T/N: Just want to remind again that this book is VERY story-driven and heavy in plots as you can already see. The first super large scale conflict of the story is starting from this point, I’m very excited to translate them since they are really fun.
And enjoy some heart to heart talk with yifu.
“The Eastern Sea demon is transforming into a dragon, this monk came with the purpose of bringing divide punishment onto it.”
In that moment, all the anger and irritation inside Gu Yun vanished in the wind.
He reached out to catch Chang Geng and gently patted his back a few times, his chin rubbed against the boy’s shoulder. He felt that his arms were no longer just an empty bone structure.
Gu Yun also very much wanted to say out loud the words ‘I missed you too’ but even at this age, he had never spoken of such words before, the sentence rolled around up and down three times inside, but in the end, it fled back to his stomach in fright.
He just smiled faintly: “Already this old and still acting spoiled?”
Chang Geng closed his eyes, he knew that he could no longer exceed the boundary. Affection could not be controlled, but his limbs and body could be.
He obediently let go of Gu Yun and calmly stood on one side, enduring the invisible wildfire in his chest. He knew that he wanted too much to the point of irrationality, even causing many types of grievances and hatred to be born from it, and they were all so despicable and ugly, thus he dared not let them be seen in any way.
Chang Geng took a deep breath and asked: “How come yifu had travelled to Jiangnan?”
Gu Yun glared at him then unhappily replied: “Still have the face to ask, was it not because of you?”
Chang Geng did not dare to look at him for long, he bowed his head slightly.
Gu Yun only a.s.sumed that he had just said heavy words. The reprimands that had already reached the tip of his tongue was hurriedly swallowed back by himself. He curled his thumb into the palm of his hand, flexing the joints back and forth two or three times. The exhaustion from traveling for a thousand miles came crashing on him. He endured this sudden tiredness, and after pondering over it several times, he tried to stay as calm as possible and said to Chang Geng: “Sit down, tell me why were you with that bald… ahem.”
Gu Yun realized that it was not appropriate to call Liao Ran a bald donkey in front of Chang Geng. But he could never say the word ‘master’ either, hence he was stuck in the middle.
Chang Geng: “When Master Liao Ran wanted to travel to the south, it was me who had insisted on going with him. If yifu troubled him for this reason, I would also feel uneasy.”
Gu Yun: “…”
Chang Geng was too good at talking. With just one sentence, he had asked for the donkey to be pardoned, and not angered Gu Yun at the same time. Inside and outside were made distinctively clear causing Gu Yun to almost feel ‘uneasy’ himself. He was secretly surprised for the second time today, only a year had pa.s.sed, how did the child who used to be as straightforward as a wooden pole learn this way of talking?
“When yifu was my age, you have already ventured to the South to ease the rebellion, but me, I am still inexperienced and incompetent, thus I had wanted to leave the manor to see the world outside.”
Chang Geng sneaked a glimpse of Gu Yun and found that there was bloodshot in his eyes, he was unable to speak anymore, guilt rose from his chest to his throat, he whispered: “…just that my means of doing things was impulsive, even troubling yifu to travel from a distance away, I was wrong, yifu, please punish me.”
Gu Yun was silent for a while then suddenly said: “Truth was, the first time I went on the expedition, it was actually thanks to Old General Du and the others from the previous Marquis’ old faction who worked hard to bring forth their request to the former emperor.”
Chang Geng looked up.
Gu Yun was not a very modest person. When he had had too much, he often ran his mouth. Even words of fib such as “I can put down twenty iron puppets in half an incense time with my ears plugged and my eyes blindfolded” had come from him before.
However, when one thought about it, he became famous in his youth. This chain of glorious history, from holding in his hand the token of command to march forward the West, to the restoration of the Black Iron Camp, even just one of the above was enough to talk about for half a lifetime, yet Gu Yun had never mentioned them.
Gu Yun poured a cup full of a type of sour wine for Chang Geng: “This is the wine of Lou Lan people. You have also grown up, you can have a few sips.”
Chang Geng took a mouthful but wasn’t able to make out any taste. He set it aside. He and Gu Yun have not seen each other for a long time, just seeing him here now was enough to stir his blood into a frenzy, he really did not need to add alcohol into it.
Gu Yun: “I didn’t understand anything at that time, going with them only to cause more chaos, combined with my youthful arrogance, I had refused to admit my shortcoming.”
“On the way to eliminate the bandits, I was too eager to take the initiative and acted alone. Just a small campaign ended up losing more than thirty Heavy Armors that real money was poured into, not only that, it even caused serious injuries to old General Du… Have you heard of General Du Chang De?”
Chang Geng had heard of him before from Liao Ran, the monk was perhaps even more familiar with the magistrates and military personnel of the former dynasty than he was with Buddha’s scriptures.
Ten years ago, the Old Marquis and his wife both pa.s.sed away due to illness. Gu Yun was still young. It was General Du who dutifully took care of both sides from the frontier to the imperial court and had single-handedly carried the current state of affairs. Unfortunately, his old wounds acted up, later on, he had pa.s.sed away while on the Northwest campaign. Thus he had let Gu Yun, who was only seventeen years old at the time, to take the position of a commander in this expedition.
Gu Yun: “At that time if it wasn’t because of me, the old man would still remain healthy and strong, his old injuries would not have acted up just because of a simple cold.”
“After eliminating the enemies in the south and returning to the capital, when reporting to the imperial court, he did not once mention any of my mistakes, from start to finish he only talked of my merits and continued to keep me in the army.”
Gu Yun paused for a while as he got here.
Suddenly he felt that this was all too unbelievable. All the way over, he had only thought about how to reprimand Chang Geng once he caught the boy, from both lectures to real actions. No one expected for it to evolve into him sitting down to confess his own humiliating old affairs.
He had thought that he will conceal these matters forever, but as he looked at them now, he found that he can actually face them with ease.
This was beyond his understanding.
Perhaps Shen Yi is right. Young ones and old father were indeed heavy burdens, making people bow down to clearly examine themselves.
“The reason why I am in this position is not because I am better than anyone, but because my name is Gu,” Gu Yun said, looking at Chang Geng. “Sometimes, your origin determines what you must do, and what you must not do.”
This was the first time Gu Yun explained to Chang Geng the reason why he could not take him to the northwest, although it was quite hard to comprehend.
Chang Geng looked at him intently.
Gu Yun considered for a while then said again: “But if you had clearly thought about what kind of path you want to take, you don’t have to worry too much. As long as I am alive, I will always have the strength to sweep away any obstacles in your path.”
Chang Geng thought that after all this time of following Master Liao Ran, he had already trained himself to be able to make a conversation with most of everyone with ease. But he only now realized that “everyone” still excluded Gu Yun just as before. The moment he faced the man, he would become strangely clumsy in his speeches.
He always thought he was the burden that the old Emperor cast to Gu Yun, that he was a greedy being who longed for the world that did not belong to him, but this was not the case.
Chang Geng thought, no one else in this world could ever treat him like Gu Yun did.
Just then, there was a sudden flash of a figure outside the door: “Marshal.”
Gu Yun pulled himself together and waved his hand at Chang Geng: “Go rest early, following that monk, you couldn’t have eaten and slept well – Ah, or do you want to stay here and sleep with me?”
Chang Geng: “…”
His mind exploded into fireworks, immediately blushing red all the way to his ears.
Gu Yun smiled and said: “Also learned how to feel embarra.s.sed now. Before when you used to get scared into tears from nightmares, wasn’t it me who coaxed you back to sleep?”
Chang Geng really didn’t know how to handle this kind of face-to-face mockery – the main point was how Gu Yun directly said it as if that was a real thing!
The boy suddenly became empty-headed and quickly ran out of Gu Yun’s room like gliding on clouds.
After Chang Geng left, Gu Yun waved his hand to the figure outside the door: “Come in.”
A soldier dressed in Black Eagle armor immediately entered.
The soldier said: “As your subordinate is ordered to hunt down the monk…”
Liao Ran secretly tricked the Fourth Prince into leaving the capital, although this matter was indeed outrageous, but the boy had also been found now. Gu Yun could not afford to offend Hu Guo Temple too much, not to mention Chang Geng himself even asked pardon on the monk’s behalf.
Gu Yun: “Forget it, tell Chong Ze to withdraw the wanted order, that it is only a misunderstanding. I will treat Master Liao Ran to a meal later on.”
‘Chong Ze’ is the name of Master Yao Zhen – although he said so, as long as Liao Ran still had his wit with him, he would not dare to come to the banquet. Gu Yun was certain that as long as the other man saw his face, he could not even drink a drop of water.
The Black Eagle soldier whispered: “Your subordinate is incompetent. I have yet to find any trace of that monk. But towards the evening, I caught sight of him boarding a small boat, I proceeded to send out men for inspection, and we have discovered something.”
He said as he took out a small bag and retrieved a small strip of cloth with bits of golden powder on it.
Gu Yun took one look and immediately frowned.
This thing was very familiar to him. Its name was “Sui Xi” – an ore that comes with Ziliujin. After being crushed into powder, it could be added to Ziliujin at a certain proportion to prevent accidental explosions during long-distance transportation. A special process was used to filter them out of the ZIliujin afterwards, very convenient.
However, the general court when transporting Ziliujin, if not in the air by the Giant Kite, then it was by using the official road escorted by the local garrison troops. How can there be such a thing just mixed in randomly on a small boat of some monk?
Gu Yun: “Did you remember not to disclose this?”
Black Eagle soldier: “Marshal can rest a.s.sured.”
Gu Yun stood up and took two steps in the same place: “If so then, the wanted order cannot be withdrawn, we must catch that monk. Ask the brothers to trace that boat for me, find out where it came from, where its destination is…”
When Gu Yun said this, his voice suddenly stopped, and he suddenly found his vision starting to become fuzzy, the figure of the soldier not far away from him became a blur.
“This is bad,” Gu Yun quietly thought, “Leaving in such a hurry, I forgot to bring medicine.”
No wonder he had the feeling as if he had forgotten something, Shen Yi this good for nothing did not even remind him.
Black Eagle soldier: “Grand Marshal?”
Gu Yun casually continued: “If possible, it is best to find out who the boat owner is, pay special attention to who they regularly deal with.”
The soldier had absolutely no suspicion: “Roger.”
“Wait, also,” Gu Yun called him, “If you find the monk, bring him to see me.”
The Black Eagle soldier immediately left upon receiving his orders.
After sending him away, Gu Yun turned up the steam lamp on the table and sat down.
Jiangnan does not produce Ziliujin. If those boats truly had problems, there were only two possible circ.u.mstances. Either Jiangnan had officials who were selling them privately, or they came from overseas.
If it was the former, then this was quite easy to explain. Jiangnan was rich and far from the capital, those people were simply taking advantage of the farming puppets currently being carried out to sneak in some Ziliujin for themselves. This matter could be handled by the local inspectors, it was not his place to reach into.
But if it was the latter, then he’s afraid this would be complicated.
The seven major military factions of Great Liang were not weak, “Armor” and “Eagle” were the most powerful, especially. That was the acc.u.mulation of the three generations of Ling Shu Inst.i.tute, pouring in all their hearts and souls to build up. In this respect, they were not inferior to the crafts of Western people.
Only Dragons were different.
Although Dragons of Great Liang were meant for naval battle, they were generally only used for coastal defense and to keep watch, rarely going out to sea. They were not similar to the giant ships of the Westerners that could brave the wind and ride the waves.
This had always been the case – when the naval commercial roads were connected to the east, west, north, and south, all the ports on the coastline were packed with western ships. That year, under Emperor Wu’s regency, Great Liang was rich in wealth and did not care about daily trades with the Westerners. It was mostly the foreigners who came here for gold-digging.
At that time, the so-called ‘trading business’ was simply the other party who brought their products to the port, they only have to open the door, keep some of the goods, and reward them with pocket money.
As for the current Emperor and his father before him, although they have recognized the profits of sea transportation business and harbored great enthusiasm for it, but unfortunately, as the northwestern frontline was always unstable, the naval defense plan of the giant dragons was pushed back. If it was not due to the lack of funds, then it was due to the lack of Ziliujin.
If the boat was actually involved in the private selling of Ziliujin, it would very likely threaten the coastal defense of the Eastern Sea.
There was also that monk Liao Ran who has led them to the boat. Is it unintentional? or was it his plan all along?
In just a short time, Gu Yun’s vision had already become more and more blurred. He found the Liuli gla.s.s in his chest and temporarily put it on his nose. At least this way, one eye could see clearly.
Gu Yun smiled sadly and thought to himself: “What should I do now?” Chang Geng who had fled back to his own room, his heartbeat was still not steady yet. When he pushed the door open and saw a monk, his heart instantly tensed up again. He quickly closed the door and lowered his voice: “Master, how come you are you here?”
Then, Liao Ran put his hands together and smiled: “Amitabha, there is no place that this monk cannot enter.”
This monk must have been trained to come and go at any time without a trace, the inspector manor was no different. Truly resembling a G.o.d.
The monk signed to Chang Geng: “Perhaps the Marquis of Order had spared me this time, Your Highness does not have to worry.”
Chang Geng wasn’t worried about him. His mind was clear, figuring it out with just one thought: “Are you deliberately using me to lure him here? What is there to see in Ying Tian manor?”
Liao Ran looked at him with great appreciation, he slowly extended his hands to sign: “The Eastern Sea demon is transforming into a dragon, this monk came with the purpose of bringing divide punishment onto it.”
What is he suggesting? Was Wei w.a.n.g going to rebel?
Or was there something else?
Instantly, several thoughts flew by Chang Geng’s heart. He was long aware that this monk was immersed in the mortal world. He did not expect him to be immersed so deeply, a layer of suspicion and caution could not help but raise up in his eyes.
However, before he could ask more questions, Liao Ran made a gesture for Chang Geng to keep up with him and jumped out of the window. Chang Geng hesitated, then grabbed his sword and followed along.