Chapter 26: You Are My Faith (VII)
Headmaster Gamov prepared a temporary room to act as Shang Ke’s office. He had originally wanted to arrange housing for him, but was refused since Shang Ke had promised Kaiser before that he would live with him. Plus, in order to avoid mishaps, he didn’t want to stray too far from the “main character.”.
The reason why Shang Ke agreed to become a guest lecturer was so that he could more easily publicize the way to seal the Devil’s Tree. However, so that people would believe his words, he also had to increase his status and reputation.
His memory far surpassed others, and coupled with the original’s knowledge, giving lessons to the freshmen should be fine.
When Tylor arrived, Shang Ke was preparing his lessons in the lounge. He saw him leaning against the window sill, his long hair flowing beside him. His legs were slightly raised, assuming a comfortable posture while he drank tea and thumbed through a textbook. The afternoon sun shone on him, and he appeared like a lazy, carefree cat.
Tylor noticed that Shang Ke was flipping the pages very quickly turning a page about every three seconds. Tylor did not think that he was randomly flipping through the textbook, so the only possibility was that he could read extremely fast.
Shang Ke seemed to feel his gaze and raised his head, meeting a pair of blood-red eyes. To tell the truth, Shang Ke felt that red eyes were a bit scary, especially when they were on a grave and stern face.
“Apologies for the disturbance,” Tylor said as he entered the lounge.
Shang Ke looked at him, asking, “Lord Tylor is looking for me?”
“Headmaster had me come to ask whether you needed any help in preparing your lessons?” Tylor made an excuse without any change in expression.
“No need.” Shang Ke’s attitude became distant. If he really was the man in his heart, then Shang Ke did not want to walk too close to him. At the very least, not when he was unable to determine whether he could survive.
Tylor walked until he was beside the other man and stared him in the eyes, asking, “You don’t like me?”
“As the one who was defeated by you, do you think I should like you?” Shang Ke raised an eyebrow, his chin also lifted slightly.
Tylor’s line of sight swept across his moist lips as he said, “Perhaps you disliked me before, but the current you does not necessarily dislike me.”
“Oh? How are you so sure?” Shang Ke wore an attentive expression.
“There is no hate in your eyes.” Tylor said with certainty.
Shang Ke frowned and suddenly used his fingers to raise the corner of his eyes, his face revealing an ominous light as he fiercely spoke, “How about this? Enough hate now?”
Tylor coldly stared at Shang Ke’s wacky expression, staying silent.
After Shang Ke made the face, he immediately regretted it! Just how stupid was he, playing around in front of Tylor when he was better off doing something else? What happened to his cold and elegant grandeur?
“You should continue preparing your lessons, I won’t disturb you.” Tylor left the lounge right after speaking, leaving Shang Ke to panic by himself.
Tylor left the room and turned into a corridor before suddenly bursting into laughter.
“Cough.” After just a moment, Tylor quickly returned to his grave and stern expression. However, Shang Ke’s wacky face was deeply engraved in his mind. His mood was very cheerful for the rest of the day.
Why did he never notice before that Osari was actually so cute?
Shang Ke’s first lecture was on the third day after he started guest lecturing. The content of his lecture was the devil qi and faith’s conditional relationship.
On this day, the classroom had a full house, with many students even crowding outside the door.
Shang Ke’s mental stats were superb, so he was completely clueless on what it meant to have stage fright. Plus, he knew the contents of the textbooks by heart. Within the classroom, pretty much no one could stump him. He could even tell them the page and line numbers of an answer in the textbook.
The first class was very successful.
After class, someone suddenly asked him, “Teacher, now that you’re a teacher, are you still going to sell lunchboxes in the future? I haven’t been able to eat it these past few days, and I just can’t get them out of my mind!”
Their words immediately gained everyone’s attention.
Shang Ke replied, “Whoever can get full marks in my class, I will treat you to eat a great luxury meal.”
“Oh yeah!” the students all cheered.
“A great luxury meal.” After school, Tylor suddenly dropped by and calmly asked, “I don’t know if perhaps I would have the chance for it as well?”
“No.” Shang Ke quickly left.
Tylor blindly followed him until they arrived at Kaiser’s home.
Kaiser had martial arts training at night, and would only return at midnight. Shang Ke went to the neighbor’s house to bring back the crying Pupu. The pitiful little girl thought she had been abandoned by her father, and held back her tears while waiting. When she saw that Shang Ke had came, she immediately hugged him and started to cry.
“Daddy, daddy…” She called out continuously, complaining to him.
“Good girl, didn’t I already tell you that I would come back home at night.” Shang Ke rubbed Pupu’s head.
Pupu looked at him unhappily, wiping her tears and mucus on Shang Ke’s clothes.
Tylor stared at them for a while before finally asking, “You adopted her?”
Osari had only left for five years, so it was impossible for him to have a six to seven year old child.
“Hm.” Shang Ke didn’t pay much attention to him and just nodded, then put Pupu down in order to prepare their dinner.
Pupu tightly held onto his clothes as she followed behind him.
Tylor leaned against the door as he quietly watched Shang Ke bustle around the kitchen. His face was as expressionless as a statue.
Pupu would turned her head to look at him every few seconds. As long as their eyes met, she would immediately hide behind Shang Ke, only revealing her watery large eyes as she sneaked peeks at him.
Tylor did not have a favorable impression of children, but he felt that Osari and this child gave off a comfortable feeling when they were together.
That night, Tylor ate deliciously at Shang Ke’s home, leaving behind ten coins and in a relaxed mood.
When Kaiser finished his training, he returned completely exhausted, only to find that there weren’t any leftovers…
Shang Ke’s carefree life started to develop a pattern. He would go to class during the day, take care of Pupu during the night, feed their dog (Kaiser), and occasionally feed a wild animal (Tylor).
Time passed in this manner until three months later, when the devil qi storm that Shang Ke had been waiting for finally broke out. The Devil’s Tree’s energy was usually very stable, but during special periods of time, it would break out in one or two devil qi storms, like a volcano erupting.
Their sizes varied, though this time was the biggest one in history. It covered almost one third of the continent, and countless people were invaded by the devil qi, causing riots to occur frequently and social order to fall into confusion. Normal devil qi would not take the initiative to invade a body, but that of a devil qi storm was different. Because the energy was too strong and the concentration too high, many innocent people were unable to escape.
The imperial capital, King City, was also in the range of the devil qi storm, and about one fifth of the population showed the signs of the initial stage of invasion.
All the clergy and doctors were gathered and separated into groups in order to treat different areas, focusing on treatment for those who were invaded.
However, with the number of people being invaded constantly increasing, the clergy and doctors simply could not get around to all of them, and finally, even the teachers and students were mobilized.
Kaiser was sent to the east area to be in charge of keeping order, and provide assistance in treatment. Because Shang Ke’s strength was weak, he was not assigned an area, and stayed home to accompany Pupu.
However, they were not safe at home either, after their neighbor was suddenly invaded by the devil qi as well.
Luckily, their neighbor was a normal person, so Shang Ke did not require too much strength to help them by absorbing their devil qi, returning him to normal. But this one action caused others to come to him and request treatment.
This was was because after the neighbor was saved, he did his best to spread the news that Shang Ke was a very amazing healer, with a miraculous treatment method that did not cause pain. He thus became the first choice for anyone invaded by devil qi. As a result, during the following days people came to find Shang Ke. Even if they were not gravely invaded by devil qi, they would still come over to cause trouble.
Kaiser began to make time to help Shang Ke drive away the people who were looking for trouble.
However, Shang Ke, a professional at courting death, upheld his holy mother principles of “sacrifice and devotion” and refused no one, absorbing the devil qi without pause. When Kaiser finally noticed something was wrong, Shang Ke was holding his breath as he absorbed the last bit of devil qi from another invaded person.
“Shang Ke, enough!” Kaiser agitatedly shouted.
At this moment, Tylor just so happened to have came over with several clergies. When they saw the devil qi winding around Shang Ke’s body and surroundings, with one of his hands tightly grabbing another person’s wrist, it looked like he was about to “commit a violent crime.” One clergyman didn’t even think, and raised his staff to smash Shang Ke’s head.
“Stop!” Kaiser and Tylor both shouted, but they were unable to stop him in time, and could only watch as the clergyman smashed Shang Ke into the ground.
Shang Ke only felt a pain at the back of his head, exclaiming “This is bad!” in his mind. He had thought of many possible ways for him to die in this world, but the only one he didn’t anticipate was being hit on the head by someone. This kind of death was not graceful at all!
His consciousness blurred, and he soon fell into darkness.
“Shang Ke.” Kaiser and Tylor both exclaimed as they rushed to him. They were just about to help him up when the clergy on the side immediately stopped them, warning, “Don’t touch him. He’s already at the advanced stage of invasion, he can’t be cured.”
“You understand nothing!” Kaiser cursed at him in a rage.
The clergy was initially stupefied for a few seconds, before immediately reacting and speaking unhappily, “Although I understand your feelings, this is my duty. Any people found at the advanced stage of invasion must immediately be dealt with.”
“He is not a person in the advanced stage of invasion, he’s saving people!” Kaiser saw Shang Ke lying motionless on the ground, his long hair spread around him as blood slowly seeped out from his head, like a bloody flower blooming. Kaiser felt fear grip his heart, and he almost didn’t dare to go forward to confirm his condition.
“Saving people?” The clergy coldly snorted, “Are you joking?”
“You can fucking go take a look yourself!” Kaiser roared at him, pointing in another direction.
Everyone followed his finger to the person who Shang Ke had been holding onto. They had already returned to normal and was staring blankly at everyone. When he saw Shang Ke on the ground, he couldn’t help but ask, “What happened to Teacher Shang Ke?”
“He wanted to harm you just now,” the clergy said.
“Who said that?” The man spoke in a rage, “He saved my daughter, and just now he saved me.”
“Saved you? How is that possible?” The clergy said in disbelief, “He’s invaded by devil qi.”
“He’s not, it was me,” the man continued to explain, “He absorbed all the devil qi from my body.”
His words stupefied everyone. When they looked back at Shang Ke, they noticed that his hand was still holding onto the man’s. The devil qi on his body did not show any sign of leaking outward, but instead, it was gradually blending into him.
“What is going on?” Tylor could see that something strange was going on, and turned around to look at Kaiser.
Kaiser very carefully helped Shang Ke up. He no longer had his former smile as he gloomily asked, “Do you all know why the former Osari, whose strength was so outstanding, could become the now physically weak Shang Ke? It’s because he used his own body as a vessel to absorb other’s devil qi into himself, and then used his own will to suppress it.”
Shock flashed through Tylor’s eyes.
The others also had expressions of disbelief.
“Shang Ke saved countless people, and endured the immense pain everyday. But even so, he still did not give up his reason for existence. And now, he has died in your hands!” Kaiser angrily glared at the clergy that attacked him, his eyes full of tears.
When he heard him say “died”, Tylor’s heart suddenly contracted, and he felt a strange pain in his chest, along with a stab of pain at his temple.
That clergy’s back turned cold at the look Kaiser was giving to him, but he still retorted, “I have never heard of any normal person taking the initiative to absorb devil qi into their own body. There are only two possible consequences for such an action: they either go crazy and die, or fall and become a devil apostle.
He did not believe that someone could suppress such dense devil qi with just willpower and faith.
At this moment, a clergyman returned from outside, his expression strange as he reported, “Sir, I led a couple people around to check the vicinity, but did not find a single person who needs treatment.”
“None? Did someone report false information?”
“About that…” the man who had just been cured began to speak, “I’m sorry, I think this is what happened. We originally had around a dozen people who were invaded. Some cases were serious and some were light, but we were all cured by Teacher Shang Ke. It was three days ago when we sent the news. If it weren’t for Teacher Shang Ke, then by the time you guys came, we probably would already be in a great mess.”
“You said there were a dozen of you, but he only used three days to cure all of you?” The clergy could hardly believe it. In other words, this man, in three days, had absorbed a dozen of people’s devil qi. If it were a normal person, they would have long gone crazy. There was actually someone in this world that would use such a self-sacrificing method of saving others? Just how strong must his willpower and faith be?
“Daddy.” Pupu walked out from a corner and crouched by Shang Ke. She grabbed his ice-cold hand and carefully called to him, “Daddy, daddy.”
Shang Ke laid in Kaiser’s arms. The devil qi had already been completely absorbed into his body. He had a serene appearance, his complexion white and his lips a lovely scarlet, like an aristolochia flower blooming at midnight.
In the quiet room, only Pupu’s anxious calls could be heard.
Kaiser placed his ear against Shang Ke’s chest, but he could only feel the lingering warmth, which held no heartbeat.
His shoulders slackened and he started to sob. He did not dare to accept this reality. How could such a cheerful, kind, and strong person die just like this?
Tylor had a gloomy complexion and he raged at the clergy beside him, “What are you still standing around for? Hurry up and save him!”
At his words, everyone returned to their senses and ran over in a fluster to save him.
However, just when they had rushed over, they saw Shang Ke suddenly cough and revive from his state of suspended animation.
Kaiser was wild with joy as he hugged him. Pupu also threw herself into Shang Ke’s arms.
Tylor heaved a long sigh of relief as he felt the haze in his heart scatter and his heartbeat return to normal.
In fact, Shang Ke had truly been on the verge of death, and his soul had already left his body. He had originally thought that this mission was destined to be a failure, but then he suddenly remembered how in the first world, when his body was frozen and he was just a soul, he returned to life when he touched his body. He hypothesized that, so long as his soul returned to his body quickly, he could revive himself.
As such, he tried it and returned smoothly. As for what happened after he died, he did not have the energy to understand.
Anyway, his real purpose had already been achieved, which was to make everyone believe that willpower and faith could suppress devil qi, and that this was the only way to seal the Devil’s Tree…
By the time Shang Ke woke up again, it was afternoon on the next day.
He looked around him and saw that he was in a luxuriously decorated bedroom. Pupu was lying by his side, holding his sleeve and sleeping sweetly.
Shang Ke sat up, only to feel sore and weak all over, and his mind dizzy.
He laid back down, staying as motionless as a corpse.
“You’re awake,” he suddenly heard a familiar voice from the side.
Shang Ke turned around, only to see Tylor wearing han clothing, standing ramrod straight by his bedside. He stared steadily at him.
“Tylor? Where am I?” Shang Ke used a hoarse voice to ask.
“My mansion,” Tylor answered.
“Why am I here? Where’s Kaiser?”
“He’s fine, you’re staying at my mansion for now, until the situation outside has stabilized.” Tylor placated him, “The devil qi storm will pass by soon.”
“Why do I have to live in your mansion?” Shang Ke continued to ask.
Shang Ke spoke, “…Being protected by the rival who defeated me, how am I supposed to feel safe?”
“We don’t have to be rivals.”
“Then what are we supposed to be?”
“Friends, comrades, or perhaps…” Tylor seriously stated, “lovers.”