Chapter 350 – Forsaken Future
A sword pierced Shang’s heart again.
He wasn’t surprised.
He lost count of how many times that had already happened.
He didn’t know how long they had been fighting.
He only knew that it had been incredibly long.
The foreign Mana inside Shang’s chest had already vanished months ago.
Yes, the two of them had been fighting for months.
Initially, Shang felt nervous about missing an opportunity to strengthen his body.
After all, it just needed a bit of time for him to strengthen his body after hunting another beast.
However, Teacher Mervin very quickly convinced Shang.
“Strengthening your body is the easiest part of your Path. It only counts as a single step.”
“You can strengthen your body whenever you want, but you don’t always have someone ready to teach you.”
“Right now, only your swordsmanship is important, nothing else.”
That was when Shang ignored his body and everything else.
Only learning from Teacher Mervin was important now.
They had fought for so long.
Shang’s heart was pierced again as Teacher Mervin’s sword mimicked the horn of a beast.
Teacher Mervin was incredible at mimicking beasts. Whenever he mimicked a beast, it was like Shang could see its image.
This time, it had been a huge octopus, but suddenly, the octopus had grown a horn.
Shang had been prepared for ranged attacks, tentacles, and even its beak.
Yet, the horn had gotten him.
This hadn’t been the first time it had happened.
“How am I supposed to fight something, which then suddenly changes into something else in a moment?” Shang asked.
Teacher Mervin only grinned. “This is the Path you have chosen. You need to be stronger than everything at once.”
“But how is that possible?” Shang asked with a sigh. “I can adapt to many kinds of attacks, but I can’t be prepared for all of them at once. I would need to perform several movements at the same time or be at several places at the same time.”
“I can’t strike up, down, left, and right at the same time without dispersing my power.”
“There is only so much I can do,” Shang said.
Teacher Mervin’s smile widened.
“I don’t know,” he said.
Shang knew what was coming next.
“I don’t know how you can achieve something impossible like that.”
“However, this is the Path you chose, and it is your duty to find a solution.”
“I am only here to help you. I can’t lift you up, but I can act as a wall that you can use to vault further into the sky,” Teacher Mervin explained.
Shang had been fighting for so long that even the God had left. The jester itself was still there, but it had lost all signs of life.
Obviously, the God was not interested in watching Shang train with the same opponent, but he also knew that this was a good thing.
The more powerful Shang became, the more interesting his journey would be.
“You have no responsibilities right now,” Teacher Mervin said. “And as a copy, I also have no responsibility.”
“We have all the time in the world.”
“This is a luxury that nearly every warrior in the world wishes for.”
Shang knew all of that, but it was still difficult.
How long had they been fighting?
There was no day or night in his inner world.
It was unchanging, and Shang had long since lost his feeling for the passage of time.
Yet, Shang continued fighting Teacher Mervin.
He felt like he had made no progress.
He always lost in one strike.
The inner world seemed endless.
Time seemed endless.
And Teacher Mervin’s power seemed endless.
Time lost all meaning.
It was like Shang was reliving the same moment again and again, and yet, the moments were all slightly different.
It was like Shang was trying to do something impossible.
The more he was learning, the more he felt like he knew nothing.
The more he knew, the less he knew.
Before Teacher Mervin had appeared, Shang could have stated with confidence how he would fight different opponents and how he would win.
But now, only emptiness appeared in Shang’s mind.
All the beasts, Mages, and warriors blended together in his mind.
Nothing made sense anymore.
It was like everything in existence had become relative.
There was no certainty.
There were only guesses and probabilities.
Was Shang powerful?
Probably, but he didn’t know.
How much time?
How much longer?
Shang moved only on instinct.
He wasn’t certain what he should do, but he was doing something.
The more he fought, the more he felt like he was no longer himself.
Shang hadn’t said a word in forever.
He was only fighting and adapting.
What was he doing again?
Why was he fighting?
Right, to become the strongest.
But was he actually progressing?
He should be progressing, right?
So much fighting.
Why was he fighting again?
Time was endless.
There was so much to do, but with endless time, there was so little to do.
He was fighting, right.
“Alright, that should be enough.”
Shang suddenly shook his head, and his right eye focused.
It was like someone had just dumped a bucket of cold water on him.
“What?” he asked in confusion.
“That’s enough,” Teacher Mervin said with a laugh.
“Enough?” Shang asked, still confused.
“Yep, we fought enough. We are done. The training is finished,” Teacher Mervin said. “I think this is a good moment. You adapted very well, and your growth is astonishing. However, if you keep fighting me, I fear that you will start to adapt to only me. You need to fight others.”
Shang could still scarcely believe that the fighting was over.
“How long have we been fighting?” Shang asked.
Teacher Mervin only laughed.
“I have no idea.”
Shang only looked at the laughing Teacher Mervin with surprise.
“Well, I think it’s time for me to go,” Teacher Mervin said as he readied his sword.
Shang knew what Teacher Mervin was about to do, and he didn’t feel comfortable letting him do that.
Killing oneself was different from someone else killing them.
“You don’t have to,” Shang said. “I can do it for you.”
Teacher Mervin only smiled as he looked at Shang.
“It’s not about could but should,” he said.
And then, Teacher Mervin’s sword entered his head.
Teacher Mervin’s corpse fell over and the jester regained life.
“Took you long enough,” he said.
Shang didn’t even register the God’s words as he looked at Teacher Mervin’s slowly vanishing corpse.
He knew that the Teacher Mervin in front of him was only a copy, but for some reason, Shang’s emotions exploded at this moment.
Was he grieving for Teacher Mervin?
No, Shang knew that the real one was still alive.
Yet, for the first time in a long while, Shang actually fell to his knees…
And tears ran down his cheeks.
It hadn’t arrived yet, but Shang knew what it was.
This was his future.
For his own goal, he would most likely see those dear to him die.
He could stop it.
Shang could have just abandoned the trial.
Sure, he wouldn’t have done that since Teacher Mervin was only a copy, but he had the power to stop it.
Yet, for his own goal, he was ready to sacrifice someone else.
This time, it was only a copy of someone Shang had a deep connection with.
But next time, it might be a real person.
This was Shang’s future.
This was the Path he had chosen.
And at this moment, Shang wept for the other futures he had forsaken.