“I will never…touch you again!”
Mo Xi’s heart beat rapidly, and a buzz ran through his brain; he tried to turn his hand over to hold him back, but before he could touch Gu Mang, arms had already wrapped around his neck.
In the pitch darkness, Gu Mang trembled as if on the verge of collapse, his hoarse voice mumbling indistinctly between the kisses: “You. Hold me…”
When Gu Mang had gone to war in the past, the people had said that he possessed the beastly nature of a wolf. He was ferocious, agile, brave, with an excellent ability to command, and was the venerated War General of the Chonghua Empire, thus obtaining the nickname of “The Beast of the Altar”.
But the outsiders did not know of his other wild side.
Only Mo Xi knew what exactly Gu Mang was like in bed—his strong, taut muscles, his sharp-cut figure, and his strong neck brimming with tension. Back when the two of them were inseparable, Mo Xi had been on the receiving end of the countless kisses that Gu Mang had initiated, then he had gotten so deeply ensnared in the warmth that he couldn’t free himself from it.
But not this time.
At present, after such a long period of time had passed, separated by betrayal and life and death, national enmity and private grudges, and yet all of a sudden, Mo Xi was struck by strong kisses, his heart falling into a pit of fire, his desire burning, his ears buzzing. Despite this, he still exerted his utmost effort to endure it, and with a hand, he easily held Gu Mang back, and giving him no room to explain himself, he buried his fingers into the other’s hair bun. The stench of blood pervaded the space between his lips and teeth.
Mo Xi clenched his teeth: “…Don’t provoke me.”
His palm suddenly glowed with a ball of fire, illuminating the side of the bedroom they were in——it was just as Mo Xi had remembered: a cramped slave’s quarters with no window, things thrown around in a pile of mess, a small earthen jar placed upside down by the side of the bed for a bedside table, and on top of it was a small, round-bellied glass bottle1[liyou: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMnjF1O4eH0] with wild flowers placed in it.
Gu Mang’s consciousness seemed to have been completely muddled; he stared at Mo Xi for a bit with a vacant yet longing gaze, as if he did not catch a single word that Mo Xi had said. After a while, he once again leaned in to kiss Mo Xi’s pale, thin, and icy lips.
Mo Xi’s heart was both hot and restless, as he snapped furiously: “Don’t touch me!”
But that apparition had given Gu Mang some kind of godforsaken drug, and the speed of his body’s recovery was astounding; if Mo Xi were to relax even the slightest bit, he would not be able to hold him back.
The struggle between them was so intense that when Gu Mang tripped from a careless misstep, he dragged Mo Xi along with him as they tumbled onto the bed. The small wooden bed creaked dangerously as Mo Xi was pressed heavily against Gu Mang’s body, causing Gu Mang to let out a hoarse moan at almost the same time——the movements of grinding against the other man caused the light in his eyes to scatter, and after being drugged by the aphrodisiac, his entire body burned, his blue eyes simmering with a wet gleam; it was as if the surface of the river had caught fire, and was trying to engulf Mo Xi’s soul.
Mo Xi lowered his head and looked at this man lying underneath him, his blood boiling furiously. He had been abstinent for so many years, and on top of that, at his very core, he had always held a strong thirst for Gu Mang, and he had to desperately hold back his desires in order to not to go overboard.
Yet, even if he could control his demeanor, his reaction was not something that could be controlled; Mo Xi’s breathing turned ragged, submerged in heat, brimming with masculine tension. While he commanded Gu Mang not to move in a low voice, his breath brushed against the side of Gu Mang’s ear, causing him to tremble.
Gu Mang’s throat bobbed, his wet eyes looking at him for a moment, then in a hoarse voice, he said: “Uncomfortable…”
Mo Xi’s breathing was deep and low, and in Gu Mang’s azure eyes, he saw his own reflection, shrouded in a thick haze of desire.
“I feel really…hot…”
You’re not the only one who feels hot–but this sentence was one that Mo Xi would never utter. His arm unyieldingly restrained Gu Mang. But with Gu Mang continuously struggling and grinding against him, little by little, how could it be possible for Mo Xi to not have any reaction? Amidst their tangled limbs Mo Xi shouted in a low voice: “Stop moving around!”
But Gu Mang had felt it; the man’s hardness was pressing against him, separated by their robes, and by just inadvertently grinding against it, that hardness seemed to evoke some sort of memory buried in the deepest recesses of his mind. His entire body trembled, and a low moan escaped from his throat.
From just one soft moan, Xihe-Jun, who kept his distance from all of the charms of women, felt that he was so hard that it ached, swollen to the point of madness. This was just too unbearable…let alone the fact that at this moment, Gu Mang was lying on the bed, his clothes disheveled, his gaze vacant, and his chest rising and falling as he panted.
He carried an extremely sad expression, as if blaming Mo Xi, asking him why he wouldn’t touch him, yet also as if he simply felt only pain and emptiness.
“I can’t stand it…”
Mo Xi clenched his teeth and said: “Endure it.”
“Again…” Gu Mang said in a bleary haze, “Grind on me again…”
This sort of naked, straightforward, and practically shameless sentence, gasped out like so by Gu Mang, caused Mo Xi’s chest to burst into flames. He abruptly shut his eyes, cursed internally, and refused to look at Gu Mang’s face.
But this sort of situation wasn’t something that would disappear just because it was out of sight. Gu Mang lifted his hand and caressed his face, trembling as he tried to catch his lips once more. All of a sudden, Mo Xi opened his eyes.
Dark undercurrents stirred in the depths of his black eyes.
It was clear that so much heated desire had piled up within Mo Xi, yet when Gu Mang attempted to kiss him, he lifted his hand to cover Gu Mang’s face. Mo Xi spat out in rage: “I will never…touch you again!”
Gu Mang evidently understood this; his big eyes widened slightly, and looked as if he was being wronged, being forced to suffer, the wetness in his blue eyes building up.
Mo Xi could not give him any response, otherwise, should his own feelings arouse Gu Mang’s similar own, this illusion will become even more difficult to break.
But he was unable to relieve Gu Mang of the aphrodisiac within him at this moment.
Fine beads of sweat broke out on Gu Mang’s forehead; amidst his confusion, as if he could endure it no longer, he struggled under Mo Xi: “…Uncomfortable…”
Pupils contracting from the stimulation from the drug, Gu Mang was tormented to the end of his wits, as if ten thousand ants were devouring his heart. He choked out a sob, “…Don’t…Don’t be like this…”
Mo Xi held him down, and the person in his arms trembled more and more intensely, until finally, he was on the verge of convulsing.
Gu Mang endured until he practically fell apart. He was like a fish nearing death, gasping desperately for breath, a peculiar flush crawling up his face. He continuously struggled, choking on his sobs, a mess of confusion and ferocity.
“Why don’t…you just…kill me…”
Mo Xi’s heart froze: “Gu Mang…”
“Just kill me, make it quick…kill me…”
Mo Xi knew that it was impossible to go on like this. He tightly clenched his teeth, simultaneously restrained Gu Mang while thinking anxiously of a solution—suddenly a ray of light lit up in his mind—if…if he knocked Gu Mang unconscious for the time being, would they be able to drag it out a little longer?
Even though he didn’t know if it would be of any use, all he could do was try it out.
Thinking of this, he let out a breath, then abruptly got up, and with a single strike of his hand, he struck Gu Mang on the back of his neck, right on the fainting acupuncture point. Gu Mang immediately lost consciousness.
After striking him, Mo Xi ordered in a low voice: “Shuairan! Come forth!”
The flexible whip responded to the summon, and Mo Xi ordered the heavenly weapon to tie Gu Mang up, just in case he tried to do anything beyond Mo Xi’s expectations after regaining consciousness. But it was just at this time, that he suddenly heard the sound of footsteps coming from outside the door.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Who was it——?
Within the illusion, there were only three people in total. Himself. Gu Mang. And the last one was…
That rapist apparition.
Mo Xi’s eyes suddenly darkened with ferocity, shielding Gu Mang behind him, and formed Plum Blossom Spirit Darts at the tips of his fingers. Anger was deeply seated in his heart, and he waited for that person to come in, so that he could slice him into ten thousand shreds2[碎尸万段 (suì shī wàn duàn) was a form of extreme capital punishment and…is exactly what it says on the tin of the translation].
The footsteps stopped. The door opened.
Under the moonlight, a man stood by the entrance with a dagger in his hand, the brilliant moonlight illuminating his face——
The tails of his eyes were long and slender, his eyes a faint blue, and the bridge of his nose was straight yet soft. His hair was worn in a neat braid, and his prisoner robes were slightly opened, exposing a small slice of his well-proportioned, muscular chest. Draped over his shoulders was Mo Xi’s black and gold outer coat that he had left on him before, and there wasn’t the slightest expression on his face.
Mo Xi’s expression changed immediately: “Gu Mang?!”
Then, the one on the bed is…
He turned his head back. As if in response to his astonishment, a burst of black smoke suddenly wafted upwards, and that person on the bed unexpectedly scattered into ashes.
A sharp, psychotic fit of laughter abruptly rushed forth from all four walls, resounding from every corner: “Haha…hahahaha…”
It was that apparition speaking again!
When the apparition had his fill of laughing, he said: “Xihe-Jun, the one that you left on the bed, was an illusion created by the Dream of Longing.”
“Do you know how he was created?” The apparition said, full of smugness, “It was because you listened to what I said, and from the start, you were led to believe that Gu Mang was drugged with an aphrodisiac. You thought you did not have any resonance with the illusion, but the moment you made a deduction, you had already unwittingly conveyed your thoughts to it!”
The more he spoke, the more unbridled his words became, and with a savage arrogance, he continued.
“You thought that it would be over just because you kept your thoughts still? You thought that just because you didn’t believe in it that there wouldn’t be any gaps? In the past, what you all had come across was nothing but the Dream of Longing created by ordinary cultivators of the Liao Kingdom, how could theirs possibly compare to what I created! In my illusion, unless you have absolutely no thoughts whatsoever, and discard all of your ideas, otherwise, even if there was only a slight shift in your thoughts, a conjecture made, I can also make use of it all the same, hahahaha!”
The laughter echoed with cruelty, the cold air turned eerie.
“Come on, take another look at the Gu Mang in front of you. Any moment now, he’s going to kill you. Is he just an illusion, or is he real3[seal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ9rUzIMcZQ]? Can you tell them apart?” His laughter was filled with the delight of teasing someone, “Will you believe that he’s an illusion, and smash him to pieces? Or will you not believe that he is an illusion, and show him mercy?”
Mo Xi peered through the side of his eyes at Gu Mang, who was standing by the door. That Gu Mang stood against the light, and on his black robe, the Northern Frontier Army’s emblem glittered under the moonlight.
“A true Dream of Longing cultivator will make it difficult for you to guess what is true or false, forcing you to guess: guess right and you live, guess wrong and you die…do you dare to make a move?”
While he was talking, Gu Mang had already flung off the black overcoat draped across his shoulders with a swish, swiftly moving closer, blade in hand. With a sharp sound of clashing blades, the dagger and Shuairan collided, and in an instant, sparks of red and gold flew!
The words of the apparition lingered in his ears, and Mo Xi had already nimbly countered more than ten moves of Gu Mang——there was no expression on Gu Mang’s face, his countenance icy cold, just like how he had looked after he betrayed the country, when he had appeared on horseback in front of Chonghua’s Army as a general of the Liao Kingdom. Bringing along with him no trace of old affections.
Shuairan wrapped around the black blade of the dagger, but with a stab of the tip of the dagger, the spiritual flow was cut off, and he easily aimed to attack Mo Xi. The blade’s shine reflected against Gu Mang’s face like a strip of silk ribbon, and happened to sweep past his eyes.
Mo Xi cursed under his breath, and easily dodged him, shouting: “Form the blade!”
Shuairan slithered back into his palm; between flickers of red light, it transformed into a blood-red sword, and with a “clang”, it collided with the dagger once again.
Mo Xi clenched his teeth, and separated by a knife and a sword, he looked towards that icy cold face only inches away.
Was this an illusion in the Dream of Longing?
Or was this the real Gu Mang that was sent in here…
The apparition laughed brazenly: “Come on, with your ability, if you really wanted to give him death, it wouldn’t be impossible. Just take a stab, right in his chest…hahahahaha…just take a stab! If he’s real, then he’ll just die——for him to die, wouldn’t that be exactly what you all intended for him?”
“An rebel, a traitor to the country…go on then, Xihe-Jun, what are you still hesitating for?”
“Kill him! Hahaha!!!”
Kill him, he’s a traitor.
He’s killed so many commoners, killed so many soldiers, made those who once deeply believed in him hit rock bottom.
Betrayed his homeland, fallen to the Liao Kingdom.
But hadn’t he single-handedly brought out the current First Division of Chonghua’s Army? With his blood and tears, even his own life…he brought those people back out with him, crawling out of the smoky hellscape of war.
It was Gu Mang who brought his brothers with him and crawled back out, who returned with the bodies of those who died at war. He saw the opportunity to live and the future, and so he roared, shouting with persistence, Come on, it’s fine now, you’ve called me General Gu, I’ll definitely bring you all home.
I’ll bring you all home…
A group of filthy cultivators, a bunch of orphaned slaves. For their fellow brothers who had died, they had wanted to redeem a tombstone that had their names and surnames on them, and an honourable burial with their indomitable will and loyalty.
But Chonghua wouldn’t allow it.
The old noblemen wouldn’t allow it.
They had entered hell for Chonghua, and while struggling at death’s door, they dragged their broken bodies and crawled back out of it. After that, the attitude of that man seated on the throne seemed to say, Hm? Shouldn’t you all have died in hell? Why did you come back? What am I supposed to do about this? I can’t possibly let an army formed of slaves with a slave for a commander be buried on the Mountain of War Spirits when they die, while bestowing those who survive titles and rewards on par with that of nobility now, can I?
Hell should be the true home for such low-breds. A desolate burial mound, there is no need for tombstones.
So when Gu Mang had betrayed them, and when Gu Mang had left, it wasn’t something that Mo Xi couldn’t understand, nor couldn’t forgive.
——But why the Liao Kingdom?
The people of the Liao Kingdom were practically all madmen; every time they conquered a country, they would massacre without restraint, eat people, and drink blood… They were infatuated with the establishment of hegemony, and did not hesitate to completely destroy a country’s mountains and rivers4[a phrase that can also mean “the whole country”]. Why did he have to choose the Liao Kingdom? The Liao Kingdom that killed his father! The Liao Kingdom that cannibalised, that relied on the barbarous arts to massacre everything under the heavens and bring disaster to all! Why?!
For revenge? Because of hatred?
Or was it because the Liao Kingdom was one of the few powerful countries that could compete with Chonghua? That only by entering the devil’s nest, leaving behind all virtuous ideas, and sacrificing his loyalty, could he, at a critical juncture someday descend an army onto the city, seize the still-beating heart of the Emperor, and trample on those noblemen who had humiliated them into a pulp of brains and blood?!
Amidst his thoughts, Shuairan was knocked out of his hands by Gu Mang with a clang.
Swoosh, and the dagger was already pointed right on Mo Xi’s chest.
Gu Mang was silent, and there was no sign of his next move. He just looked at him indifferently, and said:
“You have lost.”
Mo Xi did not speak, and on the contrary, it was the apparition that laughed, and in what resembled a sigh, he said: “Xihe-Jun, I had warned you, yet you still didn’t have the heart to fight him seriously.”
“For the sake of this infatuation of yours, I’ll let you know.” He paused, and said, full of enthusiasm, “The Gu Mang in front of you is real.”
“It’s fortunate that you refused to hurt him, otherwise he should not have been a match for you. But…” He chuckled, “You have lingering feelings, yet he has no righteousness. At this moment, Gu Mang is being urged on by demonic energy, and will only listen to my words. If I want him to kill you, he will not hesitate.”
The voice lingered and coiled around him: “To make it hard to tell what’s real and what’s not, and difficult to make decisions, this is the real usage of the Dream of Longing. Have you educated yourself? It’s a pity that even if you have, it’s already too late.”
The apparition grinned as he laid down his final order:
“Go on then, kill him.”
Gu Mang’s azure eyes darkened, and he immediately raised his arm and brandished his blade, but as quick as lightning, the red lotus flower tattoo on Mo Xi’s neck suddenly glowed, and ten red swords of spiritual energy emerged from his body.
Gu Mang was slightly startled, and immediately turned around to dodge. Raising his hand, he broke up several flying swords that attacked him. While he was concentrating completely on countering the sword array, his feet were bound by rope made by morphing Shuairan into a whip, and he lost his balance. Staggering onto his knees, he propped himself up with one hand on the ground, raised his eyes, and glared viciously towards Mo Xi.
“You. Pretended to lose.” He opened his mouth.
Mo Xi dispersed the sword array, the expression on his face extremely complex. He walked up to face Gu Mang, and spiritual energy surged from his palm, causing Shuairan to twist around Gu Mang even tighter. Then using two fingers, he lifted his chin, and from his trembling hands, he dispelled the demonic weapon.
Mo Xi stared at his pair of deep, clear blue eyes, and with a gloomy expression, he said coldly: “…That’s right. If it was so easy for me to be captured, wouldn’t that be betraying all of the effort shixiong had put into instructing me?”
“…” Gu Mang was expressionless, as if he could not understand a single word of his.
Mo Xi lifted his eyes and said: “If your distinguished self still has any moves left, why not make them now?”
That apparition sneered: “Of course I——” But before he could finish, the illusion surrounding them suddenly tremored.
The apparition was visibly caught off guard. Mo Xi heard the quiet sound of cursing echo all around the illusion, yet did not stop his retreat. He said menacingly: “Mo Xi, the outcome has not yet been decided, you will never catch me, it’s too early for you to be complacent!”
Calmness tinged Mo Xi’s face; it seemed that the help dispatched by his Majesty had finally arrived.
He saw that every single brick and tile here began to rustle as it fell, yet they could not touch them. Someone had started attacking from the outside, and the Dream of Longing could no longer be maintained, twisting and warping the scene before his eyes. Suddenly, with a “bang”, the Wangshu Manor shattered into dust, and everything vanished, leaving almost nothing in its wake.
“Xihe-Jun! Xihe-Jun!” he reinforcements that had smashed the boundary into pieces from the outside consisted of two people. One was Yue Chenqing, who was hurriedly sprinting over. Upon seeing Mo Xi, he let out a breath of relief, but upon seeing Gu Mang, he was startled.
“You…uh, are you all alright?”
Mo Xi returned once more to the foot of the Mountain of War Spirits, his hand still hauling Gu Mang by his hair bun, controlling this person who at this moment, was extremely restless. And the red lotus ligil on his neck began to fade away, slowly, disappearing without a trace.
Before Mo Xi could say anything, the other reinforcement party opened his mouth——the Emperor had unexpectedly dispatched Murong Lian.
Murong Lian leaned against a tree, his indolent posture exuding an aura of whether you live or die has nothing to do with me, if you lived I’ll report on that the mission was completed, and if you died I’ll set off firecrackers and collect your body. His smoke pipe in hand, he inhaled a mouthful of Rapture without a care in the world, then breathed out a thin puff smoke.
“What could possibly happen to them? Aren’t they just standing here all well and good?”
Yue Chenqing wanted to say something, but was again interrupted by Murong Lian. He shot a glance or two at Gu Mang, then sneered: “This rebel sure is capable. He was previously tortured by me until his last breath, yet all of a sudden, he’s alive and well5[生龙活虎 is an idiom that literally translates to “lively dragon, animated tiger” and means someone who’s lively and vigorous], and can even escape from the prison.”
“Oh Xihe-Jun, this Lord can’t help but hold some doubts. Was the reason he recovered so quickly because you had been taking care of him in secret?” Murong Lain said with a mystifying air.
Mo Xi did not want to pay this pervert heed, so he turned his head towards Yue Chenqing: “Why are you here as well?”
“His Majesty said that after all, I have already been your vice-commander for two years, and since I have experience with the Liao Kingdom’s spells, he forced me to come.” Yue Chenqing widened his eyes, “Xihe-Jun, have you already found that rapist?”
Mo Xi took a quick glance in front, and what lay ahead of them was a cave; the implementation of Dream of Longing required the consumption of extremely powerful spiritual energy, and could not be done too far away from the caster.
He said: “He’s in there.”
There was no time to lose, so the three of them entered the cave together. Yue Chenqing curiously looked back at Gu Mang several times, then suddenly said: “Xihe-Jun, you tied him up with Shuairan, so when we run into the rapist, what will you use to fight?”
“…Shuairan isn’t my only weapon.”
“But you love using Shuairan the most. How about this, I’ll look for something else to keep him down…” Yue Chenqing scratched his head, and rummaged around his qiankun pouch, taking out a brilliantly golden restraining talisman.
“Use this! This was made by my family, it can——”
“Put away the thing your dad made.” Mo Xi said, “Its spiritual energy usage is too unstable, and too difficult to use.”
“…It’s not by my dad, my Fourth Uncle made it.”
Seeing that Mo Xi did not say anything in response, Yue Chenqing held the restraining talisman in his hands like a treasure, and excitedly approached Gu Mang.
Gu Mang stared at him.
“…Aiya, this is giving me the chills, these eyes are as blue as those of wolves.” Yue Chenqing scratched his neck, not daring to look into Gu Mang’s eyes, and raising his clasped hands, he greeted him, “Please excuse me, Big Brother Wolf.”
Gu Mang glared at him fiercely, his eyes constantly unsettled, as if saying: You dare?!
Yue Chenqing was audacious despite his skill, and with a rustle, he directly stuck his Fourth Uncle’s talisman on Gu Mang’s forehead.
The author has something to say:
My friends, my editor said that the title “Stains of Filth” isn’t eye catching enough, and recommended I change the name to something more racy and sexy!! But I’m an absolute garbage at naming things, you guys know that!!! Even if I wrack my brains I can’t think of anything more racy that would fly!!! Can you give me some suggestions!!! Bosses, I’m begging everyone!!! Otherwise, if you give me too much freedom, and let me freely express myself, I might change the name to something like 《beep beep beep》 = =
Gu Mang: Mo Xi, are you a pig?! How could I possibly want to die from only this much tormenting?! Only you would believe it! A man of character will not rashly attempt to die, but seek to live, do you get it?! Even if my brain has been damaged I’m still a man! You pig!
Mo Xi: But you used to constantly mention death, over and over.
Gu Mang: ??? Such as?
Mo Xi: Isn’t it you who’s always saying you’re gonna be the death of me every time we have sex?
Translator’s Note: sorry this chapter was really long and frankly kind of a nightmare (haha) to translate but hopefully will pick up pace from next chapter!