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Chapter 55: Flying Palace
“Celestial Kong Hou, I will not conceal from you: we have encountered trouble this time.” Ge Jin decided to speak the truth after having had a long discussion with her shidi and shimei. If this was other people, they could still conceal some things. But Kong Hou was different. She was an apprentice of Splendid Cloud Sect. If she discovered them concealing some things, it would affect how Splendid Cloud Sect looked at Auspicious Pavilion.
Back then, when Auspicious Pavilion was dying out, people said that they had been abandoned by the universal path, and that they could not divine a thing. No one asked them for readings. Even some of their sect’s talented disciples joined other sects. At their poorest time, they did not even have the money to repair their sect.
Just as the previous pavilion master thought that Auspicious Pavilion would die in his hand, Sect Master Heng Yan of Splendid Cloud Sect came to ask them if they were willing to join Splendid Cloud Sect. For Auspicious Pavilion who had no other avenues, this was a blessing from the heavens, something they did not dare to even dream about.
That night, the previous pavilion master bathed and burned incense, then made a reading for Auspicious Pavilion in front of the memorial tablets of the previous pavilion masters.
After joining Splendid Cloud Sect, Auspicious Pavilion received spirit stones, talismans, and all kinds of cultivation information from Splendid Cloud Sect. For cultivators, the most valuable things were not spirit stones or talismans, but cultivation information.
During the beginning stages of cultivation, every cultivator learned about the same things. However, as one progressed, the help from the sect became more and more crucial. Even nomad cultivators had a normal cultivator alliance for mutual exchange and assistance, so it could be imagined how much help sects gave their disciples.
Due to this fact, many sects wanted to join one of the ten major sects. However, the ten major sects would not accept just any subordinate sect. They had different requirements, and it was difficult to get a consensus answer. Auspicious Pavilion had joined Splendid Cloud Sect for many years. Splendid Cloud Sect did not interfere in their internal matters, but when major events occurred, they would give aid.
At present, the disciples of Auspicious Pavilion used the same secret cultivation manuals as Splendid Cloud Sect’s disciples. They could also buy many seals and talismans at cost from the main sect that many cultivators could not buy even if they had the spirit stones. They frequently joked in private that the past generations of pavilion masters must have cursed Sect Master Heng Yan from the dead so that he made the unbelievable decision to accept Auspicious Pavilion as a subordinate sect.
Hearing Ge Jin finish explaining the reading, Kong Hou said, “Is the reading directed at you or all of Auspicious Pavilion?”
“It should be just for us.” Ge Jin saw Kong Hou did not doubt her words and was concerned with Auspicious Pavilion’s safety. She felt both moved and guilty. They had entered cultivation for almost a hundred years but wanted a girl of just sixteen to help them. They had cultivated in vain during these years.
“Recently, the evil cultivators have been active. You should be careful.” Kong Hou saw their panicked expressions. “Tomorrow, travel with me. While my cultivation is low, fortunately, I have the company of Elder Lin and my good friend Huan Zhong; this is lucky for both you and me.”
“Path Friend Xiao Dong who is with Elder Lin seems to be a disciple of Radiance Sect?” Ge Jin said. “I heard him call Master Huan Zhong as Shishu. Is he…”
“You are correct.” Kong Hou nodded and said, “Huan Zhong is also an apprentice of Radiance Sect. However, he is not returning to the sect but is travelling with me.”
An apprentice of Radiance Sect…
Ge Jin felt reassured and did not worry any longer about their safety when returning to Auspicious Pavilion. No wonder there had been news of Celestial Kong Hou and Master Huan Zhong defeating evil cultivators and saving countless orthodox sect disciples. So the two of them were travelling together and would step in when they saw injustice.
People said that the sword cultivators of Radiance Sect were cold at heart and only focused on the sword. She had not expected Miss Kong Hou to have such a good relationship with this sword cultivator. She was able to have him accompany her to see the lanterns and flowers. From this, one could see how likable a girl she was.
The next morning, Huan Zhong opened the door and saw Xiao Dong standing outside.
“Shishu, this disciple is returning to the sect today. Shishu, please take care of your health.” The peak master of Sword Overlooking Peak was Song He. Xiao Dong’s Master was one of Song He’s apprentices. Before leaving, Master had told him that if he encountered Shishu in Yan City, he had to go see how the other’s health was.
From his master, he learned that his shishu seemed to have a problem with his health and was not in a good state recently. But from yesterday to today, no matter how he observed, Shishu did not seem too bad. While he was slightly pale, it was not to a degree which should make Master worry.
“Is your Master Cang Shan or Cang Hai?” Huan Zhong remembered that Song He Shishu only had two apprentices.
“Shishu, my master is Cang Hai.” Xiao Dong’s mood fell slightly. As expected, Shishu did not know who he was and had no memory of him.
“Return and tell your master not to think too much.” In Huan Zhong’s view, Cang Shan and Cang Hai, these two shixiong, were good at everything except that they thought too much. They had learned this from Song He Shishu.
Xiao Dong: “…”
He would not dare to pass this on.
Lin Hu came out the door and saw Xiao Dong standing pitifully by Master’s door. He spoke to ease the situation. “Xiao Dong, return. I will be looking after your shishu.”
“Thank you, Elder Lin.” Xiao Dong bowed to Lin Hu in thanks. After bidding farewell to Huan Zhong, he left on his flying sword.
The disciples of Auspicious Pavilion got up early, or rather, they did not really sleep. Hearing sound outside, they got out of bed.
“Why are you up so early?” After going through a sword routine, Lin Hu saw the disciples of Auspicious Pavilion had gotten up already. He put away his sword. “I had planned to invite everyone to breakfast before leaving. But Master knows everyone is in a hurry to leave, so I have prepared food and put it on the flying palace. When Miss Kong Hou wakes up, we can leave.”
“Thanks to Transcendent Huan Zhong, and to Elder.” Ge Jin was slightly embarrassed hearing Master Huan Zhong was going to use a flying palace to send them back to the sect. That was a great amount of spirit stones used. To activate a flying palace, it took a lot of spirit energy from spirit stones. So the majority of cultivators had their own flying talismans when they were travelling. While not as comfortable as flying palaces, it saved on money.
“Path Friends, do not mind this. We originally planned to go there, and just coincidentally are going the same way with you.”
How could there be so many coincidences? It was just that the other was willing to help. Ge Jin knew this. However, she did not say more facing Lin Hu’s cool face. If they were too polite, they would seem spoiled. It was better to be measured in their actions.
“Why are you all up so early?” Kong Hou came out of the room and saw the disciples of Auspicious Pavilion and Lin Hu were all present. She looked up into the sky. The sky was just turning light. Guessing that the disciples of Auspicious Pavilion might be in a hurry, she looked around.
“Master has already risen.” Lin Hu guessed Kong Hou was searching for Huan Zhong and pointed at the door to the inner courtyard. “Outside.”
There was a small pool outside the inner courtyard filled with rare seven-colored lotuses. But this was not the season for lotuses to flower, so Kong Hou only saw the small lotus pads. Huan Zhong came out of his meditative trance, opening his eyes and looking over. Kong Hou walked towards him.
“Huan Zhong.” Seeing the other notice her, Kong Hou stopped and waved at Huan Zhong. “We are prepared to depart.
“All right.” Huan Zhong stood up and walked towards her.
The Auspicious Pavilion disciples in the yard went back to their rooms with the excuse of packing and closed the door to make a reading.
“It is auspicious or inauspicious to return to the sect today?” Ge Jin asked Hong Ling who was divining using spirit rhino horns.
Hong Ling seemed slightly panicked. “Shijie, I cannot divine it.”
The shidi saw this and took out his jade turtle shell to divine. But the jade turtle shell seemed to lose all power. He could not divine anything.
“You also cannot divine anything?” Ge Jin’s expression became ugly. This shidi was the most talented of their group. He had joined the sect later, but his perception of the path was the strongest. Yet now, even he was unable to divine. This meant that this journey was full of variables. With their present abilities, they could not divine the path.
“Shijie, what should we do?” Hong Ling said urgently. “Should we stay or go?”
Ge Jin had not spoken when knocking on the door sounded. Celestial Kong Hou spoke from outside. “Path Friends, have you finished packing? We are preparing to depart.”
“Go,” Ge Jin said. “If we follow Celestial Kong Hou, we do not know if it is good or bad. But if we do not follow them, it will be great misfortune. We will take the lesser of two evils—go.” Also, with two sword cultivators who could kill people above their strength level, what did she have to worry about?
Seeing them come out, Huan Zhong threw the flying palace in his sleeve into the air. A vast and magnificent palace appeared in the sky. The Auspicious Pavilion disciples looked up at the beautiful flying palace. So sword cultivators were not just strong—they were also very wealthy.
“Kong Hou, come.” Huan Zhong pointed into the air, and a bridge to the flying palace appeared, giving off golden and silvery light.
Young girls liked these shiny things, so he would show her more.
“Such a beautiful bridge.” Kong Hou looked down from the bridge. The wind blew up her hair. Her smile was brighter than the rising sun.
Huan Zhong thought, such an adorable girl; anyone would want to be good to her, then even better to her.
He walked next to Kong Hou and said to her, “I learned that spell you used last night.”
“The one to make butterflies?” Kong Hou turned to look. “Huan Zhong, you are so amazing to learn so quickly!”
“You want to see?” Huan Zhong asked.
Huan Zhong moved his fingers. A pair of golden butterflies appeared suddenly behind Kong Hou’s back. The wings carried Kong Hou to the observatory terrace of the flying palace before turning into countless butterflies and disappearing.
The Auspicious Pavilion disciples standing in the courtyard saw this and stared dumbly. A moment later, Hong Ling stammered out, “Apprentices of major sects like them like to play games like this?”
“Do not speak nonsense.” Ge Jin saw the silent Lin Hu at the side and said to her shidi and shimei, “Follow me up.”
No, today, the reading said it was better for her to step with her left foot. But when she stepped onto the bridge, she seemed to step with the right
When they got onto the flying palace, Lin Hu poured a bag of spirit stones into the furnace in the main hall of the flying palace. He pushed a thought in and the flying palace started to fly quickly out of Yan City.
“Eldest Shixiong, Spirit Master Huan Zhong is leaving on a flying palace.” Shidi pushed open the door and spoke urgently.
“He would not have stayed for long in Yan City.” An He raised his hand. “Let him go. From now on, we will add twenty percent more to our yearly tribute to Radiance Sect.”
It may have just been the Shidi’s feeling, but he felt… Eldest Shixiong did not feel any regret at the departure of Spirit Master Huan Zhong, and almost seemed to be happy to see him leave?
Translator Ramblings: An He’s jealousy is very very obvious now. Poor Xiao Dong, your idol doesn’t remember you.
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