April 19. Before dawn.
Soft wind blew across still water, the moon and stars sank. Lamplight grew brighter. In the blackness preceding dawn, lamps are the brightest thing in the world.
This is because a lamp sacrifices itself. It burns itself to shine on others.
People are the same.
If a person sacrifices themselves up, no matter how black the surroundings, light will shine forth.
Gao Tianjue. So, this person was Gao Tianjue.
“End the heavens, destroy the earth; wipe the whole lot out.”
This mysterious person who only appeared in legends, now sat in front of him.
Xiao Jun was an orphan. By the time he was born, Gao Tianjue was already one of the most feared figures in Jianghu.
The two of them shouldn’t have any relationship whatsoever. But now, for some mystical reason, their fates seemed to be tied together.
Gao Tianjue suddenly asked, “Do you wish to remove my mask to see what type of person I am?”
“At first, I did.”
“As of now, I don’t,” said Xiao Jun, “because I realized something.”
“I can’t see your face, but neither can you see mine. On the way here just now, you walked very slowly. The reason is because you can’t see.”
When people use masks, they will leave two holes which will reveal their eyes.
But the silver mask had no eye holes, only a single hole for the mouth.
He could drink tea, but could not see.
Only a blind person would use such a mask. How could the universally famous Gao Tianjue be blind?
Xiao Jun didn’t ask.
He knew the question must touch on something deeply painful to Gao Tianjue.
“You can’t see me, therefore I do not wish to see you.”
“Do you think that’s fair?” asked Gao Tianjue.
“Then I suppose there’s no harm in telling you something else that’s very fair.”
Xiao Jun didn’t ask about what he referred to.
He’d noticed that this entire time, Gao Tianjue’s kept his left arm concealed in the black cloak.
But then, he suddenly stretched it out.
What he stretched out was not an arm, but a glittering, silver pincer.
“I cut off your arm, and someone else cut off mine.” Gao Tianjue’s voice contained a sneering pain that anyone could hear. “Is that not fair?”
Xiao Jun didn’t answer the question. Instead, he retorted, “Does the person who chopped off your arm resemble me? Is that why you cut off mine?”
Gao Tianjue laughed loudly.
“Laughing” is an innately joyful thing, not only for oneself, but for others.
But the face of Gao Tianjue’s gray-robed subordinate was suddenly covered in fear.
—Could this be because he knew the source of the laughter was not joy, but calamity and misfortune?
Xiao Jun’s palms grew wet with cold sweat.
He felt an indescribable fear in his heart. It was not because he had never heard such fearsome laughter before, but rather, because he had.
In that moment, he suddenly remembered many things. Some seemed real, but others seemed the stuff of nightmares.
Nightmare, not nightmares, he couldn’t tell.
Gao Tianjue’s laughter suddenly ceased. The gray-robed subordinate’s face grew rigid, and Xiao Jun awoke from his reverie.
Nothing had changed in the cabin. Around the boat, Daming Lake was as tranquil as ever.
But to them, it seemed as if everything under heaven had changed. They felt some type of enormous pressure in their hearts.
There was no wind in the cabin, nor had Gao Tianjue moved. And yet suddenly, it seemed as if his cloak were billowing.
The cover of the tea bowl flipped up three inches into the air, then shattered into pieces.
Then a clattering sound rang out as the window slammed shut, shredding the window paper and sending pieces fluttering about like hellish butterflies scattered about by a demon in hell.
A thrumming sound arose from a seven-stringed zither which lay on a wooden rack in the corner,
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