The old man did not expect for him to agree so quickly. He was taken aback for a moment, then he pulled him into the woods by the wayside, pointed at the most verdant and sturdiest tree and said, "On the top of that tree, young lad, be careful."
You Shu shaded his eyes with his hand as he looked up, and saw that a coarse cloth bundle hung on a branch at the top. A group of monkeys squatted among the branches were playing around and bared their fangs at the people standing by the base of the tree as they crushed the wild fruits, as if they were demonstrating their strength.
"This group of monkeys is completely out of control! Gathering here and robbing everyone all day long, they’re more ruthless than mountain bandits." The old man sighed helplessly.
You Shu didn't comfort him, instead he hugged the tree trunk and started to slowly climb up. Feeling threatened, the monkeys began to jump and scream, but seeing that they couldn’t scare You Shu away, they shook the branches in an attempt to make him fall. You Shu had already maxed out his field survival skills, so he was not afraid and quickly climbed to the highest point to take the package.
Seeing that their spoils of war were being taken away, the monkeys shrieked with their mouths wide open. They also climbed over to where he was to pull at his clothes and pants, some even jumped onto his back to pull his hair. It took You Shu almost no time at all to climb up, but now his hair and clothing were messy, and his appearance was completely disorderly.
But he was neither scared nor irritated, he just steadied his hands and feet and slowly slid down. Monkeys are the most vengeful animals. If you ignore them, they will leave after a while. However, if you try to resist, or injure any one of them, they will gather together and attack. He was grabbed at and bitten, and was soon covered all over with cuts and bruises, his entire appearance could only be described as being completely miserable. What's more, this was ancient times and the level of medical treatment was very low. If you accidentally get infected, you’ll meet your doom.
Therefore, You Shu just dodged and did not attack. The monkeys poked at him a few times, then tore off his headband and trousers, and scampered away. When You Shu finally reached the ground, his pants had slipped down to the crooks of his knees, revealing the small four-corner shorts that he made himself inside.
The old man had never seen an undergarment like that, so he kept staring at them. You Shu didn't feel ashamed or shy, handed him the package, then gracefully pulled up his pants and fastened his belt.
The old man hurriedly thanked him and finally put the oil-paper wrapped bread into his hands.
If you are travelling, as soon as you find food you must eat it. Don't think about saving it until the next time, because who knows if you can have another meal. Following the experience gained from his previous life, he finished the bread in a few mouthfuls, he even placed his left hand still below his jaw to catch the falling bread crumbs. After eating the bread, he raised his head and poured them into his mouth, making sure that there was no waste at all.
The old man kept staring at the young man with intense scrutiny and nodded silently when he witnessed the sight before him. When the young man cupped his hands in thanks and started to leave, he pretended to stagger and tore open the package in his hand.
A few silver ingots rolled down to You Shu’s feet, reflecting a dazzling light under the sun. At a glance, the amount totaled up to about hundreds of taels, enough to feed a poor family for decades to come. You Shu was unmoved, picked up the silver with a very flat expression, handed it back to the old man, and then bid farewell again. For him, food is the most precious thing in the world, while gold and silver cannot be eaten. What use were they?
"Good, good, good!" The old man stroked his beard and laughed, then reached out to stop him, "Little friend, don't leave, listen to what this poor Daoist has to say. Although you have Dragon Qi protecting your body, you are not perfectly safe.”
You Shu was originally not interested in what he was going to say, but he turned his head and looked back when he heard the last sentence, his eyes full of vigilance.
The old man quickly reassured him, "Don’t be afraid, this poor Daoist will not hurt you, little friend. As soon as little friend left the city gates, this poor Daoist already noticed that you are an outsider of this world. Although Outsiders walk in this world, they are not implicated by karma and can be said to be blessed by the Heavens. And my little friend had a great opportunity to get a wisp of Qi from the Purple Emperor Star and therefore will not be invaded by evil spirits. However, little friend should know that although this Purple Qi can resist ghosts, it’s not very useful against evil monsters. The superficial evil spirits may be afraid of you, but the dragon spirit is the favorite of those old monsters. If you can get a strand of it for cultivation, you can advance your cultivation by a hundred years. Besides, my little friend, your flesh and blood is a great tonic, and the combination of the two is more effective..."
You Shu interrupted him, "So, I will be in danger if I travel alone and I may be eaten by monsters at any time? Apart from ghosts, there are also monsters in this world?"
The old man nodded, "More than you think."
"Then, what are you?" You Shu's fingers shook slightly, then he flicked the dagger hidden in his sleeve into his palm and held it firmly. He never expected that the Dragon Qi could only drive away ghosts, not demons and that to demons, Dragon Qi was an extremely precious treasure just like his flesh and blood. In other words, he is now a big walking tonic pill and may be eaten at any time.
What's wrong with this world? Is it even more dangerous than the apocalypse?
You Shu felt that he was really unlucky, but the old man smiled heartily, "Don’t be afraid, little friend. This poor Daoist is human. This poor Daoist cultivates kindness and never kills. Since the little friend left the capital, this poor Daoist just followed while secretly observing. Seeing that little friend’s temper towards this poor Daoist is good, this poor Daoist will show the little friend a clear way."
You Shu naturally knew that there were people following him. Thinking of the secret guards sent by the Master, he couldn't help looking around.
The old man waved his hand unconcernedly, "Poor Daoist has already led away the people who were monitoring the little friend, so there is no need to worry. Although little friend has a ghost slave, it does not have killing intent on his body, which shows that the little friend has never done anything that offended the Heavens. Little friend is always friendly to people, not only enthusiastic to help, but also not greedy for money, has a very noble character, can't bear to hurt animals and has a soft heart. Therefore, poor Daoist finally decided to help little friend. If little friend is willing, you can learn some spells from this poor Daoist to protect yourself."
Outsiders do not are not constrained by karma. Even if they were filled with extreme evil and commit horrendous crimes, they do not need to be constrained by the Heavens. Therefore, the old man will first test the youth. If the other party's disposition was unstable, then he would’ve let nature take its course, and if not, he will lend him a hand.
You Shu is very clever, and quickly figured out something and the corners of his mouth twitched. This old man seemed to have a big misunderstanding about him. The ghost slave who followed him really did not kill people, but the two ghost children before him and the Thousand-Faced Ghost, Imperial Concubine Lan and the Seventh Prince, had a lot of human lives in their hands, and they could all be counted on You Shu’s head. He did not help this stranger out of kindness, but for that bread.
Of course, if this was said, the old man will definitely not believe it, but will think that the young man was being modest and polite.
Whatever, just let him misunderstand. After all, it was he who gained. Thinking about this, You Shu bowed with his hands clasped, "Many thanks to the old man for showing me the way. You Shu bows in thanks."
"You are called You Shu? Good good good, then follow this poor Daoist up the mountain." After the words fell, the two of them had already moved into the bullock cart with the flick of the old man’s sleeve.
You Shu's expression did not change, but he was secretly surprised. Sure enough, this person had skills and could actually use ‘Teleport’ which was a ninth-level spatial ability. It seemed that the previous words he spoke were not to fool me. So he temporarily let go of his wish to "eat all the food that exists under the sun" and follow the old man to learn the Dao.
Blu: Dao - Taoism. In this case, You Shu’s gonna learn some magic.
The two stopped and walked to the top of a mountain. When they were about to enter the temple, the old man poked at the water ghost's forehead and placed a soul-restraining talisman on him. If he commited a crime, the talisman will burn him to ashes.
"Whether you reincarnate or take a different road as a ghost, it's up to you. Go down the mountain, this is not where you can stay." The old man who had changed into a Daoist robe shook the horsetail whisk in his hand.
Feeling the qi of the heavenly spirit around him, the water ghost naturally did not dare to dally any longer and hurriedly bid farewell to his master.
You Shu has since lived on this unnamed mountain, helping the old man to chop wood, cook, and do laundry every day, and stroll around in his free time. After two months of this, the old man pointed out a room to him, saying, "I have pledged to the Heavens that I will not accept any disciples in this life, so I cannot teach you anything. The things that are useful to you are there, however much you can learn depends on your talent."
You Shu opened the door and saw that it was full of books, piled up all over the place, and there was nowhere to place his foot.
The old man said again, "I can only let you stay for half a year. Two months have passed, so you have to go down the mountain in four months. Read these books as much as you can."
You Shu cupped his hands in thanks, sitting at the door and casually pulling out a book to read. The Daoist priest observed that he was using the pages of the book as a fan, just flipping through them to the end and then took out another book to continue. He couldn't help but shake his head. This little friend was really kind, but he has no talent for learning. He should just give him a few life-saving talismans when it was time for him to go down the mountain.
How could You Shu know what the old man was thinking, and soon he was immersed in the world of books. There were many kinds of books, including books on talismans, formations, Dao skills and detailed records of various ghosts and monsters, all of which he had never touched. He - who was always hungry for knowledge - felt as if he had opened the door to a new world, wishing he could finish reading all of these in one night.
After reading for five days without rest, You Shu finally remembered all the knowledge in his head, and the rest of the time was spent practicing and mastering them. It was unknown whether it was because of a broken line of inheritance, but there were few books that recorded not very powerful spells, which were of no use to You Shu. So he devoted himself to drawing talismans for several months, and tried to make a few Daoist instruments, but he had never tried it on evil monsters so he didn't know the effect.
Blu: Daoist instruments (法器) - ritual implements that include musical instruments used in a Buddhist or Taoist mass (Source: Pleco)
By the last day, the old man was already beating his chest and deeply regretting to no end. He initially thought that this was someone with no talent, but he didn't expect what he saw! Being able to read all the books he inherited and skillfully apply the techniques within six months, even the founding ancestor of this mountain did not have this ability. If he had known this earlier, he wouldn’t have taken that vow and miss such a good seedling!
Regret! The old man regretted till his intestines were green and he tried to change what he said several times but was turned down by You Shu. You Shu’s dream was to eat everything under the Heavens. He only reluctantly followed the old man up the mountain to learn some knowledge and skills in order to fulfill his dreams. Now he was asked to stay at Guangyao Temple, but that was absolutely impossible. He was tired of eating the wild game at the temple.
Saying goodbye to the broken-hearted old man, he walked down the mountain, and halfway down the path, a cloud of fog enshrouded him, blocking the surrounding light. He fumbled around for several hours inside the fog and fell down a few times before walking out of the temple gates and arriving at the side of the road.
The fog retreated very quickly as strangely as it came and in the blink of an eye, the surroundings were full of sunshine and blooming flowers. You Shu looked around, feeling a little weird and then looked at himself, frowning. He fell down too hard just now, so his clothes and pants had a few big holes, and his hair was messed up by the stray branches. At first glance he would look no different from a beggar.
When he arrived at a city, he had to find an inn and clean himself up. While he was inwardly pondering while walking along the public road, he saw a group of people rushing over on horseback not far away.
"Young Master, I found you! Go back with us, the Master and Madam were going mad with worry! If you don't go back with us, the Governor is going to send yamen runners to catch you!" The group dismounted and grabbed You Shu, refusing to let go.
"I'm not your young master, I am You Shu." You Shu's eyes opened wide, baffled.
"Yes, isn't the Young Master named You Shu? Don't try to run away. The Governor has already sent a message. If the Master doesn't take the initiative to bring you over, then he will send a petition to the higher ups to impeach the Master for the crime of “bending the law to help his relatives and indulging his son’s crime of murder”. Young Master, don’t be scared and go with us obediently. Laoye said, he will write to Lao Taiye and ask him to try to save you. Although Lao Taiye has resigned from officialdom, the remaining prestige is still there. It shouldn’t be a problem to protect you." The person at the lead tried to persuade him.
You Shu hasn't completely figured out the situation yet, but he has also collected some information from a few isolated phrases. The person they were looking for was the little young master of their family. He should look similar to him and seemed to be of the same age and had the same name. He had committed a crime and escaped from home.
He wanted to explain further. As he was taking out the household register and the travel permit that proved his identity, the other party spoke again, "Young Master, you ran away from home for six days. Now you are much thinner and must be starving. You’ve suffered a lot in the mountains, right? Go home with this slave. A lot of food is waiting for you at home."
You Shu spent a few shichen fumbling about in the mountains, during which he did not drink a single drop of water nor eaten a single grain of rice, so his stomach was already rumbling with hunger. As a result, he quietly put back the household register and travel permit, and thought to himself shamelessly: Well, I can explain to them after I finished eating. This should not be delayed for too long.
The group surreptitiously returned to Lin'An Mansion and entered a five-storey high-official’s residence. He straightened his waist and raised his head.
You Shu was led to a small courtyard by two little girls to clean up, dry his hair and change his clothes. When he walked out from behind the screen, the table outside was full of delicious food and the smell made his index finger twitch. You Shu checked all the dishes and made sure it was not poisoned before he picked up the bowl and started feasting. After a few mouthfuls, he saw a gorgeously dressed Furen rushing in through the door, hugging him and crying, "My son, you’re finally back! Mother couldn’t eat and sleep these days for fear that you were suffering outside. Wasn't it just beating two Untouchables to death? What a trivial matter, mother will definitely let your father help settle..."
Blu:Untouchables - a special social class in hierarchical society that are lower than farmers, scholars, workers, etc. and cannot marry ordinary people. People under this category include prostitutes, slaves, servants, etc.
She shook the boy's shoulders while crying, but the boy was not disturbed at all, still holding the chopsticks tightly, swiping the food on the table quickly into his mouth, and even taking the time to make a few ‘um's and ‘ah’s as a response.
After listening, You Shu understood. This Furen's son was also called You Shu. Sme time ago, he saw a beautiful peasant girl and insisted on accepting her as a concubine. The girl had a staunch personality and refused to be a concubine, so she simply refused. "You Shu" threw a tantrum about wanting to marry her, but was strongly opposed by his parents.
"You Shu"’s father was a local Magistrate, not a big official, but he had a lot of connections and is the eldest shu son of the previous Premier. He was quite favored at home, but was ignorant and incompetent, so he did not pass the imperial examinations even after several attempts. His father exploited his position and power to find a real job for him.
Perhaps it was because he could get everything even though he didn't work hard ever since he was a child, he followed after his father’s example and was very indulgent to his son. What's more, he only married a wife and did not have any concubines. When his wife gave birth to a Di son, she injured her body and was unable to conceive anymore. "You Shu" became the only child of the Fu Magistrate and became more and more spoiled.
Since he was a child, he got whatever he wanted, so when he couldn't marry the girl he liked, he ran away from home in anger. Unexpectedly, he ran into the girl's village, but accidentally encountered the scene of the other party having a private meeting with her lover, so he fought.
In the chaos, "You Shu" accidentally pierced the boyfriend’s belly. In order to protect her lover, the girl jumped into the river holding him, not knowing where they were washed away to by the water. The girl's mother happened to come to look for her daughter, and when she saw this scene, she shouted "murder", then grabbed "You Shu" and refused to let go, and forced him to be sent to the local authorities.
As usual, his parents were able to easily settle such trivial matters. Unfortunately, there was a grudge between the new Governor of Lin'an Prefecture and the Zhao family, and in order to consolidate his power, he wanted to replace the few Magistrates under him with his confidants. The Gornernor had no excuse to play his hand, but when the "You Shu" murder case broke out, he immediately issued an official document to arrest this locally famous silk clothes official’s son.
Blu: silk clothes - rich family
"You Shu" was a cowardly person who was strong on the outside but inwardly weak. He broke free from the Furen's restraint and rushed away, not daring to enter the city or go home, so he could only go up the mountain. The family was anxious and searched day and night for six days, and finally caught You Shu who had returned from studying up on the mountain.
The table of dishes was swiped clean and the Furen almost cried. You Shu put down his chopsticks and prepared to explain to her, but unexpectedly a chubby and plump middle-aged man also rushed in, looping his arms around his neck and began to howl even more sorrowfully than the Furen, "My son, why have you gotten so thin? Daddy's heart is dripping with blood! Daddy has already written to Lao Taiye and asked him to come and save you. Even if I have to stake this official’s uniform, Daddy won’t allow anyone to arrest you! Are you full? Do you want to add more? This is not your usual portion!"
You Shu's thoughts of wanting to explain were again dispelled by what was said and he touched his stomach, "Then add some more. Sweet and sour pork, red braised pork, chicken fillets braised with brown sauce, braised pork with pickled plums, I want another plate of every dish I ordered, the others can be anything."
"Is there a need for you to say all this? These are your favorite foods, dishes you can’t do without." The woman saw that her son had a good appetite and finally smiled.
Even their taste was the same. Are there two people who are so similar in the world? Servants could mistakenly identify him, but the parents will never make that mistake. Could it be that this was a trap to swindle him? You Shu was alert, but there was no shortage of what he should eat. He slowly tested the couple and dug up a lot of information.
Their surnames were Zhao and Wang, and they came from distinguished families. In particular, Magistrate Zhao, whose father was the previous Premier, had retired from office for less than 3 years and was quite prestigious in the imperial court. Although Magistrate Zhao couldn't study well, he was proficient in general affairs. After he came to Lin'An Prefecture, he obtained a lot of achievements. Then half a year later, he will be able to go to the Capital to participate in the evaluation and he may be promoted further.
But at this critical juncture, his son provoked a major catastrophe and made his ten years of hard work go down the drain. If he was an ordinary person, he would definitely want to hang his son up and beat him at this moment, but Magistrate Zhao was a slave to his son and he couldn't even bear to scold him.
To be honest, if such parents were placed in the modern age, they will definitely be used as negative examples to teach us what not to do, but You Shu felt that they were very cordial. In the apocalypse, not to mention friendship, love was extremely difficult to obtain, even family affection was withered. Fortunately, his parents didn't abandon him like others did, but they usually didn't care too much about him and simply sent him to the research institute to make his own career.
When You Shu was bullied and humiliated by others, he dearly hoped that his parents would come over and hug him firmly. But they never did, not even once. They just stood far away and watched coldly. You Shu knew that they were doing it for his own good, because the nestlings protected by the wings of the eagle would never be able to withstand the wind and rain from the outside world on their own. Once they went out, they would face death.
But occasionally, he hoped to get a hug and a touch of warmth at night. That's why he involuntarily clung to the Master and then inevitably broke off relations with him.
Now, You Shu’s old problems have come up again. He was held tightly by the Zhao couple and he suddenly did not want to explain, and comforted himself, "Forget it, seeing how sad they are, I will stay for three more days. After three days, I will definitely explain it clearly and then help them find their son. If this is a scam, I can also look for clues and find out the mastermind behind the scenes."
Thinking of this, he became more at ease and actually lived with the Zhao family. After being led to the bedroom of "Zhao Youshu" by a small maid, he spread out the rice paper and wrote a letter about his safety to Song Shi, preparing to send it using express post tomorrow. Before going to bed, he thought for a while, then forced his mental powers into his eyes, checked his surroundings, and found a hanged ghost outside the window.
Blu: hanged ghost - ghost of a person who died by hanging
"Find someone for me and I'll give you a Yin Yang Vitality talisman." He took out a triangle-shaped talisman from his arms and shook it at the hanged ghost. The Yin Yang Vitality talisman contains the Qi of both Yin and Yang, which was a great tonic for ghosts. Taking one piece can be worth ten years of cultivation. This ghost should not refuse.
"You can see me?" The hanged ghost was surprised and looked around to make sure that no one was around.
"I have Yin Yang eyes." You Shu pointed to his eyes and asked again, "Yin Yang Vitality charm, want it?"
"Give it to me!" The hanged ghost turned hostile in the blink of an eye and rushed towards the house wrapped in evil wind and qi, but it uttered a miserable cry when he touched the sleeve of the young man's robe and only saw a flare of purple flame quickly envelop him. In the blink of an eye, the ghost was gone, leaving only a pile of ashes on the ground.
Burning to ashes in an instant, this was the power of the dragon essence? You Shu's eyes widened and finally let out a deep breath. Since that night, it was the first time he saw such a scene, that is to say, as long as it was not a big monster, he could instantly kill it.
Feeling excitement in his heart, he continued to look around and finally found a little ghost in the crack of the bricks.
"Find someone for me and I will give you a Yin Yang Vitality talisman."
"Sir, please spare my life! This little one doesn't want the Yin Yang Vitality talisman. Just speak who it is you are looking for and this little one will go!" The little ghost kneeled and kowtowed immediately, tears and mucus flowing down its face.
"Look for Zhao Youshu." Youshu directly threw the talisman over regardless of whether he wanted it or not.
The little ghost thought that the hanged ghost was burned to death by this talisman. Only when it held it in his hand, did it realize that it actually was a Yin Yang Vitality talisman. An unprompted feeling of happiness welled up inside it but it immediately swallowed it down. Then, it squeezed out to look for the person before stopping halfway: Isn't Zhao Youshu the sir himself?
There was another Soul Searching talisman hidden in the talisman. He wasn’t afraid that the other party would not come back after running away. You Shu laid on the couch and waited for news. When he felt bored, he picked up a history book and looked through it at random, then froze. He left in the first year of Emperor Zongsheng’s rule in the Great Ming Dynasty, but now it was the 22nd year of Emperor Zhongkang’s rule in the Xia Qi Dynasty. The Great Ming Dynasty became the Great Xia Dynasty, and Emperor Zongsheng became Emperor Zhongkang. And there were more than 600 years between them.
In other words, You Shu had transmigrated again and he even transmigrated with his body. Currently, his mind was blank and only one sentence couldn’t help but come to mind —— time does not exist in the mountains, the world has already seen thousands of years.
Blu: There are some corrections in this chapter, but Teh is having finals this month so I can't go over them with her. Sorry if there's a lot of errors. Also, still trying to work out the spacing.
Update: Edited. Ping me on discord if there's any errors.