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Chapter 107: Collaborate
“Huan Zhong, why have you come here?” Kong Hou saw Huan Zhong and was slightly surprised.
“I made a hairpin recently and saw you over here, so I came over.” Huan Zhong gave the box containing the hairpin to Kong Hou. Kong Hou took the box. Looking at the beautiful and exquisite hairpin in the box, she almost couldn’t contain her smile.
Forging a hairpin was something people would have a hard time connecting to the famous Spirit Master Zhong Xi. Such a gentle and good side that only she knew, which made Kong Hou feel that she was special to Huan Zhong.
“Do you like it?” Huan Zhong saw her in a daze holding the box. His fingers twisted together behind his back. “I have never made hairpins for women before. If you do not like it, I… I will make a new one for you.”
“Very beautiful, I like it.” Kong Hou closed the box, her eyes curving in a smile. “So beautiful on your first try—Huan Zhong, you are amazing.”
“As long as you like it.” His fingers relaxed slightly. Huan Zhong looked down at Gui Ling who was standing under the tree. “The sword is within one’s heart—if your heart is sincere, you have the path. It is late; this little shidi should rest early.”
“Yes.” Gui Ling’s hand trembled as he held the sword. He almost didn’t dare to look at Huan Zhong’s eyes. Was this the strength of a top-tier sect disciple? Just a glance would make people feel the urge to retreat.
“I will see you back.” Huan Zhong looked away and said to Kong Hou, “There are many people in the sect recently; I am worried if you are alone.”
“This is Splendid Cloud Sect—there is nothing to worry about.” Kong Hou happily put the hairpin box into her storage ring. Let me see you back. Our sect has many peaks and residences; I worry you will not find the correct place in the night.”
Huan Zhong’s expression froze sightly. After a slight pause, he nodded and said, “Then I will trouble Kong Hou.”
Gui Ling stood in his spot, watching Kong Hou and Huan Zhong leave. He felt slightly bewildered. Maybe he had overthought? Kong Hou Shijie and Spirit Master Huan Zhong did not look like they were in love.
Maybe the two were, but when Spirit Master Huan Zhong suggested seeing Shijie back, Shijie should have agreed rather than refusing and then suggesting seeing the other back?
Maybe… there was a reason why the last three generations of Splendid Cloud Sect had not managed to marry. Not understanding the mood would be one of the top three reasons.
The next morning, when Gui Ling and the other disciples came out of morning class, they saw the guests from the major sects leaving. He was about to dodge these people when a jade pendant fell in front of him. He raised his head, and saw Sect Master Shuang Qing on the jade stairs together with his disciples.
Gui Ling bent to pick up the jade pendant and presented it to Shuang Qing with two hands.
Shuang Qing reached to take the jade pendant and said indifferently, “Thank you.”
“I do not dare.” Gui Ling turned and moved back, but his sleeve was grabbed by Zhou Xiao from behind Shuang Qing. “You are… Gui Ling Shidi?”
Gui Ling turned and saw the other disciples of Splendid Cloud Sect in the distance. He pulled his sleeve out of Zhou Xiao’s hand. He bowed and said, “Transcendent Zhou, Gui Ling has no fate to be a disciple of Primary Luck Sect and cannot accept you calling me shidi.”
Zhou Xiao had an embarrassed expression. He recalled that when Gui Ling had entered the sect, he had a conflict with an apprentice and then had been expelled from the sect after some unknown events. Meeting Gui Ling now and hearing him mention this, he felt slightly guilty. When that matter had occurred, he had investigated, and Gui Ling Shidi hadn’t been in the wrong. But Gui Ling Shidi had already been expelled from Primary Luck Sect. When he and the other disciples went travelling a while ago, he had searched for Gui Ling and didn’t find any of his traces. He hadn’t expected Gui Ling to join Splendid Cloud Sect.
Splendid Cloud Sect treated their disciples like children, and the disciples were happy with each other. Even the pentad spirit base apprentice Celestial Kong Hou was a gentle and friendly person. Gui Ling staying here was actually a good matter. At least the apprentices of Splendid Cloud Sect would not bully others, and Gui Ling would not be slighted.
After thinking this through, Zhou Xiao was in a better mood. “This is good.”
Gui Ling was silent with his head low.
Shuang Qing’s tone was cool and ambiguous, “Of course it is good. Splendid Cloud Sect is one of the ten major sects. He has a single spirit base and has a better future here.”
“Master…” Zhou Xiao found the words were not quite right. He just wanted to say a few words of comfort when he saw people from Radiance Sect coming over. He whispered, “Master, Peak Master Song He is coming over.”
Hearing Song He’s name, Shuang Qing felt slightly displeased. Previously, Song He had been praising Splendid Cloud Sect everywhere and made him have nothing to say.
“Sect Master Shuang Qing.” Radiance Sect and Primary Luck Sect did not have much of a friendship, but as a representative of the top sect, Song He should appear friendly to the people. “Sect Master is not going to tour Harmonious City for a few more days?”
“Harmonious City is a good place, but this humble sect has many other matters. This one cannot be in two places at once and has to bid farewell,” Shuang Qing said with regret. “When these disciples become accomplished, I can retreat behind the scenes and enjoy my life.”
“As a teacher, one does worry.” Song He and Shuang Qing exchanged a few words as they walked out. Shuang Qing stayed half a step behind and turned to look at Gui Ling.
Gui Ling detected Shuang Qing’s gaze. But he buried his head and wasn’t willing to look up.
Huan Zhong walked silently behind Song He. Shuang Qing noticed him and nodded in greeting. Huan Zhong slowly bowed his head to the other and saw Song He outside the gates of Splendid Cloud Sect. “Shishu, Cang Hai Shixiong, please.”
“In Splendid Cloud Sect, follow the rules of Splendid Cloud Sect, respect your elders, and do not slack off.” Song He worried his shizhi was not skilled at gaining favor with elders and couldn’t resist saying some more. “Be on good terms with your friends. Do not worry about Radiance Sect; we are there.”
Radiance Sect did not lack manpower. It was more important that Shizhi could find a romantic partner.
“Thank you Shishu, this junior will remember.” Huan Zhong bowed respectfully to Song He and took a step back.
Shuang Qing finally realized that Spirit Master Huan Zhong was not planning to return to Radiance Sect and was staying in Splendid Cloud Sect as a guest. What was good about Splendid Cloud Sect that an apprentice of Radiance Sect would shamelessly stay here?
After separating from Radiance Sect’s group, Shuang Qing asked Zhou Xiao, “What do you feel about Celestial Kong Hou?”
“Miss Kong Hou is beautiful, and also kind—a rare good woman.” Zhou Xiao’s face turned red. “Master, why are you asking this?”
“Nothing.” Shuang Qing glanced at his honest and reliable apprentice. “A’Xiao, Kong Hou is Splendid Cloud Sect’s pentad spirit base disciple and carries the hopes of many elders. Focus on your cultivation, and think of nothing else.” While he wanted Primary Luck Sect to replace Splendid Cloud Sect, he could not speak lies. Even if Splendid Cloud Sect was not within the ranks of the top ten, his apprentice would not be a good match for Miss Kong Hou. It was better to make him understand now, so he would not have a mental demon.
“Master, this apprentice does not dare to have such delusions,” Zhou Xiao said with a red face. “This apprentice desires to cultivate and help the sect, nothing else.”
But it was “does not dare” and not “does not have.” Shuang Qing sighed inwardly. “As long as you can understand.”
When returning to Primary Luck Sect, it was midnight. Shuang Qing bathed and was meditating when a voice suddenly rose by his ear in the darkness.
“Splendid Cloud Sect is just a sect who indulges themselves and has no ambition. Will you allow a sect like that to stay above your honored sect?”
Shuang Qing opened his eyes and looked at the blurry shadow in the darkness without speaking.
“All people think highly of the top ten sect ranking. Even a disciple you sent just stayed less than a year in Splendid Cloud Sect and already has intentions of turning on you. He wants to be an outer sect disciple of Splendid Cloud Sect rather than return and become the sect eldest disciple of Primary Luck Sect—how can you accept this?”
Shuang Qing’s face trembled slightly. He stood and adjusted his robes, taking a few steps into the darkness. “Who are you? What do you want to say?”
“I am someone who has come to help you.” Laughter came from the black shadow, as though the entire cultivation world was within his grasp. “Splendid Cloud Sect, even Radiance Sect, will submit to you and not dare to slight you.”
“Why should I believe you?” Shuang Qing went closer to the black shadow, his greed and motivations undisguised.
“Why should you not believe me?” the black shadow asked in reverse. “You want Primary Luck Sect to become one of the top ten, but your apprentices do not understand your wish. You are alone—why don’t you find a few helpers?”
“You are really able to help me?” Shuang Qing stopped walking and looked at the man in the darkness, his breathing going heavier. “You can really make Radiance Sect’s people not dare to offend me?”
Before the black shadow finished speaking, Shuang Qing suddenly attacked. Light flashed from the talisman in his hand and penetrated the black shadow’s heart. The black shadow gave a muffled grunt, falling to the ground and turning into a wooden puppet.
“Sect Master, what happened?” A servant pushed open the door and saw the wooden puppet on the ground. He changed expression. “This is…”
“A puppet sent by an evil cultivator with a soul enchanting seal to enchant people’s minds.” Shuang Qing kicked the wooden puppet with a foot. “Take it and send it to Radiance Sect.”
“What thing are you? Not everyone qualifies to collaborate with me.” Shuang Qing snorted. He was an honest person, a good cultivator. He would take the position in the top ten, and he would also kill any evil cultivator that came.
“We are an honest sect and have nothing to do with evil cultivators.” Shuang Qing put away his talisman, his tone filled with disdain towards the evil cultivators. “Delusional and shameless.”
Sect Master, if we give this to Radiance Sect, would Radiance Sect not suspect you…”
“What do you understand? If the matter is in the open, they will not suspect us.” Shuang Qing coughed. “Also, I already offended the evil cultivators. If we do not tell this to Radiance Sect and they get revenge in secret, won’t we be forced to suffer in silence?” It was better to give something like fighting evil cultivators to the top sect.
“Sect Master, you are most considerate,” the subordinate said. “This way, Radiance Sect can prepare early.”
“Hmph.” Shuang Qing raised his chin and said coldly, “Go, send it to Radiance Sect now; do not delay on the road.”
He could not let the evil cultivators have a chance of extracting revenge on Primary Luck Sect.
He, Shuang Qing, had bravery and cunning. He would rely on his own strength to pull Splendid Cloud Sect down and have Primary Luck Sect replace them!
Translator Ramblings: Shuang Qing is so … honorable.