Chapter 41: Third World (13)
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
When the little emperor was fifteen years old, Zhou Mo chose a lady of both good looks and family for him to marry. He did not hesitate to surrender his authority of the First Early Dynasty after the marriage and urged the little emperor to govern himself.
All the people in the court lost their color. It was totally unexpected that Zhou Mo had no desire for power, and the little emperor currently had Zhou Mo in the imperial study, looking at him and wondering what to say.
Zhou Mo smiled and spoke in a sincere tone, “This minister said earlier that he did all this not for himself, but for the people of the world. Your Majesty, you will be a good emperor, and this minister’s age is too old, my energy is no longer what it was in the past. It is time to return this Liang Dynasty to you.”
The little emperor licked his lips and looked at the strands of silver hanging by Zhou Mo’s ears. Thinking of his years of careful teaching, his voice choked, “The Regent cherishes the world, and I…It’s a sentiment…” After that, he stood up and gazed deeply at Zhou Mo, who taught him how to be an emperor ever since he was young. He did not disagree with the rites of disciples. “In the future, I may ask the Regent for more help.”
“This minister will do his best.” Zhou Mo hastily returned the courtesy and smiled again. “In the future, the word ‘Regent’ should never be mentioned again. Your Majesty is not trying to put me in an unjust place?”
The little emperor knew that he had lost his words and could not help laughing at his tears.
Having spoken to the little emperor for half a day, Zhou Mo finally completely discarded the heavy title of Regent. In the midst of his ‘acquaintance,’ the pro-government emperor would surely be grateful to him and take more care of him. He would not come to him for trouble for at least a few years, but Zhou Mo could really accomplish his task and enjoy himself as long as he watched the little emperor sit on the throne.
And things did develop according to Zhou Mo’s ideas.
The little emperor was educated by Zhou Mo with his heart. Naturally, the means were extraordinary. He soon began to work on various government affairs and did a good job.
Three years later, after returning the power, Zhou Mo threw another bomb over the early morning court again, saying that he was in bad health and hoped to resign. At the same time, Zhou Mo resigned from office, as well as from the Ministry of Industry with Bai Duan.
At this moment, Bai Duan had really engraved grace and calmness into his bones. In his youth, he only had a firm face and strong momentum when he was nervous. But after so many years of official training, he had learned how to put that unpredictable temperament at ease and change without surprise. Although he was not confused, Bai Duan was still known as the first beautiful man of the Liang Dynasty. Every move and even outfit would attract people, but no one could have the three-part style like Bai Duan.
He and Zhou Mo were beautiful, handsome and elegant; strong-boned and powerful, they were the most desirable men of Liang Dynasty who would never find a woman to marry. However, even if they became the spring boudoir dreamers of countless women, they showed the meaning of being half-married, and supporting each other until now.
Nowadays, even among the people, there were many anecdotes about them. Even their experiences of acquaintance were exaggerated several times by people who were very good with their imagination. They were then compiled into opera poems to praise their noble character, their contributions to the Liang Dynasty, and their share of happiness and suffering, their wealth and immovability and deep affection.
After many years, Zhou Mo and Bai Duan had become the mainstay of the Liang Dynasty. They promoted the revival of the Liang Dynasty and deeply engraved themselves in the hearts of the civil and military officials and the common people. The little emperor didn’t want to accept their resignation. After all, if he lost them, even the little emperor himself would have no idea what to do.
However, Zhou Mo and Bai Duan were resolute. The little emperor finally had to compromise after he failed to persuade them. However, he asked them to report their whereabouts to the court at any time. In case of trouble in the dynasty, the little emperor still had a place to ask for advice.
After agreeing to the conditions of the little emperor, Zhou Mo and Bai Duan finally resigned from office and traveled across the Yangtze River and the South hand in hand. They really made a fairy couple. They not only visited mountains and rivers along the way, but also appreciated the people’s livelihood. Once they met corrupt officials, they would punish them. They were grateful to the local people and even left many moving legends. Even those local officials who wantonly behaved because the emperor was far away also converged, fearing that at any time they would be touched by the uncertain Zhou Mo and lose their official position and their lives.
It wasn’t until they were too old to walk that they returned to Bai Duan’s homeland to settle down in the ‘craftsman’s homeland,’ and it quickly changed from a poor village to a prosperous town.
In this lifetime, Zhou Mo’s body had been damaged too much when he was young, so he did not live too long. He reluctantly left before Bai Duan. This was the first time that he left Bai Duan first ever since they had begun to reincarnate, but even though he was extremely worried about Bai Duan, he could not reach the limit of his life and could not force himself to change his life against the sky.
Before leaving, he insisted that Bai Duan live well, and not too sad in his next life… He would surely find him and follow him. After all, in the world they first met, Bai Duan committed suicide in front of his tombstone, and Zhou Mo was worried that Bai Duan would do it again.
Suicide, no matter from which point of view, was bad behavior, and it even harmed one’s own luck and soul itself.
Bai Duan did not believe in reincarnation, but only when his lover comforted him, no matter how sad his heart was, he could only cry, and smiled to show that he would take care of his body and never do anything silly.
Zhou Mo knew Bai Duan and knew that what he said would be done. Since he took care of him, he would certainly not make a fool of himself. That was why he closed his eyes with full anxiety and concern.
When Zhou Mo died, the whole country mourned.
The people spontaneously took the initiative to wear sackcloth and give filial piety, as if they were bereaved of their loved ones, and white paper money fluttered around the country. Even the little emperor, after learning the news, rushed to his hometown with several older emperors to pay homage and mourn at the Zhou house.
All of their old friends were very worried about Bai Duan’s mood and what irrational behavior he would do. But unexpectedly, Bai Duan looked quite calm. After dealing with Zhou Mo’s affairs in an orderly manner, he closed the door to his visitors, lived a simple life, and even received a few clever young apprentices, passing on his skills.
His lover had always been a vinegar jar, and did not like him to show excessive concern for others, and was more unwilling to have a third intruder in their world. So even if Bai Duan had been trying to accept a few disciples, it was helpless.
Apart from teaching his disciples, the most common thing Bai Duan did was to sit by a grave outside town.
Zhou Mo and Bai Duan’s mother were buried there, and his father’s clothes moved into a grave, and Bai Duan gave his disciples the location for his own burial after his death, which was also called ‘family reunion’.
For some reason, whenever he stood before Zhou Mo’s tombstone, Bai Duan always felt that such a scene seemed familiar. He seemed to have experienced such a situation, alone and sad, looking at Zhou Mo’s tombstone without knowing which direction to go…
Perhaps this was an illusion caused by his excessive sadness. Or perhaps he was seriously ill, as he thought about it day by day and had dreams at night. But in a word, Bai Duan always felt that such a scene was too familiar. The more he thought and recalled, the clearer the situation became. Even Bai Duan felt that he saw it in his dream. The angle to the tombstone was different from what it used to be.
Now he was standing in front of the grave, looking down, and in the ‘dream’, his perspective was…looking up? It was not kneeling or sitting in front of the tablet but looking straight up, it was the angle that really needed one’s head to be raised to see.
This ‘dream’ showed the way he leaned against the tombstone, looking up at the handwriting, and then…then he seemed to see Zhou Mo in a dazzling halo, coming towards him…
For these unspeakable fallacies, Bai Duan was puzzled, and finally had to blame the chaos of his dreams.
He chuckled and poured a glass of wine in front of the grave. He told Zhou Mo what he had done recently and how his disciples had been diligent and filial, “I don’t believe in reincarnation, but somehow, recently, I feel that I really have a next life, and I’m sure to meet you again.” After a pause, he sighed, “It’s really…”
When he got out the second glass of wine and put it to his mouth, Bai Duan’s eyes were slightly blurred, “If I have a next life, when will I go? You will not wait too long for me on Naihe Bridge and leave first right? Obviously, I often come to your grave to see you, but why don’t you come to see me like you always did in my dream?”
After that, he thought his request was a bit ridiculous. He gave Zhou Mo another toast with a slight hiss. Because Zhou Mo made him promise to live better, Bai Duan did not spoil his body. His diet and daily life were as usual, and his disciples also took care of him. However, his body and bones were not good since he was a child, and his mood was so depressed that he was unable to enjoy himself. Eventually, he became haggard and weak.
The disciples were very worried, but Bai Duan’s mood was slightly clear, and he even laughed about it for a long time.
The disciples were sad and could only weep and take care of their Master with all their heart. They did not know whether the Regent, who had a long-standing reputation but died young, should be respected or resented.
A few years later, on a warm afternoon, Bai Duan was found dead in front of Zhou Mo’s tombstone.
He leaned there, looking calm and smiling with the corners of his mouth, as if he were just sleeping. His disciples called him for a while, but could not wake him up. Then they suddenly realized that their Master had left and they started crying bitterly.
Following Zhou Mo’s death, the world was a plain place for Bai Duan.
In front of the nutrition cabin, Guan Wu watched Bai Duan and calmed down again before breathing a long sigh of relief.
White coat stood beside him with his hands in his pockets, frowning slightly, “What a dangerous thing!”
Bai Duan had his memories sealed again, but it almost began to loosen — what exactly was the stimulation?
Guan Wu gave a bitter laugh and supported the golden glasses on the bridge of his nose. “It’s because in this life I left first, he… Do you think he’s thinking of the end of life when we first met?”
The doctor beside him frowned. “Your little lover really likes you and has such deep feelings about your early death.”
Although Guan Wu was still in distress, he could not help but lift the corner of his mouth with pleasure, “That’s natural.”
The white coat could not see the appearance of this kind person. He just wanted to spit out poison with a few words again, but he was swept away because he did not want to ruin his mood. He suddenly swallowed his voice in his throat.
He felt his heart palpitate and touched the bruises on his face that had not yet faded. The white coat consoled himself by saying ‘the gentleman does not move his hand.’ He was a technician! How could he be compared with the actual fighters who had crawled around the world and practiced a messy life like Peng Wu?
Anyway, he was forbidden to call out Guan Wu. If he died early for many years, he had already made a profit. Well, it does make money!
“Will there be no problem with this memory reproduction? Do you need to reinforce the seal?” Guan Wu coughed lightly and drew back the white coat from his thoughts.
“It is suggested that we look at the situation first. It is better not to reinforce it all the time.” The white coat shrugged his shoulders. “Be careful about reinforcing it at the end. If he can’t remember exactly who you are, won’t you cry to death?”
“…You’re right.” Guan Wu nodded slightly. Although the words of this white coat were beaten down a little, he did point out what he was most worried about. If it was not necessary, Guan Wu did not want Bai Duan to forget him completely.
“Well, I’m going to the next world.” He stood up and signaled to the white coat.
The white coat gestured that everything was going well.
Guan Wu went to his nutrition cabin and sat down in it. He smiled and warned white coat, “Don’t give me any trouble this time!”
White coat looked at Guan Wu’s ‘like a spring breeze’ smile. He felt that he was starting to feel pain all over again. He nodded his head and raised his hand with a smile.