Chapter 8: Target
Gu Qingluo was sitting in a corner of the library near a window. She held a book in her hands and was reading it intently.
Her eyebrows were slightly knitted, as if she were contemplating some problem, her attention fully fixed on it.
Sunlight filtered through the window, enshrouding her in a halo of light.
The quiet call was gentle, but it awakened memories of the girl who had been in his mind like a bolt of lightning.
Gu Qingluo’s figure gently trembled.
She slowly took her eyes from her book and looked at Su Chen. Their eyes met, slowing time to a halt.
Su Chen stared at Gu Qingluo, unblinkingly. Gu Qingluo stared back at him. The two of them gazed into each other’s eyes at a loss for words.
After a long time, Gu Qingluo smiled gently. “You came.”
This simple greeting caused waves of complex emotions to wash over Su Chen. However, his expression didn’t change. “Mhm. So did you.”
Gu Qingluo put down her book. “I’m considered part of the Longxi Region, so I participated in the exam there.”
“So you hurriedly left Northface because of the region’s exam?” Su Chen asked, as if nothing had happened.
He acted as though Gu Qingluo’s departure had just been like a fleeting wisp of smoke to him.
Youths were by nature impetuous. Even if he saw the person he loved, he would probably continue to stubbornly hold to his honor.
“Yes.” Gu Qingluo lowered her head and replied gently. “Unfortunately, I was in a hurry, so I didn’t have time to tell you. Sorry.”
Anger surged in Su Chen’s heart. “I didn’t know you were in such a hurry for your exam.”
The other people in the library, hearing their conversation, glared at them impatiently and some even sent some angered shushes.
Gu Qingluo let out a sigh and put her book down. She understood she wasn’t going to finish it today.
Gu Qingluo returned the book, then said, “I’d like to go take a walk. Would you like to come with me?”
Su Chen remained silent. He followed behind Gu Qingluo as they left the library.
They walked along a path, trees on either side. With a gentle voice, Gu Qingluo said, “Last time, I left in a hurry and didn’t tell you anything. I shouldn’t have done that, so I’ll apologize for that.”
Su Chen only felt agony. “You know that’s not what I want to hear.”
“Do you want to know why I left just like that?” Gu Qingluo gently smiled. She paused for a moment, then continued, “Because it’s impossible for us to be together.”
“You already know the answer. You’re just not willing to admit it.”
Su Chen felt a pain in his heart. “Because of my family background?”
A beautiful, radiant smile burst forth from Gu Qingluo. “See, you know full well why we can’t be together. You should understand the differences between Bloodline Nobility Clans and non-bloodline clans without me explaining it to you, right?”
Of course Su Chen understood!
He understood ever since the Three Mountain Region exam.
The difference between Bloodline Nobility Clans and non-bloodline clans was just like the difference between Su Chen and the servants in his clan.
This gap had been formed over a few thousand years by Bloodline Nobility Clans. It was not affected by individual preference.
In order to preserve the purity of their bloodline, Bloodline Nobility Clans only married other Bloodline Nobility Clans.
Every now and then there was a marriage between someone with and someone without a bloodline. But it very rarely happened, and it was even rarer for it to be successful. These marriages were looked down upon by Bloodline Nobility Clans.
The love between Su Chen and Gu Qingluo was already against the status quo. It did not agree with the social divisions. This was why Gu Qingluo turned him down.
In fact, she hadn’t even done so to his face, instead choosing to just leave.
Su Chen had fantasized about it before. He dreamt that love could surpass social status and rank. He dreamt that Gu Qingluo had left for another reason, not because of such a realistic factor. But when he met Gu Qingluo again, when he heard her explain it, an unexplainable, a searing pain ripped through his heart.
Was the truth really so simple?
Was this really the truth?
In the end, the two of them never even went on a date, so how could he ask her to give up everything she had for him?
Su Chen knew he couldn’t blame Gu Qingluo. But this didn’t ease the pain in his heart the slightest.
Su Chen forcefully resisted the pain in his heart, gently smiling on the outside. “Of course I understand. It was just my wishful thinking, going for someone way out of my league. For a woman like you, it’s already good enough just to have you as a friend, yet I wanted more. I really am……”
Su Chen scratched his head. “But if you weren’t willing, why didn’t you just say something to me? You didn’t even leave me a message, nor did you tell me you enrolled in the Hidden Dragon Institute. Were you worried that I wouldn’t give up on you? That I would chase you, giving you trouble every step of the way?”
Gu Qingluo lowered her head. “It’s my fault. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay. I can understand. Don’t worry, since you turned me down, I won’t bother you about it anymore.” Su Chen laughed. “Can we still be friends?”
Gu Qingluo nodded. “Of course we can.”
Su Chen tilted his head back and laughed freely, then said, “Right, what place did you get in your region’s competition?”
Gu Qingluo shook her head. “I didn’t do as well as you did. I only got twelfth place.”
“Twelfth? What a pity, you were so close to the top 10. But the Gu Clan’s Bloodline is still incredibly strong, and you are very talented. You’ll definitely get a lot stronger.”
The two of them walked and talked, but their tones became polite and estranged.
After conversing for a bit more, Su Chen said, “Oh my goodness, I just remembered I have something else to take care of. I’ll take my leave first. I’m so happy to have seen you today! Let’s stay in touch?”
“Okay.” Gu Qingluo gently replied.
The two of them said their goodbyes.
Gu Qingluo watched his departing figure. Tears began to roll down her cheeks as she softly whispered, “I’m so sorry, Su Chen. I don’t want you to die……”
After leaving Gu Qingluo behind, Su Chen furiously walked towards the nearby forest.
He walked rapidly, as if there were something chasing him from behind.
His steps got faster and faster and before long he was running at top speed.
He sprinted through the forest, ignoring everything in front of him and knocking down many trees as he ran until he had no energy left. He leaned against a boulder and began to bawl.
Tears streamed down his face as he howled in anguish, throwing away any semblance of composure.
All of the strength he had been trying to muster instantly shattered. All that remained was pain that pierced through his entire body, as if a needle had penetrated his heart.
Su Chen released all of the weakness and vulnerability in his heart.
After an unknown period of time, all sorrow left his being. The usual calm and collected Su Chen began to resurface.
He wiped his cheeks dry and stood up.
Su Chen took in a deep breath, reorganized his robes, then muttered to himself, “Alright, you’ve finished crying and being soft. It’s time to sober up.”
“Before, my only goal was to become stronger, but I didn’t know why I needed to get stronger.”
“Now, now I understand.”
“I understand the path I will walk!”
“What bullshit bloodlines? It’s just a bunch of mutated beast-humans anyways! The human race’s enemy is the wanton, savage Beast Race. If we rely on bloodlines as the source of our strength, we will never surpass the Beast Race!”
“I will surpass this bloodline system and create humankind’s own cultivation method. In the future, humankind will not rely on bloodlines to cultivate. I will make humankind rise to prominence once more!”
“I will build a throne for mankind that surpasses any bloodline!”
Su Chen impassionedly declared what was to be the pursuit of his entire life.
After these words left his mouth, the voice of an old man entered his ears. “Nonsense! The ravings of a lunatic!”