Kuanggu and Tiangou
The Seven Stars never pried into each other’s backgrounds. They just mutually knew that every one of them had long stories.
Among the seven, Hai Yecha, the calmest and most calculative of them, liked to talk about the past more than the other six, especially when it came to talking about how many battles he fought on and in water. From Kuanggu Sheng’s perspective, that was just bragging.
Kuanggu Sheng, born in a small village by the northern border, was orphaned soon after birth due to a group of highwaymen pillaging his home village. The bandits then had their slaves raise the infant. He virtually never spoke growing up as he spent more time with snow and horses than he did with people. The bandits who adopted him were eradicated soon after they adopted him. The slaves and kids didn’t receive much food. At eight years of age, he roved the snowy border and lived off human corpses. On one occasion, he happened to chance upon the kid of a rich family who’d been taken hostage.
Mayhap it was owed to them being the same age, the kid often made conversation with Kuanggu Sheng. The wealthy kid from Tiezhen was born in the Central Plain because his parents were usually in the Central Plain for business. On their journey back north to visit family the year prior, they were unfortunate enough to encounter highwaymen. The boy lost his parents in the scuffle and was the taken hostage in exchange for a ransom from his grandpa.
Kuanggu Sheng bit the boy to death, stole a keepsake the boy carried and used it to find the kid’s home. He impersonated the boy to live a life of luxury. In turn, he learnt what family, love and normal were. Until then, he thought it was normal to eat the flesh of the dead. The sacrifice for the life of comfort was his identity and his past. Because he was living as someone else, he never trusted anyone besides himself henceforth. More precisely, he trusted his knowledge, power and wits that empowered him to create a world where he didn’t need to live in fear. To protect those assets, he absorbed everything he could to upgrade those assets.
When Shang Bieshi went down twenty years ago, Kuanggu Sheng was the only person present to not feel upset. He attributed the fall of the strongest person he knew to complacency; he believed Shang Bieshi stopped pursing opportunities for more power, an act he would classify as “committing suicide”.
The first time he met Wu Ping, Kuanggu Sheng couldn’t fathom why Jiang Chen’s judgement would be so poor. Upon meeting the battered Wu Ping two days ago, Kuanggu Sheng had no criticism to offer. The change in Wu Ping’s aura was so enormous to him that he couldn’t miss it. It was as if Kuanggu Sheng could smell many times more blood from Wu Ping than the blood on his body and clothes. If Wu Ping said he had built mountains out of dead bodies and constructed rivers out of blood, Kuanggu Sheng would’ve believed him.
When it came to impersonating someone, Kuanggu Sheng was arguably an authority on the subject. There were many odd things about “Wu Ping”. At the same time, though, the nature of the oddities and number of them were so perfect that you wouldn’t think too much of them; you’d just assume he had been withholding a lot about himself. Kuangu Sheng, however, saw many small details that gave “Wu Ping” away.
Upon discovering Wu Ping’s secret, Kuanggu Sheng just found Wu Ping amusing. Only once he heard from Ouyang Xiucai that Wu Ping defeated Elder Lianhua in four attacks did he think of something.
The organisation Kuanggu Sheng mentioned entrusted three Executioners to Jiang Chen. Having completed the organisation’s baptism, all of them were dangerous elites. Two Executioners accompanied Hai Yecha on his job, while one stayed behind. Kuanggu Sheng wanted to find out who the third executioner was so that he could build his path into the organisation. Or rather, so that he could obtain the means to surpass his current self.
Kuanggu Sheng waited and waited for something to happen, for Wu Ping to expose himself. At long last, he got his wish. He pleaded with “Zhong Ning” to introduce him into the organisation. Unfortunately, “Zhong Ning” dodged the question, saying he would make a note and discuss it later. Nevertheless, for now, that was sufficient. As long as there was time, there was an opportunity.
As he was excitedly walking off, Kuang Gusheng mumbled, “But Ning Zhuoru having an affair… I remember she…” He shook his head and then continued jogging energetically.
Yan Jiangnan didn’t let anything distract him for twenty-four hours straight once he started training. Only once smoke started whisking from his dome did he stop to rest. The smoke coming from his skull was a sign of him “levelling up”. I estimated it would take him three to five days to reach his new level; I really underestimated him. He had a much higher aptitude for martial arts compared to his brother. It was no wonder his brother was jealous of him. Looks, height and even strength, Yan Jiangnan won in every department.
Following a long and slow exhale, Yan Jiangnan reported, “Elder, I think I have recovered about 70% – 80% of my original strength. Th-this is amazing.”
Judging from his strong, as well as happy, voice, Yan Jiangnan had indeed recovered around 80% of his full power. Or, put in less abstract terms, without the snow silkworm poison, my chances of dying against him were considerably higher.
Yan Jiangnan’s back pain had also improved significantly, which was much faster than I predicted. From what I remembered, the mental cultivation didn’t expedite recovery from wounds.
Is he really a prodigy?
“Hmph, what’s so amazing about it? You spent an entire day learning. The water in the dungeon has receded, so we don’t even have twelve hours left.”
“One entire day?! Wh-what do we do if Zero searches the dungeon?”
“Wu Ping’s corpse has already been washed out. What are you worried about?”
“Then, both Wu Ping and you are no longer there. Zero seems to be out for you. He will come for us if he finds out you are missing. And then… he may suspect the authenticity of your story next.”
What the heck did you think I was doing while you were training?
“I already took that into consideration. The only way to shut down Zero’s suspicions is to provide evidence, evidence of me being Wu Ping and evidence that an intruder exists.”
Yan Jiangnan tilted his head.
“I’m going to kill Tiangou.”