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~
Su Yang looked back.
The person approaching was Xu Yunzhan, who was supposed to be in seclusion.
It was nearing dawn, and in the dim sky, Xu Yunzhan’s eyes were deep as he looked straight at Su Yang.
He’d apparently run all the way, chasing straight over the chain bridge. His breathing was a little unstable.
For some reason, Su Yang felt a little disappointed when he saw that it was Xu Yunzhan who’d come.
Out of courtesy, he still smiled and asked, “You’ve exited seclusion?”
Xu Yunzhan didn’t answer; instead, he asked, “You’re leaving?”
Su Yang shrugged and replied, “Yes, I’ve now achieved a breakthrough for the techniques and completed my discipleship.”
“I……” Xu Yunzhan took a step forward with a look of imperceptible panic. “You…… are going back to the Devil Sect?”
Su Yang nodded: “Naturally, I have to go back.”
Xu Yunzhan was silent for a moment and spoke in a low voice: “So… in the future, if you and I meet in the Jianghu, we might… be enemies.”
Su Yang smiled.
He turned his head and eyed at the golden glow in the eastern sky as he said, “Yes, the next time we meet, we may be enemies, and I won’t be merciful.”
Xu Yunzhan took another step forward.
Seeing as he wasn’t speaking, Su Yang smiled and said, “Alright, this is also a goodbye. I should go.”
He finished talking and turned to leave.
At that moment, Xu Yunzhan suddenly took him into his arms and hugged him.
Su Yang was momentarily stunned.
The hug was over as soon as it happened. Xu Yunzhan murmured as if talking to himself: “So I’ll see you around… it would be better if we don’t meet…”
An indescribable smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. “You saved my life. If you and I meet in a dispute in the future, I’ll repay you.”
After speaking, he stared at Su Yang for a long time, then turned away and quickly fled as if he was avoiding something unwelcome.
Su Yang grabbed his hair and said in his heart: This dude was probably forced to bid goodbye by Mo shixiong and ran away after saying a few words. It seems that he really hates him…
Su Yang thought about it, and he let out a sigh. He spun on his heel and walked into the stone forest formation.
The depressive atmosphere that had always existed in the stone forest formation still lingered, but it could no longer hinder Su Yang’s profound inner strength. He manipulated his light footwork and jumped to the top of the boulder in the forest. The stone forest formation was unobstructed from such a perspective.
Su Yang tapped his toes lightly and flew towards Meizhu Mountain’s cliff.
It was not until he arrived to the gate of Lesser Jade House on Meizhu Mountain that he spotted the Devil Sect’s flower aide standing quietly outside. Su Yang remembered—he thought he’d be eliminated by Lesser Jade House, so he’d left the flower aide there and never thought about him again.
Now that he saw him still waiting outside the mountain gate, Su Yang was extremely shocked. He hastened his steps and appeared before the flower aide: “You waited here for me for two years?!”
When the flower aide saw his Young Saint, he seemed extremely gratified and smiled: “It’s this subordinate’s duty to wait for you here.”
Su Yang: !!!
Flower aide added: “This subordinate has established an inn outside Meizhu Mountain. Now that Young Saint has returned just in time, we can head over there to freshen up.”
Su Yang was relieved when he heard this. It turns out that this person had not been enduring the hardships of actually waiting here for two years, and the Devil Sect had even purchased a property nearby.
That’s right; only a fool would wait for you in the mountains. The Devil Sect owning a lot of properties and opening an inn at the foot of the mountain seems to be in line with the background plot of the script.
The two of them chatted a few random words and walked through the forests of Meizhu Mountain all the way to Meizhu Town at the mountain base.
The town was not prosperous—only two intersecting main streets, north-south and east-west, were surrounded by small residential alleys. There were many shops along the intersecting streets, but they were generally modest-looking. One could only recognise the business of the shops by the hanging banners and plaques outside the doors.
The flower aide led Su Yang into a small building with a rather narrow facade. The shopkeeper looked up at Su Yang and said with a smile, “This distinguished guest, please head upstairs to the first room.”
He followed the wooden steps of the inn up to the second floor and reached the easternmost room. Su Yang had just set foot in the door when the shopkeeper immediately turned and knelt down to salute him: “Subordinate Lan Wu*, greets Young Saint.”
(*TN: Lan = Orchid, Wu = Five)
Upon hearing this, Su Yang was slightly dazed. He said, “You can rise… I didn’t eat breakfast when I left, so bring me some dim sum. Oh, and prepare a bathtub.”
Lan Wu immediately complied and turned around to leave.
Su Yang frowned for a moment and addressed the flower aide who’d been at his side all this while: “Well, what’s your name?”
He’d been thoroughly confused during the first few days when he’d transmigrated over and had forgotten many important things. Thankfully, the flower aide hadn’t been suspicious; otherwise, he might have been treated as a Young Saint imposter and sent for execution.
The flower aide lowered his eyes: “This subordinate is Mei Shisan*.”
(*TN: Mei = Plum, Shisan = Thirteen)
Su Yang raised his eyebrows and asked with a smile: “Plum, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum*?”
(*TN: These four plants are known as the Four Gentlemen in Chinese art. They symbolise the virtues of uprightness, purity, humility, perseverance against harsh conditions. They also represent the four seasons: the plum blossom for winter, the orchid for spring, the bamboo for summer, and the chrysanthemum for autumn.)
Mei Shisan replied: “Our sect’s four main clans are plum, orchid, lotus, and chrysanthemum. Bamboo does not bloom, and Sect Leader dislikes it. Therefore, there is no bamboo clan in our sect.”
Su Yang smiled and said, “Bamboo also blooms.”
Mei Shisan was taken aback.
Su Yang said: “However, bamboo only blooms once in a lifetime and will wither and die after blooming. It is indeed not very auspicious. If there’s no bamboo, then so be it… Tsk, I am really free; why am I talking about this.”
Not long after, Lan Wu presented breakfast and refreshments while helping Su Yang prepare a bathtub.
Su Yang finished his breakfast, soaked in the tub, and had a good bath.
After coming out from behind the folding screen, Su Yang found that Mei Shisan had brought him new Devil Sect attire—red outer robes layered with various complicated tapes and brightly coloured, intricate hanging adornments with Devil Sect’s traits.
While enjoying the convenience of the flower aide’s assistance in getting dressed, Su Yang didn’t know why, but he instantly recalled the incident where he and Gu Feidi had a headache with the Devil Sect’s attire in the room of the Meizhu Mountain’s farmhouse on the morning when they’d first entered Lesser Jade House.
Both were a little awkward at the time. Looking back now, he found it somewhat amusing.
Once he thought of Gu Feidi, Su Yang’s musings successfully got sidetracked.
—It was summer now. If Gu Feidi was to catch up with this autumn’s Dubious Tomb of the Sword Sage story arc, it was estimated that he would soon complete his discipleship.
As Xu Yunzhan had said, he and Gu Feidi should be in the capacity as each other’s foes when they meet again. Who knows what Gu Feidi’s inner thoughts would be at that time?
“The chances of clashing swords in the future are unavoidable since we’re from different standpoints.”
Gu Feidi took a sip from his teacup and sighed, “It’s really unfortunate. I was only delayed for half a day, but he’d already left Lesser Jade House. I was planning to exchange pointers with him and witness his self-created set of ‘Drunk Slashing Red Plums’…”
Xu Yunzhan held the cup and stared at the tea inside for a long time before downing it in one gulp.
Gu Feidi laughed: “Seeing you like this, it doesn’t seem suitable for you to be drinking tea. Perhaps you should be drinking wine instead.”
Xu Yunzhan toyed with the empty teacup and chuckled when he heard the words, “We should be having wine. Will you drink with me?”
Gu Feidi raised his teacup and lightly clinked the edge against the cup in Xu Yunzhan’s hand: “Still better not to. You’re not in a good emotional state today; drinking alcohol will hurt your health.”
Xu Yunzhan just smiled again and said nothing.
Gu Feidi asked: “You’ve not seen me in a year. I’ve left the seclusion of the Veiled Pearl Pavilion, yet you’re unhappy?”
Xu Yunzhan was silent as he turned his head to look at the orange sunset outside the pavilion. There was some unspeakable melancholy in his eyes.
Gu Feidi didn’t urge him either. He picked up the teapot, poured a cup for each of them before quietly holding up his own teacup.
“What would you say if…” Xu Yunzhan asked unexpectedly, “If you’ve just parted ways with him and are already starting to miss him, does that mean… you care about him?”
Gu Feidi’s fingers shook, and hot tea splashed out onto his fingertips. He quickly withdrew his hands, knocking the teacup in the process. It fell off the edge of the table and smashed onto the floor.
“…Just parted ways?” Gu Feidi frowned and glanced over at Xu Yunzhan solemnly. “Don’t tell me that you treat Su Yang as… What happened between the two of you this year?”
After a long silence, Xu Yunzhan emitted a bitter smile: “I… I’m not sure either.”
Gu Feidi also fell silent.
“…It shouldn’t have been.”
Xu Yunzhan stared at the flaming sunset in the west and spoke in a calm tone.
“He spent most of his time in seclusion. Even when he was ordered by Shizun to leave seclusion and practice martial arts in the martial arts field, neither Lingyun nor Fan Xi were able to match him based on his initial skill level. Only he and I could oppose each other in terms of strength. Although… I’ve never beaten him, I’ve to admit that the battle against him was really thrilling.”
“In the beginning, his sword control was still shaky, and he accidentally stabbed me once. I didn’t give it much thought, but he was filled with fear. I still remember the look in his eyes at that moment… panic, helplessness, guilt… still, he insisted on putting on a scornful, taunting expression.”
Xu Yunzhan finished speaking and let out a light laugh: “You’ve also seen him looking all tough and haughty; you can imagine it. But he himself doesn’t realise that no matter how tough he pretends to be, he can’t conceal the emotion in his eyes… At that time, I just wanted to hold him in my arms.”
Gu Feidi said abruptly, “You’re both men.”
For a long time, Xu Yunzhan just sighed: “As the stories go, I understand that in this world there may even be male-male relationships. But I’m from Qianfeng Villa; he is the Devil Sect’s Young Saint… At any rate, to desire this relationship and to be happily in love is impossible.”
He paused then gave a self-deprecating laugh: “Now, I truly understand the meaning of ‘unable to restrain emotions’……”
Gu Feidi didn’t respond.
He leaned down and slowly and gently picked up the teacup fragments under the table. He carefully swept them up into the largest broken piece of porcelain and placed them back onto the table.
He calmly said, “I’ve spied a tattoo on Su Yang’s back by chance.”
Xu Yunzhan wasn’t aware of the matter and was surprised: “Tattoo?”
Gu Feidi nodded. “He has a flower tattoo on his back. Although I saw it through his inner shirt and it wasn’t very clear, but the red colour was so vivid that even the layer of white gauze couldn’t obstruct it.”
Upon hearing this, Xu Yunzhan seemed to have been petrified and frozen on the spot.
After a while, he spoke in a hoarse voice: “…He said that he wants to go back to the Devil Sect.”
Gu Feidi said, “Naturally, he wants to go back. Given that some things are just rumours, no one really understands the Devil Sect Leader’s methods, do they?”
He lowered his head slightly, glanced down, rubbed the leather wristband of his forearm, and said calmly, “Forget him. Even if there was a chance to meet again in the future, it would be in a ‘you-die-I-live’ situation for both of us.”
Xu Yunzhan exhaled heavily, and after a long time, he smiled reluctantly: “When I complete my discipleship, I’ll go back to Qianfeng Villa for the crown ceremony*. My father must have arranged the marriage for me. If I don’t forget him, what can be done? After all… I can’t make my future wife sad.”
(*TN: When a young man reaches twenty, that’s when they start wearing hats or crowns. This symbolises that the person has reached adulthood.)
After speaking, he released a sigh: “It’s really good to be able to tell you now… It’s been difficult to deal with this matter in my heart.”
Gu Feidi took a new porcelain cup from the tea tray. He poured himself a cup of tea and took a slow sip.
He looked down at the remaining tea in the cup and said: “…We should’ve been drinking wine today.”
At this point, the two tacitly agreed to change the subject, then discussed about the inner strength techniques and martial arts. It wasn’t until the afterglow of the setting sun had gradually disappeared from the sky and the surroundings had dimmed that they went back to their respective residences.
Gu Feidi returned to the bedroom, lit the lamp, and removed his sword, dagger, and wristband.
He fiddled with his wristband for a while and carefully took out the few pieces of paper from inside it. The handwriting on the papers had traces of watermarks, and a lot of the blackened edges were also peeling off, but the writing on it was still visible.
Gu Feidi’s fingertips lightly stroked the words ‘Wanjuan Pavilion’ and ‘Flawed Phoenix Craft Fire’. His eyes were reflected by the flickering candlelight, and there seemed to be some slight emotions flashing within.
There are situations where time and distance wouldn’t cause all things fade away. On the contrary, some emotions and thoughts that were not initially apparent may gradually become more intense, like dewdrops and wine.