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~
Throughout their journey to the north, the atmosphere was becoming colder and the nights were getting longer.
Su Yang and Gu Feidi had no choice but to hurry on their journey through the night, hoping to be able to turn round from the northern border to arrive at the rear of Eluo Ghost Tent’s royal court within fifteen days.
Although Eluo Ghost Tent possessed a vast territory, most of the land was blanketed with snow and ice throughout the year; which made it unsuitable for rearing livestock and agriculture. People here primarily depended on fishing and hunting for their source of income. During winter, quarries were scarce and as such, there was almost no one on the Icefield at this time.
Fortunately, the mountains here were covered with wide expanses of coniferous forest, which made Su Yang’s and Gu Feidi’s appearance seem less sudden.
On their seventh night of travelling round the Icefield, the two came across their first battle with Eluo Ghost Tent’s scouts.
Altogether, there were four opponents, one of whom had brought along a ghost owl. Luckily, Gu Feidi’s reaction was fast. Before there was time for the ghost owl to be released, he’d sliced the little bird in half with a single stroke of his sword. Seeing that there was no ghost owl to transmit messages, one of the four tried to flee, but was outflanked by Su Yang swift moves.
Eluo Ghost Tent’s scouts seem to be able to perform some type of battle formation and also mirror each other’s martial arts moves. Moreover, there was always one who would attempt to break through Su Yang and Gu Feidi’s obstruction. Both of them cooperated to overcome attacks of the four scouts, but also needed to watch out for them seizing the chance to run away. This fight was not at all straightforward.
Su Yang employed the Prized Flower Steps to the extreme and coupled it with the deathly attack approach of Drunk Slashing Red Plums. Only then, and with much difficulty, was he able to kill the scout who’d been trying to escape.
After the battle became two-against-three, the both of them slowly gained the upper hand. Pretty soon, the scouts were unable to withstand it, and all of them eventually perished.
Gu Feidi knew that Su Yang was still unused to slaughter and blood, so he let him stand guard at the side while he added some messy sword wounds on the bodies of those scouts by himself, so that Tengyun Pavilion’s and the Devil Sect’s swordsmanship couldn’t be discerned.
He didn’t expand any effort to bury the bodies. Firstly, because the traces of their fight there were too obvious, so much so that the snow and topsoil had been messed up and couldn’t be covered up properly. The second reason was…… they’d detected tracks of a wolf pack on their way there. With the assumption that the stench of blood there was so thick and prey was scarce during winter, there would always be wild animals to help them eradicate the many traces there.
After artlessly dealing with the scene, Gu Feidi took Su Yang and left the place overnight.
Having raced through the snowy night for about an hour, the two stopped and readied to take turns to meditate and rest.
Gu Feidi looked at the star-filled sky as he recalled the earlier fight and said, “The sword techniques used by those few people were well-coordinated. If next time, there are more people, you and I won’t be able to hold our own. Once someone transmits information to Eluo Ghost Tent, our whereabouts would definitely be exposed.”
Su Yang nodded: “Fortunately, Prized Flower Steps are impressive enough that I could prevent that person from fleeing……”
After mumbling to himself for a moment, Gu Feidi said, “Before this when we were on the Snow Mountain, I thought that my own set of swordsmanship had a fundamental form and was in harmony with Drunk Slashing Red Plums. Why don’t you and I use this period of time that we’re hurrying on our journey to refine it properly. In the future, it may come in handy when we raid Eluo Ghost Tent’s White Witch Tower.”
Su Yang, of course, agreed: “Alright.”
From that day on, the two of them hastened on the road while contemplating Gu Feidi’s new swordsmanship.
As they neared Eluo Ghost Tent’s royal court, their confrontations with the Ghost Tent scouts increased in frequency. Until one night, the ones who’d come to obstruct them were no longer scouts, but Black Feather Army Shadow Camp’s Assassins.
Fortunately, Su Yang and Gu Feidi were always on the alert, and the covert skills of these assassins from the Shadow Camp were slightly inferior compared to that of Luo Yin’s. Both of them had already sensed their presence when they had slipped in from several feet away.
“Our positions have been revealed.” Gu Feidi placed his palm on the sword hilt, frowned, and transmitted his voice over. “Lesser Cold is still two days away…… I wonder what the condition is at the Elder’s side.”
Su Yang had already prepared himself to receive the onslaught. Upon hearing this, he pursed his lips and said, “Don’t know and can’t worry about them now. Let’s talk about that after we settle these guys.”
Just as he’d finished speaking, several of the assassins who were sneaking in on the side abruptly became violent. There were no flashy moves. It was as if they were a cluster of sharp arrows suddenly assailing at those two outwardly oblivious persons.
Su Yang performed a move from his Drunk Slashing Red Plums: ‘Drunk Mindful Immortal’. His set of swordsmanship originally didn’t have a name for the move, but it had been chosen by Gu Feidi for him when both of them had been researching the moves for the dual sword integration for the past two days.
Working closely with Su Yang, Gu Feidi twirled the Long-Cherished Heart sword in his hand and linked it with a ‘Fairyland Dream’ move—his new sword technique, was known as ‘Dream Tempts the White Crane’ was totally different compared to the extremely fierce ‘Phoenix Hunt’ technique in Su Yang’s dream. It lacked the ‘burn-all’ type of unyielding hostile quality, but seemed more flexible, similar to Tai Chi, and had ingeniously combined attacks and defences to complement the absence of defensive moves in Su Yang’s Drunk Slashing Red Plums.
With both their swordsmanships, one attacking and one defending, they obstructed all the assassins’ transformation orientations, compelling them to cease and retreat.
The Black Feather Army Shadow Camp’s assassinations emphasised on surprise attacks. Right now, their ambush had been thwarted, and those who had been exposed were already compromised. Consequently, a few of the assassins inadvertently withdrew backward, planning to disperse and escape.
Su Yang utilised Prized Flower Steps and raised his sword to draw a pitch arc within this average-sized open ground and progressed with the two moves of ‘Drunk Penglai’* and ‘Drunk Assist Rebound’, cutting off the three who’d escaped eastwards midway.
(*TN: One of the three fabled islands in the Eastern sea, abode of immortals)
On the other side, Gu Feidi flipped over and leapt to reach behind the two who were trying to flee. He manoeuvred his boundless internal force and used his ‘Dream Roving Clouds’ move to sweep those two assassins to the ground. Then he used his ‘Dream Soul Scent’ move to behead the assassin squad leader.
Seeing that Gu Feidi and Su Yang were highly skilled in martial arts and knowing that they could not flee on their own, the assassins immediately joined their scimitars and created a battle formation.
Su Yang and Gu Feidi had witnessed this type of battle formation a number of times. It had been previously employed by the scouts and was somewhat modified from the formation used by the assassins. In terms of destructiveness, it was evident that moves performed by these assassins were even deadlier. With both attack and defense incorporated in the battle formation, Su Yang and Gu Feidi didn’t know where to start.
This location wasn’t a long way from Eluo Ghost Tent’s royal court, and chimney smoke rising could be seen rising from not too far off—there must be an Eluo Ghost Tent village settlement in the distance.
Therefore, it wouldn’t be favourable for Su Yang and Gu Feidi if the battle continued to drag on, as the Eluo Ghost Tent assassins were probably waiting for backup.
In desperation, Su Yang and Gu Feidi had no choice but to launch an offensive, swiftly conclude the battle, and escape from there.
However, the assassins’ battle formation wasn’t easy to subdue. Gu Feidi even sustained a cut by the opponent’s scimitar during the battle, and if it hadn’t been for Su Yang using Half Withered Red to help him disperse the poison, he might already be paralysed right now.
Taking advantage of their current negligence, the Shadow Camp assassins changed the battle formation and once again attacked Su Yang and Gu Feidi, who were assisting each other on the field.
Su Yang gave a light ‘tsk’ and didn’t retract Half Withered Red’s extremely cold internal force. Instead, he flooded their meridians as he’d done on the Snow Mountain and accumulated them into his sword strokes, clenching his teeth to bear the chills enveloping his whole body and changing to use Flying Flower Art to brace against the assassins’ attacks.
Meanwhile, Gu Feidi’s True Hawk Sword technique intervened and forced the four assassins to retreat.
However, one assassin made use of this tremendous force to rapidly withdraw and escape. The other three entangled with Su Yang and Gu Feidi despite sustaining sword injuries and abruptly separated them.
As they looked on helplessly at the assassin who was about to escape, Su Yang and Gu Feidi became a little anxious.
Unexpectedly, a feather arrow whizzed out silently from the forest just then and flew straight at the fleeing assassin.
The feather arrow wasn’t fast, and the assassin dodged it using his light footwork. But in the next moment, his chest was impaled by a man in grey who abruptly attacked from behind a cedar tree, killing him on the spot.
Su Yang and Gu Feidi quickly finished off the remaining assassins and stared at the man in grey who’d just stepped out onto the snow.
“The Black Feather Army Shadow Camp has received a mission to assassinate you.”
Luo Yin’s steps were steady as he walked to stand before Su Yang and Gu Feidi, nodding slightly as a greeting and then saying, “But the order they’ve received was to kill Gu Feidi and capture Su Yang alive.”
Gu Feidi stepped forward to stand beside Su Yang. Both of them greeted Luo Yin, and Gu Feidi asked, “How do you know that they’ve received the order?”
Luo Yin said: “Shu fu* contacted his former comrades in the Black Feather Army on my behalf and covertly incited two generals and a few squads.”
(*TN: Father’s younger brother; uncle. He’s referring to Luo Yu.)
As they spoke, the one who’d been hiding in the forest and shot the arrow stepped out. Sure enough, it was a middle-aged man dressed in Eluo Ghost Tent soldier’s uniform. The man didn’t approach and remained in the shadow of the cedar tree, standing guard over the surroundings.
“Prior to the both of you, two Devil Sect flower aides were discovered and killed by the Black Feather Army. Therefore, shu fu surmised…… perhaps currently, there are others who’ve already snuck into the Icefield.”
Luo Yin didn’t outrightly mention the person he was alluding to, but both Su Yang and Gu Feidi realised that Luo Yu should’ve speculated on the Devil Sect Leader’s whereabouts.
They continued to listen to Luo Yin: “Both of you have already been detected by Eluo Ghost Tent. Therefore, shu fu bade me to ask you if you’re willing to reveal to Ghost Tent royal court that your objective is the White Firework Gu. This way, it can draw the Black Feather Army’s attention and to create a better opportunity for that person to infiltrate.”
Su Yang and Gu Feidi heard this and gave each other a look. It was a rather difficult decision.
Lesser Cold was two days away. If they disclosed the destination of their journey, it would surely attract the focus of the White Witch Tower to reinforce their defences, making the White Firework Gu even harder to obtain.
But on the other hand, the Black Feather Army had already perceived their movements, and as long as they continued to trail them for the next two days, they would know that they were heading to the White Witch Tower. Therefore, there was no difference whether or not they disclosed their destination.
Gu Feidi hesitated for a moment and asked, “If the Eluo Ghost Tent royal court knows of our objective, would it benefit your upcoming operations?”
Luo Yin nodded and contemplated: “If your objective has been decided, the royal court would most probably dispatch additional troops to the White Witch Tower. When the time comes, one of the Black Feathered Army squad that my shu fu incited will request to be sent there to garrison. During the White Witch Tower battle, I can take the opportunity to infiltrate that squad and sneak into the royal court to assassinate Eluojue.”
The plan was pretty good, but this meant that both Su Yang and Gu Feidi would be the quarry of the entire Eluo Ghost Tent royal court for the next two days. There wouldn’t be any more rest times. They would be caught up in assassinations and fights, one encounter after another, and when it came time for them to make their actual move, they may even come across some unprecedented obstacles.
Gu Feidi didn’t immediately respond.
He turned and looked at Su Yang, waiting for him to reply first.
Su Yang looked down and pondered for a long while. At last, his fingers tensed, and he clenched his fists.
“You may.” He said, “Besides, our whereabouts have been revealed, and we’re bound to get into fights these two days anyway. It doesn’t make a difference anyhow, so let’s just battle it out.”