On the dinner table, dishes and wine produced amazing fragrance.
At the surrounding tables, some people were playing drinking games, some recited poems, others were playing around, it was a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
Fang Yuan and Li Ran sat opposite each other, they looked very peaceful, but they were secretly sizing each other up. It was the calm before the storm. Li Ran had deep killing intent in his heart, and although Fang Yuan looked relaxed, he was also wary of Li Ran.
"Who exactly are you?" Li Ran asked using the heart sound Gu.
"I said before, that is not important. Pass the pancake to me." The first half was spoken internally, while the second sentence was using his mouth.
Li Ran was stunned, before pushing the paper bag towards Fang Yuan.
Fang Yuan opened the bag, taking out a pancake and biting, nodding: "Now this is the flavor I wanted, I'm so sorry for the trouble."
Next, he used the heart sound Gu: "Do you know, I tailed you for several days below this restaurant, I got hungry and bought a pancake, and found it really delicious, want to try?"
Li Ran had no mood to try the pancake.
He snorted in his heart, asking: "Aren't you afraid I'll poison it?"
But on the surface, he smiled and said: "It is no big deal, no trouble at all. Don't forget we have a great relationship."
"Hehehe." Fang Yuan laughed out loud, staring at Li Ran with deep meaning, transmitting in his mind: "You think I don't know what Gu you have?"
Li Ran smiled more brightly, but his heart sank.
"He is trying to remind me! That's right, the enemy is hiding in the shadows while I am out there, I did not even sense him tailing me these few days. He should've known all about me already. If I fight him now, there is a low chance of success, thus he used this pancake to warn me!"
Fang Yuan saw Li Ran keeping silent, his eyes shifting around, and knew the warning got through, thus he took out the stellar stone.
Li Ran's gaze was attracted, but the stone was quickly taken away.
The next moment, Fang Yuan's voice rang in his mind: "Stop pretending, I know the all-out effort Gu is inside this."
"WHAT?!" Li Ran's heart shook like he had been struck by lightning.
Even if he was a good actor, his expression changed showing fluster and fear.
He had been hoping the secret of the stellar stone would not be exposed. After all, it came form Wei Shen Jing, there were no flaws, but to think the matter had worsened to this extent, the other party knew the all-out effort Gu was sealed inside!
"Wait, the matter regarding the all-out effort Gu, only a few people know about it. Even I only knew about it soon after receiving it, how did he find out?"
"The matter is complex now… I am confident there are no loopholes on my end, thus this should've been exposed on the clan side! Wu clan can send a spy like me here, Shang clan can also send theirs over. The few large clans in the southern border, they infiltrate each other, and there are spies everywhere, they should be clear of each other's matters."
"If not, how could he know about the all-out effort Gu? That's right, I was so vigilant, how could I make a mistake and let him get a hold on me, or even suspect me? To think my home clan has been infiltrated to this extent, it is truly scary!"
"But maybe that isn't the case, in this world, there are too many special Gu worms…"
Fang Yuan left Li Ran ample time to think.
He was a smart person, the more he thought, the more suspicious he would get. Subconsciously, he would imagine Fang Yuan to be stronger, more mysterious, and scarier. That would make him feel inferior during the discussion.
Fang Yuan played with the stellar stone, after a while, when the time was almost ripe, he continued transmitting his voice: "I want the all-out effort Gu."
Li Ran was stunned, not understanding Fang Yuan's deeper meaning.
"But I know, if I take this Gu, I would face the wrath and revenge of your clan. Thus, I need your cooperation." Fang Yuan's gaze was eerie.
To be able to plot against Shang clan, they had to be an equally large clan. If Fang Yuan took the all-out effort Gu by force, he would be enemies with this clan.
This stellar stone was like bait on a hook. If Fang Yuan wanted to eat this bait, he needed to avoid getting stuck on the hook.
Li Ran revealed a mocking smile: "You want me to cooperate with you, what a joke, on what basis?"
"Based on the fact that I do not want to be enemies with you. Even if I have the purple thorn token, I do not want to be enemies with you, because like you, I have people I want to protect." Fang Yuan said in his mind to Li Ran, as he looked out of the window.
At the same time, he said with his mouth: "I heard that shop sells great tofu."
Li Ran squinted, his eyes showing a ferocious gaze, screaming in his mind: "Are you threatening me?!"
Fang Yuan shook his head, in his eyes, there were clouds drifting, as he showed a complex emotion on his face. Li Ran instantly caught his emotion, there were sadness, pain, helplessness, and fondness.
"Are you not clear of your situation?" Fang Yuan said in his mind: "People like us, squeezed between two strong forces, living on the edge everyday, hiding our emotions in the depths of our hearts, and could die anytime. Since we chose this path, we can only continue walking on it. It is all for the clan, we have no regrets. But some people, they are innocent, why should they be implicated into our business, and bear the risks for us?"
Li Ran's heart stirred, staring at Fang Yuan in disbelief: "You… are a spy too?"
Fang Yuan laughed helplessly, in a bitter tone: "What do you think?"
Li Ran saw this smile, and his eyes watered, as he stared tightly at Fang Yuan.
Fang Yuan's expression did not have a tint of unnaturalness, as he turned to look outside the window.
Li Ran knew he was looking at his own wife and children.
Fang Yuan's gaze was so gentle, so dazed, as if he was recalling certain memories.
Li Ran did not think he was acting, because this youngster was too young, how could he fake such true emotions? Even at his age, Li Ran could not act to this level.
This was his true emotions!
Unknowingly, a sense of acceptance towards Fang Yuan grew in his heart.
As people in similar situations, they did not need a deep relationship to understand each other.
Fang Yuan blinked, looking back at Li Ran, and said: "Li Ran, you have lurked in Shang clan city for eight years. If your identity is exposed, your mission would fail. Your failure may cause you to lose your life, but more importantly, the clan would suffer a loss, and you would let down their expectations."
Li Ran clenched his fists.
Fang Yuan's words pulled the strings in his heart.
He was loyal to the clan, almost religiously. Otherwise, the clan would not have chosen him to be the spy.
Fang Yuan said again: "If you fail, your wife would lose her husband. Your son is only five now, he would lose his father. If your identity is exposed, there is a high chance of them dying because of you. You only have one step left to succeed, the position of clan elder is your goal, am I right? But do you think that is the end? No, you will continue lurking, as long as Shang clan existed, the clan would need your spying."
Li Ran gritted his teeth.
Fang Yuan's words hit the nail on the head.
All these things, did he not consider them? He only dared to think about them for a moment before stopping. The more he thought about it, the more pressure he felt, the future was really too long, it would cause him to lose the courage to continue!
"Thus, you need alliance mates, brother Li Ran." Fang Yuan continued speaking: "You will not betray your clan, I won't either. You have people you want to protect, so do I. We can cooperate, we need external force to ensure our family's safety. We have to live in order to make contributions to our clans. And the Shang clan is our mutual goal."
'Of course, this cooperation is only in private. If our clans want to wage war, you will be the first person I will eliminate." After pausing briefly, Fang Yuan added.
Li Ran snorted coldly, Fang Yuan's truthful declaration only made his words more trustworthy.
To him, loyalty to the clan is the top priority, next is his family, and then his own life.
Fang Yuan's suggestion catered to his three needs.
"But can this person be trusted? We are from different forces, cooperation between spies is wishful thinking! Maybe… it is because he is young, and coupled with his intellect and courage, he thought of this method? If I was this young, I'm afraid… I may do the same… or not."
The more Li Ran thought about it, the more he felt Fang Yuan's sincerity.
Most importantly, he had no other way out! He was completely exposed before Fang Yuan.
If Fang Yuan exposed him, his mission would fail, his ten years of hard work would go up in flames, how could he accept this?
Human nature is complex, they have this thing called fluke mentality.
Li Ran was like someone who was driven to a cliff, with his enemies approaching, he could only jump down. Even if he did not know what was below the cliff, he would still pray that there is a water body below, or maybe he would be saved by some tree branches while descending.
He fell into deep silence for a long time.
After a few minutes, he used the heart sound Gu: "How can I believe you?"
Fang Yuan smiled, taking out a poison vow Gu.
Three days later, Fang Yuan opened the all-out effort Gu in the gambling den, causing the entire district to go into chaos.
"Did you hear? Someone opened an all-out effort Gu in Lan Chao gambling den!"
"Is that really the all-out effort Gu? It is a near extinct ancient Gu, able to summon the beast phantom a hundred percent of the time!"
"You guys only knew now? Hehe, I know more than you. This extremely lucky person is called Gu Yue Fang Zheng. I don't know why, but he has a purple thorn token. The all-out effort Gu was not supposed to be his, but was chosen by a Gu Master called Li Ran, but he knocked into Gu Yue Fang Zheng who decided to find problems with him, taking away three fossils from him as compensation. That all-out effort Gu was within those fossils."
"Oh dear, he really is unlucky, the all-out effort Gu should've been his!"
"This is fate…"
"Lan Chao gambling den, no, I have to go take a look!"
At once, rumors spread all over Shang clan city.