Last chapter recap: Kong Hou and her new friend play guess the murderer.
This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
Chapter 30: Minor Problem
They looked at the person Lin Hu was restraining with a spell. They felt puzzled. In their memory, this person did not like to speak. After Celestial Ling Bo had injured the cultivator making a fuss, this man had turned pale in fright. This slightly cowardly man was the culprit who had dug out the victim’s heart with his bare hands?
Was this a mistake?
Everyone had this thought, but in front of Kong Hou, they could not say this. They had to give Splendid Cloud Sect face. Also, this Celestial Kong Hou was good-looking, and when she smiled, people did not bear to say a stern word to her. The male cultivators present did not want Kong Hou to lose face. The female cultivators had the attitude that one less matter is better than one more. They only watched but didn’t speak.
“What-what do you mean?” The grey-robed man fell on the ground. He was not angry nor did he complain. He looked in fear and helplessness at Kong Hou. He waved his hands, stammering out, “Celestial, you misunderstand. How would I dare do such evil things to a servant girl of Clear Dawn Sect?”
Cowardly, of ordinary appearance. From any angle, this didn’t seem like a man who would do such a major crime.
“When beauties use such a pitiful expression, it is moving. When you use it, you cannot bewitch me.” Kong Hou ignored the puzzled gazes on her, and made a circle around the grey-robed man. “Your disguise was very good. If I hadn’t been secretly observing you all this time, I would have believed you were innocent.” After Huan Zhong said the grey-robed man was the most suspicious, Kong Hou had been sneakily observing this man. Through careful observation, she found that Huan Zhong’s suspicion was not wrong. This grey-robed man was most likely the culprit.
When Ling Bo and the cultivators present became even more strained, this man’s eyes were smug, disdainful, and even his hands trembled when holding his teacup. He, the culprit, was laughing at people for being idiots. He was proud at having fooled everyone.
When the sect eldest disciple of Clear Dawn Sect, Chang De, appeared, his expression grew more concealed. When this “docile” man saw Chang De easily resolve the conflict between Clear Dawn Sect and the other sects with some words, this man showed discontent and fury. However, he hid these emotions well and almost no one discovered them.
But just almost—he had not managed to hide from Kong Hou who had been observing him. When Chang De said that the cultivators proven innocent could leave, Kong Hou noticed the expression of the grey-robed man when crossing the door sill—it had been pride.
A pride at having done a crime under everyone’s eyes and being able to leave freely.
Kong Hou said everything she had observed. The grey-robed man said, “What smug gaze, Celestial? Why do you accuse me falsely? ”
“Yes, we have no enmity between us—why would I accuse you falsely?” Kong Hou asked in response. “Unless you are the culprit, there are no other possibilities.”
“Celestial Kong Hou is an apprentice of Splendid Cloud Sect; she will not accuse you falsely,” a female cultivator said. “I also feel this person is suspicious. From yesterday night to today, he stayed in the corner and did not speak. Who knows if he felt guilty and didn’t dare to talk.”
The large man next to her nodded. “Path Friend is right. This person stayed in a downstair room closest to the outside. If he left his room during the night, no one would have detected it.”
Everyone started to talk, each sentence bringing more evidence. If the culprit wasn’t the grey-robed man, was it them? Especially those cultivators who could not leave because they could not prove their innocence—they responded the most fiercely, wanting to press the grey-robed man to the ground and beat him until he admitted he was the culprit.
“You sect disciples dare to bully us nomad cultivators so?” The grey-robed man immediately switched the topic to the conflict between nomad cultivators and sects. He shouted, “Without any evidence, you dare to accuse me falsely?”
“Accuse you falsely?!” The bad-tempered Ling Bo sneered. “Even if we kill you today, what can you do?”
Hearing the words, Kong Hou couldn’t help but rub her forehead. This Path Friend Ling Bo of Clear Dawn Sect had such a bad temper. Didn’t she fear attracting hate for Clear Dawn Sect with her words? However, this grey-robed cultivator really wasn’t a good person, making up such a great crime with one sentence.
“Path Friend, this is so amusing. The nomad cultivators of our Lingyou World are all free and casual—how could they do something like kill someone and dig out their heart?” Kong Hou asked in response. “You did something wrong, yet you want to pull down all nomad cultivators—what is the logic?” This method of trying to cause discontent was really not skilled. This evil cultivator should go watch those consorts in the inner palace. Their ability to sow discord was really masterful and could not be guarded against.
“Celestial Kong Hou is correct,” a nomad cultivator present said. “Us nomad cultivators emphasize following our hearts and also kindness and generosity. You cannot represent us.” The nomad cultivators were not as powerful as sect disciples, and their cultivation resources could not compare to those of sect disciples, but they did not have to abide by the rules of the sects like sect disciples. Who did not like to be praised? Kong Hou, as an apprentice to one of the ten major sects, said that the nomad cultivators were free and casual. The nomad cultivators were pleased to hear this, and naturally were not willing to let a cowardly cultivator under suspicion for murder represent the nomad cultivators.
Chang De looked at the smiling Kong Hou and sighed inwardly. In terms of talent, Ling Bo did not lack anything compared to Kong Hou, but in personality and mannerisms, Ling Bo could not compare to Kong Hou who was twenty years younger than her. The cultivation world did not lack outstandingly talented cultivators that fell due to their personalities. He did not want Ling Bo to become one of them.
The grey-robed man saw everyone accusing him and stammered out refusals. Just as everyone thought he would accept it, his body flashed, fiendish and blood energies exploding off him as he flashed near Kong Hou, pointing at her chest.
He was intending to dig out her heart.
Chang De was shocked. If Kong Hou died in front of him, with Splendid Cloud Sect’s protective tendencies, this would most likely be blamed on him. But this seemingly cowardly grey-robed man moved too quickly, so that he could not stop the other.
This was not any ordinary cultivator—he had at least Mind Manifestation cultivation! Previously, he deliberately sealed his cultivation to confuse them.
Yet the grey-robed man had no opportunity to get near Kong Hou. He was stopped. Stopped by Huan Zhong dressed in his brocade robes. No one saw how Huan Zhong attacked. They only saw a flash of light. When they could see again, Huan Zhong was shielding Kong Hou behind him. Lin Hu had slapped the grey-robed man to the ground, not even giving him the chance to project his inner self before Lin Hu destroyed his cultivation.
“Celestial Kong Hou, are you all right?” Chang De had no attention to spare for the grey-robed man spitting blood on the ground. He flashed in front of Kong Hou and asked about her state.
“I’m fine.” Kong Hou poked her head out from behind Huan Zhong. “Many thanks, Path Friend Chang De, for your concern.”
“As long as you are all right.” Chang De sighed in relief. If Kong Hou was fine, he didn’t have to worry about Splendid Cloud Sect coming to make trouble for him.
Huan Zhong covered his mouth with a handkerchief and coughed violently. His pale face flushed a sickly red. If his other hand propped on the table weren’t holding him up, he would almost be unable to stand up.
Kong Hou hurriedly helped him sit down. Without thinking, she put a hand on Huan Zhong’s meridian and passed spirit energy to Huan Zhong.
“Miss Kong Hou, do not waste spirit energy. This is an old problem of mine.” Huan Zhong stopped coughing, his voice slightly hoarse. “I will be fine after resting for a few moments.” The red flush on his face quickly retreated, leaving behind paleness. Even the red of his lips seemed to fade, and his handsome face turned so white it was transparent.
“Before speaking up and stopping this person, I put a defensive seal on my body. The peak master of my sect made the seal. If he touched me, he would receive a magic backlash. I wouldn’t have been injured.” Kong Hou flipped through her storage ring and found an Energy Replenishing Pill to put in Huan Zhong’s hand. “Do not be careless with your own body.”
Just now when he had been coughing, Kong Hou worried he could not catch his breath and would die. Such a good-looking man who also liked Talented Author’s book just like her! Most importantly, he would help his friend in a dangerous moment. She naturally hoped a person like this would live longer.
“Apologies, I did not think this through.” Huan Zhong swallowed the pill Kong Hou gave him, not even asking her what it was.
“Why are you apologizing to me—worrying about me is not a mistake.” Kong Hou stared with wide eyes and felt that Huan Zhong was slightly stupid. Fortunately, she had already agreed to travel with him. Otherwise, he would be swindled by other people.
“I mean for you to consider your own body as the most important.” Kong Hou sighed. “The outside world is very dangerous; be careful. Didn’t Talented Author write in his books that beautiful women can be dangerous demons, seemingly adorable children can be man-eating demons? Have some care.”
Huan Zhong looked at Kong Hou who had an expression of exasperation and curled his lips. “Yes.”
“Don’t just say yes; you need to remember.” Seeing Huan Zhong’s head hanging low, his eyelashes fluttering, Kong Hou could not lecture him. She sighed and said to the celestial standing by the side, “Path Friend, since the matter has been resolved, I will give the culprit to your sect to punish.”
“Thank you, Celestial Kong Hou. Thank you, this Young Master.” Chang De did not know Huan Zhong’s identity, but the other reacted faster than a Mind Manifestation cultivator, so his cultivation must not be low. However, he looked sickly, and his presence was weak. Chang De wondered if his spirit was damaged.
“You are welcome.” Huan Zhong’s expression was aloof, as though he did not like to talk with strangers. “We should all kill evil and unorthodox cultivators.”
“If Sir does not object, this one wants to invite Sir and Celestial Kong Hou to some tea and pastries.” Chang De did not care about Huan Zhong’s aloof attitude. He intended to be on good terms with the two, and his attitude was extremely friendly.
Huan Zhong did not verbally agree or disagree. He looked inquiringly at Kong Hou.
Kong Hou did not want to disrespect Chang De, but she worried about Huan Zhong’s health and refused. However, she did not mention Huan Zhong’s health. She just said she had not rested well last night and was tired today, that she worried she would dampen Chang De and Ling Bo’s excitement.
“Since that’s the case, Celestial, Sir, please rest for a night. This one will hold a banquet tomorrow at Star Tower. Please come and drink some wine with fellow path friends.” Chang De knew that Ling Bo had been impulsive and offended many people. He wanted to use the banquet to erase people’s dissatisfaction.
Other than those that really could not afford to stay, everyone else accepted happily. Usually, they didn’t even have a chance to talk to a disciple of Clear Dawn Sect. This time, after they attended Chang De’s banquet, they would have something to boast about for several hundred years.
The sect disciples of large sects were really different. Not just high cultivation and extraordinary presence—even their speech and conduct was comfortable.
Seeing Chang De say such a thing, Kong Hou could not refuse and could only accept.
“Then this one will wait respectfully for everyone tomorrow in Star Tower.” Chang De took care of everything and left with Ling Bo and the grey-robed cultivator. He was afraid that if he left Ling Bo, Ling Bo would cause another pile of trouble.
When the people from Clear Dawn Sect left, Du Jing slowly came in front of Kong Hou and said with a smile, “Grand-Shishu, this junior is ignorant. Please, Grand-Shishu, forgive this one for the previous events. Just think of me as a dog with bad eyesight. I will definitely not do anything like that in the future.”
“You want to be a dog, I don’t want to have a dog grandson.” Kong Hou pointed to the side. “Sit down and speak.”
“Thank you, Grand-Shishu.” Du Jing sat down and didn’t forget to give a fawning smile to Huan Zhong.
Huan Zhong looked down and poured himself a cup of tea. He did not interrupt the conversation between the “grandson and grandparent.”
“Did you already guess that something would occur last night?” Kong Hou spoke directly. “Last night, you and your father gathered your guards so quickly—were you already prepared?”
“Grand-Shishu, I am a wastrel—how could I guess all this?” Du Jing smiled and shifted like a restless monkey. “It was just that I was overcome with lust momentarily and hit a metal board.”
“Really?” Kong Hou raised an eyebrow.
“Re-really.” Du Jing was slightly uncertain. “Something like this is unproven—who can prove it is true or not?” If this matter had spread, all of Mound City would have been in fear. But if they pretended nothing occurred, he worried that there really was an evil cultivator who would kill more. So last night, he had arranged for people to be at many inns. This was the only inn where he had not arranged people.
At the time, he thought that people from Clear Dawn Sect were at this inn. No matter how daring the evil cultivator was, he would not dare to act here. But this person really was so daring, and picked a member of Clear Dawn Sect. He had not predicted this.
If he had known the matter would develop like this, he should have stayed yesterday. Then, maybe that servant girl wouldn’t have died.
Kong Hou understood what he did not say. She nodded and did not speak. So the outside world was so complex. The lives of people did not seem to be worth much. Died, and without even leaving any last words.
Seeing that she did not have a good expression, Du Jing thought she still held a grudge over yesterday’s events. He didn’t dare to stay and be an eyesore. He found an excuse and ran off. Before running off, he helped Kong Hou and Huan Zhong reserve their noon and evening meals.
“Master Huan Zhong, do you need to return to your rooms to rest?” Kong Hou saw that Huan Zhong’s pale face had not recovered and worried for the state of his body.
“Do not worry, I am fine.” Huan Zhong put down his cup and smiled slightly at Kong Hou. “Since you allow Lin Hu and I to call you directly by name, you should also call us by name. Calling me Master, Master, makes us seem distant.”
“Actually, I find it hard to say as well.” Kong Hou touched the teapot and waved at the waiter. “Change this for a pot with hot water.” She took away Huan Zhong’s cup. “People not healthy should not drink cold tea.”
Huan Zhong smiled and allowed Kong Hou to give him a teacup with hot tea instead.
“Celestial Kong Hou, thank you for capturing the culprit and proving our innocence.” Several cultivators came over and thanked Kong Hou. They had been the people from last night who could not prove their innocence. Because they did not dare offend Clear Dawn Sect, they had to endure. If Kong Hou had not found the grey-robed man, they didn’t know how to prove their innocence.
“Actually, it was my friend that reminded me to find that person.” Kong Hou pointed at Huan Zhong. “So you should thank him rather than thank me.”
The group came to thank Kong Hou out of true gratefulness but also because they wanted to become familiar with Kong Hou. Hearing her say this, they thanked Huan Zhong.
“You do not have to be so polite.” Huan Zhong’s expression was aloof. After saying a few words, they could not continue the conversation so they left. If they continued, all of them would end up in an awkward situation.
When these people left, Kong Hou asked in a small voice, “Huan Zhong, how did you see that that person was not correct?”
Huan Zhong reached out to pick up the teacup, covering the corner of his mouth. “I just found that his emotions were not quite right, as though he was watching a spectacle.” No matter how well-disguised one’s expressions were, their energies could not be completely disguised. Also, who would disguise their cultivation for no reason?
“And Talented Author’s books had an event like this. A person who did not seem likely was the worst.” Huan Zhong took a sip of tea. “Fortunately, I did not guess wrong. Otherwise, I would have brought you trouble.”
“Did Talented Author write that?” Kong Hou was shocked. “Which book?”
“[Records of Seeking Immortality], with the overnight stay at Fox Mountain.”
“Ah, that one.” Kong Hou’s spirits fell. She said, “Actually, I bought the book but I had no chance to read it. The day I bought the book, I met a shishu from another sect on the way. He found that I was reading storybooks and took the book.”
When she finished saying this, she heard Huan Zhong start coughing again. She hurriedly stood and patted his back. “Tomorrow, after we attend Chang De’s banquet, we will go to Water Moon Study and get the medicine. It will benefit your body.”
“No rush.” Huan Zhong patted the corner of his mouth with his handkerchief. “My primary purpose on this journey is to relax. If I rush to Water Moon Study, it will mix up my priorities. My body is like this. Even if I eat medicine, it only replenishes my energy; it cannot lessen my symptoms.”
“Why would it be like that?” Kong Hou’s brow furrowed. “Are there no ways to heal this?”
Huan Zhong looked down at the teacup in his hand. The steam from the tea rose into his eyes. He blinked his eyes and said in a cool tone, “Along with fate.”
Seeing him like this, Kong Hou bit her lips and didn’t know what to say. When eating the noon meal, Huan Zhong still only ate a few mouthfuls. Kong Hou shoved an Energy Replenishing Pill at him and had him return to his room to rest.
After meditating for a while on bed and having her spirit energy circulate two times around her body, Kong Hou heard a knock on the door. Opening the door, she found Lin Hu standing outside with a book in his hand.
“Miss Kong Hou, my master told me to give this to you.” When Lin Hu didn’t speak, he was like an emotionless rock, and when he spoke, he was a stiff piece of wood.
Kong Hou took the book. When she saw the book cover, it was the volume of [Records of Seeing Immortality] with the night stay at Fox mountain. She said happily, “Thank Huan Zhong for the book. I just lack this volume in the entire set of Records of Seeking Immortality.”
She carefully put the book into her storage ring. Ever since that time when Peak Master Song He found her book hidden in her sleeve, she stopped putting her books in her sleeve. “How is Huan Zhong’s health—is he all right?”
Lin Hu shook his head expressionlessly. “Master has a recurring illness, no major problems. Master also said when you go down to eat, tell him. He will come with you.”
“All right.” Kong Hou nodded. To this good friend who gave her books, Kong Hou was full of positive feeling. Not just calling him to eat together—even if he wanted her to bring him food, she had no objections.
When Lin Hu returned to Huan Zhong’s room, he saw his master still meditating. He sat silently at the side and did not disturb Huan Zhong. But the moment he sat down, Huan Zhong opened his eyes. “You delivered the book?”
Lin Hu nodded. Seeing Huan Zhong still staring at him, he could only add, “Miss Kong Hou really likes the book that Master gave her.”
“Yes.” Huan Zhong closed his eyes. He appeared like a puppet made out of jade: perfect, exquisite, but without any life.
Two hours later, Kong Hou knocked on Huan Zhong’s door. Lin Hu opened the door. Kong Hou saw Huan Zhong meditating and made a hand motion that she would leave first and not disturb Huan Zhong. Lin Hu nodded woodenly.
“Has Kong Hou come?” Huan Zhong opened his eyes and walked in front of Kong Hou. “It’s time to eat?”
Kong Hou nodded. “Did I disturb you?”
“No,” Huan Zhong said casually, “I was just thinking when you were going to come, and you did.”
“That’s good.” Kong Hou smiled. “Many cultivators stronger than Base Building do not have a habit of eating even if they are not in seclusion.” She found today that many cultivators did not like eating. Compared to those people, Splendid Cloud Sect took much more care in their food. Fortunately, Huan Zhong still ate, though very little of each meal. She did not have to eat alone with people from other tables peeking at her.
“Enjoying delicious food is a cultivation experience. There is nothing bad.” Huan Zhong followed behind Kong Hou. Looking at the young girl’s lively back, his aloof face seemed to be infected with a thread of life.
“You are right, eating is also cultivation.” Kong Hou jumped off the last stair, her hair ornaments also swinging.
Huan Zhong looked at her slightly childish actions and couldn’t help but smile.
“Right, I still don’t know if you are a disciple of a sect or a nomad cultivator?” Kong Hou looked at Huan Zhong, her gaze full of pure puzzlement and no other meaning.
Huan Zhong stilled slightly. “I am… a disciple of Radiance Sect. However, due to my illness, I do not commonly interact with outsiders.”
“Radiance Sect?” Kong Hou’s eyes went wide. She moved near Huan Zhong and said in a small voice, “You really are a disciple of Radiance Sect?”
Seeing the curiosity and excitement in her eyes, Huan Zhong lowered his eyes slightly. “Yes.”
“Then can I ask you a minor question—do not tell anyone else.” Kong Hou lowered her voice even more. “That Spirit Master Zhong Xi of your sect, is he really nine foot tall and with eyes of lightning?”
In this moment, Huan Zhong’s expression was slightly dazed.
Translator Ramblings: This is double the length of the usual chapter.
I’m running out of motivation to translate and so I need to pressure myself. There are two choices for updates.
Choice 1: I release two times a week.
Choice 2: I release three times a week.
For both choices 1 and 2, I will continue until I run out of chapters. The result is chapters get released more often. But if I run out, it may be an inconsistent schedule. With choice 2, the chance I run out is higher so there’s a tradeoff.
So comment with 1 or 2.
- 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”