Ascending, Do Not Disturb / Author: Yue Xia Die Ying
Status: 158 Chapters. Finished
You think too much, cultivation is not like this … …
When Kong Hou steps on the path to cultivation, she learns that all xianxia stories are full of lies.
A relaxed cultivation story.
Kong Hou: a traditional musical instrument like a harp. The female protagonist’s name.
Translator review: Yes, another novel of Yue Xia Dia Ying. Do I read other novels? Yes. Do I really want to translate those? Mostly not. To describe this novel, I would say this is the author stepping out of her usual range. The romance progresses slowly (don’t say I did not warn you), the world-building is much better than usual, more cultivation fantasy fare than historical romance, and stuffed so full of sweetness you get cavities. Also, for a bit of turn of events, there’s not a dark, brooding, and mastermind male counterpart to a scheming, intelligent and time-travelling female protagonist. Time-travelling to a magical cultivation world might just be a bit too much, no?
But as always, a happy ending.
This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
Adnana has also generously provided a glossary for you as well.
Chapter 1: Miracle
In the winter of the third year of Jinghong, feather-sized snowflakes danced freely around Jing, the capital city. The great white of the world added a hint of cleanliness to this prosperous land filled with desire.
On the streets, the warmly-dressed hawkers shrunk back in their clothes in the cold but didn’t forget to shout at the top of their lungs. Suddenly, the sound of drums came from the distance. The passersby and hawkers moved out of the way. Soon, a troop of soldiers dressed in silver armor escorted many carriages along the way. These carriages were inlaid with grand jewels, their copper bells ringing. The citizens of Jing immediately realized that it was the noble daughters of the imperial family out on a trip. No wonder they had the drums opening the way and other people had to move out of the way.
The hooves of the horses splashed the dirty grey snow on the ground. The grand carriages passed slowly among the people with coldness and imperiousness.
The last ebony carriage at the end was inscribed with phoenixes. While it was cleanly maintained, it was not as grand as the carriages in the front. It was worn and weathered by time.
“Stop the carriage.”
The sound of a young female came from inside the carriage. The guards around the carriage hesitated slightly and then stopped the carriage. A soldier came over with a bench, and a palace servant bowed respectfully in front of the carriage. They reached out a hand towards the carriage, but their eyes were filled with disdain and restraint.
A princess of the previous dynasty being raised by the emperor as a mascot to show his benevolence. She could only receive respect on the surface.
Soon, a young girl not even ten years old walked out of the carriage. She wore a cotton coat and had rabbit hairpins in her hair. She jumped off the carriage. She disregarded the dirty snow on the ground and ran towards a certain corner.
There was a small stall in the corner, sugar syrup boiling in the pot as an old man dressed in grey robes made figurines out of sugar. Seeing the adorable young child run over, the old man showed a kind smile. “Noble one, do you want to buy a sugar painting?”
The soldier who came with the young girl felt that this old man was slightly strange, but could not verbalize why. He bowed towards the young girl. “Your Highness, your body is noble—you cannot be rash.”
His Majesty the Emperor wanted this princess of the previous dynasty to be a mascot, and they, the soldiers, had to make sure the mascot would live. But when he finished speaking, he saw the young princess turn and look pleadingly at him. The soldier stilled for a moment and uncontrollably said, “If you like this, you can buy some to take back, but you should not eat a lot.”
As a soldier, he couldn’t muster up any resistance against an adorable-looking child.
“Noble person, what kind do you like?” The old man’s smile became even more gentle as he pointed at the sugar paintings on the rice straws. There were soldiers, beauties, flowers, animals, and even lifelike mountains and rivers.
Kong Hou didn’t know how she had seen this sugar painting stall from far away and just rashly left the carriage. While she was almost ten, she had only left the palace three times in her memory.
The first time, the imperial palace had been invaded by the rebels. The palace attendants had fled with her, but before they reached the city gates, the rebels had captured them.
The second time had been after the coronation of the new emperor. He had sealed her, the daughter of the previous dynasty’s emperor, as Princess Pingning, and had taken her, with great fanfare, to a ceremony to worship the heavens. More than half of Jing had praised His Majesty for his benevolence. Through the silver window coverings, she had seen the unconcerned curiosity on the faces of the passersby. She was like the lion being kept in the Garden of Animals, and the citizens were the people admiring the animals.
Today was the third time. The most favored daughter of the emperor had returned to Jing and ordered the noble womenfolk to welcome her outside the city.
Kong Hou was extremely happy. She wanted the new emperor to have more married daughters. This way, each time they returned, she would have an opportunity to leave the palace. Hearing the stall owner’s question, Kong Hou pointed at the immortal goddess stepping on the moon, and said, “I want this one.”
“All right.” The stall owner used a spoon to pour out the boiled syrup and quickly drew on the wood plank. His movements were practiced, his expression focused as though he was doing a great matter.
Kong Hou stared, not daring to blink. She was afraid she would miss this wondrous process. The snowflakes fell onto her face, causing her face to turn red from the cold. The stall owner couldn’t help but speak up. “Sir Soldier, the snow is heavy today. The noble person is young—do not let her get cold.”
The soldier finally reacted and waved a hand for the palace servant to hold an umbrella for Kong Hou. At this time, he finally realized what wasn’t right. This old person did not seem to fear them; he didn’t seem like an ordinary citizen.
The stall owner winked at Kong Hou. Kong Hou covered her mouth and didn’t make a sound, her eyes curling in a smile. The sugar painting was quickly finished. The stall owner was extremely skilled, and the sugar painting of the goddess was as clear as crystal. The flying immortal carried a mysterious aura.
“So beautiful—this is the prettiest sugar painting I’ve ever seen.” Even though this was the only sugar painting she had ever seen.
“Princess Pingning.” A female official dressed in blue winter robes came over and said expressionlessly, “You should leave.”
Not far from where the female official stood were some noblewomen standing next to their carriages. Their heads were bent as they whispered, clearly laughing at Kong Hou. Once an extremely noble princess was now just so. Laughing at Kong Hou secretly could give them a special kind of satisfaction.
But Kong Hou’s reactions would frequently dampen their satisfaction because she would not respond to this kind of scorn. No hurt, no fury, and even no wretchedness. She would stare at them with large eyes as though they were being unreasonable.
This time, Kong Hou reacted similarly. She took out a silver peanut from her pouch and gave it to the stall owner. Ignoring the cold expression of the female official, she said to the stall owner, “Your sugar painting is beautiful, just like in the storybooks.”
The stall owner’s hair and beard were all white, his robes torn and worn. She thought that his days were not easy, coming out in such cold weather to sell sugar paintings. Kong Hou thought that he might be happier if she complimented him.
The lives of commoners were not easy. While she did not understand, she had read about it in the stories.
“Your Highness!” The expression of the female official turned frozen. She said in an icy voice, “Where is your etiquette?”
Kong Hou carefully took the sugar painting wrapped in rice paper. She wrinkled her nose with her back to the female official. When she turned around to face the female official, she looked adorable and obedient again. “Many thanks, Madam, for your reminder.”
The female official smiled insincerely. “As long as Your Highness understands.”
Kong Hou pretended not to see the disdain in the female official’s eyes. She carried the sugar painting and prepared to get back on the carriage. But she accidentally stepped on the mud on the ground and splashed a few drops on the dress of the female official.
The female official stared at the spots of mud on the dress with an ugly expression, but she did not dare to truly be disrespectful to Kong Hou.
“Your Highness, as a woman, your speech should be unhurried and measured…” Before the female official finished speaking, the wind gusted, carrying up snowflakes that sliced on her face painfully like dull blades cutting flesh.
The gust of wind quickly passed. The palace servant holding the umbrella for Kong Hou turned back to look, ignoring the damaged umbrella, and screamed.
The scream frightened the female official. Just as she prepared to lecture this disobedient palace servant, she was stunned by the scene in front of her before she could speak.
Rainbow light shone in the sky like an immortal ascending. And that old person who had been sugar painting had disappeared. The corner was empty as though no one had ever appeared.
Soon, rumors spread in Jing. The main meaning was that Emperor Jinghong was fated by the heavens and even immortals descended because of him. Emperor Jinghong took advantage and held a “benevolent” examination. The scholars praised him, and he became a benevolent and virtuous emperor in the mouths of the common people.
As a princess of the previous dynasty, Kong Hou had a wastrel father. This father did not like beauty but music. He had many musicians in his palace. He ignored matters of government to the point that dastardly subjects controlled the court and caused the anger of the people.
When the previous dynasty was overthrown, other than the conservative officials who reprimanded the present emperor for being unloyal, no one expressed any dissatisfaction.
Getting to this point as an emperor could be considered as embarrassing the ancestors. Kong Hou did not have any opinions regarding this wastrel father. She was only in pain about her stolen sugar painting. That was the first sugar painting she had ever received in this lifetime.
But the one who took the sugar painting was the present emperor. What could she do—she could only obediently offer it. After Emperor Jinghong took her sugar painting, he had the palace attendants deliver many sugar paintings, all kinds of flavors and colors. But Kong Hou felt that those sugar paintings were not as good as the one she had. That feeling of anticipation when waiting beside the stove for the sugar painting to be finished was something other sugar paintings couldn’t match.
The thirtieth day of the twelfth month, the yearly banquet.
Kong Hou put on the grand clothing the palace attendants had prepared, and allowed them to dress her as one of the attendants of an immortal before she appeared at the palace banquet. Some of the former dynasty officials attended this banquet. When they saw the grandly dressed Kong Hou, they were more reassured.
His Majesty treated a princess of the previous dynasty so well, not to mention previous dynasty officials like them with talent and ability.
Kong Hou did not care what these officials thought. She only bent her head and ate. Usually, she would not get such delicious food. In the corner, the musicians played pleasing songs. A female musician with a flying immortal hairstyle plucked at a phoenix head kong hou.
This phoenix head kong hou had been presented as tribute by a skilled craftsman to the previous emperor. This previous emperor liked this phoenix head kong hou greatly and his only daughter had just been born at the time, so he gave his daughter the name Kong Hou.
The name was frivolous, yet the previous emperor did not love the empress or his daughter. He was infatuated with music. So what if the empress was discontented? Kong Hou was young, but she knew a long time ago that being born relied on luck. If one was unlucky and encountered an unreliable dad, they wouldn’t even get a good name.
Playing the phoenix head kong hou at this time was undoubtedly to humiliate Kong Hou. However, the one who ordered this was the Grand Princess, the younger sister of the emperor. While everyone knew this, they had to pretend ignorance.
The husband of the Grand Princess had died by the hand of a previous dynasty general, so the Grand Princess hated the previous dynasty’s emperor and hated Kong Hou, the last remaining survivor. If the Grand Princess had not managed to keep a clear head, and known not to bully a child not yet ten in front of the officials, she would have verbally targeted Kong Hou.
But her hidden kind of humiliation was not effective against Kong Hou. From beginning to end, this princess of the previous dynasty only smiled and blinked her large innocent eyes at the noblewomen or bent her head as she ate, unknowing that she was being humiliated.
This did not satisfy the Grand Princess. She put her wine cup heavily on the table and said to Kong Hou, “Princess Pingning, what do you think about this phoenix head kong hou?”
Kong Hou blinked her eyes, looked closely and said, “Pretty.”
The Grand Princess waited for the next words.
Yet Kong Hou only looked at her with wide eyes, seemingly puzzled about what the Grand Princess wanted to hear. Adult thinking was so strange.
The Grand Princess understood this gaze, and felt… even more frustrated. She wanted to overturn the table. But this was a palace banquet and she still wanted face.
The other young noblewomen knew that the Grand Princess disliked Kong Hou. Seeing the Grand Princess’ ugly expression, they started to talk and laugh, their words full of disdain towards the previous dynasty, and of flattery towards the present one. Some were even more obvious as they started to ridicule Kong Hou.
Kong Hou put down her silver chopsticks and returned an adorable smile towards these unreasonable adults.
Some words could be replaced by a smile. If one was not enough, then two. The young Kong Hou who thought that she was a magnanimous person was always so understanding of others.
Yet the noble girls would always be angered by this kind of smile. Even they did not know why.
Just as everyone stepped on the edge of rage, silver light illuminated the sky above the entire palace.
Everyone turned their heads with shock.
Kong Hou looked up. Ancestors of the Ji Family, she was seeing immortals?
Translator Ramblings: I’m not completely through translating this story yet. It comes in at an amazing 158 chapters with 658,586 characters. This is a lot longer than Eight Treasures Trousseau at 344585 and To Be A Virtuous Wife at 402717. I had set up a ko-fi last week for reasons here and promised early access if I reached 100. This really isn’t early access but thanks to everyone who donated! Also, early access will require me setting up a whole thing and I’m not sure people will be interested in my current projects.
Three chapter this week and then one per week after this week. We’ll see about the release rate after I actually finish translating like I did with 8TT.