Translated by seal.
“You are a client, you have paid money, are you not the one playing with me?”
Mo Xi’s heart was caught in a maelstrom, and he stared at that sachet for a long while. Slowly, he spat out a few words: “Who gave it to you?”
Gu Mang seemed to be able to sense the fury in his eyes, and he tucked the sachet back into his robes, clutching it close to his heart. He then spat out two words that sidestepped the question: “It’s mine.”
It was simply absurd. He had already fallen to such a place and did not have even a single cowrie in his jar, yet he’s saying he could afford to buy this sort of embroidered sachet?
Mo Xi could practically burst out laughing in anger.
“Where did you get the money?”
But Gu Mang just repeated himself: “I exchanged it.”
Mo Xi snapped urgently: “What did you use to exchange with them? What do you even have? You——“
He abruptly paused.
Gu Mang lived in the red-light district. What sort of people could he meet here? What could he use as a bargaining chip in exchange for this sachet? The answer went without saying, and he was actually stupid enough to interrogate him on this.
The cavity of his heart felt like it was being rubbed by sand paper, and was both painful and itchy. Mo Xi closed his eyes and tried to regain his composure, but even that exquisitely fair and attractive face of his could not hide the slightest detail of him clenching his teeth in frustration.
As if finally giving up, he jerked his eyes open, and his hoarse voice was threateningly deep: “What use is there for you to have this sort of thing!?”
Gu Mang seemed as if he had no idea what such a sachet should be used for, and just clutched it tightly. He then silently stared at Mo Xi, without saying a word.
“Does it look good?”
“Do you like it?”
“There has to be a reason for you to do something so ridiculous.”
Probably because he was no longer able to withstand being interrogated like a criminal by Xihe-Jun, he finally answered slowly: “Someone gave it to me……”
“Didn’t you say you exchanged for it? At this point, you would still lie to me?!”
“Someone……” For a moment, Gu Mang seemed to want to continue speaking, but for some reason, he stopped himself. He bit his lower lip, then finally, he chose to remain silent. And this silence seemed to have been the last straw that destroyed Mo Xi’s rationality.
His gaze flashed with a sudden ruthless ferocity, sharp like a knife prying open a clam shell: “Go on.”
He glared at Gu Mang’s face.
Perhaps he was too furious, or the lighting of the room was too dim, but Mo Xi did not detect that slightly unusual change in Gu Mang’s pupils.
“What, you’re not going to talk? Is there still anything left in this world that you can’t speak of?” Mo Xi’s Adam’s apple bobbed, crushing every single word that left his mouth with his back teeth, “Just say it. No matter how ridiculous, I’ve heard plenty worse. You——“
All of the sudden, Gu Mang spoke: “Someone was kind to me.”
It was like being struck face on by a blunt rod.
This time it was Mo Xi’s turn to become speechless, and all he felt was the extreme dryness of his throat.
Someone was kind to him?
Ridiculous……Who would treat a traitor with kindess?
He then immediately thought, that’s right. Gu Mang used to depend on him, and used his silver tongue1[油嘴滑舌 (yóu zuǐ huá shé) is an idiom that translates to ‘oily mouth and smooth tongue’ and refers to someone who’s a smooth talker.] to get his way with him. Now that his days at the Luomei Garden Villa was not easy, there was nothing strange about it if he deceived men and ghosts alike to coax a someone to send him some coal during a snow storm2[Literal translation of 雪中送炭 (xuě zhōng sòng tàn) because I thought it sounded good and wasn’t difficult to understand. It means ‘to provide help in times of need’].
Anger shrouded his vision with spots of black, yet even after a long while, he couldn’t finish this thought.
“Good……Very good……” Mo Xi paused for a moment, his eyes red with his excessively intense fury. After quite some time, he finally said in a hoarse voice: “Gu Mang, Gu Mang……I really have to hand it to you3[刮目相看 (guā mù xiāng kàn) is an idiom that means ‘a whole new level of respect for someone’].”
Gu Mang did not make a single sound more, staring at Mo Xi’s face as he leaned against the wall.
Mo Xi raised his head, and seemed as if he was trying to retract the emotions hidden in his eyes. For a while, he just kept his head raised like so, then suddenly pressed his palm against his forehead and scoffed: “I really don’t know what I’ve been clinging onto for so many years, and I don’t know the reason why I came to see you tonight……”
His sorrow and anger multiplied the more he thought about it, and his voice began to tremble towards the end of that line. Suddenly, he hammered his fist against the wall by Gu Mang’s side, grazing his knuckles on impact and leaving behind vicious bloodstains. The light of the candle swayed back and forth between them. Mo Xi pressed Gu Mang against the wall, his face carrying an aura hatred that could tear him apart at any moment.
He gritted his teeth: “General Gu.”
“That you could rot to this stage, yet always have someone treating you well, you certainly are blessed with good fortune and luck.”
“Gu Mang!” All of the sudden a voice rang. Madam Qin’s yell was like a clap of thunder sounding from a distance. “Young Master Zhou has come. Hurry up and change into clean clothes. You’d better keep him happy and in good company!”
The sound abruptly dragged Mo Xi back to reality, and almost immediately, he regained his consciousness. Though his chest was still heaving violently, the unhinged fury in his eyes had been reigned in.
Mo Xi lowered his head slightly, and as he took deep, heavy breaths by the side of Gu Mang’s ear, he closed his eyes.
When he next opened them, the evil beast that had been struggling in its cage had already vanished. In those pair of black eyes of his was the slightest hint of wetness, brightly reflecting in the dim lighting like Venus in the night sky.
“Young Master Zhou?”
“Was the sachet from him?”
Gu Mang seemed to be unable to comprehend the hatred in Mo Xi’s heart, and continued to calmly looked at Mo Xi’s face, then shook his head.
Young Master Zhou…..Young Master Zhou. Mo Xi repeated the name in his mind, then suddenly recalled——It must be that youngest son of the Zhou Clan. He knew who this person was. Out of the sons of noblemen4[太子党 (tài zǐ dǎng) translates to ‘princelings’ but also it’s censored on jjwxc because it referred to sons of communist party leaders FUN STORY LOL] in the Imperial Capital, he could be considered the most vicious and merciless. His skills didn’t amount to much, but his malicious ideas went on endlessly.
He looked at Gu Mang, and although Gu Mang’s expression did not change, he subconsciously began to rub against a scar on his arm.
After a moment of silence, Mo Xi sneered, somewhat self-deprecatingly: “What, are you going to ignore that man who treated you so kindly?”
“……” Gu Mang silently tucked the sachet away without uttering a word.
Mo Xi was silent for a while, then asked: “Is Young Master Zhou a regular client?”
Gu Mang nodded.
Mo Xi stared at him, and his handsome and profound facial features seemed to be carrying some erratic emotions. A moment later, he sneered: “Before this, I thought that you had changed. But now I feel that you’re still exactly the same as you used to be. Still willing to flatter all kinds of people.”
The depths of his eyes darkened a deeper shade of night, as if their past happenings was slowly sinking away.
“Take care of yourself.”
After saying this, he suddenly straightened himself from the round table he was leaning on, draped on his cloak, then walked towards the door.
“Are you leaving?”
Mo Xi turned his face back slightly, then said with a tone of indifference: “I’m leaving. I won’t hinder your business.”
Mo Xi stopped his footsteps: “What.”
“But I received your cowrie……”
Mo Xi paused, then said: “Then take it as me returning your past affections.”
Gu Mang wrinkled his twitching eyebrows: “Past affections……”
Despite feeling that Gu Mang’s behaviour was very strange, there was not much time left, and if he waited until Young Master Zhou came upstairs, he wouldn’t be able to leave even if he wanted to.
Thus Mo Xi shot one last glance at him, then turned around to push the door open.
But at this time, Gu Mang suddenly said quietly: “You are rich. You have money. I want to know who you are.”
His hand that had already touched the edge of the door abruptly stopped.
Mo Xi’s back stiffened, and after a while, he abruptly turned his head: “……What did you say?”
“You are rich.”
“After that line!”
“……You have money.”
“Even further past that!”
Gu Mang was stunned by his reaction, and hesitantly repeated himself: “I want……to know……who you are?”
It was as if the splashing of a waterfall crashing against the rocks5[A quote from 蜀道难 (The Difficulty of Shu Road) by Li Bai. Translation of the poem can be found here.] filled his ears, and in front of his eyes, a boulder had been tipped over the edge of a cliff.
“Gu Mang.” The bottom of his heart had frozen, yet he still clenched his teeth and ruthlessly spat: “Are you fucking playing with me?”
Gu Mang was perplexed: “You are a client, you have paid money, are you not the one playing with me?”
Mo Xi’s face twisted slightly, but all the peculiarities in his earlier conversation with Gu Mang flashed through his mind. Within his heart, a raging sea stormed, and he was shocked to the point that even after a long while, he was unable to regain his senses.
However it was at this time, that the door from behind them creaked open.
Through the slit of the door came a man’s leisurely voice: “Gu Mang, your Zhou-ge has taken care of your business6[Implication is he’s paid for his time, though…as we can tell before, I’m pretty sure none of them pay him hahhhhhh]. Don’t you know how to come out to kneel and greet your client?”
Mo Xi snapped his head around, but it was already too late.
As that little bastard with the surname Zhou spoke, he walked in with a swagger. Lifting his eyelids, his bleary light of sight shifted upwards——
General Mo was truly suffering. For such an upright and decent man, he unexpectedly had to deal with this kind of troublesome situation twice in the short period of an hour. The last time had gone fine, but this time, there was no way to escape, no where for him to hide, and he was about to be caught red-handed by a junior.
Mo Xi had originally been pushed by Gu Mang’s “You’re rich. You have Money. I want to know who you are.” statement until his head was about to explode, but he had no way to look into it right now. Cursing under his breath, he pushed Gu Mang against the wall, his tall, imposing figure pressing him down. Placing a fist against the wall, he angled it in a way that blocked their faces from view.
In his embrace, Gu Mang widened his eyes: “You……”
“Silence.” Mo Xi dipped his head and lifted Gu Mang’s chin, his rough fingers gripping firmly. He tilted his head slightly, and closely leaned over him.
Thin, cold lips pressed close to soft ones, their fiery breaths almost within reach.
He had long since been unwilling to ever touch this traitor again, so naturally, he would not actually kiss Gu Mang’s lips. But in order to not arouse any suspicions, he still plastered himself close enough that they were practically touching, nose to nose, lips to lips. Yet that almost indiscernible space between them became like reeds on an autumn’s day, swaying gently in the breeze7[t/n: but what does this mean, meatbun?? ?? ?? ?].
When he had hidden himself from Madam Qin earlier, Mo Xi had already felt that his luck today was extremely bad, and there could never be anything as chaotic as that.
He was too naive.
Mo Xi imprisoned Gu Mang in his arms, and said to him in a low, husky voice: “Don’t make a sound.”
Pressed under him, Gu Mang did not think about anything in particular. It was just that the oppression from Mo Xi and his strength of control was far too strong, like being crushed by a mountain, and he struggled to breathe. He did not want to be in too much discomfort, so almost instinctively, he nodded his head.
Gu Mang leaned in closer.
As a result, should one look from the doorway, the figures of the two of them at this moment seemed as if they were kissing sentimentally and entangled passionately, and at any moment, they would roll over to the bed like lovers stuck together with glue. If an ordinary person were to see this kind of romantic scene in the room, most would let out a cry in surprise, then swiftly turn on their heels and leave.
Yet a hoodlum was clearly different from the ordinary man.
Young Master Zhou was startled at first, then he took two steps back, turning his head to look at Gu Mang’s sign. Rubbing his eyes, he muttered: “But the words are black, there shouldn’t be any clients……”
After his initial astonishment had passed, this Young Master Zhou unexpectedly became even more high-spirited. He continued to walk into the room, then smiled as he said: “Oh my, I’m terribly sorry. The spell on that hanging sign outside of the door seems to no longer be effective, I truly did not know there was someone else inside the room.”
“Hey brother, you sure are capable. This Great General Gu of ours is the prickliest of thorns in the whole of Luomei Garden Villa, yet you’ve managed to coax him into your arms and let you kiss him. Why don’t you also teach me your amazing techniques, and let my humble self also find some pleasure?”
As he said this, he chuckled.
“Rather than enjoy it all alone, isn’t it better to share with others? Let’s have fun together.”
The author has something to say:
Mo Xi: What’s wrong with you? In the comments someone said you were cursed.
Gu Mang: What else?
Mo Xi: And that your soul is damaged.
Gu Mang: What else?
Mo Xi: And that you’ve been tortured to the point you’ve lost your memories.
Gu Mang: What else?
Mo Xi: And some think you’re pretending to be crazy.
Gu Mang: What else?
Mo Xi: And……No wait, what on earth is wrong with you???
Gu Mang: One of the above options is the correct answer. Mo-shidi, please shade the answer you think is correct on the corresponding box in the answer sheet with a 2B pencil~ You’re not allowed to peek at shixiong‘s8[师兄 means “senior brother” and refers to someone who is an elder disciple in training] answer!!!
Returning to this chapter to relive the fleeting physical intimacy. ;^;
It’s quite convenient for us that Mo Xi directly lives out the meaning of the phrase, “When discovered by an acquaintance at a nudist beach, the foolish man covers his genitals, but the wise man covers his face!”
Tortured to the point of losing his memories! Because it makes him more of a Little Meow Meow (Little Mang Mang?)
But this is a cultivation setting. So certainly he could have had his soul damaged or been cursed and the personality changes or amnesia are all side effects of that. Things are not always as they appear. Hm.
He lost all his memories
AND THE PLOT THICKENS. THANKYOU FOR THE TL <3
I didn’t want to believe my initial thought the 2 chapters ago they encountered, but…. Mang Mang truly has Amnesia DX So we don’t actually get to see his character until much later!!! I’VE BEEN SWINDLED! TRICKED! STOLEN OF! 😭😭
Thank you! I hope he didn’t really lose his memories and he’s just pretending, but that seems unlikely, so I also hope he regains his memories soon
I really want to smack that shameless zhou this second
I’m ugly crying right now. What happened to my babyy
What happened with baby mang 😭
Thanks for translating!
This chapter just broke my three worldviews.
Let’s just choose the most painful reason and shit that happened behind all this. I can’t even describe the pain.
Thanks for the translation
Thanks for translating, I found this through twt and was only gonna check it out but now I’m too intrigued. :’) the mystery and angst is really good so far! I love the time you’ve taken to add notes on translation, super helpful for people who’s curios or learning the language!