Peng Mu hadn’t been able to cope with Yawen’s death. He also wasn’t able to cope well with the thought that she really seemed to have been a demon but the longer he talked with Shen Qiang, the more he realized that it had likely been the case. Yes, this was the only logical explanation.
He didn’t want to believe it but he had to. It was just a pity that there was no definitive proof, no test that could be done now that she was dead or he might have had an easier time to arrive at this insight. Now, it was all thanks to Shen Qiang’s patience.
He sighed and rubbed his face, trying to get a grip on himself. “Thank you for being so honest with me. It hurts but I guess I needed to realize this.”
Shen Qiang nodded. “Maybe this will also help you with getting over her death. I know it will always hurt and maybe just in another way now but … I just hope that you can see that this isn’t the end. You’ve had bad luck this time but I am sure that you will meet a lovely lady one day that you can spend the rest of your life with.”
Peng Mu smiled wryly. Honestly, he couldn’t think about this yet. In fact, he didn’t know if he would ever be able to do so. No matter what he knew now, he had loved Yawen sincerely and those feelings wouldn’t just vanish. The fact that he would never be able to ask her about these things that had happened wouldn’t help either. But still, he could at least make his peace with this knowing that she hadn’t been exactly the woman he had imagined her to be.
Peng Mu sighed again and then turned back to Shen Qiang. “I’m sorry. I guess that you didn’t just come here to tell me these things. What was it that you wanted originally?”
Shen Qiang gazed at him for a moment, trying to figure out if Peng Mu was really ready to hear this. While he needed answers, he didn’t want to make this man suffer even more. To his surprise, there was a certain strength showing in Peng Mu’s eyes. Yes, he was obviously hurt but he was willing to move forward as well as he could, and he wouldn’t ignore other people’s plights while he did so.
Seeing this, Shen Qiang actually felt reassured. He had seen many people that had suffered from what demons did in the mortal realm and not all of them had been able to go back to their previous lives or any resemblance of a normal life at all. It was heart-wrenching to think about. Thus, seeing Peng Mu this composed despite the huge shock he had just received made him feel endless relief.
“Well, other demons have been sighted close by so our sect sent some more people to investigate this. We thought that there might be some relationship between Yawen and them so I came here to see if I could find any clues. Do you know if she was especially close to anybody here? Or if she had somebody she called family?”
Peng Mu slightly furrowed his brows. “No. She said she was a widow without family. I … never had reason to doubt her before that so I didn’t ask any further.”
Shen Qiang nodded. “I see. Well, I guess there is nothing to be done then. But maybe the others will have found something. If you do remember anything that you feel could help us, please sent a message to the Chun Feng Sect or — should that not be possible — to the nearest cultivation sect. Have the situation explained to them. I am sure they will help you contact us in that case.”
Peng Mu nodded as well. “Alright, I will do that.”
Shen Qiang pondered for a moment and then took out a small jade tablet. “Here. This is the symbol of our sect. Show that should you really have to do that in the future. If not … well, I hope you will be able to live your best life despite what happened. I wish you all the best.”
“Thank you. Both for … your well-wishes and for taking the time to talk with me. I feel that if it had been you who came here before …” He shook his head.
Shen Qiang sighed. “I know. I wouldn’t want to criticize my senior martial brother’s decision and I am sure that he acted in your best interest with what he did. But that doesn’t change that you were hurt badly.”
“Mn.” Peng Mu didn’t say anything more.
Shen Qiang also didn’t want to overstay his welcome so he got up and left after a few more words of farewell, returning to reconvene with the other disciples of the Chun Feng Sect.
Unfortunately, when he did, he had to find out that nobody had found out anything so they had to meet up with Liu Cheng without having achieved anything. Needless to say, the mood was low.
On the other hand, Peng Mu left the city and went to the place where he had buried Yawen. He knelt down in front of her grave, his brows slightly furrowing. He believed what Shen Qiang had told him. Not necessarily because of everything he had told him but mostly because of how he had Yawen seen behave on her last day. And still …
He reached out and brushed the inscription stone with his fingertips, his eyes turning red. “I know now. And … I want you to know that it wouldn’t have changed anything. I don’t care if it was real or not. I still would have loved you, I still do. Unfortunately, you’re not here anymore for me to tell you that.
“Yawen … farewell. Maybe in our next life, we will have a better fate.”