“Reverse the Elements, Switch Yin and Yang, Exchange Soil and Gold!” The man with a spear had an aggressive expression as he made hand seals while shouting, before slamming his left palm against the ground.
The mud and rocks around the man instantly became iron and steel.
It was followed by a loud rumble as a metal bubble rose from the ground. The man with a spear forced it back into the ground again and shouted, “Third Brother, hurry up!”
“Opposing Forces!” The youngest of the three was bleeding from the mouth, but after his eldest brother hurried him, he used all the strength he had to hang onto the powerful blast of air between his palms, then thrust it out towards the area that had turned into nothing but steel and iron.
“Haha! I’m still alive!”
The two brothers’ attack had avoided their second brother’s dead body, something they probably did subconsciously. This weakness enabled Li Daoren to dodge the attack.
Li Daoren suddenly leaped out from beneath the ground even as he was severely injured, blasting the second brother’s body to pieces and cackling maniacally in the midst of the flesh and blood raining on himself.
“Fall of the Immortal!” Gu Suihan leaped up at this moment and Red Dust flew out of its scabbard, sending out a gleam three inches wide. It cut through the air like a swallow and shone a gorgeous and bright red beam into everyone’s eyes.
Li Daoren went into a daze and felt like he was now in the midst of a battle between immortals and demons. The pressure he felt around him seemed to make the air stand still and he simply couldn’t move. The strange long saber that looked like it could cut through the heavens vanished like an illusion. Before he could snap out of his daze, everything went black and he didn’t feel anything anymore.
“Breaking the Red Dust!” Gu Suihan had taken Li Daoren out with one move, so he quickly moved on to his next target. He stepped on the air steadily and swiftly, leaving behind a blurry trail as he swung his saber the other way towards the two brothers who were still in a daze.
A strange yet familiar voice instantly filled the two brothers’ ears.
“Xing’er, hurry up and run! You’re the eldest brother, so you must protect your two younger brothers.”
“Eldest Brother, why don’t we try and become disciples of a sect? Wouldn’t that be better for our cultivation?”
“Eldest Brother, you can have the items that we got earlier. Reach Foundation Establishment stage quickly so that you can protect us!”
“Second Brother! Father! Mother!” The man with a spear had no idea that a blade was coming down on him as a genuine and innocent smile spread across his lips.
Gu Suihan had no expression on his face as he sliced through both brothers’ necks, releasing two columns of blood spurting into the air.
He grabbed the storage bags of all four men, put the saber back in its scabbard, and exhaled deeply.
After that, he carefully picked that Three-petaled Mara Flower wrapped it neatly, and kept it away properly. He then threw out several Blazing Flames Talismans to burn up all the bodies emotionlessly and left the place without turning back.
This meant nothing to Gu Suihan. He didn’t mind being a fisherman from time to time. A Three-petaled Mara Flower was valued at 300 Spiritual Stones, but the sect did not sell this particular item, so there was a price but no stock to buy.
“Hoo…” Gu Suihan came to a secluded area and slowly calmed his spiritual energy down, then got up when he was full of energy again.
“There isn’t a lot of good stuff around here. It’s nothing like the secret realms of books,” thought Gu Suihan as he continued to wander about aimlessly.
“Wait a minute!” Gu Suihan suddenly stopped and narrowed his eyes to reduce the gleam in them. He quietly hid in the shadows and slowed down his breathing so much that he resembled a dead person.
A few moments later, he heard the sound of footsteps stepping on grass and twigs, followed by a light and melodious voice, “Oh? How did you get in here, Brother Li? I’m so surprised.”
“Ha! You’re surprised? I’m afraid you expected this,” a frosty male voice responded.
“Teehee!” The female voice giggled merrily. “I wonder where your good friend, Gu Suihan, is right now. I need to talk to him about something.”
Gu Suihan had a surprised look on his face even as he remained in the shadows. Someone actually knew that he was going to be here and did not believe that he was still in seclusion within the sect.
“Isn’t Brother Gu in seclusion back in his own residence? You’ve seen him come out? Why do you need to talk to him, anyway?” asked the man. As their voices became clearer, so did their faces. It was Li Rong and the leader of the Way Seekers Alliance, Mo Yuluo.
Gu Suihan quietly remained standing where he was, as still as a rock and as ominously as an asura. He remained unmoved even as he listened in on this conversation about himself.
“Hmm!” Mo Yuluo didn’t answer Li Rong’s question and changed the topic, “What brings you here, Brother Li? Anything I could possibly help you with?”
“Miss Mo, if I said I’m here to take revenge on the Way Seeker’s Alliance, what would you do?” Li Rong chuckled. “You’re not even a direct disciple and you’re using such vicious methods already. That’s very unsettling to me.”
“Also, don’t you think the stance you’ve taken is a little too inflexible?” Li Rong’s voice slowly grew more emotionless and the cheeky smile he had was gone.
Mo Yuluo sighed a little sadly and twiddled with her hair. “I’m sure you’ve noticed the recent happenings in the world of cultivation.”
Li Rong didn’t react and continued staring calmly at her pretty little face as he smiled faintly. “That’s none of our business. You know that’s something that only those old farts at Nascent Change can lead. Even those at Origin Core can only be used as pawns.”
“It’s better to send charcoal in the snow than to add flowers to cotton(a).” The intricate little bell on the bracelet around Mo Yuluo’s fair wrist tinkled softly. She turned away and broke eye contact with Li Rong. “I know that those who have taken a neutral stand like yourself hopes that the sect will remain balanced and harmonious. But the Seven Kill Sect is a huge ship. Should it meet the oncoming waves head-on or just bob along? Have you ever thought about that?”
Without waiting for Li Rong to respond, she went on, “The Sect Leader wants this boar to have only one voice and one line of command. He doesn’t care if you’re a direct, internal or external disciple. He wants a unified sect, but not a balanced one.”
“But you were trying to get rid of us.” Li Rong’s expression was as frosty as his voice.
Mo Yuluo looked amused as she said, “You know very well that we weren’t bent on killing you. If that were so, you wouldn’t have made it back even if you had a jiangshi made from iron.”
“You managed to convince Fang Suyu as well?” asked Li Rong after a brief moment of silence, avoiding any response to Mo Yuluo’s last remark.
“He didn’t have a choice. An outsider will always be an outsider,” said Mo Yuluo thoughtfully as she nodded slightly.
“Hoho,” Li Rong chuckled as well. He seemed to agree with her on this.
“Within the sect, the Nobles Clan has the most number of elders and deacons. They are many in number and are Origin Core cultivators, but they are not united in spirit and they all have their own plans. Your father is a powerful figure among those who are neutral, but he can’t order the people in this group around. The Four Directions Court, on the other hand, have the Peak Leaders of Peaks Three, Five, Six and Seven. They believe that cultivating peacefully is the way to go. But they’ve forgotten that the world of cultivators has never been a peaceful place to begin with.”
“And let me share another piece of information with you.” Mo Yuluo turned to look at the silent Li Rong again. “The Vast Sky Sect, the Falling Star Sect, the Wonderful Sound Sect and the Youthful Clarity Sect have formed an alliance.”
“What?” Li Rong’s expression finally turned to one of shock. “That’s impossible! Hasn’t the Falling Star Sect been a neutral party all this time? What could have been enough to make them decide against their previous objections to forming any sort of alliance?”
Mo Yuluo’s expression was grim as she gritted her teeth and spat, “The Ethereal Court.”
“Tsk!” Li Rong’s expression was nasty. “All cultivators are ruthless after all. The Falling Star Sect…the Ethereal Court…great. Just great.”
“I need your help.” Li Rong suddenly stared straight at Mo Yuluo.
“What sort of help?” Mo Yuluo’s expression relaxed a little. The chances of getting Xiexin Zhenren, the Peak Leader of Peak Four, seemed a lot higher now.
“Kill Gu Suihan,” said Li Rong, emphasizing every syllable. “Initially, he was meant to be a pawn to curb or mess up the three factions. But now that the Ethereal Court is involved, then this pawn isn’t important anymore. Besides, he has something that the old fart in the palace needs. If necessary, we can use that to negotiate and increase our strength.”
“Are you referring to what he got out of robbing the tax ships before entering the sect?” asked Mo Yuluo very solemnly.
“That’s right.” Li Rong nodded. “My father refused to give me any details, but whatever Gu Suihan is holding onto, it’s definitely something extremely valuable. And as far as I know, there are some secrets behind Gu Suihan, but no matter how hard I try to investigate, I can’t seem to find any answers.”
“Oh?” Mo Yuluo was really surprised this time.
“He knows…a lot of things,” said Li Rong vaguely.
“I’ve come this time because I intend to wipe out Feng Ran and his companions,” Mo Yuluo finally stated her intentions clearly.
“I’ve come for Gu Suihan’s Spiritual Root and whatever he’s holding onto,” Li Rong came clean as well.
“His Spiritual Root?” Mo Yuluo was puzzled.
“He’s got an Eight Geng Gold Spiritual Root, which is complementary to my Ren Water Spiritual Root. I can use that to create my personal jiangshi.”
“So, why didn’t you take it from him before he entered the sect?”
“That’s because I didn’t know that the Ethereal Court was going to be involved. I was hoping that he could accumulate more Geng Gold Murderous Qi so that his Spiritual Root would be more powerful when I use it.”
“I see,” responded Mo Yuluo.
Having a common enemy immediately helped both sides to come to a truce. As for Gu Suihan…if he died, he died. Neither cared about him.
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