Chapter 52 – Conflict
“What now?” The less privileged students in the classroom had their eyes set on Ye Wei, some of them were happy for him, but most of them were rejoicing when they heard of his misfortune and then were jealous of his recent fame.
Ye Wei was the punching bag of junior class three, whoever was having a bad day would lash out at him verbally and sometimes even physically. Being at the bottom of the class, that kind of bullying was not justified, but it was common; his classmates would look the other way and talk about it during breaks.
Who would have thought that this one star Student had the potential to become a Runemaster? Some of Ye Wei’s classmates were happy that he finally got out of the toxic cycle of being bullied while the others were envious that Lin Zi Yan was on his side since he showcased his newfound talent. Some people can’t be happy about the good fortune of others.
The rest just liked the drama. They looked forward to what the tutor had to say about how Ye Wei skipped school for three days in a row, and if Du Ming Ze was going to continue bullying him now that school was starting again.
At this time, only the upper class and martial families had heard about what happened in the Ye family arena a few days ago. The vast majority of South Star students were oblivious of the duel, and how even the Du Patriarch was afraid to cross Ye Wei now. They thought the Du family was still what they were before the break.
“Ye Wei skipped school three days in a row! Xiao Qi is definitely going to bring it up during the class meeting and make it sound worse than it is. I wonder what his punishment will be!”
“But he is Lin Zi Yan’s pet now. I don’t think he will be punished that much. He will probably just get detention or something like that. Du Ming Ze might give him a rough time though!”
“He brought it onto himself, all he did was answered a couple of questions correctly. Do you really think he will get lucky again? The monthly assessment is in two weeks, and he is still a one star Student! Ha ha! I look forward to seeing him getting the worst grade again!”
The quiet gossip continued as the class was hesitant to tease him openly, but they couldn’t wait to see how the drama was going to unfold and laugh at him when everything goes south.
Cao Ning waved, “Ye Wei! Come over here!” He was worried sick. Having sat next to Ye Wei in class for years, he was one of the few real friends Ye Wei had.
When Du Ming Ze and his little gang raided Ye Wei’s room, Cao Ning was close by Ye Wei’s dormitory, so he saw them entering Ye Wei’s room and heard the noise they made.
“What’s up?” Ye Wei hid his anger and replied with a casual smile. He walked to his seat and sat himself down, slightly confused about Cao Ning’s anxious tone. Ye Wei saw Cao Ning as his closest friend in class; he was not going to let his negative emotions affect their friendship.
“How can you be smiling?” Cao Ning covered his earnest face with his hand frustrated by Ye Wei’s carefree attitude.
“What’s up? We’re having a class meeting soon that’s what!” Cao Ning was struggling to empathize with Ye Wei as he continued to rant in a serious tone, “You know about our class tutor’s temper! You skipped school without telling anyone, three whole days! Do you think he will let you off?”
Cao Ning was a bit grouchy from having nothing but studying and training on his schedule for the past few days. His eyes were slightly bloodshot from the lack of sleep. “The monthly assessment is in two weeks, and you’re skipping school while we were preparing for it during class! Miss Zi Yan saw something in you from what I could see… Aren’t you afraid to let her down? What would she think if you came in last again.”
““Oh! About that…” Ye Wei rubbed his nose and replied with an awkward smile. He had completely forgotten about it.
The assessment was split into three parts. Part one was a rune knowledge test. Part two was a cultivation level check, and part three was a real combat test. Thinking about it, Ye Wei was not worried about any aspects of the assessment. He passed Master Yi’s written exam with a perfect score. He couldn’t yet compete with the other gifted kids of his age due to his late start, but his four star cultivation was more than impressive when stacked up against everyone else in his class. Furthermore, Ye Wei’s body had been strengthened by cosmic energy, the high Myst level cultivation formula, and Fiery Sun Quencher pills. He didn’t know it yet, but he could probably beat a five star Student in a duel.
Cao Ning patted Ye Wei’s shoulder and said, “It is pretty tight, but you still have two weeks, you should start caring about it! Miss Zi Yan knows about your situation. I don’t think she expects you to do that well, but at least don’t come in last. You could really use a teacher on your side right now!” Ye Wei had a moment of clarity, but Cao Ning misinterpreted his facial expression as a blank out due to panic.
“Coming in last?” Ye Wei smiled bitterly. He was agitated by the frustrating memories of coming last throughout the three years he was at South Star Academy. ‘It won’t happen again…’ He thought.
“And…” Cao Ning scanned the room to make sure nobody was eavesdropping as he pulled Ye Wei close to him then continued in a whisper, “You have to avoid Du Ming Ze at all costs. He came looking for you with a gang of friends from his senior class. I don’t think they had good intentions. When they couldn’t find you in our classroom, he went to your room!” The worry on Cao Ning’s face looked sincere.
In Cao Ning’s mind, he thought that for Ye Wei neither how well he did in the assessment or minimizing his punishment was an urgent matter compared to his dispute with Du Ming Ze. Because this dispute could potentially destroy his social life at South Star and get him severely hurt.
“If you can’t stand it, just head home. You can train with your family instead where you will be safe!” Cao Ning bit his lips as he suggested. He didn’t want anything bad to happen to Ye Wei. The two were each other’s only real friends in South Star Academy, and Cau Ning could not help solve this problem, therefore, he wanted to at least try to persuade him.
“Du Ming Ze?” Ye Wei asked with a cold glare. Having to think about the Du’s, Ye Wei started to get fired up. ‘A Du would have the guts…’
“But Xiao Qi volunteered to help; he led them to your room!” Cao Ning continued whispering.
“Xiao Qi and Du Ming Ze… I see!” All the puzzle pieces suddenly started to come together. ‘The coward found a bully to help him!’
Right as Cao Ning was going to tell Ye Wei not to cause any trouble, the classroom door was kicked open. Xiao Qi stomped in with a swagger and the gossip instantly died down while the brown-nosers greeted him. Being the number one student of the class gained him some respect from both teachers and students. He was often assigned to help discipline the class during breaks and therefore every student feared and obeyed him.
Since Ye Wei’s show of talent, the atmosphere in junior three had changed slightly. The class feared his strength more than they respected him as a person. They would not side with Xiao Qi if he decided to say or do anything to Ye Wei.
“Ye Wei!” Xiao Qi scanned the whole classroom with his eyes, feeling superior as his classmates nodded at him and avoiding eye contact out of fear. He was going to start bullying again thinking Du Ming Ze was on his side.
“Only you are dumb enough to provoke Du Ming Ze. How do you like the new decor?” Xiao Qi said in a sadistic tone as he walked towards Ye Wei’s seat. “And, you are also the only person dumb enough to skip school three days in a row! How dare you disrespect our teachers and the school rules!”
“As the prefect, I will make sure our tutor hears about this!” Xiao Qi stood next to Ye Wei, looked down at him and chuckling.
Ye Wei frowned, he was finding it hard to control the anger within as he darted his angry eyes on Xiao Qi. The moment before Ye Wei was going to stand up, Cao Ning pulled his sleeve and tried to convey to him the message, ‘Without Miss Zi Yan in the classroom, you are in no position to challenge Xiao Qi! He is a five star Student! Ye Wei you rascal!”
“It will be fine!” Said Ye Wei as he shook Cao Ning’s hand off his sleeve. He patted Cao Ning’s shoulder and slowly stood up to stare Xiao Qi straight in the eyes.
“Xiao Qi, did you lead Du Ming Ze and his dogs to trash my room?” Ye Wei asked calmly in an interrogative tone.
“As I said, you deserved it. You shouldn’t have offended Du Ming Ze!” Xiao Qi grunted coldly and answered by not denying it.
The tension built up as the pair refused to stop staring at each other. The whole class was nervous, and they didn’t know who to root for. They didn’t know if they should notify the teachers either. The class prefect nor the potential Runemaster wanted to back down.
“Ye Wei has changed a lot… Nobody talks to Xiao Qi like that! It would be foolish if he started a fight though, his runic knowledge won’t do him any good in a fist fight!”
“Xiao Qi wouldn’t start a fight, right? In the case, Ye Wei does become a Runemaster in the future… And Miss Zi Yan might have something to say about it too!”
“Have you forgotten about Du Ming Ze? He is from one of the Big Three and seemed to be pretty close to Xiao Qi from the last time he came to our classroom.”
The gossip started again as the room was becoming too quiet and the atmosphere got heavier.