This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
Chapter 126: Obsession
Huan Zhong talked in a low volume, but most of those seated had a high cultivation. How could they not hear what he said? Those that had more complicated minds couldn’t help but look at Jin Yue. There shouldn’t be any evil cultivators who dared to pretend to be Spirit Master Zhong Xi under Jin Yue’s eyes?
But if this really was Spirit Master Zhong Xi, why would he say such… frivolous words?
The ones to be pitied were the disciples of Radiance Sect. They had unrivalled awe of Zhong Xi Shishu, and this time, they were finally able to sit together at a banquet. However, Shishu did not sit with them, and followed Celestial Kong Hou.
The disciples of Splendid Cloud Sect had the most relaxed expressions of all present. Seeing Kong Hou and Huan Zhong walk over, they stood up and moved to free up a seat as though they had done this thousands of times before, so familiar they did not have to speak.
[Kong Hou Shimei really has earned face for us this time. I see that Clear Dawn Sect’s eyes are popping out of their heads.]
[Be calm, do not show surprise.]
[Shijie, do not worry. We will not act like fools!]
[While the conference has not started yet, I feel we have attracted enough attention…]
Gui Ling and Li Rou sat in the corner. As juniors, they did not know their shishu were all talking mentally. He saw Spirit Master Zhong Xi and Kong Hou Shishu sit down in the center, looked at the curious or shocked gazes in the surroundings, and bent down to drink tea.
His disciple having run away with a woman, Jin Yue was not angry, and even smiled brightly. The other people felt even more strange. Was Radiance Sect planning to form a marriage alliance with Splendid Cloud Sect? While Splendid Cloud Sect was not as strong as Radiance Sect, Celestial Kong Hou was outstanding in talent. She was a good match for Spirit Master Zhong Xi.
Everyone had countless thoughts in their minds, but at an occasion like this, they could not discuss matters of emotion. When the banquet started, they started to discuss the evil cultivators.
On the way to Radiance Sect, many sects were ambushed. This meant the evil cultivators were restless and the peace between the cultivation world and the evil cultivator world would not last for long. While no one from the cultivation world had ascended in the last thousand years, and they were not as strong as in the past, there were still some great powers that could provide support.
“The evil cultivator world is ferocious. Are the spirit masters who have retreated from the world willing to come out?” The most powerful person in the cultivation world was the nomad cultivator who had failed in his ordeal. There were many rumors about this person. Some said that he felt regret for the death of his partner, so he destroyed his own meridians and went to reincarnate.
Others said he had fallen long ago, which was why he had not appeared for so many years.
No one knew the truth, but at such a difficult time, they all hoped this great power was still alive.
The lord of the evil cultivators had slept for many years. No one in the cultivation world knew how strong he was after suddenly waking up. If the two were having an open fight, they would not be so worried. They feared the evil cultivators would use dirty tactics and attack normal people. No matter how many cultivators the cultivation world had, they could not always keep watch.
“The evil cultivators have endless schemes. Before we completely force away the evil cultivators, I will trouble Path Friends to be on your guard. We are cultivators and we cannot watch as ordinary people die at the hands of evil cultivators. While we pursue immortality, we cannot forget our morals.” Jin Yue raised his winecup. The cup was not filled with wine, but spirit liquid. “Everyone, please.”
“It is our duty.” Everyone had serious expressions but they all drained their cups of spirit liquid.
They were not drinking spirit liquid, but an oath to protect the ordinary people.
Kong Hou drank down the spirit liquid. She put the jade cup on the table and turned to meet Huan Zhong’s eyes. The two exchanged a smile. Kong Hou’s nervousness disappeared completely.
Grand Master Yuan Chen who was sitting opposite them saw the pair smiling at each other. He had a gentle smile on his face. When he turned to look at Spirit Master Hong Yan, he showed some ruefulness. Would she still persist?
Hong Yan did not look up or look at him. She expressionlessly rubbed the jade cup like the white untouchable snow of tall mountains, untouched by dust and bone chillingly cold.
Over at Clear Dawn Sect, Ling Bo looked at Kong Hou’s magic robe and felt the other’s clothing was better-looking than hers. She grabbed her shidi who was focused on eating pastries and asked mentally, [Am I good-looking today, or is Celestial Kong Hou better looking? ]
Her shidi hurriedly said, “Of course it is Shijie.”
Ling Bo snorted and said, “I just knew that men are insincere and fake in your words.
What had he done wrong?
As the banquet ended, Jin Yue stood and personally saw everyone out of the hall. Huan Zhong, as Jin Yue’s apprentice, had to be at Jin Yue’s side. He took the chance when there were lots of people around to shove a money bag into Kong Hou’s hand.
“What is this?” Kong Hou took the money bag and did not understand why Huan Zhong would give her this.
“Spirit stones.” Huan Zhong reached out to shield Kong Hou and sent her out the door. “The conference will begin the day after tomorrow—do not be nervous. We are just discussing the path and sparring; everyone will be measured.”
Kong Hou nodded. Seeing Moon Star Sect’s Spirit Master Hong Yan look over, she guessed the other had something to discuss with Huan Zhong. She said, “Then I will return first.” She went on tiptoes and whispered by Huan Zhong’s ear, “Message me when you return.”
“All right.” Huan Zhong reached to touch the hairpin in Kong Hou’s hair.
Kong Hou smiled and ran away, leaving Huan Zhong smiling helplessly in amusement.
Ling Hui and some of the female cultivators of Splendid Cloud Sect waited nearby for Kong Hou. Seeing her run over, they had teasing smiles. “You finally came. I thought that our little shimei is going to stay in Radiance Sect.”
“Cough.” Kong Hou coughed, turned her head and said, “Do not tease me. Let’s go, let’s go.”
“While you are humble in words, you are happy inside,” Ling Hui said. “Come, tell Shijie what it feels like to possess such an outstanding man.”
“Of course it feels as if I have a treasure.” Kong Hou blushed. She scanned with her consciousness the money bag Huan Zhong gave her and became more puzzled. Why did Huan Zhong give her several hundred spirit stones? Was there some special meaning in them?
Taking advantage of her shijie‘s inattentiveness, she put the money bag into her storage ring. Ling Hui noticed her movement. “What gift did Spirit Master Zhong Xi give you that you do not want us to see?”
“No, no.” Kong Hou covered the ring on her finger, and jumped a few steps back. “My treasure gave this to me, no one can see.”
“At the sight of a man, you forget your shijie. Little Shimei, you need to be punished.” Ling Hui put one hand on her hip, and another around Kong Hou’s waist. “Little Beauty, you dare betray me and get together with another man. I am very angry and want to punish you.”
The other shijie all crowed over, grabbed Kong Hou and started to… tickle her.
Lian Qiao and the other disciples were walking together. When they heard the female laughter from nearby, they couldn’t help but look towards the sound. Some beautiful women were together with beautiful smiles on their faces. Lian Qiao couldn’t help but take a few more glances.
“Shimei?” One shijie saw Lian Qiao standing still and said, “What is it?”
“Nothing.” Lian Qiao hurriedly followed, the joy in her eyes disappearing.
The guests almost all left from the hall. Jin Yue turned and looked at Hong Yan who had not left. “Path Friend Hong Yan?”
“Path Friend Jin Yue, I have something to tell you.” Jin Yue glanced at Huan Zhong who stood behind Jin Yue. “Spirit Master Zhong Xi’s great ordeal has arrived. Have you found a solution?”
Jin Yue’s smile diminished. He invited Hong Yan to sit. “Path Friend Hong Yan, have you divined something?”
Hong Yan shook her head with a grave expression. “Nine deaths and a life.”
Jin Yue looked back at his beloved apprentice. The other had a calm expression, as though he did not react to Hong Yan’s words.
“Not just me, even the result that Wang Su has divined is the same.” Hong Yan mentioned Wang Su who was the best at divination. Moon Star Sect was unlike other sects. Because the sect cared about yin and yang, the sect had two leaders, one male and one female. When divining some major matters, the male and female had to work together in order to hear the voice of the heavenly path.
Those that became the sect masters had put down emotions and feelings. They could marry, but they could not be immersed in their feelings. So while Moon Star Sect did not forbid relationships, over successive generations of sect masters none had ever formed any unions.
“Three centuries ago, Shixiong and I made a reading for Spirit Master Zhong Xi. He is the hope of the cultivation world. Fifty years ago, Shixiong and I divined again, and the result was nine deaths and one life.” Hong Yan did not keep secrets in front of Huan Zhong. “Spirit Master Zhong Xi’s importance for the cultivation world goes without saying. I think Sect Master Jin Yue should also understand.”
Huan Zhong sat down cross-legged by the table and slowly poured tea for himself and the two elders. He held the teacup in front of Huan Zhong. “Spirit Master has mentioned this matter specially today. Do you have a solution?”
“A decade ago, I encountered a girl in the mortal world. I found her fate is unique and will benefit Spirit Master Zhong Xi’s fate, so I took her back to the sect. While she cannot help Spirit Master Zhong Xi completely resolve your fate, she can help give your fate a good turn. She has learned divination, and so I took her here this time. Spirit Master Zhong Xi, take her as your sword servant, your attendant, or your woman—all up to Spirit Master.”
“Spirit Master…” Huan Zhong frowned slightly. “This junior is just one of the many cultivators in the world. Life and death is determined by the heavens—how can I let a woman become a tool to change my fate?”
“That is the fate she is born for.” Hong Yan’s tone was aloof. “Just like Spirit Master Zhong Xi yourself. You carry the fate of the cultivation world on your shoulders.”
“My inferior disciple is just over three centuries old. How can he support the future of the cultivation world?” Jin Yue’s expression grew cold. “Sect Master Hong Yan, you overstate.”
Hong Yan looked up at Jin Yue. She heard Jin Yue’s protectiveness of Zhong Xi. Her eyes flashed slightly and then she smiled disdainfully. “When one is within, who can stand alone? Do you want to see no other ever ascend in the cultivation world, until all people pass away and no more cultivators exist in the world?”
Jin Yue was silent.
“If no one else is able to ascend, that is fated by the heavens.” Huan Zhong said, “Spirit Master Hong Yan, please forgive this junior for not agreeing.”
“Why?” Hong Yan did not understand. “My disciple is not unwilling.”
“Because this junior is unwilling.” Huan Zhong stood up, his expression cold. “This junior will do what this junior should do. Heaven determines life and death. I cannot watch coldly as an innocent woman sinks into the quicksand of my fate.”
“Also…” His expression softened. “I have someone I love—how can I keep any other by my side?”
Hong Yan knew who he spoke of. Her expression turned cold. “Do you not fear death?”
“I did not fear in the past, now I do.” Huan Zhong put his hands behind his back and said, standing upright proudly like a pine tree, “But one will do some things and not do others. Please, Spirit Master Hong Yan, understand.”
“You will abandon all of the cultivation world for your selfish love—it really… really…” Spirit Master Hong Yan crushed the teacup in her hand into powder “—disappoints me greatly. I had not thought that Radiance Sect would be like this.”
“Radiance Sect has protected the path friends and people of the world for millennia, and does not feel any guilt.” Jin Yue knew that Hong Yan did not have malicious intent. He shook his head and sighed. “Path Friend Hong Yan, our disciples are not our swords in eliminating demons—do you understand?”
Hong Yan remained silent, her gaze growing colder.
Jin Yue sighed deeply. “Path Friend Hong Yan, you have an obsession that has become a mental demon. Put it down.”
Translator Ramblings: Cough, Huan Zhong is the stereotypical male lead with a destiny now.