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Chapter 139: Noise and Showiness
When two of the sect peak masters were out, Wang Tong, one of the peak masters staying behind, had to occasionally patrol off the mountain. He would prevent evil cultivators from disguising themselves as normal people, mixing into the crowds and committing evils against the normal people.
Cultivators who needed to pass Harmonious City to return to their sects would stay and play a few days in Harmonious City. They had self-control but Harmonious City had too many fun things and delicious food. They felt they would lose out if they did not come eat and drink since they were flying by.
Some cultivators who were familiar with Wang Tong and of his generation would go to him with a smile and say congratulations and good things were close to him when they saw him. Wang Tong was puzzled inside. He had received a flying message seal from Qiu Shuang Shishu telling him what happened with Kong Hou reaching Mind Manifestation Stage, but other people should not know this. Why were they all congratulating him?
While puzzled, Wang Tong was always one with an unconcerned attitude. He would respond to them with smiles. When he returned to the sect, he found the sect master Heng Yan and mentioned this matter.
“Maybe Splendid Cloud Sect had a good performance this time?” Heng Yan’s hand trembled as he held a teacup. He blew on it and did not look at Wang Tong. “This time, Qiu Shuang Shishu led them, Pei Huai and Qing Yuan helped, Wu Chuan also went together. The disciples would not have dared to be as lazy as before…”
“Didn’t the spell competition get cancelled this time?” Wang Tong’s bewilderment was not resolved. Even if Splendid Cloud Sect’s disciples were no longer lazy, how spectacular could their performance have been in the discussions?
“Cough, who knows? It will be clear after they come back. ” Heng Yan put down the teacup and looked probingly at Wang Tong. “Since everyone is congratulating you, then this means it is a good thing—don’t you think so?”
Wang Tong thought for a moment, nodded and said, “That is true.” Then he frowned. “Spirit Master Hong Yan has passed away, Kong Hou’s cultivation suddenly increased greatly…
“Shixiong, I feel anxious, as though something major is about to happen.”
Heng Yan took a large gulp of tea and used silence to express he knew nothing.
“Radiance Sect is kind to help us conceal Kong Hou’s matter.” Wang Tong thought of how his apprentice had some feelings towards Spirit Master Zhong Xi but Spirit Master Zhong Xi only thought of her as his shimei. He couldn’t help but feel on behalf of his apprentice. “Even though I do not like that Spirit Master Zhong Xi very much.”
Heng Yan almost knocked over his teacup. He couldn’t help but ask, “What is bad about Spirit Master Zhong Xi?”
“Nothing, maybe our fates are just not harmonious.” Wang Tong would not tell others his apprentice’s little secret. He waved his hand. “But regardless, this person’s conduct is undoubted.”
Heng Yan sighed in relief. It seemed that Shidi‘s impression of Spirit Master Zhong Xi was not at rock bottom.
After two days and a night on the flying palace, Huan Zhong found that no disciple except Wu Chuan got up in the morning to practice the sword. When they went past some towns and villages with unique features, the disciples of Splendid Cloud Sect would go eat and buy things as though they were touring.
“Kong Hou, only Path Friend Wu Chuan of your honored sect practices the sword?” Huan Zhong saw the flying palace land on another unfamiliar town and knew that the Splendid Cloud Sect disciples were going out to shop again. He flew down behind the others and couldn’t resist asking.
“No, several others are sword cultivators.” Kong Hou took out some spirit fruits and chose two to give to Huan Zhong and Lin Hu.
Huan Zhong: “…”
As a sword cultivator, they were able to not practice the sword. This was so casual.
“Everyone has worked so hard; it is good to relax.” Kong Hou guessed what Huan Zhong was puzzled by. She turned to look at Huan Zhong and Lin Hu. “You Radiance Sect disciples are good, but you put too much pressure on yourselves. Let’s go, I’ll take you into the city to play. I heard there are many fun things in the city. We cannot miss them.”
Wine parties, art exhibitions, dance troupes, and even horse races and cock fighting, popular among the ordinary people, were all in this city.
Kong Hou prepared to have Huan Zhong and Lin Hu experience the entertainment of ordinary people by taking them to the dance troupe this evening.
“Huan Zhong, your ethereal clothing is not very suitable.” Kong Hou found an inn. She went into the room and then grabbed Huan Zhong’s hand to have her consciousness sweep Huan Zhong’s storage ring. The storage ring only recognized its master, but its master could leave commands on the storage ring so that other people could open the storage ring. A long time ago, Huan Zhong had taken a thread of Kong Hou’s consciousness to put into the storage ring. Consequently, Kong Hou was akin to another master of the storage ring.
“This set!” Kong Hou took out a wide-sleeved gold-gilded robe. She took down Huan Zhong’s jade coronet and switched it for a tasseled coronet with a red jade lotus. Seeing the blood red tassels hanging off both sides of Huan Zhong’s head, Kong Hou covered her chest and lamented, “There is such a beauty in the world!”
If Huan Zhong had previously been a noble celestial that should not be encroached upon, then now he was an icy beauty of the world, with his beaded coronet giving a slightly devious and demonic air to his beauty.
“No, no.” Kong Hou took off the beaded coronet from Huan Zhong. “Just leave this beautiful side of you to me. I definitely cannot let other women benefit.”
Standing by the wall, Lin Hu sighed silently. There was no difference if he was present here or not, whereas in the past, he at least existed. He turned and walked out of the room, closing the door for the pair. Lin Hu looked at the swaying trees in the courtyard in a daze. His only meaning in coming with Master was to drive the carriage.
“I won’t let anyone else see, just you.” Huan Zhong put on a black gold coronet and that seductive air finally disappeared. She took a few steps out of the door with Huan Zhong when she stilled.
Huan Zhong followed her gaze. Seeing Lin Hu in purple robes embroidered with crane patterns, his eyebrows twitched and he managed not to laugh out loud.
“Then… we will go now?” Kong Hou coughed, and pulled Huan Zhong’s hand so he would not embarrass Elder Lin Hu. The dance troupe seemed like a place with song and dance to be admired. However, this was a place with dancing and song, but the ones who performed were the guests themselves.
When they entered, Huan Zhong heard the fierce drumming, the austere music, men and women laughing or shouting. Some people were crying into their wine cups but there were no terrible scenes like he had imagined.
A dozen people in masks were dancing on the central stage. Ordinary guests sat in the hall and clapped. Huan Zhong could sense there were many guests in this circular building.
“Celestial room.” Kong Hou took out three masks and threw a handful of spirit stones to the attendant. She wore a red flowing dress today that matched well with Huan Zhong’s gold-gilded robe. Her hair had been put up into an eye-catching soaring swan knot. When she wore the mask, it covered half of her face and only exposed her red lips and the eyes.
They were sent into the celestial room by a teleportation formation. While no one was around, they could still hear the noise and the heated music.
Lin Hu saw that Kong Hou seemed to be very familiar with this place and couldn’t help but ask, “Miss Kong Hou has come here frequently?”
“Cough, cough, actually, this is my first time.” She took out a small book. Lin Hu took it to read. Written on it was “how to make other people feel that you are not going to the dance troupe for the first time.” The characters in the book were not the same and this should have been the summary of many disciples of Splendid Cloud Sect.
Lin Hu: “…”
He felt that there was no sect more unique than Splendid Cloud Sect in the cultivation world.
“Cough.” Kong Hou coughed. “Do not worry, I have memorized the book and I guarantee I will take you to see all.”
Lin Hu did not understand why Miss Kong Hou suddenly took them to a place like this. Then he remembered how Sect Master and Miss Kong Hou had met the night before their departure. He did not know what they had talked about. He turned and looked at the lively scene and his master who still showed no emotional response. Lin Hu understood.
Miss Kong Hou wanted Master to be touched by the world and interact more with “life.” Otherwise, why would this young girl who only liked to eat and dress up find her senior disciples to write down these experiences of fun?
On the circular stage, the green-dressed woman in the mask opened her arms freely and jumped without reason. People cheered and some others also jumped onto the stage with her.
More people got onto the stage. The dance stage seemed to have a space formation so it did not appear crowded even though more people were on stage. Lin Hu even found some of the guests wearing masks were people he was familiar with. These people who usually looked so dignified would hide in the crowds and dance?
“Cultivators have long lives. If they meditate and practice the sword all day, what pleasures are there?” Kong Hou looked at the people on stage with her chin propped on her hand. “People need to find some harmless hobbies for themselves.”
Lin Hu found that one woman in a silver red dress looked like… Spirit Master Qiu Shuang? His eyes shook. He turned to look at Kong Hou. Did she recognize that this was Spirit Master Qiu Shuang?
Kong Hou smiled. “Elder Lin, after entering this place, you have to abandon your usual status. We are just a group of people dancing, singing and having fun.” She stood and put a mask on Huan Zhong’s face, adding a spell to stop the mask from falling off. “Huan Zhong, let’s go.”
Huan Zhong showed a rare unease. “I do not know how.”
While members of the imperial house and nobility would dance and sing after a poetry gathering, Huan Zhong joined Radiance Sect from a young age and never experienced any of those things. Seeing Kong Hou about to take him to dance, he suddenly realized Kong Hou’s impression of his omnipotence would be destroyed now.
“No matter. I also do not know much.” Kong Hou bent to kiss his lips lightly. “We are wearing masks; no one will recognize us.”
Illumination talismans flashed over the stage to create a lively and illusory space. People who entered this space would throw away their usual dignity and composure to follow the joy brought by dance.
“Let’s go.” Kong Hou pulled Huan Zhong to fly through the window and landed on the dance stage. A female cultivator saw Huan Zhong’s tall body and reached out to pull Huan Zhong to dance with her. Kong Hou spun and fell into Huan Zhong’s embrace. Huan Zhong hurriedly reached to hold her waist.
“Sister.” Kong Hou smiled at the female cultivator. “This man is mine.”
The female cultivator was not angered. She pulled over a masked man dressed in black robes. “I will trade this one with you.” The black-robed man wore a mask but his jade coronet shone. His robes were embroidered with layers of seal scripts. His presence was exceptional and he should be the cream of the crop in the cultivation world.
He looked coolly at the female cultivator after being treated as something to be traded. The female cultivator shrunk back slightly in fear and her mind finally cooled slightly.
“I won’t trade.” Kong Hou pulled Huan Zhong along to charge into the crowd. They started to clap and step to the rhythm. She was not skilled at dancing. Before the age of six, she had seen her mother-empress dance. She faintly remembered some of the steps. Her dancing was not beautiful, and just barely above jumping around randomly.
Her mother-empress had been skilled at dancing, her father-emperor obsessed with music. Yet these two people were unable to become a perfect match.
The music grew stronger. Kong Hou pulled Huan Zhong to spin, jump, bow, and then hug. Huan Zhong circled her waist to stop other people from hitting her. His eyes were filled with invisible indulgence and love.
After an unknown amount of time, someone suddenly said in the crowd, “It’s almost midnight.”
Kong Hou panted in Huan Zhong’s embrace and then pulled him along to jump off the dance stage. She hid their figures and hurriedly walked out of the dance troupe before taking off her mask. She put her hands behind her back, turned around to walk backwards and said to Huan Zhong with a smile, “How is it—was this fun?”
Huan Zhong thought back to the atmosphere just now. It wasn’t very fun but also not boring. The most moving thing had been Kong Hou wanting to take him along to have fun but protecting him from being touched by other women.
“Then I will take you to other interesting places to play next time.” Kong Hou decided to go learn some fun tactics from the sect when she returned.
“Careful.” Huan Zhong hurried to grab Kong Hou’s waist.
“Spirit Master Zhong Xi, Celestial Kong Hou.” Chang De and his junior disciples stopped walking. They noticed Kong Hou’s soaring swan hair knot and Huan Zhong’s grand gold-plated brocade robe and had odd expressions. “Such a coincidence.”
Kong Hou exchanged a few words with the disciples of Clear Dawn Sect before bidding farewell.
Chang De watched as Kong Hou and Huan Zhong left hurriedly. Thinking of how Celestial Kong Hou had looked when she hugged Spirit Master Zhong Xi and didn’t want to trade, he had a subtle feeling.
Was he going to watch helplessly as a disciple of Splendid Cloud Sect pulled the best sword cultivator of Radiance Sect onto a bad path?
He closed his eyes. Never mind. If he closed his eyes, he wouldn’t see anything.
Translator Ramblings: Let’s all go party!