Let Go of that Shou Chapter 18

Chapter 18

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The next day, Zhao Feihong got up early, packed his belongings, put a note on the door, instructed the neighbors to look after things, and set off with You Mengzhe. They took a boat at the Lu River, heading north toward the capital.

It was early spring, and the upper reaches of the cold river near Maple Mountain had not yet thawed. The water was shallow, not even six feet deep, and the reeds were yellow and withered. Occasionally, a few water birds flew by. Zhao Feihong initially boarded a large boat, as the first wave of people heading north to Jiangzhou was numerous, consisting mostly of merchants and peddlers. The large boat was bustling with noise and people everywhere.

Zhao Feihong sat in a secluded spot on the boat, with his hands resting on his knees, as if practicing martial arts or meditating. You Mengzhe leaned over to the edge of the boat cabin, creating a hole in the canvas to look outside.

“Kid,” an elderly man nearby handed him a bag of peanuts, saying, “For your dad.”

You Mengzhe nudged Zhao Feihong with his elbow and casually said, “Hey, dad.”

Zhao Feihong quickly took the peanuts, nodded in thanks, and poured two small cups of wine for the old man. They engaged in casual conversation, and when others asked where they were headed, Zhao Feihong replied, “Taking him to the capital to visit a friend.”

“Young man,” the old man stroked his beard, “It’s good to travel often. And his mother?”

You Mengzhe replied, “My mother has passed away. He is my mother’s companion.”

The old man paused, and Zhao Feihong chuckled, “I am his master.”

The old man nodded understandingly. “It’s not a bad thing. A day as a teacher, a lifetime as a father.” Zhao Feihong spoke with great elegance, and the whole cabin of passengers stopped their conversations to listen to Zhao Feihong chatting with the old man.

“With peace in the world, disturbances arise in the martial world,” the old man said with a smile.

Zhao Feihong responded, “Throughout history, it has always been so. In times of chaos, we defend the borders and maintain internal order. Without such governance, how would the martial artists of the Central Plains have the luxury to engage in battles?”

You Mengzhe noticed that the old man carried a medicine basket on his back and had a medicinal hoe hanging from his waist. He guessed the man was a doctor, familiar with the conflicts of Jianghu and having treated many patients.

A woman chuckled, “My son loves listening to stories of martial artists.”

Others chimed in, “Yes, yes!” A young man asked, “Flying over rooftops, practicing Qigong skills, stealing the imperial seal from the palace at night – are these things true?”

Zhao Feihong smiled and replied, “If you believe, then it’s true. If you don’t, then it’s naturally not the case.”

The old man took a sip of his wine and said, “Imperial court, Jianghu, all those disturbances have nothing to do with the common people.”

Zhao Feihong nodded, “Exactly. As long as everyone has food to eat and clothes to wear, who cares about the emperor or the martial arts leader?”

You Mengzhe found it amusing and tossed a peanut into Zhao Feihong’s mouth while he was speaking. Just as Zhao Feihong was about to say something else, the peanut zipped and hit his lips. This brought a burst of laughter from everyone.

“You mischievous kid,” Zhao Feihong said casually, “Made me the laughingstock.”

The passengers on the boat resumed their individual conversations. Zhao Feihong didn’t scold You Mengzhe, and You Mengzhe was also indifference. He moved a small stool, sat outside the canvas, and observed. Zhao Feihong engaged in a game of chess with the old man, and You Mengzhe, seeing Zhao Feihong’s serious expression, couldn’t resist the urge to tease him. However, he wasn’t sure how to playfully bother him.

After a while, You Mengzhe grew bored. He approached and nudged Zhao Feihong, who remained silent, focusing on the chessboard. One hand played chess, and the other kept You Mengzhe at bay. Not minding the oddity, You Mengzhe, feeling uninterested, pointed and reached out to grab Zhao Feihong’s black chess pieces.

The old man just chuckled without saying a word.

Zhao Feihong said, “A true gentleman observes chess without speaking. Stop fooling around.”

Unable to resist, You Mengzhe reached out again to playfully poke and rub Zhao Feihong, almost wanting to bury himself in his arms. Zhao Feihong restrained him with one hand, pressing on his pulse point against the chessboard. Finally, You Mengzhe stopped his antics.

“What exactly are you trying to do?” Zhao Feihong displeasedly said, “Don’t think I won’t hit you.”

You Mengzhe, bored, replied nonchalantly, “Oh.”

“Your disciple is being playful,” the old man chuckled. “Can’t you see? Game over.”

You Mengzhe blushed, moved to the bow of the boat, and after a while, Zhao Feihong and the old man continued their chess game. The boat docked, as the crowd buzzed around several boats were moored at the Hanjiang Ferry outside Jiangzhou. This was the place where You Mengzhe first arrived in Jiangzhou before the New Year.

Walking and talking, Zhao Feihong said, “Let’s have dinner first, we will stay overnight in the city, and tomorrow we can hire a carriage to take the official road to the capital… You Mengzhe! Behave yourself!”

With a scolding that included both his name and surname, You Mengzhe suddenly felt a strange sense of warmth. He stopped trying to pat Zhao Feihong’s shoulder, and burst into laughter.  Zhao Feihong grabbed the collar of his clothes, casually draping his arm over his shoulder as the two entered the city together.

 Zhao Feihong had none of the grand heroism of the Alliance Master. Dressed plainly in commoner’s clothes, he walked alongside his young disciple, discussing the history of Jiangzhou along the way. You Mengzhe listened with shining eyes.

Zhao Feihong explained, “Jiangzhou was formerly known as ‘Yanzhi Fang.’ Two thousand years ago, it was just a small fishing village along the cold river, marking the southern border of the Northern Zhou dynasty. South of the cold river was the uncivilized land of the barbarians. Two thousand years ago, the villagers crossed the river to the southern Hubei country to collect red and blue flowers, which they used to make rouge. With trade flourishing, this place gradually prospered.”

You Mengzhe interjected, “I know, and later there was the Rebellion of the Seven Riders.”

Zhao Feihong nodded, “The seven tribes of the Xiongnu captured the commanderies, the emperor fled, and the economic and agricultural centers in the north turned to Jiangzhou. The northern and southern territories were divided, and the Central Plains fell into war. Sixty years later, the Southern Dynasty assembled a large army and drove the Xiongnu people out of the northern frontier once again.”

Arm in arm, Zhao Feihong and You Mengzhe strolled through the bustling ten-mile-long street. You Mengzhe listened attentively, envisioning a vivid panorama of chaotic times, filled with golden weapons and iron horses, as if a grand battlefield lay right in front of him.

Zhao Feihong smiled slightly and asked, “Lost in thought?”

You Mengzhe replied, “You know a lot.”

“In my younger days, I was captivated by tales like these when I read them in books. Later, Jiangzhou gradually developed into the prosperous city it is now…” Zhao Feihong reminisced.

Wandering through the market, Zhao Feihong asked You Mengzhe, “What do you want to buy?”

You Mengzhe replied, “I don’t want to buy anything. I’m just here to look around. If you want to buy something, feel free.”

“Alright,” Zhao Feihong chuckled, “there’s an elephant over there.”   

You Mengzhe looked up and saw the merchants from the Western Regions were still there, along with the elephant. He said, “I know that thing, a strange creature from the Southern Barbarians. He’s selling his elephant for one thousand taels!”

Zhao Feihong feigned surprise and said, “One can’t earn that much in a lifetime.”

You Mengzhe laughed heartily, and as they walked through the market, Zhao Feihong draped his arm over You Mengzhe’s shoulder and playfully touched the elephant’s trunk, as if teasing it.

You Mengzhe asked, “Why are you so poor?”

Zhao Feihong chuckled, “Wealth is just an external possession. Poor or not, I can still afford to keep you.”

You Mengzhe inquired, “Is your martial brother quite wealthy?”

Zhao Feihong replied, “The Yanshan family was a prominent household in Sichuan. After moving to the capital, they did become quite wealthy.”

You Mengzhe said, “Why not ask him for some money? He’s so wealthy, and you’re living modestly. How did you even become acquainted?”

Zhao Feihong raised an eyebrow and replied, “Gold and silver are easily obtained, but true friends are hard to find. There’s no principle in forming connections based on wealth.”

They stopped at a rope stall, which specialized in tassels for swords, dagger sheaths adorned with gemstones, and various sword accessories. In this era of peace, there were young nobles and aspiring martial artists everywhere, contributing to a flourishing market for weapon accessories.

“How much is this one?” You Mengzhe picked up a dagger sheath and casually asked.

“Two taels,” the shopkeeper smiled. “Young master, you have a good eye for quality goods.”

“Two taels!!” You Mengzhe exaggeratedly exclaimed, “With two taels, I could buy a whole crate from you!”

Zhao Feihong: “……..”

In the past, You Mengzhe might have effortlessly pulled out a five-tael silver ingot, tossed it onto the stall, and told them to keep the change. However, these days, following Zhao Feihong, he found himself unconsciously enjoying the art of bargaining. Zhao Feihong haggled with an indifferent demeanor, mixing in jokes that seemed teasing, but when You Mengzhe bargained, it carried a distinct market-savvy quality, an evident slickness.

Zhao Feihong asked, “What do you need a dagger sheath for?”

You Mengzhe casually replied, “It’s a gift, that’s all. If I don’t buy it here, I’ll check out another shop.”

The shopkeeper hurriedly said, “Hey, young man, just give me a price…”

After Zhao Feihong and You Mengzhe walked away for a bit, they returned with arms draped around each other’s shoulders. You Mengzhe asked, “What’s this used for?”

You Mengzhe pointed to a curved piece made of silver foil, and the shopkeeper explained, “This is called ‘staff waist.’ It’s adorned with two pieces on a Qimei staff, looks quite imposing! It’s perfect for both of you, father and son, who use sticks. Five coins for each piece!”

You Mengzhe glanced at Zhao Feihong. Both of them had weapons slung diagonally behind their backs—Zhao Feihong had a black gold staff, while You Mengzhe had a bamboo staff. Zhao Feihong said, “If you like it, buy it.”

For four pieces of silver foil, a total of two taels, You Mengzhe said, “I’ll pay for it.”

Zhao Feihong took out a small silver ingot and threw it on the stall. The shopkeeper happily accepted the weapons from both of them. Behind the stall, there was a small anvil and a stove. With a few taps and presses, the silver foil was adhered to the ends of the staffs. You Mengzhe swung the staff in a circular motion, from the front to the back and then back to the front, creating a dazzling display of silver light, earning cheers from the crowd at the market.

Zhao Feihong skillfully displayed the staff, and the black gold staff flickered with a silver moon-like brilliance, creating an even more spectacular scene with cheers and applause.

You Mengzhe said, “What about my silver? Give it back to me; I want to buy something to give as gifts.”

Zhao Feihong put away the black gold staff and smiled, “I’ll be generous; buy what you can afford.”

You Mengzhe selected a knife tassel to give to Yu Changqing, a finely crafted scabbard for Sun Bin, a Nine Dragons Unity knot for You Gutian. However, he was unsure what to get for Yu Wenhong. Just when he was in a dilemma, he noticed a pair of brass finger guards, designed for the middle two fingers.

Zhao Feihong said, “These are used for practicing the Golden Bell Finger technique.”

The shopkeeper praised, “Keen eyes, sir!”

Zhao Feihong added, “You can also get one for Yu Wenhong if you want.”    

You Mengzhe counted the money, a total of eight taels. After some bargaining, they settled on seven taels. You Mengzhe said, “I can’t distinguish between the knife tassel and the sword knot. Help me engrave a surname on the small jade pendant in the middle.”

The shopkeeper nodded, took a needle-sized engraving knife, and skillfully carved the characters. Zhao Feihong then took You Mengzhe to their lodgings.

Chickens were priced at twenty wen each, and a coin was worth fifty chickens. Fifty chicken was worth a tael. There were three hundred and fifty chickens here! You Mengzhe couldn’t help but feel a bit distressed at the thought of spending so much money. He stole a glance at Zhao Feihong’s expression, wondering if he felt the same.

However, Zhao Feihong didn’t seem like a poor man. The place they stayed wasn’t as shabby as Yu Changqing’s, and the food was good. He even took You Mengzhe to a teahouse to listen to a storyteller.

While enjoying the tales of the past dynasties at the teahouse, You Mengzhe found it fascinating. However, he noticed Zhao Feihong wearing a smile, realizing that he probably had heard these stories before and brought him here for entertainment.

After listening to the storyteller, on the night of the second day of the New Year, the marketplace remained bustling as if it were daytime. There was a branch of the Hua Jin Lou in Jiangzhou. You Mengzhe took the initiative and said, “Master, let me treat you to a drink and some music. This is my family’s business.”

Zhao Feihong responded indifferently, “You go ahead and have fun. I’ll wait for you outside.”

You Mengzhe insisted, “I really will go in now then.”

Zhao Feihong, without much enthusiasm, rolled up his sleeves and stood at the door. Unable to find a way around it, You Mengzhe had no choice but to come out and walk behind him, saying, “Never mind.”

That night, when they returned to the inn and settled in, with two beds available, You Mengzhe lay there unable to sleep. He kept turning his head to sneak glances at Zhao Feihong, wanting to climb over and sleep with him but hesitating.

Outside, fireworks continued to light up the night. Zhao Feihong spoke in a cold tone, “Just get a good night’s sleep.”

As You Mengzhe tossed and turned, he thought about how good Zhao Feihong was. He pondered on finding a way to give something back to him. However, what could he give? Nothing belonged to him. The money was from his father, the treasures weren’t his mother’s if they weren’t from the Qinghua Palace, and even himself was raised by You Gutian—nothing was truly his.

But then again, who truly owned themselves? People have nothing when they are born, not even their own bodies, which are given by their parents. Lost in these thoughts, You Mengzhe could only think of taking advantage of the times when Zhao Feihong was in a good mood, perhaps by deceiving him into dual cultivation a few more times. Yes, that’s it.

The next day, the two of them left Jiangzhou City. Zhao Feihong hired a carriage to travel on the official road, estimating that they would reach the capital in ten days. You Mengzhe sat in the carriage, half-asleep and half-awake. The interior was neatly arranged, and the coachman was an old deaf-mute man. His carriage was the cheapest, and others didn’t hire his carriage when going to the capital. It was difficult to communicate with him. There was also the fear of being robbed on the way.

Zhao Feihong communicated through a series of gestures and sign language. With his formidable martial skills, he wasn’t afraid of robberies. So, with an old horse and an aged coachman, they set out on the road to the capital.

Inside the carriage, there was a narrow bed, two benches, and a small charcoal stove for heating. Since it had snowed the night before and was a bit cold outside, they kept the carriage curtain drawn as dawn broke. You Mengzhe sat in the carriage, nodding off. After a while, he leaned towards Zhao Feihong but pretended to be asleep.

Zhao Feihong felt the warmth from You Mengzhe and sensed a masculine presence. You Mengzhe just wanted to snuggle into his arms, letting him hold him.

“What are you doing now?” Zhao Feihong asked. “Sit properly and don’t move around.”

You Mengzhe, unable to contain himself, started to nuzzle and snuggle. Zhao Feihong noticed his restlessness and reached for his staff. You Mengzhe quickly retreated to the corner. How could he make his move?

Squinting his eyes, You Mengzhe began to cultivate his internal energy, contemplating the thoughts he had that day. He guided his internal energy to wander chaotically throughout his body, trying to provoke a slight feeling of Qi Deviation..  

You Mengzhe practiced the Transmuting Yang Heart Technique.

Yes… Yes, that’s the feeling! He caught it! You Mengzhe felt his whole body heating up, and his true qi surged chaotically in his dantian. He was on the verge of Qi Deviation! Just a bit more! He still needed to spit out blood. How to spit out blood for real? You Mengzhe forcefully sucked in his nosebleed and then forcefully spat it out.

“Meng Zhe?” Zhao Feihong immediately noticed. You Mengzhe seemed weak, leaning in the corner of the carriage, motionless. Zhao Feihong touched his forehead, checked his pulse, and was greatly alarmed. This time was even more dangerous than the last!

“Meng Zhe!” Zhao Feihong held You Mengzhe, and after a moment of silence, he unbuttoned his own robe.

As a result, You Mengzhe got his wish fulfilled! You Mengzhe, until Zhao Feihong entered, took another moment before panting and holding onto his neck, murmuring softly.

Zhao Feihong felt completely helpless. You Mengzhe came close again, wanting a kiss. Zhao Feihong could only respond with closed eyes.

“Master…” You Mengzhe panted.

Zhao Feihong: “…”

With his chest bare and face flushed, Zhao Feihong had already climaxed once. Now that You Mengzhe’s breathing had stabilized, everything seemed fine. However, he extended his hands, wanting to embrace Zhao Feihong again. Zhao Feihong could only let him hold onto his neck, wearing a perplexed expression.

Acting spoiled – desicively seized the opportunity to act spoiled. You Mengzhe already learned it.

In the following days, You Mengzhe started with mere cuddling. The next day, he pretended to cough, spat out some blood, and then Zhao Feihong, without saying a word, loosened his clothes, and they engaged in dual cultivation once again.

You Mengzhe gradually grasped the pattern. No matter how much he used the nosebleed, it seemed endless. He realized that due to the presence of Yin essence in a man’s body, the balance of Yin and Yang is maintained. If sexual activities are not moderated, the loss of Yin essence can lead to internal heat. For ordinary people, it might not be a big issue, but with You Mengzhe practicing the “Transmuting Yang Heart Technique” and having Zhao Feihong’s masculine true qi, he had a constitution that tended towards excessive heat, especially being a young man with a pure Yang body.

Moreover, since the dual cultivation partner was a man, the balance between Yin and Yang gradually tilted, with Yin diminishing and Yang increasing, leading to an excess of internal heat.

Every time You Mengzhe felt the urge, he would cough up blood, and Zhao Feihong, helpless, had no choice but to undress and engage in dual cultivation with him. Eventually, even their robes were left unfastened, revealing robust shoulders and backs. Watching this, You Mengzhe’s heart swayed with excitement. Thus, as they continued, the frequency of spitting blood increased, and Zhao Feihong was at a loss, almost driven to the brink of frustration.

Unfortunately, this dual cultivation didn’t deplete Zhao Feihong’s Yang essence or consume much energy. With abundant true qi in Zhao Feihong’s body, he had no other solution but to urge the coachman to speed up the journey, thinking that You Mengzhe’s condition was getting worse.

For two consecutive days, You Mengzhe’s legs were trembling, his face flushed, wrapped in a robe, lying on a narrow couch panting.

Inside the carriage, filled with a picturesque spring scene, Zhao Feihong sat at the edge of the couch, already feeling a bit numb. If they continued playing like this, sooner or later, he would go crazy. You Mengzhe held Zhao Feihong’s hand, rubbing and caressing between his fingers.

Before long, the thing under Zhao Feihong’s crotch became hard again.

“Master,” You Mengzhe lay on his side, looking at him, shaking his hand, and said, “Do you like me now?”

Zhao Feihong didn’t answer, holding him with one hand, staring blankly out of the window.

Another day passed. You Mengzhe also needed a break. Excessive indulgence and dual cultivation resulted in a throbbing pain in the backside. Lying down, his face flushed and ripples of pleasure couldn’t be suppressed. Although his mind could still cultivate, his body couldn’t take it anymore. Overindulgence in cultivation could be detrimental.

Zhao Feihong didn’t know what this kid had in mind. After checking his pulse, seeing a stable heartbeat, he expected he could rest for a few days. In the afternoon of that day, as the carriage entered the jurisdiction of Sili, Zhao Feihong instructed the coachman to leave the official road and find a small town.

“Where are we going?” You Mengzhe asked.  

Zhao Feihong said, “There’s a fishing village by Moon Mirror Lake up ahead. Let’s find something to eat and nourish your body.”

The carriage stopped, and Zhao Feihong put on his outer robe, fastened his belt, saying, “Let’s get off and take a stroll. It’s spring, the flowers are in bloom, let’s enjoy the sunshine.”

These days, You Mengzhe had already gotten used to it. The more he pretended to be a patient seeking sympathy, the less Zhao Feihong would make things difficult for him. So, looking frail, he came down. After spending so many days in the carriage, not getting much sunlight, stepping out, he felt the wide open space and his chest relaxed.

A vast lake unfolded before him, with the spring breeze gently rippling the water. In the distance, many fishermen were drying their nets. Zhao Feihong went to buy some food, and You Mengzhe lazily leaned against the carriage.

The fragrance of flowers mingled with the spring breeze, hitting him head-on. Looking at Zhao Feihong’s back, a sense of affection welled up in You Mengzhe’s heart. Zhao Feihong was heading towards a fisherman’s stall to buy soft-shelled turtles, an excellent nourishing food that clears heat and soothes the liver. He planned to have the fisherman prepare a braised soft-shelled turtle and buy some rice to have a meal by the lake with You Mengzhe.

As You Mengzhe watched for a while, a desire for dual cultivation suddenly crossed his mind.

So, You Mengzhe climbed onto the carriage, lay on the narrow bed, and began to circulate his energy. Pretending to go into a state of Qi Deviation had become his specialty. As soon as he initiated the technique, his nose started bleeding.

Suddenly, a hearty voice came from outside the carriage, “The soft-shelled turtles here are the best. It’s said even the emperor has visited… Brothers, finish your meal first, and we’ll head to the capital after noon.”

You Mengzhe recognized the voice. He couldn’t pretend any longer and quickly pulled aside the carriage curtain, saying, “Brother Wang!”

“Huh?” The sturdy and robust Yangzhou officer froze by the carriage, pressing it down on the side of the road. “Brother You! I’ve missed you to death! What are you doing here?”

You Mengzhe forgot that he was still pretending, covered in blood, and eagerly leaned against the carriage window, saying, “Are you heading to the capital now?”

Wang Tan chuckled as You Mengzhe got off the carriage to chat with him. They exchanged a few words, and it turned out that Wang Tan had received a message from a teahouse businessman in Yangzhou, stating that after the New Year, You Mengzhe should head to the capital on his own without further delay. It seemed to be a message from Zhao Feihong through someone else. Consequently, Wang Tan and his men set off for the capital.

Meeting coincidentally on the road, Wang Tan, still remembering the benefits of Hua Jin Lou, enjoyed all the privileges there ever since You Mengzhe introduced him. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, You Mengzhe inquired about the recent situation of Yu Changqing, and Wang Tan had no information, as he was on his way to meet him.

“What happened to you? Did someone beat you up?” Wang Tan asked, concerned. “Who dared to lay a hand on you? Big brother will stand up for you!”

It was only then that You Mengzhe remembered the blood on his face, casually wiping it off. With a face smeared with blood, he looked at Wang Tan, laughing, “Oh, it’s nothing—just a long story. I was just pretending… playing a little trick on someone.”  

During the conversation, a hand pressed on You Mengzhe’s right shoulder, freezing his smile. Zhao Feihong nodded at Wang Tan, and You Mengzhe said, “Hehehe, this is my master.”

Wang Tan: “Hehehe.”

You Mengzhe: “Hehehe… hehe… he…”

Seeing the formalities exchanged, Zhao Feihong lifted You Mengzhe and threw him back into the carriage. He took a deep breath, as if he wanted to scold him, but couldn’t find the words.

You Mengzhe looked at Zhao Feihong with a face smeared in blood.

“You… these days… you… I…” Zhao Feihong felt like he should be the one coughing up blood. However, a mouthful of blood reached his throat, but he couldn’t spit it out.   

You Mengzhe didn’t dare to speak. Zhao Feihong remained silent for a moment, then said, “You can’t continue like this; coughing up blood can harm your internal organs.”

You Mengzhe hurriedly replied, “No, no, it’s just nosebleeds. It’s nothing serious. After practicing some inner energy, it stops. Master, you don’t need to worry.”

Zhao Feihong: “…”

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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