Last chapter recap: Wang Tong and his apprentices take Kong Hou back to the sect.
This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
shixiong (师兄): a male senior, used either due to ranking of status among students of the same sect or master, or also as a term of respect to people older.
shimei (师妹): a female junior, used either due to ranking of status among students of the same sect or master
shidi (师弟): a male junior, used for ranking of status among students of the same sect or master
Chapter 6: Splendid Cloud Sect
Harmonious City was one of the provinces in Lingyou World. Splendid Cloud Sect was the only cultivation sect that was completely local to Harmonious City. The other sects appeared in Harmonious City and opened all kinds of shops, but their primary force was not here.
Harmonious City had fertile lands, and the four seasons were all distinct from each other. It could be considered one of the best places in Lingyou World. Maybe because the climate here was especially nurturing, the local people mostly had a slow personality, and were slow to act. Even their cultivators were not as ambitious as the cultivators of other provinces. Several thousand years ago, when the cultivation world was more closed-off and backward, Harmonious City had been called the city of degeneracy as many cultivations “lost their ambition” when they came here and only wanted to live out easy days.
Over time, as the systems in the cultivation world grew clearer, and the cultivators interacted more, Harmonious City finally lost its nickname. However, for young people with genuine cultivation dreams, their first choice for a sect would never be Splendid Cloud Sect. Splendid Cloud Sect felt helpless about this, and made a lot of advertisements. But the results were not significant. After a long time, Splendid Cloud Sect gradually became calm and let everything flow naturally.
But the sect master of Splendid Cloud Sect, who was usually serene—he wasn’t serene at all today. The ones even less calm than he were the peak masters sitting with him.
Splendid Cloud Sect had five peak masters, and three elders in seclusion. These three elders were not in charge of any matters. Unless it was a matter of life and death, no one would put their hopes on the three elders to do anything.
“Sect Master, Wang Tong is really… returning?” Daybreak Cloud Peak’s peak master carried one last thread of hope as he made his last struggle.
“Just now, Wang Tong’s eldest apprentice sent a message saying that Wang Tong has already returned from the mortal world.” The sect master saw Qing Yuan acting like this and couldn’t help but say, “Why did you provoke him back then? Now that he’s back, if he doesn’t have a fight with you, he will tear down half of the cave residences on your Daybreak Cloud Peak. When news of this spreads, all of Lingyou World will be laughing at us.”
“Lingyou World has laughed at us for several millennia, so this is nothing major,” Pei Huai, the peak master of Midday Sun Peak, said in a small voice. “There is nothing special—be open-minded.”
“If you don’t speak, I will be in a better mood and more open-minded.” The sect master Heng Yan glared at Pei Huai. What dastardly things had he done in his last life to end up the sect master of such a sect?! Each person was not good at anything, but they were good at eating until nothing was left. He had to worry for all of them.
Pei Huai and Qing Yuan exchanged a look and didn’t dare to speak. The other two peak masters appeared unconcerned as though they were just here to buff up the numbers.
Boom, boom, boom.
The bell of the sect rang three times. This was the ceremony for when an important person in the sect was returning, to show how the disciples of the sect missed and respected their elders.
After the bell rang, Qing Yuan changed sitting postures several times, and used his actions to show what it meant to sit restlessly.
Splendid Cloud Sect was situated on top of a tall mountain. The stone stairs reached up to the immortal doors. When one stepped onto this path, it meant that they separated from the mortal world and were stepping onto the way of cultivation.
Kong Hou stood on the flying sword, Cheng Yi holding her hand. She looked at the snowy-white stone stairs curving under her which stretched out endlessly. Her eyes were full of curiosity. She had never seen such a long staircase before.
“This is the Immortality Questing Path—each sect will have such a path. The ordinary people that want to join the sect to cultivate have to walk this path before they can remain.” Cheng Yi introduced Splendid Cloud Sect’s buildings to Kong Hou. “Over there is Moon Perching Peak where Master and we will live.”
Looking where Cheng Yi was pointing, Kong Hou found a mountain in the west shrouded mysteriously in mist. But she didn’t dare to speak now. She feared that Master and Eldest Shixiong would remember that she hadn’t walked that Immortality Questing Path and would throw her to the base of the mountain to climb up by herself.
Cheng Yi thought that Kong Hou hadn’t adjusted to Lingyou World yet and didn’t think more. He landed with Kong Hou on the training ground outside the main hall. The disciples on the training ground all wore blue outer robes. Seeing Cheng Yi arrive, they put away their weapons, and bowed to Cheng Yi. As a personal apprentice to the master of Moon Perching Peak, Cheng Yi had great status in the sect.
“Shixiong and Shimei do not have to be so courteous.” Cheng Yi corrected the mistakes of several disciples in their sword moves, and then pulled Kong Hou to watch from the side.
Kong Hou did not understand swordsmanship well, but she felt these people had better-looking swordsmanship than the ones from the palace. Also, these people did not fear the cold. On such a cold day, they wore cotton robes. The robes were beautiful to look at but not insulating.
She looked into the sky. Where had Master and Second Shixiong gone to?
As she thought this, she suddenly saw red clouds rolling in the sky, and snow being swept up by great winds. On a singing crane, Master came, dressed in snowy-white robes.
Kong Hou was astounded by her master’s ethereal appearance. She dazedly looked at the flying crane and felt that Master, in this moment, was truly an immortal.
She seemed to hear Eldest Shixiong laugh, but when she turned to look, she only saw Eldest Shixiong‘s serious face.
Had she heard it wrong?
Seeing Wang Tong riding the crane directly into the main hall, Cheng Yi said to Kong Hou, “Let’s go in.”
“Oh.” Kong Hou felt someone seemed to be inside the clouds, and Second Shixiong was not here.
“Eldest Shixiong, where is Second Shixiong?”
“Your second shixiong—” Cheng Yi looked into the sky “—he is doing something very important for Master.”
Kong Hou looked at Eldest Shixiong‘s face and felt for some reason that Eldest Shixiong‘s expression was full of meaning. This probably represented the worries of an adult world. After walking with Cheng Yi for a while along a path, Kong Hou said in a small voice to Cheng Yi, “Eldest Shixiong, those shixiong and shijie 1 who are practicing seem to be peeking at us.”
“Do not mind them.” Cheng Yi patted Kong Hou’s hair buns. “Young people are curious and their cultivation still insufficient.”
Kong Hou turned around to look at those shixiong and shijie. They withdrew their gazes. They were similar to the old officials of the previous dynasty who had joined Emperor Jinghong. They would peek at her but they would pretend that nothing was happening.
As expected, the world of adults was filled with matters where people buried their heads in the sand.
In the main hall, snow swept onto the faces of the sect master and the four peak masters. Qing Yuan’s temper was fiery, and he almost slapped the table and left. But when he remembered the person coming was Wang Tong, he swallowed his anger.
The crane cried and fell into the hall. Wang Tong slowly walked off the crane, shook his wide sleeves and bowed to Heng Yan. “Greetings to Sect Master, Shixiong.”
Heng Yan looked at the snowflakes and crane feathers which landed on the ground. He laughed dryly and said, “Shidi, no need for such courtesy. You and I have not seen each other for many years—why don’t we sit down and talk?”
“Many thanks, Shixiong.” Wang Tong rubbed his smooth beard and sat down on the first empty seat on the left. He coincidentally sat right opposite Qing Yuan.
“Ha.” Wang Tong flicked the non-existent dirt off his robes as though he wanted to flick Qing Yuan out.
Qing Yuan could not control himself. “Wang Tong, do not make trouble immediately upon your return!”
Wang Tong raised an eyebrow. “Are you very disappointed seeing me alive?”
During the years that Wang Tong sought ways to defeat his heart ordeal, he heard Qing Yuan laughing about him ten years ago behind his back. Qing Yuan said that he was born poor and had no knowledge, so his heart ordeal was so laughable. All of the cultivation world was laughing at him.
At the time, the two had fought. Because Wang Tong hadn’t passed his heart ordeal, he had lost. Then he had gone to the mortal world and never appeared in Splendid Cloud Sect in the years after.
In those years, Qing Yuan had worried that Wang Tong would be unable to overcome his heart ordeal and would die outside. Then he would really become enemies with Wang Tong’s two apprentices. Feeling guilty, he had been much more docile in the past few years. However, the guilt immediately turned to smoke when he saw Wang Tong’s high-profile appearance.
Seeing the two about to start arguing again, the sect master Heng Yan interrupted their conversation. “Wang Tong, I see that your cultivation has returned to its true state. You advanced greatly?”
“Thank you, Sect Master, for your concern. I have already passed through Mind Manifestation and reached the Projection Stage,” said Wang Tong. “I troubled everyone by staying in Core Formation Stage and not advancing in these years.”
The people present all sighed in relief. Even Qing Yuan just muttered a few words and didn’t say anything ugly.
“Congratulations, Wang Tong Shixiong. We should hold an advancement ceremony for such a joyous matter to celebrate for you.” Pei Huai slapped the arm of his chair in joy. “You easily passed through Mind Manifestation Stage—Shidi, you will reach Mind Dividing Stage any day.”
“Shixiong is joking. However, we do need to hold a ceremony soon—not my advancement ceremony but an apprenticeship ceremony.” Wang Tong looked towards the door of the hall. “I accepted an apprentice in the mortal world and intend for her to be my last apprentice.”
“Mortal world?” Qing Yuan couldn’t help but say, “Most of the people in the mortal world do not have any spirit base. Why would you…”
Wang Tong ignored him and said towards the door, “Cheng Yi, bring in your little shimei.”
Hearing this tone, it was obvious that Wang Tong had already accepted this child from the mortal world as his apprentice and only lacked a ceremony.
Cheng Yi came in holding the hand of a little girl of about nine years old. The little girl had silky black hair, and her eyes were both round and bright. Even old men like them who had lived for centuries couldn’t help but feel some fondness.
The peak masters present exchanged looks. If this girl did not look so beautiful, they would think that Wang Tong had gone to the mortal world and had a child with some woman.
“Kong Hou greets Uncles.” Kong Hou walked to the center of the hall and gave a court bow. Her expression was stiff, and she seemed stern.
The sect master Heng Yan felt that it wasn’t appropriate having a child from the mortal world as an apprentice, but facing Kong Hou, he could not help but smile as he spoke. “No need for such courtesy. All present are the fellow disciples of your master; there is no need to be restrained.”
When people grew old, they liked adorable looking children like this.
“Oh?” Qing Yuan found that Kong Hou had imperial dragon energy. “You are a member of the mortal world’s imperial family—were you the one that helped Wang Tong pass his heart ordeal?”
Kong Hou did not know what a heart ordeal was. She picked the question she understood to answer. “My father was the emperor of the previous dynasty.”
“Emperor of the previous dynasty?”
Kong Hou nodded. “Because he was not a good emperor, he was overthrown.”
Qing Yuan: “…”
The other peak masters: “…”
This child was so sincere. She did seem to have some mannerisms like those of Splendid Cloud Sect when she spoke so lightly of a country changing dynasties.
Translator Ramblings: Kong Hou is not blind to the fault of her parent at all.
- 师姐 shijie: a female senior; used either due to order of acceptance or age among students of the same sect or master ↩