Chapter 43: Teaming Up
“Hm?” Su Chen’s words caused Wang Doushan to raise his eyebrows in shock. “Your tone makes it seem like you are determined to head to the Thousand Ashes Gorge?”
For the past four years, Su Chen had buried his head in research. He never left his room, and he had given up on many different activities. At most, he would occasionally get together with Jin Ling’er and Wang Doushan to drink some tea and chat.
Thus, Wang Doushan originally believed that even if Zhang Sheng’an had agreed to bring Su Chen along, he would have had to spend lots of time convincing Su Chen to go along.
Unexpectedly, Su Chen had already made up his mind to go to the Thousand Ashes Gorge.
Su Chen shrugged his shoulders. “It’s better than just idling around.”
He had finally completed Kaihuang’s Heaven, so he suddenly had a lot more time on his hands.
He had spent four years quietly and bitterly thinking. Now was not a bad time to relax a bit.
Wang Doushan was extremely happy upon hearing this. “That’s great! I’ll ask around about any other teams.”
“Don’t forget to include Cloud Leopard,” Su Chen said.
“Got it,” Wang Doushan replied as he disappeared into the crowd of people, searching for a team that would be willing to bring the three of them along with them to the Thousand Ashes Gorge.
Unexpectedly however, many of the teams that Wang Doushan asked all indicated that they were willing to accept Wang Doushan and even Cloud Leopard; however, they were not willing to take Su Chen in.
Because of his fifth-place ranking during the Three Mountains Region exam, many people knew of him.
However, it was also because of this that many knew of his “fall”. As a shooting star, Su Chen’s circumstances were not a secret. He hadn’t attended the end-of-year competition four years in a row, making his name synonymous with cowardice.
Many people instantly turned him down upon hearing the name Su Chen.
There were some that agreed to accept Su Chen, but they requested that Su Chen’s portion of the spoils be halved for various reasons. They said that his strength or courage was lacking and that their generosity was only for Wang Doushan’s sake.
Wang Doushan left in a rage. After searching the entire plaza, he had finally discovered the Flying Snow Guild.
The Flying Snow Guild intended to explore the Thousand Ashes Gorge. Because the members of the Flying Snow Guild were not that strong, they were not unwelcoming towards Su Chen.
However, they turned Wang Doushan down.
Their reason for this was that Wang Doushan was someone from a Bloodline Nobility Clan. He did not belong with them.
In reality, this kind of reasoning was also present amongst some of the other teams. Many people had turned down Su Chen not because he was weak, but because he was not from a Bloodline Nobility Clan.
To the Flying Snow Guild, the best way to preserve their own dignity was to draw a similar circle around themselves and refuse anyone who was outside of that circle.
Although Wang Doushan was powerful, he was from a Bloodline Nobility Clan. Allowing him in was equivalent to ruining the Flying Snow Guild’s reputation. Naturally, this was not something they could accept no matter what.
These circumstances made it so that no one wanted Wang Doushan and the others.
Just when Wang Doushan was getting impatient, he saw a small, shy maiden making her way towards him. She was wearing a short tight-fitting red skirt with rosy clouds embroidered onto it. The rosy ribbons that were wrapped around her arms stretched all the way to her rosy flats, accentuating her small legs. Her face was very pretty, and she had interwoven a rainbow string into her braided pigtails. She said, “Excuse me, are you looking for a team to go to the Thousand Ashes Gorge?”
Su Chen and Wang Doushan glanced at each other.
Su Chen replied, “Yes. You are……?”
The young maiden replied, “I am called Du Qing. A few friends and I are planning on going to the Thousand Ashes Gorge and we just so happen to be short a few people. Why don’t you join our team?”
Su Chen’s party glanced at each other.
A moment later, the three of them were standing before a few young men and women.
Du Qing pointed towards a simple, honest-looking young man who was wearing the standard Institute uniform and tall cap as she introduced, “This is Zheng Xia, our captain.”
“This is Yan Fuxing!” Du Qing pointed at towards a male who was wearing a long azure robe and black blocky boots. A chain of clear jades hung from his waist. His hair towered above his head, and a large mole was on the right side of his face near his nose.
“This is Sun Jizu.” The final male that Du Qing introduced was wearing a white cavalry uniform. He held a fan in his hands, and a pair of iron rings hung from his waist. He also wore a pair of white knee-high boots made from animal hides. His hair was short, only reaching his ears, and his eyes were sleek and curved upwards at the corners.
“Including me, the four of us form Team Bright!” Du Qing said proudly as she vigorously swung her tiny fists through the air.
Just by looking at the four of them, Su Chen could sense that they did not have a bloodline.
Most students without a bloodline were members of the Flying Snow guild, but since these four had created their own team, they evidently were not.
Zheng Xia pulled Du Qing over to the side to ask what was happening.
Du Qing whispered into Zheng Xia’s ear, “I saw the fatty over there ask many different teams, but no one seemed to want him. Aren’t we missing people? So I decided to bring them along.”
Zheng Xia was speechless. “I say, Qing’er, can’t you be a little more reasonable? There’s obviously a reason why others didn’t want them. I heard that Su Chen was pretty strong before entering the Institute and reached the top 10 before during his region’s exam; however, after entering the Institute, he fell from grace, even neglecting to attend the end-of-year competitions. He has missed four competitions in a row already, and his status as a seedling of the Hidden Dragon Institute has already been revoked. One could say that he has no strength and no courage. No wonder no one wanted him.”
Du Qing pouted, “I’m just trying to help out our classmates.”
Zheng Xia laughed bitterly, “That doesn’t mean you pull any kind of person into our team out of the kindness of your heart.”
“What do you mean any kind of person? I don’t think these guys can be considered weak. Look at that fatty, he’s from a Bloodline Nobility Clan.”
Zheng Xia gazed at Wang Doushan. He nodded and murmured, “That’s pretty good.”
“Isn’t that enough?” Du Qing excitedly said. “Look, Su Chen might not be good, but the fatty is from a Bloodline Nobility Clan. If you average the two of them out aren’t they pretty good? In any case, we are just going to take a peek at the Thousand Ashes Gorge. Since we don’t have bloodlines, there’s no need to worry so much.”
As she spoke, Du Qing grabbed onto Zheng Xia’s hand and began to shake it.
Zheng Xia was helpless. He could only nod his head and agree, “Fine, fine. Have it your way.”
The two of them were speaking quietly to the side, but Su Chen’s sharp ears had picked up everything.
Su Chen was speechless. He was only invited to join their team because of pity.
In particular, he had relied on Wang Doushan’s reputation. Only by being “averaged out” was he even considered. He found that quite amusing.
Thankfully, Wang Doushan hadn’t heard. Otherwise, he probably would’ve flown into another rage.
It was at that moment that Su Chen began to somewhat understand what Shi Kaihuang had meant.
Before you achieved any success, the entire world would laugh at you, scorn you, and look down on you.
When you achieved success…… the whole world would become your enemy!
Was that really how it would be?
Su Chen did not know.
But even if it was, he would not have any regrets.
Since he had already chosen his path, he would continue to walk down it and never turn back no matter what the result was!
The matter was decided. They agreed to head out in three days.
The end-of-year gathering was still going on, and many of the students were still laughing and dancing with one another.
Su Chen began to dance, sing, and talk with the students he had just met.
Occasionally, Su Chen’s gaze would drift towards Gu Qingluo.
Their gazes would quickly meet and then divert just as quickly.
Time flew by.
Soon, it was time for the gathering to end.
The crowds began to slowly disperse, and Su Chen was also preparing to head back to the Origin Energy Tower.
Just before leaving, he went to say goodbye to Jin Ling’er as well as tell her that he had already found a team to go with.
Jin Ling’er happily congratulated him. At the same time, she expressed her regret that they could not travel together.
Su Chen could tell that she was being genuine.
After saying goodbye, Su Chen left.
He hadn’t walked very far when he saw Zhang Sheng’an draw near to Jin Ling’er.
His voice was quiet, but his words reached a far distance.
He said, “Ling’er, in the future it’d be best for you to avoid being around those kinds of people. It’s said that dragons don’t mix with snakes and phoenixes don’t concern themselves with maggots. People who don’t understand how to choose their friends will never have many future prospects.”
Su Chen stopped in place. He turned around to glance at Zhang Sheng’an.
Zhang Sheng’an’s mouth was curled up in a disdainful smirk.
Su Chen knew that Zhang Sheng’an had specifically spoken those words for him to hear.