Translated by seal.
Warnings: Fictional drug use
Did any of you notice that our honourable Xihe-Jun’s arms are still empty?
“Eh? You’re only calling for Gu Mang? Wangshu-Jun, I think you’d better call for a few more people.”
It was well known that two esteemed lords, Xihe and Wangshu, both held a deep grudge against Gu Mang, and so without a trace of politeness, someone said sarcastically, “With how Gu Mang is like right now, if he doesn’t disappoint us, it’ll already be pretty good.”
Murong Lian initially didn’t bother to pay attention to him as he continued to fix his eyes on Mo Xi, but after hearing this, the corner of his mouth turned upwards into a smile.
As soon as he smiled, several juniors who were busy sucking up to him him also followed suit.
“Haha, yes yes yes, just calling for Gu Mang won’t do. How could he possibly service us well? It’s more likely that he’ll irritate us instead.”
“You’ve been his patron before?”
“Since long ago, whether for better or for worse, he never had a pseudonym for ‘work’, so I was curious and thought about fooling around a bit, anyway, you know, he……”
Before that young master could finish talking, he suddenly felt a chill run down his neck, and when he looked around, he realised that Mo Xi was staring coldly at him. The look in his eyes was like a sharp dagger on a cold winter’s night; he was so frightened that he forgot the rest of his words in an instant, and immediately gulped, his cold sweat overflowing.
Did I say something wrong?
That young master shivered as he pondered over it, but before he could think too deeply, Mo Xi turned his gaze away; that sharp outline of his profile had already returned to its calm indifference, without the slightest trace of abnormality.
It was as if that vicious gaze from earlier was just a figment of his imagination.
Murong Lian assumed the look of a pampered brat and said leisurely: “You are all too amusing. Do you know who Gu Mang is? He was the former first ranked military officer, my old slave, and General Mo’s senior brother.”
Mo Xi: “……”
“Even if he can’t serve, is he someone we can leave out from tonight’s festivities?” Murong Lian’s eyes wandered as he spoke, and they landed maliciously on Mo Xi, “Since General Mo has returned and will be attending my manor’s small gathering, how could I possibly not extend the full effort of my hospitality, and enjoy this together with him?”
With every extra word he spoke, the gloominess in Mo Xi’s eyes grew darker.
In the end, the dark clouds threatened to destroy the city gates1[黑云摧城城欲开 – a modification of a quote from ‘ Song for the Governor of Wild Goose Barrier(雁門太守行)’ by Tang Dynasty poet, Li He(李賀). The original quote was actually 黑云压城城欲摧 which translates to ‘dark clouds bearing down on the city threaten to overwhelm it’], and the flames of fury turned into a battalion of ten thousands of horses and thousands of troops, and it all lay dormant behind his long, drooping eyelashes, dripping with murderous intent.
He did not want to personally see the excessively miserable state of Gu Mang in front of these people.
But Murong Lian stubbornly pinched at his vital point2[七寸 (qī cùn) translates to ‘seven inches’ but actually refers to attacking the vital point of someone. It originates from the idiom ‘打蛇打七寸’ which translates to ‘when hitting a snake, hit its seventh inch’, or basically attack its vital point.] with every word, and stabbed at his heart with every sentence.
After he was done talking, Murong Lian drew back the corners of his mouth and exposed a smile that sent shivers down the spine.
“General Mo. Your greatest enemy, your Gu-shixiong3[师兄 is a term that means ‘senior elder brother’ and is used to refer to an elder disciple]…aren’t you curious about what he looks like nowadays after he had been trained by me? Don’t you want to see it with your own eyes?”
Eventually, the whole group of people still went.
Wangshu Manor was located in the East side of Chonghua, and its structure was large and magnificent. Above the residence was a totem that was enchanted by a sigil that shifted with a bat pattern all year round, and this pattern was the crest of the Wangshu Clan. The staff within the manor mostly dressed in dark blue robes with its bottom hem decorated in gold.
It was a rule in Chonghua that the clothing of all families related to the Emperor must have golden hems, but based on the Emperor’s personal instructions, the base colour would be different. For example, Xihe Manor was black with gold hems, and Yue Manor was white with gold hems.
At this time, eight thousand exquisite spiritual lanterns illuminated throughout the vast sky; the feast prepared was grand and extravagant, and the guests wined and dined, seeking their own pleasures4[灯红酒绿 (dēng hóng jiǔ lǜ) is an idiom that translates to ‘lanterns red, wine green’ and refers to a feasting and pleasure-seeking, or a debauched environment]. Halfway through the feast, everyone’s courage rose as they relaxed, and those juniors who were previously helpless with their hands and feet tied, also began to brighten up and add to the excitement, drinking and playing guessing-games with each other, creating a very lively atmosphere.
Murong Lian reclined on a bamboo opium bed; his cold, slender and pale fingers clung onto a silver chip, and he stirred around the fragrance inside an incense burner.
This was a type of narcotic fragrance produced by the Liao Kingdom. It did not cause much issues when smelt from afar, but when inhaled from close distance, it could stimulate one into feeling like they could float up to the heavens5[飘飘欲仙 ( piāo piāo yù xiān) is an idiom that means being able to leave the mortal realm and ascend as an immortal, or well, feeling high and relaxed], but crash into a deep depression once the effects have worn out. In order to continuously experience this high, one had no choice but to smoke it every few days, and it was a difficult addiction to give up.
Mo Xi shifted his eyes and looked at Murong Lian’s intoxicated6[醉生梦死 (zuì shēng mèng sǐ) is an idiom that roughly translates to drunken in life, dead in dreams, and means ‘as if drunk or entranced’] appearance; that pale, thin face of his blurred behind clouds of smoke, as if it was the fleeting reflection of a moon over water, and only caused Mo Xi to feel a burst of annoyance.
Yue Chenqing sat beside Mo Xi, and glanced at Murong Lian lightly sniffing the incense burner. He could not help but be curious and had wanted to go over to have a look, but was stopped by Mo Xi.
Mo Xi said calmly: “Rapture7[浮生若梦 (fú shēng ruò mèng) translates to “life is but a dream”. We decided to just coin an English term for the weed (lol) he smokes to make it sound less awkward!].”
Yue Chenqing was startled for a moment: “Ah! Rapture from the Liao Kingdom?” He looked over anxiously in secret, “……Wangshu-Jun seems to be pretty addicted to it, no wonder he seemed to be in such a bad mood this time.”
“If you come into contact with this kind of narcotic fragrance just once, your father will definitely lock you up in your room for many years without letting you out.”
Yue Chenqing said: “My father? My father would never be so bad-tempered. The most he would do is threaten to hang me and beat me up. Just hearing it once is enough to know that locking me up for years is something only General Mo could come up with.”
Without waiting for Mo Xi to take offense, Yue Chenqing smiled and added: “Anyways, don’t worry about it. I’d never seek for such imaginary pleasures! I’m such a charmingly delightful person, I don’t need something like Rapture to live a life that’s just as satisfying, and I don’t have that many worries to drown!”
But unexpectedly, those last few words of his had drifted directly into Murong Lian’s ears.
Murong Lian was stirring up the residual fragrace inside the golden beast-shaped incense burner, and a cloying sneer surfaced on his face, his voice was just as languid as the smoke that surrounded him: “Worries to drown? Hmph, Rapture is practically priceless. With your Yue Family’s financial resources, you wouldn’t be able to afford it even if you wanted to smoke it.”
Yue Chenqing did not want to argue with him, so he replied indifferently: “Yes, Wangshu-Jun’s lineage is noble, with wealth that rivals our country’s finances. There’s no way I could compare with you.”
Murong Lian was satisfied by this, then turned his head and asked: “Xihe-Jun, don’t you want some?”
Seeing Mo Xi’s ice-cold expression, Murong Lian hunched his body and giggled: “Oops, I almost forgot, General Mo is also someone accustomed to being frugal and hates extravagance. Ah, it truly seems that in the whole of Chonghua, only this lord can enjoy such a fine product of the Liao Kingdom.”
Mo Xi truly did not want to talk too much with him.
In his memories, Murong Lian had already been the most despicable of scums, but he had never imagined that as the years passed, he could exceed that bottom limit and still fall further.
This man was proud of the status his pure noble blood gave him, yet never worked hard, and instead, only sank deeper and deeper into the quagmire. These days, he could even be referred to as a walking corpse, drifting along in a drunken and intoxicated stupor.
What Li Wei had said was right, he had truly rotted down to the marrow of his bones.
“My Lord.” Just then, the housekeeper of the Wangshu Manor came in and reported to Murong Lian, “As you had instructed, those few people from Luomei Garden Villa have already been brought over.”
“Oh, that’s just perfect, do let them in.”
The feast had already reached the point of intoxication, and all the guests were a little tipsy. When the housekeeper received his orders, he naturally accepted it politely and clapped his hands to call someone to bring over the best men and women of the brothel in to liven things up. Mo Xi turned his head, and with his pair of pitch-black eyes, he stared attentively at the entrance of the chamber like a falcon.
The beaded curtain of pearls and jade jingled, and several rows of men and women of different shapes and sizes were brought in by the housekeeper. Those people were either seductive or pure, petty or arrogant, unwilling or resigned.
But the only one missing was Gu Mang.
“These are all prostitutes sent from Luomei Garden Villa. Gentlemen, if there are any that have caught your fancy, do feel free to enjoy to your hearts content.” Murong Lian languidly waved his hand, “They’re just a bunch of cheap sluts, if they die from being played with, just count it as my treat. Today, this lord has personally invited all of you, so shouldn’t you all be moved to tears of deep gratitude, and shout your praises loudly while clapping your hands in veneration?”
The crowd immediately cupped their hands8[t/n: upping hands together is a show of respect]——
“Wangshu-Jun is so sincere!”
“As expected of His Majesty’s elder cousin, no matter what he says or does, he can make it happen in a snap, it is truly enviable.”
A group of people kissed Murong Lian’s feet9[t/n: The chinese idiom used here was basically 拍着马屁 which translates to ‘patted his horse’s butt’ and i think the significance is if you pat someone else’s horse they go faster???? chinese idioms are so funny sometimes omg…] and they spiritedly began to drag those pitiful degenerates to accompany them for drinks and amuse them. For a moment, the scene blurred with the chaos, and the sickening stench of repulsiveness10[腥臊 (xīng sāo) is a phrase that literally translates to ‘fishy smell of urine’ but is more used to describe repulsive/disgusting smells??? i don’t get it…anyway now u know if you see in other translations when people describe something smells fishy even though it makes no sense in the context haha] was unbearable
“Hey beautiful, what’s your name?”
“Come, fill up this cup of wine for your big brother11[t/n: note that he doesn’t mean literal big brother].”
Mo Xi’s complexion became more and more unsightly, yet he continued to endure silently for a long while. He truly felt like he could not bear to listen to anymore, and as he was just about to get up and leave, he suddenly heard Murong Lian say with a smile: “Xihe-Jun, did you not take a fancy to any of them?”
Murong Lian sneered: “I’m not drunk. Xihe-Jun, don’t leave in such a hurry. That man you’ve been wanting to meet has already come, but lately his temper has been strange, so he will be anxious and frightened the moment he leaves Luomei Garden Villa. Because of that, he’s standing outside of the door all alone, refusing to come in.”
As he said this, he poured himself another cup of wine, and drank it all in one gulp.
“If you don’t believe me, you should go see for yourself.”
Mo Xi turned his head to look outside the door, and sure enough, through the fragmented swaying of the beaded curtain, the back of a faint figure could be seen. He seemed like an animal on guard, hiding in the darkness, tentatively probing his surroundings as he looked out.
“Did you see him?” Murong Lian said, “Should we have him come in to have some fun with you?”
Seeing that Mo Xi was not responding, Murong Lian smiled, his cheeks flushed red. He stretched his body, then shouted: “Ah, wait a moment, everyone!”
“Wangshu-Jun, what’s the matter?”
Murong Lian narrowed his eyes, and in an instant, the scorn and malice on his face practically reached its limits.
He said: “You all really have no manners, each and every one of you rushing to embrace a beauty of your own. Did any of you notice that our honourable Xihe-Jun’s arms are still empty?”
Mo Xi: “……”
If this was any other day, who would dare to joke around with Xihe-Jun? But most of these young masters were just cruising along in easy positions; if they had a small injury they would not enter the battlefield, and if they had a serious one, they would refuse to get out of their bed. They were also drunk in addition to the fact that not many of them had actually worked with Mo Xi before, so what they said all lacked some integrity.
Someone clicked his tongue and laughed: “Xihe-Jun, the imperial capital is not like the army, beaut, beauties are everywhere, and those under Wangshu-Jun are even more peerless in ma-magnificence, why are you still re—–refusing?”
Xihe-Jun, you’re just at the prime of your youth, yet always so busy with military affairs. You should let loose once in a while, you know?”
“That’s right, General Mo has been to the Hall of Asura countless of times, but has never entered a brothel. Life is so short, so one should enjoy the present, haha.”
Among these people, Yue Chenqing could be considered to still be sober, and as soon as he saw Mo Xi’s expression, he thought to himself that things weren’t looking great, and hurriedly said: “Pah, pah pah! Are you guys not gonna shut up yet?”
Mo Xi glanced at him, and thought to himself that it was a rare sight to see this child unexpectedly act with honour and decency.
In the end, he heard him continue: “If you guys continue to talk shit and General Mo starts killing people in blind fury, I’m running away first!”
Mo Xi: “………………………..”
Everyone looked at each other, confused and dazed in their half-drunken stupor, and their faces all carried a foolish smile. Between this tormenting, deathly silence, Murong Lian slanted his alluring eyes that rippled with intoxication, yet carried some coldness: “Xihe-Jun, among these dozens of remarkable beauties, you don’t want the women, and you don’t want the men. Well, well, well, look at you——“
He seemed to harbour a malicious intent as he smiled and said: “The one that’s always on your mind is actually that old enemy of yours, isn’t it?”
When he finished, he shouted towards the the curtained entrance: “Come——! Get that traitorous general Gu Mang and bring him to our General Mo!”
The author has something to say:
(t/n: actually there was an actual author’s comment but it referred more to jjwxc comments and functions so I didn’t think it was necessary to translate, but if you guys want to…go…. bother liyou because i hate translating meatbun-speak o)-( )
《 A-Lian’s Heartache 》
A-Lian: Why do you all hate me so? If it wasn’t for me hustling to bring Gu Mang online, would this little traitor even be able to come online? It’s impossible!
A-Lian: It’s not that I want to dig out information to use against that damned tsundere12[傲娇 (ào jiāo) is a literal translation/loanword from the Japanese term tsundere, which means unfriendly on the outside, warm and tender on the inside] Mo Xi, but even after all of my efforts to persuade him to come and have some fun, I’m certain that he will still refuse to acknowledge Gu Mang for another half a month!
A-Lian: How could I possibly be the villain? I’m clearly assisting!
A-Lian: This lord’s heart is bitter, but his mouth must continue to curse!
A-Lian: Gu Mang, you should die for me! I worked so hard to solicit guests and the cp13[he means cp as in coupling as in main cp lmfao], and yet I still get scolded! I’m demanding compensation for my mental distress!
Gu Mang: (firm expression) As long as you have a female wolf I will come out.