The awe-inspiring sword light illuminated Rong Ran’s pale face.
All the Sky Sect disciples’ eyes cast over.
Rong Ran raised his gaze slightly and saw Ye Yunlan’s indifferent look like he was looking at an irrelevant person, like their friendship had never existed.
He remembered what happened in the cave before again. Countless poisonous snakes were covering him, and he was drowning in the water, struggling to ask for help from the other party. However, he only saw the other party holding his disciple and standing on one side with the same indifferent eyes, watching him sink to the bottom of the water.
The feeling of being bitten by the poisonous snakes was extremely painful. But what was even more painful was Ye Yunlan’s neglect and betrayal to him over the past few years.
His thin lips curved, but there was no smile in his eyes.
"Why did you call me, Junior Brother? You should know that Senior Brother is seriously injured and hasn’t healed yet because your disciple wanted Senior Brother to lead the exploration, entering the killing array alone. Right now, Senior Brother can no longer take care of the situation. Is it possible that I can’t even find a place to heal my injuries quietly?"
The disciples were in an uproar.
They all knew that Rong Ran, Ye Yunlan, and Shen Shu fell into a killing array when they were exploring the way on the mountain road. When they met Rong Ran, Rong Ran was alone, vomiting blood, and clearly injured. When asked where the other two were, Rong Ran only said that he didn’t know. However, he was clearly suffering and depressed. After that, sect disciples were slaughtered, and now, Ye Yunlan and his disciple appeared here, looking unscathed. Combined with what Rong Ran said at this time…
Did Shen Shu plot an evil scheme against his Senior Brother in the killing array? If he regarded his sect member’s life as weed, it was even more natural that he would kill people to steal treasures!
Sitting on the ground embarrassingly, Gong Ze immediately pointed his finger at Shen Shu and cursed: "Senior Brother Rong already met this unfortunate encounter. Senior Brother Cheng Xu, why waste time with this kind of scum?"
Cheng Xu frowned and looked towards Ye Yunlan, "Junior Brother Ye, is what Junior Brother Rong just said true?"
Ye Yunlan answered with silence.
Cheng Xu’s expression changed slightly, "Junior Brother must be muddled! Even if Shen Shu is your only personal disciple, you shouldn’t condone him doing evil. As a teacher, you should set an example for your disciple. Words must be strict. Evil starts from trivial things. If we don’t correct the trivial things, what about the big things? Now that he has made such a big mistake, he should be punished. Don’t allow mistakes to be made again and again. He needs to be brought back to the right path."
Ye Yunlan said indifferently: "There are so many roads in the world, which one can be said to be the right way? I am a master, and I have only taught my disciple to have a clear heart. That is the right way."
Dressed in white, his face was cold. His long eyes looked sideways. When he looked at the people, it was almost like a cold sword coming out of its sheath while the teardrop mark at the end of his eyes burned like fireworks. It was extremely compelling.
Seeing him, Cheng Xu couldn’t speak for a while.
"Watch Rong Ran. He cannot go." Ye Yunlan said, "Let’s check the corpses."
Rong Ran: "Junior Brother, are you suspicious of me?" He laughed in a self-mocking manner. "I didn’t expect you to hate me like this to want to distort the truth and try to convict me. You abandoned me in the killing array. After I escaped by chance, I met Senior Brother Cheng Xu and our other fellow disciples. After that, I was traveling while trying to heal my wounds. When our twelve fellow sect members died, I never left. What time or motive would I have to kill my fellow sect members?"
Cheng Xu: "I can testify about this matter. Even if the murderer isn’t Shen Shu, Junior Brother Rong couldn’t be the murderer."
Ye Yunlan was silent for a moment. He didn’t immediately refute the two of them.
It was about connecting all the possibilities in one’s mind from his past life to the present. When did this farce begin, and how?
He thought of the treasure.
But he wasn’t sure.
So he walked to Gong Ze and said, "Let me see the recording stone."
Gong Ze clasped the recording stone firmly with both hands and a face full of unwillingness, "Not giving it. What should I do if you deliberately destroy the recording stone? The evidence would be gone, and then you’d be able to deny everything for your disciple?"
Standing next to Ye Yunlan, Shen Shu looked at Gong Ze with a caring look one had toward a fool.
"If Master really destroys the recording stone in full view, wouldn’t that be a confession? You didn’t even understand this? Are you a stupid *ss?"
Gong Ze’s face was red and white with anger: "Shen Shu, I’m going to kill you!"
Shen Shu: "You really are a stupid *ss, you can only go back and forth with these two sentences, you can’t even tell the difference between your own life and death."
Gong Ze trembled. He raised the sword in his hand, "You–" Cheng Xu walked forward quickly and separated the two. He helplessly said: "The murderer hasn’t been determined yet. This isn’t the time for fellow sect members to be fighting each other. Junior Brother Gong Ze, let me keep the recording stone for the time being. In any case, Senior Brothers will return the justice to all the people who died in vain."
Gong Ze gave Shen Shu a stare and finally handed the recording stones to Cheng Xu.
Cheng Xu injected spiritual power, and the image on the recording stone began to play.
The picture’s beginning was a chaotic scene with roars, screams, and footsteps. The picture recorded by the recording stone was also very shaky. At the end of the image, it was slanted upward, showing Shen Shu holding a long bloody sword, standing among the corpses. His eyes were facing the disciple holding the recording stone, and a crazy smile appeared at the corner of his mouth.
Ye Yunlan: "You are the disciple who started the recording stone?"
Gong Ze: "It ‘s me."
"What happened after?"
Gong Ze was puzzled, "After what?"
"The recording afterward. After he killed everyone, why didn’t he kill the two of you?" Ye Yunlan asked.
Gong Ze reacted, and his face flushed, "Jiang Feiyu and I escaped, only we were able to escape! How can there be evidence of when we ran away afterward?"
Ye Yunlan: "Where did you escape to?"
Gong Ze: "Who knows? That murderer was chasing us, so we panicked and chose a random route. We kept running and running until…" He paused, then showed a bit of confusion, "Yes, we fled to the front hall of the Fuyou Palace exit, then we reunited with Senior Brother Cheng Xu and the others."
"It’s reversed." Ye Yunlan said, "He chased you to the back hall and killed you before you reached the exit. He then called you with the Huan Youling, erased some of your memories, and let you go to the front hall to meet with the other people."
Gong Ze suddenly laughed, "You say my memory is fake? Is the recording stone fake too? Fake, fake, so only what you say is true? Ridiculous!"
He staggered up, opened his arms, and said to the disciples behind: "Everyone, do you believe such a funny joke?"
"It’s indeed absurd…… "
"The Netherworld Emperor’s great treasures were never revealed to the world, and many historical records previously were incomplete. How can he know the abilities of the Huan Youling so clearly? Isn’t it all fake?"
"I feel so too…"
Whispering, many people were focused on Ye Yunlan.
Ye Yunlan’s expression didn’t tremble. He said to Gong Ze: "After three days, you will disappear."
"Anyone recalled by the Huan Youling will have their souls dissipate after three days and not enter reincarnation."
In his previous life, the few witnesses against him were all dead. They didn’t die on the mountain road when they descended but died in the other traps in the secret realm. However, in the Netherworld Secret Realm, casualties were heavy, so no one felt like it was strange. And he, who everyone convicted, no longer had the opportunity to confront and explain.
Gong Ze still wanted to laugh, but looking at Ye Yunlan’s cold eyes, he couldn’t laugh.
Not enter reincarnation.
It was the most severe ending for any cultivator. Death could still lead to reincarnation and cultivating again. Then, if they truly become immortal one day, they could remember all their various lifetimes’ memories. However, if the soul dissipated and didn’t enter samsara, they would really turn into the dust in the world, no longer existing.
Gong Ze was a little scared.
He could only keep telling himself that everything was fake, and Ye Yunlan had made up his mind to cover up his disciple’s killing.
How could he be dead?
He still had a lot of life left, and the road of cultivation was still very long. He had a fairy he wanted to pursue. He still hadn’t moved into his newly built cave-dwelling, so how could he be dead?
"Play the recording stone again." Ye Yunlan said.
Cheng Xu frowned: "I don’t think we need to waste time here anymore. If what Junior Brother said is true, let’s go directly to check the corpse. Wouldn’t that do?"
Ye Yunlan: "Play it again."
Cheng Xu: "……Okay."
The image on the recording stone was played again. When the screen turned to Shen Shu facing the recording stone, Ye Yunlan yelled: "Stop!"
Cheng Xu controlled the screen to pause. The recording stone could not only record the picture but the qi of the person in the picture. Although the qi of Shen Shu in the picture was too violent, it was no different from Shen Shu’s qi in reality.
But what Ye Yunlan perceived was not Shen Shu’s qi, but a treasure.
The treasure’s qi was very secretive, hidden under the violent qi. It was extremely difficult to distinguish.
Only, he had been in contact with this treasure many times in his previous life, so he was very familiar with it.
With his memory, once touched, he wouldn’t forget it.
"Dark Incense Sparse Shadow?" Ye Yunlan whispered.
His voice was not too loud, but the cultivators present were all people with keen ears and eyes. They all heard what he said, and several thought of something. Their complexions changed.
Cheng Xu was a little unsure: "Junior Brother Ye, are you talking about is the twelfth-ranked magic weapon in the Weapon Chart, Dark Incense Sparse Shadow?"
Yunlan: "That’s right."
Cheng Xu: "The origin of this artifact is mysterious, and its power is unknown. Why did Junior Brother suddenly mention its name?"
Ye Yunlan: "This artifact allows the holder to disguise its appearance and qi to another. It could even create a shadow clone to have it cooperate with it."
Cheng Xu quickly figured out the connection: "Junior Brother thinks that in the recording stone, the person who killed many disciples wasn’t Shen Shu, but a person in disguise using that magic weapon, the Dark Incense Sparse Shadow?"
Ye Yunlan: "Correct."
It sounded absurd and ridiculous, just like the assumption of Huan Youling.
Most people thought so.
There were only two exceptions.
Rong Ran stood alone in the shadows, his five fingers in his sleeves already clenched. His thin lips were pale.
Chen Xianyu hid in the crowd, secretly looking at the tall figure standing opposite the crowd.
He was surprised.
Because the "Dark Incense Sparse Shadow" was a magic weapon in the Chen family’s treasury. Although it was ranked in the weapon spectrum, its specific uses have never been spread. Only their trusted aides and secret guards loyal to the family were qualified to know.
What was more, Ye Yunlan, from just the negligible qi in the recording stone could judge that the person who attacked and killed the sect members had on the Dark Incense Sparse Shadow.
He was surprised but also a little happy.
He had always felt that beauties should be appreciated from a distance, especially beauties that were hard to find in the world like Ye Yunlan. They should be taken care of, pampered, and shouldn’t be allowed to be slandered and abused by others.
Although the treasure was revealed and it might disrupt his brother’s plan…
That wasn’t right.
His Elder Brother was like a god. Ye Yunlan being able to perceive the existence of the "Dark Incense Sparse Shadow" might be something he had already calculated.
In that case, why did he have to send this treasure to this place?
"Since Junior Brother Ye’s certain it’s the Dark Incense Sparse Shadow, what can you do to prove it?"
Cheng Xu’s voice sounded again.
Ye Yunlan closed his eyes.
After he and Chen Weiyuan became daoist companions, the first magic weapon Chen Weiyuan gave him was the "Dark Incense Sparse Shadow".
The summer sun was warm, and the lotus was blooming in the pond.
He sat on the railing by the pond and watched the koi swimming in the lake.
The Chen family had strict rules, and the courtyards were all guarded. There weren’t many places he could go to usually.
Anyways, besides Chen Weiyuan, many people in the Chen family looked down on him.
Especially at that time, several elders of the Chen Clan even bluntly said in front of him that he had a terrible appearance, no skills, and shouldn’t be shown in public. Thus, he should avoid going out and shaming them.
He quietly watched the koi frolicking.
Only occasionally, he would be a little envious of their excitement.
There was a light footstep behind him, and someone lowered his body to envelop him. He said with concern.
"Yunlan, why are you sitting here alone again?"
He said: "It’s just to kill time."
The person behind him sighed, "It’s because your husband is usually too busy… When Husband is done with the most recent affairs, I will take you to Yuntai to enjoy the scenery, okay?"
He said softly, "Okay."
The person behind him liked his well-behaved manner very much. He stroked his hair lightly: "Yunlan, do you remember that today is the third year since I have met you. It is also the first year I have entered into a bond with you."
The person behind him laughed softly. "I want to give you a gift."
He saw a robe.
That robe was shining in the sun, and it was very beautiful.
So he took it and put it on his body under Chen Weiyuan’s gentle gaze.
"It has a very nice name–" Chen Weiyuan smiled and said: "Dark Incense Sparse Shadow."
Ye Yunlan opened his eyes. His expression was as indifferent as the snow on the mountain.
He said: "This item can hide its appearance and qi and form an incarnation separate from itself. But it has a fatal flaw."
" ——It cannot be seen in the mirror."
"Once you look in the mirror, the doppelganger will disappear, then its real appearance will be revealed."
A long time ago.
There was no mirror in Chen Weiyuan’s study.
He was often called to wear new clothes and sit by his side, staring at him from time to time.
Cheng Xu originally thought it would be a difficult method. He didn’t expect it to be so simple. He clapped his hands and said: "If that’s the case, it’d be easy to tell. But if you have the Dark Incense Sparse Shadow on you and you didn’t alter your appearance, won’t the mirror just reflect your true appearance? Then what?"
Ye Yunlan: "Nothing."
Cheng Xu was surprised and then understood his thoughts.
It didn’t take a lot of effort to look in a mirror. Even if the real culprit couldn’t be found, it was no loss to them.
And since Ye Yunlan would say such a thing, he should have something he was basing it on.
Thus, Cheng Xu took out a mirror with a large shape and a person’s height from his storage ring. He placed it in front of him and said to the disciples behind him.
"Like this, I will ask everyone to come before the mirror to verify yourself. If we see anything strange, we’ll know who is taking advantage of the situation."
Cheng Xu, among the disciples, had a very high prestige. Although many people thought it was absurd, they could only nod their heads and stand before the mirror one by one.
After standing in front of the mirror, a disciple asked curiously: "Senior Brother Cheng, why do you carry a mirror? Could this be your newly refined magic weapon?"
Cheng Xu coughed lightly: "Besides cultivation, one should dress appropriately to manifest the temperament of a Sky Sect disciple."
That disciple saw the light and said to him admiringly: "So that’s the case. Senior Brother bringing a mirror around is something we all need to learn as well!"
Cheng Xu coughed and waved his hand. "Hurry up, next."
The flow of people rushed past, and soon, only Rong Ran was left in the corner.
Cheng Xu had been paying attention to Rong Ran’s situation. At this time, he raised his eyebrows and raised his voice: "Junior Brother Rong, why aren’t you coming over to try?"
Rong Ran’s expression was stiff, and his heart was bitter.
When Chen Weiyuan handed the treasure to him, he hadn’t told him the treasure’s flaws. If he knew this, he would’ve definitely set up a more sophisticated plan. Why was he being forced into such a situation that was impossible to advance or retreat in now?
The wound on his face hadn’t healed because of Shen Shu’s sword qi. After being exposed to snake venom, his whole body became swollen and bruised. It was terrifying. If this appearance was forced to be exposed in front of so many disciples——he would rather die!
Following Cheng Xu’s shout, Rong Ran became the focus of everyone’s attention again. He gritted his teeth secretly, thinking of what to say as an excuse, but he suddenly heard a scream.
Then, the sound of a mirror dropping from someone’s hand and hitting the ground came.
A female disciple close to him looked at him in horror, and she kept stepping back. Looking at her eyes, Rong Ran knew what happened—this woman took a mirror and took a look at him in private!
A disciple with quick eyesight and quick hands grabbed Cheng Xu’s mirror and stood in front of Rong Ran.
The mirror reflected a completely different appearance——bruises, swollen limbs, and a half-blooded face. It was indeed no different from a ghost.
"No—" Rong Ran screamed. His soft and delicate face distorted in the mirror, "Don’t look!"
With a bang, he chopped the mirror in front into pieces.
Cheng Xu felt sorry for his mirror but made a decisive decision: "Stop him!"
Then, a group of disciples rushed up. Seeing that the situation was wrong, Rong Ran turned around and was about to run away. He was a Nascent Soul cultivator with a magic weapon. His strength was higher than many ordinary cultivators’. His feet slipped by the crowd, and no one could do anything for a moment.
About to rush out of the siege and escape, Ye Yunlan was about to make a move, but Shen Shu held the back of his hand.
Shen Shu: "No need to bother Master to take action. He can’t escape anymore."
The hard-to-detect shadow quietly reached Rong Ran’s feet and silently blocked him when he was about to escape from the envelope.
With a bang, Rong Ran’s body was off balance and laid face down on the ground, raising dust.
The people chasing suddenly fell silent.
A few couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
Cheng Xu coughed lightly, and only a few law enforcement disciples rushed out and tied Rong Ran with a cord. Cheng Xu walked up, looked at the gray-headed Rong Ran, and sighed. "Junior Brother Rong, can you explain why you have the Dark Incense Sparse Shadow?"
Rong Ran flung his head and his whole body trembled.
He never thought he would have such an embarrassing day.
"I was in the killing array. I was wounded, and I was just using a magic weapon to cover up the wound. What’s the fault with that?"
He wouldn’t own up to this.
Cheng Xu: "Is the Huan Youling on your body?"
Rong Ran showed a hint of a self-deprecating expression, "Senior Brother Cheng, Junior Brother Ye only said a few words, but you’re doubting me now?"
Although his face was gray, he was still born very gentle and would easily touch others.
No matter what he had done, ordinary people would give birth to a little pity.
Only, when Cheng Xu looked at him, he remembered Ye Yunlan’s awe-inspiring glimpse just now and the teary mole at the end of his eyes.
He sighed and didn’t respond to Rong Ran’s words.
When Gong Ze and Jiang Feiyu saw this incident, they were already panicking. Gong Ze stood up from the ground, looking at Rong Ran’s sorry state and the sight of the surrounding faintly sympathetic gazes. He suddenly roared: "I don’t believe it!"
He pointed to Ye Yunlan, "He made up all this, knowing Senior Brother Rong was carrying the Dark Incense Sparse Shadow on his body, so he deliberately set up a situation to frame him. He is mixing the truth with fake news. Did you easily believe his lie like this!? Look, Junior Brother Jiang and I are both living, real people. Our souls and bodies are here, so how could we be summoned souls!"
But this time, no one responded to his words.
The silence at the scene was a little frightening. Gong Ze was anxious, then heard a cold voice.
"The soul called by the Huan Youling must have a complete physical body. If your corpse is burned, the spells will fail."
Gong Ze stared at Ye Yunlan with red eyes, "Nonsense! I don’t believe it!"
Shen Shu stood with folded arms."Master never lies. You can decide if you want to trust it or not."
Gong Ze: "You!"
Cheng Xu sighed again.
He seemed to be always sighing today.
He cupped his hands: "Everyone, in that case, let’s go to check the corpse."
The group hurriedly walked through the palace hallway, and they soon arrived at the secret hidden corner.
Two bloody corpses were in the shadow of the corner, dressed in the outfits of Sky Sect disciples. One corpse wore a sapphire around his waist.
Cheng Xu raised his hand and asked everyone to stop. He then went up to check by himself.
"There are a total of sixteen wounds on the left corpse. The corpse on the right has two, one on the chest and one on the waist. It is no different from what Junior Brother Ye just said," Gong Ze angrily said: "Remembering it so clear, maybe he found the two corpses in advance and hid them here, so he can frame others? I don’t believe a word he said about the Huan Youling calling back souls!"
Cheng Xu sighed, then a crimson flame burned in the center of his palm.
Jiang Feiyu, silent this entire time, wanted to stop him, but he was a step too slow.
The flames were thrown on the two bodies.
What Cheng Xu cultivated was a fire technique. The refined Nanming Lihuo could refine gold and stone in a flash, not to mention the physical bodies of two golden core stage disciples.
As the sparks engulfed the corpse, the bodies of the two originally indistinguishable from the living slowly became transparent.
They touched their bodies in a panic. They wanted to grab the hands of the disciple beside them, but they could only pass through them. All of their anger turned into blankness.
"Are we…really dead?"
Many of their sect disciples looked at them in silence.
No one answered their questions.
Gong Ze’s illusory face suddenly became twisted. Before he dissipated, he rushed toward Rong Ran.
The soul’s fingers grabbed Rong Ran’s face, "It’s you! You killed us! Rong Ran, I will curse you into h*ll! You have to die–" Gong Ze’s distorted expression and palm came toward him. It filled his field of vision, and he seemingly could feel a sharp pain on his cheek.
Rong Ran’s pupils contracted. He wanted to struggle, but disciples on both sides firmly held him down.
Gong Ze’s palm went straight through, but his half body had disappeared, and he couldn’t harm the living.
But there was a strong resentment left behind. It turned into black qi, melting into the wound on Rong Ran’s cheek.
"Ahhhhhh?" The sword qi inside was already devastating that wound, but the pain reached a pinnacle point with this resentful qi eroding it. Rong Ran’s face warped, and his body twisted in pain, but no one gave him any sympathy.
Rong Ran’s vision became fuzzy.
He wanted to ask for help, wanted to continue to argue, and wanted someone to stand up and say something for him. He usually used all his techniques to gather popularity in the sect and accumulate prestige, so he didn’t believe that no one would save him.
But no one stood up.
Not a single one.
Cheng Xu: "Since the matter has been revealed, let’s detain Junior Brother Rong… and have him be taken under custody and sent back to the sect for trial."
Ye Yunlan and Shen Shu had already descended the mountain ahead of schedule. They weren’t interested in the remaining treasures in the Netherworld Secret Realm. They couldn’t be bothered to fight for them.
Suddenly, a young-sounding voice came from behind.
"Junior Brother Ye, please wait!"
Turning around, he saw a young man in a gray robe hurrying over.
Shen Shu folded his arms to look. He squinted slightly and recognized who this person was. "Are you the rude guy who hid in the bamboo forest to steal glances at Master to paint?"
Chen Xianyu blushed and sincerely apologized: "I was rude for what happened back then."
Shen Shu: "What do you want with Master?"
Chen Xianyu smiled bitterly, "Someone wants me to convey a message to him."
Then he said to Ye Yunlan, "Junior Brother Ye, I’ve told you my name before, but you may have forgotten after so long."
As he said this, he bowed in a very peculiar ancient etiquette.
Ye Yunlan’s eyes narrowed slightly.
"My surname is Chen. Tianji does not speak. Chen Xianyu."
——’Tianji does not speak.’
Ye Yunlan’s expression turned cold.
He thought of the Dark Incense Sparse Shadow Rong Ran used.
Rong Ran’s conspiracy in this life had been revealed for the time being. In his past life, he was framed and expelled from the sect. If Rong Ran did that too, Chen Weiyuan had been in contact with him and even participated in this scheme since then.
He must’ve also premeditated saving him before the mountain gate long ago.
Ye Yunlan: "He asked you to come; why?"
Chen Xianyu looked hesitantly at Shen Shu, "Can you ask your disciple to withdraw first?"
Ye Yunlan: "Say it here directly."
Chen Xianyu swallowed a mouthful of saliva.
"Older Brother asked me to send a message…"
"He said, ‘Can Wife bear the Seven Emotion Needles’ pain?"