Chapter 36: Junior exam (7)
Hydin’s hopes for him could be encapsulated in the phrase ‘progressing a thousand miles a day’.
Ever since receiving the graduation task of searching for an elemental spirit of his own, Di Lin could already calmly ignore Hydin’s various eccentric requests.
Hydin released the barrier.
“You’re done with your stuff?” Di Lin wasn’t sure if he would reply, but still asked him anyway.
Hydin made a vague sound of agreement, a grave expression on his face.
“Then our next destination is?” Di Lin asked.
“Of course, it’s… to find a place to drink coffee,” Hydin suddenly shifted close. He placed a hand around Di Lin’s waist and, without even waiting for him to struggle, swiftly vanished from their location using wind magic.
After learning wind magic, Di Lin had always though that wind magic couldn’t be any faster. But only after having a taste of Hydin’s true speed did he realize what being a ‘frog at the bottom of the well’ meant.
The exceedingly fast rate at which the fire elements brushed against each other caused gusts of hot air to be produced continuously. The hot air surrounded him and Hydin like a barrier, coincidentally obstructing the strong winds that blew against them.
Di Lin had found the wind too strong in the past, occasionally preventing him from opening his eyes. Thus, Hydin’s method was worthy of using as reference. However, fire and water elements were inherently different, so giving it some thought was necessary if he wanted to achieve a result on par with Hydin’s.
A full hour later, Hydin gradually slowed his pace.
Although riding on someone’s coattails meant that Di Lin didn’t need to use his spiritual energy, staying in the same position for an hour was very uncomfortable. His entire body had nearly turned as stiff as a piece of wood, especially his right wrist which was still injured!
The fringes of the woods could vaguely be seen when he suddenly recalled something. “Has Suo Suo finished the exam?”
Although their speed had decreased, the sound of his voice was still sucked into the air very quickly.
Fortunately, he wasn’t far from Hydin, so he quickly received a reply. “I’ve been suspecting.”
“Your relationship with Suo Suo.”
Di Lin stared blankly.
Hydin suddenly came to a halt. He released his arm, allowing Di Lin to stumble around in a bid to find a tree branch to lean against. He asked half-sincerely, “You’re sure he’s not your illegitimate child?”
Di Lin failed to control his strength for an instant, and his head knocked against a tree.
Hydin used his right hand to massage his numb left hand as he asked doubtfully, “Is this the sense of shame from having your secret exposed?”
Di Lin covered his forehead, hopped to turn around, and used an exceedingly calm tone of voice to reply, “Tutor Tagilis has such a good sense of humor. There is only a age difference of two years between me and Suo Suo!” Was it because he had displayed too much talent that it allowed Hydin to think that he could have a child at the age of two, or was it because his appearance was too mature, so he seemed like Suo Suo’s elder?
He didn’t want to know the answer. Because, no matter which it was, neither of them would make him delighted.
“That’s the part I’m not convinced about,” Hydin stated. “But there are many things in this world that cannot be explained by conventional reasoning.”
Di Lin kneaded his temples and walked towards the sparse edges of the woods.
Hydin crossed his arms behind his back and followed after him noiselessly.
Moving figures could gradually be seen ahead, accompanied by various sounds of speech.
Di Lin quickened his footsteps.
Macreis appeared before him first.
He caught sight of Di Lin and immediately heaved a sigh of relief. He rushed over and asked, “Are you okay?” This question actually need not be asked; the bandage on his right wrist was enough of an answer. Macreis’ gaze shifted in the direction behind him.
Di Lin saluted him before turning and also looking at Hydin.
Hydin was expressionless. “I’ve brought him back. I’ll pass the rest to you to handle.”
Macreis looked at him as if he had a lot to say but eventually swallowed the words before they escaped his mouth, nodding silently.
Hydin’s silhouette vanished the next instant.
Hot air brushed against his face.
Di Lin felt his body heat up but very quickly turn cold.
Macreis was clearly very busy. After instructing Di Lin to go to the doctor and have his wrist injury looked at, he hurriedly walked towards other people again.
Although Di Lin had a bellyful of questions, he was also aware that it was not a good time to be asking questions now, so he could only go in search of the doctor first. Owing to the special circumstances, Saint Padeus’ three doctors had all been placed on standby outside the Nightmare Forest. Despite this, Di Lin still saw long queues in front of every doctor.
He was still worried about Suo Suo and the rest, so he returned to the dormitory first.
Rui Meng, Kevin, and Aridi were all present in the dormitory. Seeing him enter, all of them were similarly startled before revealing relaxed expressions.
Among the three, he had the best relationship with Rui Meng, so he instantly raced over and hugged Di Lin tightly, exclaiming, “This is great! You’re all right!”
Di Lin held up his right hand.
Only then did Rui Meng see the bandage. “Are you okay? Could it have been the silver-armored beast…”
“No. It was a swift gale wolf. It’s a long story, I’ll tell you about it later,” Di Lin gently pushed him away. “What exactly happened in the Nightmare Forest?”
Rui Meng immediately used an exaggerated tone of speech to describe the legend about the Nightmare Forest coming alive, and continuously recounted how unlucky they were. Because, this was the first time the Nightmare Forest had resumed its active status in the many years since Saint Padeus’ establishment.
Di Lin swept his eyes across the dormitory and suddenly asked, “What about Suo Suo?”
Rui Meng looked towards Kevin.
Kevin looked towards Aridi.
Aridi subconsciously looked towards Di Lin. The moment his gaze came into contact with his gloomy and cold gaze, he instantly retrieved his gaze and looked towards Kevin.
Kevin shook his head. “We don’t know. Many tutors went out to find their students, but I heard that the number of those missing are far greater than those who have been found.”
Di Lin turned around and ran off.
Macreis was under heavy pressure.
As the number of broken crystal balls increased, the number of students found also increased, most of whom were wounded. The Nightmare Forest’s movement this time was evidently rather drastic.
He paced back and forth nervously. He would be looking after the tutors on standby one moment and wandering around the doctors the next; not a single bit of his time was spent staying idle. He feared that the damned anxiety would drown him if he were to halt his footsteps.
According to the statistics, there were still twenty-three students missing, including Kanding Empire’s Prince Xi Luo and Julan’s Prince Suo Suo.
A figure flew out from the forest.
Macreis hurriedly went forward. But after seeing that there was only person behind him, the hope in his eyes promptly dimmed. “They haven’t been found?”
Chai Fuang wrinkled his brows. “Anda said they’re together.” Anda was the youth in his arms and was in the same group as Xi Luo and Suo Suo.
Macreis nodded without saying much.
Chai Fuang consoled him. “Their crystal balls haven’t been broken, there’s still a chance. Relax, I will rush over the moment there’s a response.”
Macreis forced out a smile. “It’s been hard on you.” He had just taken on the position of Head Instructor of the junior school and such an incident happened. This would be heavy pressure for anyone.
Chai Fuang noticed Di Lin standing three steps away and asked, “Hydin’s returned?”
Macreis nodded his head silently.
Chai Fuang’s eyes narrowed. “How is it?”
“He didn’t mention it. But,” Macreis paused for a moment. “His expression didn’t look too good.”
Chai Fuang’s eyebrows creased.
“You…” Macreis knew that he and Hydin had never gotten along well and couldn’t help worrying.
“I’m just a little jealous,” Chai Fuang threw down this statement without any premise and took the chance to rush towards the office of the institution’s president using wind magic just as Di Lin was mustering his courage to walk over.
The atmosphere within the office of the institution’s chairman was heavy.
Orosai was seated behind a desk, his limp eyelids that bore the merciless ravages of time drooping lazily. But upon closer inspection, flickers of light could be seen beneath his drooping eyelids.
“You’re sure?” He asked.
Hydin was seated on the rattan chair in front of him, a cup of coffee in his hands. The thick fragrance of coffee eased his originally bad mood, and his expression relaxed slightly. “En.”
“Do you know the consequences?” Orosai’s tone of voice was a little heavy.
Hydin’s eyelids raised. “Are you asking the current me, or the thirteen-year-old me?”
Orosai was at a loss for words.
“I’ve checked the set-up of the natural array,” Hydin contemplated for a while before saying cautiously. “The restriction the four great Virtuous Figures placed is still present, just that there are a few crystal stones missing.”
Orosai asked, “If not for you, how would that person have managed to burst into the restriction the four great Virtuous Figures set up?”
Hydin declared, “The legal systems of the Dream Continent’s countries will not investigate a thirteen-year-old child’s unintentional actions.”
“Thirteen years old?” Orosai snorted coldly. “A thirteen-year-old child who can break a restriction set up by the collective power of the four great Virtuous Figures”
Hydin said, “You left out a very important statement – it was an unintentional mistake.” The him then had his heart set on solving riddles, so when he saw the restriction, he couldn’t help attempting to undo it out of curiosity. As for that person who stole the crystal stones after he undid the restriction, that was outside of his expectations.
— Whether it was the thirteen-year-old him, or the current him, it was all a mistake.
“Oh? If you knew of the consequences in advance, would you try to break it?” Clear distrust was written all over Orosai’s face.
Hydin thought for a moment. “At the least, I’ll mend it after breaking it.”