Ladder of lies:
Rigel looked at Elder Feng through his hazy eyes. Even though his heart was beating frantically, he didn’t show his anxiousness in his eyes. Even though he didn’t fear a bit in his heart, his eyes were fearful.
As Rigel opened his eyes, Elder Feng stood up and so did Patriarch SilverLeaf, who was sitting beside him. Rigel watched the patriarch and as soon as he saw him, he understood that he was a man of great importance.
Feng was an elder and the black robed man; SilverLeaf was sitting alongside him. That alone showed Rigel that he should have a position equalling or above an elder.
“Li sect!” Rigel stuttered with his dry mouth. He rose from his bed as he grunted and said, “Elder, it’s the Li sect. They infiltrated our Xia sect. I saw a man; he killed the red-robed guard. I tried to fight him, but he was just too powerful. I am….sorry…I..”
Feng stopped Rigel mid-sentence and laid him back on the bed. He looked at Rigel and said in a warm voice, “I understand Rigel. Calm down. No one is going to hurt you here. You have nothing to fear. With me and Lord Patriarch here, not even the god can hurt you.
You are fine Rigel; you are alive. Look. Don’t be anxious; everything is going to be fine.” Feng comforted Rigel with his warm words.
Rigel ragged breathing slowed down as he laid on the bed. He watched the black-robed man again and gulped lightly. Even though he expected the black robe man to be a person who wielded authority equalling an elder, he didn’t think that he would actually be a Patriarch.
Patriarch SilverLeaf watched Rigel and nodded his head agreeing with Elder Feng’s words. As Rigel finally calmed down, SilverLeaf’s eyebrows furrowed as he asked in a calm voice, “How do you know that the man who attacked you belongs to the Li sect?”
Rigel shook his head and said, “I can’t be certain my lord, but I heard the man’s words. He proclaimed himself as a disciple of the Li sect, and he was using a dagger which is their weapon of choice.”
A thorough confirmation will only lead to more harm than good. It is always better to make your details vague rather than concrete. That way, you can change your words upon will.
The minute you commit to any side, you will lose your freedom. By not committing to any side, by not conforming anything and yet appearing important, you maintain your independence.
Rigel was exactly doing that. He simply threw the blame on the Li sect, which along with the Shia clan and Xia sect are the three great powers in the city of Rio excluding the Church of Light, and Lord Perfect, who both wielded power equalling the three great powers.
It is a commonly known fact among the people that all three powers have been at each other’s throats for a long time, and it isn’t all too rare to appoint a sect’s disciple as a spy. Conversely, these sects instead appoint these spies to work for them as a double spy.
Exploiting this fact, Rigel chose to say that he was attacked by a Li sect’s disciple. What Rigel said wasn’t entirely believable, but at least, it was feasible.
Patriarch SilverLeaf heaved a heavy sigh as he heard Rigel. Even he couldn’t doubt Rigel’s words because he had no way to disprove them.
There was nothing he could do if Rigel’s words turned out to be true. After all Li sect was one of the three great powers, and he can’t possibly start a war with them for a loss of a single spark formation stage expert.
“Did you see his face?” Elder Feng questioned Rigel in a low voice.
Rigel looked at Feng; he then shook his head said, “I only saw the vague features of his face. He covered his face with a cloth, and he didn’t have any particularly remarkable features so I can’t identify him but he can identify me for certain.”
Rigel was casually throwing in the fact that he was now exposed to danger due to the existence of this spy. Even though he wasn’t powerful enough to deal with the spy, and even though he wasn’t able to identify the spy either, the spy might think otherwise.
Thus, Rigel was subtly asking the protection of the Xia sect. He was creating a situation where the sect would have to guarantee his safety.
Patriarch SilverLeaf sighed as he heard Rigel. Having lived for over a hundred years, how couldn’t he see through the little plan of Rigel? However, he didn’t say anything. He only smiled as he saw his young self in Rigel.
One of the few reasons why Patriarch SilverLeaf cared about Rigel was because of the similarities he saw between his young self and Rigel. Once he too was like Rigel. Young, intelligent, cunning and interested in alchemy.
Feng nodded his head and assured in a serious voice, “Don’t worry, you will be safe within the sect.”
Rigel nodded his head and said, “If given a chance, I can try to identify that man Elder. Even though I am not hundred percent sure, I think I can identify him with some luck.”
Even though Rigel made sure enough that he would be given protection, he still threw another stone to give himself some insurance.
Nature discards species which are not fit to live. It also discards species which are unable to evolve. Similarly, people discard others who are of no use to them. Rigel thus said that he would be able to identify the person who attacked him but only with some luck.
Here he was directly telling them that he may be able to find the person but was also indirectly implying that he wasn’t sure. Thus, the sect can’t force him to find the person and at the same time, they can’t discard him as a useless being.
Even though Patriarch SilverLeaf had lived over a hundred and forty years and had seen through most of Rigel’s plan, he still couldn’t see through everything.
How could he? When everything said by Rigel was a lie. Rigel was constructing a story on a lie, and thus, everything within it was a lie. Lie upon a lie may become a disaster which can befall upon Rigel, but it may also become truth for a lie which can not be confirmed as a lie is a truth.
The most important aspect of Rigel’s lie was the fact that no one can disprove his lie. There was no way to prove his lie and similarly there was no way to disprove it either.
Patriarch SilverLeaf sighed as he heard Rigel and said, “Alright, we will talk about this matter later. You have nothing to fear inside my sect boy. I have increased the vigilance, and thus, nobody will dare harm you.
You should rest. We will talk later.”
Saying so, he rose from his seat and walked out of the room while subtly indicating that Elder Feng should follow him out.
As both of them left the room, the fearful expression on Rigel’s face was replaced with coldness. His tear-filled eyes became cold as he sat on his bed.
It didn’t matter how and in what way, he would survive. Through deception or begging, it didn’t matter how. All that mattered to him was to live. He had to find Frank, and he had to find the man who abducted him. Until he kills that man and saves Frank, he cannot die. No, even after that he cannot die. There was a debt he has to repay in blood.
Elder Feng followed behind Patriarch SilverLeaf waiting for the latter to talk. Finally after a minute of silence, SilverLeaf asked in a calm voice, “According to you, How much of it is true Elder Feng?’
Feng was startled as he heard Patriarch SilverLeaf. He then sighed and said, “Rigel is fifteen this year Patriarch. I have already checked his background. He was born to a farmer and his mother died during childbirth.
At the age of six, he lost his father to the plague. He was a slave for a while and then was saved by the Church of Light. He then turned into an ardent believer of the church.
I even talked to Father Stephen myself. He said that Rigel is a boy with great faith in the Lord. He said that he hadn’t seen a boy his age being so pious before he saw Rigel.
Patriarch, he has yet to experience the worst of this society, and he has yet to experience the world of cultivators. I hardly doubt he has even killed a pig before. Thus, I think he is telling us the truth.”
Patriarch SilverLeaf only nodded as his walked forward silently. Feng continued and asked in a serious voice, “So what should we do about this spy who has infiltrated our sect, Patriarch?”
Patriarch SilverLeaf raised his head and said, “Nothing. I doubt that such a spy exists but if he does then leave him alone. He will become my pawn when the time arrives. Until then, this matter regarding the spy stays between us.”
Feng nodded his head thoughtfully and said, “Understood Patriarch.” He then asked in a calm voice, “What about the boy?”
SilverLeaf smiled lightly and said, “He will join the outer sect and start cultivating. Whether or not he is telling us the truth aside, he is already a disciple of my sect.”
Feng nodded his head and said, “Understood, Lord Patriarch.”
Patriarch SilverLeaf, who heard Elder Feng, nodded his head and walked forward slowly. His eyes were wise and old as he looked forward.
He thought back to everything that had happened since Rigel’s arrival and thought to himself, “I would have thought the same as you Elder Feng but nothing in this boy’s life explains how he can concoct such potent poisons.
However, it is an undeniable fact that the kid hasn’t even started cultivating yet. Whether or not he is telling the truth aside, he is far from anything capable of harming my sect. Very well, I will leave you alone boy, but don’t think that I would give you free reign. My eyes will always follow you.”
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