Chapter 95 was posted late so don’t forget to read that first.
This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
Chapter 96: Joint Interment
“Master?” Lin Hu pushed open the door and entered. He saw a panicked expression on Huan Zhong’s face and had a bad feeling. He had followed Master for several centuries and had rarely seen Master panic.
“Kong Hou’s soul left her body.” Huan Zhong took out a soul summoning lantern from his storage ring and said, “Stand guard for me.”
Lin Hu stood next to the bed and inspected. As expected, soul dispossession. But Miss Kong Hou had been all right. Why would something like this suddenly occur? Had someone cast a spell? He couldn’t help but think of the evil cultivator formation master who had made the Withering of Ten Thousand Bones formation. But this was not the time to pursue that matter. Seeing Master using his heart’s blood to light the soul summoning lamp, he said in a panic, “Master, you…”
The soul summoning lantern lit up. Mist rose inside the room. Huan Zhong’s fingers moved. “Yin yang two poles, listen to my order—soul return!”
The window suddenly opened, and a wild wind blew the leaves in the courtyard. Huan Zhong did not lift his head and waved a hand to block the incoming wind. The soul summoning lantern did not move a thread.
“Today, I do not care who is committing evil here. Even if I have to chase you to the end of the world, I will not spare you.” Huan Zhong waved his hand to close the window and then gripped with his hand in the air. A bell made from spirit energy formed in his hand. He waved it slightly and it gave off a clear chime.
“Where is the chiming coming from?” The crown prince who was helping Emperor Jinghong take care of matters looked around. The chime was so strange, as though it was a sound which should not exist in the mortal realm.
Emperor Jinghong stood. Just as he opened the window, the wind blew mightily, gusting through the palace streets and giving off an ear-piercing howl. Leaves hit Emperor Jinghong’s face. He took two steps back and motioned for the eunuch to close the window.
“Do not go out.” Emperor Jinghong thought for a long time. “Order the captain of the imperial guard to protect the palace Immortal Kong Hou is residing in. If anything suspicious nears it, do not let it enter.
“Remember—anything, not just people.” As an emperor, Emperor Jinghong had a perceptive judgement towards extraordinary matters.
“Father-Emperor, has something happened?” The crown prince was slightly worried.
“It is something we cannot participate in.” Emperor Jinghong thought of much more. What he worried most was Immortal Kong Hou had disobeyed the heavens by helping the people and the punishment was now coming.
“Discovered?” In a hidden black cave, the formation master looked at the cracked clay statue on the stone table. He threw the statute to the side and snorted. He plucked a hair and wrapped it around another statue.
“Strange…” Kong Hou looked at the mist in the surroundings and decreased her flight speed. This thick mist which suddenly appeared was suspicious and seemed to be deliberately stopping her.
She was in her soul state and could not use many of the talismans she had. She could only summon her lifebond Phoenix Head talisman. She gripped Phoenix Head in her hand as she walked forward.
The long small path seemed endless. Kong Hou could only hear her footsteps.
She could only see this one path, but was this path the correct one?
Kong Hou stopped walking and sat down where she was. With Huan Zhong and Elder Lin protecting her body, they would definitely find something was wrong with her given their powerful cultivation.
Rather than going around mindlessly and falling into a bigger trap, it was better to wait where she was.
Closing her eyes, she felt around with her mind. She gradually heard the sound of water, the tweeting of birds, and the wind blowing past leaves. There seemed to be talking in the distance.
She was not far from the city gates. There was a river nearby.
In the cave, the formation master found the hair wrapped around the statue’s neck stopped moving. He frowned. “Not falling for it?”
A young cultivator who had not cultivated for a decade yet was so strong?
Those bald donkeys of Quiet Peace Temple had left this world. Who was helping her? The formation master tried to divine but everything seemed to be hidden by fate.
“You dare ruin my matter—you will not return alive.” The formation master bit a finger and drew a seal on the statue. “Summon the evil ghosts!”
Countless growing ghosts with sharp claws neared Kong Hou. She opened her eyes and frowned. Last night, Queen Qing Luo entered her dreams and drew her soul to the queen’s tomb. She had found it strange. Female ghosts from the mortal would should not be able to do this.
Now that these ghosts were blocking her way, Kong Hou finally understood. It was not that Queen Qing Luo had been powerful, but that others had done something. She put her fingers on Phoenix Head’s strings and plucked the strings to drive away the ghosts coming at her. She said harshly, “If you do not retreat, I will destroy your souls.”
The ghosts ignored her and came in packs at Kong Hou. Kong Hou did not hesitate. She started to kill large groups of ghosts and created a path of blood. But looking at the path ahead, she did not move.
There was only one direction out of four without any ghosts blocking the way. Didn’t this tell her directly there was something wrong with this path?
They wanted her to fall for the trap in a panic?
Kong Hou snorted. She was a smart and quick-witted girl—how could she fall for something like this?
The ghosts were not difficult for her to defeat, but there were too many of them. They were endless, and as soon as she destroyed one wave, another one would climb up.
Ding, ding, ding.
The sound of a bell. Kong Hou turned around and saw a figure fly out of the mist, holding a sword in one hand that would kill a large group of ghosts with a swing. Even though it was just a shadow with blurry features, Kong Hou recognized immediately this was a part of Huan Zhong’s consciousness.
The shadow just swung his sword two times, and the ghosts disappeared under his sword.
The figure flew next to her, grabbed her hand and flew into the sky. They quickly passed through the thick mist, and the prosperous capital was underneath them. The figure holding Kong Hou’s hand gradually disappeared, but the clear bell chimes still echoed.
Kong Hou sped up and flew into the magnificent imperial palace. As she neared the palace gates, a large snake the thickness of a man’s leg blocked her path. Just as she prepared to attack with Phoenix Head, numerous arrows flew and hit the black snake.
Several armored imperial guards pulled the snake away while some eunuchs came with buckets of water and cleaned the floor.
Kong Hou: “…”
“Be alert, do not let even a cricket in.” The captain of the imperial guard said loudly, “If these animals disturb Immort Kong Hou’s rest, how can you face your conscience and the people?”
“We cannot!” The imperial guards replied in unison.
“Good that you know this.” To express his own determination, the imperial guard captain looked down and saw an ant crawling by quickly. He raised his foot and pressed it down hard, crushing the ant. “See, this official will not even let an ant by.”
The formation master smashed the clay statue on his table out of anger. Why couldn’t even the ant he had raised get near Ji Kong Hou? He took deep breaths and tried to mentally communicate with the ant. He did not receive any response.
What happened? Had even his ant been discovered?
Seeing the situation was not good, the formation master did not linger. He packed away the things in his cave and then flew without looking back.
Be vicious when needed, flee when needed—this was the rule for an evil cultivator.
Kong Hou’s spirit entered the room. Huan Zhong looked towards the doorway but did not see anything.
“Master?” Lin Hu saw Huan Zhong suddenly look towards the door and looked as well. He only saw the door swinging slightly in the wind.
Lin Hu turned to look at Kong Hou on the bed, his eyes not daring to move away.
Kong Hou struggled to open her eyes. She felt her eyelids were extremely heavy, a pile of rocks weighing on her body. Her hands and feet were not hers. She managed to open her eyes a sliver. She wanted to speak. “Huang…”
“Do not speak.” Huan Zhong held Kong Hou’s wrist with a trembling hand and poured a bottle of spirit fluid into her mouth. “Your soul left your body; you will feel temporarily uncomfortable.”
Unless this was a cultivator who reached Projection Stage or above, other cultivators would have uncomfortable symptoms when their souls left their bodies.
Kong Hou swallowed down the spirit fluid and blinked up at Huan Zhong.
“The plague has been taken care of. This world’s emperor sent major officials to the disaster area to help the people take care of the remaining matters.” Huan Zhong guessed what she wanted to ask. “Everything is well. The only one not well is you.”
Kong Hou felt there was something in her hand. Thinking that it was the box that Queen Qing Luo had given her, she raised her hand and gave the box to Huan Zhong with difficulty. Then she fell into an unworried sleep.
“Kong Hou, Kong Hou…” Seeing Kong Hou faint again, Huan Zhong grabbed her hand in a panic and passed spirit energy into her body.
Seeing Master acting so chaotically, Lin Hu could not endure it and reminded, “Master, Miss Kong Hou is only asleep. She just experienced soul projection; it is good that she has an undisturbed rest.”
Huan Zhong finally realized. Thinking of how he had just lost his composure, Huan Zhong looked dazedly at Kong Hou.
“Where did this box come from?” Lin Hu found it strange. Miss Kong Hou’s soul had left her body. Why was there now an additional box? What surprised him the most was this box had dense spirit energy.
This was the mortal world. How could there be something with so much spirit energy?
Huan Zhong handed the box to him and stood up to wet his handkerchief. He wiped Kong Hou’s hand and face. “Lin Hu, Kong Hou’s karma with the mortal world has ended. When she wakes, we will return to Lingyou World.”
“But…” Lin Hu hesitated. “We are still missing an ingredient. We need to search for it in this world…”
“No need,” Huan Zhong said. “Having Kong Hou travel all around, bowing and pleading for these imaginary medicines—what is the meaning?”
Lin Hu was silent for a moment. “Master, I know you do not want Miss Kong Hou to endure hardship, and even… but have you ever thought, one day when you are gone, another person will stand by Miss Kong Hou’s side and accompany her?”
“If there really is such a day and a good person accompanies her, I…”—Huan Zhong paused and tucked in Kong Hou’s blanket—”I will be reassured.”
“Right, starting then, another man will hold her hand and accompany her day and night, will travel the world with her, and then they will ascend together and become an immortal couple that everyone admires…”
Huan Zhong turned to look at Lin Hu. Lin Hu shook his head helplessly, “If you care so much, do not pretend to be so generous. Who can feel reassured giving someone they care about to someone else? If that person bullies her, lies to her, betrays her? And you are not next to her and cannot protect her, what should she do alone?”
“You can help me…”
“Master, you know.” Lin Hu shook his head. “I promised to follow you because you saved my life. If you are not present, I will return to the forests and not ask about worldly matters.
“Look after your own woman; anyone else you might give her to is unsuitable.” Lin Hu seemed earnest and seemed to joke at the same time, and in passing opened the box Huan Zhong had given him.
Immediately, he received a great fright. Inside, this resembling jade, resembling fungus… wasn’t… wasn’t… this the Blue Jade Ear? What had Miss Kong Hou done when her soul had left her body? Had she gone to dig up other people’s tombs?
Lin Hu was in a daze for a long time before saying, “Master, you won’t have to serve her just in this life; you will also serve her in the next one.”
Huan Zhong continued to wipe every part of Kong Hou’s hand as he ignored Lin Hu’s words.
“Miss Kong Hou found the Blue Jade Ear for you.”
“What did you say?” Huan Zhong looked back at Lin Hu, thinking he had heard incorrectly.
Lin Hu handed the open box to Huan Zhong. “Look.”
Huan Zhong gripped Kong Hou’s hand. A long time later, he said, “You are right.”
“About serving Miss Kong Hou?”
“No, about also serving her in the next life.” Looking at the glowing Blue Jade Ear, Huan Zhong put Kong Hou’s hand back inside her blanket. “This is very good.”
Lin Hu: “…”
A sword cultivator in his love ordeal always said strange things no matter what he said.
Kong Hou had a satisfying sleep. The entire world was quiet and she wasn’t willing to wake up. When she finally opened her eyes, she saw the auspicious clouds embroidered on the bed hangings. She struggled up. Kong Hou saw Huan Zhong who was meditating a few steps away.
Just as she moved slightly, Huan Zhong came out of his meditation state. He opened his bright eyes and met her gaze.
Kong Hou felt slightly stiff all over, and even her mind seemed to be stuck. Kong Hou looked dazedly at Huan Zhong. Moments later, she said, “Huan Zhong, how long did I sleep for?”
“Not long.” Huan Zhong strode next to Kong Hou and reached to hold Kong Hou’s wrist.
“Huan Zhong?” Kong Hou was puzzled by his sudden movement.
“I am examining your meridians for you.” Huan Zhong’s hand moved up slightly as he channeled spirit energy into her body. Her meridians were calm, but she did not have enough spirit energy in her spirit platform.
“Next time, do not do something so dangerous.” Huan Zhong took his hand away. “You were wounded seriously. You need to rest for a while to completely recover.”
Kong Hou sat up on the bed and stretched her stiff limbs. “Huan Zhong, accompany me to a place.”
Huan Zhong saw her ashen face and wanted to stop her. However, seeing Kong Hou’s determination, he could not say the words. He could only take out a dress from his storage ring and put it in her hand. “Change, and I will accompany you.”
Kong Hou finally found that she was wearing a tattered magic robe. However, her body felt clean without any dirt at all. Had Huan Zhong cleaned her up?
“I will wait for you outside.” Huan Zhong stood up and walked out the door.
Kong Hou quickly changed. Her arms were very stiff so she put her hair into a simple style and did not put on any makeup. When Huan Zhong walked in, Kong Hou was sketching in the air with a stick of black dye over her brow but she did dot draw.
“What is it?” Huan Zhong saw Kong Hou looked slightly depressed.
“My arms do not listen to me—I cannot do my eyebrows.” Kong Hou put the black dye back into the box, her expression dispirited.
“I will help you.” Huan Zhong bent in front of her, his expression gentle. “All right?”
Kong Hou was skeptical. Huan Zhong would draw two earthworms on her face. But facing Huan Zhong’s gentle expression, Kong Hou… Kong Hou did not bear to refuse.
Even if he drew her eyebrows into earthworms, or even drew a second pair of eyebrows on her, she could not bear to refuse.
Huan Zhong took the black dye and leaned closer to Kong Hou’s face. Kong Hou stopped breathing and looked at this face close to hers. His skin was clean and flawless, the color of his lips slightly faint. His features were so perfect that she could not find any flaw.
She smelled the faint scent of medicine. She could even feel Huan Zhong’s breathing. Kong Hou felt slightly uneasy and leaned back.
“Do not move.” Huan Zhong held her face, his tone filled with laughter. “Your brows are beautiful; I do not want to ruin their innate beauty.”
Kong Hou blinked. Now she was even blushing.
The truth was that the hand of a sword cultivator was steady. He didn’t just have good swordsmanship, he could draw her brows beautifully. Kong Hou took the mirror Huan Zhong handed over and looked several times. “Huan Zhong, you have such good skill! Have you drawn for other people before?”
“No.” Huan Zhong put the dye back in the box. “You are the first.”
Kong Hou held her slightly heated face. Fortunately, she had not powdered her face today so that she did not have to worry about the powder falling off if she touched her face.
So she was the first female that Huan Zhong drew brows for. While this was just a minor matter, Kong Hou’s low mood started to turn for the better.
Putting down the copper mirror, she stood up and said, “Let’s go.”
“Wait.” Huan Zhong took out a cape and put it over Kong Hou before walking in front of her and bending down slightly.
“Huan Zhong?” Kong Hou looked at Huan Zhong’s bent waist and took a step back in confusion. This was a perfect man, so perfect people would feel he would not easily bow.
“Your limbs are stiff, you have an empty spirit platform and should not use spirit energy.” Huan Zhong smiled. “I will carry you onto a flying talisman.”
Kong Hou was slightly embarrassed. “Will this be troublesome?”
Huan Zhong laughed. “Come up.”
Kong Hou rubbed her hand and leapt onto Huan Zhong’s back. This back was warm and firm, filled with a sense of security. Kong Hou put her hands on Huan Zhong’s shoulder and said thanks in a small voice.
Huan Zhong carried her onto the flying sword and asked, “What are we going to do now?”
“Retrieve a corpse.” Kong Hou unconsciously wrapped her arms around Huan Zhong’s neck, wanting to get some warmth from his body to drive away the tragedy of King Sang Yu and Queen Qing Luo’s love story. “I promised someone she can be buried together with her beloved.”
“All right.” Huan Zhong did not ask where Kong Hou had gone to find a corpse, and did not ask her when she had promised someone. He only accompanied her to find the remains.
Holding the box with the remains, Kong Hou entered Queen Qing Luo’s tomb again. Kong Hou put the box with King Sang Yu’s remains next to Queen Qing Luo’s jade coffin.
She closed the coffin. Kong Hou lit a stick of incense for the couple.
Born at different times, but able to spend their deaths together.
She left the grave and set up boundaries around it, pulling new mud and stones to block all the paths. Even if grave robbers came again, they could not disturb the peace.
They only reunited after a thousand and eight hundred years. In the endless days after this, let them lie together and forever not be disturbed.
Seeing the tomb and mountain merge into one, Kong Hou looked at the red flowers all around. She turned to Huan Zhong and said, “Huan Zhong, let’s go.”
Huan Zhong used an arm around her waist to carry her onto the flying sword. “All right.”
The wind blew and carried away the red flower petals, creating a rain of flowers.
A thousand and eight hundred years ago, King Sang Yu definitely never thought, as he planted the flowers, the flowers would be so bright and take over several mountains.
Time was the most beautiful thing, and the cruelest as well.
“Huan Zhong, will people who disobey the heavenly path be completely destroyed?”
Huan Zhong looked at the wild red flowers on the mountains below him. “Not always. If this person did good deeds in life and carries merit, maybe the heavens will leave behind a thread of his soul. After being nurtured by the world, maybe he has a chance to form a soul again one day.”
“That… is pretty good.” Kong Hou smiled. “At least, there is hope.”
“Right, your sect sent a message a few days ago.” Huan Zhong put an unopened letter into Kong Hou’s hand. “Do not delay important matters.”
Kong Hou opened the letter. After reading the content, she couldn’t help but smile brightly.
“Huan Zhong, my eldest shixong successfully reached Mind Manifestation Stage recently.” Kong Hou read the letter again. “In a fortnight, the sect is going to hold a Mind Manifestation ceremony for Eldest Shixiong; I need to prepare gifts for him.”
Huan Zhong stilled. The eldest disciple of Moon Perching Peak’s Mind Manifestation Ceremony—Kong Hou was returning to her sect?
“Huan Zhong, let’s return to Harmonious City together.” Kong Hou’s eyes were bright. “I will take you to taste all the food of Harmonious City.”
Huan Zhong wanted to say, as a disciple of Radiance Sect, it was not suitable to visit when he had not received an invitation.
Given Kong Hou’s present physical condition, he must send her back to Splendid Cloud Sect himself to be reassured.
Translator Ramblings: And the sadness doesn’t even last for one chapter.