Truth (Part 1)
Tiangou was stuck in an involuntary cycle of sleeping for a bit and then waking for a bit after Zero departed. Eventually, a fever ailed him. He vaguely remembered responding to someone who checked on him every once in a while. He also vaguely remembered a number of people dropping in, but it was all too vague to remember. By the time his mind was clear, he had lost track of time.
In Fiends’ Genesis, results were the primary measure of one’s value. Emotions were considered unnecessary for the most part, so Tiangou wasn’t surprised nobody was looking after him. If it was another member on the bed right now, they’d be all alone, too.
With all the time in the world in his hand and a tranquil silence, Tiangou began revisiting his match against Kuanggu Sheng. There was a slightly solemn, ceremonial vibe to it if accounting for the fact that it was Kuanggu Sheng’s final battle, not that it made any difference at this point. Tiangou now had the luxury of time to reflect on the style he had been trying to achieve for ages. However, his attention was more drawn to Kuanggu Sheng and his demise.
Tiangou didn’t hate Kuanggu Sheng even though they were polar opposites in every way, and they were each other’s opposition at the last moment. Perhaps their scars were the most similar thing between them, and perhaps that was the reason they couldn’t get along as friends. They completed numerous missions together in the past without exchanging many words, but they complemented each other well. Tiangou would’ve preferred to not kill Kuanggu Sheng unless there was no alternative.
Tiangou didn’t want any part of the Fiends’ Genesis that Shang Bieshi left behind to break. As such, he was in a tug of war between whether he should’ve killed or spared Kuanggu Sheng. Now that Kuanggu Sheng was gone, he wasn’t sure if he should’ve been relieved or angry that someone else killed him. Well, mayhap he should’ve been afraid considering how the grey silhouette appeared out of nowhere and then vanished without a trace.
The large influx of thoughts and memories made it hard to form a clear train of thought, but one question gradually surfaced and became an unsettling thought: why did Kuanggu Sheng attack him? It was understandable for them to be at odds given their motivations for the same task would be different enough for there to be friction. That was not to mention that Fiends’ Genesis was being threatened. That was exactly what didn’t see right with Tiangou: there was a reasonable explanation for everything.
Tiangou wasn’t the type to avoid thinking about his clashes with other members of Fiends’ Genesis. For instance, he didn’t agree with Nine-Lives Cat Fiend’s light sentence when she implicated Shang Bieshi due to her personal problems. Thus, there was a motive for them to oppose each other. In contrast, though, his issues with Kuanggu Sheng were in their minds, not something they acted on. How come Kuanggu Sheng approached him out of the blue?
When Shang Bieshi was still around, Kuanggu Sheng and Tiangou were tasked with assassinating Solo Swordsman, Luo Hongzi, Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary’s 28th master of Solo Branch. They were far inferior to their current levels at the time, so Kuanggu Sheng paved the way for Tiangou decapitate Luo Hongzi using a variety of subterfuge and concealed weapons to hurt Luo Hongzi. Given Kuanggu Sheng’s cleverness twenty years ago, how come he only had one hidden weapon that he was reluctant to use until he had one foot in his tomb? For what reason would he underestimate the risk that he was about to undertake to approach Tiangou with only one hidden weapon? This question was just a snowflake-sized thought Tiangou had, but it now became a huge snowball-sized thought.
He knows me well enough to know that I’d never betray Fiends’ Genesis, so why did he suddenly ask me? Hang on… He mentioned raising his worth, didn’t he? He stated he stayed at this base to raise his standing, which means that the road upwards is here in the compound. But that doesn’t explain why he’d try convincing me to join him. He should’ve known that I wouldn’t join him. It’s almost like… he was provoking me into a fight. But he died instead of me… Something isn’t right.
Not only did he only have one needlerain, but he also held onto it as an insurance policy. Whether it was equipment or strategy, he barely prepared to assassinate me. I can say with confidence that he only used the needlerain because he was forced to based on his reaction at the time. What is it that I’m missing?
When we fought, he started off only evading… Before he started fighting back, he said something along the lines of, “Fine. You want to fight to the death?” It’s almost like he wasn’t expecting to have to fight me. It doesn’t make sense… We’re pieces on somebody’s board. No, it’s not just us. All of Fiends’ Genesis must be pieces on this person’s board.
“Sir Tiangou, it is time for your medicine,” someone outside knocked and notified prior to entering.
As he was still musing, Tiangou just drank from the bowl held up to his mouth. Thanks to the subtle sweetness of the medicine, it wasn’t disgustingly bitter, not that it was something he was concerned about in the moment. Something stuck to him, however.
The person who fed him his medication seemed used it. He very well could’ve forgotten somebody was feeding him medicine and taking care of him whilst he was going in and out of sleep. Thing was, the person communicated when they knocked, and clearly the message was intended for him. How would they have known he was awake when they hadn’t entered, and why would they speak to someone not awake? When they entered, they went straight to his bed, set the tray down and fed him without any clumsiness.
Tiangou knitted his brows together. What if he wasn’t sleeping but just in a state of mind where he had very minimal self-awareness to remember, so they were used to waiting on him? He didn’t think his external injury would resemble being poisoned so much.
Remembering his important realisation a moment ago, Tiangou called, “Um, go call…” Try as he may, Tiangou couldn’t fight the weight of his eyelids.
“Hmm? Could you please repeat that?”
Seeing as Tiangou had gone back to sleep, they tidied up and left the room.
Once again, the darkness devoured the glimmer of light that Tiangou found.