Hey everyone~~ I’m really sorry for not updating this sooner (TAT)
Oh, and good news! Anyone who has weibo and follows the official account of Nirvana in Fire would have known that as of a few days ago, all the dubbing work got finished……AND Hu Ge is dubbing his own voice! YAY!^^
Hehe I hope you all enjoy this chapter, guess who finally makes an appearance? 😉 Prepared to get stunned by his grace/talent/awesomeness.
Things to note:
- Zongzhu: is suzerain in english, basically it means leader/boss/overlord
- Xiong: means older brother
If there is anything I missed, please feel free to ask 😉 Enjoy reading!
The subject of Xiao Jingrui’s gaze was the cool, bright face of a young man dressed in moon-white robes leaning against a soft hair holding a pale yellow silk scroll in his hands. He was studying it, with a unhurried look on his face; occasionally lifting a cup of fragrant tea to his lips, as if the noise of the tea house didn’t reach him at all. Feeling Xiao Jingrui’s gaze, he raised his eyes and faintly smiled, faint like dew, but aroused in people the feel of a white moon shining in the night.
When Xiao Jingrui saw that expression, he was startled. Of course he had reason to be startled, he knew that person.
Their first meeting at Qinling, then at Qingfeng, during that moon lit night, he held his hand and left the desolate street, and then playing the qin and brewing tea with him in that courtyard.
That morning when he had asked the serving girl about his whereabouts, the answer had been, “Master has business to attend to, he has already left Xunyang.”
It was hard to believe Jiang Zuo’s Mei Lang’s business was here at this small county.
“Jingrui, why are you spacing out?” After Yan Yujin finished passionately cursing at the Da Yu diplomatic mission, he turned his attention to the person beside him. “If by the time we return to the capital and they still haven’t left, I’m going to give them some trouble. But first let’s find some place to eat.”
“Sure.” At the same time Xiao Jingrui complied, Mei Changsu casually rolled up the scroll and stuffed it into his sleeve; rose and walked towards them, his robes fluttering, his gait, natural.
“What are you looking at?” Yan Yujin turned his head and looked in the direction his friend was looking in, at first sight, a simply dressed young man appeared, yet after looking closely, unwittingly that brilliant, dazzling and elegant style stole the show.
“And to see Xiao gongzi again, what a coincidence.” The leader of the Jiang Zuo Alliance humbly greeted.
Xiao Jingrui slightly hesitated for a moment, and then chose a title that would not attract as much attention, “Mei…Mei gongzi.”
Hearing this name, Yan Yujin didn’t think much, but Xie Bi almost choked on his saliva, staring with wide eyes at Mei Changsu. He didn’t know how many friends with the surname ‘Mei’ his brother had, but he knew at the one from Xunyang.
“You have not had lunch right?” Mei Changsu ignored the three different expressions, “I can be considered a landlord here, and there is a very unique place if you are interested.”
“Is he your friend?” Yan Yujin turned around and asked Xiao Jingrui.
“….uh…” Xiao Jingrui didn’t know if they qualified as friends yet, but if he didn’t, it would cause embarrassment, he nodded his head, “Yes…”
Yan Yujin immediately directed a brilliant smile towards Mei Changsu, excitedly exclaiming, “I’m hungry, go, go, go, let’s hurry!”
Mei Changsu couldn’t help but smile, leading the way, with the three of them following behind, turning into an alley not too far away.
As Xiao Jingrui and Xie Bi knew the real identity of Mei Changsu, they were a bit shy. Yan Yujin, however, naturally walked up to him and asked, “So this friend has the surname ‘Mei’?”
“Yes, I am Mei Changsu.”
“The su in suxing (awakening).”
“Oh,” he walked forward a few steps and then turned his head and asked, “Have we met before?”
Mei Changsu smiled, “I believe not.”
“Oh…..so we haven’t met, but I think I’ve heard your name before,” Yan Yujin laughed, “I thought we had met somewhere before.”
Behind them, Xie Bi groaned and slapped the palm of his hand on his forehead, muttering, “This guy saying he’s a person of the jianghu…..can’t even compare to me……”
“This county is too small,” Yan Yujin continued chattering with the others, “There is nothing here, and when we finally saw an acceptable place, it got smashed. Isn’t this area under the Jiang Zuo Alliance’s control? Isn’t the Jiang Zuo Alliance supposed to be powerful? Why can’t they even suppress such a small incident…”
Xiao Jingrui felt the beginnings of a headache, he quickly strode forward and grabbed Yan Yujin, he truly was worried that he would start nonsensical criticizing. He hurriedly changed the topic and said, very politely to Mei Changsu, “Mei Zongzhu, I haven’t had the time to thank you for your hospitality.”
Fortunately, Yan Yujin was quite smart, when he heard ‘Zongzhu’ he immediately froze in his tracks and his eyes widened, rubbed his mouth, then pulled Xie Bi to him and began talking, casting frequent glances over at Xiao Jingrui and Mei Changsu, maybe he thought he was being inconspicuous.
“Children from the capital are very rarely as frank as your esteemed friend,” Mei Changsu felt it was rather amusing, a smile hang at the corners of his mouth.
“Him? It’s like he’s missing a switch,” Xiao Jingrui sighed, in a helpless manner, yet underneath his tone, there was a deep friendship.
Mei Changsu did not respond, turned a corner and said, “We’ve arrived.”
The three nobles came to take a look…..and all of them tried hard to control their expressions, as they didn’t want to rudely express disappointment, unfortunately, some succeeded, some failed.
“This is not a very eye-catching place,” Mei Changsu raised his hand, “Please take a seat, I’ll call the boss.”
Inside, there were in fact, only two tables. The three sat down at the table outside, and cast their eyes over the room. In all fairness, this place wasn’t just not eye-catching, you couldn’t even tell it was a restaurant. A dilapidated dirt room, a cloth dangling out from the roof, on the other end there was a bamboo pole propping up the whole structure, it could be considered a shed, there were wood briquettes piled under a corner. Dried pork rinds, eggplants, beans, and other unknown items hung haphazardly on the walls. At the eastern corner of the shed, there we a big earth stove, sat a steaming cauldron, an unknown substance was being cooked, there was no smell to identify it.
“Coming, coming, don’t knock, I’m getting a headache!” With this deep voice appeared a withered old man with a snow-white beard, but with a set of bright eyes. When he saw Mei Changsu, he immediately cheered up, “Ah, little Su, you haven’t been here in a long time, what do you want to eat?”
Xiao Jingrui, Yan Yujin, and Xie Be almost fell from their seats. Daring to call the Jiang Zuo’s Mei Lang little Su, there aren’t many people in the world who could.
“Uncle Zheng, give us a marinated duck, a shun’er, a green pepper with pork, a steamed guiyu….oh and a scrambled eggs with fungus and a meatloaf, finally a bowl of ramen for everyone,” Mei Changsu very skillfully ordered.
Xiao Jingrui and the others exchanged glances, although the leader of the Jiang Zuo Alliance surely will not have low tastes, but these dishes….they sounded a little too plain….
“In that courtyard he served us Zhao Dian Hong……” in a somewhat half-dementia state Xie Bi murmured but did’t dare say anything else, as at this point the host had sat down, and that uncle Zheng had brought four empty bowls out. After setting everything down, he returned to the backyard. About a quarter of an hour after, he reappeared carrying a large pan, setting it down he said: “Start eating, there are still two dishes coming right up.”
Although the dishes looked ordinary, the aroma was especially tempting, there relatively hungry people immediately picked up their chopsticks, trying the different dishes, a few bites later, an expression of astonishment on their faces, they tried all of the dishes, then simply buried their heads in concentration, there was only the sound of chewing, not even a word of praise could be heard.
Evidently, Mei Changsu wasn’t hungry and didn’t compete with them for food, after eating his bowl of noodles, he very gracefully sat beside them, slowing sipping uncle Zheng’s free delivery of mung bean rib soup.
After the greater half of an hour, the bowls and plates were cleared of food, only leaving some soup. The three guests took out their handkerchiefs and wiped their mouths, together they let out a breath, and together they simply exclaimed, “delicious!”
“Are you full?” Mei Changsu smiled like a loving brother, “don’t move too much after eating, take a short rest here before leaving.”
“No problem, we’re not in a hurry,” Yan Yujin smiled, his eyes lighting up, “or we can stay in this county tonight and come back here to eat again in the evening.”
“Where are the three of you going?”
“We’re going to leishan, Jingrui’s father….the one from the Zhuo’s……received an invitation from grandmother Ding, we are going to her birthday celebration.”
“Oh?” Mei Changsu raised a brow, “then why do you say you’re not in a hurry, I think you’re time is very tight, you cannot arrive at Leishan within three days.”
“Three days?” Xiao Jingrui started, “Isn’t it next month?”
“Jiang Zuo Alliance also received invitations, and August 27th was written on it, if I’m not mistaken.:
Xiao Jingrui suddenly realized something, the invitation was naturally left in Jingling and they hadn’t brought it, when Xie Bi had said it was next month, he didn’t think he would be wrong.
“But, but….Uncle Zhuo clearly said it was next month….” Xie Bi clutched his head.
“When did Zhuo daddy receive the invitation?”
“It should have been….then days before the Mid-Autumn festival…..” Xie Bi was feeling guilty, “at the time I didn’t think I would be going so I didn’t pay much attention.”
“Haha, “ Yan Yujin finally had a chance at revenge, “and you were calling me careless, look at you, aren’t you the capital’s rumoured meticulous Xie gongzi? Look what you did, letting us waste so much time, and now we don’t even have to time to notify them the we can’t go!”
“It’s alright, “ Mei Changsu comforted, “ I have already sent people there, I’ll sent a pigeon to them, prepare a gift, using Heavenly Spring-water Manor’s name, and find an excuse as to why you can’t go. As long as we follow the etiquette required, Ding Ruhai won’t pay too much attention to it.”
“That is too much trouble for you.” Xiao Jingrui knew that this was the only way out, so didn’t protest too much, only deeply bowed his thanks.
Mei Changsu walked to the lane outside, and somehow summoned a man, whispered a few words, and that man disappeared.
“Now there really is nothing to do, where should we go next?” Yan Yujin asked, drained of energy.
“You haven’t had enough?” Xie Bi sent him a glare, “of course we’re going back to Jingling, you can wander off on your own.”
“Mei gongzi, are you returning to Lang Zhou?” It was a known fact that the headquarters of the Jiang Zuo Alliance was based in Lang Zhou, therefore Xiao Jingrui asked this.
“I….” Mei Changsu slowly walked back towards them, and said with a faint sigh, “I won’t hide it from you, I was driven out of Lang Zhou by them….”
The three people were speechless, Xiao Jingrui pressed his hand against the table and stood up, asking in concern, “could it be…..could it be….that the Jiang Zuo Alliance is having an internal…..” Here he stopped, it felt too wrong to continue.
“Is it a rebellion?” Yan Yujin didn’t care, he loudly asked, “is someone trying to steal the position of Zongzhu from you?”
Mei Changsu shook his head, slowly saying, “that isn’t so….but it is true that I cannot go back now….”
Xie Bi rarely left home, and wasn’t well versed in the ways of the jianghu and the internal power struggles with sects, so he didn’t form the same assumptions as the other two, instead he asked, “Mei gongzi, if you have any difficulties, we brothers will try to help, but as we don’t know the happenings, can Mei gongzi clarify if there isn’t any inconvenience?”
“There isn’t any inconvenience, “ Mei Changsu smiled, “they just love to worry……you can all tell my body is not very healthy right?”
The three slightly hesitated a moment, then nodded. Although they hadn’t been together for long, they all perceived, especially Xiao Jingrui, when he had first met him at Qinling, that this person had an overly pale complexion, breath instability, and was significantly frail, and it was because of this, that he had never thought that he would be a person of the jianghu, and was later laughed at by his brother for having no judgement. Yet who would have thought that this frail youth with below average health, would be part of the world’s largest sect?
“My body has been weak for a long time, but it is not a serious illness, only a few relapses every year, recovering after nursing for a few days, everyone around me has long been accustomed to it. Unexpectedly last month, doctor Xun Zhen came for a visit, after taking my pulse he said some alarming words, like I should avoid troubling matters, that I mustn’t labor over matters anymore, in short, I should only be allowed to eat, drink, and have fun, or else be short-lived. The people around me were frighted, and all joined forces in forcing me out of the headquarters like this, saying that I’m not allowed back if I don’t relax for a year or two……”
“Ah?” Yan Yujin stared at him, “if only recuperating, you can stay in Lang Zhou, this is the first time I’ve seen subordinates drive out the Zongzhu.”
“That is what I said, but they don’t agree, saying that I don’t have a steady temperament, if I were to stay in the headquarters there would be no way I could calm down, for sure I’d worry about this or that. It is better that I can’t see, so I don’t worry.” Mei Changsu’s tone was very regrettable, “But I don’t blame them, I have bad credit in this regard, it is no wonder they don’t believe me….”
“Even your temperament is…..hasty?” Xie Bi pointed trembling fingers at Yan Yujin, “then what does he count as?”
“Hey, what are you dragging me into it? Am I not sedate and steady?”
“Enough, the two of you, don’t add more trouble,” Xiao Jingrui said, “Are the honoured people Mei gongzi referring to, the “xi, nu, ay, yue” four elders?”
“That’s right, if it were just the others, I could have protested, but once these four individuals come forward, I have not strength to fight back.” Mei Changsu couldn’t hold back a smile, “they really are too nervous, no one will die that easily.”
His tone as he told his joke was tranquil and relaxed, but paired with his pale complexion and weak breath, for no reason it caused the heart to sink. Xiao Jingrui didn’t know how, but suddenly he understood the feelings of the people of the Jiang Zuo Alliance, he advised, “ Doctor Xun’s name is a revered name in the world, there is no reason to not tell the truth, this arrangement is for your sake, don’t let them down.”
“This, I naturally know, if I wanted them to worry, then why did I obediently throw down all of my work?” Mei Changsu leisurely said, “In fact even now there are many matters to be settled. Huo Zhou’s locust disaster, Fenduo’s matter; Fuzhou city, the Lin’s marriage grudges, to this day they are still fighting; Jing Zhou has had several big cases pop up, the officials have come for help, we cannot ignore them; and……”
Xiao Jingrui and Xie Bi exchanged a glance, they deeply felt the brilliance of the Jiang Zuo elder’s decision, this person, even after being driven out of the headquarters was still worrying about their matters.
“Ai, you’re already on a break, why worry about those matters,” Yan Yujin wasn’t like those two, he always said things straight out. “Instead of thinking about these matters, you should go and play for a few months and let your body recuperate. How about coming back to Jinling with us? There is good weather and plenty of fun places, and the three of us can entertain you.”
Xiao Jingrui also had this idea, and seeing Yan Yujin mention it, hurriedly said, “Jinling doesn’t belong to the fourteen states of the Jiang Zuo, I wonder if they will feel at ease if you leave?”
“They want me to go as far as possible, preferably if I couldn’t hear any news about Jiang Zuo. But I cannot reveal my identity, and I must bring they people they specify.”
There was nothing difficult about these conditions, Mei Changsu and always been low-key, not mentioning Jinling, even in Jiang Zuo there weren’t too many who knew him. Hiding his identity would be easy, as long as he doesn’t introduce himself. As for bringing a guard, that was perfectly normal, so Xiao Jingrui immediately said, “There are all for granted, we hope that Mei gongzi won’t mind Jinling’s flashiness, and give us the chance to be your host.”
Mei Changsu smiled, “You’re too polite. I cannot refuse such a kind offer, it’s just that my guard is very aloof and doesn’t like to talk, if there is anything that offends you, please don’t mind.”
“Rest assured, rest assured,” Yan Yujin laughed, “aside form Xie Bi here, we are all quite amiable people. But where is this guard? Why have we not seen him?”
“I am not sure exactly where he is, but as soon as we cross the Fen River, and leave the Jiang Zuo boundary, he will immediately appear by my side, I can’t even run if I wanted to.”
“Wow, he must be a rumoured jianghu expert right?” Xie Bi revealed a fascinated expression, “I haven’t seen much, and haven’t had the chance to really experience the jianghu, but brother Zhuo and Jingrui sometimes will talk about this. Too bad they are not experts themselves, and the things they encounter are quite ordinary, so listening to them is not that fun.”
Yan Yujin suddenly was in great spirits, nodded and said, “yes, yes, yes, they can be considered jianghu people but they never have encountered anything interesting, not like Mei gongzi yourself, anything you casually say is a legend, such as that year at the He Ling, how did you get Shu Zhongtian to bow to you?”
Mei Changsu faintly smiled, “nothing really, I told him what he wanted to hear, then I nagged him until he got annoyed and left.”
“How is that possible!” Yan Yujin wanted to continue questioning, but Xiao Jingrui stopped him. Since he didn’t want to say, then it would be better not to ask.
“Oh right, if we are going to travel together but also conceal your identity, we can’t keep calling you ‘Mei gongzi’ can we?” Xie Bi also understood why Xiao Jingrui stopped Yujin from talking and quickly changed the subject, hurriedly saying, “everyone think of something else to call him.”
“This is easy, when I used to go out, I used the name ‘Su Zhe’ as a pseudonym, since I am older than you all by a few years, call me ‘Su xiong’, I think I can deserve being called brother.” Mei Changsu replied, laughing.
“Then Su xiong, please don’t hesitate, call us by our names.” Xiao Jingrui said.
Eveyone laughed together and the atmosphere was very cordial. They stayed in the county for the night and enjoyed another gourmet meal from uncle Zheng. Together they packed up to leave the next day, to head back to Jinling. In consideration for Mei Changsu’s body they hired a carriage, and he would sometimes sit in it, and sometimes walk slowly with everyone, very relaxed, he didn’t experience any relapses.