For a full month, Oliver remained unconscious. The priest who made sure to check up on him daily witnessed his gradual recovery and was assured that his waking up was only a matter of time. The old man was so fascinated by the kid's miraculous achievement that he wished he could probe every part of his body to uncover his secret. Driven by mad curiosity, he even secretly sent in a wisp of magical awareness though his broken channels but ended up throwing up a mouthful of blood by having it forcefully expelled. Ashen faced, the priest never attempted it again. But that reaction itself managed to fuel his interest even more, making him wish to wake up his comatose patient at once and interrogate him straight away.
It was through that attempt that he confirmed Oliver's successful destruction of his magical attributes saving him from the deathbell disease which he relayed to everyone early on. Of course, that also confirmed that whatever expelled his magical awareness was some type of energy beyond his scope of detection and recognition, which explained how his charge survived his self-detonation.
The priest didn't mention this particular detail to Mikel of course lest the nobleman would question his motives and try to protect his son's mysterious secret and thus prohibit him from studying his case further. At that thought, the old man grew paranoid and kept his answers to the father's inquiries reassuring but vague.
Obviously, seeing for himself that Oliver seemed to be getting better indeed, Mikel had no reason to doubt the priest who took care of his child for years already. It's just that seeing his son remain unconscious for so long, his hope dimmed down by the day getting overwhelmed by that much familiar dread he was so used to.
On this point, the priest himself was greatly puzzled. His patient was physically getting stronger as the days go by and he was certain that there's nothing wrong with him anymore, so why is it that he still hasn't woken up yet?
Though Oliver looked as still as a painting, Wang Shu was very much aware of the happenings around him. He has simply chosen to recuperate in peace and enter a semi-conscious meditative state since he discovered he could finally cultivate as of now.
Before his self-destructive act, Wang Shu has attempted to get a feel of the spiritual energy around him but while at the brink of awakening his divine sense, an unbearable pain assaulted his body preventing him from going further. At the time, because of the shadows left behind after the painful experience of his breakthrough tribulations, he was very sensitive to pain so he uncharacteristically decided to put the matter on hold.
Surprisingly though, as he hardened his resolve to face death a second time, a sudden burst of his soul force shielded his vital organs from the impact of the explosion, successfully saving his life. The act was an unconscious self-defensive attempt, honestly unveiling his strong desire to live.
Following that, and in spite of his heavily injured body, he felt an unprecedented lightness, as if a very heavy burden was suddenly lifted off of his shoulders letting him breathe again just like a fish back in water.
His divine sense was easily activated and he almost sighed in pleasure at the familiar feeling of absorbing the spiritual energy of heaven and earth. Even though said spiritual energy was almost pitiful in quality and quantity when compared to that of the Azure cloud continent's, it didn't deter Wang Shu's will to cultivate, allowing him to step into the Qi condensation stage and finally a month later refining his core sea.
Because of his previous experience, he stepped once more on the rugged road of cultivation very smoothly while using the ambient qi to refine his body inside and out, dispelling its impurities and nursing it back to health.
Focused as he was though, he made use of his newly developed divine sense to perceive any dangers that might threaten his life or hinder his recovery, making his awareness of his surroundings not fully shut off.
During this one month, butler Walter accompanied him through most of the days, catering to his bodily needs with the utmost care and meticulousness; from bathing to feeding, down to brushing his hair to perfection. He was fussy enough to never leave a single crease on his clothes, making him look even more presentable than he used to when he was awake. The older boy was obviously channeling his anxiousness through his near-obsessive attentiveness to any and everything concerning his young master. The attendant would sometimes choke on his sobs in desperation to wake his charge up, calling as if in a whisper:" young master, it's been two weeks now. Haven't you had enough sleep already" while caressing his hair with trembling hands.
Wang Shu almost decided to abandon his recovery and wake up to reassure the man that he was alright. The man's loyalty and affection for Oliver sliced his heart to a bloody mess, making him feel stifled and heartbroken. Oliver is no longer here to accompany the man, and it feels like he cheated him by inhabiting his body. But worst of all, he felt incredible jealousy over that devotion and love he never got to experience before. How utterly vile of him to covet a sickly kid's only loved one's affections.
Such desire, human as it was, made him feel repulsed by himself, he who never once before craved such worldly sentiments. Thus, he reneged his decision to wake up before he completely recovered, whether from guilt or otherwise, he refused to brood over the matter any further.
Then, there is Gustave. The teenager would come to accompany him from time to time, sitting silently near his bed, gazing at his still figure with complicated eyes. He looked conflicted, guilty, sometimes sad and others angry. Wang Shu was honestly at a loss as to why all of those emotions are directed at himself. Oliver never once crossed paths with Gustave in his short fourteen years of life, so he was sure there was no previous animosity between the two. What warranted his cousin's troubled attitude towards him?
No matter what, the first to make a move was the other. He tried to kill him, intentionally or not, it didn't matter. The conflict, whatever that is, was made two-sided as of now, and he won't let his guard down with him around anymore.
As for his father dearest, the man would only show up to accompany that hateful priest whenever he came to 'check' on him. Wang Shu refused to pay Mikel any mind anymore. he noticed how the man was unsure of what to feel for his son who he decided to not care for because of his short-spanned life. Now that his sickness wasn't in the picture, what had he spent his life ignoring his son for?
Wang Shu wouldn't try to hide his contempt for the man's struggles, and regardless of his future attitude towards himself, he won't bother with him. There's no collecting spilled water, the man has lost his chance to earn his son's forgiveness the moment Wang Shu came to this world. Maybe his genuine indifference would teach him a good lesson.
The reason Wang Shu had to end his seclusion though, if you could call it that, was the arrival of a priest apprentice to substitute for the high priest who had to begrudgingly go back to the Nearyn church and resume his duties.
If the high priest was hateful, his apprentice was downright malicious. Trouble seems to find its way back to him no matter what, it seems.
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