Back in the room, Wang Shu finished eating the lavish meal and sighed in bliss. He leaned back lazily on the back of the chair rubbing his bulging stomach looking as content as a sated cat. The butler smiled fondly at his appearance, shaking his head helplessly at the kid’s uncouth bearing. Who amongst the nobility would behave this unrefinedly and get away with it? Nearynians prided themselves in their power, culture, and elegance; in that particular order. If one were to see his young master’s crude eating manners, they would undoubtedly file a complaint against him to the kingdom’s council. One might argue that such would be too excessive, but to the Nearyninans, it is within the admissible range of conduct since they value their customs above all else. One’s behavior would reflect on that of their entire society of elites and nobility. Where would they deem ill-mannerisms as acceptable?
Oliver has never had the chance or the will to learn proper decorum or etiquette since he never had to deal with anyone aside from his butler and few of the servants who could care less for propriety. Even his father who barely spent a few minutes conversing with him occasionally never paid attention to any and all matters concerning him. Although he was considered butler Walter’s responsibility, the man only cared for his health and well being before. Now it seems like he has to teach him everything from scratch and hope for the best. Even if he knew that the best learning time has passed for Oliver, the butler instinctively felt that his clever young master would have no trouble in this regard and could retain whatever he was taught with ease, so he didn’t fret over the matter much.
Walter was brought out of his pondering by the sound of something colliding with the wooden floor. Looking over, he saw Oliver on the ground with a stupid look on his face, staring blankly at him. With a start, the butler went directly to help him up and see if something was wrong.
The butler, “young master, is something the matter with you? How come you fell so suddenly?” He sounded so distressed that Wang Shu forced himself to refocus and appease his attendant who looked on the verge of tears. This mother-hen attitude is a bit too excessive, he thought, hypocritically ignoring the warmth in his heart at the genuine concern of the man.
“I’m fine, don’t fuss,” Wang Shu replied trying to stand up again only to feel dizzy enough to sway.
The butler hurriedly supported him, slowly leading him to the bed, “How can you say you’re fine when you’re barely able to stand straight! Just lay on the bed obediently whilst I call for the priestess to check on you.”
The hovering bed, as if aware of their arrival, lowered to a suitable height for the young Oliver to crawl up onto then raised a bit allowing the older man to easily tuck him in.
After the butler left, Wang Shu closed his eyes and willed his spiritual powers to disperse the sudden weakness he felt subduing his limbs in a near-frozen state. He activated his divine sense to circle his meridians a couple of times alongside his spiritual powers only to perceive the surprising condition of his taut muscles, stretched enough to render his body stiff and immobile.
Before he could figure out what was wrong, his surroundings warped and distorted abnormally making his already dizzy head, spin all the more with the twisted visuals. Although he knew he was laying on the bed, he couldn’t stop himself from freaking out at the free-falling effect his senses experienced in his lightheaded state. Not long after, he dazedly opened his eyes and looked around in utter stupor at the familiar (but strangely not) surroundings he found himself in; his courtyard in Wudang Sect.
He blinked repeatedly, trying hard to discern whether he was actually back, but the feeling of faintness refused to allow him to focus.
“You’re awake,” A deep voice cut through his consciousness, all of a sudden. Wang Shu started and looked to his side where the distorted figure of a tall man stood. His statuesque built wasn’t the least bit affected by his indistinct features, strong and imposing as ever. Wang Shu knew. This was his master.
“mhm,” he answered, unsure of what’s happening.
“You’ve been unconscious for a good while,” the man sighed almost imperceptibly and explained to his woozy disciple, “after your heavenly tribulations, I took you to the medicine hall at once. Hall master Wang Xiu Ying tried her best to save you. Your core has cracked and meridians atrophied…we almost lost you.”
The man sat down, put his hand on his disciple’s forehead and caressed his hair back gently as if to look at him better. “You had me scared,” he said softly, his relieved tone made Wang Shu smile in turn.
His master wasn’t behind what happened before, why did he ever doubt him, in the first place? The man was so strong, he could’ve killed him with a wave of his hand if he so wished to, there was no need to be underhanded at all. There wouldn’t even be consequences to speak of if that were to actually happen. Not only was there no one to care for his life and death, Wang Shu was self-aware that he didn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things compared to his master, but also who would dare to confront the man? His strength was comparable to none; no one would stand a chance against him.
The hand on his forehead was so warm and smooth. It felt comfortable, bringing out an unexplainable urge to pour all of his grievances to his master and act all spoiled for once. Were they ever this intimate before? Wang Shu couldn’t remember, honestly. Still, this is nice, he thought.
“I’m sorry for worrying you,” Wang Shu finally answered in a weak whisper, the stupid smile on his face had the man chuckle lowly.
The reverberating chuckle reached his ears and tickled it annoyingly, its sound felt somewhat wrong. It wasn’t forced in any way, but… what was wrong again? Ah, why is the world turning?
The dizziness prevented him from carrying on his train of thought, making him groan in frustration at his shortened attention span. He was thinking about something important just now…Why can’t he remember?
“Oliver!” huh, who is Oliver?
“Wake the fuck up!” Rude.
“Wang Shu your master is here, alright? Focus on my voice alone, is there something you want to tell me?” the deep voice spoke again, its magnetism was so compelling.
“Something you want to tell me?” Wang Shu repeated dumbly, unable to make sense of the words.
“Yes, tell you master, Wang Shu,” the man urged.
“I…” he started.
“love Lemon Tarts!” Wang Shu answered with all the enthusiasm he could muster in his weakened state.
“…” there was a sudden silence.
“Pffft,” the sound of laughter erupted causing him to scowl at being mocked. “Yes, yes, wake up and you can eat lemon tarts all you want!”
Whose voice is that? he obviously knows… that’s… who’s that?
“Oliver, wake up already!” The impatient shout sounded right by his ear, making him jerk with a scare at how deafening it was and in a blink he was back. There was no master in sight. Only the obnoxious face of Gustave, shaking him to oblivion.