“I- I didn’t do it on purpose,” the girl tearfully says, her lips flat as she twist her own clothes in guilt. “This Void Forest has always been a place to let the spirit beasts roam around, I never thought there’d be human breaking into here.”
The man in black clothes pays her no attention and turns to them before he coldly asks, “Who are you people? This Void Forest is a forbidden ground in Qing Yuan Mountain, what did you come here for?”
Hu Sha cannot bring herself to answer him because of his cold, frost-like appearance. Those people behind her on the other hand are crying and shouting, in short, everything is a mess. The previous eldest senior brother is the only one calm enough to answer him. “ We- We are just accidentally passing this place,” he says, his voice shaky. They were originally so arrogant, thinking there was nothing special with Qing Yuan’s celestials. In fact, they came here to challenge Qing Yuan’s senior elder Jin Ting for a battle. Who knows a random female disciple’s spirit beast alone would be more than enough to put them in their place.
“If so, I suggest you all to leave. I apologize for what happened on behalf of my junior niece and I hope you all will not trespass this forest again,” he says lightly.
Those whimpering people then carry their shifu and the injured ones away and left while Hu Sha sat frozen on the ground, trying to see if it’s true those two are standing on clouds.
They’re really stepping on the clouds! Don’t tell her they’re really Qing Yuan Mountain’s celestials?
“Miss, you better leave as well,” the man glance at her.
Hu Sha mutters low, “But, I came here to be an apprentice..”
“You’re seeking apprenticeship?” he looks a bit surprised. “You’re in the wrong direction, it’s in Qian Mountain. You can head to the main gate there. If you pass all the test, then you will be able to get what you want.”
Qian Mountain? Where on earth is that? The idea of having to pass through all the cliffs she went through again turns her legs soft.
The man in black think for a while before he says, “Never mind. My junior niece scared you, let me help you in turn. I’ll send you to Qian Mountain, close your eyes!”
Hu Sha immediately shut her eyes tight, she can feel winds blowing on her face and before she knows it, the man says, “We’ve arrived. Take care!”
So fast! Hu Sha opened her eyes and sees a completely different scenery in front of her, filled with greeneries and flowers. There are even butterflies flying around. In short, it’s completely different compared to the forest just now. There is an endless road in front, probably leading to the main gate.
Hu Sha sigh in relief, let’s give this another try. She fix the bag she’s carrying and just as she is about to take the first step, she suddenly becomes aware of a presence next to her that is watching her. She turns to that direction and sees a youth with white clothes, sitting on the ground. He is probably around 16, his long hair floats around his shoulders as his pair of dark eyes watches her in surprise.
Seeing Hu Sha looking back at him prompts him to smile softly, his long lashes curling upwards as he softly says to her, “Excuse me, you suddenly appeared here. Did somebody use charm to send you here?”
Hu Sha didn’t know why she suddenly blush, he looks… so handsome. He has a pretty lower jaw, like a woman, but does not look feeble at all. He is lean, but does not seem to be useless.
“Y-yes,” she stuttered, “I went to the wrong direction just now and ended up in that forbidden ground, and then there were two celestials, one of them sent me here.”
The youth nods before pointing towards the path before them, “If you follow that road, you won’t be lost. You can reach the big gate within 30 minutes.”
Hu Sha mutters a thanks before turning around. After she walked a few pace, she can’t help but to turn around and stare at the youth who is sitting on the ground while coughing loudly.
Is he sick? Hu Sha immediately turns around and walk back to him, crouching down in front of him before she says, “Are you here to be a disciple as well? Are you sick? Are you able to walk?”
The youth turns blank for a moment before he laugh, “I am fine. Thank you for worrying, Miss.”
Hu Sha put her bag down and started to search for something. After a long while, she finally found what it is she was looking for, a porcelain flask. It’s called ‘Thousand Spirit Pill’, something Auntie Lu kindly prepared for her. It can basically cure everything from headache to stomach ache.
“I have medicine here, why don’t you take a pill. It’s very effective,” she hand over a pill to him.
He hesitates for a while before he takes the pill and consume it. Hu Sha look at his pale face and says, “If you’re sick, why don’t you go back first? There should be a farm around here, why don’t I go look for an ox cart for you?”
She immediately stands up after she said that, only to be stopped when the young man grab her sleeves. “No need. Thank you for your kind thoughts, Miss. I– I am here to be a disciple. I was resting just now because I felt a little sick. I am fine now. Why don’t we climb the mountain together? At least it won’t be lonely.”
“Are you really okay?” Hu Sha suspiciously asked.
The young man slowly gets up. Because he was sitting just now she can’t tell, but now that he is up, he is taller than her by a fair margin. He brush off dirt from him before he warmly says, “Let’s go. And I still haven’t had the chance to ask for Miss’ name.”
“My name is Hu Sha,” she unreservedly disclosed her name, “How about you?”
“Fang Zhun,” he says as he slowly walk down the path. “Miss Hu Sha did not seem to come from Sheng Zhou.”
Hu Sha froze for a while before she slowly nods. “You’re right. I am not from here.” Not only is she not from Sheng Zhou, she is also not from this world.
“You’ve come from afar, aren’t your parents worried?”
Hu She feels a little dejected, she does not know whether to nod or not. She does not wish to worry them too, but some things are not within her control. To go home, she has to do a lot of things.
Fang Zhun immediately change the subject, “Miss Hu Sha comes to Qing Yuan Mountain to learn what?”
She ponders for a while as she smile, “I am just taking the chance to see whether or not the celestial I am looking for is here.”
Fang Zhun look surprised, “Who are you looking for?”
“….. Qing Ling Zhen Jun.”
Fang Zhun stared at her thoughtfully for a while before he lightly asks, “Why are you looking for…. him?”
Hu Sha smiled, “Long story.”
“Perhaps this will disappoint you, but Qing Ling Zhen Jun is not in Qing Yuan Mountain. He is one of the isolated celestials, his location is a mystery to everyone.”
“He’s not here?” Hu Sha asked in disappointment. Knowing he is not here, she now wants to bail this journey and leave this place.
Fang Zhun then says, “But you don’t have to give up. There are always Celestial Meetings, Qing Ling Zhen Jun will definitely attend them. If you can pass the tests and enter Qing Yuan Mountain, you will have more chances to see him during Celestial Gatherings.”
Hu Sha look at him in admiration, “Fang Zhun, you are so knowledgeable. Do you know how hard Qing Yuan Mountain’s tests are?”
He laugh but suddenly started coughing, this time his cough sounds so severe to the point where even standing appears to be a labour for him. Hu Sha hold him and assessed the path. Seems like there are still half the distance to go, “Fang Zhun, why don’t I send you back. You won’t make it like this.”
He shake his head and stubbornly points to the path while coughing, meaning he wish to keep on going.
Hu Sha grit her teeth before she says, “Fine. I’ll carry you up!”
Translator’s Note: Qing Ling Zhen Jun is called a San Xian (散仙), I have no idea what that was but according to baidu baike, San Xian is an immortal who does not have an official duty/position. I have no idea how to translate that term into English, so I called him an ‘isolated immortal’. If somebody knows the correct term, please tell me.
There will be mistakes because I translate this in a rush.