Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 30: I want to take the exam. Ahhhhhh!
Long Shen took him back to the Special Administration Bureau, but instead of going upstairs, they went to the underground parking lot. It was then that Dong Zhi realized that when Long Shen said he was “taking him to a place”, it was somewhere that wasn’t nearby.
“Get in the car,” Long Shen said as he got into a black Land Rover. There was a thick layer of dust covering the car window. It seems that it hadn’t been washed in a long time.
“Is this the unit’s car?” Dong Zhi asked curiously.
“No, it’s my own,” Long Shen said.
Dong Zhi was flabbergasted. Seeing He Yu cry and preach about his own poverty every day, it inevitably formed the impression that “everyone in the Special Administration Bureau is extremely poor”. Who knew that his boss was actually a local tyrant.
Long Shen seemed to have seen through his thoughts. “He Yu can afford to buy this kind of stuff if he wants, but he spends his money like water and never saves it.”
Dong Zhi was reminded that He Yu spends all his money on games, like buying props and costumes, and even pestering him to buy him gift packs. He nodded in agreement. Then he thought how unscientific it was for a rich, pure, unpretentious, tall, handsome, and capable man to work all day long. Not bother mentioning being married and having kids, he didn’t even seem to have a girlfriend. It didn’t make sense!
Curiosity overtook Dong Zhi and he tried to endure it, but, in the end, couldn’t hold back. “You’re so busy all the time. Do you have any time to accompany your girlfriend?”
Long Shen said, “I don’t have a girlfriend.”
Dong Zhi subconsciously said, “You’re so handsome, yet you can’t find a girlfriend?”
Long Shen glanced at him from the rearview mirror. “Do you really want to fall in love? There are not many people your age in the General Administration Bureau, but there are more in the East China Branch. I’ll let He Yu introduce you to some when I have the opportunity.”
Dong Zhi first let out a subconscious cry, then reacted and hurriedly explained. “No, I’m just asking casually. I don’t want to fall in love! At this stage, I plan to work hard and be admitted to the Special Administration Bureau, join your unit, learn from you, and contribute to the elimination of monsters and demons to create a harmonious society!”
He didn’t even need to rehearse this sentence. After speaking all in one breath, he felt it was a bit too tongue-in-cheek, thinking that he might’ve been reading too much information about the public exam recently.
Even more amazing was that instead of feeling like he was full of hot air, Deputy Director Long nodded in agreement and said. “The work of eliminating demons is heavy and you have a long way to go. Since you have this opportunity, even if you don’t enter the Special Administration Bureau, you must persevere in your cultivation.”
“Yes!” Dong Zhi said, dryly. He felt he had dug a hole for himself, but Long Shen looked serious while preaching to him, which he thought was unexpectedly cute.
The car drove into a side street. Most of the shops here were selling the four treasures of the study*, antiques, calligraphy, and paintings. At this time, most of them were closed, while the ones that were still open were deserted.
*(文房四宝) Calligraphy and paintings tools that are pen/brush, ink, paper, and inkstone.
The area looked like it would be very lively during the day, but after nightfall, there were only a few pedestrians on the street. Long Shen parked his car on the side of the road and took him into a shop with dimly lit lights. There was a person there that was packing up, about to close up shop.
“Eh, I’m closed. Come back earlier tomorrow…” The other party turned around and said, but halfway through speaking, he pushed up his reading glasses to the bridge of his nose and said, “Boss Long, why are you here?”
Long Shen said, “Getting a sword back. Master Fu Qing’s.”
The other party asked, “No consignment?”
Long Shen: “No.”
The shopkeeper glanced at Dong Zhi, nodded, and didn’t ask much. “Then wait a bit. I’ll go get it.”
Dong Zhi turned his gaze around and found that it was not much different from other shops. There was a lot of antique calligraphy and paintings, but he couldn’t tell if they were authentic, so he looked at them with excitement.
The shopkeeper quickly came back out with a sword case.
“Someone came to ask for the price, but they couldn’t offer what you asked for. They kept trying to haggle, but I wouldn’t budge.”
Long Shen said, “Thank you very much.”
The shopkeeper smiled and said, “You have helped me a lot over the years, so no need for formalities. Otherwise, we’ll just keep going around in circles.”
He put the box on the counter, unlocked it, and with a click, the box popped open. Dong Zhi stepped forward curiously and saw that there was a sword inside. Compared to the two that Long Shen hung in the office, it had neither precious inlaid stones nor special decorations, making it look pretty mediocre.
Long Shen took out the sword and said, “There is no need for the box. I’ll sit and have a cup of tea next time.”
The shopkeeper laughed. “Don’t keep saying this. It’s already been three times and you have never stopped in for tea. You always come and leave in a rush!”
Long Shen also laughed. “It’s too late today. I want to stay, but you don’t have time right now. We’ll do it next time.”
The tone of his conversation with the shopkeeper was very relaxed. It was very different from when he was with He Yu and the others. Dong Zhi guessed that these two must’ve known each other for a long time. They shortly left the antique shop afterwards, and Long Shen drove back to the Special Administration Bureau.
“Are you going to my office or He Yu’s dorm?” Long Shen asked. Both places were in the same building but on different floors, and since Dong Zhi was living in He Yu’s dorm temporarily, Long Shen brought it up.
Recalling that the other party had something to talk to him about, he hurriedly went with Long Shen back to his office. The office was still as neat and organized as before, with just the two swords that hung on the wall; there were no other unnecessary decorations.
He didn’t know the source, but he remembered a saying that a person’s hobbies, personalities, and even weaknesses can often be seen from the details of their office furnishings. If this statement is accurate, then Long Shen’s personality is undoubtedly the same as this office; at most, he has a penchant for swords in addition to being clearheaded and organized.
Dong Zhi sat upright in the office waiting for Long Shen to speak while his mind was full of wild thoughts.
“Here.” Long Shen put the long sword he had just brought back from the antique shop on the table and pushed it towards Dong Zhi.
Dong Zhi was startled and couldn’t help but touch the long sword. It felt cold to the touch, and unexpectedly, the sword was light, as if it was made with an ultra-light alloy, but just from seeing its exterior, it didn’t look as if it was made with that kind of material.
“Boss Long, I don’t know any swordsmanship. This sword would be a waste on me.” He spoke honestly.
Long Shen said, “This sword is called the Qingzhu Sword. Its master was Fu Shan* of the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties, who was also known as Fu Qingzhu. While not his best sword, it can help you practice the Five Thunder Talisman technique.”
*Fu Shan (傅山) also known as Fu Qingzhu (傅青主) when he adopted his Qingzhu sword style. He’s master said to be unparalleled in both medical skills and martial arts, and has profound attainments in Wuji swordsmanship.
Dong Zhi was shocked. “Use a sword to practice the Five Thunder Talisman technique?”
Long Shen nodded. “The Hezao Sect is not a school of sword cultivation. They pay more attention to the unity of runes and thoughts, but you didn’t grow up on Mount Hezao. You can only learn a few techniques. Your foundation is too shallow, so it’s difficult to compare to a person who has been practicing since childhood. If you use a sword to draw thunder, you will do it better with half the effort.”
Dong Zhi suddenly recalled the night he first learned the thunder technique. He was able to draw thunder, but for a period of time after the death of his shishu, when they stayed behind to help with the funeral and take care of the aftermath, he would occasionally practice the technique, but there was no thunder like that night. At most, the sky would get covered with dark clouds. Now that he had heard Long Shen’s words, he understood a little.
“You’re saying my foundation is too poor. If I want to do more with half the effort, it is best to have external help. This sword is equivalent to a medium that allows the talisman to mobilize the power of the heavens faster?”
Long Shen nodded approvingly. Though Dong Zhi could barely be counted as a cultivator, and he had no foundation before, he was still considered good because of his profound understanding and high innate talent that allowed him to quickly pick up on things.
“But this sword is too valuable. I can’t accept it.” He wanted to be able to better his talisman technique, but at the same time felt uneasy.
Long Shen said lightly, “It takes more than 200 years to master the Five Thunder Talisman technique. By itself, the sword is valueless, and its only benefit is to be used for this. Take it. If you fail the exam, then I will take it back.”
With his heart resolved, Dong Zhi quickly thanked him and accepted it silently. From this, he realized what He Yu meant when he said that Long Shen was cold on the outside but warm on the inside. Although he usually didn’t smile and trained people harshly, it wasn’t because he didn’t care about them. He made rewards and punishments clear, and he was also willing to make corrections. Even if Dong Zhi knew that this was probably the treatment he got in exchange for his good performance in Yanchang, he still couldn’t help but feel happy. As for the possibility of the gift being taken back, Dong Zhi chose to temporarily forget about it.
Since it was a rare opportunity, he took it and asked a few questions, and Long Shen answered them all. Although his words were concise and even more straightforward than He Yu’s, they were not difficult to understand.
Dong Zhi got up contentedly and said goodbye, not forgetting to thank him again, before returning to the dormitory with his sword in hand.
Before leaving, Long Shen said to him, “A separate practice field has been opened up on the top floor of the building. It’s protected by a barrier, so go there to practice. Don’t practice anywhere else. When you go, call Kan Chaosheng or the others.”
The building was in the downtown area. With the abilities of everyone in the Special Administration Bureau, if they were to practice their technique at every turn, grass wouldn’t even grow within a ten-mile radius.
Inspired by his idol, after returning to the dorms, Dong Zhi did a set of national exam questions in one go, practiced his runes drawing, and then washed and changed his clothes before going to bed. Due to all the activity, he was either too excited or nervous about the exam, so it took him a long time to fall asleep after multiple rounds of tossing and turning, and he ended up having a weird dream.
In his dream, he had passed the written exam and successfully entered the interview portion. There were several interviewers sitting in front of him, one of whom was Long Shen. Dong Zhi pinched a talisman with one hand and held a sword with the other. He was trying to attract thunder in front of the examiners, and as a result, instead of floating up after the talisman caught fire, it fell to the ground and turned into a beautiful woman that was hefty in front and voluptuous in back.
He said to Long Shen, “Boss Long, this is the girlfriend that I have summoned for you. Do you think I can pass the exam?”
Long Shen nodded in satisfaction, got up, and walked over, but instead of hugging the beauty, he hugged Dong Zhi, touched his hair, and pinched his face.
“Yes, you passed the interview with flying colors.” He said on behalf of the other interviewers that Dong Zhi couldn’t see their faces clearly.
Dong Zhi looked dumbfounded, trying to break free from Long Shen’s arms. “No, no! You are mistaken. The beauty is for you, but I’m not!” The beauty who he summoned bowed to the interviewers and thanked them.
Suddenly, Dong Zhi was picked up in a princess carry as Long Shen lowered his head and smiled at him charmingly seductively, “You don’t need to take the exam anymore. Come back and help me warm my bed!”
Dong Zhi was shocked. After reviewing for more than half a year and memorizing countless previous test questions, he was now replacing someone that he had summoned. Feeling anxious and angry, he shouted loudly, “I want to take the exam! Ahhhhhhhh!”
When he opened his eyes, he was dripping with cold sweat and clinging tightly to his blanket with both hands. It took him a while to realize that it was all just a dream. Usually dreams are forgotten after waking up, but this was more like a nightmare that had gathered all his grievances over the past few months. He can still vividly recall every detail, including Deputy Director Long’s mischievous, seductive smile.
Dong Zhi couldn’t help shuddering and was stunned, as if he had been struck by lightning. He shook his head wildly, trying to get the dream out of his mind.
No, no, no. It was just a dream. Don’t think too much about it. A dream is the opposite of reality!
Looking at the time on the phone, it was just a little after 3 AM. Seeing that it was still early, he lay down again and stared at the ceiling in a daze. They all say that dreams are a reflection of the subconsciousness deep in one’s heart, so what does that dream he just had mean?
Just dreaming about the exam is fine as it was most likely due to the mental pressure he was under recently as he was preparing for it, but why the hell is he dreaming about Boss Long robbing an innocent person?!
Dong Zhi then recalled that he had a conversation with Long Shen along the way when they went to get the sword last night and realized something was off. When Long Shen said he didn’t have a girlfriend, under normal circumstances, he should have dug a bit deeper and asked for things like his criteria when looking for a significant other so that he could possibly help or try to comfort him by saying there must be a beautiful, gentle, and understanding goddess waiting for him out there.
But Dong Zhi found that there was a hint of amusement in Long Shen. What was he so amused about?! Could it be because he was a single dog and had no girlfriend that he developed a dark mentality that when he saw his idol, he would replace his lack of a significant other with him? Could it be… that he had some ulterior thoughts regarding his male god Long Shen?!
Dong Zhi hugged his blanket tightly and fell into deep contemplation. He calmed himself down, and two villains in his mind began answering methodically, trying to sort out his thoughts.
Villain A: You ugly dog, you must be confused by his appearance!
Villain B retorted: No! The reason why the male god is a male god is not only because of his appearance. On Changbai Mountain, he was able to deal with the bone dragon and beat up two Japanese onmyojis!
Villain A sneered: That’s because Kan Chaosheng and Old Zheng were there. The success of one person is often due to the success of the team!
Villain B: Then you can’t deny that he is the core of the team. Even Headmaster Xin said that Boss Long is very powerful, and he saved my life in Yangcheng!
Villain A mocked again: It’s not popular nowadays to indulge in self-praise!
Villain B: Who would be as dirty as you? It’s not surprising that someone as powerful as him would become a role model, right? I won’t talk about He Yu and Kan Chaosheng. Although they are usually rambunctious, they are also honest in front of Boss Long. Zhong Yuyi is the same as me. After seeing his heroism, he did everything possible to get admitted to the Special Administration Bureau. Isn’t it just like admiring a solider then joining the army? It’s just being influenced by a role model!
Villain A said coldly: You said so much, yet why are you so happy to know that he doesn’t have a girlfriend?
Villain B was speechless.
Villain A: Do you want to enter the Special Administration Bureau to fight alongside him?
Villain B: Of course I do!
Villain A: Would you like to see him smile at you and praise you for doing well?
Villain B: Yes!
Villain A: What can you do for him?
Villain B: Give him support and strive not to hold him back so that he can be assured that someone has his back! Then try to do what he asks of me.
Villain A: If he wants you to be his boyfriend, would you agree?
Villain B: ??? This kind of scenario doesn’t exist!
Villain A: Don’t think about whether it exists or not. Just answer honestly if you want to. I am your inner voice, so don’t be hypocritical!
Villain B: Well, I’ll be extremely shocked, but I don’t know if I’ll agree. After all, this is all hypothetical.
Villain A: So, you actually like him a bit?
Villain B: …
Villain A: Let’s change the question. How would you feel if you saw He Yu in a relationship?
Villain B: Wow dude! You move faster than me! Blessings to you, and let me treat you to dinner!
Villain A: What if you see Long Shen befriending someone?
Villain B: Well… I’ll give him my blessings too…
Villain A: Why is your attitude so negative and unwilling?
Villain B: …
When the battle between heaven and man came to an end, Dong Zhi yelled depressingly, thinking that it was all wrong. Although he had visited Long Shen office before and thought about the unspoken rules, it was mainly because he wanted to put his mind at ease and was just joking around. He didn’t really have these kinds of thoughts, right?
He had been an otaku for more than 20 years of his life. He had never been in love, but he had seen attractive girls while he was in school, though nothing ever became of it. It still means that he wasn’t bent, right?
No! Whether he’s bent or not is not the point!
He just admires Long Shen deeply. There’s no doubt that anyone who sees a strong man fighting a bone dragon with a sword wouldn’t be awe-inspired and feel a deep longing in their heart.
But is admiration tantamount to liking? Isn’t this too superficial?
He hardly knows anything about Long Shen, like his age or family situation. What does he even like about him? Is it his handsome appearance or his powerful aura?
Thoughts and pictures flashed through his mind quickly, but he found that what left the deepest mark in his heart in the end had nothing to do with appearance or ability. The scene of Long Shen standing next to the sinkhole on Changbai Mountain while holding his sword as the break of dawn came. When he got trapped in the enchantment on Liuhua Bridge in Yancheng, he was in danger when suddenly he heard the other party’s voice calling out to him, “It’s me”. When the other party didn’t approve of him joining the Special Administration Bureau but still gave him the Qingzhu Sword after seeing his determination and was just hiding his concern under his sternness.
With a cry, Dong Zhi pulled the blanket and covered his face.
Congratulations. For the first time in his life, Dong Zhi found someone that he liked, but the object of his affection was the unattainable male god.
Suddenly, he realized that he wanted to get rid of his single life, but that seems highly improbable now. The nightmare had made him completely sleepless, and he tossed and turned the rest of the night, rolling himself into his blankets like a caterpillar. All kinds of thoughts swarmed in his mind, including the idea of pushing the Long Shen down and turning raw rice into cooked rice*.
*(生米煮成熟饭) It’s a metaphor for things that have been done and cannot be changed from the quote, “Miss, now that the raw rice is cooked, why do you resist?”. It’s used to refer to couples who have sex/get pregnant before marriage. || In this context, he’s fantasizing about physical “activities” with Long Shen.
But even if it gets to that point, forget about whether he could push Long Shen down, Dong Zhi felt he would definitely end up being packed up and thrown into the sinkhole as feed for the Sneaky Yaksha.
By the time dawn almost came, he finally fell asleep. He didn’t know how long he slept for, but he was awoken by crinkling noises. His first reaction was that he was dreaming, and his second reaction was that there was a mouse, and his third reaction was to open his eyes.
Kan Chaosheng was holding a bag of potato chips in one hand while stuffing his mouth with the other as he sat on a chair with his legs dangling down, looking as if he was bored.
“You’re finally awake.”
The author has something to say:
A small theater that has nothing to do with the text:
Dong Zhi: As a beautiful young man with comprehensive moral, intellectual, physical, and aesthetic development, I even dreamed of taking the exams. Is there anyone more suitable to enter the Special Administration Bureau than me?
Kan Chaosheng: Liar. I obviously saw you laughing and drooling while sleeping.
Well, I didn’t expect we have a realization of feelings so soon. Well, jiayou Dong Zhi. You’re gonna need it.