Translated by RIkko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Editor: Addis, WagahaiFujoshi
“Continue on?” After a glance at the unconscious trio sprawling on the ground, Zhong Yan shifted his line of sight to Gu XuanYan, asking with hesitation, “What about them? Within just two days, the entire cultivation circle will know about your destruction of their cultivation bases.”
Although the trio were the ones initiating the fight with a sneak attack and threw nasty insults, the current standings of Zhong Yan and Gu XuanYan were too sticky and awkward. Moreover, due to how brutal Gu XuanYan was with his strikes, some within the Daoist cultivation circle might not be on their side.
In all likelihood, a vast majority would not be on their side.
Still, Gu XuanYan only replied with, “Perhaps.”
“Don’t you mind?”
Gu XuanYan raised his brows a little, “Why should I?”
Zhong Yan had no words to retort. Only then did it cross his mind that, to Gu XuanYan, no one’s life mattered much to him, nor did he pay any mind to others’ opinions of him.
In the original story, his every step at pretence was just to provide himself with a bit more convenience when going on with his daily life. Now that he had been expelled from the sect, he did not need to put up a facade anymore and so, had even lesser concern when doing anything.
That’s not all that bad… At least if I seriously can’t find a way to break the blood oath and kick the bucket one month later, Gu XuanYan won’t get too upset.
Both of them continued sword riding with Gu XuanYan leading the way and Zhong Yan following him.
The autumn rain has been pouring down continually in the past few days. Although the sky had just cleared up, clouds and mist enveloped the sky. Situated up in the air, Zhong Yan took a look down, but only a blanket of white fog filled his line of sight.
After journeying for god knew how long, Zhong Yan couldn’t help but suggest, “Let’s go down and take a break.”
Gu XuanYan tilted his head, “Is Senior Brother tired?”
“Not really… I just want to take a look where we are now.”
A pause later, Gu XuanYan replied, “We’ve probably entered the borders of the northwest.”
Typically, Zhong Yan wouldn’t press on after getting such an answer from Gu XuanYan. However, perhaps due to him being unable to catch a glimpse of the ground during the journeying, seeds of unease began growing within him, “I want to head down and rest.”
After a while, Gu XuanYan nodded.
The two flew down and landed right on an intersection. Within the wasteland were three branches of roads stretching out into the endless distance.
By the roadside was a tea stall with a straw roof and two or three sets of tables and chairs around it. An elderly in their fifties or sixties was leaning hunchbacked on the counter, fiddling with an abacus.
Gu XuanYan suggested, “Senior Brother, let’s have a cup of tea.”
Zhong Yan replied with a nod. Just as they took a seat at the table, the elderly carried a teapot and set it on their table.
Perhaps due to the rain from moments ago or him being in the midst of a wasteland, Zhong Yan felt a wave of utterly damp chilliness surging over him, sending slight coldness to his limbs.
Gu XuanYan seemed to have noticed his unease as he asked, “What’s wrong?”
A short hesitation later, Zhong Yan answered, “I just had a feeling it’s a bit too cold.”
“Since it’s mid autumn and Long River City is at the northwest, it’s natural for us to feel a bit colder than our time in Green Summit during our journey there.” Gu XuanYan handed a cup of tea to Zhong Yan, “Here, Senior Brother. Have a hot cup of tea.”
After finishing the tea in gulps, Zhong Yan couldn’t help but ask, “How long before we get there?”
Gu XuanYan raised his line of sight and smiled, this time gently, “Soon.”
Nonetheless, instead of being relieved, his heart was brimming with worry. Yet, he had no idea where the stream of anxiety came from. “Let’s hurry along then.” He placed the teacup down, before fishing out some silver money to foot the bill.
The elderly stall owner was still fiddling with their abacus, uttering hoarsely without looking at Zhong Yan, “Five copper coins.”
Zhong Yan undid his pouch and set down a few coins before tying it back by his waist. However, a moment of inattention resulted in his silver money and coins slipping out of his pouch, falling onto the ground.
Only then did Zhong Yan detect something was amiss.
Beneath the tea stall was soil and dirt, which were slightly damp from the rain. Yet, when the coins hit the ground, crisp clinks sounded out instead, as though they landed on a smooth, hard surface.
Still, the elderly stall owner leaning by the counter wasn’t looking at him as they continued fiddling the abacus.
The only response he got was from Gu XuanYan, who called out behind him, “Senior Brother.”
A warning alarm began blasting inside Zhong Yan’s mind. Instantly, he unsheathed his sword and launched a strike at one of the wooden tables in the tea stall. As expected, instead of breaking into bits and pieces from the sword aura, the table began disintegrating into a ball of mist, scattering away right in front of Zhong Yan’s eyes.
Such a scene was no stranger to Zhong Yan, who had seen it once at the icy plains.
He lifted his eyes and hollered, “Gu XuanYan!”
Immediately, the muddy road, tables, chairs, counter, and even the tea stall owner disintegrated into mist before vanishing into thin air. The soil under Zhong Yan transformed into solid ice, icy plains extending out to every direction as far as the eye could see.
At present, the two were in the depths of North Wilderness.
Gu XuanYan got in front of Zhong Yan in a blink of an eye, raising his hand to disarm Zhong Yan. He sighed, “It’s indeed a bit too difficult to set an illusionary boundary on the entire icy plains. Just a bit of carelessness and a slip-up will arise.”
Is this even the time to care about that?! As Zhong Yan was robbed of his sword, he simply thrusted his raised leg at Gu XuanYan, who took on the kick head-on.
Pressure began pouring out of Gu XuanYan in torrents, immobilising Zhong Yan.
“My initial plan was to let Senior Brother enter Northern Wilderness on your own, but alas, Senior Brother has wised up.”
Blazing with fury, Zhong Yan bellowed, “You tricked me into coming here!”
Gu XuanYan’s tone was as delicate as can be, “It’s my fault.”
Despite his apology, he did not withdraw his pressure. Zhong Yan decided to give him a straight punch since he wasn’t able to utilise his cultivation base due to his restrained vital energy, but he realised he couldn’t even lift his arm.
Gu XuanYan chuckled lightly, “Senior Brother, there’s no point struggling.”
The thought of the tea Gu XuanYan handed to him moments ago sprung up within Zhong Yan.
Gu XuanYan seemed to have guessed what was on Zhong Yan’s mind, “Don’t worry, Senior Brother. It’s just a bit of medicine. Its effects will go away soon enough.”
To Zhong Yan’s surprise, Gu XuanYan carried him straight away, cradling him in his arms while flying towards the north. Fury welled up in Zhong Yan as he demanded through clenched teeth, “Let me down!”
Gu XuanYan’ tone was still as gentle as ever, “Just wait a bit more, Senior Brother.”
As they were conversing, Gu XuanYan had already carried Zhong Yan over to the palace gates.
Any traces of the quaking from their previous battle with the Demonic Lord had utterly vanished from the jewellery-filled palace. A few demonic cultivators were waiting by the gates in advance, serving as their maids. Once they noticed the two, they greeted them with a bow before leading the way in silence.
After passing through two winding corridors, the two arrived at a courtyard, where the guiding maids came to a stop.
Similar to the palace, the courtyard was adorned with ice sculptures and built with jades.
Gu XuanYan pushed open the door of the room inside the courtyard with Zhong Yan in his arms before setting him down and standing by the bed.
Currently, he had withdrawn his pressure. The moment Zhong Yan was released from his immobilisation, he kicked his leg over. However, as his body was still empty of energy, his kick didn’t even manage to touch his target’s sleeves. Zhong Yan seethed, “What exactly are you trying to do?!”
“Break Senior Brother’s blood oath.”
Zhong Yan was stunned briefly, “As I said, it doesn’t matter…”
Gu XuanYan’s expression darkened a little, “Is Senior Brother still planning on lying to me?”
Rendered speechless for a moment, Zhong Yan spitted out, “What do you plan on doing then? Are you seriously going to kill others for Cang Luan?”
Gu XuanYan lightened up his face as he answered unhurriedly, “Since I have promised Senior Brother never to kill anyone, of course I will keep my word.” A short pause later, he continued, “I’m going to practice demonic cultivation.”
Shock coursed through Zhong Yan’s heart as he hollered, “Don’t you dare!”
“Senior Brother, there is nothing in this world that I dare not to do.” After a momentary pause, Gu XuanYan had a sudden ghost of a smile spreading across his face, “Actually, there is. Evil intentions hide within my heart, but I don’t dare to reveal it to Senior Brother since Senior Brother might get angry.”
Zhong Yan sneered, flames of fury blazing in him, “Not only did you trick me into entering Northern Wilderness, but you have also set your heart on practising demonic cultivation. What won’t you dare to do?”
Gu XuanYan tilted his head with his eyes on Zhong Yan, seemingly pondering for a moment, before laughing out. His voice was tender, “Well said, Senior Brother. Since all has been said and done, there isn’t any point in holding back.”
Gu XuanYan pounced over, pressing Zhong Yan’s hands onto the bedhead. Sensing things had gone south, Zhong Yan inched back, snapping, “What are you-mmph!”
The rest of the question got lodged in his mouth by Gu XuanYan.
Unlike the refined, gentlemanly appearance Gu XuanYan usually had, the kiss was fierce and aggressive, wantonly invading every inch of Zhong Yan’s lips.
With his movements restrained, Zhong Yan was forced to have his tongue intertwined with Gu XuanYan’s. Frankly speaking, ‘forced’ wasn’t all that accurate in describing his current state, as his mind was as blank as a sheet of paper presently. He could only follow along with Gu XuanYan’s movements while letting out a series of soft moans.
Quite sometime later, Gu XuanYan’s finally released Zhong Yan from the kiss and slid downwards. He fondled Zhong Yan’s neck for a little before biting down hard.
With the pain snapping Zhong Yan back to reality, he lunged his leg at the person on top of him yet again. At last, his kick managed to land on his target.
Instead of getting pissed, Gu XuanYan straightened up a little as he let out a low chuckle. “Senior Brother, during the time we narrowly escaped death at the icy plains, I made you guess why I went over to save you. You said it was because compassion and benevolence lie within my heart.”
Zhong Yan lifted his eyes towards Gu XuanYan, his robes in disarray and his breathing rapid.
Seemingly fond of Zhong Yan’s appearance right then, Gu XuanYan reached out his hand to tidy Zhong Yan’s tousled locks of hair, his tone as gentle as ever, “Senior Brother, you got it wrong. There isn’t any benevolence or compassion within my heart, let alone any desire to not get innocents involved. I’ll show compassion if that’ll win your favor. If I can save your life by practising demonic cultivation, I will not hesitate to do so too.”
Gu XuanYan continued, “The goal of a Daoist cultivator is to ascend while a demonic cultivator aims to be immortal. But I have no interest in either of that; Senior Brother is the only person I want.”
Waves of emotions surged through Zhong Yan’s heart like a raging torrent. He dazed at Gu XuanYan, whose eyes were also focused on him.
Gu XuanYan blossomed out a smile that could thaw snow.
“Senior Brother must always be with me, no matter alive or dead, ascended or demonic.”
I thought it would be heart-wrenching during the part when Junior Brother gets caught practising demonic cultivation, but in the end, the two of them went totally out of my control, getting all lovey-dovey. Hmph.