Chapter 23: The Mind-purifying Kick That Nearly Left Him Without Descendants.

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After crying, Gu Heyan fainted in Mu Zhiming’s arms, frightening him.
Mu Zhiming then carried Gu Heyan and called Aunt Liang, which only caused a ruckus.
Gu Heyan was hurriedly carried all the way to his wing room and settled on his bed.
It was only then that they could see that Gu Heyan had fainted out of exhaustion, and was, in fact, breathing evenly in a deep sleep.
Aunt Liang moistened his lips so that Gu Heyan could rest quietly.

By the time everything had settled down, it was already midnight.
Since it was still snowing, Aunt Liang wanted Mu Zhiming to stay in the Gu Residence, but Mu Zhiming had to politely refuse.
After all, he had sneaked out without no one knowing, and he even had to enter the Palace tomorrow morning.

“But, Mu-gongzi, you have no sedan chair or a carriage to go back with.
Besides, the curfew has already started.” Aunt Liang said worriedly.

“Don’t worry, I’m the son of the Duke of Yan.
Even if the patrol guards meet me, they won’t do anything to me.” Mu Zhiming reassured Aunt Liang, bid his farewell, and left with Wen Heyin.

As soon as they left, Mu Zhiming immediately lost his straightforwardness and followed Wen Heyin to walk close to the walls, as if they were thieves.

It wasn’t that Mu Zhiming was afraid of being caught by the Imperial Guards, but if he did get caught, he would be sent to Mu Boren.
In other words, Mu Zhiming was more afraid of Mu Boren beating and scolding him than getting arrested.

‘If I can suffer less, then so be it.’

Like agile cats, the two young men used various shortcuts as they walked back, and in order to avoid the patrolling guards, they also climbed over the walls.
As they quietly passed through other people’s homes, they apologized in their hearts for disturbing their evening.
After climbing over a dozen walls, Mu Zhiming could barely go on, and had to sit next to the haystack of a family’s outer courtyard.
As Mu Zhiming rubbed his arms and rested for a bit, Wen Heyin stood next to him, waiting.

At that moment, Mu Zhiming suddenly found something.
As he reached out to pick up the family’s haystack, Wen Heyin looked at him puzzled.
Right when Wen Heying was going to ask his Young Master what he was doing, he saw Mu Zhiming move the haystack away, revealing a dog door in the wall.

“Ah! A dog door! Could there be a dog in this courtyard?!” Wen Heying was scared of dogs after being bitten by one when he was a child, so after seeing a dog door, there was panic in his voice.

Mu Zhiming didn’t reply.
He simply pulled Wen Heyin down, made him squat and then compared the size: “The size is perfect, we can crawl through it just fine.”

Wen Heyin’s mouth twitched: “Who will crawl through a dog’s door? If you want to go through it, I will not accompany you.
It’s not like I can’t climb over the wall, I’m a man with iron bones1 and-….”

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Mu Zhiming: “Woof!”

The second Wen Heying heard the ‘bark’, he went through the dog door.

Mu Zhiming followed closely behind, without forgetting to put the haystack back to the original position to block the dog door.

At that moment, Wen Heying threw a tantrum out of annoyance and shame: “Young Master! How could you do this to me?! You’re so rude! You’re not behaving like a righteous man at all! You went too far! I’m angry!”

Mu Zhiming: “I’ll buy you two stove baked sesame seed-coated cakes2 from the West street alley tomorrow.”

Wen ‘iron bones’ Heyin said: “This is very kind of you, Young Master!”

Mu Zhiming: “Let’s go now.
We’re close to the Mu Residence, and I’m already so tired.”

However, at that moment, a sudden angry roar came from the entrance of the street, and several patrolling guards shouted: “Who’s there?!”

Wen Heyin grabbed Mu Zhiming’s arm, pulled him, and began to run away.
After running for a while, the two young men found that the patrolling guards were chasing after them.
At that, Wen Heyin took Mu Zhiming to the darkest part of the alley: “Young Master, I’ll go distract the guards.
Wait here until you can no longer hear any movement outside, then run back to the Residence.”

Mu Zhiming knew that he would only drag down Wen Heyin if he ran after him, so Mu Zhiming hid as much as he could: “Be careful.”

“Don’t worry.
These ordinary guards will never be able to catch me.” Wen Heyin said confidently, turned his head, and ran to another alley, deliberately making some noise to attract the attention of the guards.

The night was dark and windy, while the ground was slippery due to the snow that fell in the first half of the night, so it wasn’t easy for the guard to catch up to Wen Heyin.
Relying on his Qinggong skills, Wen Heyin was able to fly over the eaves and walls, sneaking proudly past those patrolling guards.
After calculating the time, Wen Heyin felt that Mu Zhiming should have already returned to the Mu Residence, so he jumped up and ran wildly, intending to completely get rid of the patrolling guards.

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At that moment, the guards bumped into a young man dressed in fine robes, embroidered with a dark red crane pattern and carrying a sword on his waist.
After fixing his eyes on that young man, the leader of the guards pointed at the direction Wen Heyin had just escaped, and shouted: “Pei-gongzi! Catch the flying thief3!”

The young man turned his head to look, only to see an indigo figure roaring and sweeping through the air.
Without hesitation, the young man resolutely caught up to him.

Wen Heyin leaped lightly over the corrugated eaves, expecting that the patrolling guards he left behind wouldn’t be able to catch up to him.
It was precisely because of this that Wen Heyin relaxed a lot, ready to return to the Mu Residence.
Unexpectedly, he stopped midway.
Wen Heyin’s ears were so sharp, that he was even able to hear the sound of a palm waving in the air, aimed directly at him.

Wen Heyin quickly side-stepped and dodged the attack.
After dodging the palm, he was unwilling to reveal any weakness, so he grabbed the shoulder of the man that had just attacked him.

Pei Hantang turned around and blocked Wen Heyin’s hand with an elbow strike.
As they fought with their hands, their eyes stared at each other.
As soon as he saw Wen Heyin’s face, Pei Hantang narrowed his eyes, smiled, and finally said: “So young and already learning to be a thief instead of studying?”

“Who’s a thief?!” Wen Heyin was furious.
“Can’t it just be that I was unable to fall asleep and went for a walk?! Don’t confuse a bald man for a monk! You’re accusing me wrongly!”

Pei Hantang smiled: “Still not possible, the curfew-….”

Before he could finish his words, Wen Heyin suddenly raised his foot and fiercely kicked Pei Hantang in the crotch.

Pei Hantang: “????”

Shocked by Wen Heyin’s brutality and shamelessness, Pei Hantang immediately loosened his strength.
He took a few steps back, in order to avoid losing his future sons and grandchildren.
As soon as Pei Hantang stabilized himself and looked up again, he found that Wen Heyin had already run away, disappearing into the darkness of the night.

Pei Hantang knew that Wen Heyin had no money with him just now, so he wasn’t anxious or annoyed by his escape.
He didn’t even bother to chase after Wen Heyin.
He simply laughed at the night sky and shouted: “Little one, I will remember your face.
I hope you’ll have the ability to never meet me again in this life, because if I ever were to catch you, I’ll make sure to teach you a lesson.”

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On the other hand, Mu Zhiming had just returned to the Mu Residence.
After knocking on the side door, it was opened by the night gatekeeper, who was surprised to see Mu Zhiming outside.
Mu Zhiming asked the young man to keep it a secret, and then trotted back to his courtyard.
At a single glance, Mu Zhiming could see Caiwei standing in front of his wing room, pacing back and forth as she rubbed her reddened hands with a worried expression. 

“Sister Caiwei,” Mu Zhiming hurriedly shouted.

At that, Caiwei looked up happily and said: “Young Master! Where have you and A-Yin gone?! I’ve been waiting here for half the night, but you never came back.
I was worried to death.”

“I’m sorry, I went out in such a hurry that I even forgot to let you know.
You didn’t tell my parents, did you?” Mu Zhiming asked.

Caiwei replied: “If I had notified Master and Madam, the Madam would have gone to look for you in the streets with lanterns!”

“That’s true,” Mu Zhiming nodded.
Then, he said with guilt: “Sister Caiwei, the weather is so cold now, you must be freezing.”

“I’m not cold,” Caiwei smiled.
“Young Master, I’m happy you’re back.
I can finally rest assured.
Ah, but where’s A-yin?”

Right after Caiwei said that, Wen Heyin stepped on the ridge of the roof and swept through the air, landing lightly on the ground: “Sister Caiwei, I’m here! Young Master, I was almost caught.
Luckily, I was smart enough to use the mind-purifying kicking technique, and was able to escape!”

Mu Zhiming laughed loudly.
After all, he was the one who chose the name of such a ‘technique’: “Did you really kick them?”

Wen Heyin replied: “A bit.”

“That’s good,” Mu Zhiming laughed.
“Otherwise, it would probably lead to a disaster.”

Caiwei didn’t ask where they had gone.
After all, she knew that Mu Zhiming was quite disciplined.
Something important must have happened for him to leave home at night: “Alright, hurry up and get some rest.
Next time you come back late, you must tell me in advance.
Don’t let me worry like this again.”

Both young men nodded, like chickens pecking at rice: “Yes!”

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Seven days later, the blowing wind that sounded like sobs, as well as the cold snow that soaked through the bones, welcomed the loyal General Gu’s funeral.
On that day, even the common people in the Capital participated in the funeral procession.

That same day, a report on the war at the border was sent to the capital.
It brought nothing, but unrest to the Civil and Military Officials in the Imperial Court, adding marks of blood and tears to the historical records: Due to the death of General Gu, the morale of the soldiers on the border was chaotic and the Western Rong tribe was able to take over an entire village.
After seizing the village, the Western Rong tribe massacred its inhabitants, burning everything in their path as they looted the village.
Currently, the Northwest was plunged into chaos, and an imminent rectification was needed.

The next day, Gu Heyan entered the Imperial Palace to see the Emperor.
He requested to be sent to the Northwest border, to lead his father’s Rong Yan army in order to fight against the Western Rong tribe.

The Emperor didn’t agree with this, and even tried to dissuade him: “You are the only member of the Gu Family now, and you’re only 17 years old.
If anything happens to you, how could I face you father under the Nine Springs4? Even if I want to appoint you to fight in the battlefield, I have to wait until you have established a flourishing family.
Don’t worry, after a year of filial piety, I’ll personally grant you a marriage!”

Gu Heyan knelt down and kowtowed.
Each time he kowtowed heavily on the ground, a word was said: “Out of 70,000 Rong Yan soldiers, 50,000 have been severely wounded, and several of them ended up dead.”

“When the gongs and drums resound all around in a wedding ceremony, they wish for a happy marriage.
But, who will hear the quietness of the 10,000 corpses at the edge of that village?”

“If the country were to collapse, then my father would have died in vain.
How could he then rest in peace under the Nine Springs?”

When Gu Miao died in battle, the whole country sighed: With General Gu gone, who will stabilize the frontier?

For everyone, the most indispensable thing right now was to have a ‘General Gu’ present.


铁骨铮铮 tiě gǔ zhēng zhēng; Chinese idiom, used as a metaphor for a person’s uprightness and unyielding spirit. 烧饼 shāo bing; Looks something like THIS. 飞贼 fēi zéi; It refers to a thief who can quickly climb up the walls with his hands and feet, but it also refers to an enemy who attacks from the air. 九泉 jiǔ quán; The Underworld of Chinese mythology.
In Taoism, the Nine Springs have Nine Prisons (or hells) corresponding to the affairs of the creatures in the world, accepting those who did good or wrong during their lifetime.
Those who did good deeds will avoid the suffering of the bad Prisons (or hells), and would have a good rebirth in the future.
Those who did bad things will suffer a lot after death, and will be sent to the worst Prisons, without being able to be reborn.

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