Title: Did We Agree To Be Arch-Rivals?
Original Title: 说好成为彼此的宿敌呢[穿书]
Author: 轻风白杨 (Qingfeng Baiyang)
Translated by: ~PurpleLy~
It was a clear, moonlit night. The sky was filled with dazzling stars, making the night scene a little brighter.
In addition to the lit, wind-proof lanterns teaming along the suspension bridge in the Devil Sect headquarters, the lake mirrored the stars and lamplights, giving the impression that the Milky Way had descended into the mortal world. Everywhere you looked, there were vast stretches of twinkling, radiant glows.
But right then, there was no one to admire this rare and uncommonly beautiful scenery of this world—the Tengyun Pavilion troops had just arrived, and the war was on the verge of breaking out.
By the time Gu Feidi and Su Yang reached the cliff edge of the Devil Sect headquarters, the Tengyun Pavilion troops were already battling with the Devil Sect. From their distant observations, the scale wasn’t as large as Su Yang had previously visualised. It seemed that Mei Hall hadn’t dispatched that many flower aides, which resulted in many members of Lian Hall and Lan Hall who’d remained within the headquarters to defend having to come out and join the fight.
Previously, Gu Feidi had seen the Devil Sect’s patrol map and more or less knew how many Mei Hall elite troops should have been defending here. However, based on what he could see of the present battle’s circumstances, the number of Mei Hall flower aides that had been dispatched was about half.
While the members of Lian Hall and Lan Hall had martial arts skills, they couldn’t compare to the thoroughly-trained Mei Hall flower aides. When going up against the siege of Central Plains martial artists, it was a matter of time before they could no longer withstand and would suffer heavy casualties. Furthermore, this sort of defensive arrangement appeared to be intentionally using those people as cannon fodders and driving them to the front lines to meet their deaths.
Su Yang watched the battle progress in front of him. Even if he knew in his heart that it was an unavoidable battle, he couldn’t help being distraught and anxious.
Gu Feidi discerned Su Yang’s apprehension; he reached out to hold his hand tightly and said in a low voice, “The Devil Sect Leader has his own motives for such a coordination. I gather that Tengyun Pavilion also wants to break through the obstruction as soon as possible and straightaway subdue the two islands in the center of the lake. There aren’t too many fights so as to minimise the casualties…… This may be the agreement they’ve reached when they met in private.”
As he’d mentioned, under Gu Ruohai’s command, Tengyun Pavilion didn’t spread their combat strength to the neighbouring areas where the inhabitants had gathered. They were only on the alert against the Devil Sect and to outflank them from the side. The elite troops were wholly focused in front of the core suspension bridge, aiming to advance through the Devil Sect’s flower aides’ blockade and proceed to Iris Island and Jun Hua Island in the middle of the gorge.
Su Yang closed his eyes and gingerly nodded, “I understand…… I’m alright.”
Gu Feidi said, “If you don’t want to get involved, we’ll return to Devil City and wait for the hostilities to end.”
“No need; let’s go to Jun Hua Island.” Su Yang said, “If I can meet with Sect Leader, I still want to ask him what’s actually going on.”
Since Su Yang and Gu Feidi had entered Devil City from different directions compared to Tengyun Pavilion’s troops, they were still some distance away from Tengyun Pavilion’s battlefront. Pu Lingyun, who was by their side, was somewhat worried and wanted to reunite with Tengyun Pavilion. However, she would have to grapple with the Devil Sect flower aides in the distance between, and it would be highly difficult for her to get through it alone.
The Devil Sect flower aides had noted the three of them travelling together and assigned several people to confront them. This truly wasn’t the best time to break off and act separately.
“Just stick with us.” Gu Feidi pulled out his long sword and deflected a flower aide’s strike, saying, “We’ll head straight to Jun Hua Island.”
Pu Lingyun also realised that if she was wayward now, she would be deliberately complicating issues, so she nodded and fought alongside the two.
After just two or three rounds of fighting, Gu Feidi and Su Yang also gradually sensed the issue that Xu Yunzhan had raised earlier.
—Within these apparently unified teams of Devil Sect flower aides, there would in fact always be two or three of them who would inexplicably twist to help Su Yang and Gu Feidi intercept their comrade’s blade just as it was about to strike the three of them. Although each time these people executed the moves unobtrusively, the frequency was such that Gu Feidi and Su Yang still detected an odd variation in the pace of the fights.
But these insurgents did not make it easy for Su Yang and Gu Feidi and blocked the three of them as firmly as before, refusing to let them reach the island.
Su Yang couldn’t bear to consciously begin injuring people. Gu Feidi and Pu Lingyun saw that he had some misgivings and didn’t exert all their strength, so the battle situation became deadlocked for a while.
“What should we do?” Su Yang asked Gu Feidi.
Gu Feidi was silent for a moment and said, “We might not be able to break through easily with our strength if we don’t hurt anyone. Maybe you can enter the island alone using your Prized Flower Steps, but Shizun warned us not to separate, so…”
Upon hearing that, Su Yang closed his eyes and sighed.
He flipped the thin sword in his hand, used the ‘Crimson Peach Spring’ move to pierce into the Devil Sect blockade and then connected it with ‘Hay Lotus Scent’ to stab the two from Lian Hall that attacked. The Devil Sect’s line of defense immediately collapsed.
The three quickly revised their strategy, no longer fighting with the Devil Sect aides, instead they penetrated the line of defense like a dagger. All three of them cooperated and pierced through the blockades like a hot knife through butter. The flower aides were powerless to stop them. They could only chase after them along the suspension bridge and all the way to Jun Hua Island.
But just as everyone had set foot on Jun Hua Island, Mei Shisan led another group of flower aides to rush over and intercept Su Yang’s party.
Seeing Mei Shisan, who was supposed to have been ‘captured’ by Tengyun Pavilion, Su Yang couldn’t help being startled as he blurted out, “How did you escape back here?”
Mei Shisan’s expression remained unchanged, and he waved his sword prompting several high-ranking flower aides to completely surround Su Yang and Gu Feidi.
Su Yang’s breath got caught in his throat: “Don’t tell that even you’re also—” before he’d hardly finished speaking, Gu Feidi grabbed his wrist and signalled for him to shut up with a meaningful look.
Mei Shisan turned to the flower aides on the outside, together with everyone from Lan Hall and Lian Hall. He instructed them: “All of you return and help defend the Central Plains martial artists. Just hand them over to us Jun Hua Island guards to deal with.”
The leader of the group of fighters on the opposite side appeared defiant as he stared at Mei Shisan, frowned and his lips quivered…… But at last he didn’t say anything. He gave a resentful snort and led the group to leave.
When the others had moved some distance away, Su Yang glanced at Mei Shisan and waited for his explanation.
Mei Shisan said: “Having learned that Young Saint has returned, Sect Leader has ordered me to take you to see him. Everyone, please come with me.”
After speaking, he turned around and left. Su Yang and Gu Feidi glanced at each other, but they could only bring Pu Lingyun along and silently catch up to him.
The group followed along the paths round Jun Hua Island and gradually descended to the shallows close to the island’s lake.
On the way, Su Yang realised that all the sides of the buildings on Jun Hua Island were piled high with wine barrels. The further down they went, the more closely compacted the wine barrels were, as if a grand party and carnival were about to be convened here.
Gu Feidi also took note of these wine barrels and couldn’t help frowning.
Seeing his grave expression, Su Yang turned to ask Mei Shisan: “So much wine has been prepared on this island. What’s it for?”
Mei Shisan’s steps paused slightly: “Sect Leader would have his own intentions for preparing it as such.”
Once he’d finished speaking, he never uttered another word again, no matter how Su Yang asked.
The group followed Mei Shisan to arrive at the cave in the Forbidden Area of the Devil Sect. All they saw was the rather familiar white figure standing in the centre of the cave—it was the Devil Sect Leader, Su Huaizhu.
Gu Feidi’s hand, which had been secretly gripping the sword hilt tightened again, and Su Yang’s nerves couldn’t help tensing. It was Pu Lingyun’s first time seeing the Devil Sect Leader. Her entire body became stiff, and she didn’t even dare to breathe too hard for fear of causing alarm.
But Su Huaizhu wasn’t as tyrannical as the Jianghu rumours said he was.
He eyed the three of them; his expression was prosaic, and there wasn’t the slightest turmoil in his gaze, as if he was unconcerned with everything. Even when he opened his mouth to speak, he was extremely moderate: “Didn’t remain on Yuqiong Peak to nurse your health. What did you come down the mountain for? I originally didn’t want either of you to get involved in this dispute.”
Su Yang opened his mouth but didn’t know how to respond.
Gu Feidi took over the topic, “Elder, both of us had planned to leave Yuqiong Peak and head directly to Lesser Jade House. However, we received Shizun’s letter outside Lesser Jade House’s mountain gate. She told us to make a trip to Devil City and to the Icefield. We had no choice but to come.”
Su Huaizhu’s eyebrows twitched slightly when he heard the words, and glanced doubtfully at Su Yang.
Gu Feidi exchanged a look with Su Yang. Su Yang retrieved Shizun’s letter from within his lapels and handed it to Su Huaizhu.
Su Huaizhu read the letter and was silent for a long time. He seemed a little disappointed. After a while, he suddenly smiled and said, “……Since Shizun told you not to separate…… fine……”
He spoke disjointedly, then handed the letter back to Su Yang: “Remember to wear the phoenix agate that Shizun gave you close to your body all the time.”
Su Yang nodded and raised his hand to press the pendant on his chest, that was gently exuding heat.
“No matter what kinds of strange articles that are supplied by Shizun, their potency has a limit.” Su Huaizhu said abruptly, “This phoenix agate may not last more than half a month, and it’ll crumble into dust……”
Hearing this justification, Su Yang immediately understood—no wonder Shizun insisted for them to go to the Icefield to obtain another remarkable item. Turns out that this extraordinarily potent phoenix agate was actually a time-bound prop?
As he glanced at Gu Feidi in astonishment, an unusual feeling of absurdity emerged in Su Yang’s heart. He sensed that Shizun wasn’t any sort of ordinary character.
It was a pity that there weren’t many scenes in the script of Lesser Jade House’s master, and she wasn’t significant enough for them to deliberately refer to her character. Like the people here, Su Yang could only speculate on Shizun’s background and wouldn’t be able to confirm on it.
When the trip to the Icefield was brought up, Gu Feidi contemplated for a moment and asked, “Elder, did my father truly discuss this annihilation with you?”
Su Huaizhu looked at him, and his mouth twitched all of a sudden. “I merely invited him here to eliminate my Sect, that’s all. As for the other arrangements…… what’s there to discuss.”
Gu Feidi didn’t comprehend what those words meant.
When he heard Su Huaizhu’s words, Su Yang frowned and asked, “So you actually premeditated this annihilation? You intend to destroy the Devil…… Yin Tan Divine Sect?”
He spoke bluntly, and it was pointless to address him respectfully. Su Huaizhu paid it no mind and instead smiled in response, “So what if it’s destroyed?”
Su Yang became tongue-tied and didn’t know what else to say.
“Lian Hall Elder and Ju Hall Elder conspired to usurp power, and Lian Hall has long been made irrelevant. As a matter of fact, I’d already perceived it long ago.”
Su Huaizhu composedly explained: “Coincidentally, Eluo Ghost Tent’s new king has been orchestrating some petty schemes of late, so I had the idea to make use of this advantage to purge the insurgents within our Sect while pulling the wool over Eluo Ghost Tent’s eyes at the same time. That would fool them into assuming that my Sect is collapsing due to internal and external issues, and they would ease their vigilance……Then I can infiltrate the Icefield and assassinate Eluo’s new king.”
Su Yang was dumbfounded: “Assassinate Eluo’s new king? Why?”
Su Huaizhu said, “You don’t need to know.”
Su Yang: ……
Gu Feidi mumbled to himself for a moment and said, “Perhaps, we could be of assistance here, Elder…… Kindly give us your mandate.”
Su Huaizhu shook his head and said, “There’s no need for you all to get too involved in this matter. As long as nothing unexpected happens, everything will be settled like clockwork.”
Having spoken, he turned a little and said, “At the bottom of the corridor in the third stone tablet room, there’s a secret passage behind the stone block. You can use it to leave. Follow along the underground river straight to the outside of Devil City.”
Gu Feidi and Su Yang looked at each other helplessly.
Su Yang felt somewhat perturbed and wanted to say something else, but someone came over to report: “Sect Leader, Alliance Leader Gu has led Tengyun Pavilion and Qianfeng Villa to attack Jun Hua Island. Tongyun Temple and Xuanji Temple have been diverted to Iris Island. But there are some from Wujiangmen who are with Alliance Leader.”
Su Huaizhu gave a cold snort, “Wujiangmen……”
After that, he looked back at the three youngsters and said, “You all should leave. There’s no need for you young people to get involved here and mess things up.”
Su Yang stared at Su Huaizhu and had an instant surge of courage from who-knows-where: “We’ll remain here. We can help if there’s any mishap.”
Su Huaizhu frowned: “You——”
“I am the Devil Sect’s Young Saint.” Su Yang interrupted Su Huaizhu with a resolute tone.
This time, Su Huaizhu didn’t say anything further.
He eyed Su Yang meticulously without expression and ultimately turned around and left.