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Chapter 122: Honored Guests
Splendid Cloud Sect and Radiance Sect were not especially close. Based on Splendid Cloud Sect’s past habits of eating and drinking as they stopped along the way, Radiance Sect thought that Splendid Cloud Sect would only arrive a few days before the actual start of the conference.
But a disciple suddenly came to report that Splendid Cloud Sect and Primary Luck Sect had arrived.
Jin Yue knew his apprentice was with Splendid Cloud Sect and a smile appeared on his face. “Please invite them in.”
Song He could not help but think, was Splendid Cloud Sect so proactive this time because Zhong Xi Shizhi was present and they were embarrassed to delay?
This scene had different meaning in other people’s eyes. Jin Yue’s cultivation had advanced and he became much more gentle. However, he still would not always have a smile on his face. It appeared the rumors were true. Splendid Cloud Sect and Radiance Sect suddenly became close about two years ago.
This was like the most diligent student in school becoming good friends with the lazy slacker. They could not adjust to this quickly.
Kong Hou rode a crane on her first visit to Radiance Sect. Looking at the glowing crystal buildings, she finally understood why it was called Radiance Sect. This place was so beautiful and dreamy like the heavenly palace she imagined.
On the platform outside the main hall, Radiance Sect disciples were waiting in lines. When the group landed, these disciples bowed in unison. “Welcome, Path Friends of Splendid Cloud Sect. Welcome, Path Friends of Primary Luck Sect.”
Radiance Sect could not be criticized in their reception. Primary Luck Sect was not as high in status as Splendid Cloud Sect, but they did not feel they were treated differently. This kind of atmosphere made Shuang Qing have a good mood. Who did not want honors when they were outside?
“Everyone, please walk this way.” Huan Zhong led the way at the front. The other Radiance Sect disciples showed joyful surprise when they saw Huan Zhong appear. They could not display too much excitement in front of outsiders, so they only bowed to him.
Before they reached the main hall, Huan Zhong stopped walking.
Kong Hou followed his gaze and saw a man dressed in a white robe edged in gold standing in the doorway. He had white hair, and even his eyebrows were white. His hair was restrained by a nine lotus gold coronet, and he seemed like an aloof celestial that people couldn’t help but revere at a glance.
“Apprentice greets Master.” Huan Zhong bowed deeply. As he prepared to kneel, the white-haired man stopped him. “No need for such trifles. As long as you returned.”
Jin Yue saw that his apprentice’s complexion was much better than when he left the sect. Even the spirit energy surrounding him had become more concentrated. He knew that the other had gained greatly this time. Then he looked at the young girl smiling brightly behind him. Jin Yue did not have to ask to know that this was the favored young apprentice of Splendid Cloud Sect, Kong Hou. His affection for her reached a maximum.
Such a pretty young girl. Clean eyes, and she seemed to have a facial expression of good fortune. That aura of liveliness made his wooden apprentice seem like a plank of wood. Jin Yue smiled and bowed to Qiu Shuang. “Elder Qiu Shuang has come far. You were burdened.”
“Path Friend Jin Yue is serious. I heard that Path Friend advanced a few days ago, and our lowly sect is all very happy for you. Here, I will represent the sect and congratulate you.” Qiu Shuang was of a higher generation than Jin Yue. Almost everyone in the hall would have to respectfully call her elder if they met her.
“Lucky that I had the blessing of the heavens.” Jin Yue personally welcomed Qiu Shuang in. The other peak masters of Radiance Sect beckoned to Shuang Qing. Everyone harmoniously entered the hall.
The other people in the hall saw Jin Yue personally go to the door and thought that Radiance Sect might have owed Splendid Cloud Sect a great debt to be so careful and attentive. But when they saw who was walking next to Jin Yue, they all stood and bowed.
Radiance Sect really had great face that when they held the conference, they would have Spirit Master Qiu Shuang personally lead a group. Everyone in the cultivation world knew the name of Spirit Master Qiu Shuang. But many juniors did not know what she looked like, just that she was a powerful forger with unfathomable cultivation, and one of the pillars of Splendid Cloud Sect.
The juniors did not recognize Qiu Shuang, but the older cultivators had seen Qiu Shuang in the past and recognized her immediately.
“No need for courtesies. I came this time to see the juniors attend the conference. These children are rambunctious and unreliable in their conduct. We worry for them.” Qiu Shuang said a few courtesies with these cultivators and then sat down on the chair silently. She was not a meddlesome person. At Radiance Sect, she would not take the focus from Radiance Sect.
Hearing Qiu Shuang mention juniors, everyone understood that Splendid Cloud Sect worried something would happen to the juniors on the trip, so they arranged for Spirit Master Qiu Shuang to protect them. Luckily, Splendid Cloud Sect had discovered the matter of the evil cultivators impersonating their disciple and sent messages to the major sects. They were able to prepare before leaving their sects. Otherwise, the ambushes of the evil cultivators would have succeeded.
Some who were more curious looked towards Splendid Cloud Sect’s group. Supposedly, Splendid Cloud Sect took their genius pentad spirit base female disciple along. Which girl was it?
Splendid Cloud Sect did not get many talented disciples in the last century. In private, people said that Splendid Cloud Sect’s good fortune from being loved by the heavenly path was going to end. Unable to get a good disciple, and even Peak Master Wang Tong who had once been famed in the cultivation world was unable to overcome his heart ordeal and was about to pass away.
While some people felt schadenfreude, the majority of people felt pity. Other than the bad habit of being lazy, Splendid Cloud Sect really had nothing else to be criticized about. People would feel sympathy at the decline of such a sect.
But just as their sympathy started to sprout, the party involved prospered again. Wang Tong advanced in cultivation, and came back with a pentad spirit base disciple. Base Building in four years, Mind Activation in two. Based on this speed, they thought that she would reach Core Formation next year.
It seemed the heavenly path was willing to be Splendid Cloud Sect’s good daddy and continue to be partial to them.
After an exchange of greetings, apprentices led Splendid Cloud Sect and Primary Luck Sect’s disciples to rest. As everyone left the hall, Kong Hou and Huan Zhong held each other’s hands in a corner.
“I need to first visit Master and the other elders. I will come find you at dinner.” Huan Zhong helped Kong Hou arrange the tasseled hairpin in her hair. “Do not be restrained here, and think of it as your home.”
“En, en.” Kong Hou nodded and whispered, “Then come back early.”
“All right.” Reluctantly walking a few steps, Huan Zhong walked back. “I will first see you back to your yard.”
“Zhong…” Jin Yue saw half of the guests had left and prepared to call his apprentice. But when he turned, he saw his apprentice was whispering with that Miss Kong Hou in the corner. He immediately was not in a hurry. He turned and brushed his beard, pretending he saw nothing.
“Do not. I will go with the other disciples.” Making sure no one was paying attention, Kong Hou quickly reached out and pulled Huan Zhong’s belt. “You haven’t seen your fellow disciples for many days and must have many things to say. I will not disturb you.” After speaking, she chased her other fellow disciples out of the hall, and her back looked very cheerful.
Huan Zhong touched his slightly numb waist and couldn’t help but smile.
“Zhong Xi.” Seeing the young girl run away and his apprentice still standing dumbly, Jin Yue could not pretend any longer. He shook his head. Really, when an old house caught fire, the momentum was ferocious.
“Master.” Huan Zhong turned to face Jin Yue, steady and upright just like in the past.
“It appears that Master’s old face is not as interesting as a young girl’s.” Jin Yue touched his face and joked with Huan Zhong. “Don’t you think so?”
Huan Zhong: “…”
It appeared that Master’s cultivation had advanced and even his mood had grown younger.
Seeing his apprentice flush and not argue back, Jin Yue guessed that his apprentice and the young apprentice of Splendid Cloud Sect had a little something. He walked next to Huan Zhong, patted his shoulder and said, “This master is very happy you have something you want to possess.”
This child was good everywhere but he lived too blandly. Just now, when he had been secretly holding hands with young Miss Kong Hou, he looked slightly alive.
“Master…” Huan Zhong bowed to Jin Yue. “This apprentice has disappointed you.”
“No, Master is very happy.” Jin Yue shook his head. “I will not be unhappy because you have feelings towards a young girl. Unless you are lying and fooling that young girl to take advantage of her. Then no matter how talented you are, this master can only expel you from the sect.”
“I do not bear to…” Huan Zhong murmured. “I do not bear for such a good girl to be slighted at all.”
“What?” Jin Yue pretended not to hear, to avoid his apprentice feeling embarrassed when he recovered.
“Nothing.” Huan Zhong realized that such words were not appropriate to say in front of Jin Yue. “Master, I learned the ninth sword essence.”
Hearing the words, Jin Yue was silent for a long time. He looked at the roiling sky outside the hall and sighed. “This master hoped you would understand early, but not too early.”
Those with something to protect would become powerful, but would pay a price for the power.
As a master and father, he hoped that the child would stand tall and see far, but feared the child would endure hardship and be tired as they ascended the mountain.
“But this master is comforted.” Jin Yue showed a smile to Huan Zhong.
“Elder Qiu Shuang, Path Friends of Splendid Cloud Sect, please walk this way.” The usher wore white robes and was very respectful to Splendid Cloud Sect. He led Splendid Cloud Sect’s people to a mountain filled with spirit energy and shrouded in mist. The mountain was very tall, and the structures on top of the peak flashed in and out of the mist as the crystal rooftop reflected the light of the sun.
“The peak master of this mountain is Zhong Xi Shishu. Because he has no apprentices, this junior and some stewards are in charge of the duties on the mountain. If honored guests have any needs, just tell the servants in the hall.” The disciple leading the way introduced the structures of the mountain. On the way, he saw someone come over and hurriedly stopped to bow.
“Elder Lin.” Kong Hou saw the incomer, showed a smile and bowed, saying, “Long time no see.”
“Miss Kong Hou.” Lin Hu returned the greeting and exchanged courtesies with Splendid Cloud Sect’s people. He went with the disciple to see them to their arranged palaces. “Our peak doesn’t have many disciples. Spirit Master, Path Friends, no need to be restrained here; think of it as your home.”
After he finished speaking, the palace doors opened, and the rows of servants standing behind bowed. “Greetings, Transcendents, Celestials.”
The hall was filled with heavenly music, glistening light and red silk covering the ground. This gave Splendid Cloud Sect great honor.
Qiu Shuang looked back. Kong Hou was still examining the crystal lamps hanging from the eaves.
She had visited Radiance Sect as a guest several times, and never received such enthusiasm. Was she not an honored guest of Radiance Sect before?
Translator Ramblings: Jin Yue is Huan Zhong and Kong Hou’s top cheerleader.