Chapter 25 - Afraid to Take a Gamble

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“Firstly, how did a disciple who isn’t even at Foundation Establishment manage to steal something like a Seven Kill Spiritual Transformation Pill? Secondly, how did he manage to run out of the sect without anybody noticing? Those are the only things I can think of at the moment.” Feng Ran looked rather grim.

Gu Suihan looked at Feng Ran in surprise, then added, “Thirdly, Elder Wang is suspicious too.”

“Elder Wang?” Wang Xianxian was shocked. “What do you mean?”

“I’m not sure if everyone observed Elder Wang’s behavior closely earlier today.” Gu Suihan’s bright and alert eyes stared at the fire in front of him and said in a slightly mocking voice, “He didn’t seem anxious at all. He didn’t behave as if he was afraid that he might be punished by the sect at all. He didn’t even arrange something like a Demon Bat to help us to fly even faster to catch the thief.”

“I’m sure all of you know what a Seven Kill Spiritual Transformation Pill is. If you take this pill, you get a 20% chance of increasing your Spiritual Root’s rank by one level. Even though a person can only take it once in his lifetime, a pill outside the sect could be sold for this amount.” Gu Suihan stuck two fingers out.

“That’s right. It’ll cost at least 200,000 Spiritual Stones. It won’t go below that,” said Li Rong very seriously as he narrowed his eyes.

“Also, his attitude was very strange.” Gu Suihan pushed at the sticks in the fire to make it burn a little brighter. “Why was he so insistent that I come along? If I had refused, I’m sure he would have forced me to join the team. But why?”

“Maybe it’s because you offended someone or a faction of power struck a deal with him. This is just a guess.” Zhou Haotian glanced emotionlessly at Gu Suihan.

“No, that’s not possible.” Li Rong suddenly shook his head and said confidently, “Because I’ve noticed one thing.”

“What?” Zhou Haotian frowned puzzledly.

“Have you noticed? None of us here are backed by any of the major factions within the sect,” said Li Rong quietly as he looked at all of them.

His words had been spoken softly, but they caused an upheaval in everyone’s hearts.

“Are you saying that…” Wang Xianxian’s expression dimmed as he squeezed the words out of his mouth, “They are the ones behind this?”

“Besides the Way Seekers Alliance, the Nobles Clan, and the Four Directions Court, who else could it be?” Feng Ran’s tone grew icy. “Besides, judging by Junior Brother Gu’s case, it’s clear that they’ve joined hands in planning this. I’ve killed someone from the Nobles Clan outside the sect before. Junior Brother Gu’s feud with the Way Seekers Alliance is no secret. Junior Brother Li has the support of Xiexin Zhenren, but Xiexin Zhenren has always refused to take sides, and many others have followed suit.”

“I have a feud with Senior Brother Wang from the Four Directions Court.” Wang Xianxian’s expression grew nasty.

Zhou Haoran gripped his sword tightly and said in a sinister voice, “I was from the West Compound initially. I made it to the East Compound after I killed someone from the Way Seekers Alliance.”

After everyone spoke honestly about their past, their guess was confirmed. This horrified them even more now.

“So, the thing is, did this pill theft even happen?” said Gu Suihan quietly.

There was a small uproar among the rest as they quickly turned to look at Li Rong since he was the most well-connected among them.

But Li Rong laughed bitterly and shrugged. “Things happened so quickly that Elder Wang didn’t give me any time to investigate. How am I supposed to know anything?”

“If this theft didn’t happen and was just an excuse to trick us into leaving the sect, then…” Gu Suihan narrowed his eyes as he pulled out the Spiritual Multiplier Pill from his magic storage bag and said quietly, “…there must be something wrong with this thing.”

“But what about the part about being authorized by the Peak Leader?” Zhou Haoran suddenly piped up. Elder Wang had shown all of them the Peak Leader’s seal earlier that day. He couldn’t have been bold enough to replicate that seal.

Wang Xianxian stopped turning the pig and looked at the forested area around them as if the trees were filled with secret traps that could kill them. “If we die, who would know?”

“What are they trying to do?”

Nobody had any answers, but their hearts felt even heavier now.

All of a sudden, they looked up at one another and said at the same time, “It’s the internal disciple's vacancies!”

Wang Xianxian grinned and reflected the passing lightning in his teeth. “Everyone, we’re clearly going to die if we continue. Since they came together to plan this elaborate scheme, I’m sure they must be pretty confident that we wouldn’t end up working together like this. Why don’t we go separate ways? Stay alive and we’ll make plans later.”

“Hahaha!” A Ghost Controlling Flag suddenly appeared in Feng Ran’s hand and he cackled, “This feud has turned out to be worse than I imagined. This must be one of my three disasters and six afflictions. Everyone, take care. I’ll treat all of you to drinks another time.” After he said that, his body moved flexibly like a willow plant and was carried by the wind deep into the forest where he disappeared.

“Everyone, take care. Too bad about the pig.” Wang Xianxian wiped away the oil on his hands and licked his lips as a bloodthirsty look flashed in his eyes. He kicked up a storm of fallen leaves and disappeared as well.

“Till next time.” Zhou Haoran’s sword buzzed quietly as he took a few slow steps, then seemed to float in the air as he continued walking with steady steps. He too disappeared after a few steps.

Li Rong’s expression was threatening, unlike his usual friendly demeanor. He let out a sinister and hair-raising laugh, then said, “I’ll pay you a visit next time.” A tiny sedan carried by eight extremely tall jiangshi1( They’re usually in one good piece and they…hop.] appeared from nowhere. Li Rong hopped into the sedan and they flew into the distance.

“So, everyone has their own special technique, huh?” Gu Suihan sighed and looked thoughtfully at the swaying trees of the forest. A frosty and chilling look spread across his handsome face. “Perhaps we’re doing more than just working with one another.”

“Let me leave them with a little surprise. I hope they don’t disappoint me!” Gu Suihan’s voice slowly faded. The fire illuminated Gu Suihan’s almost ghostly face before he disappeared in the wind.

Nobody thought about what would happen if they had guessed wrongly. Or what would happen if the theft was real.

They didn’t want to think about those possibilities and they weren’t going to take such a gamble, because their lives were at stake. They couldn’t afford to take this gamble.

Before long, the clear night sky was covered with dark clouds. The rolling of thunder from time to time and the howling of the strong winds were foreboding, a sign of bad things to come.

Within the sect, two rare guests had appeared at one of Miss Mo’s luxurious buildings.

One was Lord Fang of the Nobles Clan, Fang Suyu.

One was the leader of the Four Directions Court, Wang Aolin.

The last person at the table was the owner of the building and the leader of the Way Seekers Alliance, Mo Yuluo.

All three of them were sitting quietly on cushy chairs, drinking tea in silence as they fell into deep thought. Nobody made any sound at all.

Just then, the jade slip on Mo Yuluo’s table started trembling slightly. The sound was very soft, but it was enough to make the two men turn their heads to look at it.

“They’ve arrived?” asked Fang Suyu expressionlessly as he removed the foam layer from his tea.

Mo Yuluo scanned the jade slip with her Spiritual Sense and nodded.

Wang Aolin rapped his knuckles on the table decisively and said, “Let’s begin.”

“Do you think they’d guess what we’re trying to do?” said Mo Yuluo in an enchanting voice as she looked admiringly at Fang Suyu with her mesmerizing eyes.

But Fang Suyu merely glanced back at Mo Yuluo and was completely unaffected by her gaze. He snorted and said, “I can’t believe you have the guts to use your Charm Technique on me. You’ve really overestimated yourself.”

Mo Yuluo pouted unhappily, then stopped exuding her charm as if nothing had happened at all. Her expression reverted to normal and she went back to looking like an unapproachable deity, elegant and pure.

However, her sudden and drastic change didn’t surprise the two men at all.

They were used to her antics. She was ever-changing and it was impossible to predict her mood.

“That’s not quite possible,” Wang Aolin disagreed. “Gu Suihan and Li Rong are on fairly close terms, but the rest don’t know each other at all. Why would they suspect anything?”

“Just the reasons given for this mission are enough for that Gu Suihan to hazard a guess,” said Mo Yuluo as she chuckled. Her cat-like eyes were curved lazily, like a kitten that had just woken up.

Fang Suyu fell into deep thought, then sounded a little guilty as he said, “It’s my fault. Things happened too quickly for me to come up with a more detailed plan. Who would have known that the Sect Leader would just double the number of vacancies for internal disciples? I don’t know what he’s thinking about at all.”

“The Sect Leader has his own reasons, I’m sure. Besides, don’t you think that the world of cultivators has been a little too boring for too long?” said Wang Aolin in a mysterious voice.

“It seems like it’s almost time for that thing to appear,” said Mo Yuluo as she laughed quietly. She looked at the dark skies outside and said pointedly, “Is this the calm before the storm?”

Wang Aolin looked at the lightning that tore through the skies and said, “Perhaps the calm part is already over.”

Dark clouds covered the land and the continuous rumbling of thunder sounded as though a terrifying dragon with the ability to break anything in its way had appeared, letting out ear-deafening roar after roar.

Meanwhile, on Peak Four, at the edge of a cliff.

A table, a cup of tea, and a person remained there.

“Hoho, all of you are getting rather bold now.” Xiexin Zhenren looked out at the billowing clouds in the distance expressionlessly as he murmured, “But that’s not a bad thing idea. You could even consider it the dessert before the meal.”

Lightning lit up the sky, as well as the faint smile on Xiexin Zhenren’s lips. It was both sinister and fear-inducing.

“There’s some light in front. It must be them.” Several young men were exchanging comments as they quietly walked through the forest.

They used their Spiritual Sense to scan the area to check if there were any traps.

“Let’s go, there doesn’t seem to be any traps. Let’s just attack them straight up,” said one of them with a fierce look on his face before charging at the fire in the distance.

“Tianyu, be careful!” someone called out after him before motioning to the rest to catch up.

“How boring.” The two right at the back looked annoyed as they followed behind Tianyu. They seemed to move slowly, but they always made sure they were no more than six meters away from him.

After Tianyu got closer to the fire, his expression fell.

There was nobody around the fire at all. But the mess that was left behind showed that the five of them hadn’t left too long ago.

“They’ve left no longer than an hour ago. There are no signs of an altercation.” A small-sized man among them looked at the scene before them with a grim expression as he carefully analyzed the situation. “They didn’t leave together. They went separate ways as if they knew that we were coming. They left in quite a hurry, eating just a bit of that pig before running off in different directions.”

Everyone looked at the almost untouched pig roasting over the fire and the messy footprints around them and agreed with the analysis.

The small-sized man was a little smug, but he quickly added in a serious tone, “However, it might not be them. It could have been some other disciples.”

The Clacker’s Dodgy Chinese Takeout

Today’s snack recommendation: Cantonese Roast Pork Belly. WHY ARE THEY STILL TALKING ABOUT PIG. Umami: ********

  1. Jiangshi. Chinese vampire/zombie: [Jiangshi ↩️

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