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Chapter 94: Cost
The angry spirits turned into white light and flew out of the Soul-Storing Formation to cross over. Kong Hou barely managed to stay sitting by leaning on Phoenix Head. She could not hear any sound, her sight so blurry she could only see shadows. Every part of her body hurt. If she closed her eyes, she would fall asleep.
In a daze, she saw a gentle woman walk out from amidst the countless angry souls. She bowed to Kong Hou, saying something, but Kong Hou could not hear clearly. She opened her eyes, wanting to see the other’s mouth move. The woman smiled at her, turning into a stream of light, and disappeared.
After this woman, countless angry souls bowed to her—farmers, farmwives, refined scholars, elegant ladies. Kong Hou rubbed her eyes, and hated how blurry her vision was.
A child of three or four ran in front of her, his eyes not understanding what life and death was before he turned into a dead soul. Kong Hou coughed and swallowed the sweet blood in her mouth. She feared frightening the child.
The child opened her arms and Kong Hou bent down to pick her up to put on her knees. She had no energy to stand up, so she sat in the mud and saved some energy.
She heard the voice of this child. The child was laughing. Her large eyes had no terror or sorrow, just pure happiness.
Kong Hou watched as she disappeared in her arms, turning to light and flying away. She looked up at the raining sky. “I wish you will not know hardship in your next life, and have a peaceful lifetime.”
Her robes were ruined, and stained with mud. Kong Hou struggled up from the ground. Her head was ringing, her ears and nose itching. She wanted to rub her itching nose but found her hand was covered in blood so she gave up.
Someone seemed to be calling her name. Kong Hou, in pain all over, slowly turned back and saw Huan Zhong sprinting towards her, his handsome and flawless face full of terror. She frowned in confusion. What was going on with Huan Zhong? Hadn’t she already defeated the formation?
She wanted to speak, but when she opened her mouth, she only threw up blood. Her stomach seemed to be filled with blood that never ran out. She covered her mouth, her vision growing even more blurry. The entire world seemed to quiet.
“Kong Hou!” When someone was most terrified, they would forget many of their abilities and only maintain the instincts they were born with. Huan Zhong forgot he was a cultivator, forgot everything. He ran to Kong Hou’s side and caught her as she fainted.
Kong Hou’s nose, ears, and even eyes were shedding blood. Huan Zhong’s hands trembled as he held Kong Hou and channeled spirit energy into her body.
The rain drenched his hair, the dirty mud soaking his shoes. He, who was always untouched by dust, could not care about this. All of his attention was on the person in his arms.
“Wake up, Kong Hou, wake up.” Huan Zhong took out a bottle of vital energy pills. His hand shaking, he fed them to Kong Hou’s mouth. Half of the pills fell to the mud because of his shaking before they even reached Kong Hou’s mouth.
The vital energy pills were not things that dissolved when entering the mouth. Huan Zhong put the pills into his own mouth and bent down to feed them to Kong Hou.
“Amitabha.” Fatan, coming down from the clouds, saw this and paused. He turned and said to Lin Hu, “Master Lin, this old monk knows some basic medicine.”
The man holding the young girl in the rain did not cry or make noise, but people could feel his panic and sorrow. Fatan was a buddhist cultivator, one who did not understand romantic love. But he had seen many romantic loves and separations through death.
He thought, in the next century, he could not persuade these two to enter the buddhist sect.
Two vital energy pills were fed into Kong Hou’s belly but she did not react. Huan Zhong put a hand to her life meridian and prepared to send more spirit energy in.
“Master.” Lin Hu walked next to him and used an umbrella to shield him and Kong Hou from the falling rain. “Do not panic. We will invite Master Fatan to examine Miss Kong Hou.”
Huan Zhong blinked his eyes, the rain falling off his eyelashes. He bent down and picked Kong Hou up, uncaring how dirty she was. With a jump, Huan Zhong flew in front of Fatan. “Master…”
Fatan did not need him to speak and reached out to take Kong Hou’s pulse. The disciples behind him saw Kong Hou’s present appearance and were moved.
Bleeding from her orifices, her fingers bloodied and cut to the bone. There were innumerable tiny wounds on her body, so many that she had no inch unwounded. The young girl they had seen before was now a person of blood.
The Buddha sacrificed himself to feed the eagle. This Miss Kong Hou sacrificed herself to save the people. This was both great benevolence and great virtue. No wonder Master said she was more like the Buddha than they were.
Fatan sighed, pulled his hand back and said, “Miss Kong Hou overused spirit energy, and was attacked by the fiendish energy in the Soul-Storing Formation. Her internal organs are seriously injured. If it were anyone else, I would fear…”
Helping so many angry souls to cross over with just Mind Activation cultivation was undoubtedly gambling with one’s life. But fortunately Miss Kong Hou was from this world, and had the belief power of the people here. This kind of belief was almost useless to cultivators, but at this moment and this time, the belief was Kong Hou’s lifesaver.
Buddhism cared about cause and effect. The people of this world and Miss Kong Hou had a cause, and created a good effect.
“Do not worry, Miss Kong Hou’s life is not in danger.” Fatan saw Huan Zhong staring dazedly at Kong Hou. “You only need to find a quiet place for Miss Kong Hou to rest for a few days. But her meridians are in chaos now, and she cannot endure the passage between the two worlds.”
“Immortals, Bodhisattvas.” The provincial governor gathered his courage and walked over. “This small one has cleaned a residence. Please come to the humble residence to rest.” He looked worriedly at Kong Hou in Huan Zhong’s arms, but he did not dare look too much in front of so many immortals.
While they did not understand what Princess Kong Hou had done, after she played the song for the skies to rain, the infected people started to take a turn for the better. They knew that Princess Kong Hou had saved them.
Yet when they saw the princess being carried out covered in blood, they started to understand that even immortals had to pay a price to save mortals. To them, Princess Kong Hou was truly “one of them.” They were reassured seeing the other immortals worried about Princess Kong Hou’s health.
“No need,” Huan Zhong refused the provincial governor’s invitation. “I know a quieter place.”
The provincial governor was worried, gathered his courage and said, “It is…”
Huan Zhong ignored him and flew up to disappear into the sky.
The provincial governor looked even more worried. Where was the immortal taking Princess Kong Hou?
“The plague here has been defeated. You should work on rebuilding your home.” Lin Hu looked into the crowd and at the boy holding the baby. “Those two children have some old ties with Celestial Kong Hou. Please, Official, take care of them until they grow up.”
“Immortal, do not worry. After this matter, this one will adopt them and take good care of them.” The provincial governor’s wife had passed away in this plague. If he could care for these children, he could be comforted in his remaining lifetime.
“That is good.” Lin Hu saw the provincial governor was a loyal person and did not doubt his words. He took a box of gold pills and a box of medicine. “Thank you.”
“This cannot be.” The provincial governor looked at the box full of gold and refused. “This one is willing to take care of these children, and cannot accept Immortal’s gift.”
“This is the meeting gift that Miss Kong Hou is giving to the two juniors. Official, please accept on their behalf.”
The provincial governor could not refuse and accepted them.
Fatan stood quietly at the side until Lin Hu finished attending to the matters and said, “Master Lin, this old man will bid farewell first, and we will meet next year at the sect conference.”
“Thank you, Master, for helping in this matter.” Lin Hu bowed deeply. “When this one and Master return to Pei City, we will thank you again.”
“Master Lin is too polite. The Buddha ferried over the people of the world, this poor monk can ferry over the people here.” Fatan put his hands together and said, “This action is to rescue them, and also to rescue ourselves.”
Lin Hu returned the bow. When he raised his head again, the monks of Quiet Peace Temple had flown away.
“Your Majesty! Your Majesty!” An eunuch scrambled into the hall and knelt in front of Emperor Jinghong. “Just now, divine light flashed in the sky. The immortals have returned.”
“Really?” Emperor Jinghong put down the reports in his hand. His face, tired from many days of not resting, revealed joy as he said, “I will visit them immediately.” Then he hurriedly ran into the inner palace.
When he reached the palace gates, Emperor Jinghong saw the empress, crown prince and others were present but were inexplicably standing outside.
“Your Majesty.” The empress saw him and bowed, saying, “There seems to be an invisible wall here; we cannot enter.”
Emperor Jinghong stretched out a hand to touch. There really was an invisible wall in the air that blocked them all. He touched a few more times before putting away his amazed expression. “This is a spell of the immortal.”
“Father-Emperor, the immortal must have created this invisible wall to not have us disturb them. How about we come later?” The crown prince was worried about the plague in the southeast but did not dare to displease the immortals.
“My son is polite.” Emperor Jinghong took two steps back and bowed in the direction of the main hall. “Everyone, return, and arrange for palace servants to stand guard. If the immortals have any needs, satisfy them as best as you are able.”
After the emperor and crown prince left, the empress looked worriedly at the tightly closed palace gates and turned to leave silently.
Five days passed. The palace gates still did not open. Urgent letters came from the southeastern cities saying that the plague had been defeated. People had seen divine light in the sky and that these were the protective clouds of the divine.
Emperor Jinghong took his brush and wrote a letter to announce to all the people.
The general meaning was he had not been the one to accomplish the matter. Immortal Kong Hou had heard of the disaster and appeared to rescue them. Emperor Jinghong, who had been able to beat all the other rebels and take the throne, outmatched all the fawning officials of the previous dynasty when he wanted to flatter someone.
This letter to the people wrote of how Immortal Kong Hou broke the separation between immortal and mortal to save the people, and paid a great price to drive away the plague god that bedevilled the people so the world could achieve piece.
Lin Hu saw the letter and had a strange expression. He copied the contents to take back into the palace.
“I feel this mortal emperor is skilled at writing storybooks…”
Huan Zhong looked at Kong Hou who was sleeping on the bed and said expressionlessly, “You may leave.”
Translator Ramblings: The emperor is the best public relations person in the dynasty.