After spending what seemed like six months in the mountain, apparently, more than six hundred years had passed when he came down. Even the experienced You Shu was terribly frightened. He felt a little sleepy earlier, but right now he was wide awake. He took the whole set of historical records off the shelf, looked carefully at each page, and finally determined that this was not an illusion.
"I can't go back anymore?" Thinking of those people six hundred years ago, You Shu felt a bit upset. Although the master hated him, the several life-saving graces were not fake, and the reason why he could live safely to this day was entirely because of master’s, the master's…...
Thinking about this, You Shu’s face reddened slightly. He picked out the part in the historical records about Emperor Zongsheng and read it carefully.
The court scribe wrote, Emperor Zongsheng was undoubtedly the greatest Emperor of the Great Ming Dynasty. His iron cavalry traveled all over the nine provinces and wiped out seven kingdoms, allowing the east and west side of the continent to unite smoothly and without any obstacles. During his reign, he never closed the city gates, nor did he have a night curfew. The common people were always honest and did not lock their doors at night, and life was wealthy and stable. During his lifetime, he had personally led his troops into battle 17 times and was said to be invincible in battle. He was also called the "Emperor of War”. When the enemy generals heard his banners fluttering in the wind, they would flee in overwhelming fear.
He worked hard to govern and strengthen the nation, and initiated great causes for the Great Ming Dynasty. However, he never married and never left a son or a daughter. According to historians’ guesses, the reason why he did this was because he injured his roots during a battle with a barbarian in the West frontier. Fortunately, he didn't place too much importance on blood relations, and he had no obsession for imperial power. He actually adopted 18 children from the imperial clan as heirs and cultivated them carefully.
However, when he died, he did not leave an edict on who his heir was and did not leave any last words. The princes who had grown up fell into internal fighting, split a powerful dynasty into nine small countries, and continued launching civil wars for years on end, the fighting never ceasing. Since then, the Great Ming Dynasty disappeared, and it was replaced by the era of the nine countries contending for hegemony. The nine kingdoms all claimed to be the direct descendent, annexed each other, and became the current five countries.
And the current Xia Qi Dynasty is one of the more powerful of the five countries. The country's lord regards himself as the descendants of the Ji family and boasts about restoring his ancestor's imperial hegemony.
On the last page of the annals of history, the author left a sentence filled with emotion: How sad and magnificent the Emperor Zongsheng was, achieving great things in exchange for a lifetime of solidarity!
In the grandiose and magnificent text, among the accomplishments that surpassed the ancients and amazed contemporaries, it seemed that there was unexplainable sadness and regrets hidden within.
You Shu closed the history records and sighed. The master's life was very good, but it also seemed that it was not too good, but no matter what, his master would never want him to stay by his side. It was said that the Emperor was distrustful, and one day, his ability will become the trigger that would destroy the relationship between the two. Instead of reaching that stage, it was better to part when they were the most intimate. If he thought of him one day, those fears and doubts might have dissipated, and those good memories may be exchanged for a gentle smile.
Thinking of the handsome smiling face of the Master, You Shu’s eyes turned red, but soon disappeared. Immediately after, he thought of Song Shi and flipped through the historical records. He didn't have any hope at first, but he didn't expect that her name was actually on it. The master treated her very well, not only did he give her a title, but also looked after her and arranged a proper burial when she died. It was precisely because the master personally organized the sacrificial ceremony on the day of the burial that the historian added Song Shi in, otherwise ordinary noble ladies like her would never be eligible to be included in the annals of history.
You Shu was very grateful, but also a little sad. He threw the letter that he wrote about himself being safe into the brazier, burning it, hoping that Song Shi could see it down in the Nine Springs. He had no doubt that everything he had experienced was not an illusionary hoax. People could play tricks, but ghosts were not likely to cooperate with them.
When he met the servants of the Zhao family, he discovered that the clothing of these people were very different from those of the Ming Dynasty. The cuffs were tightened, the hemlines were short, and the overall style was closer to that of Hufu. The same goes for the ghosts and monsters. The changes in clothing can best tell the changes of the times. He remembered the time when he was going back with the master to the Capital, they had also passed through the Lin'An Prefecture, but the people back then didn't wear clothing like this. The phenomenon of changing clothing trends before a year has passed may happen in modern times, but it was impossible in the closed off and conservative ways of ancient times.
You Shu took out the bank notes hidden in his undergarments, feeling extremely annoyed. Times have changed and all his wealth has now disappeared into thin air, he has also now become a penniless pauper of unknown origin. Although the Xia Qi dynasty regarded itself as the true descendant of the Ji clan, it was obvious that the authorities would definitely not recognize the household registration and travel permit from six hundred years ago.
No silver, no identity, no travel permit. His dream to eat food from all over the world had fallen through. You Shu scratched his head, how could he always be so unlucky?
Just at this time, the little ghost came back and awkwardly asked, "Daren, who did sir ask this little one to look for again? This little one might have heard it wrong."
"I want you to find Zhao Youshu." You Shu returned the historical records back to their original place one by one.
"But, is sir not Zhao Youshu? Or would sir like this little one to find a ghost doctor for you?"
You Shu, “......”
Silence filled the room for a while, then You Shu spoke again, "No matter, find a few things for me. Three coins of cinnabar, one gecko, and twenty fireflies. I want it now."
The small ghost repeated the instructions to himself for a while, and then disappeared after he remembered it firmly. A short time later, a black cat entered holding a gecko in its mouth, and many fireflies were herded by the wind into a glass bottle on the table. Finally, the small ghost came out from the crack in the wall and passed over an oil paper bag.
At the same time, You Shu was not idle. He had searched the room for some time and finally found a few hairs under the pillow. He crushed cinnabar and fireflies into powder and mixed them into a paste, then burned the hair into ashes and sprinkled it in. The end product was a weird liquid that glowed dark red. Fortunately, Zhao's family was the home of officials and had a map of the entire Lin'An Prefecture, making it more convenient to find missing people.
He spread the map on the table, dipped a brush in some liquid and drew an array on the Lin'An Prefecture. When the last stroke fell, the faintly shining circle suddenly brightened, and then quickly extinguished.
It was done! It was the first time You Shu drew the Tracing Array, but he didn't expect it to work so quickly. He immediately pierced the gecko's abdomen with a needle, took out a drop of blood, dripped it into the center of the array, and muttered an incantation. The blood did not penetrate through the paper, but rolled up into a bead. After a few breaths, it stopped at a certain position on the map and then turned into a small arrow.
You Shu looked intently, the blood bead shockingly stayed in the Zhao Mansion, and the arrow was indeed pointing at him. How could this be? Was the array wrong? He didn't believe it and tried again, but the result was still the same.
The little ghost stared at him. Although daren’s magical power was strong, it seemed like his mind was not used much. He’s looking for himself. There’s no one else.
"This is not accurate, change to another." After trying for another five or six times, You Shu finally gave up. He wiped the blood bead clean, then took out a piece of white cloth, and quickly modeled it into the shape of a little person with hands and legs, and hid a few hairs in the little person's stomach area.
After doing this, he paused and asked, "Do you know Zhao Youshu's Eight Characters?"
Eight Characters - one’s birthday for astrological purposes
The little ghost was not a servant of the Zhao family, but was the servant of the previous, previous, previous master of this mansion, and has been dead for fifty to sixty years. On the day the Zhao family moved in, he began to wander into every room, and he also watched Zhao Youshu grow from a tiny child to a young man. How could he not know where his Eight Characters were?
"Lord, wait a minute, this small one will go to your mother's room to look." The little ghost ran a few steps, then turned back to give an obsequious smile, "Don't worry daren, this small one won't run into Furen."
After a while, he brought back a piece of rice paper. You Shu took a look and couldn't help but frown. Strange, except for the year being different, Zhao Youshu's birth date was actually the same as his, and the specific time was also about the same.
Was this another coincidence? But how could there be so many coincidences in the world? Although You Shu was feeling hesitant in his heart, he still folded the Eight Characters into a triangular packet, stuffed it into the puppet's abdomen with the hair, and placed it in the center of the array. He changed to another incantation and after he chanted for a bit, he saw the little cloth doll suddenly stand upright, walking on its small legs.
This time, it was not about looking for the person, but to have Zhao Youshu himself to walk back home. If he was not far away, he would reach here in a few shichen. However, You Shu miscalculated once again. Whenever the little person took a few steps, he also took a few steps, and then he stopped when he involuntarily hit the edge of a table.
The little cloth doll also seemed to be obstructed by something, its small legs continuing to march on, but it still just stayed in place, unable to move. You Shu could only helplessly follow it and continue bumping into the edge of the table.
He stopped reciting the spell when his waist was bruised black and blue, there was a complicated expression on his face. Multiple spells were used and they all indicated an incredulous conclusion —— Zhao Youshu seemed to be himself? But how was it possible? He was on the mountain six months ago.
Yet, how could it be impossible? He was in the mountains for 6 months, but apparently more than 600 years had passed in the world! In this unpredictable world, what strange things will not happen? You Shu tried to explain this phenomenon with theories of space folding, time jumping, and twenty-six dimensional space, but in the end he made himself more confused.
The little ghost was also confused. He has never seen anyone trying to find themselves with such fervor, willing to cast spells eight or nine times before being satisfied. Daren, did you think your life was so boring and you wanted to have some fun?
You Shu was not looking to have fun. On the contrary, he was feeling extremely vexed. However, he was the kind of person who was flexible about things. Today's worries will never be brought to tomorrow. It was very late, so he’s going to just wash up and then sleep. He cleaned up his things, blew out the candles, and fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
The little ghost stood speechless for a moment and then quietly escaped.
The next day, You Shu woke up to a big scene. He saw a group of bailiffs with swords confronting a group of servants holding sticks outside in the courtyard, while his new father and mother blocked the door, yelling, "If you want to take my son away, then you can only do it over my dead body!"
They were already here to arrest me? Yesterday, when You Shu discovered that "Zhao Youshu" was involved in a criminal offense, he had no sense of urgency. At the present, You Shu realized that he was probably "Zhao Youshu" himself. Only then did You Shu’s head suddenly become clear and he ran barefoot to the door to look around.
Magistrate Zhao and Wang Shi hurriedly hid him behind their backs, not even allowing him to show his head.
The bailiffs did not dare to offend the Zhao family, but they did not dare to disobey the order of the Governor, and said awkwardly, "Zhao daren, you’d better hand over your son as soon as possible. The governor daren has already written the account book. If you are bending the law to help your kin, he will have to report this to the higher ups. Not only will your son suffer, you will not be able to keep your official uniform as well!"
The rotund Magistrate Zhao immediately took off his official’s hat and yelled, "Not handing over means not handing over. Even if I don’t want this official’s uniform, don’t even think of taking away my son!"
This was simply too unreasonable. He was even a county Magistrate! The bailiff was feeling quite contemptuous inwardly and when he wanted to continue persuading, he heard a pleasant voice coming from the room, "Well, what crime do you want to arrest me for?"
"Naturally for the crime of homicide!" The bailiff was rudely said.
"When arresting people, especially the sons of officials, one must have conclusive evidence. Have you found the corpse?" You Shu not only read the history records last night, but also read up on the laws and regulations of the Xia Qi Dynasty. Knowing that an official’s family enjoyed privileges, under the premise that there was no conclusive evidence, they would never be arrested and sent to prison. This was the advantage of being in a privileged class in the feudal dynasty.
The bailiff went silent for a moment, "The body was not found, but we have the testimony of the deceased's mother."
"One-sided remarks cannot be completely believed. Then, isn’t it okay for me to sue her for the crime of slander and blackmail? Without a corpse, there is no way to prove that a person is dead. If a person is not dead, then what qualifications do you have to arrest me? Go back, I want to have breakfast." You Shu poke a head out between Magistrate Zhao and Wang Shi.
The bailiffs were angry and anxious, but couldn't say anything else, so they could only leave resentfully. Magistrate Zhao and Wang Shi hugged their son and praised him in an exaggerated fashion.
He had the crime of murder put on his head, but his parents still shielded and indulged him with to no end. If it were in the modern times, they would have been exposed and cursed to death, but You Shu didn’t feel that there was anything wrong with it. He grew up in the apocalypse and he did not have a morally right and wrong perspective or a ‘correct’ sense of justice. Not only did he not think that the Zhao couple was wrong, but he also felt it was completely natural. If you really loved a person, then no matter what fault he/she commits, it was probably worth forgiving, right?
You Shu has never loved anyone nor has ever felt that he had been loved. His parents in both his lifetimes were indifferent to him. Suddenly meeting the Zhao couple who infinitely pampered him, he felt extremely comfortable and very happy. He thought, ‘Why not stay here until he found "Zhao Youshu"?’. There was nowhere else to go anyway.
Soon he discovered that the Zhao family was indeed heaven. Breakfast was bountiful. There were only dumplings but there were 5 to 6 different kinds. Soup-filled dumplings, steamed dumplings and pan-fried dumplings were all placed close to him. Finally, the maid also brought a dish of red braised pork.
When eating with the Master, this was a dish that was never allowed for breakfast because it was too greasy.
You Shu love to eat meat and wanted to eat it all the time. There was no shortage of meals, but under the pressure of the Master, he had to develop the habit of eating lightly in the morning. But now that there was no one bothering him and the Zhao couple were also very indulgent, small dimples appeared on each side of You Shu’s cheeks and didn’t disappear. He ate to his heart’s content till he felt that the food he had just swallowed had reached his throat, and finally stopped, lying back in the chair burping. Wang Shi smiled and helped her son rub his belly, while Magistrate Zhao told his servants to look after the young master and strolled to the yamen by himself.
The days spent in the ZHao family were comfortable and carefree, but You Shu had not forgotten the important matters. "Zhao Youshu" still has a criminal charge on him and he has to find a solution, otherwise he might be arrested and sent to jail. According to Xia Qi Dynasty's laws, murderers must pay with their lives, and though the children of officials have reduced sentences, they must still be banished away for thousands of miles.
Places of exile were mostly remote and bitterly cold. Doing hard labor wasn’t anything much, the key point was not having enough to eat! The moment You Shu thought of the feeling of hunger, he became scared. After the food was digested, he quickly returned to the front courtyard and looked for the little ghost. "Go and help me find two ghosts, new ghosts, one is called Sun Xique and the other is called Fang Sheng. They were the villagers from the Sun family who fell into Luanshui River. If they’re dead, they should be wandering near the river. If you can't find them there, find out their Eight Characters and if you can, bring back some strands of their hair." When he finished speaking, he passed over a Yin-Yang vitality charm.
The little ghost was very happy when he got the charm and went out to inquire about the news. He originally had fifty to sixty years of cultivation and under the blessing of two talismans, it has advanced another twenty years. He was also considered the No. 1 ghost in the Lin'An Prefecture. There were naturally many younger brothers under him to order around.
Within half a day, he hurriedly returned and said, "Daren, this little one has searched Luanshui River up and down and found no signs of any ghosts. They are probably not dead yet. Here, this is what you want." He presented two pieces of paper with a few strands of hair in each.
If the people were not dead, then things would be easier. You Shu felt confident, he waved his hand to dismiss the little ghost, and took out the liquid that was leftover from last night. He took one hair, burned it and mixed it into the liquid, re-drew the array, then dropped two drops of gecko blood to cast the spell. The bright red blood beads rolled together quickly, and finally halted on a mountain called the Yao Mountain Range at the border mutually shared by the Lin'An Prefecture and the Huzhou Prefecture.
You Shu quickly looked through the archives and found that the area of the Yao Mountain Range was very large, and was inhabited by beasts, which makes it not an ideal hiding place. One of these two was a weak woman and the other was a scholar who didn’t even have the strength to truss a chicken, he was even wounded. How could he have survived in Luanshui River? Furthermore, their physical condition would have been dire after they landed ashore, but instead of quietly returning to the village to seek help from their families, they ran into the mountains. Were they running away or courting death? Perhaps they were afraid of being found by Zhao Youshu, but there was another possibility, that was, someone was secretly helping and ordering them to frame Zhao Youshu.
If they were hidden to the point where their shadows had also disappeared, the authorities will naturally have thousands of reasons to bring justice to the murderer, and the Zhao family will also have to be involved in this.
You Shu realized that the situation was serious and was about to have the little ghost go find them, but a few servants ran in from outside. Without another word, they carried him on their shoulders and ran to the back corner door, while hurriedly saying, "Young Master, it’s not good, two corpses have just been found. The officials are on the way now and they are almost here. Furen asked us slaves to send you to the Capital without delay. Lao Taiye will naturally protect you.”
"How did mother know that the bodies were found?" You Shu asked stoically.
"Of course it is because someone in the yamen reported it!" The servant was very anxious.
The crime of running away would add more severity to the situation. If they go to the Capital, even the Lao Taiye of the Zhao family will have to get involved. Those two people were clearly not dead, but yet their "corpses" were found. Even if You Shu was beaten to death, he wouldn’t have believed that there was no scheming.
The person behind this didn't want to deal with "Zhao Youshu", instead they desired the destruction of the Zhao family using "Zhao Youshu" as a hostage. This was no longer mere blackmail, but a struggle in the imperial court. You Shu wasn’t truly simple, rather, he just didn't want to think about too many tedious things. However, if these tedious things were life-threatening, he would be more sharper and resolute than anyone else.
"Let me down! I'm going to surrender, all of you go to Yao mountain range and help me find Sun Xique and Fang Sheng. Listen, they are not dead, after finding them, take them to court, and I can get out of this trouble." You Shu jumped down from the shoulders of the servant and gave them thorough commands. Wang Shi ordering them to send him to the Capital at this critical juncture showed that they were the ones who can be used in the family. It should be no problem to leave the matter to them.
He took out two Yin-Yang vitality charms from his sleeve and shook them at the empty air. He ordered, "Take them to find them. When they are successfully brought to court, these are yours."
The servants looked at each other, not knowing who the young master was talking to. The little ghost between them nodded happily, eager to go. There were many ghosts and monsters in the mountains. Information travelled quickly and he didn’t have to worry about not being able to find them.
You Shu put away the talisman and ran to the front courtyard. He had practiced his skill to escape for two lifetimes. Others naturally couldn't catch up. When the servants ran to the main hall, the young master had been arrested and escorted away, while the Furen was sitting on the ground and crying. In their despair, they finally remembered the young master's explanation before leaving, and quickly organized manpower to go looking for people in Yao Mountain Range.
You Shu’s family background was illustrious and he has delicate skin and tender flesh. The Governor never tortured him, not to mention that his target was not the young master. Although it was a pity that the other party failed to escape to the capital without authorization and that the entire Zhao family has not gotten involved, he could only let nature take its course. He was waiting, waiting for the Lao Taiye of the Zhao family to intervene. Then, he could make matters worse. The Zhao family was well established in the dynasty, and when the roots are firm, the branches flourish. However, the branches flourished to the point that it blocked the way of many people. It was time to pull it out.
Magistrate Zhao was indeed a slave to his son. Knowing that his son has been arrested, he lost his reason. He begged his father to come forward, his tears and snot staining the letter. He would rather abandon his official uniform, would rather suffer his body being cut to pieces, in order for his son to be safe and sound. Zhao Lao Taiye had been in office for three dynasties, boasting himself as being the wisest in the world, but was repeatedly defeated by this eldest son. If he was not spoiled so much when he was young, how could he develop such a disregard for the overall situation and recklessly throw a temper tantrum?
Now, what the Zhao family wanted to preserve was not his official uniform, nor the life of Zhao Youshu, but their century-old reputation! This was a matter he couldn’t care about! Even if the father and son were both convicted, he could not care about this. The old man spoke, and several younger brothers in the family also resolutely opposed it, they also complained about that good-for-nothing family.
Zhao Lao Furen struck the table and said, "In the end, their surname is Zhao, even if we have a disagreement, we are still related. If someone impeaches Laoye, the crime of not teaching one’s son strictly would kill Lao Er’s and Lao San’s careers. Laoye, currently, you can only separate the family. When the dust settles, you can interact with them again and protect them from dying. It’s still counted as being meticulously virtuous and attentive to duty.”
Lao Er and Lao San were both also Di sons. Zhao Lao Furen was naturally closer to these two, and she also deeply hated the concubine’s family. She wanted to separate them from the family for so long. If Lao Taiye had listened to her then, they wouldn't be suffering from such a disaster now.
Lao Er and Lao San sighed at the right time, as if in great difficulty, then looked at their father eagerly.
Zhao Lao Taiye has been wiping his eldest son’s ass for a lifetime. Feeling quite weary in his heart, and also very anxious to learn that many imperial censors were preparing to impeach him recently. He thought for a moment, and finally waved his hand, "Let's not mention the matter of dividing the clan for the time being. Let's see how things go first. The Zhao family will not intervene in this matter and will let the authorities handle it impartially. This old man will write a booklet admitting my error and asking for punishment. Lao Er, present it to the Emperor for father."
Lao Er said "Father works too hard", but he was inwardly very dissatisfied with his indecision.
The Governor received the letter from Zhao Laoyezi. Seeing that his words were sincere and there were no loopholes, he thought in his heart, Old ginger is still spicier. He was even able to abandon the son he loved the most the moment he said to abandon him. Of course, they didn’t expect to destroy the Zhao family in one fell swoop, but being able to pull out the Zhao family’s senior branch was also considered a win.
Magistrate Zhao had been in office in Lin'An Prefecture for ten years, and was particularly proficient in general affairs. His Majesty the Emperor has been paying attention to him for a long time. After returning to the Capital to report on his duties this time, he was likely to be transferred to Yangzhou to serve in the office of the Lianghuai Salt Transport Envoy. That salt was the lifeblood of the country, and brings with it great power and heavy profits. Not only does the top keep a close eye on it, the few princes below also eye it covetously, fighting openly and maneuvering covertly. Magistrate Zhao was not a seamless egg, naturally there were opportunistic people who would find the chance to get him to drop.
You Shu not only became the scapegoat for "Zhao Youshu" when he returned this time, but also took the thunder for Magistrate Zhao. He was indeed an unfortunate child.
Blu: Lmao, poor Shu Shu. All he did was breathe and all sorts of trouble came running to him like a magnet.