Soon after Lin Wulian left, a warning firework rose into the air accompanied by the sound of swords unsheathed, blooming into two crossed swords in the pitch-black night sky. When the disciples of Yunjian Pavilion saw the signal, they raised their swords one by one. The quietness of the night was broken and it became noisy and full of the hustle and bustle of a city.
Xiao Yuan took advantage of the chaos and mixed into the ranks of the disciples of Yunjian Pavilion. Jiang Liuyuan, the eldest disciple of Yunjian Pavilion, led a group of disciples to meet the enemy. When he saw ‘Shen Fugui’, he stopped abruptly: “Young Sect Master Shen!”
Xiao Yuan paused, “Jiang-xiong.”
Jiang Liuyuan hurriedly walked towards him and said, “Demonic cultivators of Xingtian Sect broke into Yunjian Pavilion at night and the disciples of Yunjian Pavilion are chasing after them with all their strength. The current situation is urgent, and I hope Young Sect Master Shen will be more careful. If you meet someone from the demonic sect, inform me immediately and wait for me, don’t act rashly.”
Li Yanzhi brought about a dozen people total. If they confronted Yunjian Pavilion head-on, their odds of winning would be negligible. But according to what Xiao Yuan ordered them to do, they only harassed, showed up and played a few tricks and ran away, appearing elsewhere after that. Yunjian Pavilion had a vast territory and in order to catch these ten or twelve people, the disciples of Yunjian Pavilion rushed all over the place. The whole Yunjian Pavilion became a mess. If Gu Louyin went to take Qingyan at this moment, the resistance he would meet would be much smaller. Xiao Yuan was quite satisfied with the performance of Li Yanzhi and the others and secretly decided to add an extra chicken leg to each of their meals after returning to Xingtian Sect.
“I understand.” Xiao Yuan said with a serious expression, “Jiang-xiong, do you know where Pavilion Master Gu is? To tell you the truth, this time I came to Yunjian Pavilion to deliver a message from my sister.”
Shen Fugui’s jiejie was the Sect Master of Xuanle Sect and she had had many contacts with Yunjian Pavilion recently. Jiang Liuyuan didn’t doubt that he was there for that purpose and said, “Pavilion Master should be in Wuchen Hall at this time.”
“Okay, thank you very much.”
Xiao Yuan said goodbye to Jiang Liuyuan, traveled through the flow of people all the way and came to Wuchen Hall. The disciple outside the hall stopped him and said, “Pavilion Master is discussing the affairs with Elder Qian. Please, Young Sect Master Shen, wait a moment and let me go and announce you.”
Xiao Yuan nodded, “Thank you for your hard work.”
It didn’t take long for Xiao Yuan to be taken into Wuchen Hall. As Qian Sang came out of the hall, the two of them greeted each other. Inside the hall, Gu Hang looked serious and unruffled. From his appearance alone, Gu Hang looked like a determined man. Gu Louyin looked a bit like him in his silhouette but the two of them felt very different. Gu Louyin was obviously more like his mother in temperament.
Xiao Yuan lowered his head and greeted Gu Hang with a standing salute, “This young one has met Pavilion Master Gu.”
Gu Hang said: “At this extreme time, what is nephew doing here in Yunjian Pavilion and why is he not staying in Xuanle Sect?”
Xiao Yuan took out a letter from his sleeve and handed it to Gu Hang: “I am here to deliver a letter from my sister.”
Gu Hang did not take the letter immediately but deliberately pointed out: “Does a mere letter actually require nephew to deliver it in person?”
Xiao Yuan pretended to look embarrassed and said, “Sure enough, nothing can be hidden from the eyes of Pavilion Master. This young one came to Yunjian Pavilion under the pretext to deliver the letter, but in fact, I still wanted to… see if he had come back.”
Even when it came to his only son who defected from the sect, Gu Hang’s expression had not changed. He took the letter and said, “Nephew can go back.”
Xiao Yuan said, “Jiejie said, when Pavilion Master Gu finishes reading the letter, I will burn it so as not to leak the secrets.”
This letter was forged by Xiao Yuan in advance, imitating the handwriting of Xuanle Sect Master. The content of the letter was nothing more than the response of Xuanle Sect Master to Gu Hang’s invitation to join him in destroying the demonic sect. Xiao Yuan agreed to the matter in her manner, on the condition that Gu Hang would be willing to lend Qingyan to her. Qingyan could refine swords and naturally could also refine other weapons, such as flutes and guqins that Xuanle Sect were using. Xiao Yuan concluded that Xuanle Sect and other sects might have had this idea a long time ago but didn’t dare to bring it up. Yunjian Pavilion was the number one sect in the world and Qingyan was their treasure. The reason why Xuanle Sect bowed down to Yunjian Pavilion was because Yunjian Pavilion’s strength was far above its. If Xuanle Sect’s strength increased greatly thanks to the power of Qingyan, it was very likely that they would not be controlled by Yunjian Pavilion in the future. Gu Hang was a smart man and it was impossible for him to lend Qingyan to anyone.
But the present was different from the past, and the threat that Xingtian Sect had brought to Yunjian Pavilion far exceeded Gu Hang’s expectations. Gu Hang needed the help of Xuanle Sect and Baihua Palace, so he had to negotiate terms with them.
It was true that Yunjian Pavilion could discover that the letter was forged as soon as they interacted with Xuanle Sect, but suspicion and resentment caused by it would not be gone anyway. At that time, Xiao Yuan would have already withdrawn and Yunjian Pavilion wouldn’t find him even if they wanted to investigate.
Gu Hang glanced at Xiao Yuan and opened the envelope in front of him.
Xiao Yuan focused and stared at Gu Hang’s hand intently.
Gu Hang finished reading the letter silently, with neither anger nor joy in his expression.
Xiao Yuan leaned forward and whispered, “My jiejie also said that if Pavilion Master Gu finds it inconvenient, Xuanle Sect can bring weapons to Yunjian Pavilion and take them back after they have been refined by Qingyan.”
Gu Hang smiled, handed the letter back to Xiao Yuan and said, “Sect Master Shen expressed her wish very well.”
Xiao Yuan sweated a little when he took the letter, “What does Pavilion Master mean?”
Gu Hang said, “You go back and tell Sect Master Shen that we need to have a talk on this matter and she should come to see me in person.”
Since he got what he wanted, Xiao Yuan didn’t linger and said respectfully: “If that’s so, this young one will leave first.”
Xiao Yuan walked to the door and was suddenly stopped by Gu Hang: “Wait.”
Xiao Yuan calmly turned his head, “Does Pavilion Master need something else?”
Gu Hang looked at him with extremely sharp eyes, as if he was suspicious. Xiao Yuan’s heart beat faster and he tried his best to behave calmly.
Finally, Gu Hang withdrew his gaze and said, “Go.”
Xiao Yuan’s steps were unhurried as he left Wuchen Hall, and as soon as he arrived at a deserted place, he took out the letter and took a closer look. On the back of the letter a very pale bloodstain could be seen in the clear moonlight.
Xiao Yuan squeezed the thin piece of paper, a little disappointed for no reason.
Gu Louyin was indeed Gu Hang’s son. There were people in this world who could take care of their apprentice and treat him as if he was their own but would be cold and indifferent to their wife and only son and ignore them. He had over-thought too much.
Xiao Yuan slowly closed his palm, and the letter carrying the blood ban spell turned into ashes in his hand.
This was the end of the story of Gu Louyin’s origin, and he had more important things to do now.
If Gu Louyin had already entered Yunjian Pavilion, he probably went directly to the place where Qingyan was located. It was imperative to figure out where Qingyan was hidden. Xiao Yuan lived in Yunjian Pavilion two years ago and investigated the matter but did not find any useful clues. Ordinary disciple of Yunjian Pavilion knew almost nothing about Qingyan, so he needed to find key people to start with.
Xiao Yuan roughly had a plan and was about to start implementing it. Then he recalled what Gu Louyin had said to him in the illusionary realm.
“This is the last time.”
“In the future, I will not summon you again. I will do what you want me to do, and then…”
“Wait for me, it won’t be long.”
Xiao Yuan finally knew what was wrong. Why Gu Louyin asked him about his last wish in the illusion, why he didn’t want to spend time on making a long-term plan for going back to Yunjian Pavilion and why he knocked him out.
Gu Louyin… He never thought about coming back alive.
Xiao Yuan ran while scolding him for being an *sshole. If Gu Louyin really decided to die, he would definitely go to that place first.
On the boundary of Yunjian Pavilion, there was an evergreen mountain peak with a lonely tomb on the top. The tomb had not been taken care of for a long time and was surrounded with overgrown weeds. An unknown wild bird landed on the tombstone with a crisp shriek.
The wild bird tilted its head, as if perceiving something, fluttered its wings and flew away; dewdrops on the weeds turned into ice, freezing them all and finally transforming them into ice crystals with a bang.
Gu Louyin stopped in front of the tombstone and looked at the words “The tomb of maiden name Yuan from the Gu family”, motionless for a long time. The moonlight was like flowing water, quietly pouring on the lonely person in front of the lonely tomb.
Xiao Yuan stood quietly a few steps away; he did not hide his aura and Gu Louyin knew he was coming. Gu Louyin didn’t speak, and he was silent, too, although he wanted to rush up and slap Gu Louyin.
After an unknown period of time, Gu Louyin finally said, “You still found me.”
Xiao Yuan said angrily: “Gu Louyin, we agreed to be together, you can’t get rid of me.”
Gu Louyin said, “On this trip everything bodes ill.”
“People are called best friends because they share joys and sorrows, you know, and share tribulations, too. If I leave you behind when you are in distress, what will I, Shen Fugui, be called?” Xiao Yuan said, “If you are worried about my safety, there is no need. I am the young master of Xuanle Sect. If Yunjian Pavilion dares to do something to me, my sister will definitely not let it go.”
Gu Louyin glanced at him sideways for a moment, then said softly, “Okay then.”
Xiao Yuan smiled and said, “You agree now, but are you going to knock me out and leave me behind later?”
Gu Louyin said, “If something happens to me, you will bring what we take to Xuanle Sect.”
Xiao Yuan couldn’t help but wish to block Gu Louyin’s mouth to stop him from saying such unlucky words. But so what if he blocked his mouth, he couldn’t stop Gu Louyin’s thoughts.
“If you want to take something, let’s just take it quickly,” Xiao Yuan said. “Today, Xingtian Sect attacked Yunjian Pavilion at night. The disciples of Yunjian Pavilion can’t be in two places at once. This is the best time for us.”
Gu Louyin glanced at his mother’s tomb for the last time, “En.”
Everyone knew that Qingyan was somewhere in Yunjian Pavilion, but Yunjian Pavilion had dozens of cliffs and peaks, and only a few people knew the specific location of Qingyan. Gu Louyin was one of them.
Xiao Yuan flew by sword with Gu Louyin through the valley. They didn’t fly high, just halfway up the mountain. Xiao Yuan thought at first that they were taking advantage of the mountain shape to avoid being seen, until Gu Louyin hovered in a narrow canyon. “Here it is.”
Xiao Yuan looked around in the moonlight. They were surrounded by cliffs and peaks, and there was no entrance or anything like that. “Here?” Xiao Yuan pretended to be stupid, “Is the thing you want to take the wild grass on the edge of the cliff?”
Gu Louyin ignored him and flew towards the cliff with his sword. The protrusion was getting closer and closer to them but Xiao Yuan didn’t panic at all even when he saw that they were about to hit it. He believed in Gu Louyin.
Sure enough, when they were only one step away from the protrusion, the nameless sword suddenly descended, and Xiao Yuan discovered that there was a small piece of flat ground under the protrusion. Huge stone gates appeared in front of him at the end of the flat ground.
It turned out that this was where Qingyan was located and it was indeed hidden well. Xiao Yuan suspected that even if he flew back and forth around this place more than a dozen times, he still would not notice there was such a door hidden on the cliff.
The two landed in front of the door. Xiao Yuan asked very cautiously, “Why is there no disciple guard of Yunjian Pavilion in front of the door?”
Gu Louyin said, “Gu Hang never trusts others lightly.”
“So, does he trust you?” Xiao Yuan said, “Otherwise, why would he let you know about this place.”
“He had to do this.”
“Because you are the young master of Yunjian Pavilion?”
“Not anymore.” Gu Louyin raised his hand, touched the stone gate with his palm and slowly pushed the heavy stone gate seemingly without any effort.
Xiao Yuan asked, “Only the Gu family can open this door?”
“Will Gu Hang guess that you are going to come back to take the things there and deliberately set up an ambush inside?”
“Then shall we still go in?”
“…” He could’ve just spared his breath and said nothing.
However, from Gu Hang’s point of view, Gu Louyin had no motive to steal Qingyan. Gu Hang might be on guard but not to the point he would set up a trap and wait for a rabbit to jump into it.
Xiao Yuan walked in behind Gu Louyin. Behind the door there was a spacious straight stone road and they could only move forward. It was so dark that Xiao Yuan couldn’t see his fingers. Gu Louyin drew his sword and swung it down. For a moment, it flashed like the moonlight, enough for them to see that the secret path seemed to be endless.
Gu Louyin said, “There is a formation here.”
“Was it not there before?”
“Different from before.”
Xiao Yuan said quietly: “Maybe it was set up to prevent you from entering.” He was a little curious what kind of formation Gu Hang would set up for Gu Louyin. If it was a normal sword formation, it might not be able to trap Gu Louyin.
The two continued to walk forward. In silence only their footsteps could be heard. Suddenly, they stopped at the same time.
Xiao Yuan asked softly: “Did you hear it too?”
It seemed there was an endless sound of guqin echoing in his ears; Xiao Yuan could clearly hear it. But as soon as he wanted to listen, the sound of guqin disappeared again. However, even if he couldn’t hear it, he could still feel it. One string and one column, melodious and profound, seemed to penetrate his body, hooking and entwining his soul, inseparable.
Xiao Yuan could feel the weird sound of guqin even with his toes. The sound of guqin penetrated everywhere and it seemed even if he covered his ears, it could still get in through other places.
Gu Louyin turned around and glanced at him, saying, “This is Xuanle Sect’s formation, you should be able to solve it.”
Xiao Yuan: “…” Thank you for your trust but I really can’t.
The originally gentle sound of guqin suddenly rose high and bursts of sharp notes almost pierced Xiao Yuan’s eardrums. It was as if a pair of ruthless hands grasped Xiao Yuan’s soul and spared no effort to pull it out.
Gu Louyin’s figure in front of him gradually blurred; his lips moved, which meant he was saying something. But Xiao Yuan couldn’t hear anything except the weird sound of guqin. He closed his eyes, sealing his seven orifices in an attempt to shut up the sound of guqin.
Finally, the sound gradually lowered, getting lighter and lighter, and in the end turned into a wisp of blue smoke that passed away with the wind.
Xiao Yuan’s eyes moved slightly and he vaguely heard someone calling his name.
“Ah Yu, Ah Yu.”
There were only two people in the world who would call him that… No, one of them was dead and now there was only one left.……
Xiao Yuan opened his eyes abruptly. The man in front of him was wearing a blue robe; his face was like a painting and his eyes like autumn water, full of affection. He looked at Xiao Yuan and said softly, “Ah Yu, be obedient.”
Xiao Yuan’s heart thumped – it turned out to be Li Xianting? Why was he here?!
“Xiao Du is your gege, he will treat you well.” Li Xianting said, “Go to him.”
Xiao Yuan heard himself speak, “I don’t want any gege and I don’t want to leave Shizun. Why does Shizun have to drive me away? Shizun… doesn’t want me anymore?”
Xiao Yuan regained his senses. It was his memory, a memory that he didn’t want to recall anymore. Could it be that it was the purpose of the guqin? Let people experience the most painful thing in their life again? He would see himself abandoned by Li Xianting and then… What would Gu Louyin see?