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Chapter 103: Steal?
“How do you feel?”
“What feel?” Wang Tong was confused by Song He’s sudden question. He frowned and looked at Song He who clearly did not want to smile but was forcing a smile. “Song He, we have known each other many years. Without you saying, I also know how powerful Radiance Sect is, and how talented Zhong Xi is. Really, are you saying all this because you are jealous I have a good apprentice, or you want me to mediate between you and Clear Dawn Sect?”
“What does this have to do with Clear Dawn Sect?” Song He looked bewildered at Wang Tong. He rarely had worked so hard to curry favor with someone in his lifetime. The effects… did not seem to be very good?
“Your two sects want a marriage alliance to join forces and fight the evil cultivator invasion. I can understand that,” Wang Tong said sincerely. “But this will slight the two children to make such sacrifices for the cultivation world.” The sword cultivators were not enthusiastic about romance, but due to the return of the evil cultivators, they had to make this choice. No one could say anything not good.
After listening a while, Song He reacted. So Wang Tong had not understood his intentions. What did this have to do with Clear Dawn Sect, and mediation?
“Then what do you feel about our sects having a marriage alliance?” Helplessly, Song He could only speak more bluntly.
“We?” Wang Tong looked at Song He like he was looking at an idiot. “Why would your Radiance Sect ally with us—what do you want?”
Of the ten major sects, other than Quiet Peace Temple which was completely monks and nuns, all the other seven sects were good choices for a marriage alliance. Why did they want Splendid Cloud Sect? Wang Tong and Song He had known each other for many years and so he said straightforwardly, “Song He, I am not being unduly humble, but your honored sect and ours most likely are not suited. Your honored sect disciples are self-disciplined and steady geniuses of the cultivation world. The sword is the most important thing to you. The female disciples of Splendid Cloud Sect are different. They like material items, good food, and are lively. Radiance Sect disciples cannot accept the atmosphere of Splendid Cloud Sect, and our Splendid Cloud Sect disciples cannot manage to stay in Radiance Sect. Over time, they would inevitably feel hatred and become enemies.
“If the conflict between juniors becomes ugly, Splendid Cloud Sect is not one to let our children be slighted, and that will affect the relationship between our sects.” Wang Tong shook his head. “Not suitable, not suitable.”
Seeing Wang Tong’s reaction, Song He’s heart felt cold. A refusal without even any consideration. Shizhi‘s matter most likely would not be easy.
Seeing Song He look dazedly at him, Wang Tong said with good intention, “In truth, of the three generations of disciples in Splendid Cloud Sect, none have had an union. Your honored sect disciples are good, but I fear we cannot find suitable disciples for an union.
“Do not overthink. Even without a marriage alliance, when the evil cultivators invade, our humble sect will not retreat even one step in front of the evil cultivators.” Splendid Cloud Sect knew that Radiance Sect had shouldered responsibilities that other sects of the cultivation world could not. While Splendid Cloud Sect could not do the same to the degree of Radiance Sect, they would not watch as Radiance Sect fought alone against the evil cultivators.
“There is no need to discuss this matter anymore.” Wang Tong waved his hand and said, “Lucky you only mentioned this to me and did not say it in front of the sect master. With his personality, he will not hesitate in refusing you. Then it will be awkward for everyone.” He poured a cup of tea for Song He. “Here, drink tea.”
Song He: ” …”
His heart was in a panic. He could not drink.
Kong Hou and Wu Chuan went to visit the three elders, and on their return, Wu Chuan asked her about what she had seen and heard during her travels. Seeing that she had not been slighted outside, Wu Chuan finally recovered his usual stoic nature. “Moon Perching Peak is here. Shimei go up; I have to report to Master.”
“Thank you, Eldest Shixiong Wu Chuan.” Kong Hou bowed to Wu Chuan with a smile and flew on her flying sword down to the clouds. Wu Chuan looked at the joyful back of the young woman and smiled slightly.
After descending in the clouds, Kong Hou did not immediately return to Moon Perching Peak but went to Five Elements Hall.
The steward of Five Elements Hall saw Kong Hou and went forward respectfully. “Kong Hou Shishu.”
“I came to pay debts,” Kong Hou said. “How many spirit stones does my master owe?”
“Shishu, wait for a moment; I will investigate now.” The steward bowed to Kong Hou and started to flip through Wang Tong’s ledger. In all of Splendid Cloud Sect, Wang Tong’s ledger was easier to find than those of the sect master and the sect eldest disciple because he always owed debts.
Three centuries ago, he owed the sect several hundred years of his monthly allowance. Fortunately Cheng Yi and Tan Feng Shibo had paid much for him and he only owed fifty years now. With Kong Hou Shishu, Wang Tong Grand Shishu finally had no more debts.
After calculating how much Wang Tong owed, Kong Hou took out the spirit stones she had obtained from the secret realm and finally managed to settle Wang Tong’s debts. Kong Hou took a pile of loan receipts that Wang Tong had signed back to Moon Perching Peak. Kong Hou walked to Wang Tong’s cave residence and detected the presence of another person. She shoved the receipts into her storage ring and stopped skipping as she walked. She bowed towards the cave residence. “Apprentice Kong Hou greets Master.”
Kong Hou went in and saw Peak Master Song He of Radiance Sect was sitting in front of Wang Tong. “Junior greets Song He Shishu.”
“We are one family; no need for such courtesy.” Song He saw Kong Hou and became even warmer. He waved for her to sit, and then started to ask if she was tired from travelling, was she thirsty, had she encountered problems, if she was bullied, she had to tell him etc. etc.
Wang Tong bit his cup at the side, and looked at Song He like he was a kidnapper. He knew that Radiance Sect’s people would not suddenly became so diligent and come to his place all the time for no reason. So they wanted to steal his disciple.
This was shameless. Splendid Cloud Sect finally managed to get a pentad spirit base disciple, and other sects coveted her.
Shameless, so shameless.
“Kong Hou.” Wang Tong put down the cup and waved to Kong Hou. “Come to Master.”
Wang Tong emphasized the word “master” heavily to let Song He know and give up. Otherwise, their friendship of many years would be thrown into the gutter.
“Brother Wang Tong and your apprentice have such a good relationship,” Song He awkwardly flattered.
“This child has been filial from young, considerate and accomplished. Whether or not she is talented is not important.” Wang Tong took out spirit fruits from his storage ring, put them on the table, and pretended to accidentally pull them in Kong Hou’s direction. “Eat first.”
“Thank you, Master.” Kong Hou took out some spirit fruits from her storage ring. “I obtained these in the secret realm. Master, taste them.”
“Good, good.” Wang Tong took the fruit. His gaze swept across the fruits and he “casually” handed one to Song He. “Have a taste.”
Song He gripped the fruit and looked out of the corner of his eyes at the spirit fruits remaining in Wang Tong’s hand. He didn’t know if he was overthinking, but he felt that the spirit fruit in his hand was the smallest of them all?
He looked as Wang Tong and Kong Hou interacted. Their close relationship was not pretense. As a master, Song He was forever dignified and serious in front of his disciples, and was never naturally close with his apprentices like Wang Tong, resembling a father-daughter relationship.
He knew if he continued to stay here, he would be inconsiderate.
“Brother Wang Tong, Kong Hou Shizhi, farewell.” Song He held the spirit fruit, exchanged greetings with Wang Tong and walked away.
Kong Hou stood and saw him to the gate. “Song He Shishu, walk slowly.”
“Shizhi, do not follow.” Song He smiled, turned and walked away from the entrance to the cave.
Returning to the residence, Song He saw his shizhi standing by the door and waiting for him. Thinking of Wang Tong’s attitude, he only said, “We will return and speak.”
Huan Zhong silently followed him. The disciples guarding the room saw them enter and all left. Song He pointed at the bench. “Sit.” He looked at his shizhi who had a calm gaze but whose fingers were curled with tension. “I talked to Wang Tong.”
Huan Zhong immediately looked at him.
“Wang Tong is not enthusiastic about this and even said bluntly if a disciple of Splendid Cloud Sect was together with a disciple of Radiance Sect, they would become enemies.” Song He sighed. “The disciples of Splendid Cloud Sect cannot adjust to living in Radiance Sect.”
The room quieted.
“It’s all right if she cannot adjust—I can stay with her in Splendid Cloud Sect,” Huan Zhong said. “Here is also good.”
Song He looked in shock at Huan Zhong. He hadn’t expected such thoughts. In the past, he and the sect leader had laughed about this. In their view, with Zhong Xi’s pursuit of the sword, he was impossible to leave Radiance Sect, but…
“You do not fear that this matter would be negative for your reputation?” Song He calmed down after his shock and said, “How many people are jealous of you after these years of your fame spreading outside? If you marry into Splendid Cloud Sect, the jealous people will celebrate with this matter. Can you tolerate it?”
Huan Zhong slowly shook his head. “What do the words of others have to do with me? In the past, I did not care, and I will not care in the future either.”
“All right.” Song He nodded. “The children of Radiance Sect should have such determination. Do not fear rumors, do not fear the hearts of others—having an upright heart and self is the essence of cultivation.
“Do not worry, I will continue to discuss this matter with Wang Tong.” Song He thought for a moment. “Splendid Cloud Sect cares about love. If you and Miss Kong Hou are in love, Splendid Cloud Sect will not make things too difficult for you.”
“This junior knows.” Huan Zhong looked down. A long time later, he said, “Shishu, I have joined the sect for more than three hundred years; each year, each day, I thought of the path and the sword. That day at the gates of Harmonious City, I saw Kong Hou standing in the snow, the only color amidst the white.”
He had made Lin Hu drive the carriage next to her, raised the curtain, and saw her spring-like smile.
What had he thought at the time?
Such a lively little girl.
Song He looked on as his shizhi daydreamed and shook his head helplessly. With this kind of deep-rooted emotion, if Splendid Cloud Sect did not agree to him marrying in, he might just buy a house at the base of Splendid Cloud Mountain and settle down.
Inside Wang Tong’s cave residence, Kong Hou gave a thick stack of debt bills to Wang Tong. “Master, starting next month, you can get an allowance.”
“Good apprentice, you left for half a year and became accomplished.” Wang Tong threw the receipts to the side and said to Kong Hou, “Did you spend all the spirit stones you saved on all this?”
“I still have a lot.” Kong Hou spoke of how the sect master of Radiance Sect had sent her gifts. “Huan Zhong took great care of me on the trip; I didn’t suffer at all.”
“If you didn’t suffer, could you have had a mental breakthrough and entered Mind Activation Stage?” Wang Tong would not believe such words. “Child, how did you get the same problem as Cheng Yi—you only report the joys and not the worries.”
“I’m afraid you will worry.” Kong Hou hugged Wang Tong’s arm and swung it. “Master, where did Second Shixiong go?”
“He is protecting your eldest shixiong.” Wang Tong thought for a while. “Apprentice, stay in the sect and cultivate in the next while. Next year, at spring, there is a sect conference for the cultivation world. Follow and go see some things.”
Kong Hou hesitated. “Master, I want to travel with Huan Zhong.”
Wang Tong knew that Kong Hou had requested medicine for Huan Zhong recently. He said after a long silence, “Zhong Xi is a rare genius in our cultivation world. Accompanying him to find medicinal ingredients is an important matter, and this master does not forbid you. But you cannot slack on cultivation. Your cultivation is low now, and this is a time for growth. How about letting Zhong Xi live in our sect for half a year? Let your Qing Yuan Shishu take care of him, and wait until after the conference to continue searching for medicines?”
Radiance Sect wanted to take away his obedient apprentice. He would leave their most outstanding discipe in Splendid Cloud Sect. Let’s see who suffers then.
“This is good. I wonder if Huan Zhong will be willing.” Kong Hou added, “Master, I forgot to tell you something. When Huan Zhong and I cultivate together, we can cause harmony of the five elements, so everything has even better effect.”
“You mean you and Zhong Xi can have universal paired cultivation?” Wang Tong’s eyes lit up. This was something once in a millennium. He saw his young apprentice still ignorant of the importance of the matter and didn’t know whether to laugh or be angry.
After his joy passed, Wang Tong took a deep breath. “Is Zhong Xi easy to get along with?”
“All good,” Kong Hou said. “Master, if Huan Zhong is willing, after Eldest Shixiong‘s ceremony, he and I will go into a half year of seclusion.”
“Good apprentice, do you think we can get Zhong Xi to join our sect voluntarily?”
If Radiance Sect could steal, why couldn’t they?
Translator Ramblings: Wang Tong’s debt free!