This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
Chapter 45: Calm
In the hall, several female cultivators in purple clothing faced off against male cultivators in blue robes. The male cultivator at the front had robes embroidered with subtle but grand patterns. He held the hand of a green-clad female. His expression was slightly displeased, but for some reason, he did not vent his anger. But the woman in a green dress next to him cried pitifully.
The purple-clad female cultivators ignored her, insulting the blue-robed male cultivator. They said that he was shameless, he was not a man with a mind of his own, and he should not cultivate, that he should go to the mortal world and be a rich young master with several concubines. Wouldn’t that be better?
“Your thoughts change when seeing those of the opposite gender, and you are lustful and greedy. Willow Speech Sect only produces disciples like you.” A tall and thin female cultivator sneered. “Your mind is so lacking—do not dirty other people’s cultivation path.”
“Celestials, please vent your anger towards me. Do not pull in all of Willow Speech Sect.” The woman in the green dress could not bear hearing those words. “All of this is my fault, just blame me.”
“A fly wants to land on dirty and rotten things—should we blame the dirty and rotten thing for being in the wrong place?” A female cultivator in purple robes glanced at her. “Miss, this is a conflict between our sect and Willow Speech Sect. Please, Miss do not interfere; thank you.”
The purple dressed female cultivator’s words made the woman in the green dress feel more humiliated than directly cursing her. Her lips trembled and she did not know what to say. In the last few days, to avoid the people of Green Jade Sect, Young Master had taken her to Yi City which was far from Green Jade Sect in order to relax. They had not thought they would coincidentally encounter the eldest shijie of Green Jade Sect and her group.
This was the largest and best inn in Yi City. Many cultivators lived here. Now that they were making a fuss, many people were attracted and came to laugh. The woman in the green dress pulled the blue-robed male cultivator’s sleeve and lowered her head.
“What do you want?” the blue-robed male cultivator gritted out. “All of you, do not go overboard.”
“After that day when you embarrassed my shimei like that in front of the guests, our sect master said that your Willow Speech Sect cannot be at any place where Green Jade Sect is.” The eldest shijie took out her lifebond talisman. “Now, you can leave on your own, or I will beat you until you do.”
“Do not think that I do not dare to fight you.” The male cultivator pulled out his sword. “Yes, I did not act appropriately that day, but I still do not love her. You cannot force me to marry her.”
“Who cares whether you love her or not? Take a look at yourself.” The eldest shijie laughed harshly. “Will disciples of Green Jade Sect lack for men? Your previous sweet words fooled my shimei into agreeing to become partners with you. Who knew that you were not sincere and also got entangled with other women? Since that is so, why did you not speak up earlier, why did you have to wait until the path union ceremony and say you did not like my young shimei in front of all the guests? Because you feel more accomplished this way? So that everyone in the world will know that you are a man for all women, extraordinary and charismatic?
People frequently said that a woman could be for all men, it was rare for a man to be for all women. The cultivators watching this laughed. Both ordinary people and cultivators were biased towards the weak. Also, the female cultivators of Green Jade Sect had beautiful appearances and they explained the history and the incident clearly. Who was in the right and who in the wrong was clear. The people present unconsciously leaned towards Green Jade Sect. Those that were more daring started to speak up and criticize Willow Speech Sect for their dishonorable conduct.
Lin Hu saw Kong Hou sitting in the corner when he came after her. She had a plate of dried fruits in her hand which she ate as she watched intently. In just the blink of a moment, she even prepared snacks?
Seeing Lin Hu come after her, Kong Hou waved at him. When he walked close, she said in a small voice, “This corner has a good angle, and will not be easily affected by the people involved.” She took out a bag of dried fruits from her storage ring and handed it to Lin Hu. “I took these snacks from the sect; they are fragrant and crisp. Go eat them, I have more.”
The reliable cultivator Lin Hu expressionlessly refused Kong Hou’s goodwill of sharing snacks. He silently stood before Kong Hou and watched the drama in front of him. Before they left the sect, the sect master of Willow Speech Sect had visited the sect and stated his intentions of joining Radiance Sect. He did not know what the sect master thought of this.
“You!” Bian Hong heard the laughter and accusations in the surroundings. He could not control his anger and pointed at the eldest shijie of Green Jade Sect with his sword. “Your Green Jade Sect is stronger than Willow Speech Sect, but this does not mean I will fear you.”
The eldest shijie‘s brows rose. Her weapon gave off blinding light and she appeared ready to fight.
“Wait.” The young girl wearing a girdled celestial dress sitting in the corner interrupted the fight about to occur. “It was not easy to build this inn. If you wish to fight, you can find an open space.”
The innkeeper hiding behind the counter heard the words and was extremely grateful to the young girl. He did not dare stop these cultivators of famed sects from fighting. But if things were damaged, even if they paid in spirit stones, it would take time to repair.
The young girl’s words seemed to pour a few cups of cold water on a strong fire. The desire to fight on both sides lessened slightly. The eldest shijie of Green Jade Sect put away her talisman and bowed towards the young girl. “Miss, you are right to remind me. This one was rash.”
Damaging the inn was a minor matter, but if they made a ruckus, people from the city government would come. No matter how just their cause was, fighting in the inn would break the rules of Yi City. If the matter spread, people who did not know of the events would only feel that Green Jade Sect was a bully.
Seeing the eldest shijie of Green Jade Sect put away her sword, Bian Hong sighed in relief inwardly. In terms of cultivation, he was slightly weaker than this sect eldest shijie of Green Jade Sect. With someone weaker in cultivation next to him, he did not have much confidence he could win.
He turned to look at the young girl who had spoken. He put away his sword and said, “I will not argue with you today due to this young miss.”
Some people were disappointed that the two did not fight, but others sighed in relief on behalf of the inn owner. Some male cultivators who wanted to play the hero rescuing the damsel in distress lamented at the missed opportunity. They all moved their attention away back to drinking tea and eating food.
“Do not say such a thing—I do not have such influence.” Kong Hou stood and brushed off the fruit shells on her clothing. “I do not have any relationship with a male cultivator like yourself who is not right in conduct.”
Some people laughed at Kong Hou’s words and felt that this young girl’s words were really pleasing to hear.
“Miss, has no one told you to be careful when speaking when travelling?” Bian Hong’s expression was ugly. He hadn’t expected that a woman of unknown background with just Base Building cultivation would dare not to give him face. “Please, Miss, do not interfere in a private matter between two sects.”
“Path Friend, you misunderstand. I do not have any intentions of interfering in a private matter between sects.” Kong Hou rolled her eyes secretly. She just disliked men like this.
“As long as Miss understands this.” Bian Hong wanted to say a few more things but he found the black-clothed man behind the young girl glanced coldly at him. He could not perceive the other’s cultivation.
This was an expert.
Bian Hong tensed and swallowed his words. His face turned black and white, and he took Lu Yao and everyone else with him to walk towards the door. Lu Yao had a delicate appearance. When she passed the disciples of Green Jade Sect, she even bowed towards them before following in Bian Hong’s footsteps and disappearing out of view.
Seeing this, Kong Hou said in a small voice to Lin Hu, “That woman in the green dress is really cunning.” She appeared polite but was actually provocative. She had seen this kind of gaze from many other women. Many of the women in Emperor Jinghong’s inner palace played little tricks like this.
Lin Hu looked at Kong Hou and waited for her explanation.
“I cannot explain to you. This is a woman’s intuition.” Kong Hou looked around. This place was populated and not suited to speaking of matters with no evidence. She took Lin Hu to the courtyard before she spoke. “I suspect that woman.”
Some men in the world looked down on women, but to men like these, a scheme using a beauty was extremely effective. That woman clearly depended on the male cultivator of Willow Speech Sect as though he was her life. But Kong Hou felt that she did not feel much emotion towards that male cultivator. She had seen many people pretend like this, and she could see through them.
But the world never lacked people who would sell their emotions in order to live well. So she did not know if the woman in the green dress had other intentions, or just wanted to live peaceful days by relying on the sect disciple of Willow Speech Sect.
Huan Zhong’s door opened. He saw Kong Hou and Lin Hu both in the courtyard. Huan Zhong looked at Kong Hou. “You finished your meditation?”
Kong Hou nodded and mentioned to him what had just occurred. Kong Hou knew her own limits. Her cultivation and knowledge were limited. If she encountered suspicious matters, the best solution was to tell the people around her promptly. Huan Zhong was a member of Radiance Sect. Elder Lin had high cultivation. They would be better at dealing with these problems.
“Willow Speech Sect?” Huan Zhong thought of a flying message he had received two hours ago. Master said in the letter that Willow Speech Sect wanted to join them. The sect could not reach a consensus so they asked him as well.
Radiance Sect was the strongest sect in the cultivation world, but Radiance Sect did not have the greatest number of subordinate cities and sects. When cities and sects desired to join them, the sect would put them through rigorous tests. The strength of the sect was not the crucial part of the test, but the philosophy and conduct they taught their disciples. If these two things could not meet Radiance Sect’s standards, Radiance Sect would not allow them to join.
“As a man, one affected by beauty does not have a strong mind. He does things without considering the consequences, only by his own will. He has no sense of responsibility. Yet this kind of person is the sect’s first disciple. When he becomes the sect master of Willow Speech Sect, I don’t know how chaotic Willow Speech Sect will become.” Huan Zhong frowned and said to Lin Hu, “Lin Hu, send a flying message back to the sect master for me. Say I am not in favor of Willow Speech Sect joining us. Also, have the sect investigate the matter between Willow Speech Sect and Green Jade Sect, especially the background of that Energy Refinement female cultivator.”
“I understand.” Lin Hu saw Huan Zhong sit down next to Kong Hou. He turned around and left promptly.
Master, who did not know how to interact with friends, and a girl in her teens talked about topics that an old man like him could not understand.
“Huan Zhong, I just heard Lin Hu say that your sect mailed you some spirit stones. Do you lack spirit stones?” Kong Hou took out a storage bag from her storage ring. “The sect elder mailed me fifty thousand spirit stones. If you do not have enough, I will give you half.”
Huan Zhong stilled. He hadn’t thought that he was, in Kong Hou’s eyes, a man that relied on borrowing spirit stones in order to survive. Looking at Kong Hou’s serious expression, Huan Zhong laughed. “You misunderstand, I do not lack for spirit stones.”
“Really?” Kong Hou looked suspiciously at Huan Zhong, worried that he was not admitting his lack of spirit stones because of his honor.
“Yes.” Huan Zhong thought of the spirit stones he had accumulated over the years. But the number was so high he could not give a general number. He could only say to Kong Hou, “When I was in Core Formation, I accidentally entered a secret realm that an Ordeal Surpassing Forebear left behind several millennia ago. I received some things from there. When I was in Mind Manifestation Stage, I also entered a few secret realms. While I am not as wealthy as the elders of the sect, I could be said to have some minor assets.”
“Minor assets…” Kong Hou swallowed. From several different secret realms. Could those things be called minor assets?
“I have never calculated those things. When you come to Radiance Sect next year, I will take you to see my storage.” Huan Zhong thought about the feasibility of the matter. “Maybe it will have talismans suited for your use.”
Kong Hou covered her face. Where did she get the confidence to think that Huan Zhong lacked spirit stones? She was clearly the one in poverty. Thinking about how she just said she would share spirit stones with him, Kong Hou felt her face heat. So embarrassing.
Seeing Kong Hou silent as she covered her face, Huan Zhong felt she was adorable at this moment. “I have received your good intentions. Thank you.”
The last time he had left the sect to pursue evil cultivators, he had heard a conversation between two men on the street. One of the men said a person willing to lend money to friends was a true friend. Looking at Kong Hou’s usual spending habits, she should not have many spirit stones. But even so, when she thought he lacked money, she still wanted to lend money to him. How could there be such a silly and adorable girl in this world?
“Let’s never mention this.” Kong Hou covered her face and her voice became weak as well. “How about we discuss what other ingredients for your medicine we lack. Tomorrow, I am going to be mailing packages to my shijie. I can ask the sect master as well if there are any of the medicines you need.”
Huan Zhong smiled faintly. Master had already written letters to the ten major sects. If the medicines existed, they would not wait until now. But looking at Kong Hou being worried for him, Huan Zhong did not know what he was thinking as he wrote down the dozen or so ingredients he lacked.
“Cloud Seeking Tree Branch, Henggong Fish, Fire Lotus Stamen, thousand year Metamorphosis Grass, Phoenix Feather…” Kong Hou felt these ingredients were the hardest ingredients to find in the whole cultivation world. Things like phoenix feathers and dragon blood were almost impossible to find. Even though she had only spent six years in the cultivation world, she knew that dragons and phoenixes were almost extinct. Where would they go to find them?
But if such a recipe existed, then it meant those things had once existed but had become extinct. Anything that once existed would have left traces behind. Maybe they would be lucky and find them?
One had to have hope.
Putting away the list, Kong Hou said, “We will search slowly and gather them in the end.”
Huan Zhong smiled faintly. His face was like the wind blowing across a clear spring, gentle and warm.
Lin Hu’s flying message quickly reached Radiance Sect. Seeing Huan Zhong say in the flying message that he did not favor Willow Speech Sect joining them, the peak masters present were puzzled. The shizhi who usually did not pay attention to sect matters was so strong in his opinion this time? Had he heard something about Willow Speech Sect outside which displeased him?
“My opinion is the same as Shizhi’s. The marriage between the sect disciple of Willow Speech Sect and the apprentice of Green Jade Sect ended as a farce. From this, we can see that Willow Speech Sect is not good at managing matters.” Song He shook his head and said, “It is not wrong for cultivators to think highly of love, but they should not act like this. More importantly, Bian Hong is the sect disciple—he will take over the sect in the future. Could a person like this manage the sect well?”
“While Bian Hong’s conduct is not appropriate, the sect master of Willow Speech Sect is a righteous cultivator. The disciples of his sect abide by the sect rules and never do evil. If we deny the entire sect for Bian Hong, is it not inappropriate?” another peak master said. “How about we send a disciple to investigate before deciding?”
“We will put the matter to the side.” Jin Yue put away the flying message. “Your shizhi also has this idea. That Energy Refinement female cultivator is suspicious; we should investigate the matter first.”
The other peak masters had no objections. The sect disciple of Willow Speech Sect definitely had problems if their shizhi, who had such an aloof personality, said bad things about him.
The sect master of Willow Speech Sect had felt panicked in the past few days. He did not know if it was due to being angered by his apprentice, or for the matter of joining Radiance Sect. Because of the trouble his apprentice Bian Hong caused at the path union ceremony, the sect master had not been in a good mood for many days, and even had the thought of cancelling Bian Hong’s status as the sect disciple.
As the eldest apprentice of the sect master, one had to act as a role model. Otherwise, who would the disciples look up to? But when he thought about how he had raised his apprentice who had been with him for two centuries, the sect master’s heart softened.
“Sect Master, an apprentice of Radiance Sect asks for an audience.” The disciple’s message caused the sect master to stand up in excitement. “Invite him to the main hall for tea. I will immediately get there.” The sect master changed his clothing before hurriedly moving towards the hall. When he reached the door to the hall, he saw a disciple from Radiance Sect dressed in white robes sitting with dignity on the chair. From head to toe, he gave off the solemnity unique to Radiance Sect.
Seeing him enter, the disciple of Radiance Sect stood up and bowed. “This junior greets Sect Master.”
“Path Friend has come a long way, please sit.” The sect master returned the greeting. When the disciple of Radiance Sect sat down again, he said, “Why has Path Friend come to this humble sect?”
“Junior has come today on the orders of Sect Master and the peak masters.” The disciple of Radiance Sect bowed towards him. “Please, Sect Master, forgive junior for coming abruptly to your door.”
With orders from the sect master and peak masters? The sect master’s heart rose. Was this for joining Radiance Sect?
“There is no abruptness to speak of. Our humble sect is honored by Path Friend’s visit.” The sect master smiled. “Path Friend, please speak.”
The disciple of Radiance Sect saw the sect master had good conduct and did not try to make things difficult. He said directly, “The sect master and peak masters thought over the matter of your honored sect joining our humble sect. They feel that this matter does not have to be so urgent, and could be discussed after the conference of sects.”
When the sect master heard this, his heart jumped. Previously, the matter had almost been settled, just lacked making the matter public to the cultivation world. Why did they suddenly decide today to discuss it later?
“Path Friend, why has this matter suddenly changed?” The sect master’s smile could not be maintained. He forced a smile. “Has this humble sect done something incorrectly?”
“Please, Sect Master, do not think too much. Your sect’s philosophy and conduct are both very good. But our humble sect will be busy soon with preparations for the Conference of Sects and has no attention to spare.” The disciple of Radiance Sect stood and said, “Our humble sect will enthusiastically welcome your honored sect to next year’s Conference of Sects.”
While he said enthusiastically, this disciple of Radiance Sect had no extra expression on his face. It was difficult for people to feel their enthusiasm.
The sect master saw the disciple of Radiance Sect preparing to leave after saying his words. He could not persuade the other to stay and went to the gates of the sect to send the other off personally. He grimaced and asked, “Please, Path Friend, tell me what has this humble sect done wrong?”
The disciple of Radiance Sect saw him so humble and felt sympathy that his effort of many years had been ruined by one apprentice. He said, “Our humble sect not only looks at the present, but also at your honorable sect’s future development.”
The sect master stilled. Radiance Sect was displeased with Bian Hong?
Seeing the sect master understand, the disciple of Radiance Sect did not linger. “Farewell.”
“Path Friend, good journey.” Bitterness rose in the sect master. He had worked towards joining Radiance Sect ever since he became sect master. He had not expected the apprentice he raised to make problems at the crucial moment.
The more he thought, the more uncomfortable he felt. The sect master suddenly spat out a mouthful of blood.
“Sect Master!” The disciple following behind him saw this and changed color in fright. The disciples went forward to hold the sect master’s arm. “Please, Sect Master, take care of yourself. Since Radiance Sect said to discuss this matter later, it means that there is still room for discussion. Do not ruin your mental state for this matter.”
Wiping away the blood at the corner of his mouth, the sect master tiredly waved his hand. “Do not worry, I can withstand this.”
“Invite the peak masters, supervisors, and elders to the main hall. Say I have an important matter to discuss with them.”
“Yes.” The disciple left with worry. He felt even more discontent towards the sect eldest shixiong. If not for his wandering eye which humiliated the young shimei of Green Jade Sect, how could the matter have progressed to such a step?
Three days later, Willow Speech Sect announced to the entire cultivation world that Bian Hong’s status as the sect disciple was revoked due to his conduct. When the news appeared, it caused all the cultivators to discuss the event. For a sect, the sect disciple could not be easily changed, as this could easily cause turmoil in the sect. Willow Speech Sect had decided this in order to explain themselves to Green Jade Sect.
Willow Speech Sect’s attitude was too resolute and determined. Green Jade Sect who had said they would break ties with Willow Speech Sect was shocked. They knew how important the status of sect disciple was. So after hearing the news, they lost most of their resentment towards Willow Speech Sect.
The two sects were sects that had stood in the cultivation world for many years. If they stood on opposite sides, many of the sects on good terms with them would be pulled in. Now that Willow Speech Sect made this decision, it did not just ease the conflict between the two sects, it also eliminated the conflict about to occur in the cultivation world.
When Lin Hu heard the news and found Huan Zhong to report, Kong Hou was with Huan Zhong learning how to forge. To avoid the fire of the furnace burning her skin, before stepping into the forging room, she had put on the skin protecting lotion that Elder Qiu Shuang sent her.
Because she was just learning forging, Huan Zhong did not expect her to forge something. He first taught her how to control the size of the true fire, and the effects the true fires, essential fires, and other fires would have on the product. Kong Hou stayed in the forging room of the inn for three days with Huan Zhong, and only forged a low-level dull-grey bangle.
“Forging is so difficult.” Kong Hou wiped the sweat on her forehead. She threw the dimly shining bangle to the ground and took out a small mirror to look at her red face. She added another layer of protective lotion. Elder Qiu Shuang was so skilled in forging and her skin was still so white. It meant that her protective lotion was good, and she needed to put more on.
“No rush, take your time.” Huan Zhong saw Kong Hou’s face red from the true fire and waved his sleeve to extinguish the fire in the furnace. “I have a furnace and essential fire in my storage ring. Next time, we can use essential fire.”
“Would it not be wasteful to use essential fire to practice?” Kong Hou felt much better with the true fire gone. “Let’s use the essential fire after I can control the power of the fire.”
“No matter, true fires and essential fires are to be used. Since I do not cultivate by forging, these things are useless,” Huan Zhong said. “Practice makes perfect. If you practice with good things, it will have better effects.”
Standing in the doorway, Lin Hu felt that Master and Miss Kong Hou might have some misunderstanding about talent. A person who had just studied forging for three days could create a complete talisman. This was something most cultivators could not even imagine.
Thinking about how Master had created a low-level flying sword the first day he studied forging, Lin Hu felt it was better if he spoke less and left them to it. After interacting with more cultivators, they would know just how shameless and hateful someone was who said forging was difficult after studying for three days and making a talisman.
These two wastrels could not understand the hardship of ordinary cultivators.
Translator Ramblings: Just finished traveling today, still alive. Next chapter probably up tomorrow.