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Chapter 48: Yan City
When Peak Master Song He said this, the people in the hall were shocked. This shizhi was the most talented in Radiance Sect. Ever since he joined the sect, he had been diligent in his cultivation, and killed many evil demons on his own multiple times. If he had really been possessed due to his mental demon, they would do all they could to drive out the possessing soul.
“But…” The female elder who had received the embroidered dress that Shizhi had sent a few days ago frowned. She looked at her fellow members with their serious expressions. “If someone really took over Shizhi, what he should do is act similar to what Shizhi usually does, so as to deceive the sect and get divine talismans. He should not be sending things to make us feel something is wrong.” Why would one possess someone else—was it to send them gifts and make them have suspicions?
Would a soul with this kind of intelligence really be able to take over Shizhi?
When they thought about it, everyone felt the female elder’s words were logical. No evil demon would do something so stupid after possessing someone.
“Then what is going on with Shizhi recently?” Song He was worried. An abrupt change in personality was not a good thing. He worried that his shizhi had given up all hope and was copying ordinary people in sending them things.
In order… to leave behind a memento for them.
Song He only dared to hide this thought in his mind. He feared the grief of the sect master if he said it.
“You have all forgotten that Shizhi has a girl from Splendid Cloud Sect with him. Maybe the little girl likes to buy things for the sect. When Shizhi saw this, he copied her and shopped as well.” The female elder said wryly, “A young and lively girl has some effect on others.”
“This seems logical.” Song He had some understanding of Splendid Cloud Sect’s conduct. They would go buy things when they travelled, and would use up all their spirit stones before they reached their destination. When he had been young, he had participated in the exploration of a secret realm with Wang Tong of Splendid Cloud Sect. That was the first time he had been travelling alone and was very nervous. On the way there, he encountered Wang Tong and they travelled together. Compared to his nervousness, Wang Tong did not think anything of the secret realm, eating and playing throughout the entire journey. When they reached the town where the secret realm was, he had spent all the spirit stones he had.
When they came out of the secret realm, Wang Tong had borrowed several hundred spirit stones from him. If Wang Tong had not come to find him a decade later with several hundred spirit stones, he most likely would have forgotten the matter.
“Shizhi is grown up. He is fine travelling outside; do not worry for nothing.” The female elder stood up. “All of you nagging grandmothers, you are not like sword cultivators.”
“We are all worried about Huan Zhong’s health,” Song He said. “Giving that medicine recipe to Spirit Master Nameless is really a good decision. If he can really find substitute ingredients, we do not have to worry about being unable to gather all the ingredients.”
“With Nameless’ strange temper, he would not leave any face for the disciples of major sects who visit him. It is a joyful surprise that Shizhi was able to get his medicine.” The female elder had heard of many of Spirit Master Nameless’ eccentricities. Shizhi was definitely not the type to receive his favor.
The sword cultivators present thought, maybe Spirit Master Nameless was not as eccentric as the rumors said? Maybe the rumors were exaggerated when being passed on.
Jin Yue listneed to their discussion and did not tell them Splendid Cloud Sect had given them three merpeople scales. It was not that he did not trust them, but it was better for less people to know of this matter. Splendid Cloud Sect had sent the merpeople scales in such a low-key manner, showing that they did not want other people to know that their sect once had merpeople scales.
Splendid Cloud Sect was generous. But he could not forget this great favor.
Two days later, Splendid Cloud Sect once again received a great volume of gifts from Radiance Sect. This time, the excuse was to congratulate Kong Hou for passing her ordeal. If the disciple was outstanding, sects on good terms would send people with congratulations to the sect. However, Radiance Sect’s gifts were too valuable, so valuable the peak masters of Splendid Cloud Sect suspected that Radiance Sect had so many spirit stones and talismans that they did not have any place to store them. Therefore, they gave all those things bursting out the door to them.
“Do not think too much. Since Sect Master Jin of Radiance Sect personally sent these, then we will receive them.” Heng Yan was not surprised at all at this pile of generous gifts. He had Wu Chuan move all the things into the Treasure Pavilion of the sect.
When Heng Yan left with his disciples, the peak masters looked at each other. The sect master seemed to have guessed something but did not plan to tell them. Had he and Sect Master Jin done some secret spirit stones transaction?
They really had not expected that a person as honest and straightforward as Radiance Sect’s Jin Yue could do something like that. Moreover, look at who he chose to work with—why did they choose Splendid Cloud Sect? This choice was too rash.
Qing Yuan turned and saw Wang Tong sitting there with a grave expression. Qing Yuan said, “What, you have some wisdom?”
“Radiance Sect sent those gifts for my apprentice—should I not be the one to hold them? How could Sect Master Shixiong take them away?” Wang Tong said, full of pain. “Do you think that I should demand them back?”
Qing Yuan: “…”
“Close your mouth.” Why had he said those extra words? He had nothing better to do?
The disciples of Radiance Sect came hurriedly and left hurriedly. The new disciples peeked at their cold and indifferent auras, especially when the white-robed sword cultivator jumped onto his sword. A young shimei sighed softly, “As graceful as a swan, and as flexible as a dragon. So good-looking”
“Could these words… be used to describe men?” Gui Ling couldn’t help asking. “The people from Radiance Sect seem to recently visit our sect frequently?”
“Phrases describing beauty do not have to be separated by gender. I do not discriminate against men.” The young shimei shook her head and sighed. “Pity, the sword cultivators of Radiance Sect are good-looking, but their auras are too cold. I cannot endure it.”
You say that as though if you could endure it, they would fall in love with you. Gui Ling knew if he said what he wanted, he would not attract the attention of his fellow members. He left silently with his sword. Walking in the long white jade corridors, he looked thoughtfully in the direction of the main hall.
The first sect of the cultivation world, Radiance Sect, sent gifts to Splendid Cloud Sect. This was a strange matter, especially coming twice in such a short amount of time. Did Radiance Sect have something to ask of Splendid Cloud Sect?
“Gui Ling, come here. Lunch today has the dishes you like; if you are late, you will only get the sauce.” The plump Gao Jian Yan stood in the distance and waved a hand at him. “Let’s go get seats first.”
Looking at their hurriedly moving figures, Gui Ling started to doubt. Would disciples that grew up in an environment like this be of use in the future? While he felt scorn, Gui Ling did not stop moving as he walked in the direction Gao Jian Yan and the others left in.
From Yi City to Yan City, one had to cross a long and broad river. For cultivators with Base Building cultivation or above, it was easy to cross this river. But ordinary people had to cross the river on boats. The local people parked their ships on the shores and started river-crossing businesses.
The ships were not large, each one holding at most ten people. The shipmen were dressed in thick clothing, their hands black as they held the poles like cracking tree bark. This was a path one had to pass to get from Yi City to Yan City. The ships did not have to worry about a lack of business. However, when they saw Kong Hou and the others come out of the carriage, they were slightly disappointed.
Just by looking at their dress, they knew that the trio were not ordinary people and did not need ships.
The cleverer ones called out to other passersby and quickly filled a ship. Fortunately, the currents here were not fast. So when pushed hard off the shore, the ship would slowly move into the river.
Ordinary people usually used silver and gold. Jade coins and spirit stones were rare things to them. As for the amethyst even more valuable than spirit stones—many people never even learned in their lifetime what it looked like.
Lin Hu patted the heads of the horses gently and the horses rose into the air. Their hooves stepping on clouds, they pulled the carriage and flew across the river. Kong Hou finally discovered that these two horses were not ordinary horses but flying horses. She had not expected that even horses had hidden talents.
Because Huan Zhong and Kong Hou did not know what it was like to cross the river on a ship, Lin Hu could only go find a ship and have these two inexperienced young people experience what it was like to sway and bobble on the ship.
The benches of the ship were bright and black from the passengers it had carried. The bottom of the ship had a thick layer of dirt. So many people had stepped on it that one could not see the original color of the ship anymore.
Lin Hu saw Huan Zhong standing on the pier and not enter, so he used a cleaning spell to clean up the cabin. He put down several layers of brocade on the benches before he said, “Master, Miss Kong Hou, come in.” Weren’t you all interested in riding the ship—why are you just standing there?
“All right.” Kong Hou was chatting with the shipman and asking him what his daily income was and what he would do when the river froze over. The shipman had never had the chance to talk to a female cultivator. He answered everything that Kong Hou asked. His burnt face, weathered by wind and sun, was flushed. If Kong Hou asked him if the river had fish, he might even jump into the river to catch one for her.
Seeing Kong Hou board the ship, he untied the rope. When he jumped onto the ship, he found the ship was as clean as though it was new. This was just a short while—what had happened?
As expected of cultivators, they could turn old boats into new boats. Later, he might give them their money back out of thanks.
The river wind blew. The shipman pulled his clothing tighter around him and started to move the pole. The ship swayed on the river. Kong Hou felt that this was far from the descriptions in the Lotus Harvesting Poems. The ship was both narrow and stuffy, not suited at all to admiring the river scenery.
“If Miss Kong Hou feels uncomfortable, I have a flying ship talisman. It can turn into a galley on the water, it is steady, and you can also see the scenery.” Lin Hu could see with a glance that Kong Hou was not accustomed to the environment of the ship. Even his own master’s tense mouth seemed to be bent downwards slightly.
This was an example of claiming fondness for something one actually did not like.
Kong Hou turned to look out of the cabin and saw the young shipman rowing. She shook her head. “One has to end what they start. No talismans.”
Lin Hu looked at Huan Zhong. Huan Zhong shook his head minutely.
He sighed helplessly. He’d let them do as they pleased.
When they reached the middle of the river, the current grew stronger and the ship swayed even more. Kong Hou raised the awning and looked outside, frowning.
“Someone fell into the water?” Lin Hu also heard the screams. Soon, the cries for help also appeared.
“I will go see.” Kong Hou walked out of the cabin. The shipman saw her come out and said in puzzlement, “Celestial, you…”
Kong Hou had no time to spare for his question. She threw out her flying sword and flew into the direction the cries came from. In a place not far from the opposite shore, a ship which had just left was already half-sunk into the water. Due to the cold weather, everyone was dressed warmly. When they entered the water, they could not keep themselves afloat.
“Save me! Save me!” A matron on the half-sunk ship held a young child of three or four. The child was crying in fear with a face turned blue from the cold.
Seeing Kong Hou in the air, the matron’s eyes lit up with hope. “Celestial, please Celestial, save my child!” She raised the child in her hands. The cold river water had already taken up all her energy, but the moment she saw Kong Hou, she seemed to get a great rush of strength and managed to lift up the child.
Kong Hou threw a jade ship towards the river. Her sleeve turned into a long ribbon that wrapped around the child and put him onto the jade ship. She then waved her hand and pulled everyone in the river onto the jade ship.
“Thank you, Celestial, thank you, Celestial.” The rescued people had white faces from the cold. They all knelt down on the ship and voiced their gratefulness to Kong Hou. Even the child who had just been crying in fear did not dare to cry loudly. He hiccuped as his mother pressed him to kowtow.
Seeing their sincerity and fear, Kong Hou sighed. She took out a rabbit-fur cape that she had worn back when she just came to the cultivation world and threw it towards the matron. “Your child is soaked. Take off his clothing and have him wear this for now.”
“Thank you, Celestial, thank you, Celestial.” The matron kowtowed a few more times. Looking at the snowy-white rabbit fur on the cape, the matron wiped her hands several times on her wet clothing before she carefully put it on the child.
“Kong Hou, I have blankets here I have never used.” Huan Zhong came next to Kong Hou on a flying talisman. “Have them temporarily cover themselves.” Ordinary people could die if they were too cold.
He threw the blankets towards the jade ship. Huan Zhong did not wait for them to kowtow to him. He raised his hand, causing the jade ship to slice through the water and land on the shore. The people finally recovered from their shock and terror. Some people sobbed and wailed while others constantly stated their thanks.
Kong Hou took back the jade ship. Elder Pei Huai of Midday Sun Peak had personally forged this for her as a Base Building gift. Because it was so beautiful, she had not used it before. She had not expected its first use would be in a situation like this.
When the jade ship came to her hand, it became a small ship the size of a leaf. Kong Hou poured out the water inside, and used a handkerchief to dry it off before putting it back into her storage bag. She did not dare to use a cleaning spell. What would she do if the talisman was allergic to cleaning spells and she ruined it?
She looked back at the ship still moving through the middle of the river. Kong Hou sighed. “It seems that we cannot have a complete river-crossing experience today.”
“No matter, we will have chances to try again in the future,” Huan Zhong immediately said. “Let’s return to the carriage.”
“All right.” Kong Hou nodded. The two tacitly did not mention that they could fly back. Both of them were determined not to let the other discover they were not true to their word. Riding the ship was not fun at all.
When Huan Zhong and Kong Hou left, the other people on the shore finally helped those who had fallen into the water to stand up. The people who lived nearby carried them back to their homes so they could get warm.
The village leader looked at them drinking ginger soup around a fire and said emotionally, “You have such good luck to have encountered orthodox sect disciples.” Otherwise, if they fell into the water on a day with weather like this, their only outcome would be death. Even if people on the shore like them were skilled in swimming, they would not dare to dive into the water to save them.
“That celestial is Kong Hou,” the matron holding her child said. “I heard that transcendent call her this.”
“Kong Hou?” The village leader patted the head of the child who had been saved. “Do not forget this great favor.”
The child gripped the rabbit fur cape that was slightly big for him and nodded silently. The matron holding him had not cried when she was in the water, but now sobbed relentlessly. “Fortunately, the celestial was there; fortunately…”
Yan City was also called the city of water. It had several large and small rivers within its jurisdiction. The saying was that places with a lot of water raised people well. The men and women of Yan City all had outstanding appearances, and their song and dance were also spectacular. When the flowers bloomed, many cultivators would come here to admire the flowers, the singing and dancing.
When Kong Hou and the others rode the carriage to the city gates, the guards stopped them and only allowed them to enter after looking at their life tokens. They had passed several cities along the way, and Yan City was the strictest city in their inspection, even above that of Harmonious City where Splendid Cloud Sect was.
“Transcendents, please forgive us. Because Yan City has a great flow of people, we inspect outside visitors more strictly.” The guard bowed to Lin Hu. “We have delayed Transcendent; please enter.”
“As it ought to be.” Lin Hu nodded coolly and drove the carriage through the gates of Yan City. More than a thousand years ago, an evil cultivator had poisoned the rivers of Yan City. Fortunately, the leader of Harmonious Wind Study back then was a cautious person, sending disciples to guard the upstream of the river and frequently testing whether the water was poisoned. Otherwise, the outcome would have been unimaginable.
Even though this matter had happened more than a thousand years ago, Harmonious Wind Study still maintained the habit of testing the water three times each day, and was strict in inspecting people who passed by. Lin Hu did not feel this was incorrect. Yan City had so many citizens and cultivators. If something happened to one of the rivers, the price would be enormous.
“We are orthodox cultivators—why are you stopping us? Don’t think that because you dogs of Harmonious Wind Study have Radiance Sect’s support, you can look down on us nomad cultivators.”
Lin Hu frowned. He stopped the carriage and looked back towards the gates. These words pulled in three different factions of cultivators.
Translator Ramblings: Kong Hou and Huan Zhong are such children.