Translated by Rikko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Editor: Addis, WagahaiFujoshi
With Gu XuanYan carried in his arms, Zhong Yan went over to an inn and asked for some snacks. Following which, he got a wait staff to boil him some hot water before sending the staff off to the streets to buy a set of children’s clothes for him.
After a shower, Gu XuanYan changed to his new set of clothes, which was a tad too big due to the staff only catching a glance at him.
He poked his hands out from the layers of folds that crumpled his lapels before taking a piece of chestnut cake, nibbling it bit by bit.
As he had just got out of a shower, his face was slightly flushed red from the heat while his wet locks of hair hung loosely by his ears.
The sight of the young boy rendered Zhong Yan speechless.
He’s… he’s kind of cute; what’s with that?
By the time Zhong Yan first came in contact with Gu XuanYan, waves of darkness had already enveloped him to the core under his gentlemanly façade.
It was such a rare chance for Zhong Yan to meet Gu XuanYan when he was in such a weak, helpless state whilst trapped in an illusionary boundary.
With his heart trembling at the adorableness, Zhong Yan reached out to pour a glass of water for Gu XuanYan.
As a wanderer in the streets, Gu XuanYan must have been famished for quite a long time to resort to taking off with a steamed bun from a shop.
Nonetheless, as he ate at the moment, he was still bound with restraint, peeking a cautious glimpse at Zhong Yan every once in a while.
Not minding his vigilance, Zhong Yan gazed at him eating while propping his forehead with his finger.
Once done with the snack in hand, Gu XuanYan took a sip from the cup of water Zhong Yan handed him before whispering, “Why are you treating me so well when you don’t even know me?”
His tone was laden with distrust.
Still suffering from thoughtlessness when expressing himself, Zhong Yan was just about to answer with ‘because my fatherly love for you is as great as a mountain’.
Fortunately, he stopped himself in time and instead, let out a soft cough before replying in a slow pace, “You look like an old friend of mine.”
“My junior brother.”
Gu XuanYan shot a glance over to him, a childlike curiosity finally revealed on his face, “What kind of person is your junior brother?”
He is a scheming, two-faced villain who is brimming with darkness. Not only is he an avid liar, but he is also prone to acting cute. Also, he had a past hobby of killing people.
Despite the trash talk coursing within him, in the end, Zhong Yan simply curved the corner of his lips as his eyes met Gu XuanYan’s, revealing a light smile.
With his right hand propping his forehead, he looked over at Gu XuanYan, smiling, “My junior brother is accomplished despite his young age and has a strong cultivation base. Plus, he is mild-mannered and good-looking.”
It wasn’t known if Gu XuanYan believed him since his eyes were full of doubt, “Since your junior brother is so remarkable, he must be popular. But why haven’t I heard of him?”
Zhong Yan blinked, his tone as proud as could be, “Yes, he is. But he only likes me.”
Only disbelief was left in Gu XuanYan’s eyes.
Disregarding Gu XuanYan’s disbelief, Zhong Yan wiped Gu XuanYan’s hands clean while continuing, “Let me take you to an infirmary to treat your leg injury.”
The terrible redness and swelling on the wound got Zhong slightly worried.
Gu XuanYan didn’t put up much of a resistance when Zhong Yan picked him up this time, but instead, he reached out to grab Zhong Yan’s front lapel, his hair giving rise to a light itch as it rubbed against Zhong Yan’s chin.
While strolling the streets with Gu XuanYan in his arms, Zhong Yan couldn’t help tidying the little boy’s hair.
By the time they set foot out of the inn, dusk had already descended upon them.
There was a sudden change in weather, signalling an impending rainstorm.
Not only was the street empty of pedestrians, but the doors of every house were also tightly shut, the streetlights on their eaves lighting up one after another.
Usually, such a lonely view had rarely ever befallen on Long River City, but anything was possible when situated within an illusionary boundary.
Just as Zhong Yan was speeding up his pace with Gu XuanYan in his embrace, a vigor-filled, forceful voice rang out behind him out of the blue.
“To the sir cultivator in front, please halt.”
A sense of foreboding swirled within Zhong Yan, prompting him to ignore the voice and continue heading forward.
Regardless, the person behind him had already caught up to him, asking yet again.
“Sir cultivator, please halt.”
This time, an obvious impatience pricked his voice, which was just inches away.
After a sigh, Zhong Yan turned around for a look.
Behind him stood an old man with white temple hair. Clad in white robes and a sword hanging from his waist, he was also a Daoist cultivator.
The moment Zhong Yan raised his line of sight to meet the latter’s face, a wisp of familiarity rose within him, as if he had once seen him somewhere.
Nonetheless, Zhong Yan merely found him a little familiar. Despite pondering for a moment, he still couldn’t recall anything from his memories.
By then, the elderly had already announced his identity, the arrogance in his tone reaching sky high.
“I am the Sect elder of Green Summit, Li YunJi.”
In an instant, the puzzlement brimming in Zhong Yan’s mind turned into exclamations and profanity.
Fucking hell! This is the Master who took in Gu XuanYan for his personal gain!!!
Since Gu XuanYan had already killed him before Zhong Yan’s transmigration, the only contact Zhong Yan had with him was a short encounter with his corpse, so it was natural for Zhong Yan not to remember him.
However, now that Zhong Yan had bumped into him in Long River City with a young Gu XuanYan, the enhancing in his state of mind from the present situation made Zhong Yan immediately realize which plotline would be happening next.
Li YunJi didn’t appear to recognize Zhong Yan either, which was reasonable, since he always hung his pride high up in the sky and had a peculiar temper.
Him not remembering an odd job disciple was par for the course.
Moreover, night had veiled the sky in darkness, and Li YunJi’s eyes were utterly focused on Gu XuanYan.
Only after a long while did Li YunJi remark, “This young boy has an excellent aptitude. If he practices cultivation, he will surely be accomplished.”
…Never did I expect I would regress to a past plotline one day long after Gu XuanYan’s ascension.
Li YunJi’s remark sounded just like praise from a senior to another younger generation.
Nonetheless, the thought of the events that would occur later drained away any care Zhong Yan had to offer insincere cordiality.
He nodded, “Well said, Senior. That is why I have taken him in as my disciple.”
Li YunJi finally shifted his line of sight to Zhong Yan. After a brief sizing up, he smirked, “A rogue cultivator taking in a disciple? Is misguiding disciples not of concern to you?”
Zhong Yan set Gu XuanYan down onto the ground, a hint of a smile lining his lips once he got back up, “Indeed, this junior is lacking in seniority, but advice about misguidance is still not needed from Senior.”
Fury began bubbling up on Li YunJi’s face. Sometime later, he suppressed his anger and sneered, “It’s not your place to talk.”
He turned to Gu XuanYan, his voice as resounding as a massive bell, “The great me is a sect elder of Green Summit. Would you like to follow me to practice cultivation in the sect?”
Since Green Summit was so highly reputable that almost every single soul in the world knew about the sect, Li YunJi took advantage of the sect’s reputation to lure Gu XuanYan over during their first meeting in the past plotline.
Nevertheless, not a shred of worry was on Zhong Yan at the moment.
He bent down and looked at Gu XuanYan, asking, “Do you want to go with him or with me?”
Gu XuanYan did not hesitate to answer, “You.”
Seems like I didn’t give him the chestnut cake in vain
On the contrary, Li YunJi’s expression darkened at Gu XuanYan’s reply, “In that case, there’s no use insisting.”
Yet, he reached his hand over to his waist as he spoke.
After a snicker, Zhong Yan lowered his head towards Gu XuanYan, “Wait for a while.”
As soon as he finished his sentence, he unsheathed his sword before whizzing forward, striking at Li YunJi!
Although Gu XuanYan couldn’t wield a sword at the moment, now that Zhong Yan was with him, he would never let him fall into a dangerous predicament or a deceiving trap anymore.
Perhaps not expecting Zhong Yan would lash out an attack first, Li YunJi was taken off guard for a moment and had no choice but to retreat a few steps to avoid Zhong Yan’s strike.
Upon missing the strike, Zhong Yan swiftly turned his wrist over to launch his blade over again
Who kept company with the wolf would learn to howl. Due to the lengthy amount of time Zhong Yan spent together with Gu XuanYan, icy killing intent had also been dyed on the edge of his sword.
Unable to dodge any longer, Li YunJi drew his sword and blocked Zhong Yan’s attack.
The collision of the two’s vital energies emitted a long, ear-piercing cry, their blades even quaking from the impact.
However, without even retreating a step back, Zhong Yan drove his sword over yet again.
Li YunJi not only lost the advantage of launching the first strike, but he probably hadn’t met such a ruthless opponent for many years as well, leading him to, shockingly, land himself in an utter mess.
While being forced to keep retreating, he yelled, “This is a mere chance encounter. When have I, perchance, caused any resentment to sir cultivator?”
With his sword aura continuing to pelt away at his opponent, Zhong Yan raised his eyebrows slightly and flashed a light smile, his voice loud and clear, “Senior has once offended my Dao partner and by extension, me too.”
Before Li YunJi got the chance to follow up with another question, Zhong Yan whizzed in front of him as he lunged his sword over!
In a blink of an eye, a cloud of black fog began dispersing all over, during which the entire Long River City vanished into thin air.
Zhong Yan sprang open his eyes.
No longer were any Li YunJi, streets, or teahouses in sight, let alone a young Gu XuanYan.
He sat cross-legged on the bed, his breathing still steady and his vital energy still flowing smoothly through him despite the thin layer of sweat covering his back.
Upon pushing open the door of the bamboo house, a green-clothed Xuanyan stepped in. The realization of Zhong Yan’s eyes being directed on himself elicited a smile out of him, his tone tender, “Congratulations, Senior Brother has just elevated to the Lesser Vehicle stage.”
Give me a sec… I’m too used to the sight of a younger Gu XuanYan. Somehow, seeing an older version of him all of a sudden once I’m back is kind of hard for me to take in.
Before Zhong Yan could reply, Gu XuanYan added, “Senior brother took a bit longer to break through this time.”
Zhong Yan let out two coughs to regain his voice, “I tripped into an illusionary boundary on accident when I was breaking through.”
Any trace of a smile was wiped off the moment Gu XuanYan heard his reply.
He immediately got up and held Zhong Yan’s hand to check his vital energy, his brows creased. “There’s no failure in Senior Brother’s cultivation practice nor is there any emergence of internal demons, so how did the tripping into an illusory boundary come about?
Gu XuanYan’s grim expression prompted a hasty answer out of Zhong Yan, “It’s nothing serious…”
A short pause later, he continued, “Erm… but I did meet a child version of you when I was inside.”
Mirth seeped into the eyes of the stunned Gu XuanYan, “A fixation weighing down on the heart will lead to the entering of an illusionary boundary too. I guess Senior Brother holds a deep worry for me when I was a child, I see?”
A hint of sternness dampened his features as he added, “But my temper wasn’t the best then… Senior Brother probably isn’t fond of that version of me.”
Well… your older self isn’t any better either.
Already back to his senses, Zhong Yan gave his response as soon as relief eased his heart, “I like you no matter which point of time you are in.” Following which, he murmured “Of course, it’s just fatherly love.”
Words failed Gu XuanYan right then.
Hardly ever rendered speechless from Zhong Yan’s comeback, Gu XuanYan couldn’t help laughing as he shook his head.
Ramblings still flooded out of Zhong Yan, “You were quite cute when you were just a boy. You were so small, I could even hold you up with one arm.”
Gu XuanYan leaned over to Zhong Yan’s ears and whispered, his eyes painted with joy, “Senior brother can also hold me right now too.”
“No… I don’t want to.”
Gu XuanYan immediately withdrew the joy in his face as he complained while seeming rather hurt, ” Senior brother, didn’t you just say you like me at any point of time? So you only like me when I was a child, I see.”
Zhong Yan was utterly muted.
Come on, wake up! You’re not a kid anymore!
As he couldn’t be bothered with him, Zhong Yan tried pushing Gu XuanYan away.
However, instead of getting him away, his hands were grabbed by him.
Gu XuanYan’s voice was gentle, “It all right. I’ll hug Senior brother instead then.”
With that said, he lowered his head and gave a gentle kiss on Zhong Yan’s forehead.