Let Go of that Shou Chapter 14

Chapter 14

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Yu Wenhong stood tall, his left hand open and his right hand clenched, both held in front of his body with a formal salute. He wore a gray robe that fluttered in the wind, his eyes were as deep as the colors of a winter night.

You Mengzhe watched with narrowed eyes, feeling an indescribable emotion welling up in his heart, as if deeply moved by the confrontation of these two martial experts.

Zhao Feihong held a staff and made a virtual gesture, exuding a powerful aura with every breath. The bamboo leaves in the courtyard rustled as they moved. Both sides remained silent, but in an instant, the two figures clashed, and Yu Wenhong and Zhao Feihong were engaged in battle!

Yu Wenhong’s figure flashed by like a gust of wind, and the guards’ gray robes billowed. Zhao Feihong’s body merged with the staff, and the myriad shadows of the staff were extraordinarily graceful!

Yu Wenhong’s fingers executed precise moves—stabbing, sweeping, chopping, and capturing. His palm shadows danced like butterflies in a garden, and his figure weaved in and out of the staff’s gusts of wind. When he leaped into the air, his slender figure spun, and his left palm turned into a blade from his right shoulder to his elbow, performing beautifully!

“Good!” Zhao Feihong exclaimed, retreating with his staff while Yu Wenhong landed and quickly advanced, his right hand leading.

Their palms seemed to contain the vastness of the universe, the sun, the moon, and the boundless stars. It was a move, the “Tai Chi Wheel”!

At that moment, You Mengzhe, the spectator, almost held his breath.

Under the moonlit night, Yu Wenhong’s left palm turned back, and his right palm pushed forward, as if he held the entire world within the span of his palms. His movements were both graceful and profound, reaching the pinnacle of excellence!

Simultaneously, Zhao Feihong used his staff to support himself on the ground and leaped into the air, passing over Yu Wenhong’s head, and in mid-air, he struck back with the staff!

You Mengzhe’s heart skipped a beat for a moment.

Following this, Yu Wenhong’s palms parted, and his right palm forcefully struck the ebony staff. He leaped with an elongated body, and his left hand formed a hook, extending two fingers towards Zhao Feihong’s head.

In that move, “Heavenly River Grasping Stars,” it reached the pinnacle of perfection, directly targeting the vital point in Zhao Feihong’s chest. It seemed as if countless star clusters and galaxies were swirling in Yu Wenhong’s profound eyes. Zhao Feihong released his staff and, with a swift motion, caught Yu Wenhong’s finger that was almost about to touch his chest!

In just a split second of the exchange, the two separated, and Zhao Feihong landed on the ground. He kicked out, sending the ebony staff spinning into the air. As he reached out to grab it and prepare for another move, a chair came flying from the side with a whoosh!

Yu Wenhong instantly retracted his palms, and You Mengzhe shouted, “Take this chair!”

With a resounding “thud,” the chair struck Zhao Feihong’s back, breaking into two pieces.

Zhao Feihong: “…”

Yu Wenhong didn’t make another move, just stood there quietly.

You Mengzhe watched for a while, peeking at Zhao Feihong’s expression. He had initially expected that Zhao Feihong would stand upright for a few seconds and then suddenly spit blood and collapse. However, after waiting for a while, the expected outcome didn’t occur, and the sneak attack had failed.

You Mengzhe looked around and picked up a large jar from the corner of the courtyard, shouting, “Lie down for me!” He then swung the jar towards Zhao Feihong’s head with earth-shattering force.

Zhao Feihong didn’t even look at it as he reached out to grab You Mengzhe’s wrist, instantly immobilizing him.

“Yu Wenhong,” Zhao Feihong said, “In all these years, do you see what Yun Gutian has turned him into?”

Yu Wenhong remained silent. Zhao Feihong gently pushed You Mengzhe aside and continued, “You’ve treated him like a son, like a brother, like a teacher, like a friend. You’ve watched Qing’er’s child become such a despicable character, a cunning and unscrupulous individual that everyone in the world despises. Can her spirit above be at peace?”

Yu Wenhong replied, “Sister Qing chose to stay on Mount Yuheng of her own accord.”

Zhao Feihong said coldly, “You lost the moment you laid a hand on him.”

Yu Wenhong admitted, “Yes, I lost.”

Zhao Feihong put away his staff, and Yu Wenhong retracted his palms.

You Mengzhe exclaimed, “Can’t be! We only exchanged a few moves!”

Yu Wenhong said, “I’m no match for him; I fell just short.”

You Mengzhe insisted, “Let’s go again; the previous round doesn’t count.”

Yu Wenhong replied, “If you can’t win, you can’t win. Falling just short is still falling short even if just a bit.”

Zhao Feihong remained silent and turned to go back to his room. You Mengzhe was left bewildered and asked, “What do we do now?”

Yu Wenhong signaled for You Mengzhe to come over, and he did so, equally puzzled. Yu Wenhong then raised his hand and embraced him.

You Mengzhe: “??”

Under the moonlit night, their shadows intertwined. Yu Wenhong lowered his head, holding You Mengzhe tightly, and said, “In these sixteen years, I have never faced Meng Zhe this way.”

Inside the room, Zhao Feihong coldly remarked, “That’s why you’re incredibly foolish! Yun Gutian only wanted to use him. Now that he’s grown up, it’s time to put him to use. He’s nothing more than a blank slate that Yun Gutian can mold into however he pleases. Why didn’t you stop it?”

Yu Wenhong replied, “He is Meng Zhe’s father.”

Zhao Feihong didn’t say anything further. Yu Wenhong sighed, took You Mengzhe’s hand, and turned to leave. You Mengzhe thought they were leaving but was surprised when both of them sat down together outside Zhao’s house.

“I want to return to the Canghai Pavilion,” Yu Wenhong said, looking at You Mengzhe with seriousness.

You Mengzhe asked in confusion, “Why?”

Yu Wenhong replied, “You should continue learning from him. He won’t harm you.”

You Mengzhe said, “So you’re just going to abandon me like this? At the very least, stay and keep me company while I chop firewood and chat with me!”

After a moment of contemplation, Yu Wenhong didn’t answer directly. Instead, he held You Mengzhe in his arms, ruffled his hair, and said, “I have to go up to Yuheng Mountain first, and then return to the Canghai Pavilion to deliver your mother’s belongings. Let them know that you’re here.”

You Mengzhe asked, “Deliver to whom? Tell whom?”

Yu Wenhong replied, “Your grandmother.”

You Mengzhe nodded thoughtfully, and Yu Wenhong continued, “I can’t defeat him right now, but I’ll come back to take you with me next time.”

You Mengzhe responded wearily, “Okay.”

Yu Wenhong said, “I will make sure to come back before the fifteenth of August next year.”

You Mengzhe pleaded, “Then go, but please promise to come back and get me.”

Yu Wenhong nodded and took a small stone dog from his pocket, placing it in You Mengzhe’s hand, saying, “Take this.”

You Mengzhe accepted it but found it uninteresting.

From inside the room, Zhao Feihong’s voice sounded again, “You should stay, I won’t be able to watch over him.”

Yu Wenhong said, “I’ll be back very soon,” and then he got up and left Zhao’s house.

Dark clouds drifted in, obscuring the moon, and You Mengzhe stared blankly at Yu Wenhong’s departing figure. Suddenly, he felt an inexplicable sense of loss. What was this feeling? It was as if something had been taken from his heart.

Even though Yu Wenhong had been with him as he grew up, they had only truly known each other for less than five days since that fateful encounter. Yet, You Mengzhe felt that this person had already occupied a place in his life.

He was very young, so young that you couldn’t even tell he was in his thirties. He was handsome and clean-cut, like a young man in his early twenties, much like You Mengzhe’s older brother. When they walked together, there was a faint sense of brotherhood.

“Because he’s the only family you have left in this world,” Zhao Feihong seemed to sense what You Mengzhe was thinking.

You Mengzhe retorted, “I have a father! He said I still have a grandmother.”

Zhao Feihong casually remarked, “That doesn’t count as a father.”

You Mengzhe felt frustrated but had no choice but to go back to sleep. He prepared to wake up tomorrow to chop wood again, as he had no idea when this wretched and monotonous life would come to an end.

From then on, You Mengzhe felt utterly bored. During the day, he practiced martial arts and chopped wood, and at night, he read books. He couldn’t help but feel that compared to the days on Mount Yuheng, it was like escaping from one prison cell to another.

It was the end of the year, and Yangzhou had turned cold. You Mengzhe suddenly remembered his springtime agreement with Yu Changqing and mentioned it to Zhao Feihong. Zhao Feihong replied, “In Jianghu, there’s no need to get involved with people from the court.”

You Mengzhe said, “But isn’t it about keeping your word? Shouldn’t a gentleman be true to his promises?”

Zhao Feihong responded, “After the spring, I have to go to the capital. I’ll take you with me then.”

You Mengzhe had no other option, so Zhao Feihong, besides instructing him to chop wood and practice calligraphy, gradually taught him some martial arts techniques. He even broke a bamboo pole to serve as a staff for You Mengzhe.

You Mengzhe wondered when he had learned these martial skills. During his time at the Demonic Sect’s headquarters, he had hardly been exposed to sword techniques or martial arts. He had focused on cultivating a specific internal energy technique, performing it once in the morning and once at night, following the pathways of his meridians. It was quite monotonous. Learning staff techniques with Zhao Feihong started out as interesting, but the few moves he learned got old in less than three days.

Zhao Feihong skillfully wielded the ebony staff, demonstrating a high level of proficiency and understanding, reaching a realm where the great subtlety appeared simple, the formless merging with the form, and the unity of heaven and man. However, when the staff was in You Mengzhe’s hands, it danced like a laundry pole, clumsy and lacking any sense of mastery.

“I used to use a sword before,” Zhao Feihong explained. “I switched to the staff after my master passed away.”

You Mengzhe replied with a hint of irritation, “Oh.”

Zhao Feihong continued, “A staff is one of the few masculine weapons in the world. It should repel the enemy, not kill them. When extreme yang transforms into yin, and extreme hardness becomes softness, you, who tend to be obstinate, must always remember the path of ‘The Soaring Dragon Regrets.’ The path of strength and fierceness leads to a dead end, and only then can your obstinacy be resolved.”

You Mengzhe said, “Oh…”

Seeing that You Mengzhe was disinterested and lacked energy, Zhao Feihong decided to stop the lesson and said, “We’ll stop here for today. Go read a book.”

You Mengzhe immediately dropped the staff and dashed away.

Zhao Feihong shook his head with a wry smile. Countless people wanted to become his disciples, yet here was You Mengzhe, displaying such behavior. He had even specially prepared the bamboo staff for You Mengzhe. The bamboo staff was flexible, allowing it to be controlled by You Mengzhe’s true energy. If he were to seriously practice, he could progress step by step and become a grandmaster, mastering the path of combining hardness and softness. It was the ultimate goal of “transforming a hundred refined steels into a soft touch.”

He needed to figure out a way to motivate You Mengzhe to practice diligently.

At that moment, You Mengzhe was thinking about something entirely different – Zhao Feihong’s martial arts were incredibly powerful. If he could engage in dual cultivation with him, he would be able to absorb Zhao Feihong’s true energy. With Zhao Feihong’s true energy, he could easily break through his acupoints!

Compared to Zhao Feihong, Yu Wenhong’s martial arts were slightly inferior. So, You Mengzhe planned to engage in dual cultivation with Zhao Feihong first to obtain his true energy. After that, he could engage in dual cultivation with Yu Wenhong, thus passing Zhao Feihong’s true energy to him as well. However, this would also mean Zhao Feihong would get Yu Wenhong’s true energy in return, leaving You Mengzhe in a state of confusion. But that wasn’t right. If he dual-cultivated with Zhao Feihong twice, was it the same as dual-cultivating with Yu Wenhong ten times? It should be different. In theory, the more one dual-cultivated with a person, the more of their true energy one would receive.

You Mengzhe thought, “If I dual-cultivate with Zhao Feihong continuously, day and night, absorbing a significant amount of his true energy, maybe I could reach his level.”

You Mengzhe was ready to take action, but the difficulty lay in how to approach the situation. Zhao Feihong wouldn’t simply cooperate and let him practice repeatedly. This presented the greatest challenge among all the plans he had ever devised.

You Mengzhe began to imagine different ways of restraining Zhao Feihong’s movements but quickly realized he was unprepared for this. While Zhao Feihong had taught him some martial techniques during these days, You Mengzhe hadn’t taken them seriously. His knowledge was fragmented and amounted to little more than a smattering of techniques that wouldn’t be sufficient to challenge Zhao Feihong.

Zhao Feihong entered with an item in his hand, stood by the door, and You Mengzhe immediately composed himself, asking, “What’s up?”

Zhao Feihong said, “Let’s go for a walk.”

You Mengzhe was puzzled and looked at the scarf Zhao Feihong had in his hand. Where did it come from? It was deep winter, and it was quite cold outside. He rubbed his hands together, and Zhao Feihong opened the scarf and handed it to him to wear.

The scarf fit perfectly, which made You Mengzhe wonder even more. He followed Zhao Feihong outside. It was just past noon, and the streets were quiet, with only a few people around. Zhao Feihong stopped on the street, and someone immediately greeted him, saying, “Feihong, come over here. Is this your little disciple?”

You Mengzhe never referred to Zhao Feihong as his master, and Zhao Feihong didn’t insist on it either. He accepted a large red lantern that the man handed to him.

You Mengzhe asked, “Why is there no one on the streets?”

The man, a local businessman, replied, “Today is the thirtieth day of the year, and everyone has gone home to prepare for the New Year’s Eve dinner. You didn’t even know that? Come on, Feihong, help us hang these lanterns. The whole street is counting on you.”

The entire street was waiting to hang lanterns for New Year’s Eve, and there was a pile of lanterns stacked outside the doors of wealthy local families.

Zhao Feihong took a few quick steps and used one hand to leap to the second floor’s eaves, hooking the lantern onto the third floor.

You Mengzhe exclaimed in amazement, “Great!” He picked up another lantern, leaped into the air, spun around, and hung up another lantern, and then gracefully landed. Many of the people on the street had stopped and were looking up, applauding their impressive display.

Zhao Feihong and You Mengzhe continued to hang the lanterns, with Zhao Feihong kicking and hooking, and You Mengzhe gracefully flying from eave to eave. Their Qigong drew cheers from the people on the street.

After they had finished hanging all the lanterns in less than half an hour, the local businessman kept thanking them and handed You Mengzhe a red envelope. Zhao Feihong politely declined the gesture.

“It’s just a little extra money,” the businessman said with a smile. “Take it and be on your way.”

You Mengzhe was unsure whether to accept or refuse, but Zhao Feihong said, “Since it’s given to you, you should accept it as a little extra luck.”

You Mengzhe thanked the man, and then Zhao Feihong led him on a walk.

“Did you buy this scarf?” You Mengzhe asked, wearing the warm and new woolen scarf.

Zhao Feihong nodded in response and walked with his hands behind his back as they strolled down the long street. Most of the street vendors had already packed up their stalls, but the taverns and shops selling New Year’s goods were still open and bustling with business. You Mengzhe had been staying with Zhao Feihong for the past few days, and he had grown somewhat accustomed to their current life. Despite Zhao Feihong’s strict guidance and his role as a mentor, he was actually a good companion. During their leisurely conversations, You Mengzhe learned a lot about the world.

From the grandeur of Jianghu to the intricacies of the court, Zhao Feihong was well-versed in the affairs of Da Yu. These were subjects that You Mengzhe rarely discussed with him. When he wasn’t busy supervising You Mengzhe’s training, they could have enjoyable conversations.

Compared to staying on Yuheng Mountain as a young master with everyone’s attention, staying at Zhao Feihong’s house was more comfortable and relaxed. It was also more liberating.

“I’ll take care of it,” You Mengzhe said as he emptied the red envelope and revealed two silver taels. He dragged Zhao Feihong to the window and asked, “How much should I buy?”

Zhao Feihong chuckled and replied, “Get two ounces of pig’s ears, some mixed offal, beef liver, and also a pound of a good red wine. And add some pork belly.”

“Smoked chicken would be nice too,” You Mengzhe suggested, his mouth watering. Zhao Feihong said, “That’s enough. Save some money to buy firecrackers to play with.”

You Mengzhe waved him off. They had been having plain meals for several months, so he decided to indulge a bit. With smoked chicken, duck, pig’s ears, and belly pork, they bought a substantial amount. You Mengzhe even got a food container. Zhao Feihong carried the wine, and You Mengzhe held the container, saying, “Let’s go.”

As Zhao Feihong looked at You Mengzhe, he seemed to be lost in thought for a brief moment.

You Mengzhe: “?”

Zhao Feihong replied, “No, we’re not going home. Follow me.”

They left the market, and at the market entrance, several vendors were selling fireworks and firecrackers. The atmosphere was lively with children playing around, shouting and lighting fireworks. You Mengzhe and Zhao Feihong walked through the market, passing several stalls selling fireworks. Firecrackers were exploding here and there as children were excitedly lighting and playing with them.

You Mengzhe didn’t dodge the situation anymore. He saw Zhao Feihong bargaining with the vendors and buying some fireworks. They even obtained a few loose firecrackers from the vendor. After leaving the market with its strong scent of sulfur, Zhao Feihong led You Mengzhe down to the river.

“Once we’re done, we can go home for the New Year’s Eve dinner,” the boatman said. “We won’t wait for anyone, so think well.”

Carrying a jar of wine, Zhao Feihong replied, “No problem. We’ll return along the Reed Bridge later.”

The old boatman squinted and nodded. The two men stepped onto the boat, and the boatman pushed them into the middle of the river with his pole.

On that winter day, the sky was overcast, and the mountains on both banks were covered in a dark green hue. The river was surrounded by dense reeds, and the view was open, but it carried a subtle sense of melancholy. The sounds of firecrackers and laughter from the market town gradually faded.

The boat gently swayed and the boatman looked at You Mengzhe. He suddenly asked, “Young man, have you ever been on my boat before?”

You Mengzhe was confused and replied, “No,” looking at Zhao Feihong.

Zhao Feihong smiled but didn’t say anything.

The boat docked on the riverbank and set off again. Zhao Feihong climbed to a higher place. White paper money fluttered from the mountaintop like butterflies, slowly drifting down to the river. There was a pavilion on the hilltop, where a stone table and three stone benches were placed. Zhao Feihong put down the wine and gestured for them to eat there.

You Mengzhe stood for a while and suddenly felt a sense of openness. The bustling town below was shrouded in a joyful mist, and he took it all in.

“Let’s eat,” Zhao Feihong said, passing over the chopsticks and two cups, and then pouring wine.

You Mengzhe asked, “Why didn’t we eat at home and came here instead?”

Zhao Feihong replied, “Your mother visited this place when she came from the East Sea years ago.”

You Mengzhe suddenly realized that this boatman was the same person who had ferried Yu Qing here all those years ago.

 Zhao Feihong casually added, “That year, I and Yuanshan, Qing’er, we drank here too.”

You Mengzhe was immediately filled with emotions. Zhao Feihong raised his cup, and they clinked glasses. You Mengzhe drank the wine, and his eyes turned slightly red.

Zhao Feihong remarked, “You don’t look like your father. You’re not annoying.”

You Mengzhe chuckled and said, “My dad also said that.”

Zhao Feihong continued, “Well, it’s a good thing. If you looked like your dad, I might not have treated you so kindly.”

You Mengzhe laughed and said, “I look like my mother.”

Zhao Feihong squinted his eyes and replied, “Seven parts like her, the remaining three parts, I don’t know who you look like.”

You Mengzhe said, “In any case, I don’t look like you.”

Huge shoutout to @_nyanmaru_ on Discord for commissioning this! The chapter will be posted regularly, show your support for Ciacia at Kofi.

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