Secret Sect’s Interrogation Prison, Ice Cellar.
Su Ru Hui remained silent for a long time, while Su Gou smiled at him with narrowed eyes, his curved pupils filled with deep meaning.
Su Gou’s fingers under his sleeve moved slightly, and the Mind Reading technique silently activated.
Childhood memories rushed past Su Ru Hui’s eyes, making him sigh with emotion. He had long been curious about the truth behind Sang Chi Yu’s out-of-control spiritual power. How could a bowl of “heart’s blood” save a person’s life? And what was the origin of the mysterious heart core within him? Everything that happened twenty-two years ago was full of mysteries. After pursuing the truth for half his life and dying once, all his questions finally had answers.
Now it seems that the heart core was the so-called “heart’s blood” that Su Ru Hui’s master mentioned. This heart core seemed to be the source of demonic power, the root of demonic nature, and held the secret to “blood and flesh reorganization” ability of the demon race. Ming Ruo Wu used the power of the heart core to heal Su Ru Hui’s internal organ injuries, but the heart core couldn’t merge right with ordinary people. As Su Ru Hui grew up, the side effects gradually became apparent. In the end, Su Ru Hui’s body deteriorated due to the heart core, and he couldn’t continue living.
And this heart core that both saved his life and caused his death came from Sang Chi Yu. His biggest gain today was the confirmation of this point – Sang Chi Yu was not human, but a demon. Su Ru Hui couldn’t help but ponder, if the demons came from the wind and snow, how did Sang Chi Yu fall from the Snow Territory into the mortal world? And why did Da Tai Jing adopt Sang Chi Yu, and even give him the identity of a noble family’s son? More importantly, what was Sang Chi Yu’s true form?
Could it be a dog or a snake? The thought made him sweat with anxiety. He didn’t particularly like either of these animals.
Su Gou’s eyes flickered, and he slowly asked, “Jiang Daren (1) doesn’t seem to believe Su Gou’s words. Have you ever encountered a demon before?”
“No,” Su Ru Hui quickly replied. “I’m a delicate nobleman who never goes out. How could I have seen such a thing?”
“Is that so?” Su Gou smiled. “There’s still time. Would Jiang Daren like to hear about the peerless sword we asked you to find?” He turned to Su Yu and said, “Please excuse us, Little Su Daren.”
Su Ru Hui hooked his arm around Sang Chi Yu’s neck, pressing his face against his chest. Sang Chi Yu was greeted by the fresh scent of soap on his clothes. Sang Chi Yu couldn’t help but recall the scene from last night when he slept in Su Ru Hui’s bed, his ears turning slightly red.
Su Ru Hui raised his eyebrows and smiled. “My little brother is my confidant. No need to leave him out.”
Su Gou nodded. “In that case, let’s converse together.”
Sang Chi Yu furrowed his brow slightly and asked, “What peerless sword?”
Su Gou’s voice deepened, revealing a nostalgic tone. “For thousands of years, our clan has lived in a treacherous environment, dwelling in rough and humble places. Those with powerful spiritual powers survive, while the weak perish in the raging winds and snowstorms. To ensure our survival, the wise among our clan have spared no effort to explore the laws of spiritual power inheritance. It is well known that there is no fixed rule for the awakening of spiritual power, and the power that each person awakens is unique. He devoted himself to finding a method to awaken the most powerful technique among the children of our clan.”
“Over thirty years ago, he proposed a plan – to select a Holy Maiden from our clan to receive the seed of our clan’s elders. Our clan has five elders, with profound spiritual power and superb mastery of techniques. If they were to be placed in the human world, they would be grandmasters of the Chao Sheng Realm. The elders readily agreed to participate, but unfortunately, our clan has always struggled to reproduce, and a month later, the Holy Maiden was still not pregnant. The physician said that the Holy Maiden’s depression was affecting her ability to conceive. At that time, our clan had coincidentally captured an outsider, who was offered to the Holy Maiden as a pet. Unexpectedly, the Holy Maiden had sexual relations with him, and half a month later, became pregnant.”
Su Ru Hui felt embarrassed. This Holy Maiden was truly unlucky.
“In consideration of the difficulty our clan faces in reproducing, the elders made a decision to kill the outsider and keep the fetus.” Su Gou had just told them such a horrific event, yet this guy showed no reaction whatsoever, as if murder and dismemberment were commonplace. Su Gou continued with a smile, “The fetus was born after full term and awakened a special power that we had never seen before.”
“What power?” Su Ru Hui asked.
“‘Devour,’ he can steal other people’s special power. Anyone whose essence and blood he consumes, their power will be transferred to him,” Su Gou explained.
When Sang Chi Yu consumed Su Ru Hui’s essence and blood, Su Ru Hui’s power disappeared. Now, everything was clear, and Su Ru Hui realized that Sang Chi Yu was the sacred infant. However, Su Ru Hui still had doubts in his mind. He had never seen Sang Chi Yu use his ‘Infinite Deduction’ technique, and in fact, he had hardly seen Sang Chi Yu use any special power at all.
Beside Su Ru Hui, Sang Chi Yu lowered his eyelashes, hiding the complexity in his eyes.
Su Ru Hui raised an eyebrow and said, “Don’t tell me that this child is your clan’s peerless sword.”
“You guessed it, Daren.” Su Gou nodded with a smile. “You don’t seem surprised to hear about this special power.”
“Surprised? How could I not be surprised!” Su Ru Hui covered his chest, feigning fear. “It’s too powerful. I’m already starting to feel afraid.”
He didn’t know if his acting was convincing, but Su Gou just laughed a few times without any special reaction.
Su Gou continued, “But then something shocking happened. One night more than thirty years ago, the Holy Maiden fled the royal city with the Holy Child. They met a traveler from the Secret Sect who took the mother and son on a journey to the west. The Holy Maiden died on the way, and the infant was taken into the Secret Sect and disappeared. We have been cautious of the Secret Sect and dare not venture too deeply. Only now have we made adequate preparations to venture into the Secret Sect.” Su Gou bowed to Su Ru Hui. “Jiang Gongzi, now you understand how important this child is to us. If you have any information about this child, please let us know.”
“I just entered the Secret Sect and haven’t even familiarized myself with the roads, let alone the people.” Su Ru Hui pretended to be ignorant. “It’s been thirty years. He should be in his prime now. Wait for me, I’ll go to the Eagle Guards to retrieve the case files and make a list of all Secret Sect members over thirty. Maybe you can find him.”
Su Gou shook his head regretfully. “Jiang Gongzi, you are not being honest. To be frank, I have already received a clue about this child, and your past is closely related to him. You know something. If you don’t tell the truth, there is no need for us to cooperate.”
“Well, breaking up is better. I don’t want to be with you and your mess.” Su Ru Hui sneered. “You locked up a woman for the sole purpose of giving birth to a child, and you’re self-satisfied about it, thinking it’s a good plan to save your clan. Did that woman even agree to being this bullshit Holy Maiden?”
Su Gou did not get angry. “Dedicating oneself to the future of our clan is her honor.”
“Fine.” Su Ru Hui laughed in anger. “If I tell you that as long as you sleep with ten old men every night, you can save your clan from disaster, are you willing to do that?”
Su Gou fell silent.
Su Ru Hui turned around and looked at Su Yu, who was silent all along. The boy’s face was covered in shadow, and his expression couldn’t be seen clearly. He was even quieter and more silent than usual, seemingly devoted to being Su Ru Hui’s shadow.
Sang Chi Yu was a calm person who had practiced inner peace for many years. Even if a storm raged, the surface of his heart could only ripple. It was not so much that he was slow, as he was indifferent. Su Ru Hui didn’t know that he had a hard time empathizing with others. To him, his parents were too unfamiliar, and their tragic experiences could not arouse too much emotion in him. However, at this moment, he felt an indescribable sadness. He touched his chest, where there was a burning pain in the tip of his heart.
It turned out that all of Su Ru Hui’s illness and suffering throughout his life were caused by him. He felt a deep sorrow because of Su Ru Hui.
“I have said it before,” Su Gou sighed. “Don’t be our enemy. Your strength is not worth mentioning compared to ours. Why do you seek a dead end? You are very smart. I once hoped that you could be of use to us and walk in the mortal world for us. But I never expected that you and I would still end up fighting each other.”
His Mind Reading technique had long penetrated Su Ru Hui’s mind and seen Su Ru Hui’s childhood memories. He had said so much just now because he truly pitied Su Ru Hui and wanted to give Su Ru Hui a sincere opportunity. As long as Su Ru Hui could be open and honest, they could continue to work together.
Unfortunately, the result was not satisfactory.
Su Gou took two steps back and activated the star array’s killing line. The golden light interweaved into a net. These were the star lines of the star array. By pulling one, the entire star array’s pattern changed immediately. Such star arrays were found everywhere, and they could be restored even if the spiritual power user died. Compared to spiritual power users, the Secret Sects was more willing to rely on the exquisite and meticulous star arrays. The Secret Sect cultivated star officials and spent decades letting attacking or defending star arrays soak into every inch of the Secret Sect’s soil.
As soon as the star line changed, the originally gentle star array instantly transformed into a deadly killing array. An enormous thunder and fire star array enveloped Su Ru Hui and Sang Chi Yu, and the flames blazed in front of them. The flames could almost lick the sky. Sang Chi Yu slowly unsheathed his blade.
Su Gou stood outside the array and praised, “What a beautiful killing array. I never expected mere ant-like mortals to have such intelligence. This thunder and fire killing array is exquisite beyond measure, with hundreds of variations. Unless you can predict which variation you will face from the hundreds of possible variations, you have no chance of escape. Child, we’ll meet again someday.”
Sang Chi Yu observed his surroundings calmly. He was an expert in swordsmanship but not proficient in star arrays. However, all star arrays were based on the distribution of star lines. As long as the star lines were destroyed with absolute violence, the star array could not function. Su Gou and his tribe had impure intentions and wanted to escape from the Snow Territory even if it meant sacrificing the Holy Maiden’s life. It was evident how vicious Su Gou’s clan was. Sang Chi Yu would not disclose his identity and hand himself over to these monsters. He had to save Su Ru Hui, even if it meant exposing his spiritual power in front of Su Gou.
If necessary, he could even reveal his identity.
He was about to attack when Su Ru Hui raise his hand and say, “Wait, wait, I’ll talk. The person you are looking for is that unfortunate man, Sang Chi Yu. I have seen him emit light from his body, and he has also taken my special power. His features match those of the child that you described. Without any doubt, he is the child that you have been searching for.”
Sang Chi Yu: “…”
Su Gou nodded with a smile. “Correct. His spiritual energy network and Devour special power are indeed those of our Holy Child. You must have guessed by now that our clan is not ordinary humans. We come from the perilous and unpredictable land of wind and snow, and our tribe is far more superior and ancient than you humans. We are born with a powerful self-healing ability and the innate ability to restructure flesh and blood. Most of you cannot even awaken spiritual power.”
“You look down on us like this?” Su Ru Hui said, hugging his arms. “But my husband has half-human bloodline.”
Su Gou regretfully said, “The lowly human bloodline has tainted our Holy Child. But according to your human saying, disaster and fortune depend on each other. If he were a pure demon, he probably would not have survived until today. If I guess correctly, Dan Tai Jing has removed his heart core. We dispatched spiritual power users to search for him secretly for months but still couldn’t find his whereabouts. Ordinary demons would undoubtedly die if they lose their heart core, but Sang Chi Yu is only half-demon. After losing his demon blood, he only has his human blood left.”
“So that’s why he can survive.” Su Ru Hui whispered to himself.
But did Dan Tai Jing and Ming Ruo Wu know this when he removed the heart core? Su Ru Hui secretly felt afraid. He was willing to bet that his uncle and master did not have a hundred percent assurance that Sang Chi Yu could survive after losing his demon heart core. They were planning to use Sang Chi Yu’s life in exchange for his own.
“Child, I didn’t expect you to give in so easily.” Su Gou sighed with a smile. “I thought you had a deep friendship with that child, but it seems that I overestimated you. My tribe was right. Most humans are cowards who are afraid of death.”
Su Ru Hui suppressed his complex emotions and composed himself. “You’re overthinking things. He’s never been interested in talking to me. And…”
Su Ru Hui gave a mysterious smile and said something that shocked Su Gou:
“And you can read minds, right? Whether I say it or not doesn’t matter. You already know.”
Su Gou’s voice faltered, “How did you know I can read minds? I told you my secret technique is Lie Detector.”
Su Ru Hui clapped his hands, and a shabby little spider made of steel crawled down from Su Gou’s shoulder. It was as small as a fingernail and looked like a speck of dust. Su Ru Hui pinched one of the spider’s legs, and after struggling for a while, the spider stopped moving, pretending to be dead.
“My ‘Wind Stealing Spider’,” Su Ru Hui introduced it with a grin. “I left it in the Jiang residence the other day. Who would have thought I could hear your conversation? Your special power is so troublesome, and I tend to overthink things. I’ve been training for a long time to control my thoughts and not think too much, so as not to let you see something you shouldn’t have seen.”
“What do you mean?” Su Gou was slightly surprised. “Did you intentionally show me your thoughts today?”
“Pretty much.” Su Ru Hui nodded.
“You deliberately recalled the incident when Sang Chi Yu lost control of his power as a child, when he took away your special power, and when Ming Ruo Wei implanted his heart core for you?” Su Gou couldn’t believe it. “How could that be possible?”
“Why not?” Su Ru Hui smiled. “I suspected your identity and Sang Chi Yu’s identity even before today.”
Su Gou narrowed his eyes. “I see. My fellow clansman told me you left the city last night. You saw the spiritual meridians on our bodies and thought of Sang Chi Yu, so you began to suspect his identity.”
“Not just that. I started getting suspicious even before last night.”
“Before last night…” Su Gou pondered carefully. “We met for the first time at the Jiang residence, the second time at the Secret Sect, and the third time was last night. Before last night, did I reveal something at the Secret Sect? Or did you already suspect something at Jiang residence? How could that be? We haven’t exposed any fatal flaws, shown any spiritual meridians, or displayed any abnormal characteristics. Why do you think the heart core and Sang Chi Yu are related to us?”
“You are too confident in your disguise, but the main reason is that I have seen similar monsters like you before – in other words, I have seen your fellow creatures.”
Su Gou couldn’t believe it. “Impossible. Except for me and Sang Chi Yu, this is the first time our clan has come to the human world.”
“Who said I saw you in the human world,” Su Ru Hui said slowly. “I saw you in the Snow Territory.”
Sang Chi Yu was shocked and suddenly remembered something. A Nan from the Great Compassion Temple had once said that the skeleton of an eight-armed monster was found in a cave underground in the Snow Territory. Seven years ago, someone had blasted the cave and covered up the strange corpse. Now he knew who that person was. It was Su Ru Hui. Seven years ago, Su Ru Hui had already known about the existence of demons.
Su Ru Hui brushed his sleeves and crossed his arms. “Since the disaster in my childhood, I have noticed something unusual about Sang Chi Yu’s body. I’m not a fool. When I was ten years old, I could barely be fooled by the lie that he saved me with his blood. When I was twelve years old, I knew there was something strange about it. When I was eighteen years old, I accidentally learned that Sang Chi Yu was not the Sang family’s orphan. This is really strange. Sang Chi Yu’s identity is fake, and the person who made up this identity for him can only be my uncle, Dan Tai Jing. My uncle is an extremely rigid person, who didn’t hesitate to make up a big lie to protect Sang Chi Yu.
“Later, I entered the Black Street and found a guy who possessed the Divine Eye special power to examine my internal organs. Sure enough, there was a strange ‘heart core’ in my chest. Seven years ago, I found one of your dead clan members in the Snow Territory and found the same heart core in his body. Since then, I have known that Sang Chi Yu’s identity is suspicious.”
“You deliberately recalled the past in front of me, to find out Sang Chi Yu’s true identity from my mouth?”
“Yes, thank you for being willing to chat with me. If I met a boring person like Sang Chi Yu, I might talk to him all day, and he probably would only say three words.”
“What?” Su Gou couldn’t help but ask.
“You’re, very, noisy,” Su Ru Hui said.
Sang Chi Yu: “…”.
Sang Chi Yu pursed his lips and remained silent. He couldn’t say that he had never called Su Ru Hui noisy.
Su Ru Hui smiled, revealing a rare sense of loneliness on his face. In fact, that memory was not over yet. The night he slept in Sang Chi Yu’s cave, he suddenly felt a huge pain in his chest. It was because his body had a severe rejection of the heart core. Ming Ruo Wu and Dan Tai Jing took him away to a small sanctuary in the middle of the night. He had a fever for five consecutive days. When he was able to get out of bed, Sang Chi Yu had already returned to the Secret Sect.
Since that separation, they had not seen each other for seven years.
More importantly, when he woke up again, a snowflake fell from the sky and landed in his eyes. From then on, there was a voice in his head – the system.
He would never forget the day when the system’s voice sounded in his ear:
[Detecting that the host has lost his special power and the survival rate is less than 10%. The system is online. Host information confirmation in progress… Confirmation complete. Host 000, name Su Ru Hui, male, current status severely injured.]
[Nice to meet you for the first time. I am your system. I will do my best to keep you alive until you discover the mysteries of this world.]
1. Daren – Lord