Last chapter recap: Kong Hou starts learning cultivation.
This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
Chapter 11: Storybook
“This year’s snow came really early.” One of the shopkeepers of Sky Sect walked out of his shop in Harmonious City. Seeing the workers of the shop already cleaning up the snow, he nodded and said, “It has been cold recently—you have worked hard.”
Most of the workers in the shop were locals from Harmonious City. While he, the supervisor, was only an outer sect member of Sky Sect, in these fellows’ eyes, any cultivator that was admitted to a large sect was admirable. The supervisor just said a few polite words, but these words motivated the workers. They tried to earn some more bonuses for year’s end.
The shopkeeper took the hot tea a worker had made. Just as he prepared to take a sip, he saw two people walk through the door. The man wore brocade white robes edged in silver and red. The girl looked younger, wearing a fur-edged jacket, her hair in two suspended buns. Even before she entered the shop, she had a small smile on her face.
“Honored customers, please enter.” The shopkeeper saw the man’s robes and knew that this was an apprentice of Splendid Cloud Sect taking their shimei or other junior to shop. His cultivation was low, and he could not see this apprentice’s cultivation, but this young girl who looked just ten years old had very low cultivation.
“Shopkeeper, are the vouchers for spirit stones from last new year’s still usable now?” the little girl asked.
“Of course.” The shopkeeper smiled enthusiastically. “As long as you come before the next New Year’s Eve, they are valid. Honored customer, please give the vouchers to this one, and this one will redeem them for you.”
The shopkeeper did not have a displeased expression because these people had come just to redeem their spirit stones. One reason was because Harmonious City was under the governance of Splendid Cloud Sect. Splendid Cloud Sect was harmonious in its conduct, but their sect was extremely united. Even a rabbit would bite when forced, much less Splendid Cloud Sect, one of the ten major sects of Lingyou World. The second reason was people would make money in peace. He had been sent by the sect to Harmonious City in order to be a shopkeeper. He did not ask for everything to be perfect, but at least, not create any incidents. In any case, the redeemed spirit stones would be provided by the sect. He would give them what he should, and everyone would be happy.
While the shopkeeper wanted to make money in peace, after he took the pile of vouchers, his smile was slightly frozen. Had all the disciples of Splendid Cloud Sect gone onto the streets to get brocade bags last New Year’s Eve? Why would the sum be greater than five hundred spirit stones?
“Honored customer, please wait for a moment.” The shopkeeper took out a box of spirit stones. The box held five hundred spirit stones. Then he took out a few dozen from another box before he put them in front of the little girl.
“And this as well.” After the little girl put all of the spirit stones into her storage bag, she took out another voucher for a magic robe.
The shopkeeper’s hand shook when he took the voucher. However, he was one of the ten best shopkeepers in the sect. He was the pride of Green Water Beetle Hall 1. He would not show any emotion at this moment. “Honored customer, please come with this one upstairs to make a selection.”
He thought the little girl would pick a magic robe that the female cultivators liked at the moment. However, the little girl picked a set of men’s robes and happily went downstairs. When they were leaving, he seemed to see that the other was wearing a sect uniform of white edged in silver under their fur clothing.
The rumors said that Splendid Cloud Sect took in a very young apprentice at the beginning of the year. Was it this girl?
“Second Shixiong, I find that the people here seem to respect you greatly.” As Kong Hou walked on the street, she occasionally saw people smile towards Tan Feng and nod in respect. Some people even wanted to give them fruit and snacks, but Shixiong refused them.
“These people are not respecting me, but the clothing I wear. More accurately, our sect,” Tan Feng said. “The people of this city live under Splendid Cloud Sect’s protection. Much of the land outside the city belongs to our sect. The sect always has been kind to the people, and only takes a very small amount of land rent. If it is a year with disasters, the sect will help in the relief efforts, so everyone lives well. While our Splendid Cloud Sect is second to last among the ten major sects, many people want to come live in Harmonious City. It is not easy for people from other places to get a household register in Harmonious City. The sect spends a great deal of effort in reviewing the identities of the people each year.”
Kong Hou finally understood. So Splendid Cloud Sect was the biggest landlord in Harmonious City.
“Our sect built some of the buildings on the street. So when people from other places come here to do business, they can buy the store or rent it.” Tan Feng introduced Splendid Cloud Sect’s managed properties to Kong Hou. “So our Harmonious City can be said to be the place most welcomed by normal people in all of Lingyou World.”
While Lingyou World had many cultivators, ordinary people were still the majority. Splendid Cloud Sect respected the comfort and safety of ordinary people when they managed Harmonious City. Therefore, they had a good reputation among the ordinary people, and the people of Harmonious City respected and admired Splendid Cloud Sect.
Hearing Second Shixiong finish explaining Splendid Cloud Sect’s management, Kong Hou shook her head and lamented, “If my father-emperor had been half as kind as Splendid Cloud Sect when he was emperor, he would not have ruined the old Ji Family’s property. So what if he lost it, it is retribution, but those poor millions of people.”
Tan Feng already knew that Kong Hou was a princess of a previous dynasty. Listening to her tone, she seemed to be at ease regarding the fact that her country had been overthrown. This kind of personality was the most suitable for cultivation.
He patted Kong Hou’s shoulder and did not say any words of comfort.
Kong Hou smiled at Tan Feng. Turning, she saw a bookstore and walked over. Tan Feng hesitated and could only follow with a grimace.
The owner of the bookstore saw the two and greeted them with enthusiasm. “Honored Transcendents, please come in and select at your leisure.”
Kong Hou flipped through the shelves. There were all kinds of books on ghosts, monsters, and the legends of all kinds of great cultivators. The events were so exciting and thrilling that she did not bear to put them down.
Spirit Master Ming Feng of Clear Sea Sect fought one against ten. No one could stop him.
The new apprentice of Clear Dawn Sect, Ling Bo, had a pentad spirit base. She had only joined the sect for a decade but was already a Base Building expert. In one night, she killed a demonic sect that used females and children to make pills, in total over a hundred people.
Spirit Master Zhong Xi of Radiance Sect reached Energy Refinement at ten years old, Base Building at eighteen years old. With one sword strike, he could destroy half of a mountain. He once killed enemies above his cultivation. He was nine feet tall, his eyes like lightning. Everyone who met his eyes would feel cold all over. He was just three hundred years old now, but already a Mind Dividing power.
Kong Hou looked at the door to the bookstore. If this person walked in through the door, would he have to bend down? And with eyes like lightning, he would appear… so unique. His great cultivation could not make up for his ugliness. Such a regretful thing.
Putting down these books, Kong Hou saw a sign in the corner. Written on it was “Fifty jade coins per pound.” Placed inside were yellowing storybooks. The author was all the same person, called “Talented Author.” She didn’t know how long they had been placed in there for a thick layer of dust to accumulate.
“Shopkeeper, why are these books so inexpensive?” Kong Hou flipped through the books and felt the writing was good.
“Those?” The shopkeeper would not say the truth to other people, but he was honest to people from Splendid Cloud Sect. “The plotlines of those stories are old-fashioned and illogical; people don’t like reading them. I heard the owner of another bookstore say this “Talented Author” might be a young master from a rich family. He feels that his writing is good, and frequently has his subordinate send them for free to bookstores to sell, giving spirit stones to the bookstore as well. We do business, and we will not put ourselves against spirit stones. Each year end, we will sell these books at the lowest price. After they are all sold, we will message the “Talented Author’s” servant and say that the books sold well, not even one was left over, and we can also get reward money. There is nothing wrong about doing something mutually beneficial like this. Also, the paper of these books is especially good. If I take it home, I can use it to wrap pastries or tea. If no one buys them by the end of the year, I will take them home to give to the neighbour to wrap tea.”
Kong Hou patted away the thick dust on the book cover and felt for this “Talented Author.” He definitely would not know that a story he thought was very good was not appreciated by anyone. The only thing worthy of value was not the content of the books, but the quality of the paper that could be used to wrap tea.
“I’ll buy them all.” Kong Hou felt compassion and took out a spirit stone to give to the shopkeeper.
“I cannot take your money. If you like them, take them.” The shopkeeper waved his hand. Everyone usually received the care of Splendid Cloud Sect. His morality would be in pain if he took money for storybooks he could not sell.
“Such a big pile—you cannot refuse to take money.” Kong Hou shook her head. “You work hard for a living.”
Maybe because her father had committed too many sins, Kong Hou could not muster any intentions to take advantage of normal people. Deep in the night, she would frequently lament that the conscience of the last two generations of the old Ji Family was all in her.
The shopkeeper could not refuse and took the spirit stones, seeing the two off to the door.
“Shimei, Shixiong said for you to read fewer storybooks.” Tan Feng put the big pile of storybooks that Shimei had bought into the storage bag and said in a small voice, “If Eldest Shixiong learns of this, both of us will be lectured.”
“Shhhh.” Kong Hou patted the storage bag as though nothing had happened. “If you don’t say and I don’t say, Eldest Shixiong will definitely not know.”
Tan Feng: …
He watched as his reliable shimei learned to secretly read storybooks. It was not Little Shimei“s fault; it was Splendid Cloud Sect that did not have good fengshui.
Several days later, Wang Tong who came out of his seclusion put on his new magic robes and made a visit to all the other peaks. When he saw someone, he would mention that his little apprentice had given him these new clothes. The little girl liked these grand but non-practical clothes. He, the master, treasured her filial piety and could only put them on to make her happy.
The peak masters were so disgusted by his flaunting that they could not cultivate. They wanted to hang a sign on the mountain saying “Wang Tong and demons cannot enter.” But Wang Tong seemed to not realize that he was disgusting the other peak masters. He would visit the other peaks dozens of times, and angered the peak masters into going back and scolding their own apprentices.
An eleven year-old girl knew to buy her master presents. You apprentices who lived for centuries were not as good as a child—what were you useful for?
The apprentices were well-adjusted to listening to their masters take other apprentices as role models. After their masters finished lecturing, they also started to praise the apprentices of other people and almost angered these peak masters into smashing their tea cups.
Just as the peak masters felt admiration and jealousy towards Wang Tong, Kong Hou’s cultivation reached the third level of Energy Refinement Stage. As the New Year’s celebration was nearing, the disciples not in seclusion started to slack off. Infected by this indolent atmosphere, Kong Hou hid in the cave residence and took out Talented Author”s storybooks.
The start of the story was one of the sect being destroyed, all the friends of the protagonist betraying him, and him being forced to jump off a cliff. Then he picked up a magical secret manual, cultivated into an expert, did not get close to any woman, and then became invincible in the world before ascending to become immortal.
Kong Hou was enchanted, and felt that this story was so spectacular.
The people of the cultivation world didn’t have any appreciation. No one bought such a good book.
Translator Ramblings: Kong Hou needs to find a library rather than spend all her allowance on storybooks.
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- 蚨 (fu) can mean both a water beetle and also money. ↩