Chapter 208: King Yu of the Imperial Mausoleum
Translator: E.3.3. Editor: Vermillion
The young monk Shang De pressed his palms together. His complexion was filled with gentleness and traces of smile. All the muscles on his face squeezed into a beaming grin as he looked directly at Bu Fang. Yet, his gaze was as sharp as the blade of a sword that emitted a blinding glare.
Serpent-woman? Bu Fang was startled, but kept his cool under the young monk's fierce glance as he curled his lips.
"Yes, I do know." Bu Fang calmly replied, remaining at ease without any apparently change to his composure.
He was wondering why those serpent-men haven't visited him yet. It turned out they did indeed run into trouble on the way. But then again, that wasn't a surprise at all... the Imperial City nowadays was in the eye of the storm. Just last night, a group of top-notch warriors crowded by his store.
Serpent-men were already an exotic breed. For them to encounter the unexpected when stepping into the human realm... was easily anticipated.
But what exactly did this monk want to express?
Bu Fang's gave the young monk Shang De a questioning glance, "And then, do you need me to do something?"
The young monk felt pleased at first when Bu Fang confirmed his inquiry, but was now stupefied by Bu Fang's question. He had no idea how to respond to this remark, since it was that old fox, Zhao Musheng, who captured the serpent-men.
"If you can't help them out, then bring them here." Bu Fang flickered a glance at the bald head, then turned around to head back to the kitchen.
He had agreed, back in the Illusory Spirit Swamp, that as long as they came to his store, he would lend a helping hand. However, this did not mean Bu Fang felt obligated to track them down if they got into trouble on the way here.
The young monk rubbed his head and broke into a grin. Alright, this owner has got quite a personality! But he couldn't answer this question, so he'd leave the head splitting puzzle to Zhao Musheng.
The young bald monk returned to his seat and gazed toward the Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs on the table. The tangerine-red Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs emitted hot steams and a rich meaty aroma. It reinvigorated his appetite. Nevermind the portion of meat bun he ate on the way here, his stomach was rumbling with hunger once more.
He picked up his chopsticks, lightly tapped them on the table, and snatched up a piece of tangerine-red Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs. The rib's meat was rather tender. One could feel its springiness once the chopsticks landed on it.
Having licked his lips, the young monk first glided his tongue over the rib's sauce. The sweet and sour taste of the sauce instantly made his eyes sparkle.
Stuffing an entire piece of Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs into his mouth, the young monk felt his eyes light up. The intense meaty fragrance burst forth, and the tender, juicy meat tapped at the inner walls of his mouth.
"So... so delicious!" The young monk continued to chew. His eyes protruded as he let out an odd laugh. This rib... was so damn tasty!
Gulp, the piece of rib was swallowed. The young monk smacked his lips, as the entire mouthful of meaty aroma left him intoxicated.
As a carnivorous monk, his obsession with meat was one unfathomable to the common person. He ate all sorts of meat. One of the biggest reasons was because he once lived alone in a boundless, desolate desert that was devoid of plants or spirit fruits. It only had endless supplies of a furry spirit beast.
To survive and keep himself alive, he ate the beasts' flesh raw and drank their blood. The flavor of that spirit beasts' meat was seriously not worthy of any compliments...
Ever since he returned, the young monk Shang De developed an addiction to meat, and swore to try all gourmet meat dishes in this world.
He poured himself a cup of Ice Heart Jade Urn Wine. The clear, spring-water-like wine nectar emanated a rich wine aroma, tingling the young monk's nostrils.
With a slurp, the wine nectar was down his throat, in perfect combination with the meaty aroma. The young monk couldn't help but lightly yelp in delight.
From afar... Ouyang Xiaoyi fixated her big eyes on this bald monk drinking wine and eating meat without reservation. She felt like her foundational knowledge about monks had completely collapsed.
"Isn't it recorded in the books that monks don't drink wine or eat meat?" Ouyang Xiaoyi twitched her mouth.
How was this young monk Shang De, with his greasy mouth, anything like the conventional monks recorded in the books... these writings were all lies.
The young monk kicked up his foot and placed his leg on a stool. His foot jerked up and down as he placed another piece of Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs in his mouth. The young monk seemed to have discerned Ouyang Xiaoyi's gaze, and nodded at her with a beaming smile.
Ouyang Xiaoyi humphed and turned her gaze away.
Ji Chengxue had finished his meal and laid down his chopsticks. He was filled with joy. It had been a while since he last tasted Owner Bu's gourmet delicacies. Today, he finally ate to his heart's content.
"Uncle Lian, let's go," Ji Chengxue said to Lian Fu, who sat besides him and had just finished an order of Egg-Fried Rice.
Lian Fu curled his orchid-shaped fingers, and lightly consented. He stood up but felt reluctant to leave. This store was filled with memories.
As the emperor, it was unsuitable to leave the palace for too long. Ji Chengxue stopped by today to get a sense of the Five Stripes Path-Understanding Tree coveted by numerous Battle-Saints. And, on top of that, to try Owner Bu's new wine. Though it was a shame he didn't get a chance to taste it, it was still satisfying to be reminded of Owner Bu's spectacular cooking.
The two of them left, whereas Wu Yunbai and Master Ah Wu continued on. They had ordered many dishes and were fully immersed in this feasting journey.
Imperial Mausoleum of the Imperial City. Tiny pieces of snowflakes softly drifted down. A cold breeze brushed past, touching upon all in the surrounding. The leaves emitted crumpling sounds as they rubbed against each other.
The imperial mausoleum was located on top of a steep mountain, at a high altitude. With the light snow, the temperature there was still a lot colder than the Imperial City, which was regaining its warmth as spring season arrived.
From a thatched house made of twitch-grass, a man dressed in a modest linen garment slowly sauntered out.
The man had a broom in his hands, and stepped unhurriedly into the gloomy but dignified imperial mausoleum, within which were erected numerous gravestones. He swept away the fallen leaves that had landed on the tombstones with his broom.
The crinkling noise from sweeping reverberated within the deadly still imperial mausoleum, adding to it an ominous echo.
"Tsk tsk... the once awe-inspiring King Yu of a generation, badly defeated in the battle over the throne, and now finds himself in this deplorable, wretched state. Has the glory of yesteryears been washed away into tepid streams of water? Oh how pitiable, how lamentable."
The tranquil imperial mausoleum suddenly rang with laughter, and crispy taps of footsteps followed suit.
The man with a broom in his hands instantly froze. He held his body erect and narrowed his eyes at the sniggering man. His gaze was deadly, as if made of gray ashes, and his face was deadpan.
Zhao Ruge was dressed in a white robe and held his hands behind his back. Besides him were a couple of guards wrapped in black robes, with faces concealed that couldn't be easily discerned. The levels of energy on these guards were terrifyingly strong, and had already suppressed the guards of the imperial mausoleum.
Zhao Ruge strolled around the entrance of the imperial mausoleum with large strides. As an outsider, he didn't dare step into the imperial mausoleum of the imperial household.
He had absolutely no idea what might be the consequence of trespassing onto the imperial mausoleum.
Ji Chengyu studied Zhao Ruge for a bit, then lowered his head and resumed sweeping off dead leaves from the tombstones. His movements were sluggish, much like those of an enervated elder. The once bold, spirited demeanor of King Yu was nowhere to be found.
"Your highness King Yu, surely you don't want to be stuck in this imperial mausoleum for the rest of your life? Think about Ji Chengxue sitting upon the throne right now. Are you not filled with unreconcilable anger?" Zhao Ruge's gaze stared daggers as he continued: "Why should you, King Yu, guard the imperial mausoleum like some watch dog, while he, Ji Chengxue, sits comfortably on the throne? Why him?"
Ji Chengyu's eyes turned, his ashen pupils revealed a trace of wan smiles, "Zhao Ruge, what have I got left to fight against Ji Chengxue at this point? Everything has been settled already. Father chose him, that makes me... a sore loser from head to foot."
"A loser? That's not the King Yu in my mind." Zhao Ruge snickered.
Ji Chengyu shook his head, ignored Zhao Ruge, and turned to another tombstone. It was the tombstone of Emperor Changfeng, one that was awfully plain and unlike anything one would expect of an emperor's gravestone. Unadorned, it came off as rather shabby.
Ji Chengyu hang his head lower, kept his face obscured, and continued languidly sweeping at the fallen leaves.
"Ji Chengyu, I, Zhao Ruge, came here today just to tell you that you aren't without a chance to turn the tides. As of now, Lian Fu is in the Imperial City, which gives you a window to extricate yourself. if you don't want to leave, I have nothing more to say. But if you feel the slightest unwillingness to take your defeat lying down, then I, Zhao Ruge, and my father... Zhao Musheng, will provide you with all the resources you need!"
Zhao Ruge then asked: "What will be your choice?"
A winter breeze brushed by and blew at the snow floating in the air. Snowflakes landed on Zhao Ruge's face, but were instantly melted by his body temperature, and turned into droplets of water.
His gaze fixated on the shadow within the imperial mausoleum. He believed that Ji Chengyu wouldn't just give up like that.
Sure enough, the silhouette of a figure slowly walked out with a broom still in his hands. His eyes were still clouded by a deadly gray hue, but this time a stroke of hope burned amidst the deadly ashes.
"Zhao Musheng? That old fox... is truly vexing."
Ji Chengyu lifted the broom onto his shoulder, and tug apart the velvet hair tie on his head. A headful of hair instantly sprang out and hang loose.
Zhao Ruge peered at him while the corners of his mouth curled.
In the dead of night, two crescent moons intertwined as they hang high above in the sky.
In a courtyard within the Imperial City, Zhao Musheng stood with his hands behind his back. His gaze was gentle yet distant, and the energy on his body slightly fluctuated, as if they were streams of moving water.
Suddenly, a figure covered with the stench of alcohol appeared within the courtyard. One could even occasionally hear burps.
Zhao Musheng knitted his brows into a frown and turned toward this shadow.
"Shang De, you were drinking again. Votaries shouldn't drink alcohol to begin with, but now you've gone from bad to worse."
"Hehe, Head Elder, Shang De knows you understand why votaries shouldn't consume wine. But once the wine and meat had passed through the intestines, this monk only seeks indulgence!" Shang De said to Zhao Musheng with his flushed face and alcohol breath.
"Alright, I don't care how much liquor you drink, as long it doesn't hold things up." Zhao Musheng frowned and sighed as he responded.
If this were any other monk from the Mahayana Island before him, he would've slapped the wits out of him already. But as for Shang De... sigh.
"Head Elder, I have the intelligence you ordered me to gather. That Owner Bu... admits that he knows these serpent-men." Shang De's eyes were drowsy and he could barely stand up straight without toppling over.
He leaned against a tree, and remarked: "That Owner Bu said... 'so what if I know them', what should we do?"
The muscles on Zhao Musheng's face squeezed into a light smile, "So what if I know them? Things are much easier as long as he does know them... Bu Fang, ah Bu Fang, this old fellow would like to see whether you'll fold your hands and watch them die... hahaha!"