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Chapter 95: He Did Not Lie To You
Kong Hou had been unconscious for five days. Huan Zhong had used spells to clean the dirt off her and the clothing. Her complexion was extremely pale. He had sat by the bed for five whole days, his mind full of thoughts.
He thought of what Kong Hou would accomplish in her future cultivation, how long he could accompany Kong Hou if he could not recover. She had spoken of her childhood desire for freedom. He wanted to take her to see the sights of the worlds.
He thought of many things, and did not dare to think if she was unwilling…
When he covered Kong Hou with a blanket, he found that the ribbon he gave Kong Hou had been put away when she entered the soul-storing formation. Had she worried she would damage the ribbon or had she known the ribbon carried a thread of his consciousness and hadn’t been willing to drag him down?
Her bloodied fingers healed due to the repeated administrations of medicine every day. The wounds on the body healed due to the spirit medicines he fed Kong Hou. But she still did not wake up.
Holding Kong Hou’s hand, Huan Zhong channeled spirit energy once again to organize her meridians and spirit platform for her. Lin Hu stood by the doorway. Seeing the scene, he retreated to the courtyard outside. The emperor, empress, and crown prince of the mortal world would bow in this direction through the gates, but never disturb them.
Lin Hu thought, the emperor and empress of the mortal world were more like monarchs than the emperor and empress of Lingyou World.
A white crane flew through the sky and landed in the courtyard. It raised its long neck and sang towards the room.
The door opened with a sound and Lin Hu turned around to see Master walking out. This was the first time Master left Miss Kong Hou’s side in five days. Seeing Master appear, the white crane did not stop calling and jumped onto a tree branch to call towards the room.
“It is looking for Miss Kong Hou?” Lin Hu thought. Maybe the people searching for Miss Kong Hou found the message seals could not be used, guessed that Miss Kong Hou was not in Lingyou World, so they sent the crane.
Huan Zhong took out a bag of spirit rice and some dried spirit fish to place on the ground in a plate. The crane saw it and jumped down to eat.
“Kong Hou is still asleep—why don’t you wait a few days?” Huan Zhong saw Splendid Cloud Sect’s insignia on the foot bracelet the crane wore and put some more dried spirit fish on the plate.
The crane finished eating the rice and fish, curved its neck to pull off the brocade bag hanging on its neck with its mouth, put the bag in Huan Zhong’s hand and then flew away with a cry.
The brocade bag flowed with light and had the words Moon Perching on it.
“Miss Kong Hou is the last student of the peak master of Splendid Cloud Sect’s Moon Perching Peak. Has something happened to Moon Perching Peak?” Lin Hu frowned. Otherwise, why would the crane come to the mortal world to deliver a message?
Huan Zhong gripped the brocade bag and did not speak.
Outside the door, the empress and palace attendants were shocked to see the crane fly in and out. Had Ji Kong Hou stayed too long in the mortal world and the immortal world was summoning her back?
In a daze, Kong Hou heard the voice of a woman. She sometimes cried, or hummed an elegant song. But the song was extremely unfamiliar, as though it was ancient.
She was… invaded by a ghost?
“Soul broken, red candles, tears undried, thinking of you year after year, but on the netherworld bridge you…”
“Who are you?” Kong Hou looked at the grandly dressed woman sitting by the lotus pond. The buildings here were like an imperial palace, but not the one she had lived in.
The woman suddenly stopped singing. She looked back at Kong Hou and revealed a beautiful face.
Kong Hou could not describe the beauty of this face. It was capable of causing the downfall of a city or state. This female ghost had angry energies on her. She took a step back. “Who are you—why did you enter my dream?”
The woman sighed. “Just a young girl who doesn’t understand anything.”
Kong Hou: “…”
She felt this woman was more unlikable than Ling Bo of Clear Dawn Sect.
“At least you have some beauty in your brows.” The woman stood up. “The palace is lonely; I have not talked to a living person for several centuries. These inner palace women are too stupid and can’t feel my existence.”
“Humans and ghosts are different; you are not of the mortal world, therefore you should not disrupt the peace of the living.” Kong Hou sat next to her. “The palace is protected by dragon energy, so of course they cannot feel you.”
“You know I am a ghost—do you not fear me?” The female ghost was extremely beautiful as she walked like a blooming lotus swaying in the wind. She went closer to Kong Hou and said, “Do you… not fear that I will eat you?”
Kong Hou laughed. She had not cultivated for long but she did not fear a female ghost. She reached out and pushed away the female ghost’s nearing face. “Apologies. I do like beauties, but soft and warm ones.”
The female ghost’s face darkened. She gritted out, “Such a sharp-tongued girl. You just said I should not disrupt the peace of the living. You think the people who live here can obtain peace?”
She laughed coldly. “I have stayed in this palace for many years, seen the dynasties change, seen the throne change hands. The people who lived here never obtained peace.”
Kong Hou wanted to say, you did not obtain peace either. If you did, why would you persist in staying here and not be willing to leave?
“Little girl, what is your gaze?” The female ghost seemed to guess Kong Hou’s unspoken thoughts. Her brows rose. “I am not like these inner palace women. My king never had any other women. Back then, there were no consorts other than me. Dignity, virtue, benevolence, those had nothing to do with me. The officials said I was a wicked demoness, and the women of the world hated me, but so what? My king did not like other women.”
Mentioning her past glory, the female ghost’s tone was slightly proud. “A woman of the inner palace like you will not understand.”
“I am not a woman of the inner palace.” Kong Hou spread her hands and produced a pot of tea and two teacups. She poured tea for both herself and the female ghost. “I am a person who walked out of this imperial palace.”
The female ghost stilled. She pushed away the teacup Kong Hou handed her. “You lie to me!”
Kong Hou smiled. “If I am a member of this palace, how can you enter my dreams?”
The female ghost grew silent. A long time later, she looked at the moon in the sky and quieted. The clean wind blew at her hair and also blew some of her melancholy.
Kong Hou looked silently at the scene. This really was a beautiful woman, beautiful when angry, beautiful when grieving. Even when she was just sitting silently, she was so beautiful people could not help but look.
“My king promised to stay with me and be buried in the same tomb. We promised to walk the road to the yellow springs together. I promised him.” The female ghost cried tears of blood. “I waited a long time for him. The flowers on the yellow spring road have bloomed year after year, but he did not appear. He is not in the tomb, he is not in the palace. I watched as the dynasty belonging to him was destroyed, watched as the palace we once lived in was burned down and rebuilt. He still did not appear.”
“He lied to me!” The anger of the female ghost erupted. The moon in the sky turned blood red. “He lied to me!”
Looking at the twisted and ugly features of the female ghost, Kong Hou flew and tapped on her head to stop her from going mad. This was a female ghost who had lost her clarity of mind while waiting. Maybe soon after, she would lose the last vestige of her mind and become a malicious ghost. In the end, the ghost officials would take her away, and she would become one of the evil ghost river’s monsters that killed and devoured each other.
“He did not lie to you.” Kong Hou used spirit energy to help the female ghost recover her original appearance. After waiting for the other to regain her reason, she said, “I once heard a story—from a thousand and eight hundred years ago, the story of the king of the Western Feng Dynasty Cang Yu and his queen.
“King Sang Yu and his queen were deeply in love. After his queen passed away, King Sang Yu was in great sorrow, begged the gods everywhere, and received a medicine that could return the dead to life. After that, King Sang Yu watered the medicine with the blood of his heart, and used the blood of a monarch to raise the Blue Jade Ear that could revive the dead. But people’s deaths are fated. King Sang Yu’s actions disobeyed the heavenly path and he was punished by the heavens. His wife did not come back to life, and he was also killed, his soul destroyed.
“You are King Sang Yu’s queen.” Kong Hou felt very uncomfortable inside. She did not even dare to look at the female ghost’s expression. “He did not want to lie to you, only he cannot keep the appointment.”
The female ghost looked dazedly at her. “You are lying to me…”
“Do not wait any longer for him; he cannot come.” The truth of some stories was cruel, but Kong Hou felt she should let this queen know the cruel truth rather than have her assume her love with the king had ended in a lie.
This was unfair to King Sang Yu, to the queen, and to the legend which had been passed down for a thousand and eight hundred years.
“You are lying, you are lying, you are lying…” The female ghost continued to shake her head. “My king is wise and loving to the people. He is the best king in the world. His soul would not have been destroyed. You are lying to me.”
The anger on her body started to dissipate, and her eyes bled blood. Suddenly, her black hair turned white. “My king said he would plant red flowers all over the mountain for me, that we would never part for all our lives. He said…”
After saying this, she seemed to think of something and flew out of the palace. Kong Hou hesitated and followed. After flying a long time, she saw the female ghost stop on an unpopulated mountain. No one resided on this remote mountain, but bursts of bright red flowers bloomed at the base of the mountain.
Kong Hou had never heard crying like this, like the lament of a lonely swan, like the wail of a cuckoo. Each sound beat on her heart.
Was love so miraculous? To make an emperor go against the heavens and have his soul destroyed? To have a beauty famed throughout the world stay year after year in the lonely palace just because of a promise made with her king?
Such a terrifying thing. Why did people still desire it?
A hint of light appeared in the east. The female ghost stopped crying. She looked up at the sky and murmured, “Dawn is coming.” She plucked a red flower and tucked it above her ear. The female ghost turned to Kong Hou. “Am I pretty?”
Kong Hou nodded.
“My king said so as well. He said I am prettier than the flowers.” She stood and led Kong Hou to a hidden door. “Thank you for telling me the story.”
The stone door opened. Inside was an underground palace filled with brocade, silk, pearls, precious jade and stones, and all kinds of clay statues. The female ghost led Kong Hou a long way before stopping at a stone door carved with a woman holding a lantern about to open the door. The carving seemed to be alive, a person waiting by the door for someone else.
The female ghost touched the face on the door, and said with a smile and tears, “He wanted me to wait for him to return home each day. I should return.”
“You…” Kong Hou reached out to grab her. Her hand was icy cold.
“My king will return, right?” She turned to smile at Kong Hou.
Kong Hou thought about King Sang Yu’s history. The history books said that after King Sang Yu died, his younger brother had taken the throne. After the new king was enthroned, he did not let King Sang Yu be buried with his beloved queen but put King Sang Yu in the royal tomb. In the last thousand years, the royal tombs of the Western Feng Dynasty had been raided by tomb robbers, but they had not found the actual tomb.
“Yes.” Kong Hou nodded. “Definitely.”
She would help her find King Sang Yu’s bones so husband and wife could be buried together.
“Thank you.” The stone door opened. Inside were two jade coffins, one empty, and another one with a woman. Even after a thousand and eight hundred years, the corpse of the female was still undamaged, as though she was alive.
“I should sleep.” The female ghost sat on the jade coffin and took out a box from underneath the female corpse’s pillow. “Take this. When I think of the price King paid for it, I cannot let it rest by my pillow.”
After the box was moved away, the female corpse in the coffin turned to dust, leaving behind only a grand robe embroidered with gold and jade in the coffin.
Watching as her own corpse turned to dust, the female ghost smiled uncaring and pushed the jade box into Kong Hou’s hands. “I have a name—I am Qing Luo.”
After saying this, she fell back into the coffin, turning into dots of light that disappeared in the world.
Kong Hou did not know why her throat felt stuffy. She wiped away the tears leaking from her eyes and put the coffin lid on for Qing Luo. She wiped away the dust on the top.
She said hoarsely, “I will find your king for you.”
Closing the stone door, Kong Hou looked at the morning sun rising in the east. The bright flowers were redder than the sun.
In the imperial palace, Huan Zhong suddenly reached out to touch Kong Hou’s pulse.
He suddenly stood up. “Lin Hu!”
Why would her soul suddenly leave her body?
Translator Ramblings: All the sadness missing from the main story is put into these plot developments …