No Longer Meeting the Protagonist Standard!

That night, they switched guard duty once as they waited for the dawn together. Once they could distinguish shadows in the cave, they set out in the direction of the snake's den.

As expected, after a chilly night, most snakes went into hiding. They wound against each other and piled up near the corner of the cave. The best part was, they became lazy and docile. Even when the two approached close to the snakes, the animals were disinclined to move.

Su Yang summoned up the courage to pick out snakes from the tangled piles and threw them into an open space far away. While Gu Feidi swiftly killed and buried them, one by one. The two men cleaned up the snakes before the reptiles could react.

“Wait, these snakes…”

Gu Feidi suddenly called out to Su Yang, turning to stare at a cave wall nearby, and explained, “There seems to be a door. I think the snakes are coming out from there.”

Su Yang beheaded a viper with his sword and put the head into a pit dug by Gu Feidi. Then he raised his head to gaze toward the place where Gu Feidi was pointing.

Currently, time had passed to where the sun rose outside the cave, which finally brightened up the cave somewhat. A trace of human carving could be seen on the cave wall. The artificial carving was vertical and smooth, like that of a door.

“We need to clear the snakes by the entrance first, then we can investigate inside.” Gu Feidi reasoned.

Su Yang nodded, but he had already guessed what was behind the door.

Gu Feidi’s protagonist's halo really did not disappoint. If the place behind those doors had nothing to do with the False Tomb of the Sacred Swords plot, then he would eat all of these snakes’ corpses in the cave, raw and whole!

They cooperated and soon finished with their task of killing all the vipers that came out of the door’s crack.

As they shortened the distance, the door’s original appearance slowly unfolded before their eyes—it was a heavy stone door without a pivot. It needed to be pushed and manoeuvred by human force for it to block the passageway.

The door wasn’t closed all the way. In the small gap, the passageway was pitch-black. No details could be seen, as no light could penetrate beyond the darkness, but a gentle cool breeze could be felt from the passage.

It was very obvious that there must be a large empty space behind the door.

“There might be more snakes inside.” Gu Feidi gravely warned, “We don’t have any tools on us to ignite a fire. If we rush in, it’s hard to tell whether we will fall into a more dangerous situation or not.”

Listening to his tone, Su Yang could hear that Gu Feidi didn’t want to continue to explore further.

This wouldn't do!

Behind this door could be the Sword Sage’s tomb. If Gu Feidi was disinclined to explore, that meant he wouldn’t get the Sword Sage’s inheritance, then the plot wouldn’t move forward...

Su Yang frowned. Then that made his small amount of knowledge from the False Tomb of the Sacred Swords useless.

…But simply, this door standing here was very unusual at first sight. No one could miss it.

So he reminded Gu Feidi, “Don’t forget why we are here in the first place.”

Gu Feidi raised his eyebrow. “Do you really believe that the tomb exists? I just deduced earlier that everything was a trap schemed by the E’Luo Gui Faction, don’t you care?”

Su Yang pursed his lips, trying to find an excuse, “Whatever, but my Sect got the information that the tomb really exists. Not necessarily the Sword Sage’s resting place, but it might be a site where he went into seclusion.”

Annoyed by Su Yang’s argument but still finding it adorable, Gu Feidi questioned, “Even if what we are in is a deadly serpent cave, you still insist that the Sword Sage’s inheritance is here, and even want it?”

Su Yang opened his mouth, but he couldn’t come up with anything reasonable to voice out.

If they have no way to solve the snakes and the lighting problem, he couldn’t really request Gu Feidi to risk his life to investigate!

Catching sight of Su Yang being speechless, Gu Feidi curiously asked, “Are the Evil Sect’s spies really that outstanding?”

“What?” Su Yang was startled.

Gu Feidi explained, “Before, when you were injured on the cliff, you passed a message to me, ‘the Sword Sage’s tomb is under the cliff’. Was this news discovered by your spies?”

A shiver suddenly travelled from his head to his toes. Su Yang really wanted to go back and shut his past self up.

At that time, he was dazed and confused by blood loss and intense pain. He felt that he had to make things clear right there and then. His head was filled with ‘Gu Feidi must find the Sword Sage’s tomb’. He didn’t even consider that others might have heard him passing the news to Gu Feidi.

But he would never have guessed that after he pushed Gu Feidi down the cliff and fell unconscious, he would survive.

No, not only survived, Gu Feidi even brought him along into the next plot. But he was stupid enough to ask about exploring the cave and looking for the tomb in this direction.

He was at a loss for words, thinking silently, ‘It’s not too late for me to deny this whole thing, right?

Before he could figure out an excuse to deny the claim, Gu Feidi suddenly added more, “At the start, you informed me on Returning to the Nest as well. The Evil Sect’s source of news is really unfathomable.”

Su Yang: “...”

Reluctant to admit, Su Yang hissed, “What? How could I…how could this Young Master tell you about that!”

Gu Feidi chuckled, but didn’t poke further. He placed his hand on the wrist guard and caressed it gently.

As a matter of fact, Su Yang knew that his performance was just a cover-up, but he couldn’t help it. The biggest reason? He couldn’t admit that he was not from this world. Everything he did before was in the name of trying to get the plot back on the right track, right?

Would he dare to say that? Would Gu Feidi believe him?

…No, he didn’t have the courage to say it.

The two stopped talking.

After a long silence, Gu Feidi was the first to open his mouth, “So…what you are trying to say is, you really want to investigate?”

“I…” Su Yang stayed silent for a moment, but he finally gritted out the words, “...I do!”

Gu Feidi took a deep breath and reassured, “Alright, I will figure out a way.”

Su Yang had a faint guilty conscience from this.

He pondered for a while before saying, “If there’s anything I can help with, please let me know!”

Glancing at Su Yang, Gu Feidi assured, “First, help me open the door fully to let what little light we have shine in.”

Su Yang immediately came forward and joined hands with Gu Feidi to pull the stone door and widen the gap.

The light illuminated the corridor inside the door. Sure enough, several vipers were occupied close to the door. With the light shining in, some of them quickly turned their heads and crawled deeper into the corridor.

They pushed the door open completely. Once the sky outside was brighter, they could start seeing more clearly inside the cave. The sunlight entered the corridor, illuminating the shadows inside, including the blue hand on the ground that became visible.

“Ah!” Su Yang screamed and pulled on Gu Feidi’s arm without thinking. Saying in a trembling voice: “De-de-dead body?!”

Gu Feidi’s expression also became serious.

He patted the back of Su Yang’s hand in comfort and took his own long sword from the man, who was shaking like a leaf. “You can let go first. I will pull the corpse out so we can have a closer look.”

Su Yang swallowed his saliva, released Gu Feidi, and tried to pull back the Young Master’s persona that was frightened out of him.

…But to no avail.

He stepped back with shaking legs, thinking that he would rather face a large den of venomous snakes than see a dead body!

Gu Feidi had already killed the snakes around the corpse. He went in the door and dragged the body out and turned it over.

Su Yang quickly looked away, his heart thumping hard, as if it wanted to jump out of his throat.

“He hasn’t been dead for too long, maybe just yesterday.” Gu Feidi calmly described, “Probably killed by a viper. Looking at his clothes…Oh, he has a token on him. He is from the Wujiang Sect. Likely was forced into the cave by the E’Luo Gui Faction after he fell into the river.”

Not able to summon the courage to look at the corpse, Su Yang could only nod as he couldn't express any opinions, “Right…that’s very possible.”

Gu Feidi continued, “Oh, he is carrying a sword. You take it for now, and make do with it.”

Su Yang didn’t really want to use a dead man’s things, but having a weapon was really important. He could only agree with a gloomy air and still didn’t look back.

Chuckling at his reaction, Gu Feidi added, “Oh, we are in luck! He also has a flint on him. We can start a fire and roast meat.”

Su Yang: “...”

Dude, is this a good time to talk about starting a fire for food?

When you are talking like this, it almost sounds like you want to roast the dead body instead...

“Although he died from snake venom, his clothes are still clean and tidy.” A hint of snickering in Gu Feidi’s tone. “The back of your robe is ripped. Why don’t you switch it with him?”

The hair on the back of Su Yang’s neck stood up, and his voice was tight, “No, no, there is no need!”

Gu Feidi then said, “He also brought some dried pastries on him, why don’t we share some to fill our stomach?”

In near tears, Su Yang shook his head aggressively.

Inside his head: ‘Gu Feidi, are you secretly a demon! You won’t even let a dead man’s food go!! Is your humanity fading out or have you lost your morality? Dear god, isn’t the original author too hardcore?!

Gu Feidi finally couldn’t hold back laughing.

He got up and went around to look Su Yang in the eyes. He crossed his arms and raised his eyebrows. Saying, unable to restrain a smile, “Why have I never noticed that not only are you afraid of snakes but also corpses?”

Su Yang: “...”

Seeing Gu Feidi’s smiling appearance, he suddenly realised that everything Gu Feidi said earlier was a joke! Was he being teased?

He was driven mad inside, ‘Gu Feidi, you bastard! I don’t want to see your ugly face right now!! You lost your right as a serious, likeable protagonist!!

Su Yang tried to maintain his displeased expression, by all means to sustain a Young Master’s identity.

Laying his eyes on Su Yang’s dignified face and him with no means to answer, Gu Feidi restrained his smile and asked carefully, “Did I scare you?”

“Humph, how could this Young Master be scared!” Su Yang pulled at the corner of his lip and said with a disdainful smirk, “It’s just that he died too hideously. I need eye bleach辣眼 Literal translation is ‘hot spice eyes’ (like the hot/ burning got into the eyes), it’s a meme/ emotion package that is commonly used on the web for things that pain one’s eyes, things that one shouldn’t have seen. Eye bleach is a meme for witnessing something horrid (don’t actually bleach your eyes). Formally translated as ‘eyesore’.…errr, he would spoil this young master’s eyes…”

Gu Feidi laughed again from seeing Su Yang’s glare and his angry, pouting face. He softened his tone, “Alright, alright. We don’t want him to continue to pollute your eyes. I will have to trouble you in finding a place to dig a hole. I will prepare him for burial, since I don’t know how to leave the cave for the time being. Very likely that I can’t send the body back to the Wujiang Sect.”

Once he was done, he handed the sword in his hand—his own sword—to Su Yang, while leaving him with the deceased’s saber.

Su Yang quietly reached for Gu Feidi’s sword and quickly turned around to find a place to dig.

Once he dug out a hole with the long sword, Gu Feidi had already used the dead man’s outer robe to wrap up and cover his face.

They buried the Wujiang Sect member killed by misfortune, while leaving behind items that could prove his identity. Gu Feidi planned to return them to the Wujiang Sect once they found an exit to the cave.

And the flint that the deceased carried also solved their current issue.

Gu Feidi started a fire. He found a flat stone and wedged out a gouge. Then he collected the headless snake carcasses he had killed before and took out the fat from their belly, throwing it into the gouge to bake out the oil. Su Yang donated his tattered outer coat, which Gu Feidi soaked in snake oil, twisted around a stick, making it into a torch.

Now with light, the two ventured the unknown behind the stone gate.

There were still a lot of vipers in the passage. Gu Feidi patiently cleaned up the snakes, while Su Yang’s job was to hold the torch. The two slowly move forward.

It wasn’t long before they found and turned into a corner arch, arriving at a large, stone chamber.

There was an indoor fire pit in the centre of the stone chamber. A small irregular hole was cut on the rock wall above the fire pit. There was wind blowing out of the hole. It was a chimney.

This didn’t look like a tomb, instead, it looked like someone once lived here.

An inner room was connected to the stone chamber. The inner room was not small, but it was empty. The walls were covered with mottled sword marks. The stone chamber also had a transept, it seems that there were once wooden doors, but now they had been broken.

One side of the transept was littered with broken wooden utensils and tools. On the other side of the transept, there was a stone bed on which spread out a corpse that had already turned into white bones.

“I’m afraid this wasn’t the Sword Sage’s tomb.” Gu Feidi said calmly, “This could be…some senior’s seclusion site.”

As he said that, he examined the skeleton on the stone bed carefully, and reached out to stroke across the stone bed to disturb a thick layer of dust covering the surface.

“This place had been ransacked already. There should be nothing left but this skeleton.”

Authors Corner

The author has something to say:

Su Yang: …Must…stay in…character! (whole body shivered)


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1 Comment

  1. peonyreads

    It’s really hard for Su Yang to maintain the young master persona… he’s just too cute uwu

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