Let Go of that Shou Chapter 5

Chapter 5

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The next day, when You Mengzhe woke up, he felt refreshed and invigorated. He felt as light as a swallow and could leap three steps away with a single breath. The true qi in his body circulated smoothly, bringing an indescribable comfort.

Yu Changqing checked out of the inn and carried his belongings. The two of them first found a stall in the Western Market to have breakfast.

“Mengzhe,” Yu Changqing scooped some braised shrimp for You Mengzhe and asked, “Where do you plan to go next?”

You Mengzhe lowered his head to peel the shrimp and said, “I don’t have a specific destination. I plan to travel the world and find partners for dual cultivation to enhance my martial arts skills.”

Yu Changqing: “……”

Yu Changqing remained silent for a moment. Then, You Mengzhe asked, “What about you?”

Yu Changqing replied, “I don’t have any urgent matters either. If it’s necessary to rush into wandering the world right now. How about this: I can take you to the capital city. If you don’t mind, you can stay at my place for a while.”

As You Mengzhe ate his porridge, he contemplated the situation. Were there many martial artists in the capital city? According to Yu Changqing, if he wanted to take him to his home, the two taels of silver he had borrowed might not need to be returned. Oh right, there was also his mother’s last wish.

Yu Changqing said, “If you’re unwilling to come, that’s alright too. Let me write a note for you. Remember, rely on your family when at home and rely on friends when you’re out. If you encounter any trouble while wandering the Jianghu, you can find someone at the government posts nearby. As I’m a law enforcement officer, even though I’m not favored by the heroes of the Jianghu, I still have some influence within official circles. You can just mention my name, and things should go smoothly.”

You Mengzhe said, “My mother left me a self-portrait, and there’s also a letter.”

Yu Changqing asked, “Can I see it?”

You Mengzhe took out a painting, depicting a plump-faced woman with a round face.

Yu Changqing commented, “This… is done in a court drawing style. It’s similar to the portraits of the court ladies, it’s quite…”

(Note: The text seems to be hinting at the unconventional and unflattering portrayal of the woman in the painting.)

You Mengzhe said, “Exactly, my mother was skilled in all sorts of arts – music, chess, calligraphy, and painting. She painted this herself… well, I originally thought no one in the world looked like this.”

Yu Changqing asked, “Is there still an unopened letter inside?”

You Mengzhe replied, “It’s not a letter. My father already opened it and said… it’s my destiny. My mother wanted me to marry early.”

Yu Changqing nodded, gently handing the painting back to You Mengzhe, and smiled, “In the future, I’ll help you find a suitable match.”

While the two were in conversation, unexpectedly, there came a roaring voice from behind, “Yu Changqing! I finally found you!”

The table rattled, dishes and cups trembled, and tea splashed around as the chaos unfolded.

Looking up, You Mengzhe saw a massive gathering of martial artists in the Western Market. Leading them was Senior Long, with Long Batian, Long Badi, and Long Bahai behind him. There were even several disciples in colorful martial attire, possibly direct disciples. The display was quite formidable, there were more than a hundred people.

For a moment, the market fell into silence. The street vendors who had set up their stalls in the early morning quickly packed up, and countless heads popped out from the rooftops of the tea houses along the street, all peering downward.

Yu Changqing immediately stood up, cupped his fists, and said, “Senior Long.”

“Our Long Clan treated you as an honored guest,” Senior Long pointed his spear with an angry gaze and continued, “Why would you engage in such despicable and lowly behavior?”

Behind them, the various Jianghu guests burst into laughter, mocking and ridiculing, creating a cacophony of insults. However, Yu Changqing remained calm and composed, not showing a hint of emotion. He said, “The events of last night are more complex than can be explained briefly. Senior Long, your birthday gifts are here.” He picked up the bundle on the table and handed it over, adding, “Now the items are returned to their rightful owner. I hope Senior Long kindly accept them.”

“What kind of joke is this!” Long Batian gathered his inner energy and unleashed the “Dragon Roar Technique,” causing another round of clattering on the table. In response, You Mengzhe raised his voice and roared, “You think you can belittle us?!”

Without provocation, someone immediately shouted, “It’s him! Last night, he was in cahoots with that thief! What’s your name?”

You Mengzhe said, “Don’t come any closer, I’m warning you.”

Yu Changqing continued, “He’s a young brother I met on the road. This matter is complicated to explain briefly, Senior Long. It’s like this…”

Yu Changqing proceeded to explain the situation clearly, and he placed the bundle on the ground. The numerous martial artists and onlookers all fixed their gaze on the bundle. 

Senior Long sneered three times, and then a burst of hearty laughter erupted from the crowd.

“You think that when things come to a head, you can get away with a lie?” Senior Long remarked.

Yu Changqing bowed with clasped hands and said, “As an officer of the court, Yu Changqing has never used falsehoods to lie.”

Senior Long coldly snorted, “The words of the court’s lapdog are not to be trusted.”

Two voices from the crowd above shouted, “Fight! Fight!”

Yu Changqing calmly stated, “Right and wrong have their own divine judgment. My actions are beyond reproach. Mengzhe, let’s go.”

You Mengzhe replied, “Okay.”

“Wait a moment!” Long Batian shouted, “You come and go as you please. Do you think you can disrespect the Long family?”

“Good!” Someone from the tea house above immediately cheered, and their voices echoed, creating a chorus of cheers and applause.

Yu Changqing angrily retorted, “While I, Yu Changqing, do not provoke trouble, I’m not afraid of it either. It has come to this point, what more does the Long family want?”

“Fight! Fight! Fight!” The voices of the townspeople from both sides of the street erupted into a chorus.

“Not wanting much,” Long Batian said, “Since there’s no other business, I’d like to learn a few moves from Officer Yu Changqing.”

The applause thundered as Long Batian slowly removed his martial robe, revealing a body with knotted muscles. Squeals of excitement echoed from the women on both sides, and Long Batian cupped his hands slightly to Yu Changqing.

Yu Changqing’s brows were filled with anger. He had wanted to swallow his pride, but being pushed this far, he had no choice but to fight. People in Jianghu often enjoyed ridiculing government officials as a form of amusement, using it to demonstrate their superiority and confidence.

“Then, let’s begin.” said Yu Changqing, “Shall we engage in a prolonged battle, or should we all fight at once?”

A chair was courteously brought out in the teahouse, and Senior Long sighed as he took a seat by the street. Long Batian smiled and said, “If Officer Yu can defeat me, I’ll personally see the two of you out of Jiangzhou.”

“What if you lose?” asked You Mengzhe.

“Get on with the fight already! Quit the chatter!” impatient spectators on both sides shouted.

“Well, it’s up to Officer Yu’s wish,” Long Batian said, a smirk appeared on his lips.

Yu Changqing replied, “If I should lose, I ask that you let this young brother go. I’ll accept whatever punishment you see fit.”

“Yesterday I asked for a dual cultivation,” You Mengzhe chimed in with amusement, “and you did not agree. Now you’re in trouble. Let’s see how this turns out.”

Yu Changqing responded, “Just keep quiet.”

In the blink of an eye, Yu Changqing drew his saber, Long Batian’s hands trembled as he revealed two paired daggers. The Jianghu onlookers scattered to form a circle. Yu Changqing and Long Batian locked eyes, monitoring each other’s every move. They sidestepped slowly, circling around.

“Fight! Fight!” The crowd around them was filled with fervor.

One circle, two circles… Yu Changqing and Long Batian switched positions, moving slowly in a circular pattern.

Yu Changqing’s forehead was covered in glistening sweat, and Long Batian stared intently at him.

Thirteenth circle, fourteenth circle… You Mengzhe sat cross-legged on the Eight Immortals table, munching on peanuts from a nearby plate.

Twenty-seventh circle, twenty-eighth circle…

Thirty-third circle, thirty-fourth circle…

“Roar!” Yu Changqing finally swung his saber!

“Ha!” Long Batian displayed his dagger, and a series of clashing sounds echoed: “Clang, clang, clang.” The audience cheered enthusiastically. With a strike of the “Mountain Breaking” technique, Yan Changhai’s power surged forth!

“Great, great, great!” shouted Mengzhe, giving Yan Changhai encouragement. Just as the fight raged on, Mengzhe yelled, “Brother Yu! Knock him down!”

However, this caused someone to become unhappy, and they angrily retorted, “Courting death!”

In an instant, someone cracked a whip and swung it towards Mengzhe’s head. In anger, Mengzhe exclaimed, “What are you doing?”

Subconsciously, Mengzhe withdrew and stepped back, harnessing his true qi in an instant to swiftly move three steps away, evading the whip’s tip. The enemy’s whip struck the Eight Immortals table, causing a tremendous explosion and shattering it into pieces!

Everyone was astonished, and a woman’s voice called out, “Impressive skills! Face my move!”

Mengzhe hadn’t fully grasped the situation yet when the long whip spun around again, entangling toward him. The opponent, unaware of his lack of martial skills, intended to teach him a lesson. Little did they know, Mengzhe had absorbed some of Sun Bin’s true qi. Sun Bin was known as the “Thief God” and possessed remarkable Qigong skills. He had never failed in his thefts across the land. Even with a fraction of Sun Bin’s true qi within Mengzhe, he was far superior to these random martial artists.

Mengzhe dodged left and right, shouting desperately, “I don’t know any martial arts! Hey! Don’t force me to fight back!”

The woman, known as “Widow’s Gate Whip” Qiao Wuniang, sternly declared, “You dare to be arrogant without knowing any martial arts? Today, I’ll teach you a lesson!”

You Mengzhe could no longer tolerate it and roared, “Come on then! Come on! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”

“Draw your weapon!” Qiao Wuniang rolled up her sleeves.

You Mengzhe reached into his pocket and took out a small black iron box, about the size of a palm, and aimed it at Qiao Wuniang.

By now, the attention of most of the people had shifted to Mengzhe and Qiao Wuniang.

“Is that your weapon?” Qiao Wuniang asked.

You Mengzhe replied, “Come closer a bit.”

Qiao Wuniang, puzzled, took a step forward. With the iron box in hand, You Mengzhe said to her, “Move a bit to the right.” She shifted a few steps to the right. He then instructed, “Too far right, move to the left.” Confused and with widened eyes, she angrily asked, “What are you doing?” Annoyed, You Mengzhe shouted, “You’ll find out soon enough! Hurry up!”

Confused, Qiao Wuniang moved to the left as instructed by You Mengzhe. He then said, “Stand still, don’t move. I’ll count to three…” With a “click” sound, You Mengzhe activated the mechanism. Silently, a thin needle shot out from the circular box and struck Qiao Wuniang’s chest. She cried out, “Hidden weapon!” and fell down.

The crowd erupted into chaos, shouting, “What did you do to her?”

Game Mengzhe replied, “I warned her!”

Amidst the chaos, Qiao Wuniang writhed on the ground, scratching and screaming in agony. Suddenly, someone shouted, “This guy is truly malicious! Catch him! Get the antidote!”

The scene descended into turmoil. You Mengzhe had to retreat again, facing a group of martial artists wielding various weapons like spears, meteor hammers, and iron fans. The spectacle was truly impressive. While backing away, You Mengzhe shouted, “Don’t come any closer!”

“Each time he can only harm one person!” someone yelled. “Let’s attack together!”

In an instant, the crowd jostled and shoved each other, all vying to capture You Mengzhe. With no other choice, he activated the mechanism in the round iron box.

With a swish, a torrent of fine needles burst forth from the box, mowing down a large number of people like a reaper cutting through wheat. Before anyone could react, You Mengzhe continued to flee while triggering the mechanism. The needles, imbued with potent paralysis toxins, shot out in all directions, piercing through the crowd. These needles were made with an exquisite blend of potent sedatives, incapacitating without causing death. Those struck were instantly overwhelmed by numbness and pain, writhing on the ground in agony.

“Heaven-Extinguishing Bone-Piercing Needle——!” Finally, someone in the crowd shouted, “He’s from the Demonic Sect! Capture this demon!”

Meanwhile, as the intense battle between Yu Changqing and Long Batian continued, a fine needle flew through the air. Long Batian collapsed immediately, howling in pain on the ground. Only then did Yu Changqing snap back to reality. He sheathed his saber, stepped back, and shouted, “Mengzhe! No killing allowed!”

Amid the chaos, You Mengzhe managed to find a moment and explained, “These are sedatives!” As he spoke, he flipped open the iron box again, and with a swish, a rain of needles shot out, knocking down the group of pursuers that had caught up. Caught off guard, he was suddenly tackled to the ground by someone who had been struck by a needle.

Yu Changqing drew his saber to come to the rescue and shouted, “Let him go!”

However, a group of people piled on top of You Mengzhe, then a gray figure flashed through the crowd. With a light and swift movement, a palm landed on the shoulder of the person at the edge, and then the figure quickly retreated into a small alley.

With that palm strike, immense force akin to moving mountains and draining seas erupted, causing a deafening explosion. The force transmitted through the crowd, sending dozens of people flying in all directions.

You Mengzhe: “?”

Yu Changqing: “Let’s go!”

Yu Changqing skillfully lifted an Eight Immortals table with his big saber, and with a graceful sweep, he sent a domineering saber aura shooting out, causing a loud explosion as the Eight Immortals table shattered into countless pieces, blocking the incoming hidden weapons.

You Mengzhe rapidly pressed a few times, but there were no more needles left, so the shot was empty. 

“His hidden weapons are exhausted!” someone immediately shouted, “Everyone, draw your weapons and attack! Kill them!”

Yu Changqing reached around and embraced You Mengzhe’s waist, then swiftly began to run. You Mengzhe was still facing the pursuers, pressing a few buttons and then patting his hand on a mechanism. Suddenly, he turned back and unleashed another wave of the Heaven-Extinguishing Bone-Piercing Needles, shooting them towards the chasing crowd. At the front of the group, Senior Long was struck by a needle, he let out a loud cry, and fell to the ground, rolling in pain.

“It just got stuck!” You Mengzhe said, “There’s more!”

Yu Changqing cautioned, “We can’t linger in this fight!”

You Mengzhe turned around and pounced towards Yu Changqing, making him carry him on his back. With a single leap, Yu Changqing soared into the air, charging out of Jiangzhou and bolting through the wilderness.

“Officials are coming, officials are coming!” At last, the city officials of Jiangzhou arrived just in time, finding only a multitude of wailing and rolling martial artists left on the ground.

Yu Changqing carried You Mengzhe on his back, running a full twenty li before finally coming to a halt at the ferry crossing downstream of the cold river. Having exerted himself to the fullest during the rapid sprint, Yu Changqing’s legs felt a bit weak despite his adept Qigong technique.

You Mengzhe climbed down from Yu Changqing’s back, and both of them found large stones to lean against. Yu Changqing was panting heavily, and after a moment of locking eyes with You Mengzhe, they couldn’t help but burst into hearty laughter.

“Smart move.” Unable to suppress his laughter, Yu Changqing pointed a finger at You Mengzhe and teased, “It seems that the way of the Demonic Sect works just fine, those hidden weapons aren’t a problem.”

You Mengzhe stored away the iron box and said, “No problem at all, those needles are laced with an anesthetic. In our sect, we like to use this anesthetic to capture enemies. It’s not as satisfying if they die on the spot, don’t you think?”

A shiver ran down Yu Changqing’s spine, and a ferryman rowed a boat towards them from a distance, calling out, “We’re crossing the river!”

Yu Changqing immediately pulled up You Mengzhe, and both of them boarded the boat, ferrying across the river. But just as they reached the middle of the river, pursuers on horseback arrived on the opposite bank, albeit a step too late.

Once they crossed the river, Yu Changqing bought two horses in the towns along the way and said, “This is your first time riding… can you ride?”

Yu Changqing was at a loss for how to explain, so he had to give up one horse and set off with You Mengzhe, leaving Jiangzhou’s jurisdiction behind.

Guided by Yu Changqing for three days, You Mengzhe assumed that they had already shaken off most of the pursuers. They entered the southeastern area of Jiangzhou and reached the region of Yangzhou via the official road.

In Yangzhou, a place of abundant fish, rice, and water. They traveled ten li through the city. Upon entering the city, they switched to a small boat and sailed through the water town scenery with black-tiled roofs and white walls lining both sides of the river. The view was truly captivating.

“Mengzhe.” Yu Changqing said, “We’ve arrived in Yangzhou. There’s something I’d like to discuss with you. I wonder what you think.”

You Mengzhe asked, “What is it?”

Yu Changqing explained, “The Imperial Seal has been stolen, and this is a major incident within the palace. The martial artists in Jiangzhou are likely still searching for us. I have to rush back to the capital day and night. On this journey, we can’t afford any delay. We’ll change horses along the way.  Riding and traveling constantly can be quite exhausting, and I’m afraid you might not be able to endure it.”

You Mengzhe asked, “You’re leaving first?”

Yu Changqing nodded and said, “Wang Tan, an underling of the prefect of Yangzhou, is my junior in the same sect. I’m thinking, why not entrust you to him for now? When the tribute convoy sets out at the end of the year, he’ll send people to the capital. You can join his caravan then. This way, you’ll be spared the hardships of travel, and you can also enjoy yourself in the city.”

You Mengzhe was considering spending more time in Yangzhou, so he readily agreed. Yu Changqing brought him to the entrance of the county office and soon emerged a burly man. He introduced him, saying, “This is young brother You.”

The burly man nodded at You Mengzhe and asked, “How did Senior Brother get into so much trouble?”

Yu Changqing chuckled and said, “No choice, Wang Tan. Young brother You is my benefactor. You’ll need to take good care of him.”

The burly man, resembling a bear, nodded and said, “Understood.”

Yu Changqing led the horse over and said, “Mengzhe, you…”

“Do you want me to see you off?” You Mengzhe thought it was time to bid farewell to Yu Changqing. There was a bit of reluctance in his heart. This was the first friend he had made since leaving the mountain, and someone who had been kind to him.

Yu Changqing said, “You’ll come to the capital to find me, won’t you?”

You Mengzhe replied, “Of course, why do you ask?”

Yu Changqing sighed, “Never mind. It’s useless to say more. You’ve learned things from our place before, and I won’t judge. Thanks to your help on this journey to capture the thief, if you’re willing, I can help you find a school to study and take exams for an official position in the future…”

As You Mengzhe recalled his father You Gutian, it seemed that he had also spoken such words. Then, Yu Changqing continued, “If you want to learn martial arts, young brother, you can find a reputable martial arts school and establish a strong foundation. Don’t get too obsessed with taking shortcuts, to avoid falling into the path of darkness.”

You Mengzhe thought to himself, I am already on the path of darkness, my entire family is too… But I can sense the kindness in Yu Changqing’s words, and then he smiled and said, “Understood, you may go now.”

Yu Changqing said, “The capital city awaits you.”

Having finished speaking, he gave a respectful salute, mounted his horse, and left Yangzhou.

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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