Don’t Be a Kept Man
Chapter 131: Not a Young Master Anymore
Xiao Feng Wu didn’t like the feeling of being controlled even if the system technically didn’t lead him into traps.
Bright and early the next morning, he headed back to Hui Chun Tang1.
Qin Ming Yue could guess what he was doing and thinking that it was at least better than doing nothing, he didn’t stop him.
After yesterday’s events, Jiang Ping An came back again, this time bringing with him half a kilogram of pork and two jugs of alcohol to repay Xiao Feng Wu; the latter of which Qian Lang-zhong happily took and immediately shook off the responsibility of manning the store.
“Doctor, I really must thank you.
If it were not for you and your expert skills…… My mother could have been gone.
I owe you my life.”
Jiang Ping An wanted to bow his head on the ground a few times, but De Gui pulled him back up every time he tried.
Xiao Feng Wu himself was by the counter grabbing some medicine and using some rope to tie it up, he casually passed it over to Jiang Ping An as he said,
“This can help settle down the blood pressure.
Boil with three bowls of water.
When your mother has finished the batch, come back here with her and I’ll take a look again.”
Jiang Ping An very respectably received the package and gave an acknowledgement.
Before he left, he kept saying a bunch of courtesies.
Perhaps it was because of what happened yesterday that business wasn’t that slow today.
Quite a few citizens poked their heads in, and when they saw Xiao Feng Wu manning the store, there would be one or two that would walk over, queuing up to ask him for a diagnosis.
When Xiao Feng Wu lifted his eyes to see the next patient, he saw a fairly chubby man standing in front of him.
He reached up to stop whatever the other was saying as his gaze swept up and down.
He said as he examined the other,
“……A chubby body, dark purplish lips, uneven breathing, face dark and gloomy without a hint of light, looks like some sort of heart pain.”
And then spotted some oil stains on the man’s clothing and continued,
“You like to eat meat.
You will have to cut it out of your diet, otherwise that pain in your chest will become even worse.
When it worsens, your organs will ache in pain, expanding out from the chest to the back.
You may be able to stomach the pain if it’s light, but it wouldn’t be unexpected if it could worsen to the point where your life is lost.”
With each word that Xiao Feng Wu spoke, the brighter the man’s eyes got.
At the very end of his words, the other was even more excited and emotional as he tugged on Xiao Feng Wu’s hands,
“Ack oh! Amazing! Miraculous! How did you know that I have pain in my heart.
You must save me, save me!”
Seeing that the man’s clothes were pretty good quality, Xiao Feng Wu thought that the man must have a good family background.
He pulled away his hands and used a handkerchief to clean them before laying his fingers on the other to take his pulse,
“Half a diao2 for an examination.
I’ll give you a prescription, and you can go to the counter to retrieve what you need.
Take it a few times, and when you’re done, come find me.
Note that the medicinal fee is not included in the consultation fee.”
This wasn’t considered expensive when compared to Qian Jin Tang3, and it was quite acceptable on its own.
Without hesitation, the man handed over the money, which Xiao Feng Wu stuffed into his sleeves, and then went over to the counter to grab his prescription.
Seeing the next patient’s eyes sagging, in a state of darkness and without much energy, like a starving, lanky monkey with the stench of smoke wafting from his body, Xiao Feng Wu didn’t show much enthusiasm nor did he move to go near him.
Xiao Feng Wu lifted his eyes and asked,
“What do you want me to look at?”
The patient yawned and lazily said,
“My mouth’s bitter, always tasting some foul odor.
Whatever I eat, it always tastes dull.
Can you take a look at what’s wrong with me.”
“I can smell it from a mile away.
Stick out your tongue and let’s see.”
Xiao Feng Wu used a white handkerchief to cover his nose and moved his face closer to see the other’s tongue before quickly retreating back.
He thought in his heart that being a physician was really not the occupation for him.
He reached out a few fingers to take the other man’s pulse before saying,
Your tongue’s all yellow and thick, especially around the edges of your teeth.
This is called damp poison.
There are also dark spots on your tongue, which means that besides your lungs and intestines, there is thick blood in your stomach, at least ten years or more.
When the wound acts up, you get insufferable pain and you bloat up like a pregnant woman.
You’ll have to undergo acupuncture.”
Chinese medicinal arts requires the eyes, ears and mouth to see what illness a person has, but even just from their face, it could be guessed quite approximately what was wrong.
The patient subconsciously rubbed his tummy upon hearing Xiao Feng Wu.
His mouth blew up into a big grin, showing off his yellow teeth as he said,
Guessed it all without a mistake.
I had been stabbed by another man long ago.
It’s been an old wound.”
In the apothecary, there were quite a few patients lining up, and as they curiously watched Xiao Feng Wu act like someone who was good at the job, they all thought, what an interesting mystery.
Someone who recognized him said,
“Aiyah, isn’t this Xiao Feng Wu.
Why are you here? Xiao Tai-ye had once been the imperial physician for the imperial court, and with his skills that good, just a few needles in and you won’t even need to eat any medicine before your illness goes away.
Even the previous Emperor had complimented him.”
At this time, it was a rare and special case for you to do something that gets you up close and personal to the imperial family, or related to them in any way.
For privacy, Xiao Feng Wu pulled down the curtain to perform acupuncture on the smoker.
He knew where the points were, but to avoid any accidents, he pulled out a diagram, and poked down as he checked.
Seeing him like this, the smoker began to break out into a cold sweat and he didn’t dare move,
“You you you…… are you a doctor at all! How could you not know where the acupoints are? You still need to read a book?!”
With one hand holding onto the book and the other poking down, Xiao Feng Wu’s expression was very calm,
“Reading does not mean that I do not know where the points are.
There are some who don’t read and that doesn’t mean that they would know where the acupoints are…… Don’t move.
If I poke down on a death point, I can’t save you.”
There were still patients out there and one of them had open sores all over his tongue, almost overflowing with blood.
De Gui looked around the curtain and asked Xiao Feng Wu,
“Sixteen, how long are you going to take?”
Xiao Feng Wu didn’t even bother to lift up his eyes,
Call your master for that guy.
I can’t treat him.”
De Gui asked,
Xiao Feng Wu replied,
“I don’t want to.
As a human being living on this earth, he was truly a waste of oxygen.
Always thinking: acupuncture was too tiring, diagnosing and treating patients as too disgusting; only wanting to lie at home in comfort, free as he could be, doing nothing as his ideal dream.
Xiao Feng Wu thought, he wanted to earn at least 500 taels within a year.
It was not a lot, but it also wasn’t a little.
Just enough for a family of three to live on.
When he earned enough, he’ll make that system scram, leave his eyes and never bother him again.
Hearing him, De Gui’s eyebrows furrowed and he plaintively asked,
“A physician should have a mind and heart that’s willing to treat those in need.
How could you…… how could you not treat someone, just because it’s disgusting.”
Xiao Feng Wu had been smiling, but for whatever reason, he was suddenly emotionless,
“Who said that a doctor must save other people.
Quite a few have killed too.”
De Gui shivered in fear from his expression, and he could only mumble a few words before going to get Qian Lang-zhong.
There weren’t any patients in the afternoon.
When Qin Ming Yue stepped through the doorway, he could see Xiao Feng Wu resting his body over the table, giddily counting money.
With a scattering of copper coins, he flipped them around and around, counting them over and over; a nonstop sound of clashing metal ringing out.
As the upkeep of Hui Chun Tang had not been maintained for a very long time, each movement he made would shake up the dust.
Qin Ming Yue used his sleeves to cover up his nose, but that only highlighted how out of place he was with his delicately sewn clothes.
With a complicated expression on his face, he sat in front of Xiao Feng Wu and dropped his sleeves down,
“You came to this kind of a place to become a disciple?”
Seeing that it was him, Xiao Feng Wu smiled in joy,
“This place isn’t that bad.
Why are you here?”
Qin Ming Yue took a look around, “Since you know the art of practicing medicine, why don’t I open a store for you.
Anything’s better than being cooped up in here.”
The system silently emerged again, turning into a blue ball of light, stopping right by Xiao Feng Wu’s hands and whispering:
[ My dear, you can’t be a kept man…….
Xiao Feng Wu directly lifted his hands and heavily slammed them down.
The ball of light lightly shimmered before disappearing into thin air the next moment, as if it had never appeared.
Just as Xiao Feng Wu was considering whether he should kill this harmful piece of work, Qin Ming Yue was shocked.
His face went through many different emotions, and he glowered at Xiao Feng Wu,
“If you aren’t willing, then say it.
What are you getting mad at me for!”
Xiao Feng Wu thought, who was not willing, he was more willing than anyone else on this earth, and he was just about to say something when the voice of that unbanishable system rang out again.
[ This is your first warning for daring to assault the system.
The second time will be an electric shock punishment and the third will be to take away your life points, please host, be respectful!!!!!! ]
Not dead yet.
Xiao Feng Wu didn’t care about him, and held onto Qin Ming Yue’s incredibly white wrist and said,
“I wasn’t mad at you.
There was a bug on the table just now.
Where do you feel uncomfortable?”
Qin Ming Yue’s face warmed up,
“I don’t have an ailment.
I just came by to see you.”
Xiao Feng Wu took a look at his pulse anyway,
“Your body’s freezing up4 and your internal organs are full of old wounds.
You will need to take care of them, or you will not have a long life.”
It was his own body, so he more or less knew, and Qin Ming Yue took back his hand,
“I already have a short life by knowing you.”
Most likely it was due to how good looking Qin Ming Yue’s lips and teeth were, like an angel from the sky, but De Gui had been laying on the counter and poked his head out to look for a while.
Seeing that Xiao Feng Wu was smiling as he spoke, without any expression of impatience, he thought that they must have a good relationship.
De Gui shyly and awkwardly asked,
“Sixteen, who is he?”
Xiao Feng Wu didn’t raise his head to say,
De Gui’s eyes widened,
Qin Ming Yue’s mouth subtly tugged up and his eyes swept over, not quite in a perverted way, saying to Xiao Feng Wu,
“It’s quite late.
Come back with me.
It looks like it will rain soon, and no one will come give you an umbrella later on.”
Xiao Feng Wu went to the back kitchen to grab two mantous to eat before heading back with Qin Ming Yue.
Seeing him eating with such fervor, Qin Ming Yue’s eyebrows furrowed as he said,
“What is so good to eat about mantous? You won’t even move your chopsticks for meat or bird’s nest6 at home.
What is your problem?”
The street market had not dispersed yet so there were many stalls still open along the streets.
Xiao Feng Wu kept looking as he uncaringly said,
“What, when I had money, I could eat all the delicacies I wanted.
When I don’t, then I eat mantous.
As long as I have something to eat, it’s all good.”
Qin Ming Yue was unhappy,
“But I am not a master anymore—-“
Xiao Feng Wu suddenly cut in and slowly turned to look at Qin Ming Yue.
His face was slightly highlighted by the fading rays of the sun, and his eyes looked like they held everything in them, but when you looked closer, there was nothing there at all.
Qin Ming Yue paused in shock before he heard Xiao Feng Wu lightly say,
“Ming Yue, I had already forgotten my status as a young master.
Only you still carry the memory.”
Everyone in Yan Cheng knew, the Xiao family was no more, and Xiao Feng Wu was not the same Xiao Feng Wu anymore.
His new identity was like the mud on the ground; everyone, anyone could come to stomp on him.
Only Qin Ming Yue was still holding him up like a young master, thinking that he should eat only the best, dress only the best, not suffering from any kind of poverty or hardship.
Qin Ming Yue’s breath stuttered.
Numerous people were walking on the streets, but he didn’t move, only staring at Xiao Feng Wu.
Xiao Feng Wu saw a stall nearby that sold masks, and he grabbed one that depicted a fox and covered half the face.
He asked Qin Ming Yue,
“Do you like it?”
The mask was mainly red and white with a pair of fox eyes that were tilted upwards, giving it so much life and realism.
Each of the two sides had been tinted with a complicated gold pattern, highlighting the detailed craftsmanship.
Xiao Feng Wu was always so good at grasping the hearts of others, and he always knew what Qin Ming Yue would like.
Without waiting for his response, he went to ask how much it was.
After the stall owner gave him a price, he bought it, wiping out the majority of what he earned.
When Qin Ming Yue came back to his senses, he quickly went to stop him, but in the end, he couldn’t and was dragged away by Xiao Feng Wu.
Qin Ming Yue said,
“It’s too expensive.”
It was not too expensive to Qin Ming Yue, but it was a bit to the present Xiao Feng Wu.
“It’s not that expensive.
As long as you like it, then it’s worth that price.”
Xiao Feng Wu put the mask on Qin Ming Yue, and seemed so much like how he was before, when money was not a concern,
“Compared to before, I might have made one for you in the exact same pattern, but carved in white jade and inlaid with a thin layer of gold.
But now, I can’t afford that, so take it as it is.”
Two of Qin Ming Yue’s fingers were brought up to the edge of the mask, as if he wanted to take it off, but for whatever reason, they gave up, and through the openings of the fox mask’s eyes, he stared at Xiao Feng Wu,
“Always being so good to me, that is harming me.”
Xiao Feng Wu purposefully turned his head to look back in suspicion,
“Harm you for what, harmed you by causing you to always think about me in vain?”
Qin Ming Yue didn’t answer, only saying,
“Tomorrow I sing << Ten ways to pine >>7, you must remember to come watch.”
Xiao Feng Wu thought to himself, he’ll have to flip over the wall again, and sighed deeply,
“Why must you sing everyday.
You are the center, you should delegate some too.”
Qin Ming Yue didn’t actually sing a lot as each day he’d sing for about half a session, and so upon hearing Xiao Feng Wu, he asked back,
“Delegate? Would I have money if I did so? This kind of work is based on age.
If I don’t sing a few more acts when I am young, will I have to wait until I’m so old that I cannot even turn my head to sing?”
Xiao Feng Wu held up his hands, “You’re so right.
How about you sing ten acts tomorrow?”
Qin Ming Yue shook his head, “That I cannot do, my throat will not be able to stand it.”
*1 I didn’t include this last chapter, but the name of the store (the first two words) has the more literal translation to mean ‘life/youth is coming back’, but as a general meaning (although less used now) is to reference a particular doctor/physician being really good at what they do/almost miraculous in their skills – which actually relates to certain words that Jiang Ping An says right after.
It can also reference that spring is coming back and in that case can stretch to be like love is coming back, but the latter is almost next to nil for this kind of phrasing.
*2 I’m not spending more time agonizing over money, so you get more pinyin here it’s really saying “half a string of money” and money can very much differ between dynasties (and especially in novels).
In most cases, generally from what I’m reading from online sources, “one string of money” is like about 1000 copper coins:
It also seems like the copper coins in this case kind of mean pennies or dimes rather than by dollar.
The previous mentions of copper coins should be by the dollar, but I’m terrible with money translations so we’ll just keep it all as copper coins
*3 Another side note here as I didn’t include it last time, but this literally means ‘thousand gold’ (first two words) which… is very indicative of something haha.
It can also be a reference for someone’s daughter, usually of high status, as someone beloved or “high-class” or “high-maintenance”.
*4 The literal translation here is “cold” or “freeze” but in asian cultures, there’s a concept that’s a bit hard to explain but it’s kind of like your body is a balance of yin-yang.
Yin as in the “freezing/cold” part and yang as in “the hot or warm” part.
You can find sometimes that there are foods being referenced as too “hot/warm” and some foods that are too “cold” and these kind of fall under this category.
But specifically in reference to Chinese medicine, this “freezing/cold” body means that that your body is more inclined to the cold(?), well, maybe it would be better to say that your body is in a condition that can attract ailments more related to the cold or illnesses that take more time to treat/diagnose or issues that don’t show until it’s too late.
There are many categorizations of illnesses and symptoms that fall under this category but it can reference someone who’s mostly quite weak, where their organs aren’t doing so well, having issues in their blood flow, don’t have much of an appetite, don’t like moving a lot or doing social interactions, quite pale, easily tired/feel pain in different places of the body, always cold (feeling very cold in hands/feet), always getting colds/sick, and if you’re female, menstruation is always painful, etc.
*5 As you may have recalled from a previous volume, to say someone is your “ancestor” can be a reference as someone you have to care for (in great detail and with lots of care), kind of someone you would hold in your hands and protect/treasure them, kind of like if they were your ancestor (relating to filial piety).
*6 bird’s nest:
most likely you’ve probably heard of it, but edible bird’s nest are a delicacy that is said to make you look nicer/healthy/prettier, give you energy, make your organs better (helping them work and strengthening them).
*7 I translated this as looking at the lyrics, there were ten ways of how the lovers think about each other, so there’s that as there’s no official translation so : |.
In any case, this is a story called “Butterfly lovers” and seems to be more known in the western world as a concerto, but it’s more famous as a story/Chinese opera piece that is like Romeo and Juliet.
It’s one of the most famous stories, along with the white snake story referenced in an earlier volume.
But it’s a love tragedy that’s about a girl who wanted to study and read, but back in those days, girls couldn’t even show their face outside their homes, so she disguised herself as a guy and left her home to a specific city/province to learn (with a maid).
On the way there, she encounters a guy who is also travelling to that city/province and they got along super well.
They declare themselves as brothers and off they went and for quite a while, they are best friends, from studying together and sleeping together (platonically, just on the same bed apparently lol).
The girl, still disguised as a guy, falls in love with the guy, but the guy is like what they call as a straight guy (not that’s he’s “straight” per say, but like his thinking is like a traditional man, like on the straight and narrow, never understanding what a girl feels/thinks, just kind of attitudes you would come to associate with a traditional guy… if that makes any sense… (usually not a good term)).
Anyway, it just means that he never figured out that she was a girl and especially didn’t understand what she felt.
She tried subtly hinting at it, but he could never catch on, sometimes joking about how she was like a girl too.
In the end, she confesses to him that she’s actually a girl for him to realize.
However when she confessed, another guy heard and he had fallen for the girl so he went to go propose to her family who accepted and her family wrote to her to say come back.
Before she did she gave a letter to the guy to say come find me and ask for my hand in marriage.
But he misinterprets the letter and goes too late, and she’s been wedded to the guy who had overheard and went first to ask for her hand, although it was accepted by her family as it does in those days, and so both of their hearts are broken.
He does ask if she could come see him as he’s longing for her and he’s fallen ill because he’s in love with her but can’t be with her, but she writes back saying our fates don’t cross anymore but she hopes that they could be buried together at a certain place.
Later on he passes away from his longing, and she pretends to agree to the marriage but the carriage carrying her (side note: marriages in ancient history usually have the bride carried in a carriage (sometimes by horses or by men) covered in red usually from her home to her future husband’s home which dates back quite a bit in history and based on a different story which I won’t include here as this footnote is getting way too long) must pass the certain place and when it does, she visits his grave and somehow the grave suddenly opened up and she jumps in to be with him and the grave seals back up and a pair of butterflies later emerge flying away.
Most of this is taken from Baidu, but there are many variations (as I think Baidu also lists) but also as the version I’m most acquainted with has the guy she’s made to marry this terrible guy who falls in love with her beauty and does later on asks for her hand in marriage to her family, and she hates him but she knows her family (or really her father) will accept if he proposes if only because he’s from a higher status family, and so forth (although you can take the story like star-crossed lovers).
Long note aside (which I thought I’d include as like contextual clues and I hope it helps with the story : )), I can’t find the specific place for the song, but given the lyrics and the overall pining notes and the ending about how they want to be in love and together, this should be during their time of separation (after she’s told that she’s going to have to marry the other guy) and she will be with him through death.
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