Let Go of that Shou Chapter 33

Chapter 33

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At the breakfast stall:

“You could at least say something,” You Mengzhe said.

Yu Wenhong, holding a chopstick, replied, “You told me not to talk.”

“Now you can,” You Mengzhe insisted.

Yu Wenhong pondered for a moment before saying, “There’s a spring in Canghai Sect that can determine parentage with a blood drop.”

“Really?!” exclaimed You Mengzhe.

Yu Wenhong nodded and continued, “Yes, mix their blood with a bit of your own, drop it into the water, and you’ll know who your father is.”

Relieved, You Mengzhe said, “That makes things easier. Let’s go back, get some of that water, and try it out on each one.”

Yu Wenhong said, “But what if Zhao Feihong is your father, and Zhang Yuanshan isn’t? Wouldn’t that make things even more difficult for him?”

“That… would be an unavoidable situation,” You Mengzhe replied.

Yu Wenhong continued, “And what if neither of them is your father, and your real father is the Sect Leader?”

You Mengzhe cried out, “I need to figure out who my father is, no matter what!”

Yu Wenhong nodded in understanding. You Mengzhe then thought of You Gutian. If You Gutian turned out to be his father, it would be unbearable. Having a father like him would be worse than not having one at all.  

“I don’t want to go back,” You Mengzhe suddenly felt exhausted, throwing the coins for the bill and glancing at Yu Wenhong, thinking he probably didn’t have much of an opinion either, always following him.

But with the vastness of the world, he didn’t know where his home truly lay. Should he return to Zhang Yuanshan? You Mengzhe had no desire to go there. Zhang Yuanshan had let down his mother and him. He had known about it when he lived in the capital, but Zhang Yuanshan never mentioned it, likely due to his sworn brotherhood with Zhao Feihong.

And when Zhao Feihong came to Jiangzhou and went out in the rain that night, it was evident he had met Zhang Yuanshan.

You Mengzhe couldn’t help but imagine Zhao Feihong’s search for Zhang Yuanshan, wondering what had happened at that time. Had Zhang Yuanshan finally confessed? How had Zhao Feihong questioned him? In the end, dejected, had he returned to the inn to sleep?

What kind of feelings did Zhao Feihong have when he stopped himself from meeting Zhang Yuanshan? It seemed that even this pair of sworn brothers wasn’t as close as they appeared, You Mengzhe thought numbly.

“I’ll take you out for fun,” Yu Wenhong suddenly said.

It was the first time You Mengzhe had heard Yu Wenhong say something like that. In the past, it was always You Mengzhe who decided where to go, and Yu Wenhong would just follow along, almost never having his own opinion. It was quite a rare occurrence for him to propose taking You Mengzhe out.

“Where are we going?” You Mengzhe asked.

 Yu Wenhong said, “I only know that the East Sea is not bad. I stayed there for a while after leaving Canghai Sect.”

“Alright, let’s go to the East Sea then. From now on, you call the shots, and I’ll follow you,” You Mengzhe replied.

After packing up, You Mengzhe handed a letter to the city gate guard to be delivered to Zhang Yuanshan. Then, the two of them headed out of the cold river and sat by the riverside, watching the colorful dragon boats testing the waters.

With the sky clear and boundless, the air felt fresh and clean. Along the river, a long platform had been erected. You Mengzhe, feeling tired from the journey, suggested, “Let’s take a nap here. I’m so sleepy.”

Yu Wenhong had no objections, so they found a grassy area and nestled under a large tree for a nap.

After waking up, they continued walking. You Mengzhe didn’t bother watching the dragon boat races for the Dragon Boat Festival. Instead, he spent some time fishing by the river and then found a fisherman’s house to stay and eat. At night, he slept cuddled up with Yu Wenhong under the starry sky, with the summer breeze like water and the waves of the river lapping gently.

The next day, at noon, a large fleet of dragon boats sailed upstream, their drums booming and echoing across the sky.

They watched as the dragon boats filled the river, the rhythmic beating of the drums resonating throughout the land. The vast expanse of the river presented a magnificent and majestic sight.

Yu Wenhong embraced You Mengzhe from behind, while You Mengzhe held onto his strong arm, quietly admiring the scene unfolding on the river.

After the dragon boats passed, You Mengzhe and Yu Wenhong walked hand in hand along the undulating waves of the riverbank, smiling at each other.   

After another day, the boat fleet from Jiangzhou headed south, and the people returning home after the Dragon Boat Festival boarded their respective boats. You Mengzhe hailed a boat and the two of them rented it to travel along the Han River eastward.

Passing through Yangzhou, they entered Dong’a Prefecture. In Dong’a Prefecture City, they took a carriage heading towards the easternmost city in the Central Plains, Donghai County.

It was said that this place was the origin of martial arts in the world and the hometown of acrobats. It was a place beyond the reach of the imperial power of the capital, and it was also the place where the founding emperor of the Dayu Kingdom started his career.

The most common surname in Donghai County was Li. Everywhere they looked, they saw establishments with the name Li: Li’s Inn, Li’s Restaurant, Li’s Food Shop, and so on. There were even pawn shops with names like “The Number One Li in the World” specializing in weapons. Since the day Li Mou raised his army here, the Li family had governed the land for hundreds of years without collecting a penny in taxes from Donghai County.

This created a wide circulation of local salt, iron, and trade, resembling a free port. Foreign Japanese traders conducted business, and goods flowed to the Jiangnan region. The whole city had a chaotic yet orderly atmosphere, where lawlessness coexisted with a kind of default order.

When You Mengzhe first arrived, he indulged in eating and playing, enjoying several seafood meals and drinking plenty of alcohol. He also picked seashells with Yu Wenhong by the seaside. After drinking, he caught a fever from being exposed to the sea breeze.

Ever since getting caught in the rain in Jiangzhou, he had been feeling unwell, and now the illness hit him hard. He was extremely weak, lying in the inn, listening to the clanging of swords and blades outside.

Donghai was the most lawless place, yet at the same time, it was the most disciplined. The law of the jungle had always prevailed, and even ordinary households here would practice some martial arts like the Six Harmony Palm and the Tongbi Fist. Children would happily play with knives and swords outside.  

You Mengzhe was very curious, leaning against the window with Yu Wenhong, watching the street below. The July sun was warm, but not overly hot, and the sea breeze made it quite pleasant.

“What do you want to eat today?” Yu Wenhong asked.

You Mengzhe licked his lips and said, “Crab.”

“No, your illness hasn’t fully recovered yet. How about clam congee?” Yu Wenhong suggested.

“Alright, and give me a salted duck egg,” You Mengzhe agreed.

So Yu Wenhong took You Mengzhe out to eat salted duck eggs and clam congee. You Mengzhe held Yu Wenhong’s hand and suddenly thought that if this guy raised him, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Yu Wenhong might not be decisive, but he was very responsible and earnestly tried to make You Mengzhe happy in every way he could. While he might not fit the conventional image of a father, he was a gentle one.

During these days, the two of them naturally got along well. You Mengzhe also listened to him talk about many things regarding Canghai Sect. The entire sect was detached from the mundane world, with no involvement in worldly affairs. They believed in following the natural order of things, living a life of ease and freedom like a tranquil fairyland, without many restrictions within the sect.

You Mengzhe tapped the bowl with his chopsticks. “With such a great place, why didn’t my mother take Zhao Feihong to Canghai Sect?”

Yu Wenhong peeled a salted duck egg for You Mengzhe and said, “She probably didn’t think the mountain was fun. She wanted to roam the rivers and lakes, but once she started, she found that wasn’t fun either. Zhao Feihong always wanted to visit Canghai Sect, but unfortunately, we don’t accept door-to-door son-in-laws.”  

You Mengzhe said, “What about me? Won’t I be kicked out?”

Yu Wenhong replied, “You are the biological grandson of the former sect master. How could you be?”

You Mengzhe felt relieved. Yu Wenhong muttered to himself, “Better to forget each other in the world than to support each other.”

You Mengzhe laughed and asked, “Who said that?”

Yu Wenhong replied, “The former sect master. He said that all those things about eternal love and unbreakable bonds are fake and boring. It’s better to part ways amicably.”

While the two were having their meal, they noticed many people entering the restaurant, each carrying weapons. They loudly demanded food from the servers.

“This time, on the fifteenth of August tide, who knows if the Immortal Mountain will open its gates,” said a bald elderly man.    

“Ah, there are so many people now, I’m afraid we won’t get any treasures,” said the big man as he poured wine for the people at the table.

Upon hearing the word tide, You Mengzhe became attentive and exchanged a glance with Yu Wenhong, gesturing for him not to turn around.

“Third Uncle,” a woman asked with a smile, “Is it true that the Changhai Sect is filled with treasures everywhere, as everyone says?”

The bald elderly man, with a youthful face despite his gray hair, stroked his beard and chuckled, “It’s all a matter of luck. After all, it’s the maternal family of the Divine Sect’s leader. I heard even the orthodox martial arts sects have gotten wind of this. In a few days, the East Sea might be crowded with people.”

“Qingquan Old Weirdo,” someone from the neighboring table of literati interjected.

“Who gave you the right to call him that?!” someone at the table immediately shouted back, drawing swords and creating chaos.

A scholar, absorbed in his porridge, chuckled and said, “The Changhai Sect is indeed the orthodox school of martial arts in the world. Just think about it in your hearts. If you want to divide the treasures and wipe out the sects, that’s harder than ascending to the heavens. Don’t blame me for not warning you.”

The crowd clamored loudly, but the old man gestured for calmness, and calmly said, “With the Divine Sect’s leader leading the way, it’s just a matter of going for a stroll for everyone. What harm is there in broadening our horizons and seeing the world?”

The literati smiled and bowed, “It’s also a coincidence that our Alliance Master Zhao is the son-in-law of the Changhai Sect. This time, he has widely spread invitations to the heroes of the orthodox sects…”

“Stop talking nonsense!” Someone immediately cursed, “It’s the Divine Sect Leader You!”

Qingquan Old Weirdo waved his hand and said, “Brothers, you may not know, but the notices posted outside have already announced to the world that the heir of the Demonic Sect is not the Sect Leader’s biological son.”

You Mengzhe was shocked, not caring to hear more from them. He settled the bill and went outside to look for the notices. As he wandered through the city, he saw many notices posted along the city walls.

The first notice was from the Demonic Sect, depicting a dark and grotesque figure with a face resembling a gourd. The accompanying text stated: “This person is named You Mengzhe, the heir of the Divine Sect. Currently wandering outside, if found, the position of Demon Sect leader will be handed over.”

You Mengzhe: “!!!”

The other notice was elegant and luxurious, written in exquisite calligraphy. It depicted another person with big eyes, arched eyebrows, and a pointed chin. The text read: “This person is named Zhang Mengzhe. A reward of ten thousand taels of gold will be given to whoever finds him. Much appreciation will be shown.”

You Mengzhe: “…”

Amidst the crowd, You Mengzhe said, “Clearly, these are two different people.”

Onlookers pointed and remarked, “Of course, they’re two different people. One surnamed You, the other surnamed Zhang.”

You Mengzhe pointed to his own face, “But isn’t it me?”

The crowd teased, “Doesn’t look like you at all. Your face is neither round nor pointed. Don’t try to fool us.”

You Mengzhe exclaimed, “It’s really me! They’re offering ten thousand taels of gold, and the Demonic Sect leader doesn’t want me!”

While they were talking, someone else shouted, “A genuine work by the Silent Hero! The Silent Hero’s handwriting! Just this poster alone could fetch a hundred taels of silver!”

The crowd suddenly realized and rushed to tear down the poster. Under the city wall, a fierce fight broke out, resulting in injuries and bloodshed. In the end, they tore the poster into pieces, with one person grabbing the “Thousand” character and happily running away.

In the following days, more and more people from the East Sea gathered, leading to frequent fights and brawls. Everyone was discussing the matter of the Canghai Sect, and all the inns were crowded with people. Business at weapon shops and pharmacies boomed.

You Mengzhe inquired around and learned that the news was spread by You Gutian. With the arrival of the August fifteenth tide, as long as they could reach the Qinglong Mountain overseas on that day, they could take advantage of the tide to ascend to the Canghai Sect.

But what did he want with him? You Mengzhe felt a complex mixture of emotions. They no longer had any relationship with each other. You Gutian had raised him for sixteen years, and although there was a debt of gratitude for nurturing, he had treated him merely as a tool to enhance his internal strength cultivation. It was a matter of balancing debts and grievances, and it was difficult to say who was right or wrong. They were even in terms of kindness and enmity.

As for Zhang Yuanshan, he was genuinely looking for him, and You Mengzhe was hesitating whether or not to go and meet him.

On August first, the small East Sea County was crowded with nearly ten thousand outsiders. People fought on the streets in waves, and both the righteous sects and the Demonic Sect carried away the fallen on stretchers directly from the streets, only to be replaced by new fighters.

You Mengzhe said, “Let’s go out and take a look. Perhaps we’ll meet someone we know.”

Yu Wenhong always went along with whatever he decided. The two of them left the inn, and on the street, someone laughed and said, “Tomorrow we’ll be boarding ships to the Immortal Mountain overseas. This commotion is really something. Those righteous sects, those old turtles, are even more arrogant than when they attacked Mount Yuheng…”

“Yeah, it’s true. A starving camel is bigger than a horse. They say this time the Demonic Sect Leader is just taking an urn of ashes to the Canghai Sect, to return his wife’s ashes to her family. He doesn’t want anything else. Ah, such foolish love…”

You Mengzhe walked past them as several people sent a righteous martial artist flying with their palms, causing him to spew blood from his mouth and fall slowly to the ground.

“He must truly love my mother,” You Mengzhe said. “I wonder why he’s looking for me.”   

Yu Wenhong said, “Perhaps he feels guilty in his heart.” As he spoke, he used his arm to fend off a Nine-section Whip flying towards them from under the tree. Nearby, another person was whipped in a brawl, their skin torn open, falling to the ground.

Along the street were wounded individuals, with clear boundaries drawn between the righteous sects and the demonic sect. The martial artists belonging to the demonic sect began to retreat towards the south of the city.

Zhao Feihong, on the other hand, led the righteous martial artists to gather in the north of the city, erecting defenses at the border between the north and south, piling up sandbags.

The demarcation line extended all the way to the dock, with dozens of fishing boats rented by the righteous sects moored on one side, and large ships belonging to the Demonic Sect on the other. The demonic sect, despite its infamy, still possessed substantial assets across the country, so several large ships were a trivial matter to them.

You Mengzhe and Yu Wenhong stealthily crept to the edge of the dock, peering into the distance.  

Yu Wenhong whispered, “This is troublesome. If we can’t rent a boat, what should we do?”

You Mengzhe replied, “Let’s sneak onto a boat.”

Yu Wenhong asked, “Whose boat do we sneak onto?”

You Mengzhe licked his lips and looked around for a moment before saying, “We’ll see when the time comes. Let’s not go back to the inn tonight. We’ll wait here instead, so we don’t miss the boats leaving later.”

Yu Wenhong had no objections and nodded. The two of them sat down under a large tree, shoulder to shoulder. As the sun began to set, the city was enveloped in twilight. Both sides grew tired from the fighting and returned home for dinner, preparing to set sail at dawn to search for the Immortal Mountain.

You Mengzhe’s hiding spot was quite far from the dock occupied by the Demonic Sect. He recognized many of the cult members, including the Left and Right Protectors, but he didn’t dare to approach. He feared that if Yu Gutian took an interest in him later, he might face some trouble. As the moon rose in the east and the night sky cleared, You Mengzhe leaned against Yu Wenhong’s chest and began to doze off. However, he woke up in the middle of the night for some reason.

Many people were sleeping on the dock. You Mengzhe peeked out and saw the vast sea rising and falling with a rustling sound. In the center of the dock, there was a chair, and sitting on it was a person, staring blankly at the boundless black sea.

It was You Gutian.

A surge of impulse welled up in You Mengzhe’s heart. He wanted to go over and talk to him, but at the same time, he hesitated to get up.   

Yu Wenhong also woke up, his eyes, as bright as the morning star, focused on You Mengzhe, and he held him a little tighter.

The azure sea surged, carrying with it distant memories as it crashed against the dock, like an army of thousands charging forth, yet retreating silently in an instant.

In You Gutian’s arms lay a white jade urn. He sat quietly, gazing at the horizon of the sea. In early August, a crescent moon cast its silver light upon the sea, stretching from the edge of the sky to the shore.

You Mengzhe felt for the flute in his bundle, took it out, and brought it to his lips, producing a melodious tune that was ethereal, like the sound of nature itself.

You Gutian heard it, but he didn’t turn around, lost in his contemplation of the sea. The melody soared, like the ebb and flow of the tide, reaching the edge of the sky. Then, for a moment, a deep and melancholic voice joined in, as if seeking a companion.

You Mengzhe’s pupils contracted slightly as he discerned the sorrowful meaning in the song.

“As vast as the boundless sky and earth,

We traverse the passage of time together…

The sorrow of human life’s transience,

Witnessing the ever-changing sun and moon…”

Zhao Feihong, dressed in a green robe, stood on the rooftop, his voice weathered and hoarse, singing along, echoing with You Mengzhe from afar.  

You Gutian sighed and motioned to one of his followers. Moments later, a zither arrived and was placed on his knee. With a sweep of his fingers, it resounded like a stampede of ten thousand horses, stirring up waves and clouds, surging the vast sea.

The flute, accompanied by the zither and song, carried their melody towards the dark horizon. Then, as if in unison, they fell silent at the highest point, like the gentle washing away of ancient stories by the sea, leaving behind no trace.

“The bright moon rises over the sea,

We share this moment, though miles apart.”

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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