Last chapter recap: Kong Hou picks her talisman.
This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
Chapter 22: The Past
Against the light, the doors to the Treasure Hall opened. The young girl walked out with a bright smile.
The three elders who had lived for many years had seen this many times. Almost all the disciples who received their lifebond talismans would show such a smile when they came out.
Bright, pure, clean, innocent.
Over time, some people fell, some dying without any notice outside, and some dying gloriously for the sect. The talismans of those people either died with their masters, or were locked in Treasure Hall to wait for their next master.
Some of Treasure Hall’s talismans had been forged by the forging experts of Splendid Cloud Sect, some had been obtained from secret realms, and some… were once possessed by people who had passed away. From the founding of the sect until now, they did not remember how many disciples Splendid Cloud Sect had taken in, and how many had died. The only proof of their existence were the dim jade tokens in the wooden building behind Black Sun Hall.
Compared to those dim jade tokens, these disciples that just reached Base Building were fresh. So fresh that they, the old people, wanted them to have smooth-going lives and never encounter any hardship.
“Kong Hou has received her talisman. Thank you, Elders.” The young girl walked in front of the three elders and held the talisman with both hands above her head. The talisman shone with light in her hands.
“Good.” Elder Qiu Shuang praised. “Sound will penetrate all openings, and almost no one can stop it. But if you want to use this well, you need to work harder on you cultivation. With your present cultivation, you can use it, but not use it well.”
“Go back and reflect. Try to connect mentally with it as soon as possible and make it into an instinctive part of you.” Elder Shu Jiu smiled. “We believe you can do your best.”
“Thank you, Elders. This junior will work even harder to not disappoint Elders.” As Kong Hou held Phoenix Head tightly, her young face was full of energy.
“So good to be young.” Qiu Shuang liked to look at good-looking juniors, especially lively juniors. She took out a cloud-shaped hairpin and pushed it into Kong Hou’s hair. “This is a sword I forged, called Water Frost. I will give it to you for a weapon, as a… meeting gift.”
After saying this, she did not wait for Kong Hou’s thanks and flew away.
Gu Yu walked in front of Kong Hou. After looking at the Phoenix Head Kong Hou in Kong Hou’s hand, Gu Yu said with a sigh, “The path of cultivation is difficult and full of obstacles, but remember not to lose your true self. You can work hard, but you cannot be rash and jealous. If you take a wrong step, you will lose everything.”
Kong Hou looked at Elder Gu Yu. She did not know why he would say such serious things, but she memorized the words. This was an elder of the sect. His words would not be harmful to her. “Kong Hou will remember.”
“Good.” Gu Yu nodded. He turned and said to Wu Chuan, “Return and tell your master I will be in seclusion for a while. If there are no urgent matters, do not message me”
“Yes.” Wu Chuan bowed and said, “Elder, please do not worry.”
For some reason, Kong Hou felt Elder Gu Yu’s eyes were full of emotion and helplessness. But she felt that she was wrong. She was young—how could she see what Elder was feeling?
After the elders left, she put away Phoenix Head and skipped in front of the three shixiong. “Wu Chuan Shixiong, Eldest Shixiong, Second Shixiong, I have made you wait long.”
Cheng Yi smiled warmly. At the side, Tan Feng said, “You really have good luck. A sword that Elder Qiu Shuang personally forged, not everyone is able to get one. And she gave you one.”
Touching the cloud-shaped hairpin in her hair, Kong Hou smiled. “Maybe it’s because I look slightly similar to Elder Qiu Shuang.”
“We are both good-looking.”
Tan Feng: “…”
Oh no, Shimei had been corrupted by Master.
After those two chatted for a while, Wu Chuan said, “Since Kong Hou Shimei has received her lifebond talisman, I will take my leave.”
“Wu Chuan Shixiong, let’s go have a drink to celebrate Kong Hou getting her talisman today.” Tan Feng walked over and put an arm around Wu Chuan’s shoulder. “Go, go, go”
“No need, I…”
“Go, go, go. Let me tell you, my master hid a few jars of good wine underground. It will be a pity not to drink them.” Not waiting for Wu Chuan to refuse, Tan Feng pulled him away. In any case, facing the sect’s Eldest Shixiong who always had a stiff face, talking was useless. It was better to just act.
Cheng Yi and Kong Hou walked behind them. Cheng Yi turned to look at Kong Hou. “Shimei, your expression isn’t quite right?”
“Really?” Kong Hou touched her face and was slightly embarrassed. “Eldest Shixiong, you see it?”
How could he not see the abnormality of his little shimei whom he was raising like a daughter? “You don’t like the talisman you picked?”
The cool wind blew and caused Kong Hou’s clothes to sway. Just fourteen, she already carried some of a woman’s beauty. “It’s not that I do not like it, but I feel that destiny is strange sometimes.
“The day I was born, an envoy from a subordinate country gave my father-emperor a Phoenix Head Kong Hou as tribute. My father-emperor immediately liked it, and had a musician play it on the spot. He even ignored my mother-empress giving birth. Even my name was from this.” Kong Hou sighed. “Then Emperor Jinghong rebelled, my father-emperor was killed, my mother-empress killed herself, and my name became a joke.”
Even now, she remembered the sons and daughters of the consorts in Emperor Jinghong’s inner palace asking her, are you skilled at playing the kong hou? At that time, she had no other choice than to smile dumbly.
She hadn’t thought that her lifebond talisman after coming to Lingyou World would be a phoenix head kong hou in the end.
Cheng Yi listened silently to Kong Hou speak of the past. He did not try to guide her, or speak in generalizations. When they came to the door of Kong Hou’s cave residence, Cheng Yi said, “But you still chose it.”
“Yes.” Kong Hou smiled. “Avoidance is useless. I have the bravery to anticipate the future, and the determination to move forward.”
Cheng Yi laughed upon hearing this. He just knew that Little Shimei had a better mentality than he and Tan Feng. Just like… she was born for this cultivation path. She would go further than them, and stand even higher.
“Shixiong, starting today, I’m preparing to go into seclusion for a while.” Kong Hou gave Cheng Yi a full bow.
Cheng Yi stood at the door and watched as the door of Kong Hou’s cave residence closed. He turned and adjusted his clothing, striding towards the door of Tan Feng’s cave residence. He hoped that Second Shidi had some kindness and left him some wine.
Being unable to walk out of the past would sometimes become a restraint on the cultivator. Having a restraint was terrifying, and the most terrifying was imprisoning oneself’s mind. Kong Hou knew that if she could not completely accept what had happened in the mortal world, then she would never be able to be one with her lifebond talisman. She would not be able to use it to its full power in the future.
She hated her father-emperor for his incompetence, she grieved for her mother-empress’s suicide. She had been slighted by other people. But all of this was caused by people, not by an object, not by a single instrument.
Everything existed in the world for a reason. They were not wrong. The ones wrong were the people who could not control their desires.
The spring passed, the summer came, the cold came. Two years passed. A certain morning, a soft kong hou melody sounded around Moon Perching Peak, then spread out of the peak.
“What sound is this?” People on the Immortality Questing Path looked around, searching for where the music came from. This song was gentle and slow. After they heard it, their sore legs seemed slightly less uncomfortable.
The asker saw the other people still climbing, and didn’t dare to delay. He continued to climb.
Only those that reached the top truly stepped onto the Immortality Questing Path.
Translator Ramblings: Kong Hou is extraordinarily lucky to be who she was when her father was overthrown. 1) She is a daughter, not a son, so she cannot rebel and raise an army against the new emperor. 2) She is the empress’ daughter which makes her “legitimate” and the best princess to keep alive as a symbol for their needs. Since Kong Hou doesn’t mention other siblings, she might not have had any (which is unlikely) or they were all killed (very likely).