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~
The mountain forest was peaceful.
Although the leaves were falling and the insects were buzzing, these curiously made the forest atmosphere even more tranquil.
After a long time, Su Huaizhu finally spoke.
“It’s been twenty years. Why ask again.” As he spoke, he reached out to mess up the unfinished game and put away the chess pieces into the bag.
Gu Ruohai said: “At that time, we were young and energetic and neither of us wanted to give in.”
He suddenly smiled: “A few days ago, someone made me cognizant with an assertion and I realised that being young was just an excuse. Back then, you and I were not honest enough with each other…… there wasn’t sufficient trust and that had brought on the bitter fruit of these twenty years.”
Su Huaizhu stored all the chess pieces and placed the tea tray on the table.
“So when you agreed to my invitation, you decided to confront what happened twenty years ago?” He smiled, “I’m a little curious who it was that could convince you with just one statement.”
Gu Ruohai released a deep breath and asked, “Su Yang… is your and Eluojin’s biological son, right?”
Su Huaizhu was silent for a long time. In the end, he didn’t answer candidly and merely asked: “You’ve met him?”
“I’ve met him.” Gu Ruohai said, “He looks a lot like you, but his temperament… doesn’t resemble either you or Eluojin.”
Upon hearing this, Su Huaizhu scoffed, “If you meet the original him, he might enrage you to the point that you would’ve killed him on the spot.”
As soon as he finished speaking, he immediately laughed out loud: “Now that kid is quite interesting, in fact… never mind. In the first place, his fate is different from an ordinary person’s. His circumstances at present can be considered as his good luck. In fact, it might be better this way.”
Seeing Gu Ruohai’s unconvinced expression, Su Huaizhu didn’t explain. Instead, he said: “Gu Feidi’s temperament is exactly like you back then.”
Hearing this, Gu Ruohai shook his head: “He is actually more like his mother. Tough, persistent and daring to love and hate.”
A gust of autumn breeze whirled up the leaves on the branches and fluttered them to the ground.
Su Huaizhu stretched out his hand to snatch a thin, golden yellow leaf and smiled: “I never thought that one day I’d be able to talk to you… about our sons. Why…… don’t tell me that the one who made you cognizant was—in fact—Su Yang?”
Gu Ruohai looked at Su Huaizhu and sighed, “He said, we never know if the future or a mishap will occur first. As such, we must seize hold of today and cherish the present, so as not to have any regrets in the future.”
After a pause, he went on: “What happened back then, I never asked, nor did you explain. By the time we saw each other again… things had already evolved to the point where we were facing each other with swords.”
“I do regret it now. But I don’t want to regret it again many years later, so I want to know why on the night, twenty years ago, you and Eluojin…” In the end, Gu Ruohai still couldn’t make himself utter that word.
Su Huaizhu closed his eyes and remained silent for a long time. At last, he seemed to have somewhat made up his mind and spoke indifferently.
“As you saw, I forced her.” He said in a low voice, “And as you know, I took her captive back to the Devil Sect and imprisoned her. I didn’t want to see you get married to a woman, so I went to wreck your wedding and… massacred the Central Plains.”
As he spoke, he sneered and looked at Gu Ruohai: “The truth of twenty years ago is exactly the same as the rumours of the Jianghu. In addition to her, the Devil Sect has countless good-looking pets for me to amuse myself with as I please… I’m just this sort of thoroughly evil person.”
Gu Ruohai shouted indignantly: “Su Huaizhu!”
“So you don’t have to bear any remorse in eliminating the Devil Sect.” Su Huaizhu didn’t reply Gu Ruohai and smiled, “You’re also rather familiar with the terrain of the Devil City. I’ll await your arrival on Winter Solstice.”
This conversation unilaterally ended with these few simple sentences.
It was still the familiar, indisputable tone of authority.
Gu Ruohai ultimately couldn’t tolerate it anymore. He abruptly stood up and left straightaway.
When the dark-blue figure was no longer visible, Su Huaizhu raised his head to the sky and released a sigh.
He silently put away the chess set and tea set. Just as he was about to get up, he suddenly frowned.
He raised his hand to cover his mouth and nose before coughing twice. His downcast eyes caught sight of the specks of blood left on his cuff. He paid it no mind and pushed himself up, carried the travelling basket filled with items and left the leaf-scattered autumn woods.
After a long while, Gu Ruohai looked at the empty boulder in the forest and let out a sigh. He had been walking back and forth for some time.
All of a sudden, his gaze narrowed slightly and he hastened forward to pick up a fallen leaf.
Beneath the fallen leaf were a few specks of blood on the stone’s surface which had yet to dry.
Gu Ruohai stretched out his hand as if he wanted to touch the bloodstains. In the end, his trembling fingers still lacked the courage to continue forward.
Without warning, a teardrop plopped onto the edge of the bloodstain; saturating the specks of blackish red.
Oblivious about the elders’ meeting at Meizhu Mountain, Su Yang and Gu Feidi had already been outwardly pursued (and secretly escorted) by Tengyun Pavilion’s Fengwei to the foot of Yulian Mountain.
The majestic Yuqiong Peak stood in silence, its summit was an expanse of white snow and its base was entirely made up of forests.
In the midst of the vast stretches of broad-leaved forests, there was a small village called Shenyi* Village.
(*TN : Divine Doctor)
Although this village was named ‘Divine Doctor’, it did not mean that the village doctors were all divine doctors.
In the Divine Doctor Village, there was only one person who was truly regarded as the Divine Doctor and that was Divine Doctor Luo—Luo Yu, who’d lived there in seclusion for more than two decades.
It was well known that the Yuqiong Divine Doctor refused to cure anyone from the Jianghu. Therefore, in this village, many martial arts practitioners who’d come to seek medical treatment stowed away their swords and weapons, changed out of their narrow sleeves and sturdy outfits to put on commoners’ clothes and pretended to be civilians. That was precisely why all Jianghu disputes ceased to exist here and the atmosphere of the entire settlement was exceedingly harmonious and content.
Gu Feidi found a farmhouse that was willing to take them in for the night. Su Yang had curled up into a ball and was shivering. Gu Feidi pulled him into his arms.
“Your chills are increasing.” He frowned. “You could still trek all day a couple of days ago.”
Su Yang’s teeth chattered and he trembled: “It’s cloudy today and it’s quite cold without the sun’s rays. Seeing that the clouds are so thick, it should be snowing tomorrow, right?”
Gu Feidi tucked Su Yang’s hand into the lapels of his clothes and sighed, “It’s not yet the snowy season, but there’ll probably be a spell of cold autumn rain tonight.”
“Mmm… your body is so warm.” Su Yang shrank into Gu Feidi’s embrace again and said, “It’s good that you practice masculine techniques. You won’t be fearful of the cold when you manoeuvre your internal strength…”
Hearing that, Gu Feidi activated his internal strength and transferred it into Su Yang’s body.
He was not in very good spirits and his tone was glum: “Back then in Lesser Jade House, your techniques were also cold, but I’ve never seen you suffer like this during winter.”
Su Yang kicked off his shoes, tucked his near-frozen toes beneath Gu Feidi’s legs and said casually: “Then, I shouldn’t have practice Half Withered Red at that time…?”
Gu Feidi lowered his eyelashes and remained silent.
Su Yang reacted and smiled: “Aai, I’m not blaming you, I was willing. Moreover back then, you’d been attacked by someone from the Devil Sect which caused you to be infected with the blood Gu. It wasn’t your fault.”
“But even so, I don’t want to see you suffer.” Gu Feidi put his cheek against Su Yang’s forehead and said gloomily, “There are so many flower aides in the Devil Sect. You could’ve just found someone to practice Half Withered Red and detoxify me of the Gu. It wasn’t impossible.”
Su Yang narrowed his eyes and feigned anger: “Oh? Who else do you want to have a ‘shared joy and suffering’ tongue kiss with besides me?”
Gu Feidi laughed helplessly, “Alright… this is fine too. Fortunately, I practice masculine techniques, which can help keep you warm.”
When Su Yang’s body temperature had recovered a little, Gu Feidi wrapped him in a quilt and covered him before going out to the kitchen alone.
Su Yang shrank into the quilt on the somewhat-stiff bed. He stared at the cobwebs on the beams of the farmhouse and released a sigh.
He wasn’t inclined to manoeuvre his inner strength to adjust his breathing.
Some time ago, the Cold Pond Ice Soul would only erupt after he practiced Half Withered Red. But in the last few days, as long as he activated a little of his inner strength, even if it was to merely practice the most basic of Six Underworlds Inter Flower technique, it would trigger the Cold Pond Ice Spirit to become invigorated. Although he would not fall unconscious, it would cause his whole body to be terribly cold.
Clearly the temperature at the base of the mountain wasn’t low, but Su Yang had an indescribable sense like he was going into hibernation mode by himself.
Moreover, Yuqiong Divine Doctor Luo Yu’s residence was on the top of Yuqiong Peak, which was covered with snow all year round.
They had rushed there, but unfortunately it coincided with the time that Luo Yu didn’t come down from the mountain. Therefore, they had no choice but to withstand the severe cold and scale up Snow Mountain.
Not long after, Gu Feidi entered the room bringing with him the porridge he’d cooked with minced meat and ginger shreds as well as some roasted dry rations.
There should be a lot of shredded ginger in the porridge. Su Yang could already sense the typical spiciness just by smelling it.
He’d never been a picky eater, but these few days that they’d been rushing on their journey and perhaps, due to the increase in chills and the fear of freezing, Gu Feidi had deliberately doubled the ginger for every meal. Su Yang had been consuming it until it made him retch.
Su Yang wrinkled his nose and tried to act spoiled: “I don’t want to eat ginger…”
Gu Feidi sat beside him holding a bowl of porridge, “Eating more ginger will help your body warm up.”
Su Yang curled his lips: “I fear the cold not because of the chills in my body, but because of my internal strength. I think eating ginger doesn’t really help… I still feel the warmest when you’re holding me!”
“Oh, it’s alright if you’re not willing to eat ginger.” Gu Feidi raised his eyebrows. “This is the Shenyi Village. Although Divine Doctor Luo will not come down the mountain anytime soon, there are many good doctors in the village who’ve been guided by him. Shall I find them to prescribe a cold-dispelling soup with brown sugar, salvia, and motherwort for you?”
Su Yang: “…What kind of soup is that?”
Gu Feidi: “A good medicine for warming the body and expelling the chill*.”
(*TN : It also sounds like medicine for women to warm the womb and expel the cold, i.e. to boost the health of the uterus)
Su Yang: “Warm…?!”
Su Yang punched Gu Feidi on the shoulder in anger but he still laughed: “Gu Feidi, you are so very knowledgeable!”
Gu Feidi dodged Su Yang’s punch, handed the porridge bowl over and coaxed: “Be good, finish this bowl of ginger porridge. I’ll hold you to sleep at night. It’ll be warmer.”
In the end, Su Yang took the porridge bowl and obediently ate all the ginger shreds in it. He then got up to wash and returned to curl up in the bedding.
Gu Feidi packed up the tableware, reorganised his bags and went to bed. He turned his body to hold Su Yang in his arms.
“Rest if you are weary.” He said, “We have to ascend the Snow Mountain tomorrow. This trip will be difficult.”
“Mmm…” Su Yang nodded, turned around and pressed his back against Gu Feidi’s chest, murmuring, “With you, ‘this warm dear’ around, it shouldn’t be too difficult.”
In the past few days, in addition to being increasingly afraid of the cold and chills, Su Yang was also gradually becoming sluggish. He himself hadn’t yet noticed this, but this unusual aspect had already been observed by Gu Feidi much earlier.
Like now—it wasn’t even Xu period* and night had just fallen, Su Yang had abruptly plunged into a deep sleep in just two sentences. Usually, even if it was already nighttime, he was sure to chat with Gu Feidi for a long while before obediently going to bed.
(*TN : 7 – 9pm)
In the dimness of the room, Gu Feidi sighed almost inaudibly.
He leaned forward a little and dropped a light kiss behind Su Yang’s ear, but there was no sensuality, passion and desire; only infinite worry and compassion.
He whispered softly in Su Yang’s ear: “…you must get better soon, my… baobei*.”
(*TN : baobei = term of endearment, literally meaning ‘precious’)