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~
On the afternoon of the previous day, Su Yang followed Xu Yunzhan to Qianfeng Villa where arrangements had been made for the former to rest in a separate guest courtyard.
Even so, Su Yang’s worries about Gu Feidi once again caused him to lose sleep. He lay tossing and turning on the bed, unable to fall asleep, so he went into the courtyard to practice swords again. It wasn’t until he heard the Chou period* gong sound from the night watchman on his rounds** outside the courtyard that he returned to the house to lie down.
(*TN : Chou period = 1am – 3am)
(**TN : in ancient China, it was common to have night watchmen patrolling the streets after hours with a small gong and lantern. They were responsible for sounding the gong and shouting out the current time periods after every few steps)
Su Yang was in and out of sleep until the sky turned bright. He was awoken by the sound of rustling footsteps and slowly opened his eyes.
Gu Feidi was covered with the scent of fresh, cold morning dew. He walked to the bed and looked down at the half-opened shirt, messy-haired and drowsy-eyed Su Yang.
Seeing that it was him, Su Yang immediately became alert and his glistening eyes instantly lit up his whole face.
The corners of his mouth couldn’t help curling up. He lay on the pillow and tilted his head up to gaze at Gu Feidi with a slight smile: “Aaa, you escaped from prison?”
Gu Feidi tossed the bag he was holding onto the table next to him without answering. He straightaway pressed Su Yang’s shoulder down and ruthlessly kissed his lips.
Su Yang had only a slight momentary struggle in his heart before allowing Gu Feidi put his tongue into his mouth.
It seemed that Gu Feidi had just bathed recently as there was a touch of water vapor on his body which made the fragrance of flowers even more refreshing. Su Yang liked the taste and gradually became immersed in the kiss. He raised his hand to curl around Gu Feidi’s neck and gently ran his fingers through his hair.
Gu Feidi’s breathing began to get messy.
He kissed Su Yang as he rubbed the supple and pliant back of the man in his arms through his silk shirt.
Su Yang’s skin was a bit cold and Gu Feidi’s palms were blazing. In the noticeable chill of the late autumn morning, the spread of passionate heat onto his body was an extremely glorious sensation. Su Yang couldn’t help but release a moan of satisfaction.
Gu Feidi raised his head slightly and broke off his kiss. He stared at Su Yang’s misty eyes which were so near to his.
He pecked on Su Yang’s lips again and again, then scattered soft kisses on Su Yang’s cheeks, ears and neck… his breaths were becoming warmer and warmer, they danced on Su Yang’s skin and he couldn’t help trembling.
At the next moment, Gu Feidi’s palm found the collar and he probed into Su Yang’s already half-open undershirt.
Su Yang grabbed hold of Gu Feidi’s wrist and pushed him away.
“Don’t you know that you shouldn’t provoke a man who’s just woken up?” He gasped out, “Don’t simply light fires, not to mention that this is in someone else’s house…”
Gu Feidi closed his eyes and calmed his breathing. He leaned over and sucked heavily on Su Yang’s lips before obediently getting up and sitting on the edge of the bed.
Seeing Su Yang tidying up his clothes, he pinched his chin and laughed huskily: “If I’d known earlier that I’d be able to come out so quickly, I shouldn’t have let you come to Qianfeng Villa.”
Su Yang raised his eyebrows: “What?”
“If we were still at the inn, no matter what…” Gu Feidi revealed a smirk that was exactly like the Devil Sect’s Young Saint, “…I won’t let you get away so easily.”
Su Yang refused to back down: “Ha, don’t let me get away? Have you accounted for yourself already?”
Gu Feidi eyed Su Yang up and down with great interest: “Why don’t you try?”
Su Yang bared his teeth at him: “I’ll show you how amazing I am another day.”
Gu Feidi smiled and said nothing.
Su Yang stood up to get dressed. At the same time, he turned his head to cast a sidelong glance at Feidi and asked with a smile: “You didn’t sneak out of Tengyun Pavilion just to carry on a clandestine affair with me, right?”
Gu Feidi said, “What if I say yes?”
Su Yang ‘tsk’-ed: “You’re getting from bad to worse now.”
Gu Feidi wasn’t ashamed. The corners of his lips curled up and his expression showed that he was very pleased with himself.
Su Yang said: “Be serious, did Leader Gu let you out? He agreed to let us be together?”
Gu Feidi frowned: “How do you know that he’s aware of our relationship? He came looking for you? When?”
Su Yang nodded: “Mmm, he came looking for me at the inn yesterday afternoon, but he didn’t say anything harsh. I didn’t think that he would agree so quickly. I thought we’d have to suffer for much longer.”
“Yesterday afternoon…” Gu Feidi frowned and muttered to himself for a moment before asking, “What did you say to him?”
Su Yang immediately shook his head: “I didn’t say anything, I only requested for him to give his consent…”
“Su Yang,” Gu Feidi said helplessly, “You can’t lie at all. Moreover, he suddenly changed his standpoint after meeting you. Do you think I’d believe that you didn’t say anything?”
Su Yang bowed his head to fasten his clothing and didn’t speak for a long while.
Gu Feidi stepped forward and embraced from behind. He moved close to his ear and whispered in a breathy voice: “Alright, we’ve to be honest from now on. Tell me, okay? Hmm?”
In the end, Su Yang couldn’t resist Gu Feidi, so he could only admit: “When he came to see me, he said that we shouldn’t be together. When I became anxious, I……the cold symptoms manifested. He might think that I—”
“The cold manifested again?” Gu Feidi asked, holding Su Yang’s wrists and probing with his inner strength, “Are you alright?”
Su Yang couldn’t help smiling: “Aren’t you silly asking this? What do you think? Don’t I look alright?”
Gu Feidi smiled when he heard this. He raised his hand to pat Su Yang’s face.
“I’m glad that you’re alright. We must leave for Yuqiong Peak before noon today.” He said, “At noon, my father will announce that I’m to be expelled from Tengyun Pavilion.”
Seeing Su Yang’s shocked expression, Gu Feidi immediately explained the ins and outs of the incident, as well as Leader Gu’s many considerations before Su Yang breathed a sigh of relief.
After washing up and straightening some things out, Su Yang had a simple breakfast and both of them went over to Xu Yunzhan’s courtyard to bid him farewell.
Sensing that the three of them seemed to have something to discuss, Huo Ying got up and withdrew.
Gu Feidi cupped his fists once again to thank Xu Yunzhan.
Xu Yunzhan smiled: “You never used to be so courteous when asking me to do things previously. Now that you have an ‘insider’*, you’ve to be civil with me and other ‘outsiders’? Or you are pointing out your ‘authority’ to me?”
(*TN : the word ‘内人’ neiren can be defined as literally ‘insider’ or ‘wife’. Here, Xu Yunzhan is playing on the word to tease Gu Feidi)
Upon hearing this, Gu Feidi was taken aback for a moment. But when he saw that Xu Yunzhan was teasing him and not truly reproaching him, he let out a sigh of relief.
He said: “I still feel somewhat guilty about this… but I don’t want to be modest and I don’t want to back down, so I can only say a few more ‘thank yous’ and ‘sorrys’ to Wei Qi xiong.”
Despite listening to them converse, Su Yang was unable to make head or tail of the puzzling remarks and threw Gu Feidi a questioning look.
Xu Yunzhan was amused by his muddled expression and said: “This is a secret between me and Feidi. You need not know about it.”
Su Yang looked at Gu Feidi suspiciously.
Gu Feidi became uncharacteristically nervous and gave Su Yang a smile to humour him.
Su Yang raised his eyebrows and said with a smile: “It’s fine. He keeps more than one or two secrets from me. For example… he’s kept a box of anti-mosquito ointment and I don’t know where it’s being hidden.”
Upon saying that, he cast a meaningful look at Gu Feidi.
Gu Feidi: ……
After discussing the current martial arts circles’ situation for a while, Gu Feidi explained to Xu Yunzhan that Tengyun Pavilion would put on an act of expelling him soon, so that the latter wouldn’t worry about it.
After that, the two were escorted by Qianfeng Villa’s guards and Mei Shisan towards the direction of the Snow Mountain.
Just past midday, the group passed a village and had their first ‘encounter’ with Fengwei of Tengyun Pavilion who’d caught up to them.
After a fierce battle, Fengwei managed to capture Devil Sect’s Mei Shisan, but had carelessly allowed Gu Feidi to escape with Su Yang.
From then on, both of them quit the official roads and proceeded along the path between the rugged mountains.
Just when the Central Plains martial arts circles began spreading the rumour that Tengyun Pavilion’s Young Master had been abducted by the Devil Sect’s Young Saint, Chongyang Festival quietly approached.
Meizhu Mountain, Qingwu County.
Crimson maple leaves and golden elm leaves fell unevenly, spreading a thick and mottled carpet onto the ground.
In the clearing of the forest lay a boulder with a flat surface. The fallen leaves on the boulder had been swept away. There was a chess table and two straw-woven cushions placed there with a small, red clay stove next to it. The pot of tea on the stove was giving off a thick cloud of steam, blurring the figure of the white-clothed man sitting casually at the chess table.
Dressed completely in dark blue, Gu Ruohai stepped into the forest and noticed Su Huaizhu at a glance. His long hair was loose and he was lifting the pot of tea up from the stove.
Having only seen each other after many years, Gu Ruohai’s gaze still couldn’t calm down. But after all, he had been in a high position for many years and many superficial skills had been refined to perfection.
He strolled forward and sat down unhurriedly on the futon opposite Su Huaizhu.
Su Huaizhu spontaneously proffered over the tea cup in his hand.
Gu Ruohai received the teacup, blew lightly on the tea and took a slow sip.
“Not afraid that I’ve poisoned it?” Su Huaizhu smiled.
Gu Ruohai put down the tea cup in his hand and said, “If you wanted to kill me, your sword wouldn’t have stopped twenty years ago.”
Upon hearing this, Su Huaizhu became silent for a long time.
He placed the teapot down, opened the bag next to him containing chess pieces and said, “We haven’t seen each other in such a long time, how about a game?”
Gu Ruohai didn’t say a word. He felt out a black chess piece from the bag and set it down on the chessboard with a soft sound.
The two of them didn’t speak again. For a while, there was only the crisp sound of leaves on the branches and the crunching noise of the leaves in the ground.
Both were contending and vying against each other on the black and white colours of the chessboard, but they were evenly matched. Although it wasn’t a bloody battle, they were fighting each other measure for measure. Every move inflicted an injury to the opponent.
Seeing that the end was approaching, the direction of the position was basically a foregone conclusion and the black pieces would’ve been defeated by the difference of one move——Su Huaizhu held the white chess piece in his hand and hesitated.
Gu Ruohai couldn’t help glancing up at Su Huaizhu.
“Why?” He asked, “Don’t want to put down your piece? Are you waiting for me to admit defeat?”
Su Huaizhu toyed with the chess piece in his hand. His gaze was still focused on the chessboard and it was uncertain why he was stalling.
Gu Ruohai also sat with him in silence. He didn’t admit defeat, nor did he hasten him any more.
A crimson maple leaf fell from the branch, floating and gliding down onto the chessboard. It just happened to land and cover a spot where the white chess piece could’ve won with one move.
Su Huaizhu suddenly smiled.
He stretched out his hand and put down his piece. With that move, he’d blocked a crucial position for the white pieces and made off with a large swath of territory.
“You—” Gu Ruohai was puzzled, “What does this mean?”
Su Huaizhu smiled and picked up a fallen leaf from the chessboard and said, “It’s God’s will.”
Gu Ruohai didn’t take another chess piece. His eyes fell on Su Huaizhu and he frowned slightly.
Su Huaizhu finally raised his eyes and looked Gu Ruohai in the face.
He smiled and said: “Although there’s only you and me fighting on this chessboard, are you aware that the chaos in the Jianghu goes beyond both our spheres of influence?”
Gu Ruohai sighed, “Eluo Ghost Tent is the third hand on this chessboard.”
Su Huaizhu nodded and was silent for a moment: “Three years ago, the old king of Eluo Ghost Tent was murdered and his throne usurped by his brother. I’ve recently just received word that the new king is Eluoyuan. His actual name is Eluojue and he used to dote on his half-sister… Eluojin.”
Hearing the name ‘Eluojin’, Gu Ruohai’s hand hidden beneath the chess table couldn’t help clenching into a fist.
Su Huaizhu seemed to be totally unaware and continued: “…it is a debt I owe and I should be the one to repay it. This time, when I asked to meet with you on Chongyang Festival, I actually wanted to request something of you. With regards to this matter, the Central Plains martial arts circles should be glad to see it happen.”
Su Huaizhu gave a wry smile after not hearing Gu Ruohai respond for a long time, “I shouldn’t have mentioned her.”
Gu Ruohai said: “In the meantime, what is it you want to ask of me?”
Su Huaizhu looked at Gu Ruohai. His gaze lingered for a moment on Gu Ruohai’s face which was still calm and then it settled on his slightly whitish sideburns.
After a long time, he said: “Two months later, on the Winter Solstice Festival, I hope… you can lead the Central Plains martial arts circles to Devil City… to encircle and annihilate my Sect.”
Gu Ruohai frowned and asked, “What?”
Su Huaizhu looked down, “I’m tired.”
“Since you’ve sent Gu Feidi and Su Yang away, you must’ve guessed what I’m going to do.” Before Gu Ruohai could speak, he added with a smile, “Whether it’s the Yin Tan Divine Sect or the Devil Sect, as your Central Plains martial arts circles calls us… since there is no successor to carry on the undertaking, it’s better to disband. Eluoyuan wants to incite you and I to start a war, so I shall seize the opportunity to retire and give him what he wants.”
In the end, Gu Ruohai’s expression was no longer calm.
He stared at Su Huaizhu with fists clenched. His throat moved slightly and he asked in a deep voice, “You wouldn’t be thinking of using this as a pretext for a covert mission? You disband Yin Tan Divine Sect on the surface and sneak them into the Icefield to assassinate Eluoyuan?”
Su Huaizhu obviously didn’t expect to be struck on target and couldn’t help raising his eyebrows.
“I understand you.” Gu Ruohai said, “If there weren’t other plans, you wouldn’t have bothered to put in the effort to conspire this encirclement and annihilation with me. If it wasn’t…if it wasn’t because you’ve prepared to sacrifice everything, you would… never persist in inviting me to meet, am I right?”
Su Huaizhu looked at Gu Ruohai and said nothing.
After struggling for a long time, Gu Ruohai finally asked a question twenty years late:
“Back then, what actually happened between you and Luo Jin… you and EluoJin?”