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Chapter 143: Wait For You To Return
“Shishu, Spirit Master Zhong Xi, this junior bids farewell.” Cold spread from his feet to his head. Gui Ling bowed and turned to leave.
Huan Zhong held Kong Hou’s hand as they walked down the mountain. On the sides of the path, flowers and grasses grew and the dew on the leaves reflected light. He looked down at the box in Kong Hou’s hand, the corners of his lips rising. “Your Splendid Cloud Sect juniors are very good—so young but already knowing to buy gifts for their elders.”
“This child’s personality is too stuffy. He has to play more with his fellow disciples.” Kong Hou opened the wood box and held the hairpin by her hair. “Is it good-looking?”
“The hairpin is good.” Huan Zhong looked closely. “But slightly antiquated and makes you seem a few years older.”
“Really?” Kong Hou put the phoenix hairpin back into the box. This was Sky Sect’s new product. It had fine patterns and was very popular with female cultivators.
“Common things are not worthy of you.” Huan Zhong took out a pearl hairpin from his storage ring. “Your man is skilled at forging. You do not need to use such ordinary things.”
Hearing “your man,” Kong Hou’s face flushed pink. Huan Zhong was growing more shameless after being with her.
Huan Zhong looked at the pearl hairpin in her hair and smiled warmly.
“I told Master about us.” Kong Hou put the wood box into the storage ring. While Huan Zhong said the phoenix hairpin was not good-looking, this was from her junior and she had to treasure that.
Huan Zhong stilled slightly. His voice grew hoarse. “Did you not say we have to temporarily keep it a secret?”
“I changed my mind.” Kong Hou laughed. She swung Huan Zhong’s arm. “You are so good, I do not bear to slight you.” Her smile became teasing. “I cannot have the great Spirit Master Zhong Xi follow me without a status.”
Huan Zhong stilled. He bent down and buried his face in Kong Hou’s shoulder. “You gave me status. You have to be responsible for me for the rest of your life.”
Kong Hou patted his waist. “Yes, yes, I will be responsible.”
Heng Yan, who was coming with his disciple to find Wang Tong, looked at Wu Chuan. “Spirit Master Zhong Xi and Kong Hou… are usually like this?”
Wu Chuan looked down. “Master, this disciple is a gentleman. Why would I stare at lovers?”
Heng Yan sighed. He hadn’t expected the aloof Spirit Master Zhong Xi to be privately like this. People could not be judged by their appearances. Even the strongest sword cultivator had their… gentle side?
The people of Splendid Cloud Sect quickly found that Kong Hou and Spirit Master Zhong Xi would always appear together. When Kong Hou went to the food hall to get delicious food, she would take two portions. These people who were always gossiping all knew that these two must have become a couple.
That was Spirit Master Zhong Xi! The man rumored to have a heart of stone was conquered by a female cultivator of their sect.
After a few days, everyone found that Spirit Master Zhong Xi was much easier to interact with than imagined. He would just be stern when helping Kong Hou Shishu teach them, but if a disciple had a question regarding cultivation, he would answer them.
The only problem was if they wanted to find Spirit Master Zhong Xi, they first had to find Spirit Master Kong Hou. These two were inseparable and almost never apart.
On Moon Perching Peak, Wang Tong glanced at Heng Yan who was sitting opposite him. He poured a cup of tea. “Sect Master Shixiong, you have a matter?”
“I want to discuss Kong Hou and Spirit Master Zhong Xi with you.” Heng Yan took a cup of tea and raised an eyebrow. Shidi did not have many spirit stones in his wallet but he had such good tea.
“Zhong Xi and Kong Hou gave me this tea. The taste is acceptable.” Wang Tong lazily changed his sitting posture.
Hearing no dislike when Wang Tong mentioned Zhong Xi, Heng Yan was reassured. “Sect Master Jin of Radiance Sect has recently sent a few flying message seals. He has intentions of having the two children hold a path union ceremony. What do you think?”
Wang Tong rubbed the teacup and didn’t speak. In the last few days, he had received several flying message seals from Jin Yue as well. The messages were sincere and earnest. He frowned and sighed. “What else can I do? My apprentice has kidnapped him into Splendid Cloud Sect. Should I let her play with the emotions of others and then turn around and leave?”
There was no regarding men as superior to women in the cultivation world. The one with higher cultivation had the power. Some male cultivators liked beauties and would have many beautiful women around them. Other female cultivators would have a house full of men to amuse them.
He saw Spirit Master Zhong Xi’s feelings towards Kong Hou and noted them. But he had watched Kong Hou grow up. He did not quite bear to watch his precious apprentice get together with a male cultivator like this.
Heng Yan heard Wang Tong’s words and stilled. Why did it sound like Kong Hou was the one that was benefiting?
“I have no objections to the path union ceremony. This will depend on the two children.” Wang Tong sighed and put the matter down. “I do not know when these two children fell in love.” When he had tested Zhong Xi back then, he had said that Kong Hou was his shimei.
Hearing these words, Heng Yan’s hand trembled slightly. But as the sect master of Splendid Cloud Sect, he frequently cleaned up after his troublesome fellow disciples and grand disciples. He quickly disguised his emotions. “Maybe it’s karma.”
“Maybe.” Wang Tong nodded and did not discuss more.
Kong Hou and Huan Zhong stayed for several months in Splendid Cloud Sect. When the leaves on the trees turned yellow and the autumn wind grew cold, Kong Hou bid farewell to her sect.
Wang Tong learned she was going to visit Moon Star Sect and nodded minutely after a long silence.
“Master.” Kong Hou took out a pouch of spirit stones from her storage ring and gave them to Wang Tong with a smile. “This disciple honors you.”
“All right, your master does not owe the sect spirit stones right now and does not lack for them.” Wang Tong refused.
“You have to accept them.” Kong Hou shoved the stones into Wang Tong’s arms. “This disciple is leaving… and planning to go to Wind Listening Valley with Huan Zhong. I want to find the other medicine ingredients for him.”
“Go.” Wang Tong accepted the spirit stones and patted Kong Hou’s hair. The girl who had once been bullied to the point of tears finally grew up.
“He is your beloved. As a member of Splendid Cloud Sect, you should not easily fall in love, but if you do, you have to be responsible for him.” Wang Tong smiled. “Return soon.”
“Yes.” Kong Hou kowtowed.
“Go, go.” Wang Tong smiled and waved his hand. When his little apprentice disappeared out the door, his smile faded.
Each apprentice was like a young swallow that would leave one day. As a master, he had to learn to let go and to wait for them to return.
When Kong Hou stepped out the gates of Splendid Cloud Sect, the sound of bells once again sent her off. She stopped, looked back at the gates in the mist, and bowed.
She jumped onto the flying talisman and flew away from Harmonious City until she could not hear the farewell bells of Splendid Cloud Sect.
Moon Star Sect was very far from Splendid Cloud Sect. This place had snow all year round like a world of ice. The closest major sect to Moon Star Sect was Blue Feather Sect, but these two sects had always been at peace and never disturbed each other.
When Kong Hou and Huan Zhong reached Moon Star Sect’s mountain, they found many people standing outside the gates. She wanted to ask what was happening when a blue-robed female cultivator stopped her. “Ah, Path Friend, Moon Star Sect is closed for a century. You will not see them now. If you want to ask them for a reading, line up and get a number. Come back in a century. If you cut in line, other path friends will beat you up.”
The blue-robed female cultivator looked at Zhong Xi who gave off no spirit energy. Her eyes were shocked. “Path Friend, your boy toy is so beautiful.”
Kong Hou looked back at Huan Zhong and laughed. “Thank you, Path Friend, for telling me. He is not my boy toy, but my path companion.”
“Apologies, apologies. My eyes are not good.” The blue-robed female cultivator smiled and apologized. Inside, she sighed. As a cultivator, this person was enchanted by beauty and found a path companion without spirit energy. This was delaying her cultivation.
As she thought randomly, shouts came from the front. The blue-robed female looked up and saw two green-clad envoys flying down from the mountain.
“These are Moon Star Sect apprentices!”
“What happened for them to suddenly appear?”
The crowd had mostly terrified expressions and not much joy. Moon Star Sect was mysterious in their conduct and almost never changed from what they said. A few days ago they said that they would close their sect for a century. Now two apprentices appeared. Had something unexpected happened?
The green-clad envoys landed in front of Kong Hou and Huan Zhong. They bowed and said, “Greetings to Spirit Master Zhong Xi and Celestial Kong Hou. The sect master has sent us to welcome you upon learning you have come to this humble sect.”
“We are disturbing you—apologies.” Kong Hou returned the bow.
“Please.” The green-clad made a motion of invitation. Kong Hou and Huan Zhong exchanged a look before jumping onto their flying swords.
“Spirit Master Zhong Xi?”
“That Celestial Kong Hou is the pentad spirit base genius of Splendid Cloud Sect?”
Hearing the surrounding discussion, the green-robed female cultivator paled and felt as though she had walked past the gate of death. She said that Spirit Master Zhong Xi was Celestial Kong Hou’s boy toy. Spirit Master Zhong Xi was very generous to not have stabbed her to death.
She would never again be so loquacious. Loquaciousness could kill people.
“Spirit Master, Celestial, the sect master is waiting for you at Star Mansion Hall. Please.” The green-clad envoy pushed open the gates engraved with the moon and stars before standing respectfully at the side.
Kong Hou walked into the hall and almost couldn’t control her shock. She had never seen such a scene. The lamps inside the hall were bright, but all illumination talismans were positioned based on the paths of the stars. Many beautiful scenes were carved on the walls—of immortals at banquets, female immortals flying in the sky, and some scenes that she did not understand. With just a glance, she felt that there were many indescribable stories in these scenes.
“These scenes are all the immortals of Lingyou World who ascended.” A pleasant male voice sounded as though it was far away but very close.
Kong Hou focused and saw Wang Su sitting on a meditation mat.
Wang Su was dressed in white robes and his hair hung loose around him. He was stunningly beautiful but in a way that did not allow people to muster any thought of profaneness.
“Junior Kong Hou greets Sect Master.” Kong Hou respectfully bowed and so did Huan Zhong next to her.
“Please sit.” Wang Su motioned for the pair to sit and poured two cups of tea for them. “The Red Bird star is moving for you two. It appears that something auspicious is close. Congratulations.”
“Thank you.” Kong Hou covered her mouth and smiled.
Huan Zhong looked at Wang Su and remained silent because he saw that Wang Su’s gaze held no joy even as he spoke.
The hall quieted. There was only the sound of Wang Su pouring tea. Wang Su’s hand was white and almost unwrinkled like jade, so beautiful it was inhuman.
“Miss Kong Hou’s cultivation has advanced greatly after such a short time.” Wang Su looked at Kong Hou with black eyes. “Why has Miss come here?”
“Sect Master is powerful to divine that the one who wants to see you is me and not Huan Zhong.” Kong Hou smiled and she looked sideways at Huan Zhong. “This junior has something to ask Sect Master for clarification.”
“Miss, please speak.” Wang Su’s face finally had a hint of a smile.
“After I entered the star mansion door, I passed a decade in there, and my cultivation advanced greatly. I will dream repeatedly of the star mansion door every night. Is this the lingering power of the star mansion door?”
“You passed the test of the star mansion door and received all of its power. This is why you will continue to cultivate in your dreams.” Wang Su had an expression of appreciation. This really was a person naturally suited to cultivation who was able to experience those hardships every night and not be affected at all in mind and energy.
“The things in the star mansion door were accumulated over time by the spirit energy of the successive Moon Star Sect masters. It has limitless power,” Wang Su said. “Miss Kong Hou, do not worry—it does not want to harm you.”
“But Sect Master has not said if this kind of high speed exercise will affect the mental state of a cultivator.” Huan Zhong put down the teacup. His expression was cold. “What does your sect think Kong Hou is—a cultivation machine?”
“Spirit Master is too serious. The star mansion door will not choose a mediocre master. Only those that pass through its tests will receive its power inheritance.” Wang Su’s expression was calm. “Miss Kong Hou is the fated one, and carries the hopes of Lingyou World’s ascension. All of Moon Star Sect, as the protectors of Lingyou World’s fate, will not do anything to harm Miss Kong Hou.”
“What, what fated one?” Kong Hou thought something was wrong with her hearing. “Me?”
“Yes.” Wang Su nodded facing the shocked gaze of the young woman. He said, “Miss Kong Hou is the only unexpected part in the fate of Lingyou World. You are also the only hope of Lingyou World. Your ascension is something that the entire Lingyou World is waiting for.”
Kong Hou felt that she was listening to an absurd story. She thought she was just an unconcerned observer, but in the end, she was the protagonist of the entire story. “Sect Master, are you joking?”
“Miss Kong Hou, this one never jokes.”
Kong Hou turned to look at Huan Zhong. She bit her lip and did not speak.
“There is no cultivator who doesn’t want to ascend,” Wang Su said. “This one knew that Miss Kong Hou would come, and prepared a gift for you.”
“What?” Kong Hou lifted her head.
“A small world.” Wang Su waved his hand towards the jade wall in the east. The illumination talismans in the hall started to change positions. Spirit energy surged, and an enormous whirlpool appeared on the jade wall.
“The small world is filled with spirit energy and no disturbances. If you stay in there for a century, it will be just a decade on the outside.” Wang Su stood up and looked with his beautiful but emotionless eyes at Kong Hou. “Hong Yan fought with her life and managed to wound the evil lord. But he will return in a decade. If Miss is unwilling, this one will not demand.”
What did it mean when the evil lord came back in a decade with his hate? It meant that the entire cultivation world would sink into a war of orthodox and evil. Countless ordinary people would die. Low-ranking cultivators and nomad cultivators would also die.
Kong Hou knew that Wang Su was not lying to her. She turned to look at Huan Zhong. “May Huan Zhong go in with me?”
Wang Su shook his head. “Only a person who is recognized by the star mansion door can enter this small world. Also, people who cultivate should avoid emotional shifts and frivolousness. If Spirit Master Zhong Xi entered with you, you would be unable to truly comprehend the path.”
“Huan Zhong and I can perform universal paired cultivation…”
“Spirit Master Zhong Xi’s spirit platform is shattered, and his mental demon has not dissipated. If you do universal paired cultivation with him, it will delay your cultivation speed and be of no help to you.” Wang Su said ruthlessly, “He will only be a burden on you.”
“Huan Zhong is not my burden.” Kong Hou frowned. He tone grew displeased. “Spirit Master, you overstep.”
“Apologies.” Wang Su did not understand matters of love. He saw Kong Hou’s displeasure and immediately apologized. “This one did not use the right words.”
Kong Hou held Huan Zhong’s hand. “Apologies, I am just an ordinary female cultivator of Splendid Cloud Sect. I cannot carry the future of the entire cultivation world.” She pulled Huan Zhong to stand. “Farewell.”
“Miss Kong Hou, my spirit energy can only open this small world once. If you leave today, you will never have another chance.” Wang Su looked at Kong Hou’s back. He said calmly, “If Miss had not come to Moon Star Sect, this small world would never have opened, and I would never have mentioned this to you. But you came.
“This is fate…”
Kong Hou stopped walking. She had seen just how powerful the evil lord was. If not for Spirit Master Hong Yan that day, she feared all of Radiance Sect would have died at his hands.
If the orthodox sects were defeated, the people of Lingyou World, the people of the mortal world, all would be slaughtered by the evil cultivators.
“Go.” Huan Zhong released Kong Hou’s hand and said to her with a smile, “I will wait here for you. When you come out, you will see me first.”
He was not willing to leave Kong Hou, not even for a minute. But he knew that if he accompanied Kong Hou out of Moon Star Sect today, this matter would become a heart barrier for Kong Hou.
“But…” Kong Hou looked at Huan Zhong with worry in her eyes. Huan Zhong’s spirit platform was unstable. If she entered the small world to cultivate and Huan Zhong suddenly went mad, who could help him?
“This one does not know medicine, but can help Spirit Master Zhong Xi slightly.” Wang Su looked at the two young cultivators gazing at each other. For some reason, he suddenly felt an unprecedented ‘soft-heartedness.’ “I will help Spirit Master Zhong Xi with his meridians, and I will even have Nine Phoenix Sect deliver the phoenix blood. I guarantee you that when you come out, the person standing in front of you will be complete and unharmed.”
“You really can…” Kong Hou looked in surprise at Wang Su.
“I do not dare guarantee.” Wang Su would not lie. “But I will do my best.”
“Thank you, Sect Master.” Kong Hou looked up and forced out a smile. “Huan Zhong, you have to take care of yourself. Most importantly, you cannot look at other female cultivators.”
“Yes. I won’t look at anyone else, I won’t go anywhere.” Huan Zhong kissed her brow. “I will wait here for you until you come out.”
Translator Ramblings: This chapter feels so long …