Whoa, chapter forty! We’re one-third of the way through now!
Wenren Heng had always indulged his Junior Brother, so after hearing their decision, he gave them his affirmation.
The Junior Sect Masters were originally already somewhat aware of Sir Xiao’s capabilities, and upon hearing Wenren Heng also saying such things now, they felt even more certain that the idea could work. As for Sir Ding and the Junior Alliance Leader, more than the Sir Xiao who suddenly appeared out of nowhere, they were more willing to listen to Wenren Heng’s judgment, and they became excited the moment they heard this. Although they loved to play around, they also had the desire to “live up to their old mans”. They hadn’t anticipated that there would be a turning point the moment that they arrived; this was practically the will of the heavens!
Full of anticipation, they wanted to go meet the flute player at once.
Ye You reminded, “She’s being watched by Shaolin. Normal people can’t get in.”
Sir Ding assertively waved his hand. “No problem. It’ll be fine if I just say a word to my dad.”
Ye You laughed and asked, “What has Sir Ding prepared to say?”
“I’ll just say that I…” Sir Ding suddenly stopped and quickly thought back.
That’s right, what should he say? It couldn’t be that he’d have to say, “Old man, I’m good at coaxing young ladies, so let me try and coax her with some flirting”? With his old man’s temper, it’d be strange if he wasn’t killed on the spot!
The Junior Alliance Leader had also thought of this point. He first met the gazes of his good friends before cautiously looking again at Wenren Heng, hoping that this incredible Sect Master could propose a solution.
Ye You laughed and said, “Let me go and ask.”
“You?” The two young sirs’ expressions were skeptical.
“Yes, I have a way. Let’s go,” Ye You said, placating, before turning around and leaving the small pavilion.
Wenren Heng naturally followed his Junior Brother, and Wei Jiangyue and the Junior Sect Masters also followed close behind. Sir Ding and the Junior Alliance Leader were still half in disbelief, but they decided that desperate times called for desperate measures, and followed the procession.
At this time, those who had left to eat outside had not yet returned, but the Abbot, the Alliance Leader, and other illustrious personages were all present. And, fortuitously, they were currently together discussing business and, upon seeing everyone entering, looked over.
Upon seeing his own wastrel of a son, the first thing Pavilion Master Ding did was frown. “Why did it take you this long to arrive?”
Sir Ding had cleanly stowed away his own philandering air and had changed into a seemingly steady and reliable young man.
He was dressed plainly and standing perfectly straight, and with his face tense, he seemed somewhat similar to Pavilion Master Ding, with his dignified air the same as his dad’s usual appearance.
He said, “Replying to Father. There were some urgent matters on the road, so I was delayed.”
Pavilion Master Ding asked, “What kind of urgent matters could you have?”
Sir Ding didn’t miss a beat and said, “Halfway here, I met an aunt who twisted her ankle, so I carried her back to town for medical attention. And afterwards, I also met an uncle who had his money stolen, so I helped him look for his things for many days, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to find anything. Seeing him look quite pitiful as he cried, I gave him my own travel expenses. And after that, I and…”
“That’s enough.” Pavilion Master Ding gestured for him to stop, completely disinclined to listen any further.
“Yes, Father,” Sir Ding said insipidly and obediently stopped speaking.
Everyone acted as if this appearance of his wasn’t strange at all, and their expressions showed not the slightest change. As an “amnesiac”, Ye You first looked at him in slight astonishment before turning and asking the Abbot if it was possible to meet the flute player to try and uncover some more information.
The Abbot naturally didn’t have any objections and made to take the other over.
Ye You said, “No need. If the elder is also present, I’m afraid that she’d be scared. Why not just let some of these young sirs accompany me.”
Although the Abbot, Pavilion Master Ding, and the others weren’t clear on his intentions, none of them opposed him, causing both Sir Ding and the Junior Alliance Leader to be dumbfounded. They thought that these unreasonable people aren’t even asking him what he wants to do before simply agreeing? Their old mans really liked playing favorites!
With disbelieving faces, these two followed the others out, and it was only after taking a few steps did they realize what they were about to do. It might possibly even be the turning point in their lives, and in the future, their old mans might actually have to treat them much more pleasantly. They couldn’t help taking in a breath, and they were so anxious that their hands were even shaking a little.
Shaolin had always treated people generously. After her internal energy had been sealed, Li Hua had her bindings loosened and had even been given a meal.
She had been locked in Shaolin’s discipline room, and only a small window was visible high up on the wall. It certainly counted as a place where one had to reflect on one’s misdeeds.
When Ye You brought everyone inside, she was currently leaning against the wall, hugging her legs, huddled on the bed. Upon hearing the sound of the door opening, she vigilantly turned to look at them, and after she clearly saw who was in their midst, something briefly flashed through her eyes.
Sir Ding and the Junior Alliance Leader quickly entered the fray and walked forward, using a soft voice to say, “Young lady, did we scare you? Don’t be afraid, we’re not bad people. If you feel wronged, tell us, and we’ll definitely seek justice for you.”
“That’s right, we’re…” The Junior Alliance Leader suddenly paused and hesitantly stared at her. “Have I met you somewhere before?”
The moment these words were said, everyone was startled.
Even Ye You was somewhat surprised.
He knew that the white piece had been keeping an eye on him recently, so he originally called these young sirs over simply to obscure the facts while conveniently finding something for these young sirs to do. Ordinarily, if he brought them over here a few times, no matter what else happened, he’d still be able to divert the white piece’s attention for a bit. He hadn’t thought that he’d get some actual results.
The Junior Alliance Leader was slowly reminiscing, and upon seeing everyone stare at him in bewilderment, he fiercely waved his hands. “It’s not what all of you think; it has nothing to do with my old man. I’ve seen her somewhere else. What about you, Ah-Lai?
Sir Ding was blank, and he wanted to take a closer look, but Li Hua lowered her head, refusing to acknowledge them. Sir Ding didn’t pay much attention to such things, and he also didn’t care about ‘the propriety between men and women‘. He simply pinched her chin and lifted up her head.
Li Hua, “…”
Sir Ding sized her up for a while and said in surprise, “Hey, it really does seem like it.”
Wei Jiangyue asked, “Where was it? She said she lives at the small county town at the foot of the mountain.”
“It’s not here. Somewhere so close to Shaolin, we wouldn’t come if we didn’t have business here.” Sir Ding dropped his hand and, after thinking deeply, said, “Where was it…”
Li Hua shyly said, “This young one has never been outside the county town. Hasn’t young sir recognized the wrong person?”
Sir Ding stroked his chin. “I feel as if you’re more and more familiar. Say a few more words.”
“…” Li Hua immediately stopped speaking.
At this time, the Junior Alliance Leader remembered and said, “At Xiangxing City, the male brothel!”
Xiangxing City wasn’t considered too far from the small county town at the foot of the mountain. If one was fast enough, then one could get there in a day. If this woman really did live in the small county town year-round, then it was indeed possible to go there to look around. But the Junior Sect Masters’ first reaction was to stare strangely at these two young masters, thinking in their hearts that weren’t you two always going to those spring houses? Did you change your tastes recently?
“What Xiangxing City? I’ve never been…” Li Hua hurriedly denied the statement, but before she could finish, Sir Ding had patted his forehead and said, “That’s right, it was there. When we passed by the entrance, she was just coming out. There seemed to be a guest inside, looking and chasing after her from behind. The two even pushed and pulled for a while, and I also helped out a bit. At that time, she was also wearing masculine clothing, so I truly didn’t recognize that she was a woman.”
“Oh…” Everyone was enlightened. Apparently, they had simply passed by.
Ye You said, “Since she went to a male brothel, she must have had a goal.”
Everyone’s expressions changed, and they also felt their hearts beating wildly.
This flute player was one of the white piece’s subordinates, so if they followed this trail, perhaps they’d be able to uncover the white piece, and bring to justice Bodhi Prison’s ten-plus years of tragedy! And henceforth their names would rise in Jianghu!
Wei Jiangyue also lacked a certain amount of calm, but his reason remained. He asked, “Are we going to tell the Abbot and the others?”
“Tell them for what?” Sir Ding and the Junior Alliance Leader were immediately unwilling. It was only after much difficulty that they had finally been able to feel this proud and accomplished.
The Junior Alliance Leader said, “The white piece is still in hiding. If we speak, isn’t that just like alerting the enemy to our intentions?”
Sir Ding skeptically said, “Second Brother Wei, are you afraid that your dad is the white piece and so want to leak some information?”
Wei Jiangyue coldly said, “What nonsense are you saying?”
“Then why are you in such a hurry to tell them?” Sir Ding asked.
Lingjian Pavilion and Fengxian Manor had always been at odds. While he and this person’s relationship hadn’t deteriorated to the point that they were constantly in opposition, over the years, he had been criticized many times by his old man because of this person, and just thinking of it gave him a bellyful of anger. Now that he’s finally found an opportunity to give this person a taste of his own medicine, he was so excited that light shone from his eyes.
Wei Jiangyue said, “I’m afraid that it’d be dangerous.”
Sir Ding said, “What is there. I’ll just say that I’m going out to play, and I’ll get my old man to lend me some people from ‘Moon’s Shadow’. My old man has that kind of face every day, and I always hear about how I need to do good, so he definitely couldn’t be the white piece.” After he spoke, he looked towards Wenren Heng and Sir Xiao and asked, “We can’t speak of this matter, right?”
Ye You said, “It’ll definitely alert the enemy to our intentions.”
Sir Ding then looked at Wei Jiangyue, pleased to death with himself. “You see!”
Wei Jiangyue had a mind to argue with him but also felt it would be too childish and so simply shot him a look, refusing to respond. Seeing the other falling silent, Sir Ding felt that if he was a peacock, then he’d definitely be happy enough to display his train right now. This time, Wei Jiangyue was too lazy to even give him a glance and instead looked towards Sir Xiao. “Want to go to Xiangxing City?”
Ye You asked, “Which of you have been to a male brothel?”
Wei Jiangyue said, “I haven’t.”
Sir Ding and the Junior Alliance Leader also hadn’t, and the majority of the Junior Sect Masters hadn’t either; only a few had gone before.
Wenren Heng was listening on the side and had already guessed what his Junior Brother wanted to say. The only thing he felt was a burst of helplessness.
Sure enough, in the next moment, he heard Ye You say, all smiles, “I’ve been before. Let’s go, I’ll take all of you there.”
Sir Ding asked, “Isn’t it the same as going to a regular brothel?”
Ye You spoke complete nonsense with a deadly earnest face, “There’s still some differences, so it’s better to be a bit more careful. We’re going to investigate something, so it’d be bad if we accidentally misstep.”
Sir Ding and the Junior Alliance Leader fiercely nodded their heads. “Yes!”
Even if all of you were going in without any prior knowledge, it wouldn’t matter, since in any case, male brothels have had these kinds of people enter before, Wenren Heng thought in his heart. Seeing his Junior Brother look at him, he then said, “I’ll go with you.”
Ye You sincerely advised, “Senior Brother, just now I wanted to say that since you’re not interested in such things, you don’t need to come, truly.”
Wenren Heng looked at him tenderly. “Hm?”
“We can discuss this matter when we get back.” After these words, Ye You confirmed the particulars with Sir Ding and the others, explaining to them what they should say to their family members, while also conveniently going to say a word to the Abbot that they didn’t learn anything useful. Then, they scattered.
Wenren Heng patiently accompanied the other up until they returned to their room. He closed the door and turned to look at this Junior Brother of his.
Ye You asked, curious, “Sir Ding is always like that when he’s in front of Pavilion Master Ding?”
Wenren Heng pretended that he couldn’t tell that this was an obvious ploy to divert the conversation and gave the other an explanation.
Pavilion Master Ding had been married for many years before he had this one son, so the entire family spoiled this child rotten.
The old madam was so happy that she named him Ding Xilai, and as a filial son, Pavilion Master Ding didn’t object. And although Pavilion Master Ding usually rarely looked after him, he was still harshly disciplined whenever the other found the time. At first, Ding Xilai would still go and find the old madam to complain, but in the end, it not only didn’t do any good, it also made his dad even harsher in teaching. And so after all this time passed, Ding Xilai simply got into the habit of putting on this kind of appearance in front of his dad.
Ye You understood.
Wenren Heng asked, “Why aren’t you letting me come along?”
Ye You considerately said, “Aren’t I doing it for your sake?”
Wenren Heng returned with another question, “When did I say that I wasn’t interested in such things?”
Ye You was immediately surprised. “Senior Brother, could it be that you also like men?”
Wenren Heng used his previous words against him and calmly said, “If all of them looked like you, I wouldn’t mind trying it out.”
Ye You carefully turned these words over in his head twice, and he indeed couldn’t hear any teasing ridicule from them. He thus smoothly followed with, “Then why not try considering me?”
Wenren Heng said, “All right.”
Ye You looked at him closely, wanting to see if he was simply joking, only to hear him follow immediately with, “Since it’s like this, from today onwards, don’t go visit brothels right under my eyes. I’ll go with you.”
So you talking in circles was really just for this reason? Ye You said, “It’d still be better if you stayed behind.”
Wenren Heng said, “Reason.”
“Since the matter with Bodhi Prison was exposed, the white piece should’ve made his next move, but we haven’t received any news up until now,” Ye You said, “I have a sort of premonition that that move is almost here. And since the black piece sent that person over, he’s definitely considered the possibility of us not being able to get any information from her. Right now, I’ve lost my memories, so I’m not clear on what my accomplice will do. And even more, I don’t know to what degree I’m involved with this matter. So during the time I’m gone, you can stay here and watch the righteous faction and help restrict them for a while so as to not let the white piece find out that we’re investigating Xiangxing City’s male brothel.”
Wenren Heng looked at him. “The white piece currently has his eye on you. You can’t conceal that you’re going to Xiangxing City from him.”
Ye You said, “I understand, but Xiangxing City isn’t far from here, so when the person who’s following me realizes where I want to go and finds a method to notify the white piece, by the time the white piece is able to relay instructions to those in Xiangxing City, it’ll already be too late.”
Wenren Heng said, “You aren’t afraid that he’ll take the opportunity to move against you?”
“You can send people to protect me in secret,” Ye You said, “And what’s more, you can’t forget that I still have some subordinates here. When I leave, they’ll definitely follow me.”
Wenren Heng looked at him, and was not at all reassured.
Ye You said, “How about it?”
Absolutely not, Wenren Heng thought.
But he understood this person too well, and even a physical obstruction would be of no use.
Ye You raised a brow. “Senior Brother?”
Wenren Heng was silent for a long while before finally saying, “Stay safe.”
Ye You lifted up the corners of his mouth and was obediently about to answer that he knew when he heard this Senior Brother of his add another sentence, “If you get even the slightest injury, you can’t expect me to ever let you leave from now on.”
Ye You, “…”
Then should he hope to get injured, or to not get injured?
 男女授受不親 A quote from Mencius, actually, about how men and women aren’t supposed to touch hands when exchanging gifts.
 響杏城 lit. echoing apricot city.
 青樓 This actually just means “brothel”, but I translated it literally since I wanted to differentiate it from “male brothel”. (In Chinese, they’re completely different terms, in case you’re wondering, but English doesn’t have a specialized term for ‘brothels for male sex workers’, while Chinese does.)
 丁喜來 This is a super cute name omg. The 喜 for happiness/joy and the 來 for come/arrive, so his name means roughly “joy has arrived”. Not gonna lie, when I first saw this name, I was like, “What… so… cute…”
Man, Sir Ding is really cute… I really like idiots like these… So gullible…