Not only did Gu Louyin have enough energy, but he also had too much, and it was Xiao Yuan who could not last first.
In the middle of the night, the cold wind was chilly and the candlelight was swaying.
Gu Louyin hadn’t closed his eyes for several days, but now he laid beside Xiao Yuan, listening to the other party breathe in his sleep, then finally falling asleep lightly.
After some time, Gu Louyin frowned suddenly and opened his eyes quickly. He sat up, panting slightly, and his usually calm eyes were gloomy.
He turned his head very, very slowly, and when he saw Xiao Yuan’s profile on the pillow, his shallow breaths calmed down.
It was not the first time this thing happened. Every time he stayed with Xiao Yuan, he would wake up suddenly in the middle of the night and touch him to make sure he was still there.
Xiao Yuan was still alive, sleeping on his pillow, interlinked with his heart. Everything right now was too beautiful, too beautiful to be true. Sometimes, he even wondered if he was inadvertently trapped in an illusionary realm again.
Xiao Yuan was lying on his side facing him, his lips slightly opened, his cheeks flushed and his long hair scattered over his shoulders. He was obviously exhausted. Gu Louyin looked at him and the haze in his eyes gradually dissipated, replaced with something else.
Xiao Yuan felt a little itchy, so he opened his eyes in a daze and found that Gu Louyin’s silver hair had fallen on his neck. Xiao Yuan was so sleepy that he quickly closed his eyes again and asked, “What’s the matter?”
Gu Louyin leaned over and hugged him, whispering, “I am very scared.”
Xiao Yuan hugged him back and patted him lightly on the back, “Don’t be scared, don’t be scared, I’m here.” His tone was like coaxing a child, his voice light and soft, with a little nasally sound.
The sword cultivator that was coaxed still felt that it was not enough. No matter how close he was to Xiao Yuan, even if he was surrounded by Xiao Yuan, he would never be satisfied.
Due to the previous few times of opening up the path, even though there was no cooperation from Xiao Yuan’s side this time, Gu Louyin still went where he wanted to go.
No matter how sleepy and tired Xiao Yuan was, he had to wake up being tossed like this, whether he wanted to or not. He opened his eyes to look at Gu Louyin and said in a muffled voice: “Gu Louyin, you… have gone too far, can you just let me sleep?”
Gu Louyin said, “Yes.”
“En… your words and your deeds seem to be inconsistent?”
Gu Louyin only said, “Hold me.”
Since he couldn’t resist this kind of thing, he could only enjoy it. Xiao Yuan hugged Gu Louyin, accepted his fate, and left a scratch on his back in a grudge.
The next day, Meng Chi came to tell them that she was ready for the heart exchange and could start at any time.
Xiao Yuan rubbed his waist and asked Gu Louyin, “Have you really thought about it? No regrets?”
Xiao Yuan smiled, “Then you are finished.” The next fifteenth of the month, he would pay Gu Louyin back the principal and the interest.
Gu Louyin said, “I’m not.”
Xiao Yuan thought: it’s not up to you. He thought of one more thing and said, “Before we exchange, there is one more person we’d better talk to.”
Gu Louyin knew who Xiao Yuan meant and said, “No need.”
Xiao Yuan said, “It’s just a notice, regardless of whether he agrees or not.”
Gu Louyin said, “Whatever you want.”
Xiao Yuan smiled and said, “Then follow me.”
Gu Hang lived in Xingtian Sect for a while. Xiao Yuan had seen him several times before, but this was the first time he was going to visit him with Gu Louyin.
Gu Hang did not use the face-changing technique anymore. Standing in front of Xiao Yuan and Gu Louyin with his deeply lined face, he looked even older and more wane. He was still happy to see the two of them and asked, “Why are you two here?”
Xiao Yuan said, “On the Winter Solstice, I wanted to visit Uncle, but something happened and I was delayed.”
Gu Hang’s smile was a bit lonely, “Thank you for your trouble.”
“To tell you the truth, Gu Louyin and I didn’t attend the Winter Solstice family banquet either. If Uncle has nothing else to do, the three of us will make up for it with a meal of dumplings, how about that?”
Gu Hang smiled and said, “I am an idler, what else can I have to do?”
Gu Louyin opened the food box he had brought. Inside were a few side dishes and the dumplings that had just come out of the pot, steaming hotly. Xiao Yuan also brought a pot of wine, poured a cup for each of them and said, “This is my brother’s private stash of plum brew. It is pretty strong. Let’s have a few drinks but don’t be greedy and drink too much.”
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to describe this family banquet for three people as desolate. Gu Louyin’s words were as few as ever, and Gu Hang was a little stiff, but Xiao Yu, the ‘outsider’ was casual and kept rambling. After a few cups of wine, he leaned on Gu Louyin unscrupulously and said lazily: “Uncle, Gu Louyin has something to tell you.”
Gu Hang was taken aback, “What’s the matter?”
Gu Louyin turned slightly, so that Xiao Yuan could lean more comfortably. “Soon we are going to…”
Gu Hang interrupted nervously: “Get married?”
Xiao Yuan laughed, his eyes seven points drunk, “We have long been married.”
Gu Hang was shocked: “When?”
Xiao Yuan didn’t answer the question: “Speaking of which, I haven’t yet made tea for my father-in-law.”
Gu Louyin: “…”
“Tea…” Xiao Yuan looked around and picked up the cup, “I will substitute tea with wine, and I would like to drink to my father-in-law.”
Gu Hang also picked up the cup, not sure if he wanted to drink it. Gu Louyin said, “Drink it.”
Xiao Yuan was the first to drink. He patted Gu Hang on the shoulder and said, “Uncle, don’t worry, entrust Gu Louyin to me. I have a lot of money, so I won’t…” Xiao Yuan belched, “I won’t let him suffer.”
Gu Louyin helped him to sit straight, “Xiao Yuan.”
“You are drunk.”
Xiao Yuan blinked, grabbed Gu Louyin’s clothes and said, “Nonsense, I’m very sober, so don’t think about doing bad things while I’m asleep.”
Gu Hang caught the key issue: “‘Doing bad things’?”
“I was sleeping well, and suddenly…”
Gu Louyin blocked Xiao Yuan’s mouth, calmly changed the subject and told Gu Hang about the heart exchange.
When Gu Hang heard this, he fell into a long silence. Xiao Yuan was already asleep resting on Gu Louyin’s lap.
In the end, Gu Hang said, “You can make your own decisions.”
When Gu Louyin picked up Xiao Yuan and said goodbye, Gu Hang said, “Wait, there is an old thing that I have forgotten to return to Xiao Yuan.”
Gu Hang found the old thing and handed it to Gu Louyin, “When he wakes up, you can hand it over to him.”
Gu Louyin’s eyes narrowed slightly, “Wuguan Fengyue?”
“Exactly. Back then, when he and I parted at the foot of Qiyue Mountain, he handed this item over to me for safekeeping. Now, it’s time to return it to its rightful owner.”
On the day of the heart exchange, Meng Chi asked Fang Baichu to be her assistant. Fang Baichu said excitedly: “I have only read about the technique of heart exchanging in books and haven’t tried it yet.”
Gu Louyin asked, “Will it hurt?”
Meng Chi said in surprise: “Are you afraid of pain?”
“He is afraid.”
“I don’t think so,” Xiao Yuan said, “I remember there is a medicine that can make people not feel pain?”
Meng Chi took out two porcelain vials, “This is it. Later, you only need to use your spiritual power to stimulate the golden core in your heart and treat it as an ordinary meditation. When you wake up, the carrier of the Acacia Gu will have been changed.”
Fang Baichu added: “Master Gu’s heart demon can also be solved this way.”
Xiao Yuan and Gu Louyin glanced at each other, and the latter said, “Let’s start.”
While the two exchanged their hearts, Xiao Du stood at the door from beginning to end without saying a word.
As Meng Chi stated, Xiao Yuan didn’t feel any pain during the whole process, as if he had just fallen asleep. When he opened his eyes, his heart that had been infected with the Acacia Gu was already in Gu Louyin. And in his chest, beating steadily, was Gu Louyin’s heart.
Listening to his heartbeat, Xiao Yuan felt incredible. Gu Louyin lowered his eyes and looked at the left side of his chest, as if he felt the same way.
Meng Chi asked with a smile: “Everything is going well. How do you feel?”
Gu Louyin said, “I don’t feel the Acacia Gu.”
“Acacia Gu is usually asleep and only attacks when the moon is full.” Xiao Yuan smiled and said, “Then you will know how powerful it is.”
Meng Chi instructed: “The heart pulse is closely related to the cultivation base of the golden core. After you exchanged your hearts, your qi might be unstable and there might be abnormalities in your cultivation base. You must take this time to recuperate and try not to do anything strenuous until everything settles down.”
Xiao Yuan and Gu Louyin followed the doctor’s instructions and did not go anywhere while recuperating quietly. From time to time, some people wanted to visit Xiao Yuan, but Xiao Yuan basically declined them all. He just wanted to enjoy the brief tranquility with Gu Louyin. For this reason, the two temporarily left Xingtian Sect and went to live in the snowy mountain where they first met.
And while the two of them were taking refuge from the world, dark tides were already surging in the cultivation world and the storm clouds were rising again.
On the path leading to the top of the snow-capped mountain, two men and a woman, dressed in hooded cloaks, braved the wind and snow, walking with difficulty. The girl walking in the middle had her cheeks red with frost as she panted: “Shixiong, I’m so cold.”
Shen Fugui felt sorry for his shimei and couldn’t help but complain: “There are countless good mountains in the world. Why did the two of them choose such a ‘nice place’ to live temporarily?”
Li Yanzhi, who was leading the way, said loudly: “What are you talking about? The wind is too strong for me to hear –”
Finally reaching the top of the mountain, they saw a small lonely courtyard in the vast snow. Li Yanzhi yelled, “We’ve arrived!”
Cai Xunnian shivered and said, “Let’s go inside quickly, I can’t stand it anymore.”
Shen Fugui knocked on the door, and a cloud of cyan flames burst out of the door, greeting them.
Shen Fugui said, “Qingyan is there too.”
“The Venerable Lord sent it to protect the young lord.” Li Yanzhi said, “There seems to be no movement inside.”
Qingyan floated in the direction of the backyard, motioning for them to follow.
After a few steps, Cai Xunnian smelled a scent and said in ecstasy: “It smells so good. Are they cooking?”
Shen Fugui said, “Louyin can’t cook.”
“The young lord of our family can.” Li Yanzhi said with a smile, “His cooking skills are beyond even those of Xingtian Sect’s cooks.”
The door of the backyard kitchen was not closed and when the three of them arrived, they saw two figures dressed in moon-white standing in front of the stove. Xiao Yuan opened the lid of the pot. He took a mouthful of soup from the pot with a spoon, tasted it first, then brought the spoon to Gu Louyin’s mouth and said, “Taste it?”
Gu Louyin lowered his head and took a sip, “It’s delicious.”
Xiao Yuan smiled, “It’s delicious even before I put salt in it?”
“The soup is normal, you’re more delicious.”
“En? Am I delicious to drink?” Xiao Yuan asked with a smile, like a lecher that harassed a woman of a good family, “What do I have that you can drink, did you try it?”
Gu Louyin: “…”
“Say it, Master Gu.”
Gu Louyin turned his face away and said, “They are here.”
Xiao Yuan looked at the door, raised his spoon and greeted the three of them. “You have worked hard to come here.”
“It’s not hard work, it’s not hard work,” Cai Xunnian stared at the spoon in Xiao Yuan’s hand and swallowed. “Are we in time for dinner?”
“Almost,” Xiao Yuan said, “you go to the front yard and wait. Gu Louyin, help me cut some scallions.”
Hearing the second half of Xiao Yuan’s sentence, Shen Fugui and Cai Xunnian stopped their steps at the same time. Li Yanzhi said, “Aren’t you going?”
“We aren’t,” Shen Fugui said enthusiastically, “We have to stay and watch Louyin cut the scallions.”
Inside the house, there was no wind and snow but it was still quite cold. Xiao Yuan brought the lamb soup, saw Shen Fugui looking around and asked, “What are you looking for?”
Shen Fugui said, “Don’t you burn charcoal in your house?”
Xiao Yuan said, “Why do you want to burn charcoal if you have warm jade?”
The three guests were speechless for a while and couldn’t refute it. Cai Xunnian said weakly: “I’m sorry, it’s our fault that we don’t have warm jade.”
“Ah,” Xiao Yuan knocked on his head, “I forgot about it, you guys wait.”
With Qingyan in hand, he could have as much warm jade as he wanted. Xiao Yuan gave one to each person, and Cai Xunnian felt alive again.
Li Yanzhi asked, “Young lord, Master Gu, how are you recovering?”
Xiao Yuan raised his eyebrows, “Do we look like we are not recovering well?”
Li Yanzhi smiled and said, “That’s good, His Lordship can feel rest assured.”
After they were full of wine and food, they talked about business.
Although Yunjian Pavilion Pavilion lost Qingyan and the souls of Pangu Mountain were also taken by Xingtian Sect, the ancient mirror was still in Gu Hang’s hands. Recently, the number of people who had lost their souls increased persistently. People in the cultivation world were terrified and anxious, worried that it would be their turn next.
Yunjian Pavilion was determined to make Xingtian Sect carry this black pot for them, claiming that Xiao Du had spread the soul loss plague. Nowadays, the major sects were roughly divided into three factions: the first one only looked up to Yunjian Pavilion; if Yunjian Pavilion told them to go east they would never go west. The second one was the sects headed by Xuanle Sect, firmly believing Shen Qianyan’s words about the true face of the Yunjian Pavilion. The third one was Baihua Palace and others that did not favor either side and did not want to get into trouble.
Shen Fugui handed Xiao Yuan a list, “It is written by my jiejie herself.”
Xiao Yuan took a look and said, “There is nothing on it.”
“Master Xiao, don’t worry, how can this kind of confidential thing be easily seen.”
Shen Fugui took out his flute and played a short piece, and only then did the handwriting appear on the paper. “These sects are all our own.”
Xiao Yuan glanced roughly and said, “We’re almost there.”
Shen Xuanle was full of confidence, “If Xuanle Sect has a little more time, we can lobby more people.”
Gu Louyin said, “No.”
“Huh?” Shen Fugui said, “Why?!”
Xiao Yuan said, “The longer the time drags on, the more souls Yunjian Pavilion has in its hands, unless we can find out where they hide the ancient mirror. But with the past lesson of Qingyan, how can Gu Hang take it lightly again. If I were him, I would definitely carry the ancient mirror with me all the time. Moreover, the more people there are, the greater the possibility of leaks.” Xiao Yuan thought for a while and asked, “How does Yunjian Pavilion treat Xuanle Sect?”
Cai Xunnian said, “After we staged a show at Xuanle Sect last time, Yunjian Pavilion should be trusting us.”
Xiao Yuan called for Qingyan and ignited the list. “I think it’s time.”
Li Yanzhi said angrily: “I don’t want to delay anymore. Now that Xingtian Sect has weapons strengthened by Qingyan in our hands, are you afraid that we won’t be able to kill those Yun dogs?!”
Xiao Yuan asked, “What does my brother say?”
“The Venerable Lord wanted to provoke Yunjian Pavilion to attack, but Yunjian Pavilion is like an old b*stard and won’t move.”
Xiao Yuan said, “Maybe Yunjian Pavilion also wants Xingtian Sect to come to their territory to fight.”
Cai Xunnian asked, “Is it important on whose territory to fight?”
“Of course it is important,” Shen Fugui said, “the defensive side has the advantage and can arrange various formations in advance.”
Xiao Yuan said thoughtfully, “Perhaps, we can find a place that belongs neither to Xingtian Sect nor to Yunjian Pavilion.”
Gu Louyin raised his eyes to look at Shen Fugui.
Shen Fugui was taken aback, “What do you mean?”
Xiao Yuan lifted the corners of his lips and said, “Wait for me here, I’ll be back.”
Xiao Yuan went to the study room and came back with two letters in hand. He gave one of them to Li Yanzhi and asked him to give it to Xiao Du; the other was for Shen Fugui to bring it back to Xuanle Sect.
Shen Fugui asked, “What is written in this letter, can I read it?”
“Yes,“ Xiao Yuan said, “You can read it when you return to Xuanle Sect.”
Cai Xunnian yawned, looked out the dark window and said, “It’s already so late… Shixiong, should we go?”
Xiao Yuan said, “It’s snowing quite heavily outside, so you can leave tomorrow. We have two available rooms.”
Xiao Yuan took out two new quilts for the guests and when he saw Shen Fugui and Li Yanzhi enter, he casually asked, “You’re sleeping in the same room?”
Shen Fugui blushed, “Of course! What are you thinking, my shimei and I are not married yet, how can we spend the night together!”
Li Yanzhi patted Shen Fugui on the shoulder, “Well done, brother! Can you sleep together without being married? That’s cheap and lecherous!”
Xiao Yuan said softly: “You don’t have to say that.”