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Chapter 72: Fog
As the signboard genius disciple of Clear Dawn Sect, Ling Bo had great skill in the sword path. She had only joined the sect for several decades and already had Core Formation cultivation. Her cultivation speed attracted the admiration and pursuit of many cultivators. Only when Splendid Cloud Sect produced Kong Hou who reached Base Building in four years did the genius halo around her dim.
Used to being lauded by countless people, Ling Bo did feel a bit of discomfort. When she found that Kong Hou’s beauty also rivalled hers, she felt even more complicated. There was no way around it. Not just male cultivators had competitive spirit, so did female cultivators.
After being transported into the secret realm, she found she was separated from her shixiong and shidi. Not far from where she started, she saw a female disciple of Primary Luck Sect who had fallen into a canyon and pulled her up while passing by. It would be fine if she was rescuing a handsome man—what did rescuing a beautiful woman count for?
She carried along this burden as she travelled and killed illusory yao. Fortunately, the burden knew which shops had the best hairpins, which had the best cosmetics, so she tolerated her until now.
But when many illusory yao surrounded them, she found the burden had stepped onto her dress and dirtied it. There was a large footprint on the surface, so black she felt uncomfortable. Her dress became ugly, and she was not in the mood to even swing her sword.
She had to first cast a few cleaning spells.
“What time is it that you are still concerned about your dress?” Kong Hou flew out and raised the Water Frost Sword to block an illusory yao. She kicked away a flying white-haired blue-faced monkey.
“How come you are here?” Ling Bo focused again and flew next to Kong Hou. She cut down an illusory yao who was trying to sneak behind Kong Hou’s back. “Your swordsmanship seems to be Splendid Cloud Sect’s beginner swordsmanship?”
Puff, this was ridiculing her swordsmanship?
Kong Hou hit the air, and the spirit energy penetrated the chest of the illusory yao. The illusory yao immediately disappeared. “Celestial, you laugh. The sword path is just my secondary path. My primary cultivation is the path of music. I do not dare to be like Celestial who stands unfearing before battle.”
This young brat was sneering at her for not being serious in battle. She appeared obedient but had much cunning.
The two swung their swords in unison and cut down the charging illusory yao. Ling Bo said, “Take the lead for a moment; I will use two cleaning spells.”
Kong Hou: “…”
Did they not say that sword cultivators were not affected by material things? The genius disciple of the great Clear Dawn Sect was like this?
After Ling Bo said this, she did not wait for Kong Hou to answer and threw a cleaning spell down at her dress. Kong Hou fended off the circling illusory yao with a few sword swings and turned to glare at Ling Bo. “Are you done?”
“Done,” Ling Bo said. “Today, I will let you see what true swordsmanship is.” She flew upwards, the sword in her hand giving off silver light. The illusory yao shrieked and half of them were killed instantly.
“Do you see?” Ling Bo looked down at Kong Hou. “This is true swordsmanship.”
Kong Hou turned to look at the side. “Huan Zhong.”
Ling Bo: “…”
If she had known that Radiance Sect’s Huan Zhong was here, why would she have shown off her swordsmanship? Wasn’t that embarrassing herself?
“How do you feel?” Huan Zhong stood on the side without fighting in order to increase Kong Hou’s battle experience.
“Not bad.” Kong Hou put away her sword and walked towards Huan Zhong. Seeing her come over, Huan Zhong spread out his hand. “You did well just now. However, you only paid attention to the enemies in front of you and ignored your back. If you are alone, this kind of situation will be dangerous.”
Putting her hand into Huan Zhong’s hand, she felt the warm sensation surround her again. She smiled at Huan Zhong. “I will pay attention next time.” Just now, because Ling Bo and Huan Zhong were present, she unconsciously ignored protecting herself.
Huan Zhong also guessed this. He laughed helplessly but could not bear for her to truly take risks alone. So he said, “When we leave the secret realm, you should spar more with Lin Hu.”
Hearing the two people’s conversation, Ling Bo’s gaze landed on them. Was this platonic friendship between a woman and a man? Did she not have enough friends that she did not understand enough about friendship?
Jin Ling, who stood silently at her side, recognized Huan Zhong and Kong Hou. She had not thought that these two were disciples of major sects. Thinking about how she had embarrassed herself in front of the pair, Jin Ling wanted to immediately disappear from their presence.
Yet the secret realm was too dangerous and she did not dare to move around recklessly.
In the past, because the shixiong and shidi in her sect flattered her, she had not focused much on cultivation. After entering the woods, she finally realized the importance of cultivation. No matter if it was Clear Dawn Sect’s Ling Bo or Splendid Cloud Sect’s Kong Hou, they all had higher cultivation. She became the weakest of the three women.
She had embarrassed herself and now owed great debts. The debtor was also Ling Bo who she had disliked for several dozen years.
Life was really full of turning points. The turning point in her life was so major she almost couldn’t react. In this sparsely populated woods, there were no shixiong or shidi who fawned over her. When she fell into the canyon, lost all her spirit energy, and could not climb out, many thoughts flashed through her mind.
She always wanted to rely on others. But there were times she could not do so. Had her way of thinking been incorrect?
Looking at how Kong Hou and Ling Bo could raise their swords and fight while she could only hide in the side, Jin Ling suddenly felt shamed. This feeling was so uncomfortable, she timidly lowered her head and was unable to speak for a while.
Huan Zhong, this man who was good-looking but was not good at living, could not hold any more of her interest.
The four people sank into an indescribable silence.
Suddenly, a great fog spread and the entire wood became shrouded in fog.
“The formation has changed position.” Huan Zhong held Kong Hou’s hand tightly. “Remember, do not let go.”
Huan Zhong heard Kong Hou’s voice was fragile and also trembling. He looked over. Kong Hou’s face was covered in blood, and even her flesh was falling off her body. Huan Zhong’s pupils expanded. Then he released “Kong Hou’s” hand. “Confounding Monkey Beast?”
A kind of money could copy the appearances of humans and create illusions that could make people become terrified, and panic. The negative emotions would be their food to become strong.
“Squeak, squeak, squeak.” Finding it was discovered, the confounding monkey beast hurriedly ran away. Huan Zhong raised the sword. When he was about to strike down, he saw a small confounding monkey hiding behind the tree trunk.
The small confounding monkey was both thin and small. Its black eyes stared at the fleeing confounding monkey beast, and it reached out a furry arm.
“Today, I will spare you. If there is next time, I will behead you.” The sword went back into the sheath. Huan Zhong divined the position of the formation and started to search for Kong Hou.
After the confounding monkey beast leapt behind the tree trunk and hugged the small confounding monkey, it peeked out from behind the trunk and peeped as Huan Zhong’s body disappeared into the fog.
“Huan Zhong, how come your hand has become rough?” Kong Hou felt something was not right. Huan Zhong’s hand was warm, soft and thick. Why was it as dry as tree bark?
“Because my hand… has been cut off.” The voice came intermittently. Kong Hou looked back. She was not holding Huan Zhong, but an arm. Huan Zhong was standing three paces away from her, and looked at her with a dark gaze.
Kong Hou stopped walking and threw away the arm in her hand. She pulled down the Water Frost from her hair and chased after this “Huan Zhong” to cut it down. “What are you that you dare impersonate Huan Zhong?!”
Huan Zhong was so perfect in her mind, so good-looking, so elegant. What was this thing?
“Look at your short legs, look at your humped back—what part of Huan Zhong’s elegance do you have?!”
“Huan Zhong” moved quickly and squealed as Kong Hou chased it. However, Kong Hou was unable to injure it. Kong Hou threw out a talisman in anger. The talisman turned into a golden net in the air and trapped “Huan Zhong” within it.
“Still want to flee?” Kong Hou walked near the golden net and lifted it. Then she saw this monster which had impersonated Huan Zhong was a very ugly monkey.
“Squeak.” The monkey Kong Hou caught put its hands together and looked at Kong Hou with its round eyes as though it was begging.
“Now you know to beg?” Kong Hou smelt the fishy odor from the money. This was a smell left behind from living years in caves and not bathing. She held the monkey in one hand, and had the other hand propped on her waist as she menanced it. “I have never eaten monkey meat before; I don’t know what the taste is like.”
The eyes of the pleading money rolled and it fainted.
“Fainted?” Kong Hou poked the monkey’s furry head. “Wasn’t your daring so great earlier—now you pretend to be dead?”
Kong Hou did not feel any fiendish or bloody energy from this monkey. This was why she had not stabbed it to death.
“All right, stop acting.” Kong Hou opened the golden net. “If you do not go now, I will really eat monkey.”
The monkey who had been acting unconscious heard this and jumped up. Its limbs all worked together as it crawled and stumbled out of Kong Hou’s line of sight. Kong Hou felt it was slightly strange. This monkey had no other ability than disguising itself as a human. Then how had it managed to separate her and Huan Zhong without her detecting anything?
Taking out a fan used to fan flames for forging, Kong Hou fanned as she looked at the fog in the surroundings. She could see the path below her feet, but she did not dare to go far out of fear that Huan Zhong could not find her.
“Huan Zhong, are you nearby?”
There was no answer in the surroundings. There was no sound except her breathing in the fog. No wind, no other beings, nothing. Kong Hou took down Phoenix Head and looked around warily.
Footsteps sounded. The steps were unhurried and each step was perfectly measured.
A gust of wind rose. A white-robed Huan Zhong with his hair in a jade coronet appeared nearby. He beckoned towards Kong Hou. “Kong Hou, quickly come here.”
Kong Hou put her fingers on the chords of Phoenix Head and shouted harsly, “Go away!”
The fog was filled with danger. Huan Zhong would not stand and have her walk over. Usually, Huan Zhong walked methodically, like each step was measured, but he was not always like that.
That day in Yan City when she had been attacked by an evil cultivator, Huan Zhong’s footsteps had been worried and chaotic. No one could be completely the same when someone close to them was in danger.
The Phoenix Head sounded. As expected, Huan Zhong dissipated into mist and then disappeared.
Kong Hou’s hand covered the string. The song stopped, the fog thickened and the surroundings became quiet again. The next moment, footsteps sounded again in the mist, and also a light cough.
“Huan Zhong?” Kong Hou looked towards the sound, but her hands did not come off the Phoenix Head’s chords.
The Huan Zhong who walked out of the fog wore a bright red robe she had never seen before. The red robe gave off bright light like a red lantern.
Translator Ramblings: True love sees through all.