Chapter 33: Apology
Deng Wu was looking at all of them with the serenity of a newborn kitten. The words he had spoken came from his heart. Although what he said came off as perfectly natural to him, all the others suddenly had an unexplainable urge to vomit and laugh at the same time.
Hui Yue, who, from the youngsters in their group, knew Deng Wu the best, gaped at his friend with the corners of his eyes trembling in confusion. This boy, without a doubt the strongest student within the Riluo City Royal Academy, had forfeited a fight for the sake of sparing his handsome face from potential mutilation.
Suddenly, a laughter escaped his lips as he helplessly gave in to the comical aspect of the whole situation; within a few seconds, everyone else at the table followed suit.
“What are you laughing at?” Deng Wu said indignantly while scrunching up his brows, looking at the others with displeasure. “Do you think that our group’s beauty should get married to a scarred man? No? I didn’t think so. She needs me to stay handsome, besides, why should I partake in a tournament I cannot win either way?”
There was some truth to what Deng Wu said. As long as he did not unravel his real potential or use the high ranked martial art skill Hui Yue gave him, then he had no way of winning this tournament.
Although Deng Wu was higher ranked than Hui Yue, his Qi purity was still inferior, and while Hui Yue had no reason to hold back with some of his martial art skills, Deng Wu could not afford to deploy them. The two of them were in polar opposite situations.
Hui Yue had decided that this year would be the year where he held nothing back. He would not be satisfied until he had defeated Wang Ju Long and proven his superiority to the child-prodigy of the Wang family.
Even if some families were to be interested in Hui Yue, he did not pose any real threat to them, as he was not currently born to a family within the city. The only available information about him was that he had an erased past, meaning he had some sort of unique relationship with the City Lord.
Having a relationship with the City Lord, in turn, meant that he was already reeled in by said man’s faction; although it could cause the opposing faction to create an accident for him, it was highly unlikely with his erased past. No one could know whether it was erased for the sake of covering up a murder or for the sake of hiding a prince.
The likelihood of Hui Yue being a prince was tremendously low, but so in turn was the chance of him being a murderer, causing everyone to be extra alert when they were to deal with this mystery of a genius.
“I am pretty excited about tomorrow,” Rong Ming suddenly said, while his eyes were glistening and a big smile spread across his face, “Me and sis are in the same group, imagine if we were to be put against each other.”
While this seemed like a silly excitement for others, Hui Yue and the rest understood what Rong Ming meant.
Although Rong Ming was seeded higher than Rong Xing at the tournament, all of them had the impression that Rong Xing was actually the stronger of the two. Rong Xing was mysterious. She was almost always seen with a gentle smile, seated slightly back and observing her friends while they were conversing.
It was rare for her to partake in the conversations, but at the same time it felt as if she was a part of everything that was said.
Rong Xing was often sparring together with Rong Ming, and it was usually Rong Ming who had the upper hand, even so, no one had ever seen Rong Xing go all out in her attempt to defeat anyone else, nor had she ever seemed troubled during her sparring sessions.
The student emblem did not record which combatant spent the most of their energy, instead it recorded the winners and losers; the seeded students were ranked based on these results.
“If you are to go up against Rong Xing you have to forfeit!” Deng Wu said with terror in his voice as he looked at Rong Xing with worried eyes, “How in the world would you be able to hit a woman – and your sister, at that?!”
“You know,” Ma Kong suddenly said with his deep, calm voice, “I think Rong Xing prefers a scarred man who has the courage to face his opponents over a handsome playboy who flees at the thought of injury.”
This was said with a slight smirk on his face; it was clear that he enjoyed riling up Deng Wu. As soon as the words had been said, Deng Wu’s eyes widened in dread and he glanced at Rong Xing tentatively.
Her smile was the exact same as before, but her eyes were shining in a different light. How could she not know that Ma Kong was trying to rile up Deng Wu?
“It is true,” she said as she pouted her red lips slightly. “If you cannot face your opponents how are you to protect me in the future?”
Tears welled up within Deng Wu’s eyes as he looked at Rong Xing. A small puppy would not have managed to look more pitiful than the black-eyed youth did at that moment.
“Really?” He asked with a low and pitiful voice, causing Hui Yue to burst out laughing. His laughter was quickly followed by everyone else. Within few seconds, Deng Wu lost his devastated expression and replaced it with a self-assured smile.
“It’s fine, even if she decides not to fall for me just yet,” Deng Wu said, relaxed, as he took a large gulp of his beer, “she will realize how awesome I am one day.”
Following that, the talk returned to discussing the different opponents they could potentially face the following day, but everyone assured each other that, unlike Deng Wu, they would all do their utmost to proceed to the top eight at least.
During the entirety of the conversation, Hui Yue could not help but keep Deng Wu under his scrutiny, a twinkle in his eyes evident. This man had so many secrets, but the same time he was so open about his feelings. Hui Yue had gotten to know Deng Wu quite well through the past half a year, as none of them kept any secrets from the other. He could easily see that the black-haired youth truly cared for the ice-queen Rong Xing.
Rong Ming and Rong Xing were the first to leave. Both seemed to be tempted to return to their courtyards to have a quick spar, preparing for their matches the following day. After the departure of the Rong twins, Ma Kong decided to go to the infirmary to get something against his headache and Gao Yan followed him.
“Who do you think will win?” Deng Wu asked with a cheeky smile as he looked at the many students and visitors who were rushing by at the arena mountain top.
“Me,” Hui Yue answered with no hesitation within his voice. He was ready to let everything apart from Lan Feng be known to the outside world, as long as he got to have a rematch with Wang Ju Long. That was how much he wished for this fight, and also how much he respected his rival.
“Right,” Deng Wu smiled as such an austere reply came from what was but a young child, ironically. A chuckle escaped his lips, as he thought back to the first time they met and he had tried chatting him up for the fun of it.
“You know, Rong Xing will most likely choose me,” Hui Yue said with a devilish gleam evident within his eyes. “She’ve even seen me naked before, she ought to take responsibility.”
After finishing the sentence, Hui Yue had rushed to his feet and was already running towards his own courtyard, leaving behind a shocked and dumbfounded Deng Wu.
“YOU LITTLE SCOUNDREL!” roared throughout the entire mountaintop, causing Hui Yue’s smile to increase along with his speed; he activated velocity flow and turned into a beam of light, aiming for his home.
Deng Wu did not catch up before he reached the courtyard and saw a smiling Hui Yue standing outside the gates, looking at him as if he was greatly entertained.
“You little bastard,” Deng Wu gasped, leaning against the chilled courtyard wall as he slowly allowed his breath to steady. Trying to follow Velocity Flow was simply impossible with his suppressed cultivation base.
“What was all that about?” He asked indignantly, and a slight uncertainty had appeared within his eyes, as if he was worried about the answer he was asking for.
“When I was younger, Rong Xing walked in on me bathing,” Hui Yue said truthfully. “She even stayed for a bit to look at everything before telling me I’m a boy.”
Hearing this made Deng Wu gape before he started mumbling, “my innocent Rong Xing. My innocent queen…. Is she really not innocent?”
Laughter rang through the chilled air as Hui Yue saw the depressed expression on Deng Wu’s face.
“Relax,” he laughed, “I was around five or six years old back then. It is as if you look after a child.”
“But you have never been a child,” Deng Wu retorted, looking at him with a complicated expression, “you were born a monster.”
“Ouch,” Hui Yue said, but his face did not show any sign of pain, contradicting his words, “that stung. Of course I was a child. A very long time ago.”
Deng Wu looked at Hui Yue for some time, contemplating whether or not he wished to know the answer to a specific question, but eventually he could no longer hold back and asked: “Do you like Rong Xing?” His face was filled with dread and worry, but a small smile appeared on Hui Yue’s face.
“No,” Hui Yue answered, a profound sadness appearing within his eyes. “I will only love one woman in this life.”
This was a promise of a lifetime. A promise which seemed to have lasted for an eternity waiting to be fulfilled. Sadness was emitting from Hui Yue, and once again this child in front of Deng Wu seemed ancient.
Deng Wu was scared, taking a few steps back. This was not the beast hidden within that small body; this was the soul of Hui Yue, the soul which was supposed to be only ten years of age.
Hui Yue smiled wryly as he felt the tense atmosphere and shook his head, “I’ll tell you some day,” he promised as he slipped into the courtyard, leaving Deng Wu outside.
Deng Wu should have been thrilled upon hearing that Hui Yue was not interested in Rong Xing; however, the profound sadness had spread to Deng Wu, and instead this black-haired playboy felt depressed and slightly guilty for bringing up the subject.
Inside the courtyard, Hui Yue took a few deep breaths before he steeled his mind once again.
‘Sorry.’ A quiet voice suddenly sounded from within Hui Yue, causing the boy to raise a brow in surprise.
‘Why are you sorry?’ he curiously asked, although he had a good idea as to what was going on. This soul fusion had caused their thoughts to sometimes intervene with each other.
The sadness emanating from Hui Yue had spread to the phoenix and caused him to finally open up.
‘Ten years ago, I said that I didn’t cause your death, but I did,’ Lan Feng said, but before Hui Yue had the time to reply, he horridly continued.
‘When you picked up the hairpin, there was a connection I had not felt for all those years of endless waiting in your world. When I saw that girl and felt your connection to her, I just knew you were going to give me away. I really thought I had no choice. I am sorry for tricking you for all these years, but I had to do it. I’m sorry.’