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~
In the middle of the first month, Gu Feidi spent his nineteenth birthday in Lesser Jade House.
Shortly after that, three months passed in the blink of an eye and summer quietly arrived. Su Yang’s twentieth birthday was in the early part of the fifth month.
Su Yang was a martial arts practitioner after all. There were not as many customs involved in the crown ceremony compared to those of the aristocracy. He merely requested his Lesser Jade House shixiongs and shijies to make some simple preparations for him and to include the crowning garments on his birthday.
As for the ceremony’s guest of honour*, Su Yang initially intended to invite Shizun Qingbo to attend and chair it. Unexpectedly, Qingbo immediately declined.
(*TN : the guest of honour at the crowning ceremony is responsible to ‘crown’ the recipient)
“Someone will be your guest of honour and assist your crowning in due course. Just wait patiently for two days.” Qingbo smiled. “There’ll be a martial arts general assembly in the early part of the sixth month. Currently, those who should return have already prepared to hurry to the Central Plains.”
As expected, less than three days before Su Yang’s birthday, Luo Yu and Qin Jianyue arrived at Lesser Jade House. Both of them had assisted Luo Yin to secure the situation in Eluo Ghost Tent and were just about to return to Yuqiong Peak. They were passing by Meizhu Mountain just in time for Su Yang’s birthday, so they came to have a look.
On the eve of Su Yang’s birthday, Su Huaizhu and Gu Ruohai also arrived together at Lesser Jade House. They’d come specially to attend Su Yang’s crown ceremony. Pu Lingyun and Fan Xi had also come along with them.
Several elders who’d long left Lesser Jade House for twenty years had now returned to visit. They met up with Old Qi and greeted Wang Ke who had been the same generation as them back then. A few from the younger generation such as Di Ling and Mo Yun made their salutations to the elders and Di Ling then showed them to the guest courtyards.
Pu Lingyun and Fan Xi arranged to go together with Su Yang and Gu Feidi to the pavilion for tea and to chat. They brought news about the present conditions in the martial arts circles.
“The martial arts general assembly isn’t far away. Right now, all sects and factions are readying themselves to demand for more benefits in the assembly.” Pu Lingyun said, “Shifu has decided to concede the position of Alliance Leader this time and nominate Xu bobo*. After that, Tengyun Pavilion will unify its forces and focus on assisting Qianfeng Villa from behind. Shifu also intends to summon back all the shixiongs who are managing the Pavilion branches.”
(*TN : bobo = term of address for an older man of one’s father’s generation; uncle)
“Summon back shixiongs?” Gu Feidi pondered, “Perhaps Father wants to begin appointing the next Pavilion Master?”
Pu Lingyun let out a sigh, “You ran off with Su Yang, what’s Shifu to do? Moreover, the rumour that you were enticed away by the Devil Sect’s Young Saint has yet to fade. Even if you wanted to return and take charge of Tengyun Pavilion, Shifu won’t endorse it.”
After that, she stole a glimpse at Su Yang who was sitting at the side and smiled: “You guys aaa, just happily enjoy the time away from the clamour of this world! I trust that if Tengyun Pavilion is in a difficult position, both of you won’t just stand idly by, right?”
“If there’s a need, of course I’ll go back.” Gu Feidi said.
“That’s right. If there’s anything, we’ll most certainly go back to assist.” Su Yang nodded with a smile.
After a pause, Gu Feidi asked: “What about you? Don’t you plan to contend for the position of the next Pavilion Master?”
Pu Lingyun curled her lip and said, “I am a woman. Even if I become the pavilion master, there won’t be any less slanders and rumours. Besides, I want to get married to Fan Er. Even if he were to marry into Tengyun Pavilion, there will inevitably be people gossiping. I’ve no patience in handling those hideous messes, so I’d rather not contend. It doesn’t matter which shixiong is selected, surely they can grant me to be an elder or something?”
Gu Feidi was astonished: “Oh? Both of you are getting married? Have you set a date?”
Pu Lingyun was not bashful in the slightest and said outright: “After the martial arts general assembly, the date will be somewhere towards the end of the seventh month. The two of you must attend my wedding feast then.”
Su Yang smiled right away, “That’s a must. We’ll definitely attend!”
Pu Lingyun continued: “Later, there should also be a full moon banquet for my nephew. During the second half of the year, both of you might as well sneak back to Tengyun Pavilion and stay there.”
Gu Feidi couldn’t help laughing and threw Su Yang a glance, “This matter isn’t urgent. We’ll discuss it when the time comes.”
Tomorrow was Su Yang’s twentieth birthday. Whether or not there was still any danger from the Ghost Blood Life Curse, it would only be truly cleared up tomorrow.
There was no accurate time measuring apparatus during this ancient era and Su Yang was in no mood to wait for midnight to celebrate his birthday, so he went to bed early to hone his strength for the crowning ceremony.
Gu Feidi was afflicted with insomnia.
He lay on his side on the bed observing Su Yang who was sleeping soundly. He gently rested one of his hands on Su Yang’s cool wrist, carefully counting the beats of his pulse. Su Yang’s sleeping breaths were light and shallow. Gu Feidi practically stuck his ear to Su Yang’s cheek and focused quietly to the faint sounds of his breathing.
The sky outside the window began to lighten gradually. Su Yang, who was still asleep, rolled over and unconsciously placed his hand onto Gu Feidi’s chest before murmuring something in his slumber.
Only then did Gu Feidi release a sigh of relief and emitted light laugh. He reached out to clasp his and Su Yang’s fingers together before closing his eyes and falling asleep.
Su Yang’s crown ceremony was to be held together with his birthday banquet. There weren’t that many guests in Lesser Jade House except for the elders. The rest of them were shixiongs and shijies, so they kept things simple.
As usual, Qingbo didn’t show up personally and there was only a letter delivered over by the little green bird with the crowning ceremony congratulatory words written on it. Gu Feidi, the crowning assistant, read aloud. As the guest of honour, Gu Ruohai crowned Su Yang with a hat, then Su Huaizhu, as his father, bestowed Su Yang with a courtesy name.
Su Yang knelt before Su Huaizhu. Su Huaizhu said: “The ceremony is ready. It’s a good month—an auspicious day to announce your word: the word ‘yuan’…… there’ll be no bad fortune.”
Su Yang received the courtesy name and performed three bows, then the crown ceremony was finally completed.
Soon after that, everyone removed the incense burner table and the birthday banquet began.
Once the banquet concluded, Su Yang and Gu Feidi sought out Su Huaizhu.
“Elder, now the Gu poison in your body can be eliminated.” Gu Feidi said, “Why don’t you take this chance to expel it?”
Su Huaizhu said, “No matter, as long as I don’t recklessly manoeuvre my internal strength, this Gu poison can still be suppressed for a period of time.”
Gu Ruohai who was at the side disapproved: “Regardless of whether this Gu in your body is inactive or not, it generally isn’t a good thing. If it can be eliminated, it must be resolved as soon as possible.”
Su Yang also promptly nodded: “That’s right. At any rate, we now possess the White Firework Gu, we’ve practiced the methodology and I’m already twenty. Since you’ve all come to Lesser Jade House, then it’s better if we expel the Gu poison here. In case there’s any mishap, with Qing——with Shizun around, there’s no need to worry that it won’t be able to be remedied.”
Su Huaizhu stared at Su Yang for a long time and smiled: “May as well.”
To be on the safe side, they didn’t expel the Gu on Su Yang’s twentieth birthday, but delayed it for a few days to rest and strengthen the state of their bodies.
Luo Yu had already translated the method of manoeuvring the White Firework Gu into the Central Plains script. He’d painstakingly instructed Gu Feidi and ascertained that after months of practice, Su Yang’s and Gu Feidi’s Yin and Yang internal strengths had already synchronised and it was sufficient for them to join forces to manoeuvre the Fire Gu.
On the day of the Gu elimination, Di Ling brought Shizun’s letter and led Su Yang, Gu Feidi, their fathers and Luo Yu to a seclusion lodge at the banks of Jade Mirror Pond. There was a cold pool with water drawn from Jade Mirror Pond within this lodge, which could assist Su Huaizhu to somewhat inhibit the Gu poison.
Su Huaizhu removed his clothes and lowered himself into the pool. Gu Feidi stood in front of him, placing one hand on the centre of his chest and the other on his vital energy.
Su Yang hugged Gu Feidi into his arms from behind and supported his palm on the back of Gu Feidi’s hand. They circulated their internal force together, driving the White Firework Gu internal strength to extend tentacles and gradually pervade Su Huaizhu’s meridians.
Su Huaizhu stifled a groan, closed his eyes slightly and clenched his teeth. The pool waters were still icy-cold during summer, yet his head was suddenly suffused with beads of sweat. Despite that, he didn’t let even the slightest cry of pain seep out from between his teeth.
The Gu expelling process wasn’t short and in order to guarantee success, Su Huaizhu couldn’t fall unconscious and needed to stay awake all the time. Seeing that Su Huaizhu had closed his eyes and endured for a long while, Gu Ruohai finally couldn’t bear it anymore and went into the pool to gently hold him in his arms.
Fortunately, in addition to the consumed time exceeding Luo Yu’s expectations, this round of the Gu elimination progressed extremely smoothly. Once the Love Gu was forced out of Su Huaizhu’s body, it was immediately constricted by the White Firework Gu’s tentacles.
Su Huaizhu’s complexion was pale. He slowly opened his eyes and his lips quivered weakly to say “Thank you” to Su Yang and Gu Feidi before losing consciousness right away.
Gu Ruohai straightaway brought him ashore, then turned around and reminded Su Yang and Gu Feidi to have a good rest before anxiously carrying Su Huaizhu away. Luo Yu kept mentioning about checking Su Huaizhu’s pulse and hurried off after the two of them.
Gu Feidi and Su Yang were also extremely exhausted to the point that they could hardly stand up steadily. They supported each other to the pool’s edge.
Su Yang was chilled by the cold pool water until he was shivering. Gu Feidi heaved a sigh and helped him dry off his clothing and hair. Following Gu Ruohai’s earlier actions, he picked up Su Yang horizontally, cradling him and carried him back to Zhichun Garden.
A little green bird had been perched quietly atop the roof of the seclusion lodge for a long time. It fluttered its wings and flitted off all of a sudden into the forest. It soared over a mountain peak, darted into the half-open window of the Veiled Pearl Pavilion to land on the shoulder of a woman in green.
Qingbo lifted her hand and teased the bird with a smile: “……Let’s go.”
Early the next day, Qin Jianyue and Luo Yu departed Lesser Jade House to return to Yuqiong Peak. Pu Lingyun and Fan Xi also said their goodbyes. They intended to take a tour around together before their wedding and then return to Tengyun Pavilion.
Initially, Su Huaizhu and Gu Ruohai also wanted to leave, but Old Qi bade them stay for a few more days for him to decoct medicine and perform acupuncture on Su Huaizhu to nurse back his health——in the past years, Su Huaizhu had been employing unconventional ways to forcibly inhibit Eluo Ghost Tent’s Love Gu. In doing so, he had regularly aroused and triggered the Gu poison, causing damage to his meridians. However, recuperation could only relieve the injuries and it would be difficult for his martial arts skills to advance any further.
During the period where Su Huaizhu remained in Old Qi’s courtyard to heal his meridians, Gu Ruohai met with Gu Feidi and Su Yang everyday at the martial arts field to coach the both of them on sword moves.
“The two of you have already completely integrated your internal forces and you possess three sets of supplementing and complementing techniques. As long as you don’t cease to practice diligently, your internal strengths will be even more profound and unbeatable, given time.” Gu Ruohai said, “All in all, your days in the Jianghu are scant, you lack sufficient battle experience and the transitions between your sword moves are somewhat crude.”
After speaking, he paused and said: “Although you will remain within Lesser Jade House from now on and steer clear of martial arts circles’ disputes, but…… you must stay vigilant in times of peace even if you don’t intervene. Once you are required to intervene, you must also have the capability to do so.”
Gu Feidi and Su Yang received the advice with an open mind.
A few days passed and seeing as the martial arts circles’ general assembly was drawing closer, Old Qi was at last ready to let them leave. It was then that Gu Ruohai and Su Huaizhu also left Lesser Jade House and returned to the martial arts circles where the disputes were slowly increasing.
After some time, Pu Lingyun issued invitations for Gu Feidi and Su Yang to attend her wedding.
A letter enclosed with the invitation mentioned that Xu Yunzhan and Huo Ying’s eldest son had been born and the full moon banquet was merely half a month away from Pu Lingyun’s wedding feast.
In this year’s martial arts circles’ general assembly, Qianfeng Villa truly lived up to expectations and replaced Tengyun Pavilion, aspiring to the Central Plains martial arts. The head of the Xu family took over as the Martial Alliance Leader. The first thing he did was to lay bare the evidence before everyone of the conspiracy between Wujiangmen, the Devil Sect and Eluo Ghost Tent. He also removed a great number of Wujiangmen spies that had been planted within the various sects and schools.
“Furthermore, the news that the Imperial court has granted a marriage alliance with Eluo has been recognised. Princess Danyang has been promised to the current new king Eluoying as his main wife. The ceremony will be held next spring.”
Gu Feidi finished reading the letter and smiled as he looked at Su Yang: “Both our methodologies and internal strengths have been stabilised. It’s about time we went out. After attending Lingyun’s wedding and Wei Qi xiong’s eldest son’s full moon ceremony, we can go travelling together…… when winter comes, we can head up Yulian Snow Mountain. Don’t you enjoy building snowmen? Now, you can play merrily in the snow.”
Su Yang burst out laughing, “You still remember that thing about building snowmen? During that time, it was actually because I couldn’t touch snow and ice that I particularly wanted to play with it. For now…… it’s fine. I’ll regard going out travelling with you as our honeymoon.”
Gu Feidi didn’t understand: “Honeymoon? What does that mean?”
Su Yang smiled mysteriously and didn’t reply.
Gu Feidi was just about to ask again, but all of a sudden, a weak cracking sound caught his attention. He instantly glanced at Su Yang’s chest and his brows lowered a little.
Su Yang caught the change in his expression and asked, “What’s going on?”
Gu Feidi hooked out the red silk string hanging from Su Yang’s neck and placed the pearl-sized bird egg in his palm. Su Yang examined it closely and noticed that at some point, a tiny crack had appeared on one side of the egg.
“It’s about to hatch!” Su Yang almost leapt up in astonishment and then immediately said anxiously, “Previously, I’d carelessly pressed on it but luckily I didn’t crush it. I was thankful that this bird egg was tough enough at that time. Looking at it now…… this little fella should be able to break out of it, right?”
“Don’t worry.” Gu Feidi consoled Su Yang while steadily cutting the netting string from around the bird egg and said, “The shell has cracks. It should be able to come out.”
Both their heads came together, both staring fixedly at the small bird egg, neither daring to breathe.
After some time, a tiny beak finally pierced the egg shell and poked out from it.
But before Su Yang had time to cheer, they felt a blinding radiance appear before them all of a sudden, causing he and Gu Feidi to instinctively shut their eyes.
When the two of them looked again, the tiny bird egg the size of a little fingertip had vanished. In its place was a palm-sized, fully-grown green parrot perched at the corner of the bedside table.
Su Yang: ……
Gu Feidi: ……
They were both speechless for a while.
After a long time, Gu Feidi let out a sigh and said, “The big world that Shizun and you used to be in is truly unusual……”
Su Yang still didn’t reply.
He stared blankly at the parrot and it took him a good while to absorb the odd voice that sounded in his head.
It wasn’t until Gu Feidi anxiously called him a few times that Su Yang at last snapped out of it and gazed at Gu Feidi who had a face full of worry.
Gu Feidi asked: “Are you alright?”
Su Yang was silent for a moment, then the corners of his mouth abruptly curled up. His smile slowly spread over his face to become an incomparably, brilliant beaming expression. His eyes were filled with the radiance of his astonishment.
He reached out with his arms and pulled Gu Feidi over, hugging him tightly as he said excitedly: “We…… we’ll always be together! Forever!”