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Chapter 134: Kasaya
Kong Hou looked up from Huan Zhong and found the illusion had disappeared. Sect Master Jin Yue and Qiu Shuang Grand Shishu were standing nearby. She pushed Huan Zhong away and adjusted her clothing. She ran to Qiu Shuang and pouted, “Grand Shishu.”
Qiu Shuang saw her gaze was clear, but her cultivation had grown much more concentrated. She pretended nothing had happened and said, “The star disk has not unlocked—do not act alone.”
As she finished speaking, the last barrier in front of them fell. Spirit Master Yuan Chen was still sitting in the north position, his face pale and his breathing shallow. Hong Yan stood at the center of the formation, blood at the corners of her mouth and facing Jiu Su.
Seeing Kong Hou and the others exit, Jiu Su did not hesitate in trying to kill Hong Yan. Hong Yan was at the end of her spirit energy after using it all to activate the star disk. She was fundamentally unable to dodge.
Kong Hou did not even think before she summoned the Water Frost sword to stand in front of Hong Yan. She was not as strong as Jiu Su. While she blocked a part of the attack, Hong Yan was still pushed back by the powerful flow of energy. She landed next to Grandmaster Yuan Chen.
Kong Hou didn’t know what Hong Yan had done to Jiu Su. Jiu Su did not extract revenge on Kong Hou for attacking him. He turned and moved to leave. As though he expected such an action, Huan Zhong cast a spell. The Dragon Roar sword headed straight for Jiu Su’s spirit platform.
Jiu Su barely managed to avoid this attack to his weakness. Dragon Roar penetrated his abdomen, erupting with sword energy. Jiu Su’s surrounding skin split apart and he was wounded all over. As a Great Vehicle Stage cultivator, he was unable to avoid a Mind Dividing Stage cultivator’s attack. No one knew how seriously he was wounded.
“Do you see?” Hong Yan vomited great mouthfuls of blood on the ground. She started to laugh madly and joyously again. She turned to look at Kong Hou. “A man’s love is always filled with sweetness and grandness, but once it concerns them, under the grandness is the dirt of selfishness.”
Kong Hou’s lips moved. Huan Zhong took two steps forward and shielded her.
Jiu Su hit his own abdomen with his palm. The Dragon Roar sword vibrated but was forced out of Jiu Su’s body. Zhong Xi took the Dragon Roar sword back. Dragon Roar continued to tremble in his hand. It only quieted after he channeled spirit energy in.
Jin Yue and Qiu Shuang threw out their talismans to block Jiu Su from escaping. Jiu Su smirked, ignoring the bleeding of his body. “You think you can stop me with your abilities.”
His words were so proud that Jin Yue and Qiu Shuang became more wary. Jiu Su suddenly grabbed Hong Yan who was on the ground, hit her, and threw her towards Jin Yue and Qiu Shuang like she was a weapon.
Qiu Shuang flew to catch Hong Yan. Jiu Su turned into flowing light and disappeared into the night.
“Chirp?” The small-eyed fox on the ground took a step back. She turned to see Jiu Su disappear and prepared to flee.
A golden light wrapped around her waist. She struggled a bit on the ground and then pretended to be dead on the ground. Kong Hou threw the fox into the cage and walked quickly to Hong Yan.
Hong Yan’s face was waxy yellow, as though all vitality had left her. Only her slightly moving chest confirmed she was alive.
Qiu Shuang channeled spirit energy into her body, but she pushed it away. “No need…”
Qiu Shuang’s hand stilled. She knew that Hong Yan was at the end of her life. She wiped away the blood from Hong Yan’s face. “Why do you do this?” The love and hate of the past was just gossip for outsiders, but for those involved, those were memories of a lifetime.
Spirit Master Hong Yan smiled. She put a hand to Qiu Shuang’s chest. Moments later, Qiu Shuang’s expression changed. Kong Hou, who was supporting Spirit Master Hong Yan’s head, felt that Hong Yan seemed to say something to Qiu Shuang. But because the other used a mental message art, she could not hear it.
“In my life, I was stupid two times. The first time, I thought I could break free of fate, but I encountered a bad person, and he harmed members of my sect. The second time, I thought that someone could accompany me in my fate. But the Buddha was most important in his heart, and not me.” Hong Yan smiled. She was no longer mad. She was like the uncatchable spring wind that would disappear at any moment.
Yuan Chen opened his eyes. He climbed off the ground and stumbled in front of Hong Yan. His eyes trembled. He was silent for a long time before he said amitabha.
Hong Yan leaned against Kong Hou’s chest as she looked calmly at the monk. In that year, when she met this little monk, he was still a young novice. He had a shiny bald head and lively eyes. When he peeked at her, his face was flushed red like a peach.
She discussed the buddha and life with him in the lonely Star Domain Palace. This little monk said to her that he would go back to his sect to take off his kasaya and keep her company.
She waited and waited, waited until the stars changed paths, waited until the news that the little monk had been taken as the disciple of Quiet Peace Temple’s abbot. She knew then that the little monk would not return.
She held the letter the little monk had sent her. The letter did not have any characters of the buddha but each word spoke of the buddha. She was just a love ordeal in his buddhist experience. After his love ordeal passed, he naturally had to return to the benevolence of the buddha.
“Grandmaster Yuan Chen.” She softly called his title. Her gaze started to grow unfocused. “Little Monk, I’m going to die soon. Your heart is finally free.”
Kong Hou looked up at Yuan Chen. She wanted to see sorrow or regret in his eyes but there was nothing in his eyes. He was so calm, so benevolent. Hong Yan was not any different from other cultivators in his eyes. He was a Buddha, and she was a female cultivator soon to be dead he had to ferry across.
She felt suffocated but didn’t know what to say. She had no standpoint to speak of.
“I had you use a century of cultivation to open the star formation for me. We no longer owe each other.” Hong Yan opened her eyes again. Her eyes were startlingly bright, like stars in the sky. But Kong Hou felt her breathing was weakening.
“If I had listened to my master and never left the mountain, it would have been good.” Hong Yan smiled gently. “I finally finished the mission left by my sect; I can face them now.”
Yuan Chen slowly closed his eyes. He put his palms together. He did not speak or look at Hong Yan. No one knew if he was really unaffected or he didn’t dare to look at her.
The moment he closed his eyes, Hong Yan suddenly slapped Yuan Chen’s chest. Kong Hou, close to her, felt a wave of spirit energy flow from Hong Yan into Yuan Chen’s body. Hong Yan withered visibly. She pulled her hand back and said coolly, “I don’t want to owe other people, especially those that turned on me. Yuan Chen, I wish you will reach paradise soon and see the true buddha.”
She grabbed Kong Hou’s wrist. “Remember, do not easily trust men. One’s heart is precious—do not easily give it away.”
After saying this, Hong Yan’s hand relaxed as though she finished all matters in her life and closed her eyes.
“She has passed.” In the silence, Qiu Shuang spoke, “Notify the people of Moon Star Sect.” If Hong Yan hadn’t just given her last remaining cultivation to Yuan Chen, she might have been able to last a while longer, at least until she could see her disciples, at least she would pass with her young appearance.
Kong Hou looked at the old woman in her arms. She took out a grand brocade from her storage ring and covered Hong Yan. She turned to look at Yuan Chen whose eyes were shut, and then at Huan Zhong by her side. She suddenly had countless thoughts. The surrounding spirit energy flowed towards her.
“Kong Hou is about to advance.” Qiu Shuang had detected previously that Kong Hou’s spirit energy was concentrated. Now she detected the movements in the surrounding spirit energy. She bent down to carry Hong Yan’s corpse. “Everyone, move away.”
When cultivators were advancing, disturbances from other people was a taboo.
Jin Yue pulled his apprentice away and threw him to the courtyard gates. “If you are worried, stand as protection.”
Zhong Xi sat down cross-legged without even thinking. Jin Yue sighed. So much had happened today. When tomorrow morning came, no one would be at peace. Yesterday, Kong Hou had Mind Activation stage cultivation. Why was she suddenly advancing? What had Hong Yan done in the illusion?
“Hong Yan opened the star mansion door.” Qiu Shuang bent down to neaten Hong Yan’s hair, as though she had passed away elegantly of old age in a peaceful sleep.
Jin Yue shook upon hearing this. As the sect master of Radiance Sect, he naturally knew what the star mansion door was. That was a small world that the past cultivators of Moon Star Sect built. It was not easily opened. In times of danger, disciples with special fates could be sent into the star mansion door to increase their cultivation and mental state. But the price of opening the door each time was great. Each generation of sect masters were the guardians of the door, and also sacrifices to open the door. Fortunately, this door hadn’t been opened in the last millennium.
He turned to look at Huan Zhong. Hong Yan said that Zhong Xi was the fated one to rescue the cultivation world. But the one she sent into the star mansion door was Kong Hou. Was it…
The ordeal clouds rolled in the sky. This did not seem like the movement of levelling up into Core Formation Stage, but more like a jump to Mind Manifestation.
The people of Moon Star Sect never told others what was behind the star mansion door. No records existed. When Miss Kong Hou walked out of the illusion, he had not detected anything strange. He hadn’t expected her to have such an opportunity.
After understanding this, Jin Yue did not feel any discontent or envy, but a sense of relief. Bearing the fate of the entire cultivation world was too heavy and difficult for a cultivator. He was happy that his apprentice did not have to carry such a burden.
The successive generations of Moon Star Sect masters lived in isolation and did not dare to grow close to other people. Wasn’t that because they were afraid of their judgement being affected by their emotions?
“Master…” A disciple of Moon Star Sect hurriedly arrived. Her gaze moved across the people and then on the ground.
The leading female cultivator had an expression of sorrow that quickly turned back to normal. She walked in front of Hong Yan’s remains, and kow-towed nine times. The disciples behind her were also like her, grieving deeply, but not shedding even one tear.
Qiu Shuang looked at these pale disciples and put the star disk in the hand of the leading disciple.
The female disciple glanced at the star disk and her expression changed slightly. The star door had been activated. Master had opened the star mansion door? She looked at Spirit Master Qiu Shuang and bowed to Qiu Shuang, suppressing the pain and sorrow she felt. “Thank you, Spirit Master.”
She did not ask Qiu Shuang why Master suddenly opened the star door. She didn’t even ask why her master died.
The members of Moon Star Sect could devine the fates of others, but not themselves. When joining the sect, they had to understand a truth. Life and death were determined by the heavens, and there was no good in demanding more.
“Everyone, I am sorry for your loss.” Facing these disciples, Qiu Shuang did not know what words of comfort to say. “If you need anything, please speak.”
“Yesterday morning, Master said to me if we had any difficulties, we would not be refused if we ask for help from Splendid Cloud Sect’s elder.” The leading disciple bent down to pick up Hong Yan. “Maybe Master had divined today. While we do not bear to have Master leave, we have to respect her choice.”
She looked up at the gathering ordeal clouds in the sky. She bowed to Qiu Shuang. “Please forgive us juniors for leaving first.”
They came quickly and left quickly. From start to end, none of them glanced at Yuan Chen. Maybe they did not know the past between Hong Yan and Yuan Chen, or they did know.
But she was dead, and the past was no longer important.
Yuan Chen took a step in the direction that the disciples of Moon Star Sect left in and was tripped by something on the ground.
It was a dusty kasaya.
Translator Ramblings: This subplot was really sad to translate …
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