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Chapter 128: Mockery
“Lian Qiao Shimei, what are you looking at?”
“I am watching them.” In the tearoom, Lian Qiao sat by the window and looked at the man who was bending and waiting for the young girl to jump on his back. “Shijie, if I tell Master I am not willing to be at Spirit Master Zhong Xi’s side, will Master agree?”
The tearoom quieted. The other disciples looked worriedly at Lian Qian. “Lian Qiao, Master will punish you.”
“But they are living very well right now.” Lian Qiao showed a smile that even she was not aware of. “Seeing Celestial Kong Hou show her unworried smile, I feel that if I ruin this kind of smile, I would feel disturbed.”
The other disciples walked to the window. On the street, Celestial Kong Hou reached out and patted Spirit Master Zhong Xi’s back. She pulled his sleeve and whispered, “Don’t carry me; it’s a joke.” Spirit Master Zhong Xi gave a warm smile.
Anyone with eyes could see that Spirit Master Zhong Xi had dressed up today and looked at Celestial Kong Hou with love in his eyes.
“I also feel… they are good like this,” a younger shimei whispered, “but Master’s personality has grown colder in recent years. If you betray her wishes, being expelled from the sect might not be the worst. I fear Master will ruin your cultivation and spirit platform in her anger and send you back to the mortal world.” When she thought of this, she shuddered uncontrollably.
Lian Qiao’s fingers trembled slightly on the window, her face growing several shades whiter.
“I was joking with you—will you really carry me?” Kong Hou laughed out loud and looked at the woman leaning against the window. This woman had thin brows and bright eyes like an almond flower. So beautiful she couldn’t help but look again.
Kong Hou’s smile grew brighter. The woman against the window blushed slightly and squeezed out a smile. This smile was slightly strange, like a person’s who did not usually smile trying to make herself appear more friendly.
Seeing a smile like this, Kong Hou did not let herself show surprise but smiled even more warmly. She waved at the other before pulling Huan Zhong forward.
Seeing the young girl’s joyful back, Lian Qiao laughed out loud.
“Lian Qiao?!” The shijie closest to her looked at her in shock. “What is with you?”
Lian Qian had been raised by Master from young to not have emotions. They had almost never seen her smile in joy. They could not disguise the shock they felt seeing her laugh out loud.
“I…” The smile on Lian Qiao’s face gradually disappeared and she resumed her usual composure. “Nothing.”
That pair of eyes was so good-looking, even brighter than the brightest stars in the sky.
Huan Zhong led Kong Hou to find a teahouse mentioned in the information. When he prepared to lead her in, laughter came from the side.
“Just a few smelly salted fish are being sold for fifty spirit stones. Even in Pei City, people cannot demand prices randomly like this. You think we non-local cultivators do not know anything about the market?”
“Brother, you should rejoice this is Pei City. Otherwise, you will be beaten up for your prices.”
“Hm?” Kong Hou stopped walking and looked at the stall being surrounded by several cultivators. This vendor had a wooden hairpin in his hair. He wore loose grey robes and was sitting beside a pile of salted fish.
“If you cannot afford it, then do not buy.” The vendor waved his hand. “Leave, leave, leave.”
“Ha!” Seeing the vendor’s attitude, one cultivator almost couldn’t control his temper and was pulled away by his fellows. It would cause trouble to fight people at the base of Radiance Sect.
“Uncle, how come you are here?” Kong Hou crouched next to the stall. “Didn’t you have a shop in Yan City?”
The vendor looked up at Kong Hou, and had some impression of a “big client” like Kong Hou who had bought salted fish. He raised an eyebrow and said, “Pei City has more people; I came to participate as well. Who knew that although there are many people, not many have both money and knowledge.”
Kong Hou saw that the edges of his robe were worn-out and the skin on his face was cracking from dryness. She took out a handful of spirit stones and handed them to him. “I will buy.”
The vendor counted the spirit stones and then picked five fish out of the salted fish pile. “Take it.”
“Just these five?” Kong Hou’s eyes were wide. “So few?”
“I gave you the cost price because you are an old customer.” The vendor pulled the cloth on the ground, and wrapped all the salted fish in the cloth. He stood and patted the dust off him. “Little girl, there are many people around—you do not know their intentions and it is best not to walk around randomly.”
“Ah, Uncle, wait a moment.” Kong Hou took out a spirit fruit from her storage ring to give to the vendor. “Your face has cracked. Eat this.”
Taking the spirit fruit, the vendor looked down, searched around his body and gave Kong Hou another salted fish. “Take this—I will not take advantage of others.”
The salted fish did not smell good. Kong Hou took it and shoved it into her storage bag. She said with a smile, “Thank you.”
Waving a hand, the vendor walked into the crowd. Huan Zhong, standing behind Kong Hou, watched silently as he left. When the other could not be seen any longer, he said to Kong Hou, “Let’s go.”
The dried salted fish that the vendor had just thrown to Kong Hou was a kind of deep water fish. Those who ate it would have increased longevity. Cultivators who failed to increase their cultivation and were at the end of their lives would get another sixty years. This kind of fish was called “celestial longevity fish” and was a very rare food. He did not know the identity of this person, but since the other had no malicious intent towards Kong Hou, he pretended to be ignorant.
“It is not easy to do business.” Kong Hou used two cleaning spells on her hand. “They have to go where there are the most people, and if they sell high, they will be cursed at.”
Huan Zhong: “…”
“Huan Zhong, what is it—why aren’t you speaking?” Kong Hou found Huan Zhong had been silent all this time.
“You are correct. I am in silent agreement with your words.”
For some inexplicable reason, Kong Hou felt that Huan Zhong was like an immortal who fell to the earth after being together with her. He was more and more like a mortal and now he could even tease.
There were many guests in the teahouse. Huan Zhong spent money for a small tea room, and the two listened to storytellers speak of love and hatred in stories as they drank tea. The tea guests were not very interested in the old stories of a demon falling in love with an orthodox female cultivator, and only a few people threw money onto the stage.
“Let me tell everyone interesting news of the cultivation world, the story of Spirit Master Zhong Xi killing five evil cultivators above his level.
“Gentlemen, listen, they say that Spirit Master Zhong Xi is exceptionally talented like an immortal coming to earth…”
Ordinary people liked to hear about orthodox cultivators defeating evil cultivators. Soon, everyone’s emotions were stirred. More money reached the stage. As the storyteller spoke of how ugly the evil cultivators were after being defeated, the guests laughed loudly and the tea house became busy.
“Is this all true?” Kong Hou peeled the nut in her hand. “You killed five evil cultivators above your level when you were a hundred?”
Huan Zhong shook his head. “I do not remember; it was too long ago.”
Kong Hou stilled upon hearing this. Then she collapsed on the table and laughed softly. With Huan Zhong’s personality, it was normal he did not remember.
Seeing her laugh in joy, Huan Zhong shook his head helplessly and sighed, causing Kong Hou to laugh even louder.
“The storyteller is speaking of Spirit Master Zhong Xi’s feats. Path Friend, if you do not agree, fine, but why do you laugh?” A male voice came from the neighboring tea room. Kong Hou felt with her mind and found there were three people next to them.
The conference was starting soon. Kong Hou did not want to cause trouble and said, “Path Friend has misunderstood. This one is only joking with a friend, and does not intend to laugh at Spirit Master Zhong Xi.” She glanced at Huan Zhong. This is your fault.
Huan Zhong blinked innocently, copying her usual action. He was so good-looking there was nothing strange when he did this action.
“Path Friend laughed without restraint just now. But when someone asks, you say this has nothing to do with Spirit Master Zhong Xi?” The neighboring male did not appear to desire letting Kong Hou go, his tone aggressive. “I think Miss is also a cultivator. Do you not understand what respect is?”
“This one understands well, but does Path Friend understand?” Kong Hou’s tone did not change. “Path Friend thinks too much.”
The neighbor did not speak. Kong Hou thought the other gave up but then knocking sounded. She glanced at the door and didn’t speak. Huan Zhong waved his sleeve with a cold expression. The door opened on its own. Three young cultivators, two male and one female, stood outside the door. They were not especially strong, but they were dressed grandly. They should be disciples of a sect with some significance.
The three were not over fifty in their bone age. The young master at the front had a noble presence like a child spoiled when growing up and a displeased expression. He looked towards Kong Hou by the table. He seemed to not have expected such a good-looking girl. While his angry expression did not dissipate, it was not as obvious as before. “This one is Ban Wu of Blue Feather Sect. Greetings, Path Friend.”
Blue Feather Sect?
Blue Feather Sect was among the top ten sects, but like Splendid Cloud Sect, they were not especially strong in their existence feeling. Adding on that they resided in the western mountains forever covered in snow, they did not interact much with the other nine sects.
“So you are path friends of Blue Feather Sect.” Kong Hou stood and returned the greeting.
“I see Celestial has extraordinary presence, and must be from a major sect. Why are you so rude to Spirit Master Zhong Xi?” The female cultivator next to Ban Wu spoke impatiently. “Is Spirit Master Zhong Xi someone you can laugh at?”
Kong Hou finally understood. So these three idolized Huan Zhong. She looked wryly at Huan Zhong. “This celestial is correct.”
The three disciples of Blue Feather Sect did not know what to do at the other’s attitude. They looked at each other and felt this was like throwing a punch into cotton, powerless and awkward.
“Everyone thinks too much. Spirit Master Zhong Xi does not care what others think of him. We are drinking tea here and do not want to be disturbed. Please leave.” Huan Zhong poured hot tea for Kong Hou and did not look anymore at the three disciples of Blue Feather Sect.
“Apologies, we were reckless.” Ban Wu did not want to offend. He came over shamelessly to investigate because he wanted to know which cultivator dared to laugh at Spirit Master Zhong Xi in Pei City or if it was an evil cultivator in disguise. According to his knowledge, no one in the cultivation world except evil cultivators would mock Spirit Master Zhong Xi.
But he clearly was wrong. This person who was not respectful enough of Spirit Master Zhong Xi was just an ordinary female cultivator.
“You are not Spirit Master Zhong Xi—how can you speak for him?” Ban Wu’s little shimei was slightly unhappy. They grew up listening to Spirit Master Zhong Xi’s stories. Spirit Master Zhong Xi had a high place in their hearts. So when the storyteller was narrating Spirit Master Zhong Xi’s feats, they could not endure other people’s laughter.
“This one is Radiance Sect’s disciple Zhong Xi.”
Translator Ramblings: Huan Zhong has a fan club!