Translated by Rikko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Editor: Addis, WagahaiFujoshi
The crossroad at the street extended straight to the north and south, with lush greenery growing along the paths while catkin fluttered in the air.
Along the road stood high-rise households, faint chattering and laughter sounding out from within, semi veiled by beaded curtains.
Once Zhong Yan walked inwards from the intersection, he was greeted by the view of a long stretch of chariots on the streets with clusters of restaurants, tea houses and vendors everywhere. After walking to the end of the street and finding a few familiar shops, he finally determined that his current location should be Long River City.
As Zhong Yan would be elevating to Lesser Vehicle stage soon, he underwent closed-door training to focus on breaking through.
Out of nowhere today, he found himself in Long River City the moment he opened his eyes.
A brief stun later, Zhong Yan guessed he must have accidentally entered an illusory boundary during the closed-door training.
Some cultivators slid into such a predicament either due to the sudden emergence of internal demons 1 or the failure in their cultivation practice. Both of which were life-threatening.
However, Zhong Yan should have be affected by neither of them.
Moreover, only tranquillity could be seen as he strolled along the street. The city was so lively that it was as if he was not within an illusionary boundary but was in fact in the city.
Despite being clueless about the situation, Zhong Yan didn’t dare to brandish his sword to break through the boundary.
Instead, he opted to sit by a tea stand on the street.
The tea stand owner, a woman in her forties or fifties, immediately wiped the table and asked with a smile, “What would sir cultivator like?”
Zhong Yan gave her a smile, “A pot of tea will do.”
After a smile and a nod, the lady owner swiftly brought him a pot of Mount Straying Mist tea that was unique to Long River City.
If this was an illusion, it was too realistic.
Zhong Yan scanned his surroundings while drinking his tea, his mind focusing on a way to get out.
All of a sudden, a series of noises rang out behind him.
Upon turning his head back, he noticed a group of people running towards his side, a few fiery shouts intermingling them.
“Freeze, you little beggar!”
“How dare you steal from my shop! Just wait till I get my hands on you!”
Swears were mixed within the yelling, which sounded nearer and nearer.
Pedestrians on the road were quick to give way, while patrons of the roadside stalls poked out their heads to watch the commotion.
Zhong Yan swept a glance over but withdrew his line of sight due to the crowd on the streets blocking his view.
He noticed the lady owner couldn’t help shaking her head and sighing, “It’s just two steamed buns. I think the child must be famished. Why punish him like this?”
Feeling a jolt in his heart, Zhong Yan set his teacup down before standing up and turning his eyes back to the fuss.
A burly man was out of breath as he continued hollering, while the child he apprehended, around the age of ten, was trying non-stop to free himself.
Nonetheless, due to their disparity in strength, he could not struggle away.
As both of them had their backs on Zhong Yan, he only managed to take in a rough view of them.
Some passers-by had their brows knit at the sight too, yet no one stepped in.
Zhong Yan listened to the shouting for a while with a frown, a thought arising in his heart.
Perhaps this was the life Gu XuanYan lived when he was young.
At the thought of that, Zhong Yan couldn’t help stepping forward and pressed the man’s hand, his eyes focused on him, “How much is it? I’ll pay for him.”
The man stopped his yelling and gave Zhong Yan a once-over, his tone a little better: “Sir cultivator, it’s not that I’m being fussy, but I’m just running a small business. This little beggar stole two steamed buns from me. It’s four copper coins in total.”
Zhong Yan fished out the money and handed it to him. The man took it and continued, “Sir cultivator is kind-hearted, but this little beggar has been roaming the streets of Long River City for quite some time and is nasty through and through. Be careful of…”
Zhong Yan cut him off, “Thank you very much. I will handle things my own way.” While replying, he lowered his head to look at the child beside him, “Besides, I think he is very…!”
What the fuck!
Hold up!! Look at his face! He looks so much like someone!
Shock coursed through him like a bolt of lightning.
In a moment of surprise, he tugged the child’s hand.
Perhaps due to him being hurt by the roughness of the movement, the kid creased his brows as he lifted his head, directing his eyes to Zhong Yan.
Help…! Now he looks even more like him!
Too busy to mind if there’s any onlookers, Zhong Yan pulled the boy’s hand over and stammered: “Gu- Gu XuanYan?!”
Although the little boy in front of him was still young and had delicate eyebrows and eyes, a spark of determination resided within him. He frowned at Zhong Yan and demanded coldly, “Let me go.”
Shit…! They’re two peas in a pod!
Meeting Gu XuanYan from over ten years ago when I fell into an illusionary boundary?! What kind of crazy plotline this is?!
Zhong Yan’s mind went as blank as a sheet of paper for a moment.
Only after calling out Gu XuanYan’s name once more did he pull himself back to reality. His first name, XuanYan, was given to him when he entered Green Summit.
As expected, the boy frowned in response and whispered, his tone brimming with wariness and impatience, “You have got the wrong person. Let me go.”
Zhong Yan was rendered speechless. Gu XuanYan isn’t all that cute when he was a child, huh.
Still, the crowd of onlookers did not disperse.
After taking a deep breath, Zhong Yan slowed down his voice, “Just come with me for now.”
Detecting the caution in Gu XuanYan’s eyes, he added gently, “I won’t hurt you. Can you come with me?”
Gu XuanYan tried freeing himself from Zhong Yan’s grasp, but it was too tight.
Unable to struggle away, Gu XuanYan knitted his brows as he looked over at Zhong Yan for a while, seemingly sizing him up.
His gaze wasn’t quite amicable, but Zhong Yan, as patient as could be, decided to squat down and got down to the same eye level as Gu XuanYan.
A long while of staring later, Gu XuanYan shot over a question out of the blue, “What’s the good of me going with you?”
He shifted his eyes towards Zhong Yan’s Ivory white robe and the sword hanging on his waist before continuing, “You are a Daoist cultivator, so are you going to enrol me into a sect? But you aren’t wearing clothes from any sect, so you are probably a rogue cultivator. Can rogue cultivators even have a disciple?”
Zhong Yan was at a loss for words.
He isn’t easily fooled ever since young, I see.
Not knowing what to answer, Zhong Yan could only reply with, “Of course I can teach you how to practice cultivation if you want to. Come with me and I can guarantee you won’t go hungry again. Anyways, I’ll definitely take good care of you.”
Gu XuanYan didn’t add any more questions.
He had lived alone for a long time in the streets of Long River City, having endured beatings and being given some food by kind-hearted passerbys.
However, this was the first time someone offered to bring him along and take care of him.
In the end, he stared straight into Zhong Yan’s eyes before, somehow, pursing his lips and nodding.
Help… he’s kind of cute.
Enveloped by the mental state of a loving father instantly, Zhong Yan released his grip on Gu XuanYan’s arm and in turn, held his hand.
As the crowd of onlookers had gradually dispersed, he took a few steps hand in hand with Gu XuanYan, only to find the latter was walking at a rather slow pace.
Only after lowering his head did he notice a scratch on Gu XuanYan’s ankle, which was seeping out blood.
He probably grazed himself accidentally while running away just then.
Zhong Yan frowned as he reached over to carry Gu XuanYan.
Caught off guard, Gu XuanYan grabbed onto Zhong Yan’s lapel but released his grasp swiftly upon realizing his actions.
Zhong Yan held Gu XuanYan in his arms and reminded him in a low voice, “Hold on tight.”
After a brief hesitation, Gu XuanYan reached out his arms and carefully circled them around Zhong Yan’s neck.
This extra is just about Zhong Yan chancing upon a younger Gu XuanYan; a story of a loving father looking after a kid (?)
Zhong Yan has no other thoughts on young Gu XuanYan.
If the story seems inappropriate, I’ll delete it. Thanks
- From https://immortalmountain.wordpress.com/glossary/wuxia-xianxia-xuanhuan-terms/: Rather than standard demons or devils, these are a practitioner’s negative emotions and other mental barriers which hinder their training/cultivation. Internal Demons, in some cases, can even attack the practitioner from the inside, and failure to adequately resist them may result in Qi Deviation.