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Chapter 88: Evil Cultivator
The already anxious grand princess could of course remember what everyone else did. She looked up to meet Kong Hou’s eyes, her eyes fearful and slightly defeated.
Under everyone’s gaze, she stood and said, “Thank you, Immortal, for remembering; everything has been good.”
“That is good.” Kong Hou saw the grand princess’s features contained some depression and sighed. “Back then, Grand Princess wanted to hear me play a song on the kong hou. Due to various reasons, I was not able to. Now we have met again, let me make up for the song.”
When she heard this, the grand princess became even more anxious. Everyone now wanted to deliberately forget how she had forced Ji Kong Hou to play a song in front of everyone, but although they forgot and although they could pretend ignorance about many matters, the participants of the matter might not be willing to cooperate.
“No, no need…”
“Grand Princess does not have to be so polite.” Kong Hou pulled the Phoenix Head pin out of her hair which turned into an enormous phoenix head kong hou. Under everyone’s shocked and worried gazes, Kong Hou lightly plucked the strings. “With this song, I wish the people of the world to live happy and safe lives.”
Emperor Jinghong felt slightly uneasy. He unconsciously turned to look at the empress beside him. The empress was sipping tea with a lowered head as though she did not notice his gaze. Emperor Jinghong stilled. He suddenly recalled many years ago, when he hadn’t been the emperor, when he felt restless inside and looked at his wife, he could always see her comforting smile.
After he became the emperor, he rarely sought help in front of others from the empress. Looking at the empress’ no longer young face, Emperor Jinghong was slightly dazed. It seemed to have been very long since he had been alone with the empress.
Hands plucked the strings, and the kong hou sounded. The serene music was like a demon that could enchant the mind and stir the truest emotions of people.
The expressionless empress, the regretful emperor, the officials with their various expressions, and the grand empress with her tears as she sobbed “Yan Xing.” The kong hou song drew out the sorrows and joys of the mortal world.
The Yan Xing that the grand princess spoke of was her former husband, a talented scholar known far and wide. The grand princess and Yan Xing had been greatly in love. Later, Yan Xing had been framed by an evildoer and died in the Justice Office. The grand princess had been full of sorrow and grief and greatly hated the deposed Ji Emperor. She even hated Kong Hou, the six-year-old former princess, as well.
Her beloved had died at the hands of a powerful official and confidant of the muddle-headed emperor. While the grand princess had looked beautiful and bright, she had gone bad inside. She hated the useless emperor, hated those wicked officials who were jealous of those with ability and virtue, and hated everyone in the Ji Family.
What she hated the most was being separated from Yan Xing by life and death to never meet again. Afte Yan Xing’s death, she had done many things for her elder brother. After overthrowing the deposed Ji Emperor, she became the noble grand princess. Her emotions had to maintain the dignity of the imperial family and she never shed a tear for Yan Xing.
Yan Xing had been dead for thirteen years. The pomegranate tree she had planted for him had blossomed and borne fruit, but there was no one to eat the pomegranates with her.
Pride, determination, and indifference turned to nothing under this song. The music was the gates to the dam. The emotions she had accumulated for so many years flooded out and couldn’t be controlled.
Kong Hou looked at the grand princess who was crying, her hands covering her face. She sighed.
When young, she had only felt the grand princess was aggressive and extremely unfriendly towards her. Now that she had jumped out of the enmity and hatred, when she looked at the history between the grand princess and the Ji Dynasty, Kong Hou could only sigh.
Kong Hou’s birth father had ignored her. As a princess, she rarely saw her father emperor.
The grand princess was an intelligent woman, but the evildoers of the previous dynasty had destroyed everything.
The two of them, one a princess of the former dynasty, one a grand princess of the present dynasty, they were all victims of this calamity.
As the music sounded, the empress was dazed for a moment but she did not sink completely into her emotions. She looked at the emperor beside her who was in both joy and sorrow, turned her head and stood up to walk towards Kong Hou.
When she was about to get close to Kong Hou, the white-robed immortal standing beside her like an ice statue turned to look at her. His dark eyes were full of ruthless judgement.
The empress stopped and bowed towards the white-robed immortal.
She had never seen such a handsome man. Even Master Yan Xing who had stunned the capital back then could not compare to this immortal.
The music suddenly stopped. Kong Hou walked towards the grand princess who had almost fainted from her crying and tapped with a finger on the grand princess’ forehead. The grand princess gradually stopped crying. She looked up at Kong Hou, her face covered in tear tracks.
Kong Hou put a handkerchief into the grand princess’ hand. Kong Hou did not comfort her, only smiled at her before looking at the officials.
Some sorrows, when hidden too long inside, would become a pain inscribed on the heart which could not be released even in death.
Sometimes, crying was not weakness but a venting of emotions.
Holding the soft handkerchief in her hand, the grand princess gradually came back to herself. She wiped her face covered in tears and then realized, this handkerchief… Ji Kong Hou had given this to her?
She looked around and found almost everyone was still immersed in the music and could not notice her loss of composure. Biting her lips, she stood with complicated emotions. “Thank you, Immortal Kong Hou.”
“Do you feel much better?” Kong Hou smiled and looked at her. “Remember to rest well and open your heart. It is good for your health.”
The grand princess grimaced. “My beloved has passed away. How is it important whether I cry in pain or sorrow?”
She had promised Yan Xing to keep living and would not fail him. She wondered, a dozen years in the future at the bridge to death, would he appear?
As a princess of the previous dynasty, Kong Hou had no position to urge her more. She tapped the grand princess’ head. “Since that is so, Grand Princess, take care.”
“Thank you.” The grand princess’ voice was small but a cultivator could hear clearly.
“Immortal Kong Hou, could you let me see him once again?” When she said this, the grand princess immediately backtracked. “No, no, better not to meet. He is still a handsome man, but I have become a wrinkled old woman. Better not to meet.”
Life and death, age and youth, they were the most vicious knives in love. The most beautiful love was useless in front of them.
Kong Hou did not understand love, but from the grand princess, she saw pain and regret. Not even death could cut away such a stubborn love. Did something like love have such a great power?
“Immortal.” The empress looked at the officials who had lost their minds and walked in front of Kong Hou. “How could we wake them up?”
Kong Hou shook her head. “Those with no concerns will quickly wake up. As for…” She suddenly paused. Water Frost Sword sliced through the air and flew towards an official sitting in the corner.
The empress had not expected Kong Hou to suddenly erupt. She stilled and had an absurd and terrifying thought. If Ji Kong Hou came to the mortal world and didn’t want to leave, would the entire world become hers?
The immortal and mortal were separated. Things that mortals like them could not change were minor in the eyes of immortals.
“Evildoers should be killed in front of the heavens.”
Finding he was being chased, the official in the corner suddenly screamed and retreated.
But Kong Hou clearly did not plan on sparing him so easily. The talisman in her hand grew in light. “Found you.”
The empress realized someone of unknown identity had appeared among them.
The captured official struggled on the ground. Seeing Kong Hou’s lack of expression, he begged, “Immortal, please spare me. This lowly one knows.”
“Immortal?” Kong Hou raised an eyebrow. “How did you know my identity?”
“I… I saw Immortal from far away and have some understanding of Immortal’s status.”
“Really?” Kong Hou looked at the kneeling official and said in a strange tone, “I thought you are a subordinate of an evil cultivator and even the plague is related to you.”
“No,” the official said. “The plague is very infectious—how do these lowly ones dare to go close?”
“Lowly ones, which people?” Kong Hou pointed at the sky and the ground. “Path Friend, please explain.”
Hearing the words “Path Friend,” the captured official froze for a moment and then said, “This lowly one does not understand Immortal’s words.”
Kong Hou smiled coldly and pointed at this person’s nose with her sword. “As a cultivator, one should stay far from mortals so one will not be touched with mortal dust. You are a cultivator pretending to be a mortal hiding amidst the officials. You have fiendish energy on you—you are related to the plague.”
The moment she stepped on the altar, she found thick fiendish energy and resentment from the southeast. She also heard the crown prince say the plague was most serious in those areas. Kong Hou understood.
The evil cultivators were so daring they dared to sacrifice living people, using the mortals to realize an absurd ambition. Lingyou World was strictly governed. The sects would protect their people, so the evil cultivators could not easily find such a large number of people to sacrifice.
To avoid the cultivators of the orthodox sects, the mortal world was the best choice. Spirit energy was thin here and there were no spirit flowers or grasses, but there were many people without any orthodox cultivators to interfere.
The weak humans fell like wheat in bunches to the scythe. With these angry spirits, that talisman that could cause the weather to change was awakened.
Kong Hou guessed that the evil cultivators looked down on humans and liked seeing their terrible states. They would arrange for subordinates to hide among the humans and then smugly spectate as people walked from worry to hopelessness.
The mentality of evil cultivators to spectate other people’s misfortunes was one ordinary people couldn’t understand.
Coming to the hall, she took the time when people were dazed from the music to control this evil cultivator.
Having lost the disguise of an ordinary person, this evil cultivator looked both black and withered, like a corpse that had crawled out of its tomb, evil and terrifying.
The empress had a pale face. “Immortal Kong Hou, you mean that this plague is not a disaster but was caused by people?”
Then so many people had died, so many families had been destroyed, all because of these unknown…
Were they demons? Deities? Or monsters?
“Maybe.” Kong Hou looked at the fiendish energy on the evil cultivator which was similar to the one in the southeast and stepped on the evil cultivator. “What is the way to break the Soul Sacrificing Formation?”
Translator Ramblings: No revenge going on here.
I’ve been reading the author’s works again and I feel that Ascending, Do Not Disturb is a bit of turning point in her writing. The previous stories always had the scheming, symbolism, and irony but there was no light-hearted fun. This novel seems to be the author developing her comedy skills. Also romance development. There’s no “meet and sleep together” between the two main characters.
Also, I posted my yearly stats on translation projects here.