"There was no existence in this world that could separate them from each other again."
Editor(s): juurensha, namio
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Chen Xing and Che Luofeng let out loud shouts at the same time as they each turned their horse’s head, starting a pursuit along the outside of the arena.
“How come these two started fighting instead?” Princess Qinghe asked curiously. “That guy is Che Luofeng? Why do I remember seeing him before?”
Murong Chong replied, “You didn’t see their eyes? Is their fight really so unexpected?”
Princess Qinghe smiled gently as she replied, “It’s not that it’s strange that they’re fighting, it’s just that I don’t understand. Are they betting over the Great Chanyu? If Chen Xing loses, do you think the Great Chanyu will wholly and willingly take his anda as his wife?”
Murong Chong, “...”
Princess Qinghe: “That is truly too impossible to imagine. If Chen Xing wins, then that’s alright, but if in the end, it’s Che Luofeng who wins, there’s no point other than upsetting Shulü Kong. What exactly are the two of them thinking?”
Tuoba Yan and Lu Ying came to the side of the arena, while Xiao Shan stood on the table, raising Cangqiong Yilie, shouting, “Chen Xing! Win! Win!”
Lu Ying took a look at the arena, then looked to Xiang Shu, whose face was full of worry, and Lu Ying seemed to have also noticed.
The galloping horses brushed past as they spread, and Chen Xing and Che Luofeng each clamped their legs around their horses’ flanks, charging towards the other! Che Luofeng had never expected in his wildest dreams that this Han person could ride a horse so decently, or that he would dare to charge towards himself. He feinted with his bow. Chen Xing tugged at the reins, and his warhorse circled as he brushed by Che Luofeng, basically touching him. Neither of them nocked an arrow; this was nothing more than a test.
“When two steeds meet, he who is timid will lose!” Xiang Shu’s voice seemed to still be resounding in his ears.
That warhorse of Chen Xing’s was that old horse of Xiang Yuyan’s, when she had still been alive, but Chen Luofeng’s horse was a gallant horse. Though dominance couldn’t be determined through their first exchange, when Chen Xing turned, he was still slower than Che Luofeng by half a beat.
“Do you need help?” Chong Ming’s voice never missed a single opportunity, and now it echoed in Chen Xing’s ears.
“No need!” Chen Xing replied loudly. “No one interfere!”
Che Luofeng turned his horse’s head, and with a vicious kick, he drew his bow and nocked an arrow. Chen Xing knew that now it was time for the real thing! But he didn’t lie flat. Instead, he circled around to Che Luofeng’s side. Che Luofeng drew his bow, and the arrow shot forth!
The arena was filled with cheers as the shaft rotated in the air, sending out a streak of circling stone powder. Chen Xing tilted his head back, and the blunt arrow flew right past his face.
The voices of the Tiele people immediately drowned out the Rouran people, and this second shout was for Chen Xing.
Che Luofeng passed his bow to his left hand, without giving Chen Xing even a moment to breathe. As their horses brushed past each other, he suddenly jerked on the reins, and the war horse’s left front hoof kicked forward viciously. He flattened himself, and with one foot on the ground, Che Luofeng pushed off the horse’s body, pulling another arrow from his full quiver. The second arrow flew towards Chen Xing’s thigh, blocking his path forward --
“Turn your horse back and flip around on the saddle, kick off the stirrup and turn around!”
But as soon as Chen Xing saw Che Luofeng’s shoulders move, he thought of the trick that Xiang Shu had taught him. He kicked the stirrup away, turning his body and landing on the other side of the saddle. At the same time, he pulled the reins in the other direction.
The two warhorses let out long neighs at almost the same time, sending up flurries of snow. Che Luofeng’s arrow shaft brushed past the horse’s flank, and amidst the flying snow, Chen Xing stepped through the air and landed solidly on that Xiongnu horse. Using the sound of hooves from twenty paces away to determine his position, he closed his eyes, turned around, and drew his bow.
Dust went flying as the horse galloped on, as he used the sound to aim his bow!
At the same time, the third arrow flew at him from within the powdery snow. Chen Xing steadied his nerves, sending his three arrows flying in quick succession.
Upon seeing that their arrows had both missed, Xiang Shu sped forward to shout for them to stop, but just at this moment, Che Luofeng yanked at his horse’s reins. Just as he was about to rise, he met those three arrows of Chen Xing’s that flew at him from within the mist of snow!
Che Luofeng’s last arrow pierced through the mist of snow just like that, flying towards Chen Xing’s chest.
Suddenly, a barely noticeable flash of golden light shone from the left hand that Chen Xing had wrapped around the bow, and it revealed an odd ring.
When the ring appeared, the flow of time slowed to a crawl. A hush fell over the world, and time stopped for a brief moment. When Chen Xing saw that arrow fly towards him and suddenly slow, he didn’t know why it had, but when he reacted, he immediately turned and laid himself flat against the horse’s back.
The ring flashed with a short burst of light, before it once again vanished from Chen Xing’s hand.
But with this short moment that he had gained, Chen Xing managed to dodge that third arrow that the naked eye could barely even make out!
The moment Che Luofeng rose, two arrows shot at him, one brushing past his horse’s head, the other leaping right over his shoulder. One last arrow perfectly struck the feather headpiece on his head. It took the long feathered headdress of the Rouran flying into the air, drawing out an arc before it landed on the ground.
Xiang Shu stopped, and the mist of snow parted. The two of them turned their horses around, each of them backing away.
The arena was completely silent. A good few breaths later, a loud cry that could level mountains and seas erupted forth from Chi Le Chuan!
Chen Xing could not stop panting as he watched Che Luofeng from afar. Che Luofeng couldn’t believe what had happened, because those last three arrows had all been fired off in one brief second.
In the end, Che Luofeng said, “You’ve won, Han person.”
Chen Xing’s heart was about to explode out of his chest. Che Luofeng dismounted and picked up his headdress, holding it in his hand, not speaking. At last, he glanced towards Xiang Shu, his eyes filled with complicated emotions.
“That last arrow I couldn’t have dodged originally, Che Luofeng,” Chen Xing said. “It was just that my luck was good.”
“Even if we tied, it still counts as my loss,” Che Luofeng replied. “No matter how you dodged, it was all fated to be. I’ve lost, and I’ve never won from the very beginning. This counts as giving myself an explanation as well. Who taught you your archery skills?”
Chen Xing smiled a little, but didn’t reply.
Che Luofeng pushed aside the crowd and left. Xiang Shu said, “Anda! I taught him how to shoot!”
Chen Xing slowly calmed, watching Che Luofeng’s silhouette leaving.
“Ah! The mission’s finally done!” Chen Xing climbed off his horse, tossing his bow to one side. He wiped the sweat off his brow, but his back was soaked completely through, all three layers inside and out. He bemoaned, “I’ve worked so hard for over half a year, just for today! I swear that from today onwards, I won’t practice martial arts any more! It’s too tiring, I’m really tired to death! Where’s Xiang Shu? Where did he go now?”
Chen Xing walked out of the arena, only to see that Xiang Shu and Che Luofeng were standing to one side, talking. Che Luofeng glanced at Chen Xing, before raising his head slightly, looking directly into Xiang Shu’s eyes.
Chen Xing was no longer happy with that, and he immediately began to walk over, but Xiang Shu didn’t even look at him as he raised a hand, palm towards Chen Xing, meaning “stop”. He then pointed at the ground, meaning stand there, don't come over.
Che Luofeng and Xiang Shu were both silent for a long time. In the end, Xiang Shu lifted a hand, put it on Che Luofeng’s shoulder, and patted him. Che Luofeng finally nodded, closed his eyes, and turned and left.
After that, Xiang Shu started walking towards Chen Xing.
“What did he say?” Chen Xing asked.
“Nothing much,” Xiang Shu responded absentmindedly. For some unknown reason, his gaze grew very complicated.
Chen Xing once again felt that things became a little dull and tasteless between them. The wind began to blow again, sending the flags above their heads that filled the skies of Chi Le Chuan fluttering. Embroidered on the flags were saintly beasts that looked as if they were alive, and it was as if they were racing across the sky.
Chen Xing turned, but before he left the arena, he asked, “Great Chanyu, where are we going now?”
Xiang Shu replied, “I don’t know.”
The atmosphere between the two of them suddenly grew strange, and neither of them spoke. Chen Xing began to walk slowly towards the mountains, and when he passed by the Gaoche people’s market, he saw a shield.
“Do you want to go sledding?” he asked Xiang Shu, stopping in his tracks.
Xiang Shu fell silent for a long time, before replying, “I won’t go.”
Chen Xing: “...”
“Oh,” he replied. “Are you angry?”
Xiang Shu said, “What did you bet?”
Mustering up a smile, Chen Xing replied, “Che Luofeng didn’t tell you anything?”
Seeing how Xiang Shu appeared, he had clearly already asked Che Luofeng.
Xiang Shu turned and left Chi Le Chuan, walking towards the eastern ridge of the Yin Mountains, not speaking a single word the entire time.
Chen Xing exposed himself as he tried to explain. “We… we were just joking around, don’t take it seriously.”
Xiang Shu still didn’t reply. He stepped over the collected snow, his martial boots sending up little flurries. Chen Xing followed behind, but that competition had left him a little short of breath.
The two of them came to the waist of Mt. Xilu within the Yin Mountains. Chen Xing’s words dried up again. He felt that he had gone a little too far this time. He wanted to apologize to Xiang Shu, but he didn’t know how to start. Xiang Shu, however, only stood on the waist of the mountain. Looking out from here, within Chi Le Chuan, there was a clear view of the beautiful scenery of the entire Autumn Close Festival.
“Has no one told you,” Xiang Shu said earnestly, holding out a hand, “if the person in your heart is a Tiele person, and if you want to go find him and go sledding with him, you have to wait patiently for him to reach out a hand to you of his own accord first?”
With that, Xiang Shu reached his large, broad palm out towards Chen Xing.
Immediately, Chen Xing felt a wave of dizziness, and he looked at Xiang Shu’s hand, not understanding what to do. His eyes turned red, and he subconsciously looked towards Xiang Shu’s, before lightly placing his hand in that palm.
“But… we didn’t bring a shield.” Chen Xing didn’t know why, but his mind was an absolute mess, and it strayed to this random, out of the blue matter that had nothing to do with anything.
“The Heart Lamp.” Xiang Shu pulled Chen Xing into his embrace, and immediately the light of the Heart Lamp shone brilliantly. The gilded martial robes fluttered as Xiang Shu hugged him, and they leapt off the cliff into thin air. Xiang Shu stepped forward, and the golden light gathered into a shield that flipped through the air and landed under their feet, and they went sledding towards Chi Le Chuan!
Chen Xing immediately shouted loudly as he turned to hug Xiang Shu tightly, burying himself in his chest.
Golden light rose from the ground as Xiang Shu took Chen Xing along and made a turn at the foot of the mountain, calling upon the light of the Heart Lamp and circling around Chi Le Chuan. His feet trod on the shield as they slid upwards, along the snow-capped peaks, towards the summit of Mt. Xilu!
Chen Xing: “Wait, wait… Waaaaaah--!”
At noon, under the brilliant light of the sun, Xiang Shu stepped onto the shield, letting Chen Xing stand in front of him as he hugged him around the waist from behind. With a turn, they slid up the peak of the mountain some hundreds of zhang tall.
“Do you still want to go sledding the second time?” Xiang Shu asked earnestly as he lowered his head and looked into Chen Xing’s eyes.
Chen Xing nodded and replied, “Yes.”
“You’ve agreed,” Xiang Shu said solemnly, before he turned his body.
Chen Xing: “I’ve agreed, wait! I still have something to say… ah--!”
Xiang Shu hugged Chen Xing tight, and from the end of the summits of the Yin Mountains, he tilted his body down. His feet stepped swiftly as he trod onto the shield, flying swiftly down the snowy slope. Chen Xing hugged Xiang Shu tightly, burying his head in his chest, and their martial robes fluttered wildly in the strong wind, whistling as they went.
“Look?” Xiang Shu only said a single word.
Chen Xing raised his head from Xiang Shu’s shoulder, and he was instantly shaken by the beauty of the scene before his eyes.
Xiang Shu, his feet planted on the shield, had actually slid from one peak towards the other peak.
The sea of clouds parted gently, revealing the vast, clear sky above them, as well as the peaks of the Yin Mountains that stood like a group of dragons around them. As they looked over the world below, the scene below was like a huge painting of vast rivers and mountains. A flock of birds sped across the land, and the clouds parted, and in this moment, they only had each other.
Xiang Shu let go of Chen Xing, and the two of them parted for a brief moment. Chen Xing’s eyes were already reddened, and his tears kept pouring down outside his control. He raised his sleeve to wipe them away, like a helpless child.
“Now it’s your turn,” Xiang Shu said to Chen Xing. “Say it quickly now, otherwise the Great Chanyu will leave you on the mountain, and you will never be able to return to Chi Le Chuan.”
Chen Xing rushed towards Xiang Shu, stepped onto the edge of the shield, and hugged his waist. Xiang Shu immediately wrapped an arm around him.
“Let the Yin Mountains bear witness!” Chen Xing shouted loudly, tears in his eyes.
“Let the Yin Mountains bear witness!” Xiang Shu tilted his head upwards, smiling as he shouted that, before he turned with Chen Xing. Leaping over those flurries of snow, they passed through the ebb and flow of the tides of time that made up their previous lives and this one, shooting over the forests, flying over the mountains.
The myriad manifestations of this fleeting life are like mountains, and every second of that time is like the ocean.
Though the mountains and seas may lie between us, our love will level them.
The hubbub of the world gradually fell away, and the ancient love pledge tree tied full of red knots had already become clad in silvery-white.
Under the tree, Xiang Shu had regained his pitch-black royal robe, and he laid in the snow, Chen Xing sprawled on top of him. Their heads were covered in powdery white.
Xiang Shu watched Chen Xing, his gaze moving from his eyes to his lips.
“Why… do I always remember…” a thread of confusion appeared in Xiang Shu’s eyes.
“Shh, don’t say anything,” Chen Xing said quietly, before he hugged Xiang Shu’s neck, pressing him down onto the snowy ground, lowering his head and capturing his lips.
When their blazing hot lips touched, Xiang Shu widened his eyes, but Chen Xing closed his. He forgot all of his thoughts, but just as he kissed Xiang Shu, a sense of warmth spread from the place where Lu Ying had once pressed on his upper lip.
Xiang Shu: “!!!”
The realm of dreams broke apart in an instant, turning into real memories, and thousands of fragments flashed before Xiang Shu’s eyes --
That ray of light that he had seen when they had first laid eyes on each other in the prison in Xiangyang; sitting on the bed in the palace in Chang’an, half-asleep, hugging his Chen Xing; the nine shining runes on the Acala Blade; under the same ancient tree, Xiang Shu anxious and uncertain as he turned to look at Chen Xing and Tuoba Yan behind it...
The first time that they had gone sledding, the instant of panic that Xiang Shu had felt when Chen Xing turned his head; as the tides ebbed and flowed, the rocking of the ship on the ocean; on the night of the Autumn Deity Festival in Jiankang, Xiang Shu had tightened his grip around the red string in his hand...
In Shouyang City, Chen Xing laid on the bed, sunk in a coma. Xiang Shu’s eyes were red as he gently stroked his forehead.
In the ancient formation of the Tides of Time, the Acala Blade pierced his chest, but he still used all his might to approach, trying to use that light to shine upon his Chen Xing.
The breaking of the Dinghai Pearl, the Revival of All Magic, in the whirlwind of space and time, the phoenix circled and Iuppiter took a physical form, holding the Luohun Bell in its hand. In his embrace, Chen Xing turned into motes of light and dissipated...
All of the matters of the past once again resurfaced from the sea of his dreams, rose, and returned to Xiang Shu’s hunpo. The golden light faded away, turning into the gentle snow under the ancient tree in Chi Le Chuan, landing on their bodies.
When their lips parted, Chen Xing stared hazily at Xiang Shu.
Both of their faces were bright red, and Chen Xing’s heart was beating so fast he couldn’t breathe. His entire head was filled with only a single thought --
Kissed him, kissed him, I finally managed to kiss him...
But at this moment, Xiang Shu asked, his voice trembling, “Xing’er?”
Chen Xing: “............”
As if he was waking from a dream, Xiang Shu flipped them over, pressed Chen Xing into the ground, and once again kissed him! Chen Xing’s eyes immediately widened, his heart and mind churning. He wanted to break free and push Xiang Shu away to ask him clearly, but Xiang Shu didn’t allow him the space for even a bit of resistance as he pressed down on his wrists.
It wasn’t until Chen Xing completely let go of the desire to talk with him, instead quietly exchanging kisses with him, that Xiang Shu’s hands that had locked Chen Xing’s in place gently loosened. His palms firmly stroked the centers of Chen Xing’s hands, before parting his fingers, their fingers entwining tightly around each other. From this moment onwards, the heavens, the earth, destiny, time, the Devil God...
There was no existence in this world that could separate them from each other again.
moon: rio rio they’re finally rio!!!!
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), moon.