Title: Did We Agree To Be 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~
Su Yang and Gu Feidi remained in the Lanyang City inn for a few days before receiving news from Tengyun Pavilion mentioning that the previous two fat and thin bandits had been seen in Chihua County on the east coast. They’d robbed several rich businessmen there and hightailed off. Luckily, Tengyun Pavilion’s scouts had already caught up with them and could transmit information whenever necessary.
Seeing that Greater Cold* was already here and New Year’s Eve was only half a month away, Gu Ruohai also sent a missive. He stated therein that he estimated to be able to finish handling the Devil Sect matters by the end of the year and then return to Tengyun Pavilion with Su Huaizhu. Pu Lingyun proposed for Su Yang and Gu Feidi to stay in Lanyang City until after the New Year before seeking out the fat and thin bandits.
(*TN : 24th of the 24 solar terms, 20th Jan – 3 Feb, marking the beginning if the last solar term after which the weather slowly turns warmer)
But with the anticipation that Su Yang’s twentieth birthday was fast approaching, Gu Feidi feared that trouble would arise and wasn’t willing to stay any longer. Therefore, he still resolved to set off for Chihua County straightaway and then immediately head to Lesser Jade House following that.
In order to reach the east coast from Lanyang City, they needed to traverse more than half of the Central Plains region. Both of them rode horses and hurried all the way along the public road before finally reaching on the twenty seventh of the twelfth lunar month.
Based on the report by Tengyun Pavilion’s scout, the fat and thin bandits had temporarily found a place to stay on Junyou Mountain, not far from Chihua County. As New Year’s Eve drew closer, it appeared that they wouldn’t be heading down the mountain for the time being.
Junyou Mountain bordered the sea, with one of its cliffs hovering directly over it. The mountain wasn’t terribly high, but the mountain path was rugged and steep. Even during winter, the mountain woods were extremely dense, making it more difficult for travel. As such, no one would go sightseeing in Junyou Mountain and it was indeed a good place to avoid being tracked.
Su Yang and Gu Feidi decided to head up the mountain the same day. If they managed to acquire the dual cultivation technique earlier, then they could return to the village at the foot of the mountain faster, settle down nicely and celebrate the New Year.
——This is the first New Year’s Eve that the both of them were able to spend together since they’d met. With the exclusion of the unavoidable constant shuttling back and forth, there were various reasons that Gu Feidi didn’t want Su Yang to suffer more hardships.
Although he hadn’t realised it, Su Yang had already acclimated to the gradual lack of Chinese New Year ambience in modern society.
They made use of their light footwork and quickly ascended Junyou Mountain. They followed a path that had clearly been trod on and at last, located a small compound built from wood and stone within the mountain.
Once they’d set foot into the compound, they saw the main house’s wooden door being pushed open and a brawny figure emerged from inside. He eyed them grimly.
“Who are you?” The one who’d opened the door was the fat bandit. He narrowed his eyes and his expression was alert. “It’s nearly the end of the year. We’re not selling firewood!”
Although he’d said those words, his hand was already at his waist on the handle of a knife. He appeared as if he was ready to attack at any moment.
Gu Feidi curled his mouth into a smile and raised his hand to tug off the cloth wrapped around his face, “I wonder if this martial artist still remembers me?”
When he discerned Gu Feidi’s face, the fat man’s expression dramatically changed, but he didn’t flinch. He drew out his knife and attacked Gu Feidi.
Meanwhile, another thin figure broke through the window. He held two scimitars, one in each hand and immediately harmonised his internal strength with the fat man before attacking Gu Feidi together.
The Long Cherished Heart sword was unsheathed. It was one of the defensive moves from the True Hawk Sword technique which effortlessly warded off the two men’s combined attack.
Su Yang stood beside Gu Feidi, arms folded, without any intention to assist. He smiled and said, “You were originally beaten by them into a sorry state. Doesn’t seem like they’re that powerful now!”
“You and I have been training diligently in Lesser Jade House for two years. We’d be useless if we were still like our original selves.”
Gu Feidi smiled and talked to Su Yang while swinging his sword and battling the fat and thin bandits. He seemed more than equal to the task and added: “Perhaps it wouldn’t be so relaxed if I wasn’t using the True Hawk sword technique. Their technique of harmonising their internal strengths is indeed amazing.”
The thin man was infuriated by Gu Feidi’s indifferent behaviour and bellowed, “Despite you coming from an illustrious and righteous sect, you have the insolence to be so disrespectful. Back then on Meizhu Mountain, the both of us only antagonised you for the sake of the jade bell. We didn’t expect that you’d still bear a grudge after two years!”
After speaking, he stole a glance at Su Yang and snorted: “That’s right, the rumours of the Jianghu say…… that the renowned Righteous Young Eagle has now betrayed the righteous sect and is fooling around with the Devil Sect’s Young Saint…… It’s no surprise that you’d seek us out for retaliation.”
When he heard this, Su Yang raised his eyebrows and drew out the Lord Friend thin sword from his waist.
He didn’t restrain his moves like Gu Feidi did. He straightaway employed two moves from Drunk Slashing Red Plums to force the fat and thin bandits into a corner. The sword point pierced through the thin man’s collar and nailed him against the wooden wall of the house. He let out a laugh.
With mischief on his mind, he licked his lips, displayed an evil look and said: “Who cares about both you ‘whatever’ fat and thin bandits. In the end, you’re merely two insignificant thieves and small fry in this Lord’s hands! Hurry up and hand over the dual cultivation technique in your possession in exchange for both your lives!”
These words were the same ones used by the fat and thin bandits to berate Gu Feidi in the dense forest of Meizhu Mountain, but it was evident that the two men had totally forgotten.
Gu Feidi looked at Su Yang in surprise, but didn’t say anything. He stood silently a little behind him, taking precautions against the two men in front.
Naturally, the thin man became angry after being provoked this way and struggled resentfully. He wanted to get up and counterattack.
But the fat man raised his hand to hold him down.
“You came here for the technique?” He narrowed his eyes and asked in a low voice.
“If you are willing to hand over the technique to me, we’ll deem it as if we didn’t come up Junyou Mountain today.” Gu Feidi said, “We’ll also not arrest and handover the both of you to the government office for them to investigate the robberies of the rich businessmen in Chihua County a few days ago. “
The thin man stamped his feet as soon as he heard what was spoken and said: “You’re clearly threatening us!”
Su Yang grinned: “If you refuse to comply with the threat, then shall we fight it out?”
At present, Su Yang’s and Gu Feidi’s martial arts skills had long surpassed themselves. It had only been two or three short confrontations earlier, but the fat and thin bandits had already sensed the disparity. At the moment, it was of course best to resolve the matter without coming to blows.
However…… that dual cultivation technique was the trademark treasure of the fat man’s former sect. Although that sect had since been wiped out, he was still not too willing to surrender this legacy.
The thin man was aware of this as well and tried to stall for time to see if he could come up with another option.
So he feigned discontentment and scoffed: “They say we should employ peaceful means before resorting to force. You guys are grand——taking the other way around.”
Su Yang dramatically widened his eyes: “Weren’t you the ones that made the first move?”
The thin man was quashed until he couldn’t say anything. He hung on the wall, fuming.
The fat man at the side said calmly: “The dual cultivation technique is the most universally harmonised internal strength method, split into Yin and Yang scrolls. Once you start to practice it, your……*cough*, your positions will be fixed and cannot be changed. Even so, you still desire it?”
Su Yang was taken aback by his words.
The thin man secretly gave a thumbs up to the fat man——the Devil Sect’s Young Saint and Tengyun Pavilion‘s Young Pavilion Master had matching statuses, body shapes and battle abilities. There must certainly be one who wouldn’t submit to the other always being on top. If they could use this to provoke a discord between the two, they might still have an opportunity to flee.
Sure enough, Su Yang’s expression turned dark. He frowned and asked, “Two Yin and Yang scrolls?”
The fat man replied, “Yes, the technique distinguishes a Yin scroll for the Yin school and a Yang scroll for the Upright Yang school. If you practice the Yin scroll, you’ll be in the bottom position for the rest of your life……”
Su Yang silently rolled his eyes silently.
It would be exceedingly difficult even if he wanted to cultivate Upright Yang school exercises with the current conditions of his internal strength.
Could it be that the distinction of top and bottom had already been destined from the time he’d started practicing the Six Underworlds Inter Flower technique?!
“No matter.” Gu Feidi said all of a sudden, “You and I can obtain the technique first. We’ll discuss how to practice it when we go back to Lesser Jade House.”
Once he’d spoken, he snuck a glance at Su Yang out of the corner of his eye. The tips of his eyes were filled with mirth.
Knowing full well that he didn’t want to talk about their private bedroom matters in front of outsiders, Su Yang still itched to give him a beating upon noting his expression.
Seeing as the instigation wasn’t working and they weren’t able to defeat them if they fought, the fat man sighed helplessly and finally accepted the reality of his circumstances.
“This technique was researched and developed by numerous predecessors from my sect. It is an extremely universally harmonised internal strength technique that can be practiced by men’s bodies. Unfortunately, my sect was labelled as the Evil way by the Righteous martial arts circles. It was suppressed several times before being exterminated.”
He sneered as he spoke: “I initially believed that this technique would not be able to subsist in this world, but I didn’t expect…… that there would be a day when Tengyun Pavilion’s Young Pavilion Master would need to practice it.”
Gu Feidi didn’t respond to him.
Su Yang was holding up the Devil Sect’s Young Saint’s cold-blooded demeanour as he lifted his sword and let the thin man down from the wall. He then placed the sword edge on his neck while allowing the fat man to enter the house to retrieve the technique.
Upon seeing this, the fat man didn’t dare to take any risks and compliantly handed over the ancient original scroll manuscripts for the technique to Gu Feidi.
Gu Feidi casually examined them and noted that there were no missing pages or alterations. He nodded contentedly and put away the scrolls inside his lapels.
“We’ll need to bring back the technique to Lesser Jade House for Shizun to look over. If we discover errors…… heh heh, we can find you once, we can find you a second time!” Su Yang curled his lip and said ruthlessly. He withdrew his sword and released the thin man.
Meanwhile, Gu Feidi fished out another scroll from their travelling bag and handed it to the fat man, “This is a set of dual combination swordsmanship created by the two of us. Since both of you use knives, you should somewhat be able to grasp the sword intent inside although it is a swordsmanship…… consider it as a return gift for this internal strength technique.”
This volume of swordsmanship was a rudimentary version that Gu Feidi had adapted from the merging of Drunk Slashing Red Plums and Dream Tempts the White Crane. Although it wasn’t as exquisite as the original two sets of swordsmanship, it had been refined with the insight of those from Lesser Jade House. It was already first-rate in terms of the Central Plains martial arts and therefore could be counted as presentable enough to be used to express their appreciation for the dual cultivation technique that could save lives.
The fat and thin men clearly didn’t expect this development and both were dumbfounded. Feidi smiled and said, “Whether it was using peaceful measures before using force or using force before using peaceful measures. After all, we were the ones who had a favour to ask of you and courtesy shouldn’t be owed.”
As he spoke, he cupped his fists and bowed to the two of them: “Thank you.”
The thin man’s mouth twitched slightly and the fat man also looked ashamed.
Su Yang and Gu Feidi didn’t wait for the two to reply. They held hands, turned and left the compound.
It wasn’t until they reached the foot of the mountain that Su Yang smacked his lips and said, “As a matter of fact, it feels exhilarating to be portraying the villain.”
Hearing him speak like that, Gu Feidi laughed and asked, “You were also ‘portraying’ your recklessness, evilness and haughtiness when you and I met in the beginning?”
Su Yang said proudly: “That’s right! This Lord’s performance is amazing!”
Gu Feidi smiled: “No wonder…… I always felt that there was something out of sorts and assumed you were putting on a show of bravado.”
Su Yang was astounded: “Why? Was there a problem with my performance at that time?”
Gu Feidi gazed into Su Yang’s eyes with a trace of tenderness.
“No, no problem.” He said and smiled, “……very adorable.”