Guo Chunfeng was greatly touched. After observing Li Yao carefully for a long time, he finally took a long breath in relief and smiled. “I understand now, young brother. The belief that you have decided on is quite impressive! Alright. We’ve dawdled long enough. They must be impatient now. Let’s go back now!”
Wiping off the dust on his clothes, Guo Chunfeng leapt up a new man. He seemed to be reborn, relaxed from inside to outside.
Although he still looked like a slob, he did give out the feeling of a handsome man who did not pay attention to his appearance. One could not help but imagine what a charming middle-aged man he might have been if he attended to himself well.
The two of them went back to the cave and refilled the two buckets. Talking and laughing, they turned around and left.
“Young brother, in fact, there is a question that has been bothering, too. It might be inappropriate for me to ask.” Guo Chunfeng hesitated for a moment but smiled. “Make no mistake. Like you, I mean no harm. I am just curious. It’s our occupational disease. You must understand it.”
“You are free to ask, Brother Guo,” Li Yao said. “I can always choose not to answer it.”
Guo Chunfeng smiled and said slowly, “Everybody knows that it was just a show when you ‘executed the Blood Devil’ in parliament in front of the faces of thousands of representatives, leaders, and experts. You were merely trying to clean the suspicion about you. In fact, the real Blood Devil was already executed by you on your way to the Heaven’s Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector. You were not controlled by the Blood Devil from the beginning to the end.
“Yes, that was what everybody believed, but the truth cannot be verified. The investigation was concluded hastily in the end.
“However, I have a different opinion.
“My natural instinct tells me that you have never executed the Blood Devil. The thing now still resides in your body and is already part of your soul, right?
“Hehe. You don’t have to say anything if it is not easy for you to answer. After all, as long as you don’t admit it yourself, nobody can accuse you of being the Blood Devil, just like nobody can accuse me of being Abyss if I don’t admit it myself!”
Li Yao was slightly dazed for a moment. Scratching his head, he discovered that the situation had been reversed.
His role and Guo Chunfeng’s had been swapped.
The mental devil crawled out of his brain again and shrieked, “Wow. We’ve been seen through. Kill him now!”
The mental devil right now, far from being reduced to smithereens, was even fatter and more energetic than before. There was even a halo around it. It was much more than ‘elegant’; it was even giving an ‘unearthly’ feeling. However, the evilness that was blinking every once in a while in its eyes revealed its dark nature.
It was obvious that, as Li Yao advanced, the mental devil, as part of his soul, advanced, too!
Li Yao triggered a telepathic thought and summoned lightning inside his brain. The mental devil was shrieking under the electricity. “How foul of you! I helped you so much in the parliament building and cooperated with your excellent show! Is this how you treat your good brother who fought by your side?”
“Excellent show? That was the worst show I’ve ever seen!”
The storm inside Li Yao’s brain concentrated into a giant foot and kicked the guy into the depths of the sulcus. “Get lost. Don’t steal my thunder, and don’t show up until I call you!”
Calming himself down, Li Yao walked forward. Deep in thought, he said, “Brother Guo, did you know? When I was chased by the Secret Sword Bureau, I was considering two questions. Firstly, how could I prove that I was not possessed by the Blood Devil? And, what was the difference between me and the Blood Devil Yan Xibei? I slew the Blood Devil Yan Xibei myself. So, wasn’t it only reasonable that the Secret Sword Bureau and other Cultivators wanted to slay me?”
“Sure. What then?” Guo Chunfeng thought hard, too. He found that the two questions were indeed tricky in Li Yao’s situation.
“I couldn’t figure out the answers to the questions at all. At the darkest moment, I even thought of the word ‘karma’! The Blood Devil Yan Xibei told me before his death that he was not possessed by the Blood Devil at all and that I would regret it if I killed him just like that! Was he speaking the truth? Was the karma for killing him finally happening to me?”
Li Yao clenched his fists hard. “But in the end, I thought through the questions!
“The first question does not need an answer! Why did I have to prove that I was not possessed by the Blood Devil? It was the responsibility of the guys who were chasing after me to prove that I was possessed by the Blood Devil!
“Otherwise, it would be like in parliament, where thousands of big shots were all likely to be possessed by the Blood Devil yet couldn’t prove their innocence. It became a farce in the end, didn’t it?
“It’s like asking a random citizen to prove that they did not commit murder at a certain night three years ago. Who could remember the things that happened three years ago clearly? If it wasn’t a special occasion, they wouldn’t be able to provide an alibi at all. If the policemen and the judges solved and ruled cases like that, wouldn’t our society be in chaos?”
Guo Chunfeng pondered for a moment and said, “You are talking about the presumption of guilt and the presumption of innocence.”
“Exactly.” Li Yao nodded. “It occurred to me that I was not obliged to prove that I was not possessed by the Blood Devil at all. Whoever claimed that I was, please offer undeniable proof. I shouldn’t be convicted just based on a video clip I left a year ago, should I?”
“No, you shouldn’t.” Guo Chunfeng considered carefully and agreed.
“As for the second question, the answer was apparent,” Li Yao said carefully. “Even if I was indeed possessed by the Blood Devil, Blood Devil Li Yao and Blood Devil Yan Xibei were still different creatures!
“Why did I kill Yan Xibei on Iron Plateau? Because he was possessed by the Blood Stripe Virus and turned into a Blood Devil?
“I killed him because he joined the Temple of Immortals, murdered the chief of the Burning Sun Tribe, kidnapped the college students of the Flying Star Sector, and tried to raise a civil war between Iron Plateau and the space residents!
“He had already killed thousands of innocent people in the process, and the blood of millions more would have been shed for nothing after the war began!
“It was because of his past wrongdoings and what he was about to do in the future that I killed him. It had nothing to do with whether or not he was the Blood Devil at all!
“Let’s assume that the Blood Stripe Virus did not exist and Yan Xibei was still the pure qi-trainer Yan Xibei. If he planned the whole thing of his own free will and got so many people killed, would I have not killed him?
“Of course, I would’ve! I would’ve killed him, regardless of whether he was a qi-trainer, a Cultivator, an Immortal Cultivator, or a Blood Devil!
“Let’s make another hypothesis. Yan Xibei was truly possessed by the Blood Stripe Virus and turned into a Blood Devil, but he did nothing wrong. He was a kind Blood Devil, a righteous Blood Devil, and an honest Blood Devil, one who would help a grandma cross the street.”
His mental devil popped up again. “Who’s talking about me?”
“Get out of here!”
Li Yao snapped away the mental devil again and continued talking to Guo Chunfeng, “Then, would we have any reason to kill him?
“If he was lawful, dutiful, and peaceful, even if he produced the apocalyptic body in secret and transformed himself into a half-human-half-insect monster, I would believe that it was just his personal hobby which was perhaps due to his unique aesthetic view. Why would I bother to kill him? The most I would do is ask him to see a therapist.
“My conclusion is that I didn’t kill Yan Xibei for his identity. I killed him not because he was the Blood Devil or a bad guy but because of the wrongdoings he had committed. It is the principle of impersonality.
“Then, even if I am truly possessed by the Blood Devil and have turned into Blood Devil Li Yao, just like you who are Abyss, which law have I broken? On what grounds are other people eradicating me?
“Yes, I am possessed by the Blood Demon because I like it and I enjoy myself by doing so. What’s wrong with that? I didn’t cause harm to anybody, and I didn’t do anything illegal. Can’t I just domesticate a Blood Devil as a pet in my brain?
“If the Blood Devil really does something bad one day, he should be punished by law. ‘Abyss’ Guo Chunfeng will also be punished by law mercilessly if he does something wrong in the future, too! That’s the whole significance of the ‘Constitution of Cultivators’!
“But until then, until our illegal activities are proven, who is qualified to decide what we should do and what we should not?
“Just because we are Abyss or a Blood Devil, and we are potential threats, must we be eradicated in advance?
“I would argue that every man on the street has a dangerous weapon in their pants that can cause serious harm to a woman at any minute. What should you do with them? Castrate all of them?”
Guo Chunfeng burst into laughter. “That’s an interesting way of talking, young brother!”
A little bashful, Li Yao smiled. Scratching his messy hair, he said, “I got a bit too excited, Brother Guo.
“Speaking of which, I would like to say something else. I’m told that some people in parliament are proposing to define the Patriots Partnership as an espionage organization working for the Imperium of True Human Beings. The major suspects such as Lu Zui, on the other hand, would be the Immortal Cultivators who have been bewildered by the Imperium of True Human Beings.
“Yes, such an attempt can pacify people for now and unite them under a common foe. The federal government wouldn’t be such a disappointment.
“But for me, I strongly object to such a theory!
“Such a theory seems to indicate that all the bad things ever are exclusively done by the demons, the Blood Devil, Abyss, or the Immortal Cultivators. Even if some Cultivators committed crimes, it’s because they were corrupted by the bad guys. Most of the Cultivators intrinsically are pure, innocent, and righteous!
“But is that the truth?
“Why do we never dare to admit that, without the bewilderment and corruption of foreign forces, we—Cultivators and ordinary people—have a natural-born abyss in our heart, in which one, or even more, Blood Devil is residing? We don’t need the corruption of the demons and devils; we can be very, very bad by ourselves!
“Even if Lu Zui is really an Immortal Cultivator, he is definitely not an Immortal Cultivator from the Imperium of True Human Beings but a local Immortal Cultivator, born and raised in the Star Glory Federation!
“Moreover, he almost successfully transformed the Star Glory Federation into a country of the Immortal Cultivators, a smaller Imperium of True Human Beings that is willing to achieve its purposes without boundary!