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Chapter 32: Tree House
As an experienced flying sword messenger, Lu Jia had gone to many places, many sects, and delivered letters and items for countless cultivators and ordinary mortals. He had been a nomad cultivator before. After his cultivation reached Core Formation, it had halted. He could not afford to buy expensive pills, so he could only join the postage office and become one of the flying sword messengers. Fortunately, cultivators respected and treated flying sword messengers well, not daring to rob them due to fear of offending the major sects. Two centuries ago, after a famed Mind Manifestation Forebear wrote a song praising them, their status in the cultivation world grew much higher. They were thought of as a beacon of hope, the shepherd of love and feeling.
The postage office specifically arranged for him, an experienced messenger, to come to Radiance Sect to deliver the packages. They feared that new flying sword messengers were inexperienced and could not keep their composure, showing timidity in front of Radiance Sect. When Lu Jia came to Radiance Sect, he felt that the postage office was correct in their decision. He felt his knees weaken facing those intimidating sword energies and the expressionless sword cultivators.
But even so, he kept his back straight and his legs steady. As a first-class flying sword messenger, he would not lose his dignity.
“These things are really mailed from this person you call Huan Zhong?” Jin Yue looked at the packages wrapped in canvas and securely tied. He moved his finger. One of the packages landed on his hand. Opening the package, he did not see any secret manuals nor rare medicines, but… dried meat?
“This is the famed honey meat of Mound City, sweet to the taste and chewy. This is a dish all foreign cultivators will order when they come to Mound City.” The flying sword messenger saw that everyone had strange expressions and thought that they worried that the food was unclear. While he respected and feared these people, he still did his best to fulfill his duties and explain, “Everyone, do not worry; our post office’s workers are moral, we pay great care to cleanliness during packaging, and we will not steal anything. This is the customer’s signature. Everyone, you can check the number and weight based on the content of the slip.”
“The person who sent these things is really called Huan Zhong?” Peak Master Song He who was sitting below could not help but ask again, “You did not misremember it?”
“Honored customers, please do not worry—we will not give out incorrect information,” Lu Jia said. “Please believe in our abilities.”
The entire hall sank into silence. Jin Yue signed his own name on the confirmation slip. “Thank you, Messenger.”
“You are welcome.” Receiving the confirmation slip, Lu Jia did not want to stay here longer. He left the hall and jumped onto the flying sword, leaving Radiance Sect without turning his head back. He felt too much pressure speaking with these sword cultivators. Staying long was not good for his lifespan.
“Sect Master, do you think there are any hidden meanings here?” Song He flipped through the products again and again. He did not find any special signs on them. “Or did something happen in Mound City?”
Jin Yue’s brow furrowed. “Send a disciple to Mound City to investigate.”
“I will arrange it immediately.” Song He stood up and hurriedly walked away. He worried if he was slow, something irreversible would happen.
On Splendid Cloud Sect’s training grounds, the inner sect disciples were teaching the new disciples preliminary sword moves. They saw a flying sword messenger being led into the main hall by a disciple of Five Elements Hall and speculated who had sent things to the sect master.
The new disciples saw the inner sect shixiong and shimei secretly talking by the side and felt curious.
When evening came, they learned that the apprentice shijie of Moon Perching Peak had sent local specialty products to the sect master, peak masters and apprentices. They even got a few pieces of Mound City’s special dried meat in their meal this evening.
The slightly heavy-set Gao Jian ate happily. Seeing Gui Ling next to him not even moving his chopsticks, he asked, “You don’t like to eat this?”
Gui Ling said in a small voice, “I heard that the peak masters of Daybreak Cloud Peak and Moon Perching Peak are not on good terms?”
Gao Jian ate a few more mouthfuls of rice and did not understand what Gui Ling meant.
“Kong Hou Shijie mailed a package to Daybreak Cloud Peak—won’t the master of Moon Perching Peak be angry?” Gui Ling tilted his face down. “As an apprentice, should they not listen to their master?”
“That’s how the saying is, but the two peak masters do not have a great hatred between them—there isn’t any need to make it so tense?” Gao Jian looked around and then put an arm around Gui Ling. “Don’t spread this; it is not pleasing to hear.”
Gui Ling pushed Gao Jian’s hand off his shoulder, and put a piece of dried meat into his mouth. Until he finished eating, he did not touch the other pieces of meat in his bowl. Gao Jian swallowed. Leaving behind such delicious meat. Pickiness was not a good habit.
The snow did not stop. Kong Hou and Huan Zhong advanced east after leaving Mound City. When the sky turned dark, they were still in the forest. In winter, the leaves of many trees had fallen over. When the snow and rotten leaves mixed together, they gave off a faint decaying odor.
Kong Hou jumped off the flying sword. She looked around and said enthusiastically, “Let’s sleep on the trees tonight.”
Huan Zhong lifted the curtain. Seeing Kong Hou filled with anticipation about resting outside, he raised his head and picked a thick tree. He took something out of his sleeve and threw it towards the tree. A small wood house appeared on the tree.
“Treehouse?” Kong Hou cheered. “Huan Zhong, you are amazing. You even have this.”
“Just a worthless talisman.” Huan Zhong hadn’t thought a wood house would make Kong Hou so happy.
“I’ve never stayed in a treehouse before.” Kong Hou wanted to fly into the treehouse to see but was too embarrassed to show her urgency. She could only put her hands behind her back and kick at the snow on the ground. “I planned to build a shelter using tree branches.”
After she kicked a few times, a black shadow suddenly shot out of the snow. The spirit energy given off by the black snow caused the withered grass in the surroundings to grow out a few green leaves.
A spirit item or a spirit medicine? Kong Hou stilled and quickly recovered. With a leap, she chased after it. This spirit item was extremely fast. Kong Hou flew and ran about, rolling a few times on the ground, before finally capturing it in her hands.
“Huan Zhong, it is Vermillion Grass!” Kong Hou gripped the spirit grass twisting around in her hands. She ignored the dried leaves and dirty snow on her head, cheerfully turning her head to look at Huan Zhong and say, “Quick, get a jade medicine box. Eat this—it is good for your heart and lungs!”
Huan Zhong looked at her disheveled state, and how her hands, reddened from the ice and snow, did not let go of the Vermillion Grass. He took out a jade medicine box and took the Vermillion Grass from her hands. He closed the lid and stretched a hand in front of her. “The ground is cold.”
“It’s all right.” Kong Hou grabbed Huan Zhong’s hand and stood up. Looking down at how she dirtied Huan Zhong’s clean hand, she moved her gaze away guiltily and put her hands behind her back.
“You have to take care of this jade medicine box. This kind of spirit grass is rare. Before you return to the sect, do not let other people know you have this.” Huan Zhong looked at the pile of snow that Kong Hou had kicked apart as though he had seen a miracle.
The Vermillion Grass grew irregularly and was extremely rare. Even if one encountered it by chance, the grass would have a vicious snake guardian. Who would have thought that such a rare spirit grass would shoot out after being kicked a few times. As for the snake guardian… with such heavy snow, maybe it was hibernating?
“Why give this to me?” Kong Hou felt puzzled. “Aren’t you the one who needs this?”
Her health was fine, she had no illness—why would she keep this? To make pills and eat for fun?
Huan Zhong stilled. Looking at the disheveled young woman in front of him, it took him a long moment to find his voice. “For me?”
“Yes.” Kong Hou nodded. “For you.” Kong Hou suspected that Huan Zhong’s reaction rate was slow after his being ill for so long. But this was her first friend after leaving the mountain. Even if he was slightly slow, she would not scorn him.
“Do you know that this is Vermillion Grass?” Huan Zhong reached out to pluck dried leaves from Kong Hou’s hair. He laughed. “How could you give it to me?”
“It’s because I know that I give it to you.” Kong Hou felt that Huan Zhong”s question was strange. Of the three of them, only he had an illness. To whom should she give this medicine if not to him?
Huan Zhong felt that Kong Hou’s gaze as she looked at him was asking, are you dumb? He gripped the jade medicine box and laughed. Because of how loud he laughed, he couldn’t control his cough. The tips of his ears and his face reddened.
“Kong Hou, thank you.” His eyes were bright.
Looking at his eyes, Kong Hou thought of stars in summer, both bright and beautiful.
“You are welcome.” She waved her hand magnanimously. Then she remembered the dirt on her hand and smiled embarrassedly.
“Your arm is injured.” Huan Zhong put away the jade medicine box. He took out a soft and clean handkerchief, bending to wipe the bruises on Kong Hou’s arm with medicinal fluid. After wrapping the handkerchief around her arm, he said, “Your wounds will heal slowly in such cold weather. Sleep tonight, and it will heal tomorrow.”
“Thank you.” Kong Hou peeked secretly at the wooden house on the tree and said with a red face, “May I go up and see the treehouse?” A house on a tree would definitely be fun.
“Yes.” Huan Zhong smiled. “If you are dissatisfied with any of it, I can reforge it.”
“Then I will go.” Kong Hou impatiently flew upwards and climbed into the treehouse.
Looking on as the young girl disappeared into the treehouse, Huan Zhong had a smile lingering on his face.
“Master.” Lin Hu walked next to him with undisguised excitement. “It really is Vermillion Grass?”
The Vermillion Grass that Sky Sect had searched for all over Lingyou World repeatedly and hadn’t found came to Master’s possession so easily. He looked at the pile of snow that Kong Hou had kicked and found that this world was so unrealistic.
Huan Zhong nodded minutely. “Yes, this is a Vermillion Grass.”
Vermillion Grass that was worth cities in the cultivation world and that countless cultivators desired.
“Huan Zhong!” The window of the treehouse opened and the young girl poked out her head, her voice excited like a child’s who had received a great gift. “The treehouse is so beautiful inside. There are large soft beds and all kinds of food inside—you prepared so well!”
An elder of the sect had given him this talisman when he had been very young. He had never used it and did not know what was inside.
“There are also many toys inside.” A while later, the young girl took out a roly-poly toy bigger than her head, holding it outside the window for Huan Zhong to see clearly. “This looks a lot like you.”
Huan Zhong looked at the roly-poly with its twisted brows and round belly in silence.
What part of this roly-poly without any legs and arms was similar to him?
Translator Ramblings: This is what a roly-poly toy looks like.