Gu Louyin turned his head very slowly, looked at Xiao Yuan and calmly said, “Impossible.”
Xiao Yuan also looked back at Gu Louyin. He knew that Gu Louyin was not as calm as he was appearing – he was panicking.
“Shidi, how long do you have to deceive yourself?” Lin Wulian’s eyes were shrouded in mist, and he said expressionlessly, “Xiao Yuan has been dead for a long time. He died two years ago. He jumped off the cliff on Dongguan Mountain and fell into the water. His body floated down the river to an unknown village. The villagers salvaged his corpse, and when they saw such a beautiful person dead, they couldn’t bear it and set up a lonely grave for him in the wilderness.”
Gu Louyin took a breath and said, “How can you be sure it’s him?”
He spoke very slowly; he was afraid of getting the answer to this question but he had to ask, even if the answer might drag him down into the abyss that he could never escape.
Less than half an hour ago, he identified An Mu as Xiao Yuan. He thought he had reunited with his beloved and recovered his loss. To be told now that it was just a coincidence, just his excessive imagination caused by longing and guilt, was ten times more cruel, a hundred times more cruel than letting him directly face Xiao Yuan’s death two years ago.
It had cost him half of his life to bear the loss. What would it cost him to recover the loss and lose again?
Lin Wulian smiled sadly, “I saw him.”
Gu Louyin’s eyes widened.
“When he died, he didn’t have spiritual energy to protect his body. He was no different from ordinary people. He was buried in the wilderness for two years and there is only…” Lin Wulian paused and continued: “He was still wearing the wedding dress of that day and he still had… this by his side.”
Lin Wulian took out a piece of crystal clear warm jade from his sleeve. There was a word “jade” engraved on the jade. Gu Louyin recognized his own handwriting.
Gu Louyin took the warm jade and lowered his eyes. He did not speak and there was no expression on his face.
“The wedding dress was very well preserved. I put it away and stored it in Yunjian Pavilion with his remains.” Lin Wulian said, “If you want to see him, just go back.”
Gu Louyin slowly closed his palm, incredibly stubborn: “That’s not him.”
From the moment Lin Wulian mentioned the word “corpse”, Mu Yingyang was forced to endure it, and he couldn’t bear it anymore. He was in pain; the pain was severe and twisted, it started from his heart and eroded him little by little.
Wedding dress, was it that wedding dress… He had seen Shixiong wearing a wedding dress. At that time, Shixiong was weak and suffering but still so good-looking that his heart was about to melt. When he knew that Shixiong was going to marry Gu Louyin in this wedding dress, he was furious – how could his Shixiong get married, how could he marry someone else!? He said ruthless words he regretted for the rest of his life, and then Shixiong left, wearing his wedding dress.
His eyes turned black with pain. He was overwhelmed like a lost child. Shizun had already said that Shixiong was dead, and his reason told him that Shixiong was dead, but when the facts were put in front of him, he found that he still could not accept it at all.
Mu Yingyang’s qi surged chaotically in his body, almost out of control.
He couldn’t, couldn’t show it. He didn’t have Shixiong anymore, no one would tolerate his bad temper. Losing his temper wouldn’t solve any problems and wouldn’t help him avenge Shixiong. He must be calm, as calm as Shizun.
There was no point in striking at Yunjian Pavilion now, and taking the lives of these young disciples would only cause a momentary pain. He had to wait until the time was right.
“Are you satisfied now?” Mu Yingyang sneered, his eyes red, “His body was found, so Yunjian Pavilion successfully forced an innocent person to death and another entry must be added to the book of merits. I could never imagine you would be so shameless as to take my Shixiong to Yunjian Pavilion. He is dead and you still don’t want to let him go, and you are still this disgusted with him? What exactly does my Shixiong owe to your Yunjian Pavilion? Can you go torture someone else?!”
Gu Louyin seemed to have lost his soul and looked unusually calm. It took a long time before he raised his head, looked at Xiao Yuan again and asked the question he had asked several times: “…is it you?”
There was a kind of detached pity on Xiao Yuan’s face, his expression no different from other cultivators who watched the excitement. He shook his head gently but decisively, “No.”
A glint of light flashed in the eyes of Xiao Du who had remained silent. Gu Louyin was obviously in a state of collapse, so why did he look at Shen Fugui several times and ask such an inexplicable question.
Is it you… who is ‘you’?
Gu Louyin showed a heartbreaking smile, “You are lying again, aren’t you?”
A sword cultivator who had just scolded Yunjian Pavilion together with Mu Yingyang suddenly said, “If you want to know whether that corpse is the one you are looking for, you can use the blood ban spell. Just find his relatives… does he have relatives?”
Gu Louyin and Mu Yingyang fell silent.
Xiao Yuan had no relatives, he was an orphan – he seemed to have always been alone.
“No,” Gu Louyin whispered, “so that corpse is not him.”
Mu Yingyang rushed forward, grabbed Gu Louyin’s lapels and shouted in a low voice: “Gu Louyin, isn’t it enough?! Do you think that if you don’t accept it, if you don’t admit it, then my Shixiong didn’t die?”
Gu Louyin did not resist. He had no sword and no Xiao Yuan, so he couldn’t resist.
Han Mu frowned and said solemnly: “This is Baihua Palace, if you want to go wild, go elsewhere.”
Mu Yingyang turned a deaf ear, stared at Gu Louyin’s face and said with blood in his mouth: “Listen to me, my Shixiong is dead. He died after giving you thirty cups of blood. No matter how desperately you look for him, he is dead. You can put away your guilty and lovelorn look. Don’t think about compensating him. You will never be able to compensate him and he doesn’t need your compensation.”
After Mu Yingyang finished speaking, he pushed Gu Louyin away violently and said coldly: “I will go to Yunjian Pavilion to take my Shixiong back.” After that, he strode away.
Xiao Yuan looked at his back and suddenly felt that his Shidi had grown up.
And Gu Louyin, who was left behind, was obviously only twenty years old but he seemed to become old in an instant.
Such an ending was undoubtedly the best, so that his old acquaintances could believe in his death, so that he could enjoy his freedom shamelessly. It’s just – Xiao Yuan glanced at Xiao Du in his peripheral vision, this old friend was not easy to deceive.
Everyone dispersed little by little, and in the end only Gu Louyin was left, standing like an animated corpse, holding the warm jade he had given Xiao Yuan, with only emptiness and death in his eyes.
Xiao Du sent Xiao Rong back to his room, watched him obediently go to bed and pull up the quilt, and said absent-mindedly, “Go to sleep.”
Xiao Rong stopped him: “Gege.”
Xiao Rong hesitated for a while, then asked timidly: “Xiao Yu, is he… really dead?”
In the past two years, no one in Xingtian Sect dared to mention Xiao Yuan’s name in front of Xiao Du. Xiao Rong regretted it as soon as he finished asking. Xiao Du’s eyes suddenly darkened, and his original carelessness disappeared. Xiao Rong was so frightened by the murderous feeling exuding from him that his whole body shook.
After a long time, Xiao Du suddenly smiled and casually stroked Xiao Rong’s hair as if petting a small kitten or a puppy, “Next time I won’t make an exception.”
Xiao Rong nodded quickly, “I, I won’t ask anymore.”
Xiao Du walked out of Xiao Rong’s room and did not go back to his room. Instead, he went to the other end of the garden, where Mu Yingyang and Gu Louyin lived.
Mu Yingyang was staring at the crimson hair band in a daze in his room when a low voice sounded all of a sudden behind him: “Waste.”
Mu Yingyang turned around abruptly, summoned Duya to point at the visitor, gritted his teeth and said, “It’s you. What are you doing here?”
Although he and Xiao Du both were in Baihua Palace, they had never met in private, and he had never mentioned Xiao Du’s true identity to others, treating him like a stranger. Xiao Du must have had the same idea as him, so Mu Yingyang didn’t know why he would suddenly come to him at this time.
Xiao Du said, “Do you want to avenge your Shixiong?”
Duya felt the hatred of its master and exhaled a few strands of ink-black chill, “Is it fun to talk nonsense?”
Xiao Du narrowed his eyes, and a touch of red flashed in front of Mu Yingyang’s eyes. Before he could clearly see what was happening, he felt a hot pain at the corner of his mouth.
“Since your master didn’t teach you how to speak politely, this venerable will give you a lesson or two.”
Mu Yingyang wiped away the blood trickling from the corner of his mouth, showing no weakness: “I can’t beat you now, but no one knows what will happen in the future. When I destroy Yunjian Pavilion, you will be the next one I’ll look for, Xiao Du. If it weren’t for you tricking my Shixiong and forcing him to get Qingyan, how could he…!”
Xiao Du could not deny that Mu Yingyang was a genius, and was no less than himself when he was at the age of eighteen. In addition, he hated Yunjian Pavilion so much that it would be too wasteful not to make the best use of him.
Xiao Du didn’t bother with him for the time being and said, “Okay, I’ll be waiting for you.”
Mu Yingyang’s expression was gloomy, “What else do you want?”
Xiao Du said, “Are you going to Yunjian Pavilion to collect your Shixiong’s body?”
Mu Yingyang said vigilantly: “So what?”
Xiao Du slowly curled his lips, “Don’t worry, I won’t snatch the corpse away from you. I will only snatch the person.”
Mu Yingyang sneered: “Yes, my Shixiong was just a chess piece for you that can be discarded at any time. How can anyone care about the corpse of a chess piece?”
Xiao Du didn’t comment on it and said, “When you finish collecting the corpse, come to Xingtian Sect to find me.”
“What do you want to do again?!”
“Slaughter Yunjian Pavilion,” Xiao Du said lightly, “and avenge your Shixiong.”
Mu Yingyang was taken aback, “You… want to do it for my Shixiong?”
“What do you think?”
Mu Yingyang reacted quickly and said with certainty: “You want to do it for Qingyan.”
Xiao Du chuckled lightly and said, “Yes, I want to do it for Qingyan.”
No matter what it was for, their common goal was Yunjian Pavilion. Mu Yingyang might be able to assassinate the disciples below the level of the Pavilion Master one by one, but he wanted to drown Yunjian Pavilion in blood… Under the heavens, Xingtian Sect alone had the courage to do it.
However, it was Xiao Du, an indirect murderer of his Shixiong, an extremely dangerous and dark figure. If he got too close to him, he might somehow lose his life one day.
Life… If he lost it, so be it. Anyways, without Shixiong, it would be meaningless for him to live.
After some difficult inner battle, Mu Yingyang said, “Okay, I promise you.”
Xiao Du expected Mu Yingyang’s decision. Before leaving, he thought of one thing and asked, “Why did you come to the flower viewing party?”
Mu Yingyang said, “Shizun gave me an invitation and said that it would let me increase my knowledge.” He also was selfish and wanted to find a panacea or some other forbidden technique that could bring people back to life, although he knew it was just wishful thinking.
Xiao Du seemed to think for a while and said, “Is that so.”
The next day, the disciples of Yunjian Pavilion departed in all directions, and Gu Louyin and Mu Yingyang also left. Han Mu took Lu Yueyao, who was on the verge of death, and claimed to take her back to Yunjian Pavilion for treatment. Lu Liluan tried her best to dissuade her to no avail, so she could only let her go.
Xiao Yuan continued to stay in Baihua Palace as Shen Fugui; Cai Xunnian hadn’t been found yet, so he couldn’t leave.
The sword cultivator who had been quarrelling with Yunjian Pavilion several times, also felt it was very strange when he heard that Lu Yueyao was taken back to Yunjian Pavilion. Baihua Palace was the number one medical sect in the world. Wouldn’t it be best to let Lin Wulian and Lu Yueyao stay in Baihua Palace for detoxification? Why take the seriously injured all the way back?
He brought up the matter while chatting with Xiao Yuan. Xiao Yuan said thoughtfully: “Will they… forget it.”
The sword cultivator: “…Stopping halfway once you start talking will damage your moral character.”
Xiao Yuan smiled and said, “If I say it, don’t say that I measure a gentleman’s belly with a villain’s heart.” (a despicable man who speculates on the mind of a decent person)
The sword cultivator: “At most, I will say that you measure a villain’s belly with a villain’s heart.”
Xiao Yuan said, “Lin Wulian appeared in front of so many people last night and said that he wanted to give blood, and he did. Giving two or three cups of blood will not affect his cultivation base and it can also make others think that Yunjian Pavilion is awe-inspiring and righteous, and its disciples are treated equally regardless of their seniority. When they return to Yunjian Pavilion, who knows whether Lu Yueyao will get the next cup of blood?”
The sword cultivator suddenly realized: “Young Sect Master Shen is right!”
“Wait,” Xiao Yuan said, “it depends on whether Lu Yueyao dies first or Lin Wulian is disabled first.”
A familiar voice said, “Then Young Sect Master Shen might as well guess whether Lu Yueyao dies first or Lin Wulian is disabled first.”
Xiao Yuan’s expression remained unchanged and he nodded to the person who interjected, “Master Xiao.”
Xiao Du said, “Young Sect Master Shen’s insights are really unique, I feel enlightened.”
“Master Xiao is too kind,” Xiao Yuan said casually, “Why don’t I see your brother?”
As long as they stayed in Baihua Palace Xiao Du took Xiao Rong almost everywhere he went. It was a rare case for him to come and talk alone.
Xiao Du said, “He is sick.”
The sword cultivator had a warm heart and said, “Sick? Then hurry up and find a disciple of Baihua Palace to look at him.”
“It’s not necessary,” Xiao Du said to the sword cultivator but his gaze kept falling on Xiao Yuan, “He was just a little frightened. He will be fine after a few days of rest.”
Xiao Yuan was a little disturbed by his inquiring gaze. Just as he was thinking of excusing himself under the pretext of looking for his shimei, he saw Chang Lan hurriedly walking towards him, “Young Sect Master Shen!”
Xiao Yuan’s heart jolted and he asked, “Did you find my shimei?”
Chang Lan said, “We found her, come quickly with me.”
“Where is she?”
“In the Burial Garden.”
Xiao Du perked up and followed.
The Burial Garden was a forbidden place of Baihua Palace. The withered flowers, the disciples of Baihua Palace, were buried here after their death. Although the Burial Garden was a place of burial, it was as bright and spring-like as other places in Baihua Palace, with thousands of flowers in bloom and full of lingering fragrance. One had to admit it must have been a pleasure to be buried in such a place after death.
Xiao Yuan and the others followed Chang Lan to the Burial Garden, passed by the tombs and saw Cai Xunnian who was held in the arms of a female cultivator.
Shen Fugui’s favorite little shimei had her eyes closed tightly. Her cheeks were pink like peaches and her skin smooth and white. She was nothing short of a little beauty.
Xiao Yuan asked, “My shimei, she…”
The female cultivator said, “Young Sect Master Shen, don’t worry, Miss Cai has only fainted temporarily.”
Xiao Yuan breathed a sigh of relief, “How could she appear in such a place?”
The female cultivator said, “We came to the Burial Garden to look for her before but we didn’t see Miss Cai. Today is the anniversary of my mother’s death. I came to worship her and saw Miss Cai lying unconscious near an unearthed grave.”
“An unearthed grave?”
The female cultivator pointed to the side, “This one.”
The location of the grave was closest to Xiao Du. He glanced at the tombstone and his narrow eyes suddenly shrank.
Xiao Yuan walked to the tomb and read out the words on the tombstone: “The tomb of Liang Ci, mourned by his wife surnamed Zhong.”
Xiao Yuan’s heart beat violently for no reason. He stretched out his hand suspiciously, and when his fingertips slid over the word “Liang Ci”, a picture flashed in his mind vaguely. He tried to remember something, but that picture quickly disappeared. He focused his mind and looked at the unearthed grave. The coffin had been opened and there was a corpse dressed in a cyan gown lying inside, looking like it had been there for some years.
An indescribable sadness surged into Xiao Yuan’s heart inexplicably, and he couldn’t help but wonder more and more – who was this Liang Ci, and why was Cai Xunnian next to his grave. It was as if he had been lured here on purpose – and why was he reacting so strangely to this ‘Liang Ci’?
He felt that he seemed to have known Liang Ci a long, long time ago.