Fan GuiRen yawned. Getting up at the five in the morning in order to get started on working in the fields was really not his idea of a good time. Luckily, today was the last day of his turn, and then he would be getting back to his beloved bed. Oh, how he had missed it.
Then again, being alone on the fields, far from any supervision, offered the perfect environment to torment people... ah, it was really delicious, the faces they would make~
His toes almost curled in pleasure as he remembered the looks on their faces, their expressions of absolute misery~ They looked like they wanted to die! Ah, it was simply the best. Truly, he would have to remember to thank Sect Leader for this delightful chance. After all, without him suddenly deciding to have a say in the disciples training, he wouldn't have gotten this wonderful opportunity!
Fan GuiRen sighed deeply in satisfaction, his eyes sparkling from his positive emotions. He wondered if the Sect Leader knew what a gift this was. Probably not, right? Regardless, he appreciated it, the same way he appreciated every thing that Jin ZiXin had ever done for him.
After all, if it wasn't for Jin ZiXin, Fan GuiRen would be dead.
Oh, he doubted that the man even remembered it. But when Fan GuiRen was only nine years old, he was completely out of luck. His parents were dead and at that point, he had been living on the streets for a good four years. If one was to pinpoint a time that he had lost his innocence, that was when. But Jin ZiXin still let him into his sect.
He knew what the sects all liked to boast, but the truth of the matter was that the only time a homeless person was accepted into a sect was when they had a connection to it, most often through dead parents and debts they were owed, and sometimes through friendship.
But it was never on their own merits, because nobody wanted to go through the trouble of teaching a street rat. A street rat that would have horrible manners and no respect.
No, in their eyes, it simply wasn't worth it.
Fan GuiRen knew this very well.
Over the years that he had lived on the streets of a fairly big city, he had seen many of his fellow homeless people buy into the rumors that anyone could get accepted into a sect as a disciple, and be granted a home. A future.
But their hopes were always, always crushed ruthlessly.
For homeless people like them, who had done cruel, evil and unspeakable things to survive, the ever-so-honorable sects and their elders wanted nothing to with them. Hell, they would have been grateful to be made to work! Anything to get out of the downward spiral they were trapped in.
But no, they were dirty, filthy beings who only tainted the sects and cultivators bright robes and reputations. So, no, Fan GuiRen wasn't exaggerating when he said that if it wasn't for Jin ZiXin, he wouldn't have been accepted.
Jin ZiXin had saved his life, the day that he watched him stand in that throne room at the top of all of those steps, sweating, smelly and covered in mud, and decided to let him in anyway.
For that, and the kindness that he continued to exhibit, Fan GuiRen would be forever grateful.
Knowing by now what working in the fields meant, Fan GuiRen pulled all of his hair back into a tight bun, protecting it from the dirt that would otherwise get stuck in it. Being as he was the first one to wake up, he took perverse pleasure in waking his roommates of the tiny shack by pouring freezing water over them.
Smiling, he watched as Song YongNian and Wen ZiHao sputtered to life, coughing to expel the water they had accidentally swallowed. Reveling in their pain, Fan GuiRen shamelessly said, "Oops. I must have dropped it. My mistake."
"You bastard-!" Song YongNian drew himself to his feet, rage clouding his eyes. Immediately, as soon as he was on his feet, he threw himself at his senior disciple, determined to murder the bastard for waking him up by almost drowning him for the third. Night. In. A. Row!
"I'm going to kill you!" he screamed as he thoughtlessly threw himself forward.
Fan GuiRen effortlessly ducked around his grabbing hands. "Ah, ah, ah... you'd need to actually be strong for that. As it is right now, you're just my prey."
Song YongNian redoubled his efforts to kill that unforgivable bastard. A whole month, trapped together with this devil in human form, it was hell! Torture! It was a nightmare, and he swore, one day he was going to kill him.
He didn't care what it took, what unspeakable means would have to be used, he was going to kill him!
.... When he could catch him. He was going to kill him when he could catch him!
But then there would be no escape!
Before he had a chance to react, Fan GuiRen threw what little water was left in the bucket straight at Song YongNian's face, hitting him in the eyes. Swearing, Song YongNian stopped his attempted murder to rub at his eyes, feeling tears forming in them.
If only this bastard didn't exist... if only he wasn't a disciple of the same sect... Song YongNian continued to curse heavily in his mind, knowing full well that it had no effect on Fan GuiRen if he did it to his face.
What an absolute bastard!
Wen ZiHao was trembling where he stood, letting out a loud "HIEEE!" when Fan GuiRen's attention abruptly turned toward him. He did the reasonable thing.
Attempted to run.
Attempted being the keyword, as he was stopped before he even reached a meter. Which was right by the front door, because the shack they were in was honestly very small and okay, so maybe he was panicking, but anybody would in this situation! Truly, Fan GuiRen was a terrifying force of nature, a demon come straight from the Underworld to torment them for their misdeeds! Anybody that thought differently was downright insane.
"MERCY!" Wen ZiHao cried as he begged Fan GuiRen to let him go, feeling his hair being pulled rom behind. "MERCY!"
Abruptly, he was let go.
When he looked back over his shoulder, tears from his fear sliding down his chubby cheeks, he saw Fan GuiRen sighed. Somehow, he still looked terrifying doing even that. His eyes looked red in the lack of light, as if he was truly a demon.
Fan GuiRen stated, "You're lucky I'm in a good mood."
"G-g-good m-mood?" Wen ZiHao stuttered out in a low voice.
"Yes." Fan GuiRen smiled brightly at him. It was absolutely terrifying. "Today is the last day. Then I'll be able to see Sect Leader again."
Fan GuiRen got a dreamy look on his face, his eyes unfocusing as if they were looking at someone else. A red tint appeared on his cheeks and a small, genuine smile graced his lips. He looked honestly happy. It was such a novel look on the demon that Wen ZiHao couldn't resist asking, "You-you l-like Sect L-Leader?"
"Sect Leader is amazing!" Immediately, Fan GuiRen started gushing praises, his voice rising with every word. "He's the kindest, most elegant person in the universe, he has the most beautiful smile, and is more intelligent then me."
Wen ZiHao could see — very, very easily — that Fan GuiRen was in love with Sect Leader.
Really, really easily.
"Ah-ah, don't you think, don't you think the S-Sect L-Leader would b-be dis-disappointed of your a-a-actions?" Wen ZiHao managed to stutter out, still sitting on the floor.
"No." Fan GuiRen immediately responded, glaring down at Wen ZiHao's shaking form. "Sect Leader is a wonderful person who would never judge anyone for something like this. Plus, he sees me as a kind person. He wouldn't believe anyone saying differently, no matter who they are. Not even if he saw it for himself. He's infuriatingly dense like that."
Fan GuiRen sounded uncharacteristically wistful as he said the last sentence. Then he ended it with, "Now scram. You have a job to do."
Wen ZiHao pushed himself up from the floor without the need for any more reminders and hurried out of the shack like the devil was after him. Because the devil actually was, and its name was Fan GuiRen.
Wen ZiHao almost felt sorry for Sect Leader.
Then he realized that if Fan GuiRen was focused on Sect Leader Jin, then he wouldn't have time to bully him and Song YongNian.
The thirteen-year-old ran out of the shack, hurrying over to the well not far from it. This was where Fan GuiRen always went to get the water he poured over them and almost drowned them with — giving them life-long traumas in the process — and it was also where they got their drinking and bathing water.
As soon as he had filled up a bucket with water, Wen ZiHao turned around and started the arduous process of carrying it all of the way back on his own. He wasn't used to doing chores, coming from a household with servants to do these things, so it was a new experience.
It also left his arms shaking and trembling from the effort from it, as he had only been a disciples for a month, and hadn't actually gotten any training in cultivation yet.
Because he had been stuck out here on this farm.
Learning to farm.
Because apparently this was the famous Heavenly Abyss Sect's training was. Fan GuiRen had assured him that it was normal, that all sects had their disciples training like this. It did reassure him, to know that he wasn't the only one blindsided by this, but he still did not really see the point. It was just chores, just planting seeds and watering the fields and killing any wild animals to get too close.
Wen ZiHao stumbled through the door the of their temporary abode and sat the bucket of water down on the floor. Song YongNian immediately moved it over to the tiny kitchen and started on the process of making breakfast for all of them.
Contrary to Wen ZiHao's expectations, Song YongNian was actually a really good cook, as his father owned a restaurant in the capital and he was set to inherit it before he got accepted as disciple of a sect.
Song YongNian was a fifteen-year-old boy, with permanently glaring eyes and a rough, uncultured attitude. He was the sort of boy Wen ZiHao's parents would have warned him to stay away from. He also sang while he cooked, in a surprisingly high and clear voice, completely unbefitting of his image.
Breakfast went smoothly, if one didn't count the four times Song YongNian attempted to cross over the low table and murder Fan GuiRen.
Wen ZiHao tried his best to get him to calm down, but he knew that Song YongNian didn't have the best impression of him. Which was, admittedly, his own fault, being as he had blatantly ran away from Song YongNian before the start of the sects entrance examination, when he caught sight of him.
To be fair, Song YongNian had looked absolutely terrifying where he stood with his head held high and a gleaming sword at his waist.
But now, Wen ZiHao knew better.
Fan GuiRen was the real demon here!
There was no doubt about it. After a whole month of being alone, trapped with him, Wen ZiHao was sure of it. Fan GuiRen was a demon here to punish them for their sins. He was here to torment them, and the worst part was, Wen ZiHao could see that it was fun for him.
He felt a shiver run down his spine, and when he redirected his eyes from the empty bowl on the table, he saw Fan GuiRen staring at him.
He couldn't wait for this day to come to an end!