Translated by Eve
Edited by Wuxian
Next, Sui Yuan’s path to recovery could truly be described with ‘frightened, the chicken flies and the dog jumps’. Nan Gongyi was like a loyal little puppy, guarding him closely and baring his soft and immature fangs at any and all targets that approached him while harbouring evil intentions. Meanwhile, the chicken, was probably the Demonic Cult Leader, Ning Ze, who never forgot to show off his rich and diverse plumage. Although these two people were like enemies who would oppose one another measure for measure whenever they crossed paths, Sui Yuan unexpectedly saw that they seemed a bit like a quarrelsome but loving couple.
This was probably the innate compatibility between the protagonist gong and shou. Even though they didn’t think much of each other after their first meeting, once they truly got to interact with one another, they were able to slowly develop goodwill between them. For example, in the world before the last, there were Le Sen and Huo Ke who got together at the very end. Again, in the last world, although Sui Yuan’s intervention made [Lone Wind Wan Yi] and [Wind-Like High Official] to be a couple destined to meet but not fated to be together, they still became close friends.
Sui Yuan wished that he could let Nan Gongyi and Ning Ze have more interactions with one another to cultivate the feelings between them. Thus, when Ning Ze came to pay a visit, he never coldly drove him away. He only pretended to still be injured, and thus too tired to talk much, and completely passed on to Nan Gongyi the work of ‘entertaining the guest’.
Meanwhile, Ning Ze just interpreted this as Sui Yuan expressing that he wasn’t fed up with him yet, and consequently, became even more diligent. He acted even more indulging towards Nan Gongyi because of Sui Yuan. Only, Nan Gongyi became more and more uncomfortable towards this. He was itching for his family’s Da Shixiong to immediately recover so that they could go back to their Shifu’s the very next day.
Of course, compared to Nan Gongyi, Zhao Xihe’s day was obviously even worse.
Although he and Ning Ze maintained their master and subordinate relationship on the surface, truthfully, they had already shred up all pretenses of cordiality. In order to prevent Zhao Xihe from hindering his pursuit of the beauty, the unscrupulous Ning Ze abused his authority to settle matters in his private life— he gave his family’s Chief Protector orders on top of more orders, keeping him frantically busy. He pushed all sorts of trivial troubles from the Cult onto Zhao Xihe. It was to the extent that, when Zhao Xihe managed to squeeze out some time to come meet with Sui Yuan, his whole person evidently became increasingly gloomy and dangerous. If it wasn’t for Sui Yuan making a supreme effort to stop him, Ning Ze would have died who-knows how many times by now.
If one talked now about how the Zhao Xihe from before all of this only planned to overthrow Ning Ze because of the plot without any earnesty, the Zhao Xihe at present wanted to kicked him from his position as the Demonic Cult Leader so much that he’d even dream about it. After doing so, he’d trample all over his brain and throw all sorts of miscellaneous Cult administration tasks onto him.
If you don’t seek death, you won’t die. When Sui Yuan recalled Zhao Xihe’s tone that made it sound like he was itching to bite off Ning Ze’s flesh while he was still alive, he couldn’t help but want to light him a giant row of candles. Even though Ning Ze would eventually become lovers with Nan Gongyi and have their happily ever after, with Zhao Xihe’s petty, grudging, needs-to-avenge-even-the-smallest-grievances nature, Sui Yuan felt that he would probably be unable to pass his days happily.
Ning Ze: …Yi? The beauty is looking at me with a really weird expression. Why do I feel afraid?
Aside from wasting a great deal of time and energy in appeasing Zhao Xihe, Sui Yuan naturally did not forget to think about a way to stop Nan Gongyi from returning to their Shifu. After discussing with Zhao Xihe, the two people decided to carry out a simple and crude plan.
Across all texts within this genre, what the Jianghu never lacked were assassin organizations. Although the organization’s name, authority, and rule system were all different, they all played a lively part within each text. This world was no exception.
The House of Profound Theory was the most outstanding assassin organization in this world. They carried out all kinds of □□: they stole intelligence, assassinated entire families, and did other cruel tasks like that. There was even a certain member of the organization who once shared a ‘short-lived predestined love’ with Nan Gongyi; a relationship budded from their understanding of each other’s pain. Unfortunately, before anything real had come out of it, because he had sheltered Nan Gongyi and thus committed the taboo set by his leader, the above-mentioned member was □□ and quickly and neatly turned into cannon fodder. For a period of time, Nan Gongyi was heartbroken because of this, and personally experienced what was known as the cruelty of the Jianghu.
Sui Yuan hired an assassin, naturally not because he truly wanted to kill Nan Gongyi. He had paid a lot of money to request the assassin to pretend to encircle and kill. He only wanted to herd the two people to a specific location in order to complete the task—of course, he could also control the time in which they met.
The best part of hiring this kind of assassin was the anonymity. As long as you handed over the money, they would not investigate who their client was or their reason for hiring them. Even if they were captured, they would keep their mouths shut like a closed bottle and would even directly take their own lives. Of course, if they completed the task and one does not give them the money, hehe, then that was simply seeking death.
After arranging everything, Sui Yuan finally felt at ease. He only had to wait until he had completely recovered before he could continue to proceed with the plot.
As was planned in the plot, a few days later, Ning Ze had no choice but to take his leave because of the hidden treasure. After all, as a Cult Leader, he had to personally oversee this kind of major event, especially now that he could not be at ease because of his Chief Protector who was eyeing his position.
Not long after Ning Ze had left, Sui Yuan recovered completely from his injury.
The two people packed up their belongings and left the inn to return to their Shifu. Naturally, they encountered the assassin who had been lying in wait for them.
Just where would Nan Gongyi, who had just entered the Jianghu, ever have encountered an assassin organization?! He was scared stupid from being chased after by a killer! He could only flee, running after his family’s Shixiong with his head in his hands while bewildered. He completely did not notice that they had already seriously deviated from the path that would have led them back to their Shifu.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Who had hired these assassins to come kill them? Why were they trying to kill them? It couldn’t be that there was a secret on them that they didn’t know about? Or, was this due to a grudge from a previous generation? Nan Gongyi considered this from all sorts of angles but could not figure out why they had ended up in this kind of predicament. And during this predicament, he was even more dependent on his Shixiong than he ever had been before.
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5237: …Suddenly feel that the silly host has blackened. Was it an illusion?
Who knew if it was the protagonist’s halo’s attractive force, but although it wasn’t the right time and place, although it was different from the plot, that cannon fodder assassin known as An Qi still made Nan Gongyi’s acquaintance. Fortunately Sui Yuan had requested to stay anonymous at the time of commissioning the task, so he neither exposed himself, nor ended up arousing Nan Gongyi’s suspicion.
The only thing that worried Sui Yuan was that when the assassin met Nan Gongyi, and got to know him through Nan Gongyi, he seemed to be more interested in himself than Nan Gongyi. Sui Yuan noticed that he threw him a glance on more than one occasion.
Originally, Sui Yuan thought that it was just the Heartthrob halo — that little hussy — at work again. However, after paying special attention to it, he became doubtful of his conclusion. That gaze was not that of goodwill, fondness, etc., but that of a thorough examination.
…It couldn’t be that he already suspected that he was the main culprit behind the ‘chase and kill’ that had occurred? Sui Yuan guessed with a bit of uncertainty. At the same time, he increased his vigilance against this An Qii.
Aside from this, in summary, Sui Yuan’s plans went extremely smoothly. He and Nan Gongyi finally reached the place where they were supposed to be, according to the plot, and rescued the plot that was about to be chopped in half.
When they were being chased by the assassins, Sui Yuan and Nan Gongyi ended up using the heavy downpour as their cover. They escaped their pursuers and randomly chose a road, taking shelter from the rain in a dilapidated temple. The dilapidated temple was also a common occurrence in wuxia novels. Here, they would definitely encounter odd characters, commit adultery, or eavesdrop on some kind of secret. Sui Yuan searched for some dry wood and lit a small fire to warm them. Meanwhile, the somewhat childish Nan Gongyi was restless and began to explore the temple.
Although the plot described the temple’s mechanisms, Sui Yuan did not plan on getting involved. Nan Gongyi had a protagonist’s halo. As long as he was here, it was none of Sui Yuan’s business.
Just as expected, when Sui Yuan had gotten his clothes half-dry, he suddenly heard the rumbling of stones turning and scraping against other stones. Sui Yuan quickly turned his head and saw Nan Gongyi with both hands spread out, standing with a stunned expression. Meanwhile, what was originally a statue before him had lowered and became a staircase leading downwards.
Sui Yuan’s eyebrows furrowed and he quickly pulled Nan Gongyi behind him, “What happened?”
“I…I also don’t know, ah? I just touched it…” Nan Gongyi cried in response. After the initial shock had passed, he quickly collected himself and looked at Sui Yuan with glimmering eyes, “Shixiong, is this the legendary secret passageway that has secret books or treasure or some other kind of thing inside?”
“Have you been reading too many vernacular folk stories? Thinking of such nonsense!” Sui Yuan couldn’t help but laugh gently. Soon after, he pursed his lips, “It’s better not to concern ourselves with additional matters. We’re already burdened by some □□ troubles for some inexplicable reason. Who knows whether it’s fortune or calamity we’ll find down there?”
“What must be, must be. In other words, when there are too many difficulties, one stops worrying about them. Shixiong, let’s go down and take a look!” As a so-called newborn calf who does not fear the tiger, even though he knew that his Shixiong’s words were reasonable, Nan Gongyi still could not suppress his eagerness.
If Sui Yuan were serious in stopping him, he would have made Nan Gongyi listen, hear and obey his family’s Da Shixiong. The obedient Nan Gongyi would feel regretful but would ultimately choose to give it up. Unfortunately, hadn’t Sui Yuan’s scheming all have been for Nan Gongyi to find this secret passageway?
Therefore, Sui Yuan pretended to frown as he contemplated for a long while. Finally, he looked as if he was defeated by Nan Gongyi’s begging and he reluctantly nodded, “Alright. Since we’ve already discovered the secret passageway, I’m afraid it’d be difficult to disengage ourselves from it. Also, that group of assassins is likely close by. Perhaps this secret passage may lead to another exit and help us escape.”
With Sui Yuan’s nod of approval, Nan Gongyi no longer hesitated even for a bit. He naturally knew that this decision his always cautious and prudent Da Shixiong made was for him, and he couldn’t help but feel happy. He excitedly shouted ‘Da Shixiong is so good!’ and then gripped his sword’s hilt, taking a careful first step into the secret passageway.
Sui Yuan, who had been given a good person card：“………………”
The secret passageway was dark. Fortunately, Sui Yuan had fashioned a torch beforehand. The two people held the torch as they slowly advanced forward, constantly vigilant for incoming dangers.
Fortunately, although the secret passageway was in ruins, slippery, and thus hard to pass, there weren’t any hidden traps. They walked for an indeterminate amount of time before Sui Yuan’s steps suddenly halted.
Although he was impatient to explore the secret passageway, Nan Gongyi still divided his attention, placing some of it onto Da Shixiong who was behind him. When he saw that he had stopped, he also stopped.
“Did you hear that movement? There seems to be someone in front of us,” he asked in a whisper. Sui Yuan’s martial arts were higher than Nan Gongyi’s so naturally, he noticed the problem first.
Nan Gongyi listened attentively at once and finally could make out the indistinct sounds of conversation. The two people locked eyes for a moment. Neither of them could tell if the person in front was a foe or friend. Furthermore, there was nowhere to hide. They had no choice but to be alert and prepare themselves to meet the other head on.
Sui Yuan and Nan Gongyi sensed the other party whose level of martial arts was evidently not inferior to theirs. They also detected that the other party brought people with him. Both sides halted. For a moment, the secret passageway was as still as a grave. Along with the fire’s flickering shadow, it made for an especially terrifying scene.
After a moment of confrontation, the other party took the lead to greet them, “The friend ahead, since we have been brought together by fate, why don’t we have a chat?”
That voice was very familiar. Although there was a bit of distortion within the secret passageway, Nan Gongyi was still able to recognize that voice. Heaven knew that previously, he had quarreled with the owner of that voice nearly every day. He had been itching to beat up the other until he would be too ashamed to even show his face around others in his dreams!
“Ning Ze?!” Nan Gongyi suddenly shouted, inadvertently exposing their identities.
“You are…Hero Nan Gong?” Ning Ze blanked out for a moment. Soon after, with his voice unexpectedly carrying a smiling quality, he said, “Could it be that your family’s Shixiong is also here?”
“How many times have I said it! A lecher like you is forbidden from trying to win my Shixiong’s affection!” Nan Gongyi shouted, fury written across his face. This was more or less the so-called, ‘meeting an old friend in a foreign place’. All of the original nervousness was swept away and Nan Gongyi’s impulsive nature came out.
From the other end of the secret passageway, muffled laughter came from an unfamiliar voice. It should be the subordinates that Ning Ze had brought along. After confirming the identities of both parties, Sui Yuan and Nan Gongyi joined with Ning Ze. Although Ning Ze was suspicious as to why the two of them had come here, at least on the surface, he acted without scruples. On the contrary, he laughed gently, “Why are the two of you here? Didn’t you say you wanted to return to your Shifu? I had originally planned to pay you a visit after I was done with matters here. I never expected that I’d meet you here. Could this be what they call ‘brought together across a long distance to meet by fate’?”
Sui Yuan felt goosebumps erupt all over his body from Ning Ze’s gaze. He politely gave a slight smile and did not say much. He acted as if he hadn’t perceived the ambiguous hint beneath the other’s words. Instead, Nan Gongyi had immediately puffed out all his fur, “Brought together by fate, my ass!”
Probably because he wanted to prove that his family’s Shixiong had nothing to do with this Ning Ze who had no morals, the other managed to extract the whole story from Nan Gongyi who had completely let down his guard with just a few sentences. Sui Yuan watched the unthinking Nan Gongyi on the side and really felt his head hurt. This kind of fellow would probably help count the money after being sold, ne! Anyway, it was probably only this kind of pure, sincere person, who never had their guard up, that could move the guarded Ning Ze who would be suspicious and jealous of everything, everywhere.
After all, the main point this time was the scene of the protagonist gong and shou facing off. Sui Yuan knew his place and thus, silently acted as if he was part of the background. Meanwhile, Zhao Xihe on Ning Ze’s side also did not have any intention to steal the spotlight. The two people’s eyes met and shared a tacit, mutual understanding.
After he confirmed that their presence here was nothing but a chance meeting, Ning Ze was greatly relieved. He returned the favour and told them information that he had deemed not too important, thereby satisfying Nan Gongyi’s curiosity.
Since Ning Ze had gotten his hands on the clue leading to the rare treasure, he probed around all along his journey, until he was ultimately guided to this secret passageway. Only, they had entered from another entrance, not the one from within the dilapidated temple that Nan Gongyi had discovered. Furthermore, it was said that the rare treasure hidden in this secret passageway was the ashes of a great Buddhist master. Also, it was said that this great Buddhist master’s Dharma was profound, his martial arts was even more unfathomable, and he lived to the ripe age of 200. When he sensed that his life was coming to an end, he deposited all the power he had accumulated in his lifetime into his ashes and hid it, letting it wait for its fated person to arrive. As for the leak regarding its news, it was his nephews that had done so.
Nan Gongyi was naturally astonished and curious about these ashes, longing for them, as would any person who studies martial arts. Only, he was magnanimous by nature and did not strongly insist on it. Seeing that Ning Ze was clearly determined to obtain it from his words, he dispelled the thought of wanting to get a share of the action. He just wanted to follow along to expand his horizons. Of course, on the other hand, Ning Ze’s skill was considerably high and his background was evidently out of the ordinary. If they were to follow them, maybe they would be able to take advantage of their east wind and escape from that group of hired killers.
Likewise, Ning Ze was uneasy with letting Sui Yuan and Nan Gongyi leave at this point, in fear that they would leak out the secrets they’ve just learned after leaving. With this kind of unpredictable variable, it would be easier for him to guard and watch over them in person.
Therefore, while both groups had their own plans, their path could still be considered harmonious.
Ning Ze seemed to have gotten hold of the secret passageway’s map. He hastily led everyone to a spacious and empty stone room. The four walls encasing the stone room were all engraved with Buddhist scripture, although actually, it wasn’t appropriate to say ‘engraved’ as the scripture wasn’t written with tools but with a person’s finger. To be able to use one’s flesh to engrave the hard stone wall full of scripture, the person who did this must have had an abundance of inner force. Without a doubt, this was done by the legendary Senior Monk.
Aside from the scriptures that stunned onlookers, at the centre of the stone room’s interior was a stone table. The stone desk was ‘simple and unadorned’, without any decorative design or embellishments. It seemed as if it had been made by simply polishing a crude rock and nothing more. Atop of the stone desk was a box made of sandalwood.
The instant they entered the stone room, the people that Ning Ze had brought with him stood in place with a tacit understanding, guarding against Sui Yuan, Nan Gongyi, and Zhao Xihe, in case they suddenly acted up. Although Nan Gongyi was carefree, he was able to faintly detect their vigilance and exclusion. While he felt rather offended, he understood that he could not win over these circumstances and obediently stopped walking. He loosened his body to indicate that he meant no harm. Likewise, Sui Yuan and Zhao Xihe, who held zero interest over the ashes, also made their positions clear as they retreated a step, only watching on the side.
Ning Ze faced them with a smile that seemed a bit apologetic. However, he did not stop his family’s subordinates’ actions, and only after examining the stone desk did he advance forward.
When he arrived by the stone desk, in the instant that he reached out to grab that sandalwood box, the floor around the desk began to suddenly sink. Ning Ze immediately realized that this wasn’t good and decisively withdrew, shouting loudly, “It’s a trap!”
As he shouted his warning, the originally quiet and harmless secret passageway became an impassable territory, densely filled with danger. Aside from the inexperienced Nan Gongyi, the rest of the people were well-acquainted with the ways of the Jianghu. Ning Ze need not speak many words. Each of them had the capability to escape the secret passageway. As for Nan Gongyi, although he was young, inexperienced, and had inferior martial arts, this was no match for his protagonist halo, ah! In addition, Sui Yuan was there to lend a hand at any time, so he was also able to avoid the dangers of the secret passageway and escape.
——While on this topic, Sui Yuan couldn’t help but sweep his gaze full of resentment towards Ning Ze who solely concentrated on protecting the sandalwood box in his hands. Where did the Original Ning Ze, who used his body to protect Nan Gongyi, go? Was he eaten by a dog?!
Ning Ze: …Yi? The beauty is looking at me with a gaze of deep resentment. Is he resenting me for implicating him and his shidi, or is he dissatisfied that I didn’t protect him? Looks like I have to properly show off my skills later.
During this crisis, aside from Sui Yuan and Zhao Xihe, no one else could afford getting distracted with concerning themselves with other people. While waiting for everyone to rush out of the secret passageway with their heads and faces covered with grime, only then did they notice that the only ones who escaped with their lives were the four people who were enshrouded by the protagonist halos.
Everyone who was turned into cannon fodder: “………………QAQ”
Nan Gongyi, who had just barely escaped with his life intact, had an ugly expression on. Meanwhile, although Ning Ze didn’t care about others’ lives, to have lost this many loyal, devoted, and strong subordinates made him feel a bit gloomy. As for Sui Yuan and Zhao Xihe…en, their every movement and action was extremely in accordance with their character settings.
Although still a bit panicked, there was not enough time to rest, tidy themselves up, or treat their wounds. Sui Yuan and co. discovered that trouble had already arrived.
Who knew how the information was leaked, but after they had just narrowly escaped out of the secret passageway with the treasure, in the next second, the four people found that they were ambushed and surrounded.
“Heh, this group of lowly characters!” Upon hearing these people furiously demand that they ‘hand over the rare treasure’, Ning Ze found it really funny. If a man loses his position and influence, he may be subjected to much indignity. Now, it was a good time for the enemy to attack them as they did not occupy the more advantageous position, considering how they had just escaped death.
“They don’t know who has the treasure, so we should split up and run!” After saying that, Ning Ze suddenly grabbed hold the arm of the startled Sui Yuan and vaulted away quickly.
Nan Gongyi：“B*stard QAQ.”
Four silhouettes, two in front, two behind, leaped into the jungle in quick succession. Ning Ze, who was at the very front, turned his head and saw Zhao Xihe and Nan Gongyi follow after them with gritted teeth, not letting him off. His expression was especially ugly, “Didn’t we promise to split up?!”
Nan Gongyi：“Let go of my Da Shixiong and I’ll immediately part with you!”
Sui Yuan：“…It’s already a life or death crisis, but you guys are still fighting amongst yourselves. Is there really no problem?!”
The author has something to say:
Cough, so embarrassing. This chapter was written and was placed in the drafts but I forgot to schedule it. Today, I suddenly discovered that unexpectedly there’s a feeling of happiness akin to thinking you had to go to school only to find out that it’s a holiday. How’d that happen? Wwwwww I had originally planned to have perfect attendance this month. The result is that it seems that I am not fated to do that ah ╮(╯▽╰)╭