Chapter 74: Invincible Sweep
Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
They were on the verge of battle. The soldiers led the charge, running past the space by the four underlings’ bodies and rushing onto the cliff.
Xiahou Lian roared, “Give Jingtie to me! Follow behind me!”
Shen Jue didn’t have time to hesitate as he and Xiahou Lian passed by each other. Jingtie and Xiahou Lian’s goose quill saber rose into the air at the same time, and they completed the exchange of their weapons in the instant they reversed.
Jingtie landed in Xiahou Lian’s palm, and the icy hilt and handguard stimulated his nerves. He and this saber hadn’t seen each other in a long time, and at this moment, they were like old friends reuniting. The moment he slowly clenched his palm, he seemed to be able to feel the saber’s deep and majestic heartbeat.
The roar of the enemies were in his ears, and the stream of people surged at them. Xiahou Lian held Jingtie in his right hand and a short saber in his left, crouched down slightly, and then leapt up like a fierce tiger, directly cutting into the battlefield. The sounds of blood and flesh tearing were heard incessantly, and bones were crisply broken like reeds under Jingtie’s blade. Jingtie and ordinary sabers were very different. It had been forged repeatedly using wrought iron from the Western Regions, so normal crude iron was like fragile bamboo strips before it. He didn’t need to make a move rapidly, nor did he need to use extreme strength for Jingtie to cut off the opponent’s weapon. Xiahou Lian still remembered that when Shi Xin had put Jingtie in his hands, he had said, This saber is extremely ruthless, it can annihilate thousands of techniques.
Xiahou Lian using Jingtie was unstoppable, and a hole was quickly made in the vast blackness of the enemies. Blood and flesh splashed, and Xiahou Lian advanced as he swung his saber, cutting off two people’s goose quill sabers at the same time and then using dual-wielded sabers to break their necks. He started spinning, weaving saber light that filled the sky beside him. Shen Jue actually didn’t need to swing his saber much, as all of the enemies had been crushed the instant they faced Xiahou Lian. He only had to follow closely behind Xiahou Lian, killing the fish that escaped from the net of his saber.
Xu Ruoyu knitted his brows tightly. Shen Jue and Xiahou Lian killed more and more people, and they had less and less people. Xu Ruoyu didn’t hesitate anymore and brandished his saber as he rushed into the battle, flashed past the crowd, and directly faced Shen Jue. The light in Shen Jue’s eyes became cold, and the goose quill saber in his hands sliced out a desolate and cold arc, lifting up from bottom to top.
Garan Saber • Swallow Slant.
That was the saber technique Xiahou Lian had taught him many years ago.
This stroke would cut open Xu Ruoyu’s abdomen, but he didn’t dodge and instead lunged at him head-on. Shen Jue soon knew why; his goose quill saber vibrated fiercely when it struck his abdomen, and it was blocked back. He was wearing a layer of chainmail underneath his clothes, and goose quill sabers couldn’t break armor! Shen Jue didn’t panic and swiftly leaned to the side to dodge, planning to avoid Xu Ruoyu’s chop at his head.
However, a jet-black flow of light flashed past at the side of Xu Ruoyu’s knees, and his figure that had pounced into the air stagnated and fell down heavily. The instant he fell, the snow-white bone at his knees was revealed, as his legs had been cut off by Jingtie the instant he had been midair.
“Hey, your enemy is me.” Xiahou Lian smiled viciously, overflowing with ruthlessness.
He still wanted to add more blows, but the other underlings rushed over and blocked Xiahou Lian. A few soldiers dragged Xu Ruoyu out, spreading a winding trail of blood on the ground.
“Don’t let him get away!” Shen Jue swung his saber as he shouted.
But it was too late, the crowd submerged them once again, and the soldiers dragging Xu Ruoyu ran further and further. Xiahou Lian did everything he could to get rid of the scum before his eyes and drew out his handbow, firing a few arrows. None of them hit, as they had already escaped his range. He looked back and saw that another few people were entangled with Shen Jue. Probably because his hand was injured, Shen Jue’s movements were very slow. Xiahou Lian ran over and flipped as he leapt over Shen Jue’s head like a swallow. The instant he landed on the ground, his knees crushed two soldiers, and his two sabers pierced their heads at the same time.
A few people were left in the end, and they saw that they couldn’t handle Xiahou Lian and Shen Jue at all, so they also ran away. The ground was covered in severed limbs and bones, and the fallen leaves and weeds were soaked in blood. The two of them were practically completely exhausted, especially Xiahou Lian, as he had killed the entire way, and his hands were already trembling. The two of them accompanied each other as they left the battlefield and found a slope that wasn’t very steep, going directly to the bottom of the cliff. At the bottom of the cliff, the weeds were overgrown and the bushes were very tall, able to cover the tops of their heads if they squatted down. They found a place to rest. Above them were cliff inscriptions, and a few tens of steps ahead of them was a source of water.
There were no spies by them, so that group of imperial guards wouldn’t be able to find them for a while.
The strings that had been stretched taut in his head for a long time finally loosened, and Shen Jue went limp at once. His hands and feet were weak and his head was dizzier, and he could feel that his sickness had gotten a lot worse. But he still endured it and slowly sat down, finding a rock to lean against. His eyes glanced at Xiahou Lian. That guy was covered in blood, and he practically didn’t look like a person anymore as he laid on the ground, panting heavily.
“You rest.” Xiahou Lian had panted enough and went to the pool to fetch water, washing his face and hands while he was at it. He went back and leaned next to Shen Jue, handing the flask of water to him. “There’s only one water flask, make do with it and drink.”
The corpse Shen Jue had prepared had been soaked in the pool water, and although it was running water, he still felt that it was a little disgusting.
Shen Jue hesitated for a while, until Xiahou Lian said, “You’re distasteful of me?”
Shen Jue shook his head, took it, and drank. The icy pool water flowed past his thorax, so cold it made him shiver. Xiahou Lian took the water back and glugged down half of the flask.
“Why didn’t you jump off the cliff with me?” Shen Jue knitted his brows as he said, “I originally arranged everything already, faking my death so I can get away.”
“Your arrangement was to jump off the cliff?” Xiahou Lian raised an eyebrow. “Do you know how cold the pool water in the mountains is? If you jumped down, your entire body would be drenched, and you don’t have a change of clothes, and you’ll be blown by the mountain wind. If you can survive, I, Xiahou Lian, will write my name backwards.”
“…” Shen Jue was silent for a while and turned his head away. “It would’ve been fine.”
Xiahou Lian turned his head and looked at Shen Jue. His complexion was pale, like a paper paste person, and his mouth was also pale, with a faint bit of red like an Asiatic apple flower that had lost its color. He was hanging his head, his expression weary, and seemed to not have much spirit. Xiahou Lian looked at him for a long time and suddenly leaned over. Shen Jue was startled and said, “What are you doing?”
“Don’t move,” Xiahou Lian said in a low voice. He pressed both hands on Shen Jue’s shoulders and moved his forehead close, putting it against Shen Jue’s forehead.
Shen Jue was a little dazed. Xiahou Lian had never been this initiative before, and they had never been this close before. Even when they slept together, they wouldn’t be close to each other. He was too close, and the fragrance that belonged only to him enveloped Shen Jue, containing the smell of blood, wild like a beast.
Xiahou Lian’s lips were very close, and Shen Jue could feel his steady breathing. His mind cleared up a lot, and Shen Jue squinted his eyes, his hand climbing up the side of Xiahou Lian’s waist and grabbing his leather belt.
With a beauty at his side, his heart was erratic like a monkey jumping and a horse galloping.
However, Xiahou Lian let go of Shen Jue and said, “This is just great, you didn’t jump off the cliff but you still got sick.” He stood up, untied his belt, and tore off a strip of cloth from his clean undergarments. He went to the pool to soak it, and then came back to put it on Shen Jue’s forehead.
Only then did Shen Jue react; it turned out that this guy had been testing the temperature of his forehead just then.
“Look at your ability, don’t you know your own physique? You’re as weak as a chick,” complained Xiahou Lian, pressing his head on his own shoulder. “Hurry up and rest, I’ll think of a way to go down the mountain in a while.”
As weak as a chick…
No one had ever said this about him. Shen Jue wanted to retort, but he didn’t even have the strength to speak. He barely mumbled, “You’re a chick. Forget it, the mountain’s already been sealed, we can’t go down.”
Xiahou Lian glanced at him and said, “Did you already know?”
“Know that someone wanted to deal with you and that today was a killing.” Xiahou Lian paused and then asked, “Situ told me that the day after tomorrow was the incense offering, was this also what you told him to say?”
Shen Jue made a hm, which was considered an agreement. He closed his eyes and rested quietly. Xiahou Lian didn’t speak anymore and motionlessly let him lean against him. He sensed something and lifted his head to look at Xiahou Lian.
Xiahou Lian’s brows were knitted, and he didn’t know what he was thinking about. The cosmetics above his eyes had been washed off, revealing that thin scar. He had sharp features, and when he killed, he had a deep ruthlessness, like an evil Asura spirit. However, his nature was soft, so when he calmed down, his features would be smoothed out, unrestrained and reserved. However, when he frowned, there was always a feeling of loneliness and indifference, as if a tombstone was pressed in his heart.
Shen Jue suddenly couldn’t really ascertain his temper. He had always been amiable when he was with him, laughing and being noisy, so Shen Jue had never seen him be so solemn.
He isn’t angry, is he?
Shen Jue thought about it and said, “You only would’ve distracted me if you had come.”
“Do you think I would hold you back? Young Master,” asked Xiahou Lian.
“That’s not what I meant.”
“Then what do you mean?”
“Xiahou Lian,” Shen Jue felt confused and upset, and he controlled his temper as he said, “your mother did her best to prepare a house and identity for you so you could live a plain life. You just have to peacefully stay at home, these matters are my matters, there’s no need for you to worry about them.”
Shen Jue still wanted to say something, but Xiahou Lian turned around, turned his shoulders, and gazed into his eyes. He stopped and also looked at Xiahou Lian, looked at his eyes that were as jet-black as ink, and the firmness and persistence that was like crude iron in them.
“I know what you’re thinking. You want to protect me and keep me out of danger, right?”
Shen Jue clenched his fists, turned his eyes away, and made a mn.
“But I don’t need it.”
Shen Jue glared at him. “You!”
Xiahou Lian raised his finger and sealed Shen Jue’s mouth. “Listen to me.” He continued, “How could there be a reason for the master to be in danger and the subordinate to sleep at home? Young Master, I understand you protecting me and not wanting me to be the vanguard for you to charge into enemy ranks. But at least let me fight shoulder-to-shoulder with you.”
Shen Jue was still stubborn, knitting his brows as he said, “I have my own calculations, I don’t need you.”
He had it all figured out, and he knew very well each step he should take. Before coming, he had had people clearly understand every stone and leaf in the mountain field. The map was imprinted in his mind, so he couldn’t go wrong. The only thing he hadn’t expected would be that he would get sick, but it also didn’t matter, as he recognized medicinal herbs and could look after himself.
From the deep palace to the front court, it had always been like this. He was already used to it, so it didn’t matter.
“Really?” Xiahou Lian didn’t believe it. “Xu Ruoyu is a traitor. That guy pretended to be King Fu, doesn’t it matter?”
Shen Jue was silent for a while before saying quite unwillingly, “No.”
“…” Xiahou Lian gripped Shen Jue’s shoulders tightly. His palms were scorching, going through the material like two balls of fire burning on his shoulders.
“Young Master,” Xiahou Lian enunciated, “I was once Garan’s saber, but it was not of my free will. Now, I am your saber, and I am most willing. So, tell me, who is your enemy. Is it Wan Bohai, or someone else?” His eyes gradually became sharp, like a piercingly cold blade. “I’ll kill them!”