight was already flooding into the room, but he didn't want to get up at all.
He continued to doze. By the time he woke up, he felt a wave of freshness and coolness. There was just one thing that didn't feel comfortable—his stomach.
Why am I so hungry?
He quickly sat up on the bed, and then rubbed his sleepy eyes and dragged himself to the window to check the sky outside. Just this one look gave him a shock. The sun is leaning towards the west! Midday has already pa.s.sed?! Did I really sleep that long?
The first thought that came to mind was that he hadn't even cultivated his Purple Demon Eyes. However, it didn't seem like there was much to do today anyway.
I've finally returned home. I should just rest for a day.
He was in exceptional spirits after a good night's sleep, and left the room after changing his clothes.
The Sea G.o.d's Pavilion never lacked food; Huo Yuhao quickly found some fruit and other light refreshments before he proceeded towards the Sea G.o.d's Island's dormitory area. He wanted to find his senior brothers and find out what today's arrangement were.
Right—there's that Sea G.o.d's Fate thing tonight! Huo Yuhao slapped himself on the forehead. He'd slept so long that his mind had become a little blurry and had nearly forgotten about it.
I'm sure eldest senior brother will tell me the rules now.
When he arrived at Bei Bei's dorm room, both Xu Sans.h.i.+ and He Caitou were already there.
The inner courtyard's living conditions were a lot better than the students in the outer courtyard; several two-story buildings had been erected unevenly on the Sea G.o.d's Island, each of which could host two students. Bei Bei and Xu Sans.h.i.+ naturally took one of these buildings, while He Caitou's situation was similar to Huo Yuhao's in that he had nowhere to go. However, he couldn't sleep in the Sea G.o.d's Pavilion, thus he'd decided to sleep at Bei Bei and Xu Sans.h.i.+'s place. The place was s.p.a.cious anyway—housing an extra person wasn't a problem.
“Eldest senior brother, second senior brother, third senior brother.” Huo Yuhao greeted his senior brothers respectively.
“You didn't just wake up, did you, little junior brother?” Bei Bei asked with a smile on his face. He seemed to have recovered from last night. The dejection and moodiness from the previous day was completely gone.
Huo Yuhao was a little embarra.s.sed as he replied, “Yeah, I just woke up. I haven't had such a comfortable sleep in a long time. Maybe it's because I'm home, but I felt much more relaxed in my sleep.”
He Caitou nodded his head as if he related deeply to this comment and said, “I had that feeling as well—last night's sleep was great. Sleeping is so much more comfortable than meditation!”
Xu Sans.h.i.+ rolled his eyes and said, “You had a great comfortable sleep, but the two of us sure suffered. Your snoring was so loud that we thought the ceiling was going to collapse.”
Bei Bei heaved a faint sigh and said, “I have to thank Caitou after all. At least I temporarily forgot about Xiao Ya amidst his thunderous snoring.”
“I… are you two even human? Was it that bad?” He Caitou angrily exclaimed.
“Yes!” Bei Bei and Xu Sans.h.i.+ nodded in unison. It was clear that the two of them had truly suffered a lot last night…
Huo Yuhao tried to hold back his laughter from the side. The days he spent with his senior brothers were always greatly pleasing and gratifying.