Translated by seal.
Warnings: Non-explicit sexual content
Translator’s Note: The title of this chapter was 心火, which literally translates to ‘heart’s fire’, but refers to the heart being fiercely stimulated by anger.
Also, I ran a quick poll on twitter, and most voted to retain the title for sons of nobility as “gongzi” instead of the translated “young master”, so we will switching to that! Additionally from a different poll, Liao Country will now be amended to the Liao Kingdom. These will be edited into the older chapters in the future when we edit again.
He had just never met someone that could cause him to lose control before.
Mo Xi hated that he couldn’t lift his legs and trample him to death. But because he couldn’t allow the other to see his face and had to block himself, all he could do was lower his voice and say coldly: “Get lost.”
“Hey, what’s with that tone of voice of yours?” Momentarily stunned, Zhou-gongzi’s smile was nailed to the spot, before his fury picked up. “Do you know who I am?”
“Why should I care who you are? Can’t you see what I’m doing? Hurry and get lost!”
Gu Mang seemed to be fascinated by him playing the role of a tyrant, and stared into Mo Xi’s eyes without so much as a blink. The distance between them was only a few inches, and with Gu Mang fixing his gaze on him like this, he began to feel uncomfortable.
Mo Xi lowered his voice: “Stop constantly staring into my eyes.”
Gu Mang was very obedient, and so he lowered his eyelashes and began to stare at Mo Xi’s pale lips.
Mo Xi: “……”
Noticing that they were still hopelessly entangled and completely turning a blind eye to him, Zhou-gongzi raised his voice in anger: “You want me to get lost? Aren’t you overestimating your own importance?”
He ground his teeth viciously: “Your Zhou-ge wants his company, so why don’t you have some tact and quickly give way to me? Do you know where I’m from? The Bureau of Military Affairs!”
“Xihe-Jun General Mo is my senior! Aren’t you scared? Believe me, if I lodge a complaint to him, he could break your legs!”
Mo Xi: “……”
Zhou-gongzi was intoxicated, and the more he talked, the wilder he became: “Also you, with the surname Gu, you little bastard! No matter what I said the last time, you wouldn’t let me kiss you, but now you’re willing to let someone else do it. They say your soul was damaged and you’re mentally impaired. Bah! Can someone who’s mentally impaired still be so picky?”
Mo Xi’s heard thudded.
Soul was damaged……
He looked at Gu Mang’s face which was right in front of him, and all the strange scenes from before began to flash before his eyes.
The buzzing in his head made him unable to breath for a moment.
“I bet you’re just feigning stupidity1[装疯卖傻 (zhuāng fēng mài shǎ) is an idiom that translates to “to play the fool” or act stupid.”] to make your life a little easier. What part of your soul is missing? What’s part of your mind are you lacking? You’re just a slut! A traitor to the nation!”
Gu Mang wrinkled his eyebrows, and was about to speak.
“Don’t move.” Even though blood was rushing in his ears, Mo Xi was still able to react in time. He immediately stopped Gu Mang’s intention to speak up, closed his eyes, and with great difficulty, tried to calm down.
“Don’t move……” Their lips were pressed so close, that with every word spoken in Mo Xi’s deep voice was a stream of heat that brushed past Gu Mang’s lips.
Stimulated by this stream of heat, Gu Mang instinctively tried to break free from him. But Mo Xi’s strength was so astonishingly great that with one hand, he pinned him down, and through gritted teeth, he whispered: “Listen to me!”
Gu Mang did not want to listen to him, but he was unable to move. And so, all of the heated breath from this man in front of him was kneaded into his lungs as he inhaled, then exhaled once more by him; their breaths scorching as they intertwined.
Gu Mang stared at him.
Mo Xi was dizzy for a spell, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he slowly pulled himself away from the news that “Gu Mang’s soul was damaged”. After he barely managed to stabilise his state of mind, he opened his eyes to once again look at Gu Mang. After a moment of silence, afraid that he would act recklessly, he suddenly spoke, his voice hoarse: “Have I hit you before?”
“……” Gu Mang was startled by this, then shook his head.
“Has he hit you before?”
“……” He nodded.
“Then listen to me right now and ignore him.”
The distance between them was far too close, and the breaths expelled from the depths of their lungs wrapped around each other tightly. Mo Xi somewhat deliberately avoided his cold and clear gaze: “As long as you behave, I’ll get rid of him.”
“……” He nodded silently.
When that Zhou-gongzi saw that the two of them were still embracing there as if they loathed to part, he really felt that he had put a damper on their passionate mood before having sex, and became all the more overfamiliar yet indignant, excited yet annoyed.
“What’s the matter, Gu Mang? You’re still not going saying anything?”
“Ah, what a rare sight. No matter who comes into your room, you’ll always ignore them. Is this man especially handsome or skilled in bed? Or did he disregard our unwritten rules and secretly give you some money, you traitorous bastard?”
Zhou-gongzi approached step by step, his breathing heavy and reeking of alcohol, and he mumbled, “How did he get a little whore like you to be so willing to get into bed with him and let him fuck you……”
When a drunk person speaks, the start of their rambling would often not connect with the end, like banging a hammer to the East and a wooden club to the West2[Chinese version of ‘cannot make heads or tails’ basically.]
After insulting Gu Mang, without a warning, he once again began to provoke Mo Xi.
“Brother, who exactly are you? Why don’t you turn around and show yourself to your big brother? From the positions of you and him, I’m sure you’ve come to find him quite a number of times.”
As Zhou-gongzi spoke, he even drunkenly tugged on Mo Xi’s sleeves and swung them lightly.
“How many times have you done him, huh? What does our Great General Gu taste like? How hot and tight was he? Were you pleased by his service?”
Perhaps Mo Xi was truly disgusted by him, but suddenly, he moved a hand behind his back and with one palm, he slapped that Zhou guy directly on his face. His strength was so great, and his hand was so ferocious that Zhou-gongzi was slapped until his nose bled, and he tumbled across the ground.
Without waiting for Zhou-gongzi to get a clear look, Mo Xi used one foot to kick him away. In an instant, his back was facing the sky while his face was kissing the ground, at an angle where he could not turn his head in the slightest.
“I told you to get lost.” Mo Xi’s glare splashed with the sparks of fire, and he clenched his silvery teeth, “Did you not fucking understand me?”
“You dared to hit me! You actually dared to hit me!” Zhou-gongzi shouted loudly, “You, you rebel! Ow, ow!! W-W-Who the hell are you!”
“I’m gonna make a report to his Majesty! No! I’m gonna make a report to General Mo! I’m gonna tell my dad, I——“
A heavy and muffled clang sounded.
Mo Xi had tossed something right by Zhou-gongzi’s eyelids. Zhou-gongzi glanced at it in a daze, and then immediately began to break out in a cold sweat, sobering up for the most part. He let out a comical little squeak, and then had nothing else to say.
Mo Xi was so disgusted by the filthy words he had heard earlier that his face had twisted slightly. With a menacing tone, he said: “Are you still making a report?”
“Not reporting anymore, not reporting anymore.”
“Will you still come find him?”
“Won’t come again, won’t come again.”
Mo Xi loosened his grip, then gave him a kick: “Get lost! Don’t let me see you again.”
Zhou-gongzi staggered as he rose to his feet, then stumbled away into the distance, without daring to look back even once.
Mo Xi coldly remained in place for a while as he calmed himself down, then leaned over to pick up that piece of “Chonghua Bureau of Military Affairs Gold Token3[t/n: It’s kind of like a badge to signify status.]“, affixing it back into the pass case4[千机匣 (qiān jī xiá) literally translates to “thousand machine box” and i have no idea what it is, but according to google it seems to be a mini fantasy crossbow for…darts? Which I am…pretty sure is not what it is, so I made an informed guess.] kept under his sleeve, then turned his head to sweep a glance over Gu Mang. Gu Mang stood quietly by the wall with his hands behind his back, and obediently watched him without saying a word.
After this disturbance, Mo Xi’s initial shock had already subsided. He originally wanted to further interrogate Gu Mang, but after seeing that tranquil face of his, all he felt was his heart being sliced by a knife, and he struggled to hold back his anxiety.
There was no use in asking, and if he continued to stay, he wasn’t sure what else would happen again.
And it was in this moment of silence that Gu Mang suddenly spoke.
“He is afraid of you.”
“You are also afraid of him.”
As if he was insulted by this, Mo Xi abruptly turned back and glared at him: “Why would I be afraid of him?”
“You are afraid he will recognise you.”
“……” Mo Xi paused slightly, and though his hostile energy came to a halt, his expression was just as moody as before, “What does this have to do with you?”
“Then did he recognise you?”
“……No.” Mo Xi’s voice was as frigid and cold as ice.
It was as if that scorchingly hot breath that had plastered against Gu Mang never existed in the first place.
“But he saw your token……”
“That is a token of authority that all important personnel of the Bureau of Military Affairs possess, there is no name on it.” As Mo Xi fastened the token to the pass case in his sleeve, he glanced at him, then after a moment of silence, he added, “……You used to have one too.”
Gu Mang was slightly surprised: “I used to have one too?”
His vacant response touch a sore spot in Mo Xi, and Mo Xi refused to talk to him anymore. He didn’t know what he would do if he continued to stay here.
As he stepped out onto the street outside, the cold winds of the night continuously brushed against his face. He attempted to calm himself down, yet from the start, it was futile.
Soul was damaged…… Mentally impaired…… Hahahahahaha…… He was mentally impaired?!
The night winds whipped against his face, stabbing at the corner of his eyes, as if he was being cut by knives.
He had been looking forward to settling his debts with him for so long, yet unexpectedly, it had come to an end without him being able to settle any debts.
Who did this! Who did this?!!
Was it the Liao Kingdom? Was it Murong Lian? Or……Or was Gu Mang unable to bear the humiliation, and he chose it himself? The more he thought about it, the more chaotic his thoughts became, until finally, all that was left was sadness that came from within.
He was mentally impaired.
Why did his heart so much……? Yes, sure, Gu Mang gave him friendship, gave him a reason to live5[t/n: 救赎 actually means ‘redemption’ but it can also mean to ‘save a soul’, and I inferred he meant the way Gu Mang saved him when he was at his lowest point.]. But whatever he could have repaid him, he had already repaid it all, even down to risking his own life to save him from going down the wrong path!
What else did he still owe him, and why else should he feel sorry? Whether his soul was damaged, or his mind was broken, what did any of that have to do with him?!
In the middle of the night, Mo Xi paused his footsteps on the empty street, and slowly took a deep breath.
Yet after so many years of obsession, all that awaited him was unexpectedly, a blank sheet of paper.
His hands could not help but tremble, and suddenly, a bright flame blazed from the center of his palm. As if to vent his anger, he smashed that ball of fire into the river in the distance with a bang, and it loudly crackled and sizzled! A cloud of steam hissed as it rose.
Gu Mang betrayed him.
Heavens knew how much he wanted to hear Gu Mang say with his own mouth, “When I abandoned you, threw you aside and deceived you, I had regretted it. I cared about you.” But even this wish could not be fulfilled, and in the end all he got was a crazy fool who was mentally impaired, who had completely forgotten all about him?!! Why?!!
Mo Xi painfully shut his eyes.
After so many years, he thought that he had already long let go of his obsession, but the truth was that he had just been deceiving himself.
Gu Mang was just too important to him.
This man had taken away too many of his firsts. His first time defeating devils and subduing demons, his first time having a long conversation by the fire, his first time battling shoulder to shoulder……
As well as that year he had just turned twenty, on his coming of age ceremony, that is to say, on that night—— Perhaps he had a little too much to drink, or perhaps that little bit of alcohol really didn’t matter much at all——
For the first time, he obtained the man known as Gu Mang.
He still remembered Gu Mang’s expression at that time, that stubbornly clung on to his reputation. Despite how his eyes were moist and he had bitten his lips until they were torn, he still put on a bold face and said, Out of all the beautiful maidens out there, I’ve never left a single one untouched6[万花丛中过不留一点红 vaguely means ‘in a cluster of ten thousand flowers, not even a single drop of red was left’. Implies that he’s had Plenty Of Experience with the Ladiez]. What you’re doing is nothing at all, we’re all men here, let’s just both feel good together. Come, come, come, do you want your Gu Mang-gege to teach you how to move?
But Gu Mang probably shouldn’t have spoken so much, since at that time, Mo Xi didn’t have any rationality left in him.
That heart of his was hot, and he did not know how long their bond friendship could continue to burn. He knew that he wouldn’t casually do such a thing with anyone just because he had a little bit of wine.
He only did it because of a burning desire that had overflowed, and a heartfelt love that could not be concealed.
But at that time, Gu Mang did not understand this. Under pressure, he had just wanted to save his own face, and randomly said those kinds of absurd and muddled words, and in the end, destroyed that little bit of rationality Mo Xi still had left with his own two hands.
Later, Gu Mang became increasingly unable to hold on, and he began shake his head as he lied back while choking back his sobs, begging Mo Xi not to go so hard. He even began to confess through choked sobs that even though he had slept with a lot of girls before, but he had never slept with men before, and that he had lied to Mo Xi when he had said that he had slept with men before, never mind being fucked by one.
But no matter what he confessed, what he admitted, or how much he begged.
Mo Xi was no longer able to stop.
It was only when Gu Mang had been bullied by him to the point of crying and unable to form any more words, looking at him with his eyes rimmed in red, that the desire in Mo Xi’s eyes finally regained a semblance of control.
He stroked Gu Mang’s face and said, I’m sorry, does it hurt?
Teardrops clung to Gu Mang’s eyelashes, his face flushed red against Mo Xi’s palms, and his lips faintly trembled. He had truly been taught a miserable lesson by Mo Xi. To make matters worse, who would even believe that the truth was that at that time, this military ruffian, whose mouth was full of dirty jokes, had never actually slept with a single girl before? 7[t/n: meatbun ur virginity kink is showing]
Seeing that he did not speak, Mo Xi leaned over again to kiss him, and as their moist lips intertwined, Gu Mang’s tears rolled down to his sideburns. Mo Xi stroked his hair, and without saying anything more, he wrapped him into his embrace, kissing the damp corners of his eyes, absorbing the warmth of the man in his arms.
When a young man who had been vegetarian his whole life finally took his first bite of meat8[开荤 (kāi hūn) refers to eating meat after maintaining a vegetarian diet in Buddhism, though in this case it’s a reference to popping his cherry.], even the most virtuous of men would be unable to stop himself.
Let alone the fact that beneath the surface, Mo Xi was never truly virtuous in the first place.
He had just never met someone that could cause him to lose control before.
He was the one who had first fallen in love with Gu Mang.
And so since the beginning, he had taken the most reserved of stances, and never dared to ask for any of Gu Mang’s firsts. All he could do was take those most important first experiences of his life, and carefully place them in the other’s hands. He refused to admit how important these were to him because he was too strong-minded, but deep within his heart, he had still apprehensively hoped that Gu Mang could have cherished their past.
But Gu Mang had taken his heart, and trampled over it with the soles of his feet.
Yes, he had indeed not thought of preventing Chonghua from putting him on trial, or even from killing him. He had even once thought that if there was no other choice but for Gu Mang to die one day, he wanted to be the last one to judge him, the last one to torture him, and then finally, crush him with his own hands.
Kneading him into a pulp of blood, grinding his bones to dust, and scattering his ashes.
To avenge their country.
But casting aside avenging the country, the truth was that he never really thought that he wanted Gu Mang to die. In fact, he had just wanted to hear the truth from Gu Mang’s own mouth, to hear a word of sincerity.
All this time…… the truth was…… the truth was that he just wanted to ask one question, Gu Mang, when you first left Chonghua, when you left……me, did you have even the tiniest bit of regret?
Only then would all these years of love and hatred, gratitude and resentment, finally come to an end, allowing him to barely gasp for breath.
But with that one sentence of “his soul was damaged, he was mentally impaired”.
Gu Mang had forgotten, he wouldn’t suffer.
And Mo Xi was condemned to eternal damnation.
No one knew about the fact that Mo Xi had secretly visited Gu Mang at the Luomei Garden Villa, but for the next few days, everyone at the Bureau of Military Affairs could clearly feel General Mo’s irritation.
Although he usually carried scowl on his face and was not very patient when talking to others, but as of late, this terrible mood of his had become even more apparent. Although his mind would never wander during the military meetings, his tone had become increasingly impolite, and though he would not directly interrupt others, he would immediately glare at them with a gloomy expression.
Until they swallowed all of the bullshit they had spat out back into their mouths.
Even excluding all of the above, one day, no one knew what the little young master of the Zhou clan had done wrong, but he was summoned by General Mo and lectured for more than half an hour. He said he was “lazy in military affairs, excessively indulgent in debauchery.”
“Copy the Training Regulations of the Bureau of Military Affairs a hundred times, and give it to me by tomorrow.” Mo Xi said, “If you repeat this again, I will directly ask your father to personally drag you back home.”
Zhou-gongzi was terrified as he responded, then scuttled away while trembling.
Yue Chenqing who had happened to pass by, nosily asked him: “Hey, what did you do wrong?”
“I-I have no clue…”
“If you hadn’t done anything wrong, then why would that ice cube9[t/n: He actually called him an ‘ice cube face’ but it sounded kind of weird in English] be so angry?” Yue Chenqing rolled his eyes, the smiled maliciously, “Just be honest, did you secretly hide a portrait of Princess Mengze?”
Zhou-gongzi suddenly showed expression so shocked that it seemed as if he had been struck by five heavenly thunderbolts10[五雷轰顶 (wǔ léi hōng dǐng) is an idiom that refers to a superstition that if you had committed a crime, you would be punished by thunders from the heavens. Basically he looked very shocked and scandalised by this accusation.], the colour of his face draining rapidly as he exclaimed: “Please spare me brother, I wouldn’t dare!”
Yue Chenqing stroked his chin, and looked towards Mo Xi in the distance, who had crossed his arms and was carefully examining the sand table: “Then that’s really strange. Why does he look as if he choked on a mouthful of bitter medicine11[吃枪药 means ‘to swallow gunpowder’, meaning to be in a bad mood, though she used a different word to…probably avoid censorship LOL. Anyway there are no guns in this universe so what the heck meatbun…]……”
This Mo Xi who had swallowed a mouthful of bitter medicine was unable to endure until the end, and after pretending to not care for two days, he finally opened his mouth and asked the housekeeper of his residence about Gu Mang’s experiences over the past two years.
It was really tough being a housekeeper these days. One not only had to be able to attend to the hall, but also had to take care of the kitchen, had to be their master’s sack of knowledge, soothe their madam’s sorrows, coax the concubines to stop crying, and keep their young master’s noise down.
The housekeeper of the Xihe Residence was named Li Wei, and he was the envy of all the other housekeepers of governmental officials, who would say that the job of the housekeeper of General Mo’s Residence had it easy; he had no wife, no children and no concubines, which took away a lot of potential worries. Yet only Li Wei himself knew how difficult it was to work under General Mo——
That was because General Mo would ask him questions without so much as a warning. There were some things that he might keep in his heart and let it ferment for a long while, before finally asking when he could no longer bear it. And during these times, General Mo’s patience would often have been pushed to the limits by himself, and the most direct consequence of this was that he would want to know the answer immediately, and would be unhappy if he had to wait even a second more.
When Housekeeper Li worked under this master, he would always have to carefully consider his every move12[前走三后走四 literally translates to ‘take three steps forward, then four steps back’ but it doesn’t mean the same as the similar idiom in English. In Chinese, it refers to thinking carefully for three steps before doing something, and then thinking carefully about what you just while walking back for four more steps.]. After a long while, he had practically trained himself to the point of becoming a spiritual being. During the times when Mo Xi kept silent, he could already discern based on his body language what General Mo could be thinking about, how long it would take before he could endure no more and explode, as well as how he should respond after General Mo’s outburst.
It was the same this time as well.
Mo Xi bit his lower lip, and had only faintly said the two words of, “Gu Mang……” and before he even said anything else about Gu Mang, Housekeeper Li had rapidly rushed to answer.
“Yes my lord, Gu Mang is entirely broken!”
“……” Mo Xi said, “Did I ask you that?”
Sometimes, it was not a good thing to be too clever, and so Housekeeper Li Wei obediently shut his mouth.
Mo Xi turned his head with cold indifference, and glanced at the tea being heated on the small stove. After a long while, he asked, his expression unreadable: “How bad is it?”
The author has something to say:
Actually, the answer to last chapter’s question won’t be revealed so soon. Xixi will still have different ideas popping out, wait for him to slowly touch lil’ Gu Mang-gege and experience it lololololololol13[233 is an internet slang in China that means ‘lol’]
Before boarding the ship:
Gu Mang (shameless face): Daddy’s been with all the beautiful maidens out there, not leaving a single one untouched!
While boarding the ship:
Gu Mang (tearful face): I lied to you I lied to you I lied to you I lied to you don’t be so so fierce aaaaaaaahhh!!!!
After boarding the ship:
Gu Mang (shameful face): Daddy’s been with all the beautiful maidens out there, not leaving a single one untouched!
Mo Xi: ……Why do some people never learn their lesson? Forgetting the pain once their wounds have healed…… Have your wounds healed? If they have, let me teach you once again, that one must be honest.