The next day, the army returned home triumphantly.
The whole city’s atmosphere was stifling, and women and children, old and young all lined the streets with joyous clamour, emptying the alleys to come and celebrate1万人空巷 (wàn rén kōng xiàng) is an idiom that translates to “the multitudes come out from everywhere, emptying the alleys” and means that everyone turned up to celebrate..
“Welcoming the return of the Northern Frontier Army!”
As the procession entered the city, for a split second, a strange atmosphere billowed from both sides of the main road as if water was poured into a pot of sizzling oil, but then quickly covered up with a wooden lid, forcing down the sizzling noise of fanaticism under it.
The people bowed their heads, but out of the corner of their eyes, they would continuously sneak glances in front, peeping at that elite horse that walked past, carrying the grand general on its back.
From head to toe, Mo Xi was in the attire of the Imperial Guard, his boots that were inlaid with iron plating stepping on the stirrups, and apart from his belt and vambraces that shined in an icy-cold silver, he was dressed completely in dark black.
“Xihe-Jun is just too handsome, aaaahhh!”
“I’m gonna die I’m gonna die”
“I think he just looked at me for a second!”
“Hah? Don’t be ridiculous, apart from Princess Mengze, there’s no one else in his eyes, alright?”
“But he hasn’t married the princess yet…. He’s already thirty this year, with no wife, no fiancee and no concubine, isn’t it fine for me to dream a little? Jeez!”
As for the other officers and soldiers, their expressions were much sweeter than Mo Xi’s.
Every single one of them happily waved at the people lining the streets to welcome them, especially Yue Chenqing, who went as far as happily accepting the flowers passed to him by the young ladies, intending to insert them in the sides of his hair. It was only after Mo Xi gave him a glare in warning, did he resentfully give up on the idea, and unhappily switched to just holding them in his hands and sniffing them.
The main road was very long, and Yue Chenqing was only able to behave well for a short while before he began to flaunt his beauty2花枝招展 (huā zhī zhāo zhǎn) translates to “blossoming plants swaying in the breeze” and basically refers to dolling oneself up, to be as pretty as the flowers….and it’s usually used to describe females LOL once more, smiling while throwing flirtatious glances indiscriminately: “Hello ladies~”
“You’re looking good~”
“This humble servant is sincerely welcoming concubines, food and shelter will be well taken care of.”
Mo Xi said sternly: “Yue Chenqing!”
Yue Chenqing covered his mouth.
The Northern Frontier Army’s armor reflected the bright sunlight, their weapons dazzling to the eyes, and throughout the whole journey, their militarian appearance was extremely magnificent, a stark contrast to the vigor of when Gu Mang returned to the city in the past. Back then, when Gu Mang returned home victoriously, he himself would take the lead to playfully stir up trouble3招猫逗狗 (zhāo māo dòu gǒu) translates to “provoke cats and tease dogs”, and the soldiers following after him were cheerful and relaxed, laughing playfully as they received snacks and wine given to them by the people. However, their current leader is Xihe-Jun, and since Xihe-Jun would not smile for even a moment, the others naturally did not dare to be too unrestrained.
It took them more than half an hour to walk their horses slowly from the city gates to the Imperial Palace, and after arriving at the palace, there was a long and tiresome awards ceremony which required them to kneel, worship and show their thanks, and was an extremely troublesome affair to say the least. They endured until at long last, the dinner banquet finally began, yet Mo Xi was still unable to rest.
In the words of Yue Chenqing — He had to “fiercely preserve his chastity without losing his elegant indifference, and distance himself without losing his manners” while dealing with those heiresses4千金小姐 (qiān jīn xiǎo jiě) literally translates to “Young ladies of a thousand pounds of gold” and refers to rich young ladies from prominent families..
Incidentally, the first time Yue Chenqing had joked about Mo Xi “fiercely preserving his chastity”5贞烈 (zhēn liè) means ‘ready to die to preserve one’s chastity’ or…in easier terms, would rather die than have sex., he was punished by Xihe-Jun to copy by hand all hundred pages of the “Female Virtue”6女德 (nǚ dé) translates to “female virtue”, and as mentioned later in the next paragraph, refers to the text “女德无极，妇怨无终” which translates to “Female virtue is everlasting, women’s complaints are never ending”, included as a part of the Zuo zhuan, written by Zuo Qiuming in the Zhou Dynasty. text. Xihe-Jun had stated coldly, Yue Chenqing, are you not aware of what preserving one’s chastity means? Come, come over here, I’ll let you copy until you’ve had enough.
However, no matter how many pages of “Female Virtue is Everlasting, Women’s Complaints are Never Ending” Yue Chenqing had tearfully copied, the joke that Xihe-Jun “preserves his chastity without losing his elegant indifference, and distances himself without losing his manners” was still stealthily circulated throughout the army.
Everyone thought to themselves, that’s right! In order to wait for Princess Mengze, Xihe-Jun had dragged on until he turned thirty, refused to start a family, and just by looking at the situation of the banquet it was obvious, that even while being surrounded by a flock of heiresses chattering around him, he didn’t even spare them a single look.
“Xihe-Jun, I haven’t seen you in a while.”
“Xihe-Jun, it seems like you’ve lost some weight.”
“Xihe-Jun, do you think the hair ornament I’m wearing today looks good?”
Within this group of noble beauties7金枝玉叶 (jīn zhī yù yè) is an idiom, translates to “golden branches, jade leaves” and refers to blue-blooded nobility, the one who ruffled the most feathers was Princess Yanping. She was Princess Mengze’s own sister, and had just reached a marriageable age this year. Her figure had already grown to be extremely sweet and seductive, and all that was on her mind was the lush, abundant beginnings of spring love8春意 (chūn yì) literally translates to “thoughts/beginnings of spring” but also means “thoughts of love”.
With a smile, she walked towards Mo Xi, her lips as bright and tender as a juicy berry.
Upon seeing this situation from afar, without even fully swallowing the pastry in his mouth, Yue Chenqing hurriedly held onto a brother9兄弟 (xiōng dì) means brother, and in this context he’s using it as a friendly term to address a comrade/person he knows, rather than an actual brother. he hadn’t seen in a while: “Oi, oi, oi!”
Brother: “What do you want?”
Yue Chenqing said excitedly: “Come, look over there!”
“Isn’t that Princess Yanping and Xihe-Jun…. What’s there to see? There’s no way that Princess Yanping has a chance.”
“No no no. Let me give you a first-hand experience of what that legendary ‘fiercely preserving his chastity without losing his elegant indifference, and distancing himself without losing his manners’ is!”
Brother: “….Have you not copied enough of the ‘Female Virtue’?”
Yue Chenqing forgot about his past pains after the wound had long healed, and grinned as he dragged his friend nearer to eavesdrop.
“Brother-in-law.” Princess Yanping smiled as she stood in front of Mo Xi, and the moment she opened her mouth, it was full of mockery.
Mo Xi lowered his eyelashes, pausing for a moment due to being addressed as so, then turned around, thinking of walking away to “fiercely preserve his chastity”.
Yanping hurriedly pulled him back: “Brother-in-law, you’re not playing with any of the other girls at all, and just standing here with a serious expression. Is it because you’re angry that my sister didn’t come?”
Mo Xi paused for a second, before replying with “elegant indifference”: “Princess, you are mistaken. I am still unmarried.”
“I’m just casually calling you that for fun.”
Mo Xi restrained his anger, “distantly” replying: “How can such matters become a trivial game?”
“Alright, alright, don’t get mad. My sister wasn’t feeling well last month, so she went to the hot springs temple in Yangzhou to heal. From the start, she wasn’t in the imperial capital, otherwise she would definitely come to see you.”
Mo Xi was aware that Princess Mengze’s constitution had deteriorated, and in fact, he had an inextricable responsibility towards it.
Thus he “politely” asked: “Is she well?”
Yue Chenqing: “Hahahahaha! What did I say! I told you, right?!”
The brother felt that he was laughing too loud, and even though the banquet was full of lively exchanges, there was still the danger that they would be noticed by Xihe-Jun. Even if Yue Chenqing did not care about having to copy the “Female Virtue”, he couldn’t just get rid of this person, so he covered Yue Chenqing’s mouth and dragged him far away.
The two of them were gone, but the conversation between Princess Yanping and Mo Xi was not over yet.
Yanping continued to purse her lips and chuckled: “After two years of being blown by the winds up north10塞外 (sài wài) refers to an area in ancient China further north from where the current Great Wall of China stands., you’re still only thinking about my sister, huh? Relax, it’s a chronic problem, not as if you don’t know about it. She’ll be fine after she recuperates for a while.”
Mo Xi did not respond.
“But to be honest, with my sister’s body like that, how could she be able to enjoy Xihe-Jun’s company before she was fully recovered?”
As Yanping spoke, with a gaze full of longing and admiration, she glanced at his long legs, and sneaked several glances at that high and straight nose bridge of his.
Such long legs, such a straight nose, that alluring curve of his Adam’s apple, as well as his elegant, slender, and well-proportioned hands. Just by looking at him, you could imagine how strong this man was, and what the blind ecstasy would taste like when being pressed down and done thoroughly by him.
Thinking of this, Yanping sighed: “If my sister is sick for the rest of her life, then she won’t be able to get married in this lifetime. So are you going to stay pure for her for the rest of your life?”
“And wouldn’t that be such a pity….”
She plastered herself close to Mo Xi, her body enveloped in the sickly sweet scent of rouge and scented powder, her head covered in pearl and jade that sparkled against her black hair, and a rouge-coloured peony fell in the middle of her forehead. As she smiled, she deliberately leaned forward, and her half-exposed, perky, snowy white jade breasts11雪胸脂玉 (xuě xiōng zhī yù) seems to just be a way of describing boobs, but literally translates to “snowy bosom, mutton fat (or nephrite) jade”….meatbun can you just say her perky boobs jiggled smh trembled.
“Why not try it with me? I’ve grown up too, I won’t lose to my sister.”
As she said this, she intended to reach out her silky hands and hook his waist belt: “It’s just getting into bed together12I hope it’s obvious since I’m sure we’re all adults here, but she means sex., no need to be so serious, ‘kay?” She smiled gently as she spoke, and seemed to flick out the tip of her delicate, pink tongue, licking her lips, “I’m sure you’ll like it.”
She was screwed.
“Don’t be so serious about getting into bed.” This sentence could basically rank in the Top 3 of Mo Xi’s most detested lines in the world. Not only was Princess Yanping unable to arouse him, she had poked his sore spot with matchless precision.
“……..” Mo Xi took one look at her, then after a pause, he said coldly, “Step aside.”
“Hey— you, you—!”
But Mo Xi had already walked past her, his eyebrows furrowed.
The curtain tassels of the Fei Yao Terrace fluttered in the wind. From the serving attendant, Mo Xi took another glass filled with a brilliant amber glow and walked towards the edge of the terrace. He relaxed his long legs wrapped in black leather military boots a little, and leaned against the edge of the vermillion-coloured railings, gazing towards the brilliantly lit city.
Leaving behind that hall full of frustrating boredom, he was finally able to catch a breath. He took a sip of the berry wine in his glass, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallowed.
He had already continuously endured the “favourable attention” of the ladies for many years.
But he still didn’t like it, and could not get used to it.
It has to be known that in the past, Mo Xi did not have that many admirers, and when he walked on the streets, there were not many who dared to peek at him. Back then, his temper was extremely bad, and to what extent was it bad? — By comparison, the Xihe-Jun of today could practically be considered a gentle, good-natured cutie.
Later, there was great upheaval within his clan, and everyone felt that this Young Master Mo had reached the end of the rope13末路穷途 (mò lù qióng tú) is an idiom that translates to “at the end of the road, the paths have been exhausted” and means ‘to be in an impasse’.. The noble cultivators were not willing to take care of him, and the cultivators of commoner and slave origins also did not dare to approach him.
Only Gu Mang, a madman who didn’t fear death, was willing to work with him. Only he had willingly chosen to accompany that young master who had fallen from grace and comforted him, saying, It’s alright, even if you aren’t a son of nobility anymore, you are still you, and in your heart there’s a spark, sooner or later it will shine brilliantly. I can see it, and in the future, someone else will also see it.
After that, Mo Xi had pulled through the crisis, and truly broke away from the shadows of the “Mo Clan”. He fought in battles on all sides, his military successes even surpassed his ancestors in their glory days. Never again did anyone think of him as the only son of the Mo Clan, but regarded him as Xihe-Jun, the person himself14本尊 (běn zūn) actually literally translates to “diety/origin” in Buddhism, however in this context it’s more referring to the fact that he finally has his own identity rather than son of the Mo Clan..
More and more girls began to have favourable opinions towards him.
And after Gu Mang had commited treason, the tastes of the girls had completely changed. One after another, they began to admire Mo Xi, and some even sighed sorrowfully, “Oh men, it’s still better for them to be a little conservative. When they’re a little conservative, they are honest, and won’t disappoint us like that Gu Mang.”
“Even though Xihe-Jun’s temper is bad, but he is big-hearted. If he has something to say, he’ll scold you directly, and never put up any pretenses.”
There was even a lady at a brothel, with her hands on slender waist, who slapped table and “boldly” declared: “Xihe-Jun is the purest man this I’ve has ever seen! I’ve left my words behind here! If Xihe-Jun came to visit15The word used here is 嫖 (piáo), which specifically means “to visit a prostitute” for services this old lady, not only would I refuse his money, but I’d pay him instead!”
As a result, Xihe-Jun really did come the next day, not to visit her, but to shut down the brothel with a dark and gloomy expression.
“Seducing an immortal16The term here is 神君 (shén jūn) which is another way of referring to immortal cultivators, without a sense of shame. I am punishing you all to return home to become women of good families.” Mo Xi viciously sealed up the building, savagely delivered his admonition, then furiously stormed away.
The pile of ladies of pleasure were left behind howling, and all they said was that since Xihe-Jun had urged them to marry and leave their trade, they’ll never be prostitutes again in this life time aaaahhh Xihe-Jun is truly an exceptionally good man ohhhhhhh.
It was absolutely baffling!
People always liked to find someone who seemed pretty good, place them in the depths of their hearts, then project their own beautiful fantasies onto that person, turning them into the source of light in their life. But Mo Xi did not want to turn into that boring golden seated statue17Refers to the statue of Buddha dying in a seated position – pic in the slightest — He wasn’t as upstanding as what they imagined.
He also had some desires that were too embarrassing to speak of, that he could not tell anyone.
It’s just that there’s no one that understands.
Just like how no one remembers how miserable Mo Xi’s life had once been.
So what Gu Mang said was right, but was also wrong.
He really did cast off the shackles of the Mo Clan, and by his own abilities, became someone who shone brilliantly in the eyes of everyone. But he also knew that this light only belonged to the perfect and flawless Xihe-Jun that lived on in their imaginations, and had nothing to do at all with that youth who was lonely and had embarrassingly struggled from a once upon a time.
From the beginning until the end, Gu Mang was the only one who walked up to that grumpy youngster who sat alone in silence in the corner of the barracks, who was wholeheartedly happy to be reunited with his junior brother from the academy who he had not seen in a long time, and cheerfully stretched out his hand to him, brightly exposing a little canine tooth.
The bonfire was warm.
He smiled and said, Long time no see, Mo-shidi18师弟 (shīdì) means junior brother, or a younger disciple to one under the same master. Entirely a personal preference to not translate it because I think it sounds clunky in English., can I sit beside you?
“Long time no see, can I sit beside you?”
Suddenly, a similar sentence sounded from behind him, and Mo Xi’s fingers trembled slightly, the wine in the glass almost spilling out.
As if he was in a dream, he turned his head, and saw a familiar figure.
The author has something to say:
Mo Xi: Yue Chenqing, you come out here right now.
Yue Chenqing: (trembling) Hello everyone, let me explain for a bit, it was my bad for saying yesterday that I wished General Mo’s new marriage would go well20refers to the joke he made in Chapter 4 about Mengze Princess, I was just joking with him. General Mo is not married to Princess Mengze, he’s a bachelor of ten thousand years, an old virgin.
Gu Mang: Hehe, while he’s a bachelor at present, he hasn’t been a virgin for a long time already.
Yue Chenqing: ……….Oh………….
Yue Chenqing: Wait a sec? I seemed to have realised something??
Mo Xi: Copy the Female Virtue or do embroidery, choose one yourself.
Yue Chenqing: ………….