Fei Bai Mu tightly furrowed her brows. If this had come from anyone else, she might not be too worried but when Shen An De was the one saying it, she felt a sense of dread.
She shouldn’t be surprised. The founders of the sect, how long ago had that been? Even somebody with the lowest aptitude could become a mighty cultivator in that amount of time. Not to mention that one who dared to establish a sect would hardly be a waste. Of course, they should be careful regarding that person.
“What exactly happened? If Duan Gui Ying has long since died, how come there is this kind of conflict about him?”
Shen An De sighed. “This matter is a bit … odd. When Duan Gui Ying died, his body was kept. It was laid to rest in an engraved jade coffin that likely came from the demon realm.
“I don’t know what the original plan was. An Rong was only a cultivator when the sect was founded. Like me, he had at least some demon blood and his aptitude was high. I believe that many of the techniques we follow today are thanks to his efforts.
“The strange thing is that later on, he also took an interest in alchemy. He went through the notes left behind by Duan Gui Ying, gathered books from all over the mortal and immortal realms, and started some kind of research on his own.
“A thousand years ago, Sect Master Mi was alerted by a disciple that those experiments included Duan Gui Ying’s body.”
Fei Bai Mu’s brows shot up. His body? This was indeed unexpected. “So the falling out was about that.”
“Yes. Whether it was the Sect Master or me, seeing the body of one of our founders disrespected like this, we naturally weren’t happy. We asked him to stop but, of course, he wouldn’t listen. He wouldn’t even explain. He had made up his mind and it wasn’t like we could force him.”
Fei Bai Mu’s expression turned turbulent. Yes, if the other side had that kind of strength, what were you supposed to do? They could ask him but that was all. “So you have never found out why he was doing this?”
Shen An De sighed again. “For sure? Definitely not. But then, there aren’t that many options. If he wanted to experiment in general, he could have gotten any body he wanted. Even finding a dead alchemist shouldn’t be that difficult. So whatever he wanted to do, it should be about Duan Gui Ying himself.
“We know that he was strong, likely the most accomplished alchemist in the human realm. His cultivation level also wasn’t low. Whatever research An Rong did might have had to do with that. Or maybe what made Duan Gui Ying special as a subject for these experiments had little to do with his qualifications and more with his relationship with An Rong.”
“A personal vendetta?”
Shen An De shrugged his shoulders. “Potentially.”
Hong Ai glanced at her husband and then shook her head. “It’s unlikely. Their relationship should have been a good one. They not only founded the sect together, considering that Feng Jian Hao was already dead at that time, the ones who kept the body also only could have been Huan Yin or An Rong. My money would be on the latter.”
Fei Bai Mu’s eyes slowly widened. “You’re not trying to say that … he is trying to resurrect him, are you?” Because surely, that was … She didn’t even have words for it.
Hong Ai’s expression turned complicated. “Back then, I discussed it with An De and I can’t see another explanation. That sudden interest in alchemy only occurred after Duan Gui Ying’s death. If he had any inclination to learn it before that, shouldn’t he have asked for Duan Gui Ying’s guidance? But he didn’t, likely because he had no reason to.
“After Duan Gui Ying died though, suddenly, alchemy held meaning to him. He abandoned his pursuit of cultivation and instead started to research alchemy. If not because of Duan Gui Ying, then why?”
Fei Bai Mu nodded. What Hong Ai said made sense. As odd as it may seem at first glance, this really was the only explanation. “So he left the Hei Dian Sect and created the second side of Duan Gui Ying’s realm in the Leyuan region, as well as a second realm attached to it, and is now there, still trying to resurrect this person.”
Shen An De gave a hum. “That would be my guess, yes.”
Fei Bai Mu wasn’t sure what to say. Even if they didn’t have proof, this seemed much too likely. Who else would it be if not this other founder of the Hei Dian Sect? He had a connection to the original realm, he needed a place where he could conduct his experiments in peace, and he sure had the strength to pull this off. “If this really is him and he managed to do this, then what do you think will happen?”
Shen An De shook his head. “I wish I could tell you but I have no idea. Resurrection … that is something I wouldn’t even have believed possible. Maybe he will never succeed. Maybe he will. But if he does … at what price? I doubt something like this is easily accomplished. That is one of the reasons I was against it when I heard of it.”
Fei Bai Mu nodded. Indeed. Resurrection … she couldn’t believe that this was something you should attempt either. “Duan Gui Ying should have been dead for thousands of years. Even if his body was preserved, what about his soul?” Most people might not think too much about this but she had seen with Jinde what an injured soul could mean. Somebody who had died that long ago, even if you resurrected them, would they still be the same person?