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Chapter 114: Secret
Wang Tong looked at his young apprentice’s determined gaze and could not bear to tell her that Huan Zhong had no romantic feelings towards her. He would be the hateful master that tore the lovers apart rather than make her feel that the man she liked had no feelings towards her.
A young love was always beautiful. She was just eighteen. Even if her feelings faded in the future, what she would remember would only be the regret at the missed opportunity, and not the discontent and fury at being refused.
“Spirit Master Zhong Xi is very powerful. Didn’t the mortals say that he is nine feet tall? A man like this who doesn’t even like leaving his sect—what is interesting about him?” Wang Tong turned his head and said, “I do not agree to you two being together.”
“The storybooks say that, but how can you take it as the truth?” Kong Hou said. “That’s because he is too strong. That made people have such speculations. Other than his appearance that has been speculated about, who can find any other flaw of his? The contents of the storybooks are not true. How can you believe this?” Thinking about how she had trusted the storybooks blindly, Kong Hou felt that she was slapping her own face.
Wang Tong knew just how exceptional Zhong Xi was. Even if there were rumors that he was ugly, when the cultivation world ranked the young male cultivators, Zhong Xi was still first, and was called the first young master. Even the ordinary people knew that in the face of absolute power, appearance was not important. “In any case… I do not agree.”
Kong Hou propped her face and did not quarrel because of Wang Tong’s words. She murmured, “I really had not imagined that Master would also be one to force apart lovers.”
Wang Tong: …
He wanted to have fun as well. But his apprentice was the only one who wanted this. What could he do?
“Speak, between me and Zhong Xi, who do you choose?” Wang Tong straightened like a stubborn child.
Kong Hou shoved several spirit fruits into his hand and sighed helplessly. “You, you, you, I choose you.”
“That’s good.” Wang Tong feared if he continued to speak, he would expose himself. He waved his hand and said, “Go back and reflect. You are young, you should focus on your cultivation. Love is an extraneous thing. When you ascend, will you lack for men in the immortal world?”
“You are right.” Kong Hou nodded repeatedly and shoved several more spirit fruits into Wang Tong’s hand. “Then I will return and reflect.” They said that the seniors were like children. When they were unreasonable, one could say anything. They could only be persuaded. She experienced it for herself now.
Exiting Master’s cave residence, she saw the three shizhi practicing the sword as she walked down the mountain. While her skill with the sword was not great, after interacting for long with Huan Zhong and Elder Lin, she had some knowledge of swordsmanship. She spoke, “Gao Shizhi, you need to lower your hold by two inches in that move. Otherwise, you will be easily attacked in your lower half.”
“Little Shishu.” Gao Jian Yan saw that Kong Hou was the speaker and bowed to her. He performed according to Kong Hou’s words and his movements flowed much better.
“Very good.” Kong Hou nodded and said to the trio, “Where is your master?”
“Master went to Daybreak Cloud Peak to get pill medicines.” Gui Ling bowed to Kong Hou. “Little Shishu, this junior recently learned a set of sword moves. Please watch me.”
“I can watch, but I am not like your master. I perform inner cultivation and am not skilled with the sword. I fear I cannot teach you much.” Kong Hou smiled. “Show me first.”
The three shizhi lined up in a row, bowed in unison to Kong Hou, and started to move.
The same set of moves were performed by the three with different auras. Gao Jian Yan had a thick and steady presence, Li Rou was nimble, and Gui Ling was sharp.
Even more importantly, Li Rou and Gui Ling showed hints of sword energy in their moves.
When they finished their practice, Kong Hou clapped and said, “You are all very good. You have joined the sect for two years, and have progressed rapidly to have reached this kind of result.”
Li Rou blushed at Kong Hou’s praise. She hugged her sword and whispered, “Shishu, will you come tomorrow to see our practice?”
“Tomorrow, won’t your master be here?” Kong Hou laughed. “In the past, your master worked very hard to teach me the sword, cultivation, and mind scriptures. It seems that I will repay on you three.”
Hearing Kong Hou’s laugh, Li Rou’s face grew redder.
“Tomorrow, I will find an expert to teach you.” Kong Hou’s smile grew warmer. “I am not skilled in swordsmanship. I fear guiding you wrong.”
“Little Shishu, is the expert you speak of Spirit Master Huan Zhong of Radiance Sect?” Gao Jian Yan thought of the fear from eight months ago of being dominated.
Kong Hou nodded. “Yes.”
Gao Jian Yan gaped. Then he turned and glared secretly at Li Rou. Did she dislike these good days and wanted to find trouble for herself?
Li Rou pretended not to see. Gui Ling looked down and kicked at the pebbles on the ground. “Shishu and Spirit Master Huan Zhong have such good feelings.”
“You are half-grown—what do you know about good feelings?” Kong Hou poked his forehead. “I saw you have practiced a long time. Rest a while and practice in the afternoon.”
Gui Ling looked at the young woman in front of him and said quietly, “Shishu, I am only three years younger than you.”
“Three years younger is still younger, and I am still your shishu.” Kong Hou put her hands behind her back and said with a smile, “Do not argue. Otherwise, I will have your master punish you.”
Gui Ling looked at her silently.
“Just out of seclusion, and you are fooling around with juniors.” Cheng Yi jumped off the flying sword and landed next to Kong Hou. “Why are you not going to find Spirit Master Huan Zhong to play today?”
“Shixiong.” Kong Hou turned to look at Cheng Yi. “Do I have to find him to play?”
Cheng Yi raised an eyebrow. “Visitors are guests. He is a guest you invited to Splendid Cloud Sect. Will you let him stay alone in the residence?”
Kong Hou bowed her head and remained silent.
“In a few months, our sect is going to depart for Pei City for the conference. There is a few days’ distance from Harmonious City to Pei City. The evil cultivator world is restless, and I fear they will stage an ambush along the way. Take some more talismans with you,” Cheng Yi said. “However, with two peak masters and two elders accompanying this time, you do not have to fear so much.”
Because of the evil cultivator incidents, each sect was taking along elders who could fight, and also leaving behind enough elders who could fight. They feared that the evil cultivators would ambush the disciples on the road, and then turn around to ambush the sect.
Some weaker sects had the larger sects send people to help stand guard, or let all their juniors stay on the mountains of larger sects. In the face of the schemes of the evil cultivators, they chose the safest tactic.
Kong Hou nodded. “How many people from our sect are going this time?”
“Other than the elders and peak masters, there are twenty disciples.” Cheng Yi turned to look at the three disciples. “I need to stay in the sect to guard it. You and Tan Feng Shidi take Gui Ling along to see.”
“Master?” Gui Ling looked with surprise at Cheng Yi. This opportunity was rare and Master would give it to him so easily? After the three of them joined Moon Perching Peak, Master did not take special care of him because of his single spirit base talent. When teaching swordsmanship, he put more effort into Gao Jian Yan who was actually the weakest.
“Li Rou and Gao Jian Yan are not strong enough in body and mind. You are most suitable.” Cheng Yi patted his shoulder. “Victory is not most important, your safety is. Do you understand?”
“This disciple will not disappoint Master.” Gui Ling bowed and said, “Please, Master, do not worry.”
Cheng Yi sighed. Did this child understand the main point in his words?
“Shixiong, do not worry,” Kong Hou said. “I and Second Shixiong are also there.”
Cheng Yi looked at her, wanting to speak but stopped. Because she and Tan Feng were going to be there, he felt even more worried. When the two of them were together, they could even draw flowers when playing with mud. He feared that if his student went with them for a few months, he would be completely different on his return.
From Shixiong‘s eyes, Kong Hou saw great distrust. She turned her head and snorted. “Even if you do not trust me and Second Shixiong, don’t you trust Huan Zhong?”
This time, Cheng Yi’s gaze did not hold any doubt.
Seeing a gaze like this, Kong Hou turned and went down the mountain.
Li Rou looked worriedly at Kong Hou’s back. “Master, Shishu…”
“Do not worry.” Cheng Yi looked in the direction of her departure. He had already guessed—she was going to Spirit Master Zhong Xi.
Kong Hou walked without stopping up to the gates of Huan Zhong’s courtyard. When she stepped onto the stairs, she paused. She turned and looked at the peach tree that was stretching its branches from under the corridor. The flower buds on the branches were about to open.
This was another flowering season.
As she reached out and prepared to knock, the gates opened slowly. Huan Zhong stood underneath the pomegranate tree in the courtyard, dressed in white like jade and ephemeral like mist.
Kong Hou’s face twitched slightly as she looked dazedly at him.
“What is it?” Huan Zhong saw Kong Hou standing in the doorway and walked over. “What are you in a daze about?”
Kong Hou shook her head silently.
“Come.” Huan Zhong extended a hand. “Didn’t you recently want to read Talented Author’s new book? Just now, I received a package that Lin Hu sent using a flying sword messenger. There are two books inside it.”
Putting her hand into Huan Zhong’s palm, Kong Hou followed Huan Zhong to sit next to the stone table. He put a book in her hand.
Kong Hou inhaled and suppressed all her thoughts to focus on what the new book of Talented Author was about.
The name of the book on the blue-threaded cover was “Promise of a Lifetime.” Her eyes widened in shock. Talented Author’s books rarely had protagonists involved in love. Why did the name of this book imply romance?
She opened to the first pace. It was still the familiar writing. The author was like an unrelated observer that used cold and indifferent words to write everything they saw. From the words, one could not see any emotion the author had towards the characters.
Yet after several pages, the protagonist started to come alive. He met an adorable woman. He was in love with her, admired her but didn’t dare to verbalize it. The most vivid character was not the protagonist, but the woman he loved. Talented Author used many beautiful words to describe this woman, as though she was the most beautiful person in the world. Talented Author seemed to be like the protagonist and was looking deeply at this woman under his pen.
“He looked at her eyes and thought secretly, if he could stay with her for a lifetime, how wonderful it would be…”
Reading the words, Kong Hou was momentarily dazed. She looked up at Huan Zhong. Huan Zhong was looking at her.
If she could stay with him for a lifetime…
She licked the corners of her lips. She couldn’t suppress her thoughts any longer. “Huan Zhong, after the conference finishes, let’s go together and search for medicines again.”
“All right.” Huan Zhong nodded.
“Then…” Kong Hou blinked. “How about we be together?” If one did not act first and gain the upper hand regarding the person they liked, what if they were stolen away?
Huan Zhong looked dazedly at Kong Hou, as though he did not quite understand the meaning in her words.
“I mean…” Kong Hou pointed at his chest and then at hers. She gently held his hand. “Like this.” She even dared to lust after Huan Zhong’s body. What didn’t she dare to do?
The spring wind blew. Huan Zhong’s eyelashes seemed to tremble.
In this moment, Huan Zhong’s chaotic mind had an absurd thought. She probably was the first female cultivator in the cultivation world who dared to confess to the legendary Spirit Master Zhong Xi.
“Kong Hou, these words…” Huan Zhong smiled like a blooming flower, so good-looking the world seemed to lose color in comparison. “I should be the one to say this. Are you willing to be together with me?”
Kong Hou nodded fiercely. You are so good-looking. Anything you say goes.
However, she thought of what Master has just said and said anxiously, “Before the conference ends, can we be a bit more careful and not let other people find out?”
Huan Zhong looked at her with melancholic eyes. “You… do not plan to give me a status?”
Translator Ramblings: Cough So close, so close!