Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Hearing him ask about Fuxian Lake, He Yu couldn’t help but smile and sighed. “It’s solved, but it’s a pity that we can only cure the symptoms but not the root cause.”
“What do you mean?” Dong Zhi didn’t seem to understand.
He Yu said, “At first, we thought that it was because there were demons at the bottom of Fuxian Lake that accidents would happen frequently due to the overflowing demonic aura. Later, Kan Chaosheng discovered that there was a small hole in the ghost city at the bottom of the lake. The demonic energy continued to leak out from there, affecting the corpses, turning them essentially immortal for thousands of years and eventually corrupting them.”
Several people got into the car as they were chatting. When He Yu said this, others began listening intently. Li Ying asked, “Where does the small hole lead?”
He Yu: “This is the tricky part. We don’t know! Lakes and streams are connected to rivers that lead to the sea. Most water veins in the world are connected underground. This hole is located at the center of the lake, so it’s difficult for ordinary people to dive in. After Kan Chaosheng changes form, he’s too large, so he couldn’t fit through it. We could only seal it temporarily for now and hope there’ll no longer be accidents.”
This does sound quite troublesome. Group Three had also sacrificed a colleague for this. Listening to He Yu’s words, they could imagine what kind of thrilling excitement was happening at the bottom of that lake at that time.
Gu Meiren frowned and said, “Can you apply to a branch by yourself? I’m able to play my flute at the bottom of the lake. I might be able to help if I can go into the water to explore.”
He Yu smiled and said, “The above has its own arrangements. You don’t have to think too much about it. Let’s just drink now. How about we go karaoke tonight?”
Li Ying and the others were not familiar with He Yu, but since Dong Zhi knew him quite well, He Yu didn’t put on any airs. He chatted enthusiastically with everyone else.
Dong Zhi said, “No, I haven’t seen Longlong since I came back. I have to accompany it tonight.”
He Yu was inexplicable. “What the hell?”
But he soon knew the answer. It was an ordinary white cat that Dong Zhi had actually named Longlong.
He Yu gave a thumbs up. “Brother, how brave of you. Does the boss have no issue with this given name? Does he even know?”
Dong Zhi felt a bit guilty. “At that time, he was right next to me. I asked him to help, but he couldn’t think of a name. I couldn’t either, so I came up with it at random.”
Later, he felt that it wasn’t good to go with it, but the name had already come up, so he could only bite the bullet and name it so. Anyway, Long Shen had fed it several times before, allowing Longlong to survive, so this could be considered fate.
However, when Dong Zhi saw the white cat running towards him the size of a large circle, he couldn’t help holding his forehead and groaning.
“Lao Zhong, how on earth did you feed it?”
Zhong Yuyi pointed to the cat bowl, which was not much smaller than the washbasin, and said innocently, “I was afraid I’d forget to feed it one day, so I’d just pour a lot in so it could eat as much as it wants.”
Longlong still remembered Dong Zhi. It ran to his feet and plopped down with a thump, revealing its white belly. Dong Zhi was overwhelmed by all its cuteness at once and hurriedly squatted down to rub its belly. In any case, this chubby cat was much better than the little pitiful stray when he first came.
While his face was calm when Kan Chaosheng saw Longlong, inside he wasn’t happy. Everyone was playing and teasing the cat, and no one was paying attention to him, so he turned into a big yellow cat and broke into everyone’s field of vision. He jumped onto a stool and meowed proudly at Longlong.
He Yu laughed out loud without any regard to his face. “You’re a dignified Jiao who’s about to turn into a dragon. Isn’t it embarrassing to compete with a cat?”
Hearing this, the big yellow cat exploded its hair, rushed towards He Yu, turned back into a human form in mid-air, and landed steadily.
“Who’s fighting for favor? I’m cuter than it! Can it turn into a person? Can it talk?!”
Witnessing Kan Chaosheng changing his form into a human from a cat, the white cat stepped back in fright with a blank expression on its face.
Kan Chaosheng said angrily, “I don’t care. You will get rid of it immediately. There’s only one cat allowed here, and that’s me!”
He Yu teased, “You’re jealous of a cat. Do you know how old you are?”
Kan Chaosheng’s eyes flushed. “Anyway, you just like it more than you like me!”
He turned around to leave, but Dong Zhi hurriedly stopped him, and said nicely, “It is definitely not as cute as you, but if I don’t keep it, it’ll have to wander outside. God has virtue for all living things. These kittens and puppies have a very short life span. It’s impossible for them to cultivate into hundreds of thousands of forms like you. You don’t want to commit sin and kill life, right?”
Kan Chaosheng’s face hesitated. Seeing Longlong looking back at him innocently, he said in a deep voice, “Then you can’t value it more than me!”
Dong Zhi laughed. “That’s needless to say!”
As expected, Kan Chaosheng’s temper quickly came and went, as he forgot everything in the blink of an eye and went to chat with Zhong Yuyi.
He Yu called Dong Zhi to the corridor and whispered, “He’s a three-hundred-year-old Jiao. He hasn’t seen his parents since the boss found him. Converted to human age, he’s about a ten-year-old child, so he occasionally has a temper like them.”
Dong Zhi suddenly understood why Kan Chaosheng acted so immaturely. He always thought that he was an old monster that just had a young appearance and the vicissitudes of life in his heart!
He hesitated for a moment, but still couldn’t help asking, “My Master, is he not a human being either?”
He Yu gave a look of surprise. “You have worshipped him as your Master, but he hasn’t told you yet?”
Dong Zhi shook his head.
He Yu: “Then why don’t you ask?”
Dong Zhi said embarrassedly, “I’m afraid it’s too presumptuous and it’ll make him unhappy.”
He Yu rolled his eyes. “You are so caring to the boss, so why are you not so kind to me? The game package that was agreed just now, you’re not allowed to go back on it. Think about how much money I just saved for you from Kan Chaosheng!”
The corners of Dong Zhi’s mouth twitched. “I got it. I got it. I’ll buy it!”
He Yu hugged his arm. “Dad!”
Dong Zhi: …What about your integrity?
“What are you doing?”
Long Shen’s voice came from behind him. He Yu turned his head, and the corners of his mouth twitched.
“Boss, why are you always stealthy? When there’s no sound, it’s quite frightening. You can scare people to death!”
Long Shen raised his eyebrows. “If I hadn’t come over, I wouldn’t have known that you had recognized me as your ancestor.”
Since he was Dong Zhi’s master, and He Yu had just called Dong Zhi dad, then it was only right that Long Shen become He Yu’s ancestor.
He Yu laughed. “It’s just a joke with Little Dongdong!”
Long Shen: “You still have the strength to fool around? Has the report been written? Is the PowerPoint ready?”
He Yu covered his heart. “Boss, my leg is broken. Do you want my heart to break too?!”
Long Shen said lightly, “Before you finish your report, if you dare play games, I’ll have to make sure to re-train you during practice.”
So cruel! He Yu took a deep breath.
Dong Zhi inwardly laughed. He finally realized that the original reason why Long Shen had bought the game in the first place was so he could monitor He Yu.
He Yu changed his mouth faster than turning a book page. “I like writing reports the most! I want to write reports all night. I am passionate, hungry, and thirsty for reports! Bye.”
He limped for a few steps, then turned his head around, made an orchid finger, and lengthened his tone like that of a mother’s and said, “Long, Long!”
Long Shen: ???
He Yu gave him a goofy smile. “The name of the cat!”
Before Long Shen could attack, he escaped at an incredible speed, limping faster than the speed of a normal person.
Dong Zhi wanted to laugh but didn’t dare to, for fear that Long Shen would remember that he was the culprit who came up with the name. Not wanting the anger to be blamed on him, he hastily said, “Master, He Yu wants to have a meal together and go karaoke. Would you like to come?”
Long Shen: “It is not advisable for you to stay up late now, so don’t go out to eat.”
Dong Zhi: …
“But I haven’t had any cooked meat for half a month. Can I have hotpot tonight?” He whined.
“Within this month you need to eat less oil, salt, and meat. One meal in the morning. One meal at noon. No food after lunch.” Long Shen’s tone was unquestionable.
Is this the experience of having a strict master?
Facing this question online, Dong Zhi typed down the answer that he exchanged with blood and tears, word by word: [It’s a feeling of pain and joy because it shows that he cares. Before that, to him, you were probably a stranger who didn’t even deserve a look from him, so while happy, you also suffered from his strict requirements. If you have to describe it in words, it’ll be the desire to be immortal but also to die.]
Seeing him sitting cross-legged on the sofa with the laptop in his arms, Longlong let out a meow, jumped on the sofa, and sat down beside him. Its body had changed by leaps and bounds, and even its face had become round, which felt particularly fleshy to touch.
As Dong Zhi petted its soft fur, he moped, “We will be assigned in a week. If I can’t stay in the General Administration Bureau, I’ll have to go to a branch office. Will a time ever come* where I’ll be able to confess to him?”
*Full saying is year of the monkey (猴年马月) month of the horse. Idiom referring to the years to come (AKA until who knows when).
The cat looked silly, and his reflection was reflected in its round eyes.
Dong Zhi: “Do you think I’ll have the chance to make Master my boyfriend in my lifetime?”
The white cat thought he was talking to it, so it followed with a meow while rubbing its head against Dong Zhi’s knee, indicating it wanted pets.
Dong Zhi tickled its neck while holding its head as he pondered.
“Am I being too impatient right now? After all, it hasn’t been long since I started studying under him. It should take a while for Master to slowly get used to my existence. Would it be better to wait for an opportunity to act? However, He Yu said there seem to be quite a lot of people who like Master, so I’m afraid I’ll miss my opportunity if I start too late…”
As he was talking to himself in distress, suddenly his phone lit up. It turned out to be his old friend who was studying abroad and hadn’t contacted him for a while.
The other party sent their greetings: [Bro, how are you doing?]
It also had a kiss emoji attached.
Dong Zhi couldn’t help laughing and replied: [I just came back from my training, so I haven’t contacted you recently. I’m okay. I see you are in a good mood. Have you come out of the shadow of lovelornness?]
Old friend: [How did you know? I really found another spring. How are you? You told me last time that you like your leader. What stage is it now?]
Dong Zhi: [I’m studying under him, and my leader has become my Master.]
Old friend: [Ouch, shit! I haven’t been back to China in a long time, and that kind of stuff is popular now? Teacher and apprentice play!]
Dong Zhi: [Fuck you! You were on the verge of life and death before, but you suddenly defected to a new relationship so quickly?]
Old friend: [Hehe, you don’t understand this. The best way to heal a relationship is to start a new relationship. This time I was chased by her, and it was a beautiful overseas girl! I’ll send you photos later, but then again, you can only look. Who told you to never date?]
Dong Zhi: [If you attack me personally again, I’ll blacklist you.]
Old friend: [No, no, I was wrong! Let’s talk about it. To what extent have you two reached? Last time you said that you admired and respected him, I thought it was a joke. Who knew that you were being real? But don’t be discouraged. Isn’t this great? Everything is always difficult in the beginning. Since he’s willing to give you an apprenticeship, it shows that he’s also interested in you!]
It’s not great at all. When he read this, Dong Zhi only became more frustrated: [He accepted me as his apprentice because he thought I’m hardworking and diligent, so I’m worthy of his training. Though I like him very much, I also respect him as a master.]
Old friend: [Oh, you have an Oedipus complex*!]
*Sexual desire for one’s parents.
Fuck off with your Oedipus complex!
Dong Zhi replied angrily: [You, as a layman, don’t understand this kind of feeling at all!]
Old friend: [Understand? Don’t you just respect and love him? Not only do you admire his spirit, but you also think about his body.]
This made Dong Zhi speechless, as it was an appropriate description.
Seeing that Dong Zhi didn’t reply for a while, the old friend said proudly: [Oh buddy, how amazing it feels to see you like now when you always look down on others! What are your plans now? Even if you want to take it slowly, you still have a process in place, right?]
Since he had just witnessed how awesome his brother was, Dong Zhi poured out all his troubles and told the truth: [Of course it would be great if I could get there in one step, but my leader and Master are usually very serious. I’m afraid he’ll not be able to accept it, even if we didn’t have this master-disciple relationship. Also, if he decides to be merciful, it’ll still make everything awkward between us in the future!]
The old friend asked: [Do you think he treats you differently from other people?]
After thinking about it carefully, Dong Zhi leaned towards yes. At least in terms of accepting him as a disciple, it showed the Long Shen viewed him differently. After all, he shut out Liu Qingbo. There was also the incident of going to the antique shop. Uncle Qian told him that he was the first person Long Shen had brought to the shop, and he was the first to be given a sword.
Although this didn’t indicate that his Master had any special feelings for him, it at least showed that his position in his Master’s mind was indeed special.
After listening to him, his old friend replied: [How can a normal man be single for so long? There must be something fishy about him. Either he has emotional purity*, or he may be gay like you. I think the latter is more likely!]
*(感情洁癖) It refers to the cleanliness of one’s emotions, whether physical or mental. People who are like this have a high view of love and pursues a long-term stable relationship. Thus, once something is deemed “unclean”, it can leave a psychological shadow on that person.
The corner of Dong Zhi’s mouth twitched: [I’m also a person with emotional purity, okay? Who can change girlfriends all day long like you?]
Old friend: [Well, let me teach you a few tricks. One is called throwing stones and asking for directions1, and the other is attacking east and west2.]
1(投石问路) Metaphor referring to testing something to see if there’s a response (AKA testing the waters). Can also refer to temptation.
2(声东击西) Idiom referring to deceiving your opponent and winning by surprise. It spawns from a strategic thought where you claim to attack from the east, but you actually attack from the west.
Dong Zhi: [What the fuck!]
Old friend: [When I hear this kind of tone, it seems you don’t respect me. Is this the kind of attitude you should have when asking others for help?]
Dong Zhi: [Okay, okay. Big brother, grand uncle, please speak!]
The old friend began talking earnestly: [Tests the waters, that is, beat around the bush. Ask him about his thoughts on love. Give them gifts and such out of the blue. Show off your good points at appropriate times and don’t fall behind on rescuing them when they’re in distress.]
Dong Zhi: [I’ve already tried that. I’ve even thought about turning raw rice into cooked rice*, but his drinking capacity is better than mine!]
*Reminder: It refers to what’s done is done and you can’t turn back the clock. Basically, in this context, he’s saying he thought about maybe getting Long Shen drunk and having sex, but Long Shen can hold his liquor better than him. In this context, I think he’s saying it jokingly (or else it comes off as really rapey).
Old friend: [Then create a diversion! Get a girlfriend, boyfriend or something, to stimulate him and make him aware of how he feels about you.]
Dong Zhi: [What if he doesn’t feel anything for me?]
Old friend: [You are too difficult to deal with. Then just go up to him and kiss him and say you want to date him. What about that? Can you do it?!]
Dong Zhi imagined Long Shen’s reaction as he became petrified by these words and couldn’t help laughing. The cat, who was napping on his thigh, was startled awake.
He texted his old friend: [I don’t think your methods will work, because you don’t know him at all. Forget it. I just started my apprenticeship, so I’ll take it seriously and learn some skills first. Anyway, he’s a single dog, so I don’t need to worry.]
The old friend replied to him: [Don’t be happy too early. Judging from your description, I think your competition will be quite fierce.]
Dong Zhi thought the other party had such a crow’s mouth*. When he knocked on Long Shen’s office the next day, he saw a large bag of things and various transparent lunch boxes on the coffee table that were quite exquisite.
*(乌鸦嘴) Refers to a talkative and annoying person who has a stinky mouth (has nothing good to say).
He joked, “Master, someone has come to bribe you?”
Long Shen didn’t lift his head as he took a pen to sign the document. “Li Han’er sent it.”
Dong Zhi was taken aback. “Who?”
Long Shen said, “Li Ying’s younger sister.”
After that, he raised his head. “You wouldn’t have met her. She studied on Mount Longhu. This time, she was ordered by her teacher to go down the mountain to gain experience.”
Dong Zhi pretended to be nonchalant. “You two know each other well? I have never seen you accept other people’s things so casually before.”
Long Shen glanced at him. “Haven’t I also accepted your potted plant?”
Dong Zhi smiled and said, “That’s different. I’m your apprentice, your closest person in the world, right?”
Long Shen thought he was taking the opportunity so he could get some food. “If you see something you like, just take it.”
Who is Li Han’er? Suddenly, Dong Zhi remembered. At that time, he was preparing to add Long Shen to his WeChat friends at the foot of Mount Hezao, He Yu pretended to be this Li Han’er. Long Shen, however, recognized his scheme immediately.
When he thought of it like this, he suddenly had a bad feeling. Both he and He Yu thought that Long Shen just had discerning eyes, but it seems that it may be because Long Shen was familiar with Li Han’er, which was why he was able to see through He Yu’s ploy.
Seeing him just standing there, Long Shen made a strange expression. “What?”
Dong Zhi said tentatively, “Master, am I going to have another teacher* soon?”
*[Shi niang] (师娘) Refers to the wife of one’s master.
Long Shen frowned. “What are you thinking in your head?”
Dong Zhi pointed to the pile of things on the table. “Isn’t this from Miss Li?”
Long Shen: “I confiscated it. She put it down and left.”
So, this is… the meaning of falling flowers is intentional and flowing water is ruthless*?
*(落花有意，流水无情) Metaphors for the twists and turns of love between a man and woman. One side is affectionate, while the other side has no such intention.
Dong Zhi struck while the iron was hot. “Master, tell me what you want to eat. Even if I can’t cook it, I can buy it for you. Why bother to take outsiders’ things? I remember you don’t like receiving gifts.”
Long Shen said, “I originally wanted you to take a two-day break before teaching new things, but since you’re so lively, do you want to learn it in advance?”
He can learn something new? Dong Zhi’s spirit was instantly refreshed. “I’m fine and ready to learn!”
Long Shen took out a talisman from the drawer. “Put this on. It’s similar to the last one, but it also has the effect of calming your mind.”
The last soothing talisman he got from Long Shen was ruined by the water when he was underground in Yinchuan. Dong Zhi took the talisman and joy blossomed in his heart. He boldly took the opportunity to confirm, “Master, I won’t have another teacher for the time being, right?”
He just wanted some assurance that he had enough time to turn his Master into his boyfriend, but Long Shen didn’t seem to understand. Instead of giving him an answer, he said, “Do you know where you will be assigned?”
Dong Zhi was taken aback. “Aren’t I staying at the General Administration Bureau?”
Long Shen shook his head. “Everyone will have to go to a branch office this year, so no one is staying in with the General Administration, and it’ll be for at least one year, until the probationary period has passed. Then it’ll depend on the situation.”
Many things could happen in the branch office. Most of the time, they weren’t too serious and could be very trivial or mundane, such as unsolved cases encountered by the prosecutor’s department, but which couldn’t be explained scientifically. This stuff would be pushed to the branch office. In a serious case like the events on Changbai Mountain and Yinchuan, the General Administration would take over.
Long Shen said, “It’s good for you to stay in a branch for a period of time. You need practice and experience right now.”
While Dong Zhi knows this is the truth, still…
He couldn’t help but say, “Isn’t this too long of a separation between us?”
Long Shen arched his eyebrows. “The young eagle’s wings are hard, and it will be released sooner or later. What’s the problem?”
Dong Zhi shook his head honestly. There wasn’t a problem as he understood Long Shen’s intention. The leaders, including Long Shen, hope that they will go out and take the initiative to cultivate their ability to solve problems independently rather than having someone guide them every time.
One can never achieve great things if they only follow others. Only by exploring on your own can you raise yourself to become a leader.
Dong Zhi, who could only draw, originally had no ambitions, but now, for Long Shen, for his own ideals, for the oath he made in front of Zhou Yue and Xing Qiaosheng, and even the tombstone of his predecessor, he must take that step forward bravely.
Long Shen said, “Go and get the Changshou Sword and wait for me on the rooftop.”
The others who had joined were overjoyed, but when it came to Dong Zhi, he still had to continue to practice hard. His name was now associated with Long Shen, and going forward, this had a binding effect. Even an Archfiend couldn’t defeat Long Shen. When others hear the name of Long Shen’s disciple, they would only think that such a famous teacher would produce excellent students. Dong Zhi didn’t want other people to think that he came through the back door and didn’t deserve his name and would inadvertently make people laugh at Long Shen for his lack of vision. The only thing he could do is try to catch up to his Master’s footsteps.
He didn’t wait long on the rooftop, as Long Shen arrived soon after. Since his apprenticeship, this was the first time that Dong Zhi had been taught a unique skill by Long Shen himself, so he couldn’t help but have high expectations in his heart.
Long Shen said, “Since we were in a rush in the cave before, there was no apprenticeship ceremony, so we didn’t conduct the proper rituals. Just worship the heaven and earth here and pay your respect to me.”
Dong Zhi was taken aback for a moment. Without a second thought, he knelt without saying a word and kowtowed three times to heaven and earth, then bowed down in front of Long Shen.
“In this life and in this world, the disciple Dong Zhi regards Long Shen as his teacher. He must love and respect him with unswerving commitment. If there is any violation, may heaven strike me down!”
Long Shen didn’t stipulate that he should swear, but this was his way of showing his respect under the eyes of heaven. It was also part of Dong Zhi’s ploy, as he put some intentional words in. On the surface, it didn’t sound strange, as Long Shen nodded and asked him to get up.
Dong Zhi smiled and said, “Master, I took an oath. Shouldn’t you also make one as well?”
Long Shen looked at him confusingly.
Dong Zhi said, “You have to swear to take good care of me and never abandon me as an apprentice. Otherwise, if I make a small mistake one day, and you expel me from your school, what should I do then?”
Long Shen: “…I won’t do that kind of thing.”
Dong Zhi looked at him pitifully, but Deputy Director Long’s heart was made of stone and was unmoved.
“Today I am going to teach you a skill called Bu Tian Gang.”
The author has something to say:
I admire his spirit but also miss him. Well, that’s an accurate summary.
So this is why the novel is called this.
I have just finished one of my projects, Your Rival in Love Gets Prettier Every Day, and started a new one. This is a danmei with a western fantasy setting. If you enjoy the supernatural and fantasy elements of Bu Tian Gang, you should check out my newest project: Stray.