Guo Chunfeng nodded. “I thought so, too, but even though I knew that it was a certain technique, I was not able to resist it. It was like a barrier that had been etched deep into my soul and a natural-born instinct. I couldn’t get rid of it at all.
“In the few days that followed, I remained in a trance. As soon as I fell asleep, or so much as I closed my eyes for a while, the dream and Elder Nether Spring’s voice would visit me again!
“I felt that I was cut in half by the truth, one piece being a human being and the other being a demon, and then stitched together.
“But I didn’t want my wife and my daughter to be hurt whether I was a human being or a demon, nor did I want to see the homeland that I’ve lived in for decades to be ruined. However, how would I be able to deal with everything all by myself?
“Then, as the dreams haunted me time and time again, something deep in my soul was gradually awakened. I began to consider the stance of the demon race. I started to feel that, on the Blood Demon Sector’s side, it wasn’t a huge mistake to attack the Heaven’s Origin Sector. I also felt that, now that Elder Nether Spring was irresistible, I might as well cooperate with him in order to save my wife and my daughter.
“It was truly a shameless thought, but what other choices did I have?
“I was living in fear all day, like a rabbit being hunted by a hound. I hated both myself and Elder Nether Spring. I even wanted to die together with Elder Nether Spring when he came to me!
“But before my death, I wanted to meet my wife and my daughter again, although I didn’t know how I should face them. I felt the same predicament as the soldiers who have returned to the federation today, only a hundred times more intense!
“Because they have the courage to stand in front of everybody without guilt, but I was clandestine!”
“So, you didn’t meet your wife and your daughter in the end,” Li Yao observed.
“No.” Guo Chunfeng smiled and said, “I went back secretly. I looked at them from afar, from the outside my daughter’s school and my wife’s company. I even took their photos.”
Li Yao was silent and did not know what to say.
Guo Chunfeng suddenly sighed in great relief. “I had no idea what the outcome would’ve been if Elder Nether Spring did visit me.
“Would I have been capable enough of dying together with him, or would my identity as a demon be fully awakened under his control, making me the real Abyss?
“Can’t say. I really can’t say.
“All in all, after being caught in such a dilemma and living in devastation for several days, I suddenly felt that the barrier, or the shackle, in my brain was loosened without a good reason!
“Let’s put it this way. It was like my neck was tied by a rope brutally. My head was dizzy, and I was almost suffocated. But then, the guy who was dragging the rope died or passed out. So, the rope was loosened even though it was not yet broken.”
Li Yao thought quickly and immediately realized what happened. “I got it now. Seeing that the Eye of Blood Demon was destroyed and that Jin Tuyi was too powerful to deal with, Elder Nether Spring activated the ‘backup plan’ and fled to the Heaven’s Origin Sector for his last attempt.
“In his backup plan, you, as Abyss, were naturally the most important person. Therefore, he asked a certain Child of the Nether World to release the long-prepared ‘activation beetle’ in advance.
“The Child of the Nether World was probably unaware what the beetle was for. He was only instructed by Elder Nether Spring to release the bug at a certain time in a certain location. That’s all.
“Then, you were activated by the bug, and Elder Nether Spring escaped to the Heaven’s Origin Sector. If everything went smoothly, he would join you in a couple of days and manipulate the Children of the Nether World who were lurking in all trades to perform a counterattack!
“As expected of Elder Nether Spring. Although not as good as Jin Tuyi’s scheme, his Spore Stratagem, which he prepared for decades, was not so easy to be crushed after all. There were such dangerous backup plans!
“However, it was beyond Elder Nether Spring’s expectations that the Patriots Partnership, which was a hundred times more sordid than the Children of the Nether World, was waiting for him in the Heaven’s Origin Sector. Soon after he arrived in the new world, he was captured by them!
“The moment when you felt the barrier in your soul being loosened was perhaps the moment when Elder Nether Spring was heavily wounded by the Patriots Partnership and imprisoned!”
Guo Chunfeng smiled and drank a mouthful of water before continuing. “Yes. In retrospect, that should’ve been the case. But how could I know it at that time? I only knew that I was Abyss and that Elder Nether Spring informed me of his imminent visit. The guy also had a dangerous plan that required my cooperation, but I waited and waited, and nobody showed up!
“On one hand, I was secretly relieved. I wished that he would never show up so that I could live peacefully with my family under Guo Chunfeng’s identity.
“But on the other hand, I clearly knew that it was definitely impossible! Elder Nether Spring might be caught in some trouble, but it was unlikely that he was wiped out! Therefore, I also wished that he could jump out soon so that we could settle everything once and for all!
“After more than one month of suffering, however, I heard the news about Blood Devil Li Yao from Lu Zui. I was also told that Blood Devil Li Yao had conspired with the giants including ‘Elder Nether Spring’ and was likely to implement a great scheme leading a batch of spies of the demon race named the Children of the Nether World!”
Li Yao could not help but laugh. “Lu Zui was quite unlucky. It would have been an immaculate lie if he hadn’t run into the party involved.”
Guo Chunfeng also laughed. “Exactly. Although I was confused at that time, I vaguely felt that something was not right. The Children of the Nether World were clearly the underdeveloped version of Abyss. By logic, as Abyss, I should be the one responsible for all the Children of the Nether World. It seemed highly unlikely that Elder Nether Spring would entrust such an important task to an outsider. So, what was Blood Devil Li Yao all about?
“Then again, I knew too little information at that time to infer the whole thing. I thought that you were truly Elder Nether Spring’s chess piece. Therefore, I tried my best to capture you in order to elicit more secrets from you, including Elder Nether Spring’s whereabouts.”
Li Yao nodded and remarked, “That explains a lot. No wonder Brother Guo worked so hard at that time. I was almost captured by you many times!”
Guo Chunfeng smiled. “Are you complimenting me or bragging about yourself? All in all, I failed to capture you despite my efforts. Then, the Speaker was attacked, and the incident in the Federal Square took place!
“After that, Lu Zui publicized the Children of the Nether World to the leadership of the Cultivators. He even told me about Abyss!
“His theory was probably flawless and self-consistent for those who didn’t know the truth, but in my eyes, it was full of loopholes!
“The more critical question was, if nothing happened to Elder Nether Spring, and he had been planning everything behind the curtain, why didn’t he come to me, and why did he loosen control over me?
“If something happened to him that made him unable to come to me, it would have been impossible for him to plan the accident in the Federal Square without me, the key person!
“Besides, Elder Nether Spring had been working on his plan for decades. He had camouflaged his blood son decades ago and sent him to the Heaven’s Origin Sector for nothing more than stealing Burning Prairie, the alleged strongest warship of the three Sectors? How could Elder Nether Spring have known the existence of Burning Prairie decades ago?”
Li Yao nodded in agreement. “You do have a point. It doesn’t make sense.”
“I wasn’t suspicious about Lu Zui until that moment,” Guo Chunfeng said. “Then, I changed my opinion about you and believed that you might have been wronged, just another chess piece in Lu Zui’s game!
“However, as you said, it was extremely difficult to investigate Lu Zui.
“He had been working in the secret frontline for two hundred years. His expertise in every regard was far better than mine. He would definitely see something wrong if I displayed any anomalies!
“If I didn’t have any weaknesses, I might have made up my mind to confront him.
“But I had a great secret that could not be revealed. If I challenged him, he would likely find out my secret. How could my wife and my daughter live in society then?
“Hehe. I hadn’t freed myself from Elder Nether Spring’s trouble yet, but I was caught in a new dilemma. At that time, I felt that my head was bloated to ten times its normal size, and I simply didn’t know what to do!
“It was not until I saw my daughter soaked in the medical cabin, wounded and in pain, that my messy thoughts were burnt to the ground by my infinite fury!
“At that moment, I finally made up my mind that, whether it was Elder Nether Spring or Lu Zui, I would not let them ago for reducing my daughter to such a condition! Even if my reputation was shattered and I died without a burial, I would make them pay the price!”
When he talked about his daughter’s injury in the explosions in the Federal Square, Guo Chunfeng was seething with rage. Even Li Yao found it overwhelming and leaned back.
Guo Chunfeng took a long breath and calmed himself down. “After that, I began to investigate Lu Zui in secret. But one day after the investigation began, I had a weird, absent-minded feeling. I seemed to know that Elder Nether Spring was already dead!
“It was truly a mysterious feeling. An electrical current seemed to crawl into my brain with enormous information, making me ‘see’ and ‘hear’ more truths in a trance!”
“A father and a son are always deeply bonded by blood,” Li Yao remarked. “Also, Elder Nether Spring had practiced secret arts. It’s not entirely impossible that he sent one of his telepathic thoughts thousands of kilometers away into your head through a certain technique.”
Guo Chunfeng nodded. “That might be the case. The rest is history. It’s because I knew everything in advance that I confirmed your innocence and fully cooperated with you.
“As for the head-on confrontation with Lu Zui in the end at the risk of my own life…
“Hehe, young brother, do you believe it? When I made the decision, I never thought of the federation, the motherland, the compatriots, or anything as such.
“I didn’t do it for you or to save the federation.
“I went to deal with Lu Zui on Hidden Star for a single reason. Revenge!
“It was partly meant to avenge my father and partly to avenge my daughter, whom he almost killed.
“His crimes were unpardonable. As a son and a father, I would drag him to the hell together with me if I must die!”
Li Yao was dazed by his answer for a long time.
Then, he laughed. Holding his belly, he burst into laughter under the sunlight!
Guo Chunfeng looked at him in confusion. “Young brother, what are you laughing for?”
Li Yao laughed so hard that his shoulders were shaking. “I’m laughing at the Patriots Partnership. Lu Zui and his Patriots Partnership were born in hatred, believed in the strength of hatred, and achieved their purposes by instigating people’s hatred. But in the end… such an organization was destroyed by hatred, too, the bloody hatred of a son and a father!”