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Did We Agree To Be Rivals? ~ Chapter 011-015

Chapter 11 : Made-Up Stories

Su Yang took the luggage and hairband, brushed past Gu Feidi and was about to step out the door when Gu Feidi called out to him all of a sudden.

“Su Yang.” 

The young man raised his face and looked at him with eyes as bright as stars.

His voice was very low, but his words were extremely clear: “I would like to apologise to you for covering up the matter earlier.”

Su Yang was taken aback.

Immediately, he remembered that according to the character of the script, Gu Feidi was indeed a clean and transparent protagonist with almost no dark side. He was extremely talented but never arrogant or complacent and was even more hardworking than others. Even if he occasionally made mistakes because of his youth, he was brave enough to admit and assume responsibility. He was practically… the embodiment of all positive energy.

Like now, Gu Feidi clearly still didn’t like the Devil Sect’s Young Saint, but he wouldn’t shirk and still submitted to the punishment. Furthermore, he had earnestly apologized to him.

Facing this Gu Feidi, Su Yang suddenly became a little bit uncomfortable.

How could he be so cruel to sneer at this youngster who looked at him so meaningfully?

He couldn’t wait to pull him into his arms and rub his head again and again!

Fortunately, there was no such plot in the script and Su Yang did not have to mock Gu Feidi.

He tried his best to resist the urge to reach out to rub Gu Feidi’s head. He slightly raised the corners of his mouth and revealed a harmless, encouraging smile to Gu Feidi. Then he walked out of the room without saying a word, leaving the situation in a state of uncertainty.

Gu Feidi was dazzled by Su Yang’s sudden smile. As Su Yang left his line of sight, he felt a sense of emptiness come over him.

He abruptly recovered in an instant, took a deep breath and then walked out the door. He was quickly followed by Su Yang to the group of young martial artists on the mountain road.

Seeing the two return to the group, the middle-aged man glanced at Su Yang, a smile appearing in his eyes, however he didn’t say anything, turned around and called out, “Everyone is here, let’s go.”

This time Old Qi did not say anymore and the group of youngsters followed the middle-aged man to walk up the mountain flagstone road.

Fan Xi approached Su Yang, “Fortunately, Young Saint was noticed by the old man last night, otherwise it would have been all for nothing! I really couldn’t tell that the boastful, Martial World’s righteous Gu Feidi would actually resort to this kind of manipulative—”

Su Yang threw Fan Xi a dry look: “He has already received the punishment, so don’t bring it up anymore.”

Fan Xi was stunned for a moment. Seeing that Su Yang wasn’t joking from his expression, he immediately changed his tone: “Young Saint is right, anyone can make mistakes; not to mention he has already learned his lesson.”

Su Yang made a ‘mmm’ sound and stopped talking.

With the middle-aged man leading the team, even if there were still people who were dissatisfied with Su Yang in their ranks, no one dared to say anything. The group hurried along quietly up the mountain road and soon arrived at a plateau on the mountain.

This plateau was located halfway up the mountain and the area was about twice the size of the previous farmhouse. It was covered with white stone bricks and was very neat and clean.

Everyone was led to the end of the plateau by the middle-aged man, only to realise that it was a cliff.

A dense fog swirled under the cliff making it hard to see how deep it was. Opposite of the plateau was a mountain resembling a chopped tree stump that stood upright in the clouds. The plateau and the cliff wall of the tree-stump mountain were connected by an iron chain which was as thick as a man’s arm. Another mountain peak could be vaguely seen rising into the sky a distance away from the tree-stump mountain.

All the young martial artists were stunned to see the scene before them.

Since they were young, their seniors and family elders would speak of the Jianghu legend of the Lesser Jade House that was situated on a solitary peak isolated from the rest of the world and could only be reached by a huge chain connected to a tree stump.

However, when they saw this scene with their own eyes, they realised that no matter how detailed their elder’s narrative was, no matter how life-like Lesser Jade House was depicted in paintings, in the end, nothing could prepare them for this moment; standing there and experiencing the true feeling of shock from seeing this solitary peak firsthand.

The middle-aged man stood at the edge of the cliff and addressed the group, “You’re all here to participate in the selection process at Lesser Jade House. You don’t have to traverse this cable bridge alone. I will take you across the bridge one by one. If it’s not your turn yet, wait here first.”

After he finished speaking, he reached out to tap the young man nearest to him and tossed a rope over, “Wrap the rope loop on your wrist and use your light footwork skill to cross the bridge. I will assist you when you can’t support yourself anymore. Come on.”

The young man was a little nervous and attached himself to the rope. He nodded to his friend next to him and took his first step onto the iron chain.

The middle-aged man grabbed the other end of the rope, maintained a reasonable distance and followed gently and skillfully behind the young man.

Su Yang stood at the cliff’s edge looking out at the fantastic colours of the scenery before him and couldn’t help sighing.

At the time he was filming and came across this kind of big scenery, it would be shot before a green screen in the studio. The post-production team would later include and render fabulous model scenes into the shots. Therefore, it was the first time that he saw what the ‘Arch-Rival’ world’s solitary peak of Lesser Jade House looked like.

If such magnificent cliffs, plateaus and peaks actually existed in reality, they would undoubtedly be world-famous scenic spots.

Immersed in his reverie, Su Yang took a step forward, standing practically at the cliff’s edge, letting the canyon wind blow his long, unbound hair into a mess and causing the hems of his clothes to billow and flail around him.

He had a temperament which was not of this realm, so when he stood in the wind, it appeared as if his whole person was drifting in the clouds. He showed no sorrow or joy, as if he did not belong to this world or cared for it; like he could leave it at any time and become an immortal.

Gu Feidi contemplated Su Yang and suddenly felt a little out of sorts.

Unexpectedly, at this very instant, this impossibly, beguiling scene was suddenly marred by a jade-green figure.

Fan Xi suddenly leapt into his field of vision. Grinning cheekily, he leaned close to Su Yang to say something.

Su Yang nodded and handed over the red hair band in his hand. Fan Xi took the hair band, walked behind Su Yang and reached for a small comb from his waist. He then helped Su Yang comb his hair, fastening it into a simple braid.

Gu Feidi let out a snort.

Xu Yunzhan followed Gu Feidi’s gaze and frowned. He mumbled in a low voice, “Ho, that Fan Xi is really attentive and would even stoop to do this type of inferior task like combing hair.” 

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Gu Feidi licked his lips, he turned around and stopped looking at them. He spoke casually: “If he’s willing to help him comb his hair, maybe he is also willing to assist him to put on his clothes…”

Xu Yunzhan was surprised: “What makes you say that?”

Gu Feidi was silent for a moment: “…it’s nothing.”

As the middle-aged man left and returned again and again, the youngsters waiting on the plateau finally started to discuss the previous assessment which had caught everyone by surprise.

Some rejoiced their good fortune at always being diligent, others were grateful that their friends had woken them early and a few murmured how sorry they felt for their few acquaintances that had failed the assessment.

This topic went round and round until it finally settled on Su Yang.

“Those from the Devil Sect have such weird ways. Others will practice ‘early to bed, early to rise’, but he doesn’t sleep for most of the night and instead goes to practice martial arts in the yard. We don’t even know whether or not he might be practicing some sort of improper technique.”

“Devil Sect’s martial arts are 80% unorthodox methods.”

“I’d like to add, maybe he didn’t practice all night. Perhaps Young Hero Gu happened to notice him right when he was in the middle of his practice. When everyone was resting, he could have gone back to the house to sleep. Who would know?”

“What you said does makes sense…”

Su Yang listened quietly to the youngsters’ private discussion, but he wasn’t angry. Instead, he pretended that he didn’t hear anything.

Perhaps it was because the gossip from the group were all criticisms of the Devil Sect’s Young Saint, so he felt that it had nothing to do with him.

His current state seemed more like an exclusive bystander. While he had taken on Su Yang’s identity, it didn’t feel like he had completely embraced it, so it was like watching a holographic movie. Although everything had happened to him, he knew that he was just a fictional character and this was just a fictional story.

Suddenly, a certain youth in the crowd turned his head and lowered his voice: “However, Gu Feidi’s previous attempts to conceal Su Yang’s practice really surprised me.”

Another person immediately chimed in: “Yes, that’s right. I still thought that a person like Gu Feidi would not resort to petty schemes.”

Someone else interjected: “How can it be? Although Leader Gu is upright, the Tengyun Pavilion family is so affluent, they must definitely have many shameful secrets. I think Gu Feidi may not be as virtuous as he seems…”

Hearing this, Su Yang couldn’t help frowning. He turned his head to the direction of the group who were whispering.

That group was still oblivious and continued gossiping softly about Gu Feidi, Leader Gu and Tengyun Pavilion.

“Speaking of that, I heard when he was younger, Leader Gu had entered Lesser Jade House in the same year as the current leader of the Devil Sect. The two of them were really close at the time. However, after leaving Lesser Jade House, they suddenly turned against each other for some reason. Because of that, the leader of the Devil Sect bathed the Central Plains in blood and cemented his reputation as the Devil Sect’s Leader.”

“I’ve heard about that too!”

“It is true. It is said that the two of them fell out because of a woman. They parted ways. It’s just that there are very few rumours about the woman. Some people say that the woman was kidnapped by the leader of the Devil Sect, but later she faked her death and fled. After that, she reappeared as the personal servant girl of Leader Gu and hid in the Tengyun Pavilion.”

“Yes, that’s right! Some people say that the woman was pregnant when she escaped from the Devil Sect!”

“Huh! She was pregnant?!”

“Then… is this Gu Feidi the son of the Leader Gu or the son of the Devil Sect Leader?”

Su Yang suddenly laughed aloud.

Hearing the laugh, someone finally noticed that Su Yang was glaring at them and he poked the one next to him who was still talking. The man turned and looked over. When he saw Su Yang’s expression he immediately shut his mouth.

Su Yang raised the corner of his mouth and threw an evil grin at the group.

“I told you, it’s not a good habit to talk about others behind their backs. I carelessly developed too much internal strength and it’s easy for me to hear offensive things. If you’re not careful, you might bump into me when I’m not in a good mood. I’ll take on all of you even if I was eliminated by Lesser Jade House, then I’ll remove all your tongues.”

Chapter 12 : Stone Forest Bewilderment Array

The rumours surrounding the Devil Sect’s Young Saint, Su Yang in the Jianghu had never been particularly positive. Every time he was mentioned, it’s always said that he had an unpredictable personality and a perverse behaviour. If he liked you, he would care for you and speak tenderly to you. If it turns out that he hates you, he will not hesitate to gut you with his sword.

So when everyone heard Su Yang utter those words, no one dared to doubt him and no one dared to continue talking nonsense.

The plateau became extremely quiet just then, with only the sound of rustling branches and leaves stirred up by the wind beneath the cliff.

Gu Feidi glanced at Su Yang from a distance, then quickly withdrew his gaze.

He moved his lips slightly and spoke to Xu Yunzhan beside him using voice transmission: “Did you hear that group’s comments just now?”

Xu Yunzhan snorted and smirked: “They thought they had lowered their voices, but didn’t realise that Su Yang, you and I… can hear those words clearly due to our inner strength. But it’s not the first time you’ve heard this kind of talk. I remember you’d learned not to pay attention to these comments since you were twelve or thirteen years old?”

After a moment of silence, Gu Feidi said: “You heard them slandering Su Yang earlier and he must have heard them too, but he didn’t respond. Now, when the topic falls on me, Su Yang gets angry…” 

Xu Yunzhan couldn’t help but wrinkle his eyebrows, he solemnly replied: “Feidi, Su Yang has bad intentions towards you. He’s just playing tricks on you. Don’t fall for his ploy.”

This time, Gu Feidi kept quiet, then after a while, he whispered: “I won’t. I merely think that this Su Yang seems to be different from what the rumours of the Jianghu make him out to be.”

Xu Yunzhan sighed helplessly and tried persuading: “Feidi, he is the Devil Sect’s Young Saint. It is inevitable for him to be misinterpreted by the rumours of the Jianghu to some extent. But that does not mean he hasn’t been putting on false pretenses. How can you conclude that what you see is not what he wants you to see? If you become interested in him, you are already moving to his tune!”

Gu Feidi smiled bitterly, “I understand. It’s just… when I went to call him this morning, I saw something that I shouldn’t have. I still feel uncomfortable on the inside.”

Xu Yunzhan was startled: “This morning? What did you see?”

Gu Feidi lowered his eyes and an inconspicuous blush spread on his cheeks. He said in a low voice: “On his back—”

“Next!” 

The two of them were interrupted by the middle aged man’s shout.

They saw that he was carrying a rope in his hand and was pointing to Xu Yunzhan, “Come on, it’s your turn.”

It wasn’t until the sun was high and it looked to be late in the morning that the group of twenty six young martial artists were finally brought across the chain bridge to the tree stump plateau on the opposite side.

From a distance, the tree stump plateau looked like a very narrow cylindrical platform, but when they were standing there, they discovered that the area of ​​the mountain plateau seemed to be very large with big and small boulders all over it, forming a vast stone forest.

“This is your final assessment.”

The middle-aged man said: “I asked you to wait patiently before entering so as to remind you that this stone forest is actually a magical formation that you must pass through in order to enter Lesser Jade House. With your current strength, if you maneuver your inner force while in the stone forest, it will cause turbulence that will damage your meridians, so you can’t use light footwork skills to make your way through it.

“This stone forest formation was personally configured by the master of Lesser Jade House. As for the key to the formation, we, in fact, have not yet fully grasped it either. Therefore, if you want to enter Lesser Jade House, this stone forest formation is the only way to get there and there is no way to circumvent it.

“Those who are qualified to enter will pass through the stone forest formation to reach the other side, while those who are not qualified to enter will return to this side of the stump plateau. There will be someone on the other side who will meet the young martial artists who have passed the test. As for me, I shall wait here and send those who are eliminated back to Meizhu Mountain.” 

After explaining on the stone forest and the assessment criteria, the middle-aged man gestured his hand towards the entrance, “You martial artists can all enter the formation now.”

Su Yang raised his head and looked at the stone forest before him, saying inwardly: It’s finally here.

According to the setting of the script, this ‘Stone Forest Bewilderment Array’ was actually a formation to test the clarity of people’s hearts. The more focused people were, the simpler their path would be out of the formation and they would be able to pass through the stone forest quickly. In reverse, if the mind was burdened with too many worries and clouded thoughts, the person would be trapped in the formation for a long time. Whether they would eventually pass through or be expelled by the stone forest all depended on their subconscious reaction of their own anxiety.

The righteous ones would be able to see the light at the end but the unprincipled ones would not be able to pass and would be driven back to the stone forest entrance.

And just like the middle-aged man had warned, if they utilized internal force within this stone forest, they would immediately be affected by some type of vibration within the formation, causing severe damage to their meridians.

In the script, the only ones who had finally passed the assessment and entered Lesser Jade House were Gu Feidi, Xu Yunzhan and Pu Lingyun.

As for him, the Devil Sect’s Young Saint had been eliminated in this stone forest formation. In the script, he was trapped in the formation until late at night and finally expelled from the formation because of the tyrannical thoughts that had spread in his heart. Unwilling to accept defeat, he had entered the forest again despite being dissuaded, had attempted to fly over the stone forest using light footwork skill, but was severely injured by the formation and had to return to the Devil Sect to recuperate.

Although it seemed that proceeding or not proceeding with this part of the plot wouldn’t affect the storyline, Su Yang still decided not to act too independently and attract others’ attention. So he picked up his step and walked into the stone forest with Fan Xi.

He said to himself: I’ll be expelled eventually anyway. No big deal, I’ll follow the storyline where I use my light footwork skill to break through the stone forest formation and injure my meridians and then I can skip all that other stuff without anyone knowing.

As soon as he entered the forest, Su Yang immediately felt that the surrounding atmosphere was stifling; as if the air had become thicker.

Fan Xi, who was following him closely, frowned and said: “Young Saint, this place is really strange. They weren’t kidding when they told us not to utilize internal force.”

Su Yang nodded and replied, “Better not put our bodies at risk, let’s take a look around.” 

Fan Xi: “Yes, Young Saint.” 

The two walked side by side into the forest for a while. Su Yang turned a corner and was taken aback.

He actually saw a narrow sky in the distance through the gaps of several stone pillars in front of him—so, as long as he walked along this straight line, he could easily pass through the stone forest formation.

“Fan Er, I think I may not be seeing right.” Su Yang said sluggishly, “Look—”

He turned his head and was about to point out the way to Fan Xi, only to find that Fan Xi, who was behind him just now, was gone.

Damn it!

Su Yang roared in his heart: What the hell?!

Is this a formation or an ever-changing house of horrors?

Su Yang, who had just been scared out of his wits, started to self-reflect. He told himself that since this was a fictional martial arts world that included internal strength and martial arts, what other bizarre and weird things couldn’t happen?

After some persuasion, he began to worry again: What should he do next?

Should he or shouldn’t he walk towards the skyline?

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Why was he able to see the exit so quickly?

He obviously just wanted to casually make his way through the plot and to go home!

This plot…

‘Collapse’ is too simple a word to describe this plot, right?!

He, the Devil Sect’s Young Saint, was able to enter Lesser Jade House?

You must be kidding!

Su Yang blinked several times and muttered: “Okay, since I know where the exit is, I don’t want to go there. Satisfied now?”

Having finished grumbling, he snorted, then turned around and wearily hastened in the other direction.

After walking for about five minutes, Su Yang was startled again when he looked up.

This time, there was a winding path in front of him. He was even closer to the gap with the blue sky than before and could even see the exit at a glance.

The mountain peak opposite the stone forest formation and Lesser Jade House were vaguely visible in the gap between the boulders at the end of the path.

Su Yang: .….

Lesser Jade House, your stone forest formation is faulty! Take it back and quickly get it fixed!

Su Yang choked up and could only protest internally.

To ensure he wouldn’t be subject to the stone forest formation’s tricks, Su Yang decided: F*ck it, I’ll stay trapped until nighttime. This Young Saint is going back now! Leave early, arrive early!

So he looked up at the sky, determined the direction and started heading back from the way he came.

However, this time, he felt as if he had only taken a hundred steps and as soon as he looked up, he saw a straight road appearing in front of him.

At the end of the road was a small clearing. Opposite of the clearing were several huge symbolic rocks. The gap between the huge rocks was enough to accommodate two 200-jin sumo wrestlers standing side by side.

Su Yang… Su Yang didn’t dare to wander about.

He felt that if he dared to look back, this impossible formation might send him directly out of the stone forest at the very next second.

He pressed his fingers on his forehead, silently walked to one of the huge symbolic boulders beside the exit, sat down and thought about what he should do next.

Right now he had only himself, not even someone to discuss with, which made him incredibly confused. What if… he had to resort to using his internal force in this formation to seriously injure himself and then be ejected by Lesser Jade House?

But if Lesser Jade House saw that he had arrived at the exit, not only did they not expel him, but healed his meridians with Lesser Jade House’s unique methods instead?

After contemplating it for a long time, he still couldn’t come up with a proper judgement. Su Yang had the urge to beat up the writer and ask: Are you still alive, you prick?!

After sitting there for a long time, no one came to the clearing in front of the exit. Su Yang’s exhaustion from staying up all night the night before finally surfaced in the midst of the boredom and silence.

While mulling about his next course of action on how to be justifiably eliminated by Lesser Jade House, he leaned on the boulder and gradually fell asleep.

This was precisely the scene that greeted Gu Feidi when he walked out of the stone forest.

The person who had fallen asleep on the boulder looked innocent and harmless and all his evil aura seemed to have been withdrawn. His brows were smooth. Those eyes that charmed when he smiled and cut when he fumed were softly closed at the moment. Even the red mole at the corner of his eye seemed to be more tranquil; more like a small coral bead than a drop of blood.

Recognizing that it was Su Yang, Gu Feidi was shocked.

He stood stiffly on the spot for a long while, clenched and loosened his fists many times before finally walking out from the shadow of the boulder.

Chapter 13 : Who Was the First

Su Yang didn’t sleep soundly. One reason was due to the troubles in his heart and the other was because the sun in the stone forest was too bright. If he wasn’t terribly exhausted, he would definitely not be able to fall asleep in this kind of situation.

Just as Gu Feidi’s footsteps approached, Su Yang opened his eyes.

He sat up straight. When he saw that it was Gu Feidi who was the first to reach this exit, he didn’t feel surprised at all.

In the script, the protagonist Gu Feidi was undoubtedly the character with the most transparent heart and the most focused on practicing martial arts. It took him less than half an hour to get out of the stone forest formation; breaking the fastest record since Lesser Jade House was established. Because of this, he was hand picked by the most senior master when he entered Lesser Jade House and instructed most carefully.

Later, he mistakenly intruded into the Veiled Pearl Pavilion at the back of Lesser Jade House and obtained the invaluable guidance of a brilliant master who was in seclusion, thus growing into a hero who was truly unrivaled in martial arts.

It can be said that Gu Feidi’s path to greatness began when he stepped out of the stone forest formation.

Su Yang leaned on the boulder and looked up at Gu Feidi, who was standing in front of him with sunlight shining on his back. He couldn’t help but feel a little surprised: He’s already here. Why doesn’t he go out?

“Why aren’t you leaving the formation?” Gu Feidi asked calmly.

Su Yang: …..

Okay, turns out it’s my problem again.

But he really didn’t come here voluntarily!

Su Yang made an effort to appear haughty, he curled the corners of his lips and directed a wicked smile at Gu Feidi before drawling: “I have yet to decide whether or not I want to enter Lesser Jade House.”

Gu Feidi’s face changed slightly and he asked: “Why do you hesitate?”

Su Yang pondered for a while and referenced the Jianghu rumours of the Devil Sect’s Young Saint: ‘I despise rules the most, respectfulness, nurturing… I’m used to being pampered and there are no beauties to serve my food and dress me. I can’t stand it. At first glance, this Lesser Jade House is a place full of regulations. I have to consider carefully whether or not to tie myself here…’

Gu Feidi said: ‘Lesser Jade House has become a legend of Jianghu because it is a martial arts giant, other schools of Jianghu are incompetent. If you squander your talent like this because you are greedy for pleasure, I am afraid it will be difficult to gain a foothold in the Jianghu in the future.”

Su Yang raised an eyebrow and smiled: “Isn’t that a good thing?! You should be happy about it.”

Gu Feidi’s expression finally revealed an angry scowl.

He gritted his teeth for a while and said in a low voice: “I don’t need you to give way like this every time. You and I should compete fairly to determine which of us is superior! You arrived here first but didn’t go out. Fine then, I won’t go out either. Nevertheless, you and I must be differentiated by who goes out first.”

Once he finished speaking, he actually turned around, walked to the huge boulder opposite Su Yang, sat down cross-legged upon it and ceased acknowledging Su Yang.

Su Yang was dumbfounded.

He wasn’t aware that he had hurt Gu Feidi’s pride by saying ‘You should be happy about it’, but he groaned internally: Since when did Gu Feidi have such an immature disposition? Isn’t this a bit too sudden?!

The protagonist refuses to leave the stone forest. If this plot continues, it will definitely affect the direction of the whole story.

Su Yang was having a headache as he attempted to resolve this dilemma which others would never be able to understand. He raised his hand and pressed the space between his eyebrows.

“Hey, Gu Feidi.”

He said in a low voice: “It’s not worth it for you to do this. It’s not that I’m giving way to you but I really don’t want to enter Lesser Jade House. It’s your own loss if you oppose me like this, don’t you realise?”

Gu Feidi closed his eyes like an old monk sitting in meditation.

Su Yang continued to persuade: “You said it yourself, Lesser Jade House is a legend of Jianghu, martial arts… uh, sacred place. So you definitely mustn’t miss this opportunity!”

Gu Feidi spoke, “Then why are you unwilling to enter the House?”

Su Yang was silent, then answered, “I really dislike rules. There are already so many rules for merely entering the House, I can’t bear it…”

Gu Feidi stopped talking again.

Su Yang became angry: “Why are you so stubborn! If you don’t leave the formation, if you don’t enter Lesser Jade House, where will you obtain the Restoration Scripture: Return To The Nest, think about it—”

“What did you say?”

Gu Feidi interrupted Su Yang. His eyes suddenly pierced Su Yang like arrows and he uttered in a low voice: “You know the whereabouts of the Return To The Nest volume? It’s in Lesser Jade House?!”

Su Yang wanted to give himself a slap on the mouth.

However, before Gu Feidi’s gaze, he had to keep his persona stable. He put on the demeanor of a profound intellectual: “Of course my Devil Sect’s information source can’t be revealed to you, but what you seek is very likely to be here.”

He didn’t convey the whole matter because he didn’t know whether or not the plot was still online. What if his arrival had also affected the existence of the Return To The Nest volume?

Gu Feidi lowered his eyelashes, his expression was strained for a while: “Although I should enter Lesser Jade House, I’m still unable to accept you yielding the first place to me.”

Su Yang was exasperated: “You kid, you can’t be so stubborn just because your surname is Gu aaa!”

Gu Feidi countered, “I’m sixteen years old, I’m not a child anymore.”

Su Yang replied with a serious face, “Since you’re sixteen years old and not a child anymore, you should be able to distinguish between priorities. You are a Martial World Young Tiger, a Righteous Young Eagle and the hope of the righteous Jianghu. Why should you quarrel with me, the Devil Sect demon?”

This time, Gu Feidi was silent for much longer.

He slowly raised his eyes and stared at Su Yang’s face. He asked seriously: “I don’t think you are a demon-whatever. Besides… don’t you refer to yourselves as the ‘Yin Tan Divine Sect’? Why do you follow the righteous martial world way of addressing the Devil Sect?”

Su Yang was at a loss for words, not knowing how to respond.

During filming, he also referred to himself as from the ‘Devil Sect’. Who knew that there was such a reference like ‘Yin Tan Divine Sect’?

Gu Feidi continued: “This stone forest formation is actually called ‘Stone Forest Bewilderment Array’. If you are really as rumoured, your mind full of confusing and shrewd thoughts, you would not arrive here before me. Su Yang, the people of the Jianghu have misread you and I was wrong too.”

Su Yang was taken aback when he heard this.

He suddenly understood the crux of the whole thing.

The Stone Forest Bewilderment Array was to assess whether the person who entered it had a clear heart, whether they were focused, whether their goals were definite and firm… 

The Devil Sect’s Young Saint was born in the Devil Sect that aided and abetted evil deeds; no doubt he would be unavoidably influenced. His thoughts were violent, his temperament was tyrannical and it was inevitable that he wouldn’t pass the stone forest formation.

But Su Yang came from a small and simple family in modern society. He was spoiled by his grandmother ever since he was a child and because of his good-looks, he was indulged everywhere. Even when he later joined the entertainment industry, he hadn’t encountered any dark experiences before he had transmigrated here.

The current him was in fact even more unworldly than Gu Feidi who had spent his childhood growing up in Tengyun Pavilion.

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What’s more, his goal had always been very clear— run with the plot, return to reality. No twists and turns, don’t take notice of anyone here, let alone be overwhelmed by slander lest it affect his determination.

What the stone forest formation detected was not ‘Su Yang, Devil Sect’s Young Saint’, but him and his soul that had transmigrated from outside the script.

Su Yang’s grip on his sleeves slowly tightened; for a moment he felt a bit confused and anxious.

Even if he knew that he had unintentionally broken through the stone forest formation, he couldn’t resolve the current predicament.

They say it’s easy to be bad and hard to be good, but in fact, it was impossible for him to become a shrewd and astute person in an instant. Therefore, he had no way to trap himself in the stone forest formation.

Gu Feidi stared at Su Yang, then suddenly, his expression became a little surprised.

“What are you scared of?” He couldn’t help asking, “You look very nervous, I… have I said anything I shouldn’t have?”

Su Yang closed his eyes and said dejectedly: “…I’m fine.”

He spoke unhurriedly and gently: “Gu Feidi, you should get out soon. Lesser Jade House is a good opportunity for you. It would be unfortunate if you miss it. As for me… I cannot enter Lesser Jade House.”

Gu Feidi asked, ‘Why can’t you?”

Su Yang raised his chin, “ ‘Can’t’ means ‘can’t’. There’s no ‘why’. I… must return to Devil Sect.”

Gu Feidi frowned and said solemnly: ‘Devil Sect’s Leader is forcing you? The thing on your back… I, what I mean is that I heard that the Devil Sect’s Leader has no children, you… were actually an orphan he adopted from some peasants?”

Su Yang: ……

Where did this detail come from?

Hasn’t the Devil Sect’s Leader always been in seclusion?

That dude won’t appear until Gu Feidi goes to destroy Devil Sect and he was killed off almost immediately not long after that!

Seeing Su Yang’s complicated gaze, Gu Feidi’s expression became clear, “I understand.”

Su Yang was almost driven to madness: I don’t understand!

Gu Feidi said: “Since Devil Sect Leader is coercing you this way, all the more you should enter Lesser Jade House. Only when you become stronger, you will no longer be controlled by others and you no longer have to… endure humiliation.”

Su Yang and Gu Feidi wouldn’t agree to leave together, so Su Yang rubbed his face in vain and said seriously: “You better quickly go ahead. I won’t enter the House.”

For a moment, Gu Feidi didn’t reply, then he said, “If you’re not going out, I will stay here and wait.”

Su Yang was so angry that he could only glare at Gu Feidi.

Gu Feidi met Su Yang’s gaze and did not flinch.

For a long,… long time.

“You two… what are you doing?”

Xu Yunzhan had finally exited the stone forest formation with much difficulty. The first thing he saw as soon as he came out of the formation and raised his head were two people sitting on opposite boulders next to the exit and glaring at each other.

He immediately stepped in front of Gu Feidi, blocking Su Yang’s gaze; his tone full of anger: “You demon, what are you doing to Feidi now?!”

Su Yang finally retracted his gaze and blinked his sore eyes, he drawled: “You should be asking him what he wants to do to me……”

Xu Yunzhan gave a cold snort, turned around and pulled Gu Feidi to his feet: “Don’t answer him, Feidi, let’s go.”

When he finished speaking, he moved to drag Gu Feidi out of the stone forest.

Gu Feidi rooted his feet to the spot and stood in place, forcefully pulling Xu Yunzhan back.

His tone was serious: “Su Yang was the first person to arrive here, but he refuses to leave the stone forest formation. I don’t want to accept his goodwill. If he is not the first to go out, then I will also not set half a step out of the stone forest.”

Su Yang originally thought when Xu Yunzhan heard these words, he would blame Gu Feidi for his stubbornness.

But he didn’t expect that Xu Yunzhan’s first reaction was to turn around in shock at his direction.

“…The first person to reach the stone forest formation exit was actually you?!”

Chapter 14 : There’s No Need for Struggle

Su Yang had a headache and massaged his temples, he continued to lean limply on the boulder, refusing to answer.

Xu Yunzhan’s gaze swapped between Gu Feidi and Su Yang twice before he shut his mouth.

For a while, a strange silence returned to the clearing.

Not long after, two figures simultaneously walked out of the stone forest formation; one from the left and the other from the right.

Pu Lingyun looked up, saw Gu Feidi and Xu Yunzhan standing in the clearing and immediately rushed over, smiling: “I knew that xiao shixiong would definitely be the first to arrive! Why don’t you go out? Are you waiting for us so we can leave together?”

On the other side, Fan Xi’s gaze swept across Gu Feidi’s group. When he saw Su Yang at the exit, his expression could not hide a trace of astonishment.

At this time Pu Lingyun also noticed Su Yang. She frowned: “Why are you here?”

Before Su Yang could say anything, Gu Feidi and Fan Xi spoke at the same time:

“He was the first to arrive.”

“Why can’t he be here?”

“He was the first to arrive?!” Fan Xi was really surprised this time. He turned his head to look at Su Yang: “Why didn’t you go out then?”

Su Yang crossed his arms, put on the Devil Sect’s Young Saint’s persona and said indifferently: “Ah, I don’t want to go out. I don’t want to enter Lesser Jade House.”

Both the newly arrived Pu Lingyun and Fan Xi were completely shocked by this answer.

After a while, Fan Xi suddenly regained his senses. He frowned and asked solemnly: “Young Saint, have you given this some serious thought?”

Su Yang nodded: “Yes.”

Fan Xi suddenly smiled and gave Gu Feidi a side eye: “So our Young Hero Gu is going to remain here in the stone forest formation because you refuse to leave it?”

Su Yang pretended to cough lightly, “Mmm, he said he didn’t want to accept my goodwill.”

Fan Xi scoffed and laughed out loud: “Okay then, none of you want to be the leader, I’ll be it!”

As he spoke, he started walking towards the stone forest exit.

Gu Feidi wordlessly stepped forward and stopped Fan Xi midway.

Fan Xi laughed: “I have long heard that Tengyun Pavilion’s Leader Gu stresses on morality and justice, but he does not want Young Hero Gu as his only son. The Young Master of Tengyun Pavilion, acting so domineering. Not only does he want to kidnap the Young Saint, but also obstruct other elected participants from passing through the stone forest formation… this is the conduct of those from Tengyun Pavilion?”

His words stunned everyone there, including Su Yang.

Gu Feidi subconsciously refuted: “I’m not—”

“If you’re not kidnapping Young Saint, then why are you using your own future to threaten him?” Fan Xi asked.

Gu Feidi: “I didn’t—“

“It’s Young Saint’s own business whether or not he wants to enter Lesser Jade House. Since he has already made a decision, in what capacity are you to make another decision for him?” Fan Xi carried on.

Gu Feidi: “I was just—”

“It’s not that you’re unwilling to accept his goodwill; you just don’t want to be condemned in the future with outsiders saying that you can make a name in the world only because he gave up being selected for Lesser Jade House.” Fan Xi laughed: “You’re just worried about your own reputation, am I right?”

Gu Feidi flushed with anger at Fan Xi’s sentence, clenched his fist tightly and rebuffed: “I never had that thought! I only deem it unfair on his behalf! He is very talented and dedicated to martial arts, but the Devil Sect’s leader has… I, I just can’t bear to see him remain as a diamond in the rough…”

Watching Gu Feidi be criticized by Fan Xi and struggling to explain himself, Su Yang suddenly felt like laughing.

He knew that Gu Feidi wasn’t lying—from beginning to end, being extremely cheerful, innocent and courageous were all his characteristics. Perhaps due to his youth, he often thought of what he should do according to his own principles, however, he would fail to consider the feelings of the people around him. Nevertheless, his standpoint would never be selfish or dismal.

Take this matter: Gu Feidi was one hundred percent pure and firmly stands by his belief that ‘whoever’s first, wins’.

In fact, this type of disposition wasn’t bad for a fictional character, but if people saw the current Gu Feidi standing before Su Yang at this moment, they would inevitably find him obstinate, childish and difficult to deal with.

All of a sudden, Xu Yunzhan, who had been quiet all this while, laughed. He stretched out his hand and patted Gu Feidi on the shoulder, “Feidi, don’t be fooled by their unreasonable arguments.”

Gu Feidi was puzzled.

Su Yang also looked doubtful.

Xu Yunzhan continued: “If Young Master Fan was able to clear this stone forest formation, I’m afraid that the long rhetoric earlier didn’t come from his conscience, right? Now I have good reason to suspect that the Jianghu rumours about Young Hero Su, as well as his insufferably arrogant attitude were actually broadcast out on purpose to confuse the world. After all, not everyone can pass through Lesser Jade House’s Stone Forest Bewilderment Array.”

Su Yang: ……

Smart, good-looking guys are so annoying!

Seeing that Su Yang and Fan Xi didn’t respond, Xu Yunzhan smiled and asked: “As long as Young Hero Su is willing to be earnest and not withhold anything when answering some of my questions, I shall persuade Feidi take the first step out of the stone forest formation, how ‘bout that?”

Su Yang pretended to be uncooperative: “Why should I answer you!”

Xu Yunzhan didn’t care and asked directly: “Young Hero Su claims that he’s unwilling to enter Lesser Jade House, but why did you come to participate in the selection? Why did you get a jade bell from Meizhu Mountain? Why did you exert all your internal force to pass the assessment in front of the mountain gate? Why admit to practicing martial arts all night last night? Why… were you willing to step into the Stone Forest Bewilderment Array?”

——Because it was arranged by the script.

However, Su Yang couldn’t answer that way.

Thus, he glared at Xu Yunzhan and felt anger bubbling in his heart.

As I said! Smart, good-looking guys are so annoying!

“I also want to know, little bro, why do you look down on our Lesser Jade House and suddenly refuse to enter?”

Suddenly, an indistinct laughter sounded above everyone’s heads.

The voice appeared without warning and startled the five of them at the clearing.

Atop the huge boulder at the exit of the stone forest formation, stood a person in a red garment with a well-groomed face and hair. However, one could not tell whether it was a man or a woman.

He…or she*, with one hand on a knee and another on a cheek, squinted at Su Yang and smiled, “This handsome little bro, why not explain it to me. You’ve come to participate in the selection, have performed exceedingly well and have even managed to arrive here in less than a stick of incense’s time. What’s the reason you don’t want to enter our Lesser Jade House all of a sudden?”

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(*TN : we’ll just refer to this person as ‘he’ from now on just to make it easier)

As soon as these words came out, everyone in the clearing turned their focus on Su Yang.

Managed to arrive here in less than a stick of incense’s time?!

What kind of demon was this naturally gifted?

No, what kind of unrivaled innocence was this?!

According to legend, the fastest person to pass through Lesser Jade House’s stone forest formation prior to this was the current Martial Alliance leader, Tengyun Pavilion’s Gu Ruohai. And it had taken him more than half an hour before he came out.

The person in red couldn’t wait for an answer, he chuckled again and urged: “Say something, little bro.”

Su Yang finally pushed off from the boulder, looked up at the person in red and said: “Since you know when I got here, you should also have heard what I said to Gu Feidi. I am used to being pampered and need beauties to serve my daily needs. Lesser Jade House… has too many rules, I don’t want to enter.”

The person in red smiled and stretched out a finger, pointing at Su Yang’s heart: “I don’t believe these words, because I can hear that your heartbeat is messed up. Little bro, you are lying.”

Hearing the over-dramatized lines, Su Yang almost couldn’t maintain the expression on his face.

The person in red continued: “Fascinating. This little dude can endlessly spout nonsense and lie so casually, but can get out of this Bewilderment Array within a stick of incense… Such an intriguing person, I’m tempted to keep you in my abode and study you properly.”

Su Yang was speechless, his heart pounding as he wondered how he could quickly bring this progressively uncontrollable plot back on track.

Or just maneuver your internal strength to cause a serious injury to yourself!

At this juncture when Su Yang was about to raise his meridian point to stir his inner force, a faint female voice intervened: “Chi Tong, don’t tease him. He has already made it here. He doesn’t have the final say whether or not to enter Lesser Jade House. If one doesn’t focus on cultivating their internal strength to a higher level, no one can pass through the stone forest formation. Su Yang, do you understand?”

Su Yang: …

I don’t want to understand!

How abbreviated was the initial script he received? How many details had been omitted? Why didn’t he know that entering Lesser Jade House was still semi-mandatory! Was the original author so inhuman? How was he to turn around this sort of collapsed storyline when faced with such circumstances?!

The most deceitful thing was that some meddlesome god had carried out the storyline without giving him script lines to refer to!

How could he, a semi-illiterate who had graduated many years ago, speak in the tone and accent of the ancients?

Can you pleeease release me?

Su Yang decided that no matter whom this person doing the talking was, as long as she dared to show up, he would oppose her and leave to ensure that his plans would not be disrupted by Lesser Jade House!

With the sound of almost indistinguishable footsteps, the lady in white who had previously assessed participants’ internal strength in front of Lesser Jade House mountain gate slowly stepped out from the stone forest formation.

Su Yang.….

…became shamefully obedient.

The lady in white’s eyes were still hazy and her voice was still calm: “You don’t have to argue about who is first or last. I know everyone’s performance in the stone forest formation like the back of my hand. Even if someone wants to seize or decline to be leader, they won’t be able to obtain Lesser Jade House’s approval. Therefore, it is meaningless to stay here. Just follow me.” 

The five looked at each other.

Everyone had witnessed the unfathomable internal power of the lady in white, therefore no one dared to stand out and refute her. In the end, they all obediently followed her to walk out of the stone forest formation.

After taking two steps, Su Yang looked at the lady in white and suddenly came up with something. His eyes lit up and he exclaimed, “Earlier, someone provoked Lesser Jade House and was disqualified from the participation. Then, if I make trouble now, will I be kicked out?”

The lady in white paused in her footsteps, turned her head slowly, her eyes erratically locked on Su Yang.

“No.”

The light in Su Yang’s eyes dimmed instantly.

He heard the lady in white say indifferently: “I injured and expelled the two of them because their strength is far from amazing. And a genius like you can do anything in Lesser Jade House and still be tolerated. Even if you want to be surrounded by beauties, it’s not entirely impossible, as long as you have Lesser Jade House’s master’s permission.”

“So, there’s no need for you to struggle.”

Su Yang: …

Lesser Jade House of Jianghu legend. Are your integrity and morals the lowest?!

Chapter 15 : Entering Lesser Jade House

Escorted by the lady in white, Su Yang walked across the chain bridge on the other side of the stump platform of tree stump mountain and finally arrived at Lesser Jade House’s main entrance under the solitary peak.

A man in dark clothing, wearing a cold expression, stood at the door observing the number of people arriving. He stepped forward, nodded and greeted: ‘Di Ling.”

The lady in white clasped her fists in salute: “Mo shixiong.”

The dark-clothed man swept his gaze over Su Yang and the others: “That didn’t take long, they are all good seedlings.”

The lady in white said: “These few young ones are talented. I’ve brought them over first and will return together with Chi Tong to wait for the remaining youths. I will trouble Mo shixiong to first bring them to settle down at the guest compound. I am afraid that the results of the stone forest will only be known later.”

The dark-clothed man nodded and said to the five of them, “All of you, follow me.”

There were large tracts of green bamboo forests at the foot of Lesser Jade House’s solitary peak. Scattered in the midst of these forests were several small courtyards with white walls and gray tiles.

The dark-clothed man placed Su Yang and the others in a courtyard with three rooms so that they wouldn’t get restless. He said that when the results of the stone forest formation were out, he would bring them together up the mountain for them to formally pay their respects to the master for being officially accepted as disciples. Afterwards, the dark-clothed man left without even offering them a glass of water.

The five of them in the courtyard looked at each other.

The strange environment of Lesser Jade House and the strange behaviour of its inhabitants suddenly made the five originally disagreeable youths feel closer towards one another. Even Pu Lingyun, who loved to kick up a fuss, had calmed down.

“What… what are the rules for this Lesser Jade House?” Fan Xi asked doubtfully.

“I don’t know.” Xu Yunzhan knitted his brows, “But since he asked us to wait, we should wait patiently. This is Lesser Jade House, the people here behave strangely, but there shouldn’t be any ill intentions.”

Fan Xi turned his head to Su Yang and asked, “Young Saint, why the dispute?”

Su Yang was still distracted and his heart was so confused with his inexplicable abduction into Lesser Jade House that he didn’t hear Fan Xi’s question. For a while, he looked in the direction of the west wing room within the small courtyard in a daze, his eyes not knowing where to focus.

The door of the west wing room was open and from everyone’s perspective, a corner of the low couch in the room was vaguely visible.

“Young Hero Su cultivated hard last night, Yunzhan should be tired.” Gu Feidi said, “We might as well go to the rooms and rest for a while to rejuvenate our spirits.”

Su Yang suddenly returned to his senses. Hearing these words, he gave a low ‘oh’ and without saying anything more, he walked directly into the west wing master room and flipped the door closed with a bang.

Pu Lingyun finally couldn’t help pouting and whispering: “He acted so perversely, I don’t know how he managed to get through the stone forest formation!”

Hearing this, Fan Xi laughed.

Pu Lingyun became angry: “What are you laughing at!”

Fan Xi eyed Pu Lingyun curiously: “Your temper is so bad, I don’t know how you managed to get through the stone forest formation.”

Pu Lingyun: “You—!”

Xu Yunzhan stretched out his hand to stop Pu Lingyun and persuaded, “That’s enough, in a few days, we’ll all be classmates in Lesser Jade House. Those who can pass through the stone forest formation shouldn’t be iniquitous. Those narrow-minded opinions of the Jianghu do not need to be mentioned within Lesser Jade House. We should also all get along harmoniously in the future.”

Pu Lingyun obediently shut up.

Fan Xi gave a chuckle and turned to address Gu Feidi, “Presumably Young Hero Gu can also see that Young Saint is not a bad person. You will need to properly manage your xiao shimei.”

After speaking, he didn’t look at Pu Lingyun’s expression. Instead, he swung his sleeves leisurely, headed towards the room in the east, entered and closed the door without looking back.

Xu Yunzhan shook his head helplessly, “Let’s go, the main house looks quite spacious and the three of us should be able to take a rest.”

Once everyone had entered their houses, the courtyard became quiet again except for the rustling of leaves stirred up by the breeze in the surrounding bamboo forest.

Su Yang had a comfortable afternoon rest. When he awoke, the sunset sky was filled with clouds.

He sat up with the blanket and his undershirt, raised his hand and pushed open the window. He stared out into the courtyard which had turned a golden red from the rays of the setting sun.

The unpolluted air was very clear and Su Yang had excellent eyesight due to his martial arts; so much so that he could even see the thin leaves flying at the edges of the bamboo forest. Stirred up by the wind, the leaves became golden, glinting and sparkling, reflecting the sunset’s radiance.

Fan Xi passed by with a tray and saw Su Yang sitting in a daze at the window. He smiled and said, “Young Saint is awake? I’ve just discovered a small kitchen in the corner of the courtyard. There are freshly prepared ingredients and firewood. There are also some ready-made cold snacks and pastries. I’ve heated some water and tea and was about to call you. How about a cup of tea together?”

Su Yang blinked. He lifted the thin blanket, got out of bed and opened the door.

Fan Xi entered the house with a smile, bearing a teapot and refreshments: “Young Saint, you really lucked out with the food, I just—”

He looked at Su Yang who had turned back to the bed to get his clothes and the voice in his throat suddenly got stuck.

Fan Xi quickly put down the things he was holding onto the Eight Immortals table* by the door and reached the bed with big strides. He picked up the thin blanket, turned around and quickly draped it over Su Yang’s back.

(*TN : Eight Immortals table = old-fashioned square table that seats eight people)

His expression was anxious and couldn’t help pushing Su Yang to sit down at the edge of the bed.

Su Yang clutched the blanket uncertainly, “What’s happening?”

Fan Xi stared fixedly at Su Yang, who was eyeing him.

Su Yang had just woken up, his expression was still a little groggy with a few traces of red pillow marks on his cheeks. His braid was slightly messed up and the line from his neck to his face was taut. His light, semi-transparent, white gauze shirt hadn’t been properly straightened out yet. The neckline was slightly open exposing half of the exquisite arc of his collarbone… His whole person was flushed red in the evening light, it made him captivatingly beautiful and one wouldn’t be able to tell if he was a woman or a man.

Fan Xi released the edge of the thin blanket and gritted his teeth: “Young Saint, you must not be careless in the future. The material of this silk undergarment is transparent and can barely conceal anything. The flowers on your back… I assume you do not wish for others to see it.”

Su Yang frowned and asked: “Flowers?”

Fan Xi was startled, “The tattoo on your back… you didn’t know?”

Su Yang subconsciously reached into his neckline past his shoulders to touch his back.

There was a tattoo on the Devil Sect’s Young Saint’s back?

Greaaat, yet another detail omitted by the script.

Judging from Fan Xi’s expression, the tattoo seemed to be very significant to the storyline and he shouldn’t randomly allow others to see it.

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Su Yang was expressionless as he pondered. He should really go and read the original work to see what weird and bizarre things were in the author’s brain.

Fan Xi watched as the surprise on Su Yang’s face gradually turned calm, he gritted his teeth and spoke, “Apologies, Young Saint, I didn’t know you were kept in the dark. The Devil Sect Leader actually treats you as… So, this should be the way to go, you can’t just blindly endure it, you have to fight against it.”

He paused, then added: “You have now been selected by Lesser Jade House. In the future when you leave, aa… you don’t need to return to the Devil Sect anymore.”

Su Yang stopped his train of thought and looked up at Fan Xi, murmuring to himself: Why does this person always talk like this; saying some and omitting the rest ? It sounds uncomfortably strange.

But he couldn’t just bluntly ask— it was fine that the Devil Sect flower aide knew that his memory was muddled, but he still had to be more alert with others.

And he still had to run with the storyline! Not go back to the Devil Sect? Absolutely no way!

So Su Yang chuckled: “How is it possible? Devil… Yin Tan Divine Sect is my home. No matter what, I will always go back.”

Fan Xi pursed his lips, “Young Saint—at least… take care to not let others see the tattoo on your back in the future.”

Su Yang nodded and smiled: “Fine.”

Su Yang had just gotten dressed. Before he had time to take a sip of tea, the dark-clothed man who had earlier brought everyone to the small courtyard suddenly reappeared. He told everyone to assemble at Lesser Jade House’s main entrance and prepare to go up the mountain for the admission ceremony.

None of them dared to delay and immediately took their belongings to follow the dark-clothed man out of the courtyard.

The lady in white and the one in  red were waiting on the blue flagstone steps at the foot of the mountain leading three youngsters behind them.

Seeing that all the young martial artists who passed the selection had arrived, the dark-clothed man only said ‘keep up’, then turned around and walked along the slender mountain road to the top of the solitary mountain.

Everyone there knew martial arts, therefore, climbing up the mountain didn’t take much effort. In less than a stick of incense, the group arrived at the main hall of Lesser Jade House situated halfway up the mountain.

At this time, the remaining rays of the sunset had gradually begun to fade. Thousands of candles had been lit in the main hall, making the entire hall shine as bright as day.

The three seats side-by-side at the top of the main hall were strangely empty; there were no noble-reverent-teacher figures seated there as Su Yang had imagined based on the script.

In the entire hall, there was only an enchanting woman sitting on the main chair and drinking tea. She looked to be in her thirties. Seeing everyone arriving, she immediately rose and welcomed them.

“Di Ling, Chi Tong, Mo Yun.”

The enchanting woman greeted the three from Lesser Jade House first, then glanced behind them and smiled: “Ah, there’s also a female hero selected this time! Xiao mei mei, would you like to study under me?”

Then, she walked around and scanned Pu Lingyun carefully: “Turns out that it’s Gu shixiong’s disciple from Tengyun Pavilion. You are practicing the Folding Feather Sutra?”

Pu Lingyun nodded and generously paid her respects: “That’s right.”

The enchanting woman smiled: “Presumably your posture and moves are also light and dexterous; perfectly fitting for you to be under my tutelage.”

Just as the two of them had finished speaking, the dark-clothed man asked from the other side: “Why is it you’re here? Shizun* not showing up this time?”

(*TN : Shizun = disciples’ way of addressing their teacher; usually for those who train cultivation. A similar address is “Shifu” which are usually for teachers of martial arts)

The enchanting woman replied, “Shizun’s message just now said that Shizun is going into seclusion and has left it to us to oversee, select and tutor suitable young martial artists. Zhu shixiong, Wen shixiong and Yang shijie* are approaching a breakthrough and will not come out from seclusion, so there’s only us left. Fortunately, you and I have tutored newcomers before and this time, there is also Di Ling and Chi Tong to help out.”

(*TN : shixiong = elder martial brother, shijie = elder martial sister, shidi = younger martial brother, shimei = younger martial sister)

The dark-clothed man nodded, “This way is also fine.”

The selected youngsters stood at one side listening to the conversation between the two and were unable to make head or tail of it. They discreetly exchanged looks amongst each other without saying a word.

Then, they saw the enchanting woman turn to take a dark green scroll painting from the side lounge of the main hall and hang it behind the middle seat.

It was a portrait of a beautiful woman standing on the limestone riverbank of the Lushui River, holding a book in one hand and a brush in the other, her eyes staring off into the distance.

The dark-clothed man said: “Since you’ve all entered Lesser Jade House, you’re all disciples of ‘Immortal Qingbo’. In the future, you address me as a shixiong or my courtesy name. Shizun is busy with affairs and often goes into seclusion. You all… can pay your respects and perform the teacher/ disciple ceremony to this scroll portrait.”

All the young martial artists: 

… what kind of weirdly, wondrous place was this Jianghu legendary Lesser Jade House?!