Last chapter recap: Kong Hou meets her new elders and sees her new home.
This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
Chapter 8: Apprenticeship Ceremony
The news that the peak master of Moon Perching Peak had brought back a little girl from the mortal world and was preparing to take her as his last apprentice quickly spread through Splendid Cloud Sect.
All of Splendid Cloud Sect were lazy and easy-going. Only when they gossipped did they seem motivated. Five years ago when the major sects held a friendship conference, Splendid Cloud Sect’s disciples forgot the time as they were too busy watching the fun. They could not enter the conference’s tournament, and got last place among the sects. Consequently, they became entertainment in the eyes of other people.
Even though they had paid such a great price because they liked watching the fun, the disciples of Splendid Cloud Sect still continued on their path of watching the fun. Fortunately, they knew not to say things recklessly after watching. If they gossiped, they would close the door and talk in secret. Otherwise, they would have been beaten to death long ago.
Some speculated this girl was the illegitimate daughter of Peak Master Wang Tong because this girl did not look yet ten, and Peak Master had gone to the mortal world for almost a decade. The timing was perfect. But the disciples who saw Kong Hou on the training ground felt that Wang Tong, with his small eyes and nose, could not produce such an adorable child. No matter how beautiful the little girl’s mother was, Peak Master Wang Tong’s face would drag down the overall appearance.
This explanation was so well-founded many people expressed they could not argue against it.
Everyone knew that those born in the mortal world eat food without any spirit energy since birth. Even if they had cultivation talent when they were born, those talents would gradually disappear over time. Consequently, the major sects would not bring disciples in from the mortal world. Only some small minor sects would take in outer sect disciples from the mortal world. Very few disciples from the mortal world would enter the inner sect.
“When I first joined the sect, I once heard a rumor.” A disciple slowly swung his sword, his eyes moving around as his ears listened keenly to guard against the appearance of the supervisor or peak masters. “Peak Master Wang Tong was brought from the mortal world by a forebear.”
“Nonsense, if Peak Master Wang Tong was from the mortal world, how could he become a great Projection power? This speculation is not as trustworthy as saying that the little girl is Peak Master Wang Tong’s illegitimate daughter.” Everyone felt that this was a joke. The disciple who had spoken was so angry he did not want to talk.
Why did these people not use their brains? If Peak Master Wang Tong was born in Lingyou World, why would sugar painting become his heart ordeal? Why would children of Lingyou World have such strange thoughts?
Of course, not counting that elder who wanted to marry the most beautiful in the world—he was a weirdo in Lingyou World.
No matter how curious the disciples of the sect were, the apprenticeship ceremony was held three days later. Because it was a peak master and his last apprentice, the ceremony was a grand one. Two of the three elders of the sect were present, and the last one was in seclusion and no one dared to disturb them.
The two elders knew that Wang Tong’s apprentice came from the mortal world. As cultivators who had lived for over a millennium, their best trait was that they did not meddle. As long as Wang Tong was happy, they had no opinions.
Elder Shu Jiu looked down and arranged the patterns on his clothing after he appeared. He liked camellias with thirty-two flower petals, but the one on his clothing only had thirty-one regardless of how he counted. He felt extremely discomforted.
At his side, Elder Gu Yu sat sternly. His presence was like that of a tiger, and made people in front of him feel weak.
Seeing Shu Jiu moving about, Gu Yu frowned. But looking at the other elders in the hall, he did not speak but used a sound art.
“Sit down. This is our grand-apprentice’s ceremony—how will it look if you are fidgeting?”
Shu Jiu glanced at Gu Yu. Gu Yu wasn’t looking at him, and appeared dignified and stern. Shu Jiu straightened resentfully. He didn’t know if it was a delusion, but why did he feel his back start to itch?
The bell sounded and the ceremony began.
Shu Jiu’s shoulders shook. Why was it getting more itchy? But in front of his juniors, he wanted face so he endured it.
Outside the hall, Cheng Yi and Tan Feng stood next to Kong Hou. All three were dressed in the sect uniform of white edged with silver and red. The robes represented their status as the apprentices of a peak master. Kong Hou did not have any cultivation. Cheng Yi worried that she would freeze, so he had her put on a rabbit-fur jacket and secretly gave her a hand-warming pot.
Hearing the bell sound, Cheng Yi took away the pot that Kong Hou held in her hands. “Go in.”
The encouraging smiles on the two shixiong‘s faces caused Kong Hou to gather her courage. She took a deep breath and stepped across the high door sill.
Many people were inside the hall, some standing and others sitting. The precious stones embedded in the walls glittered and shone, illuminating the hall. Kong Hou’s gaze swept across the crowd and then stopped on Wang Tong at the front.
In the cultivation world, the relationship between master and apprentice was important. If one knelt, then their master was like their parent. The father had to be benevolent, the children had to be filial. Otherwise, they would be criticized by the entire cultivation world.
Kong Hou knelt before Wang Tong, her hands on the ground as she knelt three times and kowtowed nine times.
“Apprentice Kong Hou asks Master to drink tea.”
After making the greeting, Kong Hou took the tea a disciple handed over. She checked the temperature of the cup and then knelt once again in front of Wang Tong.
“Today, you join my Splendid Cloud Sect. You will take Splendid Cloud Sect as your honor, develop the sect, and focus on your cultivation.” Wang Tong took the teacup and drank it to the bottom. He bent down and helped Kong Hou stand up from the ground. He massaged her knees, and said in a small voice, “Are you in pain from kneeling?”
Kong Hou shook her head with a smile.
“The sect has too many rules.” Wang Tong rubbed his young apprentice’s knees again and then turned to bow towards Sect Master Heng Yan and the two elders, Shu Jiu and Gu Yu. He said, “Wang Tong is untalented, and has no mind left to teach other disciples. Kong Hou will be my last apprentice. Everyone, please stand today as witness.”
Wang Tong had said long ago that he would only have three apprentices, so no one was surprised. Elder Gu Yu nodded in contentment. “It is not easy for you to teach three apprentices.” Wang Tong’s personality wasn’t a good one, and his luck was not good. However, his luck at getting apprentices was good. Cheng Yi and Tan Feng were outstanding in talent and reliable as people, much better than Wang Tong.
This young girl’s face carried a noble energy, her eyes were spirited, and no matter how her talent was, her personality would not be lacking. In cultivation, talent was important, but one’s mental state could not be ignored. Their Splendid Cloud Sect did not ask to stand at the top of the cultivation world, and only asked to protect their disciples. As a result, mental state was more important than talent.
Gu Yu’s words caused Wang Tong to laugh awkwardly. He looked down at his confused apprentice and sighed in relief. Fortunately, Kong Hou was young and did not understand. He took out a token identifying the holder as a disciple and put it solemnly into Kong Hou’s hands. “From today, you are a disciple of Splendid Cloud Sect. Bow to Elder Gu Yu and Elder Shu Jiu.”
“No need for such gravity,” Gu Yu said expressionlessly.
Everyone felt their hearts rise. Was Elder Gu Yu dissatisfied at Peak Master Wang Tong taking in a child from the mortal world as his last apprentice and was going to make things difficult at this time?
“I am your master’s shishu—you can call me Grand Shishu.” Gu Yu wanted to make himself appear more friendly. However, when someone who rarely smiled did smile, their smile wasn’t natural. He pulled up the corner of his lips and forced an expression that barely managed to count as a smile. “According to the rules of the mortal realm, I am your grand-uncle.”
Kong Hou smiled sweetly at this old person who appeared stern but had gentle eyes. She said, “Grand Shishu.”
“Yes.” Gu Yu took out a brocade box from his sleeve. He held it in front of Kong Hou and said harshly, “Good.”
“Thank you, Gu Yu Grand Shishu.” Kong Hou looked back at Master. Seeing Master smiling at her, she took the brocade box that Gu Yu Gran Shishu was holding and returned a bow.
Shu Jiu saw Gu Yu giving this young apprentice a prepared gift and hurriedly took out a flying sword from his storage bag to give to Kong Hou. He received a sweet “Shu Jiu Grand Shishu” and felt refreshed. He even forgot the itch on his back and the camellia missing a petal.
The people who were attending the apprenticeship ceremony sighed in relief. The two elders did not have any objections to Peak Master Wang Tong taking in a little girl of unknown cultivation talent from the mortal world as his apprentice. Then this girl’s status as an apprentice was established.
Most important for people in a sect was being happy, regardless of their talent or where they came from. That had nothing to do with them. Interacting harmoniously like this would create better days.
An apprenticeship ceremony that may have caused a storm in other sects ended with joy in Splendid Cloud Sect. As to the inner sect and outer sect disciples, their only regret was the loss of one chance at becoming an apprentice.
However, Moon Perching Peak was not their first choice anyway. Everyone knew, of the five peak masters, Peak Master Wang Tong… was the poorest. No matter if it was exploring secret realms or participating in tournaments, Peak Master Wang Tong’s luck was extremely bad. From beginning to end, he would never get anything good.
But if one had to say he had bad luck, he also had good luck as he managed to come out alive from many secret realms without even a serious injury.
Maybe this was the so-called poor people lived the longest. They didn’t know if this was good or bad.
On Moon Perching Peak, the four sat around a stone table. Wang Tong looked at his smallest apprentice playing with a jade gourd and then looked at his eldest apprentice. Cheng Yi pretended not to see, and looked sideways at Tan Feng.
Tan Feng, under his master and Eldest Shixiong‘s gaze, laughed and said, “Shimei, have you adjusted to Moon Perching Peak?”
“Yes.” Kong Hou put the jade gourd to one side and straightened. “Master, may I cultivate now?”
The three men were silent for a moment. Once again stared at by his master and shixiong, Tan Feng laughed awkwardly and said, “Shimei, cultivation depends on the harmony between the five elements and yinyang. So disciples with different talent will cultivate different manuals.”
“Then what manual is suitable for me?” Kong Hou asked with anticipation.
“This… ” Tan Feng was at a loss for words. Before the apprenticeship ceremony, they hadn’t let Little Shimei test her talent because they were afraid they would find that Little Shimei would be unable to cultivate and Master wouldn’t be able to persist in having Little Shimei as his last apprentice.
Now that the apprenticeship ceremony was finished, it wasn’t important whether Shimei had cultivation talent or not. But they feared. If Shimei really didn’t have cultivation talent, would she be unhappy?
“We need to measure your talent.” Cheng Yi patted Kong Hou’s head. “How about Shixiong takes you to test your talent?”
“All right.” Kong Hou agreed. Her large eyes blinked and blinked, but her lips were pressed together.
Cheng Yi held Kong Hou’s hand as the two walked slowly rather than travel on a flying sword.
“Splendid Cloud Sect has many disciples, skilled in both martial and scholarly arts.” Cheng Yi decided that if Little Shimei really did not have any talent, he would find something for her to do in order to have confidence in the sect.
“Isn’t that painting of our Founder in the main hall lifelike?”
Kong Hou nodded.
“That was drawn by a forebear with extremely low talent. While he had almost no advancement in cultivation, because of his skillful drawing, he was respected by many cultivators in the cultivation world…”
“Eldest Shixiong, are you worried my talent will not be good?” Kong Hou patted Cheng Yi’s hand that was holding hers. “Don’t worry, I will definitely be a good cultivation talent.”
Cheng Yi: Were all children so confident?
Now he was even more worried. When Little Shimei learned that she didn’t have the good luck of the protagonists in storybooks, would she be able to accept it?
The hideous storybooks in the mortal world were harmful to people.
Translator Ramblings: Kong Hou represents optimism. Wang Tong is poverty.