"Why do I have a feeling that everything is working against us?"
"Don't doubt yourself. Your feeling's right! We have been haunted by bad luck wherever we went ever since we left Shengtian."
Standing on the square outside the mountain gate, Gu Yu and Xiaozhai found themselves surrounded by a world wrapped in white snow. They could not help but curse wholeheartedly—damn it!
Weather forecast nowadays was pretty accurate. The solar term Xiaoxue [TL/N: meaning "snows a bit"] arrived two days ago and the temperature dropped dramatically in the South. Shu Zhou was already getting chilly when they were there.
Early this morning, however, when they arrived at Mt Emei in a rush, they were unpleasantly surprised by the fact that snow had been falling there all night.
This was just perfect!
The idea of climbing Emei in the snow would be so poetic, so romantic, so... exhausting!
Emei had an area of over 150 square kilometers, four mountain peaks, and thousands of sites to explore… it meant they had to trudge around the mountain for days on end with inadequate food and clothing, and would freeze their a*ses off.
The only good news was that there were over thirty temples scattered around Emei, which could all provide them with food and shelter.
While they were sulking, others were all greatly excited by the view. Plenty of tourists came here specifically for the snow-covered landscape. The square outside the mountain gate was packed with hundreds of tourists. The racket they raised was no less boisterous than that of the busy season.
Gu Yu sucked in a lungful of air, then exhaled a long breath, which formed a lump of white mist in the air.
"How is it?" Xiaozhai inquired in a discouraged tone.
"I'd rather find a 1, but unfortunately, it's a 3."
He was talking about the density of the spiritual essence. If it reached a 2 in the surrounding area, it was very likely that there was a node in the mountain.
"Too bad. Let's go."
"Keep an eye on our provisions; don't let them run too low. There might not be too many animals left up there."
"That's ok. We've got monkeys, don't we?"
"Eww, that's gross."
Squabbling, they marched out together and made their way onto Mt Emei with the sea of flowing tourists.
Morning, Le Zhou.
When Cheng Gang finally left the hotel, his knees still felt weak.
At the age of forty-three, he was a regular gym-goer and a vigorous man. He never had problems with satisfying a woman in bed. Du Hong and him had slept together for quite a few times by now—as often as two to three times a month.
She was a natural sex-kitten and had given him great pleasure every time they were in bed. Last night, however, she was a succubus. He almost thought he was going to be sucked dry.
Reaching the parking lot with shaky legs, he got into his large SUV. A few seconds after he started the vehicle, his phone rang.
"Hey, got up yet?" Du Hong's soft chuckle came from the other end.
"I just left the hotel. Are you at work?"
"Yeah. No customer is around now and I thought I'd give you a call. Remember to eat your breakfast, or your stomach will get worse."
"I know, I know. I'm on my way right now…"
Cheng Gang paused for a second and added, "Take a lunch break tomorrow. I'm taking you to Tianxing." [TL/N: Probably the name of a department store.]
"Are you really going to buy me that? I was only joking yesterday. That bag is so expensive. Don't waste your money on that."
"I'll be the one judging whether it's a waste of my money or not. For you, nothing is too expensive."
"Oh my, you spoil me. What if I cannot live without you?"
"Then stay with me. It'll be like having a kitten or a puppy for me."
"Screw that! You're so mean!"
The cloying talk went on for a while before he hung up. All of a sudden, he felt wrapped by an indistinct warmth.
Cheng Gang started from nothing and had accumulated a wealth in tens of millions over the past decade or so. His wife had been by his side all this time. By now, she had lost her looks like a worn-out yellow pearl. Like many other numerous successful men, he started to take mistresses and Du Hong was only one of them.
If he had to compare, he actually preferred this maturest woman over the others. He had started this affair with a clear principle: a wife would always be a wife and a mistress would stay a mistress.
Yet now, after a night overwhelmed by lust, he found the woman almost indispensable to him.
The health salon, the female dormitory.
To call it a dormitory would be an overstatement. They were essentially large rooms equipped with eight bunk beds. Each room was populated by sixteen inhabitants and the air inside had a stale, funny smell—the result of a mixture of various low-quality cosmetics.
Du Hong was sitting on her bed putting on makeup in front of a small mirror when someone yelled in the corridor, "No. 3! No. 3!"
"Sister Hong, you were called!"
On the bed next to hers was the girl who spoke little—she reminded Du Hong.
"I haven't finished my makeup yet. You can go instead. Say I referred you and he'll let you do it."
"Oh, thank you, Sister Hong!"
The girl replied and got up with her small case.
Before long, Du Hong finished making up, and realizing she was the only one in the room, she lifted a corner of her bedding, revealing a tattered ancient book. The cover and some pages in the middle were all missing. The name was nowhere to be found.
It was by sheer coincidence that the book came into Du Hong's possession. A while ago, that girl's grandfather passed away; he used to live in the countryside and travel far and wide in his youth, collecting a considerable stack of books. After the old man died, the relatives sent a large box of books to the city and asked the girl to sell them in the second-hand book market.
It just so happened that day that a leg of the table in the dormitory was broken and she took out a book at random to place under the leg. The table was later exchanged for a new one and Du Hong flipped through the book when she saw it lying around.
The book was extremely old and written in traditional Chinese characters. She thought about throwing it away, but decided to keep it after seeing plenty of illustrations inside, which reminded her of ancient pornographic drawings.
Some were of the sexual intercourse between men and women, illustrating all sorts of positions. One had an erected member drawn on it, labeled with names of various parts. There was a similar one with a male body on it, also densely covered with notes.
Moreover, there was also one on female body and lesbian sexual techniques.
Du Hong had a high school education and was cultured enough to read it. She was hooked at the first glance. It took her some great effort to translate the text into modern Chinese. She then realized that it was an "academic book" for teaching women how to satisfy their male and female sex partners!
Wow! That was something!
Feeling skeptical, Du Hong learned a technique on rubbing acupoints and a move called "peachy complexion". The result of applying these moves was... well, let's just say that all participants were greatly satisfied.
With the first success, she immediately considered the book an utmost treasure. She was a physical therapist. Satisfying men was essential in her career.
The book had dozens of pages and she managed to understand most of the contents, but not the last few pages. The text was very obscure, and even the illustration looked strange. Both the male and female bodies were drawn on by various thin lines and numerous little dots.
Especially the last illustration, in which the woman was on top of the man with a mysterious and eerie face that would give one the goosebumps. She reminded one of a female mantis done with mating and now ready to bite its bedmate's head off…
"No. 3! No. 3!"
Du Hong read a bit longer when she was called again, to which she replied, "Coming! I'm coming!"
She stashed the book away, straightened her clothes and got up to leave. There were over forty masseuses in this place and the number of customers one could serve every day varied from four to over a dozen. Everyone was on their own.
Du Hong was definitely among the most popular ones, and got called continuously. She entered a private room and saw that it was another regular customer of hers. They had been flirting with one another all the time, but had not slept together yet.
She came up to the man wriggling her tiny waist. They teased and flirted with each other effortlessly; the atmosphere felt intimate.
After a brief massage, she suddenly suggested, "Brother, I've just learned a new skill, do you want to try it?"
"Sure. I can give you some suggestions after that." The man was quick to agree.
"Hehe, if you find it uncomfortable, I won't charge you for that."
With that, Du Hong started to touch and press around his crotch just like yesterday.
"I, I was only away for half a month and you've improved a great deal!"