Translated by Rikko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Rain descended upon the departure of spring.
As thin as silk threads, the expansive rain cascaded down unceasingly at Long River City.
Despite the moderate rainfall, it posed quite a bit of disturbance.
Gu XuanYan had headed to the study room early in the morning, while Zhong Yan, finding it boring to spend his time in a daze alone, decided to practice with his sword in the courtyard.
His cultivation progress had advanced exponentially, so much so that there was a notion of him about to elevate to the next level.
After practising a series of sword techniques, Zhong Yan lifted his line of sight, just to notice Gu XuanYan standing in front of the corridor since god knew when.
Upon detecting Zhong Yan’s eyes on him, the latter smiled, “Senior Brother has made great progress.”
With his hands shielding his head from the rain, Zhong Yan made a beeline to the corridor.
Only when he reached in front of Gu XuanYan did he reply with a hint of smugness, “Of course.” He tossed a question right after, “What’s wrong?”
Gu XuanYan wouldn’t have gone to the study room early in the morning if nothing was going on. Moreover, Zhong Yan had heard the screeches of the Northern Wilderness’s hawks last night.
The smile on Gu XuanYan’s face vanished, “Senior Brother, we are going back.”
A brief stun was all it took for Zhong Yan to grasp the situation.
“Have they come over?”
Gu XuanYan asked, “Senior Brother, are you afraid?”
Zhong Yan flashed a glance at him, his tone provocative, “Will you not let me go if I said I am?”
Gu XuanYan chuckled, “No way; Senior Brother must be with me.”
“That settles it.” Zhong Yan’s tone returned to its usual inflection, “Let’s go then. So what if the four schools of cultivation join forces? Afraid or not, we still have to try breaking it through.”
His reply was indifferent, seemingly as if he found nothing wrong with it.
The questions the system cast onto Zhong Yan during his walk back to his room brimmed with worry. [Why are you sounding more and more like Gu XuanYan?]
[Do I?] After a detailed reflection, Zhong Yan had to admit. [Seems a little like it.]
[Keep your mission in mind, ok? Don’t end up getting yourself swinging to the wrong path instead of leading Gu XuanYan back to the right path.
Zhong Yan went speechless momentarily. [Haven’t I already been led to swing the other way?
[…It’s not funny!]
Zhong Yan followed up his teasing with placation. [Ok, ok. I know when to draw the line.]
Worry overwhelmed the system as it went silent.
Due to the slight desire of sightseeing within Zhong Yan and Gu XuanYan when the two travelled to Long River City from the Northern Wilderness, their hearts were free from any worries then.
Now that both of them were back in the Northern Wilderness, Zhong Yan initially assumed he would at least feel a little heavy in the heart upon facing such a major predicament. However, once the moment of truth arrived right in front of him, not a single wave of disturbance rippled in his heart. Instead, only a slight lament that ‘it had finally arrived’ emerged within him.
Zhong Yan turned his head over the person beside him. Gu XuanYan looked as calmly indifferent as always, seemingly finding the matter to be not so big of a deal.
Aloft the icy plains were a group of cultivators riding their swords as they advanced into the depth of the northern wilderness.
The scene was all too familiar. However, unlike the previous instance, where Gu XuanYan was within the group and still revered by numerous disciples, right now, he had become the target of the very same group of people, some of them even hoping to kill him off.
As such a thought crossed Ji ChangYun’s mind, his brows furrowed a little.
Beside him was Liang Zheng, who glanced over at him before asking carefully, “Junior Brother, what’s the matter?”
“I don’t quite understand.” Ji Changyun replied. “Gu XuanYan is extremely gifted. If he concentrated on cultivation training, he might have become the fastest among all Daoist cultivators to elevate to the highest level. I have even arranged right here with him for a match. I didn’t expect he would start practising demonic cultivation. “
Seriousness blanketed his face. “Daoist cultivation had originated precisely to uphold justice and eliminate evil. As a Daoist cultivator, he should have known this all the more so, but why did he end up stepping onto the wrong path?”
Liang Zheng was startled by Ji ChangYun’s remarks, “Never did I expect Junior Brother would utter such a long paragraph today…”
The glance Ji ChangYun cast at him made him shrink his neck, “Perhaps he did it all for Brother Qin MingXi.”
He added in haste once he noticed the clueless expression on Ji ChangYun, “We’ve met him the last time on the icy plains, you know… Gu XuanYan’s Dao partner…”
It was all too obvious that Ji ChangYun remembered their previous encounter too. A brief pause later, he asked, “What does that have to do with him?”
In no way did Liang Zheng expect Ji ChangYun to have no idea about the matter everyone in the cultivation circle knew of. However, on second thought, Ji ChangYun had always had his heart occupied with cultivation and spent every single practising with his sword in the mountains. He was never in the know about the events happening outside his area, so it was natural for him to be clueless of such rumors.
“According to Green Summit’s disciples, Cang Luan captured Brother Qin during our previous trip to the icy plains and made a blood oath with him. As Junior Brother knows, except on the own volition of the original oath contractor, blood oaths can only be broken by a demon cultivator with higher cultivation than the original contractor. Maybe that’s why Brother Gu started practising demonic cultivation. “
Of course, Ji ChangYun knew what blood oaths were, prompting his brows to crease. Only after a long while of silence did he start, “Although it is justifiable, what a penny wise, pound foolish idea it is to betray Daoism and step onto the demonic path just for such a matter.”
Knowing that Ji ChangYun was referring to matters of love instead of Zhong Yan’s blood oath, Liang Zheng revealed a hint of a smile, his tone gentle.
“Junior brother, what everyone holds important are different. Since your life revolves around eliminating evil and upholding justice, the heaven way holds most importance to you. But perhaps for Gu XuanYan, Brother Qin holds the dearest place in his heart. For the special someone he cherishes the most, everything else is mere dust in his eyes, not worthy of mentioning.”
Ji ChangYun went silent.
Liang Zheng took a look at him, carefully wording his next remark, “In fact, many cultivators also find Gu XuanYan’s practising of demonic cultivation to be justifiable and not a sin so serious its punishable by death.”
“Is Senior Brother hoping I would give Gu XuanYan leeway if we ended up fighting?”
Not expecting Ji ChangYun to see through his intentions this swiftly, Liang Zheng flushed red in an instant.
Ji ChangYun continued, “If, just as Senior Brother said, Gu XuanYan truly did so to protect the special someone he holds dearest in his heart, he should even more so go all out with me.”
Rendered speechless, Liang Zheng lowered his blushing face and stared at the sword underneath him. Meanwhile, Ji ChangYun raised his line of sight, directing it to the depths of the northern wilderness.
As the elevation to the Lesser Vehicle stage had heightened his senses to a higher level, he could already detect the faint silhouette of the palace.
Situated in the palace was Gu XuanYan, who similarly, was able to sense the arrival of the party of cultivators.
Once Zhong Yan got a hold of the news that the four schools of cultivation were heading towards Northern Wilderness, his initial thought was to perhaps lie low in Long River City. However, on second thought, such a day would still catch up to them so long as the problem remained unresolved.
Since this is unavoidable, we have no choice but to draw our swords and face it head-on.
After heaving a sigh, Zhong Yan lifted his eyes, “What would you do without me?”
Gu XuanYan withdrew his divine sense1 before letting out a low chuckle, “I know right.”
The two were still joking around, their atmosphere as relaxed as could be.
Frankly, if the leaders of the four schools of cultivation ended up joining forces to launch an attack on Gu XuanYan, the chances of him emerging victorious was slim.
Even Cang Luan in his peak got utterly devastated when facing off with merely the Daoist sect elders, forcing him to stay in the chilliest area in Northern Wilderness in order to heal and extend his lifespan.
Nonetheless, it was still uncertain whether the four schools of cultivation would all join forces to attack Gu XuanYan as per agreement.
Since Dark Mountain Sect bore deep hatred for Gu XuanYan due to him destroying the cultivation bases of their disciples, it was without a doubt they would plan on killing him. Nevertheless, Dark Mountain was just a no-name sect.
Although the Buddhist cultivators of Amoghavajra Buddhist hall had always been compassionate, Gu XuanYan did brazenly steal their relics after all. Even if they won’t plan on killing him, it wasn’t certain if they would help out in attacking him.
Spiritual cultivators held no grudges against Gu XuanYan. Moreover, as Tong Ling was among them, they probably won’t join in the fight.
As for Daoist cultivators…
While the gears in Zhong Yan’s brain spun rapidly, Gu XuanYan who was right beside him let out a sudden remark, “Ji ChangYun is here too. “
Noticing Zhong Yan’s eyes on him, he revealed a faint smile.
“he has elevated into the lesser vehicle stage and shows signs of breaking through. I can feel his divine sense.”
As shock coursed through Zhong Yan, memories flashed past his mind.
Ji ChangYun was precisely in the lesser vehicle stage during the ending of the original story. While battling with Gu XuanYan, he broke through his level and defeated Gu XuanYan
In the web novel, the group headed to Northern Wilderness to eliminate the demonic cultivators. Once the realization that Gu XuanYan was the mastermind behind everything dawned on them, they proceeded to kill him there.
Bearing the mission of changing the trajectory of Gu XuanYan’s life, Zhong Yan transmigrated into the story.
Despite trudging through the perilous journey, important plot points still coincided with the web novel – the murdering of Chun Qin, the slaying of Cang Luan, and the switch over to demonic cultivation
What about this one?
Recollection of that particular night when Gu XuanYan told him about the Heavenly way floated into Zhong Yan’s mind.
At that time, Gu XuanYan’s face was plastered with a cold expression, his tone filled with ridicule and indignance. The present Zhong Yan finally got a feel of being strung along by the so-called fate.
Zhong Yan couldn’t help thinking; could he really accomplish his mission? could he really help Gu XuanYan change his life trajectory?
As his mind ran wild for quite some time, his heart began sinking, his face turning pale.
Gu XuanYan withdrew his smile, his tone warm, “What’s the matter, senior brother?”
Seemingly sensing something after his question, he took Zhong Yan’s hand and eased his voice.
“Don’t be afraid, Senior Brother.”
Gu XuanYan had slender, long fingers. The warmth from his palms constantly transmitted over to Zhong Yan’s hands through their touch, pulling Zhong Yan back from the chaotic thoughts plaguing his mind.
Only then did Zhong Yan had a sudden realization that he was trapped in his mental barrier due to excessive worrying.
Zhong Yan cut off the thoughts and took a deep breath.
With his hands grabbing onto Gu XuanYan, he told himself, it’s different this time.
The past Gu XuanYan was all alone, but with his company now, they could shoulder all troubles together.
Fortunately, they were together in this now
No matter how perilous the path ahead was, they could face it together, hand in hand.
- From https://immortalmountain.wordpress.com/glossary/wuxia-xianxia-xuanhuan-terms/: Divine Sense (神识 shénshí). An ability possessed by cultivators to scan their surroundings (far beyond the limits of their ordinary 5 senses) with their spirit. The distance/total area they can scan corresponds to the strength of their spirit. Also used in some novels to remotely control magical items such as Flying Swords.