Tang Wulin was quite befuddled. "I didn't do anything! I was just meditating, and I have no idea what happened after that." He was telling the truth; he had no idea what had happened, and as for what he had experienced just now, he wasn't planning to disclose those details.
"Run us through what you've been doing just now," Old Demon Scourge prompted.
A cold smile appeared on Tang Wulin's face. "Release me and my friends, and I'll consider telling you."
All of the old demons faltered upon hearing this, and the rotund old man flared up with rage. "Have you gone insane, you little bastard? Don't you know you should respect your elders?"
Tang Wulin chuckled in response. "Respect my elders? If I'm not mistaken, you're Old Demon Sloth, right?"
All of the old demons were stunned to hear this, and their expressions changed slightly as they appraised Tang Wulin.
Old Demon Sloth wore an incredulous look as he asked, "How did you know?"
Tang Wulin smiled, and replied, "I guessed, and it looks like I guessed right! It's all thanks to your teachings that I've managed to deduce everything! Let me break this down for you all; after enduring Old Demon Desire's trial, I'd endured the worst of the torture that was being inflicted on me. After that, you told me that you were once Shrek's Seven Monsters. I wasn't entirely convinced by that, but at the very least, you've disclosed one piece of information to me, which is that there should be seven of you. Six of you have already become old demons, so the other one must've also suffered the same fate."
Tang Wulin turned to the rotund old man, and continued, "There were five demons who tortured us, and you're the sixth one, but you refused to tell me your name, so I was quite suspicious of you from the get-go. However, the story you told made complete sense, and from my deduction, I could tell that the story was most likely true; not only were you testing us, you were also nurturing us. During the next few months, I became even more convinced by this notion as you began to teach me all types of things, and I really did learn a lot. However, I never let down my guard even for a split second.
"The first five demons all derived joy from torturing us; is the sixth demon supposed to be a saint? Even right before I went into meditation, I couldn't make up my mind about everything. After all, you've all been so good to me for the past few months that my animosity toward you all has basically been completely wiped away. That is, until I opened my eyes and saw seven of you. I was right in that there were indeed seven of you in total, and in that case, an alternative explanation has arisen for everything that you, Old Demon Sloth, have been doing; you've been luring me into complacency.
"You were all genuinely bestowing knowledge upon me, and the story you told was also true, so the only issue left is your identity. You're Old Demon Sloth because everything you did was working toward luring me into a false sense of security. After I learned everything and was given the best living conditions I could imagine, all of the exhaustion that I'd accumulated during the past year would undoubtedly catch up to me, and I would inevitably become complacent. You did all of this so I would drop my guard and become lazy. Perhaps you wanted to see whether I would still have the will to continue cultivating under such conditions, isn't that right, Senior Sloth?"
All of the old demons wore peculiar expressions upon hearing his analysis, and of course, Old Demon Sloth was the most appalled among all of them.
"This is impossible! I could clearly sense that you'd completely relaxed and lowered your guard. After a year of torture and learning, even the most mentally resolute person can't continue to remain calm and objective," Old Demon Sloth countered in an indignant manner.
Tang Wulin shrugged in response. "You're right, I did completely relax at the time because my mind would've been broken had I not allowed myself to relax. However, I wasn't worried in the slightest that I would embrace laziness and lose my will to improve myself because there's something in my heart that's constantly spurring me on."
Old Demon Sloth faltered upon hearing this. "What is it?"
Tang Wulin turned to Old Demon Desire, and said, "Senior Desire should know the answer to that question; it's love! For the person I love, I have to become more powerful so I can possess the ability to protect her. Hence, I can rest, but only on the condition that it'll benefit my future cultivation. Hence, I began to meditate, and it looks like I was pretty much spot on with my deductions. I have to thank all of you for training and educating me for the past year. Now then, what trial do you have for me, Senior."
Tang Wulin turned to the new demon he'd never seen before with a faint smile on his face.
The old man smiled and began to applaud him. "Fantastic! The academy hasn't placed their hopes on the wrong people; looks like our Shrek Academy will be producing another freakish prodigy! I'm extremely elated to see this. My name is Greed, you may refer to me as Old Demon Greed."
Old Demon Greed! As expected, there were seven old demons, and just as Tang Wulin had deduced, each of them represented one of the seven cardinal sins.
"What kind of trial do you have for me?" Tang Wulin asked.
Old Demon Greed smiled, and replied, "There's no need for that; you've already passed. Your mindset and intelligence are unmatched, so my trial would simply be pointless to you. Your demonic island military training is over; congratulations on being our most exceptional trainee in at least the past 500 years."
Tang Wulin didn't bother to ask who had performed better than him over 500 years ago, and he became a lot more relaxed upon hearing this.
A serious expression then appeared on Old Demon Greed's face as he continued, "However, you have to tell us what happened to you that triggered both a Life Tide and Destruction Tide at the same time. Back when only the Life Tide had appeared, we were only surprised, but after the Destruction Tide also appeared at the same time, we knew that something special was going on. This kind of change could affect this entire cluster of demonic islands, so we need to know the truth."
Tang Wulin sighed, "I'm sorry, Senior; due to the fantastic training all of you have provided me with, the first lesson that I learned is to not easily trust others. Hence, I still can't figure out whether you're lying to me or not, so I can't tell you anything."
All of the old demons were completely speechless upon hearing this. They felt as if they'd shot themselves in the foot.
Old Demon Scourge asked, "What do we have to do for you to tell us?"
Tang Wulin replied, "I'll reveal everything in the instant that my friends and I are about to leave this place. To be honest, I don't even know whether I'm in reality or in a dream right now because there are too many things here that aren't real."
Old Demon Nightmare raised an eyebrow upon hearing this. "As expected, you really have caught on. In that case, I'll rouse you from your dream first."
He waved a hand toward Tang Wulin as he spoke, and a wave of dizziness swept past, following which everything quickly transformed. The treehouse disappeared along with the beautiful scenery in the distance, and when he recovered from the rush of dizziness, he found himself standing on the spot in the valley where he'd first fallen unconscious around a year ago. His friends were all lying nearby, and they were all doing different things. Some were leaping and running, and some were seated with their legs crossed. All of them wore different expressions on their faces and seemed to be undertaking different tasks.
"Are they all hallucinating?" Tang Wulin asked in a surprised manner.
Old Demon Nightmare replied in a cryptic manner, "What is reality and what is illusion?"Previous Chapter Next Chapter