Last chapter recap: Kong Hou reaches her first ordeal.
This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
Chapter 13: Base Building
The sect master Heng Yan sensed the ordeal clouds form. When he hurried to Moon Perching Peak, he saw many disciples standing or crouching halfway up the mountain. Some people had even taken out fruit and snacks from their pockets to share in a lively gathering.
“What are you all here for?” Heng Yan kept his expression stern, his wide sleeves flapping in the wind. The disciples saw the sect master and didn’t dare to keep chatting and laughing. They straightened and respectfully bowed. “Greetings to Sect Master.”
Heng Yan looked at the ground. These disciples were lazy, but they still knew not to throw the fruit skins and other waste onto the ground. He looked at the disciples in the sky who were coming over on their flying talismans. He only pretended not to know what these disciples were like. “It’s good for you to watch from the side. It will benefit your minds.”
The disciples hid their snacks back into their sleeves, raised their heads and started to watch.
The ordeal clouds in the sky grew thicker and showed golden light on the edges. They could see that Shimei’s cultivation was on the right path.
Heng Yan’s gaze swept through the crowd and he found Wang Tong who was walking restlessly back and forth. Knowing the other would not be reassured, Heng Yan did not try, and stood silently at the side to watch.
As the sect master, Heng Yan had to consider more than other people did. The sect had many disciples, some with good talent, but they were all lazy and nonchalant people. The ones with talent were only willing to put in seven-tenths of effort. The other three-tenths was used to enjoy their lives. There was nothing wrong with this, but which sect master did not hope their disciples were diligent and hard-working, that they would shoot for the sky and rise above the world’s cultivators?
He did not dare to dream about becoming the best. He only hoped that there would be some disciples among the younger generation that were acceptable, and someone who could be a pillar in a few hundred years. Right now, he finally managed to find a good disciple with outstanding talent. He could not let the other disciples influence her crookedly.
Heng Yan looked at the other disciples. Their eyes were flashing as they clearly were conversing secretly using sound arts. Thinking about his efforts and helplessness in his years as the sect master, he turned and looked at his own eldest apprentice, Wu Chuan. Fortunately, his disciple was reliable, and a good candidate for the sect master position. He inhaled deeply in gratification—calm the mind, do not rush.
Kong Hou did not know that her attempt to reach Base Building Stage had attracted an audience from the sect. She was in a very profound state.
What was the path? Maintaining one’s heart was the path.
What was cultivation? Cultivating the body and mind was training oneself, letting oneself come into contact with a wider world, and entering a more profound state.
As a cultivator, the first step was learning how to draw spirit energy into the body, to learn the bounty of the world, to have respect—that was Energy Refinement. The second step was to surpass life and death, to not fear one’s inner mind and to see one’s path.
Kong Hou was raised in the palace from birth. Before the Ji Family’s dynasty was overthrown, she was the only daughter of the Empress and had been innocent. Then, Emperor Jinghong had taken over. Everyone hoped that she would remain ignorant. The palace servants around her were spies for the emperor and empress. They didn’t allow her to be in contact with any outsiders. Who would have taught her scheming and ambition?
Even the teacher responsible for her only spoke of how when the emperor was not kind, the people would have hard lives. The teacher repeatedly caused Kong Hou to recognize how terrible her father had been. Emperor Jinghong had taken over the Ji Family’s dynasty for the good of the country. Otherwise, the teacher would teach her to read, write and draw, never letting her contact with anything related to governance.
A child raised in captivity knew little about the world and people’s hearts. Only the two storybooks that she had hidden away caused her to know how wondrous the world was. One made her believe that one should be kind and they would be paid back, that there were immortals in the world. The other caused her to desire freedom, and to fantasize that she could also try to become an immortal and roam the world.
Those on the path did not fear life and death but respected life and death.
Kong Hou seemed to return to the year when she was six years old, after her mother cut her own throat and they were being chased by soldiers.
An escape, a desperate escape.
The rebel soldiers were right behind her, raising their large blades dripping with blood. She had nowhere to escape. Subconsciously, she wanted to close her eyes, but the moment the blade struck down, she opened her eyes, picked up a blade from the ground, and parried that ferocious blade.
Those that cultivated could not lack for courage. Escape would not allow a person to advance far.
She was not a six-year-old child, nor was she a princess of a former dynasty without any support. She had Master, she had the shixiong, she had many friendly elders in the sect—how could she be as cowardly as a mouse and tarnish the reputation of the sect?
The mental barrier in her mind shattered. Kong Hou felt spirit energy flood her energy sea. This did not feel good, like she had filled her stomach but things were still being shoved into her stomach. She forced herself to circulate the spirit energy into her limbs and eight meridians, widening the meridians again and again to make them even purer.
The spirit energy slowly gathered in her energy core. Just like putting down the stone foundation, she could not let it flow too fast or slow. Only by being steady and calm could she build the strongest foundation base.
Even the tallest tower was started from the ground up. The stronger her foundation, the taller she could build.
Ignoring the thunder exploding above her head, Kong Hou only stood up when her energy core was completely filled. She bowed three times towards the sky.
The other members of the sect waiting outside the cave residence saw the ordeal cloud flash between black and gold. They stopped watching the spectacle and started to worry for Little Shimei. After the ordeal clouds turned cold and the heavens sent down three routine claps of thunder, they all sighed in relief. Success!
Soon, it started to rain. The rain contained spirit energy which was a gift to the earth. Whenever a cultivator succeeded, the heavens would send down rain to benefit all.
Someone within the crowd gave the first cheer and caused numerous other people to clap and cheer as well. Sect Master Heng Yan stood at the side. Looking at these undisciplined disciples, he showed a relaxed smile, and said softly, “They are more and more wild.”
However, his voice was small and the disciples who were celebrating did not hear him. The only person who heard the sect master, his eldest apprentice Wu Chuan, pretended not to hear. He stood behind his master and clapped soundlessly. When everyone looked over, he expressionlessly put down his hands and put on his dignity as the eldest apprentice of the sect master.
The cave residence opened, and Kong Hou, dressed in a yellow dress, walked out. Seeing the smiling faces outside the cave residence, she bowed towards them. “Kong Hou caused everyone to worry.”
They gave her bravery to be on the road of cultivation.
The other people in the sect took out their already prepared gifts. Not waiting for Kong Hou to refuse, they shoved them into Kong Hou’s cave residence. They laughed and said for her to hold a banquet for everyone, and said that she needed to reinforce her cultivation after just reaching Base Building Stage, so they found an excuse to leave, arm in arm with each other.
Coming here hurriedly and leaving in a rush, that was the character of Splendid Cloud Sect’s disciples.
After the younger ones left, the three elders hiding in the clouds appeared. They gave Kong Hou their gifts, gave her a few words of encouragement and then left. Heng Yan was the sect master and had to worry about more matters than the elders. Other than giving Kong Hong spirit stones and pills, he also gave her a flying sword. Wang Tong was poor and most likely could not give anything good. He did not want to see a genius disciple of the sect flying outside on a low-level flying sword. Wang Tong could afford the embarrassment, but Splendid Cloud Sect could not.
“Many thanks, Sect Master Shibo.” Kong Hou saw this flying sword shining with magical light and inlaid with beautiful precious stones. She immediately liked it and wanted to hang the flying sword at her waist right in front of Heng Yan.
Seeing her like this gift so much, Heng Yan was also happy. He only had one apprentice, a male one, Wu Chuan. There wasn’t any use in keeping talismans for female children. It was better to give them to female apprentices of his shidi.
Wang Tong, as the master, did not feel there was anything wrong that other people’s gifts were more valuable than his own. After Heng Yan left, he joyfully waved to Kong Hou. “Good apprentice, you really brought honor to Moon Perching Peak. This master will accompany you to unwrap those gifts so you are not tired.”
Tan Feng said using a sound art to Cheng Yi, “Master said this to me back then as well.”
Cheng Yi replied expressionlessly, “Such a coincidence. Master said that to me back then as well.”
The two apprentices watched as Master took Little Shimei in to unwrap gifts as though they saw their past selves.
Sweet rain falling from the sky didn’t just make Splendid Cloud Sect happy—even the citizen of Harmonious City were happy. Whenever a bust of sweet rain came, their crops in the fields grew better. The hawkers on the streets did not hide under umbrellas. They spread their arms and let the sweet rain soak their entire bodies.
Some reacted faster and took out pots and buckets to catch the rain. The sweet rain could strengthen their body if consumed.
The members of the other sects who were shopkeepers in Harmonious City saw the citizens of Harmonious City react like this. The ones who had lived here for a while were used to it. The people who just came sighed at the sight. When cultivators advanced and sweet rain fell in other cities, the citizens would secretly put out pots and bows, but everyone was reserved. Nothing like the people of Harmonious City. They were so… so… unabashed.
The shopkeeper from Sky Sect looked at the sweet rain falling outside. Had Splendid Cloud Sect really produced a diligent disciple that reached Base Building after only four years?
The fengshui of Splendid Cloud Sect had changed?
He thought about it and hurriedly wrote a letter to send to Sky Sect.
Sky Sect quickly received the message. They thought about the matter, and sent a message to Radiance Sect who they were attached to.
Big news that might occur once every five centuries—a miracle came out of Splendid Cloud Sect!
Kong Hou and Wang Tong unwrapped the gifts that took up half of the cave residence. Wang Tong looked at them in satisfaction before having Kong Hou put them away. He wanted her to be in seclusion for a few days, first reinforcing her mental state before celebrating with the other shixiong and shijie.
“Also…” Wang Tong searched around and took out a small bag of spirit stones. “Take the money to hold a banquet and invite the sect. You cannot be too petty and let the other peaks feel that our Moon Perching Peak is poor.”
“Master, I have spirit stones.” Kong Hou was too shy to accept.
“Respect your master as your father. In the mortal world, when do elders not give money for little girls like you to hold banquets and invite their friends?” Wang Tong said with a stern expression. “Just some spirit stones; this master does not lack for these common things. Take them.”
“Thank you, Master.” Kong Hou smiled and accepted them.
“This is correct.” Wang Tong nodded aloofly. “Those that cultivate cannot put too much importance on material things, and cannot let their mental state be ruined by them.”
“This apprentice will follow Master’s teaching and learn from Master.” Kong Hou nodded solemnly.
Wang Tong became even more pleased. After praising Kong Hou a few more times, he left Kong Hou’s cave residence.
After walking out of the cave residence, Wang Tong clutched his chest. All of the spirit stones he managed to accumulate in these recent years—gone.
Translator Ramblings: A little bit of past history, a powerup and getting some reward money. Kong Hou is having a good time.