Cults were deemed as such for three main reasons.
For one, they did not belong to any legitimate Taoists or Buddhists sects, but were purely private associations.
For another, their teaching always started off as benevolent, persuading people to do good, stop drinking, abstain from sex, etc. But it then went sour to the point of defying all laws and regulations.
When a cult took in believers, it did not differentiate between the two sexes, for no one was to be exempted from the tribulation—which was why the members should devote themselves wholeheartedly to exchange for a "way out". Once the men and women were mixed together with little regulations, all sorts of vile practices were invented.
Take Three Yang Sect as an example. Initially there was a ritual of "master unravelling the Fangcun". The so-called Fangcun 1 was the spot between two brows. Allegedly, after death, this was where the primordial spirit left the body and ascended to the heaven. Without the revelation of the master, one had to enter the reincarnation cycle. However, this ritual was passed down for a few generations and the "Fangcun" turned into three places: between the eyebrows, in the middle of the chest, and below the belly button.
With all those female disciples, the master was going to touch their breasts and below their belts… something was bound to happen!
And, last but not least...
Because of their simplistic teachings, such groups were extremely well accepted by the commoners. As a result, they were able to establish a vast foundation within a very short period of time. With their religious claim, these people would set up organs of authority, build up an extensive network of disciples, and accumulate wealth by unfair means. The less ambitious groups would indulge themselves in earthly pleasures, while the more "aspiring" ones, would instigate the general public into upheavals and insurgence.
The most typical one was the case of the infamous White Lotus!
In the case of Three Yang Sect, the core of its teaching was the tribulation of Three Yang and Three lifetimes. What did that mean?
It stated that the current world was Red Yang, the one facing tribulation, while White Yang was the future world and the happy place. Only after the current world was over could the prosperous future life begin and such was the theoretical basis for their regime-substituting propaganda and for frightening the common folk.
Come on. Trying such practice under the current regime was pure suicide!
Of course, being as timid and meticulous as Li Daoyu was, he had yet to perform any evil deeds. All he did so far was swindling some money out of those second-generation dignitaries and indulging himself in this and that. However, what his cult represented was too particular. No matter what he did or did not do, it would not be tolerated by the authorities.
That was why Xue Zhao was drained of all color when he learned the truth. He had never imagined that who he thought to be a "master among the commoners" would have such an identity. If this incident was to be investigated further in the future and their family's rivals got wind out if, the Xue Family's name would be tarnished forever.
With his unsavory background dug up, Li Daoyu's spirit was all the more sagged. When Chen Yu cast his eyes upon the old man, the previous deference was nowhere to be found, replaced by pure hatred.
"Mr. Gu, we had no idea. We really had no idea at all…"
The next thing Xue Zhao knew, he was trailing behind Gu Yu, explaining eagerly to the latter.
Gu Yu waved him off. "Whether you had or not, it's none of my business. I'm just here to find my people… oh, let me check up on your men."
With that, he turned into the yard and examined the injuries of the five bodyguards. Three men each got a punch, one had a broken wrist, and the one got the Needle was the most complicated case, who needed quite a bit recovery time.
"I want to hear nothing of the relationship between you and him. The disagreement between us lies in these five people. You are free to express any opinion on the solution."
"There is none. I asked them to make the move first, it was my fault to begin with." Xue Zhao made that clear immediately.
"Well, glad to hear that."
Gu Yu nodded and went up to Li Daoyu, whom Xiaozhai was obviously more interested in. She stayed by his side, questioning him this whole time. "Since you're a disciple of Three Yang, why are you using the skills of Mao Mountain?"
"Don't tell me Three Yang Sect is a division supported by Mao Mountain?"
"Or, is it possible that your first patriarch started off studying from a disciple of Mao Mountain himself?"
Li Daoyu bowed his head in silence the whole time and only reacted at these words. He opened his mouth and with a hoarse voice, he asked, "There are a few things I want to ask you about."
"Are there many cultivators in this world?"
"Not too many, but not too few, either. I can only tell you that the number is beyond your imagination."
"Are you among the most capable ones?"
"It's too bold to assume. We try to reflect upon ourselves each day that we will pursuit the Great Dao wholeheartedly."
"Then, then someone like me…"
"No, you're not one of us." Xiaozhai shook her head and denied him bluntly. "Because it's not the Great Dao you're after."
The muscles on Li Daoyu's face jolted violently and he looked even more sagged. The old man had lived half of his life poverty-stricken. Now that he was finally flourishing, he thought he was becoming some vigorous figure, but it turned out to be a short-lived dream and he was kicked into the mud again. He paused, then answered the previous questions eventually.
According to the account of Han Gaozhao himself in "Scripture of Three Yang's Hard Work towards Enlightenment", at the age of fourteen, his hometown was hit by a natural calamity and he left home to stay somewhere around Hunan and Hubei for three months. His mother later worried about him so much that she went to visit him herself. Only then did he go back home with her. Once back in his hometown, his mother was ill. Unable to find any means to help her, Han Gaozhao finally decided to find a teacher and become a cultivator.
He came across a Master Wang at nineteen. After pleading for three months, he was accepted as a pupil. He then meditated in Caoxi Cave for three years, achieved enlightenment, and became a perfected cultivator.
Once a capable man, Han Gaozhao put on his thinking cap and established Three Yang Sect, creating five scriptures in the meantime, among which were "Scripture of Primeval Chaos Three Yang's Befalling on Secular World and Ascending", "Scripture of Three Yang's Hard Work towards Enlightenment", "Scripture of Primeval Chaos Three Yang's Enlightenment and Introspection", etc.
All were simple to understand and easy to get across with forged scriptures drawing farfetched analogies from the classics.
So that was it!
Gu Yu and Xiaozhai were speechless at the account. Education could indeed make a difference. Without it, even the scriptures one made up were full of loopholes. That Master Wang was probably a descendent of Lower Mao Mountain, for the things he taught were nothing more than tricks of talismans, fist movements, and the summoning of gods, ghosts, and alike—all indecent stuff.
It was thanks to their connection with Tan Chongdai that they knew a thing or two about the Lower Mao Mountain.
Seeing the way Li Daoyu was now, Gu Yu had a rather indescribable feeling. He suddenly felt that as the great change swept over the land, most people would be discarded as stray dogs. It was remarkable that he would run into such an event by simply coming in to search for someone.
"Hm? The house cleaner's coming…"
At that moment, Xiaozhai's ears pricked up suddenly and she leapt quietly up the roof to check. Indeed, several red lights were flickering near from a few streets away.
It was bound to happen. Remote as this place might be, there was a roaring tiger, some screaming, and all sorts of smashing noises just then. Some passers-by might have picked something up.
"You haven't done anything evil, but the situation is rather complicated at the moment and certain people would never allow you to wander the streets. If you still want to put your head in for the Great Dao, this might not be a bad choice for you. Take care of yourself."
That was as much as Gu Yu could say. He turned around and was ready to leave.
Seeing this, Xiaojin finally gathered up enough courage to move closer and said with a kitty voice, "I, I didn't meant to…"
"We'll talk about what you did after we're back home!"
Xiaozhai's face froze up right away, which immediately shut the girl up.
"Mr. Gu! Mr. Gu!"
Realizing that they were leaving, Xue Zhao ran after them calling, which the four ignored. Taking her sister, Xiaozhai leapt over the tall wall and disappeared into the night in a split second.
Immediately after that, the sound of rolling engines and shrill sirens ripped open the silent night.
The matter was beyond the police and would be transferred to the BIMAUP in the end.
As for how Li Daoyu would be handled by the BIMAUP, what would happen to Xue Zhao and Chen Yu, and what a passive status the Xue Family would fall into in the capital, none of those mattered to Gu Yu and Xiaozhai.
During her drive back home, Xiaojin was jittery the entire time, as if none of her internal organs were at the right place.
Those two seated at the back seat were deadpan like two statues, uttering not a single word. Long Qiu wanted to mediate, but did not know what to say. The air was so frigid that it almost hurt to breathe.
About half an hour later, they were back at Xiaozhai's.
"Go take a shower, everyone. Xiao Qiu, you can take my pajamas. Gu Yu, there are some clothes for you in my room. I bought them for you a while ago. They're still in the package."
Changing into her slippers, Xiaozhai started giving orders. The boyfriend was ok with everything. Long Qiu, on the other hand, blinked her silent condolence for Xiao Jin Jin.
"Sister, I don't need to stay with you all tonight. I'll just be off."
Sensing this, Xiaojin made her last desperate attempt to escape.
"Get your a*s over here!"
Paying no attention to her excuse, Xiaozhai smashed her words into her face and walked into the study.
The girl bit her lips and eventually dared not flee. She squirmed her way into the study after her sister.TL/N: literally means "square cun", with "cun" being a Chinese unit of length (~33 mm). The word has an extended meaning of "the state of mind".