Chapter 14: Victim of Depression
I could see many people in my cavern were visiting Master Wu's little hut. Their faces were full of sorrow and worry. I knew why: Master Wu was ill.
It was predictable because Master Wu was getting older. However, I could not believe that this day would come. I remembered the time when I risked my life to save him from an unbeatable ghoul slinger. I could not bear to lose him and we nearly died. Thank goodness the Shadow Clans helped us to escape by transporting us to a safe place.
“Wen Jing!” I turned to the source of the call. It was a man carrying his little daughter. “Master Wu wants to see you.”
I walked to the hut and entered through the front door. The living room was neat and tidy. It was decorated to look like a traditional Chinese room. I walked along the corridor and found his bedroom. I knocked on the door gently.
“Come in,” a weak voice called out. I turned the doorknob and opened the wooden door. I saw Master Wu was lying on his bed. I went in and closed the door. I walked to his bed and noticed his face was as pale as a ghost.
“You call me, master?” I asked him after I knelt before his bed.
“Wen Jing,” he started and a weak smile formed on his face. “Look at you, growing up to be a brave and strong woman. There is a bright future ahead of you.”
“Master, I am only going to be 17 within the next few months,” I explained.
“Seventeen means you are going to be an adult, Wen Jing,” he told me. I realized he was right. “But Wen Jing, I am afraid that I will not make it. It is a pity for me that I cannot see you happy in the future. Most of all, I am unable to fulfill my promise to train you what you always want to learn.”
My eyes widened in shock. “No...” I muttered. Master Wu was the last surviving master who knew the ancient and mysterious art of slugslinging that nobody in the 99 Caverns had heard of. I wanted to learn it but he told me that I was not ready. He promised to train me only when he decided that I was ready. However, the promise was about to be broken.
“Master, what should I do now?” I asked, worried that I would never be one of the greatest slingers in Slugterra.
“Never fear, Wen Jing,” my master said. “I may be gone, and you may think I am the last surviving master, however, yesterday, I had seen the future. Your
future, Wen Jing.”
“My future?” I blurted out.
“Yes,” he replied. “A master like me, but younger in terms of age, will come to your aid and teach you what you always want. Most of all, the master would be more than your teacher.”
“Who is it, Master Wu?” I asked.
“You will figure out soon, Wen Jing,” he answered and smiled. “Reach to the bottom of my bed, Wen Jing,” he ordered. I obeyed and now my head touched the wooden floor. “Do you see a box?” he asked. “Yes,” I answered when I noticed a long, white and black metal box.
“Take it out and open it,” he ordered again. I pulled the box out of the dark until it was completely visible. I pushed the white cover sideways and saw his fusion blaster. The two barrels, the left one was white while the right one was black, were attached to a single fusion core at the middle. It was powered by the Vitalis crystal. The blaster represented yin and yang.
“Your... blaster?” I asked quizzically. He nodded slowly.
“Now it is yours, Wen Jing. I trust you to keep it safe from falling into the wrong hands,” he said.
“I understand, master,” I replied. My master smiled.
“You may leave now, Wen Jing,” he said. I nodded. I placed the blaster back into the box and closed it. I carried the box away.
“Oh, Wen Jing,” he called softly and I turned around. “Be positive and confident. You are more powerful than you think,” he said and I nodded.
I left his room then his hut, with the box contained his fusion blaster. I returned to my house and placed the box under my bed.Who could be my master?
I thought. Master Wu said someone like him will come to teach me. But who? They are all dead. How is it possible?
The next morning, when I was drinking my soybean milk, a ring was produced from Aunt Agnes' phone. She picked it up and after she said hello, a dreadful silence surrounded the dining room. All of us stopped our actions. I had a bad feeling about it.
And it was bad – or worse. The next thing I knew was that Master Wu was dead. He had passed away in his sleep. I changed my clothes to a black shirt and a pair of dark blue jeans. I went out and I saw a lady, who wore a white shirt and a pair of black trousers, was waiting for me.
I followed her to my master's hut. I went into his room. I saw his lifeless body on his bed. His face looked so peaceful as if he had been released from his sufferings. I touched his hand and it was icy cold, as I expected. I broke into tears and sobbed in front of him.
By evening, a funeral was held in his house. My master's body was laid into a wooden coffin. We decided that he should wear his usual long blue robe. His framed portrait was decorated with flowers and was placed in front of his coffin. Phosphoro slugs gathered at the wooden gate in front of his hut. They lighted up the area like stars on the ground. All residents in my cavern came to pray. Black, white and dark blue made up the sombre atmosphere.
The next morning, some people from other caverns came to pay their last respects, including the Shane Gang. They also wore appropriate clothes to attend the funeral. Some men carried the coffin into a truck and it was pulled by a mecha-beast. It traveled the entire cavern and we followed from behind. Some people cried and they used handkerchiefs to wipe their tears away. Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Agnes, both in front of the queue, were carrying a clock and my master's framed photo. Our final destination was Master Wu's garden. They had dug the soil and the men who were responsible to carry the coffin worked together to lay it down into the opening. Then, they covered it with soil and we prayed again. Pronto and some musicians played their musical instruments during the event, from our departure to the burial. Pronto brought his flute along to play a familiar Eastern music. All the slugs, including Master Wu's slugs, mourned his death.
“I am sorry for your loss,” Eli said to me.
“It was nothing,” I replied while avoiding his gaze.
“I am going to my room now,” I blurted out and went up the stairs. I entered my room and locked the door. I sat in front of the door. Tears flowed down from my black eyes and I cried again.
“文婧!” a person called me with a Chinese accent. It was Uncle Kenneth and he was waiting downstairs. “你换好衣服了没?”
I saw a red shirt on my bed. I stood up and changed my black shirt into red. I unlocked the door and got out. I went downstairs and, without tilting my head to see my uncle, I walked out of the house. I returned to the burial place only to see a sea of people wearing red clothes. The Shane Gang had changed their dull clothes too. I heard that Master Wu was like a hundred years old or above. Hence, after the burial, we decided to wear red clothes to wish him a happy afterlife. We prayed again while droplets of holy water sprayed on our heads. Later, the funeral officially ended and everyone left. My slugs and I retreated to my room.
Three weeks had passed. I lied my head on my desk, staring at the scenery through the window. I felt terrible after losing my master. Although I still practice slugslinging by myself, a sense of emptiness had filled in my heart. I had lost a father figure – a part of parental love which never came from my real parents. Life was hopeless and meaningless with his absence. I was so depressed that I could not think straight.
I just wanted to join him. I wanted to leave. Nobody noticed my change of behaviour. Not even my family and friends. I looked alright when I was with them, but behind my bedroom door, I was completely despaired.
My slugs, thankfully, were aware of it. Before I woke up, they went to hide all toiletries that might pose danger to me. When I went to eat, they would not let me use knives. When I was reading, they refused to let me get the scissors. At first I was confused, but seeing their desperation and saddened faces, I understood that they were trying to protect me.
“It's okay, guys,” I told them, “I know you guys are being overprotective toward me. Don't worry, I am not leaving you guys. And everyone too.”
They smiled. “To be honest,” I continued, “I am too afraid to kill myself. Plus, I know the consequences of my actions.”
My slugs did everything they could to cheer me up. They were determined to pull me out of depression. However, their efforts only gave temporary happiness to me. I had suffered a lot in my life. Incomplete family love, loss of my two homes, death of the protector, multiple relationship issues, complicated trust issues, and now, the passing of my beloved mentor and father figure.
It was very difficult for me to be positive again. It was going to take me ages to get over with it. It was going to take a miracle to happen.
But who knew it would come so soon...