Feeling a soft breeze on the back of his neck, the injured boy peered up to see Daiyu landing gingerly on her feet. Although he was in awe at the sight of her, he also felt resentful in his heart. Had she been here the whole time? Did she see the whole thing? Why didn't she save him earlier?
Endless complaints started to fill his heart.
"Were you here the whole time?" His soft voice was slightly bitter as he cupped his jade in his injured hands. Catching his resentful gaze, Daiyu's expression didn't change.
When was anything in this world easy?
"And what of it, if I was?" She replied calmly.
Yes, what of it, if she was.
Daiyu strode over, her white robes fluttering about, "Would you have wanted me to save you?"
Looking down, he didn't know how to answer her.
He did want to be saved.
Seeing his helpless expression, Daiyu continued, "Based on what did you think I would save you? Just because you're weak doesn't mean others are obligated to defend you."
The boy didn't raise his head as his face flushed red in shame.
This would be the first lesson Daiyu would give him. She stared at him. No one was willing to fight for free. There was no such thing. Words were all words until you take action. No one was willing to give without being given, and the opposite was just as valid.
This was the painful truth.
He could only save himself.
"Each one of us has to fight to get to where we are in order to stand in this sect. We all desire different things and came from different places. Some of us desire fame, some for honor, and some for the name," Daiyu continued, "Although I did chose you as my junior brother, your performance was quite lacking. I don't want to keep you. You're too weak, and you hold no value. Tell me, what can you offer for my protection?"
What did he have to offer? He bowed his head down.
He had nothing.
He had no talent.
He had no wealth.
Seeing him silent, Daiyu spoke, " 'Mother, your son has made it this far. Just wait a little more for me.' Were they not the words you said?"
The boy widened his eyes and looked at her in surprise. Daiyu stretched her hand out and placed her palm over his chest. Her fingertips pressing over his heart.
"Offer your heart," Her voice resonated. This would be the second lesson Daiyu would teach him.
Daiyu turned away, her eyes strangely dull.
"This sect doesn't lack in much. It has prestige, honor, and wealth. However, what it doesn't have is the hearts of loyalty."
Her words came out so calmly, yet it held so much bitterness. Even in her past life, people came and left like rushing water. They all used Tianhua Sect as a stepping stone. Once their wishes were fulfilled, they simply disappeared. They stayed for the power and the fame, but once it came time to fight, no one was willing to stay. It was the reason the sect had fallen so low. This was the regret she held so long.
Daiyu blinked. She had already given two lessons. If she gave one more, that meant she accepted him as a junior brother.
"Offer your loyalty to the sect."
This was the third lesson.
Meanwhile, near a stream, another boy could be seen furiously washing his face. As the water droplet fell off his chin, he looked up. As the sunlight hit his pale face, his identity could be named.
Sighing bitterly, Guiren leaned back against a tree. Stretching his hand out, he stared at his dirty fingernails with little scars running down his arm.
When he was reborn, he found himself already at the sect. His family was already dead, and he had just been picked up by an older member of the sect who pitied him. It was like fate was laughing at him. He was reborn yet just as helpless.
Having just arrived in his younger body, the fresh recollections of his parent's death stood out vividly in his mind. Every scream, every slash, and every terrifying heartbeat, he counted that night. By being buried in a manure pile, he was able to survive the blood-thirsty knives of his parent's killers. Each detail of that night echoed inside his mind.
Guiren closed his eyes, longing for comfort.
Once at the sect, he quickly understood his situation, so he immediately displayed his abilities. As he danced vibrantly with his sword art, his heart throbbed. Every sword move he revealed to the elders had once been taught with a gentle hand, along with a soft voice and spirit.
Her name filled his mind. He sighed, releasing his breath into the air. Nonetheless, while he was quickly respected with the sect, he was also promptly feared. No one had survived the massacre. A rumor soon spread the word that he was cursed. Why was he the only one who survived? Why was he still alive?
Guiren gripped his chest.
Why was he still alive?
He only had one thing to live for now.
He had no one now, only Daiyu.
If she didn't know him, he would make her know him.
However, he was also terrified he would hurt her.
It was like playing with an open vein, just how much blood was he willing to lose before he died?
Guiren banged his fist onto the ground, and the soil trembled at his power. Lifting his hands and staring at his palms, Guiren silently vowed.
Before I even let myself hurt you again, I'll end my life first.
I want to see you again.