Translated by Rikko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Editor: Addis, WagahaiFujoshi
ZhongYan didn’t even manage to catch a glimpse of Gu XuanYan for the entire day. Only two demonic cultivators came over to deliver his meals at noon and before dinner. Once they set the tableware, they headed off.
Asking the whereabouts of Gu XuanYan yielded no response from the two, so Zhong Yan had no choice but to give up. Still, judging by how unsurprised the demonic cultivators of the palace were at the sight of him, Zhong Yan figured Gu XuanYan had probably gone over to Cang Luan some time ago.
Perhaps Gu XuanYan had already made contact with the demonic cultivators during the journey, given that guides had been waiting by the gates long before they arrived.
By night time, a part of Zhong Yan’s cultivation base had gradually recovered, but he still couldn’t break the barrier at the door. The moment he approached the door, there would be a restrictive screen preventing him from advancing. After a few failed attempts, Zhong Yan gave up trying and went back to bed.
Under the groggy veil of sleep, Zhong Yan detected a person sitting on the edge of the bed. The rays of moonlight sliding in the room were bright enough for him to identify his visitor.
One look at the guy was all it took to rouse Zhong Yan, who straightened himself up instantly and subconsciously shrank into the bedsheets.
Gu XuanYan let out a low chuckle, asking, “Senior Brother, why hide?”
“You might just go crazy again.” Zhong Yan scoffed before lifting his line of sight at Gu XuanYan.
Under the illumination of the moonlight, the black-robed Gu XuanYan’s complexion appeared ashen. With his brows creased, Zhong Yan grabbed Gu XuanYan’s hand to examine his cultivation base, feeling his inner vital energy. A while later, Zhong Yan released his hand, his expression sullen, “You’ve practised demonic cultivation.”
Gu XuanYan’s inner vital energy was raging within him. In addition to the Lesser Vehicle level of cultivation base he initially had, a newly added torrent of oppressive demonic aura could be found inside him.
Neither of the unyielding forces had the ability to devour the other, leading to their momentary entanglement.
I just wasn’t with him for a day and he ended up practising demonic cultivation!
Fury welled up in Zhong Yan. Nonetheless, a look at Gu XuanYan’s complexion lodged any scolding he was about to yell in his mouth.
Back then, Li XunJi stirred up a mere wisp of demonic aura Zhong Yan possessed due to the blood oath. Still, the disturbance of inner vital energy the stir up caused was so excruciating, Zhong Yan could even feel his blood thrashing.
Seeing that the amount of demonic aura in Gu XuanYan was thousands of times greater than his, the pain must be as unbearable as being sawed off.
“Senior Brother, let me rest here. I’m just too tired.” When Gu XuanYan requested as such, weirdly enough, Zhong Yan didn’t refuse him but instead, he inched to a side, making some space for him
Still seated on the bed when Gu XuanYan had laid down, Zhong Yan hesitated for a bit before warning, “Focus on sleeping. Don’t you try getting fresh with me.”
After a low chuckle, Gu XuanYan began groaning in pain, seemingly due to his inner vital energy being in a turmoil.
Go on and laugh, won’t you…? Serves you right!
As glee bubbled up in Zhong Yan, he lay down as well. Sometime later, he shifted his head over to cast a look at the person next to him.
Gu XuanYan still had his brows furrowed and his hands clutched at his chest, his breathing even sounding a little unstable.
Everyone despises stupidly compassionate do-gooders. Chop chop; close your eyes and go to sleep.
Zhong Yan turned over to the wall, his eyes shut. Faint sounds of breathing enshrouded the entire room. A moment later, Zhong Yan flipped over in defeat abruptly, looking at Gu XuanYan with a frown, “Does it hurt?”
Seemingly not expecting Zhong Yan’s sudden show of concern, Gu XuanYan froze for a moment. A trace of a smile revealed in his eyes as he whined softly, “Senior Brother, it hurts so much.”
“……Don’t you act like a spoiled child. ” With a stern face, Zhong Yan lifted his hand and placed it onto Gu XuanYan’s chest before injecting a shred of embryonic breathing 1 inside meticulously
“Where does it hurt? Your elixir field2? Or your heart meridian? Will it be better if I pump in some of my vital energy?”
Not only was there a hint of a smile in Gu XuanYan’s eyes, but also, a soft smile curled at his lips. Gu XuanYan’s tone was tender, “It’ll stop hurting if Senior Brother lets me have a hug.”
I should’ve left him to die from the pain!
In an instant, Zhong Yan withdrew his hand and lay down, flipping over.
The Gu XuanYan behind him tugged at the edges of his clothes, smiling, “Senior Brother, I’m sorry.” The lack of response from Zhong Yan prompted him to continue, “Senior Brother, it seriously hurts. But it felt much better when you used your cultivation base to soothe my inner vital energy just now.”
Still, neither did Zhong Yan speak nor make any movements. Not daring to utter anything more, Gu XuanYan extracted his hand and lay back down, behaving himself.
An unknown amount of time later, he detected Zhong Yan carefully turning towards him again. After a short glance at him, Zhong Yan, seemingly assuming the person beside him was sound asleep, placed his hand gently on Gu XuanYan’s chest.
A constant stream of warm energy began flowing gently into Gu XuanYan.
At that moment, Gu XuanYan almost pounced over to Zhong Yan; pinned him down; kissed him; had his hand exploring inside his lapel; and finally made him entirely his.
Nonetheless, he did not act it out; he was still in pain after all. Yet, and the image he visualised in his mind became clearer by the minute.
Once love blossomed, there was no turning back.
Since turning back was no longer an option, he would have to bring him along the rest of his lifetime. No matter whether the path ahead led to a sanctuary or hell, never in his entire life would he let him go.
Unlike Green Summit, in which lush foliage flourished in its mountains, the Northern Wilderness was blanketed with ice and snow, not even a blade of grass growing on it. A look outside the window revealed a stretch of everlasting icy plains.
The rising and setting of the sun was Zhong Yan’s only way to gauge the number of days passed. In the blink of an eye, Zhong Yan had been residing in the Northern Wilderness for nearly a month. As always, Gu XuanYan was nowhere to be found once dawn broke. When he returned late at night, he would sleep beside Zhong Yan in bed, stealing occasional kisses under the cover of darkness.
As days passed, Zhong Yan’s initial counter, an enraged kicking of Gu XuanYan out of bed, devolved into near immunisation of his antics. After all, except for occasional kisses and hugs, Gu XuanYan appeared to have no other ulterior motive.
As compared to that, what rattled him even more was the demonic aura encompassing Gu XuanYan, which grew denser every night. No longer did Gu XuanYan feel any pain from disturbances of his inner vital energy, as his demonic aura had engulfed every bit of his original cultivation base, blending it into itself.
Coupled with Gu XuanYan burning the candle at both ends to train vigorously, the level of his demonic cultivation base had shot through the roof. Zhong Yan could detect the respectful treatment he received from the demonic cultivators serving him in the courtyard had morphed into them being fearful of him.
The driving force of their fear was Gu XuanYan’s ever-growing, terrifying strength. Although Zhong Yan plastered a detached expression on his face every single day, feigning nonchalance, his heart was brimming with anxiety.
Gu XuanYan must not stay in the Northern Wilderness any longer.
The only feasible way to get him to leave would probably be for Zhong Yan to go without him. After all, Gu XuanYan only entered the Northern Wilderness for him, so if he were gone, it would serve no point for him to continue staying behind. Besides, Gu XuanYan’s feelings for him were …*ahem* All in all, if he left, he would most likely follow suit in search for him
Although Gu XuanYan was already on the path of demonic cultivation, Zhong Yan’s primary concern was still to separate him from the demonic cult, since that would smooth out the rest of the problem. Nonetheless, if he wished to carry out his plans of fleeing Northern Wilderness, the first step he would have to take was to get out of the courtyard.
Gu XuanYan only cast a barrier on the door during their first few days of arrival, removing it four to five days later. Still, he cast a new barrier on the doors of the courtyard, allowing Zhong Yan to merely stroll around the courtyard while forbidding him from leaving the premises.
Late at night, Zhong Yan sat cross-legged on the bed, waiting for Gu XuanYan’s return. Upon entering the room, Gu XuanYan raised his brows in slight astonishment at him, “Senior Brother, why are you still awake?”
Zhong Yan’s reply was straight to the point, “Remove the barrier surrounding the courtyard.”
Gu XuanYan asked, “Why?”
Zhong Yan wore a scowl, acting impatient, “I’m tired of the view in the courtyard.”
To his surprise, Gu XuanYan let out a chuckle before agreeing right away, “Sure.”
This time, it was Zhong Yan who got shocked. He looked at Gu XuanYan, hesitating, “What if I…”
Gu XuanYan’s tone was gentle, “Hmm?”
Zhong Yan swallowed the rest of his sentence and shook his head, “Nothing.”
Gu XuanYan smiled lightly, “Go to bed then, Senior Brother.”
Filled with doubt, Zhong Yan lay down.
Gu XuanYan’s reply is just too easy going. Whenever he does so, there’s bound to be something bad going on.
As Zhong Yan opened his eyes the next morning, he noticed Gu XuanYan was still sitting on the bed. Realising Zhong Yan was awake, Gu XuanYan gave him a tender greeting, “Good morning, Senior Brother.”
Zhong Yan straightened up a little, “Don’t you have anything going on today?”
“Senior Brother, I have removed the barrier. Apart from maids coming over to clean and serve your meals, no one else will be bothering you.”
The excessive agreeability Gu XuanYan displayed ever since yesterday night kindled a spark of suspicion within Zhong Yan’s heart. Zhong Yan flipped over, planning to take a look outside. However, as soon as he lifted his leg, he heard a light clinking of chains.
A look down his foot revealed a scarlet fetter bounding his left ankle. A thin string of similarly colored chains meandered down, connecting the fetter to a bed leg veiled in darkness. In a fraction of a second, Zhong Yan understood Gu XuanYan’s intentions. Flames of fury blazed in Zhong Yan as he lifted his line of sight, hollering, “Gu XuanYan!”
On the contrary, Gu XuanYan reached out his hand and pressed onto Zhong Yan’s nape, his voice soft, “Senior Brother, cool down. I have to head out for a bit, so I’m worried you’ll go around stirring up trouble.”
Zhong Yan suppressed his anger, “Where to?”
Instead of answering, Gu XuanYan responded with, “There are five more days before the effects of Senior Brother’s blood oath break out. I’ll be back by then.”
Truth be told, Zhong Yan didn’t even need to ask to know the reason for his leaving. Cang Luan must have given Gu XuanYan a task, which most likely was malicious. He took a deep breath to calm himself down, “Just unlock the chains.”
Gu XuanYan caressed Zhong Yan’s nape, his tone gentle yet conclusive, “No. If I do, Senior Brother will just run away without me.”
A mild pain throbbed in Zhong Yan’s head, “I won’t.”
“I don’t believe it.” Gu XuanYan’s reply was soft, “Senior Brother is always lying to me. Senior Brother was planning on doing just that yesterday, no?”
As expected, things had gone wrong ever since yesterday night. Seeing that his plans were exposed even before it could be implemented, Zhong Yan was utterly at a loss for words, so he simply kept his mouth shut.
In contrast, Gu XuanYan continued relentlessly, “Senior Brother, I’ll advise you not to flee. I’ll only be chaining your feet this time. Next time, I’ll just build a cage and lock you up in it.”
Zhong Yan was rendered speechless instantly. Gu XuanYan’s tone was gentle and composed, but Zhong Yan knew he seriously would live up to his words. Once again, Zhong Yan confirmed in his mind that Gu XuanYan had truly gone bonkers.
Not knowing whether he should react with tears or laughter, Zhong Yan ended up plopping onto the bed flippantly.
Satisfied, Gu XuanYan lowered his head, combing through Zhong Yan’s hair before kissing the corner of his lips.
“Senior Brother, I’ll be gone for at most four days. Just endure for a bit. Wait for me to get back.”
- From immortalmountain.wordpress.com/glossary/wuxia-xianxia-xuanhuan-terms: Embryonic Breathing (胎息 tāixī) – also known as Taixi or Fetal Breathing. A form of breathing without using one’s nose and mouth. Instead, the practitioner might breathe through their pores or dantian (for example). This is generally considered to be a highly-advanced Breathing Exercise which grants mystical benefits and brings the practitioner closer to nature. Often compared to how babies breathe in the womb (through the umbilical cord).
- From immortalmountain.wordpress.com/glossary/wuxia-xianxia-xuanhuan-terms: Dantian (丹田 dāntián) – literally translates as “Cinnabar Field” or “Elixir Field”. Refers to the region in the body where a person’s Qi is concentrated. There are technically three dantians, but these novels simplify the concept and only use the lower dantian (located three finger widths below and two finger widths behind the navel).