Did We Agree To Be Rivals? ~ Chapter 021-025
Chapter 21 : From Summer to Winter
By early next morning, everyone in Lesser Jade House heard the news that Su Yang had decided to go into seclusion.
Although Lesser Jade House’s rules were not strict, the younger generations under the care of their respective shixiongs and shijies were not allowed to visit others’ residences at will. Of course, usually if the disciples wanted to gather and exchange pointers, the martial arts field and various garden pavilions in Lesser Jade House were used as places to meet up.
But once Su Yang entered seclusion, he could no longer walk out of the garden as he wished after relinquishing the jade bell. Apart from Di Ling and Gu Feidi who were living with him, outsiders would not be able to see him.
Fan Xi clearly appeared rather frustrated. After eating breakfast in a huff, he returned to Li shijie’s courtyard and quickly handed in his jade bell and announced that he would also go into seclusion.
At dinner that day, everyone heard that… Luo Yin, the uninteresting and forgettable disciple who had previously been taken away by Chi Tong, had also gone into seclusion.
This time around, Lesser Jade House had opened their doors and acquired eight disciples. In less than two days, three of them had gone into seclusion.
“Like that, it would seem that the rest of us are idling.” Xu Yunzhan poured half a cup of tea, handed it to Gu Feidi and laughed, “It’s a pity that I can’t practice heavy sword moves within my courtyard. I need to go to the martial arts field every day to train. Looks like I won’t be able to go into seclusion even by the time I graduate from here.”
Pu Lingyun curled her lips, “Su Yang goes into seclusion probably because he knows that he is different and disliked. Fan Xi is obedient to him, so when Su Yang doesn’t come out, he would of course not want to be the target of public criticism. Therefore, he might as well follow suit!”
After speaking, she leaned forward and looked at Gu Feidi with a serious face: “Xiao shixiong, since you’re living with that demon spawn, try your best not to be led astray by him and be careful not to fall victim to his schemes.”
Xu Yunzhan smiled: “I think that Su Yang has always been pretending to be complex, but in fact, his mind may not be that profound. Once he exited the stone forest formation, I initially thought he had plans for Gu Feidi, but I fear it may be far from it.”
Hearing these words, Gu Feidi suddenly let out a laugh.
He rubbed his left arm brace and his gaze turned warm. It was obvious that it wasn’t him being sarcastic but he had found something that really amused him.
“As it happens, his approach is sometimes…” Gu Feidi coughed lightly, “…In short, the rumours of the Jianghu are not credible. He is indeed pure.”
Pu Lingyun rolled her eyes, clearly unwilling to concede.
Xu Yunzhan asked, “So, why do you think he used the Lianxiang Rejuvenating Pills on you in the first place?”
Gu Feidi’s expression suddenly became a little downcast as if he didn’t know what to think. After pondering for a moment, he slowly spoke: “If he wasn’t doing it under compulsion or being threatened by the Devil Sect Leader to use the medicine on me… If he fed me the medicine out of his own will, I think… at the time, he probably just wanted to save my life.”
At this point, he lowered his eyelashes and continued: “After all, once ‘Nirvana’ is stimulated and self-healing begins, in the eyes of outsiders, I look no different from someone whose life is hanging by a thread.”
Xu Yunzhan said: “If you can find the Return To The Nest volume, you can practice complete Restoration Scripture, then you can control the stimulation and suspension of Nirvana. No matter how bad the injury is, you should have time to find a safe place to heal your wounds, at least you won’t suddenly faint and get into a bad situation.”
“Return To The Nest volume…”
Gu Feidi’s voice was very low and sounded a little understated, but what he said was something truly shocking:
“…I’ve found it.”
“What?!” Xu Yunzhan sprang to his feet, his eyes gleaming with excitement, “How did you find it?!”
Gu Feidi smiled, “A lucky coincidence. It was hidden within another unrelated book at Wanjuan Pavilion.”
Pu Lingyun’s eyes were also bright as she grabbed Gu Feidi’s arm: “Xiao shixiong! If you can memorise it and write the whole part down from memory when you return to Tengyun Pavilion, Shifu would surely be very happy!”
Gu Feidi nodded: “…I must finish studying it before graduating. Only then can I fully understand what its meanings are. I have yet to accomplish a breakthrough for the ‘Scorn’ volume, so in order to start training for the Return To The Nest volume, I would need some time. As a matter of fact, I have already planned to enter seclusion to complete cultivation of the Restoration Scripture as soon as possible.”
Xu Yunzhan and Pu Lingyun were completely supportive of his decision. The three of them drank tea for a while then went back to their respective dwellings.
Su Yang was practicing sword skills in the courtyard.
The master of Lesser Jade House had specifically asked Di Ling to take him to live in Zhichun Garden because there were flowers and trees in the courtyard for all the seasons and flowers would be in full bloom throughout the year. It was now early summer, the pergolas in the courtyard were covered with blooming roses and there were two lilac trees in front of the hall. In a pond at the corner of the small courtyard, light pink lotus flowers were sprouting small, pointed buds, hidden among the emerald green lotus leaves, gently swaying in the breeze.
While Su Yang had never practiced martial arts and also because of the flowers in the courtyard, he would never have realised that the essence of martial arts was related to flowers and the art of dance was palpably connected to nature.
He didn’t know if all the martial arts used by Devil Sect were like dance, but the Prized Flower Steps and Blooming Lotus Sword technique he had trained in were all inextricably linked to dance.
For Su Yang, that was a good thing.
He was skilled at dancing and at that moment, he had already memorized all the moves of Blooming Lotus Sword technique. He only had to integrate his internal force flow with these sword moves.
His flaming red robes and sleeves swished up and down. From a distance, it looked like a begonia flower blooming in the wind.
“The movement is smooth and the control of internal force isn’t bad.” Di Ling approached slowly, put down the book in her hand and said, “It’s just that your sword moves lack killing aura and are too supple.”
Su Yang stopped his movements to wipe his sweat: “Settle the moves and internal strength first. As for the killing aura, it will come out naturally when the need arises in life or death situations.”
Di Ling shook her head: “If you don’t practice during ordinary times, when it comes to a life or death situation, your whole person will be filled with flaws. If you don’t believe me, you can try and practice on me.”
When Gu Feidi returned to Zhichun Garden, he saw two figures in the courtyard, one red and one white, both striking at each other and converging with their moves.
No, to describe it as ‘striking at each other’ was a bit unfair.
In the midst of the yard, the long sword in the hands of the red-robed swordsman could hardly even touch the edges of the lady in white’s clothes. The lady in white clearly only had a scrolled up book in her hand which was less than a foot long, but it was always able to hit Su Yang’s vital points. Forehead, side of the neck, chest… If Di Ling was holding a sword in her hand, or if she just released her majestic inner strength from the scroll, Su Yang would already have been killed countless times.
Di Ling turned her hand and tapped Su Yang’s wrist with the scroll. Su Yang could no longer hold onto the sword.
The thin sword fell to the ground with a reluctant ‘weng’ resonance.
Su Yang straightened, his breathing was messy and he was dripping sweat.
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“You’ve trained sword skills before, but you’ve never battled anyone?” Di Ling asked doubtfully, “How did you manage with such an absence of regulations?”
Su Yang said in his heart: Within Lesser Jade House, the Devil Sect’s Young Saint’s character has been completely obliterated. Doesn’t matter if I concede on this point.
So he nodded: “Indeed… never fought against anyone before.” As soon as these words came out, both Gu Feidi who had been watching the fight, as well as Di Ling had shocked expressions on their faces.
After a long silence, Di Ling spoke: “From now on, we’ll do training at Mao period* every morning and I will personally feed you moves. Lesser Jade House will not let those who have the inner strength but are unable to fight to complete their discipleship.”
(*TN : Mao’s period = 5am – 7am, in the system of two-hour subdivision used in ancient times)
Su Yang was secretly calculating the time for Mao’s period in the morning when he heard Di Ling speak again: “Great, Feidi is also back, both of you can go to practice Nine Cold Surging Shoots technique. As for the tough clothing with narrow sleeves you were asking for just now, I will notify the in-building manager to prepare it and provide it to you as soon as possible.”
Su Yang returned to the room and wiped down his body briefly before changing clothes. Then he took the first volume of Nine Cold Surging Shoots, went to the main hall, sat side-by-side with Gu Feidi at the Eight Immortals table and began listening to him read aloud and explain.
Once they began, it continued straight on until the sky had turned dark.
Gu Feidi had a regular daily schedule for work and rest times and he went to bed at Hai period*. When he had returned to his room, Su Yang took the book and notes back to his own desk and continued to burn the midnight oil.
(*TN : Hai period = 9pm – 11pm)
——He must understand the sentence breaks and vocabulary that frequently appear in the mental cultivation method, also to figure out where the meridian and acupuncture points involved are specifically located, so as to ensure that he will not get into trouble while practicing this method.
When the candle in the lamp burned out and the whole room instantly plunged into darkness, only did Su Yang wake up with a start. He had probably stayed up until midnight again. Recalling that he had to practice swords before dawn the next day, he hurriedly washed his face and went to bed.
Just as he was closing his eyes, Gu Feidi’s voice rang out.
“Su Yang, Ling shijie asked me to wake you and prepare for morning training.” The voice wasn’t loud, but it was like a sharp arrow piercing into Su Yang’s ears.
Su Yang reluctantly pushed himself off the bed to wash up and nearly fell asleep again.
Gu Feidi stretched out his hand and patted him on the shoulder, frowning, “What? Did you stay up late again last night? I called you this morning but you didn’t move for a long time, so I used inner strength to wake you up.”
Only then did Su Yang realise where the sound that had almost burst his eardrums had come from.
He couldn’t help sighing as he looked up at the grey-blue sky and at the few stars that had not yet disappeared.
If this intensity continued everyday that he was in seclusion, he feared that in the long run, there would be a day that he would die in Lesser Jade House.
However, if he wanted to graduate within two years and catch up with the Wasteland storyline of the Dubious Tomb of the Sword Sage, he must not have any instances of laziness.
So, from that day onward, Su Yang began seclusion for the first time in Lesser Jade House.
Every day, during the Mao period before dawn, he would practice swords with Di Ling in the courtyard. After breakfast, he would meditate using the Six Underworlds Inter Flower technique. When he awoke, he would start reviewing the Nine Cold Surging Shoots he had read the night before After lunch, it was back to meditation again. In the afternoon, he practiced swordsmanship and internal force manipulation by himself. Then in the evenings, he would study the next page of Nine Cold Surging Shoots with Gu Feidi. In the middle of the night, he studied ancient sentence reading and meridian acupuncture points by lamplight.
No matter rain or shine.
The concept of weekends did not exist here. Lesser Jade House originally had a rest a day every ten days, but Su Yang was in seclusion and his rest was cancelled.
And so, summer became autumn. The courtyard was filled with osmanthus flowers that replaced the lilacs and chrysanthemum thickets had eliminated the roses.
During the Mid-Autumn and Double Ninth festivals, Su Yang refused Gu Feidi’s invitation to gather with other classmates and hike up the mountain. Instead, he hid in the courtyard and continued to grapple with the Nine Cold Surging Shoots technique.
Autumn turned to winter and the weather gradually became colder.
Finally, on a clear day after the snow had passed, Su Yang’s practice was interrupted by a little green bird bearing a letter and he was forced to leave seclusion.
——The New Year was already fast approaching.
Chapter 22 : Half a Year at Lesser Jade House
“Fan Er! You stop right now!”
“Return my hairpin, otherwise, I will go to Li shijie to settle this!”
“Wintersweet flowers are so beautiful, why can’t they be used to adorn your hair?”
“ —You’re horrible!”
Xu Yunzhan took a slow sip of hot tea, turned his head and looked up with a faint smile at the two people chasing each other using light footwork on the treetops outside the pavilion.
Gu Feidi who was sitting across from him, picked up the kettle from atop the small stove, poured tea into his cup and laughed: “In the past six months, Lingyun and Fan Xi have become more familiar with each other.”
Xu Yunzhan said: “Lingyun is still like a child. Her temper isn’t good. Although Fan Xi always provokes and gets her angry, Li shijie said that when it’s time to be serious, he would always take care of Lingyun. In fact, Lingyun… if she really hates him, she probably wouldn’t be quarreling with him like this.”
Gu Feidi said: “She loves excitement and being lively. When you and I go into seclusion a lot, she can’t find any playmates, so when she and Fan Xi are in the courtyard with Li shijie, they’ll naturally become friendlier.”
Xu Yunzhan paused with the cup in his hand and smiled: “You’re not worried about Lingyun being friendly with that guy?”
Gu Feidi said, “Although the Qinglian Sect is both righteous and evil, Fan Xi is not a villain if he can enter Lesser Jade House. If Lingyun is friendly with him, there’s nothing for me to worry about.”
Xu Yunzhan sighed when he heard the words: “My aunt and uncle passed away too soon, leaving Lingyun alone. At the beginning, my mother advocated sending Lingyun to Tengyun Pavilion instead of staying in Qianfeng Villa. Bearing in mind that her physique is not suitable for practicing heavy swords, shouldn’t you be able to more or less guess what the other motive is?”
Gu Feidi smiled: “If I can guess it, then I can guess it, but… I only see and treat her as my younger sister.”
Xu Yunzhan also smiled: “I believe Lingyun also treats you as an older brother. She is at the age of having her first experience of love. If she likes you, she would look at you differently. However… after leaving Lesser Jade House, Lingyun’s marriage cannot be delayed. If Leader Gu has that intention, I am afraid he will also advocate for her…”
Before he could finish speaking, he was interrupted by a figure in a goose-yellow outfit rushing in from outside the pavilion.
“It’s infuriating me to death!”
Pu Lingyun had been chasing Fan Xi for a long while without success. She landed in the pavilion, grabbed the teacup in front of Xu Yunzhan, gulped it down and slammed the cup onto the table: “He snatched away my hairpin but biao ge and xiao shixiong won’t help me either!”
Xu Yunzhan smiled: “You both practice nimble and dexterous techniques and your light footwork skills are much better compared to mine. How am I supposed to help you?”
Pu Lingyun turned her head angrily and looked at Gu Feidi, “What about xiao shixiong? Xiao shixiong has achieved great success in cultivating Restoration Scripture and your light footwork is much better than Fan Er’s. Why won’t you help me either!”
Gu Feidi glanced at Pu Lingyun and said, “Wintersweet flower, as a hair accessory is better than a hairpin. It complements your yellow outfit very well and also emits a delicate floral fragrance.”
Pu Lingyun raged: “Xiao shixiong, you’re actually speaking on that guy’s behalf!”
Gu Feidi laughed, “If you’re really dissatisfied with the spray of flowers, then take it off. How am I supposed to know?”
Pu Lingyun opened her mouth but was unable to refute, so she sulked angrily and ignored Gu Feidi.
Xu Yunzhan was suddenly surprised: “Ah, how come some of the flowers on the sprig have fallen off?”
Pu Lingyun was shocked and immediately raised her hand anxiously to feel it: “What? I’ve purposely used internal force to protect—”
Seeing Xu Yunzhan’s mischievous face, her face immediately turned bright red: “Biao ge, you! You’re completely annoying!”
After that, she turned around and used light footwork to flee the pavilion to who-knows-where.
The two youngsters in the pavilion looked at each other helplessly and laughed.
Xu Yunzhan said: “Speaking of which, Su Yang has been in seclusion since entering the House. It is really surprising not to see him during the Mid-Autumn Festival and Double Ninth Festival. If word gets out, no one would probably believe that the reckless, impetuous and violent Devil Sect’s Young Saint could be so diligent.”
Gu Feidi was silent for a moment and hesitated: “He’s… probably not diligent.”
Xu Yunzhan was puzzled: “What makes you say that?”
Gu Feidi lowered his eyelashes, stared at the cup of tea and only spoke after a while: “I always feel that he seems to be very anxious, as if he is fighting against time. It’s almost like, if he cannot achieve a breakthrough within a few years, something bad might happen. He trains in martial arts and techniques and only rests for less than four hours a day. It has been like this for the past six months.”
Xu Yunzhan frowned: “What is so important that he has to work himself to the ground and wrestle against time?”
Gu Feidi shook his head without answering, but his eyes gradually dimmed and he was obviously a little distracted.
Both of them remained quiet when suddenly, an emerald green bird flew in from a distance with a fiery red hairband still in its beak.
The hairband trailed along, gliding like a wisp of cloud. It was a wonder how the dainty little bird managed to fly so fast while carrying it in its beak.
The little bird dived towards Gu Feidi’s arms, dropped the hairband, flipped over, flapped its wings and flew away again.
Gu Feidi bewilderedly picked up the hairband that had fallen, suddenly remembered something and his fingers tightened slightly.
In the distance, a figure dressed in a dark red outfit with disheveled hair rushed forward.
Even without the wide-sleeved robes of the Devil Sect attire, the movements of Prized Flower Steps were light, lively and still resembled an immortal’s.
Su Yang witnessed the emerald green bird flick his hairband to Gu Feidi and couldn’t help discreetly rolling his eyes.
He murmured in his heart: Miserable Shizun, save it! No way I’m going to forgo my destiny with Gu Feidi just because of your petty actions! I’m still waiting for him to stab me with his sword and send me back to reality!
It was practically impossible to miss seeing him while living together in Zhichun Garden, but now when he encountered him outside, it would be better to ignore him as much as possible.
Xu Yunzhan watched Su Yang walk into the pavilion: “We were just talking about you, but we didn’t expect that you had actually come out from seclusion.”
Su Yang kept a straight face, grabbed his hairband from Gu Feidi’s hands and snorted coldly: “What business is it of yours whether I’ve come out from seclusion or not!”
He turned around to leave without tying his hair.
“Since you’re already here, why don’t you sit down and have a cup of tea?” said Xu Yunzhan.
“No thanks.” Su Yang put on his airs, curled his mouth and made a repulsive look, “This Young Saint doesn’t drink anything except Wuyinfeng white tea.”
After he finished speaking, he really didn’t want to hang around, so he left using his light footwork.
Xu Yunzhan was miffed but still found it laughable: “As expected, he’s been spoiled and pampered! All etiquette and protocols.”
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Gu Feidi cut in: “I’ve seen him scoop up cold water from the vat in Zhichun Garden and drink it directly.”
Xu Yunzhan was surprised: “Really?”
He spoke again, “Then he was shunning us and not the tea!”
Gu Feidi replied, “Perhaps.”
“You’ve spent half a year with him in Zhichun Garden, has he been treating you so coldly all this while?” Xu Yunzhan asked.
“More or less.” Gu Feidi gently turned the teacup in his hand, “Only at the very beginning, when I helped him read aloud the mental cultivation methodology scriptures, he was willing to say a few more words to me. Later, when he became familiar with the ancient records and I started to practice Return To The Nest volume, we rarely saw each other.”
“Tsk, tsk, you’ve clearly been used by him.” Xu Yunzhan shook his head and sighed, “And he casts you aside after using you, with no gratitude in his heart! Those from the Devil Sect really act arbitrarily.”
Gu Feidi gave a light laugh: “All right, let’s not speak of him.”
Su Yang casually tied a ponytail with the hairband as he walked on the road.
He’d been chasing the mischievous little green bird, but it was actually the first time he walked around on the peak of Lesser Jade House. There were unfamiliar sceneries everywhere. A thin layer of snow had fallen yesterday and it was a clear day again today. There was still some residual snow left on the grass and bushes but it had already melted away from all the stone steps on the mountain road.
Su Yang followed the mountain path to a platform where a small four-corner pavilion had been built. Seeing that there was no one in the pavilion, he walked in.
This pavilion stood on the edge of a cliff and one could see a pond below the high mountain cliff. The pond was rather sizable and the rocks on its edges were jagged. There was a waterfall gushing out of the high caves which had since been completely frozen during these nine cold winters. The ice waterfall was connected to the ice surface of the pond and in the sunlight, it looked like it had been exquisitely carved.
Su Yang sat on the edge of the pavilion staring at the ice waterfall in a daze.
——He doesn’t know what he should do.
Since entering Lesser Jade House, he almost immediately began seclusion, practicing martial arts, training swordsmanship and studying ancient Chinese. In just six months, he had cultivated these habits and this all had become his life, It only took him two months from the time he could not understand the mental cultivation methodology to him being able to study Nine Cold Surging Shoots technique by himself. Soon afterwards, he had broken through the first and second cold levels of the technique.
As of now, he was ready to start the third volume of that set of books.
Then yesterday evening, he had suddenly received a letter from the emerald green bird.
Di Ling followed the order, confiscated his book and forced the jade bell back into his hand, saying that she would not bring him food until after the fifteenth of the first lunar month.
Su Yang made some calculations in his head. Currently it was only the middle of the twelfth lunar month and it would be another month before he could resume his previous routine and continue practicing.
But he really didn’t know what else he could do in Lesser Jade House besides practicing martial arts.
He had entered Lesser Jade House by mistake. Of course, he had to minimize his existence, in the hope that it might not affect the development of the plot.
An exclamation sounded from behind him. Before Su Yang could turn his head, someone had plowed into him and he was knocked heavily onto the railing of the pavilion. It almost made him throw up blood.
Fan Xi laughed loudly and extended his hand to pull him up, “You’re finally willing to come out from seclusion! I haven’t seen you in half a year and missed you to death!”
Su Yang rubbed the sore ribs, turned his head and said with a stern face: “Hey! Take note, how’s this gonna look; you hugging and cuddling!”
Fan Xi snorted and said, “You and Gu Feidi have been living together for half a year and you’ve become an old fogey?”
As he was talking, his expression suddenly changed and he frowned, “Why did you cut your hair?”
Su Yang’s long hair was originally hanging down to his waist and hips, but now with his ponytail, it barely touched his neck.
When he’d first transmigrated, he’d thought because it was a historical setting, not everyone would be willing to ruin their hair and skin. But later, he discovered that it was not the case. However, they were very particular and placed importance on selecting proper auspicious dates for haircuts; more so than during modern times.
So he happily sought out Di Ling, chose a date and cut the burden short.
“With your new look, it’s quite a big difference from what you looked like originally.”
Fan Xi took two steps back and eyed Su Yang with his arms folded.
A moment later, he smiled: “This look is good too, full of vigor, more spirited and manlier than before.”
Chapter 23 : Jade Mirror Pond Ice Games
Su Yang smiled and kicked Fan Xi: “What? I used to look very sissy?”
Fan Xi was puzzled: “Si—what?”
Su Yang was silent and said, “Nothing.”
He restrained his smile, leaned on the pavilion railing, looking at the pond and the cliff, muttering: “If it wasn’t because of this face…”
The face of the Devil Sect’s Young Saint, Su Yang was exactly the same as his own. Even the red mole at the edge of his eye was in the same position. If it hadn’t been for this face of his ‘that had brought calamity the country and ruined the people’*, he would not have been selected by the casting director. If he hadn’t been cast in that show, he wouldn’t have unexpectedly transmigrated into this world.
(*TN : Su Yang is exaggerating by using a Chinese idiom here. It’s similar to a line from the play Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe: “Was this the face that launched a thousand ships…” referring to Helen of Troy and her abduction that had caused the Trojan Wars.)
Although he had lived here for half a year, Su Yang still did not possess a sense of belonging to this world.
Seeing Su Yang’s desolate expression, Fan Xi did not know what was going through his mind and began to frown.
“At the moment, you are still firm on your decision to return to the Devil Sect after graduating from Lesser Jade House?” Fan Xi asked.
Su Yang nodded, “I have to go back.”
Fan Xi asked, “What happens if you don’t go back?”
How do I go along with the plot if I don’t return?
Su Yang reasoned like this, but he really couldn’t answer that way.
So he put on a profoundly unfathomable demeanor and smiled, “If I don’t return… I might die.”
Fan Xi’s grip on the pavilion railing suddenly tightened and he was speechless for a while.
The pavilion was filled with a strange silence.
Su Yang was a little baffled, he surmised that his answer had frightened Lil’ Fan Xi?
‘If I don’t return, I might die’ was certainly some nonsense he’d made up. Seeing that the person had been shocked, he wondered… should he clear that up and then apologise?
However, before he could speak, a figure in red suddenly swooped down from the sky and landed outside the pavilion.
Chi Tong’s face was full of anger and anxiousness, “Have you all seen Luo Yin?”
Upon hearing this, the conflict on Fan Xi’s face disappeared and he snorted with laughter: “Again?”
Chi Tong fidgeted and clutched his head: “Here we go again? That brat better not to ask me to hold on, if not …hnng hnng*…”
(*TN : this is the sound of Chi Tong mumbling/ grumbling)
Fan Xi said, “We haven’t seen him. His camouflage skills have reached the limit. If you can’t find him, even more so for us.”
Chi Tong was exasperated and ignored the two of them. With a flick of sleeves, he used light footwork and rushed along the mountain trail.
Su Yang hadn’t come out for a long time and rarely communicated with Gu Feidi. He felt that he was a little out of touch with Lesser Jade House and he couldn’t help sighing.
Fan Xi noticed that Su Yang’s expression had changed to become a little confused, he smiled and said: “Do you remember Luo Yin, the one who didn’t say anything when he first entered and had no sense of existence?”
Su Yan nodded: “Although I have no recollection of what he looks like, but I know that Chi Tong is tutoring him. What’s up with him?”
Fan Xi said hesitantly, “Chi Tong is also extremely talented. Seeing that Luo Yin can go unnoticed in the crowd, he found him a set of turtle breathing skills, camouflage inner strength techniques together with stealth and assassination martial arts. The intent is to cultivate him into an assassin who can come and go without leaving a trace.”
Su Yang was also amused: “That’s a very good idea, since Luo Yin has no sense of existence, concealment skills are very suitable for him.”
Fan Xi laughed heartily, “Chi Tong initially wouldn’t teach him but still ended up doing it anyway! On the day after the Mid-Autumn Festival, not sure what Lou Yin did to anger Chi Tung but he became so hopping mad and started hunting for Luo Yin everywhere. But if Luo Yin wants to hide, no one would be able to catch him. Chi Tong threatened to turn Lesser Jade House inside out, but still failed to catch him. In the end, Luo Yin himself returned to obediently accept his punishment.”
“Since then, they would have an argument every now and then. Gradually, everyone got used to it and would all watch the excitement from the sidelines.”
“But so far, no one knows what they are arguing about. We’ve never met up with Luo Yin nor have been able to catch him. We went to ask Chi Tong but he refused to reveal anything. Even Li shijie is bemused.”
Su Yang listened to Fan Xi’s story and his eyes were drawn to the pond and waterfall below the cliff. There was a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth that even he didn’t notice.
Once the weird awkwardness between the two had passed, Fan Xi put on his carefree smile again.
He followed Su Yang’s gaze and looked down the cliff in surprise: “Ah, the Jade Mirror Pond’s waterfall is frozen! I passed by a few days ago and it wasn’t frozen as solid as it is now…”
“Jade Mirror Pond?” Su Yang asked in amazement.
He seemed to have heard of that name before, but he just can’t recall which had person mentioned it. Maybe Gu Feidi and Di Ling had spoken about it that day?
Fan Xi smiled and said: “Jade Mirror Pond’s surface is clear and calm; it’s a good place for ice games… Young Saint, have you ever played ice games?”
Su Yang had never heard the term ‘ice games’ before, so he shook his head.
Fan Xi said, “This is perfect. The New Year’s Day is approaching and we should have fun and excitement too. I go back and ask Li shijie for some tools and make some ice clogs. I’ll take you to Jade Mirror Pond for ice games!”
Su Yang thought to himself, since he’s been forbidden to enter seclusion, there was nothing much to do. So if he can go have fun, he’ll go have fun. He nodded in agreement.
The next few days were a bit boring.
Unable to enter seclusion, Su Yang began to stroll around Lesser Jade House’s mountain peak besides doing his morning exercises and afternoon meditations. For the past six months, he had never seen the scenery and rushed to look at them all at once. Occasionally, he would go to the martial arts field to watch others practice heavy swords and swords, but he never joined in to compete.
Gu Feidi and Xu Yunzhan had a good relationship and they often met for tea and chess. Fan Xi had ensconced himself in the hall fiddling with his creations. Without his constant harassment, Pu Lingyun had also started feeling a little bored recently. She began to seek out Gu Feidi and Xu Yunzhan to gather pine needles and plum blossoms, saying she would use them for making tea.
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As for Luo Yin, he finally reappeared, personally apologized to Chi Tong and the two reconciled. The outcome was unknown, but after two days of training, they had another major quarrel. Chi Tong gritted his teeth and searched all over the mountains, but Luo Yin seemed to have disappeared completely without a trace.
It was this way until the middle of the twelfth lunar month, Fan Xi clutched a pair of ice clogs and presented them to Su Yang.
“Look at this.” Fan Xi handed a pair of wooden clogs to Su Yang and said proudly, “You’ve never seen these before, huh?”
Su Yang reached out and took the clogs that Fan Xi had handed him. Turning it over, his expression immediately became extremely animated.
There was only one horizontal strip under this clog. The sides of the strip had been sharpened into an edge which had then been covered with polished iron—it turned out to be a pair of ice skates!
Seeing that Su Yang was in awe, Fan Xi laughed: “…These are ice clogs. Put them on and you can walk, run as if you are flying on the ice. Wait until we reach the Jade Mirror Pond, then I’ll teach you how to use them.”
Su Yang smiled and said to himself: Back when I could already skate marvelously, I’m guessing you hadn’t even been written about yet!
It had been ages since he had last visited an ice rink and the last time he went was together with his classmates during high school. Now that he thought about it, he was kind of itching to test his skills. Although he didn’t know many tricks, he still could skate backwards. Now that his body had been trained in martial arts, maybe he could try performing the difficult moves he couldn’t execute before.
Contemplating this, Su Yang suddenly looked forward to this trip to Jade Mirror Pond.
“Yeee? You actually made ice clogs!”
All of a sudden, Chi Tong, who had been sulking by the side, leaned in and picked up a wooden clog: “Jade Mirror Pond freezes year after year, why didn’t I think that there could be such a way to play on it?!”
After speaking, Chi Tung gave the table a smack and decided not to look for that confused Luo Yin, but instead to head to Jade Mirror Pond together!
Perhaps he felt that it wasn’t lively enough with just the three of them, so Chi Tong turned around and hauled up Gu Feidi, Xu Yunzhan and Pu Lingyun. Fan Xi’s originally planned ice games entertainment had thus become a group activity. He gnashed his teeth in contempt, but nothing could be changed. In the end, six of them got together and meandered down the mountain road to Jade Mirror Pond.
The layer of Jade Mirror Pond was frozen solid and very flat, just like its name, resembling a mirror surface polished from a clear blue jade stone.
An ice waterfall cascaded from the mountain wall by the side of the pond almost entirely suspended because of the subsidence of the cliff wall. The waterfall was not wide, but it had a height of twenty four to twenty seven feet. Originally majestic and breathtaking, it had been frozen into ice, gleaming with a bright white colour. The base of the waterfall had merged with the ice layer of the pond. There were a few thin ice shards at the bottom reflecting the sunlight and the rays glinting off their sharp points.
Su Yang stared at this ice waterfall and clicked his tongue in wonder.
“I thought we couldn’t play without ice clogs, but I didn’t expect this ice waterfall to freeze extremely well!” Pu Lingyun excitedly said, “How about we have a competition to scale this ice waterfall?”
Climbing an ice waterfall was extremely dangerous, but all the youngsters present possessed light footwork skills. An ice waterfall of twenty four or twenty seven feet was not a hazard to them. They only needed to hold a simple dagger or a cluster of arrows and could easily use the support to climb this ice waterfall.
Hearing Pu Lingyun’s suggestion, the group of young males naturally agreed.
Fan Xi had only made two pairs of ice clogs, one pair had been snatched up by Chi Tong, another pair had been given to Su Yang and he said that he would teach him ice games.
Su Yang smiled, tied the ice clogs to his feet and fastened them firmly. After two leaps with his Prized Flower Steps, he jumped onto the frozen surface of Jade Mirror Pond.
He had an elegant posture, his legs furling back and forth, drawing a full arc on the ice, like a dancing swan flying swiftly towards the direction of the ice waterfall.
Chi Tong was momentarily dumbstruck by Su Yang’s form and sighed, “Little Beauty Su is actually so skilled!”
Fan Xi was also surprised: “He knows how to play on the ice! I thought he was brought up in the Wasteland and had no chance to see ice and snow…”
Hearing both their praises, Gu Feidi and Xu Yunzhan’s eyes also fell on Su Yang’s figure.
Su Yang clasped his hands behind his back and skated at full speed, his clothes and sleeves fluttering.
He first skated around Jade Mirror Pond twice, then reversed and skated backwards. He turned his head to look at Gu Feidi and the others who were standing on the shore with amazement on their faces.
Seeing everyone’s eyes focused on him, Su Yang’s long-dormant exhibitionist personality finally surged out.
He raised the corners of his mouth and dazzled the crowd with a bright smile, then mobilized his internal strength to perform a few dance-stretch moves on the ice and finally drew a high-curved arc before returning to the shore.
Su Yang raised his eyebrows, gave a huge smile and cast a provocative look at Gu Feidi, then turned to Fan Xi and asked: “What do you think?”
Fan Xi was very conscious of his lackey personality and immediately gushed in admiration: “Young Saint is so skilled and at ease on the ice. You’ve already reached the pinnacle of ice games, the rest of us won’t be able to catch up!”
another, so it was really unpredictable to determine who was better without having them compete against one another.
Fan Xi was expectedly unafraid of Pu Lingyun’s provocation and readily responded.
Each of them wielded a dagger and were making preparations under the ice waterfall. As the referee, Xu Yunzhan gave the signal and the two immediately leapt up.
They pierced the tips of the daggers into the ice waterfall with internal force. Their figures were like swallows flitting about in the air. They turned over and up with great dexterity. With a leap, the dagger in hand, they quickly withdrew out of the ice and pierced deeper into a higher spot.
In the blink of an eye, two figures: one yellow and one green, had quickly climbed to the center of the ice waterfall.
“Although the Qinglian Sect’s Hanging Dragonfly Verse cannot compare to the Devil Sect’s Prized Flower Steps, it is indeed an extremely rare light footwork skill.”
Beneath the ice waterfall, Xu Yunzhan looked at the two people above and laughed: “No wonder Tengyun Pavilion’s Swiftlet Strike Breeze is not yet known in the martial arts circles.”
Gu Feidi nodded and said: “That’s true. But Tengyun Pavilion focuses on internal strength and is a pure and upright way, we do not really put research into light footwork. Besides, Swiftlet Strike Breeze is not so much a light footwork skill; more of a close combat technique.”
Xu Yunzhan said: “Lingyun has learned a lot of new things from following Li shijie’s teachings. Her handling of Swiftlet Strike Breeze looks more impressive than yours.”
Gu Feidi said: “Martial arts are not static. If she can find a way to change the Swiftlet Strike Breeze to better suit herself, my father would be very pleased.”
While they were talking, the two competitors were about to reach the top of the ice waterfall.
Pu Lingyun was a woman after all. As such, her strength was a bit weaker than that of a man’s and she was slightly behind. Seeing that the situation wasn’t in her favour, she pursed her lips, stabbed her dagger into the ice, flipped over and stepped on the handle. She pulled out the soft whip from around her waist, swung it towards Fan Xi, catching his ankle and was about to pull him down with it.
“Lingyun! Danger!” Xu Yunzhan immediately mobilized his internal strength and shouted: “How can you act like this!”
Fan Xi was unstable, but reacted very quickly. He immediately pulled out the dagger, did a backflip and drove the blade into the ice wall under his feet. He balanced steadily on the tips of his toes.
“No harm done.” He smiled and made a gesture down the waterfall and shouted: “I can handle this situation!”
After that, he turned around and leaped up slightly. Pu Lingyun was about to jump higher when her ankle was caught by Fan Xi who pulled her down.
There were two daggers nailed into the ice waterfall, one high and one low, their blades were buried in the ice and only the hilts were exposed.
Obviously, there were only two extremely narrow footholds, but Pu Lingyun and Fan Xi actually started to exchange moves at the top of the ice waterfall while standing on these dagger hilts. Everyone who was witnessing the scene from below were frightened, but they couldn’t help secretly applauding.
Pu Lingyun’s and Fan Xi’s physiques were very light and dexterous, their toes balanced lightly on the handle of the daggers and their clothes fluttering with their movements. The two were entangled with each other’s moves, unwilling to allow either to take the lead, but they used each other’s body as a landing point to provide themselves with the support to jump upwards.
For a moment, the two silhouettes of goose yellow and green resembled two birds fighting in the air.
This was a very theatrical match, much more exciting than the contests on the ground in the martial arts field.
Even Su Yang couldn’t help but stop skating and watching the two with admiration as they danced on the daggers hanging in the air—although they were dancing on the hilt of blades, it was just as thrilling as dancing on the tip of a knife. There was no difference.
Pu Lingyun and Fan Xi fought inextricably for some time.
Pu Lingyun looked at Fan Xi’s beastly smiling face. She suddenly narrowed her eyes and made a misstep with her feet, missing the handle of the dagger and abruptly tumbling.
Xu Yunzhan and Gu Feidi subconsciously rushed forward to rescue her.
But Fan Xi was quicker than them.
——He used the bottom of his foot to hook onto the handle of the dagger and hung upside down. Then, he reached out and grabbed Pu Lingyun’s wrist and hauled her upwards while trying hard to stabilize her figure in the air.
Pu Lingyun looked up and saw Fan Xi’s horror-filled expression gradually dissolve and finally turn into a relieved smile.
“You scared me to death,” he said.
A sly smile pulled at the corner of Pu Lingyun’s mouth and she winked at Fan Xi.
Before Fan Xi had time to react, he saw Pu Lingyun use the force of his pull to flip upwards. She swung her soft whip to wrap around the handle of the higher dagger and haul herself skywards. Then, she tiptoed on the dagger handle which was supported by the blade lodged in the ice and leapt from the dagger onto the top of the waterfall.
Pu Lingyun peeked out from above the waterfall, looked down at Fan Xi who had just stepped back onto the dagger and smiled, “You fell for my trick! Do you accept defeat?”
Fan Xi squatted helplessly and admitted, “Fine, you’ve won.”
Pu Lingyun said: “Naturally, I won. Since I’ve won, naturally I should receive an accolade!”
Fan Xi raised his eyebrows and asked, “What do you want?”
Pu Lingyun tapped her cheek and looked to the bottom where Su Yang was standing on the ice surface of Jade Mirror Pond: “I want you to teach me how to play ice games!”
Fan Xi laughed, “That’s easy.”
After the two had reached a deal, only then did they descend the ice waterfall one after another.
Fan Xi sought Chi Tong to discuss the return of his ice clogs so that he could give them to Pu Lingyun to use, but Chi Tong wasn’t happy. Su Yang approached just in time to hear this and he relinquished the ice clogs that he was wearing.
“Having seen you scale the ice waterfall, I feel like having a go at it too.” He smiled, “This Young Saint shall naturally try; can’t undermine the prestige of Prized Flower Steps.”
As he spoke, he withdrew the dagger from his waist, twirled it between his fingers and turned to look at Gu Feidi: “Shall we compete for one round?”
Gu Feidi was silent for a moment, then he took out his own dagger, stepped forward and stood beside Su Yang.
Xu Yunzhan raised his eyebrows and said, “I’ll be the referee.”
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Once the signal sounded, Su Yang mobilized his strength and leapt into the air with his Prized Flower Steps, piercing the dagger into the ice waterfall. He then turned upwards and quickly approached the top of the waterfall. Gu Feidi was on par with him. His martial arts proficiency made up for the gap between the two in light footwork exercises. They were almost evenly matched and neither showed a clear advantage.
The dagger was drawn out of the ice waterfall extracting a small piece of finely shattered ice.
The blade pierced into the ice again and with the help of internal force, it seemed to be slicing through a piece of tofu as it suddenly plunged into it.
The ice layer made a very slight crackling sound and it appeared to have fissures and cracks spreading within it.
Gu Feidi’s figure stopped completely.
He felt an abnormal vibration from the palm of his hand, it was fairly short, but very obvious.
“Su Yang, slow down—”
He looked up suddenly, attempting to stop Su Yang’s movements.
Su Yang stabbed the dagger into the ice waterfall and glanced back at Gu Feidi uncertainly.
In that instant!
There was a burst of widespread cracks in the ice waterfall. It only took a second for the inside and outside fractures from the place that Pu Lingyun and Fan Xi had fought earlier, to extend all the way to the base of the ice waterfall.
Su Yang’s pupils widened instantly and he clung to the handle of the dagger, not knowing how to react.
The ice waterfall completely ruptured and a huge wedge of ice as high as twenty seven feet crashed down onto the Jade Mirror Pond below!
Xu Yunzhan and Chi Tong who were standing below the ice waterfall instinctively tried to escape with light footwork, but they weren’t fast enough for the collapsing ice block.
The large chunk of the ice waterfall smashed onto the icy surface. The upper layer of ice which had originally appeared to be frozen solid became as brittle as a dry leaf under such an immense impact and promptly shattered apart into countless fragments.
The frigid icy waters beneath the fragments of ice cracks splashed onto the surface and made it even more slippery.
In the distance, Pu Lingyun, who had been learning ice games from Fan Xi, let out a scream and started to rush forwards.
Fan Xi grabbed her wrist in an attempt to hold her back.
Without warning, the cracks in the ice had quickly spread to their area and both of them were suddenly standing on broken slabs of ice. The ice slabs tilted due to their weight, causing them to lose balance and fall into the icy water.
Pu Lingyun was an average swimmer but she was hindered by the heavy ice clogs strapped to her feet, so for a moment, she couldn’t float properly and could only hold onto Fan Xi next to her.
Fan Xi gritted his teeth, not caring about anything. He held onto Pu Lingyun from behind as tightly as he could with both arms and swam them both to the banks of Jade Mirror Pond. It wasn’t until they both reached the shallows and could feel the ground beneath their feet that he breathed a sigh of relief and helped Pu Lingyun ashore step by step.
“Biao ge…” Pu Lingyun recovered from the shock, turned around and shouted into the distance, “Biao ge! Xiao shixiong——!”
At this moment, the pond below the ice waterfall was already a huge mess.
Even if the youngsters possessed martial arts, when faced with the unrelenting power of nature, there was a limit to what they could do. They had exhausted all of their abilities protecting themselves from being injured by the broken ice.
When Su Yang fell from the high portion of the ice waterfall, he had planned to use his Prized Flower Steps to help Gu Feidi, both of them supporting each other in mid-air while he tried to slow down the speed of the fall. However, when they finally fell into the water, the impact was too strong and they lost track of each other.
The icy pond water was numbing, mixed with large and small pieces of crushed ice, stirred up grit and silt from the bottom of the pond, making it almost impossible to distinguish the surroundings.
Su Yang reluctantly opened his eyes in the filthy water and swam to the nearest figure. The person was injured and blood had begun to spread in the water. He didn’t care to see who this person was, he just hauled him by the arm and brought the person to the water’s surface. After exhausting all his strength to drag the man up the shore, Su Yang realised that he had rescued Xu Yunzhan, who was teetering on unconsciousness.
A grey figure broke through the water beside him, staggering and dragging Chi Tong to the shore.
Fan Xi stepped forward to support the two of them and remarked in surprise: “Luo Yin? Why are you here!”
Luo Yin clung to the unconscious Chi Tong in his arms, his teeth chattered because of the cold and he couldn’t utter a single word.
Pu Lingyun was about to pull Xu Yunzhan over from Su Yang, but her expression suddenly changed.
——“Where’s xiao shixiong?!”
Chapter 25 : Mistakenly Entering Veiled Pearl Pavilion
Hearing this scream, Su Yang immediately turned his head to look at the messed up surface of Jade Mirror Pond.
The collapsed ice waterfall had since ruptured into countless, huge pieces of ice, floating in the pond where a slow whirlpool had unknowingly appeared sometime ago. The floating ice chunks moved and gathered with the flow then steadily shifted to the center of the whirlpool.
Su Yang searched the water in panic, his keen eyesight caught some blood stains on a few pieces of crushed ice. At that moment, his mind suddenly turned blank.
No way that can be!
A voice sounded like thunder in Su Yang’s ear, occupying all his thoughts.
——Gu Feidi can’t die.
——He’s still just a kid, he absolutely cannot die here!
Su Yang had no time to overthink, he subconsciously released Xu Yunzhan and turned his head back into the pond.
Fan Xi had just settled Chi Tong when he swivelled around and saw what was happening. He immediately rushed over to grab the lower hem of Su Yang’s coat.
“Don’t go! It’s dangerous—!” His pupils widened, his eyes filled with fear.
Su Yang drew the soft sword from his belt and sliced off the hem of his coat without hesitation. He mobilised his Prized Flower Steps and jumped back into the pond with two leaps.
Fan Xi gritted his teeth and was about to follow, but Pu Lingyun rushed to clutch at his ankles.
“You said it was dangerous!”
Her eyes were red and there were water stains on her face; he couldn’t tell if they were pond water or tears. She cried incoherently: “Don’t go! Biao ge is still unconscious… I… what should I do? Don’t go!”
In the end, Fan Xi didn’t have the heart to cast her away.
With a moment’s hesitation, Su Yang’s figure disappeared into the Jade Mirror Pond covered with floating ice.
The strength of the underwater whirlpool wasn’t strong, but it swept Su Yang in the direction of the current.
He tried hard to keep his eyes wide open, ignoring the stabbing pain of the icy water. He just wanted to see things clearly underwater.
It wasn’t until he’d gradually approached the center of the most turbulent water current that Su Yang suddenly noticed a white figure curled up in a crack at the center of a boulder— Gu Feidi was wearing white clothes today and was still fairly visible in murky water. There was a scratch on his back and his calf was stuck in the stone crack. He was struggling to pull himself out of the boulder, making every effort to quickly extradite himself. His strenuous movements caused the wound on his back to tear. Blood gushed out, spreading in the surrounding pond water.
Su Yang hurriedly swam along the current, trying to help Gu Feidi move the boulder, but he discovered that the whirlpool of Jade Mirror Pond was caused by the crack in the stone that Gu Feidi’s calf was stuck in!
Every time Gu Feidi tried to move the boulder, he himself would be pulled into the crack by the water, sucking him further in. After struggling several times to no avail, Gu Feidi looked up at Su Yang and stopped moving.
His underwater vision was blurred. Su Yang didn’t know why, but when he suddenly approached, he saw a touch of despair on Gu Feidi’s previously obscured features. It was similar to when he was seriously injured in the forest and had recognised Su Yang’s Prized Flower Steps. His expression was weak and helpless, only able to silently accept that this was his fate.
Su Yang swam forward and tried to pull Gu Feidi by the arm to dislodge him.
Gu Feidi stretched out to shove him away. He gestured to the surface of the water and signalled for him to leave.
Su Yang swam forward again.
Gu Feidi pushed him away again.
Su Yang gritted his teeth, swam around behind Gu Feidi, wrapped him into his arms and pressed his back against the other side of the boulder crevice.
He activated his inner strength under his feet, kicking heavily on the huge boulder that trapped Gu Feidi’s leg and forcefully stomped down on it.
The boulder shook, but didn’t budge from its position and Gu Feidi was sucked in deeper.
Su Yang patted Gu Feidi’s leg, then pointed to the huge boulder under his feet. He then spread his five fingers and closed them one by one… until all the fingers were closed, Gu Feidi understood what he meant. They kicked down forcefully together and managed to shove the boulder a few feet away.
In the next second, they were swept into the cave behind the boulder by an unstoppable, rough current.
The rush of water sucked the boulder back to its original position and once again blocked the underwater cave, soundlessly stirring up a cloud of slit and grime.
Su Yang only felt that his chest cavity was about to explode.
He endured the discomfort caused by the chill and lack of oxygen, dragged Gu Feidi and quickly swam forward along the water-filled channel. Gu Feidi hadn’t lost consciousness yet and was still able to swim, but the passage here was narrow, so he pushed off the cave walls with his feet. The two did not say a word, but they cooperated extremely well and advanced ahead steadily.
However, Gu Feidi had been trapped underwater for a long time and couldn’t continue to hold on. Little by little, his movements began to slow until they stopped completely.
Su Yang gritted his teeth, threaded his arm under Gu Feidi’s to drag him and continued swimming forward.
He encouraged himself in the darkness.
——You won’t die, you’ve transmigrated here and committed suicide so many times and still haven’t died. As long as you don’t die, the Gu Feidi in your arms can definitely be saved!
Hold on! Persistence is the key to victory!
Finally, just when Su Yang was on the brink of losing consciousness and only relying on his struggling instinct, the surrounding cave walls suddenly disappeared. Using buoyancy, he discerned the direction and exhausted his last bit of strength to surface.
As soon as his head broke out through the water, Su Yang took a deep breath and abruptly coughed, his mouth filled with a bloody, rust-like smell.
He pulled the unconscious Gu Feidi to the surface of the water and swam aimlessly forward.
This was a cave without the slightest glimmer of light. Su Yang couldn’t see anything, so he could only try his luck and fumble around.
The pond water was still freezing, it was quickly devouring his stamina and causing him to become disoriented. But he knew he couldn’t faint yet. Once he passed out, he and the Gu Feidi in his arms could count this as their final resting place.
He didn’t know how long it took him to swim there. Finally, Su Yang’s knee hit a hard rocky shore.
He climbed ashore and dragged Gu Feidi up again. Su Yang immediately went to check on his breathing and pulse.
Fortunately, he could feel both.
Su Yang breathed a sigh of relief, then noticed that his whole body was chilled to the bone.
The wet clothes stuck to his whole body and mercilessly drained his temperature. Su Yang quickly removed all his clothes, wrung them out and wiped off the water droplets from his body. Feeling in the darkness, he helped Gu Feidi take off his clothes, wiped his body and went to check the wound on his back.
Perhaps it was because of the cold, the wound on Gu Feidi’s back didn’t bleed much when he touched it. Su Yang randomly removed a soft undershirt, wrung it out as much as possible and pressed it on Gu Feidi’s back to stop the bleeding.
In the spacious darkness, one became extremely sensitive to sound. Su Yang suddenly realised that he hadn’t heard Gu Feidi’s breathing since a while ago.
He stretched out his hand again to check Gu Feidi’s breath.
Upon checking, Su Yang’s heart almost jumped out of his mouth.
——Not only had Gu Feidi stopped breathing, but the pulse from his wrist had almost disappeared. All he could feel was a slight little tremor from his neck.
Su Yang didn’t know if it was because he was shaking with cold.
He forcefully suppressed the panic in his heart and turned Gu Feidi over, ignoring the wound on his back. Then he pressed his knees onto his abdomen to help him empty the pond water from his mouth and nose and began to give him CPR.
That skill was a compulsory learning exercise when he was in high school. At the beginning, all the students felt that the school was implementing something unnecessary, but in order to pass the exam, everyone had to practice on a dummy over and over again.
Su Yang tried his best to recall the feel of the procedures at the time, trying to extract scattered memory fragments from the vague impression as much as possible—the position, strength and features of the chest cavity; the essential points of artificial respiration, the speed and intensity of each breath… all these were closely related to the ability to save lives and there was no room for error.
Su Yang felt that he had never once been so solemn and serious in all his life.
Even when he was on the stage for the first time, he hadn’t been as serious as he was now.
He repeated the cycle of applying pressure four times and giving air twice, over and over again.
There wasn’t any way to make an emergency call here. He could only rely on himself and pray that Gu Feidi’s protagonist halo would activate immediately.
As the protagonist, how could Gu Feidi die in such a place?!
Even if he was the only one to float in here, it was impossible for him to die, not to mention that there was now someone giving him CPR!
He must survive, no, thrive!
Su Yang repeated the process of CPR while grumbling in his heart.
For a long time, for a long time.
Gu Feidi’s body trembled suddenly.
Su Yang lifted his head from Gu Feidi’s face. He was filled with excitement and wanted to call out his name, but suddenly Gu Feidi slammed his palm heavily onto Su Yang’s chest.
Boundless internal force thrust out from Gu Feidi’s palm. Su Yang didn’t have time to respond. He only felt that his internal organs were instantly stabbed by a bayonet and he couldn’t help throwing up a mouthful of blood.
His upper back collided against the rough wall of the cave behind him and was speechless for a moment.
“You—” Gu Feidi’s teeth gnashing sounded in the darkness, “…took advantage of me!”
Su Yang coughed a few times, sensing a thick, bloody smell spreading from his mouth.
He uttered aggrievedly: “I was saving you…”
Gu Feidi sneered, “Huh, saving me? If you were saving me, why did you need to remove my clothes and still… still do these indecent things!”
Su Yang swallowed a mouthful of blood and replied in a hoarse voice: “You… weren’t breathing and didn’t have any pulse. I had to give you artificial respiration… removing the clothes was because… the pond water was too cold… it could’ve frozen you to death…”
For a while, no sound came from Gu Feidi’s side.
Su Yang leaned on the stone wall and finally regulated his breathing. He was about to start speaking and continue his explanation, but he heard Gu Feidi ask: “I was completely devoid of breath?”
“Yes…” Su Yang said, “Not even a pulse.”
Gu Feidi: “It was ‘Nirvana’.”
Su Yang was puzzled: “What?”
Gu Feidi snorted and explained: “Within the Restoration Scripture, there’s a type of tortoise breath healing method that you can force yourself to initiate for when you’re severely injured… or it will start by itself once you have fainted… and enter ‘Nirvana’ state. At that time, I would weaken my breath and reduce my heartbeat, but my internal strength will work on its own to help me heal my wounds.”
When he heard this, Su Yang was dumbfounded.
Gu Feidi sneered again: “You said you only probed my breathing and pulse to conclude that I needed air to be rescued. Why didn’t you examine my internal strength? If you had done that, you would have known that I… I didn’t need you to ‘save’ me.”
Su Yang was silent for a long time and said in a low voice: “…I didn’t know.”
He didn’t even know that there was such a technique in this world that could forcefully stop one’s breathing and heartbeat! Based on his understanding, if there was no breath and pulse, it means one was at death’s door. Where was there any time to manage all this internal force nonsense?!
It was such a grave injustice for him to have suffered this palm strike!
Thinking of this, Su Yang couldn’t help but cough up blood again.
The cave fell into silence.
For a moment, Gu Feidi seemed to be dragging the clothes that fell on the ground and began fumbling around to put them on.
Su Yang quickly persuaded: “The clothes are wet and wearing them will make you lose your body temperature quicker, then you will freeze to death!”
Gu Feidi huffed and ignored Su Yang.
After a while, he suddenly started sputtering. He seemed to be very angry and enraged, “You… You also took off your clothes?!”
Su Yang retorted: “I already told you, if we continue to wear wet clothes here, we’d easily freeze to death…”
Before his words were over, Gu Feidi had lunged forward and pinned him against the stone wall.
Gu Feidi’s voice was furious and on the verge of exploding: “What the hell did you do to me! You… you actually! You…”
Su Yang rolled his eyes in the dark.
He activated his internal strength, pushed Gu Feidi away abruptly and gave him kick: “What can I still do to you! Even if I was GAY, I won’t assault a kid! I was really trying to save you! Save you! Bugger… You are going to stress me to death! *Cough cough cough*…”
Su Yang turned, knelt on the ground and coughed grievously.
The internal force flowed through his body but it was unable to bring him the slightest warmth, instead making him feel more colder with each cycle and he couldn’t help but shiver all over.
Gu Feidi, who had been silent for a long time, suddenly snorted and threw over a piece of clothing onto Su Yang’s body.
Su Yang grabbed the edge of the clothing and was stunned for a moment.
——This shirt turned out to be dry and warm.
“With your internal strength, drying clothing and hair is effortless.”
Gu Feidi said with a cold tone and threw over another piece of dry clothing in the dark, then he added: “Don’t make excuses for what you just did. Fortunately, you like to wear silk blouses, I won’t make a mistake when I grab onto it. Otherwise, if I had accidentally put on your inner wear——it’s disagreeable just thinking about it.”
Su Yang couldn’t help but pause when he took the clothes.
He chuckled silently to himself and casually started to put his clothes on. Then, he raised his hand to cover his mouth and cough twice.
Although Gu Feidi had been merciful enough not to use his full force in his palm strike, it was still enough to make him suffer. Until now, he still felt a burning sensation in his lungs while breathing.
Tsk, what a little white-eyed wolf.
Saved him but ended up being beaten by him, how does that saying go? Biting the hand that feeds you?
Su Yang curled his lips, fumbled to put on all the clothes that Gu Feidi tossed over and shivered.
He was still freezing, as if his internal organs had been flooded by the freezing pond water, no matter how he manoeuvred his internal power, he could not drive away the chill from his entire body. His wet hair was dripping over his shoulders. He tried using internal force to dry it, but his efforts backfired. His hair even began to form tiny icicles.
“I say,” Su Yang trembled as he asked Gu Feidi, “So everyone is able to dry their clothes and hair using their internal force, right?”
Gu Feidi replied coldly, “Naturally everyone can do it. Don’t you dare sidestep it!”
Su Yang rolled his eyes in the dark, “If you don’t believe me, just touch my hair and you’ll understand.”
Gu Feidi did not say anything for a long time.
After a while, he slowly approached Su Yang’s side, placed his hand on his body, moved upwards to his shoulder and further up to touch his hair.
“You…” Gu Feidi said in surprise, “…why is it freezing?”
Su Yang sighed, “I followed the instructions you taught and used my internal force to dry my hair.”
Gu Feidi: …
Gu Feidi hesitated for a long time: “…maybe it has something to do with the internal skills you are practicing. Six Underworlds Inter Flower and Nine Cold Surging Shoots are both Qinghan school mental cultivation methods and when they are combined with cold water, they freeze.”
Su Yang suddenly started laughing out loud.
Gu Feidi had lost face and snapped angrily: “What are you laughing at?”
Su Yang said: “Now do you believe that I didn’t take your clothes off to molest you?”
Gu Feidi said gruffly, “Who’ll believe you!”
Su Yang: “I’ve no idea about any ‘Nirvana’. Seeing you that you weren’t breathing, my first thought was to manually give you air to save you. What’s the point of my good intentions? Once you awoke, you struck me. I’m really heartbroken.”
Gu Feidi snorted coldly, but didn’t speak.
After being silent for a while, Su Yang smiled, “I leave it to you whether you believe me or not. Anyway, I don’t do those kinds of immoral acts like carrying out sneak attacks and coercing others. Now we don’t know where we are and we don’t know whether Lesser Jade House will send anyone to rescue us. We can only rely on each other. You might as well trust me once. Let’s join forces and see if we can find a way to get out of here.”
“We can get out.” Gu Feidi said calmly, “There’s wind in the cave; therefore there’ll be an exit.”
“…Ai?” Su Yang was stunned.
Gu Feidi hmphed, “Pampered and spoiled.”
When he’d finished speaking, he pulled Su Yang up by his arm from the ground, “I can roughly gauge the direction, come with me.”
Both of them fumbled ahead in the darkness, one in front of the other, occasionally wading through the water. But after a couple of hundred steps, their previously dried clothes were soaked to their waists again.
Su Yang manoeuvred his internal forces to try and dispel the cold, but ended up shivering from it instead. When they finally stepped on the dry ground, he felt a little lightheaded and dizzy.
“Gu Feidi, do me a favour.” Su Yang dropped his pretentiousness and asked, “Could you help me dry my clothes? I’m going to freeze to death…”
When he said this, his teeth were chattering.
Gu Feidi snorted with discontentment, stretched out his hand to press on Su Yang’s waist and moved his internal force to help him dry his clothes.
Su Yang’s shivering reached to his palm and Gu Feidi instantly withdrew his hand and quickly reached out to probe Su Yang’s forehead.
“Tsk, why are you so cold!” Gu Feidi said.
“I… I’m what?” Su Yang was surprised, “Very cold?”
Gu Feidi was silent for a while, “Like a corpse.”
Su Yang wasn’t having any of that: “What nonsense are you talking! Why can’t I feel that I’m cold?”
Gu Feidi grasped Su Yang’s hand, “That’s because your hands are also frozen.”
After drying their clothes and shoes, the two continued to forge ahead along the cave.
Finally, a thin crevice began to appear on the top of the cave, leaking in a little ray of light and providing paltry illumination for them.
Gu Feidi’s steps paused, he looked down at his dark red shirt and said nothing.
Su Yang glanced down in his dizzy state. Okay, Gu Feidi’s previously white shirt, which was now so filthy that you couldn’t discern the colour, was now on his body.
Gu Feidi turned around: “Change it back.”
Su Yang grumbled internally: Didn’t he accidentally swap his outerwear. In any case, the inner garment is still his own, there is nothing to exchange. I couldn’t tell that this dude, Gu Feidi, would be so obsessively particular…
With this in mind, he raised his hands slightly to pull at his collar, but only felt spasms of grogginess and he was unable to withstand it any longer.
Gu Feidi’s expression suddenly changed and he stepped forward to support Su Yang.
Su Yang’s eyesight went dark and he fell weakly backwards into Gu Feidi’s arms.
Gu Feidi’s posture stiffened at that moment.
He supported Su Yang firmly in his arms for a while before laying him flat on the ground. Then he held Su Yang’s wrist to probe his internal strength.
As soon as the internal force penetrated Su Yang’s meridians, Gu Feidi was jolted by the cold. He didn’t let go, but the expression on his face became more and more grave. In the end, his brows were deeply furrowed and his eyes were extremely gloomy.
He released sigh and hugged Su Yang into his arms, stimulating his internal strength in an effort to warm his cold body.
“Su Yang, you can’t die.…..” Gu Feidi murmured, “You risked your life to save me, if you die here, I’m afraid.…..”
After a long time, Su Yang’s body finally stopped feeling like a block of ice.
Gu Feidi carried him on his back, though the pain from his wound made him knit his brows, he didn’t put Su Yang down. Clenching his teeth, he identified the direction where the breeze was coming from and continued to trudge forward.
Jade Mirror Pond’s edge.
The broken ice floating on the surface had re-frozen under the frigid temperatures, but the original smoothness of Jade Mirror Pond could no longer be restored.
Wang Ke stood on the surface of the pond beneath the spot where the ice waterfall had been and lowered his head to look at the ice layer under his feet. Mo shixiong, Li shijie and Di Ling all waited silently behind him.
Fan Xi and Pu Lingyun had changed into clean clothes and at the moment were standing on one side waiting for the shixiongs’ and shijies’ decision.
Pu Lingyun had cried several times until her eyes and nose were very red. She was extremely remorseful and sobbingly choked out: “It’s all my fault.….. I shouldn’t have been so brazen, I shouldn’t have come to climb the ice waterfall, let alone fight on it.….. I, I didn’t expect it would be like this…”
Li shijie embraced the girl in her arms and stroked the hair at her crown, “After this incident, you should be more mature. When you do anything in the future, you should contemplate more and avoid being headstrong.”
Pu Lingyun wailed, threw herself at Li shijie and buried her head, crying bitterly.
Fan Xi lowered his head and declared sorrowfully: “It was my initial suggestion to come for ice games. It’s all my fault.…..”
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Li shijie patted Pu Lingyun on the back and then shot down Fan Xi: “That’s enough, this sort of thing does happen, so it’s not totally all of your faults. At that time, no one expected the ice waterfall to break. As a senior, not only did Chi Tong not stop you, but also went and joined in the mischief. That warrants punishment.”
Fan Xi paled and gritted his teeth: “Since shixiongs and shijies are here, I.….. I shall return first. Yunzhan and Chi Tong are injured, Luo Yin is also having a fever, I shall go back to take care of them. Once they have recovered, I.….. shall willingly accept the punishment.”
Li shijie was stunned for a moment, then nodded in agreement.
Pu Lingyun also straightened and wiped away her tears: “I will.….. I will go too. I shall be like Fan Xi and wait.…..wait until everyone has recovered. Then, I will come and be punished.”
Li shijie stroked Pu Lingyun’s hair again and sighed: “Go.”
When the two of them had left, Wang Ke suddenly turned around and said, “Prepare to break the ice. No matter what, this Jade Mirror Pond still has to be searched. At the very least… we have to recover their bodies.”
Di Ling’s eyes had been closed all this while but at this time, she slowly opened them and said in a low tone: “I can’t hear anything. The bottom of the pond is too messy, I can’t tell where their positions are.”
Mo Yun stepped forward and placed his hand on her shoulder: “Don’t strain yourself, go to the shore and rest. First Defense shixiong and I will break the ice and have a look at the bottom of the pond.”
Of course, in the end they couldn’t find anything in Jade Mirror Pond.
The area of water was not very large and it was only two or three feet deep. Wang Ke and Mo Yun searched underwater for a long time until the sun was slanting from the west, but they still couldn’t find anything.
“They may have found a way out.”
Wang Ke pondered for a moment and said: “This Jade Mirror Pond is filled with water from the waterfall all year round, but it doesn’t overflow. There must be a passageway we don’t know about beneath the pond. Fan Xi also said earlier that he noticed a whirlpool had formed on the water surface; they might have found a secret underwater tunnel.”
Li shijie said, “So as it may be… We can only hope that they really found a way out.”
Everyone found nothing, so they had no choice but to return to Lesser Jade House and gather at Chi Tong’s residence.
The incident was too major: two disciples had disappeared, two were injured and three others were somewhat feverish because they had fallen into the cold pond and had been chilled by the wind.
Wang Ke invited Old Qi from Meizhu Mountain into Lesser Jade House. Old Qi was proficient in the art of healing. He diagnosed and prescribed medicine to them, then carefully examined Chi Tong, who had yet to regain consciousness. He determined that Chi Tong had sustained an impact to the back of the neck, therefore would fall into a coma and had not awoken until now.
After everyone had discussed the matter, they decided to leave the injured Xu Yunzhan at Chi Tong’s place where Mo Yun and Di Ling would take care of them together. Pu Lingyun and Fan Xi were brought back by Li shijie and there was no punishment meted out.
Luo Yin had been sitting next to Chi Tong’s bedside and refused to leave no matter how others persuaded him. Finally, Old Qi pricked him with a silver needle doused with medicine. Then, he picked him up and placed on the bed next to Chi Tong to rest.
It was a thoroughly busy time, lasting all the way until midnight, then the chaos of the day finally quieted down a bit.
Di Ling stood in the courtyard, her eyes blank, her thoughts unknown.
Mo Yun stepped forward and put his hand on her shoulder, “Since the two youngsters are no longer in the pond, they must have had some fortuitous meeting. Shimei, you shouldn’t worry so much.”
After a long time, Di Ling said, “I’m not worried about them. According to Fan Xi, when Su Yang returned to Cold Pond to save Feidi, if they didn’t encounter something unexpected, he wouldn’t have disappeared with Feidi. I was just thinking that it was so dangerous today, why didn’t Shizun…give any prior warning?”
Mo Yun narrowed his eyes, “There’s some truth in shimei’s words.”
Di Ling continued: “Five years ago, there was a fire at the manufacturing workshop. Two years ago, Chi Tong nearly went off the rails while cultivating. Shizun sent letters to remind us of these matters. Although she is in seclusion, she knows everything that happens in the House very well. What is the reason she is acting indifferent in this instance when disciples have been met with tragedy?”
Mo Yun asked: “Are you resenting Shizun?”
Di Ling shook her head and said, “No, I’m guessing… whether Shizun was aware that this incident was harrowing but not hazardous? Whether she deliberately let Su Yang and Feidi endure this ordeal?”
Gu Feidi traversed along the cave for a whole day with the unconscious Su Yang on his back.
He was only wearing a thin inner shirt and his outer shirt had been wrapped around Su Yang. Su Yang lay on Gu Feidi’s back breathing weakly but with a slight coolness that couldn’t be ignored. He huddled himself at Gu Feidi’s neck.
Gu Feidi lowered his eyelashes and manoeuvred his internal strength to warm up the ice-like Su Yang.
Since Su Yang fell unconscious, his body temperature had been depleting and no matter how many times Gu Feidi used internal force to warm him, as soon as he stopped, Su Yang’s body temperature would begin to drop again.
Gu Feidi didn’t know if this was a problem with Su Yang’s internal strength technique, but Su Yang’s breathing and pulse had also weakened along with his body temperature, which was extremely dangerous.
So Gu Feidi had to spend his internal energy to maintain his body temperature over and over again. After exhausting his internal strength, he adjusted his breath for a while to recover and soon he would expend it all on Su Yang again.
At dusk, Gu Feidi finally saw the sky full of sunset clouds exposed in a narrow stone crevice in the distance.
He immediately quickened his pace and headed towards the exit of the cave.
Outside the cave was a quiet valley.
As the sun set, the valley sunk into the dark shadows. In the distance was a towering mountain wall. A patch of it was illuminated by the orange-red rays of sunlight. In the remaining daylight, he could see that there was a pavilion which was suspended in mid-air embedded in the cliff. The white walls and black tiles were exactly the same as the buildings of Lesser Jade House.
Seeing this pavilion, Gu Feidi’s eyes radiated with excitement. He supported Su Yang on his body, pursed his lips and made his way towards the mountain wall where the pavilion was located.
The plank road built along the mountain wall was less than three feet wide. When Gu Feidi finally reached the pavilion platform, the sun had completely set and was hidden behind the mountain. The whole building fell into darkness, looking a little gloomy under the grey-blue sky.
“Excuse me, is anyone there?” Gu Feidi asked in a loud voice.
No one responded from the pavilion.
Gu Feidi called out twice. Seeing that the building was still quiet, he pushed open the door and walked in.
The inside of the room was dark. Gu Feidi first placed Su Yang on the ground, then looked around for a while. He managed to locate a fire stick under the lamp stand in the side hall and lit two lamps in the hall.
This pavilion was not very large but had two floors. On the lower level was a main hall plus two side halls, one of which had a bookcase and a display shelf. The floors, tables and chairs in the main hall were spotless and the pens and inks on the desks had not yet dried up. It was apparent that someone was staying here.
Gu Feidi hesitated to go upstairs and called out again, but still no one answered. So he took a lamp and climbed up the stairs to the second floor.
The second floor of the building had two bedrooms, one large and one small. The bedding and furnishings in the rooms were all complete. There were even wooden buckets filled with water and a dressing table with paraphernalia; obvious traces that someone lived there.
Gu Feidi finally decided to stay for the time being.
He put the lamp he was carrying on the dressing table in the smaller bedroom. Then, he went back downstairs to bring Su Yang up and helped to remove his dirty outer garments, shoes and socks.
Seeing the large blood stains on Su Yang’s white inner shirt, Gu Feidi’s fingers trembled for a second.
He wasn’t aware what crossed his mind but his expression turned gloomy and he stretched out his hand to carefully lift up Su Yang’s blood-stained shirt.
Contrary to his expectations, Su Yang had no wounds on his body.
Gu Feidi let out a sigh of relief.
His fingers rubbed over the congealed blood for a while, then he wrapped his shirt back onto Su Yang, carried him onto the bed and covered him with a heavy quilt.
That night, Gu Feidi hardly slept.
He sat cross-legged by the bed under the lamp light. Once his internal strength had recovered, he squeezed into the quilt to help Su Yang warm up. Su Yang’s body temperature still had not recovered and he was still unconscious. Since he still had not yet awoken, Gu Feidi dared not be negligent.
Until the sun finally rose the next morning and gradually lit up the sky, Gu Feidi went to touch Su Yang’s hand again. The extremely discouraging iciness that had chilled his fingertips was no longer apparent.
Gu Feidi was finally relieved.
He helped tuck Su Yang in, turned and went downstairs.
There was still no one around.
With the sun now shining, Gu Feidi used the light to search the house carefully, but did not find a way to Lesser Jade House.
In the end, he stood in front of the writing desk and looked down at the stack of mental cultivation books there.
“Red Plume Phoenix Tree?”Gu Feidi mumbled out the four words on the cover of the book and reached out his hand to gently turn open the cover.
After only reading the first two lines of the general chapter of the internal strength technique, Gu Feidi was shocked. Not caring whether he had obtained the consent of the house owner, he held the book in his hand and continued to read it carefully.
He was immersed in the book and did not notice the passing of time at all, until a voice rang out from behind him and he awoke as if from a dream.
“This set of ‘Red Plume Phoenix Tree’ is the inner strength methodology of the Zhengyang school. It took me a few years to create it. I’ve just completed it and you’ve read it.”
Hearing this, Gu Feidi abruptly turned his head and unwittingly released the book he was holding. Before it hit the ground, it was swooped up by a little bird and delivered it to a woman in green who was leaning against the door frame of the side hall.
Gu Feidi’s gaze fell on the little bird resting on the shoulder of the woman in green. After a moment, he nodded and clasped his fists in salute: “Shizun.”
Qingbo received the gesture and said with a smile: “It’s your good fortune that you were able to come to this place.”
Gu Feidi was taken aback, but didn’t ask what the ‘good fortune’ was, instead he immediately said: “Shizun, Su Yang is also here. His body’s health is rather unusual. I wonder if you can—”
“There’s no need for you to worry about that. His inner strength practice is inclined to the cold method and he tried to manoeuvre it while he was in the cold pond to preserve his physical strength. The cold air cannot be discharged from his body.” Qingbo said, “You’ve already assisted him through the most dangerous time. Once he wakes up, it will be a blessing in disguise. With the existence of this Cold Pond Ice Spirit, when he practices cold techniques in the future, he would get twice the results with half the effort.”
Gu Feidi was silent for a moment then said: “But he hasn’t woken up until now, I’m really worried.”
Qingbo smiled after eyeing him for a while, “You care about him.”
Gu Feidi dropped his head and said nothing.
Qingbo: “Su Yang originated from Yin Tan Divine Sect. The Central Plains martial world calls it the ‘Devil Sect’ and have always wanted to destroy it. But why were you… willing to carry him all the way and take care of him throughout the night? Don’t tell me you haven’t thought of letting him die in the ice, thereby ridding the Central Plains martial world of a major threat that may arise in the future?”
Gu Feidi couldn’t help frowning when he heard this question but didn’t hesitate to answer: “Lesser Jade House does not involve themselves in the Jianghu’s matters. Su Yang is my classmate. How can I abandon him?”
Qingbo asked again: “If in the future, after you’ve completed your discipleship and meet again when you’ve returned to the Jianghu, if you have to fight each other to the death, what would you do?”
Gu Feidi was stunned for a moment.
Immediately, he lowered his eyelashes and his expression became extremely serious.
“If he is like what the rumours of the Jianghu say he is; the kind person who rapes, loots and behaves unscrupulously, I would not be merciful.” Gu Feidi said.
Qingbo smiled: “But he rescued you in Jade Mirror Pond.”
Gu Feidi replied resolutely and decisively, “I will pay for it with my life.”
“Then if he didn’t burn, kill, loot, or do any bad things, merely that you both stand in opposing camps and he wants to fight with you… what will you do?” Qingbo smiled and asked with interest.
Gu Feidi opened his mouth and couldn’t answer for a while.
After a time, he muttered: “Shizun, Su Yang… maybe he is being coerced.”
Qingbo was surprised: “Hmm?”
Gu Feidi hung his head down and stopped talking.
Qingbo blinked, as if she’d suddenly remembered something and couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
She cast a sidelong glance at Gu Feidi and lazily said: “Back then, the Devil Sect Leader ran amuck in the Central Plains and used many young and good looking male servants. Therefore, there are rumours that… he has a peculiar technique which requires dual cultivation with a furnace every night and only then could he accomplish…”
Gu Feidi suddenly raised his eyes and looked over, his expression unpredictable.
Qingbo continued: “……It is also said that every time he dual cultivates with a furnace, he will use poisonous blood to mark the back of the other party with a red spider lily and use the flower spell as a shackle. If the person who has dual cultivated with him leaves him for too long a time, he will gradually weaken and die……When you said that Su Yang was being coerced, did you mean by this?”
Gu Feidi lowered his gaze again and after a long while, he asked in a low voice, “Shizun knows he has a tattoo on his back?”
When Qingbo heard this question, she burst out laughing.
After she was done laughing, she eyed Gu Feidi up and down with a weird look for a long while and asked: “Why do you care about the tattoo on his body?”
Gu Feidi was silent for a moment and said, “I.…..felt it a bit much to bear.”
Qingbo raised an eyebrow: “Oh?”
Gu Feidi said: “In the past six months that we’ve gotten to know each other, I saw that he was not as unbearable as the rumours of the Jianghu make him out to be. On that day, the situation at Jade Mirror Pond was so dangerous, but he rushed over to save me.….. I think that he doesn’t behave like the Devil Sect’s Leader, using extremely ruthless means. He is naturally talented. If it was due to…… some matters, being controlled by the Devil Sect Leader for example, I sympathise.…..”
“So it’s like this.…..”
Qingbo seemed a little disappointed for some reason. She paused for a moment then turned to ask Gu Feidi: “You are sixteen this year?”
Gu Feidi was taken aback and replied, “I’ll be seventeen in the first month.”
Qingbo nodded and smiled: “The Red Plume Phoenix Tree book from earlier, did you enjoy it?”
Gu Feidi was surprised by the sudden change of topic, he paused for a moment, then said: “The mental cultivation method is exquisite and it complements Restoration Scripture. I enjoyed it very much.”
Qingbo smiled, “How about you stay here from now on and I will personally teach you how to cultivate the Red Plume Phoenix Tree. What do you think?”
The astonishment came too abruptly and Gu Feidi didn’t have time to display an overwhelmed expression, he just stood there dumbfounded.
He only heard Qingbo continue to speak: “You don’t have to worry about Su Yang, I will send him back to Zhichun Garden very soon. He will follow Di Ling to practice Nine Cold Surging Shoots technique. Although Lesser Jade House does not get involved in the matters of the Jianghu, you and Su Yang shouldn’t have too many involvements after all. You stay here and won’t have to see him again until you finish your discipleship.”
Gu Feidi heard this and his expression suddenly became somewhat disappointed and helpless.
But he quickly recovered his clarity, took a half step back, once again cupped his fist and saluted Qingbo earnestly said: “I’ll heed Shizun’s arrangement.”
Qingbo chuckled lightly, “I will send someone for your clothes and supplies soon. You can start studying Red Plume Phoenix Tree now. I will go to see Su Yang, you don’t have to follow.”
Gu Feidi nodded.
Watching Qingbo go upstairs, Gu Feidi secretly clenched his fists, turned around and sat down at the desk and began to study the first chapter of Red Plume Phoenix Tree.
He quickly immersed himself in the unparalleled exquisiteness of the mental cultivation method and once again forgot the passing of time. After he’d finished hastily re-reading the first chapter and looked up from the book, he realised from looking out the window that the whole sky had been filled with the glow of the setting sun.
It was all quiet in the pavilion.
Gu Feidi put down the book and went upstairs to the small bedroom on the second floor, only to find that Qingbo and Su Yang had been gone for some time. All that was left was a folded flat piece of bedding which had been quietly placed at the corner of the bed.
There was a letter left atop the dressing table: “I will send Su Yang back to Zhichun Garden theres some porridge simmering on the small stove at the north side hall have some if youre hungry”
Gu Feidi put down the letter and walked slowly to the window, pushed aside the curtain and stared at the flaming sunset glowing on the horizon.
His pitch-black pupils were stained with a golden red colour from the setting sun, but the expression on his face was somewhat unspeakably complicated, his thoughts unknown.