Taohua and Lihua’s faces paled instantly after Gu Suihan asked which one of them betrayed him. Their hearts pounded fearfully as they felt like the Young Master they had become so familiar with seemed like an asura now. The elegant and quaint study had suddenly transformed into a battlefield, strewn with dead bodies with blood flowing like a river. The stench of their own blood filled their nostrils as a murderous force weighed heavily on them from above.
“Young Master, I…I don’t know what you mean…” Taohua’s large and watery eyes blinked, her tears pouring down her cheeks. The veins on her face contrasted greatly with her fair skin and blood began to ooze out from her slim body. She was trying her best to hold up against the murderous force coming down on her, but it wouldn’t be long before her body turned to mush and her soul shattered.
“Oh?” Gu Suihan raised an eyebrow and looked a little curiously at her, surprised by her willpower.
“Young Master, ever since you took me in, you’ve always treated me with respect. You don’t have a lot of rules, you’ve never hit me, scolded me, shouted at me or even intended to treat me as a human cauldron, so I’m more than grateful to you! I couldn’t possibly betray you!”
As Taohua spoke, her white clothing slowly turned pinkish and drops of blood rolled down her skirt and onto the floor. Blood was also slowly seeping out from her eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Her gaze had lost its focus but she was still hanging on and barely managed to finish speaking.
Gu Suihan shot a white beam into Taohua’s dry and cracked lips and said quietly, “That might be the case for you, but I don’t know about her.”
He shifted his body and turned to Lihua, who was hanging her head in silence.
Taohua was already delirious and was about to collapse when the pill that Gu Suihan had shot into her mouth brought her back from the brink of death. A warmth flowed through her and swiftly brought life back to her body which resembled a ceramic doll covered with cracks.
She suddenly felt like her body was lighter and her surroundings became brighter as the room looked like how it normally looked again. The stench of blood she smelled earlier was gone and it was replaced by the faint smell of lavender.
That was the first time she realized how wonderful it was to be alive. Treading on that line between life and death had truly terrified her.
She collapsed in exhaustion and relief onto the floor, slowly turning her head to look at Lihua, who was already drenched in her own blood.
Taohua had a look of horror on her face. She never thought that the one who shared so much joy and laughter with her, the ever gentle and well-mannered Lihua, would actually turn out to be the traitor that Gu Suihan was referring to.
After a few moments of silence, Lihua raised her head to reveal her face which was already covered in blood. Her lips curled upwards into a sad smile, which made her look more like a vengeful spirit. Her hoarse and screechy voice matched her countenance as she whispered, “How did you find out?”
Taohua’s teeth chattered as she looked at Lihua and her heart sank in disappointment.
Gu Suihan smiled faintly, making his emotionless face seem so genial. “I wasn’t sure at first. I just found it strange that others seemed to know exactly where I’d been and everything I’d done. While I was in seclusion this time, I decided to check the residence with my Spiritual Sense and I couldn’t detect your presence even though it was already the middle of the night. The only people in this residence besides myself are the both of you and I’m a paranoid person to begin with. The answer became very obvious.”
Lihua looked at him in shock and her lips moved as if she wanted to speak, but she ended up sighing instead. Then she said, “What would you do if it turned out that neither of us betrayed you? Or what if I absolutely refuse to admit to it?” She stared straight into his eyes as she waited for an answer.
Taohua too looked up curiously at Gu Suihan.
Gu Suihan looked back at their hopeful faces and said quietly, “Then I’ll just kill both of you.”
The two girls felt nothing but terror as Gu Suihan continued to smile as gently at them as before.
“You’ve betrayed me. Even though I don’t know who you’ve been reporting to, it’s probably someone from one of those factions of power, or…” Gu Suihan turned to look out of the window and scoffed. “So, it’s better that you die.”
As if it had received a command from Gu Suihan, the saber that had been sitting harmlessly on the table suddenly came out of its sheath and drew a crescent in the air.
Taohua watched as the strange saber cut through Lihua’s neck and lopped her head right off without even making a sound.
But that wasn’t the end. She continued watching in pure horror as the saber started making a sucking noise as if it was drinking from Lihua’s body.
Lihua’s lifeless body trembled slightly and her previously smooth and supple skin started to wrinkle as her blood and flesh were sucked completely dry. Her black and shiny long hair now looked like withered grass.
All of this happened in seconds, but it felt like centuries to Taohua. The only thing left of Lihua was a dark gray cloud vaguely visible among the clothing on the floor.
“You can take a look at this technique manual. I need to settle some matters, so if anybody asks, tell them I’m still in seclusion.” Gu Suihan threw a thin book at Taohua, who was still reeling in shock on the floor. Then, he picked up his sword and left.
“Sis…” Taohua stared at the remains on the floor with tears in her eyes as she instinctively curled up and sobbed soundlessly. Now she knew why Lihua had asked that last question.
The two of them were pretty girls since they were young children and were sent to this sinister and frightening place that was dark all the time. They were trained very strictly and if they dared to protest, they would be whipped. Taohua had seen so many other little girls like herself being whipped to death. Lihua had been a big sister to her, taking care of her and even getting punished on her behalf.
Later on, they were sent to the Seven Kill Sect where they were warned about several rules that they needed to follow. They began praying hard that they would get a decent master.
Gu Suihan was like a beacon of light to the two of them. He was mild-mannered and treated them with respect. Even when they did something wrong, he never shouted at them or reprimanded them. He didn’t even need them to sleep with him, which was something that most maids were expected to do. They were grateful for that, but also a little disappointed.
But today, Taohua finally understood what the warning of those elders who taught them the rules around the sect really meant.
The elders said that cultivators were unpredictable people. Their lives were unpredictable since they could die at any time. Their moods were also unpredictable. Everything about them was unpredictable.
Lihua wasn’t able to tell anybody about how I’ve come out of seclusion, so, should I continue with this, thought Gu Suihan as he suddenly stopped walking and looked up at the sky. There was a hesitant look in his eyes for a moment before he turned around, returned to the meditation room, and waited for nightfall.
“Taohua, you can use my disciple token to attend some classes on cultivation and learn some basics. I’ll teach you how to get started as a cultivator later,” Gu Suihan’s gentle voice resounded in Taohua’s ears through the thick stone door.
“Yes, Young Master.” Taohua’s face was still pale as she looked fearfully at the door. She bowed politely and scuttled off.
Inside the meditation room, Gu Suihan was thinking about what he ought to do next.
If he wanted to move from Foundation Establishment to Origin Core quickly, he would need a lot of pills and Spiritual Stones. He was still a long way off from what he needed.
Remaining as an external disciple wasn’t going to get him anywhere, but if he became an internal disciple, then the three major factions would have even more ways to get back at him.
He needed a better plan. A plan that did not hinder his progress but avoided the revenge schemes of his enemies.
He started wondering who was going for this secret realm expedition. But nobody was willing to talk about this. It was likely that they were all going to head to the secret realm at the same time, and each faction was going to send an internal disciple at the Intermediate or Advanced Foundation Establishment to go along and hold the fort.
Perhaps there was something he could do here. His eyes suddenly lit up.
Feng Ran hadn’t sent out any message yet, so he was probably going to wait for everyone to set off for the secret realm first before making plans.
In that case, he could just ignore them and go ahead first.
The sky dimmed and the silvery moon appeared among the clouds, its faint moonlight illuminating the land below.
“It’s time.” Gu Suihan opened the door to his meditation room and looked into the distance.
He was as silent as a ghost and as nimble as a leopard as he easily avoided all the external disciples who were still wandering about outside at that hour. He moved like a gentle breeze and quietly infiltrated the extremely luxurious residence that the Way Seekers Alliance had reserved for themselves in the East Compound.
He hid in a corner and scanned the entire residence slowly with his eagle-like eyes.
“That one.” He focused his gaze on a very silent and peaceful room less than 50 meters away from him. If it wasn’t illuminated by the fluorescent rocks inside, it would have looked as sinister and terrifying as a haunted house.
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