[Task completed. Obtained a secret X1 that is unknown to anyone. Please specify the person you want to learn the secret of, host.]
[Task completed. System authority released by 10%, and the warning function is now activated. Host, please continue to work hard. The next authority upgrade will activate the pet module.]
Su Ru Hui was not interested in the pet module and asked, “The secret you tell me must be something I don’t know, right?”
“Can it be anyone?” Su Ru Hui asked again.
[Even a dog would do.]
This crappy system loved to spout meaningless nonsense just like Su Ru Hui. Most of the secrets it revealed were probably boring things like impotence and hemorrhoids – things that Su Ru Hui had no interest in knowing.
Su Ru Hui pondered as he stroked his chin. The system must know things he didn’t, but if the range of “unknown” was very small, he wondered what useful information the system could provide.
Su Ru Hui had an idea. “Tell me a secret about myself.”
There were things he truly didn’t know about himself, such as what that heart core in his body was in his previous life. This question troubled him for his entire brief life, and he exhausted all means to trace it back to its source. He finally found some clues in the Snow Territory, but was imprisoned by the Secret Sect in the Immortals Cave and died without ever finding the truth. Perhaps the system could tell him the answer.
[Target confirmed, retrieving background information… secret intelligence extraction complete.]
[Secret Intelligence Disclosure: Su Ru Hui, you are not human.]
Su Ru Hui: “……”
He felt offended. His first reaction was that this crappy system was insulting him, but his second reaction was that his first reaction was wrong.
He had been with this system for many years, and he knew its temperament. When the system said “you are not human,” it wasn’t an insult, but rather it meant that Su Ru Hui didn’t belong to the human race in the sense of his species.
This was a mind-blowing secret.
If he wasn’t human, then what was he?
However, he quickly realized that the choice of the character “Su Ru Hui” was ambiguous. He was a person who had returned from the dead, and “Su Ru Hui” could refer to the previous Su Ru Hui who had already died, or it could refer to A Qi, the rogue whose body he was now occupying. Was “not human” referring to Su Ru Hui or A Qi?
He asked the system this question.
[Secret Intelligence Disclosure Complete. The system cannot provide an answer. Please rely on yourself.]
Su Ru Hui inwardly rolled his eyes.
The puppet carriage carried them back to the capital, passing through Tian Street and entering Tai Palace directly. The towering palace of the Secret Sect appeared in their view through the window, and they entered the magnificent gate.
Countless soldiers stood at attention with their swords, and fine snow fell all over them without melting, making them look like rows of ice and snow sculptures from a distance.
Su Ru Hui stuck his head out and looked into the distance from under the shade. At the end of his vision stood the most magnificent palace in the capital, Bei Chen, where the mysterious leader of the Secret Sect, Dan Tai Jing, sat holding the fate of the world in his hands.
A long time ago, Sang Chi Yu also came and went in that dark rock corridor. He was Dan Tai Jing’s first disciple, stepping onto the palace with his sword and having a noble status. But because of this, no one dared to approach him. They said he was the knife in Dan Tai Jing’s hand, cutting down traitors and rebels, and wherever he went, blood flowed like a river. Su Ru Hui had seen his back countless times. While others walked in groups of three or five, he walked alone and looked extremely lonely and small under the huge palace.
As the carriage turned, it rattled and drove into the other side of the capital, down a straight road piled with snow. It gradually slowed down in speed, and finally stopped at a guard station. A black gold-plated plaque with the words “Eagle Guards” hung high above the official office. Su Ru Hui knew this garrison. The Secret Sect had three major star officials and thirteen garrisons. The Eagle Guards was the last of the thirteen garrisons, responsible for patrolling, arresting, and killing traitors and rebels. Sang Chi Yu had previously worked in this office, but for some reason, he had a rank but no official position, no superiors or subordinates, and only listened to the orders of the leader of the Secret Sect.
The guide led them into the courtyard, and there were soldiers inside and outside the official office. The atmosphere was tense, with a sense of being ready for battle. Su Ru Hui felt that something was wrong. Did they know that he was an undercover agent in the Black Street and sent him directly for interrogation?
As they arrived at the bottom of the courtyard, a medical officer carrying a medicine box came up.
The system provided the following information: [The chief male specialist of the Secret Sect, proficient in treating impotence, premature ejaculation, and various sexually transmitted diseases. It is recommended that the host follows all the instructions of this specialist.]
The physician said, “Take off your clothes.”
Su Ru Hui was stunned. “Take off my clothes?”
Su Yu clearly did not expect to have to take off their clothes right away and furrowed his brow lightly. “Why?”
The physician unfolded a woolen cloth package, revealing gleaming silver needles inside. He explained, “As a military officer, your body must be in good condition. If you have any strange diseases, the guards won’t accept you.”
“I’ve never heard of this rule before,” Su Ru Hui said.
“Now you have.” The physician urged him, “Take everything off, not a single piece left.”
“Here?” Su Ru Hui looked around the snowy landscape. “Can’t we go inside? It’s so cold out here.”
The physician slammed down the silver needles, his face full of impatience. “A grown man like you afraid of the cold? Hurry up and take off your clothes.”
“A screen,” Su Yu said.
“What?” the physician asked.
“Give me a screen,” Su Yu said with a dry frown.
“You’re picky.” The physician waved his hand, and a few soldiers brought in a screen and placed it in the open space.
Su Yu turned to the other side of the screen, lowered his head, and unbuttoned his collar.
Su Ru Hui had no choice but to follow suit. They took off their padded jackets, then their cotton pants, and then their undergarments. Each piece was piled on a chair. Su Ru Hui stamped his feet and exhaled, shivering from the cold. Through the screen, he could only see Su Yu’s thin figure. Su Ru Hui couldn’t help feeling strange. With the screen set up in the open air, wouldn’t the other soldiers still be able to see this guy’s naked body?
“The cloth around your waist also needs to be untied,” the physician said.
“Is it really necessary!?” Su Ru Hui was about to collapse.
“To see if you have any sexually transmitted diseases. If you do, the sect won’t accept you,” the physician urged them.
Su Ru Hui had no choice but to untie the cloth around his waist. The two naked young men stood in the snow, feeling extremely embarrassed. The only thing worth celebrating was that there were only men around, and Su Ru Hui felt that his face had thickened another layer.
“What’s there to be ashamed of? In my eyes, you are just pieces of pork. You two should just treat yourselves like pieces of pork,” the physician said.
The physician examined them one by one, stuck needles into them, and made them sit down and tap their knees while asking them, “Does it hurt? Is it sore?”
They answered one by one, and the physician seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. He burned the silver needles on a candle and said, “Alright, you two are very healthy. Exercise more on weekdays and don’t drink alcohol. However, you, surnamed Jiang. You seem to have some kidney deficiency. There’s nothing else to worry about, just report to the sect.”
Su Ru Hui was so angry that he wanted to spit blood. His kidneys were not weak at all! This was definitely a quack doctor.
[After being evaluated by the system, the physician was found not to be a quack.]
Su Ru Hui cursed loudly, “Go to hell!”
Su Ru Hui put on his clothes and walked inside while shivering. Su Yu followed him, whispering, “He was checking our twelve meridians and acupoints.”
“Why was he checking these?” Su Ru Hui was puzzled. Could it be that they were really checking if they were sick? Compared to the past, the sect seemed to be much more cautious now.
Su Yu shook his head, indicating that he didn’t know.
There was no time to think. The two crossed the courtyard and entered the main hall, where soldiers still guarded the doors. There was a black-robed military officer and a white-clad man standing under the eaves of the long corridor. The military officer was a short and fat middle-aged man, less than forty years old, with a sparse beard that made him look mature and steady. The smiling man next to him was dressed in white linen and had beautiful features.
When he saw this person, Su Ru Hui’s gaze paused slightly.
[Su Gou, who was originally named Su Gou Dan. He looks a bit like Sang Chi Yu. It was said that when the host created him, he used Sang Chi Yu’s beauty as inspiration. The system has reason to suspect that the host had ill intentions.]
[Xia Jing, the eldest son of the Xia family. Seems to have a secret relationship with Jiang Xue Ya. Su Gou also seems to be hiding a secret.]
Secret? Su Ru Hui frowned secretly. Su Gou was just a puppet. What secret could he have?
And Xia Jing; how could he have any relationship with his senior sister? That shameless woman, she didn’t even let go of old men!
Su Ru Hui: ???
[But not with that old man.]
When Xia Jing saw Su Ru Hui, he patted his shoulder and smiled. “Nephew, I am Xia Jing, the commander of the Eagle Guards. I received a letter from your father this morning, instructing me to take care of you more. You are truly formidable to have passed such a cruel trial at a young age. It seems that the rumors of your weakness are not to be believed, and you are no less impressive than your sister.”
Su Ru Hui pretended to be shy. “Fourth Uncle is too kind, but I am ashamed. My reputation is not good, and with this trial, I hope to gain some recognition.”
Xia Jing smiled. “You have a point. Sang Chi Yu’s defection has caused a lot of trouble, and there will be a small interrogation later. You have stayed with him for a few days, and there is a connection between you. I have to ask you some questions. Don’t worry, it’s just a formality, and I hope you won’t take offense, my nephew.”
“Of course not, Fourth Uncle can ask anything, and I will answer truthfully,” Su Ru Hui said.
Xia Jing pointed to Su Gou. “This is Su Gou, a puppet who serves under Dan Tai Jing. He will be asking most of the questions later, and you just need to tell the truth.”
Su Gou bowed and said, “Su Gou greets Young Master Jiang.”
Su Ru Hui looked at this guy and felt very melancholy. Looking at his respectful appearance, Su Gou must have had his star array modified by the Secret Sect and now devoted himself wholeheartedly to serving them. Making a puppet was troublesome, and the higher the grade of the puppet, the longer it took to make. In the past, it took him three months to make a first-grade flesh puppet, and he couldn’t even make it perfect. His most perfect puppet was Su Gou, which took him six months of hard work, but now the Secret Sect had taken advantage of it.
Xia Jing put his arm around Su Ru Hui’s shoulder and walked into the room, while Su Yu stood outside the door and said, “I’ll wait for you.”
“Good boy.” Su Ru Hui rubbed his head affectionately.
Su Gou closed the pearwood door and bolted it shut. The door separated the inside from the outside, making the room very dark. The high burning candle only illuminated a small space on the table. The three of them sat down around the table. When Xia Jing sat down, his expression became serious, and he appeared imposing, unlike his earlier gentle and easy-going demeanor.
Su Gou nodded to Su Ru Hui and said, “I will use a Lie Detector Talisman. Young Master can only speak the truth from now on.”
Su Ru Hui was experienced with the Lie Detector Talisman, so he did speak the truth, but it was a selectively truthful response.
Xia Jing made a gesture, indicating that Su Gou could begin questioning.
Su Gou picked up the brush and asked, “The first question. Was there any sign before Sang Chi Yu defected?”
“No.” Su Ru Hui remembered that period of time and cursed Sang Chi Yu for being heartless, “I thought he was going to live a good life with me. I had even planned out what dishes to cook for him for the next month.”
Su Gou wrote down Su Ru Hui’s response and asked, “Why do you think Sang Chi Yu defected?”
“He probably wanted to restore his spiritual power. What else could it be? He couldn’t have gone to the Black Street for sightseeing.” Su Ru Hui pulled the corner of his mouth.
“Before Sang Chi Yu defected, did he meet anyone besides you?” Su Gou asked.
A dog didn’t count as a person, Su Ru Hui thought. “He came with me to the Jiang family’s residence, met my mother, had dinner, and left shortly after.”
Outside the door, Sang Chi Yu stood under the eaves, watching the snowflakes fall from the sky. It was snowing again in Kun Lun. A familiar scenery, a familiar official residence.
Since he was twelve years old, he had been coming and going under this roof, walking to the end of the long corridor, turning a corner, going down three wooden stairs, and the first room on the left was his room. He moved there when he was twenty-five years old and never left. It should belong to someone else now.
The door couldn’t stop Su Ru Hui’s voice, and he heard Su Ru Hui’s response. Su Ru Hui was a person who talked a lot, with only a few words being true and most of it being false. Only under the effect of a truth-telling spell would he speak the truth.
“Jiang Gongzi, you didn’t marry Sang Chi Yu willingly, but we heard that after marriage, you managed the household and cooked for Sang Chi Yu, showing your virtue,” Su Gou said. “How do you feel about Sang Chi Yu now?”
A dangerous question. Su Ru Hui felt a little heavy in his heart. Sang Chi Yu had betrayed the Secret Sect, and he had to distance himself from Sang Chi Yu. He had to answer the question carefully.
He casually laughed. “That guy seems carefree on the surface, but he actually dislikes me a lot. I’m not a masochist who enjoys being disliked. I took pity on him and took care of him, but he didn’t appreciate it and only wanted me to leave. In the end, he even went to the Black Street. I don’t care anymore. I won’t cook for him again; let him go hungry.”
“I understand.” Su Gou smiled.
Suddenly, Xia Jing, who had been silent, spoke up, “Que Xie, you need to answer the next question clearly. For example, ‘yes’ or ‘no’, ‘will’ or ‘will not’. Su Gou’s record will be submitted to Dan Tai Jing for review, and if your answer is too vague, it will be hard to explain to him.”
The old fox had some tricks up his sleeve and saw through Su Ru Hui’s attempt to be evasive. Su Ru Hui’s answer was now limited, and he wouldn’t be able to find any loopholes in the interrogation. Was there any way out? He could use the Pure Land talisman.
No, he had used his only Pure Land talisman in the trial grounds, and he had no other way.
Su Ru Hui cleared his throat and said, “I understand, Fourth Uncle. Please continue with your questions.”
“Based on your earlier answer,” Su Gou asked slowly, “it seems like you hate Sang Chi Yu a lot?”
Su Ru Hui pretended to think. “This… “
Xia Jing pressed on, “Que Xie, you need to answer clearly. Do you hate him or not?”
“I don’t hate him.” Realizing he responded too quickly, Su Ru Hui added, “It’s not quite hate, not to that extent, but he and I are not on the same path.”
“Oh?” Su Gou asked, “How does Jiang Gongzi view Sang Chi Yu? It’s said that Sang Chi Yu once bullied Gongzi. Shouldn’t Gongzi hold a grudge?”
He couldn’t avoid the question. If he answered “no” again, wouldn’t that mean there were still some lingering feelings? The Secret Sect valued loyalty the most. Although they wouldn’t kill him, he certainly wouldn’t be able to enter the Eagle Guards. Su Ru Hui felt desperate. He was being pushed into a corner by his own creation. You’re killing your master, you stupid dog (1).
Never mind, let’s try to lie again.
Su Ru Hui spoke, trying to lie.
He said the first word, and his heart trembled. The talisman was malfunctioning. Lie Detector didn’t take effect; he could lie!
His eyes narrowed slightly, calmly looking at the man in front of him, who was smiling knowingly. It seemed that this guy had been intentionally guiding his answer. Su Gou first mentioned “hatred,” then brought up “grudges,” which was an intentional or unintentional hint to Su Ru Hui on how to answer.
In the flickering candlelight, the two men looked at each other. Su Gou’s smile reminded Su Ru Hui of fake Jiang Xue Ya.
Su Ru Hui finally knew Su Gou’s secret. So it was this guy.
He smiled, leaned back, and said casually, “Not hatred, but more like dislike. That guy always looks like a wooden man, so boring. He also likes to be alone, thinking he’s unique. Fourth Uncle, you and he were colleagues before. You should be familiar with his mannerisms.”
Xia Jing was very satisfied with Su Ru Hui’s answer, and his expression relaxed a lot.
He deeply sympathized with Su Ru Hui’s words and sighed. “Yes, he considers himself the top disciple of Dan Tai Jing, always looking down on his peers. When he saw me in the past, he just nodded and didn’t bother to greet me. If you didn’t know him, you would have thought he was the commander of the Eagle Guards.”
Outside the door, Sang Chi Yu stood still like a wooden stake. He reached out and caught a snowflake which floated down like a goose feather. His fingertips were cold, and the coldness slithered like a small snake, drilling into his limbs and body, and his heart.
So this was how Su Ru Hui saw him.
Su Gou put away the paper and pen and made a solemn bow to Su Ru Hui. “Jiang Gongzi, the Secret Sect is convinced that you have no connection with Sang Chi Yu. Congratulations on passing all the trials and joining the Eagle Guards of the Secret Sect.”
Xia Jing vigorously patted him on the shoulder. “Nephew, there happens to be a vacancy for a school lieutenant. You can try it out. Work hard, and your future is boundless.”
The three of them chatted and laughed as they left. When they passed by Su Gou, Su Ru Hui received a note. He hid the note in his sleeve, smiled, and accompanied Su Gou and Xia Jing until they reached the gate before turning back to the interrogation hall.
Su Ru Hui’s stomach was empty, and at this moment, he only wanted to go eat with Su Yu. When he returned to the corridor, he found that the snowy ground was empty.
Su Yu had agreed to wait for him. Where was he?
Sang Chi Yu: I’m angry, come and comfort me.
Countdown to becoming a cat, haha.
1. The “Gou” in Su Gou Dan means “dog”