Last chapter recap: Kong Hou finishes her apprenticeship ceremony and is going to get her talents evaluated.
Chapter 9: Test
Kong Hou stood at the doorway to Five Elements Hall.
“What is it?” Cheng Yi saw that Kong Hou seemed not to dare to enter. Now she knew to be afraid? He had thought that she was really fearless and that she took the storybooks as the absolute truth.
“No-nothing.” Kong Hou would not admit that she worried she did not have the good luck of storybook protagonists. She smoothed her fur jacket and said falsely, “I’m just adjusting my clothing.”
Cheng Yi laughed and took her hand. “Shimei, no matter what kind of talent you have, you will be my shimei. No one in Splendid Cloud Sect would dare to bully you.”
Kong Hou bit her lower lip. “Do useless people have value?”
The people in the palace said the reason why Emperor Jinghong kept her alive was because she was of some use. That was why he had kept her, a member of the previous dynasty. From a young age, she understood—after her mother-empress passed away, no one else in the world would be good to her for nothing.
She did not dare to walk around or speak freely in Splendid Cloud Sect. She feared bringing trouble to Master, and that Master and the shixiong would look down on her.
Seeing Kong Hou’s unease, Cheng Yi bent down and looked straight into her eyes. “Kong Hou, Shixiong does not have top talent. If you possess outstanding talent, Shixiong will be of no use to you. Will Shixiong be worthless to you then?”
Kong Hou shook her head. “No, Eldest Shixiong is very good; Master and Second Shixiong are also very good.”
“So, in our eyes, Kong Hou is also very good, no matter how much talent you have.” Cheng Yi smiled gently and reached out a hand in front of Kong Hou. “Do not be afraid—Shixiong will go in with you.”
Kong Hou slowly put her hand into Cheng Yi’s palm. Eldest Shixiong‘s hand was large and warm. It could wrap around her hand. Just like… a father’s hand. It gave her endless courage.
The supervisor of Five Elements Hall saw Cheng Yi come in with Kong Hou and put the tangram he was playing with back into his sleeve. “Greetings, Shishu.” There weren’t many matters in the sect in the last few days, and he had nothing to do. He hadn’t even played with the tangram for half an hour before the two shishu found him. He really was unlucky.
Cheng Yi pretended not to see the supervisor’s actions. “Little Shimei has just joined the sect. I’ve come to test her talent.”
The supervisor thought to himself, last time, he hadn’t managed to finish speaking before Cheng Yi Shishu had glared him into swallowing the words. Now he had come of his own accord. Moon Perching Peak’s people were confusing in their actions.
He ushered the two to the back of the building. There was a five element stone with seal formations drawn on the surface. People with spirit bases only had to put the spirit stone to their forehead to test their talent. This young shishu came from the mortal world. Before holding the apprenticeship ceremony, they hadn’t dared to even test her talent. She most likely did not have good talent.
After hearing the supervisor say what to do, Kong Hou picked up the five element stone from the table. She felt that she had karma with the word “five.” Maybe it would bring her good luck.
The five element stone was cold to the touch. The moment it touched her forehead, Kong Hou felt a wave of coldness enter her head. Slightly cold, but it was comfortable, like water washing away the mud on the stone, and she felt refreshed.
“Close your eyes, and relax your body and mind.” Cheng Yi saw the five element stone remain silent. “Slowly.”
The courtyard was extremely quiet except for the sound of snow falling onto the leaves.
After a while, the five element stone was still silent. The supervisor wanted to say that this little shishu did not have a spirit base and could not cultivate. But seeing the little shishu‘s seriousness, he chose to remain silent.
Maybe after a while, the five element stone would respond.
After a few more moments, Cheng Yi took a deep breath and put a hand on Kong Hou’s shoulder. “Shimei…”
Suddenly, air swirled around Kong Hou, the snow on the ground flying into the air. Cheng Yi was blown back two paces by the gust of air before he managed to steady himself. “Shimei!”
Kong Hou could not hear Cheng Yi’s shout. She was immersed in an extremely comfortable state, as though she was surrounded by some comfortable bubble of gas. Her entire body seemed to be breathing in comfort, light as though she was flying in the sky.
When she opened her eyes again, she saw a courtyard in disarray and a supervisor who was covered in snow. She looked back at Eldest Shixiong. While Eldest Shixiong wasn’t as disheveled at the supervisor, there was snow on his robes. Kong Hou was confused by everything she saw. Had she done this?
“Are you all right?” Kong Hou hurriedly put the five element stone back onto the table, feeling guilty. If she damaged this, would they ask her to pay for it?
“I’m fine—do you feel uncomfortable anywhere?” Cheng Yi walked forward and put a hand on Kong Hou’s pulse. After confirming that she wasn’t injured, he sighed in relief. Shimei was young. If anything happened to her meridians, it would affect her entire life.
“Five-five element stone!” The supervisor held the five element stone that Kong Hou had just put on the table, his voice stuttering.
Cheng Yi looked towards the supervisor and saw that the five element stone had shattered. The surface was covered in cracks, and the spirit energy inside was completely gone.
Kong Hou pulled the corner of Cheng Yi’s robe, and hid behind Cheng Yi. It was over! She hadn’t come to the cultivation world for ten days yet, and she was already causing Shixiong to pay for her damages.
Cheng Yi took out a message seal. He pressed on it with spirit power, and several seal patterns flew away like lightning. According to tradition, when juniors in the sect wanted to see the elders, they should go to the cave residences. But the situation here was special, and he could not attend to that.
Kong Hou saw Eldest Shixiong and the supervisor’s serious expressions. She said in a tiny voice, “Eldest Shixiong, did I cause a disaster?”
“No.” Cheng Yi woke up from his shock and hurriedly comforted Kong Hou. He smiled at her and said, “Shimei, you have a spirit base. You can cultivate with us in the future.”
But Little Shimei‘s spirit base seemed to be complicated. He needed the elders here to clarify what was going on.
“Then…” Kong Hou pulled Cheng Yi’s sleeve so he would bend down to hear her whisper. “This place is damaged—how much will it cost?”
“The sect is your home. If you break something in your home, would you have to pay?” Cheng Yi laughed. “Master and your shixiong are here for everything; you don’t have to worry about this.”
“When I damaged things in the palace, I did not have to pay, but they would deduct from my monthly allowance.” According to the rules, Kong Hou would have treasures the emperor and empress would give each year. But the female official managed them. While they were Kong Hou’s in name, she did not even have a chance to touch them. She finally picked up a silver peanut off the ground that some noblewoman had thrown away, but the day she was buying the sugar painting, she felt the old person out in the cold was pitiful and gave the entire silver peanut to him.
While she now knew that the old person was her master, she was too shy to ask her master to get the silver peanut back.
“This is not like the palace. You will like this place more and more.” Cheng Yi rubbed Kong Hou’s head. He had been the one to make Kong Hou’s hair today. The two buns looked simple, but it had taken him a long time before they were acceptable to be seen.
Kong Hou sneakily kicked a snapped table leg underneath the table and felt reassured.
Wang Tong and the two elders came quickly. When Wang Tong walked in and saw the destruction, his expression turned nervous. “Kong Hou, are you all right?”
“Master, I’m fine.” Kong Hou poked her head out from behind Cheng Yi and seemed timid.
“As long as you are fine.” Wang Tong walked next to Kong Hou and pulled her behind him. He said to the supervisor, “If you need compensation for the damages, deduce spirit stones from Moon Perching Peak’s account.”
The supervisor: …
The amount of spirit stones Moon Perching Peak owed the sect had already been deducted fifty years into the future. There were no spirit stones to deduct from the account.
“Master, this cannot be blamed on Shimei.” Cheng Yi told Wang Tong what had happened.
“The five element stone shattered?” Gu Yu examined the five element stone on the table, and took out a crystal from his storage bag. He walked in front of Kong Hou. “Are you afraid?”
Kong Hou tugged on the corner of Wang Tong’s clothes. “Grand Shishu, I’m not afraid.”
Gu Yu bent down and patted her head. He put the crystal on top of her head. In an instant, the crystal lit up. Twisters formed in the surroundings once again, and the snowflakes danced. Seeing this, Gu Yu hurriedly picked up the crystal and then looked with a strange expression at Wang Tong.
“Shishu, how is my little apprentice’s talent?” Wang Tong felt his hair stand up under Gu Yu’s gaze. He did not fear anything except Gu Yu staring at him. This made him remember his terror eight centuries ago when Shishu had locked him in a black room and stared at him for three days and nights.
“The world has the five elements that form and subdue each other. Anyone born in this world cannot leap out of the five elements or separate from them.” Gu Yu looked down at the young child. “A small proportion are born with the affection of the world, and they have all five elements. But this is both blessing and curse. If a person like that cannot work hard, they will be less than ordinary cultivators. But if they work on their cultivation, they will be at the top of the cultivation world, and almost undefeatable.”
Wang Tong was thoughtful. A moment later, he said, “Shishu, speak simply.”
Gu Yu put his hands behind his back and said expressionlessly, “I mean, you have a good apprentice. She has a pentad spirit base.”
Two thousand years ago, the cultivation world felt that a pentad spirit base was the worst, but as pentad spirit base cultivators became great powers one after another, the major sects finally reacted. As long as pentad spirit base cultivators were willing to work hard, as their cultivation advanced, they would become stronger than single spirit base cultivators.
Yet fate was sometimes so strange. When everyone looked down on pentad spirit base cultivators, a few pentad spirit base cultivators would appear. When all the sects realized the importance of pentad spirit base cultivators, and started to recruit disciples with a pentad spirit base, the cultivators with a pentad spirit base decreased in number and were almost extinct. Occasionally, a cultivator with a pentad spirit base would appear, and they would be stolen by the more famous sects. It would never be Splendid Cloud Sect’s turn.
So right now, the most popular in the cultivation world were the pentad spirit base cultivators, and then the single spirit base cultivators. The river flowed one way for three millennia, and then the other way the next three millennia. It was never certain.
Now, Wang Tong took a little girl back from the mortal world, and she had a pentad spirit base. Her meridians were already strong and large. Even the five element stone could not tolerate the other’s attraction to spirit energy. This was even rarer than a sword cultivator producing a top medicinal pill.
“You…” Gu Yu patted Wang Tong’s shoulder. “Do not run around in the future—stay in the sect and teach your apprentices well.”
No wonder his luck was usually so bad. He accumulated all of his luck and then used it to get his apprentices.
Wang Tong was still for a moment, and then he bent down to pick up Kong Hou. “Good Kong Hou, you are a genius!”
Kong Hou screamed, frightened by her master’s sudden movement. Kong Hou gripped Wang Tong’s neck. After recovering, she said to Cheng Yi who was behind Wang Tong. “Eldest Shixiong, the storybooks didn’t lie to me!”
Cheng Yi: “…”
No, Little Shimei, storybooks are really not trustworthy. It is just a coincidence!
Translator Ramblings: No one can save Kong Hou from believing in the storybooks now.