Chapter 2 - Breaking the Karmic Cycle

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“I’m surprised you know so much about us cultivators. Are you one of those people attempting the disciple selection that’s happening in seven days?” The man didn’t seem angry because he knew that even though Gu Suihan spoke rather sarcastically, he spoke the truth.

It hadn’t been easy for this man to get a chance to roam about outside on the pretext of hunting down a traitor. He was out here to find out if any talented people were going for the disciple selection in hope of getting close to them.

“We’ll see.” Gu Suihan nodded calmly, and his unbothered expression clearly puzzled the man. To him, every person dreamed of cultivating the Way and attaining longevity, but oddly enough, Gu Suihan didn’t seem interested at all.

He was about to ask more when Gu Suihan looked up at the sky and murmured, “The sun is about to rise.” Then he picked up the bottle of wine and walked away without waiting for a reply.

“What a strange fellow,” muttered the man. He stomped hard on the ground, leaped over the fence with a few steps and disappeared into the distance.

Gu Suihan strolled towards the main hall of the house. According to the rules of his family, he had to greet his parents when he entered this part of the house.

In reality, his parents and most of the family didn’t really like having to interact with Gu Suihan because the look in his eyes made them feel very uneasy. This was a shared sentiment among the family.

Gu Suihan’s father, Gu Qingfeng, initially thought that his son was merely more mature than his peers and favored him at first. But as his son grew older, he began to realize that the look in Gu Suihan’s eyes made Gu Suihan seem like a very distant stranger. His gaze was calm and aloof, like a god looking down at the mortals he had created.

All this time, Gu Suihan spent most of his time alone in his little area on the outskirts of the main manor and everyone just did their own thing without having to cross paths with him. Gu Suihan never asked his family for money either and nobody knew where he got his money from. For some reason, the things he ate and the clothes he wore were always more luxurious than anything his elders had.

Of course, it wasn’t as if nobody had tried stealing from Gu Suihan. But every time someone tried, that person’s corpse would be found hanging at the potter’s graveyard outside the city. One of those corpses was Gu Qingfeng’s second brother who was Gu Suihan’s second uncle.

After that incident, Gu Suihan interacted even less with the outside world.

Today, Gu Suihan decided to see his parents only because he felt that it was time to cut ties with this body’s family. He had gotten used to being alone all the time and had no plans to support this family nor form his own faction of power.

To him, the losses he would suffer from having these things outweighed any benefit they could possibly bring him.

His parents were having breakfast in the smaller hall. Gu Suihan straightened out his hair and clothes, then walked in confidently and bowed. “Greetings, Father. Greetings, Mother1.”

When he heard this voice, Gu Qingfeng froze as he was putting food into his bowl. He knew that this son of his would not come here without an agenda. In fact, it was more normal for them to not see Gu Suihan for two or three weeks as long as nothing major happened within the family. Gu Suihan’s sudden appearance made Gu Qingfeng panic a little.

But Gu Qingfeng was mature enough not to let his doubts and worries show on his face. “Come over and eat with us.” Immediately after he said this, he realized that Gu Suihan was already seated across from him.

Gu Qingfeng frowned at this rude behavior and opened his mouth to reprimand Gu Suihan, but in the end, he didn’t say anything for some time and just let out a sigh. He asked quietly, “You’re here very early. Do you need to talk to me urgently?”

“No.” Gu Suihan took one bite of the food, put his chopsticks down, looked at the few people seated before him and paused before continuing, “I’ll wait until Eldest Brother and the rest arrive.”

Gu Qingfeng was rather puzzled but didn’t think too much about it, thinking that Gu Suihan had something urgent to discuss with them. The last time the family convened like this was when his second brother had been hacked to pieces.

Thinking about this made him lose his appetite. He had lived for a few decades and had traveled far and wide, so he had seen a lot of the world. He was a businessman, so there were many underhanded things he had done in secret for the sake of profit as well. But there was no way he was able to continue eating and drinking as if nothing had happened after the murder of an elder like his son did.

Once Gu Qingfeng put his chopsticks and bowl down, the entire hall fell silent. Even his wife, Madam Shen, dared not make any noise, afraid to anger her husband, who was now the head of the family.

Madam Shen was not Gu Suihan’s biological mother. Gu Suihan’s biological mother had passed away from ill health when Gu Suihan was a toddler and had passed away fairly peacefully. Madam Shen was the mother to his eldest brother and sister. But unlike how stepmothers were always portrayed in novels, she didn’t bully him just because his mother had passed on. Most of the time, she remained cordial towards him.

While the few of them were seated in silence, Gu Qingfeng’s other sons entered the hall one after another. They were a little surprised to see that Gu Suihan was here as well and made their own guesses about his purpose for joining them at breakfast.

Once everyone was gathered, Gu Suihan rapped the table and said flatly, “I have 2,000 pieces of gold.”

The moment he said that the murmuring in the room stopped at once.

“What did you just say?” The eldest brother, Gu Xinran, was gripping the ceramic bowl so tightly that the bowl creaked under the pressure.

In comparison, the second brother, Gu Xinqing, didn’t seem as agitated. But the fact that he was holding his chopsticks so tightly that they were cracking showed that he wasn’t really as calm as he looked.

“I said, I have 2,000 pieces of gold.” Gu Suihan lowered his gaze and scanned the rest of the room with a mirthless smile on his face. “I can give it to you, but you must swear that from now on, the Gu family and Gu Suihan will have absolutely nothing to do with one another, and I want my name wiped out from the family genealogy.”

Everyone automatically turned towards the silent head of the family, Gu Qingfeng. Even though Gu Qingfeng had one foot in the coffin, he was still the head of this family after all.

The old man hummed for a moment and tapped the table. He suddenly said, “I can choose to disown you, but if you want to be erased from the family genealogy, I will need you to give me a good reason for doing so.”

To be very honest, the old man didn’t want to do this at all. But when he saw the burning gaze in the eyes of his two older sons, he couldn’t find it in himself to turn Gu Suihan down. Gu Suihan was not likable in many ways, but he was still his son after all.

At the same time, Gu Suihan was offering 2,000 pieces of gold.

How much was 2,000 pieces of gold? That was enough to expand the family business that the second son now handled by at least five times. They would even have enough capital to expand their business into a different city.

His eldest son could also choose to contribute some to the court and thereby save himself the next 30 years of struggling to get a promotion.

“I want to cultivate the Way.” Gu Suihan wasn’t the least ruffled by the old man’s question and rolled his eyes. “The biggest taboo for a cultivator of the Way is to be entangled in any sort of relationship with others. Even though I have never been close to anybody in the family, family karma is not something you can end so casually.”

Since Gu Suihan wanted to draw the line so clearly, there was no point in saying anything. The old man opened his mouth but ended up sighing instead.

Gu Suihan looked at the old man who seemed like he had aged by another ten years, then got up slowly and said, “Since nobody has any objections, let’s go to the ancestral hall to get this over and done with.” He turned and started walking towards the door.

“Wait a minute!” Just then, Gu Xinran suddenly broke his silence and raised his voice, “Number three, how could you even find it in yourself to say such a disrespectful and unfilial thing? Father is getting on in age and it’s already bad enough that you spend so little time with him. How could you make such a ridiculous request? Besides…”

“Besides, nobody knows where those pieces of gold came from either. I’m pretty sure a huge sum like that must have come in through illegal means,” Gu Xinqing chimed in with a suspicious look on his face.

“Tsk.” Gu Suihan stopped in his footsteps and turned to look at his two older brothers. The covetous look in their eyes gave their hearts away. Gu Suihan snorted and said, “So what if the money turns out to be ill gotten gains? Are you going to arrest me and force a confession out of me?”

Gu Suihan walked right up to his oldest brother and narrowed his eyes as he asked quietly, “Would you even dare to do that?”

“You…” Gu Xinran slammed the table and got up with a start as he shouted angrily, “Do you know who I…”

Pak! A palm landed on his mouth before he could even finish his sentence. Gu Suihan slowly withdrew his arm. “Of course, you wouldn’t dare to. If you really arrest me, nobody knows if that money would eventually end up in your pocket.”

“Besides, are you even sure you can arrest me?” A terrifying murderous glint suddenly flashed in Gu Suihan’s usually aloof stare.

Gu Xinran’s eyes were bloodshot and his whole body trembled from being too angry, yet he dared not even move an inch. His years of experience as a court official told him that judging from the look in Gu Suihan’s eyes, making any rash move would resign him to a fate no better than his second uncle.

“Can we go to the ancestral hall now?” asked Gu Suihan quietly as he glanced at his two older brothers, then looked down to hide his piercing gaze.

His voice was soft, but it sent chills down everyone’s spine. The only sound that filled the room was the sound of Gu Xinqing dropping his chopsticks.

Gu Suihan looked like he was sending a warning to Gu Xinran, but he was also looking at Gu Xinqing from the corner of his eye. That side glance made Gu Xinqing feel terribly uneasy, especially after making those remarks earlier. He had been too distracted by the prospect of getting more money and he regretted it now.

After Gu Suihan announced that he had 2,000 pieces of gold, the first thing that he and Gu Xinran were concerned with wasn’t the amount per se, but with how they could possibly get all that money into their own pocket.

But the way events unfolded after that snapped both of them back to reality. There were some people and some areas where you had to make sure you never crossed the line with them.

Gu Qingfeng had been watching their exchange and suddenly let out a bitter laugh. “Come with me,” he said, then walked out of the hall with the help of a servant.

Everyone filed out of the hall and Gu Xinran was soon left all by himself in the hall.

“Damn it!” Gu Xinran kicked the table over, his eyes red with fury. He clenched his fists tightly and hissed, “Gu Suihan, I’ll kill you someday!”

But when he remembered that unfeeling look in Gu Suihan’s eyes, he wasn’t confident anymore.

“Wait. He said he was going to cultivate the Way.” Gu Xinran suddenly realized something. “Seven Kill Sect. Gu Suihan must be headed for the Seven Kill Sect.”

Gu Xinran looked towards the ancestral hall and narrowed his eyes as he fell into deep thought.

After he had successfully erased himself from the family genealogy, Gu Suihan felt like the burden on his shoulders had been lifted. He told the old man exactly where he had hidden the gold. Gu Suihan didn’t care what the old man did with it and how he was going to split it.

Without bidding anybody farewell, Gu Suihan packed a few things into a small bag and left the old estate that he had lived in for the past ten odd years.

As he stepped out of the main gate, Gu Suihan randomly thought about what happened earlier at the breakfast table. In particular, Gu Xinran’s angry bloodshot eyes and the threatening look on his face.

“I hope you don’t do anything you’d come to regret.” A nasty smile spread across Gu Suihan’s lips instinctively.

Gu Suihan hadn’t said he was going to cultivate the Way as a mere excuse to leave the house. He really did intend to do just that. Even though he had millions of techniques in his memory, this was not the same universe he used to belong to. He was no longer that invincible character he used to be. He had no idea how to cultivate in this world, what the upper limits were, and he didn’t even know the rules around here.

That’s right. Cultivating the Way used to be called Cultivating the Truth, but it wasn’t the same as the stupid cultivation of immortality that those novels liked to write about. At the end of the day, attaining immortality or nirvana was merely one point in the journey to pursue the Way. If one cultivated the Truth and the Way just to become an immortal, then one had it backwards.

  1. This universe is set in some ancient Chinese universe, so everything is very stiff. ↩️

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