Last chapter recap: Kong Hou is permitted to pick her lifebond talisman.
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Chapter 21: Phoenix Head Kong Hou
The next morning, when Wu Chuan came to Moon Perching Peak to take Kong Hou to the Treasure Hall, he found that Kong Hou had dressed up. She had put on a beautiful dress, and even put her hair up into a flying immortal style. Wang Tong Shishu and the two apprentices of Moon Perching Peak were also present.
After exchanging bows, Wu Chuan looked at Kong Hou’s new shoes. “Shimei…”
“Shixiong said that many of the talismans in Treasure Hall are intelligent. Since they are intelligent, they will have thoughts, and they will have a sense of beauty. If I make myself beautiful, maybe the talismans will like me more.” Kong Hou felt that her thinking was somewhat logical. If she went to Treasure Hall and no talisman was suited for her, then it would be embarrassing.
Hearing this, Wu Chuan looked at Wang Tong and his apprentices. How did these three people usually teach Shimei?
Wang Tong had a thick face and pretended not to see Wu Chuan’s gaze. “Good apprentice, do not worry. You will definitely get an appropriate lifebond talisman.”
“Shishu, I will be taking Shimei now.” Wu Chuan chose silence. He could not afford to offend Wang Tong Shishu. The last person to offend Wang Tong Shishu had been Qing Yuan Shishu. Even now, Qing Yuan Shishu would be so angered by Wang Tong Shishu he would jump around.
“Go.” Wang Tong put his hands behind his back. “Cheng Yi, Tan Feng, you will accompany Kong Hou.”
Kong Hou looked at her two shixiong and felt she wasn’t so nervous any longer.
Treasure Hall was one of the most important buildings in Splendid Cloud Sect. The three elders of the sect all lived near. If a criminal sneaked into the large formation around Treasure Hall, they would alert the three elders.
When a Base Building disciple went into the hall to choose their lifebond talisman, all three elders would appear. This was Kong Hou’s first time meeting the three elders together.
The elder who had not appeared in the recent years was a female cultivator with Mind Dividing cultivation. While her hair was already silvery white, her appearance had not aged, and Kong Hou couldn’t help but look longer at her beauty.
“Greetings to Elder Gu Yu, Elder Shu Jiu, and Elder Qiu Shuang,” Wu Chuan bowed to the three elders. “This junior is taking the apprentice of Moon Perching Peak, Kong Hou Shimei, here to request a talisman.”
“No need for such courtesy.” Elder Gu Yu looked at Kong Hou behind Wu Chuan and nodded. He said to Kong Hou, “After entering the Treasure Hall, you are choosing the talisman, and the talisman is also choosing you. Everything depends on karma—you cannot force it.”
“There are millions of talismans inside, and all of different quality. But regardless of their strength, if you choose, you cannot regret it. From then on, it will be half of you, your most faithful partner. If you reject your own talisman, you reject your own path.” Qiu Shuang took over speaking. “Remember, only the one most complementary to you is the best.”
“This junior will remember. Thank you, Elders, for your reminders.” Kong Hou bowed respectfully to the elders.
“It’s good if you remember.” Qiu Shuang swept her sleeve. The doors to the Treasure Hall opened and revealed darkness. Elder Qiu Shuang smiled at Kong Hou. “Go in, don’t be afraid.”
“Thank you, Elder.”
Kong Hou turned back to look at the three shixiong and then slowly walked through the doors of the Treasure Hall. She stepped over the tall door sill. When she looked back again, she could not see the door. But she quickly had no attention to spare because there were too many talismans in here. So many talismans in a variety of shapes that dazzled her eyes.
Talismans flashing with all colors of light flew above her head. The shelves held hairpins, vases, brushes, fans and other items. These objects gave off bright light to prove that they were talismans.
What surprised Kong Hou the most were talismans such as bricks and wooden sticks on the ground. They appeared ordinary, as though they had been randomly picked up. If one had such a talisman, when they went to fight, wouldn’t they be embarrassed to take it out? No wonder Elder Qiu Shuang emphasized not rejecting one’s talisman.
When she saw a talisman in the shape of a chamber pot in the corner, she rubbed her forehead. It seemed the first step in becoming a great cultivator was to mentally prepare herself for all kinds of strange talismans.
A beautiful jade flute slowly floated across Kong Hou’s view. Kong Hou touched it, but her mind told her that this did not belong to her, although it was very beautiful.
From the outside, Treasure Hall appeared like a building. After entering, one would find that this was a separate space. A person standing in here was blocked off from all sound outside.
Kong Hou sat down cross-legged, and closed her eyes. She heard many sounds, the humming of swords in their sheaths, gourds rolling around, and the music of zithers and flutes.
An unknown amount of time later, she heard a pure and gentle sound like water ripples, or snowflakes floating in the air, or a clear spring bubbling. She had heard this sound before and was extremely familiar with it. Thinking back to the past, she felt slightly complicated. She opened her eyes and looked at the music instrument carved with a phoenix head in front of her. She reached out and caressed its strings.
Phoenix Head Kong Hou.
The kong hou had a golden phoenix wrapped around it. The phoenix gave off five-colored light, and its eyes seemed to speak directly into Kong Hou’s mind. When she touched the phoenix’s head, this talisman immediately turned to half the length of her arm, and quietly lay in Kong Hou’s hand.
“I was named for a phoenix head kong hou. I didn’t think that the talisman I would get in the end would also be a phoenix head kong hou.” Kong Hou swept a hand across the phoenix carvings on the talisman. She thought of her past, of her father-emperor being obsessed with music and indulgence, ignoring her mother-empress, ignoring her, and ignoring the world. She suddenly laughed.
“I really have karma with kong hou.” Kong Hou stood. She gripped the phoenix head kong hou tightly. She heard the strings give off pleased sounds, as though it was very happy she would take it.
Kong Hou casually plucked the strings, and found the strings give off powerful energy vibrations. The surrounding talismans moved away as though worried the kong hou’s energy flows would harm them.
“I am Kong Hou, you are also kong hou—how will people distinguish between us in the future?” Kong Hou put her hand on the strings and stopped the strings from vibrating. “In the future, you will be Phoenix Head.” After saying this, she did not wait for the Phoenix Head Kong Hou to respond. She patted it. “It’s decided.”
“Shixiong, why hasn’t Shimei come out yet?” Tan Feng stared at the doors to the Treasure Hal, slightly panicked inside. They had waited for a day and night, but nothing had changed. When he had entered the hall to pick his talisman, he hadn’t even used two hours.
Wu Chuan and Cheng Yi both cultivated the sword. They had made their own lifebond sword, so they had never gone to Treasure Hall to pick their lifebond talisman. Hearing Tan Feng’s muttering, the two felt worried as well. However, they were more composed than Tan Feng and did not show it.
“She’s come out.”
“Shimei?!” Tan Feng walked a few steps forward. She saw Kong Hou holding something similar to a phoenix harp. He paused in his steps. “A zither?”
“No, it’s kong hou.”
Tan Feng turned to look at Wu Chuan. The sect shixiong was dumb. Of course he knew that was Kong Hou Shimei.
“I’m talking about Shimei‘s talisman,” Wu Chuan said with a stiff expression. “Phoenix Head Kong Hou.”
In the cultivation world, anything related to dragons and phoenixes, and especially talismans with intelligence, was mysterious.
People that possessed such lifebond talismans seemed to be touched with some strange luck. They either possessed a glorious life, or they experienced all kinds of hardships.
Translator Ramblings: Kong Hou with a kong hou. No foreshadowing needed here, just bald truth. Also since Phoenix is a type of mythical bird … bird-head kong hou which in a way is weirdly appropriate in due to its meaning.
- Sword Dynasty Volume 1 Chapter 4 “Paired Cultivation”
- Sword Dynasty Volume 1 Chapter 3 “Because You Are Too Beautiful”
- Sword Dynasty Volume 1 Chapter 2 “Live Longer, Walk Further”
- Sword Dynasty Volume 1 Chapter 1 “Surviving Members of the Sword Furnace”
- Zhui Xu Chapter 18 “Hang Oneself on the Southeastern Branch”