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Chapter 97: Not Angry
“The palace gates have opened!”
The imperial guards and servants who had been waiting outside the palace for several days saw the gates open, and moved to the sides to welcome the immortals out.
Kong Hou saw everyone by the gates when she came out. “Everyone, you worked hard recently.”
No one had expected Immortal Kong Hou to speak to them and they shook their heads excitedly. “Immortal, you are too polite.”
They would remember today and record this into their family records. This would be enough to boast about for centuries.
Kong Hou was dressed in a grand dress, her hair also made up specially. She was leaving this world today. She had come with grandeur, and she would leave with grandeur as well. When passing by the imperial guards, Kong Hou stopped and said to the imperial guard captain, “Thank you, Official and the imperial guards, for driving away the pests for me.”
“Immortal has done much for the people, and these small ones can do very little for Immortal.” The imperial guard captain was shocked. He had not thought that Immortal Kong Hou would know what they had done as she had stayed inside the entire time. “It is our honor to help Immortal.”
Kong Hou’s gaze moved across them. “I see three among you who have hidden wounds. Were you injured?”
The captain was shocked. The fellow soldiers who had worked for Immortal Kong Hou this time had all experienced hardship. His Majesty had been on the throne for ten years and encountered several assassinations. Some from the imperial guards had died, others had been wounded. This was normal. He had not expected Immortal Kong Hou to see at a glance.
Kong Hou waved her sleeve and sent three streams of spirit energy into the blocked meridians of the three imperial guards. She said with a smile, “I have been in the mortal world some days, so it is time to return.”
“Immortal…” The captain of the guard had not expected Kong Hou to suddenly mention departure. He was speechless for a long time. He didn’t know if he should try to keep her or respect Immortal’s intentions and send her away. He peeked at the two immortals behind Immortal Kong Hou. One was like a bare blade people did not dare to look at. The other was like a tiger that people did not dare disrespect.
“Please wait.” Emperor Jinghong walked over followed by the empress, crown prince, and the major officials of the six ministries. After the Ji Dynasty was overthrown, Kong Hou had spent almost four years as a puppet princess but had not communicated much with Emperor Jinghong.
She and this emperor could be called familiar strangers.
“Thank you, Immortal, for not holding the past against us and saving the people of the world.” Emperor Jinghong neatened his clothing, then lifted them and knelt down to Kong Hou. He remembered when he had taken the world, he had made Kong Hou kneel like this. At the time, he had felt the Ji Family was full of sin. They should not just kneel to him, but also to the people of the world.
But now Kong Hou had saved the tens of thousands of people in the world. Even if he was the emperor, he should kneel to Kong Hou.
“Your Majesty does not have to be so.” Kong Hou lifted a hand to stop Emperor Jinghong and did not allow his knees to touch the ground. “I saved the people because the Ji Family owes the people, and I cannot watch as the people are in pain and hardship. When I leave this world, Your Majesty, do not treat the Ji Family specially because of me. The land and the people are the most important. I hope Your Majesty and the crown prince will not forget why your overthrew the Ji Dynasty.”
Emperor Jinghong bowed again. “I will remember.”
“I have ended my karma and cannot easily come to the mortal world any longer.” Kong Hou turned to look at the grand palace and memorized its appearance. “I hope the people of the world will not endure more war and plague, that they will have good weather and peaceful lives.”
Emperor Jinghong looked at the ethereal woman in front of him and suddenly thought, if the deposed Emperor Ji had had this personality and breadth of mind, he would have been the best subject in supporting his monarch and not the one who caused war and took the throne.
“After today, I fear we will not meat again. Everyone, take care.” Kong Hou smiled and bowed slightly to everyone. Her curved brows and bright eyes caused the empress to fall into a daze. She seemed to see the little girl who, back in those days, had sneaked behind the fake mountain and eaten desserts.
Ji Kong Hou was still that Ji Kong Hou.
“Farewell, Immortal Kong Hou.” The empress bowed slowly and watched as the young girl flew upwards with her friends. She only straightened the body when they disappeared into the clouds.
She knew this was the last time she would see Ji Kong Hou.
Mortal and divine would be separated and never meet.
If time could go back, she would not watch coldly as the little girl ate behind the fake mountain and then leave silently. She would take the other’s hand, give her the best food, and let her live the true life of a princess.
Yet all this would not start over.
Like those past opportunities, and…—the empress turned and looked at the emperor who was no longer handsome and young—and this man she would no longer love.
“They cannot see me now?” Kong Hou peeked down from the clouds.
“Don’t worry, they cannot see.” Lin Hu whistled. The winged horses flew out of the clouds pulling the carriage. He turned to look at Kong Hou and jumped onto the carriage.
“As long as they cannot see.” Kong Hou immediately turned into a boneless slob, falling back onto Huan Zhong’s flying sword. She did not want to move. She had used too much spirit energy and when her soul had returned to her body, she had been attacked by the evil cultivator. Being able to fly away from Emperor Jinghong with dignity had used up all her spirit energy.
“One who wants face will suffer.” Lin Hu shook his head minutely. He did not understand these young people. She almost couldn’t walk and still cared about her face.
Just after muttering this, he saw Master glare at him. He closed his mouth.
How did he forget that his master was very protective and could not be offended?
“It is not comfortable on the sword.” Huan Zhong bent and carried Kong Hou off the flying sword. He flew to the carriage and put her onto the cushions. “If uncomfortable, sleep for a while. When we reach Lingyou World, you might feel better after cultivating a few days.”
Kong Hou yawned and wrapped the blanket around her. “When we return, we should do paired cultivation; that would have better effect.”
“All right.” Seeing her wrap herself into a worm, Huan Zhong found a thin blanket to put over her. “Sleep.”
The passage between Lingyou World and other worlds would not always send someone to the same place, but randomly over Lingyou World. The entrances were around the suburbs of Harmonious City, Pei City, Camellia Mountain, Snow Lake, and Hundred Flower Valley. So in all four seasons, cultivators would set up stalls and sell curios of the cultivation world at high prices.
A box of pastries could be sold for two spirit stones, and a handkerchief for ten.
Kong Hou did not know the entrances were not fixed. When she came from the mortal world to Lingyou World, she had been sent directly near Harmonious City.
When she was woken up by the sound of hawking merchants outside the carriage and looked, she found the accents of the hawkers outside were not quite right. She thought that the hawkers were not local.
“Celestial, buy this bead flower. I added seals to this bead flower, and it can give off multicolored light at night.”
Kong Hou: “…”
She wasn’t a lantern—why would she wear a flower like this at night?
She looked outside. Kong Hou said hesitantly, “This… doesn’t seem to be Harmonious City?”
“This is near Camellia Mountain but not far from Harmonious City. We will only need a few days to reach there,” Lin Hu said. “Miss Kong Hou, do you have anything you wish to buy?”
Kong Hou silently shook her head and pulled her head back into the carriage. She turned to Huan Zhong and said, “Huan Zhong, let’s do paired cultivation.”
“You do not need those things?” Huan Zhong asked.
“No,” Kong Hou said. “We will reach Harmonious City in a few days. If Master and the others find out I was wounded, they will shut me in my cave residence for a few years and not let me out. It is better to do paired cultivation early.”
Huan Zhong lit a stick of incense, sat next to Kong Hou and closed his eyes.
An unknown amount of time later, when he opened his eyes, it was dark outside and Kong Hou was looking at him with a tilted head.
“What is it?” Huan Zhong uneasily avoided Kong Hou’s gaze. He did not dare let Kong Hou discover his thoughts. Thinking about how he had such intentions towards a seventeen-year-old girl while he was over three centuries old, Huan Zhong felt that he had an ugly part inside of him.
“Nothing,” Kong Hou said to Huan Zhong embarrassedly. He was just good-looking. She lowered her head. “Elder Lin said we can rest inside the city tonight and travel again tomorrow.”
Huan Zhong thought of Kong Hou’s present condition. “That’s good. When we find an inn, you can have a hot bath.”
“That’s… ” Kong Hou felt slightly distressed. She had relied on cleaning spells these past days and almost forgot what a hot water bath felt like. She lifted the curtain and said to Lin Hu who was driving, “Elder Lin, Huan Zhong has decided to go find an inn to rest at tonight.”
“All right.” Lin Hu lightly swung the whip across the backs of the horses. The horses whinnied and flew faster in the darkness.
“When we met Eldest Shixiong at Auspicious Pavilion, he was still in Core Formation. I had not thought he would become a Mind Manifestation forebear so soon.” Kong Hou’s eyes were bright when she mentioned her eldest shixiong. “I heard Qing Yuan Shishu say that he thought Eldest Shixiong was very talented back then and wanted to have him as a disciple. But my master got there first. This matter happened a few centuries ago but Qing Yuan Shishu still cannot forget.”
She frequently heard the elders of the sect say that Eldest Shixiong had great cultivation talent. Before she joined the sect, Eldest Shixiong and Wu Chuan Shixiong had the most potential in the sect.
“While Core Formation and Mind Manifestation are just one stage apart, they are completely different. Breaking the core to manifest will require not only cultivation, but more importantly a state of mind. Path Friend Cheng Yi breaking through his mental barrier to reach Mind Manifestation Stage is a matter worthy of celebration.”
Cultivators with potential and ability to work hard who reached Core Formation were one in a hundred. But from Core Formation to Mind Manifestation, that was one in ten thousand, and even one in a hundred thousand.
Other than those pseudo Mind Manifestation who were formed depending on pills, Lingyou World had a limited number of Mind Manifestation cultivators. Cheng Yi reaching Mind Manifestation in just less than three centuries of age was a celebratory matter for Splendid Cloud Sect and also a good thing for all of Lingyou World.
The more young and powerful cultivators there were, the more hope the cultivation world could see.
Lin Hu found the best inn after entering the city. When the three walked into the inn, they heard some cultivators talking loudly.
“I wonder what good luck Splendid Cloud Sect got these recent years. First they got a genius pentad spirit base disciple, and now a Mind Manifestation disciple not yet three hundred. The other sects managed to stand for so many years based on effort. Only Splendid Cloud Sect relies on luck.”
Some laughed and agreed and some felt the worlds were not right. “When has Splendid Cloud Sect lacked for powerful people these years? Disregarding the deceased elders—Qiu Shuang, Gu Yu, and Shu Jiu, who in Lingyou World would not give these three elders face? Even their sect master and the peak master of Moon Perching Peak have Projection Stage cultivation. The cultivation of one person is luck, but can so many people also be luck?”
“These words are logical. Only you feel the disciples of Splendid Cloud Sect are lazy and should be bullied. Think back. How many disciples of the ten major sects would say something negative about Splendid Cloud Sect outside? Us minor sects will only watch when we encounter major events. Those major sect disciples see more clearly than us. Their attitudes towards Splendid Cloud Sect say it all.”
Which sect that reached the top ten would be a simple one? You could not think that Splendid Cloud Sect was the weakest because the conduct of their disciples was different from that of others and they didn’t care what others thought. A disciple who occasionally misstepped but still survived for thousands of years was more terrifying.
“Splendid Cloud Sect is most powerful in that they are united. However, after this matter, I fear the peace will be broken.” A cultivator with a blue beard shook his head and had a profound expression.
“You speak nonsense.”
After everyone stopped talking, the blue-bearded cultivator smiled and said, “Supposedly, the sect master position of Splendid Cloud Sect almost went to the peak master of Moon Perching Peak, Wang Tong. But for some reason, Heng Yan stole the sect master position. While they have looked peaceful these years, Wang Tong’s eldest apprentice is Mind Manifestation now, but Heng Yan’s eldest apprentice, the sect disciple of Splendid Cloud Sect, Wu Chuan, has not yet reached Mind Manifestation. Would they two not be in an awkward state when interacting in the future? And that pentad spirit base disciple also seems to have joined Moon Perching Peak. The disciples who are getting famous are all Wang Tong’s disciples. How can there be no conflict?”
Everyone heard these words and agreed. There would be some conflict between sects, the disciples of sect masters and those of peak masters. Also, Wu Chuan was the sect disciple but his cultivation could not match that of a peak disciple. Even if he had no thoughts now, when disciples started to talk, he could not avoid feeling depressed.
Kong Hou and the others booked their rooms, sat down at a table in the hall and ordered some hot dishes and soups. Hearing these enthusiastic path friends analyze the future situation of Splendid Cloud Sect, Kong Hou found it novel.
The sect master position almost passed to her master back then, but her master was not willing at all. The other shishu also found all kinds of reasons to refuse. Because Heng Yan Shibo was the eldest, he had no reasons to refuse and was forced to take over the entire sect.
As to whether Wu Chuan Shixiong would feel jealousy at Eldest Shixiong reaching Ming Manifestation…
Kong Hou thought of Wu Chuan Shixiong‘s gaze toward her when she successfully reached Base Building—it had been like he discovered a treasure trove. Her subconscious told her that Wu Chuan Shixiong would not be jealous. He most likely would not keep his dignified composure and would be laughing secretly in his room.
“Do not listen to others.” Huan Zhong saw Kong Hou in a daze and thought she objected to the other’s words. “The matters of the ten sects are something many cultivators gossip about. Even if others hear, they will not take it as truth.”
“Not for that.” Kong Hou shook her head. “I’m just curious how unreliable Splendid Cloud Sect is in the eyes of other people.”
Huan Zhong: “…”
Lin Hu: “…”
It could not be described in a few words.
“Ha, I think that you are worried for nothing. You said so much—did you receive an invitation for Forebear Cheng Yi’s ceremony?”
The other people laughed upon hearing this.
“So what if he reached Mind Manifestation at almost three centuries old?” The blue-bearded cultivator who was being laughed at could not let it go. “Radiance Sect’s Spirit Master Zhong Xi is not much older than him and is in Mind Dividing Stage. Compared to Spirit Master Zhong Xi, this Forebear Cheng Yi is lacking.”
“That is true.” A woman in the corner with skinny brows and red lips said, “In the cultivation world, who can compare to Spirit Master Zhong Xi? Base Building in his teens, Core Formation in his thirties, Mind Manifestation at a century, Projection at two centuries, Mind Dividing at three centuries. This one will be his concubine if such a powerful cultivator wishes it. But these sword cultivators are all so emotionless. Even the most beautiful woman, in their eyes, cannot compare to their swords.”
“Do not be delusional. People from Joyful Sect like you—don’t say becoming concubine to a disciple from the ten major sects, even if you get only one night, that is your good fortune.”
The female cultivator was not angry at these words. Her sect cared about consent of both partners in pleasure. The merging of yin and yang was normal; she never felt it was a shameful thing. She laughed and responded, “Even if we cannot sleep with them, we won’t sleep with you.”
“Celestial, look at me—do I qualify to warm your bed?”
After drinking and eating, when there were many people together, once someone started, they could not stop.
“Do not listen.” Huan Zhong reached out to cover Kong Hou’s ears. “These are not polite words.”
Huan Zhong’s hands were warm and large, almost covering Kong Hou’s entire face. She blinked in confusion. She only saw Huan Zhong’s mouth move, but did not know what he was saying. Had Huan Zhong sealed her hearing?
[Let’s go upstairs and eat.]
Huan Zhong said to Kong Hou using a sound spell: [There are too many people here; it is a foul atmosphere.]
Kong Hou nodded and handed her hand to Huan Zhong with great familiarity. Huan Zhong held her hand.
Someone noticed this scene and laughed. “Everyone, stop talking. This young master is so embarrassed he is taking his little beauty to hide in his room.”
“We can talk, but they cannot listen.”
“Maybe his spirits are heated and he is returning to…”
Before the person could finish speaking, he was slammed against the wall by a burst of spirit energy.
Huan Zhong stood on the stairs and looked at these cultivators who had lost their boundaries in their joking. His expression was cold.
The other people stopped and shuddered in fear at his action. The person against the wall was not seriously wounded. He just lost his two front teeth and was bleeding from a cut lip. He wiped the blood from his mouth with a sleeve and woke up from his excitement.
When people gathered and gossiped together, they were easily affected by the mood. They became daring and would do some things without thinking.
This person finally realized he had walked in front of death’s gate after losing his front teeth.
A person who could slam him to the wall with a wave of his hand could kill him in a blink. He should rejoice this cold-looking male cultivator was not a bloodthirsty person. Otherwise, he would have no chance of climbing off the ground right now.
“Transcendent, please calm down,” the cultivator said, lisping due to losing his teeth. “This one forgot himself and will not dare speak more nonsense.”
Huan Zhong coldly looked away and saw Kong Hou looking at him. His eyes grew warmer.
“Huan Zhong, my ears are uncomfortable.” Kong Hou rubbed her ears and blinked at him, hoping he would release the spell.
Huan Zhong turned to glance at everyone. Everyone inhaled in shock and thought they saw a sword leaving its sheath.
Seeing everyone’s response, Huan Zhong turned and pointed at Kong Hou’s ears. Kong Hou’s hearing recovered. She looked back at the cultivator who had lost his teeth. “Huan Zhong, what did he just say?”
“He insulted us,” Huan Zhong said calmly. “But he has recognized his mistake and will no longer do so.”
“It is not good to insult others. You should pay attention to your influence when there are a lot of people.” Kong Hou thought, this person’s insults must have been ugly. Otherwise, Huan Zhong would not act against an Energy Refinement cultivator based on his personality.
“Yes…” The cultivator was swallowing his teeth and blood. “Celestial is right. I will not dare in the future.”
Kong Hou nodded and shook Huan Zhong’s sleeve. “Huan Zhong, let’s return to our rooms.”
The cultivator covered his mouth and cursed inwardly. They were holding hands and returning to their rooms together but still didn’t allow people to speak of it. They were so pretentious.
“I have not seen such a good-looking man in many years.” The female cultivator of Joyful Sect looked at Huan Zhong’s face and couldn’t resist licking her lips. “If a man like this is willing to stay a night with me, I will be willing to dig out my heart for him.”
Kong Hou stopped walking and turned to look at the female cultivator.
Thin brows, narrow slanted eyes, thin lips. While she did not have soul-stealing beauty, she had her own presence. She frowned. Then she looked at Huan Zhong and pulled him up the stairs.
“Sir, are you willing to discuss yinyang with this servant? This servant is willing to gift you a first-class talisman.” The female cultivator from Joyful Sect stood and said seductively, “In the past, it was always the men who came with gifts to beg me to keep them company. But for you, I am willing to change my rules.”
Men liked good-looking women, women also liked good-looking men. The female cultivator thought it was good to even look a while longer at such a good-looking man.
The other male cultivators were jealous of Huan Zhong but did not dare speak. They feared the other would smash their teeth as well.
The method of Joyful Sect was one of yinyang harmony. It benefited themselves, and also the people who were in union with them. They also had a principle of not touching men and women who already had a path union ceremony. Any disciple who disobeyed this rule would be expelled from the sect and their cultivation taken away.
So while the disciples of Joyful Sect were unscrupulous in their relations, no one felt they were unorthodox.
“People have to have principles.” Kong Hou turned towards the female cultivator unthinkingly and said stiffly, “Without standards, there are no laws.”
The female cultivator said, “For good-looking men, it is all right to abandon one’s principles.” She threw a flirtatious look at Huan Zhong. “Sir, can you see my regard?”
Kong Hou took a deep breath and reminded herself this was a beauty, a charming hundred percent beauty. She would not be angry.
Huan Zhong held Kong Hou’s hand, his expression cool. He did not react to the female cultivator’s words, as though the female cultivator did not exist at all.
The female cultivator: “…”
It was so awkward she was acting alone in front of so many people.
Sword cultivators were as boring and stoic as the rumors said. Such a waste of a good face.
She raised an eyebrow, and saw Huan Zhong and Kong Hou’s clasped hands. She woke up immediately from the beauty. Just now, she only thought that this man was delicious but almost forgot the forbidden rule of the sect.
The female cultivator hurriedly bowed to Kong Hou, her voice returning to normal. “Apologies. I just forgot myself and acted inappropriately, making a mistake. Miss, please forgive me.”
Just now, she saw this girl was young and thought she was the sword cultivator’s shimei. So when everyone else had been teasing, she had not participated. Now that she looked, she found it was all wrong.
When would fellow disciples walk hand in hand?
And that sword cultivator—he did not notice her because all of his attention was on the young girl.
Kong Hou had not expected the female cultivator to immediately change her tune and felt complicated. She teased Huan Zhong but apologized to her. Wasn’t there a problem here?
“Just now, I did not notice you were lovers; this one made a mistake.”
“Ah?” Kong Hou’s eyes widened.
She and Huan Zhong?!
Translator Ramblings: Huan Zhong and Kong Hou have put their public announcement before defining their relationship.
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