Guiren felt his muscles scream in agony as another hard cane fell upon his back. His vision flashed white for a second before reverting to the scene of the disciples before him. There were gazes of disgust, fear, and joy targeted at him. It had been so long since he been last treated like this, Guiren almost wanted to laugh. No one dared to look at him in this way in the past, and he never thought about it.
But now, why was it the gazes before him, brought more pain to the heart than the physical strain on his flesh?
His bones felt like they were rattling inside his body, and his mind was gradually losing count as an old memory seemed to appear before his eyes to comfort him.
His pale lips seemed to be able to gather his final strength to mouth a name.
His eyes blinked as his pupils contracted. A girl with crisp black hair and a gentle smile seemed to greet him.
A faint smile played out on his lips. His eyelids fluttered closed with the next incoming cane.
"Stop," A calm voice broke through the tense air. The sect master analyzed the unconscious boy with steady eyes. In his left hand, a written note sat crumpled in his fist. The elder behind him turned to the older man with slight confusion.
Without question, the elder raised his hand; the punishment was settled without a word. Two older disciples came forward to take Guiren off the bench. What was left on the scene was just a mixture of sweat and blood.
A disciple in the back slowly lowered his head and edged away, his eyes unreadable.
Another pink petal fell off a nearby blossom.
In a wooden residence hidden deep within a forest of green bamboos, two children could be found quiet under the glow of soft, warm candlelight. Just like Daiyu's past memories, there was also a girl and boy in this peculiar recollection of the past.
The girl's dark hazel eyes stared at the scene set in front of her. The boy was lying on top of two quilts with his head persistently buried in a thick pillow. The boy's top was removed, and it exposed his flesh and his back, which had a long gash that could be seen running from his shoulder to his waist. His skin was bright red due to a spiritual backlash, and his joints were painfully swollen. Even so, he kept a stubborn look in his eyes and refused to cry.
The girl exhaled a shaky breath.
Her bottom lip trembled, but she mustered all her strength not to cry. With one hand, she tenderly reached out for a jar of medicine and twisted open the top. With a tap, a faintly yellow powder could be seen falling out on to the tip of her finger. With a deeply inhaled breath, she dusted the medicine onto the wound in front of her.
A silver basin filled with tainted red water could be found located near the bedside. A wet, dark red rag could be found unattended hanging on the curved edge. Additionally, near the bedside, a wooden table stood firmly underneath the calm moon's shadows. Its tabletop held open jars of powder medicine that sat in use. Long strips of clean cloth were freshly torn and waited for their turn on the curve of the table.
The jars of medicine were top-notch; the ingredients were rare. Who else other than the senior sister could afford them?
Daiyu reached over to open a jar of ice lotus cream. Her thoughts were heavy while the boy in front of her held anger in his heart. Guiren's hands were clenched in front of him. He didn't believe he did anything wrong.
Daiyu turned her head, a teardrop threatening to spill over the rims of her eyes. The droplet clung tightly to her trembling eyelashes.
"Why didn't you listen to master?" Her voice cracked as she couldn't help to sob. Her small hand dipped into a pot of white cream and trembled as she applied a thick coat of the medicine to Guiren's back.
A smooth cooling cream was gently pressed against his skin, instantly bringing relief. A drop of coolness could also be felt, making contact on his burning skin. The droplet slid from his face, and Guiren couldn't help wiping it away.
He didn't understand.
"I didn't do anything wrong. They said I was unwanted," Guiren stubbornly answered. He turned away from her red face. He could feel something blocking his throat as he watched her cry, and he didn't like it.
"I did nothing wrong."
His sentence echoed painfully in the empty air. Yes, while he didn't do anything wrong, he also didn't do anything right. Daiyu couldn't find the words to answer him. What else was she to say? He was too stubborn.
"Still, you can't do that," Daiyu's words were to add reason, however to the ears of Guiren, it sounded harsh.
He lowered his head and looked away.
You don't understand me.
By the time she arrived at the scene, Guiren was significantly injured. Along with him, three other disciples were also wounded.
Daiyu's hands paused.
"You don't have to worry about it anymore. Just focus on your training."
Guiren nodded, but his mind was elsewhere. His eyes focused on candlelight before him. When will he ever be understood? Why was it so painful to even live?
However, the truth was Guiren no longer had to think about the issues. No matter where he stepped out or said, no one dared to speak against him. Even if he caused the earth to ruin the heavens, no one dared to stand in his way. He hadn't pondered about it then, but it was crystal clear why.
The one he thought didn't understand him, understood him the most.