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~
Autumn in the Wasteland.
The Gobi Desert was ablaze with the scorching sun.
Tree shades were few and far between here, even winds were scarce. There was only sun-baked sand and the faintly visible and seemingly absent waves in the distance—which wasn’t water, but heat emanating from the blistering ground and tricking the unsuspecting mind with its distortions.
Overwhelmed by extreme heat, dozens of horses hung their heads motionlessly; occasionally flicking their ears to drive away insects buzzing around them.
Several martial artists sat in a row beneath the shadow of a boulder. They ate some dry food and sipped from their water bags while fanning themselves.
“This Gobi Wasteland is really not a place for people to linger.” one of them complained, “If we don’t find the Dubious Tomb of the Sword Sage as soon as possible, I doubt there’ll be many of us left!”
“What was the Sword Sage thinking back then, constructing a tomb here,” another person echoed, “Where can be better than the Central Plains?”
Hearing the conversation between the two, an elderly person next to him smiled and stroked his beard: “You all don’t understand. This Wasteland area is vast emptiness everywhere and there is a Devil City that swallows people whole… To find the Tomb of the Sword Sage here is comparable to finding a needle in a haystack. That’s why the Sword Sage constructed his tomb here—so that no one would be able to find it.”
A group of young martial artists nodded in agreement.
The elder continued: “However, this matter was divulged by the Sword Sage’s grand disciple and the map disclosing the direction of the Dubious Tomb of the Sword Sage has been widely circulated in martial arts circles. We don’t know how many copies have been made. I heard that Tengyun Pavilion and Qianfeng Villa also want to get involved in this matter. I am afraid we still have to act quickly to get a head start!”
As he spoke, there appeared to be a rumbling sound from a distance.
In an instant, the sound of scattered horse hooves gradually approached and it gave the impression that there were more than ten of them.
When the horse team sped past the faintly visible Gobi desert roads, everyone could clearly see that the lead horse of the team was a vigorous, pure white charger. The figure on its back was slim and slender, dressed in a moon-white outfit. To protect against wind and sand, he’d wrapped his head and face in a silk scarf revealing only a pair of black eyes glinting like stars.
Immediately behind him were two horses—one chestnut and one tan—bearing a man and a woman, both with their heads and faces covered. They followed behind the leader without so much as a sideways glance and advanced along on the neighbouring trail.
At the rear was a group of solemn-looking troops. You could tell at first glance that they were well-trained and not regular sentries.
The horse team quickly disappeared before everyone’s eyes and gradually became a black spot in the horizon.
In the Wasteland, the afternoon sun was even more menacing. It was truly a dreadful time to be hurrying on one’s journey.
Fortunately, the Wasteland was not a deathtrap. Between the arid gravel boulders, there were occasional puddles and lakes. As long as there was water, there would be vegetation growing tenaciously in the surrounding areas and even a few sparse tree shades.
The horse team sped on for a while, then came upon a small pond oasis. The leader immediately ordered a rest. The riders dismounted to reorganise their bags and led the horses to the pond to drink and graze.
A guard took the water bag, drew water from the pond and brought it back to the young man in the moon-white outfit beneath the tree.
Gu Feidi lowered the silk scarf on his head and took a sip from the water bag, “If the map is accurate, we are still two days away from the great oasis in the hinterland of the Wasteland. Vegetation is not abundant here and prey is scarce. Are there enough provisions?”
The guard replied: “As long as there is enough water, the rations can sustain for over a month.”
Gu Feidi nodded. After a while, he spoke again: “I just don’t know whether this Tomb of the Sword Sage is actually located in an oasis. We also don’t know whether the oasis on the map truly exists.”
On the side, Xu Yunzhan also removed his scarf and said with a smile: “This desert is really a deathtrap. If the Sword Sage indeed established his tomb here, he must’ve had someone construct it first, so he would surely find a place where they can survive. If its not an oasis, then perhaps an underground river or a gorge. We are fully prepared to locate it one by one; we’ll find it eventually.”
As soon as he finished speaking, a woman picked up the water bag from the pond and handed it over: “Husband, have some water.”
Xu Yunzhan reached out to take the water bag and said: “You go and rest too. Let others do these things.”
The woman waved her hand generously and said, “What’s the big deal?”
Gu Feidi eyed at the two of them and instantly smiled.
“Master Xu was really…, you’d just been married and he was willing to let the two of you accompany me to this deserted place.” He smiled, “Why, isn’t your old man in a hurry to have a grandchild?”
Xu Yunzhan lifted his leg and playfully kicked Gu Feidi’s leg. He scoffed angrily: “You laugh at me now. When you get married, I’ll also find some treasure map, so that the Leader Gu will send you and your bride out on assignment.”
Gu Feidi smiled and didn’t respond.
Xu Yunzhan said: “Besides, Yingniang is also a heroine of the Jianghu. Her skills aren’t beneath Lingyun’s. If it wasn’t for bad luck and she couldn’t locate the jade bell in the beginning, we might’ve had the fate of yet another Lesser Jade House classmate.”
Gu Feidi smiled and said: “…and then she’d be like Lingyun, failing to complete her discipleship at the same time as you and me and missing out on the happy fate of marriage with you?”
Xu Yunzhan was stunned when he heard this.
Huo Ying giggled a few times and whispered something into Xu Yunzhan’s ear. Then Xu Yunzhan smiled and shook his head with a relieved expression.
Beneath the shade of the trees, the group ate while the horses drank until they had filled themselves. Seeing that the surrounding temperature was getting higher, they decided to remain there until afternoon when it would be slightly cooler before continuing on their way.
The troops were divided into groups and patrolled around. Gu Feidi leaned on the tree trunk and closed his eyes to meditate. Huo Ying napped on Xu Yunzhan’s shoulder. Everyone was quietly conserving energy in preparation to travel as far as possible from afternoon until nightfall.
After resting for less than an hour, a guard came to report that a group of more than a dozen people were approaching the pond from a distance. Based on the group’s attire, it looked to be a small group of Devil Sect’s troops hunting down a lone martial artist.
Gu Feidi was startled and turned to exchange a look with Xu Yunzhan. Xu Yunzhan pursed his lips; his expression a little complicated.
Gu Feidi reproached the guard and said, “Don’t make any trouble, just quietly take the necessary precautions. As for whether or not we can save the person being chased by them… let’s wait and see what happens for now.”
After speaking, he didn’t get up but adjusted the silk scarf to cover his face once more and held his sword against the tree trunk. He lowered his eyes and stayed still.
Seeing his appearance, Xu Yunzhan also donned his scarf again and helped Huo Ying to wrap her veil. He clenched his fist to dispel the trembling of his fingers although his face was calm and composed.
Just then, Gu Feidi transferred his voice over softly: “It might not be him. But I would rather it was him.”
The rumours of Devil Sect in the Central Plains had not been favourable and they had indeed been acting unscrupulously. If they didn’t have good intentions, it wasn’t impossible to start fighting because of one look or move.
They were heading deep into the Wasteland, but in actuality, they were trespassing into the realm of the Devil Sect. Although the Wasteland was extremely vast, no one knew whether the Devil Sect considered this as a provocation by the Central Plains martial arts circles against them? If not, why would people from the Devil Sect be chasing down a lone martial artist in this place?
The guards here had just formed a secret enforcement formation when a figure in red dashed over swiftly from a distance.
As they got closer, those near the pond realised that this person was using the Prized Flower Steps unique to the Devil Sect.
“Young Pavilion Master beware, I’m afraid there might be tricks,” a guard hastily alerted.
Gu Feidi narrowed his eyes slightly and placed his palm on the sword hilt beside him, ready to take action at any moment.
The man in red was dressed in a sturdy outfit sans redundant decorations and his hair had been trimmed short to the neck. If he hadn’t been using the Prized Flower Steps, one would never have realised that he was from the Devil Sect with all their dark elegance and complicated adornments.
He was so fast that he’d left the ‘pursuing troops’ far behind him and had reached the edge of the pond in just a few leaps. But his feet weren’t slowing down. Instead, he headed straight towards the pond as if he would tread across the water’s surface in the next second and charge into Gu Feidi’s group.
The guards’ complexions worsened, every step was slightly wrong as they prepared to draw their swords and were on the alert.
Instead, all they witnessed was the man stepping onto the surface of the water—and falling into the pond with a plop—splashing water everywhere and disappearing.
Gu Feidi stood up suddenly, frowned and stared at the undulating ripples on the pond.
For a long time, no one appeared.
The horses that had been frightened off by the uninvited guest earlier had skittishly left the pond. Once they saw that the water had gradually become tranquil again, they moved towards it in twos and threes and lowered their heads to continue drinking.
Without warning, a figure sprang up to the shore with a huge splash and yelled out, scaring the horses. They whinnied and turned their heads to run away.
The guards hurriedly assigned some members to stop the horses in case they ran off with the food and supplies.
Gu Feidi: …
Xu Yunzhan: …
Su Yang was very proud of himself for having scared off the horse team.
He slicked his wet hair back over his head and stood in the pond with his arms folded. Curling his lips and smiling at the people on the shore, “It’s rare for people from the Central Plains martial arts circles to visit the Wasteland. Don’t you think I should host a welcoming banquet? Those horses earlier were fat and strong; their meat should be extremely delicious. Why don’t… we carve them up for the banquet?”
——This was a line from the script and Su Yang had no problems memorising it. He also put on a full display of the Devil Sect’s Young Saint’s demeanour exactly as how the Young Saint ought to be in all his glory.
The intruder looked hostile and the guards around Gu Feidi immediately drew their swords; posturing defensively.
Su Yang stood in the pond with an indifferent smile on his face.
The water on the shore was shallow and only reached up to his waist. He was soaked all over but was not embarrassed having fallen into the water at all. On the contrary, he showed a slight trace of rare seductiveness.
All his hair had been cut very short and some had been pushed back behind his head by his fingers. A few strands fell to the side, dripping water down his cheeks and neck, reflecting the sunlight. The sight was extremely dazzling.
There was a small red mole at the corner of his slightly raised eye. His lips were alluring and he still bore beautiful features which didn’t seem feminine, but rather enigmatic.
Xu Yunzhan subconsciously took a half step back and moved his gaze away a little bit, not daring to look directly at Su Yang’s face.
Gu Feidi stared at Su Yang.
The silk scarf concealed his head and face; only a pair of eyes were exposed in the shadow of the cloth. The expression was deep but one couldn’t make out the emotions in them.
Su Yang tilted his head, feeling a little surprised.
These people from the Central Plains martial arts circles were not angered?
Then what method should he use to provoke, injure and capture these martial artists by the pond, so as to attract Gu Feidi to their rescue?
A direct strike?
Or else… If these Central Plains fighters persuaded him not to attack, wouldn’t the storyline that had finally returned to the right track collapse again?
If not, I’ll provoke them even more thoroughly.
Su Yang pondered and turned his head to a person dressed in a moon-white outfit whose temperament most resembled the leader and was standing beside a snow-white steed.
A wide smile immediately spread on his face: “This white horse is so beautiful! It must be more delicious than those earlier bunch of stupid horses! Not as good as—”
Sure enough upon hearing this, a guard immediately stepped forward and yelled: “The impudence! How dare you covet Young Pavilion——”
“If you like it, I’ll send it to you.”
Gu Feidi interrupted the guard calmly.
Su Yang: ???