Last chapter recap: Kong Hou is introduced to her new world.
This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
Chapter 4: New Year’s Red Envelopes
The apprentices walked uneasily near Wang Tong and found that Master’s presence was extremely strange. Even more concealed than usual, so that people… could not sense his strength.
Kong Hou turned around and saw two young men staring at her. She hid the rabbit behind her back, and looked silently at them with wariness. As the stars continued to fall from the sky, the atmosphere turned heavy.
Seeing the female child in Master’s arms, Cheng Yi and Tan Feng gaped. Master had gone to the mortal world to experience his heart ordeal—why did he kidnap and bring back a child? Cheng Yi was slightly older than Tan Feng and more mature. He moved forward, bowed and said, “Apprentice respectfully welcomes Master’s return.”
“Good apprentices, you came.” Wang Tong saw his two apprentices and threw the bone in his hand on the ground. He stood up and put his hands behind his back as he scanned the two apprentices. “In the years this master was gone, you have had breakthroughs. It seems that you have not slacked off. Good, very good.”
The two apprentices looked at the chewed bones on the ground. “We do not dare to forget Master’s teachings.”
“Yes.” Wang Tong nodded in satisfaction. He moved to caress his snowy-white beard when he remembered the oil on his hand and put his hand down. Cheng Yi took out a handkerchief and handed it to Wang Tong. Wang Tong did not move after he took out the handkerchief but looked with a smile at Tan Feng.
Tan Feng dug inside his sleeve and also produced a handkerchief.
As a generous master, Wang Tong unhesitatingly shared a handkerchief with Kong Hou. After she wiped her hands clean, he said, “These are your two shixiong 1. Eldest Shixiong Cheng Yi, and Second Shixiong Tan Feng.”
Hearing this, Kong Hou stood up straight and bowed towards the two. “Kong Hou greets Shixiong.” She peeked at the two shixiong. Eldest Shixiong Cheng Yi had a handsome and mature appearance while Second Shixiong Tan Feng had white skin and a friendly smile.
“This is the apprentice this master took in the mortal world, Kong Hou. After we return, we will divine a good day for an apprenticeship ceremony, and have her enter my sect.”
Cheng Yi and Tan Feng felt slightly strange that Master would suddenly bring back a young girl from the mortal world, but they did not ask more in front of the child, afraid she would think too much. Cheng Yi bent down, bringing his gaze to the same level as Kong Hou. “Greetings, Little Shimei.” 2
“Greetings, Shixiong.” Kong Hou relaxed her grip on Wang Tong’s clothing and smiled at Cheng Yi.
“I did not know that Little Shimei was coming today, so Tan Feng and I did not prepare any gifts. Little Shimei, do not blame us.” Cheng Yi appeared to be in his twenties, but actually, he was more than a hundred years old. He had a natural affection for young and adorable creatures.
“No problem.” Kong Hou touched the empty pouch at her waist. “I did not prepare any gifts either.”
“Your Eldest Shixiong and I are more than a century old—how can we accept gifts from a child like you?” Tan Feng bent down and spread his arms open for Kong Hou. “It is a busy night. Let’s go, Second Shixiong will take you shopping.”
Kong Hou was moved, but her feet stood still. She turned to look at Wang Tong.
“Go.” Wang Tong smiled and nodded. Kong Hou then slowly moved towards Tan Feng, and Tan Feng picked her up.
Kong Hou covered her face. “Second Shixiong, I’m almost ten.” Ever since she was six, she had never let anyone pick her up. It was then that the Ji Family’s dynasty had been overthrown. She, a dispensable princess of the former dynasty, could not afford to be picky. During the banquet, due to her emotions, she hadn’t felt anything when Master had picked her up. Now she had calmed down and felt slightly embarrassed.
“Yes, I’m almost a hundred and sixty, a hundred and fifty years older than you.” Tan Feng saw a stall nearby selling the pastries that children recently liked. He was about to put down spirit stones when Kong Hou pulled his sleeve and said in a small voice by his ear, “Second Shixiong, Master said that pastries from outside are not clean.”
“No worries. We can just taste it.” Tan Feng threw five spirit stones towards the hawker and put the pastries in Kong Hou’s arms. “Here, have a taste.”
Master, who took Little Shimei to eat rabbit meat being sold for twenty jade coins, would not feel that pastries selling for three spirit stones per box were unclean. He clearly did not have the money, and he lied to children.
Kong Hou hugged the two boxes of pastries as she smiled at Tan Feng. Master was a good person, Shixiong was also a good person.
The cultivation world was so good.
Wang Tong, standing in the distance, saw his apprentice take Kong Hou to buy pastries that he hadn’t bought just now, and uneasily rubbed his nose.
“Tan Feng and I were worried when Master went to the mortal world for many years. Has…” Cheng Yi didn’t dare to ask. Master had entered the Core Formation Stage for more than four hundred years. If he did not have a breakthrough this year, Master would have less than ten years left to live.
Before Core Formation, Master had been a cultivation genius, one seen only once every five centuries. No one had thought that he would get stuck on his mental state. Supposedly, before Master stepped onto the path of cultivation, his family had made a living by sugar painting and once received the praise of a first rank official. The young and ignorant master once had a great goal, for people even in the imperial palace to like the sugar paintings he made.
Who would have thought that a cultivator who had lived more than nine centuries would have a heart ordeal in the form of making sugar paintings that even the Imperial Family would praise? What things would members of the Imperial Family not have? Who would care if an old man’s sugar paintings were good or not?
In the last century, Wang Tong had made sugar paintings for many people, and received much praise, including from the Imperial Family of this world. Yet he still hadn’t passed his heart ordeal because the people who praised him did not see his sugar paintings, but his status, cultivation, identity or abilities.
No member of the Imperial Family would praise him purely for his sugar paintings.
If time could be reversed, Wang Tong wanted to beat up his past self. Couldn’t he be more ambitious, have higher aspirations—why did he want to use sugar paintings to receive praise from the Imperial Family; what kind of brain did he have?
Yet a goal from youth was the purest thought in one’s life. Regardless of how many cultivators found their childhood dreams immature and laughable, if they could not pass this, they could not advance.
Cultivators like Wang Tong who remembered their childhood dreams were still well-off. Some cultivators had forgotten their childhood goals a long time ago. They were tormented by this order until their death, and still didn’t know what kind of dream their childhood self had. This caused many prestigious cultivation families to teach their children from a young age to not make wishes rashly. Otherwise, they would regret it.
Once, there had been an elder from the Beast Sect who had an absurd childhood dream of “marrying the most beautiful person in the world.” When he reached the end of his life, not just the most beautiful in the world, no beauty wanted him. He was a tragedy. Even after his death, he became an example that the sects used to teach their younger generations. Unless more absurd people appeared, in the next few millennia, he would stay on the list ranking the most embarrassing.
Compared to this elder of Beast Sect, Wang Tong’s great dream didn’t seem so laughable.
Hearing his eldest apprentice ask this awkward question, Wang Tong straightened his back. “This master was one of the top ten geniuses of the cultivation world—how could this lowly heart ordeal trouble me? This master hasn’t just overcome the heart ordeal; my cultivation has greatly increased. I broke through the Mind Manifestation barrier and have reached the stage of Projection.
“Really?!” Cheng Yi was overjoyed.
“Of course, this master will never boast.” Wang Tong’s back became even straighter.
“Congratulations, Master.” Cheng Yi couldn’t control his joy. “The time is late. How about we return first to rest, and tomorrow we will sign back in at the sect?”
“What is the hurry? Tomorrow, this master will return gloriously and show those people that looked down on us master and apprentice.” Wang Tong shook his robes. “His grandfather is still his grandfather, the genius is still the genius.”
Cheng Yi knew his master’s character trait of wanting face and naturally agreed. “Master is correct.”
“Cheng Yi.” Wang Tong rubbed his hands. “Master has been in the mortal world these past years, and doesn’t know too much about what is fashionable now. Work a bit tonight and prepare something for Master.”
“Yes.” Cheng Yi turned to look at where Kong Hou and Tan Feng were crouched together as they tried to net little fish with bellies that glowed. “The member of the Imperial Family that helped Master successfully pass the order is this little shimei?”
He didn’t know the talent of this little shimei that Master had brought back from the mortal world, but she was shrouded in the faint dragon energy of an Imperial Family. However, this presence was extremely weak. Someone who did not reach the Mind Activation Stage would not be able to detect it.
Wang Tong followed Cheng Yi’s gaze and nodded.
Truthfully, even he had felt that he wouldn’t be able to overcome the heart ordeal this time. He disguised his identity, concealed his strength, and just using his identity as a sugar painter, he didn’t even have a chance of getting near nobility, much less have a member of the Imperial Family praise him.
He stayed in the mortal world for eight whole years, going out in the wind and rain to search for that minuscule opportunity. Just as he felt hopeless, Kong Hou appeared and fulfilled his quest.
Meanwhile, Kong Hou had destroyed five fishnets, and her cheeks puffed out in anger. Why were things in this world which had cultivators so weak? She couldn’t even catch one fish.
“Little Girl, do you want to spend one more spirit stone and try again?” the hawker said with a smile. “This kind of fish will glow at night, and looks very beautiful in glass containers.”
“No.” Kong Hou shook her head. She stood up and said to Tan Feng who was still crouching. “Second Shixiong, let’s go find Master.”
“Why don’t you try again?” Tan Feng knew many young girls liked this kind of beautiful lantern fish which could glow. Little Shimei clearly liked them, so why did she refuse to try again?
“Because one has to be able to control themselves in their conduct. Greed will only bring more losses.” Kong Hou hugged the pastry box. She was very satisfied with having such beautiful pastries.
Tan Feng heard this and had a complex feeling. How could such a young child have such control?
He took away the pastry box in Kong Hou’s hand and threw two spirit stones at the hawker. “Just five fishnets is not greed—try again. Shixiong has already paid. If you don’t try, it will go to waste.”
Kong Hou stared at the ten fishnets in Tan Feng’s hand. She thought for a moment and said solemnly, “It is shameful to waste, yes?”
“Yes.” Tan Feng suppressed his laughter and nodded.
“I will not be a child that wastes.” Kong Hou took the nets. “Second Shixiong, if I get the fish, I will give them to you.”
Tan Feng looked at the young girl crouching beside the large basin. She focused intently at the fish swimming about. After her net broke, she was angered but she did not throw a tantrum, instead focusing even more intently.
When she used her seventh net, Kong Hou finally got a fish.
“Second Shixiong!” Kong Hou’s eyes narrowed as she smiled. She carefully put the fish into a clay jar and shoved it into Tan Feng’s hand. “For you.”
“Thank you.” Tan Feng held the clay jar and thanked Kong Hou with a smile as though Kong Hou had given him a great gift.
When the fellow apprentices returned holding two clay jars, they were smiling stupidly even with their faces sprinkled with water which had been splashed by the fishes.
Cheng Yi looked at the pair and then at his master standing at the side pretending to be profound. He wiped his forehead. “Let’s go back.”
“Eldest Shixiong, do we live high up in the clouds?” Kong Hou remembered that the cultivators in storybooks lived in those kinds of places.
Cheng Yi stilled and then laughed. “No, we are going to find an inn first.”
Kong Hou suddenly realized that the cultivation world also had inns.
As she thought this, music sounded in the sky. She gazed over and saw a glass palace fly past in the sky. Countless women dressed in multi-colored clothing danced in the air as numerous red envelopes dropped from the immortal palace.
Kong Hou couldn’t help but reach out. Two brocade bags automatically landed in her hand.
“What is this?” Kong Hou touched the soft brocade bags curiously. Yet Wang Tong was busy spreading his hands to get brocade bags and couldn’t answer her.
“These are the New Year’s red envelopes that the prestigious cultivation families will give to everyone on New Year’s Night.” Cheng Yi saw another two brocade bags fall into Kong Hou’s hand and said with a smile, “It seems that Little Shimei‘s luck next year will be extremely good.”
Kong Hou found that these brocade bags floated into people’s hands. If someone tried to steal them, the brocade bags would turn to dust.
In the magical cultivation world, even brocade bags had such moral integrity. They would not go to just anyone, and would destroy themselves inside.
Soon, Kong Hou accumulated seven brocade bags, filling her arms. She looked up at the crystal palace flying in the air, and saw there was a plaque above the palace with the words “Sky Sect.”
These cultivation sects were really generous. She liked this place.
As she thought this, a golden brocade bag fell into her arms.
Translator Ramblings: “Moral integrity” of brocade bags… … Does Kong Hou seem very easily satified to you?