"How about we dual-cultivate and satisfy any unfulfilled desires you had in the past? You can just take me as my mother..."
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Stunned, Zhao Feihong practically choked on his words while You Mengzhe took a sip of wine before getting up to go light the firecrackers.
He tied the firecrackers to a nearby tree, squatted underneath it, used a flintstone to spark the tinder, lit the incense, and then ignited the firecrackers. In an instant, one stick lit ten, ten sticks lit a hundred, and underneath the dusky sky, the entire withered tree erupted into multi-colored, dazzling fireworks, illuminating the periphery until all around them twinkled like a luminescent dream.
Both master and disciple sat by the table drinking wine. Even though Zhao Feihong had never officially accepted You Mengzhe as his disciple, and You Mengzhe had never officially performed the rites, deep down in You Mengzhe’s heart, he still regarded this frugal, austere, do-everything-himself, upright Wulin Alliance Leader with some reverence. Before long, the fireworks died out, returning the surroundings to darkness. The glory of the past that flickered within the hidden depths of Zhao Feihong's eyes also returned to stillness.
"What trash." You Mengzhe crouched in front of the tree to take down the firecrackers. "They died out so quickly."
Zhao Feihong sighed. "Beautiful things are ephemeral, and the world is abundant. It’s all just people making problems for themselves."
You Mengzhe lifted his head slightly, seeming to hear the unspoken meaning behind Zhao Feihong’s words, and gazed at the patchy gray sky through the bare tree branches.
"Shifu," he suddenly said.
After a brief silence, Zhao Feihong raised his eyebrows and asked, "What?"
You Mengzhe lowered his head to continue fiddling with the firecrackers and asked, "Did you used to like my mother?"
Zhao Feihong didn’t answer.
"You did, since you didn’t say anything you must have."
Zhao Feihong: "......"
All of a sudden You Mengzhe got up and said, "How about we dual-cultivate and satisfy any unfulfilled desires you had in the past? You can just take me as my mother..."
"What nonsense are you spouting!"
"Come on, Shifu, your disciple knows that these several years must have been..."
Zhao Feihong raised his hands to fend off You Mengzhe, who had leaned over the stone table to paw at him.
Zhao Feihong’s face flushed bright red as he bellowed angrily, "Impudent! Just when I thought you were getting better these days, now I know you are still full of vile thoughts…!"
"Appetite and lust are only natural, so how can you call these vile thoughts? Ai, Shifu, don't run away! Shifu! Be careful!"
Unable to dodge his advances, Zhao Feihong fell flat on the ground, making You Mengzhe laugh so much that his sides hurt.
Seeing that even Zhao Feihong could find himself in such a sorry mess, You Mengzhe flicked his sleeves and teased, "I’m just playing with you."
Zhao Feihong: "..."
You Mengzhe plopped back on the stool, nonchalantly eating his food.
Zhao Feihong sighed before taking a seat. "Mengzhe."
With a mouth full of food, You Mengzhe looked up at Zhao Feihong. Zhao Feihong poured wine, and both master and disciple clinked their glasses while little flurries of snow drifted and danced outside of the pavilion. Jiangnan had finally begun to snow, and everywhere, tiny little snowflakes swirled from all around, fluttering in the breeze.
"This pavilion is called Jiangshan Pavilion," Zhao Feihong continued, "and 1200 years ago, Ting County was not yet called Ting County."
You Mengzhe knew Zhao Feihong was going to start talking about ancient history now. Most of these stories he had never heard before, because back home, You Gutian had never bothered to tell them. Zhao Feihong was extremely knowledgeable and well-learned, and from the bottom of his heart, You Mengzhe truly did admire him. Zhao Feihong downed his wine and poured them another two cups.
"Jiangshan Pavilion existed before Ting County. Over a thousand years ago foreigners invaded the Central Plains, dividing my ancestors and them into North and South..."
You Mengzhe chimed in, "I know, history calls it the North-South Partition. The Xiongnu occupied the territories north of Mei Mountain and Yuheng Mountain, and the Jiangnan region along with the eight provinces of Yunmeng and the East Sea regions belonged to the South.”
You Mengzhe had only recently learned of this period in history from Zhao Feihong’s library, but he still remembered it as clear as day.
Delighted, Zhao Feihong continued, "At that time, the Xiongnu gathered large forces to invade the South, attacking Jiangzhou, Jiangnan, and storming into Lu County, slaughtering without restraint. There was a noble warrior who led the righteous martial artists in Jiangnan to resist and defend the city, successfully beating the Xiongnu and driving them north of Yuheng Mountain.”
You Mengzhe listened quietly, then Zhao Feihong added, "That hero was struck by six arrows, yet he staunchly refused to abandon the frontline. After the Xiongnu retreated, he died from excessive blood loss. The commoners buried him on this very mountain, Mount Lu, and they also built this Jiangshan Pavilion to honor his great sacrifice and contribution. From that point on, this place was named Ting County.”
"En." You Mengzhe looked up to see numerous jackdaws sweep past the somber sky. He didn’t know where that man had been buried; the world was mercurial and impermanent, and thousands of years had gradually trickled by, so perhaps he had long already become one with the mountain.
"A great hero serves his country and its people," declared Zhao Feihong.
You Mengzhe didn’t say anything more after that, feeling a bit moved. A great hero!
After dinner, You Mengzhe followed Zhao Feihong all the way home. All of a sudden it came to him — great heroes were not that rare! Didn’t they usually just do some good deeds, help their neighbors, and occasionally eliminate a couple lewd demons and demonic cults here or there... Wait no, didn’t the Demon Cult also do good deeds in the past? You Gutian also had a bit of that heroic air to him. Great heroes are all just normal people, and since they are just normal people, each most likely has their own weakness, and all he had to do was find that weakness and use it to break through. You Mengzhe sighed.
"What's wrong?" Since knowing this little trickster, this was the first time Zhao Feihong had ever heard him sigh.
"I miss my mother."
"I miss her too," Zhao Feihong echoed faintly.
You Mengzhe didn’t expect him to be so cooperative, and after a moment, he asked, "What did you like about her?"
Zhao Feihong shook his head, standing on Lu Bridge with his hands clasped behind his back.
"I’m not sure."
As You Mengzhe stood next to him—one big and one small—rather than looking like a master and a disciple, they looked more like father and son. Zhao Feihong looked like he was cherishing memories of his late wife, while You Mengzhe looked like he was missing his late mother. You Gutian rarely talked about his mother with him, and even when he sometimes did, it would at best be a single, lukewarm sentence said in passing.
You Mengzhe’s eyes reddened, and he wrapped his arms around Zhao Feihong’s waist, leaning on him from behind. He had a father’s scent, and he seemed a lot more like a father than You Gutian did. After a moment of silence, You Mengzhe's hands followed Zhao Feihong's waist down to stroke below.
Zhao Feihong: "..."
"Mother..." You Mengzhe choked through sobs.
Zhao Feihong cleared his throat awkwardly, pulled apart You Mengzhe’s hands, and quickly said, "Mengzhe, in the future you will also have your own wife and children, and you will have to be a man who will support both the heavens and the earth for them. There will inevitably be a day when others will have to lean on you. If your mother knew, she would definitely rejoice in the heavens.”
As the two of them walked along Lu Bridge back to Ting County, You Mengzhe muttered lazily, "I definitely don’t want to marry a wife and have children."
"That's because you practice the ‘Turning to Yang’,” Zhao Feihong explained, “and that’s why you fear women. It won’t be a problem after we disperse all of your cultivation.”
You Mengzhe frowned as he pleaded, "Can we please not disperse it?"
"I’m taking you to the capital after the New Year. Yuanshan is an expert in meridians, and with the help of a needle stone, he can disperse your ‘Turning to Yang’ technique, and possibly even preserve the existing vital qi in your body."
"Then if he makes one tiny mistake… what if it’s all ruined?"
Zhao Feihong answered, "Then we’ll just start from the beginning. Shifu will hold your hand through it and do it all over again. What’s so hard about that?"
You Mengzhe definitely felt a bit averse to this, but he knew it was useless to say more, so he set it aside. In any case, the road ahead was long, and there would always be a way out. The crackling of firecrackers reverberated from all around, and when they made it home, Zhao Feihong lit a lantern, went to cook, came out with porridge, and swept a bit with a duster, while You Mengzhe stood on a chair to stick the New Year’s couplets to the side of the door.
"Be careful, stand steady," Zhao Feihong said as he held You Mengzhe by his waist.
"Is it crooked?"
"It's just right."
With the Spring Festival couplet, the character ‘Fortune’, the blessing ‘Ushering in Wealth and Prosperity’, and the upside-down characters for ‘Spring’ and ‘Fortune’, the once cold and cheerless courtyard suddenly brightened. As You Mengzhe looked around at the small courtyard now filled with festive red, a sort of strange feeling stirred in his heart. He had never experienced this cozy, homey warmth on Yuheng Mountain before. It was as if his mother had returned to her parents’ home, and he and his father were celebrating the New Year there.
“Move the sacred lilies into the hall. There may be guests visiting to wish us a happy new year,” ordered Zhao Feihong.
You Mengzhe scurried to and fro, inside and outside, until he finally finished setting up all the decorations. Zhao Feihong grabbed his black-gold staff to hook the firecrackers outside the door, ready to set them off at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day. The two of them stood in the courtyard for a while before You Mengzhe said, “I’m going to sleep.”
Zhao Feihong nodded. All day today, it seemed as if something was on his mind, and after a long while, he chuckled and said, "It’s also been a decade since Shifu has celebrated the new year. In the coming year, we must work hard and diligently, and mustn’t be lazy. Let’s keep each other accountable.”
“Okay.” As soon as You Mengzhe heard the topic of training, his mood immediately dampened, and he listlessly trudged back to his room to sleep. After he returned to his room, the lanterns all around the house were extinguished one by one, the lights fading into darkness.
Zhao Feihong held a candlestick as he extinguished all the lanterns in the hall and inside the home. Then he entered You Mengzhe’s room to turn over the coals in the heating brazier. You Mengzhe flipped himself over to face the wall, his jet-black eyes gleaming. Then Zhao Feihong left, and a moment later, all was quiet. You Mengzhe’s ears wiggled, but he didn’t hear Zhao Feihong go back into his room. What was he doing?
Then a string of faintly discernible notes travelled over—he was playing the bamboo flute! You Mengzhe sat up and stretched his neck out of the window to observe. He had seen Zhao Feihong’s flute scores, but this was his first time hearing him play. The sound of the flute was ethereal and mellow, echoing in the snowy night, and combined with the sky full of fluttering snowflakes, it evoked an indescribable, inexpressible sentiment.
The lights upstairs had been extinguished along with the early morning’s frost,
while she herself wakes up in the bed where they shared countless hours of bliss;
how deeply did she yearn for him all night long?
Longer than the ends of the earth.
The rustling, fine snow reflected the long winter night’s penetrative, empty expanse, as the lingering sound of the flute scattered across the heavens and earth. You Mengzhe lay on his side and closed his eyes. It was as if he could hear the blooming of peach blossoms in early spring, the clear sky within the spring breeze, and the fair, graceful woman standing underneath the peach tree. The wistful longing within the melody drew out as You Mengzhe gradually fell asleep, and the colors of spring all around him gradually dimmed.
The brazier blazed on, and it was cozy and warm when he woke up in the middle of the night. But some unknown amount of time later, his whole body began to sweat, his mouth and tongue becoming parched. When he opened his eyes he heard the sound of a cough from far away. It was Zhao Feihong's voice.
No way, did he catch a cold after playing the flute?
You Mengzhe got out of bed and scratched his head. He had just been sleeping under the warm and soft sheets, and had woken up hard, so he was feeling a little frustrated. It had been so long since he had been fuc—uh… dual-cultivated. The lust in his heart was starting to grow restless. You Mengzhe took a sip of water, burrowed under the covers, and couldn’t help but reach down to fondle his chest, rub his erect cock, and begin stroking it. His face began to flush faintly, and while he rubbed his member through his thin underpants, he suddenly heard labored, asthma-like breaths coming from Zhao Feihong. What was he doing? Suddenly curious, You Mengzhe put on his clogs and walked out.
That old widower… No wait, it wasn't like Zhao Feihong was his own father, and nothing like that had ever happened between him and his mother. Moreover, he was only thirty six and wasn't old. How had he passed the time all these years? He had neither a wife nor concubines… although even if something had happened between him and his mother, it wasn’t like he would know. A strange thought popped into his mind but disappeared as soon as it came. How did the Wulin Alliance Leader relieve himself when he thought about women? To go out whoring was naturally impossible, so that meant it was all up to his right hand. He might even be in the throes of passion with his right hand at this very moment. Zhao Feihong had been doing it like this for so many years, so he might even be an expert. He might even know some special techniques, so it wouldn’t hurt for him to watch and learn...
You Mengzhe removed his wooden clogs so he could walk barefoot and tiptoed over to Zhao Feihong’s room. He poked a hole in the window paper and peeped inside.
Zhao Feihong was sitting in meditation with his eyes closed and his gorgeous sword brows twisted into a knot. Sweat poured from his forehead, and he looked like he was in immense pain.
You Mengzhe: "..."
A qi deviation! He was having a qi deviation! You Mengzhe’s heart thundered as he immediately pushed open the door and entered, shouting in ecstasy, “Shifu! Are you experiencing a qi deviation?!”
Zhao Feihong did not answer. You Mengzhe leaped three zhang and couldn’t stop jumping for joy. He looked left, then right, when suddenly, Zhao Feihong spewed a mouthful of blood, completely spattering his white undergarments with blood. You Mengzhe paled and reached out his hand to touch his forehead, only to see Zhao Feihong’s face turn deathly white, his lips darken, and his skin become boiling hot to the touch. Then You Mengzhe went to feel his pulse. His vital qi was in chaotic disarray, his pulse irregular. Sure enough, he was having a qi deviation. What a gift he had stumbled upon!
“Don’t worry!” exclaimed You Mengzhe, “If you need to spit blood then spit, you won’t die. My ‘Turning to Yang’ is specifically used to treat qi deviations… Just wait! Shifu!”
Zhao Feihong had no way to respond. Even opening his mouth was excruciatingly difficult. His manhood pushed against his thin underpants, his entire body’s yang energy on the verge of bursting, and his heart fire bordering on incineration. The martial exercises Zhao Feihong practiced daily were unrivalled under the realms, and he had already reached the pinnacle of perfection. However, after the long conversation he had with You Mengzhe today, he had once again reminisced about the past, which had even momentarily dysregulated his vital qi. So as he was about to sleep, he had decided to cultivate to regulate his meridians, only to have his qi take a wrong turn. At this moment, his situation was extremely dire; at any moment his veins could burst, and he would vomit blood and die. Truly—man proposes, God disposes!
You Mengzhe remembered that in the second volume of the ‘Turning to Yang’, there was a technique that was specifically used when partners lost in the throes of dual-cultivation took a wrong turn with their vital qi and caused both partners to fall into qi deviation, their ecstasy morphing into tragedy.
Where was the manual? You Mengzhe carelessly plundered through Zhao Feihong’s room, until he had practically turned his cabinets and trunks upside-down. When he found his bundle, he lit a light and buried himself in the manual, carefully studying.
"Vital Qi travels from the Huiyin acupoint through the Du Channel to the Niwan Palace..."
YES! Thank goodness Zhao Feihong hadn’t burned this book!
"Shifu, I’m doing this to save you! Just put up with it for a bit!"
Although Zhao Feihong could not speak, he could still hear, and he vomited another mouthful of blood on the spot. You Mengzhe took a deep breath, opened his eyes, and pushed Zhao Feihong onto the bed. He rolled up both his sleeves, twisted open the ‘Frolicking Fish’ balm, and thought for a while before moving the oil lamp to the bedside table, ready to make his move.
i added pictures again for the New Year’s notes even though they are the bane of my existence.
Bunny is always thinking about the deed… using his mom as an excuse to rub up on Shifu.
FUN TIMES ARE COMING SOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN i’ll be posting the next chapter as soon as I can!!!!
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Ruini.