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Chapter 111: Cover One’s Chest
After Ling Hui was wounded, many in the sect came to visit her. Based on this, those who did not know would think that Ling Hui was on the edge of death. In reality, Ling Hui was forced to eat all kinds of nutritious medicinal pills each day by her master. Her face shone with ruddiness, and even her waist was a size bigger.
That day, she saw an inner sect disciple come visit her and hadn’t thought of it much. But after the other entered her case residence, they suddenly attacked. Before she became unconscious, she was still regretting she hadn’t had the opportunity to eat the new dishes Five Flavors Manor was studying.
The Five Flavors Manor disciples who had been staying on the mountain in the last few days had been making all kinds of food her for her. She was immersed in her desire for food while secretly planning to make herself a batch of body-shaping pills after she recovered.
Luckily, that inner sect disciple who had been impersonated was discovered at the base of the mountain. They had serious injuries but were not in any fatal danger.
After the incident, the guards of the sect were completely changed out, and the disciples in charge of guarding the exits were all given talismans to test people’s identities. This way, it would greatly lessen the possibility of evil cultivators impersonating others. The other major sects received the news and increased their defenses as well. Some people rejoiced inside that this matter occurred at Splendid Cloud Sect and they found the impersonator in time. If this was a minor sect, maybe no one would know even if the sect master had been switched out. With these thoughts in mind, people felt anxious and found everyone they saw suspicious.
The cultivation world was anxious due to this matter. The major sects could only work together by sending disciples to the other sects and help them investigate everyone’s identity. Upon inspection, they really found some problems. For example, this disciple wanted to join other sects and was in secret communication with them. A seemingly stern elder liked to play with cloth puppets in private. A tall and strong man liked to cross-dress, but he was not skilled in the bone-shrinking art. When he frequently sneaked out, he was almost caught by other members of his sect who thought he was an evil cultivator.
These ridiculous matters became jokes for some cultivators to discuss after meals. But when everyone managed to pull out people sent by evil cultivators from some sects, the atmosphere turned grave.
Righteous people would never imagine how many tactics evil people would have. Light could not choose to fight back only after darkness consumed it. That was an unnecessary sacrifice and making trouble for oneself.
The ten major sects once again strengthened their defenses, adding many more guards to the major cities. The people started to look sharply at suspicious people.
The evil cultivators had never imagined that their failure in sneaking into Splendid Cloud Sect would cause such a ruckus in the entire cultivation world. For example they would send someone to stay a day in a village. On the first day, the villagers would treat them with simple and honest hospitality. The second day, orthodox cultivators would come and capture their people.
Their people went to sleep in an inn. After going to sleep, during the night, they were tied up and hung at the front of the gates of the mayor’s mansion.
Some subordinates who were sent to sow discord between the orthodox sects were beaten up by a crowd before they could even say much. After the beatdown, a sign was hung on them saying “the ugly face of an evil cultivator,” and they were paraded on the streets on a wooden wagon.
They were evil cultivators, those that should destroy the world. Why were their days so bad? There had been so many evil cultivators in history. Were they the worst off? The evil cultivators in the evil cultivator world heard the news from Lingyou World and felt heartsore.
When the higher-ups sent orders saying evil cultivators needed to be sent to Lingyou World to increase the power of the evil cultivator world, they trembled. They would prefer being stabbed to death by a sword cultivator rather than being beat up by a group of common people and then being paraded on the streets.
The evil cultivators wanted dignity as well.
In order to not be sent to Lingyou World, many evil cultivators started to bribe their higher-ups. They wanted to leave this opportunity for embarrassment to other people. Because too many people were bribing, the lord who was preparing for his marriage learned of this, and killed a large group of evil cultivators before they quieted down.
The lord of the evil cultivators had not expected the cultivators of Lingyou World to be so united. The recent events embarrassed him. If his path union ceremony was not soon, he would want to lead his army and attack Lingyou World immediately.
“Lord, you do not have to be so angry.” A white hand rested on the back of the lord’s hand. She had a flirtatious gaze, red lips, and a pleasurable voice when she laughed. As the foremost beauty in the evil cultivator world, Hong Mian had snowy-white hair, star-like eyes, and a vicious heart.
She put a piece of bloody human heart to the lord’s lips and said in a lazy tone, “Any person will have weaknesses. Right now, they are united. If you lead an attack, this servant will be worried for you.”
The lord caressed her chin and did not eat the heart flesh. “Take it away.”
“All right.” Hong Mian sighed regretfully. Lord was good all over, except that he didn’t eat human flesh, and even any raw meat. She licked her own red lips. “I greatly anticipate the day of the path union ceremony.”
“Then who do you feel I should attack first?” The lord leaned back in the chair like a lazy lion. No one knew when he would erupt.
“Of course the most famous sword cultivator of Lingyou World, the one with the highest chance for ascension.” Hong Mian fell into the lord’s embrace with a smile. “Zhong Xi.”
“Oh?” The lord looked at the woman in his arms. “You seem to know about him.”
Hong Mian’s index finger moved across the lord’s chest. “This servant only wants to know about one man, Lord.”
The lord laughed softly. His black eyes tinged with red were cold and emotionless. “Then like Hong Mian wants, we will first eliminate Zhong Xi.”
Hong Mian laughed out loud, and softly collapsed on the lord’s body.
The guard at the door moved back, and almost couldn’t resist sealing his hearing. He most likely was allergic to this kind of womanly laughter. Each time he heard this kind of laughter, he felt goosebumps rise all over.
After the lord and Sage Hong Mian held their path union ceremony, evil cultivators like him would most likely have to follow the lord and fight the cultivators of Lingyou World to death.
In the dark cave residence, Huan Zhong opened his eyes and looked at Kong Hou who was sleeping against his knees. Her soft lips were so attractive he wanted to bend down and taste them.
He bent slightly but quickly stopped. He gently put Kong Hou on the jade bed. Huan Zhong took a deep breath and sat down cross-legged by the desk, as though this way, he could suppress his inner thoughts.
On the bed, Kong Hou rolled over and continued to sleep. She seemed to be dreaming of something. Her face was slightly red and she had a sweet smile. Huan Zhong turned to look and saw that the white neck of the young girl seemed to shine in the darkness. It also carried an imperceptible fragrance.
He stood up, bent to pick up the blanket the young woman had kicked to the floor and laid it gently over her. Sitting on the ground by the jade bed without any grace, Huan Zhong grimaced and didn’t dare to look again at the person on the bed.
Each of his thoughts and each desire was a blasphemy towards Kong Hou. She trusted him and respected him. How could he ruin this trust?
Reaching out to form a piece of ice, Huan Zhong put the ice into his mouth. The coldness passed along his tongue to his chest. He seemed able to suppress the restlessness he felt that way.
Huan Zhong thought that Kong Hou had woken up and turned to look. But she was still sleeping, and just muttered his name. Huan Zhong reached out to gently grip Kong Hou’s wrist. He said softly, “I am here.”
Kong Hou did not speak again. She turned and hugged his arm, her warm lips close to his arm and as hot as fire. Huan Zhong’s fingertips trembled slightly, but he did not pull his arm away.
She was still young.
The still young Kong Hou was having a wonderful dream. She dreamed she had broken into a hot spring. Someone was sitting with their back to her in the hot spring. Their hair floated on the water.
This was a man who was good-looking even just from his back. Kong Hou couldn’t help but take a few steps forward. The hot spring water went over her knees but she couldn’t feel any warmth.
Suddenly, the man up ahead turned his head around and showed his face.
Kong Hou opened her eyes and sat up on the jade bed. She saw Huan Zhong meditating nearby and couldn’t help but feel guilty. What was going on with her recently that she kept on coveting Huan Zhong’s physical body?
“Awake?” Huan Zhong opened his eyes and poured water for her to wash. “Today, we will first copy mental scriptures, make two seals, and then meditate.”
“All right.” Kong Hou responded obediently.
Huan Zhong was slightly surprised. With Kong Hou’s personality, she would do her best to cheat if she heard she had to write mental scriptures. Why did she agree directly today?
Seeing Huan Zhong look at her, Kong Hou turned her head and said, “Do not look at me—you will affect my mental state like this.”
“All right, all right, all right.” Huan Zhong laughed. “I won’t look.”
He stood up and took a few steps to the side. “Will this work?”
Kong Hou: “…”
Good-looking, good-tempered, and went along with her on everything. Why was she such a beast?
She was the embarrassment of Splendid Cloud Sect, the failure of the old Ji Family.
Out of guilt, Kong Hou was especially focused when writing the mental scripture and finished an hour earlier than usual. She put down her pen and turned to look at Huan Zhong. Huan Zhong had a good sitting posture, with his back straight. He exuded elegance all over. People would not be able to look away from him.
The seclusion would finish in four months. She hoped in these four months, she could control her beastly thoughts…
Wang Tong’s recent days were very good. His eldest apprentice became a Mind Manifestation cultivator, his second apprentice was advancing steadily, and his youngest apprentice found someone to do universal paired cultivation with. What made him even happier was his sect leader shixiong was especially good to him recently, never rolling his eyes or picking at his bad habits. If he asked to borrow spirit stones, Shixiong would definitely give so generously even Wang Tong was embarrassed.
Today, he took a few bottles of medicinal pills from his sect leader shixiong. Wang Tong happily walked away and said to Wu Chuan who was seeing him out, “We are one family; no need to be so polite.”
Wu Chuan saw Wang Tong’s smile and bowed. He said, “Shishu, Kong Hou Shimei is leaving seclusion in a bit over three months. Are you lacking anything else?”
“No, no, Kong Hou is a filial child. A few days ago, she paid back all the spirit stones I owed to Five Elements Hall.” Wang Tong liked to get some small things for free from his shixiong, but he knew that one should not be uneven in their treatment. If the main sect always gave the best things to Moon Perching Peak, the other shixiong would feel animosity no matter how good their relationships were.
“Kong Hou Shimei is always considerate and hard-working.” Wu Chuan was silent for a moment. He accompanied Wang Tong to walk out. “I never thought that Kong Hou Shimei would be able to have universal paired cultivation with Spirit Master Zhong Xi; this is an unexpected surprise.”
“This is all fate.” Wang Tong’s smile grew brighter. “Maybe the heavens favor this child.”
“Shishu is right. Kong Hou Shimei and Spirit Master Zhong Xi really have fate.” Wu Chuan thought, hopefully when Kong Hou Shimei came out of seclusion, Wang Tong Shishu would not tear the main sect apart.
Wang Tong smiled and nodded. After nodding, he felt slightly strange, but he could not identify what was wrong. But thinking that Wu Chuan was usually stoic and would not usually say pleasing things, Wang Tong quickly felt at ease.
People who did not know how to speak sounded awkward when they spoke.
After sending Wang Tong back to Moon Perching Peak, Wu Chuan turned and went to the underground prison. The evil cultivator who had harmed Ling Hui Shimei a few months ago was still imprisoned there.
He would have this evil cultivator observe and emulate the punishments every few days. After all this time, the evil cultivator had spilled all he knew.
Seeing Wu Chuan come, the evil cultivator almost knelt down. After staying for a long time in the prison, Wu Chuan almost became his nightmare. He shrank towards the corner of the wall and used his arm to cover his eyes, as though this way, Wu Chuan would not exist.
“What is the weakness of the lord of the evil cultivator world?”
“Transcendent, you have asked this question a dozen times.” The evil cultivator pulled his hair and hugged his head in despair. “It is Sage Hong Mian, Sage Hong Mian!”
The lord was in love with Sage Hong Mian. He gathered the greatest treasures in the world for her. The entire evil cultivator world knew of this. He was the best at disguise in the evil cultivator world and had seen the couple once before. The lord did as the sage wished and spoiled her endlessly.
“How many sages are there in the evil cultivator world?”
The evil cultivator collapsed. “Twenty-eight. Kill me.”
He would have to answer the same questions every day. If they were dissatisfied with one answer, they would not let him sleep or eat. His spirit platform had been destroyed. He was like an ordinary person. How could he not eat or drink? This kind of days were worse than death. Who said that the famed orthodox sects were kind in their conduct? He had never seen such a virtueless sect.
“Wu Chuan Eldest Shixiong, you are here?” A few disciples from Daybreak Cloud Peak came in and saw the evil cultivator pretending to be dead on the ground. “Shixiong, have you finished interrogating him? We have some new medicinal pills we want this evil cultivator to try. Maybe his spirit platform will recover.”
“Yes.” Wu Chuan nodded. “You are healers—you should treat all patients equally.”
“Eldest Shixiong is correct.” A disciple smiled sweetly. “We will heal him.”
“Yes. I don’t know how the illusion water of this evil cultivator path friend was made, that he can change from a man into a woman,” another male disciple said. “This is worthy of our study.”
Wu Chuan looked at the pale evil cultivator, nodded his head and said, “Then you should treat him well and make sure he stays alive.”
The evil cultivator heard the conversation and trembled uncontrollably. The words appeared warm and kind, but in reality, they were torturing him with different methods. He had been well-off in the evil cultivator world for centuries, but in the end, he was defeated by these orthodox cultivators.
Wu Chuan came out of the underground prison and sighed deeply upon hearing the screams of the evil cultivator behind him. Splendid Cloud Sect never provoked anyone, but if outsiders came, they would not just submit meekly to maltreatment.
The cultivation world’s sect conference next year would most likely become a conference on attacking the evil cultivators. The cultivation world had been at peace for so many years. None of them wanted chaos to come again.
Time passed in a flash. When the heavy snows covered the peaks of Splendid Cloud Mountain, they welcomed the new year.
Beautiful lanterns were hung on the gates. The female disciples put on beautiful dresses and held exquisite little lanterns as they went in groups down the mountain to compete for the red brocade bags that Sky Sect sent. Gui Ling meditated in his cave residence, and heard Gao Jian Yan’s cheers from outside. He was unable to calm his mind with such noise. He stood up and walked out of the cave residence. Gao Jian Yan and Li Rou were behind Tan Feng Shishu and wearing new clothes. They appeared to be preparing to descend the mountain.
“Gui Ling, come.” Tan Feng saw Gui Ling and beckoned to him. “Let’s go down the mountain.”
“It is the new year—don’t meditate.” Tan Feng shoved a bunny lantern into his hand. “Go, go, go, soon Sky Sect will be sending their brocade bags. We cannot miss it.”
Li Rou’s eyes went wide. “Shishu, you also compete for the brocade bags of Sky Sect?”
“Of course.” Tan Feng jumped onto a flying ship and carried all three young ones on board. “In past new years, as long as your Kong Hou Shishu wasn’t in seclusion, we would go together. She is very lucky. Each year, she would receive vouchers for several hundred spirit stones.”
“So many.” Li Rou was both surprised and envious. “My father said that lucky cultivators are favored by the heavens. Kong Hou Shishu is amazing.”
Gui Ling held the bunny lantern. He was fifteen years old—how did he appear holding a bunny lantern only children would play with? Hearing Tan Feng mention Kong Hou, he secretly turned his head and listened intently.
“I am almost two centuries old and haven’t ever seen someone with better luck than your Kong Hou Shishu,” Tan Feng said with a laugh. “In the future if you encounter danger, hide behind her, and you will be fine.”
Gui Ling: “…”
Since this was the new year, why say such inauspicious things?
It was noisy and busy outside the cave residence with fireworks flashing, but it was unusually quiet inside Kong Hou’s cave residence.
Kong Hou’s cultivation had grown furiously. After five short months, she already had Mind Activation Stage level ten cultivation.
Some time later, the sound of exploding bamboo came in. Kong Hou opened her eyes, stood up and twisted her arms. She didn’t know how long she had been in a meditative state this time, but the effects were very good. She felt her mental state had increased as well and her sight was much better. Even in the darkness, she could make out Huan Zhong’s features.
She walked next to Huan Zhong and sat down. She propped her chin on one hand and focused on Huan Zhong’s profile. She frowned slightly. Maybe she had been alone with Huan Zhong for too long, but she felt Huan Zhong was more good-looking the more she looked.
In the cultivation world that pursued immortality, the separation of the genders was not important. Those on the cultivation path could accept even life and death—what else couldn’t they accept?
Maybe because Huan Zhong was too good-looking, she would feel she could never look enough?
At this time, Huan Zhong suddenly opened his eyes and looked at Kong Hou.
When their two gazes met, Kong Hou felt Huan Zhong’s eyes were deep whirlpools that made her feel dizzy. The faint sound of the firecrackers entered their ears. Huan Zhong’s lips curved slightly. “What are you looking at?”
“Looking at you.” Kong Hou blurted out. “Huan Zhong, when you form a path union with someone else in the future, I will feel regret for a long time.”
His eyes twitching slightly, Huan Zhong said in a hoarse tone, “Why?”
“Because I cannot look at another woman’s man.” Kong Hou tilted her head and thought. “That would be an offense.”
Huan Zhong looked at her eyes. This pair of eyes was very beautiful, and brighter than all the stars in the sky. But this pair of eyes was still ignorant and had the innocence unique to young women.
“Then I will not form a path union with other people.” Huan Zhong looked seriously at her. “I will accompany you to visit the world and see all the sceneries. Is that good?”
Kong Hou reached over to cover her chest. Strange—what was going on with her heart? Had something gone wrong with her cultivation? Why was it beating so fast?
“Would… would that not be good?” Kong Hou blushed, her eyes growing brighter, and her smile more obvious. “It seems selfish, and not being a good friend.”
“This is out of my own decision. How would it be your selfishness?” Huan Zhong reached out to touch the top of her head. Kong Hou’s hair was as soft as silk and comfortable to the touch. Huan Zhong feared harming her hair and was as gentle in caressing her head as a spring wind passing by. “You are my most important… friend. Is there anything more important than your happiness?”
Kong Hou took a few deep breaths. She felt she really couldn’t breathe. Her ears were ringing, and her mind was a muddle.
Her expression collapsed. She covered the left side of her chest and sobbed, “Huan Zhong, something is wrong with my cultivation…”
Jumping, constant jumping—were her meridians about to split apart?
She was a woman who would ascend into immortality. How could she fall here?!
Translator Ramblings: Come on … you’re both almost there …