Chapter 25: You Are My Faith (VI)
“I won’t.” Shang Ke simply and clearly replied with two words to Max’s challenge before he turned back around to tidy up his things.
Max frowned, playing with his short sword as he watched the busy figure. Suddenly, he took out a silver coin from his pocket and swiftly shot it at Shang Ke’s leg.
Shang Ke’s body instinctively dodged it, but his reaction speed was too slow and he was still hit squarely.
His knees bent and he almost fell down. A bowl fell from his hands and impacted with the ground, immediately shattering.
Pupu became frightened and ran over to Shang Ke, tightly holding his leg as she glared at Max.
Max’s expression was strange as he looked at the small girl on Shang Ke’s leg, hesitant as he spoke, “Osari, you…” He didn’t expect that Osari had become so weak that he couldn’t even dodge a coin nowadays.
Shang Ke turned to look at him, and asked, “Do we have to fight?”
He spoke very calmly, and his impenetrable, dark eyes didn’t contain any shame or fear, as if he was asking an ordinary question.
On the other hand, Max didn’t know how to reply after being asked such a question.
“Captain Max Wey.” At this moment, a person appeared before Shang Ke, lazily speaking, “If you’re really itching for a fight, then why don’t you fight me?”
“You’re…Kaiser?” Although Max had already graduated, he still somewhat paid attention to the new talents of Light Ode College. Kaiser’s quick double swords were already famous in the new generation.
“I didn’t expect that Captain Wey would know my name.” A smile hung on Kaiser’s face, but his eyes were brimming with rage and killing intent.
Max looked at him, before looking at Shang Ke behind him and putting away his short sword, sneering, “Forget it, it’s not my style to bully the weak.”
He then called for his companions and left.
“Shang Ke, are you alright?” Kaiser went to Shang Ke’s side and asked worriedly
“I’m fine.” Shang Ke replied with a smile.
Kaiser hesitated for a moment, but ultimately could not hold back and asked, “Are you really Osari?”
“My name is now ‘Shang Ke’.” Although he replied vaguely, he indirectly admitted his identity.
Kaiser watched as he unsteadily walked away, sorrow flashing through his eyes.
When he had just started school, he heard about the school’s twin stars from years before. One was the deep and unmeasurable Tylor, while the other was Osari, whose talent had surpassed all. The two of them brought countless honors to the school in all sorts of competitions. When someone mentioned the college’s golden days, at least one of them would be named. During those four years, Light Ode College almost completely monopolized first place. Who knew just how many people idolized and worshipped the two of them.
However, the great Osari who had a bright future before him went missing after graduation. He reappeared five years later, but in such a condition. His strength was greatly lowered, he was no longer illustrious, and he had even been caught by slave traders. Against someone who he had once easily won against, he no longer had the power to fight back.
Just how large of a sacrifice did this man make? Just how many years did he silently endure? Was absorbing the devil qi within others really worth it with himself as the price? The people invaded by devil qi were mostly either weak in willpower or sinister people. Was it really worth sacrificing himself to save their lives?
He originally had unmatchable talent, and a future that far surpassed everyone else’s. With his immense strength, he could have even become a group’s leader in the future, but now, he could only push a cart and scarcely make a living by selling lunch boxes. (Shang Ke: Correction, the profit I earn isn’t “scarce,” so please don’t look down on my lunch boxes, alright?)
When Kaiser saw Osari being humiliated by Capital Max Wey, he felt an indescribable anger.
He hated how he couldn’t immediately rush out to tell everyone, “Osari is not a weakling. He is stronger than anyone!” However, he was afraid of bringing the other man trouble. After all, people were usually afraid of someone who had devil qi in their body. The way they handled people who were invaded was simple–if not cured, kill.
Kaiser wanted to open his mouth and ask him, “Do you really not care at all?”
But Shang Ke turned and smiled at him, saying, “Kaiser, let’s go back home.”
His smile was like a warm sun in winter. His eyes were bright and beautiful, without any sorrow. He was like a precious stone, gleaming with a glorious luster.
In that moment, the anger and resentment in Kaiser’s heart evaporated like water.
It is commonly said that “People who are pitied also have hateable aspects..” But a strong person does not need pity, because they will never lose their courage and hope.
“Hm, let’s go home,” Kaiser replied as he smiled bashfully, his gaze warm as he held Pupu’s small hand and followed behind Shang Ke, slowly walking back.
One day, everyone will know just how strong this man is. His strength is not in his physical prowess, but in his spirit.
“I really can’t believe that that person was Osari, someone who was once equally famous with you.” Quincy’s had an amazed expression as he wondered, “How did he turn out like this?”
Tylor leaned against the tree trunk, silently gazing at the departing figures.
Quincy once again spoke, “If it were me, I probably would never step a foot into King City, so that I don’t appear a fool.”
Tylor glanced at him before starting to walk, going in another direction.
“Hey, wait!” Quincy did not take note of Tylor’s expression and continue to speak energetically, “By tomorrow, the whole school will probably know of this. The former genius has fallen. Who knows how many people will come out to watch…”
Like Quincy said, Osari’s identity quickly spread. That Lunch Box Prince was actually Osari, the genius who had obtained many first places for the college.
This news created a sensation in the college, and the next day, many people flocked to the area, trying to get a look.
Shang Ke did not shut himself in the house after his identity was exposed, but rather, he once again tripled the price of his lunch boxes and halved the quantity.
“He’s Osari? My older brother was a year younger than him, and would always talk about him.”
“Did Osari really give up his faith?”
“This kind of person could be equally famous as Lord Tylor?”
Everyone pointed and poked at Shang Ke. Some were curious, some were excited, others sneered, and some even felt pleasure at seeing how the former talent had fallen.
Kaiser stood behind Shang Ke, truly confused at why someone who knew that he will be kicked while he’s down would still persevere and come to do business. Although Kaiser was not very well-off, he still had enough to raise two other people with enough to spare!
At this moment, a couple of youths walked to Shang Ke’s cart, and one with a buzz cut said in a peculiar tone, “Senior Osari, we have visited your stall so many times, and yet never realized your identity. We apologize for our lack of manners.”
While Shang Ke carved a fruit into a flower, he asked, “Are you buying a lunch box?”
“Yes, of course I’ll buy.” The youth with a buzz cut proclaimed, “I’ll take all of your lunch boxes today.”
“That’s a total of 213 gold coins, thank you for your patronage,” Shang Ke replied without even raising his head.
The youth stared blankly, before asking, “213 gold coins? Why is it so expensive? You only sell a hundred lunch boxes every day, with each one being 25 silver coins. One hundred lunch boxes should only be 25 gold coins at most.”
“The prices increased today, and each box is 75 silver coins.”
“Then it should only be 75 gold coins in total.”
“The additional 138 is the IQ fee.”
“IQ fee?” The buzz cut boy stared at him blankly.
Shang Ke indifferently asked, “You’re a second year student at Light Ode College, right?”
“That’s right. How did you know?” The boy puffed out his chest and spoke with pride.
Shang Ke sighed and replied, “You’re wearing a blue-lined school uniform. Anyone with a regular IQ can tell, unless you’re only borrowing someone else’s uniform.”
The surrounding students all roared with laughter.
The youth’s face turned red, and he flew into rage, “I just forgot that I was wearing my school uniform, what is there to make a fuss about?!”
Shang Ke smiled and once again spoke, “I also know your grades aren’t good. Oh, sorry, it should be said that they’re very bad.”
“You investigated me?” His face was stunned.
Shang Ke sighed again, saying, “Tell me, do you think a person who failed six subjects in a row in a single semester is worthy of using my time to investigate?”
The other had been completely pulled into Shang Ke’s pace, as he asked, “How did you know I failed six subjects in a row?”
“You said it three days ago when you bought lunch boxes from me.”
“Three days ago?” The corner of his mouth twitched. Something that a passenger said three days ago, could you not remember it so clearly?!
“The school has nine main subjects and you failed six of them immediately, you’re pretty amazing in your own way. Me taking some IQ fees from you isn’t undue, is it not?”
Everyone once again roared with laughter.
The man was so angered he was about to spit blood. The blond man beside him, seeing his friend being utterly defeated, tried to help. “Osari, you’ve fallen to this stage yourself, so what kind of qualifications do you have to mock others?”
Shang Ke took a look at the blond man, then looked at the girl next to him and asked, “You’re Kenly, right?”
“That’s right.” The blond man smoothed his hair and raised an eyebrow, confidently saying, “I was born into nobility and have excellent achievements. I’m afraid you can’t find a reason to mock me.”
“Oh?” Shang Ke objected, “Then, what about your relationship problems?”
“Relationship problems?” Kenly’s expression changed slightly, and he subconsciously looked at the girl beside him.
Shang Ke smiled at that girl and said, “Your necklace is very pretty. Did Kenly give it to you?”
“Thank you, he did.” The girl was momentarily blinded by Shang Ke’s smile and returned one.
Shang Ke continued, “Very uncoincidentally, I saw the same necklace on another girl.”
Kenly spoke with disdain, “So what if the necklaces are similar? It’s not like the necklace is unique in this world.”
“That’s right, it’s not unique.” Shang Ke shrugged his shoulders and said, “But it’s quite regretful that your handiwork is so low quality. You left different declarations of love on the two necklaces, but the handwriting is the same. Your girlfriend’s necklace says ‘Thinking about you all the time’, while the other girl’s has ‘Loving you all the time’. I can’t help but notice, your vocabulary is really limited.”
The girl stared at Kenly in disbelief, before forcefully pulling off the necklace and fiercely kicking him, leaving in a crossed mood.
“Sandy!” Kenly anxiously chased after her.
Shang Ke then shifted his gaze upon a couple of other people, who subconsciously took a step back. They didn’t dare to provoke him anymore, for fear that he would deal with their IQ fees.
“Hahaha!” everyone laughed loudly.
But after laughing, they couldn’t help but secretly feel afraid. That necklace was so small, just what kind of eyesight and memory did one need to recognize it? Plus, there had been quite a bit of time since he saw, and she was a stranger he did not have any relations with. Just how did Osari remember it?
Shang Ke turned a deaf ear to all of the laughter, and tranquilly said, “Although my martial arts prowess isn’t good nowadays, my IQ and moral quality can leave you all behind a couple streets. Come back and lecture me after you get full marks on all subjects, alright?”
A moment later, he laid down his knife and slowly raised his head, his gaze brightly looking at everyone as he spoke, “Being uncouth and ignorant can give you a moment of satisfaction, but it can never make the strong surrender, or make the wise man bend his head.”
After speaking, he gently placed down the fruit he had carved onto the table.
Everyone’s laughter gradually stopped as their gazes followed his slender fingers and fell onto the fruit.
In the few minutes they had been speaking, Shang Ke had carved the fruit into a blooming flower. The layers of petals unfolded into a dazzling sight. It was exquisite down to the finest details, and a faint fragrance diffused into the air, relaxing everyone’s hearts.
A king within flowers, that no one could overtake.
This was…the power of faith!
Although they could not feel the power of faith from him, he could attach his faith to an external item! It was so pure, so fresh, and so gorgeous.
Everyone looked at this simply dressed and smiling youth, and suddenly felt as though he was a tall mountain, deep and immeasurable. No one had the mind to scorn him.
This was the demeanor of a former genius! Even if his martial arts prowess was gone, his spirit was still as strong as before. Between his smiles was wisdom, and in his bearing was elegance.
Kaiser continued to stand behind Shang Ke. He had originally been prepared to fight, but he simply didn’t even need to show his skills, as Shang Ke used just a few sentences to dissolve the crisis, and even receive an entire group of fans. His lunch boxes were sold at an even faster speed than before, until none were left.
Hidden in the forest, Tylor watched the youth that was surrounded by everyone with a bottomless gaze, and his heartbeat sped up a bit.
The Osari he once knew was like a sharp blade, and although strong, he did not have any depth. The current him, although physically weak, was like a polished pearl. After roaming, his brilliance had turned into a sharp spear, one that people could not take their eyes of off.
Just what did he experience to have such a heaven and earth rending change?
It was probably a method of improving oneself that a normal person couldn’t even imagine?
On the way back, Kaiser kept glancing toward Shang Ke every once in a while.
Shang Ke glanced back and spoke, “If you have something to say then say it.”
“Heh, it’s nothing.” Kaiser rubbed his nose, his eyes lit up with happiness. He was clearly in a great mood.
Shang Ke gave him a strange look, but he did not know why the other was acting crazy.
“Shang Ke,” Kaiser suddenly moved close to Shang Ke’s ear and softly said, “let’s be a family in the future, alright?”
“Are we not one right already?” Shang Ke raised an eyebrow and continued, “You can give up, I am not planning to move out of your house.”
“Haha.” Kaiser suddenly hugged him and “pecked” his face many times, before running into the courtyard quickly while holding Pupu.
Shang Ke rubbed away the saliva on his face, cursing with a smile, “Nutjob.”
Ever since that day, Shang Ke’s popularity quickly rose. Although many people still secretly mocked and ridiculed him, physical violence no longer happened. On one hand, it was because his personal charm had conquered numerous people. On the other hand, it was because Tylor and Kaiser has issued their own warnings.
Kaiser was easy to talk to, but if it was Tylor, no one would dare to scorn him.
As such, Shang Ke spent his days very comfortably. He sold lunch boxes, played with Pupu, and gossiped a bit…until seven days later, when an old man came by.
“Teacher Gamov.” Shang Ke gave the old man a student’s bow.
Gamov was Osari’s esteemed teacher, and also the headmaster of the college.
He rubbed his beard before gently looking at Shang Ke and asking, “Osari, how long are you planning to sell lunch boxes?”
“Teacher means?” Shang Ke probingly asked.
“Come back with me to the school and be a guest lecturer for Light Ode College.”
Surprise flashed through Shang Ke’s eyes. “Teacher, my strength is greatly diminished nowadays. How can I be qualified to be a guest lecturer?”
“The school doesn’t lack martial arts masters.” Gamov faintly smiled, “What I want you to teach is knowledge, to spread culture and not fighting skills.”
Shang Ke fell into contemplation.
Gamov once again spoke, “You were the most talented among all of my students. I believed so before, and I still believe it even now.”
Shang Ke did not hesitate over Gamov’s proposal for long.
He gave him a deep bow and smiled, saying, “As long as teacher doesn’t fear that this student will hamper other’s progress, then this student would naturally be delighted to try.”
“Haha.” Gamov was in a great mood. With this exchange of dialogue, their many years of misunderstanding had finally been resolved.
Gamov looked at the youth before him, and felt both admiration and pity. He admired his mental state while pitying his strength. Although he did not know why Osari had become so weak, it did not influence his evaluation of him. On the contrary, he felt that the current Osari had the temperament of someone truly strong.
The news that Shang Ke would take up the post of guest lecturer quickly spread and caused a disturbance within the college. Half of the college supported the decision, and half was against it. They all wanted to see just what kind of show Osari would give them.
Tylor was the college’s glorious professor, while Osari was the college’s guest lecture. After five years, the school’s former “twin stars” had once again met.
IQ Fee, means he’ll question and mock their IQ.