Since he and Gu Louyin parted in Baihua Palace, they had not seen each other in two months. Seeing Gu Louyin’s silver hair, Xiao Yuan had the illusion that it was a lifetime away.
Gu Louyin was still Gu Louyin, and yet he was no longer Gu Louyin. Except for his silver hair, his appearance did not look much different from before. He was still as distant as the moon and as cold as frost, but the feeling he gave was very different. Although Gu Louyin’s temperament was a little cold in the past, he was still a young sword cultivator and occasionally he behaved similar to his peers. But Gu Louyin in front of him now was like a snowy mountain under their feet, vast and lonely, cold like an ice cellar.
One had to admit that this Gu Louyin was really… too good-looking and enchanting. If Xiao Yuan hadn’t seen Luo Lan use his face not long ago and realized his beauty, he probably would have considered himself to be incomparable to him.
Not getting an answer, Gu Louyin raised the sword in his hand a little bit. Xiao Yuan tilted his head slightly and said calmly: "My surname is Liang and my name is Nian, like ‘reading’. Gongci Sanren brought me here."
Gu Louyin was silent for a moment, and his eyes returned to the quietness of an ancient well. He put down his sword and said, "Get out."
Xiao Yuan didn’t know whether this "get out" asked him to leave the room or the whole farmhouse, and he didn’t ask for a clarification. When he walked to the door, he looked back at Gu Louyin. Gu Louyin was still standing in front of the closet, staring at the old, faded wedding dress. Perceiving his gaze, he turned and looked back slightly. Xiao Yuan felt the cold air hitting him, immediately withdrew his gaze and strode out.
When Xiao Yuan came to the courtyard, it was still snowing outside. The sky was freezing cold and the breath he exhaled turned into white mist. Xiao Yuan didn’t feel how cold it was. To be honest, staying with Gu Louyin was much colder than watching the snow while standing in the wind outside. If two years ago Gu Louyin was a piece of cold, beautiful jade that would still be warm when you held it; then now he was the wind and snow of the North, capable of freezing people alive.
Not long after, a faint light lit up in the room and a clear silhouette could be seen in the window; it was Gu Louyin’s profile.
Xiao Yuan looked at it for a while, and his stomach began to growl. He travelled for the whole day like he was in a hurry to reincarnate and after the night without food he was freezing here. He couldn’t help but wonder if his trip was worth it.
Fortunately, Luo Lan didn’t let him wait too long and rushed back before it was completely dark. Seeing Xiao Yuan standing outside, Luo Lan said in surprise: "What are you doing here?"
Xiao Yuan’s face was cold and calm, "Enjoying the snow."
Fang Baichu said, "Young Master is so leisurely." He had been in Xingtian Sect for so long, he had long been tired of watching the snow.
Luo Lan looked at the light in the room and said, "Gu Louyin is back?"
"Yeah," Xiao Yuan patted the snow off his shoulders, "otherwise, why do you think I’m standing here."
Luo Lan was taken aback, "He drove you out?"
"No kidding." Xiao Yuan sneezed as he said it.
Luo Lan was in a complicated mood. The person Gu Louyin was thinking about was clearly in front of them, but he didn’t know it and had to drive him away. If Gu Louyin learned the truth, he couldn’t imagine how he would react. Luo Lan sighed, "You guys come in with me."
According to Luo Lan, after he found out that Gu Louyin had brought the remains to the snowy mountain, he knew that Gu Louyin had not given up and would not let go of Xiao Yuan’s soul, vowing to summon it back even if it was against the will of Heavens and human ethics. But Luo Lan knew that Xiao Yuan was not dead at all, and that the corpse did not belong to Xiao Yuan. Gu Louyin could be summoning his soul for five years, ten years or even a lifetime, and he would never see a trace of Xiao Yuan.
In order for Gu Louyin to let go of his obsession and get rid of his heart demon as soon as possible, Luo Lan turned into Xiao Yuan and entered the illusionary realm. But he didn’t expect that before he even said a word, Gu Louyin saw through his disguise and knocked him out of his illusion with his sword, causing his body to suffer from a backlash. It took him a full month to recover from the injury and he didn’t dare to act rashly anymore.
After being injured, Luo Lan pretended to be Gongci Sanren, passing by the snow-capped mountain and meeting Gu Louyin by chance. The reason why he chose Gongci Sanren’s identity was because Gongci Sanren was well-known in the world of cultivation. This person was born with a Yin body, could pass through the Yin and Yang realms and was very good at soul-summoning, soul-retrieving and other necromantic techniques. In other words, Gongci Sanren could summon a soul that ordinary people couldn’t.
Gu Louyin had never seen Gongci Sanren before, and Luo Lan had a bit of real talent in the art of soul-summoning and temporarily gained Gu Louyin’s trust. But even with the help of "Gongci Sanren", Gu Louyin’s soul-summoning technique didn’t bring any fruit.
It was good that he was unsuccessful; if he really could summon something, it would be hell on earth. What puzzled Luo Lan was how Gu Louyin could determine in the illusionary realm that he was not Xiao Yuan. Could it be that his temperament was unlike Xiao Yuan’s and he needed to be Xiao Yuan to be able to do it?
Luo Lan couldn’t bear to see Gu Louyin’s hopes fail again and again as he wasted the little time he had left on something that was destined to be impossible. So, he took an excuse to go down the mountain and went to Tong’an County to find Xiao Yuan – he knew very well that only Xiao Yuan could save Gu Louyin.
Luo Lan knocked on the door, heard a "come in" and pushed the door. Xiao Yuan and Fang Baichu followed him in.
Fang Baichu whispered: "Is it my illusion? Why do I think inside is colder than outside?"
Xiao Yuan said, "It turns out that I am not alone who thinks that."
Fang Baichu finally met the legendary Gu Louyin. He boasted that he was a ‘normal man’ who only liked girls, but he was still shocked by Gu Louyin’s appearance and said to himself that they were lucky that Elder Meng did not come with them, otherwise her screams might overturn the roof.
Without waiting for Gu Louyin to ask questions, Luo Lan took the initiative to explain: "These two are my disciples. This time I went down the mountain to find them to help. Don’t worry, Master Gu, three of us will be able to summon for you even an old soul dead for two hundred years, not to mention a new soul that has only been dead for two years."
Xiao Yuan said, "Master, that old soul dead for two hundred years must have been reincarnated twice."
Gu Louyin said indifferently: "When shall we start?"
"When do you want to start?"
"Two days later."
Luo Lan and Xiao Yuan glanced at each other. Two days later would be the 15th day of the 7th month, the day of the year when Yin was at its peak, and there was no better day to invoke spirits. But at the same time, the Acacia Gu in Xiao Yuan’s body would also attack on that day, so he had to get the ruthless hua before that.
Xiao Yuan said, "I heard Master Gu was in a hurry to summon the soul. I thought we would have to work as soon as we arrived. I didn’t expect Master Gu would want to wait for two days."
Gu Louyin glanced at him.
Luo Lan smiled and said, "Master Gu is thinking of the right time, the right place and the right people, but in fact, it is not necessarily so. On that day in the middle of July, there will be hundreds of ghosts walking at night and it will not be easy to find the needed soul among them. I can see it clearly…"
Gu Louyin said, "Tonight."
Luo Lan was taken aback and looked at his two ‘apprentices’. "Right after a long journey, do you still have the energy to summon a soul?"
Xiao Yuan knew that he was asking him, nodded and said, "Yes." Finish things quickly, get the ruthless hua and leave as soon as possible.
Luo Lan didn’t want to delay anymore, "Okay, tonight then."
The soul-summoning formation was placed in the back room of the house. The chill in the room was overwhelming and there was a coffin made of ice. Xiao Yuan didn’t need to look to know what was in the coffin. It was nothing more than the bones of an unknown person. There was a circle of white candles placed directly in front of the coffin, candlelight swaying, the atmosphere was full of mystery.
The soul-summoning technique needed the remains of the deceased as well as one thing the deceased owned during their lifetime. Gu Louyin took out a piece of warm jade and placed it on the top of the coffin. It was the one he gave to Xiao Yuan two years ago.
When everything was ready, the four of them sat around the candles, and the room was so quiet that only the sound of wind and snow from outside could be heard.
Gu Louyin was the first to close his eyes. Luo Lan nodded to Xiao Yuan and signaled that he could start.
Xiao Yuan closed his eyes and his soul left his body. With the help of Luo Lan and Fang Baichu, he smoothly entered the illusionary realm of soul summoning created by Gu Louyin.
The realm of soul summoning was not exactly the same every time. Last time when Luo Lan pretended to be him and entered the illusionary realm, there was a huge mansion in the illusion. Luo Lan only knew that the owner of the mansion was surnamed Shou, and before he could figure out where it was, he was beaten out of the illusion by Gu Louyin. This time, where would Gu Louyin take him?
In the boundless and chaotic silence, Xiao Yuan vaguely heard the chirping of warblers and birds and the sound of gurgling water. A breeze blew across his face and he slowly opened his eyes.
Xiao Yuan found himself in a deep mountain forest, surrounded by towering trees. Dream-like spring light fell on the ground through the branches. Xiao Yuan was in a daze for a moment, then got up and walked along the path in front of him. He didn’t walk for long when the field of his vision suddenly opened up and a spacious and clean farmhouse appeared in front of him.
Xiao Yuan knew where this was. Gu Louyin took him to the place where they lived together for a short time – Dongguan Mountain.
Everything around him was extremely realistic. If he didn’t know that he was in an illusionary realm, he would really think that he had arrived at Dongguan Mountain. So where was Gu Louyin now – in the house?
Xiao Yuan was about to push the door, but the door opened from inside. The person who opened the door was not Gu Louyin, but——
Xiao Yuan was a little confused. Was this Luo Lan of the illusionary realm or the Luo Lan from outside also following him? The former was more probable. If there was an extra soul in the illusion, Gu Louyin, as the master of the illusionary realm, would definitely be able to perceive it. It was impossible for Luo Lan to do such a stupid thing.
"Master Xiao!" Luo Lan’s eyes lit up and he complained happily, "Where have you been, I have been looking for you for a long time!"
Hearing this childlike tone, Xiao Yuan could conclude that Luo Lan in front of him was also an illusion. "Why are you looking for me – where is Gu Louyin?"
Luo Lan looked at him incredulously, "Why am I looking for you? Today is the big day for you and the Young Master, why do you think I am looking for you!"
So Gu Louyin not only took him back to Dongguan Mountain but also chose the day of their wedding? Ah that……
Luo Lan said anxiously: "Master Xiao, why are you so confused? Hurry up and change your clothes. We can’t miss the auspicious time…"
Xiao Yuan was pushed into the house by Luo Lan before he could react. The wedding dress that he had seen not long ago returned to its fiery red color and there was also a beaded crown and a red veil embroidered with mandarin ducks playing in the water next to it.
At Luo Lan’s urging, Xiao Yuan put on his wedding dress in a daze and Luo Lan put the crown on him.
Xiao Yuan felt the weight on his head, looked at the curtain of beads shaking in front of his face and said, "Wait, I won’t wear this…"
Luo Lan said: "You have to wear it. There is also this red veil that will be lifted by the Young Master later."
Xiao Yuan: "…" It seems that what happened in the illusion was different from reality. He didn’t wear it last time and Luo Lan didn’t insist.
Xiao Yuan didn’t like being forced by others but thinking that this was an illusion and nothing could be done, Xiao Yuan endured it for the time being.
Luo Lan put the red veil on the crown and only flaming red was left in front of Xiao Yuan’s eyes.
"Let’s go, Master Xiao, I will help you to the wedding hall."
Wedding hall? Where did the wedding hall come from? Didn’t they worship the heavens and earth in the courtyard? He remembered that before they finished worshiping, the people from Yunjian Pavilion appeared.
In the wedding hall there were pairs of red candles and red silk decorating the beams. Unfortunately, Xiao Yuan couldn’t see anything. He lowered his head and could only see his shoes.
A shadow approached and a hem of crimson clothes appeared underneath. Xiao Yuan’s heart thumped; it had to be Gu Louyin.
Luo Lan handed him a piece of red silk, asked him to hold one end and said, "Madam, it’s almost time."
A gentle female voice sounded in front of him: "Then let’s start."
This voice was very strange. Xiao Yuan had never heard of it before. Why did it appear in the wedding hall with him and Gu Louyin? Hearing this voice coming from directly ahead, could it be… Gu Louyin’s mother who died prematurely?
Without waiting for Xiao Yuan to think about it, Luo Lan said loudly: "The auspicious time has arrived – one worship to heaven and earth –"