Translated by Rikko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Finally shedding off the peaceful image he maintained just then, Cang Luan reached out his right hand, in which a long knife materialized out of the blue. He tossed a scorned gaze at Gu XuanYan standing downstairs, “What a joke. Even mayflies know how ridiculous it is to try shaking a tree.”
Instead of replying, Gu XuanYan leaped up and lunged his sword towards Cang Luan.
The sword energy from the lightning-fast attack congealed into frost before whistling across the air towards Cang Luan. Cang Luan simply brandished his knife, chopping it down.
A violent explosion erupted in the air the moment the knife and sword energies collided. Amid the roar of the explosion, Gu XuanYan flew upwards, reaching Cang Luan’s line of sight in just a blink of an eye. He launched his second strike straight into Cang Luan’s forehead.
Even the thousand-year-old Cang Luan wrinkled his brows from the heavy murderous intent of the attack.
Boasted for being moral, Daoist cultivation strived on following nature and protecting all so as to ascend to godhood. Cang Luan had always turned his nose up at such practice; weren’t there black sheep like Li YunJi and Chun Qin still hidden among those so-called moral sects? Despite exchanging blows with several Daoist cultivators, never had Cang Luan feel such brutal, murderous aura from his opponents.
Demonic cultivation fits him more than his current practice.
Letting out a sigh in pity, Cang Luan concentrated his cultivation base. Once he constructed a barrier with his spiritual energy, he sprung up, driving his knife towards Gu XuanYan’s chest!
Although Gu XuanYan tried to whirl away, a fraction of the menace-engulfed strike still slashed onto his chest. Blood oozed from the cut instantly. Nonetheless, Gu XuanYan ignored the wound and instead turned his wrist, firing his sword once again!
In just a split second, the two weapons had clashed countless times.
Imbued with a bold, go-hard-or-go-home aura, every strike from Gu XuanYan was brimming with his strong cultivation base and yet was as unrelenting as waves at sea.
Cang Luan furrowed his brows, shockingly a little unable to cope with the string of attack. Finally, after taking a step back when he saw the oncoming sword, he withdrew his sword, replacing it with a palm strike on Gu XuanYan!
Although the palm strike had never come close to Gu XuanYan, it blanketed the entire hall with pressure as heavy as mountains.
As Zhong Yan had his cultivation base suppressed, coupled with his injured spiritual energy, he felt as though every bone in his body had been smashed to smithereens under such overwhelming pressure. Blood even started seeping out from the corners of his lips from the pain.
The cut on Gu XuanYan’s chest still bled profusely, drenching his clothes. Although all color drained from his face, his eyes remained as bright as stars. He didn’t dodge from the pressure. Instead, his overflowing sword aura ended up knocking down the barrier around Cang Luan! Instantly, Cang Luan tried to receive it with his knife but was a tad too slow.
At that very moment, Gu XuanYan’s sword had reached Cang Luan’s neck.
Despite being drenched in blood, Gu XuanYan kept his sword perfectly still. Surprised his opponent managed to win due to a mere slip up, Cang Luan darkened his expression.
All of a sudden, Zhong Yan stomached his pain as he yelled out hurriedly, “Wait!”
The two swiveled their gazes onto him.
Unexpectedly, Gu XuanYan stopped his sword aura and paused his attack. A light grin grew on Cang Luan’s face as he looked at Zhong Yan, “What a kind-hearted cultivator. Alas, a soft heart is only a hindrance during a crisis.”
Zhong Yan tossed a hasty question at the system, [Is killing Cang Luan now considered self-defense?]
After enduring his persistent nagging for an entire day due to the loss of thirty marks, the system got used to his stinginess, [Yup. It’s a special case; no marks will be deducted.]
Alrighty. Zhong Yan raised his head towards Gu XuanYan, his tone cordial, “You can continue.”
Rendered speechless for a moment, Cang Luan let out a low laugh, unfazed as his line of sight turned to Gu XuanYan, “If you killed me today, your Dao partner’s life wouldn’t last long.”
With a chilled look, Gu XuanYan lifted his sword slightly higher as he asked in a deep voice, “What do you mean by that?”
Cang Luan’s tone was unhurried as if he hadn’t noticed the long sword on his neck, “I fed him a bit of my blood just now. Once he had my blood, he is bound in a blood oath with me. if I die, he will too.”
Zhong Yan froze. Only then did he remember Cang Luan forced a bloody fluid down his throat moments ago.
As icy as frost, Gu XuanYan turned to look at Zhong Yan.
Just a second later, the hall started quaking abruptly. A sea of jade stones and pearls plunged down, shattering once they reached the floor.
The change of situation happened too unexpectedly. All of a sudden, Cang Luan raised his hand and launched a palm strike at Gu XuanYan. Gu XuanYan pulled Zhong Yan over before taking two swift steps back. By the time he lifted his eyes, Cang Luan had already vanished into thin air.
Instead of chasing him, Gu XuanYan grabbed Zhong Yan and started to dodge the endless rain of pillar fragments and pearls, charging towards the door. The moment he set foot outside, an army of demonic cultivators roared as they pounced on them.
The battle with Cang Luan just then had already exhausted most of Gu XuanYan’s cultivation base. On top of that, he had to dodge from the falling stones right after, so he had not much energy left by now.
Amid the glint of blades, Gu XuanYan gritted his teeth as he swung his sword, forcing the crowd to step back. Gu XuanYan pulled Zhong Yan along as he whizzed out of the palace.
Only after getting out of the palace did they realize not only did the earthquake shake the palace violently, but also the entire icy plains too. Thick layers of glaciers had already started cracking, their fissures broadening and meandering away by the second.
Tons of ice pieces sunk a split second later, puncturing a multitude of large gaps on the icy plains.
Not only did the injured duo have to fend off their enemies, but also, they had to keep an eye out for any holes beneath them; they just didn’t have any extra energy to ride their swords. Seconds later, the demonic cultivators began to catch up on them. Zhong Yan had no choice but to call out the system as a last-ditch effort, [Do you have any more cheats?!]
All of a sudden, the ice sheets beneath them cracked open, the gaps forming into a large moat instantly. No time to get away, the two missed their footings!
In a predicament, Zhong Yan could only have the time to press Gu XuanYan onto himself, shielding his wounded chest. He recited in his heart, [Story characters never die after jumping off a mountain; miracles await them when they fall off cliffs. I’m putting my trust in you, so don’t lie to me!]
In a flash, both of them plunged into the deep dark abyss.
The demonic cultivators hounding on them came to a halt once they reached the edges of the gap, clueless what course of action they should take. Sometime later, Cang Luan materialized in the sky. Caked in dirt, he appeared to be rather battered. After letting out a series of violent coughs, he commanded hoarsely, “Don’t bother chasing them. If they die, so be it. but if they somehow survive this…” Cang Luan sneered, his robes thrashing in the wind, “Gu XuanYan will come begging me.”
As soon as Zhong Yan woke up, he heard the babble of a stream. He forced his eyes open, realizing the sun had seemingly set quite a while ago as shadows enveloped the whole area.
Only after straightening himself up did he realize he was lying beside a river stream. He was probably at the bottom of the icy plains since the flowing stream swept pieces of ice down the river continually. On top of him was an outer robe, while damp mud was beneath him.
Gu XuanYan was regulating his breath intently beside him. Once he heard Zhong Yan move, his eyes fluttered open, his voice hoarse, “Don’t move around; you’re injured.”
Zhong Yan sighed in relief when his eyes met Gu XuanYan’s. Feeling every part of his body in pain, he looked down, just to see a variety of injuries on him.
Gu XuanYan explained softly, “Below the icy plains is a fast-moving river stream. We were swept here.”
A sudden realization dawned upon Zhong Yan; he probably got his injuries from bumping and scraping in the river. Although the wounds stung, they were merely superficial. He ignored his injuries as he looked over at Gu XuanYan, asking, “Are you alright?”
Gu XuanYan let out a low laugh, “Thanks to Senior Brother shielding me during the fall; I’m not really wounded. My previous injuries are nothing serious.” After a pause, he continued, “Along with the white ape incident, this is the second time Senior Brother saved me.”
Yeah, and totaling up to a loss of twenty points. After a sigh, Zhong Yan asked, “Where is this?”
“I have no clue. No one has ever told me a river is on the bottom of the Northern Wilderness’s icy plains nor have I seen any records on the lower reaches of the river.” Gu XuanYan took a look at the darkened sky, “First off, let’s go further ahead to find a place to stay overnight.”
After getting up, Gu XuanYan helped Zhong Yan up.
Unable to find a plot point similar to their current situation after scanning the storyline in his mind, Zhong Yan presumed a hidden plotline was triggered yet again. While strolling ahead beside Gu XuanYan, he tried to make the best of things, “Not even you know where this is? I guess we are pretty much doomed. Congrats, you don’t have to rack your mind to think of ways to kill me.”
After remaining silent for a moment, Gu XuanYan laughed all of a sudden as he replied, “Senior Brother is right.”
He let go of Zhong Yan and strode ahead alone. Caught off guard, Zhong Yan almost lost his balance. Only after catching Gu XuanYan up did he notice a trace of indignance colored Gu XuanYan’s eyes instead of mirth.
Zhong Yan kept his eyes on Gu XuanYan as he walked, hesitating for a bit before asking, “Are you mad at me?”
Gu XuanYan’s line of sight remained forward, “No.”
If you aren’t, why are you so pissed off…?
Worry coiled around Zhong Yan’s heart right then as he started complaining to the system, [Gu XuanYan’s temper is getting weirder by the day. He’s not even feigning the gentleman act now. Why do I have a feeling he might continue down the wrong path for good?]
Setting his dissing aside, since he lit up a fire of fury in Gu XuanYan, he should be the one appeasing him. Zhong Yan tugged on Gu XuanYan’s sleeve, prattling, “Fine, fine, fine. I’m sorry. I know you not only had no plans on killing me but also like me very much-”
To Zhong Yan’s surprise, even the fake smile Gu XuanYan forcefully plastered on his face vanished, replaced by a flurry of expressions. In the end, he hollered, “No, I don’t!”
Zhong Yan was instantly rendered speechless.
Interacting with villains is as taxing as a minesweeper game; I’ll never know what I said made him pissed off. Clueless what he said wrong, Zhong Yan zipped up his mouth, his heart utterly drained of energy.