Chapter 13: Awaking to Reality
When Su Chen appeared in front of Wang Doushan’s door, asking him to accompany him for a drink, Wang Doushan’s jaw almost fell to the ground.
“You aren’t locked in your room doing some experiment? You want to have a drink? What’s wrong!?” Wang Doushan was in disbelief.
“Are you coming or not?” Su Chen asked crankily.
“Of course I’m coming! How could I leave you alone?” Wang Doushan replied, pounding his chest.
Wine was not allowed inside the Hidden Dragon Institute, but right outside was a bustling street with wine bars left and right. It was specifically set up to cater to the needs of the students.
Many of the Institute’s students would come here in their free time to spend their excess energy and money.
Su Chen and Wang Doushan carelessly chose a bar and found a table to sit at.
Su Chen asked for a large jug of knife-burning liquor. He filled the bowl to the brim and downed it in a gulp. His eyes reddened.
“Brother, even if you’re unhappy there’s no need to drink like this. Tell me, why are you in such a foul mood?” Wang Doushan asked, patting Su Chen’s shoulder.
Su Chen placed the bowl down and replied, “When I was 12, I encountered an old man. That old man took my vision. It wasn’t until four years later that I regained it......”
Save for some sensitive secrets, Su Chen told Wang Doushan his entire life story.
He spoke about how he was constantly engaged in a battle of wits and bravery with his own clan, how he vied for power in the Scarlet Mountain Range, how he dealt with the Lin Clan, and how he charged through the Three Mountains Region competition......
He spoke a lot, in great detail, and very slowly.
Wang Doushan listened attentively.
The understanding between friends often originated from such circumstances, where all of the resentment, sorrow, frustration, disappointment - feelings from the bottom of one’s heart - would spill out under the influence of a few bowls of wine. The opposite could also be true - when a person opened their heart to you, that implied they already viewed you as a good friend.
Although Wang Doushan was fat, he was in no way stupid. Su Chen was very cognizant of this fact.
Wang Doushan listened very attentively, occasionally inserting a few well-timed sentences.
“I defeated my Second Uncle, my Fourth Aunt, Lin Yemao, countless contenders during the Three Mountain Region exam, and I even created the Erupting Firebird, an Origin Skill comparable to a Bloodline Origin Skill. I thought I was extraordinary. I wasn’t afraid of anyone. Even if they were more powerful than me, I believed it to be only temporary. I believed I would defeat them regardless of whether they were from a Bloodline Nobility Clan or some other background.”
Su Chen spoke very seriously, his tone lowered and his gaze deep.
He was extremely self-confident in the past. His meek, modest exterior covered up a heart that showed disdain for the entire world.
He was confident he could resolve any difficulty facing him, confident he could surpass any opponent.
Wang Doushan began to understand.
He said, “So you ran into an opponent you believe you have no way of surpassing?”
“It’s probably more accurate to say he caused me to realize my own ignorance, foolishness, and arrogance,” Su Chen bitterly laughed, shaking his head. “He helped me realize the only reason I could win was not because I was strong, but because my opponents were weak.”
“Cough, cough.” Wang Doushan coughed, slightly perturbed.
No matter what, Su Chen was still his friend, and also a strong cultivator.
If Su Chen was ignorant and foolish, what was he?
“What happened, exactly?”
Su Chen finally talked about his attempt to become Shi Kaihuang’s disciple.
“Shi Kaihuang? You want him to be your personal instructor?” Wang Doushan’s eyes were about to pop out of their sockets.
“You know him?”
“Of course! That old man is the most stubborn individual in the entire Hidden Dragon Institute. He’s been here for about 50 years, yet he hasn’t accepted a single disciple. If it weren’t for the fact he is supported by the head of the Institute, he would’ve been chased out a long time ago. Isn’t it pretty normal to have been turned down by him?” Wang Doushan laughed.
“He’s that stubborn?” Su Chen was shocked.
The information Su Chen had gathered was incomplete. He didn’t know Shi Kaihuang was such a person. No wonder he had been so disdainful.
Su Chen learned from Wang Doushan that Shi Kaihuang was a prodigy of the Hidden Dragon Institute. He hadn’t accepted a single student in 50 years, and he hadn’t taught a single class. He spent all his time in his own yard, performing research.
According to the Hidden Dragon Institute’s normal procedure, an irresponsible personal instructor like him should’ve been kicked out of the Institute a long time ago. But with the Institute head’s backing, he had ignored the complaints from students and fellow personal instructors and minded his own business for the past 50 years.
“Is he easier to get along with now?” Wang Doushan laughed.
Su Chen thought for a moment, then laughed and shook his head. “Even so, when he first scolded me, he was absolutely right. In the past few years, my journey truly has been too smooth. The reason why I could dominate in my clan was ultimately a matter of bloodline, and no one was willing to make a decisive move. The reason why I could defeat my enemies was just because no dragons amongst men could possibly exist in a remote location like Northface City. I was just deluded like a little child. But if I keep the same attitude in this kind of place, I’ll suffer for it sooner or later. No matter what kind of person he is, he was completely right in scolding me.”
“So what?” Wang Doushan expressed his dissatisfaction. “He’s still a personal instructor. What kind of person is a personal instructor supposed to be? If he didn’t have the ability to scold you, what right would he have to instruct you?”
Su Chen’s eyes lit up. He smacked the table and said, “You’re absolutely right! Since he was able to dispel any delusions I had about myself, he naturally has the ability to teach someone like me. If he was able to lecture me twice in a row, that means he’s the most suitable person to be my personal instructor!”
Wang Doushan was shocked. “You haven’t given up yet? He doesn’t accept any students.”
“So what?” Su Chen laughed. “I am someone who aspires to fight for the rise to preeminence of the human race, breaking through any bloodline restrictions. If I can’t even force a stubborn old man to make an exception, what right do I have to try and realize such a dream? Perhaps......”
Su Chen drew out his words. “Perhaps that’s exactly why he doesn’t accept any disciples? It’s not that he doesn’t want to accept any disciples, but he wants to find a disciple who isn’t afraid of difficulties and will press through them. Unfortunately, not a single person was able to do just that.”
“He’s been in the Hidden Dragon Institute for 50 years. There’s no way others haven’t tried to move him, but they all failed.”
“There were countless before me who shared my dream for the prosperity of the human race, and fought for it, giving their lives to pursue this dream. All he is is a fortress that hasn’t been cracked open yet. It’s worth a shot,” Su Chen replied.
Su Chen finally recovered from the previous blows to his self-esteem. He was unruffled and filled with self-confidence and fighting spirit.
In that instant, Shi Kaihuang became just another difficult obstacle in his path.
Wang Doushan was in awe of Su Chen’s sudden indomitable spirit. He was speechless for a while. In the end, all he could muster was a thumbs-up. “You’ve completely convinced me!”
“Since you’re convinced, let’s go.” Su Chen took out some money to pay their tab.
Wang Doushan was surprised. “Let’s go? Go where? We only had our first drink.”
“I don’t think we’ll be able to drink tonight,” Su Chen sighed. “Ever since we left the Hidden Dragon Institute, someone has been secretly following us. I’m guessing the person who is looking for trouble is probably very close. If we don’t leave now, we might not have an opportunity to later.”
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