"At home, I cultivated this technique, look at it...here. Let’s try it.” Yu Changqing cocked his head, scrutinizing the image on the soaked page, and after recognizing it, nearly fell into the water himself.
Yuheng Mountain, Dingjun Peak.
Last night, Lunjian Pavilion encountered a thief. The Demon Cult had been established for centuries, yet for the first time, a thief dared to breach the mountain. The ensuing chaos on Dingjun Peak led to severe consequences:
"Young Master ran away!"
"He ran away from home!"
"Sect Master! Young Master escaped!"
"Let him go." The Demon Cult Leader You Gutian dipped his brush in ink, casually writing on xuan paper.
"Sect Master!" His left and right guards knelt on the ground with tears brimming in their eyes. “What do we do!! The past four generations have produced only one heir, just this sole son and heir...”
You Gutian flicked his brush, ink splattering six specks on the two loyal guards’ faces. "Did Yuwen Hong follow him down the mountain?" You Gutian asked.
"Yes, yes, wherever the young master goes, that guy follows," cried the right guard, tears flowing from his aged eyes.
You Gutian replied, "With Yuwen Hong following, nothing bad will happen."
The left guard cried, "The shadow guard is loyal and devoted, so why not let him bring Young Master back to the mountain?"
You Gutian casually replied, "The shadow guard is loyal and devoted. But that child’s mother brought him here, and he has never obeyed my commands... Doesn’t matter, when the time comes, Mengzhe will return by himself."
The right guard wailed, "But Sect Leader, the young master, he cultivates ‘Turning to Yang’, the True Secret of Turning to Yang. If by any chance he falls into the hands of a righteous wulin Taoist... then surely...”
The left guard echoed, "The consequences are unimaginable!"
You Gutian narrowed his eyes and sneered. "The True Secret of Turning to Yang is dual cultivation, not the Bridal Gown Sutra, so it won't ruin things. We’ll see what fate has in store for Mengzhe.”
Meanwhile, on a thousand-year-old cliff-side road on Yuheng Mountain…
"Hu...hu..." Wearing an azure robe, qilin boots, and carrying a bundle while sprinting and repeatedly looking over his shoulder, You Mengzhe finally stopped for a moment to catch his breath. He had finally escaped… He escaped! He was safe! Freedom!
If he had known earlier, he wouldn’t have grabbed all these things! You Mengzhe found a place to sit down and inspected the items he had brought from the Demon Cult’s lair—Vermillion-Eyed Ice Silkworm, Heaven and Earth Extinguishing Bone Piercing Needles, Demon Blood Sword, Shattering Soul Whip, Nine Lives Returning Yang Pill, Demon Cult’s 33-layer lacquered gift box, gold leaves—he had only forgotten to bring food! He also brought a letter which contained a self-portrait left by his mother, his only memento of her.
I'm starving, what should I do? Practice cultivation? Can cultivation fill my stomach?
That damn 'Turning to Yang' was seriously cursed. Everyone in his sect had advanced by cultivating other methods. Why was it that only he had practiced the useless ‘Turning to Yang’ for ten years with absolutely nothing to show for it? The left guard's son Wang, that guy practiced the ‘Arrogance of Heaven and Earth’s Fate-Forging Mountain-Splitting Palm’; now that’s what you call a commanding presence! The ‘Striking Bulls Across Mountains’ was just a small trick, but a single palm could smash a 10-zhang city wall.
But why when it came to You Mengzhe, did the acclaimed Demon Cul--Divine Sect’s most mysterious, most powerful ‘True Secret of Turning to Yang’, have no effect? He couldn’t carry or lift anything, and after spending half a day trying to leap over a dirt wall, ended up having to crawl... A random maid from the Demon Cult could blast him five-zhang away with a palm, and even a wild dog on the mountain could run faster than him. After ten years of practice, how was You Mengzhe, born with his Ren and Du Meridians open, so useless? What a waste.
You Mengzhe carried the only existing copy of Turning to Yang in his bag. He cautiously crossed the cliff-side path and found a big tree to rest under. It was early summer, and the cicadas cried endlessly. Lush green hills and the shade of trees stretched as far as the eye could see, and nearby, the surging Han River flowed. The view outside was pretty nice. Fortunately I made it out, otherwise I would bore myself to death spending the rest of my days on Dingjun Peak…
You Mengzhe, engrossed in his cultivation manual, flipped to the back page, revealing an image of two naked men. Written underneath, he read “When you turn to Yang, your vital energy becomes like the surging sea, contained in your dantian. Seek those with superior martial arts skills to dual cultivate with, and like mutually pouring water, benefit from each other. Vital energy shoots from the Governing Vessel straight to the brain, surging through the chest and pelvic acupoints...”
No wonder! You Mengzhe slapped his thigh. So he needed to dual cultivate!
Dad had never let him read the second volume, and every time he finished teaching, he told him to cultivate by himself. You Mengzhe flipped through the manual again and learned that after years of practicing Turning to Yang, his body automatically generated a pure yang energy. When he dual-cultivated with someone, he could make his counterpart’s martial arts advance by leaps and bounds. In return, he could also reap a share of his partner’s vital energy, and as long as he dual-cultivated with a martial expert, he would obtain martial arts skills, thereby mutually benefiting each other. He just needed to find a few people to dual-cultivate with.
But how to dual-cultivate…bedroom technique….oh! Got it, riding on top and taking it from behind both work. Wouldn’t that hurt though?? No matter, for the sake of martial arts, he could grit his teeth and bear it. After all, it takes more than one cold day to freeze a river three chi deep. Besides, his martial brothers smashing rocks and crossing blades were all much more daring than this.
A gray shadow swept behind him.
You Mengzhe abruptly turned around, but didn’t see a soul. The Demon Cult wouldn’t have followed him here, right?
You Mengzhe stowed away the book, his stomach growling with hunger. Not safe, better to keep walking to avoid getting snatched back.
You Mengzhe collected his things and continued down the plank pass. Since ancient times, people have called Yuheng Mountain the number one mountain range in the world. It traversed the Central Plains, dividing the North and the South. It connected the East’s Han River beneath the mountain, to the prosperous Xichuan in the West. Past the river lay Jiangzhou, the largest city in the South. He heard that Jiangzhou was very prosperous -- a “Sensual Paradise” -- so You Mengzhe planned to visit.
Once again, the gray shadow swooshed behind him.
He turned and saw the empty road. He looked down the bottomless precipice at the surging Han River. Not a soul there ah. Who could fly around this cliff-side pass unseen? You Mengzhe glanced below.
Under the plank road beneath his feet, a shadow guard, dressed in gray with big hands and feet, pressed his ears to the wooden bridge, and focused on recognizing You Mengzhe’s footsteps.
After a while You Mengzhe, feeling overly suspicious and paranoid, continued onward. The plank pass led to a forked road, leading to Xichuan on the left and Jiangzhou on the right. Sensual Paradise! I'm coming! You Mengzhe took a deep breath, took the road to the right, and emerged from the Yuheng Mountain boundary.
The Demon Cult--The Divine Sect would never find him again! You Mengzhe heard that outsiders called them the Demon Cult, yet his father insisted on calling them the Divine Sect. Tomato, tomahto. At least he knew that when meeting people, he shouldn’t say he’s from the Demon Cult.
The warblers sang as he savored the refreshing aroma of verdant trees that blanketed the valley, and the plank road ended, leaving a narrow, serpentine path ahead. You Mengzhe cautiously leaped across the stream, but unexpectedly slipped on a stone and with a thunderous crash, fell into the water.
"AAAAHHHHHHH——!!” The river swept him downstream. He fell into a pool with a plop, tumbling and crashing straight into a body.
"Watch out!" a man's voice cried.
You Mengzhe, choking on a few mouthfuls of water, hurriedly reached out for help and abruptly hugged a person’s waist, frantically groping and grabbing. Immediately the man assured, "Don't panic! The water isn’t deep!"
You Mengzhe palmed the man's pectoral muscles and raised his head, drenched and mortified. The man carried him by his waist, but before he could find his footing on the stones, You Mengzhe slipped again. Only after grasping the man's arm, did he regain his footing. The man helped him wade through the water and motioned for him to come ashore.
You Mengzhe gasped, "Thank...Thank you." He sprawled on the ground, panting, and noticed the man's sturdy naked body.
A well-proportioned figure, well-defined muscles, pleasant face, standing at 8 chi tall...You Mengzhe couldn't help holding his breath. The man turned and re-entered the water, and Mengzhe realized that he was taking a bath. So handsome. You Mengzhe licked his lips.
Most of the people on Dingjun Peak were maids. The only men were the Left and Right Guards, and they were both old. Several helmsmen had left to start their own branches, and the guards could not enter the main hall. All year round, Mengzhe scarcely saw men.
Since he was young, You Mengzhe had practiced the True Yang technique, and unknowingly, didn’t feel much desire for women. Sensing the man’s martial arts upbringing and his fine abdominal muscles, You Mengzhe couldn’t take his eyes off of him.
Not minding You Mengzhe’s gaze, the man asked, “Where did this little brother come from?”
You Mengzhe explained, “From the mountain, Yuheng Mountain, what about you?”
The man nodded and asked, “Have you seen anyone dressed like a merchant around here, a young man about your age?”
You Mengzhe shook his head and answered, "No, you’re looking for someone?"
With a smile, the man dropped the matter. He scrubbed his arm with a stone and dived into the water, massaging his long hair.
Mengzhe, drenched from head to toe, took off his boots and left them on a stone to dry. He untied his bundle, spreading out his martial arts manual. He took note of the undergarments and red officials robe folded over the stone, the martial crown resting on top of the pile, and the large broadsword leaning beside. You Mengzhe picked up the broadsword--quite heavy-- and drew out the blade to admire it.
"Are you someone from Jianghu?" You Mengzhe questioned. This guy looks skilled in martial arts, no, he must be exceptionally skilled! A great catch for dual-cultivation, but I don't even have the strength to truss a chicken, so how can I catch him...and trick him into dual-cultivating?
The man replied, "My surname is Yu, I’m the emperor’s constable from the capital. I caught a thief in Xichuan, but that guy is quick on his feet and disguised himself. I chased him for thousands of miles but lost him at Yuheng Mountain."
You Mengzhe, not knowing Jianghu etiquette, expressed, "It’s a privilege to meet you, Big Brother Yu!" He thought to himself that since dual-cultivation also benefits the other party, why act sneaky? If you stay for dinner you’ll naturally eat and drink your fill, so why not be straightforward?
The constable laughed, sized up You Mengzhe, and asked, "You don’t look like you’re part of the Jianghu, where are you going?”
You Mengzhe replied, "I'm going to Jiangzhou, what about you?"
The constable, stark naked, stepped out of the pond, and You Mengzhe hurriedly passed him his undergarments. Dressing himself in plain view of Mengzhe, he inquired, “Brother Yu’s name is Yu Changqing. What should I call this little brother?"
You Mengzhe gave his surname, and Yu Changqing didn’t pry. He put on his government uniform, wore his hat, tied his belt, assuming a heroic and imposing aura, and attentively watched You Mengzhe drying his items on the rock. You Mengzhe spread out his gold leaves, bathing the stone with glittering golden light. The constable furrowed his brow, but didn’t say much.
"So Brother Yu, you're catching a thief? Do you have a little something I can eat?"
"Here, eat this." Yu Changqing untied a bag and handed You Mengzhe a piece of flatbread.
"How old are you? Have you come of age?"
You Mengzhe started eating, shook his head, and looked at Yu Changqing's face again. He had a pair of sword eyebrows and bright eyes, a face filled with imposing righteousness, fair skin, a dignified and handsome brow ridge, and a faint scar on his neck.
"Big Brother, want to dual-cultivate?" You Mengzhe straightforwardly invited.
Yu Changqing frowned, puzzled, so You Mengzhe flipped through his manual, pointed to the last page, and explained, "At home, I cultivated this technique, look at it...here. Let’s try it.”
Yu Changqing cocked his head, scrutinizing the image on the soaked page, and after recognizing it, nearly fell into the water himself.
"Virtuous little brother is so bold." Yu Changqing flushed a deep red and muttered, "Forget it, forget it."
Yu Changqing didn't say much else, carried his broadsword, and sat on a rock by the water, one leg propped on an adjacent stone.
"Big Brother, I can't eat your food for nothing. Let’s dual-cultivate so I can express my gratitude."
Yu Changqing waved his hand. "Brother Yu practices a foreign martial technique, so I’m afraid that it won’t be of any use for you.”
You Mengzhe countered, "Let’s try it and see, what if it does have some use?”
Yu Changqing inquired, “Are you from the orthodox sects? How did you learn this skill?”
While You Mengzhe explained his family background, Yu Changqing realized something and casually ventured, “I did hear that on Yuheng Mountain there is a sect, the Jianghu calls it the Demon…Uh, the Yuheng Divine Sect. Are you a member of the Divine Sect?”
"Hey, what ‘Divine Sect’, Big Brother should just call it the Demon Cult.”
Yu Changqing smiled, and You Mengzhe recounted his descent down the mountain, and when he got to crossing the cliff-side path, Yu Changqing slightly narrowed his eyes and asked, "Someone was following you?"
"It felt like it. Just a gust of wind passing behind me."
"Where you encountered him, take me there to see."
You Mengzhe packed his things like the wind, and led Yu Changqing towards the way he had come from. After a while, he hesitated and admitted, "I'm afraid of being caught back."
"Don’t worry.” Yu Changqing promised, "Hide behind me, and I’ll protect you."
You Mengzhe pointed the way, and the two stood on the plank road across the river. Yu Changqing grasped the railing with one hand, swung downwards, inspected the traces of the wooden stakes underneath, and swung back again with exceptional skill. Must dual-cultivate, must dual-cultivate, excellent Qinggong!
You Mengzhe sized up Yu Changqing's vigorous waist, his chest wrapped in martial robes like steel wrapped in silk, giving off the faint aura of a great expert. Although You Mengzhe didn't practice the styles from other sects, he still knew of them, and concluded that Yu Changqing followed the gangmeng style.
Yu Changqing knelt on one knee, examining the surrounding footprints, and got up finally to say, "In all likelihood he took this path, most likely on his way to Jiangzhou. Virtuous Brother, if it’s okay with you, how about we travel together?"
You Mengzhe exulted in his heart, but his mouth echoed, "Sure, it’s my first time going down the mountain, and it just so happens that I plan to wander the Jianghu and make my way in the world."
Yu Changqing chuckled, "Then let’s wander the Jianghu."
You Mengzhe joked, "Are you following me because you’re afraid I’ll be stolen by that thief?"
Yu Changqing hooked his arm in Mengzhe’s, and whilst walking side by side down the mountain, sternly said, "Where there’s people, there’s the Jianghu. Mengzhe, Brother Yu wants to tell you one thing, that's all."
You Mengzhe nodded, the words going in one ear and out the other. Yu Changqing emphasized, "You must not show your wealth. The gold leaves you carry, back there you just spread them out to dry right in front of me. There were also numerous bottles and jars, jade boxes and gold seals. These can all easily arouse people’s lust and greed."
Yu Changqing nodded, and then continued, "I don’t know the name of the guy I’m chasing after. He comes and goes like the wind. What if he bumped into you by coincidence, and decided to steal your money?”
You Mengzhe asked, "Is his martial arts better than yours?"
Yu Changqing was quiet for a moment, then responded, "Each has his own strengths. This man has exceptional Qinggong, otherwise I wouldn’t have chased him for thousands of miles and lost him here.”
You Mengzhe schemed to himself. That thief is also pretty good, if I can catch him… and trick him to dual-cultivate, then I won’t have to worry about my martial arts.
Our shou finally learned why he could never advance in martial arts… anyways, out of all the chapters there are only 7 chapter names, each an animal/constellation that represents the 7 main characters. So our MC (shou) is the Fangri Rabbit, and the rest of the animals represent the 6 gongs. Any time you see a change in chapter name, that means it revolves around a different character 🙂
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Ruini.