Drunk people tend to blather on, but Gu Hanjiang couldn’t remember what else Qi Shu said. By the time he came back to his senses, he had already pressed his young disciple onto the bed.
He could faintly taste the wine in the other person’s mouth.
Qi Shu’s lips were very soft, and because of the wine, they looked redder and wetter than usual. Gu Hanjiang had accidentally used too much strength, which had made his young disciple’s eyes teary.
After a long time, Gu Hanjiang let go of him.
He didn’t know whether his young disciple was conscious. His face flushed, Qi Shu looked at Gu Hanjiang in a daze, his lips trembling but unable to say a word.
He looked as though he had been stunned by the kiss.
Gu Hanjiang had stopped kissing Qi Shu, but the two of them remained very close. His arms were on the pillow while he caressed his disciple’s face but then withdrew as though he had been burned.
This was wrong.
As this person’s master, how could he do such a thing?
But how could he control himself?
Gu Hanjiang wasn’t made of stone.1 Like countless other beings in the mortal world, he had a heart whose emotions had only grown more intense the more it was denied.
In front of this person, the centuries-long cultivation he had was nothing more than a joke.
“Shizun, you too-”
You like me too, don’t you?
Qi Shu wanted to ask about it, but before he could say anything, his mouth was covered again.
Gu Hanjiang lowered his head and kissed him again.
This time he kissed Qi Shu very lightly, covering his disciple’s mouth and tasting with his cold lips without delving deeper.
At the same time, he stretched out his fingers and gently placed them on Qi Shu’s brow.
Qi Shu realized what he was going to do and suddenly struggled as hard as he could.
But he couldn’t stop it at all. There was no comparison between the two of them in terms of shape or size. Gu Hanjiang only needed one hand to gently pin both of Qi Shu’s wrists over his head while Qi Shu’s protests were muffled by Gu Hanjiang’s mouth on his until he gradually lost his strength because of the spiritual energy gradually entering the middle of his eyebrows.
“You won’t remember anything when you wake up,” said Gu Hanjiang in a low voice. “Go to sleep.”
Qi Shu felt a little wronged. His bright eyes full of tears, he tugged at his Shizun’s sleeve, but Gu Hanjiang slowly pulled it out of his hand little by little. He didn’t get the answer he wanted, and soon he fell asleep because of the compulsion. Qi Shu’s eyelids closed softly as tears slid down his cheeks2.
“You’re still young, Ah-Shu3.” Sitting on the bed, Gu Hanjiang spoke softly in reply, but also as though he was talking to himself.
Qi Shu was at a very impulsive and reckless age, a time when a young person can’t distinguish between heartfelt love and admiration4.
He can go astray, but Qi Shu cannot. So, the day after the incident, Gu Hanjiang asked Immortal Venerable Qing Lan to send Qi Shu down the mountain. Qi Shu has been with him all these years and has seen too few people and things. If he travels down the mountain, maybe he’ll come to his senses.
That’s what Gu Hanjiang thought.
But that’s not what happened.
Three years passed and the young disciple grew into a handsome young man whose appearance was mature and steady. It seemed as though many things had changed, but also as though nothing had changed.
Gu Hanjiang closed his eyes and remembered the way Qi Shu looked at him the day he left his seclusion.
It was the same way Qi Shu looked at him three years ago, sincere and warm.
A gaze that seemed to burn him with its scorching heat.
As he remembered this, Gu Hanjiang’s lungs spasmed, and he lowered his head slightly as he began to cough violently. His coughing increased in intensity and he barely had time to raise a sound barrier outside his window before he collapsed against a wall5, his emaciated, trembling hand clinging to the window frame. As he covered his mouth with a sleeve, he saw how blue veins on the back of his hand stood out in stark contrast against the pale skin.
Qi Shu has forgotten all about that kiss three years ago, but Gu Hanjiang still remembers it.
Not only does he remember it, but he was haunted by it in his dreams every night until it eventually became a heart demon6.
In the end, he was suffering the consequences of his own actions7.
His trembling gradually died down until he was able to straighten up. A trace of blood remained on his lips, giving his pale face some color, and his plain white sleeves were stained with a little blood.
He lifted his hand and raised the sound barrier that shrouded the outside of the house.
In the nighttime, Bai Zhang peak was silent, and the candle lamp in the bedroom in the distance had gone out.
“You want to help me,” said Gu Hanjiang softly. He smiled wryly. “You’re the reason for this heart demon, so how could you help?”
After being rejected by his Shizun, Qi Shu was really sad and introspective for many days.
After reflecting on it, he realized that his Shizun’s baggage was too heavy, and since Gu Hanjiang hadn’t seen Qi Shu for so many years, it was understandable that Gu Hanjiang wouldn’t trust him that quickly.
But there was no need to worry too much.
When he was gaining experience with the common folk, he often saw young gentlemen wooing their sweethearts, and the correct method was to progress step by step. If one was too aggressive, it would just scare the other person away.
Once Qi Shu figured this out, Qi Shu decided not to force the issue.
The way to pursue someone should be the same, although the difficulty was higher because the person involved was the Heavenly Venerable Immortal.
Qi Shu would give this method a try.
In five days, a ceremony where the Heavenly Venerable Immortal officially handed over the position of Sect Leader to Immortal Venerable Qing Lan was going to be held. The whole sect was buzzing about the news, so those martial brothers who had a good relationship with Qi Shu came to pester him for information.
“I don’t know anything. Ask me again and I’ll throw you out,” said Qi Shu. He was busy working in the back kitchen, so their questions annoyed him. “If you’re so curious, why don’t you ask your own Shizun?”
“How would my Shizun, the Sect Master, know about it?” Wei Jing annoyed Qi Shu by following him around and talking endlessly. “We’re here because you said you needed our help, so can’t you tell us?’
Wei Jing was curious about this matter. “What pot did you carry?”
“Never mind,” said Mo Qi.
“The important thing is, will the Immortal Master really ascend10?”
Based on the sect disciples’ speculation, the Heavenly Venerable Immortal had been in seclusion for so many years that he must have achieved substantial progress in his cultivation. The fact that he passed on the position of Sect Master as soon as he came out of seclusion, the disciples reckoned he was probably concentrating on preparing for his ascension tribulation. Thus, he could no longer be bothered to attend to matters pertaining to the mundane world.
After hearing this, Qi Shu felt a little sad.
If Shizun’s cultivation hadn’t been affected by his furnace physique, that would have been the most likely outcome.
Though Qi Shu’s heart was bitter when he thought about that, he changed the subject and said, “Try this newly cooked medicinal porridge. This time it wasn’t boiled into a paste or dried out, so it must be delicious.”
The two of them who had been walking close to each other suddenly took a step back at the same time.
Wei Jing looked up at the sky and said, “Ah, I haven’t finished all of my assigned tasks. I should return now.”
Mo Qi touched his nose. “I suddenly remembered that I haven’t finished organizing the books in the library pavilion. Goodbye.”
The two of them tried to run, but Qi Shu grabbed them by the backs of their collars. Smiling, he said, “Come now, why don’t you both have a bowl of porridge before you leave and help me taste it, okay?”
This story was brought to you by the letter B for BC Novels.
It was already dusk by the time Qi Shu returned to Bai Zhang peak with the finished porridge he had redone countless times.
Based on what he had learned from mortal folk, the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. Although the Heavenly Venerable Immortal had been abstaining from food many years ago, he had been looking sickly lately, so it was time for him to eat some nourishing food.
Qi Shu came to his Shizun’s house with the medicinal porridge. He was about to knock on the door when he heard a voice inside.
It sounded like the Immortal Venerable Qing Lan’s voice.
The position of Sect Leader was just recently been handed over, so many things needed to be discussed. These days, Immortal Venerable Qing Lan often came to see Gu Hanjiang.
Qi Shu was about to retreat into the yard and wait, but a voice came from the door saying, “Come in.”
It was Gu Hanjiang.
Qi Shu said “Yes” softly, pushed open the door, and walked in.
The two immortals were sitting in the room, both looking rather solemn. Qi Shu put the medicinal porridge down on the table before bowing to them. He said, “Greetings to the Sect Master and Shizun.”
“Rise.” Immortal Venerable Qing Lan cheerfully said, “Little Ah-Shu can cook? I remember you always used to pester Gu shixiong to have a special kitchen11 prepared for you. Gu shixiong was quite worried for a while about it.”
Gu Hanjiang: “Qing Lan.”
“Ah, shixiong, what more is there to talk about it?” said Immortal Venerable Qing Lan. “You blew up the back kitchen several times before, and I was the one who took care of it.”
Qi Shu: “Pfft.”
Gu Hanjiang looked up at Qi Shu who hurriedly curbed his laughter.
Gu Hanjiang’s cooking really wasn’t good. Qi Shu knew that, but thinking about how Gu Hanjiang blew up the back kitchen while he was trying to cook for Qi Shu… how cute!
Qi Shu didn’t realize that the mess he left in the kitchen was just as bad as it being blown up.
Gu Hanjiang, who was exposed in front of his disciple, bowed his head to sip his tea and tried to gloss over the matter by saying, “Let’s get down to business.”
Qi Shu asked, “What business?”
Usually, Gu Hanjiang and Immortal Venerable Qing Lan talked about the affairs of the sect, and never let Qi Shu sit in on their discussions. This time, since he was called in, it was probably related to him.
Immortal Venerable Qing Lan put away his teasing manner and said, “Ah-Shu, there is something I wanted to tell you. Do you still remember the scaled dragon12 demon you killed in Misty Shadow Mountain13 half a month ago?”
Qi Shu did not expect him to mention this. He nodded: “I remember.”
Qing Lan said, “Are you sure you killed it?”
Qi Shu was stunned.
What did this mean….?
Qi Shu: “It’s not dead?”
“I don’t know.” Immortal Venerable Qing Lan sighed. “It’s just that in the past half a month, there have been a series of incidents of women going missing in several counties nearby. The government has no clue, and the people are in a panic.”
Qi Shu asked, “The master thinks the scaled dragon demon is responsible for these incidents?”
Qing Lan said, “There has been speculation about it.”
Qi Shu frowned slightly and didn’t answer.
If it was really the demon that was preying on the people around the Misty Shadow Mountain, then it was his responsibility.
Qing Lan reassured him. “In the beginning, many sects sent their disciples to eliminate the demon without success. They said that the scaled dragon demon was very good at magic and could control people’s hearts. If it really took the opportunity to run away, it was not your responsibility. Don’t take it to heart.”
“You’re joking, Master,” Qi Shu said. “I will leave for Misty Shadow Mountain tomorrow. Whether it’s true or not, we will find out. If that beast really escaped me before, I will kill him again.”
Qing Lan gave Qi Shu an appreciative look. “Gu shixiong, I told you that Ah-Shu would agree, but you didn’t want me to tell him about it.”
Gu Hanjiang: “…”
Qi Shu could see that the expression on his Shizun’s face was getting colder and colder, so he tried to soothe him by saying, “Shizun, don’t worry. Your disciple will just take a look and he will be back soon.”
Of course, he was reluctant to part with his Shizun, but there was a demon on a rampage and human lives were at stake. Even if it had nothing to do with him directly, it wasn’t something he could ignore.
“Indeed.” The new sect master seemed not only to be oblivious to the situation but even added more fuel to the fire by saying, “Little Ah-Shu has grown up to be a responsible man. You were willing to leave your disciple behind for three years, but now you can’t let someone eliminate a demon? What kind of reasoning is that?”
Gu Hanjiang put the teacup in his hand down on the table with a loud banging sound.
Immortal Venerable Qing Lan started trembling when he realized he had said the wrong thing.
“Why, why are you so careless? Be careful. The tea is hot…” said Qing Lan with a hollow laugh as he gave Qi Shu a meaningful look.
Qi Shu had no choice but to help Qing Lan out by offering his food to Gu Hanjiang. He said, “Shizun, don’t talk about that. I cooked you this medicinal porridge myself, so eat it while it’s still hot.”
When a bowl of medicinal porridge was put in front of Gu Hanjiang, the expression on his face lightened.
Qing Lan was about to find an excuse to run away when he heard his shixiong suddenly say, “Qing Lan, let’s eat some together.”
Qing Lan: “What?”
Gu Hanjiang pushed the bowl full of medicine porridge to Qing Lan and calmly said, “Ah-Shu is an excellent cook.”
Qing Lan: “???”
I’ve never heard that Qi Shu can cook?
Immortal Venerable Qing Lan didn’t actually have much contact with Qi Shu before. Later, Qi Shu went down the mountain for training and they had had no contact. But Gu Hanjiang’s words aroused his curiosity.
Did Qi Shu learn a craft after coming down the mountain?
Qing Lan tentatively scooped up a spoonful and tasted it.
Dear readers, if you would like to leave a tip, you can donate to my Ko-Fi. Thank you very much! I really appreciate it.
- This chapter is by Reika (me).
- Are there too many translation notes? I try to keep it under 10, but there are a lot in this chapter.
- The last sound effect was 噗 which sounds like “pooh.” I made it “poof” instead since “pooh” sounds like poo…
- I think next chapter, I will just use “Jiaoyao” instead of “scaled dragon demon.” I often wonder if I should use “Ling Xiao Xianzun” instead of “Heavenly Venerable Immortal,” but I’m afraid that people will think Gu Hanjiang’s name is Ling Xiao, lol.
- Please let me know if there are any errors. I did my best to edit it myself, and I also used a grammar checker.
- Thanks for reading!
- 无情道 – ruthless, emotionless. In Buddhist terms only rocks, rivers, trees, etc. are emotionless. I used the English idiom “not made of stone” as a non-literal substitution
- Literally “disappeared down his sideburns” but this sounds more natural.
- Adding the prefix “Ah” 阿 indicates familiarity. It’s used between close friends, family, lovers, etc.
- 也是尚且无法分清心悦与崇拜的年纪。Not sure I got it right, extracted the meaning I understood, but this is my interpretation, not a literal translation.
- Literally “his shoulders and back collapsed” but I think that’s kinda weird in English so I modified it slightly. A lot of adjectives were in this paragraph, so I tried to make it sound better without sounding too strange.
- 心魔 – heart demon. In their path to immortality, negative emotions hold cultivators back and lingering attachments hinder their training. In some cases, these feelings or obsessions can give rise to heart demons that will mentally attack a cultivator. If they fail to resist the heart demon, they can fall into a Qi Deviation.
- A nice idiom here 自食恶果 “to eat one’s own bitter fruit” in the original.
- 背锅 – an internet slang phrase that literally means “to carry a pot on one’s back.” Originally it meant a hunchback, but nowadays it means taking the blame for someone else.
- shidi means a junior martial brother 师弟. They’re not really brothers though, just disciples of the same sect.
- 飞升 – soar/fly heavenwards. It looks like a Daoist term meaning to transcend the mortal world and ascend to heaven. I guess you could also use “deification” or “apotheosis.”
- 开小灶 – prepare better food for someone than for others by opening a smaller canteen. It also means to give favored treatment.
- 蛟 Jiao or Jiaolong. A legendary aquatic creature, possibly like a crocodile.
- 雾影山 – There are many ways of translating this. The fan translation for chapter 1 used “Reflecting Mist Mountain.” 雾影 is also what the Chinese use for the Hidden Mist Village in Naruto.