In the next few days, Xiao Yuan took on a business. The business was not very difficult; Old Master Xu from the family of pharmacists in Tong’an County was dying of a serious illness and wanted to see his late wife who had passed away when he was young. Xiao Yuan copied the appearance of Master Xu’s dead wife and whispered a few words to him. After that, Master Xu departed with a smile on his face.
The son of Old Master Xu, Young Master Xu, loved and respected his father very much and regarded Xiao Yuan as their great benefactor. Xiao Yuan asked for a tael of silver as a fee, and he gave a hundred times more. Xiao Yuan politely declined: "I am not short of silver, but I have been looking for a medicine for two years and have not found it. If Master Xu can help me find it, then Master Xu will become my benefactor."
Master Xu asked, "What kind of medicine is Master An looking for?"
Xiao Yuan said, "ruthless hua."
The antidote for the Gu that Luo Lan had given him had already been examined by a pharmacist and the prescription was available; all that was missing was this one ingredient, ruthless hua.
Master Xu’s expression was complicated: "Born in the Wuchuan Sea, ruthless hua and serpentine beauty both grow in extremely desolate lands and both are extremely rare. Only the great immortal cultivation clans of the Upper Immortal Realm can pick one or two. The Xu family was fortunate enough to have obtained one many years ago, but it has already been used to cure my father’s illness, so I’m afraid it would be difficult to find another one…"
Xiao Yuan already knew everything Master Xu said. "Anyways, I ask Master Xu to pay attention to it for me. If there is any news about it, please let me know immediately. Price is not a problem."
Master Xu suddenly thought of something and said, "By the way, I heard that at the flower viewing party at Baihua Palace, there will be ruthless hua and serpentine beauty for guests to enjoy."
Xiao Yuan thoughtfully said, "The flower viewing party?"
Master Xu smiled at himself: "It’s a pity that the Xu family is only a clan of the Lower Immortal Realm and has not received an invitation to the flower viewing party. Otherwise, I would definitely do my best to bring ruthless hua to Master An."
"What is Master Xu saying," Xiao Yuan said with a smile, "you have already helped me a lot."
Xiao Yuan changed back to his original appearance and returned to the mansion. When he was entering the door, he vaguely felt that someone was staring at him. When he turned around, he found Gu Louyin whom he hadn’t seen for a few days.
Gu Louyin stood under the willow tree at the entrance of An Mansion, holding his sword in one hand, looking like orchids and jade, incomparable to anyone in the world.
The two of them looked at each other, and Xiao Yuan couldn’t pretend that he hadn’t seen him, so he walked forward and said, "How are you, immortal master? Are you… passing by?"
"No," Gu Louyin looked at the plain-looking man in front of him and felt his heart throbbing unexplicably again, "I’m waiting for you."
"Waiting for me? "Xiao Yuan said in surprise, "Is there anything else that the immortal master wants?"
Gu Louyin said word by word: "I want you to become someone."
Xiao Yuan smiled and said, "It turns out that the immortal master wants to do business with me. Then, please follow me to the mansion to talk about it in detail." He had no reason not to do Gu Louyin’s business and his refusal would be suspicious.
Xiao Yuan took Gu Louyin to the reception hall, ordered Ah Chu to serve tea and said, "Immortal master, you…"
Gu Louyin said, "Just call me by name."
Xiao Yuan responded with an ‘oh’, "Gu Louyin?"
This familiar, distant tone made Gu Louyin’s heart lurch in his chest. Before he realized it, his hand grasped Xiao Yuan’s wrist uncontrollably, and Xiao Yuan frowned at the force of it.
Gu Louyin asked that question again: "Who are you?"
Xiao Yuan vividly demonstrated his surprised and puzzled expression, "I am An Mu, have you forgotten?"
After regaining his reason, Gu Louyin slowly let go of his hand, "Sorry."
Xiao Yuan rubbed his wrist, alerted by Gu Louyin’s reaction. Did Gu Louyin really notice something tricky, or did he often do this kind of thing as Shen Fugui said? He focused and asked, "Who do you want me to become?"
Gu Louyin was quiet for a long time, then slowly opened his mouth: "My unwedded wife."
So… Gu Louyin wanted him to become himself?
"Although my face-changing technique is magical, it is not that you can change into whoever you want." Xiao Yuan said, "You must give me something from your fiancée so that I can…"
Gu Louyin said, "I have."
Xiao Yuan: "?" In front of him here, Gu Louyin says he has something?
Gu Louyin took out a purse from his sleeve, opened it, took out two black silky strands intertwined together and lowered his eyes, "I have his hair."
At first Xiao Yuan just felt that this purse was a bit familiar, but when he saw the hair inside, he remembered – didn’t Gu Louyin show this purse to him a few days before the wedding two years ago?
He didn’t want to be married to Gu Louyin, nor did he want to be in love with him. He just said that it was unnecessary. How did Gu Louyin get his hair? He couldn’t have cut it secretly, right? The strict, refined and elegant Young Pavilion Master Gu secretly cutting his hair in the middle of the night while he was asleep?
Xiao Yuan couldn’t help but smile softly. These people, one was more interesting than the other.
Gu Louyin regained control over his emotions and raised his eyes to look at him, "Why are you smiling?"
"It’s nothing." Xiao Yuan coughed and said with a serious expression, "Give me his hair."
Gu Louyin pondered for a moment and handed over a black strand that belonged to Xiao Yuan. Looking at his expression, Xiao Yuan could have thought he had handed over the main treasure of Yunjian Pavilion.
"Don’t worry," Xiao Yuan said with a smile, "I will give it back later."
Xiao Yuan gently stroked the strand of hair with the rough fingers that belonged to his present body; one white hair was particularly eye-catching in the fine black hair.
Injecting his spiritual power, Xiao Yuan felt that this was indeed his hair, overflowing with his aura.
Since leaving Qiyue Mountain, Xiao Yuan had never used his own appearance. He almost forgot what he used to look like.
Xiao Yuan breathed a sigh of relief and asked, "I’ll become like him, and then what?"
"What do you want me to do?" Xiao Yuan sneered, "Let me start by saying that I only sell my art, not my body."
Gu Louyin seemed a little dazed and then said after a while: "I just want to see him."
Xiao Yuan said, "But even if I put on his face, it won’t be him."
"Yes, I know." Gu Louyin’s voice trembled slightly, "I just… I can’t bear it anymore."
Xiao Yuan raised his eyebrows, said nothing, closed his eyes and sketched his appearance in his mind.
Gu Louyin stared at the man in front of him without blinking, watching his facial features change little by little. His skin turned pale, the color of his irises became lighter, the corners of his eyes reddened slightly as if in intoxication and his face and body shrank at the same time; then he slowly opened his eyes.
Xiao Yuan appeared in front of him just like that.
Gu Louyin’s jade-like face suddenly distorted, his eyes turning wild and Xiao Yuan even saw a trace of madness in his gaze.
Xiao Yuan tentatively called him: "Gu Louyin?"
Gu Louyin’s heart was jolted and the dull pain in his chest made him bend down unconsciously, but his eyes did not move away from the man in front of him. What little lucidity he had left was telling him that Xiao Yuan in front of him was just like the one he had seen when he hallucinated during his meditation, an illusory and ridiculous dream that he had forced himself to construct.
But this dream was too real. ‘Xiao Yuan’ was in front of him, he was really in front of him. As soon as he reached out, he could touch him.
All he had to do was to reach out……
The last remaining lucidity also disappeared. Gu Louyin’s eyes turned red and he grasped Xiao Yuan’s shoulders hard. With his mouth full of blood, he said in a trembling voice, "Is it you?"
The familiar and unfamiliar feeling of being back in the body he had used for seventeen years made Xiao Yuan feel mixed emotions, but the words he spoke were still calm and natural: "You forgot again, I am An Mu."
"An Mu, you are… An Mu." Gu Louyin repeated Xiao Yuan’s words, as if he was reminding himself. The force on Xiao Yuan’s shoulders gradually decreased and finally, he let him go.
Redness and insanity in his eyes dissipated a little; Gu Louyin regained a bit of calmness, raised his hand and an invisible barrier appeared between the two of them.
Xiao Yuan didn’t know why he did that, so he asked, "You are…"
"Don’t talk," Gu Louyin said softly, "Let me see him."
Xiao Yuan fell silent. Across a barrier, Gu Louyin looked at him, and he could feel Gu Louyin’s agony and despair, as if what laid between the two of them was not a barrier but a gap between life and death.
Xiao Yuan turned his head and yawned, thinking that he would charge Gu Louyin a high price later. Anyway, Yunjian Pavilion had the money.
Gu Louyin might have really felt affection and regret towards him, but what did it have to do with him?
Neither of them spoke again. The tea on the table was cold. When Ah Chu came in to change the tea, she saw a magnificent beauty sitting in the position of her young master and almost dropped the teapot.
"Young, young master?"
Xiao Yuan gave a bored "en".
Ah Chu was dumbfounded: "Whose face is this, okay, okay…" Ah Chu "okayed" for a long time, but still couldn’t regain her senses.
Xiao Yuan smiled and said, "Go back after changing the tea, don’t prevent the immortal master from seeing the beauty."
"No, young master, the immortal master surnamed Shen is also here."
Xiao Yuan looked at Gu Louyin, "Is he here to find you?"
Gu Louyin’s Adam’s apple rolled; he raised his hand to remove the barrier, touched his eyes and said dumbly: "Invite him in."
When Shen Fu walked in, Xiao Yuan had not had time to change back to his usual face yet. Shen Fugui’s eyes opened wide and he turned to Gu Louyin stiffly. Seeing the expression on Gu Louyin’s face, he guessed: "Master Xiao Yuan looks like this?"
Gu Louyin said to Xiao Yuan: "It’s okay."
Xiao Yuan changed back to his plain face, and Shen Fugui looked up to the sky and sighed, "Now I understand why you can’t let him go. I also wouldn’t be able to forget such a great beauty."
Gu Louyin returned to his usual coldness and said, "How much money do you want?"
Xiao Yuan threw an open palm at them. Shen Fugui said, "Fifty taels?"
Xiao Yuan shook his head, "Five hundred taels."
Shen Fugui inhaled sharply, "Five hundred taels? You are slaughtering us like pigs!"
Xiao Yuan smiled and said, "Gu Louyin didn’t even say anything, why are you anxious?"
Gu Louyin said, "I’ll have someone deliver it later."
Shen Fugui hated the iron for not turning into steel and felt that Gu Louyin was hopeless.
Gu Louyin asked him, "What’s the matter with you coming here?"
Shen Fugui was silent for a while. He had thought for a long time about a way to avoid offending both his Jiejie and his shimei at the same time. There was nothing else but to ask this An Mu for help.
"Just name your price," Shen Fugui said stiffly, "My Xuanle Sect can afford paying a few hundred or a few thousand taels of silver."
Xiao Yuan suddenly realized: "It turns out that you are here to be a pig."
Shen Fugui picked up a stone and dropped it on his own foot. He wanted to refute but didn’t know what to say, and his face turned red.
His personality gave Xiao Yuan a faint sense of familiarity, a bit like an old friend with a not very poisonous mouth. Xiao Yuan thought for a while, "Can it really cost a few thousand taels?"
Shen Fugui’s confidence was not very strong, "Anyway, we can negotiate it."
Thinking about what Master Xu said today, Xiao Yuan felt that he had to go to Baihua Palace anyway. There were not many antidote pills left of those given to him by Luo Lan back then. If he didn’t get a ruthless hua for the new antidote, he would have to find a young and strong man to warm his bed next time the Gu attacked. That… seemed to be fine as well?
Xiao Yuan laughed, "So generous. Then I will accompany the two immortals on their trip."
Gu Louyin said lightly: "Do you dare to go now?"
Xiao Yuan said calmly: "With money, you can get a devil to turn a millstone. Making money makes me very happy."
Although Xiao Yuan made his home in Tong’an County, he often wandered around. Ah Chu had already become accustomed to him being absent once every few months. She packed up Xiao Yuan’s belongings and asked, "Does young master want to take that glowing thing?" "
"I’ll take it," Xiao Yuan said carelessly, "if I encounter danger, it can save my life, after all."
Xiao Yuan followed Gu Louyin and Shen Fugui on the road. Along the way, Gu Louyin hardly spoke, but Shen Fugui always babbled next to Xiao Yuan, telling him to learn more about himself, so as not to reveal he was fake at the flower viewing party.
Two days later, the three of them arrived in Hongxiu Prefecture, the closest place to Baihua Palace. The flower viewing party was approaching and Hongxiu was even more lively than Tong’an County. They saw many cultivators even before they entered the city.
There were two young women standing at the city gate. Judging from their attire, they were disciples of Baihua Palace. Every man who entered the city would be asked two questions by them: is the distinguished cultivator married; if not, does he have someone in his heart.
Xiao Yuan said curiously: "Why are they asking this?"
Shen Fugui explained: "Baihua Palace only recruits female disciples. Even in Hongxiu Prefecture, there are many women and few men. Many girls who are old enough to marry cannot marry because there are no men. If they don’t want to marry far away, they can only recruit men from other places to come into their families as husbands. I heard that the women in Hongxiu are all as tough as men. Once they fancy someone, they will chase him to the ends of the earth. They swear not to stop until they achieve their goal. It’s frightening!" Xiao Yuan sneered, "Really? Wouldn’t that put us in danger?"
"So those two immortal ladies have to ask these two questions. If you are already married, or have a sweetheart, they will give you a string and you just have to wear it on your wrist so that no one will bother you."
When they entered the city, Shen Fugui claimed that he had a sweetheart and got the string. Xiao Yuan told the truth and didn’t get a string. When it was Gu Louyin’s turn, the female cultivator’s attitude obviously changed as she asked expectantly: "Is the distinguished cultivator married?"
Gu Louyin said, "Yes."
The female cultivator was disappointed and was about to hand the string to Gu Louyin, only to hear someone mockingly say: "No behest of the parents, no consultation between matchmakers. Is this also called a marriage?"
A few people looked at the sound of the voice and saw a young man dressed in a neat completely black outfit, except for the hair band tied around his head that was scarlet. The young man had bright eyes and handsome features. He should have looked radiant and cheerful, but his face was gloomy and there was a terrifying hostility lingering over his body that made him look alienated.
Gu Louyin’s eyes sank, "Mu Yingyang."
Xiao Yuan: "…wow." Silly Shidi has grown so tall.
Mu Yingyang looked at Gu Louyin coldly and said, "It’s not enough that you killed my Shixiong, but you want to sully his innocence after his death! Young Pavilion Master Gu, I’m just curious if everyone in your sect is as shameless as you are?"