Chapter 602 - Promise

Chapter 602 - Promise

Apart from Xu Lizhi, all of the students from Shrek Academy were to participate in the one-on-one duels. They would form four teams for the two-on-twos, and Xu Lizhi would act as a backup member for the team battle. Essentially all of them were forced to compete.

“I don’t want to be with him,” Gu Yue said, pointing her chin at Tang Wulin.

The matter of who teamed up with who was normally a foregone conclusion, but today was different. Gu Yue refused to fight. 

Elder Cai frowned. “Let me remind you that you are not competing in the tournament for yourself alone. You are representing Shrek Academy as well. If that is not enough, this tournament is also a trial. You will be graded on your performance in Star Luo. If you don’t compete, then you won’t be considered for the Shrek Seven Monsters, and possibly even admittance to the inner court.” 

“That’s fine,” Gu Yue said.

“Gu Yue, are you crazy?” Tang Wulin muttered hastily, pulling at her arm. “Why are you refusing to compete?”

Gu Yue shook her head at him. “I don’t feel like it.” Then she turned around and left Elder Cai’s room. 

“Is she still jealous?” Xie Xie cast a furtive glance at Tang Wulin. “If that’s the case, this is…”  

“Elder Cai, I’m sorry about this. I’ll try to change her mind,” Tang Wulin said, then rushed out after Gu Yue.

Back in her room, Gu Yue stood in front of her window, silently staring out into the distance. The door to her room was left slightly open as if she had anticipated Tang Wulin coming after her. Through that open door, Tang Wulin entered, taking long strides to reach Gu Yue in an instant. 

“Just what are you thinking?” he demanded. “Why are you refusing to compete?”

Gu Yue continued looking out the window. “Why do I have to compete?” 

“I know you’re frustrated with me, but please, stop using this to vent.” Tang Wulin took her by the hand. “I’ll go with you to explain things to Elder Cai. Then we can compete together. Or do you not actually want to enter the inner court? To become one of the next Shrek Seven Monsters?”

“Do you really think I could be one of the Shrek Seven Monsters?” Gu Yue said, turning to face Tang Wulin. “I’m a member of the Spirit Pagoda, remember? Shrek doesn’t have as harmonious of a relationship with Spirit Pagoda as you might think. Well, I’m sure you didn’t know that.”

Tang Wulin was taken aback. “You’re choosing the Spirit Pagoda?”

“I decided long ago, back when Elder Cai made things difficult for us,” she answered. “The Spirit Pagoda has given me many things that Shrek cannot. It is impossible for me to become one of the Shrek Seven Monsters.” 

Tang Wulin stared at her in disbelief, barely managing to blink his eyes a scant few times. This had completely blindsided him. Words formed at his lips, but they came out as incoherent stuttering. He wanted to argue, he really did, but he simply didn’t know how he could persuade her. They had spent years with one another. He knew just how stubborn she could be. How stubborn she was. Once she came to a decision, it would take nothing short of a miracle to change her mind. 

Then Tang Wulin blurted, “Don’t you want to be with me?”

A shiver ran down Gu Yue’s spine, a myriad of emotions flashing through her eyes. 

“I-I mean cultivate!” Tang Wulin stammered meekly. “ Don’t you want to cultivate together with me.” 

Gu Yue gazed at him, eyes ablaze. “You really want me to compete?” 

“Of course!” Tang Wulin nodded without hesitation. “We’re partners.”

Gu Yue narrowed her eyes. “Fine. I’ll compete in the two-on-two competition with you. That’s it. I won’t compete in the one-on-ones or the team battles. I won’t be involved in them in any way.” 

Joy and anxiety warred in Tang Wulin’s heart. Sure, he was happy to fight alongside her in the two-on-two competition, but the rest of what she said drew a divide between her and the rest of the team, erected a barrier between them. He felt nothing but worry for what the future might bring. It was a feeling he hated. 

“Gu Yue…” Tang Wulin began.

“You can go now,” she replied softly. “I want some peace.”

“Alright,” Tang Wulin eventually said. He knew it was impossible to control Gu Yue’s mood, so he settled for what he got. 

She had agreed to fight alongside him in the two-on-two competition. 

Tang Wulin left Gu Yue’s room. He didn’t see her for the rest of the day. This left him in such low spirits that he ate half as much as usual for his meals. He wanted to go see Gu Yue once more, to try and convince her again, but he didn’t even know what he would say. 

The next day, Continental Young Elites Tournament began, drawing competitors and spectators from all over the continent. The tournament was held in the Grand Star Luo Stadium. Due to the high number of competitors, all participants were separated into different groups for the preliminary contests. For the sake of speeding things along, the preliminary contests were instant eliminations. A single loss and they were eliminated from the tournament. Luck would undoubtedly play a major part in these opening rounds. However, luck was a part of someone’s strength. 

Fairness was subjective. Just as Elder Cai said before, absolute fairness did not exist in this world. If Tang Wulin wanted fairness to exist, if he wanted to create and control it, he had to rely on his own strength. 

The first preliminary matches to take place were for the one-on-one duels. This was the part of the tournament that everyone was couldn’t wait to see. These were the matches that had the most at stake. 

Inside the Grand Star Luo Stadium, fifty stages were set up for the preliminary matches. Matches were to be held in a set order, with the next beginning as soon as the previous ended. They would cycle through each match until the preliminaries were finished. Every competitor was assigned an electronic number badge. The badge contained detailed information about the competitor and their match times. If they missed any of their matches, they would be instantly eliminated. 

The Continental Young Elites Tournament didn’t start with an opening ceremony. There were simply too many competitors to hold one. As such, the ceremony was scheduled for after the preliminaries. 

The Grand Star Luo Stadium could accommodate three hundred thousand people. It was the largest stadium, not just in Star Luo City, but the entire continent. Furthermore, it was also equipped with the most cutting-edge technology. Tickets had been sold out long before the tournament began. Although the tickets were all sold out, there was also a continent-wide live broadcast. However, the broadcast was pay-per-view. Thanks to this, as well as the registration fee paid by thousands of competitors, the Star Luo Empire easily recouped the costs of hosting such a grand tournament. The Empire had long ago learned the best ways to squeeze all the profits from this tournament. 

Countless ordinary citizens yearned to be soul masters. Unfortunately, there was no overcoming what they were born with. For them, watching this tournament was the next best thing. For them, this was a festival. People all throughout the continent were giddy with excitement to witness the rise of the stars of the next generation. 

Thanks to the strings that had been pulled to register the Shrek Academy students, their matches were spread out over a few days. 

Tang Wulin drew number 333, an easy number to remember, one that bore no ill omens. His match was on the first day. Interestingly enough, apart from Gu Yue who opted out of participating, everyone else’s matches were on the second and third day. They were all staggered. 

“Are you still upset I didn’t participate?” Gu Yue asked Tang Wulin. 

Tang Wulin shook his head. “I’m not mad about it. I just feel like you’re drifting further and further away. At this rate, It feels like you might leave us for good. I don’t like that.” 

Gu Yue stared at him. “I’m sorry, but all good things must come to an end. No matter how much we try to fight it, we will have to grow up and one day part ways.” 

“Why do we have to part ways?” Tang Wulin asked.

“Maybe…” Gu Yue met his eyes for a moment. Then she looked away. “Maybe we won’t have to. We’ll see. And besides, aren’t I going to compete with you later?” 

“But we can still cultivate together for many more years!” Tang Wulin grumbled. “Even if you’re a member of the Spirit Pagoda, Shrek Academy is just a school! You can graduate, then you can go back to the Spirit Pagoda.” 

A pang of pain flared up in Gu Yue’s heart. She grabbed Tang Wulin’s hand and squeezed it. “I’ll at least enter the inner court with you, alright? I promise.” 

Tang Wulin blinked at her a few times, then burst with joy. “You better keep that promise!” 

Gu Yue nodded, a thin smile forming on her lips. “Count on it.” 

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