Chapter 93 – Men Have Tears

Shortly after Su Yi and Huang Qianjun left, Zhou Zhili, Qing Jin, Zhang Duo, and the other guards left the tower ship, one after another.

“Sixth Highness.” The old man in the conical hat clasped his fist, a smile on his thoroughly wrinkled face.
“I’ve been waiting for quite some time.”

Zhou Zhili lit up with delight, and he hurriedly returned the greeting.
“Elder Mu, I’m shocked and flattered that you would come in person.”

Qing Jin’s painted eyebrows shot up; she recognized the old man.

Mu Zhongting!

He was the governor of one of the Imperatorial Province’s Harmony Prefecture, a Martial Dao Grandmaster in possession of enormous authority.

The Harmony Prefecture bordered the Cloudriver Prefecture.
From the Harmony Prefectural Capital to the Cloudriver Prefectural Capital took a day on horseback traveling at top speeds.

The “aged fisherman”, Mu Zhongting, scanned the area.
“Sixth Highness, we shouldn’t linger here.
Let’s go talk more in the city.

Zhou Zhili happily agreed.

Meanwhile, back on the tower ship, Zhang Yiren watched Zhou Zhili and Mu Zhongting leave, then sank into thought. Just what is the purpose of the sixth prince’s expedition?

Also, Marquis Cheng said that before long, he’ll be paying the Cloudriver Prefectural Capital a visit too.
Don’t tell me the timing is just a coincidence?

A while passed before Zhang Yiren shook his head and gave the matter no further thought. 

Within the city.

Streets and alleyways branched in all directions, like a spider's web.
The streets were bustling with pedestrians darting to and fro.
It was like a painting of a flourishing, densely-populated scene of the mundane world. 

It wasn’t really any different from the Cloudriver Prefectural Capital Su Yi remembered. After all, only a little over a year had passed since his expulsion from Blueriver Sword Manor.

If anything had changed in that time, it was him. 

As Su Yi strolled leisurely through the city’s streets and alleyways, he asked, “Are you going to enroll at Blueriver Sword Manor right now? Or do you have other plans?”

“I want to accompany you until you’re settled,” Huang Qianjun responded hurriedly.
“It won’t be too late to register afterward.”

He’d gotten into Blueriver Sword Manor on account of family connections, so he could go register whenever he wanted.

Su Yi said no more.
He just followed his memories from back then and walked towards the southwest part of the city. 

Halfway there, an exquisitely decorated carriage suddenly rolled to a stop beside Su Yi. The curtains opened, revealing a beautiful face quick to smile, but also quick to anger.

Her hair looked soft as clouds, and it was bound up in an angled phoenix hairpin.
Her eyes shone, bright as twin full moons save for her pitch-black pupils.
Her lustrous skin looked as delicate as suet, as if you could break it just by blowing on it.
Her bright eyes darted about, her gaze tender and alluring.
In short, she was deeply and utterly charming.

Huang Qianjun was dazed. Isn’t she a bit too alluring? 

The woman’s lips parted slightly, and she said in a gentle voice reminiscent of flute music, “Might I ask if you are Young Lord Su Yi?” 

Su Yi nodded thoughtfully.
“You’re the songstress of the Garden of Blossoms, Cha Jin, right?”

Surprise flashed through the woman’s eyes, then she smiled faintly.
“You recognized me.
What did I do to deserve such fortune?”

Another man would have long since become intoxicated by her limitless charm, but Su Yi just said calmly, “Might I ask why you’ve sought me out?”

Cha Jin bit her red lips, her bright eyes shining like water as she said solemnly, “Young Lord Su, please don’t misunderstand.
I just heard about what happened on the tower ship.
You were the one who turned the tides and averted a crisis that might otherwise have impacted everyone on board.
That’s why, when I passed through here and recognized you, I couldn’t help but stop to express my gratitude in person.”

It was obvious that she wasn’t even twenty yet, but her every movement, down to the slightest frown or subtlest smile, was charming and amorous.
Just watching, Huang Qianjun already felt his heart shaking.

“Oh,” said Su Yi.
He stared intently at her and said, “No need for thanks.
I’ll be happy so long as you don’t assume I’m allied with his Sixth Highness.”

Cha Jin’s pretty face froze, and her pupils subtly constricted.
Then, she pressed her lips into a smile.
“I shan't disturb you any longer.
I bid you farewell.”

With that, she closed the curtains, and her luxurious carriage drove off into the distance.

Huang Qianjun watched until the carriage stopped before a charming, antique building.
His eyes lit up.
“Does Cha Jin plan to do business at the ‘Sand-Scouring Waves’? Brother Su….
Huh?”

When he turned, he saw that Su Yi was far away, and he hurried after him.

“Brother Su, that Cha Jin went into the Sand-Scouring Waves.
That’s the most famous brothel in the Cloudriver Prefectural Capital.
They say, there, ‘beauties are as common as the clouds’ and that ‘for a thousand gold, you can have a beautiful dream!’” Huang Qianjun was so excited, he was rubbing his hands together. 

Then, he asked tentatively, “Brother Su, how about we scrounge up some free time and go check it out?”

As soon as he said this, he felt the urge to slap himself. What nonsense! How could I suggest such a thing to an ‘immortal sent to the mundane realm’ like Brother Su? What if he misunderstands?

But Su Yi didn’t seem to care in the least.
“There’s nothing good about a place on that level.”

“Uh….” Huang Qianjun inwardly sighed in relief, but at the same time, he was stunned.
As he pondered, his thoughts took on a rather different flavor.

Nothing good? 

It’s true that aside from a few artful courtesans, no one in a brothel ‘treats their body like a temple.’ Looking at it that way, Brother Su actually understands the situation quite well!

This thought immediately put an ambiguous smile on Huang Qianjun’s face.
Su Yi would never have guessed that Huang Qianjun’s imagination ran wild so easily.
Had he known, he might very well have split Huang Qianjun’s head open like a melon and shouted, “Just what do you spend all day thinking about!??”

……

The southwestern district.

Willow Alley was all short, ramshackle mud huts.
The ground was pitted and uneven, and it looked like it had rained recently, as the road was nothing but mud. 

This was indeed the slum Cheng Wuyong described.
Everyone who lived here was on the lowest rungs of society.

It was desolation as far as the eye could see.

Compared to the rest of the Cloudriver Prefectural Capital, it was like an entirely different world.

Su Yi led Huang Qianjun down this familiar path.
Perhaps because their clothes were relatively clean and neat, they attracted numerous people’s attention.

“Young Lord, please give me a bit of money, just a little.
My child has gone hungry for days.”

A bony woman threw herself to the ground and wept, drenching her whole body in muddy water.

Huang Qianjun couldn’t bear the sight of her.
He was just about to fish out his wallet when Su Yi stopped him.

“If you take your money out now, in an instant, a whole group of beggars will swarm you.
You won’t be able to leave until you’ve given up everything you have on you.”

Huang Qianjun’s jaw dropped.
“With our power, don’t tell me a bunch of beggars can stop us?”

“With your status, could you bear to hurt them?” Su Yi asked right back.
“They have no money, which means they can’t afford medical treatment.
If they get injured, they’ll have no choice but to wait for death.”

“That….” Huang Qianjun hesitated.

“We’re friends with Feng Xiaofeng.” Su Yi glanced at the bowing woman.
“If your child is dying of hunger, you can take them to visit him.”

The woman was briefly stunned.
Then, she nimbly crawled to her feet, cursed, and left.
“Why didn’t you say so earlier? I threw myself into the mud for nothing!”

“That really worked?” Huang Qianjun barely dared believe his eyes.

“In order to survive, the bottom rungs of society have little choice but to huddle together for warmth.
If you recognize even one of them, the others will no longer see you as a ‘lost, fatty lamb ready for slaughter.’” As Su Yi spoke, he continued ahead.

Huang Qianjun hurriedly caught up to him.
“Brother Su, who is Feng Xiaofeng?”

“A friend.” As Su Yi spoke these words, his eyes flashed a hint of emotion.

To the person he’d been before awakening his memories, the word “friend” was far more important than any treasure. Feng Xiaofeng was one of the few friends he had to his name.

Finally, when they’d traveled deep into the alleyway, Su Yi stopped before a run-down courtyard.

The residence’s four walls were short and made of mud, and they’d been damaged a long time ago.
The gate was flecked with rust.
Just standing there, you could easily see into the courtyard’s interior.

When they scanned the area, they saw three mud and tile huts, a vegetable garden, a willow tree, and six or seven ducks and chickens.

A gaunt figure sat in a wooden wheelchair.
His coarse clothes were worn, and he was currently cooking over a fire.

Smoke billowed from the firepit, obscuring his figure.
From time to time, he coughed violently.

When Su Yi saw this, his gaze was suddenly a bit more focused and grave.
“You wait here.” 

With that, he pushed open the door and entered the courtyard.

“Xiaoran, are you back? Go review your lessons.
I’ll finish dinner right away,” said the gaunt figure in the wheelchair.

But then, he realized something wasn’t quite right.
He looked up and saw a tall, lean figure standing before him.

When he saw this unexpected guest’s face, the man in the wheelchair was initially stunned.
Then, his face lit up with excitement and delight.
“Senior Apprentice Brother Su Yi! What are you doing here?”

He reached for his cane and was about to rise, only for Su Yi to push him back down.
“I just arrived in the prefectural capital.
I wouldn’t have thought that after just a year apart, you’d wind up like this.”

His expression was complicated.

The gaunt figure before him was indeed Feng Xiaofeng, but he was starkly different from the resolute, strong, and masculine youth he remembered.

His hair was in disarray, and his clothes were old and full of holes.
He was bony, and his skin was dull.
His face ought to have been that of a high-spirited youth, but instead, it was tinged with hardship.

Worst of all, both of his legs were obviously crippled, so he could only sit in a wheelchair.

Feng Xiaofeng’s delight gradually faded, and he fell temporarily silent before forcing a smile.
“This is good too.”

“It’s not good at all.” Su Yi’s gaze swept across the ruined courtyard before finally landing on the pot hanging over the firepit.

Despite all that steam and smoke, there was only a pathetically sparse handful of rice bran at the very bottom.

Su Yi’s spirits sank.

“Senior Apprentice Brother Su, the past is in the past.
I’m a cripple now.
I might live a simple life in poverty, but I’m getting by,” said Feng Xiaofeng.
He looked up and said seriously, “I don’t need your pity, nor do I need your help.
I’m just happy that you came to see me.”

“But I’m not happy.” Su Yi patted Feng Xiaofeng on the shoulder.
“I know what you’re worried about.
You’re afraid that I’ll go avenge you, but that as soon as I appear, the people who bullied us back then will hurt me instead.”

As he said this, Su Yi laughed, his gaze profound, inscrutable, and cold.
“But you most likely haven’t guessed that I came here precisely to resolve old grudges and rid myself of years of accumulated resentment!”

“You want revenge?” Feng Xiaofeng exclaimed.
“Don’t tell me….”

“That’s right.
I’ve already recovered my cultivation.” Su Yi nodded.
Inwardly, he added, And I’m different than I once was.
I won’t just get revenge; I can even help your crippled legs recover!

Feng Xiaofeng shouted in delight, “That’s absolutely wonderful news! Hahahaha….!”

But as he laughed, tears gathered at the corners of his eyes.
He suddenly took several deep breaths, fighting back the tears before they could fall.
Soon, they vanished without a trace.

Men had tears, but they didn’t shed them easily.

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