Only after a long while did he choke out the words, "I'm glad you're alive."
Tang Wulin gritted his teeth to prevent his tears from flowing again, and he replied, "It's so good to see all of you again."
Wu Zhangkong nodded in response. "Come with me."
He then strode deeper into the sanctuary.
Tang Wulin followed along behind him, but Xu Yucheng remained where he was. He merely looked on as Tang Wulin and Wu Zhangkong departed, and he heaved a faint internal sigh. No matter how hard he worked, he still couldn't compare with Tang Wulin in Wu Zhangkong's heart. This wasn't just because of how exceptional Tang Wulin was, but also because their bond extended to beyond just that between student and teacher.
Wu Zhangkong had nurtured Tang Wulin, Xie Xie, Xu Xiaoyan, and Gu Yue all the way into Shrek Academy, and all of them had proven through their abilities that they were the best.
Now that Tang Wulin was back, even though Wu Zhangkong hadn't said anything, Xu Yucheng was aware that he and Wu Siduo and the others were no longer going to be leaders of the remaining students of Shrek Academy.
Wu Zhangkong led Tang Wulin through a plaza, and Tang Wulin was greeted by the sight of a series of familiar figures, not because he actually knew all of them, but because they all wore Shrek Academy uniforms.
Wu Zhangkong continued to walk on ahead as he explained, "The academy is still split up into the inner and outer courts. The disciples you see are from the outer court, and all the rules remain the same; if they want to enter the inner court, they have to earn it through their powers, just like all of you had to in the past. Everyone is working very hard here."
Tears began to flow down Tang Wulin's face again upon hearing this. It had been so long since he had heard the familiar terms of the inner court and outer court.
The two courts still existed, and Shrek Academy had never truly fallen. Shrek academy still existed, as did its spirit!
After passing through another passageway, Tang Wulin was stunned by how large this underground sanctuary was and how many facilities there were here.
Tang Wulin followed Wu Zhangkong into a stone chamber, which was completely devoid of furniture and ornaments aside from a futon on the ground.
Wu Zhangkong turned around, and said, "This is where I cultivate."
The two of them looked at one another, and tears began to flow from Tang Wulin's eyes again while Wu Zhangkong took a deep breath to forcibly repress his emotions.
"Who else survived?" He asked in a solemn voice.
Tang Wulin sobbed, "All seven of us did, as well as Her Majesty, the Holy Spirit Douluo. The pavilion master saved our lives, but he..."
Wu Zhangkong's hands balled up into tight fists as he took a deep breath. "Don't dwell too much on the past; all that matters is that you're all alive, and you have to look toward the future. Everyone here has a responsibility to get Shrek Academy above the ground again, do you understand? Where is everyone else right now?"
Thus, Tang Wulin gave Wu Zhangkong a detailed recount of their experiences since the bombing, including how everyone was currently at different legions in a bid to improve themselves. He even revealed the existence of the Blood God Legion and the abyssal plane to Wu Zhangkong, who listened to his story with rapt focus.
After hearing about how Tang Wulin had participated in the Star Battle Net Inter-federation Competition and became the champion in both disciplines, a gentle look finally appeared in his eyes.
"All of you have done extremely well. You haven't forgotten the academy, nor the responsibility on your shoulders, and for that, I thank you on behalf of the academy."
In that instant, Tang Wulin saw a hint of vulnerability in Wu Zhangkong's eyes, but he seemed to be even more exhausted.
Indeed, just as he didn't know that Wu Zhangkong and the other were alive, Wu Zhangkong had also been oblivious to the fact that they were still alive. As such, the burden that he had carried during the past year had to be even heavier than the one on Tang Wulin's shoulders. As the final remaining teacher, one could only imagine his pain as he watched one teacher after another sacrifice themselves for the students.
"Teacher Wu, let's work hard together. We'll definitely rebuild Shrek Academy and make it more powerful than ever," Tang Wulin said in a voice that was filled with conviction
Wu Zhangkong nodded in response. "Shrek Academy has never disappeared."
Tang Wulin asked, "How is everyone right now, Teacher Wu?"
He had to understand more about the situation here. It was naturally fantastic news that Wu Zhangkong and so many of the students had survived, but this was an academy, after all, not a sect, so it would be understandable if some of the survivors had decided to abandon the sinking ship. As such, he had to find out how many people were left that were willing to pour forth their efforts into rebuilding Shrek Academy.
A hint of pride flashed through Wu Zhangkong's eyes. "Not a single person left, and every one of them voluntarily swore vows that every fiber of their beings belonged to Shrek Academy. All of us have already died when that Godslayer missile exploded, and it's Shrek Academy's final radiance that allowed us to temporarily remain in this world. Our mission is to carry the glory of Shrek and pass it down to future generations."
Tang Wulin's heart jolted upon hearing this. Not a single person had left? This meant that over 200 Shrek Academy students were willing to give their all for the academy! It was just as Wu Zhangkong had said; all of them had already died on that day and cast aside their tie with the rest of the world. They only had one future goal, which was to revive Shrek Academy and revitalize its glory.
"During the past year, everyone has been cultivating day and night. No sunlight reaches us down here, and aside from the very people who have gone out to purchase some daily necessities, the vast majority of us have never left. We are indeed lacking in resources compared to in the past, but everyone had been progressing faster than before, and all of the resources and facilities in the sanctuary are being used to their full advantage. It can be said that these kids have experienced the fastest rate of growth in their lives during the past year."
Tang Wulin's expression immediately eased slightly upon hearing this. "That really is fantastic news. You've taken a massive load off my shoulders, Teacher Wu."
Wu Zhangkong looked deep into Tang Wulin's eyes, and said, "I will always support you, but you have to remember that you are the current leader of Shrek's Seven Monsters, so you’re the true future of Shrek Academy."
Tang Wulin faltered slightly upon hearing this. "Teacher Wu..."
Wu Zhangkong waved a hand to cut him off. "I didn't make the decision to make you the leader of Shrek’s Seven Monsters; this was a decision made by the Sea God's Pavilion. Did you know that even the elders of the Sea God's Pavilion were once stunned by how fast you and the others have grown? You are the most exceptional talents to have appeared in the academy for the past millennium. At the time, all of us teachers were stunned by how lucky the academy was to have been blessed by such a strong cohort, but I realize now that this was perhaps all designed by fate. It's exactly because of the tragedy that the academy was about to face that all of you were sent to us by the heavens. It is your destiny to save Shrek Academy!"
A fervent look flashed through his eyes as he spoke, and Tang Wulin could see that the current Teacher Wu was different from his past self. It was quite clear that the destruction of Shrek Academy had impacted him severely.
"Wulin, what are your future plans?" After allowing his emotions to get the better of himself for a brief moment, Wu Zhangkong finally calmed himself back down.
Tang Wulin replied, "I'm going to accumulate more power and unite all forces that are willing to unite for our cause, then search for an opportunity to strike."
Wu Zhangkong nodded in response. "It's important not to be rash, and it's even more important not to expose the forces that currently remain in our Shrek Academy. You are all future hopes of the academy, and all of you are still very young. You're already a Soul Sage, yet you're only 21 years old. I wonder what dizzying heights you'll reach once you get to my age. I have high hopes, not just for you, but also for your friends. The 215 students and I are all doing everything in our power to contribute toward the resurgence of Shrek Academy, and perhaps in the not too distant future, we'll have over 10 Titled Douluos and even Hyper Douluos among our ranks. Hence, what I'm telling you is to take your time and ensure safety first. If you're too eager or overzealous, it'll only spell disaster."
Indeed, all of these students were students of Shrek Academy, so all of them were undoubtedly the most exceptional young talents the continent had to offer. Furthermore, they were being spurred on by the enormous responsibility on their shoulders, so their motivation for improvement was far more potent than before.
The forte of Shrek Academy lay in its ability to nurture its young talents, and that was what made it the undisputed number one academy on the continent. There were over 200 extraordinary talents who were willing to give everything they had for the academy, and it was spine-tingling to envision the powerful army that they would become.Previous Chapter Next Chapter