Read chapter 1 first.
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Chapter 3: World of Cultivation
In the imperial study, Emperor Jinghong and his closest officials started to narrate the matter of the “immortal ascension.”
“The Heavens were moved by the benevolence of His Majesty. His Majesty is both auspicious and virtuous. To maintain the peace of the world, His Majesty sent Princess Pingning to serve the Honored Immortal…”
A strong wind suddenly rose and rattled the windows. The Prime Minister, who had been preparing a message to the world flattering His Majesty and weakening Princess Pingning’s deeds, shook. He gripped his beard that moved in the wind, and changed his words. “The Honored Immortal saw Princess Pingning’s innocence and kindness, her karma with immortality, and made Her Highness Princess Pingning an immortal. Her Highness Pingning grew at the knees of the emperor and empress. She looks like a jade child and was beloved by both the emperor and empress. His Majesty is extremely pleased and has built the Immortal Pingning Temple to pray for Her Highness Pingning and for the world…”
The wind immediately stopped. Other than the open window, it did not leave behind any traces.
The monarch and the officials inside the room sighed inwardly in relief. Emperor Jinghong coughed slightly and said, “Order the Ministry of Words to repair the tomb of the previous emperor and empress. Zhen will help Princess Pingning fulfill her familial duties to them.”
“Your Majesty is benevolent.”
Emperor Jinghong smiled on the surface but sighed inside. What else could he do? He was afraid that if he did not do enough, the heavens would punish him and the country as well. Oh well, a man of character could bow or stand tall. A monarch who wanted face was not a good monarch.
In a hundred, thousand years, who would know if he and Princess Pingning were like father and daughter or not? If the history books recorded it a few times, more people would believe it.
At this time, Kong Hou did not know that Emperor Jinghong who she had feared was trying his best to establish a relationship with her. She stayed still against Wang Tong’s shoulder and peeked down. But it was completely black—she couldn’t see anything.
Suddenly, she saw an open silver gate. Was this the gate to the immortal palace?
Wang Tong looked at the quiet girl in his arms and tightened the cloak around her. “After stepping through this door, we will be in Lingyou World.”
The moment they passed through the silver gates, Kong Hou felt her body drift. When she opened her eyes, the silver gates had disappeared. There was a crescent moon hanging in the sky, and the stars were exceptionally bright. The night wind blew past her face with coolness but not cold.
What shocked her the most were the carriages in the sky. Red lanterns hung on the carriages, the sound of the bells pleasing to the ear. Kong Hou couldn’t help but look a few more times. The carriage quickly disappeared. She looked around with disappointment. Several people floated in the air, some of them stepping on swords, others on strange weapons, and even some… on bamboo baskets and hoes?
The middle-aged man stepping on the bamboo basket noticed Kong Hou’s gaze and immediately came over with a smile. “Path Friend, did you take your junior to the mortal world to play? Today is the rare once in a millennium ten thousand stars New Year’s Eve. Would you like to buy a box of pastries for your junior?” When he finished speaking, he took out a wood box. The box was filled with pastries. Wondrously, these pastries sparkled and gave off light, appearing like the stars in the sky.
Wang Tong looked down at Kong Hou who had an expression of curiosity. He hesitated for a moment. “How much?”
“Three spirit stones per box, five spirit stones for two boxes.”
Wang Tong stared a moment at the pastries in the middle-aged man’s hands. He shook his head and said, “No need.” Finishing, he ignored the middle-aged man’s shouting and flew away quickly with Kong Hou. When they could no longer see that middle-aged man, Wang Tong landed on the ground and let Kong Hou down. Holding her hand, he said, “The food outside is unclean. You have no cultivation at the moment—eating them would not be good for you.”
“Yes.” Kong Hou nodded solemnly, trusting the words of the immortal. She looked ahead and saw an enormous city gate. The gates were carved with the words “Harmonious City” which emitted a dazzling light in the night.
What shocked Kong Hou wasn’t the words but the brightly lit street behind the gates, as well as the flying carriages, ships and people.
“Honored Immortal, is this… where immortals live?” Kong Hou’s eyes were wide as she looked toward a beautiful woman flying above her head. She fantasized of a day when she could fly to and fro like these immortals.
Flight was the dream of many children. Kong Hou wasn’t an exception.
“There are no immortals here. This is Harmonious City of Lingyou World.” Wang Tong held Kong Hou’s hand as they stepped through the tall city gates. Kong Hou had truly entered this world now.
There were pedestrians walking by, and bright lantern lights. This place appeared like Jing at its most prosperous, but the flying carriages and ships in the air caused Kong Hou to clearly realize that this wasn’t the city of Jing.
“There are ordinary morals here, who have average talent and cannot cultivate. There are also people here with special meridians who are on the path of cultivation.” Wang Tong had never taken care of a child before and didn’t know how to interact with one. Seeing Kong Hou’s great curiosity, he spoke directly.
“This is the legendary world of cultivation, and I am not the immortal you speak of. I am only a normal cultivator on the path of cultivation.” Wang Tong thought about Kong Hou’s fantasy that an immortal would come for her. Seeing her look admiringly at him, his heart softened. “I owe you karma—if you have the talent for cultivation, I will take you as my apprentice.”
“If one is able to cultivate, are they able to become immortal?” Kong Hou’s eyes were bright in the darkness.
No, in the last millenium of Lingyou World, no one had ascended and become immortal!
“Of course.” Wang Tong crouched and patted the little girl’s head. “If you work hard on your cultivation and have the right mindset, you will have an opportunity to ascend.”
He was not lying to this child. This was friendly encouragement from an elder.
Remembering that Kong Hou was curious about everything, having just come to the cultivation world, Wang Tong walked slowly with Kong Hou. Kong Hou saw some flowers that moved despite the lack of wind, animals speaking human speech, and even parrots that could spit water.
Wang Tong found Kong Hou looking a few more times at plump rabbits and said, “Ordinary rabbits like this are not very suitable as pets. If you do not plan to master beasts in the future, do not have pets. They easily become distractions.”
Kong Hou moved her gaze away, shaking her head, and said, “I won’t have any pets.”
She licked the corner of her lips. This rabbit looked perfectly sized. It would be delicious to eat. Last year, a consort in the palace threw a temper tantrum and killed a rabbit by throwing it to the ground. She had wanted to pick it up and cook it to eat. But those palace attendants and court eunuchs moved faster than she did. She didn’t even get to touch a hair.
“Good girl.” Wang Tong patted Kong Hou’s head. He felt refreshed. This future last apprentice of his appeared to be an effortless one. Talent was not important—most important was being good.
Kong Hou’s appearance made him feel new hope regarding beings like young children.
But after walking a few steps, he found Kong Hou was still staring at the rabbit. He struggled internally, rubbed her head and said, “If you encounter something you truly like, then buy it.”
His future apprentice was young—there was nothing wrong about occasionally following her desires. Rabbits only ate grass and did not need food.
Kong Hou shook her head. “No.”
“You girl.” Wang Tong crouched down and looked seriously at Kong Hou. “Children have the right to be wilful. When you grow up, this teacher will not spoil you any longer.” He dug around his clothing and finally dug out two spirit stones that he put into Kong Hou’s hand. “Go.”
Holding the two warm blue stones in her hand, Kong Hou shook her head and grabbed Wang Tong’s hand. “Master, I won’t raise a rabbit.”
“Then a dog?” Wang Tong pointed to the puppy in the cage. “This dog looks better than the rabbit.” While dogs consumed more food than rabbits, if his young apprentice liked the dog, he would endure it.
Kong Hou still shook her head and placed the spirit stones back in Wang Tong’s hand. She pointed at a sign in the near distance. “Master, let’s go buy that.”
Wang Tong turned to look. It was a barbecue stall. Written on the sign was “Twenty jade coins per roasted rabbit.” The price was only one fifth that of a living rabbit.
Wang Tong finally understood. So his young apprentice stared at the rabbit not because she wanted one as a pet, but because she wanted to eat meat. He put a spirit stone back in Kong Hou’s hand and waved his hand grandly. “Go buy it.”
Soon, Kong Hou came back holding two roasted rabbits. Because she looked adorable and had a sweet mouth, the stall owner had given her a chicken wing as well.
“Master, for you.” Kong Hou smiled as she handed the fatter rabbit and the chicken wing to Wang Tong. After Wang Tong took the roasted rabbit, she returned to him the sixty jade coins the stall owner had given her back.
“So delicious.” Slightly hungry, Kong Hou took a large bite of rabbit meat. She sniffed and glanced at the bonus chicken wing in Wang Tong’s hand. “The stall master is a good person.”
“Yes.” Wang Tong smiled and didn’t tell Kong Hou that two of the jade coins the stall owner had given Kong Hou were counterfeit. He put the jade coins back into his pocket, rolled up his sleeves and started on the rabbit meat.
On this ten thousand star New Year’s Night which occurred only once in a millennium, Kong Hou who just entered the world of cultivation finally had a taste of rabbit meat. She looked up at the beautiful sky, pleased. The cultivation world was so good.
“This is for you.” Wang Tong put the chicken wing in front of Kong Hou. “I don’t like eating this.”
“Thank you, Master.” Kong Hou opened her mouth and bit the chicken wing that Wang Tong had handed over. A smile bloomed on her oil-smeared face.
Looking at this smile, Wang Tong thought, such a good child. Not just chicken wings—if she wanted to eat peacock wings or phoenix wings, he would give his life to get them for her.
The only problem was that even if he gambled his life… he wouldn’t be able to get them.
A loud explosion came from the sky, and Kong Hou jumped in fright. Kong Hou ignored the oil on his hand and put his arm around Kong Hou. “Good apprentice, don’t be afraid. These are the New Year’s fireworks.”
At this time, he didn’t care if Kong Hou had talent for cultivation. Wang Tong already called her his apprentice.
Kong Hou looked up and saw many beautiful stars in the sky. The stars danced and flickered in the sky before transforming into meteors and falling down. She reached out to pick them and found that these stars were only intangible lights.
Countless people cheered on the streets.
Kong Hou kept on watching as the stars flashed. She had never seen such a beautiful scene before. But she didn’t understand why the words “Green Water Pavilion” kept on flashing in the sky.
“Today’s starry phenomenon is sponsored by Green Water Pavilion. As expected of a famed pill sect, such grandeur.”
Hearing the words of people around her, Kong Hou suddenly realized that cultivators were like mortals. They thought highly of popularity.
When Wang Tong’s apprentices who had received Wang Tong’s message and had come to get their master saw Wang Tong, the young-looking Wang Tong was crouched at the corner of the street holding a small female child, his hands covered in oil as he chewed on a roasted rabbit with no composure to speak of.
Seeing this, his apprentices were worried. Did Master fail at passing his heart ordeal, so he completely gave up now that he couldn’t reach Mind Manifestation Stage?
Translator Ramblings: If anyone saw this and thought, World of Cultivation! Not really, but considering the chapter title, I had to translate it this way. So this is the end of this week’s releases. Like and comment and visit my kofi if you would like to tip.