Chapter 210 - The Fox Sees His Life Flash Before His Eyes
Chapter 210 – The Fox Sees His Life Flash Before His Eyes
Chu Yun couldn't deny that he was looking forward to see what kind of show Chu Hean was going to put on.
His ego was bruised, so he felt like he had something to prove. He was very predictable in a way. Just because he had rejected Lieba Chun it didn't mean Lieba Chun had a right to reject him.
Foolish, bratty, and arrogant.
Lieba Chun had his work cut out for him.
He seemed to relish the task, if the brilliant grin he threw at Chu Hean was anything to go by. He stepped over the taut rope, his weight barely making it move. Chu Hean mirrored his movements and when it seemed they were just going to bump into each other's chests on the middle of the rope, they brought down the poles at the same time.
And then they were off.
It was tense and exciting for the first few minutes, until Chu Yun realised they were too evenly matched for the fight to be interesting to begin with.
They kept countering each other as if they could predict what the other was going to do — dodging in just the nick of time, and then switching places and having their strike miss by just a hairsbreadth.
"It's like watching two cats circle each other," Xiao Zai said, dismayed, leaning towards Chu Yun to voice his complaints.
Chu Yun had to agree. They were like two cats in a courtyard, their sharp paws raised towards the other while they hissed and spit but ultimately did nothing.
For a moment they seemed to be rushing towards each other, like a strung cord, but then all the energy deflated and they sized one another up before attempting a move that the other easily parried.
It was like watching a very boring mating dance between two animals who didn't know that was what they were doing.
"How much longer can this take?" Chu Yun asked, fanning himself aggressively. He chanced a look around, and got the impression some of the others were on the verge of falling asleep. Fan Jiang was definitely nodding off, he was sure of it.
He managed to drag his eyes back towards what was happening over the rope just in time to see them rush at each other again.
Chu Yun expected more of the same anticlimactic action, but this time something different happened.
Lieba Chun struck forward with the pole, aiming for Chu Hean's chest, as he had done before, but instead of jumping backwards, over him, or just parrying, Chu Hean let go of his own pole at the same time he jumped high and landed on the pole Lieba Chun was still holding.
The extra weight made Lieba Chun lose his footing. Chu Yun watched in slow motion as Chu Hean jumped backwards and landed on the rope at the same time Lieba Chun slipped completely off and fell on the ground.
Chu Hean extended his arm just in time to grab Lieba Chun's bamboo pole before it touched the ground and whipped it towards him.
"I win," he said, his tone dispassionate, even though his eyes were shining with mirth.
From the ground, Lieba Chun threw him a filthy look before pulling on the pole and toppling Chu Hean who fell gracelessly on top of him.
"Congratulations," Lieba Chun replied, turning to mouth the words into Chu Hean's ear.
In the platform above Chu Yun rolled his eyes so hard he felt something straining. They had more of this to endure.
He felt fingers close around his wrist, and turned his face to find Xiao Zai looking at him with a look of deep commiseration. "Stay strong, it will be over soon."
Xiao Zai had lied. It wasn't over soon.
They had to endure some similar displays a thousand times over. Sometimes there would be a break in action, and the two of them wouldn't participate in the same challenges, but more often than not they were going against each other and exchanging victories.
The worst part was that they seemed to be attempting to make all the spectators uncomfortable with increasingly more elaborate celebrations.
After the knife throwing competition, Lieba Chun lorded his victory over Chu Hean by pinning him to the target wall behind him, and pulling it out with a dramatic flourish, their noses almost touching.
Chu Hean returned the favour in the after the swordfight competition, by cutting a ribbon off Lieba Chun's shirt and exposing a slash of his golden chest. Lieba Chun preened, puffing out his chest so that everyone could admire the cut of of his muscles.
Even at a distance, Chu Yun could see the depth of Chu Hean's scowl — he had miscalculated that one, to Chu Yun's amusement.
Xiao Ziyi won the horse race, which came as a surprise, but perhaps shouldn't, because Chu Hean wasn't that competent a rider, and spent the entire race trying to throw Lieba Chun off.
In any case, Chu Yun jumped to his feet and cheered dramatically, relieved beyond belief to not be seeing any more of them.
Xiao Ziyi stood under a peach blossom tree as her reward was awarded to her. A blossom fell right on her cheek as she received her silk ribbon. She picked it between her fingers, flickered her gaze towards the platform filled with court onlookers and brought it to her lips discreetly, before slipping the blossom between the folds of her robe.
At the same time, Hua Nanyi fell back on her chair with an inelegant thunk, fingers tight over the armrest.
When it was all said and done, Lieba Chun won the most challenges, and was the winner of the games.
Xiao Zai got up from his gilded chair with a relieved sigh. "Finally," he said, smiling at Chu Yun.
The two of them made their way down the stairs to award Lieba Chun his reward in person. Chu Yun was thinking of how much he was going to enjoy relaxing in the bathing pool afterwards, when something sharp zinged past his cheek.
He heard a gasp behind him.. He turned around and met Xiao Zai's wide eyes as a red stain blossomed around the arrow shaft protruding from his chest.