Last chapter recap: Kong Hou visits a bookshop in Harmonious City.
This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
Chapter 12: Ordeal Surpassing
With a heavy sound, Cheng Yi slammed the storybook onto the table. The thick stone table swayed and managed to stand strong without falling or cracking.
Cheng Yi had heard his shidi had taken Shimei down the mountain to play. He hadn’t thought anything of it. He felt that Kong Hou was young and it was good for her to go see other things. But when he returned today, he found his shimei who claimed she was cultivating was immersed in a storybook, not even realizing he had walked in.
Tan Feng and Kong Hou jumped back in fright. Tan Feng swallowed and gathered a burst of bravery to block Kong Hou behind him. He said guiltily, “Eldest Shixiong, don’t be angry. Let’s talk about this.”
Kong Hou pulled Tan Feng’s sleeve and looked pitifully at Cheng Yi.
Facing Kong Hou’s gaze, Cheng Yi weakened. If Kong Hou only wanted to play, or liked gold and jade, he would let her. But being obsessed with books was not anything good. Kong Hou was young and did not know much about the world. She could not recognize which parts of the books were true or false. If she thought the stories were true, and accidentally caused problems in her cultivation, no pill would be able to rescue her by that time.
Cheng Yi took a deep breath and tried to make his expression seem gentle. He beckoned towards Kong Hou. “Kong Hou, come here and sit.”
“Eldest Shixiong, I was wrong. I will not use cultivation as an excuse in the future to read storybooks.” Kong Hou felt both regret and guilt. She thought of the care Eldest Shixiong had given to her in this past year. Yet she had deliberately lied to Eldest Shixiong, and had been immersed in the storybooks for several days to the point she forgot her cultivation.
“You are still a half-grown child—it is time for you to want to play. I do not blame you for this.” Cheng Yi saw Kong Hou was already full of regret and pulled her to sit beside him. He flipped through the storybook on the table. “Is the storybook a good one?”
“No, no.” Kong Hou shook her head. She thought of how Eldest Shixiong had been busy but still remembered to buy her good things to eat and play with. But she had slacked off and now felt that she was really dislikable. The more she thought, the worse she felt. Kong Hou blinked a few times, forcing her emerging tears back. “Eldest Shixiong, I’m sorry.”
She had to suppress it, she couldn’t cry. Someone who made a mistake could not be finicky.
Cheng Yi patted her head, pointed at the storybook and said, “This story is illogical. Regardless of whether a small sect like this could have a secret manual that would attract everyone in the world—even if that sect had it, not everyone would target this secret manual. The most important thing to a cultivator is cultivating the body and mind. Any secret manual is auxiliary help. The same sect, the same cultivation method, yet the cultivation of disciples will be different. Who can rely on a secret manual that one doesn’t know the validity of to become an invincible expert?”
Kong Hou thought that Eldest Shixiong would lecture her for slacking off. She hadn’t thought that he would discuss the rationality of the story with her. She stilled and didn’t know what to say.
Cheng Yi thought she didn’t understand what he was saying and said, “After drawing spirit energy into the body, one has to circulate it in certain ways. The worst is to rush. No one dares to cultivate according to a secret manual which hasn’t been proven. If something were to occur, a decrease in cultivation would be minor; most likely, one would lose their cultivation or their life. You are still young, but you have to remember—do not easily trust strangers who give you pills or secret manuals. They may be bad people who are lying to children.”
At this moment, Kong Hou felt that Eldest Shixiong seemed like the elders in the mortal world who told their children not to open doors to strangers.
Seeing Kong Hou’s dejection, Cheng Yi said, “It’s my fault for not thinking of this. You are at an age where you are curious about everything you don’t know. I will buy some suitable books for your age. As for these books…”
Kong Hou looked at Cheng Yi, filled with gratefulness. Even if Eldest Shixiong told her to immediately burn the books, she would do it.
But Cheng Yi misunderstood the meaning in her eyes. His heart softened, and he didn”t bear to treat harshly this shimei who had lost her parents at a young age. “If you like them, you can occasionally read them. But you cannot take them as truth, nor read them to the point you forget to eat and rest. Right now, you are growing. If you do not sleep well, you will not grow tall, and won’t be able to wear the pretty long dresses in the future.”
Kong Hou had seen a shijie in the sect with a beautiful figure wearing a long dress and had constantly dreamed that she would wear such beautiful clothing when she grew up. Hearing Cheng Yi say this, she nodded and said, “Eldest Shixiong, I will definitely eat and sleep on time.”
“Good.” Cheng Yi patted Kong Hou’s head and closed the book in his hand. “These books…”
Kong Hou hurriedly said, “I will throw them out now.”
“No need. I believe that Shimei is a good child and knows how to arrange her time.” Cheng Yi smiled at Kong Hou. “While the content in there is illogical, it is gentle, and not killing and slaughter from beginning to end. Some of the protagonist’s philosophy and logic is worthy of study. If you have free time, you can use it to pass the time, but you cannot take everything inside it as truth and delay your cultivation.”
Kong Hou nodded repeatedly. “I feel that the protagonist is extremely kind. This Talented Author must have a kind heart.”
“Silly Shimei, what the protagonist of the storybook thinks is not what the author thinks. Even in your mortal world, there are scholars who can write beautiful essays but their conduct is terrible.” Cheng Yi felt extremely pleased. Kong Hou was young but knew to distinguish black and white. She was adorable.
In the entire cultivation world, there did not exist a more adorable little shimei than their Kong Hou.
“First rest for a while. Your second shixiong and I have some matters to attend to and will leave first.” Cheng Yi stood and smiled at Tan Feng. “Shidi, come with me.”
Tan Feng wanted to say something, but facing Eldest Shixiong’s gentle smile, his head shrunk back and he followed.
After the two shixiong left, Kong Hou touched the cover of the storybook and put the storybook onto the shelf. She focused and opened the “Energy Refinement Cultivator’s Important Arts” and carefully started reading.
Kong Hou only came out of her cave residence when it was the day of New Year’s Eve. She received a pile of red brocade bags, and waited for Second Shixiong to take her down the mountain to play. She waited for a while and then Tan Feng came out of his cave residence. However, his expression was fragile, as though he hadn’t slept well.
“Second Shixiong, what happened to you?” Kong Hou took out a bottle of Energy Settling Elixir and handed it to Tan Feng.
Tan Feng took a sip and said with narrowed eyes, “There is lots of spirit energy in this bottle of medicine—it seems like something that Qing Yuan Shishu made.” As the peak master of Daybreak Cloud Peak, Peak Master Qing Yuan was the most skilled at pill forging. However, his master and Elder Qing Yuan would fight each time they met, so all of Moon Perching Peak had a hard time getting the medicines that Qing Yuan Shishu personally made.
“Yes.” Kong Hou nodded. “Qing Yuan Shishu said I am a little girl. Drinking this will not just increase my energy, it is also good for my skin. Last time, he had Ling Hui Shijie bring over a dozen bottles.”
Tan Feng smacked his lips, his emotions complex. In Splendid Cloud Sect, men really had no status.
The two of them were more than a century apart in age, but they could play together. When it was time in the evening for Sky Sect to give away New Year’s Eve brocade bags, the two did not hold themselves back because they were apprentices of Splendid Cloud Sect. They laughed as they squeezed through the crowds to get brocade bags.
On this year’s New Year’s Eve, Kong Hou did not get a gold brocade bag but still got more than three hundred spirit stones’ worth of vouchers. The duo happily divided their gains, and carried a bunch of snacks back for the other disciples in the sect.
In the following two years, the two did not forget to get rich from Sky Sect each New Year’s Eve. The two would always redeem a large sum of spirit stones, to the point that the shopkeeper of Sky Sect’s shop in Harmonious City recognized them.
The fourth year, after New Year’s Eve passed, the shopkeeper did not see this pair of disciples. After waiting for a long time, the shixiong arrived. This time, it wasn’t several hundred spirit stones, only vouchers for eighty spirit stones.
Used to the duo redeeming a large sum of spirit stones each year, and given this year’s sudden decrease, the shopkeeper felt a sense of disappointment. After giving the spirit stones to this shixiong, he asked with a smile, “How come I don’t see the young celestial this year?”
“Shimei has been in seclusion since the beginning of the year in hopes of reaching Base Building Stage. So I’m the only one this year.” When he mentioned Base Building Stage, this shixiong‘s voice became happier. “She is just fourteen, and all of the sect is worried about her starting Base Building just four years after she joined the sect. But her cultivation has reached that point, and cannot be suppressed. We had to let her go.”
While the shixiong complained in a tone of helplessness, his pride was written on his face. He took out several hundred spirit stones from his storage bag and said, “Take me to pick a floor-length dress. Its color should be bright, and it should be suitable for a fourteen or fifteen-year-old female cultivator.”
The shopkeeper heard that a disciple of Splendid Cloud Sect who had joined the sect four years ago was preparing to ascend to Base Building Stage and thought something had gone wrong with his ears. Splendid Cloud Sect had such a diligent disciple, or rather, a disciple with talent joined Splendid Cloud Sect and was still so diligent?
This young cultivator was one of Splendid Cloud Sect’s apprentices and would not be boasting for nothing.
“Gentleman of the Dao, please follow this one upstairs to make a selection.” The shopkeeper decided to pass the news back to the sect, and his enthusiasm towards his customer did not decrease at all. Splendid Cloud Sect having a cultivator preparing to reach Base Building Stage after joining just four years ago was a great miracle. As to whether she would succeed…
The shopkeeper looked at the young shixiong whose face was full of smiles. He hoped the girl would succeed. Otherwise, he didn’t know how the sect would treat and think of that pretty girl.
Kong Hou had been in seclusion for two months. Cheng Yi, who had entered Core Formation Stage, stood as guard outside her cave residence. Rather than say he was standing guard, rather, he was there to receive the other members of the sect who would come visit the cave residence every day.
“Cheng Yi Shibo, has Kong Hou Shishu made any noise today?”
“Cheng Yi Shixiong, this is a seal bag I asked for—hang this on the cave residence doorway.”
You are a cultivator, you should aspire to become immortal. Why did you copy the mortal world and go pray to gods and buddhas? Cheng Yi disagreed with this kind of behaviour but still hung the seal bag.
Fine, this was goodwill from the sect. He could not waste it.
Just like this, almost thirty days passed. The elders in the sect, the members of the same generation, and the juniors as well, started to think what they should prepare to comfort Kong Hou for having failed to reach Base Building Stage. But ordeal clouds seemed to start forming above Moon Perching Peak.
All of the people in the sect that were making pills, practicing with their swords, training their beasts, or forging talismans put down what they were doing and sat halfway up Moon Perching Peak.
This was the Base Building ordeal of a pentad spirit base cultivator. It would certainly be unlike the ordeals of other people in the sect. If they missed an excitement like this which was only seen once every few centuries, it would be a pity.
Translator Ramblings: Which bookworm hasn’t tried to sneak in time to read?