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Chapter 34: Jealousy?
When Lin Hu asked this in response, the atmosphere stilled for a second. Huan Zhong looked expressionlessly at Lin Hu. Lin Hu looked expressionly at him. The cold wind blew, causing Huan Zhong’s robes to sway in the wind.
“You should rest.” Huan Zhong stood up and pushed open the door to the treehouse. He lay down on the bed.
This was the first time he was so close to a female, just a door away. Simple sword skills and flowers were carved onto the walls of the treehouse, which he could see if he opened his eyes. The breathing inside the room was slow and regular. Kong Hou was in a deep sleep.
He sat up and crossed his legs to meditate. While he did not know much about how to interact with people, he could not sleep well not far from a young girl. He felt an indescribable guilt.
Spirit energy rippled inside his body and constantly collided in his limbs and meridians. After drawing spirit energy to circulate around his body, he suppressed the chaotic spirit energy. When he opened his eyes again, the sky was light. He covered his mouth and suppressed his desire to cough. Seeing no noise come from the inside room, he flew out of the treehouse. Leaning against the trunk, he covered his mouth with a handkerchief and coughed violently.
“Master.” Lin Hu hurriedly walked forward and handed the pills to Huan Zhong. Huan Zhong opened his handkerchief and swallowed the medicine. “Today is better than before.”
Lin Hu looked at the handkerchief in his hand. The handkerchief was not bloodied. Yes, better than previously.
It was not convenient to bathe outside. Huan Zhong went into the carriage to change clothes. When he left the carriage, he asked Lin Hu, “The cultivators last night are going to attend Primary Luck Sect’s Mind Manifestation ceremony?”
Lin Hu nodded. “People from Dragon Tiger Sect.”
“No need to pay attention to them.” Huan Zhong took two bottles of spirit liquid and several spirit fruits from Lin Hu and put them into a crystal bowl. He returned to the treehouse.
Kong Hou woke up from her dreams. She lazily rolled on the bed a few times before taking out things from her storage ring to wash and dress. When she walked into the outer room, she found spirit fruits and liquid on the table. Huan Zhong was reading a book by the window.
Seeing her appear, Huan Zhong put away the book. “Did you sleep well last night?”
Kong Hou nodded and sat down by the table. “Reading so early in the morning?”
“You want to read?” Huan Zhong put the book in front of her.
“Principles of Swordsmanship?” Kong Hou was not interested and pushed the book back. “My swordsmanship is just at a beginner’s level, and books like this are not suited to me.”
Huan Zhong handed the spirit liquid to her. “This book is really dull for non-sword cultivators.”
“You are also a sword cultivator?” Kong Hou pulled out the cork to the spirit liquid bottle and drank. A fragrant flow entered her limbs and made her feel as though all her meridians spread in pleasure. “All the sword cultivators I know like to hold their swords in their hands. I’ve never seen you hold a sword.”
“A sword cultivator cannot separate from their sword.” Huan Zhong pushed the spirit fruits in front of Kong Hou. “But when one reaches a certain level, their mind can be one with the sword. While I have no sword in hand, I have a sword in my mind.”
“While I do not quite understand, I think it is amazing.” Kong Hou took a bite of the spirit fruit and sighed. “Recently, my cultivation has stilled. I don’t know where the problem is.”
“Cultivation is determined on understanding. When you understand certain things, it will come naturally.” Huan Zhong saw her eating so enthusiastically and also took a spirit fruit to eat. “Do not be too impatient.”
“We are both pentad spirit base cultivators—how did your sect’s Spirit Master Zhong Xi reach Mind Dividing before he was three hundred?” Kong Hou counted on her fingers. “Look, Energy Refinement, Base Building, Mind Activation, Core Formation, Mind Manifestation, Projection, Mind Dividing, Transcendental, Great Vehicle, Ordeal Surpassing. Ten stages—if he works a bit harder, he will pass his ordeals and ascend.”
“It is extremely difficult to go from Mind Dividing to Transcendental, not to mention Ordeal Surpassing and ascending.” Huan Zhong laughed. “In all of the cultivation world, there is only one Great Vehicle cultivator. He has not appeared for several centuries, and no one knows if he is alive or dead. There are three Transcendental cultivators. One of them failed after trying repeatedly to reach Great Vehicle and has no further chance of advancement. When their longevity is used up, they will die. There are less than ten Mind Dividing cultivators; two of them are in your Splendid Cloud Sect.”
Splendid Cloud Sect was easy-going, but no one dared to easily offend them because they had two Mind Dividing elders, four Projection cultivators and a dozen Mind Manifestation cultivators. Adding on how protective and shameless their sect was, if the young lost, the old would come. Who would like to offend a sect like that?
Many cultivation sects only had one Mind Manifestation cultivator. Not all were as lucky as Splendid Cloud Sect to have a bunch of Mind Manifestation cultivators. But with so many experts, Splendid Cloud Sect was still second to last among the ten major sects. From this, it could be seen just how lazy the sect was.
“So few Mind Dividing cultivators?” Kong Hou’s eyes went wide. “This Spirit Master Zhong Xi is just three hundred, and he could be considered one of the ten strongest in the cultivation world. What did he eat growing up to be so strong?”
Huan Zhong took out the biggest spirit fruit from the crystal bowl and shoved it into Kong Hou’s hand. “Eat more spirit fruits, drink more spirit fluid, and you will be stronger than him.”
“Huan Zhong, I feel you are treating me like a child.” Kong Hou held the fist-sized spirit fruit and took a big bite. “I believe that you are not on good terms with this Spirit Master Zhong Xi.” Everything he said implied that Spirit Master Zhong Xi was far from ascension. If they were close, wouldn’t he hope the best for the other person?
“I feel that people like us who cultivate have to be open-minded. Even if another of our sect is dislikable, we cannot act like this.” Kong Hou carefully observed Huan Zhong’s expression. Seeing that he did not seem unhappy, she continued, “Jealousy will affect one’s mental state. We can compete with other people, but we cannot care too much about those things. The saying is that there will always be someone better. People will be happier if they learn to be content.”
Hearing Kong Hou using “us,” Huan Zhong felt that Kong Hou was pulling him into the same camp. While he was now under suspicion of being “jealous of someone in his sect,” his mood was not affected.
“Spirit Master Zhong Xi is strong, but cultivation does not mean everything. For example, in my eyes, you are better than that Spirit Master Zhong Xi.” In order to increase the authenticity of her words, Kong Hou nodded. “Really.”
Huan Zhong was so good-looking—how could that Spirit Master Zhong Xi compare to Huan Zhong?
Huan Zhong laughed. “All right, I believe you.”
“Master.” Outside the treehouse, Lin Hu knocked softly on the door. “Dragon Tiger Sect’s Spirit Master Shui Guan has come to say his farewells.”
“Spirit Master Shui Guan?” Kong Hou looked at the half-eaten spirit fruit in her hand and was reluctant to put it down. She said to Huan Zhong, “Do you have to go see him?”
“Sit for a while; I will come back soon.” Huan Zhong stood and walked out of the treehouse to meet Lin Hu’s eyes.
“Master, Miss Kong Hou is still young.” Lin Hu had complicated emotions. “She is a girl with a very good personality.”
Huan Zhong wiped his hands with a handkerchief. “You are right; I also like her greatly.”
Spirit Master Shui Guan stood under the three with his disciples. Seeing a handsome young master with black hair dressed in brocade robes walk out of the house, he bowed and said, “Shui Guan of Dragon Tiger Sect greets Forebear. Forebear, thank you for not minding the disturbance last night. Today, this one has come with this one’s disciples to bid farewell.”
“No need to be so polite. The forest grows here naturally; anyone can rest here.” Huan Zhong did not continue. His expression was aloof. He had no special like or dislike towards unrelated cultivators. “Everyone, as you please.”
Shui Guan saw Huan Zhong’s distant expression and stopped disturbing him. His hand moved behind his back to signal to his disciples for them to follow him and immediately leave.
They had not walked a few steps when the sound of chatter came from inside the forest. Shui Guan looked back. Some young cultivators were flying on flying swords, chasing each other in a lively scene.
“Shixiong, see that treehouse on that tree—so beautiful.” A female cultivator dressed in pink clothes had her flying sword rise. She wanted to go close to the tree house and see it clearer. Seeing a handsome man standing in front of the treehouse, she stilled in the air.
“You, Sir, are you the owner of this treehouse?” The female cultivator in pink finally recovered and bowed to Huan Zhong.
Huan Zhong glanced at the cultivators hurrying behind the female cultivator. He silently turned and went back into the treehouse, leaving Lin Hu standing outside.
Lin Hu: “…”
The female cultivator felt slightly embarrassed. She muttered in a small voice, “What does this mean?”
Nearby, Spirit Master Shui Guan looked at this scene. He turned and said to his disciples, “When you are travelling, do not copy these cultivators.”
The blue-robed disciple stammered out, “Master, these people seemed to be disciples of Primary Luck Sect.” If a fight occurred, should they help? But… would they win?
Shui Guan thought for a moment and then covered his eyes with his hand. “I saw nothing. Let’s go, let’s go.” Finishing, he jumped onto his flying sword and wanted to immediately fly out of the forest.
“Path Friends up ahead, please wait.” The male cultivators behind the female cultivator in pink noticed Spirit Master Shui Guan and called them. “Everyone, are you going to Kui City?” Primary Luck Sect was located in Kui City, and all of Kui City was under Primary Luck Sect’s jurisdiction.
Spirit Master Shui Guan regretted that he hadn’t been faster just now. He had his flying sword turn around and then he bowed, saying, “Yes.”
The male cultivators returned the bow. “We are also returning to Kui City. We can travel together.”
Shui Guan complained inside, please no. I’m afraid if I travel with you, I won’t reach Kui City alive. He laughed awkwardly and motioned for the disciples not to speak. “I cannot trouble you.”
“No problem, just along the way.” The leader of the male cultivators was the eldest disciple of Primary Luck Sect’s sect master. While his talent was ordinary, he worked hard, was reliable, and had a good heart. He had Mind Activation level ten cultivation and would soon attempt to reach Core Formation.
This time, he had taken some Base Building shimei and shidi out to gain experience. He worked hard, but these shimei and shidi had lively personalities which gave him a headache.
“Shixiong, this cultivator is so rude. I greeted him, and he didn’t even say a word.” The female cultivator in pink was Zhou Xiao’s shimei. Because of her outstanding appearance, she was pursued by many male cultivators in the sect and was slightly spoiled. Fortunately, the trip had been peaceful and she hadn’t caused any trouble. Hearing Shimei‘s complaint, Zhou Xiao felt a slight headache. He bowed towards Lin Hu outside the treehouse and said to Shimei, “Jin Ling, do not be rude.”
The female cultivator in pink, Jin Ling, twisted her mouth. She disliked the sect shixiong‘s peaceful personality. “I did not do anything—how was I rude?”
Lin Hu had a stern expression. “My master likes quiet. Everyone, please leave.”
“Elder, please forgive us. We will leave immediately.” Zhou Xiao could not see Lin Hu’s cultivation, but the other was definitely much stronger than him. He worried Jin Ling would say more offensive things. Ignoring the separation of the sexes, he grabbed her arm. *Shimei, come.”
“What are you doing!” Jin Ling wanted to push away Zhou Xiao, but Zhou Xiao gripped her so tightly that she couldn’t. “Shixiong, let go.”
“Do not make a fuss,” Zhou Xiao said with a serious expression. “This may be a Mind Manifestation forebear.”
“So what if he’s a Mind Manifestation forebear? A Mind Manifestation forebear has to be reasonable; he cannot kill without cause,” Jin Ling said with a frown. “I haven’t planned to do anything.”
Zhou Xiao thought, if you really wanted to do something, you would not be on your flying sword right now, but laid out on the ground. He turned and said to the shidi, “Watch Jin Ling Shimei. Do not let her mess around.”
The shidi could all see Lin Hu’s cultivation was high and did not speak. They surrounded Jin Ling and tried to persuade her.
“Master, I feel… we should not try to curry favor with Primary Luck Sect,” the blue-robed disciple said in a small voice to Spirit Master Shui Guan. “This sect seems… too naive in their conduct.”
He said it subtly. Rather than saying they were naive, they were rather brainless. If they did not manage their disciples well, the trouble the disciples caused would drag down the entire sect. Even small sects like theirs understood this rule—Primary Luck Sect did not?
Or they had developed so well these past years that they became arrogant? They were just a new sect, and did not have the foundations of the ten major sects. Their conduct was lacking.
Seeing the disciples of Primary Luck Sect chattering loudly, Lin Hu frowned. He had followed Huan Zhong for many years and did not like to do things such as bully juniors. So even though he did not like these juniors’ conduct, he still endured it. “Everyone, please leave as soon as possible.”
“I can leave. Have your master come out, then I will leave,” Jin Ling said. “Does he not know to return greetings when people greet him?”
Inside the treehouse, Kong Hou watched the spectacle. Hearing the female cultivator in pink say this, she turned to say to Huan Zhong, “Compared to this girl, Path Friend Ling Bo is much more adorable.” While Ling Bo was slightly proud, she was not unreasonable. She also knew to respect her elders, to listen and do what Chang De told her. This one did not give her shixiong any face outside. Was she afraid people had no jokes to laugh at?
The cultivation world was so interesting. It had all kinds of weirdos.
“What is the noise?” A female cultivator dressed in black robes flew over. Seeing the disciples of Primary Luck Sect making noise, she clapped her hands. The disciples on their flying swords fell to the ground.
“What cats and dogs—so rude.” The female cultivator snorted. “Disturbing the peace.”
“You…” Jin Ling climbed off the ground. Before she could finish speaking, the female cultivator slapped her through the air with a wave of her hand. Jin Ling rolled a few times on the ground before she stopped. She started to spit out blood before she could climb up.
“You do not know what is good for you.” The female cultivator tidied her wide sleeves and met Lin Hu’s gaze. “Path Friend, you have a good temper. Such rude juniors, you should teach them a lesson. This is helping their sect. You will prevent them from offending more people.”
Lin Hu looked at the juniors on the ground who did not dare to speak. He nodded. “Path Friend is correct.”
The female cultivator smiled. “Or is it that Path Friend finds this young girl beautiful and doesn’t bear to act?”
Lin Hu glanced at the female cultivator in pink spewing blood. Beautiful?
“You demoness, you dare to attack me! When I tell my master…”
The female cultivator turned with a smile. Her black sleeve suddenly expanded, becoming a long piece of cloth that wrapped around Jin Ling’s neck. With one hand, she pulled Jin Ling in front of her. She grabbed Jin Ling’s neck. “I dislike people who threaten me the most.”
Kong Hou saw the black-robed cultivator about to kill just for a verbal disagreement. She pulled on Huan Zhong’s sleeve. “Huan Zhong, who is this? She has such a great temper, killing just for an argument?”
“She is Xue Yu; her nickname is Black Robe Woman. She is a Mind Manifestation cultivator and has a strange temper. She dislikes young beautiful girls the most.” Huan Zhong saw that Kong Hou was having trouble seeing through the crack in the window, so he pushed the window open for her to see. “If a good-looking female cultivator offends her, she will become angry and humiliate the other.”
“Do not open the window. What if she sees my face and comes for me?” Kong Hou who had some confidence in her appearance hurriedly reached out to close the window. When her hand reached out, she met the black-robed woman’s eyes.
Frightened by the other’s cold eyes, Kong Hou laughed awkwardly. “Continue, continue.”
Xue Yu laughed coldly. Just as she was about to speak, she saw Huan Zhong behind Kong Hou. Her expression changed slightly, and she released Jin Ling. Seeing Huan Zhong not reacting, she gritted her teeth and bowed towards the treehouse. Then she turned and flew out of the forest, disappearing in the blink of an eye.
“Am I that frightening to see?” Kong Hou put her hands on her face as she looked back in disbelief at Huan Zhong. “What is with her reaction?”
Her eyes were so large, her skin so white, her hair so beautiful—how was she able to frighten someone off?
“Maybe you are so good-looking, you made her feel ashamed. Lin Hu is standing guard outside, she cannot be jealous of you, so she left in anger.” Huan Zhong saw her wide eyes full of discontent and couldn’t stop his laugh.
Huan Zhong nodded. “Of all the female girls I ever saw, you are the best-looking.”
“Whoa!” Jin Ling had spat out several mouthfuls of blood on the ground. She managed to struggle up with the help of Zhou Xiao. When she raised her head, she saw the young girl by the window. She realized that another woman had seen everything from beginning to end.
Realizing this, she couldn’t help but throw up more blood.
Her face as a woman was all lost!
Translator Ramblings: Kong Hou is overthinking (from the reader’s persepective since we know the truth) but from her limited point of view, she’s comforting her friend.
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