This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
Chapter 40: Get Famous Early
The atmosphere solidified for a moment. The elder shoved the gift box into Lin Hu’s hand and said, “Where does the other benefactor come from?” He had heard Ye Fei Shizhi say that benefactor had a powerful sword but was not a sword cultivator. The other should not be a disciple of Radiance Sect.
With a creak, the door next to them opened, and a head poked out. The elder turned to look and saw a young girl dressed in light pink robes at the door. She had large eyes, a white face, and looked both beautiful and adorable.
“Miss Kong Hou.” Lin Hu nodded to Kong Hou.
“Elder Lin Hu.” Kong Hou walked out of the door and bowed to the two. “This elder is?”
“This is Elder Xuan Mu of Cool Breeze Sect.” Lin Hu turned to look at Xuan Mu. “Elder, this miss is the one who saved your honored sect’s disciples.”
“Greetings to Elder Xuan Mu.” Kong Hou had originally wanted to come and ask Huan Zhong when they would leave here. But with an outsider present, she could only swallow her words. She smiled at Elder Xuan Mu and greeted him.
“Miss Kong Hou, please do not be so courteous.” Elder Xuan Mu returned the greeting. He said, “Miss, thank you for lending a helping hand so my shizhi could escape the claws of the evil demons.”
The two exchanged courtesies and then Elder Xuan Mu said, “Where does Miss come from and who is your elder? This one will definitely visit and give thanks in the future.”
“No need, no need.” Kong Hou waved her hands. She turned to look at Lin Hu. Lin Hu silently looked into the distance.
Kong Hou: “…”
“Miss, please tell this old man.” Elder Xuan Mu bowed again.
Kong Hou could only say, “This junior is a disciple of Splendid Cloud Sect. Your Excellency is an elder—this junior cannot accept your bow.”
“So you are a skilled disciple of Splendid Cloud Sect.” The relationship between Splendid Cloud Sect and Cool Breeze Sect was average. One reason was because the two sects were far away from each other, and another was because Splendid Cloud Sect stayed out of matters. Unless there was a major event, they never meddled in the matters of the cultivation world. The two sects almost had no opportunities to interact.
When the cultivation world held conferences, they would come hurriedly and rush away with no time for conversation. But regardless, in Elder Xuan Mu’s eyes, interacting with Splendid Cloud Sect was definitely easier than with Radiance Sect.
However, one had to repay favors done, Elder Xuan Mu decided. He gave the gifts to Kong Hou and bid farewell.
Knowing that the disciples of Cool Breeze Sect had been given a fright this time, Kong Hou did not try to keep him. Along with Lin Hu, she sent them off to the doorway.
“Miss.” Ye Fei walked in front of Kong Hou and bowed elegantly to her. “When will we meet again? Will you come to the Conference of Sects?”
Kong Hou did not know about any conference of sects. She kept her smile on. “Whatever my sect arranges.”
“Miss is so talented, and will definitely be one of the disciples to represent the sect.” Thinking about how Splendid Cloud Sect had missed the time for the Conference of Sects because they had been watching the spectacle, Ye Fei’s expression was slightly strange. This miss should… not be the same as the disciples of Splendid Cloud Sect?
“I also hope to see Sister in the future.” Kong Hou held Ye Fei’s hand and walked with her to the ship. “Take care.”
“Yes.” Ye Fei reluctantly released Kong Hou’s hand. The flying palace rose above the ground. She leaned against the rails as she waved to Kong Hou. “Miss, if you come to the Conference of Sect, please come find me.”
“Shijie.” Feng Qi stood at the side and looked at how Ye Fei did not bear to part from Kong Hou. He couldn’t resist saying, “Luckily this is a girl. Otherwise, I would think you had fallen in love at first sight.”
“So what if it is a girl?” The cloud obscured her view. Ye Fei pulled back and turned to glare at Feng Qi. “Girls are soft and fragrant, much more adorable than you smelly men.”
“Shijie, do not be like this. I bathe and burn incense every day. Even when there is no water, I will give myself two cleansing spells. Why would I smell?” Feng Qi muttered. “Our Cool Breeze Sect is not misogynistic; it is not good for you to be like this.”
“You feel wronged because of just a few words.” Ye Fei laughed. “I hadn’t expected Miss Kong Hou to be a skilled disciple of Splendid Cloud Sect; I could not see it at all.” While the disciples of major sects were polite with guests, their bones still contained some pride. Like that Master Huan Zhong—he had sat there in silence as though everyone else was not in the same world as him.
“Yes, the disciples of Splendid Cloud Sect and Radiance Sect have completely different personalities. I don’t know what Miss Kong Hou likes about that Huan Zhong.” Feng Qi thought of Huan Zhong’s aloof face and felt pity. Such a lively girl ruined by a plank of wood.
“What did you say?” Ye Fei said. “You think that Miss Kong Hou and Master Huan Zhong are in a relationship?”
“Isn’t that clear?” Feng Qi said. “Master Huan Zhong’s servant is a Mind Manifestation Forebear. If the two were not in a relationship, why would a Mind Manifestation Forebear be so polite to an outsider?”
“Really?” Ye Fei sighed. Such a good girl—why did she get stolen away by someone from Radiance Sect?
She turned and looked at her shidi and shixiong. She shook her head and sighed. Misshapen mellons and cracked dates. They were not good enough for Miss Kong Hou.
Feng Qi: “…”
What did Shijie‘s picky gaze mean?
After Xuan Mu took the disciples back to the sect, he wrote letters of thanks to Radiance Sect and Splendid Cloud Sect, greatly praising Kong Hou and Huan Zhong’s nobility. Just sending the praise to those sects was not enough. He knew that people should get famous early. He also wrote letters to the other sects he was on good terms with, saying how dangerous it had been, and how Kong Hou and Huan Zhong had done favors without needing any repayment. In a short few days, the names of Kong Hou and Huan Zhong spread around the major sects.
The sect masters of the major sects exclaimed that Splendid Cloud Sect was able to produce such an outstanding disciple.
Kong Hou, who still was at Base Building Stage, finally received the same treatment as Ling Bo. People started to call her Celestial Kong Hou.
Kong Hou did not know that Elder Xuan Mu had boasted about her in the cultivation world. The day that they prepared to leave Three Trees City, she saw two cultivators dressed in white robes edged in gold thread come out of Huan Zhong’s room. The two cultivators and Kong Hou, who had been preparing to knock on the door, stared at each other. No one spoke.
Lin Hu came out and interrupted the awkward atmosphere, explaining proactively to Kong Hou, “These two are disciple of Radiance Sect. They have come to take the two evil cultivators back to the sect.”
“Path Friends, greetings.” Kong Hou refocused and bowed to the two Radiance Sect cultivators.
“Greetings, Path Friend.” The two young disciples were not experienced enough to control their expressions, showing slight shock. They had never thought that Shishu would be travelling with a female.
“This miss is Celestial Kong Hou of Splendid Cloud Sect. Based on seniority, you should call her shishu.” Lin Hu threw the tied up evil cultivators out through the door. He said to the two disciples, “Be careful on the way back, do not delay, and return directly to the sect.”
“Yes.” The two disciples were extremely respectful towards Lin Hu and did not slight him in any way because he was Huan Zhong’s servant.
After the two of them bowed to Lin Hu, they saluted Kong Hou respectfully. “We juniors did not know Miss is Kong Hou Shishu**. *Shishu, please forgive us.”
“The ignorant are not guilty; no need for such courtesy.” She remembered that the peak master of Radiance Sect, Song He, had given her a greeting gift last time. Right now, the disciples of Radiance Sect called her shishu. Should she do the same?
Thinking of this, Kong Hou took out two brocade bags out of her storage ring and gave one to each disciple. “First meeting, a small token; do not be offended.”
The disciples of Radiance Sect: “…”
They were over a century old and receiving the meeting gift of a girl in her second decade? If Shishu learned of this, they would be punished.
“This…” The two disciples turned to look at Lin Hu. Should they accept or not?
“Since Shishu gave you this, take it.” Lin Hu coughed and suppressed his mirth. “Go thank your Kong Hou Shishu.”
“Many thanks, Kong Hou Shishu.” The two bowed, their postures so proper that no one could find a flaw.
“No need, no need.” Kong Hou moved to the side. “Go on your business.”
“Yes, we will abide by Shishu‘s orders.” The two disciples bowed again before picking up the two evil cultivators and leaving the inn.
Kong Hou sighed in relief. These disciples of Radiance Sect were too well-mannered. If this was Splendid Cloud Sect, and her shizhi all saw her come with things, they would have reached out and demanded them with smiles already. Compared to Radiance Sect, was Splendid Cloud Sect too lazy?
“Kong Hou is here?”
Huan Zhong’s voice came from the room. Kong Hou looked through the doorway. “Huan Zhong, may I come in?”
Huan Zhong sat by the window, holding a book and smiling at her. “Come in.”
Kong Hou skipped in through the door and sat next to Huan Zhong. “Huan Zhong, when will we leave here?”
“If you have nothing you want to buy, we will leave this afternoon.” Huan Zhong put down his book. “The next time you see those juniors, do not give them meeting gifts.”
“No way. If they call me shishu, they cannot do that for nothing.” Kong Hou put her hands on her cheeks. “But are all the disciples of Radiance Sect like that?”
“Like what?” Huan Zhong stood and took out a tea set from the cupboard. Using spirit energy, he boiled the morning dew in the gourd and made a cup of tea for Kong Hou.
“Serious, focused, and extremely well-mannered.” Kong Hou liked to drink the tea Huan Zhong made. She held the teacup and blew on the steam before sipping.
“The sect is very strict towards the disciples. They have to respect masters and cannot slack off—these are the basic requirements.” Huan Zhong poured a cup of tea for himself. Smelling the tea fragrance, he did not drink. “They are juniors, so they should be respectful towards you.”
“You will not go out secretly to play together, drink wine, admire the moon and such?” Kong Hou was shocked. No wonder Radiance Sect could become the strongest sect in the cultivation world. Each disciple was so outstanding. The effort they put in was unmatched by other cultivators.
“How could those greedy for enjoyment advance far on the path of cultivation?” Huan Zhong saw that Kong Hou had still not managed her emotion and poured more tea for her. “Each sect has their own path and principles. No one is right or wrong, nor is there any ranking among them. Bluntly, people split into groups. Due to this, the cultivation world is full of variety and at peace.”
Hearing this, Kong Hou smiled. “It is great you can think like this.” While she could not be regarded as someone that liked comfort and hated work, she had her own preferences in food and dress. When she was not in seclusion, she would visit the shops near the mountain with her shijie, and would frequently go to Daybreak Cloud Peak with other disciples to get pills to eat from Qing Yuan Shishu. If one did something like this in Radiance Sect, would this be called disrespecting one’s masters?
Huan Zhong’s lips curved slightly and he did not speak. He had only recently understood these things. In the past, he felt that one should have no desire or need as a cultivator, that they should not long for comfort and enjoyment. His sole pursuit was the sword path.
After being together with Kong Hou for these days, he found that other habits were not wrong, and occasionally relaxing was not a crime. Otherwise, if those things were wrong, how could Kong Hou, this young girl, still be so adorable?
He had been prejudiced before.
After eating lunch, Kong Hou got onto the carriage with Huan Zhong. “What is the next destination?”
“Yi City.” Huan Zhong put on several layers of soft cushions on the mat for Kong Hou to sit in more comfort. “Lin Hu said the embroidery of Yi City is famous. When we get there, you can look around.”
“Embroidery?” Kong Hou nodded. “Good, good.” Her shijie and female shizhi would definitely like that. Also, she had to buy some for Elder Qiu Shuang. Elder was so beautiful that she would chose the grandest of cloth in order to match her.
Seeing Kong Hou already calculating how much embroidery she had to buy, Huan Zhong lifted the curtain and said to Lin Hu, “Let’s go.”
“Transcendent, please wait a moment. Transcendent, please wait a moment!”
Huan Zhong turned his head and found the greeter running over with a grey cloth bag in his hand, an old handkerchief used to wipe tables thrown over his shoulder
“Transcendent.” The greeter panted as he ran in front of the carriage.” Yesterday, I saw that Transcendent and Celestial like newly picked mushrooms very much. Today, my wife and I went into the forest to find some wild mushrooms. But there are fewer during the winter. We did not find many after searching for several hours. Transcendent, please do not refuse and accept this one’s small token.”
The greeter’s clothing was patched, but the cloth bag he held was clean and whole even though Huan Zhong thought this kind of cloth was still extremely crude.
When the greeter saw Huan Zhong not reaching out to take them, his honest face flushed. He shifted on his feet. “This one has offended.” In the eyes of the transcendent, these things that they usually did not bear to eat were perhaps worthless. Had he created trouble for Transcendent by running over rashly?
“Many thanks.” A pair of white and clean hands took the cloth bag in his hands. The beautiful transcendent nodded at him. “You went to great trouble.”
“No, no, as long as Transcendent likes it.” The greeter rubbed his hands, his face red from excitement. “Good wishes to Transcendent and Celestial for a safe journey and to ascend soon.”
Huan Zhong nodded at him. “Farewell.”
“Transcendent, have a good journey.” The greeter feared he had blocked the carriage’s path. He hurriedly moved a few paces back and bowed towards the carriage.
When the horses started to run, Kong Hou looked at the cloth bag Huan Zhong had put in the corner of the carriage. “This greeter is so polite, giving us a gift when we left.”
“Yes.” Huan Zhong nodded.
This was the shabbiest gift he had ever received, but this was a gift he received with his own hands.
Kong Hou opened the cloth bag and said joyfully, “Such fresh mountain mushrooms. They will be delicious. Let’s roast mountain mushrooms tonight.”
“All right.” Huan Zhong’s hand clasped together as he frowned.
How to roast mushrooms? Directly cook them over the fire, or heat them with spirit energy?
Before the night came, the three travelers stopped in a mountain valley. The wind was strong in the mountain valley. When it brushed past the valley entrance, it would wail. The dried grass swayed in the wind, and some short trees became the only green amid the dried grasses.
Huan Zhong watched as Kong Hou’s dress was blown up by the wind. He searched for a long time in his storage ring before he took out a jade scroll. He threw it into the air. The jade scroll transformed into a golden house, glittering with golden light from the roof to the pillars.
“Such a beautiful golden house,” Kong Hou said in shock. “Huan Zhong, you are amazing. Do you have everything?”
Huan Zhong remembered that an elder had given him this golden house when he and his master had been visiting other people in his childhood. But he felt this golden house was tacky, so he forgot for several centuries that this item even existed in his storage ring. But before departing the sect this time, Lin Hu had put it in.
After hearing Kong Hou say the golden house was beautiful, he suddenly felt this house glittering with golden light was not so tacky.
The golden house was similar to a miniature palace. The flora inside were all made from precious stones and were extremely lifelike. When Kong Hou walked into the golden house, the wind did not blow and her dress was not blown up. Kong Hou had Lin Hu prepare the mountain mushrooms as he settled in the yard with Kong Hou.
“What do we need for roasted mushrooms?”
“Skewers.” Kong Hou propped up her face and thought for a while. “Salt and oil?”
“I know.” Huan Zhong stood up and said to Lin Hu who was washing the mountain mushrooms outside the golden house. “Lin Hu, remember to bring oil and salt.”
Lin Hu shook the water from his hands. He stood up and said expressionlessly, “Master, while the golden house will not catch fire no matter what, the mountain mushrooms are innocent.”
Huan Zhong calmly looked back at him.
“All right, I will go get firewood.” Lin Hu took out oil, salt and all kinds of spices from his storage ring. He shoved them at Huan Zhong along with the mountain mushrooms. “Go and play with Miss Kong Hou.”
When Huan Zhong came back with the mushrooms and spices, Kong Hou had already rolled up her sleeves and found a handful of skewers.
“The first step in roasting mushrooms should be to string them together?” Kong Hou turned to look at Huan Zhong. After interacting for this long, in her mind, Huan Zhong seemed to know everything.
“Yes.” Facing Kong Hou’s trusting eyes, Huan Zhong… Huan Zhong nodded for some reason.
“Then we will do it together.” Kong Hou gave half the skewers to Huan Zhong. Huan Zhong took the skewers and started to pick the larger mountain mushrooms. The bigger ones should be easier to deal with.
When Lin Hu came in with firewood, he saw Huan Zhong and Kong Hou crouching on the ground as they excitedly put mushrooms onto skewers. The skewers used were made out of a kind of valuable forging material, mystical gold metal.
If others knew that the two of them used mystical gold metal for skewers, they might kill the two of them.
Two wastrels who did not know the hardships of life.
“Elder Lin, will you participate in the fun as well?” Kong Hou smiled and waved at Lin Hu. “Come.”
Ah, as least one of them had the self-awareness to know they were playing and not roasting. All right, he would go watch them and not let them waste the good mountain mushrooms.
“All right.” Lin Hu walked with a stiff expression next to the pair and squatted down.
Huan Zhong glanced at him and moved to the side to make room.
The disciples of Radiance Sect travelled at full speed. After handing the two evil cultivators to the sect, they went to report to the sect master the recent situation of Shishu.
“Is your shishu in better health?”
“Sect Master, Shishu‘s complexion is much better than usual. Elder Lin said they have already found Vermillion Grass. However…”
“But what?” Before Jin Yue’s joyful mood could rise, it fell back down.
“Shishu has the company of an extremely beautiful woman. Elder Lin Hu said this woman is Kong Hou Shishu of Splendid Cloud Sect.”
“Say that again?!”
Translator Ramblings:Huan Zhong’s sliding down from being the peak of diligence and morality. Those poor mushrooms … and poor Lin Hu.