Let Go of that Shou Chapter 39

Chapter 39

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The next day, outside Wu Liu Street:

“I only have one son,” Yu Wenhong said to the old man selling porridge, “He’s like my heart.”

The old man ladled porridge from his cart and nodded, “I feel the same. My wife gave birth to a son for me. He’s like a treasure. I’m afraid to let him out of my sight.”

Yu Wenhong asked, “Where’s your son? Why isn’t he selling porridge with you?”

“He’s gone!” the old man replied, “He’s dead!”

Yu Wenhong sighed, “Oh…”

The old man stared at him, “Is your son dead too?”

Yu Wenhong said, “He’s not dead, he’s alive. I’m out to buy porridge for him.”

The old man replied, “On such a cold day, it’s the children who are out working. Look at the snow and wind on the street. Do you see any children out there?”

Yu Wenhong glanced around. The dilapidated streets of the capital were gradually waking up under the morning snow. The ones out clearing snow and doing chores were all elderly people with difficulty walking.

“I’d willingly let him boss me around for the rest of my life. In the next life, and the one after that, and the one after that… and the one after that…” Yu Wenhong gestured, implying that he couldn’t finish listing them all, then pointed to the small bowls of porridge, saying, “Put more scallions, Mengzhe likes them.”

The old man said, “What a good name! Your family must be scholars.”

Yu Wenhong sighed, “The name wasn’t even my idea. It was given by his mother’s lover.”

A middle-aged woman who came to buy porridge interjected, “How can you let your son be named by your wife’s lover? You’re being cuckolded! Is this son really yours? Don’t play games by getting things mixed up.”

Yu Wenhong replied, “No, he’s definitely my son.”

The porridge seller asked, “Who is the lover?”

Yu Wenhong said, “The current emperor, a mute named Zhang Yuanshan.”

The middle-aged woman and the old man were speechless.

Yu Wenhong added, “Can you add some more fried dough sticks?”

Taking two bowls of porridge, Yu Wenhong returned to his room feeling dejected. You Mengzhe was still half-asleep, leaning on the table and panting. His face still had a blush, and he glanced at Yu Wenhong out of the corner of his eye.

“You were really passionate last night, dad,” You Mengzhe said. “You almost killed me.”

Yu Wenhong chuckled and said, “Eat.”

You Mengzhe stirred the fish porridge with his chopsticks, eating while watching Yu Wenhong. Halfway through, Yu Wenhong lifted him up, placed him on the bed, and had another round with him.

The meal took almost two hours, and they had to bring back two more buns before feeling truly satisfied. You Mengzhe felt something was off about Yu Wenhong, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. After filling their stomachs, and considering the chaos in the capital, they decided to head north. Zhang Yuanshan provided a carriage for the father and son. Yu Wenhong drove the carriage, taking his son to visit Layan Mountain.

Along the way, they encountered increasing numbers of commoners evacuating, murmuring to each other:

“The emperor is going to lead the expedition himself! The border can’t hold anymore!”

“General Zhao suffered a really miserable defeat! He’s lost battle after battle!”

“What are we going to do? The great Yu Dynasty is about to fall.”

Yu Wenhong drove the carriage out of the border, where there were no more roads beyond the border. He left the carriage aside and the two of them rode on one horse. You Mengzhe asked, “Where do we go from here?”

Yu Wenhong was also a bit lost and replied, “When Ming Jun took me away, I was only one year old. I couldn’t recognize the way.”

The spring mist was thick outside the border. Sparse herds of cattle and sheep grazed on the vast wilderness. The blue sky, brown earth, lakes, and rocks were like heavy ink strokes on this painting. The cold air hit them as they continued on horseback, following the Black River northeast, in search of its source, the Blood-weeping Spring.  

According to Ming Jun, Yu Wenhong’s family lived near the Blood-weeping Spring. However, the spring had been occupied by the Xianbei people, and the original Snowy City was likely no more. So, the two had to inquire along the way. Halfway through their journey, You Mengzhe dismounted to relieve himself while Yu Wenhong studied the map nearby.

“Dad,” You Mengzhe walked to a tree, stretching lazily, and called out from afar as he loosened his belt.

“Hmm,” Yuwen Hong responded, “You could’ve just done it on flat ground. Why run so far?”

“I can’t pee unless I’m facing a tree,” You Mengzhe explained.

Yu Wenhong chuckled, “Are you a dog?”

“Do I have a grandpa?” Mengzhe retorted. 

Yu Wenhong casually remarked, “Even if you have, he’s probably dead now. I don’t know where he’s buried…”

As You Mengzhe relieved himself against the tree, he noticed some movement in the bushes nearby.

“Hmm?” You Mengzhe paused mid-stream, then realized he had accidentally urinated on a soldier’s head. The soldier, clad in Dayu armor, was squatting in the bushes, glaring at him.

“You’re from Dayu?” the soldier said. “I overheard you talking to your dad.”

“Yes… yes,” You Mengzhe stammered, noticing the soldier’s presence. “What are you doing squatting here?”

The soldier wiped his face and replied, “Lying in ambush. What are you doing running around in the borderlands? You better leave!”  

 You Mengzhe was dumbfounded as he looked around behind the soldier and saw a sea of people hiding in the forest, all watching him pee with unblinking eyes…

With a loud cry, You Mengzhe hastily pulled up his pants and ran without even bothering to tie the belt.

“Dad, dad, dad…” You Mengzhe shouted, “There are… there are…”

“What’s wrong? Don’t panic!” Yu Wenhong called out.

As You Mengzhe ran and shouted, Yu Wenhong, seeing no immediate threat behind him, dismounted and walked towards You Mengzhe while staying alert for any potential danger. However, at that moment, the ground began to shake violently. 

Yu Wenhong halted in his tracks, turning to face the entrance of the Layan Mountain Valley.

In the next moment, thousands of troops surged forward! The Xianbei army charged across the plains!

“Don’t come any closer! Go back!” Yu Wenhong shouted, then sprinted towards You Mengzhe. In an instant, the thunderous sound of hooves drowned out Yu Wenhong’s voice, and the deafening beat of drums overwhelmed his shouts. It was You Mengzhe’s first time witnessing such a massive army, and he immediately ran back towards the forest, still clutching his pants.

A sharp whistle cut through the air, and You Mengzhe’s heart skipped a beat as he realized what those people in the forest were up to.  




Tens of thousands of soldiers from Dayu surged out of the forest like a torrent!

Yu Wenhong was momentarily dumbfounded, while You Mengzhe never expected to encounter enemy troops just by urinating. He cried out in despair, “What do we do—!”

The two groups of people collided like a flood, rushing onto the plain and clashing with the Xianbei cavalry. The sound of horns reverberated through the sky. As more and more soldiers from both sides joined the fray, You Mengzhe and Yu Wenhong  were instantly separated. Wave after wave of Dayu soldiers wielding spears and shooting arrows filled the battlefield, breaking through the Xianbei army. You Mengzhe felt dizzy from the chaos, while Yu Wenhong, about a hundred paces away, shouted anxiously, “Wait there!” 

The battlefield was packed with soldiers, making it difficult for anyone, no matter how skilled, to safely escape at the onset of war. Yu Wenhong pushed through the crowd, issuing orders and blocking soldiers along the way. Blood splattered everywhere as he desperately made his way forward.

“Ahh—” You Mengzhe let out a scream as a soldier crashed into him from the side.

“Mengzhe—” Yu Wenhong roared in despair.

You Mengzhe slowly collapsed to the ground, lying there motionless. A soldier picked him up and threw him onto a horse, which neighed loudly before galloping aimlessly away from the battlefield.

Suddenly, Yu Wenhong was also struck by a galloping horse. Then, tens of thousands of Xianbei cavalry charged forward, hurling Yu Wenhong into the air.  

Amidst the chaos, Yu Wenhong leaped into the air, using a soldier’s shoulder as a foothold to dash through the sea of people. Arrows flew dangerously around him, but he used his palm to deflect them, although several still found their mark due to their sheer number. The battle intensified, with nearly two hundred thousand soldiers filling the battlefield.

First came the catapults, followed by the trebuchets, caltrops, repeating crossbows, rolling logs, poisoned darts—every manner of exotic weapon flew through the air. Finally, the ground collapsed with a deafening roar, forming a massive pit three miles wide and three miles long.

Yu Wenhong fought on, his head swimming from the intensity of the battle. He used a knife he had picked up as a makeshift weapon, and grabbed a helmet to shield himself from the rain of arrows. Meanwhile, he continued to shout, “Mengzhe! Mengzhe!”

Yu Wenhong seized a magnificent black warhorse from the Xianbei, its armor gleaming in the obscured light. The battle’s dust and the thick clouds overhead made it nearly impossible to discern directions. Shouting You Mengzhe’s name, Yu Wenhong searched desperately in all directions.

The startled warhorse galloped uncontrollably, and despite Yu Wenhong’s efforts to rein it in, it carried him out of the battlefield. As the sky darkened, You Mengzhe, riding his own horse, found himself carried away in an unknown direction.

“Dad!” You Mengzhe yelled. The two had been separated for about two hours, and he was getting hungry. Spotting distant smoke, he followed it in search of his father.

It led him to a large Dayu military camp.

“Who goes there?” someone noticed You Mengzhe’s arrival and immediately called out.

“I’m one of us, I’m one of us!” You Mengzhe hurriedly explained.

Having something to eat was enough. You Mengzhe followed inside. Anyway, Zhang Yuanshan’s jade pendant was on him, so he wasn’t afraid of what the Dayu Army could do to him. Just as he was thinking of sending someone to bring back Yu Wenhong, he heard a heated argument as he passed by the general’s tent, both voices familiar.

“You must escort the princess and the prince back to the country immediately!”

“The enemy has already retreated! Yu Wenzhen is dead! This is the perfect opportunity! Retreating now is simply seeking death!”

“General Zhao, I am taking the prince and the princess…”

“Orders are orders, even if you’re outside. I, as a general…”

You Mengzhe tiptoed to the front of the general’s tent, and the soldiers dared not stop him. Inside, a man’s voice shouted again, “Success or failure hinges on this moment! Yu Wenzhen is on the verge of dying, time is running out…”

You Mengzhe: “Wow—”

Zhao Feihong, red-faced and hoarse from arguing, was taken aback when You Mengzhe suddenly rushed in from outside the tent. He was caught off guard and stumbled backward, making a clattering noise.

You Mengzhe: “Oops—”

Zhao Feihong: “!!!”

Clad in armor, Zhao Feihong was startled pale, scrambling to his feet. You Mengzhe made a face and chased him to the east, Zhao Feihong dodged to the west, but You Mengzhe followed him there, prompting Zhao Feihong to stagger and hide behind another person.

And that person was none other than…

“Mengzhe?” Yu Changqing exclaimed, “What are you doing here?”

“Wow—Oops—” You Mengzhe was still chasing after Zhao Feihong, but Zhao Feihong finally came to his senses and shouted, “That’s enough!”

Only then did You Mengzhe calm down after being shouted at like that, asking, “Is there any food? I’m hungry.”

Inside the tent, several people were at a loss. With You Mengzhe’s disruption, the tense atmosphere that had prevailed moments ago had dissipated.

After a moment of silence, Yu Changqing clasped his hands and gestured with his eyes to You Mengzhe, indicating a request. You Mengzhe gestured for him to wait. After sending him away with a wave of his hand, Yu Changqing politely smiled and left.

Inside the tent, only You Mengzhe and Zhao Feihong remained. A map was spread out on the table, with oil lamps lit around.

“Wow—” You Mengzhe leaned in closer.

Zhao Feihong smiled. At thirty-six, he was at the peak of his charm, dressed in a magnificent suit of silver armor.

With a loud slap, Zhao Feihong pushed You Mengzhe aside, his hand resting on Mengzhe’s head.

“What are you doing here again?” Zhao Feihong said sternly. “You give me a headache every time I see you. Where’s your guard?”

“He’s my dad!” You Mengzhe exclaimed. “My real dad.”

Zhao Feihong was initially taken aback, then scoffed. “Another one added to that old debt from years ago?”

You Mengzhe knew that Zhao Feihong still remembered his mother. He casually gestured with his middle finger and curiously reached out to touch Zhao Feihong’s helmet, saying, “Put it on and see how it looks.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Zhao Feihong pushed his hand away, coldly stating, but then couldn’t hold back a smile, his face softening.

You Mengzhe smiled and moved closer to him, and Zhao Feihong, unable to resist, remembered the old affection. He sighed deeply, embracing You Mengzhe and patting his head. “I’m sorry for what happened back then. I owe your mother and you a lot.”

Finally hearing those words, You Mengzhe let go of any grudges and stopped bothering him.

 Zhao Feihong sat at the central command table with his arms folded, lost in thought. Outside the tent, soldiers brought boiled lamb and tea. You Mengzhe helped himself to the food.

“What are you thinking? About retreating?” You Mengzhe asked.

Taking a sip of cold tea, Zhao Feihong replied, “You must have seen Yuan Shan. What did he tell you?”

“He didn’t say much. Just send someone to bring my dad back; he hasn’t had dinner yet,” You Mengzhe said.

Zhao Feihong dispatched a team to search and then continued, “Our spies among the Xianbei have reported that Yu Wenzhen is seriously ill. He may not live much longer. The vanguard of the Northern Frontier comprises Xianbei, Jie, Di, and Qiang tribes. The overall leader of the four tribes is a Qiang, and rumor has it that he’s also critically ill.”

You Mengzhe said, “But doesn’t Yu Wenzhen need to hurry back to seize power? He’s dying soon. Someone from the Yuwen family has to go back, or his army will fall apart.”

Zhao Feihong looked at You Mengzhe admiringly and said, “You’re very clever. I don’t know what Yuan Shan is thinking. We can’t win by force alone, but as the art of war says, ‘To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.’ If we hold out for a while longer, the formidable enemy will likely retreat on their own. It’s just that Yu Changqing and the others can’t wait.”

“Why not let him go back by himself?” You Mengzhe asked.

“He got separated from Tang Ze,” Zhao Feihong explained. “He’s also accompanied by the young prince and princess. With the situation in the Northern Frontier uncertain, returning to the capital hastily may lead to many mishaps. At the very least, we need to allocate thirty thousand troops to escort them back… Alas, the heavens don’t favor us… Mengzhe?”

But You Mengzhe had already left the tent. 

Zhao Feihong issued orders, and You Mengzhe moved freely within the tent without anyone daring to stop him. After asking for directions, he headed towards the auxiliary military tent.

The campsite was surrounded by vast grasslands. This area used to be a village of the Qiang people. After numerous defeats, the Dayu Army had gradually retreated south, causing the border territory to shrink continuously from the Weeping Blood Spring onwards.

Zhao Feihong seized control of this village and expelled the Qiang people beyond the border. The natural pastures and rolling green hills stretched as far as the eye could see. If not for the war, it would have been a breathtaking landscape.

The princess sat beside a well, her black hair shimmering, while Yu Changqing stood nearby, personally pouring water for her to wash her hair.

“Imperial aunt,” the young prince’s voice piped up, “When can we go back home? Where’s Father? When is he coming to get me?”

You Mengzhe stood silently, thinking of You Gutian.

The princess casually replied, “Be patient, don’t ask too much. Auntie will take you back home. We’ll leave in a few days.”

Yu Changqing sighed. The young prince was still unaware that his biological father had passed away. He leaned against the princess, who seemed a bit impatient, and said, “Don’t act like this. You’re already a grown-up.”

Yu Changqing was very patient. He gently patted the young prince’s head and let him sit on his lap, saying, “Uncle will take you horse riding later.”

You Mengzhe felt a pang of sadness as he watched and said, “Let me take him. Come.”

The three turned around, and Yu Changqing set aside the comb, smiling. “Mengzhe.”

He strode over and embraced You Mengzhe tightly, showing their close relationship. The princess, aware of their longstanding friendship, didn’t mind at all and said with a smile, “Is this the Grand Tutor’s adopted son? Where have you been? It’s been almost half a year. You disappeared after last year’s spring examination.”

You Mengzhe approached with a smile, holding the young prince in his arms and sitting cross-legged on the grass. He couldn’t help but miss Yu Wenhong.

“What about your dad?” the young prince asked.

“My dad… got lost,” You Mengzhe said. “Let’s play together. Look, I also have a jade pendant, just like yours. It’s exactly the same as yours.”

The two jade pendants were placed together, and You Mengzhe’s eyes softened as he gently touched the young prince’s head.

“General Zhao won’t retreat?” Yu Changqing asked.

“He’s not… He’s a good person,” You Mengzhe said. “Brother Yu, let’s wait a little longer.”

The princess interjected, “I’m afraid delaying too long will lead to unexpected problems. Do you know him? What’s his character like?”

You Mengzhe thought for a moment, then relayed Zhao Feihong’s words and added, “He’s my master. Trust him.”

Yu Changqing glanced at the princess, his eyes seeking her opinion.

“If that’s the case, we’ll have to trust him,” the princess said helplessly. “But let’s hope it doesn’t end up in a situation where we’re all captured by the Xianbei.”

You Mengzhe and Yu Changqing both chuckled. “That won’t happen,” You Mengzhe said. “Even if we truly lose, he’ll risk his life to protect us and help us escape.”

As they were talking, they noticed the troops mobilizing. Zhao Feihong ordered the camp to be dismantled, and they began marching through the night. They hadn’t found Yu Wenhong yet, but they had to move on. You Mengzhe figured that wandering aimlessly outside wouldn’t help, as they wouldn’t be able to find anyone anyway, so he decided to follow Zhao Feihong.

The princess, Yu Changqing, the young prince, and all the other important figures were protected by the Imperial Guards. After dinner, they boarded the carriage and followed Zhao Feihong’s army of one hundred thousand troops. The Dayu Army surged across the grasslands, leaving no trace of human habitation for miles around. You Mengzhe stayed close to the young prince, feeling that there was more to his jade pendant and the young prince’s jade pendant than met the eye.

 The two pieces that could be joined together, bestowed by Zhang Yuanshan and the Emperor himself, seemed to carry a sense of necessary responsibility weighing on their hearts.

You Mengzhe accompanied the young prince all the way, telling him stories of mystical mountains overseas and giving him life-nurturing pills to eat. Fortunately, everyone trusted him implicitly and never noticed that You Mengzhe always fed the only heir of Dayu such strange things.

Perhaps because of their similar backgrounds, the young prince cooperated fully along the way. Whatever You Mengzhe gave him to eat, he ate without question, and whatever task You Mengzhe asked him to do, he did without hesitation. The two got along harmoniously throughout the journey.  

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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