Chapter 12: “Chu Binghuan hesitated a few times before asking, “You……relinquished your thoughts on your fiancé?””
Everyone knows that being early isn’t as good as coming at the right time.
It was the seventh day of the seventh month1, so the entire Hangzhou City was brightly lit. Girls released lamps into the river to pray for blessings, while others exchanged love tokens on the shore of West Lake. With beautiful scenery on such a fine evening, it really made people become intoxicated at the sight.
Hua Che laid on the rooftop. Although the ceramic roof tiles were somewhat chafing to the touch, they were still quite harmless.
He had just drank some sake and was a bit tipsy. Before long, Hua Che began to feel sleepy.
Chu Binghuan sat beside him. Releasing some True Energy, he protected Hua Che and prevented mosquitoes from harassing him.
The bright moon hung high in the sky as shooting stars fell like rain.
Suddenly, Chu Binghuan thought of their past life. He and Hua Che had gone to the Shang Qing Immortal Sect and attended the disciple selection examination together. Surmounting all the difficulties during their journey, the two of them became the focus of everyone watching.
Compared to Ling Xiao Temple’s threshold for passing, Shang Qing Immortal Sect was much stricter. Beginning at the Kunlun Mountain Range2, candidates must travel by foot and scale a mountain peak. Their paths would be riddled with endless traps of all magnitudes; poisonous miasma, mazes, demonic beasts, ghosts, and even illusions.
Even now, Chu Binghuan still remembered—
At that time, they were confronting poisonous miasma that covered a hundred li3. However, Hua Che force-fed the only poison-repelling pellet he had to Chu Binghuan.
“Young hero, if you can escape alive, please bring my skeleton along and send it to Hangzhou. Give it to my most beloved Nanny Jiang.”
History has always been similar in astonishing ways.
Chu Binghuan didn’t have the mind to mock Hua Che for this catchphrase of his. He squatted down to take the boy’s pulse before he asked, “Why did you give it to me?”
Hua Che felt extremely dizzy. Simply leaning onto the tree trunk, he replied with closed eyes, “Since I was young, my mother has taught me to repay the kindness of others. You saved me from those two hooligans, so I must repay you.”
Chu Binghuan recalled how, half a month ago, when they encountered a demonic beast blocking their way, Hua Che had instinctively thrown away his life just to save him. He said, “You have already repaid me.”
Hua Che: “The grace of dripping water should be repaid with a gushing spring.”
Chu Binghuan knitted his brows. “At that time, when I helped you, the effort I used was no more than what it would take to lift a hand. You have no need to repay it using your life.”
“In addition, I had tasted a hundred herbs at five years of age. My body has long become invulnerable to a hundred poisons. Weak, poisonous miasma like this can’t do anything to me.”
“What?” Hua Che, who had nearly become a corpse, suddenly moved. “So my good intentions were for nothing?”
This reaction amused Chu Binghuan and almost made him smile, but he still managed to hold back. To avoid giving this evildoer an inch and letting him want a mile, never knowing what it meant to exercise restraint, Chu Binghuan deliberately lectured him with a cold face, “What do you think?”
“……” Hua Che was so angry, he fainted.
Of course, with Chu Binghuan there, he quickly solved the substandard poison Hua Che had breathed in.
Afterwards, they encountered an extremely dangerous illusion. According to the disciples of the Shang Qing Immortal Sect, this was the real disciple selection test.
Only people who were open and upright, harbouring righteousness with no greed or desires, could walk out of the illusion. Otherwise, a light consequence would be to go insane, while a serious one would be to bleed from all seven orifices before dying.
Hua Che was very unhappy with the rules of “either you pass or you die”.
Compared with how the sect regarded human life like mustard grass, Chu Binghuan was more worried that Hua Che would fall inside the illusion.
After all, this person had a bellyful of evil tricks. Calling Hua Che “open and upright” was truly out of the question.
In addition, the youth was frivolous and undisciplined, fierce and stubborn. He was nowhere near the words “with no greed or desires”.
But Chu Binghuan absolutely didn’t expect that, by the time he had left the illusion, Hua Che had long been waiting for him on the Shang Qing platform.
“You……” Chu Binghuan practically didn’t dare to believe his own eyes.
If one wanted to have great accomplishments in cultivating, they must first break away from their seven emotions and six desires. Leaving aside how Hua Che was accustomed to reading literary novels, his environment as he grew up had already dyed his entire body with the aura of the mundane. If one asked him about romantic gossip between men and women, he would be able to talk for seven days and seven nights without repeating anything.
For someone like this, who was deeply immersed in the ten thousand fathoms of the mundane world, how could he pass through Shang Qing Immortal Sect’s illusion?
Chu Binghuan hesitated a few times before asking, “You……relinquished your thoughts on your fiancé?”
“You mean Chu Tianyu?” Hua Che couldn’t help but laugh. “I originally didn’t have any thoughts about him ah. So two days ago, I sent Yuntian Shuijing a spiritual talisman, and conveniently sent over that token as well.”
“For the sake of Yuntian Shuijing’s reputation, we’ll tell everyone that the two of us are both men. Even if we cannot become a couple, becoming brothers will be the same. This will prevent others from gossiping, which wouldn’t be good for Chu Tianyu.”
Chu Binghuan hesitated to speak.
“If I calculate the time, that spiritual talisman should be arriving soon! Oh, by the way, young hero. The two of us have known each other for so long, but you still haven’t told me your name. I keep calling you ‘young hero young hero’, it’s rather awkward. At least tell me your surname?”
Chu Binghuan looked at Hua Che, whose face was filled with expectation. But before he could say anything, a golden-bright and dazzling spiritual talisman suddenly rushed down from the horizon.
That spiritual talisman had been folded into a bird, and a long jade pendant was hanging from its tail. Relying on the aura of the pendant, it accurately found its owner.
The spiritual talisman disappeared. As the jade pendant fell into Chu Binghuan’s hand, densely-packed words began appearing in the air.
——I was supposed to be your future husband. Unfortunately, heaven does not make beautiful things. In the end, you and I are destined to meet, but not fated to be together. To others, please claim that as men, it is unsuitable for us to marry. This will prevent people around the world from making careless guesses and gossip, which can influence Young Lord Chu in unpleasant ways. Returning the token with thanks, see you later in the jianghu.
Chu Binghuan: “……”
Numerous elders of the Shang Qing Immortal Sect: “……”
“You you you……” Hua Che had widened his phoenix eyes. Extremely alarmed, he pointed a finger at Chu Binghuan’s awkward face and said, “You’re actually my wife?!”
Chu Binghuan: “……”
The fireworks that blossomed in the night air dazzled one’s eyes. Hua Che tilted his head to the side, just happening to catch sight of Chu Binghuan lost in thought.
“You already went home?” Hua Che asked.
Chu Binghuan looked at him before nodding his head lightly.
Hua Che sat up. “I really do have someone I need to go and see.”
Chu Binghuan instinctively stood up as well. When Hua Che saw him like this, he couldn’t help but laugh. “Don’t, you don’t need to come, alright? That place……doesn’t suit the pure and honest Young Lord Chu.”
Chu Binghuan had already guessed it.
Hua Che wanted to go to Hangzhou’s most famous brothel.
That was also the place where Hua Mei’er had sold herself before death. Nanny Jiang was the servant who took care of the Queen of Flowers4. She followed Hua Mei’er for over twenty years, and was as close to her as her birth mother. When Hua Mei’er left the brothel, she had also redeemed Nanny Jiang. One elder, one woman, and one child passed their days by themselves.
Afterwards, Hua Mei’er died, so Nanny Jiang once again returned to the brothel to work. She took responsibility for nurturing the eleven year-old Hua Che.
However, Hua Che couldn’t bear Nanny Jiang working so hard at her old age. He secretly ran over to a restaurant to become a waiter, helped people write letters home, swept the pigsty and cleaned the manger.
Hua Che had been splashed with wine by unreasonable customers, beaten and scolded by the slightly irritable shopkeeper, and even stuffed in a burlap sack by a child trafficker harbouring evil intentions.
Much later, by the time his so-called birth father had found him, Hua Che had already become Shang Qing Immortal Sect’s senior-apprentice brother; Immortal Master Hua who had been praised by everybody.
When facing his so-called birth father, Hua Che merely asked him two questions in a cold tone:
“During the tenth month my mother was pregnant with me, when she was chased out of the Utterly Intoxicated Tavern, where were you?”
“After my mother departed from this world, when I was groveling everywhere just to eke out a living, where were you?”
Poor Nanny Jiang. After working hard for the Hua mother and son her entire life, she hadn’t enjoyed a few years of good fortune before she was implicated by Hua Che, dying without a whole body.
“Young Master, you returned? Quickly, sit down, sit down, this old slave will help you pour some tea.”
Nanny Jiang was wild with joy. Taking the Longjing tea from a worker’s hands, she poured a full cup for Hua Che.
Fishing out his money pouch, Hua Che gave it to her and said, “The two of us don’t lack money, so you shouldn’t keep coming here to work. I heard my mother mention that you have relatives in Gusu, take this money and seek shelter with them!”
Nanny Jiang was frightened. “Where did you get so much money?”
“My Master bestowed it!” Hua Che smiled mischievously and said, “I’ve worshipped the Ling Xiao Temple.”
How could a woman like Nanny Jiang know about cultivation matters? To people like her, as long as it was an immortal sect, it was the same as holy land.
Besides, the name “Ling Xiao Temple” was truly deceiving. It immediately shocked Nanny Jiang silly. “It—It’s where the Jade Emperor lives? Young Master, don’t scare this old slave.”
Hua Che explained everything to her thoroughly, but Nanny Jiang only half-understood. She returned the money pouch back to him and said, “I’m just an old woman, so I have no need for so much money. Quickly put it away yourself and use it to better your relationships at your sect5.”
Nanny Jiang continued earnestly, “Those relatives in Gusu are so distant to my family, you can’t even hit them with eight bamboo poles. I don’t wish to seek shelter with them.”
“Young Lady Mei’er is my master. You are also my master. I only wish to properly protect Young Master, and don’t want to go anywhere else.”
Hua Che felt the rim of his eyes burn. Getting up, he hugged Nanny Jiang.
Nanny Jiang couldn’t help but laugh. “Young Master, why are you acting more and more like a spoiled child?”
Hua Che said, “Keep the money, I don’t need it at my sect. Master is kind, while the senior and junior sect-brothers are very good to me. They even said that I was raised so well, it must have been done by a heavenly immortal who descended to the mortal realm. With red lips, white teeth, and tender skin, they’re all so envious of me!”
Amused, Nanny Jiang kept laughing.
Before Hua Che left, Nanny Jiang suddenly called him to a stop. She hesitated many times before quietly asking, “Young Master, tell this old slave the truth. Where exactly did you get so much money?”
Hua Che: “I already said it was bestowed by my Master. Not only me, all my senior and junior sect-brothers got it.”
“Not that.” Nanny Jiang carefully fished out a thick wad of bank notes from her bosom.
Hua Che was immediately shocked. “This, where did you get this?”
“Young Master wasn’t the one who asked them to give it to me?” Nanny Jiang was even more shocked than Hua Che.
Hua Che’s heart fluctuated violently. He felt things weren’t that right. “Tell me what happened in detail.”
Nanny Jiang nodded her head and said, “The lady boss suddenly increased my wage to ten taels every month. I thought something was fishy, because even the main manager didn’t get this much ah!”
“I went to ask the lady boss, but she only said that I’ve worked in the Utterly Intoxicated Tavern for over thirty years. With such seniority, it’s merely something I deserve.”
“Later on, there were a few kind customers who visited the Utterly Intoxicated Tavern. They didn’t call over girls to serve them, nor did they go to the second floor to conduct official business. They only sat on the first floor to drink tea. But every time, they would call me over and say I served them well, so they’ll tip me. Look, Young Master, these three hundred silver taels had been tipped by them.”
For normal common folk, five silver taels were enough to feed them for a whole year.
Hua Che found it hard to believe.
He understood the personality of the tavern boss very thoroughly. She was the model representative of a stingy cheapskate, sharp and unkind, loving money more than her own life. How could she increase Nanny Jiang’s salary for no reason at all?
In addition, those young lords who had randomly given Nanny Jiang some tips. Their behaviour was truly too sudden, so it was obvious they had deliberately came to the Utterly Intoxicated Tavern to send Nanny Jiang money.
Who would be this generous and kind?
They didn’t wish to reveal their identities, so it was natural for them to disguise themselves. Asking Nanny Jiang about their appearances wouldn’t reveal any clues.
It couldn’t be his birth father, could it?
Hua Che shuddered in hatred before immediately vetoing this possibility.
In his past life, he only attracted his birth father’s attention after he became famous across the six realms. Right now, he was merely an insignificant nobody, so this was impossible.
Hua Che asked, “Do they come at a fixed time?”
Nanny Jiang said, “The middle of every month, any time from the tenth to the fifteenth.”
Hua Che immediately brightened. His clear and limpid phoenix eyes revealed a hint of craftiness and cruelty.
“What a coincidence, Master gave me seven days of vacation. I have just enough time to take a look and see what their origins are.”
- This is referring to the seventh month of the lunar calendar, not July, and is precisely the Qixi Festival. For more information, check: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qixi_Festival.
- While this exists in real life, the author is most likely referring to the Kunlun Mountains in Chinese Mythology, which is an important symbol for divinity.
- Known as the Chinese mile, it’s approximately half a kilometer.
- This is the nickname for a famous beauty or courtesan. In this case, it’s the top card of the brothel.
- This is just the nicer way of saying ‘bribe’.