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Chapter 82: Deranged
“Huan Zhong.” Kong Hou had not thought that she and Huan Zhong were only separated by a courtyard. She picked up her dress and ran over. Halfway, she stopped and took a few close looks. After confirming that this was the real Huan Zhong, she continued running towards him.
As she stepped onto the stairs, before Kong Hou could speak, Huan Zhong had already reached out and, softly but firmly, gripped her sleeve.
“I am uncomfortable.” He stared pitifully at Kong Hou.
“What, what is it?” Kong Hou held his arm. “Are you feeling ill?”
Huan Zhong slowly shook his head. He looked down at the worry and panic in Kong Hou’s eyes and smiled slightly.
“Uncomfortable and still smiling…” Kong Hou searched around her storage ring and put an energy condensing pill to Huan Zhong’s mouth. “Eat this first.”
Holding the pill in his mouth, Huan Zhong’s voice was hoarse. “Thank you.”
“You are welcome.” She looked around and asked loudly, “Secret realm spirit, are you still here? Can we leave?”
No one responded.
Kong Hou increased her volume. “Secret realm…”
“Stop calling.” The black-robed secret realm spirit appeared. Wearing the white mask, he never showed any expression. “One should not be loud in public spaces.”
“But there are only three people here,” Kong Hou said. “This is not a public space. Huan Zhong, you do not mind me shouting—right, Huan Zhong?”
Huan Zhong nodded. The Dragon Roar Sword appeared in his hand.
The secret realm spirit took a step back and said coldly, “With your strength of mind and abilities, there is no use in staying in my secret realm.” He waved a hand. Many jade tokens appeared in front of Kong Hou and Huan Zhong. These tokens all had similar shapes and no differences.
“These jade tokens are the keys to many treasure chests. You can pick one.” The secret realm spirit looked at Huan Zhong. “Do not come again in five centuries.”
Kong Hou picked a jade token randomly and complained, “We can be considered friends. You are so ruthless.”
“I am a secret realm; I do not need emotions.” The secret realm spirit did not want to talk to Kong Hou. “If you have picked, then leave.”
“Wait!” Kong Hou saw the secret realm spirit preparing to disappear again and called him. “I do not need the treasure chest. Can you help me?”
The secret realm spirit turned to look at her.
Kong Hou put her hands together and looked pleadingly at him. “You are a secret realm left behind by an immortal. You are stronger than other secret realms. You must be very kind. Help me.”
“Flattery tactics are useless against us. Secret realms do not have emotions.” The secret realm spirit had a cold tone. “What do you want my help with?”
“I want to know where some medicines are grown. Please tell me.” Kong Hou bowed to the secret realm spirit. The secret realm spirit had the mental thought left by an immortal. He must know something that only immortals knew.
“Medicine?” The secret realm spirit glanced at Kong Hou. This human female was healthy and had no hidden vulnerabilities. Her bones and mind were all good, and she had fate with immortality. The man beside her had outstanding talent and some immortal karma, but there were problems with his spirit platform. If he was not careful, his cultivation would stop here.
“Yes, these medicines—do you know where they are located?” Kong Hou handed the recipe to the secret realm spirit.
The secret realm spirit took it to read. This was a medicine recipe from several millennia ago used for cultivators who had unstable minds and cracked spirit platforms. But because the ingredients were too expensive, if a cultivator’s spirit platform was destroyed, they could only wait for the day their longevity ran out.
He had not expected this medicine recipe to appear again after so many years.
The medicines on here were already hard to find before Master had ascended. The spirit energy in the present cultivation world was increasingly thin. How could such precious medicines grow?
“Give up.” As a secret realm, he had not learned tact like humans. “Many of the medicines on here are already extinct. You will not find them.”
“If one does not try, no one will know the result,” Kong Hou said. “Please tell me where they once were.”
“I only know the past location of three of the ingredients.” The secret realm spirit saw her determination and pointed at three of the ingredients. “The south of the Unforeseeable Sea, the bottom of Wind Listening Valley, and…”
The secret realm spirit paused. “The mortal world.”
“Mortal world?” Kong Hou came from the mortal world and knew how thin spirit energy was in the mortal world. She had not expected this medicine called the Blue Jade Ear was in the mortal world. “Where in the mortal world—how will we find it?”
“I do not know,” the secret realm spirit said. “Supposedly, an emperor grew this flower by watering it with his blood in order to save his beloved. I never saw it. The information about this medicine comes from the mortal realm of a thousand and eight hundred years ago.”
“A thousand and eight hundred years ago…” Kong Hou quickly calculated which dynasty it had been one thousand and eight hundred years ago.
A thousand and eight hundred years ago had been the West Feng dynasty. The emperor, Sang Yu, had been in love with his wife. After his wife passed away due to illness, he never married again. Men who had lasting love were rare, and an emperor who was faithful from beginning to end was even rarer. So in the last two thousand years, countless women still talked about this emperor.
The rarer something was, the more precious and beautiful it was.
For women of the imperial palace, Sang Yu’s actions were like a dream, a dream belonging to other women, and they were just spectators. They knew how beautiful the dream was but they could never touch it.
“Thank you for telling me.” Kong Hou bowed towards the secret realm spirit. The secret realm spirit moved to the side to avoid it. This woman had dragon energy and immortal karma. He could not accept her bow.
“Go,” the secret realm spirit said, “do not come here in five centuries.”
Kong Hou took a few steps and then turned back to look at the secret realm spirit. “After we leave, will you wait here for five centuries alone?”
The secret realm spirit stood and did not look at her bright eyes. “I am not a human; I do not understand human loneliness.”
“But when you posses the body of a human, and learn the language of the humans, when you know to negotiate and feel fear, what is the difference from being a human?” Kong Hou could not imagine what it felt like to stay in an empty place alone for five centuries. “How about… you go out and see?”
“Right now, the cultivation world has changed greatly compared to millennia ago. Are you not curious?” Kong Hou felt that a secret realm spirit that knew to think and would chose to retreat before Huan Zhong’s great power was the same as a human.
“I am very curious,” the secret realm spirit said calmly, “but I am the resolve left behind by Master. I want to see the next ascension scion for Master. When a new person from the cultivation world ascends, I will come out and visit.”
“But… Lingyou World has not had anyone ascend for a thousand years.” Kong Hou could not bear it. “Will you keep waiting?”
The secret realm spirit nodded seriously. “If not a millennium, then two; if two is not enough, then five millennia. As long as Lingyou World does not disappear, I will not die. There is no problem.”
Looking at the secret realm spirit’s mask, Kong Hou felt she could see determination and adorableness on the white mask.
“Maybe in a century, someone will ascend, and you will be free then.” Kong Hou waved at him. “Then… see you next time.”
The secret realm spirit looked at her. Just as Kong Hou thought he would say words such as he would miss her, he said, “Are the female cultivators of the cultivation world all as talkative as you?”
Kong Hou: “…”
“Farewell, no need to see us off.” Kong Hou turned and pulled Huan Zhong’s sleeve to walk away.
The secret realm spirit was not angry. He watched as she and Huan Zhong left. Even as their figures disappeared outside the boundary, he did not move. The wind swept up his hair. With a flick of his finger, the entire secret realm was shrouded in a drizzle of rain.
Would this flower rain count as a farewell for this “friend” of his?
They walked out of the boundary to the enormous golden palace outside. There were many boxes shining with golden light. Were these the treasure chests that the secret realm spirit spoke of?
The jade token in her hand flew out uncontrollably and merged with one of the treasure chests. The chest opened. A talisman shining with five-colored light fell to Kong Hou’s hand.
After the light dissipated, Kong Hou saw that this was a beautiful umbrella.
She did not know what the umbrella was made of. It seemed to be like smoke or mist. The handle had the word “Conceal.” She opened the umbrella and the umbrella ribs shone with light. Almost no woman could withstand its beauty.
Then she found that her surrounding presence was now concealed. At this moment, she felt the same as a mortal. She turned to look at Huan Zhong. She found Huan Zhong was holding a celestial dress brimming with energy. She could not draw her eyes away from the beautiful dress but… what would a male cultivator do with this kind of dress?
“For you.” Huan Zhong put the dress in Kong Hou’s hand. “I do not need this.” He put his right hand behind his back without Kong Hou noticing, and put an ordinary talisman into his storage ring.
“Then your shimei and shijie…” Kong Hou felt that she had to pretend aloofness.
“I have no shijie. All my shimei are enchanted with the sword path and are not interested in these things.” Huan Zhong smiled warmly and said, “You are the closest female cultivator to me.”
“Huan Zhong, you, you…” Kong Hou put away the umbrella, patted her chest, and then covered her face. “Do not smile like this.”
If he kept on smiling like this, she was afraid she could not control her hands and would rub Huan Zhong’s face. How could she be so thick-skinned and shameless? She embarrassed the ancestors of the Ji Family, and failed Master and Shixiong‘s teachings.
“Am I bad-looking this way?” Huan Zhong’s smile slowly disappeared and he said dejectedly, “Apologies. Next time, I will pay attention.”
“No, no, no, you misunderstand me. I mean your smile is too good-looking.” Kong Hou saw Huan Zhong’s dejected expression and put away her thoughts of whether she was shameless or not. “You are good-looking, super good-looking. I fear other female cultivators will be enchanted with your looks.”
“Won’t.” Huan Zhong pulled her by the hand to walk out of the palace.
In the secret realm, Huan Zhong would frequently hold Kong Hou’s hand in order to not get lost in the formations. She did not feel even a little repellence at being held again by Huan Zhong. She followed him obediently. “Why not?”
The doors opened. Flowers flew outside in the rain. The flower rain was a beautiful painting.
“I will only smile at you. They would never see it.” Huan Zhong turned and looked at Kong Hou with a small smile. “Is this good?”
His gaze was very warm, as though it was the melting spring snow, like the morning dew on the flowers, glowing, fragrant and sweet. Facing such a pair of eyes, no matter what he said, Kong Hou would only say yes.
“All right.” She nodded dazedly. That beautiful flower world behind Huan Zhong seemed to disappear into emptiness. Only this handsome man was real.
The “Records of Seeking Immortality” had the protagonist dressed in snowy white robes. He stood with his sword at the top of the mountain peak, the sun and stars under his feet, and eclipsed the world. Kong Hou could not imagine what kind of person would make the world colorless. Now she understood what kind of person could eclipse the world, so that everything became a background to this person.
The flower rain swept around them. Whey they could see again, they were outside the secret realm entrance.
The sect disciples guarding the secret realm saw someone appear and looked over. Seeing Spirit Master Huan Zhong of Radiance Sect and Celestial Kong Hou of Splendid Cloud Sect, they came over to bow, and wanted to ask about the secret realm.
Kong Hou answered some questions. Just as she thought they would continue to ask, those people left with strange expressions. Even if someone wanted to ask more questions, they were pulled away. She looked with puzzlement at Huan Zhong. “Huan Zhong, what is with them?”
They went into the secret realm and did not come out disfigured. Why did the path friends have to make the mood so unfriendly?
Huan Zhong said calmly, “I do not know. Cultivators cannot help but have weird personalities. Do not keep it on your mind.”
“Shishu.” Xiao Dong, Radiance Sect’s representative from last time, had stayed by the secret realm for many days. Seeing Huan Zhong finally come out, he hurriedly bowed and said, “Xiao Dong greets Shishu.”
“Xiao Dong, how come you are here?” Huan Zhong asked.
“Shishu, a few days ago, Primary Luck Sect messaged the sect leader saying that you and Kong Hou Shishu went into the secret realm. Sect Leader had this junior guard the entrance.” Seeing Shishu finally remember his name, Xiao Dong was very happy. “This junior is relieved you have come out safely.”
“With Lin Hu here, I will not have any problems. Tell the sect leader to not worry about me.” Huan Zhong looked up into the sky. “It is late—you should return.”
Xiao Dong: “…”
So even though his name had been remembered, Shishu was still very cold.
“Then Junior will first…” Xiao Dong bowed. Halfway through, he suddenly froze, his gaze locked between Huan Zhong and Kong Hou.
“It is more important to practice the sword. Do not delay.” Huan Zhong took out a talisman for Xiao Dong. “Just a small toy—take it.”
“Th-thank you, Shishu,” Xiao Dong stammered his thanks. When he stood up once more, he did not dare to look again. No wonder he had felt something was strange. So Shishu and Celestial Kong Hou were holding hands and standing together.
Xiao Dong flew dazedly on his flying sword, holding the talisman.
“What is wrong with Xiao Dong Shizhi? He is swaying and twisting on the sword. Does he not fear having an accident?” Kong Hou had heard of many incidents of cultivators crashing together. While cultivators stronger than Base Building Stage would not be killed in a crash, it would be shameful to Radiance Sect if a sword cultivator could not control their flying sword well.
Huan Zhong was a member of Radiance Sect. Radiance Sect being embarrassed was akin to embarrassing Huan Zhong. When she thought of this, Kong Hou felt that these juniors should be taught well.
Huan Zhong was so good-looking, so elegant, and such a good person. How could he be embarrassed by such a thing?
When Lin Hu came out, he saw Master and Miss Kong Hou sitting by a small table under the tree, drinking tea and eating pastries. The two were chatting and laughing together. If not for the fact that they were still here, he would almost suspect the two of them had forgotten his existence.
He walked near the two and heard Kong Hou laugh out loud. “Huan Zhong, I’ve never thought you would do such a silly thing when you were young. At that time, I hid my book in Second Shixiong‘s cave residence in order to secretly read Talented Author’s book.”
“You were very cute in your childhood.”
“I know you want to say I was very mischievous in my childhood.”
“I do not lie.”
Lin Hu: “…”
They had just gone into the secret realm. Had Master lost his soul?
“Elder Lin, you finally came out?” Kong Hou noticed Lin Hu and waved with a smile.
“Master, Miss Kong Hou.” Lin Hu walked next to the two. Huan Zhong put down the teacup and pointed at the seat next to him. “Sit.”
Lin Hu put away his sword and then sat down next to Huan Zhong.
Huan Zhong poured a cup of tea. The steam rose out of the tea, carrying along its fragrance.
“Master, you seem to be in a good mood?” Lin Hu took a sip and carefully observed Huan Zhong’s expression.
Huan Zhong’s eyes moved and he smiled at Kong Hou. “I and Kong Hou have an opportunity for universal paired cultivation. Of course I am in a good mood.”
“Right.” Kong Hou recalled this. “Huan Zhong, starting today, if we have the chance, we will meditate together. This will be beneficial to both of us.”
“All right.” Huan Zhong stood and held his hand in front of Kong Hou. “Let’s go into the carriage and try. If possible, we can increase our cultivation when travelling.”
“All right.” Kong Hou gripped Huan Zhong’s hand. “Then let’s be quick.”
“Stand guard here. When the others come out, bid them farewell.” Huan Zhong turned to look at him. “Understood?”
Lin Hu: “…”
Tsk, his cheeks hurt.
Xiao Dong scrambled and flew back to the sect. He ignored the other shidi and shizhi bowing to him and ran up the mountain peak.
Cang Hai saw his apprentice hurriedly run in and frowned. “Why are you in such a panic?”
“Master.” Xiao Dong bowed to Cang Hai. “Shishu has come out of the secret realm, and is not injured.”
“This is good. why are you so nervous?” Cang Hai stood up to pick up a teapot. “As a sword cultivator, if you cannot control your basic emotions, how can you accomplish anything?”
“But Master, Shishu is in a relationship with Kong Hou Shishu of Splendid Cloud Sect.”
“What?” The teapot in Cang Hai’s hand smashed to the ground. He looked at his apprentice, losing his composure. “You say that Shidi has fallen in love?”
“Yes,” Xiao Dong said, “Shishu came out of the secret realm holding hands with Miss Kong Hou. When Miss Kong Hou was talking, he smiled at her…”
“That is not possible. He would not speak an extra word to someone if he did not have to, much less smile at others. I have known him for three centuries, and have not seen him smile even a few times.” Cang Hai walked around the room to calm himself down. He said to Xiao Dong, “Come with me to report to the sect leader.”
Cang Hai was the apprentice of Peak Master Song He. It was not difficult for him to meet with the sect leader. So they walked unobstructed to the main hall. He entered and saw Master and Sect Leader were both present. He bowed and then said, “Sect Leader, Master, Xiao Dong has returned.”
“Sit down before talking,” Jin Yue said with a pleased expression. “Just now, your shidi has sent a flying message seal to tell me what happened in the secret realm.”
“Then did he… mention Miss Kong Hou to you?” Seeing Sect Leader in a good mood, Cang Hai thought, Shidi‘s mental state was already unstable. Sect Leader did not fear that if he was in love with someone else, his mental state would become more affected through the great upheaval in emotions?
“He did.” Jin Yue had a joyful expression. Ever since his apprentice was afflicted, he had never shown such a relaxed expression. “This Miss Kong Hou of Splendid Cloud Sect is an auspicious person. Since your shidi encountered her, everything has been fortunate and lucky.”
Cang Hai: “…”
This was not what he had imagined.
“You agree to the two of them?” As a sword cultivator who had cultivated for almost five hundred years, Cang Hai’s expression rarely was so complicated.
“Who will not agree to such a good thing?” Jin Yue said. “There are so many cultivators in the world. How many have the opportunity to encounter universal paired cultivation? With Miss Kong Hou cultivating with him, your shidi‘s meridians will slowly be nurtured. Even if he cannot heal, I will not have to worry that one day his spirit platform will rupture and he will lose his cultivation.”
“Universal paired cultivation?” Cang Hai shouted. “It really is universal paired cultivation?”
Song He frowned. His apprentice usually was steady. What was going on today? He was like a young boy in his conduct and speech.
Jin Yue also found it strange. Universal paired cultivation was such a good thing. Why was Cang Hai Shizhi‘s expression so strange?
“Sect Leader, how old is Miss Kong Hou this year?”
“She is young, just seventeen in her bone age. But the two of them are not pairing together—why do you care so much about age?” Jin Yue waved his hand and said, “Splendid Cloud Sect is always good. While her cultivation is low now, your shidi performing universal paired cultivation with her is of more benefit to her. But universal paired cultivation is not essential to her, but very important to your shidi. You cannot criticize her age or cultivation.”
Splendid Cloud Sect gifting them the merperson scales was already a great favor. He had not expected his apprentice to have such karma with Kong Hou. He and his apprentice owed a great deal.
Cang Hai became silent.
Had Shidi purposefully seduced Kong Hou in order to perform universal paired cultivation with her?
Miss Kong Hou was just seventeen. Shidi could do such a deranged thing?
Translator Ramblings: Poor Huan Zhong. Last chapter, he gets into a nightmare, and now his reputation is blackened.