Chapter 33: Friend
After a day of rest, Cloud Leopard felt much better.
This was all thanks to Su Chen's medicine. Otherwise, there would have been no way for him to have recovered so quickly.
Cloud Leopard felt that he once again owed something to Su Chen!
Naturally, the first time was when Su Chen had given him the Thunder Blade skill.
Although it was for this reason that Bai Ou and the others had tried to kill him, Cloud Leopard never blamed Su Chen for it, and neither did he think that Su Chen owed him something because of it.
He had grown up on the streets. He had only chanced upon an absorption technique unintentionally in a trash pile, embarking on his journey of cultivation.
Because he had no money nor background, he had to use all of his available resources to procure just a single Origin Skill.
Even if they were just low-tier Origin Skills, people would sell them for sky-high prices. Cloud Leopard was forced to fight and kill over and over for them. He used his bloody victories to amuse those with great status in order to give himself an opportunity.
No one had ever given him an Origin Skill for free before.
Su Chen was the first and only one to do so.
How could being chased after for this reason be considered anything? One time, in order to win an Origin Skill, he had won five times in a row in an arena of death. Which person in that arena was not a vicious character? And which one of them hadn't also crawled out from a pile of corpses before?
In addition, Su Chen never harbored any negative intentions.
Thus, when Cloud Leopard had first been injured and ran to find Su Chen, it wasn't so that he could be treated - he didn't even know that Su Chen was an alchemist in the first place. He just wanted to let Su Chen know that he was in danger.
Unexpectedly, Su Chen had helped him once again.
In Cloud Leopard's mind, he owed Su Chen twice already.
Cloud Leopard wasn't someone who was good at expressing his gratitude. Although he really was thankful for what Su Chen had done for him, he didn't know how to express it.
Thankfully, even if he didn't know what to say, he knew what to do.
After mulling it over for a day, he finally made his decision.
At that moment, he heard some noise outside his door.
It was Su Chen.
Cloud Leopard opened the door to find Su Chen currently engaged in conversation with Shi Kaihuang.
Upon hearing the door open, Su Chen glanced at Cloud Leopard and chuckled. "You look much better already."
Cloud Leopard strode forwards. "I'm already recovered, so I'll be taking my leave."
Su Chen was caught off-guard. "You've mostly recovered, but your wounds may have hidden damage. It'd be better if you stay here a bit longer so that I can take a look."
"I can't. There's something urgent I need to take care of." Cloud Leopard shook his head.
"What is it?"
"I am going to go kill Bai Ou so that he can't bother you anymore," Cloud Leopard replied sincerely.
"Bai Ou?" Su Chen was stunned.
Cloud Leopard nodded vigorously. "You helped me twice already. I'll pay you back by taking care of him for you."
It took some time for Su Chen to understand what Cloud Leopard meant. He reached out helplessly and pointed to the side. "There's a small door there. Open it and take a look."
Cloud Leopard didn't understand what Su Chen was trying to say, but he still obediently walked over and opened the door. He found five people lying on the ground in disarray.
One of the people there was Bai Ou.
Cloud Leopard's jaw dropped to the floor.
Hu turned around and stared at Su Chen in disbelief. "How did you get them all here?"
Su Chen replied, "I carried them all on my back with a burlap sack. It was kind of hard, but there was nothing I could do. After all, there's no way I could have just openly escorted them back into the Institute."
Cloud Leopard felt quite embarrassed.
Su Chen laughed. "Okay, okay, I was just messing with you. I found a few helpers to set a trap for them in the Falling Eagle Mountain, and they jumped right in. If you wanted to use them to repay me, I'm sorry about that. But don't worry, I don't care too much about that. I'll be happy if you just agree to be my friend."
He reached his hand out towards Cloud Leopard.
Cloud Leopard stared at Su Chen in shock.
That was a word that was both familiar yet foreign to him.
He slowly reached out his hand as well, but instead of grabbing Su Chen's, he just allowed it to float in midair.
Su Chen saw it and grabbed onto his hand tightly. "It seems you're not very used to having friends."
Cloud Leopard replied, "On the bitter streets, having friends is pointless."
"I grew up on a filthy street filled with sewer water and prostitutes - a place surrounded by death."
"Thankfully you're not there anymore." Su Chen smiled. "The Hidden Dragon Institute is better than those bitter streets."
Unexpectedly, Cloud Leopard replied, "I wish that I was back on those bitter streets."
Su Chen was stunned.
As Cloud Leopard explained, Su Chen finally understood.
He was a boy who had grown up in a poor and rural setting, yet had been able to enter such a prestigious institute relying solely upon his own strength. However, he didn't earn any respect because of it. Instead, he was treated with indifference and even revulsion.
Cloud Leopard, who had grown up on the bitter streets, wasn't good at making friends and he didn't understand etiquette. In a place as busy as the Institute, he lived as a lone wolf.
Those from Bloodline Nobility Clans didn't like him because he didn't have any manners and didn't know how to hold a conversation.
Even those without bloodlines didn't like him because he always maintained a high level of caution and didn't trust others easily.
This made it so that he was unable to get close to any specific group. In the year that he had been at the Hidden Dragon Institute, he hadn't made a single friend.
In addition, he hadn't read many books. He didn't understand the lessons the instructors gave because of their complexity, and had no way of asking anyone to explain them.
Towards the end, he even stopped listening to the classes.
All he did every day was go to the Falling Eagle Mountain to fight.
No one from the Institute spent more time in the Falling Eagle Mountain than he did. He was there every day and night, battling Vicious Beasts. He was almost always covered in fresh blood.
However, this only made him even more incompatible with the other students.
Some people even wondered why he came to the Hidden Dragon Institute in the first place if all he wanted to do was fight. The army probably would've been a better fit.
These cold and indifferent words only made him feel more estranged and sad.
After understanding Cloud Leopard's situation, Su Chen asked, "If you didn't understand those classes, how did you cultivate your Origin Skills?"
"I puzzled through them myself. The books have diagrams and I understand a few words, but I can't read them all."
"Yet you were still able to work through it......" Su Chen was speechless.
Earlier, when Tang Zhen was translating the Ancient Arcana Script, he had carefully verified every single word multiple times to make sure he didn't make any mistakes.
This kid, on the other hand, had begun cultivating without even understanding all the words.
More importantly, he was able to successfully cultivate them.
Indeed, miracles do happen.
"You have my respect," Su Chen laughed bitterly. "Even after fooling around like that, you're still alive and well in front of me."
Cloud Leopard's stubborn mouth began to crease into a smile.
In that instant, an idea suddenly surfaced in Su Chen's brain.
He said, "Do you want me to help you with your classes in the future?"
"You?" Cloud Leopard was stunned.
"Yes, me," Su Chen replied. "If you don't understand anything in the future, come find me, okay?"
"Then I'll owe you even more."
Su Chen was rendered speechless by his way of thinking. He laughed, "I already said that we're friends. There's no need to be so demanding between friends."
"Are you saying that friends can only receive and not give?"
"Hey! Of course not, but there's no need to draw the lines so clearly about everything. What I'm saying is......"
"I already know," Cloud Leopard interrupted him. "I grew up on the streets, but that doesn't mean I'm a barbarian...... I'm just messing with you."
He gently smiled as he gazed at Su Chen, his gaze extremely sincere.